Christopher Robin (dir. Marc Forster, 2018) – An adult Christopher Robin is about to rediscover the important things in life, decades after leaving the Hundred Acre Wood behind in memory.
Christopher Robin bears warmth in its portrayal of endearing friendships and its meaningful, if simple, message on life.
Not to be confused with the autobiographical Goodbye Christopher Robin, Christopher Robin has naught to do with the real-life inspiration for the A. A. Milne creation. Rather, the re-imagining roots itself in fiction and aspires to be little more than a new chapter for the familiar yellow fur friend.
The plot is simple. A now grown-up Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) suffers the ordinary troubles of the everyman, who falls into the trap of the working class and neglects his family for business. His wife and daughter tire of his broken promises, when he again sits out a family vacation in favour of work.
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Hereditary (dir. Ari Aster, 2018) – After the death of the Grahams’ matriarch, the family starts to unravel terrifying secrets about their ancestry.
Hereditary pulls its audiences into disorienting madness of suffocating intensity, be it real and imagined.
The Grahams are haunted, though ghosts play little part in their malaise. Hereditary takes a leaf from Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby that takes interest in deep-seated human paranoia with just a side of the supernatural, clawing the surface mud for invisible anxieties beneath the everyman.
Such fears have consumed Annie (Toni Collette) from a very young age. Some of which owes to her mother, whose mysterious past hides ancestral secrets darker than she ever imagined. The revelations pull Annie into the cabalistic world that soon endangers her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) and teenage children Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro).
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How It Ends (dir. David M. Rosenthal, 2018) – After a mysterious event sends the world into chaos, two men set out on a desperate drive to find their missing family.
How It Ends itself is as much of a disappointment as how it actually ends.
An unsettling disruption cuts short a call between Will (Theo James) and his pregnant fiancé Sam (Kat Graham). Flights are soon cancelled, cell services down, and the power, out. As an apocalyptic event seems to edge closer, Sam’s father and ex-marine Tom (Forest Whitaker) wastes no time and sets out on a perilous drive with Will towards Seattle, where Sam was last seen.
The rescuers are on poor terms. But they soon reconcile in favour of survival, while coming to face the uncertainty of the unknown disaster ahead. Above all, they embattle the dangerous desperation of humanity, when ass hysteria quickly elevate thefts to murders.
In this, How It Ends steps into familiar territory, but does little more than its genre neighbours have done before. Competent visual effects and outstanding cinematography keep it from being labelled a b-grade disaster movie, though they remain inadequate to make any lasting impact.
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A Quiet Place (dir. John Krasinski, 2018) – A small family is forced to live in silence and in hiding from sound-sensitive monsters with no seeming weaknesses.
Beautifully written, A Quiet Place exceeds scares in its presentation of humanity as hope in face of monsters.
The absence of sound assuredly builds anticipation towards sudden terror, and has conceptually works wonders for the horror genre over recent years. In the vein of Hush and Don’t Breathe, A Quiet Place relies on artful sound design for the conjuring of effective tension, without overly relying on cheap jump scares.
The brilliant opening sees the Abbott family gathering supplies in silence, their young children in tow. Trepidation turns hearts into sledgehammers, with each crease of plastic and knock-over of cans posing a fatal threat. Simply by implications, the audience is made cognizant of how every little move could make the softest of noise.
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Solo: A Star Wars Story (dir. Ron Howard, 2018) – The early years of Han Solo sees him team up with Lando Calrissian and his Wookie co-pilot for the first time in an exacting heist under villainous orders.
There is fun to be had in the cinematic heist of Solo, even if it adds little to its namesake’s mythos.
On paper, a solo Solo space western looks like it could be a blast. The charismatic pilot is well-loved for one, after forty years of first and repeated viewings. Besides, his reckless nature, unending wisecracks, and fierce loyalty all mark the very requisites of a proper cinematic adventure.
More cheered when Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were tabbed to direct the screenplay, co-written by Lawrence Kasdan himself and his son. It was all starting to look like a worthwhile venture. Then, a worrisome turn of events followed.
Creative differences reared its ugly head once again, when the popular directing pair left the project. Rumours of extensive rumours added fuel to the fire, which did not bode well for the latest Disney property. Fan confidence was hit, hard, and Ron Howard stepping in did little to recover it.
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