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Reviews

  • Review: Game Night ain’t trite

    You got the timer? Ready? And… go. Okay, so this is a comedy about a murder mystery game night that turns into a real kidnapping mystery. No, not Clue, newer. It stars Rachel McAdams in her first leading comedy role since Mean Girls with a super funny ensemble including Jason Bateman, Kyle Chandler, Lamorne Morris, and Jesse Plemons? It doesn't matter how I know this off the top of my head, keep guessing! Flip, no, okay, so it's fun, but it's not too imposing, and will make a great family staple and -- time? Really? Damn, alright, it was Game Night. Game Night --...

  • Black Panther is a personal, intimate blockbuster

    Comic fans around the world have waited with bated breath to witness the fate of Black Panther, Marvel’s first black-led superhero film. The blockbuster, with its star-studded cast and partially South African soundtrack, could make or break Marvel’s future plans in diversifying its cinematic universe. It’s an unfair amount of pressure for director Ryan Coogler, but fans will be delighted to know that he pulls Black Panther together with style and composure -- and with a passion so evident it seeps into every shot and every line of dialogue. The film follows King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) of the technologically-advanced Wakanda, a...

  • Pitch Perfect lived long enough to see itself become the villain [review]

    Pitch Perfect may not actually be perfect. It isn't original, it isn't visually stimulating -- its soundtrack is good at best, annoying at worst. But Pitch Perfect has character. It has a clear story, and it tells it. In 2012, the film quickly became woven into our culture -- from the revival of the Cup Song to that GIF of Fat Amy engulfing the internet. Pitch Perfect is not without its flaws -- but it was sweet enough to win the hearts of audiences and stay there. Until the sequel. Pitch Perfect 2 tried desperately to recapture the energy of its...

  • ‘It’ movie review: more comedy than horror

    The worst part of suspense is when you have no idea what's coming. Watching characters fumble and fall as they flee what could be a ghost, a demon, or even a murderous human being is made all the more terrifying when they have no idea how to fight whatever it is. Horror movie reboots (or adaptations), then, have to work even harder to keep an audience on the edge of their seats. Having been familiar with these villains and monsters for years -- sometimes even decades -- filmmakers need to implement new techniques to keep them as scary as when...

  • Dunkirk movie review: made of the Reich stuff

    The early months of World War Two were known as the phoney war for good reason, as Germany took Poland without Warsaw's allies (Britain and France) committing much in the way of troops on the ground. But the invasion of France in May 1940 finally drew the major allies into the war, as Britain committed her troops to the French. It was an ill-fated move that saw the Allies driven into a small strip of coastline at Dunkirk, France, awaiting evacuation under heavy German bombardment. It's against this backdrop that Christopher Nolan's eponymous take on the evacuation takes place -- and...

  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets review: empty, colourful fun

    Details around Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets have been kept so secretive you'd be mistaken for thinking it was the next Star Wars flick. When questioned about the quiet that surrounds this film, actress Cara Delevingne said simply: "This is gonna be the best movie of all time." Unfortunately, it isn't. Valerian is a colourful and refreshing addition to the sci-fi genre, but the story lacks the substance and development that the first of a franchise needs to keep momentum. The film offers several minutes of exposition for the City of a Thousand planets, the space station that houses...

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming review: a perfect Peter Parker?

    In the last decade, the world has seen so many Peter Parkers on screen that we would all be justified in turning our backs on Spider-Man: Homecoming in protest for something new. But that isn't going to happen -- and thank goodness for it. The latest in Marvel's cinematic universe is a fun film that tells of post-Uncle Ben Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as he fights crime, does good and survives high school. Semi-mentored by Iron Man Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) -- and by that I mean not at all -- Peter attempts to take on a group of...

  • Everything, Everything movie review: a serious Bubble Boy

    Everything, Everything is every bit your typical teen romance about a sick girl and the boy who loves her. The film is cheesy. It loves love and rejects reality. In other words: it's exactly what you expect it to be. But what sets Everything, Everything apart from other teen romances is that the film is also somehow Bubble Boy (2001). Nearly every beat it hits mirrors that of the ridiculous sixteen-year-old comedy. In Everything, Maddy (Amandla Stenberg) is an 18-year-old suffering from SCID, an immunodeficiency that keeps her locked up in her stringently sterilised house. In Bubble Boy, Jimmy is born without an...

  • Table 19 movie review: cute, but misses the emotional mark

    It's often hard to tell why a film doesn't make you feel the way you thought it would. Sometimes it's because the characters on screen feel like echoes of other fictional characters, and not like real human beings. Sometimes, in the midst of too much plot, a writer feels the need to throw in an ad-hoc attempt at emotional sincerity. And sometimes the pacing is off only ever so slightly, and you're never allowed to feel before being pulled to something else. In Table 19's case, the problem is all three. The premise is your standard "strangers thrust into an...

  • Beauty and the Beast movie review: even creepier in live action

    As if having to put up with the never-ending onslaught of superhero movies isn’t enough, Disney has just begun its 22-movie-long series of live action remakes. And in an age where big budget cinema is at a loss for original content, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is just another new release you can add to your list of already seen. The film is as entertaining as it is charming, but the story is one we all know -- and it struggles to hold up in live action. In case you’ve been hit by a sudden case of amnesia, here’s a...

  • Power Rangers movie review: goofy, fun but flawed

    Power Rangers aims to reboot the franchise many of us grew to know and love. Much like its predecessor, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, the 2017 instalment is incredibly goofy, fun and laden with cheesy nostalgia. However, unlike the first film, Power Rangers sees the new team taking on Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) who, in this reboot, once formed part of the old Ranger team as the Green Ranger. Her lust for power leads her to betray her former team to summon a powerful entity made of gold dubbed, uh, Goldar (yeah, I kid you not). Directed by Dean Israelite, the new flick introduces audiences to...

  • Get Out movie review: an impeccable horror with a social twist

    Have you ever had something reaffirm your passion? When you’ve gotten into a groove of taking the same hikes, reading similar books, drinking the same coffee -- and then suddenly one view takes your breath away, one book makes you sob, one cup of coffee reminds you this is why you love it. This is what Get Out feels like for someone who loves film. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut moves from strength to strength over the course of two hours, and by the end of it you’re left with the wind knocked out of you, simultaneously panicked and rejuvenated. The pounding...

  • John Wick Chapter 2 movie review: gun-fu at its finest

    This second instalment in the John Wick franchise will have a lot of people questioning the protagonist's motives. John Wick Chapter 2 continues just a few days after the first film when Wick is dragged back into the bloody life he left behind. Rather fittingly this took the form of a blood oath, an oath John made with a "friend" to be able to complete the impossible task that set him free from his life as an assassin. The antagonist confronts Wick to cash in this oath and, according to the assassins network known as the "Continental, an oath can never be denied. Compared to...

  • Kong: Skull Island movie review: you won’t go bananas for it

    Kong: Skull Island, the latest movie to feature the giant gorilla, sees a group of scientists driven to discover the untouched island of Primal Eden. Escorted by badass tracker James Conrad (played by Tom Hiddleston) and "anti-war" photographer Mason Weaver (played by Brie Larson), the group wakes an ancient enemy... something fiercer than a big ape. When you first meet Kong you're introduced to the primate's incredible presence with a gorgeous overlooking shot of his kingdom. The movie does well to make you feel the immense difference in size between humans and him. Kong has come a long way from his 1933...

  • Kalushi movie review: an unapologetic tale of South Africa’s past and present

    If Invictus is a film on one side of the political spectrum, Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu sits firmly on the other. Uncompromising in its politics, the South African-made film about struggle stalwart Solomon Mahlangu (Thabo Rametsi) holds no punches in its retelling of the violence of the apartheid regime. The film follows Mahlangu as he struggles with his political identity in 1970s South Africa. The young man is shown as a loving son, brother and boyfriend who cares deeply for the happiness of the ones he loves. Mahlangu works hard for his money, and avoids conflict at all...