Category Reviews

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Director: Cathy Yan

Writer: Christina Hodson

Cast: Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ella Jay Basco, Ewan McGregor

Producers: Sue Kroll, Margot Robbie, Bryan Unkeless

Music: Daniel Pemberton

Cinematography: Matthew Libatique

Editor: Jay Cassidy, Evan Schiff

Cert: 15

Running time: 109mins

Year: 2020



What’s the story: After splitting up with the Joker, Harley Quinn (Robbie) has Gotham’s criminal underworld gunning for her, including mob boss Roman Sionis aka Black Mask (McGregor)...

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Director: J.J. Abrams

Writer: J.J. Abrams, Chris Terrio (story and script), Derek Connolly (story), George Lucas (characters)

Cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid, Richard E. Grant, Domhnall Gleeson, Billy Dee Williams, Kelly Marie Tran, Keri Russell

Producers: J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan

Music: John Williams

Cinematography: Dan Mindel

Editor: Maryann Brandon, Stefan Grube

Cert: 12

Running time: 141mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: When Emperor Palpatine (McDiarmid) returns, the Resistance must find his base before he brings destruction to the galaxy. First Order Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (Driver) hunts both the Emperor and fledgling Jedi Rey (Ridley).

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1917

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns

Cast: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Mays

Producers: Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Sam Mendes, Brian Oliver, Jayne-Ann Tenggren

Music: Thomas Newman

Cinematography: Roger Deakins

Editor: Lee Smith

Cert: 15

Running time: 118mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: 1917, France. Lance Corporal Blake (Chapman) and Lance Corporal Schofield (MacKay) are sent on a mission through No Man’s Land and into enemy territory. Their orders are to stop an ill-conceived attack on German forces that would mean the death of 1,600 British soldiers.

What’s the verdict: If Skyfall was Sam Mendes doing for Bond what ...

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Motherless Brooklyn

Director: Edward Norton

Writer: Edward Norton (script), Jonathan Lethem (novel)

Cast: Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Willem Dafoe, Ethan Suplee

Producers: Michael Bederman, Bill Migliore, Daniel Nadler, Edward Norton, Gigi Pritzker, Rachel Shane, Robert F. Smith

Music: Daniel Pemberton

Cinematography: Dick Pope

Editor: Joe Klotz

Cert: 15

Running time: 144mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: In 1950s New York, private eye and Tourette’s sufferer Lionel Essrog (Norton) takes it upon himself to solve the death of his mentor Frank Minna (Willis). His investigation partners him with city worker and activist Laura Rose (Mbatha-Raw), pitching him against real estate tyrant Moses Randolph (Baldwin).

What’s ...

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The Nightingale

Director: Jennifer Kent

Writer: Jennifer Kent

Cast: Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr, Damon Herriman, Michael Sheasby

Producers: Kristina Ceyton, Bruna Papandrea, Steve Hutensky, Jennifer Kent

Music: Jed Kurzel

Cinematography: Radek Ladczuk

Editor: Simon Njoo

Cert: 18

Running time: 136mins

Year: 2018


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What’s the story: 1825, Tasmania. Following a terrible assault on her and her family by British soldiers, Irish ex-convict Clare (Franciosi) pursues them through harsh wilderness to exact revenge.

What’s the verdict: After scoring a bullseye with debut feature The Babadook, Jennifer Kent returns with the ferocious, and ferociously intelligent, The Nightingale.

The basic plot echoes grindhouse rape-revenge mov...

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Judy & Punch

Director: Mirrah Foulkes

Writer: Mirah Foulkes

Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Damon Herriman

Producers: Michele Bennett, Nash Edgerton, Danny Gabai

Music: François Tétaz

Cinematography: Stefan Duscio

Editor: Dany Cooper

Cert: 15

Running time: 105mins

Year: 2019


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What’s the story: In a town called Seaside, nowhere near the sea, Judy (Wasikowska) and Punch (Herriman) plan to relaunch their puppet show. But, when Punch commits a terrible wrong, Judy plots revenge against him.

What’s the verdict: Australian writer-director Mirrah Foulkes turns the traditional Punch & Judy story on its head, with Judy’s nagging shrew replaced by a vengeful heroine for the #MeToo generation.

So, is the actor-turned-director’s revisionist retelling of t...

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Terminator: Dark Fate

Director: Tim Miller

Writer: David S. Goyer, Billy Ray, Justin Rhodes

Cast: Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, Arnold Schwarzenegger

Producers: James Cameron, David Ellison

Music: Junkie XL

Cinematography: Ken Seng

Editor: Julian Clarke

Cert: 15

Running time: 128mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: Dani (Reyes) is targeted for termination by a time travelling cyborg (Luna) and protected by enhanced human soldier Grace (Davis). Joining them is legendary “mother of the future” Sarah Connor (Hamilton).

What’s the verdict: The Terminator franchise is one based on a contradiction.

“The future is not set” might be the mantra at its heart, across the series passed down from father to mother to son and b...

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A Good Woman is Hard to Find

Director: Abner Pastoll

Writer: Ronan Blaney

Cast: Sarah Bolger, Andrew Simpson, Edward Hogg, Jane Brennan, Rudy Doherty, Macie McCauley

Producers: Guillaume Benski, Junyoung Jang

Music: Matthew Pusti

Cinematography: Richard Bell

Editor: Abner Pastoll

Cert: 18

Running time: 97mins

Year: 2019


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What’s the story: In Northern Ireland, recently widowed Sarah (Bolger) cares for her two kids, Ben (Doherty) and Lucy (McCauley). Her life becomes more complicated when criminal Tito (Simpson) busts into her flat with drugs stolen from a fearsome local gangster (Hogg).

What’s the verdict: A Good Woman is Hard to Find is equal parts Ken Loach, Shallow Grave, Dead Man’s Shoes and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance...

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Director: Marielle Heller

Writers: Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster

Cast: Matthew Rhys, Tom Hanks, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Cooper, Tammy Blanchard

Producers: Youree Henley, Leah Holzer, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub

Music: Nate Heller

Cinematography: Jody Lee Lipes

Editor: Anne McCabe

Cert: PG

Running time: 108mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: Cynical journalist Lloyd Vogel (Rhys) is less than thrilled to be profiling children’s entertainer Mr. Rogers (Hank). But, their meeting might be lifechanging for the writer.

What’s the verdict: With Operation Yewtree looming large over formerly idyllic childhood viewing, in the minds of the British public the last few years have altered what it means to be a beloved children’s ent...

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The Lighthouse (2019)

Director: Robert Eggers

Writer: Robert Eggers, Max Eggers

Producers: Robert Eggers, Youree Henley, Lourenço Sant’ Anna, Rodrigo Teixeira, Jay Van Hoy

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe

Music: Mark Korven

Cinematography: Jarin Blaschke

Editor: Louise Ford

Cert: 15

Running time: 109mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: New England, sometime in the 1890s. Two men battle personal demons and each other while tending a storm-beaten lighthouse.

What’s the verdict: As in his 2015 directorial debut The Witch, Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse grapples with the theme of spiritual annihilation, though in a way that’s altogether wetter, wilder, and weirder.

Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe star as two lighthouse keepers, or “wicki...

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