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Film Reviews

One Last Deal

★★★★½ - STUFF An aging art dealer is thinking of retiring from the business. His customers are dwindling, his enthusiasm for the medium is waning and what he sees of the modern world outside his gallery makes him feel like a relic from another age. His abrasive and disinterested grandson is...
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Never Look Away

★★★★ - THE WASHINGTON POST  - The title of “Never Look Away” is deliciously ironic: This is one of the most mesmerizing, compulsively watchable films in theaters right now. Written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck — best known for his masterful 2006 drama “The Lives of Others” —...
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Rocketman

★★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN When are you going to hug me?” That question echoes around Dexter Fletcher’s dazzling rock opera – a fantastical account of the highs and lows of Elton John’s wild-ride rise, told in frenetically full-blooded musical form. It’s the story of a little boy who became a big star...
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Rocketman

★★★★½ - STUFF Having tackled the tunes of The Proclaimers and helped bring the story of Queen to life, Dexter Fletcher now takes on the life and songs of the man born Reginald Kenneth Dwight. But while there are certain similarities in the set-up to Bohemian Rhapsody (both movies open and hinge on...
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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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