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Elvis (2022)
The Man. The Legend. The King of Rock & Roll.
Filmmaker(s): Baz Luhrmann

The life story of Elvis Presley as seen through the complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Baz reinvigorated film. It was a simple concept, and advanced by others long before: having the camera in the chaos. My first experience with this was “Red Shoes”, which though novel in its time isn’t even notable today. What Moulin Rouge did was...

Published December 6, 2022
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Terminator Genisys (2015)
Reset the future
Filmmaker(s): Alan Taylor

The year is 2029. John Connor, leader of the resistance continues the war against the machines. At the Los Angeles offensive, John's fears of the unknown future begin to emerge when TECOM spies reveal a new plot by SkyNet that will attack him from both fronts; past and future, and will ultimately change warfare forever.

Reincarnation What do you do if your strategy is copying old successes, and the copies don’t do as well as you like? This strategy of ‘rebooting’ is mainstream now. We accept it, so long as the new franchise shows promise. That means that some storylines can...

Published December 6, 2022
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Luca (2021)
Prepare for an unforgettable trip.
Filmmaker(s): Enrico Casarosa

Luca and his best friend Alberto experience an unforgettable summer on the Italian Riviera. But all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world just below the water’s surface.

Post-Lassiter Engineering Pixar/Disney finally dumped John Lassiter over his profoundly offensive behaviour. As consumers, we still pay part of our ticket for his buyout, but get the benefit of the second story team, previously suppressed by his understanding of story mechanics. Some of these are great. I...

Published December 5, 2022
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Confess, Fletch (2022)
A dead body. A stolen Picasso. And this guy.
Filmmaker(s): Greg Mottola

The roguishly charming and endlessly troublesome Fletch becomes the prime suspect in a murder case while searching for a stolen art collection. The only way to prove his innocence? Find out which of the long list of suspects is the culprit - from the eccentric art dealer and a missing playboy to a crazy neighbor and Fletch’s Italian girlfriend. Crime, in fact, has never been this disorganized.

Padre For some reason, the noir detective — and the companion trope of sky — is easy to turn comedic. One of the tried and true techniques is the Nick Charles model of coolness, plus joke lines intended directly for the viewer not the on-screen companion. I...

Published December 5, 2022
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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)
Filmmaker(s): Ryan Coogler

Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia and Everett Ross and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.

A Hidden Nation There seems no way to remark on this without anchoring it in what I believe is a new cinematic vocabulary. We all cheered when Gal Godot, in the first of that series, established a woman hero. But that character was spooky strange, literally...

Published December 4, 2022
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Storm Boy (1976)
Wild things should be free.
Filmmaker(s): Henri Safran

Mike is a lonely Australian boy living in a coastal wilderness with his reclusive father. In search of friendship he encounters an Aboriginal native loner and the two form a bond in the care of orphaned pelicans.

Internal Weather I’ve had the advantage of being old, and living in both the US and Australia and raising kids in each. That gives me a perspective on the book before seeing the film. Every so often, a young adult book hits a sweet spot in...

Published December 1, 2022
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Appointment with Death (1988)
An invitation to murder !
Filmmaker(s): Michael Winner

Emily Boynton, the stepmother to three children, blackmails the family lawyer into destroying a second will of her late husband that would have freed the children from her dominating influence. She takes herself, the children, and her daughter-in-law on holiday to Europe and the Holy Land. At a dig, Emily is found dead and Hercule Poirot investigates.

Multiple Appointments You can come to films for the bubble of the film, as it presents itself. Or you can enjoy the film as a character in your life, your personal film and the narratives that change you. In this case, I chose the larger film. That’s...

Published November 23, 2022
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Bodies, Bodies, Bodies (2022)
This is not a safe space.
Filmmaker(s): Halina Reijn

In an isolated family mansion, a group of rich 20-somethings decides to play Bodies Bodies Bodies, a game where one of them is secretly a "killer" while the rest tries to "escape". Things take a turn for the worse when real bodies start turning up, setting off a paranoid and dangerous chain of events.

Hideous Sun Demon I am not the intended target audience for this. That seems to be the kind of young folks that go to slasher films and that also like folded narrative and explicit twists at the end. But I am an engaged viewer in any...

Published November 21, 2022
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Enola Holmes 2 (2022)
Go Big. Go Holmes.
Filmmaker(s): Harry Bradbeer

Now a detective-for-hire like her infamous brother, Enola Holmes takes on her first official case to find a missing girl, as the sparks of a dangerous conspiracy ignite a mystery that requires the help of friends — and Sherlock himself — to unravel.

Confidence Games Three things to like in this. The first is the obvious breaking of the fourth wall. Rather than be sly like Bruce Willis often was, this is in your face old school in-action narration. It is refreshing. Not so sure it will still work...

Published November 12, 2022
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See How They Run (2022)
The greatest murder ever staged
Filmmaker(s): Tom George

In the West End of 1950s London, plans for a movie version of a smash-hit play come to an abrupt halt after a pivotal member of the crew is murdered. When world-weary Inspector Stoppard and eager rookie Constable Stalker take on the case, the two find themselves thrown into a puzzling whodunit within the glamorously sordid theater underground, investigating the mysterious homicide at their own peril.

More Layers The film itself is lovely, after the style of Anderson but with softer edges and more welcome split screens. The use of the splits is cinematically reflective of the story. That’s the real star here, though most folks focus on the comedic cops. So,...

Published November 9, 2022
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