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Film Reviews

Gloria Bell

★★★★★ - STUFF I'm pretty sure I haven't seen Sebastian Lelio's 2013 film Gloria. I see a lot of films, but I think I would have remembered that one, if this English-language reimagining is anything to judge by. Gloria Bell is a single woman living in Los Angeles. She has been divorced for more...
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The Hummingbird Project

★★★½ - STUFF He was inspired by the 2011 stockmarket crash. Watching the financial carnage taking place around him on Wall Street, Vincent Zaleski (Jesse Eisenberg) realised speed was the key to minimising loss.  With the help of his more technologically-minded cousin Anton (Alexander Skarsgard),...
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Gloria Bell

★★★★ - SYDNEY MORNING HERALD Gloria Bell is a re-imagining of a film that Chile’s Sebastian Lelio co-wrote and directed very successfully six years ago. Made in Spanish and set in Santiago, it delighted audiences and critics and scored a Best Actress Award at the Berlin Festival for its star,...
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Top End Wedding

★★★★ - STUFF  Back in 2012, I was gently blindsided by a wee Australian gem (pun intended) called The Sapphires. The film was a fictionalised account of an all-woman, all-indigenous vocal group touring the Australian army bases in Vietnam, circa 1968. The Sapphires ticked all the boxes for a...
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Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen

★★★★ - STUFF  Merata Mita was maybe the greatest and the most influential globally of that generation of New Zealand film-makers who broke through in the 1970s and 1980s. While we rightly celebrate the group of blokes – one of whom Merata married – who are credited with our own takes on broadly...
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All Is True

★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN Ben Elton has written a sweet-natured, melancholy film about the retirement years of someone he’s lately been turning into his specialist subject: William Shakespeare. The great poet is played here with genial sympathy by the film’s director, Kenneth Branagh, sporting a pretty...
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The Chaperone

★★★★ - STUFF  - "Born in Kansas, On an ordinary plainRan to New York, But ran away from fameOnly 17, When all your dreams came trueBut all you wanted was someone to undress you." I've been fascinated by the life of Hollywood's silent screen siren Louise Brooks ever since Orchestral Manoeuvres in...
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The Chills: THE TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY OF MARTIN PHILLIPS

★★★★ - NZ HERALD  - Anyone familiar with the triumph and tragedy of Dunedin band The Chills knows this story had to be told at some stage. The Chills had the opportunity to achieve world domination; it didn't happen. Instead lead singer and songwriter Martin Phillipps became a drug addict and ended...
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Long Shot

★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN  - In past SXSW festivals, Seth Rogen has had audiences at Austin’s Paramount Theater in hysterics, debuting work-in-progress cuts of his salacious cartoon Sausage Party, then the wild comedy-biopic The Disaster Artist. This year, he’s done it again with the world premiere of Lo...
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Avengers: Endgame

★★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN - The previous Avengers movie, Infinity War, stunned believers and unbelievers alike with its sheer stupendous scale, and that devastating ending in which the evil Thanos appeared to have gained victory by getting hold of all six of the Infinity Stones, causing a...
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Soldiers Without Guns

★★★★ - STUFF - Bougainville spent a century being passed around like a gambling chip. It was at various times occupied and ruled by England – who separated the archipelago from the Solomons, with which it had previously been one nation – Germany, Japan, Australia and then Papua New Guinea. ...
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Shazam!

★★★★ - STUFF  - A pretty legendary New Zealand film editor is fond of saying that when a film gets boring towards the end, the problem is usually to be found at the beginning. I do like a film that doesn't bother to muck around with a lot of tedious scene setting and exposition, but just drops us...
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