The Old Guard (2020)

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A covert team of immortal mercenaries are suddenly exposed and must now fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered. (IMDb)
Gets a (barely) passing grade for its diverse cast and millennia-worth of potential (gimme more of the emotion found in Joe’s boyfriend speech and those witch-trial flashbacks). The plotting is a mess and the central thread just doesn’t click–we’re supposed to root for this superhero team against the people trying to control them but we never actually see them being superheroes, just murdering the people trying to control them. Terrible dialogue and bland cinematography don’t help matters.
5/10 (Poor)

 

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

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A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime. (IMDb)
The unique narrative construction works really well–instead of a storyboard, it’s a portrait, rich with history (both intimate and expansive, romantic and tragic), colour (the cinematography is great), and overflowing emotion (joy/hopelessness, love/anger), painted with the exquisitely beautiful strokes of the score (with Tish’s narration an excellent extra touch). Some scenes are maybe a bit too long, but the emotional build-up remains powerful (the climax-less ending doesn’t do it justice).
8/10 (Great)