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.
Ang Lee's Gemini Man spends too much time attempting to strike a note with sentimental family relationships rather than giving us a laugh or two. It's a muddled attempt at a dated action movie that tries to be self-aware but never quite gets there.
Joker is a gritty and thrilling contemporary adaptation with an awards worthy performance from Joaquin Phoenix. A disturbing and demented origin story that breaks down the iconic Batman villain and strips him raw. What we're left with is a frail, damaged and vulnerable member of a failed society... Even so, the film doesn't break as much ground as one might expect.