The multi-talented Cynthia Erivo delivers a career best performance under Anthony Chen’s immaculate direction. She plays Jacqueline, an enigmatic woman who lands on a Greek island all alone and penniless. She struggles to survive and also to forget her past in Africa, but now as a young refugee she has no alternative but to sleep rough in a cave by the beach. During the day, she tries to earn some money by massaging the feet of foreign women on the beach and despite all this misery, she manages to form an unlikely friendship with Callie an American tourist guide (Alia Shawkat)…
It is a compelling film thanks to Erivo’s striking presence and deeply moving performance. She shares a tremendous chemistry with Shawkat, as the kind soul she meets on the island and together these lonely women try to help each other and make sense of their past experiences as well as look forward to the future.
It is sensitive film beautifully directed and brilliantly photographed on stunning Greek locations. The flashback sequences with Jacqueline in her prosperous African home show happy times, but curiously it is never clear what led her to her current predicament. The local Greeks, even though they are not presented as stereotypes, are always in the periphery like the owner of the local tavern and the not too likable policeman.
There is plenty to enjoy here and is worth seeing just for Erivo’s remarkable performance alone.


The winning partnership between filmmaker Sasha Polak and leading actor Vicky Knight -that started with the remarkable DIRTY GOD – continues with another equally powerful film. The story is inspired from Vicky Knight’s own childhood experiences, where she survived an arson attack which left her scarred. She plays 23-year-old Franky, a hard working East London nurse, who struggles to provide for her volatile family and make ends meet. Life is hard until she begins a relationship with Florence (Esme Creed-Miles), one of her patients and almost spontaneously leaves everything behind to join her for an adventure at Florence’s coastal town…
The acting is excellent by both protagonists and feels authentic especially during the scenes where Franky is ready to confront her childhood traumas. It is original, unpredictable and always fascinating.


This imaginative horror is set during a live broadcast in 1977, hosted by the popular presenter Jack Delroy (David Dastmalchian). It is Halloween night and Jack wants to extend this special edition with many guests in attendance including a magician and a parapsychologist along with the subject of her recent book – a young teenager who survived a satanic church’s catastrophe….
Writers/directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes make great use of their sole location and shoot the entire picture with imagination and style. It is like an early David Cronenberg and it works brilliantly thanks to truthful performances particularly by Dastamalchian as the troubled host, who soon begins to lose control of situation when things start to go terribly wrong in the studio.
An original piece of filmmaking that cements the Brothers Cairnes’ reputation as a new voice in horror.


Jeff Wadlow’s mild horror lacks imagination and style, unlike his previous TRUTH OR DARE where he combined successfully horror with comedy. Here he tells the story of Jessica (DeWanda Wise), a woman haunted with dreams of past memories, who moves back into her childhood home with her husband and two stepdaughters. Life is good until the youngest daughter Alice (Pyper Braun) begins to develop a weird friendship with a stuffed bear named Chauncey that she finds in the basement…
The first half is intriguing enough to keep the attention but the preposterous climactic sequences defy any credibility.


You have to admire American comedian Sebastian Maniscalco for managing to lure Robert De Niro into playing his father in this lukewarm comedy co-scripted by Maniscalco with Austen Earl. Sebastian always had a weird, uneasy relationship with his Italian immigrant, hairdresser father Salvo particularly now that he is getting engaged to the super-rich Ellie (Leslie Bibb). She encourages him to bring Salvo with him for a weekend at her parents’ mansion and Sebastian reluctantly agrees…
The premise may have a whiff of MEET THE PARENTS but it is not in the same league but fun, especially when Salvo gets to meet Ellie’s eccentric family. De Niro has played this kind of character many times before and he almost sleepwalks throughout the action, while the charmless Maniscalo delivers a loud, unfunny performance. Bibb is a classy presence and so is Kim Cattrall as her stuck-up mother. It is occasionally amusing but overall, unmemorable. (Prime Video)

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