Film/TV Reviews

The Little Mermaid review (2023) – joyful, undiluted Disney magic

No Disney movie has been simultaneously anticipated and dreaded more than The Little Mermaid.

The original animated movie is known as the one that kicked off the Disney Renaissance for a reason. Its vivid animation and sensational songs felt like an ode to every young dreamer out there. For every little girl who yearned for something more and felt like they never quite fit in, the ‘80s movie seemed to say, ‘We see you.’ So, needless to say, the sanctity of the OG Disney movie is something a lot

Queen Charlotte A Bridgerton Story review (2023) – compellingly candid

Right from the beginning, Shonda Rhimes makes it clear that we shouldn’t expect a history lesson. Although Queen Charlotte and George III were both real people in the Regency era, historical accuracy has never been at the forefront of Bridgerton: and this spin-off is no exception. I went into Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story expecting a stark departure from realism, but to my surprise, what I was met with was one of the most grounded portrayals of mental health I’ve seen in recent years.


You season 4 part 2 review (2023) — no, really, it’s super unhinged

When will we learn? Every year, we fall for it hook, line, and sinker. We know that Joe is a horrible psychopath, that he’s truly incapable of changing and being redeemed — he’s been murdering folk and locking them up in that giant box since season 1, remember. Unlike a lot of TV series characters, Joe never started off relatively normal before descending into a villain arc. He’s been an out-and-out villain from the very beginning.

But there’s something seductive about his internal monologue th

You season 4 part 1 review (2023) – deliciously unhinged as ever

I’ll be honest — I didn’t have very high hopes for You season 4. The way Love turned the tables on Joe by being just as murderous as he was in season 2 felt like a really fresh plot twist, and helped the thriller series avoid becoming stale. But, in case you’re in need of a You season 3 recap, Love ended up being murdered by Joe as he inexplicably escaped justice yet again: this time, by faking his own death before running off to Paris to find Marienne.

This ending underwhelmed me, as it felt l

Heartstopper season 2 review (2023) – queer joy continues to triumph

Heartstopper was one of the best TV series of 2022 — and I’m pleased to report that its second season definitely lives up to the first. In fact, with its astute commitment to educating its audience on queerness in all its forms, it may well surpass the first.

The love story between Nick and Charlie continues to be the core focus of the Netflix series, but this time round, it’s anchored around Nick Nelson’s coming out journey as he continues to come to terms with being bisexual.

While queer rel

The Mandalorian season 3 episode 7 recap (2023) – an all-time high

It’s no secret that The Mandalorian season 3 has been a little rockier than its preceding seasons. Although it definitely had some stand-out moments — including Grogu’s interactions with Anzellans, Ahmed Best’s return, and Lizzo’s cameo — the adventure-of-the-week format the Star Wars series prides itself on has fallen a little flatter this time round.

Similarly, the increasing focus on Bo-Katan and the deviation from Din Djarin and Baby Yoda has made countless fans homesick for the ‘glory days

Blue Jean (2023) review – a grounded, compassionate debut

Blue Jean opens with the titular Jean cutting and dying her hair. As she goes through the process in her modest-but-spotless bathroom, she never loses focus: it feels almost like a ritual, with her face unreadable. But as she pulls off the towel to reveal her bleached crop, there’s a small smile. She’s now herself.

In queer communities, the term ‘Blue Jean’ refers to lesbians who aren’t quite masculine, aren’t quite feminine, but are somewhere in the middle. They tend to avoid the more statemen

Aftersun (2022) review: a tender, melancholic debut by Charlotte Wells

One of my earliest, most formative memories, is walking through a crowded Butlins. I think it was Minehead, so peak holiday season, but as we squeezed through all the slides, rides, and children’s faces grimey with ice-cream, I suddenly thought to myself: ‘What if I died tomorrow, and then miss out on the rest of the holiday?’ It was my first experience of what I now realize was anxiety, but at least for me, Aftersun is the first movie to ever encapsulate that feeling of pre-emptive, post-holida

Black Panther 2 (2022) review: a spellbinding meditation on grief

From the moment Black Panther 2 begins it’s apparent it won’t be your run-of-the-mill Marvel movie. When Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer in August 2020, just as the script for the sequel was completed, there was a lot of widespread concern and anxiety, not just about how a Black Panther sequel would address his passing but whether it was appropriate to make a sequel at all.

Back in 2018, we were all transfixed by Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa, and it was his performance as the honourabl

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story review (2022): outrageous and intelligent

If we’re all afraid to say it, then I will. I’m sick of drama movie biopics about musicians. That’s not to say that Rocketman, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Elvis were in any way bad, but in the last few years, this particular genre has become a little oversaturated. This is why Weird: The Al Yankovic Story couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

Given that the comedy movie is based on a ten-year-old parody trailer (which was full of very 2010 YouTube humour), I don’t think many of us expected it t

Till review (LFF 2022): Emmett Till movie teaches what schools didn’t

Most of us know the story of Emmett Till, albeit a very abridged version of it from history class. When we think of Emmett Till, the name has been reduced to a case study, that horrific picture of his injuries, a notch in the ladder of the civil rights movement. But as Danielle Deadwyler, who plays Till’s mother in the film, establishes early on, “he’s not just a case — he’s my son.”

And that’s what makes Till different from other movies based on a true story — or, more specifically, movies bas

Causeway review (LFF 2022): A brooding, heartfelt journey of recovery

Drama movies about soldiers returning from war often follow a certain formula. For a long time, soldiers who struggled mentally following their experiences on the frontlines were quite literally diagnosed with “shellshock,” with all their pain, trauma, and mental health issues reduced to a singular moment in their life.

In turn, films that followed the coming-home experiences of soldiers were often just as much a war movie as they were psychological dramas; with audiences often reliving the gun

The Wonder review (LFF 2022): An unsettling dance of fact and fiction

Is there virtue in suffering? In certain sects of Christianity, it is believed that suffering is the highest honour: making you not only worthy of Sainthood, but also closer to the Holy Spirit Himself.

Perhaps it was this devotion to suffering which led to a phenomenon in the Victorian era known as the “fasting girl,” wherein a number of young girls in the 1800s claimed to survive for weeks — or even months — without food. Many of these girls became local celebrities in their own right, with ma

Matilda review (LFF 2022): A rousing love-letter to your inner-child

Adapting a movie from a stage musical which was adapted from a book is… no mean feat, but everyone involved in Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical didn’t just rise to the occasion but completely knocked it out of the park.

Although a whole generation of film critics (myself included) grew up with the 1996 version of Matilda, this Netflix movie is best enjoyed when you throw all expectations and what you think you know about Matilda out the window.

Because these two family movies are so markedly d

Cobra Kai season 5 review — Strikes harder than ever

After season 4’s cliffhanger ending, Cobra Kai season 5 had to meet a lot of expectations. On paper, a spin-off TV series about The Karate Kid ‘80s movies shouldn’t work. Yet, Cobra Kai manages to not only blend nostalgia with compelling storytelling, but also continues to take material from the notoriously bad Karate Kid III and make something actually good.

Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) continues to be one of the most dangerous and unpredictable villains the Netflix series has ever had b

The Boys season 3 review — blurred morals, crystal-clear commentary

In the opening moments of season 3, there’s a sequence full of so much blood, guts, and depravity that makes clear only one thing: The Boys are back, and as unapologetic as ever.

Something that makes this Amazon Prime TV series so compelling is the way it tackles real-world issues. Season 2, for example, focused on the rise of neo-Nazism and the far right in the US. Yet, even without Stormfront, these themes naturally progress in season 3. One theme that’s dealt with especially astutely is syst

Top Gun 2 review (2022) — Maverick is an electrifying swan-song

“Despite your best efforts, you refuse to die.” When that line is said in the film, it’s said in reference to Maverick’s near-remarkable ability to constantly evade death. But I think this line is also true of Top Gun 2, because despite a 36-year gap, and the original action movie having a mixed reception, Top Gun: Maverick shows that Top Gun, and what it means to people, is more alive than ever.

One of the thriller movie’s greatest strengths is its sound: it absolutely deserves to be seen and

Doctor Strange 2 review (2022) – grisly tales for world-hopping kids

“Are you happy?” It’s a simple enough question, but the pursuit of happiness and meaning in a post-Blip world that doesn’t seem to have all that much patience for superheroes is one that underpins the entirety of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

With Marvel’s Phase 4 being relatively new, a lot of the movies and TV series we have seen so far have focussed on trying to pick up the pieces after Endgame. But with Multiverse of Madness, a sobering message is given both to the main chara

Turning Red review (2022) — a provoking and heartfelt ode to identity and growing up

On the surface, the broad plot of Turning Red seems pretty straightforward. 13-year-old Mei (whose eccentricity and personality is brought to life by newcomer Rosalie Chang) transforms into a red panda due to a random hereditary ‘quirk’ and must navigate through the usual slice-of-life dramas like school, home and boys while also adapting to this bizarre new double life until she is able to rid herself of the ‘panda’ for good.

Of course, with Mei’s transformation serving as the catalyst of her