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Arts Reviews

Posted 16 Feb 2017 @ 4:07pm

When comfort and relaxation are of the utmost importance, we turn to certain havens. Afternoon strolls beside a lake, evenings undisturbed with a good book, binge watching the latest Netflix series… and of course, Q Dining.

 

Q Dining is perched on the mezzanine level of the Pullman Quay Grand, overlooking East Circular Quay.

 

Boasting chic modern interiors of...

Posted 13 Feb 2017 @ 3:08pm

★★★★☆ 

 

Hidden Figures is classic Oscar-bait – based on a true story, loaded with exposition and emotional shouting, and led by an award-winning cast. And though it may come as a surprise, it’s also one of the most affecting and enjoyable films of the summer.

 

Katherine Goble (Taraji P. Henson) has always been the smartest person in any given room, owing to her...

Posted 9 Feb 2017 @ 12:32pm

There’s much to be said about the ‘experience’ of modern dining. 

 

More and more, millennials are stepping out of their traditional pub meal smoker jackets and leaning towards the type of evening that looks great on Instagram, and creates genuine memories without too much to-do. 

 

Many diners are aware of the multitude of food fads that are sweeping the world...

Posted 7 Feb 2017 @ 11:46am

★★★☆ 

 

A Street Cat Named Bob is the heart-warming and feel-good true story about a young and homeless recovering drug addict living in London with his cat. 

 

James Bowen (played here by the occasionally whiny Luke Treadaway) is down on his luck, busking in Covent Garden and living in public housing until a chance meeting with a ginger tomcat changes his life. The...

Posted 7 Feb 2017 @ 11:34am

★★★☆

 

Griffin Theatre Company is kicking off its 2017 season with a bang.

 

No, sorry. A band.

 

Andrew (Justin Smith) is a former rock musician, floundering in his first ‘real job’. Bureaucracy, red tape, funding issues and shitty colleagues are getting in the way of his big plans for the youth music program he’s been hired to head up. It’s clearly...

Posted 6 Feb 2017 @ 8:43pm

★★☆

 

12 years on, the debut play from now-staple British playwright Dennis Kelly has lost none of its fire, its relevance and its visceral impact. At least on the page. Brought to the Australian stage today, it is missing two key factors: the relevance of its geographic location, and the subtleties of its narrative, lost in a well-intended but cacophonous production.

 ...

Posted 1 Feb 2017 @ 5:38pm

Forest Lodge in Sydney is the perfect testing ground for new cafes.

 

A blend of young, vibrant families, students and white-collar workers provides a thorough demographic for food hubs to experiment with new flavours and embellish old favourites. 

 

It bears little surprise, then, that the Tramsheds at...

Posted 31 Jan 2017 @ 12:26pm

0 STARS

 

If Gina Rinehart’s autobiography gave you the warm and fuzzies, you may wanna bring a spare pair of pants along to this one.

 

Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) is your average blue-collar Joe, slumming it as the successor to his father’s successful mining company. When he nearly sinks the company, he takes a wild punt on claims by geologist Michael Acosta...

Posted 31 Jan 2017 @ 12:14pm

★★★★

 

The zany Otto & Astrid of Die Roten Punkte fame took the stage at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent to a fervent and excited late-night crowd. It’s a testament to both the passion of the duo’s music and the fan base it inspires that the audience was as big as it was, despite the hour nearing midnight.

 

Though the pair recently released their comedy web...

Posted 31 Jan 2017 @ 11:35am

★★

 

Never say die, because zombies seem to have long shuffle lives these days.

 

Resident Evil and its illustrious string of films return to grace us with an apparent final instalment, The Final Chapter. Directed and written by Paul W.S. Anderson and starring Milla Jovovich as its iconic femme fatale battling the Umbrella Corporation, the film follows humanity’s...

Posted 31 Jan 2017 @ 11:09am

★★★

 

Ben Affleck has proven himself to be a talented director in recent years with films such as Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo all enjoying critical acclaim. Unfortunately, Live By Night is unlikely to add to his list of directorial successes.

 

The film opens with the introduction of Joe Coughlin (Affleck). Disenchanted after WWI, he has no interest in taking...

Posted 24 Jan 2017 @ 4:38pm

★★★★

 

Felicity Ward may be the only comedian on the planet to be geographically billed as ‘London via Woy Woy’. By extension, it also kind of helps in describing her comedic approach to anyone unfamiliar with her. Ward's humour is well travelled, it's educated and it's sharp as a tack, but it's also bred from a small coastal town and never once shies away from that fact. 

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Posted 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:09pm

★★★

 

Celia Pacquola has made a name for herself on shows like Utopia as an effortlessly likeable presence. Her Sydney Festival show in the Spiegeltent provides further evidence: it’s amiable and amusing, though it provokes more smiles of recognition than real belly laughs.

 

Pacquola began her stage career in 2006, and that experience shows in The Looking Glass, a...

Posted 24 Jan 2017 @ 12:02pm

★★★

 

The great Martin Scorsese’s first feature since The Wolf Of Wall Street could not be more of a departure, except in its comparably intimidating length. But the director fails to stick to his titular focus in a disappointing denouement that makes the preceding hours feel laboured and dogmatic.

 

Two Portuguese priests, Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garrpe (...

Posted 17 Jan 2017 @ 5:28pm

★★★

 

Along with another Sydney Festival show, The Season, Which Way Home is a funny and poignant dramedy showcasing indigenous family life.

 

Written and performed by Katie Beckett, the semi-autobiographical plot focuses on the relationship between single father and daughter.

 

On a road trip from Ipswich to the family’s original home in Lightning...

Posted 17 Jan 2017 @ 5:08pm

★★★★

 

I went to see The Season by coincidence on the same day MLA released its annual Australia Day lamb ad; our country both simultaneously proud and up in arms over the way our national holiday is represented, with indigenous suffering at the centre of its debate.

 

Following a day spent in the online opinion vortex, a spirited indigenous family comedy was the...

Posted 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:54pm

Reviewed at Dendy Newtown, Thursday November 24 – Sunday December 4

 

For the tenth year running, an unseasonal darkness descended over Dendy Newtown in November, and in that darkness what horrors dwelt. The annual A Night Of Horror/Fantastic Planet Festival once again offered indie genre filmmakers an opportunity to mingle with their more macabre colleagues, and a rare union of...

Posted 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:37pm

★★☆

 

On paper, Jackie seems to have made all the right choices as a work of biographical drama. 

 

It’s an impressionistic snapshot of a historical figure at a key moment in her life rather than a straightforward biopic, attempting to convey a sense of her fraught subjectivity rather than prosaically illustrating the history surrounding her. Its director is Pablo...

Posted 17 Jan 2017 @ 12:18pm

★★★☆

 

Future D. Fidel’s narrativisation of his own childhood displacement is a profound and impactful story that makes a bold statement as Belvoir’s first production for the year.

 

Congolese refugee Isa Alaki (Pacharo Mzembe), AKA Steve ‘The Killer’, is prepping for his biggest boxing match yet, to win the title of Australian Light Heavyweight Champion. But his...

Posted 17 Jan 2017 @ 11:42am

★★★★

 

Stepping into Measure For Measure, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect… which was fine, because what Cheek By Jowl showcased was something entirely unpredictable, anyway.

 

On one hand, delving into a Shakespeare play I was mostly unfamiliar with was always going to be refreshing. What better way to sink into The Bard than to step away from the page and see...

Posted 23 Dec 2016 @ 5:07pm

Reviewed at the Sydney Opera House, Saturday December 17 - Sunday December 18 (photo by Daniel Boud)

 

The Sydney Opera House’s newest inaugural festival is perhaps the least expected thing to happen at the venue since rock gigs – a series of panels, podcasts and performances dedicated to the dank and crispy world of internet obsession.

 

Less still could we expect...

Posted 20 Dec 2016 @ 12:00am

★★

 

French film Rosalie Blum is a new adaptation of the graphic novels of the same name by Camille Jourdy. It’s a quirky dramedy told across three separate parts, taking in the different viewpoints of three separate characters.

 

In act one we are introduced to Vincent Machot (Kyan Khojandi). He is the king of predictability, a man who lives with his overbearing...

Posted 19 Dec 2016 @ 7:32pm

★★★★☆

 

The overwhelmingly humble Lion is the story of one man’s emotional and inspiring plight to find his natural family after getting lost as a child in Kolkata, 1600 kilometres from his village in India – and what a story it is. 

 

Director Garth Davis opens your eyes to some very raw experiences of longing, sorrow and joy, pinning you down to experience the...

Posted 19 Dec 2016 @ 7:14pm

★★★★

 

Let’s face it, 2016 has been a real trash fire of a year. As we finally slip into the silly season, Babes In The Woods offers a very welcome haven of hilarity and frivolity, counterbalancing a season at the Old Fitz that’s been crammed with heavy-hitters.

 

Written by Phil Rouse, the play is based on Tom Wright’s pseudo-colonial pantomime Babes In The Wood....

Posted 19 Dec 2016 @ 12:00am

★★★★

 

A United Kingdom could be renamed Politics And Prejudice. This film tells the extraordinary true story of when Seretse Khama, the King of Bechuanaland (now Botswana), fell in love with and married a determined English woman named Ruth Williams in 1948.

 

The film stars David Oyelowo (Selma) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) as the two lovers in this biracial...

Posted 19 Dec 2016 @ 12:00am

★★★★

 

‘Feel-good’ films slot into their own distinct subgenre nowadays. 

 

The phrase is a marketing tool more than anything, designed in no small part to pigeonhole films that sweep award ceremonies and pack out multiplexes – films concerned with the triumph of the little man and the beating of unbeatable odds.

 

In that way, Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson...

Posted 12 Dec 2016 @ 1:31pm

★★★☆ 

 

Dancer, the documentary offering by director Steven Cantor, is a gripping insight into the world of breathtaking artistry. The film examines the life of Sergei Polunin, who at age 19 became The Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal dancer. 

 

Cantor’s film leaps and bounds through what is to be found off stage – in the wings, rehearsal spaces and family...

Posted 12 Dec 2016 @ 1:20pm

★☆

 

If a film could be held up by Kate Beckinsale in black leather, and an unapologetic case of hipster balayage, then Underworld: Blood Wars would have had a fighting chance.

 

Unfortunately, most filmgoers these days have a thirst for decent plots, well executed fight scenes and un-clunky dialogue. Bless, Blood Wars is so low on any meaty components, we’re all at...

Posted 6 Dec 2016 @ 2:06pm

★★★★☆

 

Perfectly capturing nostalgia, the drama of adolescence and the passing clarity of dreams, Girl Asleep makes a triumphant return to the stage after its seamless transition to the screen.

 

Turning 15 is difficult enough, but thanks to the move to a new school and the meddling of her parents, Greta’s worst nightmares are swiftly coming to life. That is, until...

Posted 6 Dec 2016 @ 12:35pm

★★★☆

 

A Hollywood director returns to his roots, and to the stories that defined a nation, in this tale of bitter family rivalry, the passion of the young, and the vicious sting of the past.

 

Simeon Mahana (Akuhata Keefe) is full of questions, but his inquisitiveness puts him at odds with his stern grandfather, Tamihana (Temuera Morrison), the patriarch of their...

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