'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' review
“Democracy is like imported cassava. It rots quickly.” This sentiment nods to the underlying decay that forms the poignant subtext of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s feature debut ‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’. Based on a true story, Ejiofor’s project, as expected, does what it says on the can, serving bouts of inspiration and dignity but there is a consideration of detail that elevates this film to a quietly distressing experience for African audiences.
'Alita: Battle Angel' review
What makes Alita so special? It’s the only real question I had going into Robert Rodriguez’s 'Alita: Battle Angel'. My loose knowledge of this Anime/Manga adaptation had me looking towards the likes of 'Akira', 'Ghost in a Shell' and even 'Blade Runner' as I tried to measure expectations. The lengthy development period had me primed for a film dense with messy but ambitious ideas about humanity and identity. But Alita never reaches for such heights. And this disappointed for a second.
'Cold Pursuit' review
So, Liam Neeson dug a deep hole for himself ahead of the release of his latest film ‘Cold Pursuit’. Friends and colleagues have had to assure me that it will all be alright in the end for Neeson, that tanking the publicity for ‘Cold Pursuit’ and admitting to a racist blood lust wouldn’t drown out one of my favorite actors.
'High Flying Bird' review
Steven Soderbergh's 'High Flying Bird', produced by Netflix, is among other things a politically charged heist movie. Yes, on the surface it’s a sports drama about the minutia of an NBA lockout and how an agent and a prized client navigate their way through it, but we are working with an incredibly smart and layered screenplay here. Soderbergh and writer Tarell Alvin McCraney prod at ideas having to do with the commodification of sports talent, player agency and the capitalist system that is forced to taste its blood for the first time.
'Five Fingers for Marseilles' (2017) review
The window to one’s soul is through the eyes, we are told time and time again. But sometimes the hands of a man can paint an accurate portrait of his essence as South African director Michael Matthews shows in his 2017 debut feature ‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’. He does so in a manner that recalled Nicolas Winding Refn’s gripping angling of his protagonist in ‘Only God Forgives’.
January, action and 90-minute running times. Just a few of my favorite things. After weeks of mulling over prestige products as we enter Oscar season, spending time with Noomi Rapace in Netflix’s bodyguard thriller ‘Close’, was a welcome reprieve for aficionados of the genre, even if the film itself isn’t breaking new grounds.
The shatter and brittle puns should be out in full force. 'Glass' was not good. Following a week where John Wick laced its boots to enter the echelon of masterful trilogy’s, M. Night Shyamalan’s sneaky superhero trilogy proved to have too much of glass jaw to go the distance.
The Genevieve Nnaji-directed ‘Lionheart’ opens with the intersection of violence and the mundane I hope a Nigerian filmmaker tackles one day. The eponymous transport company, based in Enugu, is overrun by men demanding payment for helping fill seats in their buses. They troop in with a sense of entitlement roughing up workers as onlookers stand helpless.
'The Godfather' (1972) retrospective
In a previous life, before what we could call, for want of a better word, my cinematic rebirth (or my Scorsese phase), I associated 'The Godfather' with bloodied silk sheets, the grisly image of a decapitated horse’s head and the visceral shrieks of a grown man that put Jamie Lee Curtis to shame.
'Leave No Trace' review
'Leave No Trace' is one of those films I will never truly appreciate till I have a kid. The world of cinema has seen countless portrayals heartfelt parent-child relationships and I am still at the phase where siding with the children in the equation comes more naturally. But it’s clear writer/director Debra Granik is telling an incredibly complex story with a certain understated precision that really caught me off guard.