Taika Waititi's new film is a creative take on WWII misery and is absolutely hilarious at times, as it is upsetting, and unfortunately that does mean it's a little tonally off, but its strength is in its children - they drive this film. And the debut performance of Roman Griffin Davis as the lovable Nazi-obsessed 'Jojo' is one of the most memorable of the year.
The Rise of Skywalker is a messy and unsatisfying conclusion that conveniently changes lore established in the previous chapter The Last Jedi and replaces them with frustrating plot twists, regurgitated fan service and some of the most half-assed writing in the history of the saga.
Ladj Ly's debut feature film Les Misérables is less musical than its name suggests... It's a tense little gang thriller set in the modern-day Montfermeil district of Paris, where Victor Hugo's classic novel 'Les Misérables' was written, whose explosive third act feels wholly original and timely.
Doctor Sleep is probably the most perplexing Hollywood remake/reboot/sequel of the year. Although Stephen King's source material is strong, engaging and even creepy at times, along with Mike Flanagan's visual flair for the gothic and grim, it buckles under the heavy half-assed attempts to bring back characters (and certain locations) from The Shining.
Terminator: Dark Fate is probably the first Terminator film since Terminator 2 to (sort of) do the originals justice. Compared to James Cameron's iconic films, it's not that great, but compared to all the other sequels and reboots, including 2015's disastrous Terminator: Genisys, it's a pretty decent blockbuster and boasts the return of one of the franchise's most lovable characters...
Maleficent returns in a sequel that attempts some big ideas relating to violence and terrorism but crumbles a bit when it inevitably caves into being 'just another kids movie'. All in all though, it was invigorating to see two equally ambiguous female villains go head to head.
Berlinale winner Synonyms is a wonderfully quirky if not unquestionably complicated film that will frustrate you at times, but ultimately leave you wanting more of its running spitfire dialogue on identity and nationalism.