John McDonald

John McDonald
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Since 2011 I've been writing a weekly film column for the Australian Financial Review, which is also posted on my personal website, johnmcdonald.net.au which has a free subscription.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
96% Little Woods (2019) The strength of Little Woods lies with the actors, and their ability to inject life into characters that lead ordinary, rather squalid lives in a non-descript frontier town. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 20, 2019
95% 1985 (2018) Tan stresses the tragic dimension of the story, but also its ordinariness. It's a tale of a boy and his family that could be played out in any American town, in 1985 or today. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2019
65% Peterloo (2019) The bulk of Peterloo is an extended history lesson in which the reformers and their opponents deliver one long discourse after another. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
63% The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2019) With anything that has been so long in the making one doesn't know whether to expect perfection or disaster. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
28% The Aftermath (2019) If you're surprised by the ending you haven't watched enough movies. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2019
94% Burning (Beoning) (2018) Burning is a film about the seen and the unseen; a film of small details, some of them obvious plot devices, others so subtle they could be easily missed. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2019
97% Woman at War (Kona fer í stríð) (2019) This dialogue about the boundaries of personal responsibility and the pursuit of public or private goals, lies at the heart of the story. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2019
73% Galveston (2018) This is a movie that stays lodged in one's mind, although the images are not pleasant. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 6, 2019
94% Us (2019) It's the revolt of the have-nots against the haves, a savage assault by the American underclass on a group of masters oblivious to their existence. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2019
73% Destroyer (2018) We can figure out from an early stage that she's done a bad, bad thing or two, but it takes a bit of time and several extended flashbacks before all the pieces of the puzzle come together. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
82% Sometimes Always Never (Triple Word Score) (2018) You will leave this film with an expanded view of Scrabble and a head full of pop cultural trivia. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
59% Greta (2019) Greta is a contemporary version of the wicked witch who lures trusting children into her clutches. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
80% At Eternity's Gate (2018) I began to wonder if Schnabel was pioneering a daring new theory that Van Gogh actually bored himself to death. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2019
73% On the Basis of Sex (2019) Mimi Leder has given us a taste of a much rarer sub-genre: a romance among lawyers, in which a shared passion for legal matters is the basis of a happy marriage. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
78% Green Book (2018) Whenever the plot appears ready to crash headlong into cliché, Farrelly avoids the danger with a neat little swerve. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
66% Storm Boy (2019) The pelican wranglers or pelican whisperers have been working over-time. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
93% The Favourite (2018) It's a tangled tale, with enough scheming, spying, treachery and cattiness to fill an entire mini-series. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 3, 2019
92% Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) It's an anthology of disillusions in which love is the only transcendent force. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
67% Vice (2018) The Cheneys must be among the most repellent characters ever to be the focus of a major Hollywood film - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 28, 2018
87% Colette (2018) Colette's embrace of eros gave her a broad, popular appeal, but her style and grace as a writer ensured that her books were viewed as literature. Can we see her in Keira Knightley? - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2018
69% Ocean's 8 (2018) For a society trained to measure happiness in terms of lifestyle and consumer goods the heist movie is an exercise in wish fulfilment. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
72% The Children Act (2018) If there's a right and a wrong involved it's not immediately obvious. The film, like the book, is a conversation piece that will have viewers arguing over coffee. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
99% Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018) If the family is a natural masterpiece it is almost always a flawed masterpiece. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2018
91% Widows (2018) If the filmmakers appear to take a cynical or pessimistic approach to American politics, they offer redemption in the spectacle of a disparate group of women working together to achieve an apparently impossible goal. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 22, 2018
93% The Old Man & the Gun (2018) There was an old man with a gun Who spent his whole life on the run - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2018
66% Suspiria (2018) What's the point of remaking a classic only to turn it into a mess? - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2018
47% 1% (2017) It would have been much more acceptable had McCallum set out to make a real B movie with all the exploitataive trimmings. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2018
61% Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) You leave the cinema knowing you've been had, but still feeling uplifted. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2018
48% Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) In order to squeeze all this nonsense into a mere two hours and eight minutes the plot has more holes than Blackburn, Lancashire. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
63% Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) If this were one of those reviews that run in a box at the side of the page it would read: "A relentlessly brutal and stupid film that does no-one any favours." - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
39% Mary Shelley (2018) Haifaa Al-Mansour, the director of this Mary Shelley bio pic, also knows what it's like to defy convention and put oneself at risk of public censure. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
85% The Gospel According to André (2018) If Talley is now considered an institution within the fashion industry we can see that he didn't achieve this status merely by camping it up at parties. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
90% The Breaker Upperers (2018) It's crude, vulgar and slapdash, so don't go along expecting the Lubitsch touch. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
89% Whitney (2018) The singer who hits the heights and the depths is a showbiz stereotype, but there may never have been a performer who soared so high and sank so low. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
86% The Wife (2018) Some have tried to portray this film as a feminist statement but it's more like a human tragedy in which love has made an uneasy accommodation with society and its prejudices. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
67% On Chesil Beach (2018) Florence and Edward are obviously in love, and perfectly at ease with the idea of spending the rest of their lives together, if only they can get through the wedding night. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
96% BlacKkKlansman (2018) If racism was in retreat in 1980 Lee shows that it never went away, and has now returned in force. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
91% Crazy Rich Asians (2018) If any Hollywood movie were so completely devoid of black, Asian or Latino characters it would be torn to shreds by the same critics that find Crazy Rich Asians refreshing and empowering. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
88% The Insult (L'insulte) (2018) The director's skill lies in how well he fleshes out the confrontation, letting us see Tony and Yasser as proud, fallible beings, not political cyphers. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
88% You Were Never Really Here (2018) We feel as if we're in the room with Joe when he's having his flashbacks. There are times when we might actually be in his head - not an especially desirable residence. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
83% Loro (2019) It's like changing channels between a Tinto Brass movie and My Dinner with André. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
85% Ladies in Black (2018) It's hardly surprising that Beresford's return to top form has come along in the shape of a movie made in Australia, based on an Australian novel, using top Australian actors and a few well-chosen ring-ins. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
77% Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot (2018) One subtext of Van Sant's movie is a call for Americans to embrace tolerance and common sense in an age of pathological victimhood. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
68% The Seagull (2018) Take away the boredom, melancholy and frustration, and you have a more fluent movie but a less faithful representation of the writer's world. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
81% Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018) For Moore, Trump isn't the cause of America's woes but a symptom of a wider malaise. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2018
90% A Star Is Born (2018) The marriage becomes a battle between artifice and authenticity, an allegory for the popular music industry. - Australian Financial Review EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 25, 2018