Review: Moonlight (2017)

IMG_1362.JPG

Barry Jenkins’ tender coming-of-age drama explores the anxieties of a black man – Chiron – as he comes to terms with his identity – personal and sexual – in a tough neighbourhood of Miami. The script unfolds over three stages in Chiron’s life – childhood, adolescence and adulthood – and is every bit intimate, beautiful and heartbreaking. Continue reading “Review: Moonlight (2017)”

Review: Sing (2017)

img_1353

This entertaining animated comedy from the studio behind mega hit franchise Despicable Me powers along on the back of its talented voice cast and recognisable pop tunes. Buster (Matthew McConaughey), a theatre-owning Koala, is on the cusp of losing his business, so he decides to stage a singing contest that attracts a menagerie of talented animals (an under-appreciated mother, a stage shy elephant), big and small. Continue reading “Review: Sing (2017)”

Review: Jackie (2017)

img_1348

In director Pablo Larrain’s intimate and unrelenting biopic, Natalie Portman delivers a tour de force performance as Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy at the time of her husband’s assassination. Noah Oppenheim’s script hops backwards and forwards in time, perfectly mirroring that of a fragile state of mind, bookended by an interview between Jackie and an unnamed reporter (Billy Crudup) that she controls. Continue reading “Review: Jackie (2017)”

Review: Live By Night (2017)

img_1343

Ben Affleck writes, directs and stars in this visually sumptuous, yet clunky adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s 1920s set crime novel, in which he plays the prodigal son of a cop who ties himself to the Italian mob in hopes of exacting revenge. It’s not as clear cut as that, the script weaving in many extraneous subplots involving an impressive array of supporting actors, each better than the material they’re awarded (Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Chris Messina all have roles). Continue reading “Review: Live By Night (2017)”

Review: A Monster Calls (2017)

img_1341

JA Bayona directs Patrick Ness’ adaptation of his own much-loved book into a heartwarming tale about a boy, Conor (Lewis MacDougall), and his struggle with grief in the face of his mother’s illness. He’s visited by a monster (motion captured, voiced by Liam Neeson), who emerges from an old yew tree to impart wisdom and frank honesty about the hardships to come. Continue reading “Review: A Monster Calls (2017)”

Review: Silence (2017)

silence

Martin Scorsese’s labour of love is an expansive – and frequently monotonous – portrait of faith in the face of persecution and torture. It’s sprawling and contemplative, more or less focused on one priest’s internal conflict as he searches for his mentor (Liam Neeson), who’s rumoured to have apostatised. Andrew Garfield, as capable as he is, never quite seems like the right fit in the lead role, perhaps because he’s outshone early on by Adam Driver. Continue reading “Review: Silence (2017)”

Review: La La Land (2017)

la-la-land

This stylish, exuberant crowd-pleaser spectacularly revitalises the sorely missed Hollywood musical. In it, two aspiring artists – Mia and Sebastian, played by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling – fall in love, while each pursuing their dreams of success in LA. Damien Chazelle, who last made Whiplash, infuses an abundance of warmth and charm into this love story, which emerges from a big-scale highway dance number. Continue reading “Review: La La Land (2017)”

Review: Rogue One (2016)

IMG_1289.JPG

This electrifying standalone Star Wars chapter takes place before the events of A New Hope, when a band of rebels – fronted by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), the daughter of a scientist forced to work for the Empire – band together to steal the plans for the Death Star, a new super weapon that has the power to destroy planets. It’s directed by Gareth Edwards, whose attentive approach to visuals awards the film a lived-in feel, whether in space or on one of the many planets featured. Continue reading “Review: Rogue One (2016)”

Review: Manchester By The Sea (2016)

img_1286Kenneth Lonergan’s latest film – his first since the long-delayed Margaret – is an affecting and eloquent family drama of sorrow and endurance. It’s led by a terrific performance from Casey Affleck, who plays Lee, a man haunted by his past who obtains custody of his nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges), when his brother dies of a heart attack. Continue reading “Review: Manchester By The Sea (2016)”

Review: Raw (2016)

img_1264

Julia Docournau’s striking feature debut caused quite the stir upon its premiere the Toronto International Film Festival – and no wonder. In it, Justine (Garance Marillier), an animal rights advocate and strict vegetarian, heads off to veterinary school, where – as part of a hazing ritual – she’s forced to eat rabbit. This ignites a hunger inside her like nothing she’s ever experienced before. Continue reading “Review: Raw (2016)”