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Challengers
FEATURE
CHALLENGERS
Equally intense and fun, it is a character-driven story told in the most captivating visual way. More than anything, 'Challengers' is a calling card for Zendaya, Faist and O'Connor, showcasing their craft and setting them on the path of 2020's film icon status.
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70th Melbourne International Film Festival Reviews
With 267 films to choose from, how do you select which to watch in the festival's 18-day run? The SWITCH team has gathered reviews of MIFF's biggest and best offerings!
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Abigail -
ABIGAIL
"A ballerina vampire"
Don't expect clever craft or nuance; any effort to truly horrify the audience has sadly been lost along the way. If you're desperate to fill 109 minutes of your time, there are worse things you could watch than 'Abigail' - but if I were you, I'd passé.
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 -
KILL BILL: VOL. 2
The agony and the ecstasy of the second act of Tarantino’s shattering masterpiece
It's a demonstration of all that cinema can be, the marriage of visual and sound, the snap of great dialogue, the beauty of great performances, the ability to use all at its disposal to enthral and move us. There simply hasn't been anything else like it.
Back to Black -
BACK TO BLACK
Wishing 'We Only Said Goodbye' to hollow biopics
'Back to Black' is a disrespectful, hollow depiction of Amy Winehouse’s legacy. There is absolutely no reason to see this. Marisa Abela tries her best, but even she can’t save this.
Civil War -
CIVIL WAR
A modern classic showcases a horrifically fractured country
It's easy to sit back and ignore the changes that have happened in the United States recently regarding abortion, LGBTIQA+ rights, immigration, greater racial divides, greater widening of the wealth gap, increased blurring of lines between church and state, increased gun rights. The country is horrifically fractured, and the harsh realism of 'Civil War' only goes to show why it's so vital to do something about it.
Late Night with the Devil -
LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL
Something just shy of truly scary
It's great to see an outing in the genre with real thought put into it - so grab your crucifix and head out to the cinema. Just go in with low expectations and you'll invariably have an enjoyable experience.
Monkey Man -
MONKEY MAN
Dev Patel's directorial debut is a knockout
This is truly going to go down as one of the best action movies of the 2020s. Patel as a director is a tour de force and absolutely delivers.
Hannah Montana: The Movie -
HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE
Sweet Nibblets! It's 15 years since Hannah went to the big screen
'Hannah Montana: The Movie' sits in that untouchable category of films for a certain generation. It has more than stood the test of time for the last 15 years - 'Hannah Montana' was such a cultural phenomenon that it changed tween media forever, and we have never seen anything reach its level again.
NT Live: The Motive and the Cue -
NT LIVE: THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE
A stirring portrait of two legendary artists in the act of creation
This isn't just a reminder of the power of theatre (in both its execution and its content), but a reminder of how much one leaves of one's self in the act of creating it.
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire -
GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE
An exhausting exercise in monster-driven excess
'The New Empire' suggests that the MonsterVerse is now clutching at straws to know what to do next, both with these iconic monsters and the others that make cameos in this film. Maybe it’s time to let these iterations of Godzilla and King Kong out to pasture.
Robot Dreams -
ROBOT DREAMS
An effortlessly beautiful and deeply heartfelt animated classic
It’s the kind of film you dream of, where the world feels a little brighter, where the heart feels a little fuller, left dazzled by the beauty of being alive and being in love with someone who makes your day all that more special. Whose smile you could live in forever. That’s what 'Robot Dreams' achieves. That’s why 'Robot Dreams' is a masterpiece.
Kung Fu Panda 4 -
KUNG FU PANDA 4
Shadoosh! Po is back on the big screen
While the comedy and animation are fun and vibrant, the story really weighs this outing down. It's a fine way to kill 90 minutes this Easter and not much more - it's not a trainwreck like many other sequels are this long after the last entry, but it's simply a weaker film.
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire -
GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE
A chilly busting ghost adventure
It fails to reach the heights of 'Afterlife', but it's a fine blockbuster to see and then return your proton pack back to the shelf only to be reminded about it when the next sequel comes out.
Wicked Little Letters -
WICKED LITTLE LETTERS
Olivia Colman tackles 1920s hate mail
In its own silly way, it offers a charming "movies are so back" revelatory moment. You know what? Sometimes all you need is to see Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley engage in a gleeful swearing match in 1900s garb.
You'll Never Find Me -
YOU'LL NEVER FIND ME
A satisfying new Australian horror thriller
You'll be left questioning every move, every statement, and wonder who'll come out on top in the end. Like all good thrillers, you'll probably even forget to breathe in parts. The truth has never seemed so uncertain - but the game has never been so gratifying to watch.
Dune: Part Two -
DUNE: PART TWO
The prophecy is fulfilled in the astounding second act of the Dune Saga
Villeneuve's adaptation has achieved the impossible, captured lightning in a bottle, tamed the wildest of classics and rendered it anew in a new medium and for a new generation. That we were allowed to experience it on this scale is a blessing.
NT Live: Vanya -
NT LIVE: VANYA
Andrew Scott dazzles in this remarkable reinvention of a classic
This presentation of 'Vanya' is as careful and considered as the production itself, allowing audiences all over the world to experience, not just the jaw-dropping skill of Andrew Scott's performance, but his tender and generous evocation of one of the finest writers of the stage.
Monica -
MONICA
Patricia Clarkson's pride and fundraising for 'Monica'
Patricia Clarkson is immensely proud of the mark 'Monica' has made for its casting of a trans actor in the lead role. Connor spoke to her about her bond with Trace Lysette, awards campaigning, and the film staying with her long after shooting wrapped.
The Grand Budapest Hotel -
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
A five-star stay for adventure
Happy 10 years to this gem, and pleased to report checking in to The Grand Budapest, is still a pleasant stay.
Monica -
MONICA
Andrea Pallaoro’s Eight Years with 'Monica'
The film offers a uniquely original perspective of the trans experience. Connor spoke with director and co-writer Andrea Pallaoro about finding the perfect lead, his battle for financing, and how he processed an 11-minute standing ovation at Venice.
Housekeeping for Beginners -
HOUSEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS
How Goran Stolevski forged his found family
Macedonian Australian filmmaker Goran Stolevski has followed up his debut 'You Won't Be Alone' and sophomore 'Of An Age' with 'Housekeeping for Beginners'. Connor spoke with him about how a veteran Australian director inspired the plot, working with street castings, and his highlight of the Venice Film Festival.
The Zone of Interest -
THE ZONE OF INTEREST
A monolithic masterpiece from the abyss at the end of all things
By making us aware of our roles as audience, as observers, as spectators, the film is forcing us to never take it for granted, turning the camera back on us. We are being forced into the shoes of Rudolph and Hedwig, and having to face the question of whether or not those shoes fit us a bit too well.
It Happened One Night -
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT
Behind the enduring legacy of one of the most influential pictures of all time
'It Happened One Night' remains a masterclass in screen comedy. It's one of the very few faultless films, a lightning-in-a-bottle production where everything comes together stupendously – and against all odds.
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