Stan & Ollie
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.
By: Jessica Goddard Half documentary, half pet project from Michael Caine, My Generation is vaguely informative but mostly a colourful nostalgia trip to 1960s creative hotspot London. The film arcs from explaining the roots of the culturally significant music, fashion, and photography of young London in the 60s to imparting what happened when those same tastemakers dove headfirst into vice (Caine told The Guardian in a recent interview, “What ruined the 60s, towards the end…
A Simple Favor
By: Jessica Goddard A movie unafraid to leave your head spinning from the farfetched quantity of twists, A Simple Favor is fun, well-paced, and stylish. Directed by Paul Feig, it balances elements of a mystery/thriller/dramedy, borrowing from too-many-to-count eerie pop culture phenomena before it. And yet, successfully, it pulls off homage (as opposed to shameless rip-off) time and time again, in a way that feels fresh and full of energy.
By: Jessica Goddard A film as heartbreaking as it is necessary, Bo Burnham’s feature directorial debut Eighth Grade earnestly tackles the varied intricacies of growing up in the age of smartphones, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram.