Black Panther – Review

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The king of Wakanda himself finally takes the screen as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after having appeared briefly in Captain America: Civil War. Directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman as the titular king, the most pleasing thing to report about Black Panther is that they had indeed given royalty the proper cinematic welcome for audiences of all sorts. It feels relieving to see a Marvel Cinematic Universe that I can comfortably say that I liked, without any “buts” to get in the way – for after this and Taika Waititi’s entry with Thor: Ragnarok, it would be easier to hope for more superhero films that give their own directors enough room to express themselves properly without much interference getting in the way.

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The Last King of Scotland – Review

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General Idi Amin’s rise to power and his own erratic behavior can already make for an interesting subject to capture on film, which is exactly what Kevin Macdonald aimed to capture in The Last King of Scotland. Yet for every trace this film has that can signify something far greater it unfortunately falls down at the hands of another story being told at the exact same time, and this portion isn’t nearly half as interesting. That’s not to say a bad film is what we’re left with but rather instead what we have been given is in part something that could have been great because of the craft behind how a story like this is being captured on film. Then amidst all of that, it stops to tell another. The mix that we are left with is exactly what Kevin Macdonald provides in The Last King of Scotland, forming a product that feels only serviceable at its very best.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Review

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Gareth Edwards seems to have come a long way from his debut, the minimalist Monsters soon going on to directing a new American reboot of Godzilla, which had its moments but ultimately proved itself a move too risky for a big name franchise, for what was provided from a director only known for a minimalist science fiction film would present something expository in the end. Now, he goes behind Rogue One, the first ever spin-off for the Star Wars franchise and the best one could ever hope for is something new to learn about how the prequels and the original trilogy have come to link together, but afterwards I was left pondering what significance did a new story even have on the rest of the films because amidst the enjoyable moments we have to trudge through exposition.

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Where the Wild Things Are – Review

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When I was much younger, Maurice Sendak’s book Where the Wild Things Are was a story I held so dear to my heart and I always wanted my parents reading it to me before heading into bed. In 2009, the time finally came when I was seeing something that defined my childhood coming to the screen. It’s hard enough translating a beloved piece of what helped me growing up onto the big screen in this manner but somehow, what Spike Jonze managed to provide had triumphed and brought back so many fond memories for myself. For not only was it those memories that came back to me which struck me in awe at Where the Wild Things Are, but Spike Jonze’s incredible understanding of childhood that only strike for more imagination.

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Arrival – Review

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There was a single point in Arrival to which I just had one simple thought running, one that struck my own face in awe – because what Denis Villeneuve has left behind hits as a modern day Solaris could. In a way, it hits beats that could remind one of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, maybe not in a direct manner with the sentimentality of said work but in a more grim approach which he had been employing from Prisoners onward. I had a good feeling that his own experimentation with atmosphere can lead only to the very best when I came out of watching Sicario, but with Arrival, Villeneuve has outdone himself. It may be early to call it, but I feel it is set to grow to become a defining work in 21st century science fiction cinema – maybe the best we have gotten since Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men.

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