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  • The Kindergarten Teacher

    The Kindergarten Teacher

    ★★★★

    As a lover of thermonuclear-grade cringe and Maggie Gyllenhaal, I fuck with this movie.

    A deeply uncomfortable yet fascinating character study that manages to be extremely empathetic despite the intense discomfort at the heart of it. That's all down to Maggie G's excellent performance.

  • Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

    Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

    ★★

    +1 for the Street Fighter gag
    +1 for the It balloon joke
    -10000 for the aggressive Pringles, Red Bull and Fred's Pharmacy product placement

    That's about it. A cynical, soulless sequel to an aggressively mediocre original with charmless VFX set-pieces - most of which are crammed into the second half after a dull-as-dishwater first - ho-hum sentimental drama and a mailed-in five-minute cameo (I timed it) from Jack Black.

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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.