Ben has written 43 reviews for films during 2022.

  • The Adam Project

    The Adam Project

    ★★★

    The Adam Project won’t interest many with its science-fiction story or it’s fairly dreary lore. However it won me over with its small scale emotional moments and the fun dynamic between Ryan Reynolds and his younger self. 

    Ryan Reynolds isn’t offering anything different here, he’s yet again playing his usual witty, sarcastic self, which for many will be a frustration. However his chemistry and dynamic with Walker Scobell in particular offers a lot of funny moments, and some surprisingly deep…

  • Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

    Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

    ★★★

    An incredibly confident and often bewildering commentary and attack on societal conventions, double standards and European Nationalism. This is undeniably provocative with its ideas on storytelling, narrative and culture, with director Radu Jade having no interest in suppressing any of his wild idiosyncrasies. It’s also undeniably jarring and will completely estrange some viewers with its eccentricity and explicit nature.

    I found it very jarring, but admired the courage to make a film this striking. Despite the well laid out 3-act…

  • Scream

    Scream

    ★★★

    For me Scream 5 wasn’t quite the brilliant contemporary reimagining of this franchise that many have found. Directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin were a good choice to helm this project, they direct with a lot of energy and find a solid balance of humour and horror. However similarly to Scream 4 I’m past the point of excusing these films for being filled with tropes on the basis of their insane levels of being self-referential. 

    When the first Scream came…

  • Kimi

    Kimi

    ★★★

    Soderbergh works around the limits put upon Kimi to create another engrossing exploration of genre.

    Soderbergh’s energy and Zoe Kravitz’s fantastic performance really elevate Kimi as a contained thriller. The use of technology as a narrative and plot device can often limit the potential of a protagonist and a story, but that’s not the case here, Angela’s acrophobia and extreme paranoia is elevated by the homespun technological storytelling. As a thriller however Kimi can’t quite reach the heights of its…

  • Jerry & Marge Go Large

    Jerry & Marge Go Large

    ★★½

    A very safe outing from David Frankel that suits streaming well. This is the type of content that might well build the backbone of a successful streaming service, a traditional, feel-good film with likeable character actors.

    Brian Cranston and Annette Bening star as the titular Jerry and Marge, and the pair have great chemistry and embody the roles of small town, family driven individuals. The ensemble has enough nuance and likability, Rainn Wilson provides enough fruitful comic relief despite the…

  • Gold

    Gold

    ★★★

    In my head I’d imagined Gold as a chase thriller, and to my surprise this is more of a horror film than anything else. Gold mostly follows Zac Efron’s character and his descent into insanity in the Australian Outback. As a survival thriller this entirely relies on the performance of Efron, and he doesn’t disappoint, he gives a very physical and emotive performance with much of the film being a solo act. The cinematography captures the backdrop of the story…

  • Spencer

    Spencer

    ★★★½

    There’s something about Steven Knight’s screenplays that I always find so jarring, and his writing is my least favourite part of Spencer. The intent of being subtle while being overly direct and obvious thematically is a common thread throughout the film. The film seems to find it difficult to show Diana as a victim without being explicit and self-explanatory, particularly in the first half. The screenplay is particularly disappointing because there are so many great aspects of Spencer. Jonny Greenwood’s score…

  • Raging Fire

    Raging Fire

    ★★★½

    Benny Chan’s final film perfects all the traditional elements of Hong Kong police thrillers and offers some of the most exciting action set pieces of his career. 

    Donnie Yen’s physicality at his age is unbelievable, and his back and forth with Nicholas Tse both physically and psychologically makes for an exciting film from top to bottom. Yen delivers in the action set pieces and in the film’s more dialogue heavy moments. The fantastic stunt work is aided by the great…

  • The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild

    The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild

    ★½

    Feels very much like a cheap, made for streaming show, the small scale episodic structure and story do not translate well as a film.

    Nothing about this will attract anyone who’s a fan of this franchise, the animation style has changed and is very cheap looking. The quick recap of the characters at the beginning of the film show the intention to not draw back on any of the complexities that have made these characters fun to watch. The recasting…

  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife

    Ghostbusters: Afterlife

    ★★

    Ghostbusters: Afterlife may well be fulfilling for fans, Reitman’s promise of “giving Ghostbusters back to the fans” may well materialise. However as someone who isn’t necessarily a fan of the original, holding much less nostalgia for the franchise that Reitman and the writers expect, I felt the film struggling to be a diacritic story in any way. 

    I might’ve been more impartial to the constant references and blurts of nostalgia if they were more consistent. The first half of the…

  • The Valet

    The Valet

    ★★★

    The Valet is a remake of the French film of the same that came out around 15 years ago. As romantic comedies go The Valet is more likeable than it is funny, and it’s drawbacks are elevated by the fantastic chemistry between Samara Weaving and Eugenio Derbez.

    This is set out to poke fun at the idea of the celebrity lifestyle in a human and understandable way, and in that it succeeds. The character of Antonio is a relatable gateway…

  • Topside

    Topside

    ★★★

    An authentic and often heart-wrenching drama, Topside is a story exploring the difficult lives of a mother and her daughter in New York. This is very suited to a Venice release, it captures the claustrophobia and desperation of these characters struggling in New York effectively.

    The performances from Zhalia Farmer and Celine Held are excellent, their bond never feels inauthentic however it also never reaches the highs of the perfect mother and child bond seen in ROOM, a film in…