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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 2.0
    • Acting 2.0
    • Dialogue 2.0
    • Screen Play 2.0
    • Visuals 2.0

    Needle in a Timestack

    PG - Romance, Sci-fi | October 15, 2021 Storyline:

    In the near future where people can travel back in time, a man who feels that his marriage is threatened slowly realizes that his worst nightmare is playing right before his very eyes. As the life he knows vanishes, he decides to do anything possible to get back the love of his life.

    • 2.0
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 1 week ago

    This movie is quite ambitious and could have succeeded in its delivery but its over-reliance on melodrama proves to be a major hindrance.

    Starring Leslie Odom Jr. in the lead role, Needle in a Timestack is directed by John Ridley based on the short story of the same name by Robert Silverberg.

    Odom is Nick, a man whose suspicions about his wife being taken away from him slowly begins to consume him. When a 'time shift' wipes away their entire marriage history, he is left with no choice but to attempt the seemingly impossible task of getting his partner back.

    I didn't get to know about the film until a few days before its release. I stumbled upon its trailer and after watching it, decided it was worth seeing. Having seen the film, I would say that the trailer is far more interesting than the entire movie.

    Adapting a literary work is a tricky affair and if as a filmmaker, if you want to do it, make sure you create something remarkably resonant.

    I haven't read the story (and now that I've seen the movie, I don't plan to) but I daresay it's far better than its cinematic adaptation.

    First off, the whole concept of the 'time shifts' poses a lot of questions that remain unanswered by the end of the film. They happen regularly and can potentially mess with many lives, so why the heck are they even allowed? Who allows them? Who creates them? The rich people?

    I love sci-fi flicks that are believable and this one is anything but. A little background explanation before the unfolding of the plot could have helped a lot but that wasn't included. The director just expects the viewer to just catch up on everything happening.

    Leslie Odom Jr. is not quite the interesting protagonist that he should be. It got to a point where I literally got tired of seeing him drown in his own misery. His acting isn't bad but the character he portrays is very unlikeable.

    Cynthia Erivo is one of Hollywood's most promising stars. But like her co-star, she isn't given anything much to work with here. She is just the wife who is destined to be snatched away so as to create the conflict for the hero. There is zero chemistry between her and Odom's character.

    Orlando Bloom and Freida Pinto are wasted here. They are the supporting characters I got tired of seeing way too early after they were introduced.

    I could go on and on about how the film dragged and sucked in different ways but I will just bring up one more downside to it; Erivo and Pinto's characters switch between English and British accents that I didn't quite know what to make of them.

    Finally, the dialogue is as boring as hell and the pacing issues made me fight to stay awake until the end credits. 

    I expected an endearing romance film masquerading as a sci-fi thriller. What I got was a predictably bland love story masquerading as a sci-fi flick. A missed opportunity for whoever decided to adapt this to the big screen.

     

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 4.0
    • Dialogue 4.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    The Guilty

    PG - Thriller | October 1, 2021 Storyline:

    A troubled police detective demoted to 911 operator duty attempts to help a distressed caller during a shocking day of revelations — and reckonings.

    • 3.6
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 weeks ago

    Simply put, Antoine Fuqua's thriller is a worthy entry into those rare films that thrive using the little things to make a big statement.

    Starring the talented Jake Gyllenhaal, The Guilty sees the actor play Joe Baylor, an LAPD officer whose experience working the night shift at a 911 center becomes a defining moment in his life and those of four other individuals.

    Among the numerous calls Joe receives is one of distress from a troubled woman who has been taken against her will by her husband, with their little kids left home by themselves.

    The protagonist must use his wits, will, and experience as a law enforcement agent to solve what eventually reveals itself to be a heinous crime.

    What the film lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in wonderful and mesmerizing acting from Gyllenhaal. His character is in the middle of a major crisis as his court case is set for the next day. As he delves deeper into the woman named Emily's case, his connection with her family and the unspeakable deed done leads to him experiencing catharsis, leaving him a far better man.

    Gyllenhaal's name attracted me to this film as I am a fan of his. The director, Antoine Fuqua, also has an impressive record when it comes to making movies, so I expected something worthwhile. Neither of them disappointed me.

    With a very small cast, restricted shots, and camera angles, The Guilty uses the only thing it has to its advantage; a gripping emotional story. In this, it succeeds spectacularly.

    As the lead, Gyllenhaal simply makes you never want to miss a second of seeing him convince you that he is whoever he wants you to believe he is. He left me awed, tugging at my heartstrings with his performance.

    The Guilty is a remarkable thriller, one made by a filmmaker who knows his thing, with the help of an actor who is at the top of his game.

     

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 3.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 3.0
    • Screen Play 4.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    Swallow

    PG - Drama | October 1, 2021 Storyline:

    Popular singer Niyola plays Tolani, a young woman in 1980s Lagos, Nigeria, who becomes involved in smuggling with a friend of hers. 

    • 3.2
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 3 weeks ago

    Kunle Afolayan improves with each new film he creates; with Swallow, he weaves an engrossing tale about a woman who is forced into what she abhors when her world begins crashing down.

    Starring popular singer Niyola, this drama captures the experiences of two friends living in Lagos in 1985. While Niyola's Tolani is a reserved woman who just wants to make a name for herself, her friend Rose (played by the talented Ijeoma Grace Agu) is a wild and adventurous lady who believes in taking advantage of every opportunity.

    When Tolani's only source of income is cut off, thanks to her womanizing boss, she dares to venture into the world of drug peddling to survive.

    The film is based on Sefi Atta's novel of the same name (the writer co-wrote the script alongside the director). I haven't read the book but the film got me hooked from start to finish.

    When it really comes down to it, there is really nothing particularly outstanding about this movie. But it is its simplicity in presentation and execution that makes its message unmistakeably clear.

    If I'm not mistaken, this is Niyola's film debut and in portraying the lead character, she gives a commendable performance. Her acting is quite convincing even though she could have done better in some scenes.

    While Tolani is the protagonist, I daresay another character ended up stealing the show here. That person is none other than her friend Rose.

    As Rose, the actress known as Ijeoma Grace Agu is simply amazing. With every scene, every line spoken, and every action taken, the viewer can't help but get enthralled by her. For me, she is the real MVP and I just wanted to keep seeing her do her thing.

    Apart from a few lapses in one or two scenes where the 1980s setting wasn't properly depicted, I didn't quite see any major faults in this film.

    The cinematography is an obvious improvement from Afolayan's previous films, the costumes are acceptable for the period the movie portrays, and the camera shots and angles are perfect.

    Another thing I would love to point out is the prominent use of the Yoruba language and its cultural influence as seen in the advice given to the heroine by her father in flashback scenes. I can't say how much I love seeing this as it helps promote our cultural heritage to the rest of the world. 

    Nollywood films are still not where I want them to be when compared with some of the great works from Hollywood and others but with Swallow, Afolayan shows that we are getting there.

     

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 3.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 4.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 4.0

    The Protégé

    PG - Action Thriller | August 20, 2021 Storyline:

    Action star Maggie Q stars as Anna, a skilled contract killer, who goes on the hunt after the legendary Moody who trained her is murdered.

    • 3.4
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 1 month ago

    Martin Campbell's film is an absolute blast from start to finish. Maggie Q and Samuel L. Jackson light up the screen in this enjoyable action fest.

    Q stars as Anna, an assassin who hunts those behind the brutal killing of her friend and mentor, fellow killer Moody (Jackson). The trail of vengeance leads to Vietnam where she meets a mysterious individual named Michael (Michael Keaton) whose affiliation with a powerful syndicate pits her in a situation where she will have to fight for her life.

    I deliberately didn't finish the trailer because I misjudged the plot and concluded that it was another brainless action film with forgettable characters. The first 15 minutes proved just how wrong I was.

    The Protege is a remarkable movie that is well-made, thanks to a director whose attention to detail shows in every way. As the lead, Maggie Q is impressive (as she always is) and Samuel L. Jackson is a joy to watch.

    The action scenes are done well, but that's not all there is. There is drama that makes the characters well-grounded in reality and their motives are understandable.

    The cinematography and visual effects also work in tandem to provide a visually appealing experience action lovers won't forget in a hurry.

    It's sad to see that we're in a time when less attention is paid to the elements that make for a compelling action flick. I'm glad to say that this film doesn't fall into that category as Martin Campbell stays true to the genre while adding a little extra suspense to keep viewers glued to the screen.

    I really enjoyed this film and the performances from the actors (especially Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Keaton) are top-notch.

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 2.0
    • Acting 2.0
    • Dialogue 1.0
    • Screen Play 1.0
    • Visuals 2.0

    Vacation Friends

    PG - Comedy | August 27, 2021 Storyline:

    A couple's wedding is crashed by some casual friends whose outrageous ways always seem to mortify those around them.

    • 1.6
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 1 month ago

    I really wanted to like this film but in the end, I found a lot of reasons not to. Though Lil Rey Howery and John Cena put in a lot of effort into what should be hilariously fun characters, they (and pretty much every other person in film) come off as buffoons.

    Vacation Friends revolves around a man named Marcus (Howery) and his fiance Emily (Yvonne Orji). They go on a trip to Mexico where they meet the extrovert duo of Ron (Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner). Their lives are forever changed as it's one bizarre adventure after the next, with their newfound friends showing up uninvited to their wedding.

    This R-rated comedy is directed by Clay Tarver, with a script that is predictable, a few times funny, but mostly annoying. The only thing that made me sit through it to the end was the fact that I had to so I could write this review. I will try to keep it short as best as I can.

    First off, I don't know why Hollywood keeps going with the trend of making almost every comedy film R-rated. It doesn't have to be hardcore to be enjoyable.

    Secondly, the humour here is totally outrageous and borrows from basically almost every comedy movie ever made. I kept a straight face almost throughout as I didn't exactly find it funny. I only laughed in two or three scenes.

    Thirdly, all the actors (and I mean ALL of them) try too hard to be funny that they only end up being really silly. I expected John Cena (who has shown that he has some potential in the genre) to be a good distraction but even his performance here falls flat. His acting is only bearable to watch the very few times he is serious.

    I don't care how many other reviews praise this film; for me, it sucks big time. Putting a lesson about not judging people for their shortcomings and the positive ways they could impact your life even if they cause you misery doesn't change that.

    For me, this was a wasted opportunity.

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 3.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf

    PG - Anime, Fantasy, Action | August 23, 2021 Storyline:

    Vesemir, a witcher, must literally face the demons of his past when he is called upon to help stop a horde of ravaging beasts.

    • 3.2
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 2 months ago

    The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is a blast from start to finish. With superb writing, impeccable 2D animation, and memorable voice work from Theo James, it is sure to please anime fans.

    Directed by Kwang Il Han, it follows Vesemir, a witcher who abandoned his impoverished past to embrace the world of demon/monster hunting for coin.

    When a job pits him against his most dangerous adversaries yet and reunites him with a childhood friend, the protagonist finds himself in the fight of and for his life.

    As the hero, Vesemir is easily likeable; he loves his job, swears a lot, is full of swagger, and is bloody good with a sword. His journey sees him face both his inner and outer demons.

    I decided to stop watching 2D animated films some years ago but the new wave of outstanding movies in the genre has made me a believer in them again.

    With this film, director Kwang Il Han succeeds in making something unique and entertaining. The action is visceral, the dialogue is witty, and the special effects are awesome. Also, the musical score is out of this world.

    I like the direction Netflix is going with its anime content. Not all of them are great but they are doing a good job with most of them so far.

    The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is a visual triumph.

     

     

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 3.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 3.0
    • Screen Play 2.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    Reminiscence

    PG - Sci-fi Thriller | August 20, 2021 Storyline:

    Nick Bannister, a private investigator of the mind, navigates the alluring world of the past when his life is changed by new client Mae. A simple case becomes an obsession after she disappears and he fights to learn the truth about her.

    • 2.8
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 2 months ago

    This film starts with a very interesting premise, gets entangled in a web of its numerous plotlines, but manages to redeem itself, with Hugh Jackman bringing the emotions to his well-layered character.

    Set in a dystopian future where the people now cling to memories to relive the best moments of their lives, Reminiscence sees Jackman take the reins as Nick, a man who becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman named Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) after she comes into his life and disappears without a word.

    Knowing that something is wrong, Nick follows a cold trail that leads him to uncover more and more about the dark past and true nature of the lady he thought he knew, all the while navigating the corrupt underbelly of the flood-ridden cities.

    The concept of humans reliving their most treasured memories is an intriguing one and the science-fiction here is believably realistic.

    Midway, the film begins to lose its way by taking on too many subplots and I then asked myself if it was a sci-fi thriller, an action sci-fi, an action thriller, or a romance thriller.

    Anyway, as the lead, Hugh Jackman makes you care for his character. He is a man hanging on to the one person who lit up his dreary existence and like a moth to the flame, he will pursue her even if it means dying in the process.

    Thandie Newton is amazing in a supporting role. Besides Nick and Mae, she is the most interesting to watch. Unlike the protagonist, she doesn't hold on to any fantasy to get by; she forges ahead in spite of life's tragedies.

    Rebecca Ferguson as Mae is your typical femme fatale; she comes into Nick's life and from the moment he sees her, is swept off his feet (Hollywood needs to stop with the overly melodramatic romance themes). Her acting is never in doubt but I wished she didn't have to be so predictable in the damsel in distress role most of the time.

    I commend the director Lisa Joy for tackling this film which must have been challenging to make. Even though it doesn't become what it aims to be, it leaves a lasting impression.

    Reminiscence should be better than it is but that notwithstanding, it proved to be an enjoyable sci-fi thriller for me. 

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 2.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 2.0
    • Screen Play 2.0
    • Visuals 2.0

    Sweet Girl

    PG - Action Drama | August 20, 2021 Storyline:

    After the death of his wife, a man who is out for justice must fight to stay alive with his daughter while bent on exposing a big pharmaceutical company.

    • 2.2
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 2 months ago

    Brian Andrew Mendoza's film started out as something promising but unfortunately ends up a lackluster movie that fails when the plot takes on a most unrealistic turn.

    The imposing Jason Momoa is Ray Cooper, a man who lost his wife to cancer. The drugs they were promised were taken off the market just when she needed them the most and after her demise, Ray vows to get vengeance on the pharmaceutical company responsible.

    Along with his teenage daughter (played by Isabela Merced), Ray has to go on the run after a journalist looking into the shady deals made by the pharmaceutical company is killed while divulging some secrets to him.

    Father and daughter have to hone their survival skills in their race for dear life, with the former determined to bring down the corrupt boss of the company once and for all.

    Though he hasn't fledged his acting skills well enough, I always enjoy watching Jason Momoa perform. There is a scene where his character is overcome by grief while watching his beloved wife die slowly. It is unarguably the most touching and dramatic scene in the entire film. I was impressed by the actor's potential to carry on the emotional tone from there but after the death of his wife, the plot becomes a muddled affair with numerous plotholes.

    In the final act, a major twist ruins the entire story and brings up loads of unanswered questions that remain so until the film reaches its conclusion.

    The action pales in comparison to how it should be and Momoa's character keeps making one stupid decision after another. As his daughter, the actress Isabela Merced has her moments but ultimately leaves the viewer wanting more (one moment she is complaining, and the next she is all for the plan).

    When Sweet Girl reaches its finale, it ends up being so anti-climatic that I didn't even care whether or not one of the major characters lived or died.

    This film had something going for it but it was ruined by an unwise decision by whoever penned the script to inject a twist that wasn't needed.

    In the end, there is nothing sweet about Sweet Girl. It just leaves a sour taste.

     

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 4.0
    • Acting 4.0
    • Dialogue 3.0
    • Screen Play 3.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    Stillwater

    PG - Thriller, Drama | July 30, 2021 Storyline:

    Matt Damon plays a desperate father who starts an investigation in order to get his convicted daughter out of jail. In the process, he starts a new life with a single mother and her daughter in Marseilles.

    • 3.4
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 2 months ago

    Thanks to Matt Damon's compelling performance, Stillwater is an evocative look at the lengths a father would go to help his daughter.

    Directed by Tom McCarthy, this film sees Damon return to the big screen with a bang. As the lead character, you never want to take your eyes off him because he gives you different reasons to hang on till the end credits begin rolling in.

    Damon plays Bill Baker, a father who learns that there may be a way to prove his daughter's innocence after she has spent a few years behind bars for a crime she says she never committed.

    Bill stumbles on a lead in the closed case and pursues it relentlessly. Along the way, he tries to make up for being the shitty father to his estranged daughter while forging a new bond with a single mother and her little daughter.

    I won't give more than the above information so that I will not end up revealing too much about the plot. I will just urge movie fans to see this because it is worth watching.

    Even though it's a thriller, Stillwater leans more on its dramatic side, bringing out convincing performances from all the actors. 

    Abigail Breslin who plays the convicted daughter doesn't disappoint. Her character learns to embrace her imperfections and slowly the bond between her and her dad grows, giving them a chance to mend old wounds from their traumatic past.

    In the end, this film is a triumph as its shows life in its truest forms; messy, tragic, pleasant, and unpredictable. A mystery creeps up in the end that leaves the viewer using his or her imagination to solve the riddle. 

    The director and everyone involved did a fine job with this one (I especially laud Damon again because the dude makes almost every film he appears in good).

    A truly compelling drama.

     

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    Rating Breakdown

    • Direction 3.0
    • Acting 3.0
    • Dialogue 2.0
    • Screen Play 2.0
    • Visuals 3.0

    Naked Singularity

    PG - Comedy-Drama | August 13, 2021 Storyline:

    Based on the novel of the same name, this film sees a New York City public defender decide to stage a daring robbery after being burned out of the justice system.

    • 2.6
    • Users Rating 0 ( 0 Votes )
    AllNews Review
    Reviewed by Sydney Elike - 2 months ago

    Chase Palmer's dark comedy has its moments but ends up being underwhelming even though lead star John Boyega is fun to watch.

    Boyega plays Casi, a burned-out lawyer who accepts a proposition from his friend (Bill Skarsgard) to rob a Mexican cartel and finally have the means to make something of their mundane lives.

    Casi and Dane's robbery plan also involves getting Lea (Olivia Cooke) from the clutches of the bad guys as she is neck-deep in something she doesn't want to be in.

    As is expected, the plan doesn't go according to plan and along the way, everyone involved has to improvise, leading to a chaotic but satisfying ending for the good guys.

    The above pretty much sums up the movie. The plot was a bit confusing at times and I couldn't get where the dialogue of some of the characters was heading.

    As a fan of John Boyega, I have looked forward to him flexing his acting muscles and thought this might be it but that is not the case here as he is limited by a script that switches between realistic events, bizarre comedy, and mumbo jumbo science talk.

    Bill Skarsgard and Olivia Cooke make good work of being memorable supporting characters but the viewer forgets about them once the end credits begin rolling in.

    I sat through the film because I was eager to see how it would end. Having done that, I would say Naked Singularity is one of those films that attempt to soar beyond a mediocre script. While it fails to do that, it still manages to make for a pretty decent watch.

     

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