I Care A Lot Review

Rosamund Pike and Eiza González star in Netflix’s entertainingly wicked neo-noir darkly funny thriller as twisted predators who swindle seniors in a film which gives the right amount of wrong along with Dianne West and Peter Dinklage who makes the most of their rich supporting roles; capitalism, wages of power and the brutal indictment of the Western healthcare system.

To All the Boys: Always and Forever Review

The stuffed and packed trilogy-closer concludes the series with an idealistic charm and on a high note as well as being the perfect send off to the beloved couple played by Noah Centineo and Lana Condor who is focused on trying to get into the same college; sealed with a kiss?

The Dig Review

A lot of what surrounds Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes feels superfluous at times, but the pair makes an ideal bittersweet core for this gentle, quiet Netflix period drama about the stubbornness of history and archaeology while digging deep on human existence, but it’s also a lovely meditation on what lasts; it uncovers some dirt about the archaeological crowd but keeps it classy.

Malcolm and Marie Review

Sam Levinson reunites with his Euphoria star in a long-night volatile two-hander drama with a rich script about a fraying relationship and gives both John David Washington, Zendaya multiple opportunities to showcase their considerable talents as two smart, beautiful people who argue for the ages and an emotional reckoning following a director’s splashy premiere.

Bliss Review

From one reality to the other, Mike Cahill’s trippy mind-bender keeps us guessing with Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek showing extra layers in this compelling sci-fi drama thriller which journey between worlds about a man who discovers that he is living in a simulation; I guess it’s artificial in more ways than one.

The Little Things Review

Denzel Washington’s new enjoyably clichéd thriller fixates on different kinds of details as he returns to the police-crime genre in a film set in neo-noir 1990s Los Angeles which stars a trio of Oscar winners including Rami Malek as a different cop breed and Jared Leto as the wily principal suspect; it’s less a thriller than a starry slow-burn mood piece with detectives with haunting pasts.

Emily in Paris Season 1 Review

Lily Collins flounces around the City of Lights in this pretty, frivolous comedy that has elements of romance where the setting proves to be more entertaining than its protagonist and acts as a bland ‘Sex and the City’ imitation with no identity of its own; say “Oui Oui” to the very silly charming show we need right now.

Outside the Wire Review

Netflix’s low-rent, high-concept of the week stars Anthony Mackie as an android marine super-soldier with a conscience and is more human than his new partner in this alarmist rise-of-the-machines movie which borrows heavily from other sci-fi films but with vastly different results; as a movie which only thinks inside the box, nothing story-wise can save the unoriginal Netflix misfire.

The White Tiger Review

Ramin Bahrani’s Netflix darkly comical thriller is an absorbing tale and a brutal corrective to ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ staring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Adarsh Gourav in a flashy, fractured fairy tale adaptation about a poor Indian man who’s caught between his humble roots and his employer’s blinding wealth and power while clawing his way up the social ladder and has to make brutal compromises all because he’s unwilling to be a victim; Another ‘nobody’ dreams big in India, and he’s the kind of slumdog who bites.

WandaVision Review

Marvel’s first Disney+ series is a bewitching, bizarre marriage that unleashes the weird, untapped power of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while also being the most daring entry with infinite creative ambition and boldly setting the MCU into a surreal new direction and promising a new beginning; they beat Thanos, but can this ‘Avengers’ duo handle a wacky neighbour?

Parasite Review

Bong Joon-ho delivers a brilliant and devastating electric shock of economic anxiety in this subversive, funny, genre-bending thriller about class warfare that is on full display and is totally unclassifiable to one particular genre and proves that the director’s name has become a genre unto himself; the less you know about Parasite, the better.

Promising Young Woman Review

Carey Mulligan spectacularly stars in Emerald Fennell’s shocking smart revenge comedy debut feature about a young woman confronting the traumas of her past in a sneering, winking provocation of a movie that is also a new breed of rape-revenge films, with a caustic, killer ending; it floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee.

Locked Down Review

Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor carry Doug Liman’s light-hearted, star-powered movie which uses the real-life pandemic as a background for a rom-com movie about an estranged couple who plots a jewel heist during lockdown; let’s call it Once Upon a Crime in Quarantine.

One Night in Miami Review

Regina King’s directorial debut is a vibrant, stunning, captivating drama with a reflective slice of History as four actors put powerful spins on legends Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali and find the flawed human reality within them as they have conflicting perspectives on the Black struggle and excellence; it’s a sort of fictional account that threads along the what if? lines but is immensely watchable.

News of the World Review

Tom Hanks stars in a broad-minded, bighearted film from Paul Greengrass and plays a searcher who reads the legends in this old-school western about two broken people finding unity after the Civil War while finding the right balance of character insight and bare-knuckled action; it’s an old fashioned western with a contemporary heart.

Small Axe: Education Review

Steve McQueen concludes his ‘Small Axe’ film series with a universal appeal of an inspiring domestic drama about a 12-year-old boy stigmatized by the British school authority’s stealth segregation policy and is his most tender work to date; children are the future, and both have to be fought for.

Small Axe: Alex Wheatle Review

Steve McQueen’s fourth entry into the ‘Small Axe’ series is a portrait of the British author as a young lost soul who came from nothing and reminds us that none of us can create a future without first understanding our collective past; it is a sweet biopic in miniature of a man finding his place in a world stacked against him.

Small Axe: Red, White and Blue Review

In Steve McQueen’s third instalment, John Boyega gives a career-best performance and plays a police officer who attempts to change the system and beat institutional racism by joining the system while tackling issues of bigotry, belonging, race and redemption; ‘Red, White and Blue’ doesn’t give easy answers on police brutality.

Small Axe: Lovers Rock Review

The second entry in ‘Small Axe’ is exuberant and surprisingly tender while conjuring the sensual atmosphere and freedom of a 1980s house party and having one of the best dance parties ever filmed; great things can come in small packages.

Small Axe: Mangrove Review

Steve McQueen’s first entry of ‘Small Axe’ is a compelling tale of racial injustice which exposes the police brutality of the past and the present and builds to a thrilling spotlighted courtroom showdown filled with a powerhouse cast that turns the story of the ‘Mangrove Nine’ into a taut and absorbing drama; the film is a towering achievement.

His Dark Materials Season 2 Review

His Dark Materials finally finds its footing in a thrilling, adventure-filled second season that is great to look at but does not inspire as much wonder as it ought to though Ruth Wilson’s performance is certainly a highlight as Philip Pullman’s adaptation returns to the small screen.

Soul Review

Pixar’s new movie vividly recaptures joy and takes a bold, beautiful voyage to the afterlife as well as the before-life and is dizzying as it is in its complex story of otherworldly customs while carrying a simple message of treasuring moments on Earth and acts as a tribute to the vitality of jazz, New York City, and the immaterial world; it’s musical, metaphysical and rides and existential high.

Shadow in the Cloud Review

Chloë Grace Moretz goes wild in an outrageously entertaining WW2-set movie in Roseanne Liang’s wonderfully bonkers B-movie that is low-key feminist and high-flying action-horror with its female lead fighting misogyny and a Gremlin; genre mashup occasionally defies logic but never lets the pace lag.

The Last Shift Review

A dramedy with its heart in slightly wrong places, Andrew Cohn’s fantastic fast-food tragedy is about the politics of class, identity, race and tells the story of two co-workers pitted against each other in times of poverty, one played by Shane Paul McGhie and the other by Richard Jenkins, a middle-aged man who pride in his job is upended as he trains his young replacement; this sharp drama dissects life’s struggles.

Herself Review

Phyllida Lloyd’s delicately empathetic portrayal of rebuilding yourself is co-written by its star Clare Dunne which tackles economic anxiety, housing scarcity and domestic abuse in one emotional package while rightfully earning our tears; this moving family drama puts hardship and hope on equal footing.

Wild Mountain Thyme Review

Jamie Dornan and Emily Blunt star in an overripe eccentric Irish love story as nice-looking farmers with relentless charms which makes it hard to resist who must both overcome a Jon Hamm’s handsome interloper, whimsical dialogue as well as Christopher Walken’s accent; its love but Irish farmer style.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Review

Viola Davis stars in a potent adaptation of August Wilson’s play and leads a cast with an explosive dynamic as well as showcasing Chadwick Boseman’s final, exhilarating, brilliant and over the top performance in a Netflix Oscar-worthy study on Black culture’s influence on American music; all the Blues that’s fit to sing.

Pieces of a Woman Review

Vanessa Kirby explores shades of grief and is shattered by the loss of her new-born baby in director Kornél Mundruczó’s raw, ragged study of a loss with its lead giving an intensely physical performance as a woman whose life and marriage are upended by the death of a child in a heart-stopping beginning which leads to an unforgettable character study and delivers the performance of her career opposite Shia LaBeouf; it is an extended meditation on coping with unimaginable loss.

We Can Be Heroes Review

Robert Rodriguez goes back to the kid’s genre and delivers a fun DIY ‘Avengers’ for children in this breezy low-budget, high-energy, anti-Trump superhero movie where a group of superhero offspring must team up to save their parents; it’s harmless fun for all ages!

Archenemy Review

Joe Manganiello plays a homeless drunk who may or may not be an interdimensional warrior in Adam Egypt Mortimer’s midnight movie and exposes the cost of comic book heroic; it’s one of those realistic superhero movies that just loses its ‘super’

All My Life Review

A romantic drama true love story which tries to turn heartbreaking into heart-warming is bolstered by the sweet chemistry of its attractive leads of Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr in a movie that always looks for ways to be unabashedly sentimental and proudly uplifting about a young, happy couple who carries on with hope after a devastating health diagnosis; an old-fashioned love and death story.

I’m Your Woman Review

Rachel Brosnahan stars in Julia Hart’s skilfully crafted 1970s-set gripping thriller as a career criminal’s wife on the run who has to learn fast after her husband’s rival is on the search for her in this crime gangster movie with a difference and takes its time revealing its intentions; this slow-burn has plenty of payoff by the end.

Minari Review

Steven Yeun gives a thoughtful performance in Lee Isaac Chung’s immensely moving, exquisite Korean immigrant drama story that is not only gentle and sweet but also a staggeringly powerful story of assimilating in the American Dream delivered with sensitivity and warmth and is an effortlessly poetic tale of redefinition and resilience; this film finds its power in particularity.

Nomadland Review

Frances McDormand anchors Chloé Zhao’s masterpiece drama delivering the performance of her career as a disenfranchised widow from a collapsed abandoned Nevada industrial town who has gone to look for independence and finds a new life on the road as a nomad in this quietly powerful vision of what America ought to be; the two women combined their powers to make a movie you won’t forget.

Sylvie’s Love Review

Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha star in a beautiful 1950s-set Black swoony love story drama about a budding TV executive who catches the attention of an aspiring jazz musician that wonderfully rethinks and revives the classic Hollywood melodrama and romance in this lush period piece; it is damn near perfect.

Kajillionaire Review

Evan Rachel Wood elevates a quirky con story about a family of small-stakes grifters who get their horizons broadened by a stranger in Miranda July’s darkly whimsical tale that’s a minor-key stretch of a movie with soulful undercurrents that sneak into a cynical plot; it’s an astounding metaphorical vision of a world out of whack.

Another Round Review

Mads Mikkelsen does award-worthy performance as an intoxicating high school teacher in Thomas Vinderberg’s incisive and insightful drama about a daytime-drinking experiment involving four teachers that is not only a hilarious and preposterous film but also a heartbreaking and exhilarating one that is far weightier than its premise implies.

Let Them All Talk Review

Meryl Streep leads Steven Soderbergh’s delightfully shaggy, wistful, smart comedy masterpiece about an aged author who reunites with old pals which reveals the fault lines of friendship and creativity while contemplating life, love, and literature on a cruise across the Atlantic Ocean; it was actually filmed unprecedentedly on an actual sea voyage.

Farewell Amor Review

An Angolan family reunites in New York after being separated for 17 years in Ekwa Msangi’s debut film that is both a finely acted immigrant tale that will make you want to dance and an empathetic slice of immigrant life that is not only sensitive but also hopeful; it’s a minor-key portrait of a family putting itself back together.

Monster Hunter Review

Monster Hunter is overstuffed with CGI and nothing more with Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa fighting visually pleasing beasts in a derivative video game adaptation directed by the “King of Video Game Movies’ who delivers a stylish parallel dimension where he brings on more video game mayhem to the big screen; could this be the reboot button which spans more sequels?

Wander Darkly Review

Sienna Miller and Diego Luna star in a trauma drama and explores the afterlife of their broken relationship in Tara Miele’s supernaturally tinged drama that comes with a metaphysical twist along with a great finale that makes this uneven indie film worth it; it’s an emotional journey without a false note.

Black Bear Review

Aubrey Plaza is marvellous and gets a spectacularly trippy showcase where she tops herself as the weird guest of a couple in conflict while leading a witty and razor-sharp genre-bending riot in a pulse-pounding film that turns itself inside out; ‘Black Bear’ is two dramas in one, and Aubrey Plaza is great in both of them: who’s afraid of the twisty stuff!?

Shirley Review

Elisabeth Moss has a monstrous presence while going gloriously demented in Josephine Decker’s literary biopic and finds the dark soul of Shirley Jackson in a fittingly Gothic unconventional psychodrama about the horror author’s poisoned writing process that uses a concoction of fact and magical realism.

On The Rocks Review

Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray reunite along with Rashida Jones for a captivating, sparkling, and soulful father-daughter dynamic drama while quipping their way through some snappy dialogue and amusing screwball comedy in this film about the cost of being cool but is also an honest self-portrait of an author struggling with domesticity; this is Bill Murray’s best role.

The Midnight Sky Review

George Clooney returns to star and direct in this Netflix post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama-thriller about a man who risks his life with a child in his care for the sake of communication, that is not only gorgeous, contemplative and strangely moving but also derivative from previous films; it shoots for the moon but misses and falls among the stars.

Greenland Review

Gerard Butler stars in Ric Roman Waugh’s apocalyptic film about a comet which threatens Earth and tells the story of a family’s desperate and sometimes agonizing journey to survival that becomes one of the rare disaster movies that feels realistic; a movie that is better than what 2020 deserves.

Sound of Metal Review

Riz Ahmed is brilliant and touchingly credible as a drummer who pursues life after losing his hearing and gives a searing central performance which is impressive in the film with the best use of sound design in recent history; when the music stops, the healing begins.

Wonder Woman 1984 Review

Gal Gadot returns in the sequel to the 2017 film in this neon-bright sequel that is the massive movie we have been waiting for and is unafraid to ask for honesty and hope alongside a wild story filled with outsized action and gives the titular heroine a questionable dark turn as she battles greed, desire and a not-so-great finale; along with the previous instalment, these two remains the DCEU’s best entries.

Songbird Review

The Michael Bay-produced pandemic-filmed thriller is extremely controversial, boring, dull and is based on a fictionalized story on what is happening now with an ensemble who each play individuals who are trying to survive a deadly pandemic; it sucks and should not even be made in the first place.

Words on Bathroom Walls Review

‘Words on Bathroom Walls’ is a delicate balancing act about a teen’s struggle to live a normal life despite his schizophrenia and is filled with inept moments of fantasy-muddled well-meaning teen comedy led by Charlie Plummer and Taylor Russell who both bolsters this gentle drama; it isn’t your typical teen movie, it’s a touching look at teen life.

Ramy Season 2 Review

The second season of Ramy is not only expansive, insightful, inclusive but remains funny & wildly unique as it dives deeper into the story of his flawed yet endearing Muslim-American New Jersey family & community while benefitting from the calm, charismatic guidance of guest star Mahershala Ali; this season pulls off a miracle, it is even better than the first!

Ammonite Review

Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan finds love in Francis Lee’s stunning sophomore debut and plays emotionally isolated mid-19th century women of different classes, one a fossil hunter, the other a convalescent, who open themselves up vulnerably and have a romantic affair which burns with quiet passion; a period-piece love on the rocks.

Ramy Season 1

Ramy Youssef plays a fictionalized version of himself in this excellent, sharp comedy series that is soulful, earnest, funny and is about the titular character as he navigates life between two cultures while the show examines the American-Muslim life with impressively big questions on its mind; generous, witty, and profound, Ramy is a must-see sitcom.

Babyteeth Review

Ben Mendelsohn and Essie Davis star in this gentle, affecting tear-jerker that is both an arresting family drama but also a dynamic, devastatingly curtailed coming-of-age comedy, but it is Eliza Scanlen who leads this vibrant, unique, touching, unforgettable tale of love and terminal illness.

First Cow Review

A 19th-century western masterpiece, First Cow is a tranquil reflection on masculine tenderness and a quiet story of friendship about a pair of new-found mates who makes money by stealing milk from a newly arrived cow; the film that you might not have heard but have to see.

Freaky Review

This body-swapping horror-comedy might be gnarly and gleefully gory but it is also wildly entertaining and surprisingly the sweetest and most sincere film you will see this year; the most fun and funny slasher film we have ever seen.

His House Review

Remi Weekes’ thrilling, tender but terrifying, chilling debut is a palpable terror that sees the immigrant experience from a Horror perspective and tells the story of a Sudanese refugee couple forced to face the ghosts of survivor’s guilt and having to live with trauma; a ghost story about a global horror.

Mogul Mowgli Review

Riz Ahmed tackles British selfhood head-on and plays an aspiring rapper who’s brought down by his own body and faces a life or death crisis in this culture-clash drama about family and what it means to represent a community; the film speaks visceral truth to the British-Asian experience that’s so rarely explored.

Run Review

A wheelchair-using teen tries to escape a sadistic and menacing Sarah Paulson in this enjoyably wild, ludicrous thriller which is the sophomore debut of Aneesh Chaganty; when you have to escape but you can’t run.

Let Him Go Review

Diane Lane and Kevin Costner take on a ruthless family in this fiery, gripping, rousing noir-Western searing thriller and whose mature chemistry goes a long way in this searing thriller about a farm couple out to rescue and retrieve their grandson; it is pure movie heaven.

Jungleland Review

Charlie Hunnam and Jack O’Connell give career-best performances in Max Winkler’s tense boxing drama road movie that packs a punch and punches above its weight while treading old paths that yet still hits hard; they bring macho tenderness to this film.

The Nest Review

Jude Law and Carrie Coon stars in a suspenseful, sumptuous, taut psychological family drama-thriller about the perils of envy where the two leads subtly explore their unravelling marriage and build a seductive mystery in a stylish enigma; it’s a haunted house film without the ghosts.

Dreamland Review

Margot Robbie is fantastic as a captivating bank robber outlaw who steals a boy’s heart with a glamour which cuts through the dust in a beautifully shot Great Depression-era coming-of-age story; she casts a romantic spell over the film.

The Devil All The Time Review

In Antonio Campos’ new spellbinding moody Southern gothic thriller, Tom Holland leads the all-star cast who each wrestle with their sins along with Robert Pattinson who lets the creep factor loose; the film tests how much misery loves company

Enola Holmes Review

Enola Holmes is a delightful dose of fan fiction that is fun, frisky, and an unexpected feminist twist on the classic detective tale which is now led by a lively Millie Bobby Brown that rocks and represents an independent-minded new heroine for young audiences in this charming feature.

Happiest Season Review

Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis and a cast of pros do their best in a gay Christmas holiday rom-com that earns its emotions but is just as flimsy as the straight ones and glosses over its potentially sensitive subject with quips and excessive sentimentality; queer comedy is a festive treat.

Uncle Frank Review

Alan Ball directs Paul Bettany as a closeted alcoholic gay professor who along with his first-year college niece, departs for a reluctant road trip home for a painful family reunion in this bittersweet character study set in the 1970s where homecomings are seldom happy for not accepted members; coming of age, coming to them.

The Life Ahead Review

The Life Ahead brings veteran Italian actress Sophia Loren, who remains still as a wonder of world cinema and isn’t the only attraction, back to the big screen in a tear-jerking sentimental adaptation that fully earns its tears in this gentle Netflix drama about an ageing Holocaust survivor and an orphaned rebellious teen.

Hillbilly Elegy Review

Ron Howard’s absorbing Hillbilly Elegy stars a sensational Glenn Close and a splendid Amy Adams in this memoir adaptation about a tumultuous relationship between mother and daughter that is a missed opportunity and as a result, condescends to the very characters it is trying to champion.

The Crown Season 4 Review

The gripping and bittersweet fourth season of Netflix’s highly acclaimed series follows the sad, maddening saga of Charles and Diana while resting itself between being a soap opera and a modern Greek tragedy that has the presence of the first female prime minister hanging heavy over this anticipated historical drama; a scattershot view of Margaret Thatcher, duty and the Diana of it all.

The Queen’s Gambit Review

Anya Taylor-Joy shines in Netflix’s new absorbing coming-of-age story of genius and redemption about a prodigious chess player struggling with addiction and despair turning the limited series into an exacting pursuit into a poignant, exciting tale; the show plays a beautiful game.

Rebecca Review

This new Rebecca remake with a modern twist is not only missing its director’s signature weirdness, but it’s a shiny yet unexpectedly dull storyline with Lily James and Armie Hammer playing tormented lovers brightening up a brooding classic filled with an empty mood which takes a risk by sacrificing suspense for sweeping sadness; Ben Wheatley is no Alfred Hitchcock.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 Review

Aaron Sorkin’s vital counterculture docudrama is a knockout which delivers both talk and action while portraying itself as an entertaining, stirring, galvanizing history lesson lead by a star-studded ensemble which dramatizes the rare profound legal travesty events of the 1960s in a way that makes it the urgent political drama that is as charged and relevant as today.

Criminal: UK Season 2 Review

With an almost-uniformly stellar cast which up the thrill and impressive plots, Netflix’s interrogation drama returns for a second season being fine-tuned to a fault in its meaty exploration of thorny modern dilemmas and delivers more thought-provoking narratives as well as top-brass performances which further help elevate this series despite there being a sleekness to these legal proceedings that often seems just a bit too calculated.

Away Season 1 Review

Hilary Swank plays a mother separated 30 million miles apart from her family and a commander who must win the trust of her crewmates in this sweeping, soapy, emotion-focused Netflix space drama which fails to launch and feels more mundane than out of this world.

The Third Day Review

Jude Law and Naomi Harris lead the committed cast of HBO’s grisly, eerie and ambitious psychological horror miniseries about an island getaway where you can’t always get away and a folk horror which makes grief feel like the end of the world.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things Review

Charlie Kaufman’s first movie in years is a brilliant mind-bender existential Netflix drama which presents itself as a psychological-horror thriller that defies every convention while proving that his vision as a director is equal to his creativity as a screenwriter through his use of surrealism to feel painfully real and give the novel it’s based…

Mulan Review

Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan is a sweeping, sombre and spectacular epic which reimagines a heroine worth fighting for and acts as a stirring showcase for star Liu Yifei and has heart despite ditching the songs and dragon resulting in a dazzling remake which comes to life with flying colours; a fine cast, exciting action and splendid visuals add to the magic of it all.

Tenet Review

Christopher Nolan’s grandly entertaining, spectacle is a futuristic throwback, a time-bending thriller for bended times which sends its casts back and forth in every dimension and has structural complications of storytelling which are nifty enough but is the muscular gusto of the director’s filmmaking that inspires wonder and makes Tenet the most Christopher Nolan-y movie of all time, for better and worse. I want to watch it again and again. Whether that is a good idea during a pandemic is a different story; easy to admire but hard to love.

Tesla Review

Ethan Hawke plays the brilliant inventor in a biopic with not quite enough creative spark and just like its visionary hero, this quirky film is a noble failure; its Tesla but minus the electricity.

The New Mutants Review

The New Mutants ushers out the two-decade spanning X-Men series with an underwhelming so-so spinoff with 5 teen heroes and a horror slant that would have benefitted from less table-setting and being an off-brand remix of 1980s teen-horror clichés; it is a middling movie that works best with lowered expectations.

Project Power Review

Jamie Foxx, Dominique Fishback and Joseph Gorden-Levitt each gives punchy performances fighting pill-popping short-term superheroes in this high-octane sci-fi-action-thriller about a drug-blighted New Orleans which boasts wild and crazy action sequences as well as a star-making performance in its black female lead; the film is never as good as its biggest and best ideas.

Killing Eve Season 2 Review

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer quickly reset their cat-and-mouse game in the brilliant anxiety-fueled second season which returns to rekindle your obsession while also maintaining its sick, distinctly female sense of humour and struts to the same, quirky beat of the previous season but with an inviting twist; season 2 is as macabre and audacious as ever.

The Tax Collector Review

David Ayer’s revenge crime thriller stars Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto who play gang “tax collectors” and must stand their ground when an old adversary returns in this lousy film that presents a cartoonishly exaggerated showdown that is mostly a slog of vulgar threats, violent outbursts and suffers terribly from an overcooked plot; an amalgamation of street gang culture and family values.

An American Pickle Review

Seth Rogen plays a bizarre dual role which is one of his best and elevates the film as a whole as both a Brooklyn app developer and his Eastern European immigrant great-grandfather who was preserved in pickle brine for 100 years while also navigating cultural conflicts and the idea of family and Judaism that makes for a delightful two-man show; it’s a tale of two Seth Rogens.

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark Review

HBO’s chilling but artful True Crime docu-series is moving but bittersweet and isn’t just another crime series but rather a brilliant look at how the genre pulls us in by retelling the story of which fuels a quest for justice – a writer’s obsession, a generation’s reckoning – despite being sensitive and intelligent; it celebrates an author’s legacy by humanising the True Crime genre.

The Sunlit Night Review

Jenny Slate shines and brings pathos to this adventure as a creatively stunted painter in this messy, muted love story where she escapes to the top of the world to find her muse only to find out that twee plotting and unnecessary quirks can never be escaped; the sun shines brightly, as does Jenny Slate.

The Kissing Booth 2 Review

The sequel to the hit 2018 Netflix rom-com gives us another dose of high school drama but this time, the protagonist juggles college applications, a slippery, long-distance relationship, being torn between her head and heart and temptation from a new kid at school; the sequel is better than the first but that’s not saying much.

Snowpiercer Season 1 Review

TNT and Netflix’s new take on Boon Joon-Ho’s post-apocalyptic thriller-satire which charts new dystopian territory, despite being a bumpy ride, is an intriguing sci-fi allegory which is missing the Oscar-winning director’s brilliance despite having a cast of big stars as well as a long production history; it’s a far cry from Bong Joon-Ho’s vicious 2013 film.

Relic Review

Relic is a creepy creaky haunted-house film about the inside of the human mind and gorges on the terror of forgetting in a feast full of dread, though there are jump scares, nothing was slapped by genre algorithm in this haunting directorial debut that mines the horror of watching our parents age and deftly merges a classic with an allegory of dementia; its simply a haunted house with a clouded mind.

Miss Juneteenth Review

This directorial debut film is a sprawling slice-of-life mother-daughter drama that packs a quiet punch about the price of the American dream but is also a loving portrait of family and community that is filled with moments of searing beauty and is relentlessly understated, casting a sad but affectionate eye on a community’s daily life and on the rituals that hold it together.

Palm Springs Review

Cristin Milioti joins Andy Samberg in this iconic perpetual hilarious rom-com made great by a hint of melancholy that is near perfect and doesn’t disappoint as it does something new with a genre which audiences have experienced a million times before; it questions the value of monogamy in a meaningless world.

Greyhound Review

Tom Hanks writes and stars in this compelling World War II nautical drama-thriller about an allied convoy crossing the Atlantic Ocean while being under attack from Nazi U-boats and at the same time makes close tight spaces have exciting action; Tom Hanks is the captain now.

The Old Guard Review

Charlize Theron stars in Netflix’s latest melancholy comic-book fantasy thriller which sees her back in warrior mode and kickstarting an action franchise which follows a team of immortal mercenaries, whose power are exposed to vulnerability, into battle in this sensible character-driven take of a familiar story; this movie puts the human in superhuman.

Artemis Fowl Review

Kenneth Branagh’s chintzy family-fantasy-by-numbers take on author Eoin Colfer’s best selling popular young adult series is incomprehensible, lacks any effective star, good special effects, general coherency or any sense of actual magic and is destined to be forgotten despite its paying lip service to the power of myth but then sadly settles for the Hollywood…

Betty Season 1 Review

The new six-episode dramedy series which is a spin-off to Skate Kitchen follows the hazy misadventures of an all-female skateboarding group as they cut loose in this freewheeling comedy that is beautifully shot with gorgeous cinematography and verve which is an emotionally cathartic hangout of a show while also being a subdued celebration of young female friendship and the sisterhood of travelling skaters; skate freely with HBO’s excellent Betty!

I Know This Much Is True Review

Mark Ruffalo is remarkable and at the top of his game giving two performances of a lifetime in this devastating soul-crushing miniseries adaptation which tells the story of a pair of troubled twins with a dark family history as they struggle to reconcile with their painful past and worsening future. Casts: Mark Ruffalo, Imogen Poots,…

Perry Mason Season 1 Review

The new Perry Mason follows not the lawyer you remember but rather a young, scrappier man without a law degree who owns a dairy farm but nonetheless, it still crafts a gritty, unrecognisable version of an iconic character that is yet attuned to modern sensibilities despite bearing little resemblance to its source material; cops is history, long live the detective show!

Da 5 Bloods Review

Spike Lee’s new film is a flawed but fiery reckoning with America’s past and future but also a vibrant, messy blend of genre film and political essay that tells the story of a band of African American veterans who return to Vietnam to settle unfinished business about the war that never ends while at the same time exploring the twin traumas of the war and racial injustice at home in an ambitious but uneven adventure film committed to expanding history; Da 5 Bloods may not be perfect but it arrives a time when it feels necessary.

The Lovebirds Review

The Lovebirds is a wacky murder-mystery-romantic-comedy that is mostly an excuse to put Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani in a movie about a couple on the verge of a breakup having one wild night despite striking a low-key note and being weighed down by plot incident and silly twists but is saved by the dynamic chemistry of the two leads.

The King of Staten Island Review

Pete Davidson triumphs and wins in this blissful and freewheeling comedy directed by Judd Apatow that mines details from Davidson’s real-life for this funny, moving tale of grieving and growing up about family in New York City’s least popular borough while perfectly capturing the lead star’s raw appeal; it’s the world according to Pete Davidson.

Little Fires Everywhere Season 1 Review

Little Fires Everywhere is a gripping soapy reminder that yesterday’s ills are still present today while also sneaking a conversation about false 1990s-era liberalism into a premium book club offering and stars Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington as clashing mothers in sharp performances that begins as a slow burn but eventually erupts but sadly, the sparks that fly is hard to sustain amongst the heat; This limited series is more than your standard suburban whodunnit.

Mrs. America Season 1 Review

Mrs. America is anchored by Cate Blanchette’s performance of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly and her selfish empowerment while telling a story of the numerous ways to be a woman and how that the lack of unity is what ultimately keeps us divided in this all-star ensemble which is packed with stunning performances about the doomed effort to pass the ERA but it also tells the story of the women’s movement from the dark side of the Force and acts as an intensely psychological portrait of the godmother of the modern anti-feminist movement; it tells the villain’s story and it isn’t just a history lesson.

Defending Jacob Season 1 Review

Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery’s legal crime thriller miniseries is an addicting mystery that keeps us guessing about a seemingly perfect family that may or may not be harbouring a killer while asking the question, could our son be a killer? and despite being uninvested in its character and leaning on some wild twists, it strings out a parental nightmare as the leads give a splendid performance in this new addition to the genre of lucid crime among the upper class; does it need to be this long? 

I May Destroy You Season 1 Review

Michaela Coel’s new HBO series is a brilliant, extraordinary drama filled with fun gifts and ferocious intensity that breathtakingly explores the idea of consent, race, and millennial life in an explosive portrait of a life disrupted by a sexual assault that works on every level and confirms her stunning talent which will ignite conversations; could this possibly be the best drama of the year?

The Vast Of Night Review

Andrew Patterson’s directorial debut is a sharp, confident, creepy, clever thriller that is a low-budget, high-concept sci-fi trip, part ‘Twilight Zone’-inspired, part UFO thriller and blended with elements of classic radio dramas and ‘The X-Files’ while being genuinely a spooky charmer from a filmmaker you should pay attention to because he finds thrilling new ways to tell an old story; The Vast Of Night is like a UFO movie directed by a very talented alien.

Treadstone Season 1 Review

The spinoff TV series to the Jason Bourne film series is fast-paced and a globe-hopping action caper ambitiously expanding the Bourne universe while trying to offer Jason Bourne without Jason Bourne and without much brains, but with lots of brainless action making this show fall into common episodic traps but it’s a surprise success and fun show to watch, if not breeze through; nonetheless, you would be best to wipe Treadstone from your memory as it’s certainly forgettable.

Homecoming Season 1 Review

Julia Roberts and Sam Esmail create an enticing, intriguing and visually stunning TV drama about the military that is industrial and a storyline that seems complex but is simpler than it appears while being a pleasure to watch because of the gleeful throwback to golden age cinema that connects with modern society’s justified paranoia and acts as an eerie homage to classic conspiracy thrillers; one of the TV’s most stylish mystery.

Fleabag Season 2 Review

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s divine hit TV series returns for a final new season and ascends to new heights in this smart, sexy and deeply emotional sequel which is sharp-as-hell and achingly funny. It’s so gorgeous, heartbreaking and funny to the point that it becomes a raunchy & redemptive masterpiece. Moreover, it tells us the pressures of being a fictional character through a family dinner from hell and a brawl and hot, smoking priest, we should have known! And she’s also taking an aim at god!?

Fleabag Season 1 Review

Fleabag is a six-episode black-humour series that is warped and tells an affecting tale about a dysfunctional, lovable British woman which is sharply funny and deeply felt comedy crisis that is both painfully funny and painful while giving the female narrator a whole new voice and being the filthy anti-heroine TV deserves; it’s perfect!

Ema Review

Pablo Larraín’s film tells the experimental tale of a dancer who is troubled, beyond punk, on fire and weaves a tightly-controlled narrative of family and female empowerment around its magnetic central character while at the same time being a wild and bizarre dance-drama but also an erotic, suspenseful character study where mourning becomes electric: the literal union of bodies is the only logical means of conveying the reestablishment of emotional bonds.

Killing Eve Season 1 Review

Killing Eve is a female spy versus female assassin TV series from Phoebe Waller-Bridge that is both pure and perverse but is also a deadly cat-and-mouse thriller that is deliciously twisted, gleeful, stylish, irreverent, hard to categorize and sexy murderous fun that can’t be missed as it’s massively entertaining, if not revolutionary; come for Sandra Oh as a restless British agent, stay for Jodie Comer as a terrifying assassin.

The End Of The F***ing World Season 1 Review

The romantic thriller on Netflix is a dark comedy that is pitch-black perfection about a heartwarming love affair between two deranged teens, one a psychopath, one a sulky teenager and shows to us how young people take risks because they don’t know what they want, other than for something major to happen but basically, troubled teens and four-letter words are the end of the world for those teenage lovers; it’s the end of the f***ing world and you should feel good about this show.

Dead To Me Season 2 Review

Netflix’s Emmy-nominated dark comedy returns for a second season with Christina Applegate’s splendid performance where she loses it again beautifully and tells a story cleverly about keeping a friendship alive while at the same time being a genuine celebration of complicated female friendships.

The Half Of It Review

Alice Wu’s second film is a rom-com that starts off as a story of a smart student helping a school jock woo his mutual object of affection and then makes a wonderfully unexpected left turn in this breezy, self-aware and utterly adorable coming-of-age tale that tells us to be yourself because love letters reveal everything about a person, except their identity and by the end of the film, you will just want to give this film a hug; a tight long hug.

Upload Season 1 Review

Upload, a sci-fi comedy by “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” creator Greg Daniels is a bracingly dark science-fiction show that takes a darkly and satirical look at capitalism and the afterlife while offering a familiar digital future and presents a funny but profound vision of the future but the details make it disturbingly funny.

Normal People Season 1

on-again, off-again relationship between two Irish teenagers captures the beauty and brutality of first love perfectly

Never Have I Ever Season 1 Review

The new romantic-comedy, Never Have I Ever is a lot of fun and a must-watch for teens particularly girls due to newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan’s splendid performance in the coming-of-age comedy which is thoughtful, terrific, bright, charming and tackles minority representation without getting weighed down.

After Life Season 2 Review

Ricky Gervais’ dark comedy Netflix series returns for a sophomore season and this time the supporting casts are playing a larger role and there’s even a whiff of sentimentality. But, nevertheless, the show loses something the second time around.

The Willoughbys Review

Netflix’s new animation film based on Lois Lowry’s tongue-in-cheek satire is a delightful, sugar-rush charmer which spoofs kids-in-peril stories with love in this stop-motion about an extremely dysfunctional family, one in which the kids conspires to orphan themselves that is both a quirky and a sweet antidote for fluffy kids’ programming.

Extraction Review

Marvel’s stunt coordinator goes behind the camera for the first time and directs Chris Hemsworth along with a script by the Russo Brothers for a hokey tedious and high-octane action-thriller ride that’s long on violence and short on personality where Chris Hemsworth plays a super-tough mercenary on an all-guns-blazing mission to rescue a crime lord’s kidnapped son.

Sergio Review

Wagner Moura of ‘Narcos’ and Ana De Armas of ‘Knives Out’ gives strong performances in this most effective retelling of the life and tragic death of a celebrated Brazilian diplomat which is the main reason to see this film as well as it both being a sober diplomacy drama and a portrait of a U.N. Peacemaker as a real-life superhero. Sergio tells the story of a noble diplomat, but where’s the man? 

Vivarium Review

Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots star in this suburban brain bender from director Lorcan Finnegan that’s a skin-crawlingly creepy surface-level sci-fi horror hybrid which is sometimes shaky, but never boring and seems ready-made for the age of self-isolation; This isn’t your typical beautiful house, it’s a house where home is where the hell is.

The Roads Not Taken Review

Sally Potter’s study of dementia takes audiences on a painful journey into the mind of a man coping with the illness where star-studded casts Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Salma Hayek & Laura Linney all play family members in this therapeutic art film that is a heartfelt but moribund drama about what might have been; it’s a big misfire.

Run Season 1 Review

HBO’s latest romantic-comedy-thriller takes a twisty route on its way to some funny moments thanks to its smart and romantic two leads that isn’t all that likeable, but their dark humour and twists and turns often are; great overall performance keep it moving and worth the watch.

Tigertail Review

Alan Yang’s directorial debut retells his family’s immigration story featuring a stunning performance from Tzi Ma, who struggles to balance the past with the present in this bittersweet, beautiful, moving and poignant portrait of the first-generation American experience; it’s a slow-burn drama grounded in authenticity.

The Souvenir Review

Joanna Hogg’s forthright recollection of bad romance is the 2019 Sundance World Cinema Dramatic prize winner and it is about a magnificent self-portrait of love, loss and creative awakening starring Honor Swinton-Byrne and Tom Burke giving piercing performances all while weaving a dreamy but honest memory piece which is brilliant and self-effacing.

Swallow Review

Haley Bennett is extraordinary and delivers an arresting lead performance playing a modern housewife who develops a strange, dangerous habit of ingesting hazardous objects in this stately, but deeply unsettling feminist thriller about the horrors of a body in isolation.

Motherless Brooklyn Review

Edward Norton directs and acts in an ambitious exquisite 1950s crime detective noir which details relevant New York politics and the unravelling of a muddled conspiracy while sprawling beyond what the actor-writer-director can handle; it’s a passion project without heart.

Last Christmas Review

Paul Feig turns his directing skills into a familiar outing about George Michael songs, handsome strangers, and leading ladies with Emilia Clarke playing a woman getting unsolicited life lessons from a handsome stranger in this holiday rom-com that brings cheer if you are feeling charitable and has a major plot twist that sadly doesn’t deliver.

Unorthodox Review

Netflix’s latest miniseries carefully and beautifully depicts the tale of one woman’s flight from her Brooklyn Hasidic community and arranged marriage which makes for a modern-day period piece with a striking star performance thanks to its lead, Shira Haas, as she single-handedly turns a Hasidic rebellion into a riveting thriller that is filled with moments of real spiritual intimacy. 

The Hunt Review

Director Craig Zobel’s controversial thriller is an intense, over-the-top satire of partisan politics taken to its most dangerous extreme while at the same time delivers the excitement, if not necessarily the deeper social critique. It’s an appalling, irresponsible and fun ultra-violent “Make America Great Again” satire which mocks; you will be offended but see it anyway.

Westworld Season 3 Review

The third season of HBO’s Westworld is sleeker, leaner and a gorgeous new bag of familiar tricks while also being a tremendously entertaining drama due to the introduction of Aaron Paul in this upgraded rise of robots show which is now more user-friendly.

My Spy Review

The wrestler turned actor walks a path well-trodden by brawny action heroes in this mildly diverting family romp that doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights it aspires to be; I spy with my little eyes a Dave Bautista movie that is a true hot mess.

Bloodshot Review

Vin Diesel’s ambitious comics-based franchise-starter Bloodshot is a throwback to the 1990s, but certainly not in a good way and is the latest dull bid for superherodom which has zero dramatic stakes while offering only the smallest of pleasures, mainly thanks to the star himself, and mostly descending into cliche.

The Plot Against America Season 1 Review

The Plot Against America is a moving, terrifying saga of alternate-reality fascism which is a compelling vision of what could have been if there was a 1940s USA which sympathised to Nazis and is plagued by anti-Semitism making this show essential viewing for everyone, particularly Americans because unlike recent depictions of fascism, this show refuses to sanitize or glorify hatred.

Spencer Confidential Review

Mark Wahlberg is on a case that smashes crime and logic in this thriller which is a wickedly smart and excellent adventure but predictable murder-mystery thankfully, elevated by a solid cast.

The Last Thing He Wanted Review

Dee Rees’ new movie based on the adaptation of Joan Didion’s novel about a journalist is not only incoherent and unclear but also impossibly dull, alarmingly not thrilling, is a fiasco and a lethargic debacle; it is the last thing any of us ever wanted

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You Review

In the sequel, Lara Jean goes from never-been-kissed to being torn between two perfect boys in a fan-service sequel that substitutes wish fulfillment for relatability and almost argues itself out of romance because it’s a teen movie without real teens. Sadly, this sequel isn’t as hot as Noah Centineo and Lana Condor.

Onward Review

Onward is a gentle, charming, lovable and perfectly fine movie with a unique twist that blends fantasy along with father-son drama and will surely make you cry despite it being plenty of fun anyhow; a Frozen with boys instead.

The Invisible Man Review

The Invisible Man haunts us the way abusers always have and explains how technology and culture help bad men hide their crimes and thanks to a superb Elisabeth Moss, this is definitely one of the best horror in recent years because she delivers a bravura performance in this taut, tight classic remake.

Sonic The Hedgehog Review

The delayed video game adaptation surprises with charm and delight and is a miraculous success, all things considered, as it is sweet, smart, funny all thanks to Jim Carrey being back in his peak form as an actor.

Birds Of Prey Review

Harley Quinn gets her groove back in DC’s first good action movie where Margot Robbie Soars in a violent, vibrant girl-powered anti-superhero movie directed by Cathy Yan which offers a spiky alternative for fans looking for something more dangerous than its DCEU brethren, but its candy-colored charms can only obscure so much thin plotting.

Underwater Review

Kristen Stewart entertains and brings depth to an all-wet Alien rip-off sci-fi thriller that’s slick & enjoyable but never quite reaches the heights of greatness and this results in her inability to save this film from sinking.

Bad Boys For Life Review

Though it sticks to the buddy-cop playbook, Bad Boys For Life is worth seeing for the duo stars’ great chemistry as well as having a blast playing cops past their prime but also because of its fun, explosive action which delivers the goods and ticks all the boxes.

1917 Review

Sam Mendes’s 1917 is a technical feat that is crafted into an epic, harrowing, visceral war film which is heart-stopping and conjures the horrors of war while brilliantly depicting both the chaos and humanity during WW1.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always Review

Eliza Hittman’s candid abortion drama hits hard and is powerful as it tells an intimate story that is also a potent argument about self-determination while always putting a human face on the right to choose. Abortion is complex. This film about a pregnant teen captures the messiness, in excruciating fashion; it’s a quietly devastating gem that has the genuine potential to change hearts and minds.

Sex Education Season 2 Review

The sophomore season of the Netflix phenomenon is still fast, funny and still not for the faint-hearted as it delves deeper into its lovable characters, stunning scenery, and sensible sex advice and is just as vital and necessary as the first.

Avenue 5 Season 1 Review

Casts: Hugh Laurie, Suzy Nakamura, Zach Woods, Josh Gad, Rebecca Front, Nikki Amukka-Bird, Lenora Crichlow, Himesh Patel, Kyle Bornheimer, Jessica St. Clair Available on: HBO GO, HBO Signature No. of episodes watched: 4 out of 9 BY IRFAN NORDIN – In science fiction, the future generally comes in one of two varieties: idealized or dystopian….

Just Mercy Review

Director Destin Daniel Cretton’s social-justice crowdpleaser owes much to Michael B. Jordan in top form as a young attorney fighting for justice while at the same time soaring in a familiar courtroom drama which tells a tale that is shattering, satisfying and true; it’s a very respectful dramatization of a heroic career.