Australian Financial Review

Australian Financial Review is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer® when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): John McDonald
Rating Title/Year Author
The Nest (2020) John McDonald Filmmakers often wax nostalgic when they look back on the 1960s, but nobody seems to remember the 1980s with much affection EDIT
Posted Feb 4, 2021
Only the Animals (2019) John McDonald It's like watching a folded-up picture being revealed in short glimpses, as first one corner then another is turned back. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2021
The Dry (2021) John McDonald It's the complexity of the characters that holds our attention while the story proceeds in almost laconic fashion. EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2021
Ammonite (2020) John McDonald While Mary never married, and carried on a lively correspondence with Charlotte and other women, it's a big leap to suggest she was a powderkeg of repressed sapphic longings EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2021
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) John McDonald One wonders how many more films will confirm the cast-iron law that every new Hollywood movie is really about Donald Trump? EDIT
Posted Feb 1, 2021
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan (2020) John McDonald He's reminiscent of Samuel Beckett's character, Molloy, who crawls along contentedly on his belly after losing the use of his legs. EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2020
The Trouble with Being Born (2020) John McDonald Can one have an inappropriate relationship with an underage android? EDIT
Posted Dec 20, 2020
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020) John McDonald Within the space of 3-4 years, the Bee Gees had gone from being has-beens to the point where they saturated the airwaves. EDIT
Posted Dec 7, 2020
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life (2019) John McDonald It took Sacks decades to learn how to live but his friends say he put on a masterclass in demonstrating how to die. EDIT
Posted Dec 7, 2020
David Byrne's American Utopia (2020) John McDonald For all of its complexity American Utopia is more bacchanal than sermon. EDIT
Posted Dec 7, 2020
American Dharma (2018) John McDonald It's commonly believed culture is a civilising influence but Bannon is the living refutation of that idea. EDIT
Posted Dec 7, 2020
Kajillionaire (2020) John McDonald Rarely has such a distinguished cast been asked to play such scabrous roles. EDIT
Posted Nov 8, 2020
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) John McDonald Borat's abiding joke is that the United States, for all its wealth and power, is no less of a hillbilly haven, no less a bottomless sink of corruption, superstition and stupidity than the imaginary and much-maligned Kazakhstan. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2020
Corpus Christi (2019) John McDonald He is emulating Jesus in his actions as he trashes the rules and codes of the Catholic Church. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2020
On the Rocks (2020) John McDonald On the Rocks is not a love letter to the city, it's a LUXE guide, with Bill Murray as our celebrity tour leader. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2020
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020) John McDonald Attenborough's "witness statement" pits a lifetime's experience of the natural world against all the bad politics pushing us towards the abyss. EDIT
Posted Sep 27, 2020
The Translators (2019) John McDonald Naturally, as this is a film made by the hyper-literate French, there could be no suggestion that Oscar Brach is a Dan Brown-style dullard. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2020
I Am Woman (2019) John McDonald Even if people were walking clichés in the 70s, it's best not to portray them as such. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2020
La belle époque (2019) John McDonald At every turn we are reminded of the highly artificial and manipulative nature of the cinematic medium, even as we surrender to its seductions. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2020
Tenet (2020) John McDonald I doubt that even the director could explain what it's about. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2020
Deerskin (2019) John McDonald It seems a perfectly natural move to become a serial killer, ready to dispose of anyone who refuses to hand over their jacket. EDIT
Posted Aug 16, 2020
Echo in the Canyon (2018) John McDonald This film makes no attempt to be comprehensive, ignoring the problematic parts of the story and portraying Laurel Canyon as a little piece of musical paradise. EDIT
Posted Aug 9, 2020
The Burnt Orange Heresy (2019) John McDonald It's not a flattering portrayal of the art critic - a job that bears no resemblance to whatever it is that James does. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
Babyteeth (2019) John McDonald She claims to like him because he's fearless, but it soon becomes apparent that she's the fearless one. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
A White, White Day (2019) John McDonald Ingimundur is a man of few words. His tactiturnity might denote a rugged, independent spirit, but it's also the sign of an introverted personality that allows anxieties to seethe and boil over EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
The Booksellers (2019) John McDonald It's the older bookdealers who feel the game is up, while the younger ones see many signs of renewal. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
Shirley (2020) John McDonald The greatest horror it reveals is that of the artist's life - a 24/7 obsession that removes Shirley from the world and locks her into a prison of her own construction. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
Greed (2019) John McDonald Gross satire and moral disapproval are drinks that should never be mixed. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
It Must Be Heaven (2019) John McDonald As comedies go, It Must Be Heaven is not exactly laugh-out-loud, but it's weirdly seductive. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
Honeyland (2019) John McDonald It's impossible to watch Honeyland and not wonder what becomes of Hatidze when the camera goes away. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
For Sama (2019) John McDonald We see the way children and parents respond to the pervasive fear, not wanting to be parted even if it is a matter of simple survival. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
Color Out of Space (2019) John McDonald For the record, director, Richard Stanley, has decided the never-before-seen colour will be a kind of lurid pinky-purple. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2020
Vivarium (2020) John McDonald This may not be the best time to release a feature about a couple trapped in a suburban nightmare, completely isolated from the rest of the world. EDIT
Posted Jul 30, 2020
The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019) John McDonald Perhaps in order to save Dickens from himself Iannucci has given us a thoroughly colourblind David Copperfield, in which the lead role is played by Anglo-Indian, Dev Patel. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2020
Dark Waters (2019) John McDonald What has emerged is a recognisable genre film: the little man (or woman) takes on a big, bad, impersonal organisation in the face of overwhelming odds. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2020
Motherless Brooklyn (2019) John McDonald When Norton set aside the lead role for himself he was 39. Today he is 50. If we're not overly conscious of his age that's because the character, Lionel Essrog, is one of literature's more unusual private detectives. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2020
EMMA. (2020) John McDonald Taylor-Joy has such big eyes she could have been designed by a Japanese cartoonist. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2020
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) John McDonald The running gag in the film that all the violence and bloodshed is part of Harley's "emancipation" from her failed relationship with the Joker. It's the equivalent of those movies in which a middle-aged divorcee goes out and rediscovers life. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2020
A Hidden Life (2019) John McDonald I don't know if Malick intended to tell one of those 'uplifting' stories in which personal tragedy is transmuted into a triumph of the human spirit, but audiences are more likely to leave this film in a state of depression. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2020
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) John McDonald It's a film that really shouldn't work. One constantly feels that at any moment the entire thing will degenerate into vat of marshmellow. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2020
Bombshell (2019) John McDonald In the language of power there's always a favour, or some kind of quid pro quo. Ailes made it pretty clear what he expected from the aspiring talent. EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2020
Little Women (2019) John McDonald Little Women is a great proto-feminist fiction too often presented as sentimental, 'heart-warming', family fodder EDIT
Posted Mar 18, 2020
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) John McDonald The franchise has become a decadent, First World subculture that allows people to enjoy a little harmless fantasy at the price of switching off one's brain and abandoning any sense of what makes a great movie. EDIT
Posted Jan 6, 2020
Cats (2019) John McDonald After an hour of Cats I began to suspect the popcorn they fed us had been laced with a psychotropic drug. EDIT
Posted Jan 6, 2020
Jojo Rabbit (2019) John McDonald His Nazis are evil but also foolish, dangerous but ridiculous. EDIT
Posted Jan 1, 2020
Suzi Q (2019) John McDonald Quatro broke down all sorts of barriers for women in a male-dominated rock culture. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2019
Judy & Punch (2019) John McDonald It's a project that would have benefited from some tough criticism in the developmental stage, but instead it has an air of self-congratulation. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2019
Where's My Roy Cohn? (2019) John McDonald If you've ever found yourself wondering how American politics attained its current level of crazed amorality, Where's My Roy Cohn? provides a few answers. EDIT
Posted Dec 9, 2019
The Report (2019) John McDonald Burns could not have known the release of his film would coincide with the daily drama of impeachment proceedings but the timing could not be more opportune. EDIT
Posted Nov 24, 2019
Ford v Ferrari (2019) John McDonald There's barely a scene in which cars are not being driven, discussed, designed and argued about, but somehow it's not the cars that matter. EDIT
Posted Nov 17, 2019