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
3.5/5 50% Long Story Short (2021) Even the delightful Spall can't overcome a flaccid script that ultimately shies from risk. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2021
3.5/5 No Score Yet I Met a Girl (2020) Ultimately, I Met A Girl never really succeeds in the project of bringing the viewer inside Devon's head. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2021
4/5 100% June Again (2021) Captures something satisfying amid the bittersweet knowledge of life's impermanence: that self-knowledge and care for others make it worth living. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted May 25, 2021
3.5/5 67% Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (2021) Peter Rabbit 2 wanders further from its charming source material. Instead, it's an intermittently unpleasant franchise film about the unpleasantness of franchise storytelling. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 24, 2021
3.5/5 90% The Dry (2021) The Dry frustrated me because it felt like an each-way bet: it has a go at both moody psychodrama and mystery narrative, but not emphatically enough to really satisfy on either ground. ... I found myself wishing for more... - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 7, 2021
4/5 92% Baby, Done (2021) Delightful ... former Harry Potter star Lewis never outshines popular stand-up comedian Matafeo, who effortlessly carries the film's dramatic moments as well as its comic ones. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 26, 2020
3/5 67% I Am Woman (2020) I Am Woman is at its best when it's energised by a profound affection for its subject ... Yet it suffers from a dull, cliché-sodden script which insists on squashing Reddy's career into a predictable biopic narrative arc. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2020
4/5 93% Babyteeth (2020) What I enjoyed about Babyteeth is how determinedly it works to undercut familiar genre tropes and to make its characters complex rather than likeable. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 23, 2020
4/5 92% Relic (2020) An assured cinematic exercise in dread [that] will resonate with anyone who's witnessed human frailty at confrontingly close quarters. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2020
3.5/5 92% Da 5 Bloods (2020) Da 5 Bloods is engaging because it's animated by complex, emotionally charged politics. It's a provocation, shot through with genuine pathos: a movie about the past that will always speak about what's going on. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 15, 2020
3/5 83% Dark Whispers - Volume 1 (2019) While not everything here will be to everyone's taste, the anthology is bursting with ideas and energetic visual approaches. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted May 14, 2020
3.5/5 100% Undertow (2018) Both visually sophisticated and thematically ambitious. ... But its metaphorical imagery - water and blood, death and birth - becomes so heavy-handed that it occasionally veers into ridiculousness. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2020
3/5 67% Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020) Everything fans find delightful about this cosy crime romp is here [but] this film's success depends on its capacity for big-screen spectacle and flair. And unfortunately, The Crypt of Tears doesn't quite rise to the occasion. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 26, 2020
4/5 77% H Is For Happiness (2019) This warm and playful film has many wise observations to make about human nature. And it uses its vibrant mise-en-scène deliberately and astutely - never as a thoughtless grab-bag of quirks. - ScreenHub EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2020
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
87% 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
79% 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
77% Judy & Punch (2020) 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
86% 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
71% 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
91% 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
91% 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 45% 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 67% 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 98% 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 90% Top End Wedding (2020) 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 82% 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 62% 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 96% 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
84% 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
79% 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
25% 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
47% 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
43% 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
84% 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