A Ghost Story
A Ghost Story, Directed and written by David Lowery, is a film simultaneously about the passage and stillness of time. It’s a film that seems to harbours a certain fixation on the mundane despite (or because of) the separation enforced. It serves as a confluence for sentiment and existential angst. Above all, it’s a film that meditates on the coin that is life and death, using its eccentricities not to sideline the viewer, but instead to overwhelm.
Blade Runner 2049
The question of what it means to be human and existential angst will never be exhausted by the medium of film. Pinocchio, AI, Ex Machina and, hell, even Alien: Covenant, ring to mind as the sizzling hot Denis Villeneuve ventures into the purest of sci-fi worlds, creating the most reverent follow up to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. 35 years on, Blade Runner 2049 is in familiar philosophical territory, probed with such confidence, style and ambition.
It Comes at Night
Writer-Director Trey Edward Shults understands what true horror is. His It Comes at Night leaves you in no doubt the thing you should fear the most stares at you every morning. Perhaps, the only thing worse is the person who refuses to acknowledge this paradigm, kind of like the whiners who went into this master class in simmering tension expecting a jump scare fest.
There are some parallels between Jordan Peele’s dark comedy Get Out and Katherine Bigelow’s Detroit. At the centre of the latter, a film set in the heat of the 1967 Detroit riots and uprising, is the incendiary matter of race relations, made even more so by the portrayals of vicious police brutality and at its strongest points, Bigelow harnesses absolute terror out of the mundane, much like in Get Out, only through an obviously more serious and frightening lens than in Peele's enjoyable film.
How much hate should we harbour for the paedophile Una presents to us? That’s the only feeling that needs calibrating as we contextualize the vice hovering above the two central characters in this film by first-time director Benedict Andrews. The strong performances on show may have you dithering for a minute – second chances right. But by the time the resolution comes around, questions and suspicions arise to drown out what the uncomfortable empathy surfaces.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Did the world go comatose on how great is, or am I just astounded this animated film I watched countless times as a child is actually the most compelling Batman story? Mask of the Phantasm is directed by Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm, the minds behind the iconic '90s animated series. The writing team was also well immersed in the animated series with a story from Alan Burnett. Despite its roots, even as a child, I could tell Mask of the Phantasm was not bound by the shackles of TV, much more a children’s programme.
War for the Planet of the Apes
It is hard for me to look back on Matt Reeves’ War for the Planet of the Apes and not feel some simmering disappointment. The hype was contagious, expectations were sky high and I was primed to declare War for the Planet of the Apes the resolution to one of the finest film trilogies. But by the end, I felt character spent a little too much time battling spectacle. Reeves appeared to be invested in the “war” aspect of film’s title.
Spider-Man: Homecoming opens with a quick origin story of its antagonist, Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes aka Vulture. With his roots out of the way, little time is devoted to unravelling the genesis of key components of the story. Instead, director John Watts oversees what was promised – a proper high school coming-of-age vibe sporting authentic teen characters in a film that just happened to centre on a kid who was bitten by a radioactive spider.
The Bad Batch
Ana Lily Amirpour’s brilliant indie debut feature, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, was to die for. Tagged an Iranian vampire western, the 2015 film served up a flawless pastiche dish and a delightful convergence of differing periods and genres of cinema. Her follow-up, The Bad Batch, sports a bigger budget, high-profile names, an arresting aesthetic but a flawed narrative.
Has cinema seen a child more driven and unyielding than the protagonist in South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s Okja[/i]. Probably not. The incredible bond between this South Korean girl and her special pig sees her morph into Jason Bourne at times, when a giant firm looks to use her friend, the titular Okja, to launch its chain of meat products. Joon-ho’s takes us on some whimsical escapades, culminating in an epicentre of warmth and charm, as workings of capitalist exploitation and consumerism are packaged in one of 2017’s best offerings.
Free Fire assembles the tetchiest brand of characters cinema screens have seen in a while. Most of them seem to have gotten out of bed with ill intent, or at the very least, the desire to just vex someone. The problem for them is this film centers on an arms deal in a warehouse so, needless to say, sparks start flying around in a gunpowder pit.
After Alien: Covenant shifted cinematic tectonic plates, I thought seeing 1987’s Predator for the first time in almost 15 years was in order. Shane Black’s reboot is around the corner and you never know – there may be some dirty little secret at the centre of this franchise which alters our cinematic reality (and mind you, it shares a universe with Alien).
A United Kingdom
What would happen if I brought a white woman home and said; Mama, she’s the one. It'll be fine I guess. There would be some eyebrows raised, with increasing murmurs the further you got from nuclear family, but it'll be fine. However, when it becomes a matter of general scrutiny; the optics of a chief or presidential candidate with a white better half, folks would not be having it. So the idea of a mixed race couple with a royal half in the pre-colonial Africa is scandalously daunting, to put it lightly.