Matteo Garrone, the distinguished Italian director of GOMORRAH and DOGMAN, brings to the screen another powerful drama inspired by true events. He tells the story of Seydou (Seydou Sarr) and Moussa (Mustapha Fall), two inseparable young boys, who leave Dakar, Senegal for a new life in Europe. They are young, and full of life but their spontaneous decision to travel across the desert begins to have major repercussions not only for them but also for their families…It is a compelling story and demands attention from beginning until the closing credits. Seydou and Moussa’s action at first feels more a like a dare that often young people challenge each other. They live in a rather safe but dull environment especially for youngsters, which they leave behind without a second thought and without even telling their families. But once they are confronted with the dangers of the desert they soon begin to regret their decision but there’s no way back and things turn even worse when they end up in the middle of the harsh, cruel reality of Libya. This modern day Odyssey is a poetic masterpiece and is well deserved its Academy Award nomination for Best International Feature. Garrone’s essential film is blessed with two remarkable performances by its two young actors whose luminous presence lights up the screen. Do not miss!

It is nearly a year ago since I attended an advantaged press screening of this brilliant dark comedy but mysteriously its release date has changed several times, which is a real surprise because this is really quite good. Writer/director Matt Winn has probably borrowed the title from Alfred Hitchcock’s THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY but sets his action in London rather than in a small Vermont town. He follows the story of Sarah (Shirley Henderson) and Tom (Rufus Sewell) a married couple deep financial trouble but thankfully they have managed to find a buyer for their stylish London home. They have invited their friends Richard (Alan Tudyk) and Beth (Olivia Williams) for one last dinner before they move out but to their unpleasant surprise an uninvited old friend, Jessica (Indira Varma) turns up as well…Winn’s smart comedy is genuinely funny and boasts a superb cast, who relish his delicious script and their joy is highly infectious. The plot is unpredictable and fun and the less one knows about its development the better. Matt Winn is a talent to watch!

Jack Black returns as the voice of Po, the beloved Panda who managed against the odds to be promoted as the Dragon Warrior thanks to his Kung Fu Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman). But the no nonsense Shify insists that it is time for Po to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of the Peace and pass on the baton to a new Dragon Warrior. Needless to say Po doesn’t take any of this seriously until he comes across Zhen (Awkwafina), a fearless fox…There are many enjoyable set pieces in this likable sequel to the successful franchise. The voice work is great by the regular team but this time it is the newcomers who deliver memorable performance. Awkwafina fresh from lending her voice for MIGRATION and THE LITTLE MERMAID is rapidly becoming the queen of animated features and her smart fox threatens to steal the film. Viola Davis has great fun as the evil Chameleon, the greedy little lizard desperate to lay her hands on Po’s Staff of Wisdom. A satisfying adventure for the whole family!

Last year rising star Sydney Sweeney delivered one of the best performances of the year in REALITY. Now she plays Sister Cecilia, a woman of devout faith who after a near death experience in a frozen lake she believes God saved her for purpose and soon after she accepts an invitation to join an Italian convent, where dying nuns are being looked after. Cecilia is shocked when she finds out that she is pregnant even though she is still a virgin…Michael Mohan’s routine psychological horror is devoid of any real scares and the main premise is unsurprisingly lifted from Roman Polanski’s ROSEMARY’S BABY- one of my favourite horror films of all time. Thankfully, Sweeney is a striking presence and manages to gain the audience’s sympathy from her very first entrance, but she and the audience deserve much better than this.

The winning partnership between Emma Seligman and her SHIVA BABY leading lady Rachel Sennott continues with another unexpected delight. This time the sharp screenplay is written by both women and it focuses on PJ (Rachel Sennot) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri), two randy but unpopular high school lesbians, who start a fight club in their desperate attempt to bed attractive cheerleaders and lose their virginity. Miraculously their devious plan works and their overnight popularity brings them lots of dates…Even though the setting is overfamiliar it is good to see this kind of story told from the underdog’s point of view. It is an enjoyably rude comedy and Seligman’s assured direction draws fresh, uncomplicated performances from her talented cast. (Prime Video)
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