Blood Diamond Reviewed in 100 Words

Zwick’s 2006 thriller is a compelling and jarring look at the illegal diamond trade within civil war Sierra Leone. A fisherman and a smuggler unite to recover a priceless diamond and escape war-torn Africa. The pace is tense as the pair often narrowly escape confrontation with military and rebel fighters, featuring explosive action scenes. The…

The BFG- a Sweet and Faithful Adaption

Spielberg’s take on Dahl’s childhood classic is a faithful adaption with magical special effects. Young orphan Sophie is snatched by the BFG and taken to giant-country, where they become friends and form a plan to defeat the evil man-eating giants. Barnhill’s Sophie is sweet and lively, while Rylance’s BFG perfectly captures the endearing tongue-tied hero…

Shakespeare in Love reviewed

Shakespeare in Love is a delightfully funny look into the Bard’s fictitious inspiration for his most famous love story. Bereft of ideas for his new play, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter, Will (Fiennes) meets the beautiful theatre-loving Viola (Paltrow). Their love affair inspires the famous tragedy of the star-crossed lovers that we know today….

Robin Hood: Prince of Melodrama- 100 Word Review

Reynold’s take on the outlaw hero who defeats the tyrannous Sheriff of Nottingham is melodramatic, absurd and occasionally fun. The pompous, swashbuckling score failingly attempts to inject significance and heroism into Robin’s journey. The casting is patchy at best. Costner’s more Peter Pan than Robbin, Mastrantonio lacks Marion’s tenacity, Freeman’s Moor suffices and Rickman’s antagonist…

The Jungle Book: All Looks, No Substance

Disney’s latest live-action remake has impeccable visual effects, but lacks the charm of the classic story. Visually, the film is outstanding. The jungle and all the animals in it have been vividly rendered with stunning authenticity using advanced CGI techniques. Plot-wise, it lacks. Shere Khan, the tyrannous tiger, seeks vengeance on man for past wrongs…

Woman in Gold lacks Sparkle- 100 Word Review

Curtis’ film is a slow telling of a true story, with flashbacks more interesting than the central plot. Years after fleeing persecution in WWII, Jewish Maria (Mirren), attempts to reclaim family art that was stolen by the Nazis. Mirren is her usual tenacious self and Reynolds good as passionate young lawyer. Among numerous legal scenes…

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…

Spotlight: Understated Brilliance

A recent Best Picture win at the Oscars, coupled with Cardinal Pell’s topical report to the Royal Commission on Child Abuse makes the shocking narrative of Spotlight all the more absorbing. It recounts the engrossing true story of how the Boston Globe newspaper uncovered the widespread molestation of children within the local Catholic Archdiocese in…

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…

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,…