Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

star_wars_the_rise_of_skywalker_ver4_xxlg

The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. (IMDb)
The plotting and exposition are a little sloppy at times (the climax with Palpatine is a tad puzzling) and the bevy of twists and fake-outs are a bit much, but overall this is a fun and technically-excellent starry sci-fi war/adventure movie carried by a refreshingly diverse cast of characters (men, women, humans, non-humans, old, young, past, new) and sprinkled with great bits of deeper character work (see the cool Rey-Kylo dynamic, along with their individual arc-defining moments) and humour.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

 

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

10c_1-sht_online_teaser_alt

After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack. (IMDb)
An immediate and enrapturing atmosphere of claustrophobic anxiety and unsettling suspicion (Goodman’s great turn as the odd and volatile Howard is perfectly complimented by Winstead’s tense and assertive Michelle) is heightened nicely by an initially inscrutable third party, and given a well-timed twist (see the lady outside). Given its build-up, climax, and overall feel, the extended ending–while appreciably unexpected–feels like an entirely different movie–but it’s still a good one.
7.5/10 (Really Good)

Super 8 (2011)

During the summer of 1979, a group of friends witness a train crash and investigate subsequent unexplained events in their small town. (IMDb)
With its nostalgic setting and strong young cast playing a loveable group of adolescent boys (with a tragic lead) caught up in a very “adult” situation, the film recalls “Stand By Me”, but with a sci-fi mystery twist–and while this results in less character depth than that of the 1986 classic, it also gives the plot more drive and intrigue, although that in turn is fumbled in a shoddily-written conclusion. Flaws aside though, this is still a unique, great-looking, and highly enjoyable flick.
7.5/10 (Really Good)