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Film Reviews

Knives Out

★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN  - Knives Out: Rian Johnson crafts a devious meta whodunnit -  The Last Jedi director lets loose with a wickedly entertaining Agatha Christie homage featuring a star-packed cast.  Taking a brief well-earned break from the creative restrictions of the Star Wars universe, Rian...
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Frozen II

★★★★ - STUFF  - Even six years after its debut, the love for Frozen in my household is yet to melt away. Disney's tale of two princesses delivered a potent mix of thrilling adventure, tear-inducing emotion, memorable characters and toe-tapping tunes that prompted a heartfelt four-word from the...
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The Dead Don't Die

★★★★ - THE TELEGRAPH  - A winningly eccentric way to usher in the zombie apocalypse -  When word got out that Iggy Pop would be playing a zombie in the new Jim Jarmusch film, some of us found ourselves wondering how we would be able to tell. Not that there was ever any doubt that it would work: it...
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Mrs Lowry and Son

★★★★ - STUFF  - A very-nearly two-hander, set mostly in a couple of shabby rooms, on the nettlesome relationship between a grown man and his vexatious mother, adapted from a play. It really doesn't sound like the stuff of laugh-out-loud comedy and an authentically moving examination of mortality...
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Fisherman's Friends

★★★★ - DAILY MAIL  - Fisherman's Friends is an easy-going, gently moving treat which will surely go down as one of the most crowd-pleasing British films of the year.  When it comes to sea shanties, I’m very much of the school that a little goes a long way. I’m fine with a stirring chorus or two...
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#AnneFrank: Parallel Stories

★★★★★ - STUFF  - Frank re-evaluation feels just as relevant today -  Anne Frank was born in 1929 into a German Jewish family. When Anne was four, her family moved to the Netherlands. The Nazis poured into Amsterdam in 1940 and, by 1942, the persecution of Jews and other "undesirables" had become...
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Ford v Ferrari

★★★★ - STUFF  - Motor racing, like boxing, lends itself brilliantly to filmmaking. The classic narrative of all adventure movies – start, lose, learn lesson, triumph in the end – is pretty much baked into the history of any racer or race manufacturer you could name. And, as with Ron Howard's very...
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Ford v Ferrari

★★★★ - EMPIRE  - In the mid-’60s, Ferrari is dominating the racing world, effortlessly winning prize after prize. So Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) orders his underlings to construct a car that will have Ferrari drivers choking on fumes. Enter Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian...
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Last Christmas

★★★½ - STUFF  - It was my Love Actually moment. No, not the one you're thinking – the bit involving Liam Neeson's stepson performing on stage.  Dunedin's Balmacewen Intermediate, 1986. My best mate and I had decided to pen a play inspired by The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole and one of our...
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Pain and Glory

★★★★★ - STUFF  - Pedro Almodovar has cast Antonio Banderas in eight films, across 40 years. It is one of the most enduring and influential creative partnerships in cinema. Pain and Glory might be the most sublime work either of the men has had their name on for many years. Banderas plays...
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Pain and Glory

★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN In Pedro Almodóvar’s previous film Julieta, a middle-aged woman returns to her old apartment block in Madrid to write about – and thereby confront – the ghosts of her life. There’s a similar sense of revisiting in Pain and Glory, in which Antonio Banderas plays a becalmed...
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Bellbird

★★★★½ - STUFF  On an isolated, family-run farm, somewhere not too far inland from Whangarei, dad Ross and son Bruce are going through a terrible time. Not that you would know it, if you closed your eyes. The dialogue in Bellbird accurately represents that near poetry of sparseness and gruffness...
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  • Parasite
  • Parasite: Black & White
  • Helen Kelly – Together
  • Richard Jewell
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  • The Personal History of David Copperfield
  • Met Opera: Madama Butterfly
  • Happy New Year, Colin Burstead
  • André Rieu's 2020 Maastricht Concert: Happy Together
  • Hermitage: The Power of Art
  • The Prado Museum: A Collection of Wonders
  • Tintoretto: A Rebel in Venice
  • Gauguin In Tahiti: Paradise Lost
  • NT Live: Fleabag
  • NT Live: A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Met Opera: Akhnaten
  • Met Opera: Wozzeck
  • Met Opera: Porgy and Bess
  • Met Opera: Agrippina
  • Met Opera: Der Fliegende Hollander
  • Met Opera: Tosca
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  • Bolshoi Ballet 2019/20: Giselle
  • Bolshoi Ballet 2019/20: Swan Lake
  • Bolshoi Ballet 2019/20: Jewels
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