Aug 182016
 

The Shallows Duo

The Shallows is the latest film from Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Non-Stop), who has developed a loyal fan-base with his ability to liven-up the tired tropes of mass-appeal genre films. After a trio of Liam Neeson-led shoot-em-up action entries (including the pretty decent Non-Stop, which was effectively an Agatha-Christie-on-a plane) he returns to horror, where he last worked in 2009 with the underrated Orphan. In what is perhaps his best film to date – on the simplest terms Jaws meets 127 Hours – he tells a gripping and visually arresting survival story of a desperate but determined woman clinging to glimpses of hope, and using her substantial wits and capabilities to fix and manoeuvre her injured body, and navigate the safe havens at her disposal. With a game, intense performance from Lively, and some vicious shark take-downs this is a particularly strong entry in the oft-tried sub-genre.

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Aug 092016
 

ghostbusters

July was the month that I decided to take a step back from cinema. It’s not that I love movies any less, it’s just that after 4+ years of regularly attending screenings/festivals and writing about movies, I really need a break. I am still watching films, but only those films I really want to (no obligation viewings for me), but I am not really writing at the moment. I have to admit it’s kind of freeing, particularly considering how sub-par this blockbuster season has been. I suspect Spring and the increase of indies at the cinema might just get my writing juices flowing again. My round-up of my July viewing is after the jump.

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Aug 062016
 

jasonbourne

After vowing that they were done with the Bourne films, Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass are back with yet another Jason Bourne movie called, um, Jason Bourne. Arriving after a stellar trilogy of Damon-led films and a sole experiment with Jeremy Renner, Jason Bourne had the potential to be another gripping instalment in the life of everyone’s favourite amnesiac superspy. What was delivered has instead fallen far short of what came before, including the Damon-less The Bourne Legacy which at least made an admirable attempt at innovation. My review of Jason Bourne is after the jump.
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Aug 012016
 

the-long-goodbye-21

You may have seen an announcement that Sam and I made a few weeks back. We are significantly trimming back the content on An Online Universe, as a result of various influences that are limiting our time, and affecting our inspiration to write.

I have simply not had the time or the energy to review the films I am seeing, or write much about anything. I did, however, watch quite a lot of movies. Almost entirely home viewing – a mix of DTV titles, 2016 catch-up, and a few recommended ’80s and ’90s classics. I ended up watching 31 films, and 11 episodes of TV (including the entire season of Stranger Things).

I spent many hours gaming this month – completing Witcher 3: Wild Hut and starting and finishing Uncharted 4, two of the greatest games I have ever experienced. I read Dan Brown’s Inferno – average, what you’d expect from Brown but conceptually thinner and less inspired than his earlier best-sellers – Presumed Innocent – an exceptional psychological whodunit that was adapted into a 1990 film starring Harrison Ford – and three Agatha Christie novels: Three Act Tragedy, Nemesis and Curtain. My next challenge is American Gods, in preparation of the upcoming TV series.

Album of the year update: things are getting quite crowded at the top. 2016 is becoming perhaps my favourite year for music since 2010. In order of discovery, here are my current top 10 albums of the year so far:

Malibu – Anderson .Paak

D-J-Kicks – Moodymann

The Life of Pablo – Kanye West

Singing Saw – Kevin Morby

Paradise – White Lung

A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead

The Colour in Anything – James Blake

The Glowing Man – Swans

2 – Mudcrutch

Love and Hate – Michael Kiwanuka

After the jump, check out my thoughts on all of my fresh viewing for the month.  Continue reading »

Jul 212016
 

startrek

Opinion has been sharply divided over the two rebooted Star Trek films spearheaded by J.J Abrams. Many long-term fans of the sci-fi behemoth have been underwhelmed, dismissing the films as action films set in space. Others with less investment in the property, myself included, have found great enjoyment in them for precisely the same reason.
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Jul 172016
 

katem

Hello all. You may have noticed we’ve been a little quiet since Sydney Film Festival wrapped up last month. We thought it was time to provide an update. For the foreseeable future we have decided to scale down our efforts on An Online Universe. For a long time we’ve posted festival news, weekly release schedules, reviews of new films and more on a fairly regular basis. While rewarding, it is extremely time-consuming, and that’s time we just don’t have to give at the moment.

We’re not closing down or going away. When we see something we want to write about or have something to say, we’ll post it on here, it just won’t be to any schedule – we might post 4 things one week and then go 3 weeks without posting anything else, but we’re still going to be here in some form. We hope you’ll still stop by time to time. You can also still find us spouting opinions regularly on Twitter.

Sam & Andrew

Jul 132016
 

image

John Carney (Once and Begin Again) has become the master of the romantic-musical-dramedy, and his irresistible latest film Sing Street, his most personal – mined from his own experiences as a youth – and best to date, is a charming feel-good portrait of ’80s Dublin. With a truly awesome nostalgic Brit-pop soundtrack featuring The Cure, Duran Duran, Hall & Oates and Joe Jackson, likeable, engaging performances from the talented young cast and a poignant examination of teenage romance, brotherly love, and the power of music to provoke creativity, unite, define, rebel and change your life, Sing Street is a joy to behold. Read why it is one my favourite films of the year after the jump.

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Jul 052016
 

Eyeinthesky

June was crammed packed with amazing films thanks to Sydney Film Festival. It’s a weird feeling when the festival is done – on one hand I don’t want to see a cinema for a little while, but on the other hand I mourn the end of the fabulous array of films and wonderful people who visit Sydney to see them. I haven’t written about the festival films in my round-up this month, I think I said enough online, in our festival awards post, and in my various reviews. Brief thoughts of everything else I watched, including two of the year’s best, are after the jump.

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 Posted by at 20:47