Sydney Morning Herald

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
3/5 Claire Darling (La dernière folie de Claire Darling) (2018) Sandra Hall In the end, it seems like a film in thrall to the attractions of its design with Deneuve cast as the décor's photogenic centrepiece. EDIT
Posted Jun 14, 2019
3/5 Tolkien (2019) Paul Byrnes The film looks great, a polished period piece, but the pedigree is ragged... The result is polite, plodding and unconvincing, like most movies about famous writers. EDIT
Posted Jun 12, 2019
2/5 Under the Silver Lake (2018) Paul Byrnes [Director David Robert] Mitchell has a gift for arresting and slightly discomfiting imagery, but he either can't, or won't, submit to the editing discipline that would give the film pace and drive. EDIT
Posted Jun 11, 2019
3/5 Red Joan (2018) Paul Byrnes In technical terms, it's a proficiently made film by the evergreen Trevor Nunn -- or it would be if it were not so determined to embrace all the cliches of the moment, both about British spies and films for women. EDIT
Posted Jun 6, 2019
3.5/5 Wild Rose (2018) Sandra Hall A rousing mix of new and old, with the irrepressible Buckley seizing every song as if born to it. EDIT
Posted Jun 6, 2019
2.5/5 Dark Phoenix (2019) Sandra Hall If this really does mark the end of the franchise it doesn't come a moment too soon. Judging from their performances, I'm sure that the actors agree. EDIT
Posted Jun 6, 2019
() Brad Newsome It's musically and visually impressive, and features nice little roles for Jenny Slate, Maya Rudolph and the vocal talents of Sia. EDIT
Posted Jun 5, 2019
4/5 Rocketman (2019) Sandra Hall A cathartic outpouring of a lifetime's load of hurts and grudges. Fortunately for us, it's expressed in some of the most exuberant pop songs ever produced and it's lavishly adorned with stardust and sequins. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2019
2.5/5 Astérix : le secret de la potion magique (2018) Paul Byrnes The films have always been more kid-oriented than the books and this one won't frighten the school-age ones, although it might raise a few hairs on those younger. Adults might enjoy the knowing glimpses of the real world. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2019
3.5/5 Acute Misfortune (2019) Paul Byrnes It's an uncompromising and complex film, a sort of horror movie about modern times. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2019
Guava Island (2019) Brad Newsome Donald Glover and Rihanna bring us a dark, disturbing Caribbean fairytale that sits somewhere between musical feature film and long-form music video. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2019
() Brad Newsome The humour is thoughtful, but the physical comedy is brilliant too, not least when Sykes is opining that Tiffany Trump probably doesn't need a secret service detail and could get by with a mall cop on a Segway scooter instead. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2019
4/5 Las herederas (2018) Sandra Hall It's a small story, but the points it makes about the corrosion wrought by class distinctions and the prejudices attached to them give it a dimension that will resonate wherever you happen to live. EDIT
Posted May 23, 2019
3.5/5 2040 (2019) Paul Byrnes You can't please everyone. Gameau is at least doing what he can to talk about some big problems, in an entertaining and accessible way. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2019
3/5 Aladdin (2019) Sandra Hall A throwback to the 1950s and the heyday of the MGM musical, when various countries and cultures were packaged into vibrant confections of song, dance, exotic sets and costumes... Ritchie has come up with something that fits right in. EDIT
Posted May 22, 2019
() Brad Newsome What's more interesting is the way that historians and academics here are able to illuminate some of Johnson's oblique, haunting lyrics in the context of contemporary belief in hoodoo and terror of lynching. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
4.5/5 All Is True (2018) Sandra Hall Branagh's performance is a minor miracle, building a poignant portrait of a man whose painful and belated acquisition of self-knowledge finally saves him and enriches everybody around him. If Shakespeare wasn't like this, he should have been. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
4/5 The Realm (El reino) (2018) Sandra Hall The script, by the director and his regular collaborator Isabel Pena, makes no concessions when it comes to the complexities of the storyline... You do have to keep your wits about you, but that's part of the fun. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
4/5 Little Woods (2018) Sandra Hall It's the kind of scenario we've often seen on screen, but the ambience is new and precisely evoked as a world of cruel contrasts. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
3.5/5 RocKabul (2018) Paul Byrnes Most bands only have to put up with jeers if they bomb. The stakes are always much higher here, which is part of what makes this documentary highly engaging. EDIT
Posted May 16, 2019
3/5 The Hustle (2019) Sandra Hall All up, it's a pretty bloodless exercise without the vital spark that high-wire nonsense needs if it's to fulfil its sole aim, which is to raise the spirits. If not, why not? EDIT
Posted May 8, 2019
3/5 The Night Eats the World (2018) Paul Byrnes If you are going to take a dusty old premise, you have to be creative -- and director Dominique Rocher does this with flair. EDIT
Posted May 8, 2019
The Silence (2019) Brad Newsome The estimable trio at the heart of the cast goes close to carrying the whole thing over the line, but it never feels as taut or kinetic as it needs to be. EDIT
Posted May 3, 2019
The Upside (2018) Brad Newsome As the paint-by-numbers plot progresses -- over two very long hours -- the treacle thickens and it becomes clear that each of them is slowly going to learn from and be redeemed by the others. EDIT
Posted May 3, 2019
3.5/5 Top End Wedding (2019) Sandra Hall The tone is not permitted to become too serious and the feelgood ending is never in doubt. We can also be assured that Blair is going to harness all of the Territory's most spectacular features and show them at their most beguiling. EDIT
Posted May 3, 2019
4/5 Se rokh (2018) Sandra Hall A revelatory meander through Iran's remote villages, with every detour throwing a sidelight on customs and habits shaping everyday life. EDIT
Posted May 1, 2019
3/5 () Sandra Hall The tone is gentle without a trace of the didactic, even though its producers' concern for the virtues of diversity is never in doubt. EDIT
Posted May 1, 2019
4/5 Gloria Bell (2018) Sandra Hall It's a story that proves to be well worth the translation. EDIT
Posted Apr 29, 2019
3/5 Celeste (2018) Paul Byrnes Radha Mitchell bears a strong resemblance to Cilento, but the film does Cilento no favours by evoking her memory in this confused, over-sexed and under-cooked melodrama. EDIT
Posted Apr 26, 2019
3/5 The Chaperone (2018) Paul Byrnes Norma's story, as handmaid to greatness, inevitably ends up feeling like we've explored a pleasant tributary, rather than the mainstream. EDIT
Posted Apr 26, 2019
The September Issue (2009) Brad Newsome The frosty Winter is renowned for being something of a human steamroller, but the documentary shows the more interesting character to be her right-hand woman and creative director, Grace Coddington...One for the fashionistas. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2019
4/5 1985 (2018) Paul Byrnes What really distinguishes the film is that it gets deep inside this broken family without becoming histrionic or accusatory. Tan avoids any hint of sentimentality, concentrating on the pain instead. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2019
4/5 Yellow Is Forbidden (2018) Sandra Hall An account of [Guo's] campaign unfolds in this skilfully constructed feature documentary from New Zealand filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly. It's a telling profile of a fanatical perfectionist and a window into the world of China's new rich. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2019
3.5/5 The Hummingbird Project (2018) Sandra Hall It's an odd tale, but in its sneaky way, an unexpectedly engaging one. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2019
3/5 Back of the Net (2019) Sandra Hall The cultural cringe afflicting the plot is pretty hard to take. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2019
2.5/5 The Trouble With You (2018) Sandra Hall Its style is raucous and its mood is manic yet it lacks the momentum necessary to keep Salvadori's convoluted plot from collapsing in the middle. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2019
3/5 Breaking Habits (2018) Paul Byrnes This is where the film falls down. It's not enough for Ryan just to show us the weirdness. He needed to stay longer, to answer some of the questions he raises. EDIT
Posted Apr 17, 2019
The Highwaymen (2019) Brad Newsome Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson on a mission to hunt down Bonnie and Clyde? It's a hard idea to hate, and this Netflix movie is easy enough to enjoy. EDIT
Posted Apr 12, 2019
3.5/5 Missing Link (2019) Sandra Hall The film is inspired silliness of a high order. In other words, it's definitely not "a hand-tugger" -- industry jargon for the kind of film that parents have to be coerced into seeing. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
3.5/5 The Hole in the Ground (2019) Paul Byrnes In this creepy Irish-Finnish co-production, that fear combines with more modern concerns about the traumas of parenting in a way that freshens up the soil. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
3/5 Transit (2018) Paul Byrnes Christian Petzold is a gifted director...but here he mistakes narrative complexity for dramatic rigour. The film didn't need the existential ponderings. The cake was rich enough without the icing. EDIT
Posted Apr 10, 2019
() Sydney Morning Herald Staff The fresh simplicity of The Shepherd of the Hills is distinctly unusual and agreeable. It has minor faults, such as an occasional moment of mawkishness; but, on the whole, it keeps the Interest buoyant and strongly moving. EDIT
Posted Apr 8, 2019
() Sydney Morning Herald Staff Slow-moving and somewhat laborious in its working out, The Count of Ten at the same time possesses just enough vitality to make it worth the spectator's while following the fortunes of the characters. EDIT
Posted Apr 8, 2019
The Outlaw Tamer (1934) Sydney Morning Herald Staff One wonders sometimes to what lengths film producers will go eventually If they continue to shower human attributes on the dumb animals in their stories. EDIT
Posted Apr 8, 2019
3/5 The Kindergarten Teacher (2018) Sandra Hall [Colangelo] has planed away the story's hard edges and given us a very earnest translation of what should have been a highly provocative theme. EDIT
Posted Apr 8, 2019
3/5 The Happy Prince (2018) Paul Byrnes Everett's direction is full of beautiful surfaces and witty lines, but there's not much beneath them. EDIT
Posted Apr 5, 2019
3/5 Shazam! (2019) Paul Byrnes Put it this way: in terms of superhero movies, it's more fun than most, because the comedy is self-satirising. It's fairly rough around the edges. EDIT
Posted Apr 4, 2019
Limehouse Blues (1934) SMH Staff The abiding memory of Limehouse Blues is of violence, unreality, and an exuberance of Americanism, which seems somewhat out of place in London's East End. EDIT
Posted Apr 3, 2019
In the Cut (2003) SMH Staff As in Portrait of a Lady, Campion demonstrates great faith in the fantasy sequence as a guide to the psyche, but this time the device seems simplistic . EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2019
The Circus (1928) SMH Staff [Charles Chaplin] does not seem satisfied with the hearty laughs that used to greet him, but seeks to embroider his farce with touches of pathos that make one uncomfortable with their incongruity. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2019