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Film Reviews

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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Midsommar

★★★★ - STUFF  - Having reinvigorated the familial horror with 2018's chilling Hereditary, writer-director Ari Aster now takes on another of the genre's traditional tropes – Americans' European misadventures. To be fair, much of the scene-setting bleakness actually takes place in the good old US of…
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Hillary: Ocean to Sky

★★★★ - STUFF  - Film-maker Michael Dillon has made this film once before. In 1977, Dillon was a member of Sir Edmund Hillary's Ocean to Sky expedition. On the team's return to New Zealand, Dillon assembled a good and unusually thoughtful documentary film of the adventure. From the Ocean to the Sky…
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Midsommar

★★★★ - ROLLING STONE  - Ari Aster is a bold new voice in psychological horror, the kind that messes ruthlessly with your head. He proved that last year with Hereditary, featuring Toni Colette in one of cinema’s most memorable meltdowns. And now, with the hypnotic and haunting Midsommar, he ventures…
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  • The Burnt Orange Heresy
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  • The Personal History of David Copperfield
  • God of the Piano
  • A Bump Along the Way
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  • Greed
  • The Booksellers
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  • Water Lilies of Monet: The Magic of Water and Light
  • The Trip to Greece
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  • Bait
  • All About Eve
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  • Beats
  • Parasite
  • All at Sea
  • Bolshoi Ballet 2019/20: Swan Lake
  • Klimt & Schiele: Eros and Psyche
  • The Prado Museum: A Collection of Wonders
  • Gauguin In Tahiti: Paradise Lost
  • Tintoretto: A Rebel in Venice
  • Met Opera: Porgy and Bess
  • Met Opera: Agrippina
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