Each month, for those Graffiti readers unsure of where else they can find my reviews, I'll be collecting them into a single post. This is so that you can catch up without having to scroll through a series of #OneHeatMinute notifications and videos of me imploring you to RUN. #noexcuses
“Widows” is an exquisite crime drama refreshed and relocated from the British 1983 limited series to the authentic socio-political quagmire of modern Chicago. When a crew of experienced criminals (Liam Neeson, Jon Bernthal and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) are killed in the midst of a heist, which included two million dollars in campaign funds from a gang leader turned politician Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), their wives (Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez) are left with the debt. With death (or worse) as a consequence, they must pursue their dead husbands’ final job to survive.
Creed II, the ‘kitchen sink’ sequel to writer/director Ryan Coogler’s phenomenal franchise resuscitation Creed, pits heirs to the Rocky universe’s royalty against one another for the throne. Playing like the greatest hits of every Rocky sequel to date, Creed II is bigger and its hits thud harder, but it misses the emotional focus and finesse of its predecessor.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald should come with a disclaimer: that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is essential viewing before entering the cinema (and the expanding Wizarding World is helpful reading). There’s Young Dumbledore (or ‘Yum-bledore’ – thanks Tumblr). There are flashes of Hogwarts and delightfully era-appropriate earlier versions of the classic uniform for those of you craving more of what eight incredible movies (and seven novels) set there. However, lower your wands and your expectations – it’s a part two of five.
Writer/director Paul Schrader’s First Reformed is an utterly mesmerising, elegant work of faith and rage. From the opening frames of the film, with the 1.37:1 aspect ratio that resembles an analog television set, the spire of the Dutch colonial designed First Reformed church stands with rigid disquiet. Schrader’s conflicted feelings of contemporary Christianity swell invisibly around the steeple.
AACTA Award predictions: Who should win and who will win?
There are so many films that showcase the struggles of the teenage experience, especially those sensational end-of-the-world feelings when faced with obstacles. As adults, there’s a kind of fondness to revisit those feelings as the realities of real-life dwarf them. Writer/director Andrew Haigh’s stunning adaptation Willy Vlautin novel Lean on Pete is precisely the opposite. In this delicate odyssey across an interrupted contemporary frontier, young Charley (Charlie Plummer) can only – to paraphrase Kipling – fill each unforgiving minute with sixty seconds of distance run.
BLAKE HOWARD IS A FILM CRITIC & THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/CO-FOUNDER OF AUSTRALIAN FILM BLOG GRAFFITI WITH PUNCTUATION . BLAKE IS THE HOST OF THE ONE HEAT MINUTE PODCAST. BLAKE IS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE PRESTIGIOUS ONLINE FILM CRITIC SOCIETY (AND A MEMBER OF THE GOVERNING COMMITTEE), IS A CO-HOST OF GAGGLE OF GEEKS ON SYDNEY'S 2SER COMMUNITY RADIO, A COLUMNIST AT THE AUSTRALIAN ONLINE INSTITUTION DARK HORIZONS AND SWAYS THE TOMATO METER WITH ROTTEN TOMATOES APPROVED REVIEWS.