Jim Schembri

Jim Schembri
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3.5/5 100% Slam (2018) Without descending into hysterics writer/director Partho Sen-Gupta does a fine job detailing how promptly fear and suspicion can be coaxed used to promote an official agenda. It's a strong-minded, subdued film that bravely confronts the politics of grief. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
3/5 50% Strange But True (2019) With revelations at every turn, director Rowan Athale and writer Eric Garcia prove themselves dedicated to unpredictability, with each scene designed to have you guessing how it will plug into the increasingly bizarre story. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
3/5 40% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) In terms of visuals, director Joachim Ronning does a swell job recreating the lush fantasy/Goth look of the first film with effects aplenty and grand flourishes of other-worldly architecture. Storywise it's feathery fluff. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
3/5 83% Judy (2019) Garland was a complicated mess and Zellweger truly captures her contradictory cocktail of confidence, desperation, ebullience, despair & stage fright. She's a has-been with a crinkled face and a defiant manner eager to reclaim her share of the spotlight. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
3.5/5 100% Buoyancy (2019) The brutal nature of the modern slave trade in South East Asia is exposed in often shocking and violent detail in Australian director Rodd Rathjen's extraordinary, gruelling debut feature. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
2/5 28% UglyDolls (2019) Even undemanding kids in need of distraction might find it hard not to get restless during this word-heavy, woke animation. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
1/5 24% The Goldfinch (2019) A dismal, interminable drama. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
2/5 56% The Dead Don't Die (2019) The prospect of a zombie apocalypse film by veteran arthouse filmmaker Jim Jarmusch sounds almost too enticing. Regrettably, the execution just doesn't do justice to the concept. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
1/5 79% Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) You'd have to be part of that treasured horror movie demographic who jumps with fright whenever somebody spills a box of popcorn to get much spook value out of this slice of sub-Stephen King schlock. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
2.5/5 90% The Souvenir (2019) The nuance-rich, slow-burn direction by Joanna Hogg really works for about the first hour before a dramatic inertia sets in and turns the enterprise into yet another mumblecore dirge about drug addicts. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 82% Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019) The film's chief purpose is to pull focus on the work of the late Dan O'Bannon (died 2009) who first dreamt up the idea. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
4.5/5 68% Joker (2019) As violent and as thematically dark as it often is, the film has moments of sheer brilliance and real bravery, especially when it comes to seeing the world from the point of view of somebody who is clearly deranged. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 No Score Yet The Rise of Jordan Peterson (2019) The who, what, why and how behind the phenomenal rise of Canadian clinical psychologist/author/professor Jordan Peterson gets a very thorough, if workman-like detailing in a feature-length look at his life, philosophies and motivations. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 No Score Yet Green Light (2019) A timely, punchy, highly emotional documentary that takes an uncomfortably close look at the benefits of cannabis oil...Made with conviction and a clear agenda, the film highlights the urgency for such treatments to be made widely available. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 25% Gemini Man (2019) If the plot of this movie sounds vaguely like the kind of high-end pulp Arnie would have made decades ago before he went into politics, you're right. Smith is no Schwarzenegger, yet he brings his swagger to this concerted re-entry into the action genre. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
4/5 97% Working Woman (2019) The intricacies of the power dynamics behind sexual harassment in the workplace are aired out in all their subtlety and savagery in this excellent Israeli drama [that] soundly demonstrates how hot-button topics are best dissected with a cool head. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 88% Hustlers (2019) A flashy, well-made crime comedy-drama, confidently directed by Lorene Scafaria...The film wisely has moral ballast about what these women do, so anyone looking for a quasi-feminist revenge-against-men lark might be disappointed. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 59% Ride Like a Girl (2019) A winning, girl-against-the-world tale of personal triumph that dutifully follows all the family film conventions to deliver a yarn that is satisfying and heartfelt... an impressive debut for actor Rachel Griffiths, who embraces the need for big moments. - jimschembri.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2019
2/5 28% UglyDolls (2019) [A] word-heavy, woke animation...The messaging comes with sledgehammer subtlety, the visuals offer a world of candy-coloured dullness and, despite a stellar voice cast veteran animator and director Kelly Asbury just can't bring the affair to life. - jimschembri.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2019
3/5 79% Good Boys (2019) Good Boys is essentially a look at what a man-child is like when he is still a child, figuring out the path to adulthood and valuing those early friendships that will keep him from having to surrender too much of that pre-pubescent energy as he grows. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2019
3/5 27% Rambo: Last Blood (2019) It's only a guess, but a good part of the sound effects budget for this film was probably spent on heads of lettuce, scores of which must have been torn apart in front of highly sensitive microphones to accentuate the carnage Rambo unleashes. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2019
3.5/5 83% Abominable (2019) Supremely well done and gorgeous to look at, with a loveable central character who continues the trend of showing monsters as critters who are out of place...Abominable is the latest non-Pixar film to reflect the best qualities of Pixar's early films. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2019
4/5 84% Ad Astra (2019) [A] haunting, slow-paced, superbly mounted space epic...The visceral feel of recent films such as Interstellar, Gravity and The Martian mark the super-high standard of the film's effects and cinematography. Echoes of Kubrick's 2001 permeate the film. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2019
3/5 86% Animals (2019) The strong chemistry between the two leads (Holliday Grainger & Alia Shawkat), who had apparently never met before being cast, drive the film as Laura and Tyler try coping with the changing circumstances that beset their change-averse lifestyles. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2019
3/5 73% The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) The main difference this second time around is the film's sheer payload of gags, both verbal and visual, that acknowledge the sensibilities of the adults in the audience who are watching with their kids. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2019
3/5 85% Downton Abbey (2019) The film serves its fanbase extremely well, sprinkling the soiree with breezy performances and crowd-pleasing humour...it's predictably pleasant, contains no surprises and leaves you with a sizeable smile. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2019
2.5/5 99% The Farewell (2019) A feather-light film whose inconsequential breeziness is perfectly complemented by its brevity. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
1/5 63% It Chapter Two (2019) As good as the horror-schlock of IT was, this way-overlong sequel pales in comparison by simply not containing sufficient scares. Or, indeed, any scares at all. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
3.5/5 39% Angel Has Fallen (2019) When it comes to big-screen meat-and-potatoes action, Butler has carved out a nice niche for himself, and as solid as Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen were, this third installment is easily the best. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
4/5 99% Amazing Grace (2019) The verite nature of the film lends the film an ultra-fresh feel that often makes it seem like it was shot yesterday. Fans of Franklin are in for a major treat, but it's to those who only know her from The Blues Brothers who are most likely to be touched. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
2.5/5 22% The Kitchen (2019) Though panned by critics, the only real flaw in this otherwise watchable crime drama is that its proto-feminism is too loudly signalled...Elisabeth Moss provides a cutting portrait of a woman who channels her hatred of bad men into a love for violence. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
4/5 86% The Nightingale (2019) A searing Gothic revenge saga that unspools like the unholy offspring of The Piano and I Spit On Your Grave...a primal, visceral experience...A truly awesome film, in every sense of the word. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
4/5 83% Midsommar (2019) A disturbing and dark tale of manipulation, alt-religion, bizarre rituals and debauchery that might just leave you aghast...Fans of 1973's classic The Wicker Man will appreciate Midsommar's respectful nods in the manner it delivers its deepest frights. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
1.5/5 80% Late Night (2019) There wouldn't be a single minute of 30 Rock or Parks & Recreation that isn't funnier and more relevant than this film and its fumbling attempt to pursue a "woke" agenda about diversity, gender equality glass ceilings and male privilege...Groan-worthy. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
1/5 50% Palm Beach (2019) A film so boring that after about 30 minutes you begin wishing for a meteor strike. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
3.5/5 65% Danger Close (2019) The film is clearly designed as a tribute to the unfaltering courage of those men, yet it is not some hollow, patriotic flag waver, nor is there much glory in the outcome. The battle scenes are vivid, graphic and often brutal. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
4/5 100% The Australian Dream (2019) This detailed package of the media and public reaction to the actions and utterances of Adam Goodes is framed by his backstory and subsequent behaviour, yet there is enough fairly presented information in it for people to form an independent assessment. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
4/5 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) It's Tarantino's love of incremental tension-building that really sells - and sets apart - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He's long proved a master at delivering great pay-offs and in that regard he might well have hit a career high point here. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
3.5/5 96% Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2019) A remarkable documentary about a remarkable woman...[Director Pamela] Green re-assembles her life with deep respect and a palpable love for an artist who bypassed the dictates of convention and rewrote the rules to suit herself. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
3.5/5 66% The Public (2019) Emilio Estevez shows his flair for ensemble directing here, sculpting an affecting, unusual urban drama about the warmth of compassion in a cold climate...A small gem of a film that takes a simple idea and gives it the oxygen and room to flourish. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
4/5 67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) Everything clicks perfectly into place in this mega-sized action-comedy both for fans of the franchise and for those in need of a thunderous, undemanding time-killer...There is so much testosterone gushing around you could go white-water rafting on it. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
4/5 100% Mystify: Michael Hutchence (2019) Director Richard Lowenstein constructs a vivid, immersive portrait of Hutchence, his rise and fall, his romances and his life-altering encounters with happenstance and road rage. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
2/5 17% After (2019) The leads give it all they've got, and Australian actress Josephine Langford is impressive given the limited range of her role. The film looks pretty and director Jenny Gage, to her credit, knows the rhythms of teen melodrama well. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3/5 64% Child's Play (2019) Here's a terrific example of how to do a reboot: you take an existing concept, hold on to the central premise, then rethink everything from the ground up...[the film] reminds us of how totally creepy movie dolls have been since 1945's Dead of Night. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3/5 64% Annabelle Comes Home (2019) The spirits unleashed do a splendid job, creating a lot of fun, B-grade spookery using in-camera effects. There is digital work in the film, of course, but all the trickery adheres to a wonderfully effective old-school aesthetic. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3/5 90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Most impressive here is the use of a European school excursion to emphasize Peter Parker's enduring appeal, that he is a mere teenager with raging hormones who is still learning about what it means to be a superhero. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3/5 62% Yesterday (2019) The powerhouse duo of director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and rom-com screenwriting legend Richard Curtis (Love, Actually; Four Weddings, etc) deliver unto the world an extremely likeable, feather-light fable about music, love and plagiarism. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3/5 42% Stuber (2019) It's a great follow up to The Big Sick for Kumail Nanjiani who has a very likeable, goofball presence. Bautista, too, gets some Mr Magoo-worthy laughs due to his poor eyesight. [But why] does a light-hearted action-comedy feel the need to be so violent[?] - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
4/5 97% Booksmart (2019) Actress Olivia Wilde's wonderful directorial debut [is] a singularly unconventional, extremely funny, occasionally insightful tale of high school hijinx, girl talk and how reality can sometimes slap you in the face at the least convenient moment. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
2.5/5 No Score Yet Defend, Conserve, Protect (2019) While we like to admire those who put themselves in harm's way for a cause they believe in, there is a difference between brave, crazy-brave and straight-out stupid. It would have been great to see that debated in the film. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019