Review in Brief: Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022)

The cinema of kindness is always the most affecting for me, and Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha Real Smooth is a doozy in that regard. Films that cause tears to start flowing but not in a calculated and cynical way, instead by showing us the true experiences of people and their complex relationships are really quite special. A layabout twenty-something (Raiff) becomes a bar mitzvah party starter and soon becomes close with a lonely mum (Dakota Johnson) and her autistic daughter (Vanessa Burghardt). Much like Raiff’s feature directorial debut SHITHOUSE, this takes its time and lets you feel every awkward/painful/sweet character interaction and its fallout in real time. Raiff has a unique screen presence and low-key directorial verve to spare, many heartfelt and funny moments with Johnson and Burghardt (both mesmerising) likely to stay with you for the foreseeable future. SSP

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Review in Brief: Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)

DOMINION is in the awkward position of being both a little too complicated for kids and a little too stupid for adults. You get your dinosaur action (involving both old and new prehistoric beasties) in spades and the original trio back (and wearing exactly the same outfits for some reason), but Colin Trevorrow’s storytelling misses the mark. A few years after dinosaurs escaped into the human world, Owen (Chris Pratt), Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and their adopted genetically-engineered daughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon) team up with the most famous survivors of Jurassic tourism, Drs Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to fight dino-smugglers, sinister bioengineering corporations and an impending man-made ecological disaster. There are things for loyal fans of the franchise to like here and Goldblum steals the show whether he was following the script or not, but this is a first-base legacyquel with too little that’s new or particularly memorable. SSP

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10 Best Thor Ragnarok Moments

https://www.thefilmagazine.com/10-best-thor-ragnarok-moments/ SSP

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Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) Review

https://www.thefilmagazine.com/thor-love-and-thunder-review/ SSP

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Elvis (2022) Review

https://www.thefilmagazine.com/elvis-2022-review-butler-hanks/ SSP

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Review in Brief: Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Who’d have guessed a legacy sequel to TOP GUN would be this damn good? MAVERICK sees, well, Maverick (Tom Cruise) reluctantly return to the Top Gun flight school to train the next generation of superior naval aviators, including the son of his tragically departed copilot Goose, for an impossible mission. The flight scenes, achieved as close to real as is possible with actors, are jaw-dropping, the character interplay, particularly between Cruise and Miles Teller’s Rooster, not to mention a poignant scene for Iceman that acknowledges Val Kilmer’s real-world struggles, packs an incredible punch and the whole thing is pitched just right between throwback and leap forward. The final act may just be an extremely polished homage to the Death Star attack in STAR WARS, but it still goes out on an irresistible high with every subsequent visually spectacular sequence in the film inspiring pure joy. SSP

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‘Hercules’ at 25 – Review

https://www.thefilmagazine.com/hercules-disney-animation-review/ SSP

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10 Best Sam Raimi Movie Moments

https://www.thefilmagazine.com/10-best-sam-raimi-movie-moments/ SSP

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Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) Review

https://www.thefilmagazine.com/everything-everywhere-movie-review-2022/ SSP

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Review in Brief: The Sadness (2021)

Remember the first time you saw THE RAID? Remember that feeling of being completely floored by the sheer artistry of its ultraviolence? Well, Taiwanese horror THE SADNESS conjures up that same feeling, but with even more extreme imagery and through the prism of a sort-of zombie movie. Young couple Jim (Berant Zhu) and Kate (Regina Lei) are separated and must find each other in the middle of a rapidly-spreading epidemic, a virus that turns ordinary people into rictus-grinning maniacs drive to give in to every primal instinct. The depraved gore in this on a level where you frequently find yourself making a noise halfway between an incredulous laugh and a pained yelp, but strong character work, constant momentum and the smarts to satirically skewer the real world’s uninspiring response to the still ongoing pandemic makes this a treat for those with a real taste for this kind of stuff. SSP

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