Movies reviews

  • The Abyss

    Watched on

    7

    A civilian diving team is enlisted to search for a lost nuclear submarine and faces danger while encountering an alien aquatic species.

    The Abyss

    Review

    Following on from the wildly successful action sci-fi epic Aliens, director James Cameron delivered a movie with notorious production problems. Set almost entirely underwater, with many scenes of actors completely immersed, it was incredibly ambitious.

    Most of the movie is non-stop paranoia in a claustrophobic setting. The close-knit crew and estranged couple leading the mission have to deal with military personnel with ulterior motives. Investigating a sunken submarine while a hurricane cuts them off from the surface, there is also plenty of action.

    Although it is a decent movie, there are plenty of eye-rolling moments. However, the supernatural/alien angle for the ending was out of place and kind of ruined the story. The effects used in the final descent into the abyss felt more than a homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

  • James White

    Watched on

    6

    James, a twenty-something New Yorker, struggles to take control of his self-destructive behavior in the face of momentous family challenges.

    James White

    Review

    After the death of his father, a troubled young adult from NYC provides hospice care for his ailing mother. From emotionally violent and self-destructive outbreaks to being caring and kind, the story covers grief in a raw and intimate way. It’s quite a slow burn, with lingering shots and close-ups, but this matches the focused character study screenplay.

  • Documentary about the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which celebrated African-American music and culture and promoted Black pride and unity.

    Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

    Review

    Rediscovered after 50 years, this is a restoration of a filmed musical festival in Harlem, in 1969. It combines music, politics and history but celebrates what it means to be black. Set at the same time Woodstock, this is such an interesting series of concerts that were forgotten to history. Focusing on the black audience and musicians, it was interesting to see how well this was captured at the time.

  • Return to Space

    Watched on

    7

    Offering rare inside access to NASA and SpaceX, this is the thrilling story of the nearly 20 year journey to send American astronauts back to space aboard U.S. rockets, from filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin.

    Return to Space

    Review

    A decent documentary about modern privatised space travel. Focusing on the first launch carrying astronauts from American soil in decades.

    The journey follows SpaceX from humble beginnings to crew resupplying the International Space Station. There are setbacks then successes but worries turn to past disasters like Challenger and Columbia.

    The movie does well to cover the entire history of the space era, from NASAs success, the moon landing and shuttle program, to their stagnation and reliance on the private sector.

    There is also a story of family that is often overlooked, with both astronauts having loved ones fearful for their safe return.

  • Boiling Point

    Watched on

    9

    Enter the relentless pressure of a restaurant kitchen as a head chef wrangles his team on the busiest day of the year.

    Boiling Point

    Review

    Stephen Graham stars as head chef in a busy fine dining restaurant. Through following him and his conversations, you learn of his troubles with his estranged wife and son, and how he's been sleeping rough for weeks. These are the backdrop and setup to a microcosm of the stressful modern working environment in the heart of the kitchen.

    The whole movie is a rollercoaster but seems to continue delving down after a brief respite. There are so many different personalities, conflicting with each other yet also friendly. Everyone is putting on a facade, trying to cope with the situation they face almost every day; from a health inspector visit to uptight customers and lazy co-workers.

    It's absolutely incredible that it is all shot in a single take. The camera moves from the kitchen to the restaurant, focusing on drama and following the staff. It isn't dry or stale, everything is always in motion.

    This is honest filmmaking, overflowing with real-life situations everyone can relate to. At the heart of the story is personal demons and struggling to cope. The movie feels unbearable and anxiety-inducing at times, reflecting the characters we're watching.