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Film Reviews

Maiden

★★★★ - ROLLING STONE  - Gender bias gets knocked backwards on its ass in this rousing doc named after the first ship crewed by an all-female team in the Whitbread Round the World Race. The year was 1989, when male chauvinists were dripping with disbelief that these “girls” could survive a...
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Ad Astra

★★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN  - Brad Pitt is an intergalactic Captain Willard, taking a fraught mission up-river in James Gray’s Ad Astra, an outer-space Apocalypse Now which played to rapt crowds at the Venice film festival. In place of steaming jungles, this gives us existential chills. Instead of Viet...
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Downton Abbey

★★★★ - STUFF  - Given the success of the second-biggest TV show of the decade, it's difficult to remember that before Downton Abbey, Julian Fellows scripted a movie set in a similar world. Directed by the great American ensemble expert Robert Altman, 2001's Gosford Park was a magnificent Upstairs...
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Amazing Grace

★★★★★ - NZ HERALD  - Archival footage documentaries are knocking it out of the park at the moment. And if last week's release, the technically dazzling Apollo 11, literally took you to the moon and back, then Amazing Grace metaphorically does the same with a cinematically enthralling and...
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Amazing Grace

★★★★★ - ROLLING STONE  - Concert film of the Queen of Soul’s 1972 gospel shows has taken decades to see the light of day — and it’s more than worth the wait - It’s the closest thing to witnessing a miracle — just some cameras, a crowd and a voice touched by God. Over two days in January of...
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The Farewell

★★★★★ - STUFF  - Despite leaving China when she was just six, Billi Wang (Awkwafina) still calls her Nai Nai (Zhao Shuzhen) whenever she can. Now 31, the aspiring New York writer worries about her Grandmother's health, while she in turn expresses concern that her grandchild isn't eating right and...
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The Farewell

★★★★½ - ROLLING STONE  - Writer-director Lulu Wang draws on her own life to create the story of a Chinese family who come together to celebrate a wedding that’s closer to a funeral. Awkwafina, the rapper-comic and laugh-delivering dynamo of Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s 8, dials down to give a...
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Blinded by the Light

★★★★ - EMPIRE  - At one point during the 1984/85 ‘Born In The USA’ tour, in-between ‘Follow The Dream’ and ‘Born To Run’, Bruce Springsteen would regularly tell the assembled head-banded throng hanging on his every word: “No-one wins unless everyone wins.” Based on Safraz Manzoor’s memoir Greetings...
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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

★★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN  - Quentin Tarantino’s exploitation black-comedy thriller Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood finds a pulp-fictionally redemptive take on the Manson nightmare in late-60s California: a B-movie loser’s state of grace.It’s shocking, gripping, dazzlingly shot in the celluloid-primary...
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Herbs: Songs of Freedom

★★★★½ - STUFF  - When Stevie Wonder was booked to play in Auckland in 1979, the New Zealand promoters did something that was almost unprecedented at the time. They booked a local act in support. The usual practice pre the 1980s was to bring an Australian act over to support whatever American or...
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Late Night

★★★★ - ROLLING STONE  - Book Tickets Here -  Watching Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling mix it up in Late Night will make you think you’ve died and gone to hilarity heaven. In Kaling’s woke script, the Oscar-winning British actress for Howards End plays Katherine Newbury, a late-night talk show host...
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Late Night

★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN  - I wish I was a woman of colour so I could get a job with zero qualification!” The authentic voice of establishment self-pity is given here in all its foot-stamping shrillness. Mindy Kaling is the writer and star of this warm and witty film, playing Molly, a...
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