Coldcut and On-U Sound’s ‘Outside the Echo Chamber’

Dave Faulkner
A collaboration between dance and dub legends Coldcut and On-U Sound delivers an impressively forward-thinking reggae album, with stellar contributions from Roots Manuva, Ce’Cile and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.

Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’

Christos Tsiolkas
Jordan Peele’s satirical horror Get Out fails to frighten by addressing America’s race politics on the surface rather than probing its subconscious fears.

Versus Rodin

Patrick Hartigan
The Art Gallery of SA’s crowded rooms of images and sculptures overwhelm the opportunity of its Versus Rodin exhibition to pit contemporary artists against the figurative master.

Sylvan Esso’s ‘What Now’

Dave Faulkner

On What Now, North Carolinian electronic duo Sylvan Esso successfully meld voice and instruments in a way that dissolves the distinction.

Big Little Lies

Helen Razer
From the designer clothes to the covetable houses to the A-list cast, Big Little Lies is a quality potboiler. But beyond the gloss, the series explores deeper social issues in a refreshingly nuanced way.

Kristen Stewart and Olivier Assayas’s ‘Personal Shopper’

Christos Tsiolkas
Although at times a slightly confused ghost story, Personal Shopper trades on the talent of Kristen Stewart and her connection with director Olivier Assayas.

Red Stitch Theatre’s ‘Rules for Living’

Peter Craven

In the style of Alan Ayckbourn, Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living for Red Stitch portrays middle-class disarray at its most engaging.

Polish Club’s ‘Alright Already’

Dave Faulkner
For all the bands who think they know rock’n’roll, Sydney duo Polish Club use their debut album to prove they actually do.

Visions of Utopia and Superposition of three types

Patrick Hartigan
Two exhibitions of utopian abstraction enable comparison of pure ideological approaches with something gentler. The latter is more satisfying.

Married at First Sight

Helen Razer
You may not learn anything from the lab-coated matchmaking experts of Married at First Sight, but the show captures the reality of today’s dating culture.

The Magnetic Fields’ ‘50 Song Memoir’

Dave Faulkner
Composing a song for every year of Stephin Merritt’s life has resulted in The Magnetic Fields’ eclectic five-album tour de force, 50 Song Memoir.

MTC’s ‘John’

Peter Craven
Sarah Goodes’ MTC production of John features two actors at the height of their powers, in a drama from the master playwright Annie Baker.

Richard Long, Vernon Ah Kee and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Patrick Hartigan
Amid a deluge of data, land and lore tell a compelling story of the actual over the virtual world.

The Book of Mormon

Peter Craven
The Book of Mormon, from the creators of South Park, is a blasphemous riot of bad taste, making it a musical not to be missed.

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’

Christos Tsiolkas
In his tale of Portuguese Jesuit priests travelling in Japan at a time when Christianity was outlawed, Martin Scorsese returns to the complexities of faith, and makes his best film in 20 years

Cherry Glazerr’s ‘Apocalipstick’

Dave Faulkner
With a sharp and unpredictable songwriter, LA’s new wave pop trio Cherry Glazerr are walking in the footsteps of Blondie.

Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’

Christos Tsiolkas
Whiplash director Damien Chazelle has sought to deliver a classic Hollywood musical, but La La Land fails to spark.

Opera Australia’s Ring cycle

Peter Craven
Neil Armfield’s stark but powerful Ring delivers Wagner’s masterpiece as a triumph of the Australian stage, as good as could be imagined anywhere.

A. B. Original’s ‘Reclaim Australia’

Dave Faulkner
Hip-hop duo A. B. Original have delivered an incendiary album describing the experiences of Aboriginal Australia, and it’s the most exciting local release of the year.

Red Stitch Theatre’s ‘Uncle Vanya’

Peter Craven
Nadia Tass’s production of Uncle Vanya for Red Stitch suffers from some pretensions, but a superb cast does the incomparable Chekhov justice.

MONA’s ‘On the Origin of Art’

Patrick Hartigan
MONA’s On the Origin of Art features curation by a cognitive scientist, a professor of literature, a psychologist and an evolutionary neurobiologist.

Syd Arthur’s ‘Apricity’

Dave Faulkner
The shifting time signatures of Syd Arthur’s latest psychedelic album, Apricity, testify to the tight musicianship and broad influences of this band of brothers from Canterbury.

Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Elle’

Christos Tsiolkas
Isabelle Huppert’s masterful turn in Elle, Paul Verhoeven’s latest skewering of middle-class concerns, is let down by a psychosexual bent with no convincing basis.

ABC TV’s ‘Rosehaven’

Helen Razer
In Rosehaven, Luke McGregor and Celia Pacquola have delivered a comedy comparable to Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, with the wit to reflect on life’s disappointments without eschewing laughs.

‘Switzerland’ at MTC

Peter Craven
Joanna Murray-Smith’s drama about thriller writer Patricia Highsmith’s dying days sequestered in Switzerland is brilliant, sinister entertainment in the Hitchcock mode.

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