Tom’s reVIEW

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IN REVIEW WITH TOM AUGUSTINE

Tom Augustine is an award-winning Auckland-based filmmaker and writer. Tom has been writing film criticism since 2016, including regular film column ‘The Weekend in Film’ for the New Zealand Herald’s Canvas Magazine until early 2020. Tom’s writing has appeared in Little White Lies, the New Zealand Herald, The Spinoff, North & South, Metro Magazine, The Pantograph Punch and others, while his directorial work has been profiled in Clash Magazine, Stuff and The Spinoff. Tom is the recipient of a NZ Writers Guild Seed Advanced Grant and recently was selected for the inaugural Tāhuna Writers Residency in Queenstown. He currently programmes the monthly Capitol Cinema Film Club with filmmaker Amanda Jane Robinson.

Drive-Away Dolls

Movie title: Drive-Away Dolls (Coen, 2024)

Movie description: For his first solo effort sans brother Joel, the great filmmaker Ethan Coen directs this deliriously wacky oddity, a film that hearkens back to the Seventies exploitation films of Russ Meyer and John Waters. Part crime caper, part soft-hearted romance, part devilish sex comedy, the film is too muddled and haphazard to endorse outright, yet too idiosyncratic, exuberantly queer and endearingly lewd to dismiss.

Date published: February 22, 2024

Country: United States

Author: Ethan Coen, Tricia Cooke

Director(s): Ethan Coen

Actor(s): Margaret Qualley, Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Geraldine Viswanathan, Beanie Feldstein, Colman Domingo

Genre: Action, Comedy, Thriller

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The Kingdom I (Riget)

Movie title: The Kingdom I (Riget) (Von Trier, ‘94)

Movie description: For the first time in New Zealand, Lars Von Trier’s revered and rarely shown television series The Kingdom will be screened in its entirety on Rialto Channel in October, November, and December. It’s an opportunity to see some of the notorious provocateur's early, audacious work - pre-Breaking the Waves - and some of his most recent, in a limited series event of astonishing scope.

Date published: October 12, 2023

Country: Denmark

Author: Lars von Trier, Niels Vørsel, Tómas Gislason

Director(s): Lars von Trier, Morten Arnfred

Actor(s): Ernst-Hugo Järegård, Kirsten Rolffes, Holger Juul Hansen, Udo Kier

Genre: Drama, Horror, Comedy

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The Creator

Movie title: The Creator (Edwards, 2023)

Movie description: A rarity in the blockbuster landscape in 2023, the latest from Rogue One and Godzilla director Gareth Edwards is based on an original concept, depicting a world ravaged by a war between humans and artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, for all the film’s resplendent imagery and muscular visual effects, The Creator is brought down by a script so generic it ironically feels like it could have been written by an AI bot.

Date published: September 28, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Gareth Edwards, Chris Weitz

Director(s): Gareth Edwards

Actor(s): John-David Washington, Gemma Chan, Allison Channey, Ken Watanabe, Madeleine Yuna Voyles

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure, Drama

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A Haunting In Venice

Movie title: A Haunting in Venice (Branagh, 2023)

Movie description: That the latest in actor/director Kenneth Branagh’s series of adaptations of Agatha Christie’s Poirot series is better than its previous instalments, Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, is hardly a notable achievement. That it manages to be strong enough to justify the continuation of this series - now that’s an achievement.

Date published: September 18, 2023

Country: United Kingdom

Author: Michael Green

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Scrapper

Movie title: Scrapper (Regan, 2023)

Movie description: Vibrant, yet tenderly wrought, the debut feature from British filmmaker Charlotte Regan is yet another exceptionally-made offering from an emerging New Wave of young British filmmakers. Featuring two sparkling performances, the film marks Regan as one to watch.

Date published: September 1, 2023

Country: United Kingdom

Author: Charlotte Regan

Director(s): Charlotte Regan

Actor(s): Lola Campbell, Alin Uzun

Genre: Comedy

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Strays

Movie title: Strays (Greenbaum, 2023)

Movie description: The rare modern studio comedy to open in cinemas, Strays wrings a good amount of juice from a one-joke premise - (foul-mouthed) talking dogs - with paciness and a healthy serving of filthy humour. As far as modern R-Rated comedies go, it’s hardly Superbad, but it benefits from a cast of fine pedigree.

Date published: August 17, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Dan Perrault

Director(s): Josh Greenbaum

Actor(s): Will Ferrell, Jamie Foxx, Isla Fisher

Genre: Comedy

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Screen Stories on Rialto Channel - Lynch/Oz

Movie title: Screen Stories on Rialto Channel - Lynch/Oz (Philippe, 2022)

Movie description: August sees Rialto Channel celebrating the stories and influences of screen legends. Alongside a retrospective of some of his greatest films, Lynch/Oz, the fascinating and revealing essay film, delves into the way the work of David Lynch, perhaps the greatest of all filmmakers, is always in conversation with that perennial childhood classic, The Wizard of Oz. Through the words and observations of critics, filmmakers and contemporaries, the film’s speculation reveals new corners of the mind of an artistic genius.

Date published: August 4, 2023

Country: New Zealand

Author: Alexandre O. Philippe

Director(s): Alexandre O. Philippe

Genre: Documentary

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Barbie/Oppenheimer

Movie title: Barbie (Gerwig, 2023)/Oppenheimer (Nolan, 2023)

Movie description: The year’s most talked-about cinematic event is here, the dual release of Greta Gerwig’s imagining of world of the iconic Mattel doll, and Christopher Nolan’s fearsome depiction of the life of the father of the atomic bomb. Though one film ultimately outpaces the other, both are excellent examples of the value of director-driven projects at the highest level.

Date published: July 20, 2023

Author: Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach | Christopher Nolan, Kai Bird, Martin Sherwin

Director(s): Barbie: Greta Gerwig, Oppenheimer: Christopher Nolan

Actor(s): Barbie:, Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, , Oppenheimer:, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon

Genre: Barbie:, Adventure, Comedy, , Oppenheimer:, Biography, Drama

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  • Oppenheimer
When the Cows Come Home

Movie title: When the Cows Come Home (Botes, 2022)

Movie description: Renowned Kiwi documentarian Costa Botes’ latest (and possibly final) work is this quietly compelling portrait of a sensitive, complex outsider and his beloved herd of cows. It’s an incisive exploration of rural New Zealand that provides a nuanced take on pastoral life, mental illness and the pursuit of happiness.

Date published: July 6, 2023

Country: New Zealand

Author: Costa Botes

Director(s): Costa Botes

Genre: Documentary

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No Hard Feelings

Movie title: No Hard Feelings (Stupnitski, 2023)

Movie description: The dearth of on-screen comedies in the modern era has given this low-key, bawdy sex comedy a sheen of outlier importance that serves as a bit of a detriment to what No Hard Feelings actually is - an enjoyable, sweet-natured piece of low-stakes fun most notable for the return of one of our era’s best stars in Jennifer Lawrence.

Date published: June 22, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Gene Stupnitsky, John Phillips

Director(s): Gene Stupnitsky

Actor(s): Jennifer Lawrence, Andrew Barth Feldman, Laura Benanti, Matthew Broderick

Genre: Comedy

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Lancaster

Movie title: Lancaster (Fairhead, Palmer, 2022)

Movie description: Thursday nights in June, Rialto Channel is exploring true life portraits of heroism and intrigue in the Extraordinary Stories series. The centrepiece, war documentary Lancaster, is an intelligent and wonderfully old-fashioned detailing of the all-important Lancaster jet, the plane that helped win World War II for the Allies.

Date published: June 9, 2023

Country: United Kingdom

Author: David Fairhead, Ant Palmer

Director(s): David Fairhead, Ant Palmer

Genre: Documentary

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The Little Mermaid

Movie title: The Little Mermaid (Marshall, 2023)

Movie description: The latest beloved animated classic to be updated in live action by Disney continues their streak of cynical, uninspired retellings that add very little to the original’s grandeur. Aside from a luminous performance from Halle Bailey, the only elements that work here have been lifted from the vastly superior prior work.

Date published: May 25, 2023

Country: United States

Author: David Magee, John Musker

Director(s): Rob Marshall

Actor(s): Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem

Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

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Unknowns

Movie title: Unknowns (Wael, Sidis, Yaron, 2023)

Movie description: This propulsive Israeli crime series - a major award-winner in its home country - is a compelling, bleak vision of at-risk youth drawn into a police investigation beyond their control. Its addictive, crime drama twists and turns are matched by director Tawfik Abu Wael’s unflinching, raw approach.

Date published: May 11, 2023

Country: Israel

Author: Guy Sidis, Nirit Yaron, Tawfik Abu-Wae

Director(s): Tawfik Abu Wael

Actor(s): Yehuda Levi, Shani Cohen, Yaniv Biton, Ofek Pesach, Amir Tessler

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

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Marlowe

Movie title: Marlowe (Jordan, 2022)

Movie description: Liam Neeson feels miscast as iconic detective Philip Marlowe in Neil Jordan’s rehash of the character - the first big screen appearance for the role in over forty years. It’s a shame that Marlowe feels so lackluster, a weak-kneed retread of better sun-drenched noirs of years past that ticks every box but never sparks to life.

Date published: April 27, 2023

Country: Ireland

Author: William Monahan, Neil Jordan, John Banville

Director(s): Neil Jordan

Actor(s): Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, Jessica Lange

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

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Mafia Mamma

Movie title: Mafia Mamma (Hardwicke, 2023)

Movie description: Toni Collette stars in Catherine Hardwicke’s lumbering and overly-simplistic Mafia Mamma, a formulaic free throw that still manages to miss the posts due to its unexpected tonal shifts, a watery comedic tone and untenable moments of shocking violence.

Date published: April 14, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Amanda Sthers, J. Michael Feldman, Debbie Jhoon

Director(s): Catherine Hardwicke

Actor(s): Toni Collette, Monica Bellucci, Sophia Nomvete,

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

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Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves

Movie title: Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves (Daley and Goldstein, 2023)

Movie description: Witty and light on its feet, Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves is a breathlessly entertaining piece of old-fashioned blockbuster entertainment thought lost to time. Gamely aided by a stirling cast, it’s the most confident and purely enjoyable franchise-starter in years.

Date published: March 30, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Michael Gilio

Director(s): John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein

Actor(s): Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

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Living

Movie title: Living (Hermanus, 2022)

Movie description: Knowingly slight and low-key, Oliver Hermanus’ British redo of a Kurosawa classic is most notable for giving veteran Bill Nighy a vehicle worthy of his dramatic talents. Elsewhere, it’s a respectable affair, though hardly one likely to set your heart ablaze.

Date published: March 16, 2023

Country: United Kingdom

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro, Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto

Director(s): Oliver Hermanus

Actor(s): Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood, Alex Sharp

Genre: Drama

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The Female Lead - Rialto Channel

Movie title: The Female Lead - Rialto Channel

Movie description: To mark International Women’s Day 2023, Rialto Channel has compiled an eclectic and thrilling lineup of films that focus on the experiences and interiority of women. From the worlds of politics, art, cuisine and culture, the films represent a litany of viewpoints and trailblazing successes.

Date published: March 2, 2023

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Women Talking

Movie title: Women Talking (Polley, 2022)

Movie description: Based on the book of the same name by Miriam Toews, filmmaker Sarah Polley dramatises the account of a group of Mennonite women debating whether to remain or flee from an abusive community. It’s a well-meaning work that unfortunately succumbs to limiting virtuousness, forgoing much of the film’s potential for tension or resonance.

Date published: February 16, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Sarah Polley, Miriam Toews

Director(s): Sarah Polley

Actor(s): Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Frances McDormand

Genre: Drama

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The Whale

Movie title: The Whale (Aronofsky, 2022)

Movie description: In spite of a game, go-for-broke performance from comeback wonder Brendan Fraser, Darren Aronofsky’s controversial adaptation of the play of the same name is a plodding, overwrought and exhausting work, as contemptuous of the fatness at the centre of its story as it is unsure what it wants to say about the world.

Date published: February 2, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Samuel D. Hunter

Director(s): Darren Aronofsky

Actor(s): Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins

Genre: Drama

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Babylon

Movie title: Babylon (Chazelle, 2022)

Movie description: Crash-landing a summer season full of bombastic blockbusters and stately awards plays, La La Land’s Damien Chazelle pitches his Golden Age opus as something intriguingly wedged between the extremes. It’s a hedonistic, occasionally thrilling, often baffling cavalcade of early-Hollywood glamour and brutality that sees Chazelle swinging for greatness - and missing as often as he hits.

Date published: January 20, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Damien Chazelle

Director(s): Damien Chazelle

Actor(s): Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie,

Genre: Comedy, Drama, History

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Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio

Movie title: Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio (del Toro, Gustafson, 2022)

Movie description: The third film to bow this year focused on the legendary puppet that longs to be a real boy comes to us from the Oscar-winning mind of Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth). It’s the best of the three, but ultimately that isn’t saying much.

Date published: December 8, 2022

Country: United States

Author: Guillermo Del Toro, Patrick McHale, Carlo Collodi

Director(s): Guillermo Del Toro, Mark Gustafson

Actor(s): Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Christoph Waltz, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Ron Perlman, John Turturro, Tom Kenny

Genre: Animation, Drama, Family

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Bones and All

Movie title: Bones and All (Guadagnino, 2022)

Movie description: Reuniting director and star of one of the great 21st Century romances, Call Me By Your Name, cannibal romance Bones and All is a handsome and suitably gruesome road trip steeped in the Americana of visionaries like Terrence Malick and Wim Wenders. Full of resplendent, bloody visuals, there’s a certain lack of visceral feeling at the heart of this love story that leaves the viewer slightly wanting.

Date published: November 24, 2022

Country: Italy

Author: David Kajganich, Camille DeAngelis [Novel]

Director(s): Luca Guadagnino

Actor(s): Timothée Chalamet, Taylor Russell, Mark Rylance

Genre: Drama, Horror, Romance

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Mister Organ (Farrier, 2022)

Movie title: Mister Organ (Farrier, 2022)

Movie description: Five years in the making, David Farrier’s personal odyssey into the abyss via the mind of a monstrous sociopath represents a distinct filmic maturation, and a real step forward as a documentarian. It is a bleakly funny, skin-crawling examination of an evil as chilling as it is unsettlingly banal.

Date published: November 10, 2022

Country: New Zealand

Author: David Farrier

Director(s): David Farrier

Genre: Documentary

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The Woman King

Movie title: The Woman King (Prince-Bythewood, 2022)

Movie description: An old-fashioned historical epic in the vein of Braveheart or Gladiator, Gina Prince-Bythewood's muscular The Woman King excels in finding fresh perspectives on a well-used worn, particularly in its diverse setting and a cast that puts a range of black actresses at the forefront.

Date published: October 27, 2022

Country: United States

Author: Dana Stevens, Maria Bello

Director(s): Gina Pryce-Bythewood

Actor(s): Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, John Boyega

Genre: Action, Drama, History

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Overall
4
Flag Day

Movie title: Flag Day (Penn, 2021)

Movie description: Sean Penn’s latest turn behind the camera is also his first time directing himself, and is a suitably family-oriented affair, featuring central performances from both his children. It’s a warmly shot, deceptively simple father-daughter drama that, in its best moments, thrums with intimacy and a likeable, homemade quality.

Date published: October 13, 2022

Country: U.S.

Author: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth

Director(s): Sean Penn

Actor(s): Sean Penn, Dylan Frances Penn, Katheryn Winnick,

Genre: Crime, Drama

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Blonde

Movie title: Blonde (Dominik, 2022)

Movie description: The controversial and much-discussed three-hour biopic from New Zealand-Australian auteur Andrew Dominik arrives on Netflix this week. Adapted from the Joyce Carol Oates novel of the same name, it is a bleak, wearisome alternative history of an unknowable pillar of pop culture, that inadvertently reveals as much about its creator as the woman at its centre.

Date published: September 30, 2022

Country: U.S.

Author: Andrew Dominik

Director(s): Andrew Dominik

Actor(s): Ana De Armas, Lily Fisher, Julianne Nicholson

Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance

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Ticket to Paradise

Movie title: Ticket to Paradise (Parker, 2022)

Movie description: Warm, funny and moving, this glossy big-screen rom-com reunites two icons of the genre for a film that feels both forward-looking and rooted in the hallmarks of classic rom-coms past. It’s a breezy, enjoyable time that feels like so much more in the context of the modern cinema landscape.

Date published: September 15, 2022

Country: U.S.

Author: Ol Parker, Daniel Pipski

Director(s): Ol Parker

Actor(s): George Clooney, Julia Roberts

Genre: Romance, Comedy

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Three Thousand Years of Longing

Movie title: Three Thousand Years of Longing (Miller, 2022)

Movie description: In 2022, it’s exceptionally rare that a film of the likes of Mad Max mastermind George Miller’s latest would arrive in cinemas at all, let alone with the price tag that it carries. It’s a messy, bones-and-all fantasia that doesn’t quite hit its mark but has a whale of a time trying.

Date published: September 1, 2022

Country: Australia, U.S.

Author: George Miller, Augusta Gore

Director(s): George Miller

Actor(s): Idris Elba, Tilda Swinton, Pia Thunderbolt

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance

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Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Movie title: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (Hyde, 2022)

Movie description: Set almost entirely in a single hotel room, the latest feature from Sophie Hyde is a refreshingly frank and open-hearted two-hander, confronting issues of sex work and ageism with honesty and humour. An actors-forward film, the main drawcard is two remarkable performances from Emma Thompson and newcomer Daryl McCormack.

Date published: August 18, 2022

Country: United Kingdom

Author: Katy Brand

Director(s): Sophie Hyde

Actor(s): Emma Thompson, Daryl McCormack

Genre: Comedy, Drama

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Larger than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story and Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful

Movie title: Larger than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story (Bartok, 2017) and Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful (von Boehm, 2020)

Movie description: This month, Rialto Channel is profiling two complex, groundbreaking artists with these revealing documentaries. Both Kevyn Aucoin and Helmut Newton’s stories are brought to life with care and vigour, leading to a fascinating double-bill that displays their contrasts in sharp relief.

Date published: August 4, 2022

Country: US & Germany

Author: Gero von Boehm

Director(s): Tiffany Bartok, Gero von Boehm

Genre: Documentary, Biography

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  • Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story
  • Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful
Where the Crawdads Sing

Movie title: Where the Crawdads Sing (Olivia Newman, 2022)

Movie description: This overly-manicured adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name is an oddly reserved and clunky thing that nevertheless recalls both classic soap operas and old-fashioned swooning romances in the telling.

Date published: July 21, 2022

Country: US

Author: Delia Owens, Lucy Alibar

Director(s): Olivia Newman

Actor(s): Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

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Thor: Love and Thunder

Movie title: Thor: Love and Thunder (Taika Waititi, 2022)

Movie description: The latest in the exhausting, never-ending Marvel machine is this lazy, disaffected sequel that fails even to justify the continuation of the series. It’s not quite a career low for Aotearoa’s own Taika Waititi, but it’s close.

Date published: July 7, 2022

Country: US

Author: Taika Waititi, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson

Director(s): Taika Waititi

Actor(s): Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

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Elvis

Movie title: Elvis (Baz Luhrmann, 2022)

Movie description: Anchored by a tremendous performance by relative unknown Austin Butler, whiz-bang Australian auteur Baz Luhrmann blazes back onto the big screen with a typically messy, indulgent but undeniably moving and inventive take on the life of the King.

Date published: June 23, 2022

Country: AUS, USA

Author: Baz Luhrmann, Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce, Jeremy Doner

Director(s): Baz Luhrmann

Actor(s): Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge

Genre: Biography, Drama, Music

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Murina

Movie title: Murina (dir. Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović)

Movie description: The spirit of Patricia Highsmith is alive in this steamy, simmering romantic drama set in the Croatian Isles. Co-starring Cliff Curtis, the film is a subtle but gripping coming-of-age tale.

Date published: June 9, 2022

Country: Croatia

Author: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, Frank Graziano

Director(s): Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović

Actor(s): Gracija Filipović, Danica Curcic, Cliff Curtis

Genre: Drama

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Bob Marley: One Love

Movie title: Bob Marley: One Love (Green, 2024)

Movie description: King Richard director Reinaldo Marcus Green follows up the film responsible for Will Smith’s Oscar with another biopic about a remarkable figure of the 20th Century. One Love is a safe and aggressively sanitised take on the life of Bob Marley, but coasts along easily enough due to the power of the man’s music and likeable performances from leads Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashanna Lynch.

Date published: February 15, 2024

Country: United States

Author: Terence Winter, Frank E. Flowers, Zach Baylin

Director(s): Reinaldo Marcus Green

Actor(s): Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch, James Norton

Genre: Biography, Drama, Music

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Rialto Channel Pride Month

Movie title: Rialto Channel Pride Month

Movie description: For Pride Month 2024, Rialto Channel has assembled a vital and eclectic collection of some of the best and most significant queer cinema offerings of the last few years, from here, Australia and abroad. Together, they offer a picture of a community embracing the liberation of being your true self, while also confronting the scars of the past and the prejudices that remain prevalent.

Date published: February 9, 2024

Country: New Zealand

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Argylle

Movie title: Argylle (Vaughn, 2024)

Movie description: Matthew Vaughn’s latest film is a dire, aggravating mish-mash of half-baked spy tropes torn from other, worthier films. A large ensemble of big names is largely wasted in service of bland action and a charmless script, marking Argylle as an early frontrunner for the worst of 2024.

Date published: February 5, 2024

Country: United Kingdom

Author: Jason Fuchs

Director(s): Matthew Vaughn

Actor(s): Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, John Cena, Samuel L. Jackson

Genre: Action, Thriller

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Perfect Days

Movie title: Perfect Days (Wenders, 2024)

Movie description: Wim Wenders is responsible for some of the most important works of the late 20th Century in Paris Texas, Wings of Desire and Alice in the Cities. The visionary German filmmaker has earned the right to coast, which makes his patient and kind-hearted Perfect Days all the more special for its late-period artistic rigour.

Date published: January 25, 2024

Country: Japan, Germany

Author: Takuma Takasaki, Wim Wenders

Director(s): Wim Wenders

Actor(s): Koji Yakusho, Tokio Emoto

Genre: Drama

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The Holdovers

Movie title: The Holdovers (Payne, 2024)

Movie description: Sideways and Election director Alexander Payne’s exquisite new Christmas-set dramedy is a marvellously traditional, mature film of humble ambition. A throwback to a more grounded era of cinema, it is Payne’s finest work in many years, anchored by three tremendous performances.

Date published: January 18, 2024

Country: United States

Author: David Hemingson

Director(s): Alexander Payne

Actor(s): Paul Giamatti, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Dominic Sessa

Genre: Comedy, Drama

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Monsieur Spade

Movie title: Monsieur Spade (Frank, Fontana, 2024)

Movie description: Starting off the new year with a bang, The Queen’s Gambit creator Scott Frank’s update of legendary gumshoe Sam Spade, a role made iconic by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, breaks new ground while delivering a reliably thrilling, muscular neo-noir befitting such a character. Featuring a memorable turn from Clive Owen as an older, more world-weary iteration of the detective, it’s a modern update that more than makes a case for itself.

Date published: January 12, 2024

Country: United States

Author: Scott Frank, Tom Fontana

Director(s): Scott Frank

Actor(s): Clive Owen

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

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Summer PreVIEW

Movie title: Summer PreVIEW

Movie description: View Magazine will be taking a break over the Christmas/New Year period, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fantastic films populating the cinemas that demand your attention. Here are some of the must-sees.

Date published: December 21, 2023

Country: New Zealand

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The Best of 2023

Movie title: The Best of 2023

Movie description: The year that was confidently displayed the many contradictions of cinema in the modern era. It was a time of original stories breaking box office - and creative - boundaries; but also a time of sameness and homogenisation sweeping through our multiplexes and streaming services. Above all, 2023 made it clear that the cinema is still a commercial, ideological, technological battleground, a status that is unlikely to change any time soon. Here are the boldest, the most memorable, and finest pictures of 2023.

Date published: December 14, 2023

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The Boy and the Heron

Movie title: The Boy and the Heron (dir. Hayao Miyazaki)

Movie description: Master of the animated form Hayao Miyazaki returns for what was initially reported as the auteur’s final film. Though that is no longer the case, the film remains an essential document, a moving, dazzling story of grief and memory in which the worlds of reality and dreams intersect with their own blissful kind of logic. It’s the year’s best animated film.

Date published: December 7, 2023

Country: Japan

Author: Hayao Miyazaki

Director(s): Hayao Miyazaki

Actor(s): [ENG], Robert Pattinson, Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Mark Hamill, Florence Pugh, Karen Fukuhara, Gemma Chan, Dave Bautista, Tony Revolori

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Drama

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Steeltown Murders

Movie title: Steeltown Murders (dir. Marc Evans)

Movie description: Screening for the first time in New Zealand on Rialto Channel this month, this under-the-radar Welsh crime series is a sobering, fascinating plummet into the real-life, thirty-year hunt for a serial killer. Atmospheric and fascinating, this four-part series offers a glimpse into historical police corruption that benefits from a well executed time-hopping structure.

Date published: November 30, 2023

Country: United Kingdom

Author: Ed Whitmore

Director(s): Marc Evans,

Actor(s): Phillip Glenister, Steffan Rhodri, Keith Allan

Genre: Crime, Drama, History

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Napoleon

Movie title: Napoleon (dir. Ridley Scott)

Movie description: It feels a little like fate that veteran filmmaker Ridley Scott would one day make a film about the life and conquests of Napoleon Bonaparte. Now eighty-five, his latest film thrums with the energy and bombast of a much younger filmmaker; if it skimps on the depth, it certainly has a great time (and looks good) doing so.

Date published: November 24, 2023

Country: United Kingdom

Author: David Scarpa

Director(s): Ridley Scott

Actor(s): Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, Rupert Everett, Tahar Rahim

Genre: Action, Adventure, Biography

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Saltburn

Movie title: Saltburn (dir. Emerald Fennell)

Movie description: One-time Killing Eve writer Emerald Fennell follows up her Oscar-winning debut feature Promising Young Woman with this handsomely mounted but hollow story of class obsession that doesn’t so much live in The Talented Mr Ripley’s shadow as attempt to recreate it wholesale. As with many stories from the über-wealthy that aim to ‘eat the rich’, Saltburn packs a lot of bark but tragically little bite.

Date published: November 16, 2023

Country: United Kingdom

Author: Emerald Fennell

Director(s): Emerald Fennell

Actor(s): Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike,

Genre: Drama, Thriller, Comedy

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The Marvels

Movie title: The Marvels (dir. Nia DaCosta)

Date published: November 9, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Nia DaCosta, Megan McDonnell, Elissa Karasik

Director(s): Nia DaCosta

Actor(s): Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

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All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Movie title: All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (dir. Laura Poitras)

Movie description: One of very few documentaries to ever be awarded the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Citizenfour and Risk documentarian Laura Poitras’ biographical retelling of the life of extraordinary photographer and activist Nan Goldin may be her finest ever work. Weaving together Goldin’s astonishing imagery with her outspoken protests against über-rich Oxycontin peddlers the Sackler family, it is a startlingly relevant exploration of the limitations – and potentialities – of art under capitalism.

Date published: November 2, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Laura Poitras

Director(s): Laura Poitras

Actor(s): Nan Goldin, David Velasco, Megan Kapler

Genre: Documentary

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Dumb Money

Movie title: Dumb Money (dir. Craig Gillespie)

Movie description: Recounting the breathless battle of wills that saw Gamestop stocks briefly flip Wall Street on its head during the pandemic, Craig Gillespie’s latest is an ensemble recounting of recent history in the vein of Adam McKay’s didactic message comedies like The Big Short and Vice. It fares better than those films, though, thanks to a strong cast and emphatic direction, though the film’s political incisiveness leaves a bit to be desired.

Date published: October 26, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Lauren Schuker Blum, Rebecca Angelo, Ben Mezrich

Director(s): Craig Gillespie

Actor(s): Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Vincent D'Onofrio, America Ferrera, Seth Rogen

Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama

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Killers Of The Flower Moon

Movie title: Killers Of The Flower Moon (Scorsese, 2023)

Movie description: Remarkable on every conceivable level, the latest sweeping epic from the greatest living filmmaker is a haunting, intricate masterwork quite unlike anything else in his unparalleled career. There will surely be no better film made this year – to see it in cinemas is a must.

Date published: October 19, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Eric Roth, Martin Scorsese, David Grann

Director(s): Martin Scorsese

Actor(s): Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow

Genre: Crime, Drama, History

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Streaming Roundup Reptile (Singer, 2023) / No One Will Save You (Duffield, 2023) / The Wes Anderson Roald Dahl Shorts (2023)

Movie title: Streaming Roundup Reptile (Singer, 2023) / No One Will Save You (Duffield, 2023) / The Wes Anderson Roald Dahl Shorts (2023)

Movie description: As the cinema world draws its breath to prepare for the plunge into Oscar season, a number of fascinating titles both great and not-so-great are being released with little fanfare to various streaming services. The best of them are good enough that you might question why they’ve been relegated to the black hole of the modern straight-to-DVD strategy.

Date published: October 6, 2023

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It Lives Inside

Movie title: It Lives Inside (Dutta, 2023)

Movie description: A promising concept and a welcome, fresh cultural perspective on the possession horror genre aren’t enough to save It Lives Inside from rote storytelling and half-baked scares. The debut from Bishal Dutta has its charms, but falls short of the potential this sort of story innately holds within.

Date published: September 25, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Bishal Dutta

Director(s): Bishal Dutta

Actor(s): Megan Suri, Neeru Bajwa, Mohana Krishnan

Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller

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A Rialto Channel Exclusive - The Night Logan Woke Up

Movie title: The Night Logan Woke Up (Dolan, 2022)

Movie description: The prolific Quebecois filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s first television series is an unsettling and intricate family drama, one that demonstrates a distinct maturation in the filmmaker’s style. It’s some of his most impressive work in years.

Date published: September 11, 2023

Country: Canada

Author: Xavier Dolan, Michel Marc Bouchard

Director(s): Xavier Dolan

Actor(s): Julie LeBreton, Patrick Hivon, Éric Bruneau, Xavier Dolan

Genre: Drama

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A Great Friend

Movie title: A Great Friend (Bésnard, 2023)

Movie description: Middlebrow comfort food to a fault, the latest from French filmmaker Eric Bésnard is sumptuously shot and features warm performances from its two leads, but cuts itself off from any sense of real profundity with its fatal adherence to risk-aversion. Likeable in the moment, forgotten moments later.

Date published: August 24, 2023

Country: France

Author: Éric Besnard

Director(s): Éric Besnard

Actor(s): Lambert Wilson, Grégory Gadebois, Marie Gillain

Genre: Comedy

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Asteroid City

Movie title: Asteroid City (Anderson, 2023)

Movie description: In recent years, Wes Anderson’s output has reached new levels of intricacy, his delightfully hand-crafted diorama worlds drawing acclaim from some circles and ire from others. His latest is sure to give plenty of fuel to both camps, but represents one of Anderson’s most fully realised and quietly personal efforts yet.

Date published: August 10, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Director(s): Wes Anderson

Actor(s): Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, Tom Hanks, Edward Norton, Jeffrey Wright

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

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New Zealand International Film Festival - Week One

Movie title: New Zealand International Film Festival - Week One

Movie description: Barbie and Oppenheimer can wait: the New Zealand International Film Festival, now in full swing, offers the best and most enriching cinema experience you can have in Aotearoa right now. A week in, a number of astonishing films have graced the Civic Theatre, with more to come - get in there while you can.

Date published: July 27, 2023

Country: New Zealand

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Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning - Part One

Movie title: Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning - Part One (McQuarrie, 2023)

Movie description: Returning for one last Mission, the first half of star Tom Cruise’s reported swansong for his most beloved series is a wondrous concoction that blends the paranoia and purposefulness of Brian DePalma’s original film with the utter spectacle of later entries. In terms of blockbuster entertainment, nothing else in the modern cinemasphere comes close.

Date published: July 17, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Bruce Geller, Erik Jendresen, Christopher McQuarrie

Director(s): Christopher McQuarrie

Actor(s): Tom Cruise, Hayley Atwell, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Pom Klementieff

Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller

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Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Movie title: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Mangold, 2023)

Movie description: Purportedly the last outing for Harrison Ford’s iconic treasure hunter, the fifth in the Indiana Jones series is also the first not to be directed by Steven Spielberg. What results is an enjoyable, even moving adventure - though one can’t help but miss the extra magic it might have had in the hands of a master.

Date published: June 30, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, David Koepp

Director(s): James Mangold

Actor(s): Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Genre: Action, Adventure

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The Flash

Movie title: The Flash (Muschietti, 2023)

Movie description: Billed as a kind of intermediary between the tortured current onscreen iteration of the DC Universe and the new, James Gunn-led vision to come, IT director Andy Muschietti’s long-fomenting The Flash finally arrives on-screen on a wave of toxic press. As it trods from promising beginnings to a befuddled climax, the film comes to evoke our current, deeply compromised cinema landscape in general.

Date published: June 15, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Christina Hodson, Joby Harold

Director(s): Andy Muschietti

Actor(s): Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon

Genre: Action, Adventure,

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Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Movie title: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse (Dos Santos, Thompson, Powers, 2023)

Movie description: The sequel to the hit animated superhero flick Into the Spider-verse is an expansion in every way - a grander story, a longer run-time and ever more dazzling arrays of imagery. It’s a visually stunning and frequently thrilling effort, even as it occasionally succumbs to sequel bloat.

Date published: June 1, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dave Callaham

Director(s): Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson

Actor(s): Shameek Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, Jake Johnson

Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure

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A Good Person

Movie title: A Good Person (Braff, 2023)

Movie description: The latest from Scrubs actor and Garden State director Zach Braff is this rote but well-meaning story of addiction and redemption. A treacly, cliche-ridden script is ultimately rescued by fiery, flinty performances from Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman, who bring the story to life in the scenes they share together.

Date published: May 18, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Zach Braff

Director(s): Zach Braff

Actor(s): Florence Pugh, Morgan Freeman, Celeste O'Connor

Genre: Drama

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume Three

Movie title: Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume Three (Gunn, 2023)

Movie description: Returning for one last ride with the eponymous heroes that he made into household names, director James Gunn pumps the third instalment of the Guardians trilogy with everything the series has been lacking in recent years - personality, colour, stakes and pathos. Easily the best Marvel film in several years, it feels positively nostalgic amidst the waves of slushy piles of content for which the post-Endgame brand has become known.

Date published: May 5, 2023

Country: United States

Author: James Gunn

Director(s): James Gunn

Actor(s): Chris Pratt, Chukwudi Iwuji, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

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Beau Is Afraid

Movie title: Beau Is Afraid (Aster, 2023)

Movie description: The third film from the mind behind Hereditary and Midsommar mastermind Ari Aster is a bit of a left turn from the filmmaker - an existential comedy-cum-nightmare where the horrors are anxiety and mummy issues. It’s a tremendously mounted experiment, but one that lacks a beating heart at its core.

Date published: April 21, 2023

Country: Canada

Author: Ari Aster

Director(s): Ari Aster

Actor(s): Joaquin Phoenix, Patti LuPone, Amy Ryan

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Drama

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True Colours

Movie title: True Colours (Glynn and McGregor, 2023)

Movie description: This four-part Australian miniseries is a handsome and well-wrought piece of mystery television, one that showcases a wide range of Australian talent and platforms an all-too-rare Indigenous Australian perspective on a large scale. It feels like a vital landmark in Australian storytelling for the screen.

Date published: April 6, 2023

Country: Australia

Author: Danielle MacLean

Director(s): Erica Glynn, Steven McGregor

Actor(s): Rarriwuy Hick, Warren H. Williams, Luke Arnold, Miranda Otto

Genre: Crime

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John Wick: Chapter 4

Movie title: John Wick: Chapter 4 (Stahelski, 2023)

Movie description: The latest instalment in the Keanu Reeves-starring action behemoth is everything you’d expect from a John Wick - balletic gun and knife-play, cartoonish character actors, mind-numbingly extensive world-building, and so on. It’s also, somehow, the best of the lot.

Date published: March 23, 2023

Country: United States

Author: Shay Hatten, Michael Finch, Derek Kolstad

Director(s): Chad Stahelski

Actor(s): Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Donnie Yen

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller

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