There is a scene about two thirds of the way through Joker, when Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck is found outside a hospital by two detectives and briefly questioned. It's a miniature of all that Joker could have been, and all that it fails to achieve. The scene is tense and taut, with Fleck responding to … Continue reading Joker
It's tempting to think, in platitudes, that family is the same the world over; that we all have our blood ties, at the end of the day, and these connections will out. That's not really true though, or is simplistic, more kindly. Different cultures have radically different attitudes and expectations when it comes to family … Continue reading The Farewell
Quentin Tarantino is indulgent. It's nothing new. What is more surprising is that his indulgences in OUATIH are a mixed bag, thematically slapdash despite their occasional brilliance. This is an atypical film from QT. Rather than an extended and multifaceted plot threading itself over time, we see the meandering stories of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), … Continue reading Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
If Endgame was an enormous banquet of a film, a gluttonous self-indulgence just about earned by a franchise that is increasingly dominating the planet, Marvel seems to have positioned Far From Home as a wafer thin mint to finish the lot off. But so soon after the release (and obviously-motivated re-release) of the generation-spanning Avengers … Continue reading Spiderman: Far From Home
With all the inevitability of a purple half-giant snapping his fingers, the Avengers saga rumbles to a close, the world's box offices crumbling before it.
Are DC finally beginning to figure it out? If they can't have the world-beating, all-conquering cinematic mega franchise that Marvel have built, could they at least have a few films that aren't absolutely hideous? The closest conclusion available is now a hard "maybe". Zachary Levy is the titular Shazam, the title itself referring to the … Continue reading Shazam!
Lacking some of the cynicism of other franchise-launchers, Mortal Engines is nonetheless an limited adaptation of the first of Philip Reeve's excellent YA novels. Now looking certain for commercial doom, it's a creditable maiden voyage in intentions but not execution. Reeve's setting is the film's primary strength, a nuclear post-apocalypse in which surviving cities have been … Continue reading Mortal Engines
Creed was a small-scale miracle of a film, perfectly cast and with the right director, finding all of its component parts at the apt time. Its newly-released sequel is, sadly, the film the first threatened to be, inoffensive and totally unessential. Minus the now-stratospherically successful Ryan Coogler in the director's chair, Creed II does reunite the principal cast … Continue reading Creed II
With a baseline of eccentricity and challenging motifs, Sorry to Bother You blazes a trail into brilliant, unpredictable territory. It is a flaming-hot debut for polymath Boots Riley. Lakeith Stanfield, so excellent in Short Term 12 in 2013 before a smashing reemergence on Atlanta and in Get Out, is Cassius Green. Cash to his friends, he's a low-skilled but … Continue reading Sorry to Bother You
It is perhaps a measure of director James Wan's baseless optimism regarding his vision for Aquaman that, partway through its bloated bulk, he gives himself licence to play a Pitbull cover of Totò's Africa as his characters enter the Sahara desert. This can only have been the culmination of a series of decisions that are almost … Continue reading Aquaman