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Arts Reviews

Posted 2 Aug 2016 @ 12:26pm

★★★☆ 

 

Down Under isn’t another nostalgia piece about the Cronulla riots. It’s a commentary not just on racism, but also on our nation’s cultural capital at its worst. Cleverly set on the day after the riots in 2005, the film follows two sets of hoons – one Anglo, one Lebanese – as they seek revenge and retribution on the streets of the Shire. 

 

Shit-Stick (...

Posted 1 Aug 2016 @ 4:06pm

★★★☆

 

Eddie Perfect’s The Beast has unleashed itself on Sydney audiences after achieving critical acclaim during its debut for the Melbourne Theatre Company in 2013.

 

Perfect’s first offering as a playwright is a feast for the eyes and ears, and it comes complete with lashings of satire, irony, and sharp social and moral commentary, combined with a healthy dose of...

Posted 26 Jul 2016 @ 12:26pm

★★★

 

This long-titled play from Finegan Kruckemeyer is a light-hearted and meandering journey through love and time. 

 

Presented by Griffin Independent, the Sydney production follows two seasons at Western Australia’s Blue Room Theatre and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts. The play sweeps through a spectrum of different lives, gently prying open the...

Posted 23 Jul 2016 @ 9:00am

★★☆

 

Everything that can be said about Alan Moore's Batman opus The Killing Joke has already been said. Its better lines made it into Christopher Nolan's trilogy, and its verdict on the Joker’s origins is considered definitive. Whilst DC putting its own spin on the adaptation is laudable, something is lost in translation, with nothing added to explore the tale’s dire...

Posted 19 Jul 2016 @ 12:51pm

★★☆

 

Proof, as a play, has a lot going for it. It won the David Auburn the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2001 and bagged a Tony Award for Best Play. If a script were ever to comprehensively establish itself in the world of performance, this is the way to do it. 

 

Tackling the foggy mirage between genius and madness, family intimacy and discord, love and fear, Proof...

Posted 19 Jul 2016 @ 12:36pm

★★☆

 

The pursuit of powerful new flavours inspires radical thinking, and presentation is as important as taste. To simply plate potent ingredients alongside each other is not enough to inspire. Maurice Dekkers’ documentary shows great professionalism, but does not suffice as a hearty meal.

 

René Redzepi, owner of critically acclaimed restaurant Noma, is about to...

Posted 15 Jul 2016 @ 10:31am

★★★★

 

Almost six years ago I saw Paul Capsis appear in his autobiographical one-man production at Griffin Theatre, Angela’s Kitchen.

 

It would go on to not only win Best New Australian Work at the Helpmann Awards, but Best Male Actor as well. As such, the prospect of catching him in another solo show is pretty darned enticing, even if (to be entirely honest) I...

Posted 14 Jul 2016 @ 10:26am

★★★★

 

From its first joyous expulsion of hot air, Swiss Army Man is resolutely – and proudly – the weirdest film of the year. But beyond that, the little indie that could has a geniality and complexity that make it worth overlooking its childish inclinations.  

 

Hank (Paul Dano) is about to die alone on a desert island, suspended from a poorly tied noose, when a...

Posted 13 Jul 2016 @ 9:49am

★★★★

 

Director Paul Feig's female-led reboot of Ghostbusters has been battling foes on all fronts. Not just the usual ghosts, but mainly the dinosaurs who have been passing judgement on the film in the year prior to its release. I’m happy to say that your childhood memories haven’t been trampled upon in the making of this film.

 

No recent comedy has received so...

Posted 8 Jul 2016 @ 9:39am

★★★★

 

Originally premiering in 1967, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown began as a concept album of songs inspired by the Peanuts cartoon strip before becoming an off-Broadway musical. Told as a series of vignettes, it explores the lives of our favourite characters, including Charlie and Snoopy, as live people.

 

With a small cast and bare setting, Charlie Brown has...

Posted 7 Jul 2016 @ 10:05am

★★☆

 

In keeping with the steady onslaught of “Disney made it famous, we’ll make it big budget”, the powers that be have turned The Legend Of Tarzan into a full-length feature film, complete with real-life humans and not-so-real-life gorillas, elephants and a whole host of other African animals to substantiate that we’re in Congo circa 1890. 

 

Opening with Phil...

Posted 28 Jun 2016 @ 1:01pm

★★★★

 

“Fighting the power / Never tasted so sweet…”

 

Such is one of many call-and-response moments from cabaret extravaganza Hot Brown Honey, though in terms of theme you'd be hard-pressed to find another quite as fitting. Sure, we may ostensibly be gathered here for a night of song, style and burlesque (though the production is more cheeky than debauched), and in...

Posted 28 Jun 2016 @ 12:52pm

★★★★

 

Great storytellers speak to painful truths buried beneath our daily lives. They make us conscious of that we wish not to give voice; they make us face our complicity in evil. In challenging modern China’s sexual and political repression, debut filmmaker Wang Yichun proves herself a great storyteller in the making.

 

Jing (Su Xiaotong) lives an unremarkable...

Posted 21 Jun 2016 @ 12:21pm

★★★☆

 

Where else would you see Daenerys Targaryen chatting to the Goblin King? Or the Scooby Doo gang sharing snacks with members of the Suicide Squad? 

 

Even the threat of a torrential downpour couldn’t dampen the spirits of the super fans who descended on Sydney Olympic Park for Supanova 2016 at the weekend. The three-day event kicked off on Friday afternoon to...

Posted 21 Jun 2016 @ 12:08pm

★★★★

 

With more than a century of accolades under its belt, it can be easy to forget that Georges Bizet’s Carmen was the Bold And The Beautiful equivalent of 19th century opera.

 

Considered by its contemporaries to be scandalous and erring on the side of trashy, it was only celebrated as a convention-breaking masterpiece after the composer’s death. John Bell has...

Posted 21 Jun 2016 @ 11:58am

★★★★

 

The Wait is a film by Piero Messina loosely inspired by Luigi Pirandello’s play The Life I Gave You. In Messina’s version, Juliette Binoche plays Anna, mother to Giuseppe, and Lou de Laâge plays Jeanne, Giuseppe’s lover.

 

Jeanne and the audience are waiting for Giuseppe to arrive, hopefully in time for Easter. Jeanne can’t get Giuseppe on the phone. Is he...

Posted 21 Jun 2016 @ 11:42am

★★★★

 

Picture this: a frat house, jocks everywhere. Hard-drinking, hard-partying, womanising young men – and almost every one of them completely lovable.

 

Everybody Wants Some!! portrays the kind of good-natured college athletes that have been missing from our screens –...

Posted 21 Jun 2016 @ 11:30am

★☆

 

You know those people who wear T-shirts that say, “I’m Not Racist: I Hate Everyone”? War On Everyone is those people in cinema form. This equal-opportunity offender comes thick and fast with the gags, but forgets that satire should make a point.

 

Bob (Michael Peña) and Terry (Alexander Skarsgård) are your run-of-the-mill American TV cops – corrupt to the core...

Posted 21 Jun 2016 @ 11:20am

★★

 

Just as festival fatigue is beginning to set in, and Apprentice tilts it into full swing. The poster boy for that special genre of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard films with no soundtrack and lots of meaningful staring, this Official Selection entry tells an interesting story in a flat, uninteresting way.

 

Prison guard Aiman (Firdaus Rahman) transfers to Larangan...

Posted 21 Jun 2016 @ 11:09am

★★★☆

 

“If you’re gonna tell a story, come with some attitude, man.”

 

That’s the opening statement from a film in which Don Cheadle writes, directs, produces and stars as Miles Davis. You could say the man practises what he preaches. Wish he’d thought of a better title while he was at it.

 

During a period of silence and inactivity, Miles is festering...

Posted 16 Jun 2016 @ 11:40am

News:

 

A Real Goldmine

Mojang has confirmed that Minecraft, the incredibly popular brick builder, has passed 100 million lifetime sales worldwide, with an average of 53,000 copies sold every day since the beginning of this year. In case that wasn’t impressive enough, the game has also been purchased in every country on Earth – including Antarctica. “We’d like to...

Posted 15 Jun 2016 @ 10:32am

★★★

 

Pixar redefined animated filmmaking, and heavy is the crown it wears when diving into sequel territory. Finding Dory bears weighty expectations built on its wondrous predecessor, and though enjoyable, this new venture into the ocean reveals little we haven’t seen before.

 

Dory (Ellen Degeneres) suffers from short-term memory loss, as everyone around her is...

Posted 14 Jun 2016 @ 12:54pm

★★★★

 

Dear Diary. Heathers: The Musical has hit the Sydney Opera House. How very!

 

Based on the 1988 cult film, this musical exudes energy from the second the curtain rises. We follow Veronica (Hilary Cole), a pensive teen struggling to survive on the battlefield that is high school. After her talent for forgery is discovered, she finds herself inadvertently...

Posted 14 Jun 2016 @ 11:27am

★★☆

 

If it sells in one medium, it sells in another. That is the production mantra that has led us to the glut of thickheaded paint-by-numbers summer blockbusters through which we now wade. Fortunately, Blizzard’s inevitable Warcraft cash-in stands just above its peers, delivering on its title with satisfying brutality.

 

The kingdom of Azeroth stands on the brink...

Posted 9 Jun 2016 @ 9:56am

★★★★

 

Herbert West would sure be proud of Tyler MacIntyre, the young writer/director re-animating the gruesome legacy of Stuart Gordon’s cult hero.

 

As gut-bustingly funny as the sources from which it draws, MacIntyre’s retro throwback Patchwork benefits from an injection of originality that keeps it from being obsequious.

 

Jennifer (Tory Stolper),...

Posted 6 Jun 2016 @ 8:08pm

★★★

 

Bright Those Claws That Mar The Flesh begins in complete darkness.

 

Lightning flashes and the audience is unsettled by a young woman, Leda Swann – wearing a black wig, maroon velvet blazer and dodgy slip-on shoes – standing motionless and way too close. Swann is an unsettling character, as is the ancient Greek tale from which her name is derived – y’know, the...

Posted 6 Jun 2016 @ 7:59pm

 

The band of renegade magicians known as the Four Horsemen may have returned to the limelight, but their bag of magic tricks is far from full. 

 

Having gone into hiding at the end of the last film, they return for Now You See Me 2 with a new mission to oust yet another high-profile villain. Only they are foiled at their own game by another villain, who is...

Posted 24 May 2016 @ 12:50pm

★★★☆

 

The 21st WOW Film Festival saw the premiere of GTFO, a documentary that, with skill, insight and courage, explores the murky world of gaming and the lives of the women who dare enter it. 

 

Everybody knows you can’t have a premiere without some light entertainment beforehand, and WOW included the screening of some short animations. The energy of the room was...

Posted 18 May 2016 @ 4:09pm

★★★★☆ 

 

Arj Barker has long been a favourite with Australian audiences. Returning to Sydney to record a DVD of his new show Get In My Head, the comic is as popular as ever – so popular, in fact, that an extra show was added to his appearance as part of Sydney Comedy Festival. 

 

Barker really endears himself to his audience, partnering his laid-back Californian...

Posted 17 May 2016 @ 12:20pm

★★★★☆

 

If you assumed The Doug Anthony Allstars would mellow due to the passing of time, you were wrong. 

 

Tim Ferguson and Paul McDermott were sans nice guy Richard Fidler for their comeback show at the Enmore Theatre, but this just made the performance more sharp-tongued and edgy as ever, as they provided an evening of outrageous and confronting jokes where...

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