Homecoming (2018)

A psychological thriller web tv series, it builds up slowly using past and present to move the narrative along.

Julia Roberts is brilliant as a counsellor who is part of a questionable experiment, the final purpose of which is unknown to her.

She is cog in a larger operation which wants to do the unthinkable in the effort to maximise resources and save money.

The writing pulls you in and you want to know what happens next.

I, Tonya (2017)

A powerful film with stupendous performances, speaks of a story many of us will not be aware of, but is so relevant in every time period.

A very complex relationship between a mother and daughter plays out, where, as is customary, the daughter unwittingly chooses the same pattern again in her love life.

Margot Robbie gives a layered and intense performance as a skating champion who falls in love with a young man, to be accepted and loved, only to continues her journey of inner turmoil and the will and struggle to succeed despite all odds.

Allison Janney as the tough mom, who’s parenting is highly questionable but the intent isn’t, is superb! What insight and wit!

The remaining cast support the dark comedy, where the climax is elusive and full of surprises. It was a very controversial case at the time and has been recreated for our entertainment very successfully.

A brilliant set of performances, story telling and direction by Craig Gillespie.

3.5/5

Spy (2015)

All I knew about this film before walking in to the cinema was ‘Melissa McCarthy’ and that was enough. Throw in the director of ‘bridesmaids’ and ‘the heat’, Paul Fieg, and you have yourself a recipe of non-stop, unexpected humour!

Comedy meets action meets insanity in this laugh riot, which combines the cool, suave, spy world with a single woman who keeps getting into stereo types in order to do her job. She encounters an ex-colleague, Jason Statham, who won’t leave her alone, her gal pal and co- worker, Miranda Hart who brings much needed British wit on the table.

The villains though merciless are goofy in their own way, Bobby Cannavale and Rose Byrne are silly caricatures. There’s Jude Law for a bit and Nargis Fakhri for a tiny bit. They provide the glamour quotient.

Actors have experimented with various accents to portray different nationalities. All done in good humour, there is a constant sexual tension with an agenda to entertain, which it does till the end.

A good laugh and a fun chase.

3/5

Chef (2014)

You want flavours? You got ‘em. This ensemble cast whips up a recipe which will make you chase your passion and turn you into a social networking pro! A tale about career, family, friends and all the awkward moments in between!

Written and directed by main lead Jon Favreau, who plays the creatively charged chef ‘Carl Casper’, he has a cast that include the talents of Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr., Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Oliver Platt and Russell Peters!

Their varied and distinct portrayals of real but kooky characters make this food truck journey all the more sumptuous. An ‘R-rated’ dish, it is served straight from the heart and has captured food preparation so well, that a vegetarian like me thought that the meat looked appetizing!

Tasty and recommended hot!

3.5/5

Blue Jasmine (2013)

Only Woody Allen can attempt such films and do justice to them. We have seen why actors have been lauded for their performances in the past. They get into the character, display a range of emotions. They are raw, unaffected, soulful, dramatic or understated.

Cate Blanchett manages to do all of the above mentioned, in one scene, weaving in and out of hysteria, breathlessness, denial, delusion, throughout the film. To beat Meryl Streep’s performance in August Osage County, she did something right. Strike that. Many things right. And just for that you should watch her as Jasmine.

Alec Baldwin lends able support, as do Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale and Andrew Dice Clay. What we learn about are ‘patterns’. Either we repeat them, or we doubt them and try and break them. The key is to identify which ones are good for us, and which ones are detrimental.

The music makes the turmoil easier to digest and the skyline gives us something concrete to balance the erratic behaviour of the cast.

3.5/5