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Film Reviews

Herself

★★★★½ - STUFF  - A quietly lovely movie that reaches some unexpectedly wonderful places -  In present day Dublin, a woman escapes an abusive, violent husband. She takes her two young daughters into state-provided emergency housing – mostly rundown hotel rooms – and begins to despair of ever…
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Days of the Bagnold Summer

★★★★ - STUFF  - Inbetweeners star's directing debut a sweet delight -  Daniel Bagnold (Earl Cave) is looking forward to his summer escape. For six weeks, the Metallica-loving British teen will be soaking up the sights and sounds of Florida. Not only will get a chance to meet his half-brother for…
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Dream Horse

★★★★ - STUFF  - Toni Collette's heartwarming tale of a pony that raised a village -  Jan Vokes (Toni Collette ) has always needed a purpose to her life. First, it was breeding whippets, followed by racing pigeons. Then along came her two children. But with that pair now having flown the coop,…
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Dream Horse

★★★★ - GUARDIAN  - True story of a Welsh village that bought a racehorse is a winner -  Yes, it’s schmaltzy, very schmaltzy, but with strong performances by Toni Collette and Damian Lewis the odds are that you’ll love it. Six years ago I found myself gripped by the overwhelmingly…
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Cruella

★★★★ - EMPIRE  - With killer looks, propulsive filmmaking, and stellar turns from Emmas Stone and Thompson, Cruella is a treat -  After experiencing tragedy at a young age, the reckless and creative Estella (Emma Stone) falls into a life of crime in 1970s London — until she has the chance to live…
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Poppy

★★★ - STUFF  - Endearing Kiwi drama celebrates cars, independence and Kāpiti -  Nineteen-year-old Poppy (Libby Hunsdale) is ready to take control of her own life. She’s determined to gain that automotive apprenticeship her late father promised her, starting with passing her driving test. Sure…
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A Quiet Place Part II

★★★★ - STUFF  - The first A Quiet Place was a blast of horror originality in 2018. The film took one of the very oldest of horror tropes, one that dates back at least to H.G. Wells’ The War of The Worlds, and made it fresh again by shrinking the global conflict down to the size of one nuclear…
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Litigante

★★★★ - STUFF  - A perfectly drawn slice of humanity, honestly shared -  In present day Bogotá, Silvia is having what we might all recognise as a particularly bloody awful few weeks. Her mother, who she enjoys a prickly and combative relationship with, is going downhill fast with cancer. At work,…
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Finding You

VARIETY  - Self-Assurance Is Lost and Found in Twee Romantic Comedy -  Don’t be fooled by the empowerment-sounding title of “Finding You”: The engine of writer-director Brian Baugh’s romantic comedy isn’t driven by the woman herself, but by the men who are continually placed in power positions…
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James & Isey

★★★★½ - STUFF  - Florian Habicht's tiny tale an aroha-filled, sentiment-free joy -  As far as anyone knew, Florian Habicht (Kaikohe Demolition, Spookers) had folded up his documentary director's chair and joined the slightly more lucrative and stable world of directing TV commercials. But,…
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Land

★★★★ - STUFF  - Why Robin Wright's slight and quietly beautiful film is worth seeking out -  Any film that begins with The Staves’ achingly lovely interpretation of Springsteen's I'm on Fire, effortlessly transforming an ode to carnal lust into a tale of loss and redemption, is probably destined…
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First Cow

★★★★ - STUFF  - Kelly Reichardt is as idiosyncratic as they come. Her films are distinguishable and more or less immediately recognisable, by their quietness, their intense focus on small lives lived out in small communities and the wit and grace to acknowledge that every human life and human…
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