Three Stars

Book Review: Kathryn Hind’s debut, Hitch takes readers on a journey in more than one sense of the word

August 12, 2019

Canberra-based author Kathryn Hind‘s debut novel Hitch was published in June this year. The inaugural winner of the Penguin Literary Prize, Hitch tells the story of Amelia, a young woman of indeterminate age, who is hitchhiking her way to Melbourne. Her journey is an emotional one as well as a physical one, and throughout the book, there […]

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Book Review: Rohan Wilson’s Daughter of Bad Times presents a disturbing view of the future

August 5, 2019

Rohan Wilson’s latest novel, Daughter of Bad Times is a novel with an extremely global outlook, but this may just be its problem. The novel follows two protagonists, Rin Braden and Yamaan Ali Umair, two lovers from very different circumstances. Rin is the daughter of Alessandra Braden, the CEO of Cabey-Yasuda Corrections, a company which owns […]

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Film Review: Stuber is an Uber-amusing three-star ride

July 11, 2019

Buddy comedies are a dime-a-dozen these days. And much like romantic films, they rely on the chemistry of the leads to succeed. An original plot? Unimportant. Solid acting? No need. If the chemistry works between the leads, then it should offset a lot of the film’s flaws. Case in point, Michael Dowse‘s action-comedy Stuber, a […]

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Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Review: Singled [Out] is too brief to make a true impact, but it is still worth a look

June 22, 2019

Singled [Out] is a new documentary by directors Mariona Guiu and Ariadna Relea; and the premise is what really struck out to me, as we follow the lives of five women (under 30) of different backgrounds (Australia, Turkey, Spain and two women from China), and how they live their lives with their choices, whether they […]

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Film Review: Triple Threat may not live up to its promise, but it is still an action-packed treat

May 27, 2019

If you were to see the cast of Triple Threat, which is jam-packed with talented martial artists/established action heroes, chances are that you would be overly excited. With this much talent in an action film, how can it possibly fail? We must consider the people behind the scenes. Triple Threat has director Jesse V. Johnson, […]

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Theatre Review: Made to Measure is a brave exploration in body image

May 21, 2019

An impending wedding often brings out the worst in people. Familial and societal expectations collide with capitalism at the extreme of feminine expression. The wedding industrial complex magnifies every insecurity and extracts large sums from its subjects. Where women on the larger end of the body spectrum deal with constant reminders and callouts regarding their […]

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Film Review: All is True (UK, 2018) is a quiet look at Shakespeare in retirement

May 8, 2019

It’s fair to say that most people know Shakespeare and his plays. But, very little is known about the old Bard himself. All Is True is a bio-pic about ye olde William i.e. the writer in his twilight years. The result is a story that relies on some speculation and doesn’t always live up to […]

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Book Review: Melissa Ferguson’s The Shining Wall explores scientific possibilities through fiction

April 16, 2019

The Shining Wall, the gripping debut novel from author Melissa Ferguson, is an exploration of scientific possibility through the lens of feminism and fiction. The novel tells the frightening story of the orphaned Alida and her younger sister Graycie, who are left along following the death of their mother in the Demi-Settlements outside the wall.  […]

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Book Review: Gerald Murnane’s A Season on Earth shines new light on early classic for potential Nobel winner

April 15, 2019

It is rare that at the age of eighty and after publishing sixteen books – a mixture of novels, short story collections, and non-fiction – that an author comes into the light of the public consciousness and begins to find notoriety. But the works of Gerald Murnane have begun to garner considerable interest in recent […]

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Film Review: The Aftermath (UK/USA/Germany, 2019) accepts its predictable nature and performs more than adequately

April 11, 2019

One only needs to look at the poster art for James Kent‘s postwar-set romance The Aftermath to gage the triangle of transgression that will unfold over the course of the film’s 108 minute running time.  In fact, the surface level of the Joe Shrapnel/Anna Waterhouse-penned script practically begs you to accept the predictable turn of events, […]

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Film Review: Dumbo (USA, 2019) returns with slightly less flying fanfare

March 28, 2019

2019 is going to be a fairly big slate for the House of Mouse with not one but four “live action adaptations” of their intellectual property hitting cinema screens. The first one out of the gate is the film about a baby elephant with overly large ears who can fly. Originally Dumbo was based on […]

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Film Review: Everybody Knows (Spain, 2018) is an inferior, yet effective entry from director Asghar Farhadi

March 4, 2019

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has made some of most critically acclaimed dramas in the 21st Century. Garnering awards from many festivals, including winning two Oscars for Best Foreign Film, it is a testament to Farhadi’s impeccable storytelling about the social, gender and class differences in modern Iran as well as his assured hand in telling […]

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Book Review: Monica Tan’s debut Stranger Country may inspire you on your own adventure around Australia

March 3, 2019

Monica Tan’s first novel, Stranger Country, will take you on a 30,000km journey of discovery around selected parts of Australia. Tan is Chinese Australian, but at thirty-two, felt that she didn’t know as much about Australia’s history as she did about China’s. In a bid to change that, Tan embarked on a journey around parts […]

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Film Review: Vox Lux (USA, 2018) is as dazzling as it is divisive

February 21, 2019

What is it about stories about the rise to stardom that makes it so fascinating to audiences? Is it because it resembles a wish fulfillment fantasy? Or is it because it resembles a cautionary tale? Either way, it is a well-worn formula, that has been the backbone of well-regarded films, including 2018 films A Star […]

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Film Review: Alita: Battle Angel (USA, 2019) is faithful to its source material and very entertaining, when love isn’t in the air

February 13, 2019

English-language live-action film adaptations of manga/anime source material have been quite problematic, to say the least. While most of the films just fail to capture the spirit of the source material due to bad filmmaking (eg. Fist of the North Star, Death Note [2017]), other examples fail just due to the fact that they did […]

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Book Review: Debra Adelaide’s Zebra and other stories showcases the author’s astonishing range

February 11, 2019

Eccentric, heartbreaking and hilarious- this is how Debra Adelaide‘s latest book of short stories is described on the cover by her Picador stable-mate, Jennifer Mills. The book is Zebra and Other Stories, a collection comprised of fourteen stories, divided into three sections: First, Second and Third. These sections refer to the point of view taken in the stories. Adelaide covers a […]

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Book Review: Forty Years on, Joy Williams’ The Changeling is finding a new audience

February 6, 2019

Changelings, or babies swapped with supernatural beings in their infancy, permeate the mythology of a number of cultures throughout Europe. Often, it was believed that fairies had taken the child and left one of their own behind- a sign of bad luck for the family. The idea of a changeling may have been used to […]

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Book Review: Markus Zusak’s Bridge of Clay is an extended musing on family, grief and brotherhood

February 5, 2019

The entire time that I was reading Markus Zusak’s new novel, Bridge of Clay, I had Josh Pyke’s song “Feet of Clay” going around and around in my head. Perhaps, this has only strengthened my belief that the entire novel is really some sort of extended metaphor, although for what exactly I couldn’t say. One […]

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Film Review: Glass (USA, 2019) reflects M Night Shyamalan’s worst habits

January 17, 2019

Though he doesn’t always nail them, M Night Shyamalan deserves praise for the ending of Split: the highly successful 2016 thriller, revealed in the very final moment to be part of the same universe as 2000 alt-superhero film Unbreakable. Very few people, especially those that had no idea he was working on a sequel to […]

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Book Review: Robert Ian Bonnick’s Soul Survivor is an inspiring rags-to-riches tale

January 16, 2019

Robert Ian Bonnick is a warrior. This successful man has had a career that most people could only dream of. But, what some of us may not know is that he had to overcome extreme adversity and challenges in order to get there. In his debut book, Soul Survivor, he describes his own personal rags-to-riches […]

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