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  • It Chapter Two

    It Chapter Two

    ★★★★★

    It Chapter One, or whatever we must call it since it made enough millions to birth a chapter two, had its crutches. This was an adaptation of (half of) a beloved book, following in the footsteps of a so-so yet affectionately remembered TV movie, leaning heavily into the never-ending wave of 1980s nostalgia. It all seemed a little safe, never completely its own entity.

    Yet it overcame this. As Amblin-lite as it was, It starred a winning cast of kids…

  • The Shiny Shrimps

    The Shiny Shrimps

    ★★★★

    A film about a group of disparate men coming together through the medium of water sports, The Shiny Shrimps is everything last year’s Swimming With Men wasn’t. A huge hit in its native France, the story is ripped from co-director Cédric Le Gallo’s experiences playing for a gay water-polo team actually called The Shiny Shrimps — “shrimps” because they are water-based, “shiny” because they are fabulous — but transforms the reality into gleeful, fizzy, big-hearted fun.

    The set-up is economically…

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  • Joker

    Joker

    ★★★★★

    1981 in Gotham City. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. There’s a garbage strike, rats rampaging in the piled-up trash, parts of the city are no better than slums and Arthur Fleck, troubled professional clown and wannabe stand-up comedian, sits in front of a mirror, slowly painting his face. He attempts to smile and resorts to holding the corners of his mouth up in a grin that stretches from ear to ear. A single tear…

  • Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    ★★★★

    It feels like we’ve been spoiled by space. Ever since Gravity seemingly changed the game, science-fiction has had to work harder than ever to impress us. It’s almost like the genre’s already peaked. Picking up the space-gauntlet, director James Gray quixotically heralded Ad Astra as being “the most realistic depiction of space ever”. And fair dos, this film is beautiful: from the glistening cinematography to artfully celestial framing to the seamless visual effects (some shots use actual photos of the…