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  • Awake

    Awake

    ★★

    Aside from Gina Rodriguez's solid performance and a few creative shots, this was so painfully boring.

    I think the film should've either chosen to be about electricity going out OR everyone losing the ability to sleep. Mashing the two together just felt a bit clumsy and awkward.

    Not a bad idea for a movie, but the execution is so generic, trying to ape Bird Box/The Last of Us but bringing little in the way of fresh or interesting ideas to…

  • In The Heights

    In The Heights

    ★★★½

    Musicals are *by far* my least favourite film genre, but I enjoyed IN THE HEIGHTS quite a bit. Can't argue with the technical execution, charming cast, or catchy songs. 143-minute runtime was a bit much for me, but dug it overall. A very well-crafted crowd-pleaser.

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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.