BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE is an overstuffed but healthy dose of pulp-noir

Has the El Royale seen anything but bad times? We hope the answer is no. Otherwise, what’s the damn point of a film. Last seen receiving acclaim for the slightly overrated ‘The Martian’, writer-director Drew Goddard is now overseeing a thriller that is way more ambitious than it needs to be. Set around the junction… Read More BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE is an overstuffed but healthy dose of pulp-noir

BADLUCK JOE – This bloated romp really should’ve been all about Patapaa

I reckon there is an alternate version of Ramesh Jai’s ‘Badluck Joe’ loafing in the cloud. This unmade script is a deft satire about the cynical machinations and mafias that spawn around grief when the rights to oversee funeral rites are at stake, in addition to a juicy inheritance of course. This unmade version isn’t… Read More BADLUCK JOE – This bloated romp really should’ve been all about Patapaa

HEREDITARY – Deep down, I’m thankful this deeply upsetting film wasn’t perfect

When ‘Hereditary’ hit its peak in an unmissable moment that petrifies the soul, I was thrust through a torrid gateway to a suffocating dimension of childhood regret and trauma. If you are anything like me, chances are you were seized by palpitations and fits as an unforgiving bout PTSD took hold. First-time director Ari Aster… Read More HEREDITARY – Deep down, I’m thankful this deeply upsetting film wasn’t perfect

An unforgettable Tom Hardy ramps up the absurdist intensity in VENOM

There’s a scene in ‘Venom’ in which Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock, a hapless investigative reporter, enters a high-end restaurant looking for his ex-girlfriend, Anne (Michelle Williams). He’s recently bonded with the titular symbiote after some espionage gone wrong and he thinks he is going insane. His hulking frame is soaked in sweat and the brash… Read More An unforgettable Tom Hardy ramps up the absurdist intensity in VENOM

FIRST REFORMED – This angst-fuelled study sees Christianity in its darkest hour

There are Christian films, tons of them actually; largely dogmatic, largely cosmetic. Then there are films about Christianity; films that probe at the faith and calling many of us, including myself, hold dear with a confluence of cinematic dexterity and earnest spirituality. Paul Schrader’s powerful ‘First Reformed’ is firmly in the latter; unrelenting its exploration… Read More FIRST REFORMED – This angst-fuelled study sees Christianity in its darkest hour

A SIMPLE FAVOR – This comic-noir is convoluted but never uncontrolled

Watching Blake Lively in the Paul Feig directed ‘A Simple Favor’, she finally came across as the woman who calls Ryan Reynolds her better half. She plays this snide martini-toting fashionista PR exec in this enjoyable “black comedy” which thrives on strong central performances but befuddles with its willfully schizophrenic tone, in this adaptation of… Read More A SIMPLE FAVOR – This comic-noir is convoluted but never uncontrolled

THE PREDATOR – Everyone’s calling it a mess, everyone’s right

Yes, ‘The Predator’ is a bit of a mess. Given Shane Black’s involvement, it pains me to admit this. It scores points for being a passable piece of counter-programming following months of largely PG-13 fare. But that was not enough to match my high expectations. There’s a lot of blood, guts, crass humor and machine… Read More THE PREDATOR – Everyone’s calling it a mess, everyone’s right

BLACKKKLANSMAN – Levity, despair hold hands in Spike Lee’s latest rallying cry

Spike Lee is in top form for his latest joint, ‘BlacKkKlansman’, and America seems to have caught up with his alarms and rhetoric on race some 30 years after ‘Do The Right Thing’. It’s a shame it took a toxic mass of agent orange in a Three Piece Suit for it to hit home. ‘BlacKkKlansman’… Read More BLACKKKLANSMAN – Levity, despair hold hands in Spike Lee’s latest rallying cry

THE EQUALIZER 2 – Thrills are sacrificed for heart in this uneven sequel

Thespian demigod Denzel Washington makes his sequel debut in the ‘The Equalizer 2’. He’s the apparent last man standing in old man action sub-genre. His return as the ruthless avenging vigilante, Robert McCall, whilst a novelty, isn’t immune to some albatrosses that held back similar sequels. The battle of recycling and refreshing a tried and… Read More THE EQUALIZER 2 – Thrills are sacrificed for heart in this uneven sequel

A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN – Finding nourishment in a gyre of violence

Intimacy. That’s the surprising sentiment that rung in my head after seeing ‘A Prayer Before Dawn’, an immersive prison drama based on a true story which charts a man’s tortured path to redemption. It is expertly told in the way it projects relations between characters that soothe and revile; comfort and violate. Our director, Jean-Stéphane… Read More A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN – Finding nourishment in a gyre of violence