• The Super Mario Bros. Movie

    The Super Mario Bros. Movie

    ★★½

    The Super Mario Bros. Movie is obviously a lame and emotionally inert corporate product. It is just ninety minutes of rushing through game references via a thin plot and makes no sense even from a character perspective. However there are reasons to enjoy The Super Mario Bros. Movie. For a start, it is fairly funny and never treats itself seriously. The visuals look good, so that's a plus. There are some creative and fun music cues. The attempts to emulate…

  • STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie

    STILL: A Michael J. Fox Movie

    ★★★½

    Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie is a documentary trying to be inspirational and celebratory of Michael J. Fox's life. It covers his stardom and quick rise through the industry, before turning into a candid account of his struggles with Parkinson's disease. Through Fox's charisma and his ability to tell a story well, the film becomes very engaging. It is a standard celebrity documentary in many ways, but his life experiences are uniquely his. Still also utilises a lot of…

  • The Teachers’ Lounge

    The Teachers’ Lounge

    ★★★

    The Teachers' Lounge is a film about a school community falling apart from a series of incidents that spiral out of control. It presents a world where people are suspicious and judgemental. As the film goes on, it builds in intensity and the chaos grows. However, despite a strong start, The Teachers' Lounge ultimately descends into contrivance and absurdity. It basically exists to torture the main character and place her in ethical dilemmas, though it doesn't seem to have any…

  • Robot Dreams

    Robot Dreams

    ★★★½

    Robot Dreams is a delightful animated film, designed to be something not aimed at children but heavy in the most gentle way. It deals with loneliness and characters who miss each other when they are apart. The film is not necessarily romantic, framed instead as a friendship, but the tension of longing still applies. There's no dialogue in Robot Dreams, so it is all told through tone and imagery. The aesthetic is very pleasing and there are a lot of…

  • Argylle

    Argylle

    ★½

    The last two Kingsman films were intolerable dreck, but Matthew Vaughn has graduated to an even lower level with Argylle. It is just so aggressively lame in all of its ideas. It is full of obvious twists and patronising over-explanations. The action is stylised by incoherence and bad effects. After the Kingsman films, Argylle tones down the lewdness and vulgarity but all it reveals is how much of a nothing filmmaker Vaughn is. Without cheap shock he has only mawkish…

  • Madame Web

    Madame Web

    ★½

    Madame Web is let down by a terrible script and terrible performances. I feel a bit sorry for director S. J. Clarkson because she manages to give a lot of scenes some style and energy. It is just the fundamentals of the film which are broken.

    The script for Madame Web is absolutely incompetent. This is a film which opens with a redundant prologue that then gets repeated almost in its entirety later on. Structurally that just creates something unnecessarily…

  • Pictures of Ghosts

    Pictures of Ghosts

    ★★★★

    Pictures of Ghosts is a film about the feeling of history, of the changes we witness across a lifetime. Kleber Mendonça Filho makes this a personal movie, using his own life experiences to document Recife and its cinemas. This is a documentary which uses memories as preservation, showing a culture gone and a city changed. All those years of recent history now just exist in the mind. Pictures of Ghosts is clearly a passion project and even without much knowledge…

  • Wish

    Wish

    ★★

    Wish never really works in any way. It's not particularly fun, thrilling, nor even amusing. The blend of animation styles, both 2D and 3D, always looks jarring and it feels like Wish cannot commit to actually emulating the old Disney films it is meant to pay tribute to. Instead we just get references to characters in other films, which is so lazy. The setup of the film is a convoluted premise about a world where people give away their wishes,…

  • Showing Up

    Showing Up

    ★★★★

    Showing Up is a film about art as labour, where producing art becomes only one aspect of life. Most films about artists focus on dedication and craft, but Showing Up focuses on the mundane stresses of life. It's about family struggles, uninteresting jobs, and disputes with landlords. Yet Showing Up never becomes loud. It is a gentle and calm movie, where life's annoyances just build up without detonating. At the centre of Showing Up Michelle Williams gives a very naturalistic…

  • American Symphony

    American Symphony

    ★★★

    American Symphony is a perfectly functional documentary which is well made but nothing special. It doesn't really have a purpose, just ending up an unfocused mess built upon various strands of Jon Batiste's life. His wife's struggle with cancer is the most emotional topic but it's rarely the centre of the film. Ultimately American Symphony is a bit of a nothing. Apart from fans of Batiste I can't imagine this film really engaging anyone. He does come across as intelligent…

  • Bobi Wine: The People's President

    Bobi Wine: The People's President

    ★★★½

    Bobi Wine: The People's President is not very remarkable as a piece of cinema, but the subject matter is interesting and urgent. The film is about trying to remove a dictator and a desperate, failed attempt to do so. Bobi Wine: The People's President depicts Uganda as oppressed and corrupt, where democracy doesn't really exist. Bobi Wine runs for president and his campaign inspires hope. Yet there are many attempts to stop him, through Intimidation, arrests, and torture. As a…

  • 20 Days in Mariupol

    20 Days in Mariupol

    ★★★★½

    20 Days in Mariupol is an example of vital on-the-ground journalism. Filmed in a war zone, it quickly becomes horrifying to witness. There are striking and bleak images of fire, destruction, and death. 20 Days in Mariupol shows the horrors of war plainly, with the dead bodies of men, women, and children caught on camera. Few films are as direct and visceral. The film is narrated by a man questioning his role as a journalist and his decision to leave…