Movies reviews

  • The Front Runner

    Watched on

    5

    In 1987, U.S. Senator Gary Hart's presidential campaign is derailed when he's caught in a scandalous love affair.

    The Front Runner

    Review

    A very muddled start, it was difficult to follow what was supposed to be the focus. After a “four years later” jump, a lazy paragraph of text sets the scene. Even then, the film struggles for another 10 minutes before it starts in a focused direction.

    Political stories often suffer from a dry narrative, but this feels especially stodgy. I’m sure the set design and costume design is period accurate but suits and brown jackets add to the muted tone of the movie.

    Hugh Jackman carries the role, but the rest of the impressive cast have little to do. The movie starts to get going but then ends. I expected better from director Jason Reitman.

  • The Dig

    Watched on

    8

    An archaeologist embarks on the historically important excavation of Sutton Hoo in 1938.

    The Dig

    Review

    The framing and cinematography throughout this film is truly beautiful. Every scene is flooded with natural light. The opening tracking shot is majestic. Even shot is perfectly considered and accompanied with classical soundtrack.

    There is some really clever use of camera movement when required, injecting energy while contrasting with the more understated photography, which reflects the story itself.

    The reflective conversations overlaid with thoughtful closeups work well and resonate with the general tone of the film. Carey Mulligan dwindles naturally throughout, but Ralph Fiennes carries the brunt of the work.

    However, the film loses its way throughout the second half, with too many characters and too many themes that distract unnecessarily from the core of the story. Aside from this muddled ending, the redeeming characteristics of this film outweigh these problems.

  • Promising Young Woman

    Watched on

    9

    A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who crossed her path.

    Promising Young Woman

    Review

    This is a pretty unique film and it has a very strong message that won’t vibe well with a lot of people.

    The first two predatory scenes work incredibly well and build on each other in stunning fashion. You’re hoping they don’t follow the obvious outcomes in both scenarios.

    Some of the photography is a little weird and unnerving, but I guess that’s the point. There is a lot of style and fun music choices. Carey Mulligan steals the show.

  • My Octopus Teacher

    Watched on

    9

    A filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world.

    My Octopus Teacher

    Review

    This is a beautiful and personal documentary. It is a simple, focused film but it holds your attention throughout. I was in awe of the photography and everything immerses you in this magical and otherworldly environment. There is some narrative but the film is mostly about humans connecting with nature; a love story between a man and an octopus. It’s heart-warming and quite literally breathtaking.

    What an absolute surprise. Watch this film.

  • The Dawn Wall

    Watched on

    8

    In an unbelievable story of perseverance, free climber Tommy Caldwell and climbing partner Kevin Jorgeson attempt to scale the impossible 3000ft Dawn Wall of El Capitan.

    The Dawn Wall

    Review

    After the sweat-inducing film Free Solo – which also features heavily on climbing the infamous El Capitan in Yosemite National Park – I wasn’t sure how this film could compete. Luckily this is quite special documentary on its own.

    The first events in Tommy Caldwell’s life are dramatic in their own way, but the incredible story really shines following his ascent with climbing partner Kevin Jorgeson of the dawn wall; an unscaled 3000ft granite face with no features for climbing. The climbing is shot showing both the sheer scale of the task ahead and the individual struggles they face traversing each pitch.

    It’s an intimate look at obession, of achieving the near impossible and it is all capture with both beauty and intensity.