By: Jessica Goddard Campy, far-fetched, but generally fun, Tate Taylor’s Ma is a passable thriller made watchable by Octavia Spencer’s casting.
By: Jessica Goddard Could a beautiful, successful, Type A presidential hopeful like Charlize Theron’s Charlotte fall in love with a slovenly, jobless, political cynic like Seth Rogen’s Fred? Long Shot is wholly predictable in both its conclusion to this question, and in how it gets us there. From the standard drug-fuelled escapade we’ve come to anticipate once per Seth Rogen film, to the “maybe if one day he shows up in nicer clothes she’ll start…
By: Jessica Goddard In a classic case of truth being stranger than fiction, JT LeRoy is especially interesting if you keep in mind its events notoriously did happen. All the required overacting works, since the story is so bizarre and based on a sequence of such strange choices.
By: Jessica Goddard Little is fun – which of course is film-review-speak for “a sloppily written comedy trying its best.” It’s corny, preachy, and meandering, but the energy is good and the lead performances are sharp.
By: Jessica Goddard Jordan Peele’s sophomore effort Us is gripping and suspenseful at first, but loses steam as the story’s loose ends become hard to ignore.
By: Jessica Goddard Touching, sincere, and surprisingly universal, Jon S. Baird’s Stan & Ollie is a sensitive look into the last tour of legendary comedy act Laurel and Hardy. Built on wonderful performances from Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as Laurel and Hardy respectively, the biopic has wonderful range – from the tender or vicious exchanges to the subtle but magnetic moments when the pair perform on stage as a duo.
By: Jessica Goddard A perfectly harmless buddy film with charming performances from an A-list cast, The Upside weaves compelling drama with light comedy.
By: Jessica Goddard Mid90s is a coming-of-age period piece, chronicling how a mild 13-year-old boy finds acceptance and belonging with a reckless crowd of skateboarders. Our pint-sized protagonist, Stevie (Sunny Suljic), perfectly captures the in-the-middleness suggested by the title – we can’t help but see a child when he’s next to his older (taller) friends, but the mischief he gets up to makes him feel much more adult than we’re comfortable with.
By: Jessica Goddard From director Felix Van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown), Beautiful Boy is an affecting, thought-provoking account of one family’s experience with the cyclical realities of addiction, recovery, and relapse. The story is told sensitively – though sometimes confusingly – through a fragmented, flashback-heavy narrative structure.
By: Jessica Goddard An engrossing call-to-action documentary by the late Rob Stewart, Sharkwater: Extinction is a brave journalistic exploration further into the destructive shark fin trade, following up 2006’s acclaimed Sharkwater.