Best of Film
Our wrap of the best films for the year (so far) includes links to reviews and op-eds on ScreenHub. Please do click on those links to read more.
‘I watched the version subtitled by Julia Davis, and from what I could gather, there is a loose script with clear plot points that are immutable, but when scenes extend beyond those crucial points, all the rules are out the window.’ Read more.Silvi Vann-Wall
You Won’t Be Alone
‘Kinnear delivers a brilliant range of menacing performances – from the overbearing ‘nice guy’ landlord, to the sexually repressed local vicar, to an angry and violent 10-year-old boy.’ Read more.Amy Loughlin
‘I naturally found it a bit amusing that a man who lives in a country as beautiful and friendly as Bhutan wants to move to Sydney, where he will no doubt face endless competition in the arts sector and a long and gruelling visa process.’ Read more.Silvi Vann-Wall
‘From his origins as poor white trash in Memphis to the biggest musical act in the world, it’s all here in a raw onslaught of facts and moments. Forget about insight; this barely leaves audiences time to think.’ Read more.Anthony Morris
Thor: Love and Thunder
‘Glitch star Robert Menzies plays the man we witnessed in a fight for his life in Canopy, who is now a shell of himself. A shattered man unable to be there for Leo and his grandkids, his stunted distance raises the impact of intergenerational trauma.’ Read more.Stephen A Russell
‘The film begins in a tense moment. Molly, sweeping bugs and leaves away from the dirt path to her tiny mountain shack, listens for the sound of danger. When she finally does hear the threat, it’s monstrous: the sound of a feral bull echoes through the landscape and sounds almost like a monster from a haunted house story.’ Read more.Izzie Austin
‘The visuals are spectacular. Filmed in IMAX, there are plenty of jet skirmishes and sweeps across deserts to wow so audiences can switch their brains off to the script.’ Read more.George Dunford
‘It all adds up to a remarkable vision of humanity, with Kogonada’s After Yang an artfully engaging film in which even the briefest of asides contain multitudes to ponder in the years to come. And isn’t that the very mythmaking act, summoning eternity in our likeness?’ Read more.Stephen A Russell
‘Opening with the portentous eruption of a mighty volcano, we’re left with little doubt as to the scale of the tale about to unfold. Eggers teamed up with Icelandic author and Lamb scribe Sjón to unleash this thunderous Scandinavian legend about Prince Amleth, the man who would one day become Shakespeare’s Hamlet.’ Read more.Stephen A Russell
‘Moody and contemplative is maybe not what people would expect from a film charting the world tour by one of Australia’s most gifted contemporary musicians, but music video director and first-time feature filmmaker Cohen is far more interested in showing his subject’s introspective side. That is, after all, what gives Courtney Barnett her unique edge.’ Read more.Glenn Dunks
‘Just when it looks like the family is about to be undone by errant business expenses at the hands of overzealous Internal Revenue Service agent Deirdre (a wonderfully pursed-lipped Jamie Lee Curtis in one of the zaniest performances of her remarkable career), the film takes a surreal tilt into the sublime.’ Read more.Stephen A Russell
‘Cinematographer-turned-director Jane Castle didn’t set out to make a deeply personal documentary about her mother, the pioneering but obscured filmmaker Lilias Fraser. In fact, Castle had pretty much walked away from cinema, after a career that included shooting features such as Fistful of Flies (1996) and music videos for the likes of Prince, U2 and INXS.’ Read more.Stephen A Russell
‘The swells of strings, woodwinds and singing fill the impressive sound mix with intricately placed sounds of nature nestled within, making this an aural experience as much as a visual one for those keen enough to indulge in this excursion theatrically.’ Read more.Glenn Dunks
‘Loveland is designed to be an experience more than a plot-driven narrative – though everyone gets a voiceover and its near constant at times, a litany of loss and regret that’s more about washing over you than imparting concrete information.’ Read more.Anthony Morris
‘It all adds up to an epic vision of an age-old tale that, while it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, sure steals the fire of dark gods and sets the stage for more mayhem in Gotham’s broken cathedral of pain.’ Read more.Stephen A Russell
‘Dinklage’s simultaneously soulful and saucy depiction shines through the strength of his limpid blue eyes. He easily carries both Cyrano’s exaggerated bravado in a crowd, and his tortured doubts when yearning silently across a self-imposed gulf that holds him apart from childhood friend Roxanne.’ Read more.Stephen A Russell
‘If I was still a 15-year-old kid making my cherished movie tapes, the Japanese film Drive My Car, directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, would go right to the top of my personalised playlist.’ Read more.Adrian Martin
‘A man (Jamie Dornan) wakes up with no memory of who or where he is. Which means that he also has no idea who is trying to kill him or why. It’s not the most original start to a story, but as hooks go it’s hard to beat.’ Read more.Anthony Morris.
‘The film is about Gina (Sally Phillips) who is yet to realise just how dissatisfied she is. She eats nothing but strictly portion-controlled diet foods, her husband (Cameron Daddo) seems endlessly distracted from her, and she has just been made redundant from a job at which she was overworked and underappreciated.’ Read more.Izzie Austin.
‘I liked it more than the 2019 film, which had extremely low dramatic stakes and a pandering, pantomime air. But it does feel like a farewell tour – especially from creator Julian Fellowes, who’s now busy with HBO’s The Gilded Age.’ Read more.Mel Campbell
‘It’s been widely hailed as a retread of Romancing the Stone (itself a riff on The African Queen and Raiders of the Lost Ark), but I think a better comparison is the recent Jumanji reboot, which sets a group of stock characters in search of an exotic McGuffin.’ Read more.Mel Campbell
‘Revelations, reversals, outrageous coincidences, seemingly marginal digressions that turn out to be central to the narrative: Almodóvar is a past master at orchestrating these storytelling delights. He engineers his films so as to surprise and amaze as they unfold on our initial viewing of them.’ Read more.Adrian Martin
Best of TV
‘What if two men, one an uppercrust gentleman who better knows his way around an escargot fork than a dagger, and the other a bloodthirsty criminal with a reputation bigger than his facial hair, fell in love?’Silvi Vann-Wall.
- Taika Waititi’s Our Flag Means Death nails queer representation
- Vico Ortiz, Our Flag Means Death: ‘It’s amazing, it’s so queer’
- Our Flag Means Death – who was the real ‘gentleman pirate’?
‘Kenobi is not a perfect show. Its story is mostly plodding, and reveals nothing new about the Star Wars universe. But when it gave me a showdown between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader, my body started vibrating as if a thousand bees had entered through my ears and declared me their home.’ Read more.Naja Later
‘Instead of falling back on the often grim tropes of queer cinema, the dramas of Heartstopper are more domestic in scale, authentically reflective of the experiences of its target audience, but the series does not shy away from some hard emotional truths.’ Read more.
Better Call Saul S6
‘Television workplaces were once an escape. If they weren’t full of crazy co-workers constantly bouncing jokes off each other, they were hotbeds of drama where teamwork was the name of the game. Idealised maybe; they were definitely the kinds of places you’d want to spend eight hours in – or just half an hour watching.’ Read more.Anthony Morris
‘The risk of period pieces that engage with their characters’ regressive attitudes is that they can consign those attitudes to the past. A film might make a spectacle of a character’s racist, sexist, homophobic, or ableist attitude, but wrap it in the comforting notion that these attitudes are something that society has grown out of.’ Read more.Izzy Austin
‘Filmed on location at Sandringham Secondary College in Melbourne, it’s frequently sleek, sunny and cosy rather than grungy or abject.’ Read more.Mel Campbell
‘Stranger Things delivers a fourth time on the core promise: nothing will change very much, and this rose-tinted fantasy of the 1980s won’t challenge your modern sensibilities. The deeper horrors of Reagan politics, the Vietnam war (finally acknowledged, briefly), and the AIDS crisis have faded into static.’Naja Later
- Stranger Things Season 4 review: what’s wrong with a little nostalgia?
- Spoiler alert: spoilers are stranger things than they seem
‘Without [Tony Armstrong] onscreen, A Dog’s World is a fun, low-stakes watch. It’s interested in all dogs, from pampered pets to wild packs, working and service animals; and it paints a carefully cosmopolitan, trans-cultural picture of dogs’ relationship to humans.’ Read more.
Notable in other ways …
‘I felt my brain cells dying in real time as Hannah’s mum photographs her in the golden hour, rhapsodising that ‘the way you move your body is really good’ and Hannah’s like, ‘oh, I don’t even know what I was doing’. Number one, you absolutely do know what you were doing; number two, even though this is clearly material labour under technocratic late capitalism, it’s immorally inconsequential.’ Read more.Mel Campbell