Film Festival Reviews - International, Independent, Cult

Melbourne 2015 Review: DOWNRIVER Needs A Paddle

Downriver, the Australian feature debut from Grant Scicluna, certainly showed signs of promise: a dour but intensely quiet rumination of redemption set in a murky bush town filled with questionable characters. It certainly has the ingredients for an intriguing, mystery-fuelled thriller.... More »

Melbourne 2015 Review: Sebastian Silva Proves He's The NASTY BABY

Based on a true story (very loosely), Silva's latest film Nasty Baby is a completely misdirected comedy drama about a gay hipster couple, artist Freddy (Silva himself) and Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) who reside in Brooklyn and are trying to... More »

Melbourne 2015 Review: HOLDING THE MAN Explores Doomed Love Delicately

From Neil Armfield, the director of doomed addict romance Candy, comes his latest, also doomed romance Holding The Man. Another adaptation, this time based on the life memoirs of Timothy Conigrave and his epic love for partner John Caleo.... More »

Melbourne 2015 Review: SPEED SISTERS, A Slick And Slight Delight

Speed Sisters is a slick and entertaining documentary about a group of obsessed and undermined women who compete professionally in the West Bank rally race circuit. Providing a point of view that is strictly and politically feminine, the film surprisingly... More »

Melbourne 2014 Review: LIFE AFTER BETH, A Tame Zom-Com

The ever sardonic Aubrey Plaza stars as Beth, alongside Dane DeHaan's Zach, in this frequently odd but half-cooked zombie comedy from the writer of the excellent I Heart Huckabees. Director Jeff Baena only lends some of his brain to... More »

Melbourne 2014 Review: GOD HELP THE GIRL, A Twee Little Mess

Coming from Belle & Sebastian front-man Stuart Murdoch, God Help The Girl is a directorial debut disaster. The film is stung by lashes of awkward editing, a sloppy screenplay, and a cloying suffocation of artificial, twee characters.Our 'girl' in this modern... More »

Melbourne 2014 Review: In TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT, The Dardennes Eschew Nothing

Why did Two Days, One Night work so well for me? It's not easy to explain. This is especially the case, considering this is my first experience watching a film by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, and the fact I know nothing about... More »

Melbourne 2014 Review: HAPPY CHRISTMAS Boosted By Its Characters

Joe Swanberg directs and stars in an 'indie' family drama that is as equally generic as the non-descript title suggests. The free-formed plot involves a couple with a child; Jeff (Swanberg) and author Kelly (Melanie Lynskey) and the slight stress... More »

Melbourne 2014 Review: CATCH ME DADDY Imbues Stunning Tension And Displays Confident Direction

Director Daniel Wolfe came into recognition with his awesome music video Time To Dance for the band The Shoes. The clip featured a disturbed psychopath, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who, essentially, murdered hipsters who could not dance. This tongue-in-cheek idea... More »

Melbourne 2013 Review: THE TURNING Mines Deep Australiana, Unearths Some Gems

Curator, producer and director Robert Connolly knows how to convey a good story. He has been intimately involved with some great Australian productions over the years; from Balibo to These Final Hours. He has the skills necessary to bring together... More »

Melbourne 2013 Review: THESE FINAL HOURS, The Genre Film Australia Needs

In 2005, actor Nathan Phillips starred in backpacker shocker Wolf Creek. The film was a revitalization of sorts to pure genre cinema without pretension in Australia. Flash forward to today and that same actor has front and centered another firecracker of... More »

Melbourne 2013 Review: JIMMY P, A Psychoanalytical Slog

Director Arnaud Desplechin is a labelled auteur and no stranger to cognitive dissonance. His latest feature, direct from Cannes continues, his inquiry into the mind, but given the previous efforts, it is inexcusable how utterly dull Jimmy P is. The... More »

Melbourne 2013 Review: ILO ILO, A Genuine Gem

Ilo Ilo is the debut feature from Singaporean director Anthony Chen, who is now based in London. It is, however, handled with such a deft hand and filled with so much obsessive detail that one would be forgiven for thinking... More »

Melbourne 2013 Review: AIM HIGH IN CREATION Respects And Engages Gleefully With The DPRK

Director Anna Broinowski is no stranger to confrontation; kicking off her documentary career with Hell Bento, a film that exposed subsections of the Japanese underworld. More recently she directed a startling fib-filled terror tale about Muslim romance called Forbidden Lie$.... More »

Melbourne 2013 Review: PATRICK Offers Safe Chills And Tame Thrills

Our midnight screening of Patrick, the passionate horror remake from Ozploitation devotee Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood), began with an honest and slightly disconcerting preamble from the director: Patrick is an old fashioned Gothic chiller, with little time awarded for rehearsals... More »

Melbourne 2013 Review: THE LAST TIME I SAW MACAO Is A Stunted Visual Essay

The Last Time I Saw Macao is a quasi neo-noir cum documentary that centers on Portugal's historical occupation in a city with the highest density on Earth. It has been likened to Marker's Sans Soleil and, on its own merits,... More »

Melbourne 2013 Dispatch, Day 5: Presenting Hirokazu Kore-eda's LIKE FATHER LIKE SON

Welcome to my coverage of the Melbourne International Film Festival. I aim to bring you daily updates over the next 17 days of the definitive films that certainly got my attention, as well as links to past Twitch reviews to... More »

Melbourne 2013 Dispatch, Day 4: Metaphors, Bittersweet Romance And Thrilling Violence

Welcome to my coverage of the Melbourne International Film Festival. I aim to bring you daily updates over the next 17 days of the definitive three or four films that certainly got my attention, as well as links to past... More »

Melbourne 2013 Review: MYSTERY ROAD Is A Beautiful, Repetitive Procedural

Mystery Road, the new Australian film by Ivan Sen that opened the Sydney Film Festival makes the most of its location and recalls films such as No Country For Old Men with its bare-bones harsh reality set against the backdrop of a... More »

MIFF 2012 Review: MINE GAMES world premiere

The 61st Melbourne International Film festival is now underway! I will be bringing you coverage for Twitch as the days blitz by over nearly three weeks! Seven shallow, predictable and stereotyped vacationers are heading to their friends cabin in the woods (oh dear) in... More »
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