American police brutality continues to inspire bold cinematic outrage in this desperately sad directorial debut from Reinaldo Marcus Green. The film comes hot on the heels of last year’s The Hate U Give and skews a similar story of social ramification for more mature audiences, who will find themselves quietly affected and perhaps even mobilised.
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In light of the abysmal critical reception that has met The Upside, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was a scarlet woman returning to a party after being caught fellating the hostess’ husband in the bathroom. Countless reviews have lambasted this remake of 2011 French buddy comedy-drama The Intouchables. Also inspired by the life of Phillipe Pozzo di Borgo, Neil Burger’s The Upside traces the developing relationship between Phillip Lacasse (Bryan Cranston), a quadriplegic billionaire, and Dell Scott (Kevin Hart), his young, recently paroled African-American carer. Critics opine that this flat offering is just as flawed as its predecessor, coming off as even more mawkish and basic, while simultaneously failing to exhibit any of its abundant charm.
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It seems apt that a film about American politics should prove so polarising these days. Of all the contenders in this year’s awards conversation, Vice is the one you will most likely love or loathe. Not only is this the story of the controversial, power-hungry ogre of a man – or political giant with admirable conviction, depending on your persuasion – but it is an Adam McKay film and thus comes with a degree of laconic self-assurance so strong that Dick Cheney himself would approve.
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Combining the memoirs of father and son never quite rewards in the case of Beautiful Boy. The film is the English language debut of Belgian director Felix van Groeningen and takes its story from individual accounts written by David and Nic Sheff, concerning the latter’s battle with drug addiction. Though Van Groeningen’s script, co-written with Luke Davies, does well to capture the true to life frustrations of recovery and relapse, its delivery lacks a needed sense of emotional involvement and feels long at two hours.
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What with this and Paul McGuigan’s recent Gloria Grahame biopic, British cinema seems to be retconning itself a reputation for killing off Hollywood’s hall of fame greats. Very much like with Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, Stan & Ollie boasts a pair of career best performances, delightful wit and heartbreaking pathos. I preferred the former but it’s a close call.
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It’s hard to quite say whether there’s an audience for whom Dan Fogelman’s new film will wholeheartedly work for. Anyone who can swallow the mawkish, muddled sentimentality that drives Life Itself will surely find its propensity to brutally slaughter major characters off putting. That said, this is not nearly so bad a feature as some might have you believe, barring, perhaps, a bewildering transatlantic shift mid way through. The ambition here is, at least, to be admired.
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Holmes & Watson is easily the best film made in 2018. Ah, ok, you’ve caught me in a lie. It is, in fact, one of the biggest flops of the year. It’s absolutely no wonder that the press weren’t given a sneak peek of the movie before its release because it would have been akin to throwing a defenceless, bleating lamb to a pack of ravenous, salivating wolves. It’s elementary, my dear viewers; this purportedly humorous – and I use that word very loosely – take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic mysteries, featuring observant fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick John Watson, is a load of tosh. Holmes & Watson is a proverbial slap in the face for deep-dyed fans of the original stories. It was a real struggle to reach the end.
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