Review: ‘Black Widow’ is a great, character-driven action-adventure

Black Widow

Marvel Studios has become an unstoppable cultural behemoth. Under normal circumstances, their films routinely make a billion dollars at the box office, the kind of money that every other studio on the planet has been chasing ever since the 2012’s The Avengers proved that the interconnected universe of films is a thing that could work.

It’s a shame that these aren’t normal circumstances then, because with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic pushing Black Widow –the film so many fans have been waiting for for years– into a hybrid release, it probably won’t make a billion dollars at the box office. To be clear: that’s a shame because it’s excellent.

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Review: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ is charming, but muddled satire

Jojo Rabbit

This is a movie that should be right up my alley. It has an acclaimed comedic writer/director known for films that strike exactly the tone that taking on a difficult subject like the Nazis is suited for, with an all-star cast and a premise just out there enough to maybe sneak in some real lessons without the audience knowing.

And it almost works. That’s not to say that Jojo Rabbit is a bad film. It’s actually a fine film. It has more than a few big laughs and a couple of great performances, but it never quite gels into something more.

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Review: Chef

Chef

Jon Favreau has a longer history as an actor than as a writer/director but it’s the latter class that Jon Favreau’s career has had a few bumps in the road lately.most people seem to know him as these days. After writing Swingers and directing Made and later Elf he eventually was given the job of bringing Marvel Studios first film to screen with Iron Man. That film was a smash hit and kicked off one of the biggest franchises of all time but the follow-up Iron Man 2 and later Cowboys & Aliens were met with less enthusiastic responses.

After all that bombast Chef represents a return to the type of film that got Favreau noticed as a writer/director in the first place: a smaller, simpler film with a straightforward premise and a lot of heart.

And you know what? It’s really good.

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Review: Under The Skin

Under the skin poster

You can put it away now: the idea that the unnervingly attractive Scarlett Johansson only became a superstar due to the fact that she is the human embodiment of a 1940’s bomber girl. It’s easy to decide on obvious categories – something that she has undoubtedly had to fight herself – and she could have effortlessly made her career as The Pretty Girl in all kinds of meaningless rom-coms and action flicks. But then you look at her filmography and you see a ridiculously diverse selection – from The Girl With The Pearl Earring and Lost In Translation to her deliciously deadly stints as Black Widow in the various Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America blockbusters.

And now, with director Jonathan Glazer’s adaptation of Under The Skin from Michael Faber’s novel, she can finally draw a line under the stereotype. In a movie that contains enough twists and horrors to keep you thinking for weeks, she carries the whole narrative while barely saying a word in a stunning, revelatory performance that is a career best to date.

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