Stephen A. Russell

Stephen A. Russell
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Stephen A Russell is a freelance film critic hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, and based in Melbourne, Australia. You can read his reviews at The New Daily, and listen in on Joy 94.9FM show Sunday Arts Magazine.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
2/5 49% Old (2021) Shyamalan has never excelled at dialogue, but the mangling here is gobsmacking. Particularly when we're expected to swallow a six​-​year​-​old discussing mortgages. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 27, 2021
1/5 59% F9 (2021) The once-great franchise crashes and burns with this pointless misfire stuck in the pit. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2021
2/5 84% Nobody (2021) This film is just angry, a deadening thud of pointless nihilism that actually seems to celebrate saving a marriage through mass murder. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2021
2/5 26% Voyagers (2021) Voyagers is not a film blessed with subtlety, especially not when it comes to laughable wild animal montages when the kids go, err, wild - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2021
3/5 55% Mortal Kombat (2021) Leaning all into a foul-mouthed Aussie stereotype, [Josh Lawson] makes Hugh Jackman's Wolverine seem terribly polite. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2021
4/5 100% My Name Is Gulpilil (2021) An intimate journey though his career and his personal life, into his dreams and fears, it's astoundingly generous. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted May 27, 2021
5/5 100% Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra (2021) It's a living record of a found family that has striven to build a better Australia for First Peoples, a film that places culture at the heart of our national story. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 18, 2021
3.5/5 92% Another Round (Druk) (2020) There's a louche '70s swagger to the film, as it follows this tightening band of brothers' increasingly erratic behaviour non-judgementally. The tragicomic tracing of male fragility is fascinating. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
3/5 91% Rams (2021) Deadpan Aussie dramatic comedy is a good stand-in for Icelandic quirk in this likeable remake. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 4, 2021
4/5 89% High Ground (2021) High Ground doesn't quite have the epic sweep of Warwick Thornton's Sweet Country, nor the white hot fury of say Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale, but is nonetheless a powerful indictment on a past Australia has yet to reconcile as a nation. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
2/5 8% Music (2020) Aren't these breakout moments, with their hectic choreography, bright costumes and dazzling lighting, super-exclusionary of the very community the film is trying to represent? - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 13, 2021
3.5/5 90% The Dry (2021) Bana's taut lead performance is an apt match for the film's haunted spirit - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2021
4/5 98% David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) Part-pop extravaganza, part-poetry slam, it's a wonder to behold. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2020
4/5 94% The Mole Agent (2020) It's so much more than a whodunnit, and all but the hardest hearts will fall in love with its spirited group of characters who have so much left to give. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2020
2/5 67% Falling (2020) The soap opera-like melodrama simultaneously asks us to take pity on his decline, partly by deploying flashbacks to a younger Willis... While these sequences aren't as nails-on-chalkboard, they hardly build a case for us to care about his fate. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 24, 2020
2/5 66% The Burnt Orange Heresy (2020) Bang is weirdly listless, and the early spark of passion between him and Debicki gets lost in a muddle of pretentious chatter that lacks the bite to sell itself as consciously self-satirising - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2020
4/5 96% Mogul Mowgli (2021) Ahmed is at his best in Zed's darkest hour, as he struggles to hold it together in a hospital cubicle. It's blistering stuff. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 4, 2020
2.5/5 84% The Way I See It (2020) From a technical perspective, there's little insight offered into how a gifted photographer actually gets the best shot. Endless asides about how awesome Obama is starts to feel a bit stalker-y - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
4/5 93% Gaza Mon Amour (2020) Never taking itself too seriously, but without shying away from the more troubling facets of life in Gaza, the film offers a farcical tone, mocking martial endeavour and indulging in a fun subplot. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
3.5/5 67% Penguin Bloom (2021) You'd be forgiven for fearing that their symbiotic recovery process might be a little too schmaltzy. But it's a credit to Watts's performance and Ivin's understated direction that this woozy vision of emotional and physical healing sings. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
5/5 92% Limbo (2021) The film thrusts us into this forgotten, snow-lashed corner of the world where a gaggle of lost souls are dumped, awaiting visas. The oddities of islander life are as bemusing to these new arrivals as they are in turn to the largely friendly locals. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 16, 2020
4/5 98% One Night in Miami (2020) Regina King's impressive directorial feature debut is a searing take on American race relations adapted by Kemp Powers from his celebrated stage play. It packs an almighty punch. - Time Out EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2020
4/5 67% August: Osage County (2013) August: Osage County captivates for every second of its two hours of spectacularly awful behaviour. Worth it for the battle of wills between Roberts and Streep alone, when the two finally come to blows, quite literally, it's sheer cinematic gold - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 91% Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow (2014) Liman deftly orchestrates the destruction, ensuring it doesn't sink into mind-numbing Transformers fare. Blunt and Cruise invest a great deal of heart in their action heroics, thankfully minimising the hokum romance angle. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
5/5 90% Omar (2014) With Omar he has delivered an incredibly powerful story in a lean 90 minutes, a commendable economy that should be a lesson to the ever-increasing number of directors who believe a film must run to two-hour plus to deliver emotional weight. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
3.5/5 No Score Yet The Volcano (Eyjafjallojökull) (2014) If you go in expecting a good dose of silly fun that looks good without boasting any major smarts, you may just find yourself erupting in laughter. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4/5 86% The Skeleton Twins (2014) It will have you guffawing wildly at a perfectly judged lip synch dance off to Jefferson Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now one minute, then sobbing surreptitiously into your sleeve. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
2.5/5 72% Interstellar (2014) None of these characters feel fully-fledged... for a film so rife with schmaltzy musings on the meaning of life, it's alarming how lacking it is in this department. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4/5 62% My Old Lady (2014) With a fair few unpredictable twists and an avoidance, for the most part, of more overt romantic tropes, My Old Lady is a fascinating chamber piece, even if it is all a bit too rosy at the end after thoroughly raking up the dirt. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
5/5 95% 12 Years a Slave (2013) It may have taken its time to daunder down under, garnering plenty of awards buzz behind it, but late January finally saw Steve McQueen's impeccably crafted slavery epic hit our shores, and boy was the eventual Best Picture Oscar-winner worth the wait. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
5/5 97% Boyhood (2014) The simplicity of story in Linklater's Boyhood, following the not-overly eventful life of six-year-old Mason till he leaves home for college as a teen, is an incredible cinematic achievement. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
5/5 95% Nightcrawler (2014) Dan Gilroy's pitch black satire of the 24/7 news cycle and our morbid fascination with the misery of others is a devious delight. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 94% Force Majeure (2014) The aftermath, played out against the imposing beauty of the Alps and the vast wooden hallways of a sparsely stylish hotel, is fraught with riveting tension, only exacerbated by Ola Flottum's soaring score. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 94% Whiplash (2014) What makes musical genius? Is it inherent, or does it have to be dragged kicking, screaming and bleeding from you? - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 95% Charlie's Country (2015) Gulpilil, as the eponymous Charlie, dreams of returning to his people and traditional way of life, setting out on a quest across the unforgiving yet ethereally beautiful bush. He's a joy to watch. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 92% The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) There's a tantalising darkness just beneath the surface of Anderson's trademark whacky whimsy in his latest offering, The Grand Budapest Hotel, making it one of the year's most unforgettable films - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 94% Snowpiercer (2014) Insanely brilliant. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 90% 52 Tuesdays (2015) Sophie Hyde's breathtaking feature debut 52 Tuesdays explores the boundaries of both cinema and gender identity in a seamless way. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 86% Only Lovers Left Alive (2014) Nothing much of note happens, despite their tenuous living arrangement seemingly likely to derail at any moment, but the undeniably rich world in which these fantastic players work their dark magic is thrillingly alive. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4/5 61% Maps to the Stars (2015) From celestial bodies to those rather grubbier, Cronenberg's biting satire of Hollywood, both its self-obsessed stars and its whacked-out fans, is trippy and viciously rewarding. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 91% Locke (2014) Writer/director Steven Knight wrests a commendable amount of emotional turmoil from the material, with a strange sort of poetry wrought from cement mix. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 84% Under the Skin (2014) A genre oddity of the utmost excellence - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 95% The Infinite Man (2014) It's a head-scratcher, but one packed full of witty fun and electric chemistry. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4.5/5 96% Particle Fever (2014) Levinson studied particle physics at Berkley, but despite clearly possessing a gargantuan brain, this fabulous whistle-stop tour of the Hadron Collider and the clever and surprisingly cool boffins ... never makes you feel out of your depth - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
3.5/5 72% Swiss Army Man (2016) A bizarre buddy comedy hybrid of Tom Hanks' Castaway and the Ryan Gosling-led Lars and the Real Girl, Swiss Army Man is provocative and yet endearingly absurd. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4/5 65% Down Under (2016) Hard to watch at times, that's the point of a comedy trying to expose a thorny topic still dividing Australia, an approach we could use a lot more of. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
4/5 94% Tickled (2016) The insane levels of aggression levelled at anyone who walks away tips this fascinating story from one of awkwardly uncomfortable comedy to something much more unsettling, a disturbing thriller of unimaginable psychological abuse and cyber-bullying. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
2/5 30% Passengers (2016) What he does next is unforgivable, as is his duplicitous cover up, but perhaps a smarter, bleaker film could have played it as a brutal moral dilemma faced by a desperate man who must then face the consequences. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
5/5 87% Jackie (2016) Larraín's first English-language feature, the battle between privacy and public expectation is at the heart of this staggering movie. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020
2/5 43% Ghost in the Shell (2017) Directed in pedestrian fashion by Rupert Sanders of Snow White and the Huntsman ignominy, Ghost in the Shell is both boring and derivative. What's more, the casting is an even bigger problem than expected. - The New Daily (Australia) EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2020