Film Reviews

Not Bad, just disappointing

Despite an appealing leading trio, Bad Moms' joie de vivre founders on a predictable plot.

REVIEW: Disappointingly, Bad Moms is an over-worked, under-cooked farce

An oddly joyous farce

Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano star in Swiss Army Man.

REVIEW: Your tolerance for this potentially offensive premise really depends on how much you like humour revolving around "bottom burps".

A celebration of body diversity

Harnaam Kaur, right, is one of the many women who share their stories in Taryn Brumfitt's body image documentary Embrace.

REVIEW: It's the film the Aussie censors didn't want you to see with your teens and tweens.

Moms oddly likeable and enjoyable

Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn play three very under-appreciated women in Bad Moms.

REVIEW: Some inspired improvisation aside, Bad Moms is simply an extended version of nothing you can't see in the trailer.

Tough, intelligent and wholly unique

The Sisyphean task of recovering and preserving what is left of Afghanistan's archive of 35mm film is the focus of A ...

REVIEW: If you care at all about film, about recent history, or just about the ways in which we tell each other stories, then you won't soon forget that you have seen this.

Now Showing: Sour Grapes

Sour Grapes details the rise and fall of wine "entrepreneur" Rudy Kurniawan.

REVIEW: A perhaps unintentionally damning indictment of the subjectivities and vagaries of wine investment.

An exercise in complete pointlessness

Even the presence of Morgan Freeman can't save Ben-Hur.

REVIEW: I've seen far worse films, but I haven't seen a film that deserved to fail quite as badly as this in years.

Exotic Traitor lacks Manager's depth

Ewan McGregor's poetics lecturer finds himself drawn into the world of Stellan Skarsgard's Russian mafia money launderer ...

REVIEW: Despite boasting plenty of cast and crew from the most recent Bond films, this adaptation of John Le Carre's 2010 novel actually feels more like a throwback to the Hitchcock tales of the 1950s and 60s.

Keeping truth at arms' length disappoints

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill star in War Dogs.

REVIEW: It's Lord Of War replayed as a stoner frat-boy comedy.

REVIEW: Pete's Dragon

Pete (Oakes Fegley) plays with his dragon, Elliott.

REVIEW: Pete's Dragon is more about friendship than it is a dragon.

Now Showing: War Dogs

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill star in War Dogs.

REVIEW: It's not awful; it just isn't any good.

Disposable and proud of it

It's Blake Lively wearing not much at all, versus a special effect in The Shallows.

REVIEW: Blake Lively's latest is one of the happiest surprises of the blockbuster season

A delightful adventure unfolds

A blend of eastern mythologies, Harry Potter and Laika's own Coraline, Kubo is a simple action-adventure lifted by an ...

REVIEW: Tolerably thrilling for primary age children, the dark-tinged, dreamlike Kubo is a welcome antidote to the usual brash and sometimes brusque traditional Hollywood animated fare.

Paper wizardry covers story's cracks

The beauty of each scene marks Kubo and the Two Strings out from the raft of CGI-created movies churned out every year.

REVIEW: Stop-motion animation trumps story in Coraline creators' latest

Lively new take on aquatic terror

Blake Lively may not get to extend her acting range much beyond frightened and exhausted in The Shallows, but her plight ...

REVIEW: If your heart isn't pounding for most of this film, you're not alive.

Pete's Dragon - this decade's E.T.

Weta magic helps bring Pete's Dragon to life.

REVIEW: Pete's Dragon is exactly what you are hoping for. It is a witty, gentle, admirable and perfectly old-fashioned film.

Fun with Fabulous old friends

Absolutely Fabulous fans will be pleased to see  the amazing chemistry between Edina and Patsy hasn't faded with time

REVIEW: Even if the film isn't quite as fabulous as the TV series, its leading ladies certainly haven't lost their charm.

Now Showing: Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad's best 15 minutes are the initial character introductions, all-backed by classic cuts from parent company ...

REVIEW: Two-hours of what is all sizzle and no substance

Nasty, brutish, short and brilliant

Patrick Stewart's presence helps ensure that Green Room remains engrossing, relatable and even believable from first ...

REVIEW: Green Room seems like simplicity itself, but exceedingly well done.

Fabulous big screen makeover

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is breezy, fast-paced, chock full of pointless-but-fun cameos, occasionally bitingly ...

REVIEW: As with any great episode of Ab Fab, the film is a pretty even mix of jokes so obvious you can only groan when they arrive, and a few scenes of quite delirious comic invention.

Stunning mix of vision and sound

A Flickering Truth offers a look at a very different side of Afghanistan than we're used to.

REVIEW: Kiwi director offers a look at a very different side of Afghanistan than we're used to.

A real nail-biter

Patrick Stewart's pitch-perfect disingenuity keeps us on our toes as much as it does the youngsters in Green Room.

REVIEW: This is the best kind of independent movie: brilliantly written, perfectly performed and utterly enthralling.

Poi E anthem deserved revisiting

Poi E - The Story of Our Song wonderfully studies the impact and influence of the unlikely hit.

Review: Poi E doco a worthy reflection on an unlikely pop hit.

DVD Review: The Witch

The Witch is out on DVD on August 10.

REVIEW: Filled with memorable imagery, from the cleverly shot, heart-stopping game of peek-a-boo to the stunning final few moments, The Witch is a haunting must-see.

Rams offers deft, icy drama

Rams is a symphony of hand-knitted jumpers and fabulously grey and unkempt beardiness.

REVIEW: if you like your humour at the bleak end of the scale, then this new Iceandic drama is for you.

Plot leaves Squad little to do

Suicide Squad's storyline feels like no one really had the foggiest idea of what to do with the characters they had so ...

REVIEW: Suicide Squad truly does hit the ground running. And then it falls flat on its arse. And hard

Poi E touching, highly-entertaining

Poi E: The Story of Our Song will make you laugh, cry and have you humming that darn song for days.

REVIEW: You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be humming that darn song for days.

Storytelling Prime reason for film's success

Fusing traditional Māori waiata with synthesiser tropes, Poi E became the nation's favourite song

REVIEW: As soon as Dalvanius and his crew are heading to Auckland to record their single, every detail is fascinating, moving and ultimately enchanting.

Ovine rivalry hits thaw point

Both as wild and woolly as their beloved ovines, you can feel the two brothers' deep attachment to their livelihood.

REVIEW: We've yet to make a film like this that eulogizes a sheep's place in our society.

A Kiwi classic in the making

The Patea Maori Club is still going strong today.

REVIEW: This lovingly crafted, intimate documentary captures the anarchic spirit of the song and its creator Dalvanius Prime.

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