Jim Schembri

Jim Schembri
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/5 96% The Irishman (2019) Though it was somewhat overrated as a masterpiece of mobster cinema, Martin Scorsese's epic, occasionally funny, word-driven drama about the fate of union master Jimmy Hoffa is still a venerable, highly entertaining work - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2020
4/5 47% Ricky Gervais: Humanity (2018) Fully aware of his status as a mini-god to the anti-PC crowd, Gervais clocks up his best stand-up special yet as he rubs against the grain on a wide variety of hot-button topics. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2020
3/5 93% Miss Americana (2020) Those who ever doubted Swift's talent, smarts or conviction will find this chronicle eye-opening and extremely entertaining, especially when she's not singing or talking about music. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2020
2.5/5 38% Spenser Confidential (2020) A nifty action crime drama, Mark Wahlberg puts in a sturdy, head-strong performance as an ex-cop who has just been released from prison. Lots of tough talk and gunplay, set in Boston, a must for Wahlberg fans. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2020
4/5 No Score Yet The Loudest Voice (2019) Be sure to check out the outstanding work put in by Russell Crowe as Fox News guru Roger Ailes in this fact-based ripper. The show covers the same ground as the hit film Bombshell, but in much more detail and subtlety. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2020
4/5 95% Marriage Story (2019) One particularly symbolic scene involving Driver and a small key-chain blade says more about the nature of bad divorces than most films on the subject. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2020
3.5/5 92% Uncut Gems (2019) Adam Sandler, who also did an impressive non-comedy turn in Punch-Drunk Love (2002), puts in a very strong performance as a hard-bitten businessman determined to survive in a world set out to destroy him. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2020
2.5/5 100% Undertow (2018) There are a lot of terrific genre elements in Undertow, particularly the themes about obsession and men behaving badly, so it's a pity these weren't dialled up to deliver a more satisfying third act. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2020
1/5 82% Queen & Slim (2019) Contrived to the point of caricature and arguably guilty of the sins it supposedly condemns, the film is one unholy mess of a message movie, sounding like a shrill appeal to white guilt and unspooling like a blaxploitation version of Natural Born Killers. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2020
3/5 80% Military Wives (2020) In a film unapologetically dedicated to the celebration of good old British pluck there's not a cliche or easy appeal for emotion that isn't tapped by a story that is so predictable you could set your watch by it. But you know what? It all works. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2020
1.5/5 80% Escape and Evasion (2019) You can't argue with the film's good intentions [but] good intentions do not automatically make a good movie. Scatty direction, implausible action scenes and thin production values keep it from hitting the marks it is so obviously aiming for. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
1/5 37% Downhill (2020) A witless, pointless remake. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
4/5 100% Honeyland (2019) The art of observational documentary is in full flourish in Honeyland, an outstanding example of anthropological cinema...There is no narration and much of the dialogue isn't subtitled, allowing the visuals to tell the stories with impressionistic flair. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
3.5/5 90% Dark Waters (2019) There is, admittedly, a dark fascination in seeing how flagrantly giant companies mess with people's lives. As an expose about corporate malfeasance, Dark Waters is especially topical and timely given the findings of the recent banking inquiry. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
3.5/5 83% The Way Back (2020) There is a degree of predictability to the film [though] it doesn't detract from the honest quality of the film or from the veracity of the things it has to say about self-control, self-awareness and self-respect - those three things alcohol robs you of. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 6, 2020
3/5 No Score Yet The Wishmas Tree (2020) While the animation isn't quite Dreamworks or Pixar, it certainly beams with character and style. Given its flaws and cliches the film is as proficiently mounted and as technically accomplished as most of the family fare we get force-fed from the US. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
3/5 94% Honey Boy (2019) Shia LaBeouf shines as a flawed father to a child actor in this intimate, thematically rich, small-scale father-son drama - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
2/5 62% Motherless Brooklyn (2019) Tedious and way too long, this patchy period crime drama directed by and starring the usually impressive Edward Norton unspools like a by-the-numbers tele-movie. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
1/5 61% Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020) A shabby, sub-standard affair...Diehard fans of Miss Fisher might very well shed a crypt of tears after seeing it...The first 20 minutes of this film are simply painful to watch, suggesting a hastily made low-budget effort. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
3.5/5 91% The Invisible Man (2020) A thoroughly modern makeover of HG Wells' idea, with everything geared to generate armrest-clutching moments of suspense and to deliver a fistful of high-voltage shocks designed to jolt you in your seat - and possibly out of it. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
3/5 42% The Professor and the Madman (2019) The creation of the Oxford English Dictionary might not instantly sound like the basis for much of a movie, yet the combination of Mel Gibson and Sean Penn with a pretty compelling historical backstory ends up delivering a solid historical drama. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2020
3/5 64% Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) Jim Carrey manages to steal much of the film with his heightened mannerisms and scenery-chewing over-acting. It is a treat seeing him back in the zany mode that made Ace Ventura so funny. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2020
4/5 61% The Call of the Wild (2020) What a lovely, superbly made family film this is. It's the full dog movie package... a deeply enjoyable, eventful, spirited adventure that easily clocks in as one of the finest dog films we've seen since Marley & Me. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 19, 2020
1/5 60% 2nd Date Sex (2019) [An] absolutely dire relationship comedy...However generous one's frame of mind might be while watching a film, there is a point where violations of common sense render a movie to be a waste of time. That happens about 15 minutes into this mess. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2020
3/5 86% Emma. (2020) A fine, lush-looking, very well-directed remake starring a cast of relative unknowns and a lot of splendidly upholstered heritage-listed houses. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2020
3.5/5 76% Richard Jewell (2019) Eastwood directs with great efficiency and dramatic snap; he wastes no time setting up his characters and situations, eliciting top-shelf performances from his cast, some of whom have embraced the opportunity to portray real slimeballs with zeal. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 12, 2020
3/5 90% The Lighthouse (2019) Shot in stark black & white in academy ratio, director Robert Eggers has an absolute ball creating havoc for these two souls, mixing surrealism into a playfully bleak horror scenario...its claustrophobic intensity and portrayal of madness are compelling. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
1.5/5 70% H Is For Happiness (2019) What starts out as a colourful, bitter-sweet tale about a tween girl's attempts to bring her broken family together soon becomes a stumblebum affair. It's discordant, choppy, riddled with scattershot storytelling and no real drive. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
4/5 99% For Sama (2019) Be in no doubt, what you'll witness is devastating and heart-breaking. The sight of a mother processing the shock of finding her son who had just been killed by a bomb blast shows the barbarism of targeting civilians in all its casual cruelty. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2020
3.5/5 78% Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) The film features some pretty nifty stunt-heavy engagements and vehicular chases, the best being Harley's climactic bit of business on roller skates. It's really one for the books. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2020
3/5 80% A Hidden Life (2019) One of the joys of the latest film from Terrence Malick is that it features something many of his previous films have sorely lacked; namely, coherence. Yes, the film actually has a story that people from this planet can follow without getting a headache. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3.5/5 34% Seberg (2020) As well as looking every inch the part, Stewart does a solid job charting the slow, painful descent of a popular actress who is hounded to deeper and deeper levels of desperation and paranoia. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3.5/5 96% The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) The rough-edged charm of this redneck reworking of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn radiates from the beautiful, warm performance by Zack Gottsagen...The unforced, uplifting vibe of the film makes it easy to understand its status as a sleeper hit. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3.5/5 43% Midway (2019) Those pining for the bitter-sweet taste of an old-style Hollywood war movie will get their fill with Midway, a sprawling old-school spectacle that captures the scale, strategies, heroism and blunders of one of the most important battles of World War II. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2020
3/5 47% Underwater (2020) Praise be to the Goddess of Good Timing who has smiled down upon Kristen Stewart by delivering unto us Underwater, a nifty, tense little underwater action thriller that will erase at least some of the memory of Charlie's Angels. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2020
2.5/5 20% Like a Boss (2020) There is a pretty decent fistful of laughs in the film, mostly from Rose Byrne, who has been stealing scenes in comedy films since Bridesmaids...Ironically, the film was intended as a vehicle for Tiffany Haddish, though she can't quite match her co-star. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2020
3.5/5 83% Just Mercy (2020) There's not much you won't see coming in Just Mercy, though its predictability is more than offset by a suite of compelling performances. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2020
3.5/5 77% Bad Boys for Life (2020) What? A Bad Boys film with actual substance in its story, along with mega-tonnes of action? Who'd have thought? - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2020
4/5 96% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) A treasure of a film...Delicate direction by Marielle Heller allows for memorable moments of lyricism and surrealism, including one where Rogers appears to hold an entire cafe in a trance. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 22, 2020
1/5 75% Go Karts (Go!) (2019) There's not much point beating around the bush: this film is terrible. The acting is painfully stilted, the story sluggish...The narrative contains a minefield of plotholes...the film unspools like the kind of charmless mess we sat through in the 1980s. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2020
2/5 15% Dolittle (2020) It's an odd, expensive misfire, this. Though he produced it, the wiseacre humour and infectious energy we normally associate with performances from Robert Downey Jr are strangely absent. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2020
3.5/5 70% Bombshell (2019) There are so many places where the film could have gone deeper, but overall it paints an effective and disturbing portrait of the entitlement culture that comes with extraordinary power. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2020
2.5/5 75% Spies in Disguise (2019) This is a perfectly enjoyable popcorn entertainment, a family-friendly time killer that will engage you while it's in front of you, then slip out of your mind completely until, three months later, you recognize the title on your streaming index. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
2/5 51% My Spy (2020) The strained attempt to fashion mean-looking ex-pro wrestler Dave Bautista into a family-friendly star a la Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson falls largely flat in an action-comedy that feels like something in dire need of another edit or two - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
3/5 97% A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2020) Funny to a fault...Most admirable about the film is that it relies solely on visual cues to tell its story as it requires the audience to actually think. In the present era, that's some achievement, indeed. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
3.5/5 95% Little Women (2019) Beautiful, thoughtful, challenging adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic 1868 novel...a proto-feminist theme propels the story, though [writer/director] Greta Gerwig is wise not to push matters to the point of it feeling anachronistic. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
4.5/5 74% The Gentlemen (2020) In what is easily his best film yet, Guy Ritchie delivers a fabulously entertaining, wickedly funny crime-comedy thrill ride... If Lock, Stock and two Smoking Barrels was his Reservoir Dogs, The Gentlemen is his Pulp Fiction. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
3.5/5 89% 1917 (2020) A very, very good war film about a very, very bad war...Visually, the film is unarguably impressive and Sam Mendes has delivered a cinematic vision of war we haven't quite witnessed before. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
2.5/5 21% Playing with Fire (2019) A fun, light-headed family friendly film where sentimentality and sight gags rule. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2019
1/5 37% Black Christmas (2019) Bleah. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2019