Mel Campbell

Mel Campbell
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Mel Campbell is a freelance cultural critic, author and commentator from Melbourne, Australia. Mel co-hosted The Rereaders podcast (2016-18), was a Melbourne International Film Festival preview panellist (2012-14), was national film editor at The Thousands (2008-13), and co-founded pop-culture website The Enthusiast (2008-14). Mel's writing on film, television, fashion, literature and media has appeared at Screenhub, Junkee, The Guardian, Metro, The Age, The Big Issue, Crikey, i-D and many more. She is currently a columnist at Overland literary journal and teaches in the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne. She has co-written two romantic comedy novels with fellow film critic Anthony Morris: Nailed It! (2019) and The Hot Guy (2017); her first book was the nonfiction investigation Out of Shape: Debunking Myths about Fashion and Fit (2013). She tweets at @incrediblemelk and her personal website is The Look: reviews and essays about film, TV, clothes and history.
Publications: Junkee, ScreenHub, The Look

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
4/5 95% Little Women (2019) Little Women is a beautifully made confection, a Christmas bonbon of a film. It's far wiser than the tale it tells. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2019
86% Animals (2019) Sensual and beautifully textured. Hyde watches with tenderness but resists melodrama ... steering us gently towards the revelation that something more atavistic binds these two women. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
81% Little Monsters (2019) A wholesome, earnest film whose energy comes from the interplay between childhood innocence and adult responsibility, and a consequent rejection of adolescent cynicism. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
75% Judy & Punch (2019) Foulkes emphatically skewers vain, mediocre men and the violence they depend upon to secure women's fear in lieu of respect. Yet it manages to be funny... - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
87% The Nightingale (2019) Its tenderness is striking: the way it infuses song with a longing for country that goes beyond language ... [A] challenging reminder that even sympathetic characters are enmeshed in systems of atrocity. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
76% Hotel Mumbai (2019) Hotel Mumbai grants an equally intense subjectivity to its young terrorists as to their victims. Their callous fanaticism is only underscored when Maras reveals them as naïve doofuses... - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
66% Danger Close (2019) Grippingly depict[s] the intensely subjective experience of violence without centring individual heroes ... what makes it effective is Kriv Stenders' multifaceted approach. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
71% The King (2019) Edgerton plays Falstaff's drunken buffoonery as an old warrior's self-medication, not a fool's personality. But most of all I liked the fight scenes, which unromantically depict the grim, ugly slog of medieval combat. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
90% I Am Mother (2019) Anchored by a fantastically assured Clara Rugaard, I Am Mother is a speculative springboard for rich discussions about prosthetic nurturing and the moral cost of engineering the greater good. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
90% Island of the Hungry Ghosts (2018) Affecting and disquieting, it's an audiovisual braided essay about displacement and the limits of empathy ... Hungry Ghosts, though, makes poetry of despair, inertia, failure... - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
3.5/5 44% After the Wedding (2019) After the Wedding is one of those thoroughly inessential yet subtle and well-crafted films made for grown-ups who like sitting back and watching the inner turmoil of other grown-ups. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
3/5 80% Promised (2019) Promised lacks sophistication and craft ... Still, there's something charming about this film ... an imperfect movie that nonetheless captures something that feels real and valuable. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
4/5 83% Midsommar (2019) Despite the way Midsommar is being talked about as an 'extreme', disturbing cinemagoing experience, I found it joyful and uplifting. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
2.5/5 46% Palm Beach (2019) Embarrassingly vapid ... a film that asks its audience to show "unfunded empathy" for the travails of ageing, bourgeois husbands and wives looks less like escapist fun and more like oblivious contempt. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
3.5/5 60% Ophelia (2019) With time, Ophelia will reveal itself as this generation's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: lovingly crafted medieval pulp that speaks most eloquently to teenagers, and is enjoyed as high camp by everyone else. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
4/5 66% The White Crow (2019) The White Crow powerfully suggests that an appetite for appreciating art as well as performing it shaped Nureyev's fluid self. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
5/5 99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) Impeccable, sustaining shocking plot twists and tonal shifts between suspense, poignant family drama and slapstick farce without ever sacrificing its visual flair and impudent sense of humour. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
4/5 89% Rocketman (2019) This is a very sentimental film - but then isn't that the pleasure of musicals? I'm here for Rocketman's exuberant mythologising. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
3.5/5 87% Top End Wedding (2019) In an Australian culture filled with cynical and combative politics, Top End Wedding feels radical - not because it seeks to break new ground, but because it finds joy in a shared homecoming. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
4/5 97% Woman at War (Kona fer í stríð) (2019) Highlights not only the rage and ferocity of women's activism, but also its playfulness, generosity and tenderness. It's a delightful film: beautifully shot, full of joyous symbolism, and with a deft central performance from Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
2.5/5 89% Pimped (2018) This could have been intriguing if the film's ideas were clearer. But they aren't. ... Mystery and ambiguity can be gripping and exciting onscreen, but as I watched Pimped I mainly felt bored and annoyed. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
3/5 63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) A traditional and essentially conservative biopic that your mum might like if The Favourite is too weird. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
3.5/5 97% Booksmart (2019) Olivia Wilde's directorial debut jostles the ghosts of teen movies past to find its own voice ... [yet] Booksmart never quite gets to grips with the way money still matters. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
3.5/5 89% Emu Runner (2018) Emu Runner, like its heroine, is a quiet gem. Its simple and satisfyingly realised themes of family and identity will appeal to kids - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
36% Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) Entropy has crept into JK Rowling's wizarding world... but perhaps it was never meant to sustain grown-up stories. - The Look EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
83% The Age of Innocence (1993) The Age of Innocence is vivid, even feverish, in its sensuous focus on detail. - The Look EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
91% Widows (2018) Every day, women are robbed of respect, independence and opportunity... but Steve McQueen's thriller satisfyingly shows them taking it back. - The Look EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
72% Ready Player One (2018) Less about a nerd's worship of his hero than the loneliness of being worshipped by nerds ... In Ready Player One, finding mastery and satisfaction in reiterating the past is inherently melancholy. - The Look EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2019
78% Atomic Blonde (2017) It's exhilarating to see Lorraine deliver vicious punches and kicks, using nearby objects to inflict damage. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2017
26% Table 19 (2017) I found Table 19 refreshing because it seeks the humanity of characters who would usually be the background colour in other movies. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted May 5, 2017
48% Going in Style (2017) Despite Going in Style's interest in aestheticising the past, its three main characters never have a very convincing shared history. They're likeable enough, but it's hard to care when they decide to break bad. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2017
18% CHIPS (2017) It's clearly struggling to be what it presumes its audience wants -- bawdy, violent, yet socially aware. But it fails because it lacks any real spark. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 19, 2017
44% Ghost in the Shell (2017) Despite its striking imagery of cultural hybridity, Ghost in the Shell opens a troubling conceptual gulf between's cyberpunk's utopian futurism and the nostalgic pragmatism of today's contemporary blockbusters. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2017
11% Fifty Shades Darker (2017) Darker is also funnier than Grey: both intentionally, as Dornan discovers a goofiness to match Johnson's deadpan wit; and inadvertently, as it consists largely of grandiose gestures and tin-eared dialogue. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2017
85% Lion (2016) Lion is a feel-good story that works best when it uses the visual language of cinema to map such inner worlds onto outer ones. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 25, 2017
94% The Edge of Seventeen (2016) The Edge of Seventeen is brilliant, and it also ruined my day. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2017
87% Jackie (2016) By immersing us in Jackie Kennedy's (Natalie Portman) subjective experience rather than observing her from the outside, Larraín gets closer than a traditional biopic to capturing an individual's capacity to shape history. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2017
31% Passengers (2016) Ultimately Passengers can't stay the course of its own cascading errors. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 6, 2017
91% Elle (2016) It asks us to consider how our emotional responses to the narrative depiction of sexual violence are themselves conditioned by rape culture. Catlike, Elle lands softly and lightly -- with its intriguing antiheroine firmly on her feet. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 2, 2016
73% The Secret Life of Pets (2016) Kids will enjoy it because its air of barely controlled chaos never tips into anything genuinely scary. Adults will enjoy it because, under the one-liners, it understands the emotional power of nostalgia: a return to a place where you know you are loved. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2016
95% Sing Street (2016) Ultimately, this coexistence of joyful fantasy and dispiriting reality is what lifts Sing Street above the cheesiness of its premise. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 14, 2016
84% Hello, My Name is Doris (2016) This role is so perfect for Field -- she's famous for her ability to personify earnest gawkiness. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 16, 2016
18% Queen of the Desert (2017) Its melodrama is stodgy, its dialogue laugh-out-loud corny and its politics uncomfortably dated. I'm astounded that a director as idiosyncratic as Herzog could have made it. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 8, 2016
83% Midnight Special (2016) I haven't loved a film as viscerally as I love Midnight Special since I saw Whiplash. It's wonderful. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2016
94% The Jungle Book (2016) The story of this film is its consummate technical achievement. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2016
45% Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) Feels as if it's trying to have an each-way bet: its two constituent elements never really mesh satisfyingly and horror fans may be disappointed. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2016
46% How To Be Single (2016) Neither as bawdy as its marketing promises, nor as inspirational as its title suggests. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 18, 2016
86% Steve Jobs (2015) This screenplay is staggeringly lazy. It's factually incorrect in almost every way, consisting of self-satisfied, expository patter and cringingly simplistic characterisation. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2016
85% Deadpool (2016) Given how feebly some superhero films struggle under their own weight, Deadpool is impressively nimble. And it pulls off its relentless self-reference with a confidence that's solidly entertaining, even if it isn't always endearing. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 10, 2016
11% Dirty Grandpa (2016) I believe very few films are a genuine waste of time. Even the biggest turkey is worth discussing. But Dirty Grandpa really challenged me. - Junkee EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2016