Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

This is two hours long and you feel every minute of it. It’s a pretty story of forbidden love in a time when women had little or no agency. Beautiful shot, and elegantly written, lingering on its subjects with a painter’s gaze.


I Am Not Okay with This – S:1 (2020– )

This lands somewhere between Carrie (1976) and Juno (2007). With a strange John Hughes wholesomeness about it. It brings enough funny to make it charming, a great Scanners (1981) moment to push the horror, and enough who-done-it to keep it moving. The soundtrack adds to the whole indie retro thing. It was engaging enough to watch all seven episodes in one sitting. Definitely worth a winters afternoon of your time.

Dark – S:1 (2017– )

This is a complicated story, demanding that you pay attention. It’s a time travel drama that has three timelines running concurrently. It’s not enough to just read the subtitles, you also have to keep track of who’s who, and the consequence of their actions, on a chess board playing in four dimensions.

Patient Zero (2018)

The quality of talent on offer here is better than the film I saw yesterday, Inmate Zero (2020). This film has more pace, a clearer through line, and a better grasp of who and where we are. Characters are given more clarity, chasing their limited wants with a certain vigour. Notions of Darwinian evolution pepper the film. Weak humans trying to protect themselves against a virus, that could be the next stage in human evolution? It leads to another enigmatic ending, or the springboard to a sequel, or even a series.

Patients of a Saint (Inmate Zero) (2020)

There’s a really tight zombie horror in there somewhere. It has some good ideas, and one or two decent jump scares. The monsters are sufficiently gruesome, with enough black blood and jerky movements to make you squirm. Overall the plot feels about fifteen minutes too long, but needs twenty minutes more story? They play fast and inconsistent with the rules of their own story. Typified by the confusion we feel around their physical location, where the people are within the architecture of the prison. It’s just not clear. On the plus side it has a majority female cast, but it does lean heavily on a few zombie horror tropes, forcing some of the the characters to be realised as stereotypes. What this film needed were fewer characters, a clear plan by the lead, basically a much tighter screenplay.

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