Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

The first half or so of “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” (a clumsy retitling of the cleaner “Soldado”, lacking the embrace-the-shlock factor of something like “Sicario 2” as well) is a very worthy successor to the excellent thriller that was the first film. The first film was a perfect melding of two distinctive names in…

Arrietty (2010)

A lovely, inventive film about a family of tiny people living in a regular-sized house, and the antics they get up to foraging and making a life for themselves. I’m not familiar with the books the film is actually based on, but it reminded me of similar antics of scale from Terry Pratchett’s Nome/Bromeliad trilogy.…

From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

A grounded Ghibli film anchored with a strong sense of nostalgia and sense of place. It’s cute and sweet but lacks the deft characterisation of a Isao Takahata film, the fantasy or epic nature of a lot of Hayao Miyazaki’s work, so it comes across as something of a lesser work. The contrast between the…

Ponyo (2008)

A story about first love and children making their first steps into maturity is old ground for Studio Ghibli, but the aquatic elements and snappy pacing make Ponyo a fun ride nonetheless. Like My Neighbour Totoro, the film explores the way children can accept wonder and magic and all of life’s surprises in an unquestioning…

Blockers (2018)

Blockers flips the script not just by dividing equal time to the high-schoolers-seeking-to-lose-their-virginity-on-prom-night and their parents, but by following the teenage girls rather than boys that populate nearly all sex comedies of this type. The sharp script and excellent cast (John Cena a particular and surprising highlight) make for a fun film in their own…

Game Night (2018)

A riff on David Fincher that strikes out far above its peers by being surprisingly well-directed. The premise and cast are strong enough that this would have worked fine as a typical modern American comedy – flatly lit, competently shot, extended improvisation. But directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan make a genuine attempt at something…

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Deadpool 2 is a lot shaggier than the first movie, with both a looser and a busier plot. More full of stuff, but less novel than revolving a film around two basic setpieces as the first film did. There’s more on the film’s mind, but it’s communicated through a relentless parade of busier and louder…