JASPER JONES: Entertaining Australian Coming-Of-Age Story

Small towns are a common location in Australian cinema, see The Dressmaker, The Year My Voice Broke, and The Dish. The concept of an insular, secretive town fearing those who are different is a central theme in Jasper Jones, one of the best Australian films I’ve seen in recent years. It’s 1969 in the fictional rural town…

Shawshank Redeemed in 100 Words

Darabont’s celebrated adaption of King’s beloved story is rightfully hailed as one of the greatest films of all time. The heartfelt tale of an unlikely friendship forged in an unforgiving jail has both impeccable writing and profound performances. Like Cuckoo’s Nest, it highlights the power of friendship and the resilience of the oppressed individual. Robbin’s resourcefulness…

Beyond Thunderdome balances Max’s Madness with eccentric storyline- 100 Word Review

Miller’s third post-apocalyptic outing has the craziness of its predecessor with a unexpectedly comprehensible plot. Road Warrior, Max (Gibson) is enlisted by Thunderdome’s ruler to kill a rival in a gladiator-style arena. A subsequent banishment introduces him to a gang of children dreaming of the mythical Tomorrow-Morrow land. When their expedition fails, only Max can save…

Up in the Air- Reviewed in 100 Words

Reitman’s 2009 film offers an engaging and affecting view of travel and its alienating effects. Ryan, a ‘corporate downsizer’, has his jet-setting lifestyle interrupted when he’s forced to take a bright-eyed graduate under his wing. Clooney is expectantly good as the modern businessman forced to confront his self-imposed isolation. He’s well matched with Farmiga’s itinerant…

Impulsive Sherlock emerges in action-packed mystery-100 Word Review

Pierce’s riveting escapade narrates eccentric sleuth Holmes and his accomplice Watson as they battle black magic in this Victorian thriller. Downey Jr’s Holmes is erratic, belligerent and astute, however an unconvincing genius compared to Cumberbatch’s autistic prodigy. He’s well paired with Law’s level-headed Watson, and this camaraderie is central to the film’s charm. The Art…

Paddington: Charming and Delightful- 100 Word Review

King’s Paddington, based on the cartoons, recounts the delightful adventures of Paddington Bear. Paddington travels from Peru to London, searching for “home”. Here he befriends the Brown Family, but must avoid kidnap by the evil Taxidermist, Millicent. This uncomplicated plot is brought to life with quirky storytelling and amusing performances. Whishaw’s Paddington is cheerful, sensitive…

Brooklyn- Poignant Exploration of the Migrant Experience

John Crowley’s latest film, adapted from Colm Tóibín’s novel, is a moving and authentic depiction of a young Irish woman’s immigration to America in the 1950’s, and her attempts to navigate this strange new world in search of ‘home’. After immigrating to Brooklyn, Eilis, torn between Tony (Cohen) a driven and caring American-Italian boy, and Jim,…

Austen Classic Revitalised in Elegant Rom-Com, reviewed in 100 Words

Wright’s take on Austen’s hilarious novel is charming, witty and elegant. Set in the Regency Era, it portrays the lives of the Bennet daughters, principally the vivacious Elizabeth who disregards the loveless economic marriages of her time. Knightley thrives as bold spirited Lizzie, Pike delivers as graceful Jane, Blethyn delights as frivolous Mrs Bennet and…

The Danish Girl: Tender portrayal of Transgender Woman’s quest for Identity- 100 Word Review

Hooper’s latest period piece is a touching yet lengthy depiction of a transperson’s journey from man to woman, based on Ebershoff’s novel. 1926, Dutch painters Einar (Redmayne) and Gerda’s (Vikander) happy marriage begins to breakdown after Einar discovers he identifies more with “Lili” (his character in their playful game of dress-ups) than himself. This quest for identity and the repercussions…

My Top 10 Films of 2015

2015 was an excellent year in film and this belated list will chronicle the best of it. Many potential inclusions have yet to have been seen, therefore this is not definitive. Enjoy!   Mad Max: Fury Road Having never seen a Mad Max before watching this (I’ve since watched the original trilogy), this was unlike anything I’d ever viewed in a…

The Big Short Review: Engaging and Energetic

McKay‘s Oscar nominated dramedy is well made and performed in a thought-provoking story about the men who predicted the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Gosling is at his charismatic, egotistical best as ambitious banker Jared Vennett. Bale is excellent as the awkward yet cocky genius, Michael Burry. Carrell is good as astute, aggressive banker, Mark Baum,…

Harry meets Sally in 100 Words

Reiner’s ode to male/female friendships satisfies in a droll rom-com with witty writing. Attempting to challenge the principle that men and women can’t be “just friends”, Harry (Crystal) and Sally (Ryan) undergo a tumultuously comical relationship from prickly acquaintances to intimate confidantes to (gasp) lovers. Ryan shines as bubbly, outspoken, nit-picking Sally, brilliantly countered by…