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Still from Joe Dante’s Gremlins (1984)

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Still from Joe Dante’s Gremlins (1984)

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  • Dumplin'

    Dumplin'

    ★★★

    Sentimental and broad but well-acted and touting a heart-warming message.

    This did a fine job of towing the line between self-acceptance and not glorifying unhealthy lifestyles too much (I mean, it opens with an overweight woman dying).

    It's far too long at 110 minutes and pretty generic, but acceptable enough to watch while I was tidying my room.

  • Mortal Engines

    Mortal Engines

    ★★½

    Surely the most visually-stunning bad movie of 2018.

    It's truly impressive what Jackson and co. achieved on a $100 million budget here, and Junkie XL's score sings, but on a character, plot and dialogue level, Mortal Engines is a soul-draining dud.

    Overloaded with exposition, taking itself far too seriously and dining out on various plot checklist elements from all your favourite franchises, this is exactly what most sensible people expected.

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  • Icarus

    Icarus

    ★★★★

    What begins as essentially Super Size Me for doping quickly transforms into a genuinely suspenseful examination of the Russian Olympic doping program.

    Equal parts terrifying and fascinating, it's persuasively, damningly told, especially with Russia's FIFA World Cup just around the corner, and benefits from the weirdly likeable presence of doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov.

    One of the better Netflix Originals recently; don't miss it.

  • First They Killed My Father

    First They Killed My Father

    ★★★½

    An impressive step up for Angelina Jolie as a director, this is a harrowing and affecting film, propelled by an INCREDIBLE performance from young actress Sareum Srey Moch and Anthony Dod Mantle's excellent cinematography. Unlike a lot of Netflix Originals, this actually looks like a proper FILM.

    It's held back from being great by a few directorial missteps which perhaps show Jolie's inexperience, using cheesy lightbulb effects during flashbacks/memories which would look more comfortable in a Saw film, some digitally-treated slow-motion and some choppy editing.

    Still, a very respectable effort and a fine prestige addition to Netflix's lineup.