Palm Springs is a colourful and fun take on the time-loop sub-genre; a genre that has been poked and prodded in every which way for decades since Groundhog Day. If you’re looking for a summer flick filled with light laughs, this one is for you. In saying that though, Palm Springs also cynical and bittersweet at times.
The Invisible Man is one of the best films of the year, and most certainly one of the best Blumhouse films, maybe ever. Extremely unsettling and Hitchcockian in nature, Leigh Whannell’s adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic is not only a masterful exercise in slow-burn suspense, but a chilling commentary on domestic abuse.
Horse Girl is a lively exploration of one girl’s madness and frustration. What starts off as a quirky indie comedy that we’ve seen a hundred times before soon turns into a wonderfully unique representation of mental health that’s both heartfelt and hypnotic. And Brie is fantastic.
Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of the very famous and very old novel (just kidding) by Louisa May Alcott differs at many instances from its source. Meaning, if you’ve seen any of the previous adaptations or read the novel, you’re still in for something different this time round.
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.
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.
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.