jimschembri.com

jimschembri.com is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): Jim Schembri
Rating Title/Year Author
2.5/5 Wild Things (2020) Jim Schembri The film makes no bones about who the heroes are, or what its purpose is, which is to promote activism. Nothing wrong with that, in principle, but with yin there must come yang and there is just too little coverage about those on the other side. EDIT
Posted Feb 17, 2021
4/5 Another Round (2020) Jim Schembri It's raw, confronting stuff that lays bare one of the main drivers of alcoholism - denial. EDIT
Posted Feb 12, 2021
3.5/5 Long Story Short (2021) Jim Schembri One could be forgiven for thinking, while enjoying this winning, warm, funny fantasy film, that writer/director Josh Lawson has taken a page or two out of The Richard Curtis Guide to Making a Quirky & Charming Rom Com. EDIT
Posted Feb 11, 2021
2.5/5 Escape From Extinction (2020) Jim Schembri Soundly counters the anti-zoo protest movement with a cascade of facts, figures and pretty pictures. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2021
2.5/5 Wrong Turn (2021) Jim Schembri Horror films tend to attract dedicated fans of the genre who will gobble up all that is served to them provided there is enough bloodshed and cheap thrills. On that score, this film can't be faulted for its dedication to duty. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2021
1.5/5 Unsound (2020) Jim Schembri A well-meaning misfire. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2021
3/5 Food Club (2021) Jim Schembri Delightful, if disposable wisp of a film that defies stereotypes and plugs the central message behind the recent tsunami of films for and about the older demo - that it's never too late to hit refresh on life and get the most out of what remains of it. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2021
4/5 The Nest (2020) Jim Schembri Plotwise, there's nothing visible for a long time as the family members slowly settle into their new life and new habits. Anticipation builds. It's deliciously excruciating. You know it's all going someplace, you just have no idea where. EDIT
Posted Feb 4, 2021
2/5 High Ground (2020) Jim Schembri An earnest film with good intent that quickly defaults to cliches and easy-to-digest takes on Australia's dark past...High Ground clearly wants to be a topical, hard-hitting film, but it's a tough box to tick given its lack of narrative edge. EDIT
Posted Feb 3, 2021
2.5/5 Occupation: Rainfall (2020) Jim Schembri When it comes to serving up the action and the VFX, Occupation Rainfall is duly impressive and on point, with many big sequences that are difficult to carp about. Storywise, however, it's a different story. EDIT
Posted Jan 31, 2021
3/5 Dawn Raid (2021) Jim Schembri Essentially a colourful business documentary about the importance of keeping a close eye on how much money you're making and where it's going...Terrific stuff. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2021
3/5 Shadow in the Cloud (2020) Jim Schembri Nimbly directed by Roseanne Liang, the film is a self-consciously outlandish adventure...A load of ludicrous fun. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2021
4/5 Only the Animals (2019) Jim Schembri A near-brilliant mystery... an engrossing [film] where conventions are sidelined in favour of an intricately constructed, cliche-averse narrative...Steeped in menacing atmosphere and framed by an ever-tightening tension. One pearler of a whodunit. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2021
3.5/5 Penguin Bloom (2020) Jim Schembri At the heart of the portrayal is how Sam confuses acceptance with resignation, a mistake that keeps her from feeling the love around her. Watts captures that agonizing state of emotional limbo with stark authenticity. EDIT
Posted Jan 24, 2021
3/5 The Elfkins: Baking A Difference (2020) Jim Schembri A pleasantly predictable lark that dutifully follows the strict dictates of the kid's animation genre by using high-key adventure to promote positive themes such as reconciliation and understanding. EDIT
Posted Jan 14, 2021
3/5 Lupin III: The First (2019) Jim Schembri Unspooling like a mashing of James Bond and Indiana Jones comes the high-spirited, high-flying hijinks of Lupin III, the animated star of a long-standing Japanese cartoon franchise...the story moves at a great clip and the digital animation is superb. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2021
2.5/5 My Salinger Year (2020) Jim Schembri The gleaming presence of up-and-comer Margaret Qualley bolsters an otherwise mildly entertaining reheating of The Devil Wears Prada story template, only here built around the enduring mystique of J.D. Salinger. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2021
2.5/5 Music (2021) Jim Schembri Noted songstress Sia stumbles about with her semi-impressive directorial debut...Small, nicely observed moments of tenderness and connection are offset by many clumsy attempts to introduce plot lines, most of which are left unresolved by film's end. EDIT
Posted Jan 12, 2021
2/5 Dreambuilders (2020) Jim Schembri The animation is mostly ordinary and predictable, matching the story perfectly. Not even the giant spider is all that scary...Oh, it's passable, innocuous fluff for the undemanding holiday movie-goer. EDIT
Posted Jan 9, 2021
3/5 Monster Hunter (2020) Jim Schembri Looking fabulous and mean and mighty unclean Milla does war with the beasts in a lovely, noisy entertainment that reminds us, when there's so much bleating about the need for strong female leads, that she's been working that side of the street since 2002. EDIT
Posted Jan 9, 2021
3/5 Summerland (2020) Jim Schembri As with any weepie there is a degree of contrivance involved in the story, but what matters is how well it is fashioned. Glad to say writer/director Jessica Swale knows how to hit the right beat at the right time. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2021
3/5 Spread Your Wings (2019) Jim Schembri Despite what you might expect, there doesn't appear to be much digital assist in the film as the geese first waddle about as cute goslings before taking flight in some stunningly beautiful aerial sequences that take up much of the film's second half. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2021
2.5/5 Paradise City (2019) Jim Schembri A tough, issue-driven urban tale that thrusts itself into the belly of the beast when confronting raw nerve topics such as Islamophobia, terrorism and violence. That said, the film's ambition and noble messaging can't quite make up for its shortcomings. EDIT
Posted Jan 7, 2021
3/5 Effigy: Poison and the City (2019) Jim Schembri An intriguing, slow-burning historical drama that tells the singularly bizarre story of Gesche Gottfried, a woman who was beautiful, intelligent, wealthy, charitable, personable, popular and, as the film makes abundantly clear, totally out of her mind. EDIT
Posted Jan 4, 2021
1.5/5 End of the Century (2019) Jim Schembri Pretty boring. EDIT
Posted Dec 31, 2020
3/5 The Midnight Sky (2020) Jim Schembri Impressive as the film's design and VFX are - hold tight for some tense sequences reminiscent of Gravity - Clooney stresses the importance of human connection. EDIT
Posted Dec 31, 2020
3/5 The War With Grandpa (2020) Jim Schembri Another pleasing, undemanding feather-light Robert De Niro comedy and yet another example where you survey the reviews after seeing the film and wonder if everybody else saw a different version. It's an unassuming, straight up-and-down family comedy. EDIT
Posted Dec 31, 2020
3.5/5 The Dry (2021) Jim Schembri Fans of the murder-mystery genre will get their fill and then some in Robert Connolly's beautifully shot outback opus that offers two captivating whodunits for the price of one...brims with top performances, great cinematography and a tense atmosphere. EDIT
Posted Dec 30, 2020
3/5 Promising Young Woman (2020) Jim Schembri A very well-crafted, satisfying exploitation film that melds a comprehensive menu of #metoo bullet points into a consistently engaging revenge-thriller...not to be mistaken for some searing, serious post-Weinstein drama. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
2.5/5 How to Be a Good Wife (2020) Jim Schembri Brightly coloured, it's a passable, feather-lite nostalgia trip with some broad comic touches. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
3/5 Rams (2020) Jim Schembri Director Jeremy Sims maintains an assured balance between comedy and the drama underpinning the threat to the livelihood of these men. Michael Caton gives Les a wonderfully growled presence against Sam Neill's more personable, if cowardly Colin. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2020
3/5 A Call to Spy (2019) Jim Schembri The film serves as a fine, honourable tribute to the incredible bravery of those unheralded women who formed a crucial part of the Allied spy operation... though, sprinkled throughout are tell-tale signs that it did not have much of a budget. EDIT
Posted Dec 26, 2020
4.5/5 Soul (2020) Jim Schembri A great cascade of entertainment, full of captivating ideas and brilliantly conceived supernatural visuals...the images director Pete Docter & his crew have conjured of these celestial netherworlds are at once compelling, beautiful and delightful. EDIT
Posted Dec 25, 2020
4.5/5 Nomadland (2020) Jim Schembri There shouldn't be any fudging around the fact that while Nomadland is a moving and absorbing portrait with a lot of heart, that heart is a singularly heavy one...So don't be surprised, or ashamed, should you get a bit misty-eyed. EDIT
Posted Dec 24, 2020
2/5 Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) Jim Schembri Too long, too silly, with weak action scenes and no real villain, WW84 lands with a thud and an apparent determination to redefine big-screen superhero mediocrity...the film's chief drag is that the direction is so monumentally uninteresting. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2020
4/5 The Croods: A New Age (2020) Jim Schembri A highly engaging, energetic, wonderfully animated romp spiced by some great action sequences...the film's congenial, soft-centred messaging about tolerance, reconciliation & learning to get on with those considered "the others" is nothing if not timely. EDIT
Posted Dec 21, 2020
3/5 Hillbilly Elegy (2020) Jim Schembri A fine, well-directed film, with a top-shelf cast and strong performances in the service of a straightforward story...Curiously, it's the latest instance of seeing a film, then surveying the reviews and wondering if everybody else saw a different cut. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2020
4/5 The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Special (2020) Jim Schembri There are inevitable touches of sleaze - how could there not be? - but, in the immortal words of the great Kenny Everett, it's done in the best possible taste. EDIT
Posted Dec 19, 2020
4/5 A Lion Returns (2020) Jim Schembri Writer/director Serhat Caradee delivers a superbly crafted, confronting drama that electrifies a host of hot-button issues about extremism, terrorism, religious zealotry, national identity, betrayal and loyalty...It is as pro-Muslim as it is anti-Jihad. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2020
3/5 Royalty Free: The Music of Kevin MacLeod (2020) Jim Schembri MacLeod's bookish, drone-like screen presence might appear diffident and humble, yet director Ryan Camarda delves beyond that to suggest how MacLeod is, in his quiet, unassuming way, a consummate businessman of the Gordon Gekko stamp. EDIT
Posted Dec 16, 2020
4/5 The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (1990) Jim Schembri Diehard fans might notice some of the micro-tweaks Coppola has introduced but it is essentially the same splendid film it's always been and with the same ancient message, that crime doesn't pay. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
1/5 How Do You Know Chris? (2020) Jim Schembri Here's yet another Australian film that makes no emotional sense and has no audience in mind...It really hurts watching obviously talented actors try so hard to make tissue-thin characterizations, crummy dialogue and silly situations work. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
2.5/5 Roald Dahl's The Witches (2020) Jim Schembri A passable, if unremarkable remake of Roald Dahl's dark tale about a coven of holidaying witches plotting to turn the world's children into mice. Anne Hathaway can't top Anjelica Huston's performance as head witch, but shows the requisite relish. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
3.5/5 Words on Bathroom Walls (2020) Jim Schembri A prime example of how to deal with tough subject matter in the parlance of the multiplex, Words on Bathroom Walls offers a solid, entertaining, touching dramedy about the true nature of schizophrenia. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
2/5 Mank (2020) Jim Schembri Designed for hardcore cineastes who will delight at all the name dropping, Mank has its moments but its lack of pace and air of self-congratulation make it a contender for one of the most overrated films of 2020. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
4/5 The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020) Jim Schembri One of the best documentaries yet about music, fame and the jagged life that can accompany it. EDIT
Posted Dec 11, 2020
3/5 A Christmas Gift From Bob (2020) Jim Schembri Likely to please any family audience that understands how the cheeriest stories need a bit of well-fashioned gloom to really shine. EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2020
3.5/5 The Trouble with Being Born (2020) Jim Schembri A singularly disturbing, deceptively subdued, haunting science-fiction drama of ideas designed to provide unsettling food for thought about the human desire to replicate intimacy with technology. (Includes video interview with director Sandra Wollner.) EDIT
Posted Dec 3, 2020
3.5/5 Koko: A Red Dog Story (2019) Jim Schembri As far as being an exceptionally good film about the making of a film, Koko goes far beyond the usual platitudes we often hear in "making of" docos and delves into the gritty detail and near-disasters that beset the set during the production of Red Dog. EDIT
Posted Nov 28, 2020
3/5 Fatman (2020) Jim Schembri The type of Christmas movie The Grinch would love. EDIT
Posted Nov 28, 2020