Jim Schembri

Jim Schembri
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/5 89% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) Fans of the first two Wick epics will have no complaints, thanks to the action being as superbly mounted and the sparks of humour being as straight-faced. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
3.5/5 89% Acute Misfortune (2019) Full of rich imagery and insight, Wright's subtle direction examining the truths that lurk beneath the artist's skin...superbly done with top-notch performances and evocative cinematography. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
3/5 34% Poms (2019) The romp is gentle in nature, cheeky in tone and is clearly determined to join Keaton's other recent films in presenting a polite yet resolute middle finger to those who stereotype the elderly. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
1.5/5 72% All Is True (2019) It might well have been the fulfillment of some kind of dream for life-long Shakespeare devotee Kenneth Branagh to play The Bard in a movie. So it's perfectly apt that watching him in All Is True might well induce filmgoers into extended fits of slumber. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
2.5/5 15% The Hustle (2019) An enjoyable, if unexceptional remake [with] sufficient laughs to make this carbon-copy worth the effort. [It's] the fourth recent example of a "feminised" remake [but] if there is some underlying motive for this trend it is yet to make itself apparent. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
3/5 81% Long Shot (2019) Though overlong by about 20 minutes (in keeping with most American comedies) and with way too much cussing (in keeping with most Seth Rogen comedies), director Jonathan Levine plays on the rough-house chemistry between the leads. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 5, 2019
2/5 85% Top End Wedding (2019) Sadly, for a film purporting to be a rom-com there are just too many awkward scenes, implausible romantic interludes and just not enough laughs...the story is pitted with inconsistencies and scenes that don't make emotional sense. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 5, 2019
2/5 47% Dumbo (2019) Disney's latest live-action remake of a classic animated film is a largely lifeless, gloomy affair with little joy and lots of heavy-handed scenes about animal abuse and cold business ethics. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
3.5/5 54% Five Feet Apart (2019) Directed with manipulative precision by Justin Baldoni, the film fashions its doomed romance drama with an emphasis on hope and how being denied a future can serve to strengthen one's resolve to have one. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
2/5 94% Us (2019) To give the film its due most of it is fine, unspooling as a proficient, 1980s-style horror film...But the moment the mayhem stops and the waffle begins, you quickly realise that Peele wants you to take his B-grade splatterfest very seriously, indeed. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
3/5 80% Mid90s (2018) A small, unorthodox social-realist gem with much to recommend it thanks to some fine naturalistic acting from a young cast. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
3/5 90% Shazam! (2019) More focused on pleasing kids than most superhero films, the film is graced with breezy performances, a slick sense of humour and the theme that even superheroes can't do it alone. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
3.5/5 73% Destroyer (2018) When the history of this generation's most accomplished actresses is written, Nicole Kidman will easily stand out as one of the bravest and most daring if her performance in Destroyer is anything to go by. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
3/5 16% Hellboy (2019) Fans will know what to expect, and will enjoy. Any hope that this film will inspire a series, though, is pretty remote. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
3.5/5 57% Pet Sematary (2019) a top-notch nail-biter, dripping with atmosphere and boasting a host of creepy tropes expertly deployed to maximise a thick ambience of hope mixed with dread. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
3/5 28% The Aftermath (2019) The nostalgic aura of old-fashioned wartime romances envelopes this fine, engaging, handsomely produced drama, spiced by an uncommon setting and top-self performances. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
3/5 32% Wonder Park (2019) Though the film's copious flash and dazzle will please kids, there's an awful lot of subtext going on here about facing your fear. This is coupled with some pretty nightmarish imagery involving the zombie-chimps, so take the film's PG rating seriously. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2019
1/5 50% Celeste (2018) Oh, not again. Here's yet another dull Australian film with no apparent audience in mind and no apparent interest in keeping viewers involved. The leaden direction by Ben Hackworth is so inert you spend much of the film wishing for a crocodile to turn up. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
3.5/5 52% The Hummingbird Project (2019) [The film] joins the recent raft of unusual, unusually engrossing business films such as The Big Short, The Founder and Joy...Salma Hayek plays the corporate boss like an ultra-cool Bond villain, keen to crush her competitors under her killer stilettos. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
3.5/5 91% Gloria Bell (2019) Anchored by Julianne Moore's deeply felt performance of a flawed woman, Gloria Bell has the feel of those landmark movies made in the 1970s that explored the lives of women who pushed back against stereotypes and grappled for their own sense of identity. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
4/5 98% Thunder Road (2018) A moving, engrossing, darkly amusing portrait of a self-effacing man living on the edge who is slowly being pushed by circumstances to a nervous collapse. Another arthouse jewel that deserves attention. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
2.5/5 95% Avengers: Endgame (2019) Endgame is good, rollicking fun, entertaining to the last drop with dollops of humour and comic-book pathos. That said, it's no soul-shaking masterpiece. Along with it likely being the biggest film of the year Endgame might also be the most overrated. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
2.5/5 85% The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) While the reference-filled dialogue delivery is as slick as ever in the latest flick, the tarnish is really starting to show, with fewer big laughs and some surprisingly average visuals. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2019
3/5 55% Swimming with Men (2018) A very easy-to-watch comedy, very much in the tradition of those Ealing comedies that celebrated the English character ever-so-subtly. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2019
4/5 92% Fighting with My Family (2019) A heart-warming, uplifting, reality-based Rocky for girls...Self-respect and the need to respect others by looking beyond one's own prejudices are the values underpinning the action. Sports movie tropes all of them, and very well deployed. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2019
3/5 33% King of Thieves (2019) Directed with a love for criminal procedural detail by James Marsh, the film has its humourous moments, but this...is essentially a hard drama about hard men who remain hard no matter how old they are. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
1/5 59% Greta (2019) [A] tepid, uniquely stupid thriller...Think of a lobotomised Single White Female and you'll know what you're in for. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
3.5/5 62% A Dog's Way Home (2019) What sets A Dog's Way Home above the pack of most animal movies is that while the film is perfectly suitable for children, it's actually an adult movie...the emotional highs of the film have been designed more for grown-ups [than kids}. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
3/5 100% Pimped (2018) Slick, ripper little low-budget thriller in which a very nasty sex "game" played by party-loving womaniser Lewis (Benedict Samuel) goes very wrong, leading to a lethal domino effect. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
2/5 78% Captain Marvel (2019) Captain Marvel is an unremarkable, passable time killer...[Brie] Larson's performance is wooden...while the film's big action scenes are so lacking in imagination the screen often looks as though it's being continually doused in technicolour vomit. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
5/5 76% Hotel Mumbai (2019) Not since 2009's Balibo has an Australian film hit us with such dramatic force, emotional power or topical urgency. [It] is not just an extraordinary, brave film, it is emblematic of the type of film the Australian film industry should be making more of. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
3/5 89% Arctic (2019) The film does bear more than a passing resemblance to other recent survival films, perhaps reflecting the universal truth that when it comes to surviving in the wild, the elements can be as harsh as they are indifferent to the suffering of lost humans. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 23, 2019
4.5/5 96% Roma (2018) Cuaron's love of long takes - demonstrated so masterfully in Children of Men & Gravity - allows you to soak in all the subtly placed detail about the lives of these people...his understated use of the camera engineers some great cinematic moments. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 23, 2019
4/5 93% Stan & Ollie (2019) Both a celebration and lamentation about one of the great comedy duos of the 20th Century...one of the best films we've had so far about the dizzying highs and sobering lows of show business. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 23, 2019
2.5/5 95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) Barry Jenkins is an unhurried director who loves to dwell on intimate scenes and there are several touching moments...The pace, however, does become somewhat cloying as the time-jumping has you thinking more about the timeline than the characters. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2019
3/5 69% Happy Death Day 2U (2019) Not only will this surprisingly inventive sequel please fans of the first film - basically a slasher version of Groundhog Day - it might even win over those who weren't so keen on it. Director Chrisopher Landon brings a very cheeky vibe to this outing. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2019
3.5/5 80% At Eternity's Gate (2018) With rich, convincing lead performances by Willem Dafoe and Oscar Isaac, the film breathes with a love of art and the toil it demands. Working with brilliant French cinematographer Benoit Delhomme, the film is an ever-pleasing swirl of style. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2019
2/5 60% Alita: Battle Angel (2019) There's nothing visually arresting here, with much of the film looking like it was borrowed from District 9, Thor 3, Rollerball, Transformers, Blade Runner, AI and Terminator. That wouldn't have been such a big deal had the central story not been so lame. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2019
3.5/5 49% Escape Room (2019) The superb, stranglehold direction of Adam Robitel draws you in early and never lets go, even after you think things have been resolved...a prime example of the economics of the horror genre. Serve the genre's fanbase and the world is yours. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2019
3.5/5 45% What Men Want (2019) A gloriously over-the-top comic performance by Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures; Benjamin Button) is the gleaming jewel in this winning, extremely funny comedy about glass-ceiling politics, out-of-control ambition and love. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2019
3/5 82% Instant Family (2018) Very likeable, truth-based comedy. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
3/5 90% The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) A strong anti-bullying theme helps spice a nifty, FX-driven kid's adventure. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
3.5/5 66% Storm Boy (2019) [This] version of Colin Thiele's 1964 book about the relationship between a pelican and the son of a beach-dwelling hermit not only compares favourably with the original, it often outdoes it, offering more story and substance. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
3.5/5 63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) Powerhouse performances from Saoirse Ronan & Margot Robbie drive Josie Rourke's searing chamber piece about one of history's greatest catfights.The film has been Oscar-nominated for make-up, which managed the extraordinary feat of making Robbie look ugly. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
2.5/5 38% Glass (2019) The Sixth Sense, The Visit and Split showed that Shyamalan has real talent as a director of suspense, and there are sparks of that here, yet the film strains for your attention and stumbles with a very awkward ending. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
3.5/5 99% Free Solo (2018) Those who suffer from acrophobia (fear of heights) and basophobia (fear of falling) yet enjoy having those fears pricked in the safety of a comfy cinema seat should find Free Solo enthralling...A perfect treat for the armchair adventurer. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
4/5 78% Green Book (2018) The film has a warm, congenially progressive vibe and a wonderfully street line of humour. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
4/5 69% The Mule (2018) The economy and efficiency of Eastwood's direction only seems to improve. The Mule moves at a breezy, unforced clip, with Eastwood effortlessly switching from personal-drama mode to action-thriller mode. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
3/5 97% The Hate U Give (2018) The film certainly can't be faulted for the courage of its convictions, though there are too many spots where the dialogue sounds like it came off a civil liberties pamphlet. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019
3/5 82% Ben is Back (2018) Despite its Hollywood gloss - it's a Julia Roberts film, after all - the film does venture into some of the grittier realities about those stricken with addiction. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2019