JUST MERCY offers inspiration and urgency but wants for a nuanced dissection of hope

Based on a true story, ‘Just Mercy’ is at its most effective when it highlights the disconcerting ways the bar of justice and decency for black people is lowered to upsettingly low levels. It tells the story of Harvard law graduate Bryan Stevenson’s (Michael B. Jordan) idealist charge towards righting some wrongs on the deathContinue reading “JUST MERCY offers inspiration and urgency but wants for a nuanced dissection of hope”

The zestful BAD BOYS FOR LIFE proves life can begin after 50

We are partying like its 1995 in ‘Bad Boys For Life’ as Belgian directing duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah inject streams of wit and vitality into a series that left a sour taste in many mouths some 17 years ago. The only way was up for the iconic Will Smith-Martin Lawrence vehicle whenContinue reading “The zestful BAD BOYS FOR LIFE proves life can begin after 50”

THE INFORMER ticks the box for serviceable January action fare

‘The Informer’ offers more genre thrills that its lame title would have you think. This Joel Kinnaman led vehicle is the kind of January action cinema fare we have come to expect, packaged in a semi tedious confidential informant drama that finds its feet when it finds itself within the confines of a prison movie.Continue reading “THE INFORMER ticks the box for serviceable January action fare”

GOLD COAST LOUNGE offers fleeting pleasures despite an undercooked script

Is Afro-noir going to be a thing after ‘Gold Coast Lounge’, the latest cinematic offering from writer-director Pascal Aka? Film noir serves as the obvious inspiration for this post-independence crime flick which is rife with distracting anachronisms brought on by budget constraints and drab archetypes given life by an undercooked screenplay. Whilst the aesthetic andContinue reading “GOLD COAST LOUNGE offers fleeting pleasures despite an undercooked script”

The strong pull of the safe and familiar sinks THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

There is a moment in ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ where Adam Driver’s cracklingly compelling Kylo Ren has the helmet he smashed beyond recognition in ‘The Last Jedi’ repaired. The end product looks whole but is clumsy and grotesque with its fiery fissures, backed by minimal innovation and even less purpose as the helmetContinue reading “The strong pull of the safe and familiar sinks THE RISE OF SKYWALKER”

ASH IS PUREST WHITE surrenders to the power of time in absorbing fashion

Love, crime, and change coalesce into a sprawling feat of storytelling in director Jia Zhangke’s ‘Ash is Purest White’. Of the three elements that make up the film, change is the purest, standing the test of the fiery narrative forge Zhangke presents. For as alluring as the criminal underworld gets and as absorbing as theContinue reading “ASH IS PUREST WHITE surrenders to the power of time in absorbing fashion”

Mati Diop’s ATLANTICS is a textured supernatural mystery about love and longing

It’s unfair the amount of baggage I took to ‘Atlantics’, French-Senegalese director Mati Diop debut feature. This film has already appeared in some best of 2019 lists after winning the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival where Diop, became the first black woman director to be in contention for the Cannes Film Festival’sContinue reading “Mati Diop’s ATLANTICS is a textured supernatural mystery about love and longing”

THE IRISHMAN is a haunting epic about the passage of time and the erosion of humanity

The profound final shot of Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic ‘The Irishman’ evokes key elements in the codas to the first two Godfather films. Traces of fear and regret, loneliness and longing, loss and retribution are conjured in the haunting ending simultaneously piercing bone and marrow with laser precision only leave a seed that explodes intoContinue reading “THE IRISHMAN is a haunting epic about the passage of time and the erosion of humanity”

21 BRIDGES falls short of a gripping story but endears with its genre thrills

‘The Fugitive’, ‘Serpico’ and ‘The French Connection’ are some of the films cited as influences by Chadwick Bosman, star of thriller ’21 Bridges’. These are lofty ambitions that this Russo Brothers produced film does not quite hit. To be honest, on final product, it doesn’t really look like it had any intention of committing theContinue reading “21 BRIDGES falls short of a gripping story but endears with its genre thrills”