Review Archive

Review: FOMO 2020 was more than just The Lizzo Show

Sam Brooks went to the FOMO 2020 festival in Auckland, and was relieved to find it was more than just the final time that Lizzo will ever perform at 7:20pm.

Review: A Murder at Malabar Hill is a new kind of crime novel

Chris Cessford welcomes a sumptuous crime story starring a 'rule-breaking badass in a sari'.

Review: Netflix’s You returns for an irresistibly pulpy second season

Sam Brooks reviews the second season of You, the surprise Netflix hit of 2018 that made toxic masculinity fun and watchable, and it finally finds the depth to earn that fun.

Review: Netflix’s The Witcher isn’t the new Game of Thrones – and thank god for that

Sam Brooks reviews Netflix's The Witcher, a wildly fun adaptation of the Polish fantasy novels of the same name.

Review: Colonial Combat reinvents colonisation as a level playing field

Is there something to be learned from TVNZ's Wild West-meets-WWE-meets-19th-century-New Zealand web series? After all, writes Sharon Mazer, colonisation, like professional wrestling, is a fixed match.

Review: Netflix’s Marriage Story wrenches an authentic heart out of an ugly divorce

Sam Brooks reviews Marriage Story, the latest Netflix movie that tackles that universally horrible experience: Divorce.

Review: Indie game Gris builds glorious beauty out of simple foundations

Sam Brooks reviews Gris, the stunning, newly updated game from Devolver Digital that gamifies and makes beautiful that one universal process: grief.

Review: A Madness of Sunshine made me really, really mad

Books editor Catherine Woulfe on the much-anticipated first thriller by New Zealander and New York Times bestseller, Nalini Singh. 

Review: Emily Writes laughs and weeps her way through How To Be A Family

Dan Kois's family memoir is a true delight, and reading him write about NZ is a real trip, says Emily Writes.

The Spinoff Reviews New Zealand #103: The kids’ playground at Parliament

Emily Writes and her son pay a visit to the brand new 'playground' on the Parliament lawn.

Review: Pokemon Sword and Shield finally reach the next stage of evolution

Sam Brooks reviews the latest generation of the Pokémon games which finally hits the big-ish screen.

Look out, here she comes: A review of the luminous, tender Olive, Again

Marion McLeod revels in the return of Olive Kitteridge, the compassionate curmudgeon who won Elizabeth Strout a Pulitzer Prize. 

Review: The Mandalorian propels Star Wars to a galaxy far, far, not so far away

Can the much-hyped Disney+ show The Mandalorian serve the Star Wars diehards at the same time as the casual viewer?

Review: The Crown is a gorgeous celebration of a harmful status quo

Sam Brooks reviews the third season of The Crown, a show that can't decide whether it wants to humanise the monarchy or tear it all down.

Welcome to the jungle: The Burning River, reviewed

Books editor Catherine Woulfe follows Wellington author Lawrence Patchett into his extraordinary story of heat and water and history repeating. 

Review: Kids’ TV show Goodnight Kiwi is short but very, very sweet

Tara Ward reviews Goodnight Kiwi, a new series that features well known New Zealanders reading bedtime stories to kids and brings the iconic bird back to our screens. 

Review: Wolf Warrior 2, the Chinese propaganda film partly made in NZ

Sam Brooks reviews Wolf Warrior 2, the weird as hell Chinese propaganda film partly made in New Zealand.

Growing up is hard to do: Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth, reviewed

Dr Susan Wardell, a His Dark Materials fan who grew up to be a social anthropologist, reviews the much-anticipated sort-of sequel, The Secret Commonwealth.

A review of JVN’s revelatory, maddening, potentially premature memoir

Sam Brooks, noted critic of the Queer Eye juggernaut, reviews Over the Top, a memoir by the show's most flamboyant star Jonathan Van Ness.

Review: Dickinson finds a lively teenage soul in a long dead poet

Tara Ward reviews Dickinson, a dishy romp through the teenage years of Emily Dickinson.

The Spinoff Reviews New Zealand #102: Suntory Boss Coffee

We review the entire country and culture of New Zealand, one thing at a time. Today, Alice Neville and Matthew McAuley chugalug some new-to-NZ (kind of) Japanese coffee in a can.

Review: Trails of Cold Steel is as good as video game storytelling gets

Sam Brooks reviews the latest Trails of Cold Steel entry and finds a rare thing: a game full of love and care.

Review: BoJack Horseman is a hilarious, devastating ode to damaged people

The first half of the final season of depressed equine comedy BoJack Horseman drops today on Netflix, and it's as bleakly hilarious as ever.

Review: The Spinoff’s verdict on Taika Waititi’s new movie, Jojo Rabbit

The latest film by New Zealand's celebrity director Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit, is released in cinemas today. Here are our thoughts.