Women Talking (2022)

Women talking. Men listening. Polley does an excellent job of centering the women’s stories while also, graciously, giving us a glimpse of an ally. The writing and performances brim with nuance and power; the soundtrack is sublime. The women’s circular, gradual journey towards a decision is mesmerizing. No political bullshit, no power-hungry posturing, no patriarchal red tape. Just raw, unfiltered dialogue, with hands on shoulders, songs in the air, and everyone from young to old with a┬ávoice.

Cloud Atlas (2012)

Its central conceit (“From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present”) and thesis (“by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future”) resonate, but marring the former’s clever edits and easter eggs are some discomforting cross-racial transformations and one can’t help but wonder if the thrust of the latter would’ve been stronger with a chronological narrative. As it is, some stories sit better than others (Ewing’s white saviour arc underwhelms; Cavendish’s caper is a hoot).

Paddington 2 (2017)


Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen. (IMDb)
Keeps the cute British humour of the first film, with another delightful villain and some added Wes Anderson-esque flair (see the opening character updates; prisoners’ introductions), and within this quirky framework floods you with overwhelming emotion (see the lovely tie-in of Mary’s training at the climax, and of course that beautiful bear with the most selfless of souls showing the radical power of kindness: Knuckle’s first taste of marmalade was his first taste of love and I’m sobbing).
9/10 (Amazing)

Paddington (2014)


A young Peruvian bear travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven. (IMDb)
I knew this was going to be a delight right from the opening “archival footage” when the narrating explorer mentions bringing along a “modest timepiece” and it’s a grandfather clock being lugged through the jungle. This wonderful British silliness is found everywhere in the film, from the exaggerated villain to the outrageous slapstick to the quirky scene asides (see the orphanage bit). Beautifully animated and colourfully shot, with a predictable story that’s heartwarming nonetheless.
8/10 (Great)

The Lobster (2015)

The deadpan delivery of this disturbing dystopia is darkly witty and effectively creepy but starts to wear a little thin near the middle–but then in a brilliant move, the madness reaches its blood-on-the-bathroom-floor pinnacle, someone breaks (emotionally and literally, making a break for it), the pendulum swings, and the weird world is expanded. Strikingly shot and scored, this film raises fascinating questions on relationships and identity. Could’ve done without most of the narration though.