December in film: My recommendations

Columbia Pictures

The last month of 2021 is somehow upon us (when did this happen?!) and so it’s time to have a look at the main movies we can look forward to this December.

The Power of the Dog

Jane Campion‘s latest won praise at the Venice Film Festival so I can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about. Benedict Cumberbatch plays against his usual type as Phil Burbank, an oppressive rancher who sets out to make his brother’s new wife, played by Kirsten Dunst, a living hell. On Netflix 1st December.

West Side Story

Steven Spielberg‘s movie adaptation of the classic stage musical finally comes to the big screen with Rachel Zegler and Ansel Elgort as Maria and Tony, star-crossed lovers from two rival gangs in New York. The original 1961 film is a classic so it’ll be interesting to see how Spielberg makes it his own. In cinemas from 10th December.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Superhero nerds can finally find out what rumours are true and who is actually in this movie along with Tom Holland, Zendaya and the usual suspects. Will he be joined by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield?! What other villains are in the mix?! There’s only one way to find out and I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE IT. In cinemas 17th December.

The Matrix Resurrections

After an 18-year wait, Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are back as Neo and Trinity for the fourth instalment in the sci-fi franchise. Set 20 years after the previous film, Neo seems to be living a normal life as Thomas Anderson and takes blue pills, but all that changes when Morpheus (now Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) offers him a red pill and once again opens his mind to the Matrix. I’m not as hyped about this as some people but I’m intrigued about the story. In cinemas 22nd December.

Don’t Look Up

Adam McKay has assembled a ridiculously star-studded cast for his next satirical comedy. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence star as two astronomers who have to go on a press tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy Earth. They are joined by the likes of Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, Timothee Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi and so many more. In cinemas from 10th December and Netflix from 24th December.

Being the Ricardos

Nicole Kidman has been winning praise for her portrayal of Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin‘s next movie. The drama, also starring Javier Bardem as Ball’s husband Desi Arnaz, follows a production week on their TV show I Love Lucy, from the table read through to the live taping. I’m really keen to see her performance in this. In cinemas from 10th December and on Amazon Prime Video from 21st December.

The Lost Daughter

Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s directorial debut stars Olivia Colman as a professor on holiday in Greece who becomes obsessed with a young mother and her daughter and this obsession brings back memories from her past. Colman gives a spectacular awards-worthy performance and is supported by the likes of Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley and Paul Mescal. On Netflix from 31st December and in cinemas 7th January.

Titane

Julia Ducournau‘s Palme d’Or-winning film finally comes to cinemas! The body horror film follows Alexia (Agatha Rousselle), who has a titanium plate in her head. I’m not going to say anything else because everything is a spoiler. But trust me when I see this is a wild and very unexpected movie. Strap yourselves in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride! In cinemas 26th December.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn: Film Review

Sovereign

Although I’d heard positive reactions about Radu Jude‘s sex comedy, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, I had a feeling I wouldn’t like it as I absolutely detest the title. I tried to keep an open mind but as expected, it was not my cup of tea.

This Romanian film, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, follows teacher Emi (Katia Pascariu) after the sex tape she made with her husband goes viral.

I liked the concept and thought it would be the perfect set-up for a comedy but I came away not only disappointed but taken aback by what I had just watched. This is a bold, ballsy, absurd and provocative film that isn’t particularly funny at all. Sure, it has a light-hearted tone and feels very satirical but I don’t recall laughing much. It has a lot to say about attitudes to sex and how women are held to a different standard than men but I just didn’t enjoy how these points were presented.

It’s a lot to take in, right from the get-go. The film opens with the sex tape in all its explicit glory (you’ve been warned). I was relieved when that ended and the movie properly began but soon felt disappointed as the first chapter basically consists of us just watching Emi running errands around town with only small chunks of it involving the sex tape scandal. It’s so slow, meandering and there are so many lingering shots of buildings and traffic. I quickly got bored.

But that pales in comparison to chapter two, a section titled “a short dictionary of anecdotes, signs and wonders”. It’s essentially a 20-minute plus montage of random things, and I’m not gonna lie to you, I fell asleep! I didn’t get the point of it at all.

Things look up with chapter three, in which Emi attends a conference at the school so parents can discuss whether she should be fired over her tape. There were some interesting discussions showing outdated or sexist attitudes towards women and sex but it goes on a bit and descended into a lot of name-calling. However, I liked how Emi stood her ground and defended herself and remained empowered throughout. Shame the ending is so WTF; my jaw actually dropped.

As you can tell, this film was not at all one for me. I didn’t find it funny and it was so random, weird and absurd that it undercut a lot of the points it was trying to make.

In cinemas Friday 26th November

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Queenpins: Film Review

STX Films

I was aware that extreme couponing was a thing and even a reality TV show but had never really given the practice much attention so I was fascinated to learn all about it in the throwaway comedy Queenpins.

Inspired by a true story, the film stars Kristen Bell as Connie Kaminski, a former Olympic speed walker and bored, frustrated and miserable housewife who has become obsessed with couponing and stocking up her spare room to distract her from her expensive fertility struggles and her nonexistent marriage to Rick (Joel McHale). One day, she fires off a complaint about her cereal and receives a coupon for a free box and she gets an idea to set up a scheme in which she sells fake free coupons to customers. She and her neighbour JoJo (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) – a vlogger with entrepreneurial dreams – eventually end up running a multi-million dollar counterfeit coupon ring and it soon gets noticed by a supermarket chain’s Loss Prevention Officer, Ken (Paul Walter Hauser), who teams up with U.S. Postal Inspector Simon (Vince Vaughn) to shut the scam down.

This tells a crazy, unbelievable story and I couldn’t wait to see how it unravelled. While I’m sure it takes some liberties with the truth, I still couldn’t believe Connie and JoJo got away with their scheme for so long, especially considering they don’t know how to conduct dirty business and make some ill-advised purchases. Their learning curve was the most entertaining element of the film.

While I enjoyed the coupon caper, I do wish it had been much funnier, especially given the cast involved. It should have been a laugh a minute with this ridiculous scam and Bell, McHale and Vaughn in the mix but it’s very light on the effective jokes. It tries to be funny constantly but the attempts rarely land and that’s due to a combination of weak writing and the actors not being on their comedy A-game.

I thought Bell was a good choice as the sympathetic but quietly cunning Connie. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her and I really wanted her to find some other way to fulfil her life. She is balanced out well by Howell-Baptiste as the upbeat and chatty JoJo. Walter Hauser and Vaughn make a good buddy cop pairing – they should have been so funny together so it sucks their scenes didn’t deliver many laughs. McHale has a one-note small role as the douchey husband, and there is a small appearance from singer Bebe Rexha, who was ace as the mysterious tech hacker Tempe Tina. She was my favourite and I wanted to see her more.

Queenpins is lightweight and forgettable stuff but I must admit that I found it really entertaining.

On Amazon Prime Video from Friday 26th November

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Encanto: Film Review

Disney

Lin-Manuel Miranda has had one hell of a busy year – not only did he appear in and produce In the Heights, direct Tick, Tick… Boom! and produce and lend his voice to Vivo, but he has also created the original songs for Disney’s latest animated musical Encanto.

This film tells the story of the Madrigal family, who live in a magical house powered by a magic candle. Each family member is blessed with a unique gift or power – from super-strength to beauty – by the candle when they turn a certain age – except for Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz), who didn’t get one and feels like an outsider in her own family. When it seems like the magic of the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might be her family’s last hope.

First of all, Encanto is visually stunning. I feel like I use that phrase a lot but I really mean it for this film. Every frame is so vibrant and colourful and full of life. I just adored how gorgeous it looked. The film is set in an envy-inducing home within a village surrounded by mountains in Colombia and it makes you just want to be somewhere sunny and green, especially right now.

Disney continues to make strides in terms of representation with Encanto, which features all-Latinx characters and voices. While Miranda came under fire for colourism with In the Heights – darker-skinned Latinx people didn’t feel represented – that’s not the case here as there are many different skin tones on display. There is also an interracial couple and that’s no big deal – it’s not even addressed – and Mirabel wears glasses and isn’t characterised as a dork or nerd which makes me, a glasses wearer, very happy.

The music gets off to a great start with the catchy The Family Madrigal – featuring Miranda’s trademark vocal gymnastics – but I have to admit that some of the numbers aren’t super memorable. The music, however, is full of energy and made me tap my feet constantly and I felt in a dancing mood as the credits rolled.

Encanto tells a sweet, charming story about family and accepting who you are. I loved the message and the film’s heart but I was expecting more from the story. The scale of it is much smaller than the usual Disney fare – it is just based within the house and its surrounding village and I just expected more to happen. I also thought it laid the sentimentality on a bit thick towards the end.

Beatriz is well cast as the outsider Mirabel, who is happy and positive on the surface but feels inferior and unworthy compared to her seemingly flawless siblings. She has solid support from John Leguizamo as Uncle Bruno, the dark sheep of the family, as well as Diane Guerrero, Wilmer Valderrama and Maluma.

Encanto tells a lovely heartfelt story that looks and sounds gorgeous but it left me wanting more.

In cinemas from Wednesday 24th November

Rating: 4 out of 5.

House of Gucci: Film Review

Universal

Out of Ridley Scott‘s two 2021 movies, House of Gucci appealed to me the most, so I never would have predicted that I’d like The Last Duel significantly more, but here we are.

The film tells the story of how Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) met and married Gucci heir Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) and helped him manoeuvre his way to the top of the family fashion business. The movie begins with them meeting at a party in 1970 and concludes in 1997, with Patrizia being convicted of hiring a hitman to kill her ex-husband in 1995.

Given the premise, I expected House of Gucci to be fun, exciting, engaging, gripping and rather camp but it is bizarrely none of those things. It’s baffling. I would be going too far by calling it boring but the film fails to live up to the shocking real-life scandal that it’s depicting and it feels really long, even though it covers a large timeframe and packs in a lot of content.

The narrative is also bloated and I came away with many questions so I needed to do a lot of research to fill in the gaps and clarify the chronology of events. I know there are probably plenty of filmmaking reasons why certain elements needed to be streamlined (like them having one daughter when they actually had two) but I thought there were too many unexplained aspects – for example, who exactly was Domenico De Sole (Jack Huston)? How was Patrizia’s hitman plot discovered? I also didn’t think the jump between Patrizia’s last conversation with Maurizio and her plotting to kill him felt logical or earned and I would have liked an exploration into her motives and why she felt like that was the solution.

It is also tonally all over the place and that’s basically because Jared Leto as Maurizio’s cousin Paolo seems like he’s in a completely different movie to everyone else. They’re all playing it straight and acting like they’re in a drama whereas he plays this eccentric, larger-than-life Italian caricature in a comedy. His accent is ridiculous (think Super Mario and you’ve got the idea), his acting is OTT and you couldn’t describe his performance as good, but he is the most entertaining person here! He is absolutely hilarious and made me laugh out loud a lot (whether this was intentional or not). I’m not sure why Scott let him just go for it and act so differently to everyone else, but I have to admit he brought the fun.

Gaga has spoken a lot about how committed she was to her performance and her hard work and dedication is apparent onscreen. She is sensational and I fully believed her as Patrizia, plus she has the most consistent Italian accent in the cast. She easily adapts to Patrizia’s journey, from her beginnings as a young and in love person to a manipulative puppet master to a scorned, ugly, desperate woman. She threw herself into all facets of Patrizia and I’ll be amazed if she doesn’t land an Oscar nomination.

Driver, in his second Scott film of the year, does well but he doesn’t really stand out among all the bigger, showier characters, and I also enjoyed Al Pacino as his uncle Aldo – he was a great fit for the part – and Salma Hayek as Patrizia’s clairvoyant and confidante Pina. The accents are dodgy as hell and the worst offender was Jeremy Irons as Maurizio’s father Rodolfo as he still sounded British more often than not.

House of Gucci really is a mixed bag. It’s a high-fashion soap opera with a killer soundtrack, gorgeous outfits, amazing hair and make-up and some fantastic performances but it’s nowhere near as entertaining as it should have been. Real shame.

In cinemas from Friday 26th November

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Why Succession is the best show on TV right now

Sky

Succession has always been praised and respected but its popularity has significantly spiked with season three, becoming a show that you have to watch immediately each week otherwise it’ll be spoiled. It has somehow become this cultural phenomenon that everyone seems to be watching, like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones in their heydays.

I’m not going to pretend like I’ve been a fan of Succession from the beginning because that’s not the case. I watched seasons one and two during the first lockdown when Sky made the boxset available for free. And now it’s one of the only things I use my NowTV subscription for (also shout out to Scenes from a Marriage and Mare of Easttown) and the only show I religiously watch once a week.

No matter how late to the party you are, welcome to the club! And if you’ve still not taken the plunge, here are some reasons why you should:

The writing

I don’t think anybody can deny that the writing for this show is spectacular. It’s a drama but it makes me laugh more than some comedies. Who would have thought a show about the business dealings of the media conglomerate Waystar Royco and family members fighting to come out on top would be so funny? It could have been super dry, boring and serious in different hands but it’s gripping and so entertaining. Every week there are stone-cold gems that come out of the characters’ mouths that are just so memeable. Also, if you want to play a drinking game, take a shot every time someone says optics and temperature – you’ll get drunk in no time!

The characters

I’m generally of the opinion that you need at least one character to like or root for to stick with a TV show. But with Succession, they are all pretty awful people but I still can’t stop watching as I want to find out who comes out on top. There are different shades to my dislike though – I outright despise Logan (Brian Cox) as he is just the worst and there is no excusing his behaviour; Kendall (Jeremy Strong) is annoying as hell but I’m glad he’s going against Logan; I used to like Shiv (Sarah Snook) but she’s too interfering and getting too big for her boots, and Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) is very snaky and I reckon he’s not as harmless and clueless as he seems. Meanwhile, Connor (Alan Ruck) is OK as we only get him in small doses; Roman (Kieran Culkin) is irritating but has some redeeming factors, and my thoughts about Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) fluctuate week on week (I like him currently). Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) is probably the character I like the most.

You don’t need to know about business or politics

I have no idea what’s going on in terms of Waystar, its shareholders, and the proxy battle but that doesn’t hold me back. Tbh I don’t think you need to follow this stuff to enjoy it, but it might give you an added something if you understand it. I’m here for the family drama, the tug of war between Logan and Kendall and the witty writing.

I genuinely have no idea how this storyline is going to play out and who will ultimately end up leading Waystar – and I can’t wait to find out. Succession has always been good but season three has taken it to another level. Gripping top-tier television.

Airing on Sky Atlantic and NowTV every Monday

Petite Maman: Film Review

MUBI

I’m quite a late newcomer to the Celine Sciamma fan club. I liked Portrait of a Lady on Fire a lot but didn’t rave about it quite as much as the majority – and now Petite Maman has solidified my position as a fan because it is absolutely wonderful.

The film follows eight-year-old Nelly (Josephine Sanz) while she stays at her mother’s childhood home with her parents (Nina Meurisse and Stephane Varupenne) to help them clear it out following the death of her grandmother. While exploring the surrounding woodlands, Nelly meets a strangely familiar girl named Marion (Gabrielle Sanz) and her new friend helps her come to terms with her loss.

I sometimes find it hard to review films that are amazing because I don’t have much else to say. In the case of Petite Maman, I can basically sum up my feelings in a sentence of adjectives such as delightful, gorgeous, wholesome, heartwarming, uplifting, feel-good, and lovely. I could basically end my review here! I’m just kidding… but you get the idea, you don’t really need to know any more of my opinions, just go and watch it.

What’s so impressive about Petite Maman is that it tells this fantastical time-travel story yet it feels so grounded, intimate and real. What you’re watching feels totally normal, even though it’s actually a wild concept. Sciamma handles the story in an understated and relaxed manner and most of the time we are just watching the girls play – and their activities are a joy to watch, such as their chaotic pancake making and their serious grown-up play, in which they portray an inspector and a countess.

It’s hard to fully articulate how amazing the Sanz twins are. Top-tier child actors, that’s for sure. Josephine leads the film with such ease, it feels so effortless and natural, like she’s not really acting at all. Gabrielle is just as good in the supporting role and their natural sisterly bond works wonders for the relationship between them. They are stars and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

If this gushing review isn’t enough to convince you to see this film then I haven’t done my job very well. Just take my word for it and go check it out!

In cinemas Friday 19th November and on MUBI from 4 February 2022

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

King Richard: Film Review

Warner Bros.

Will Smith has become a firm favourite for a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his performance as Venus and Serena Williams‘ father Richard Williams in the new biographical drama King Richard – and he thoroughly deserves it.

The film begins in Compton, California, and follows Richard (Smith) as he trains his young girls Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton) on their local rundown tennis court. While he’s confident in his coaching skills, he’s aware that he needs help to take them to the next level – but this is easier said than done. The sport is extremely white and privileged so Richard has to keep persevering to find someone who would coach both of his Black daughters for free. Their fate finally seems to change when Rick Macci (Jon Bernthal) agrees to relocate the whole family to Florida so Venus and Serena, then 10 and nine, can join his academy. But it’s not plain sailing from there as Richard’s stubbornness and unconventional approach to his daughters’ career paths means he regularly butts heads with Macci.

I thought it was strange to focus a movie biopic on Richard rather than his world champion daughters and tell the story of their early beginnings through his lens. Don’t get me wrong though – he’s still a worthy subject. He really slogged away to get his girls out of Compton and turn them into the extraordinary athletes he knew they could be from a very early age. His patience and determination in the face of resistance and adversity are commendable and you have to praise how he kept plugging away, knowing his hard work would one day pay off. You won’t like him the whole way though – he’s stubborn, egotistical and overbearing and it’s infuriating watching him go against professional advice and make big decisions that could be detrimental to his daughters’ careers.

Smith excels in the role and this is the best he’s been in years. He does well with Richard’s particular accent and sinks his teeth into this complex character, who could have been written off simply as an overbearing pain in the butt, but thankfully the script allows for more nuance. I would not be surprised if he was nominated for this performance, although I’m not sure if he’ll win.

Although the title might suggest otherwise, this isn’t just the Richard show as it is also heavily focussed on Venus. Smith has fantastic support from Sidney, who has a lot to do in her performance – her tennis skills look convincing and she was feisty when standing up to her father. She ended up being the revelation of the film, particularly during the crowd-pleasing finale. Serena lives in Venus’ shadow during this movie and I would have liked to see her do more. Aunjanue Ellis might also get a supporting actress mention as Oracene ‘Brandy’ Price, the girls’ mother. She doesn’t put up with Richard’s crap and makes sure he knows his place- when she needs to. There is one scene set in a kitchen in which she gives him a big talking to and it’s fantastic. I must also mention Bernthal as he doesn’t let the side down as the often exasperated Macci.

King Richard, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, follows the familiar biopic beats and doesn’t exactly break the mould but the story is so interesting and inspirational that it doesn’t really matter. You can’t beat seeing the underdog coming out on top! It’s got some comedy, lots of heart, the tennis matches are captivating and the ending gave me tears.

In cinemas Friday 19th November

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife – Film Review

Sony

I love the Ghostbusters franchise and was excited to see how Jason Reitman would fare taking over from his father Ivan – and I’m pleased to report that Ghostbusters: Afterlife does not disappoint.

The film follows Callie (Carrie Coon) and her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) as they are evicted from their home and forced to move to a decaying house in the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma. It once belonged to Callie’s late father – Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis) – who upped sticks and left his family without warning when she was young to move to the farmhouse – and she finally figures out why when supernatural beings start to appear.

Reitman does a solid job of balancing the old with the new and gives the franchise a new lease of life. It is incredibly nostalgic, with plenty of references and Easter Eggs to the 1984 original throughout, but he also manages to make it feel like its own thing. You could probably enjoy this as a standalone film but I wouldn’t recommend it – you’ll have a richer, more exciting experience if you’ve watched the 1980s movies first. That’s because Reitman takes the fan service a bit too far and borrows too much from the original towards the end.

For this reason, I enjoyed the first half far more than the second. I loved meeting these new characters, learning more about Spengler’s old house and what he was up to, watching know-it-all science whizz Phoebe figuring out her connection to the Ghostbusters and the first outings of Ecto-1, the proton packs and ghost traps and of course, our first ghost sighting! I also think the script was stronger and funnier in this half. The family – plus Paul Rudd as teacher Mr. Grooberson and Logan Kim as Phoebe’s kooky buddy Podcast – were given some fantastically witty lines that made me laugh out loud often.

However, the narrative became messier as the film approached its finale. The plot wasn’t explained very well so I found it quite confusing. It seemed like Reitman worked on the assumption that everybody knows the 1984 film super well whereas I’ve not seen it for years so take my advice and have a rewatch. There are plenty of cameos – some old faces, some new – to keep an eye out for and while it brought me pure joy to see some of them, I didn’t love them all. Some felt meaningful and with a purpose while others felt like a box-ticking exercise for the fans.

The star of the show is Grace. The child star has been amazing in earlier roles such as Gifted, I, Tonya and The Handmaid’s Tale and she just keeps getting better. This film was a change of pace for her and she seemed to have a ball with it. I loved her awkward outsider character, her unashamed cleverness, her lame jokes and her friendship with Podcast. Kim has established himself as one to watch with his first-ever movie role. His comic timing, facial expressions, line delivery and general personality are spot-on and he is given so many great lines that he simply nails. He is hilarious and I’d like to see more of him please.

We all know Rudd is funny as hell but I think this should be reiterated because he is so great here (I want to see his supermarket scene again) while I just adore watching Coon’s effortless acting style. Wolfhard is the new boy in town trying hard to fit in and Celeste O’Connor rounds out the young foursome as Lucky, who isn’t fleshed out very much.

It’s not perfect by any means but Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a fun, entertaining ride that will make fans of the franchise very happy. Make sure you still until the very end of the credits.

In cinemas Thursday 18th November

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Red Notice: Film Review

Netflix

You would be forgiven for thinking that a big-budget blockbuster featuring not one but three A-list action stars would be any good – I certainly went in with high expectations for Red Notice and came away thoroughly disappointed.

The action begins in Rome, where John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson), an FBI profiler, is helping Interpol’s Inspector Urvashi Das (Ritu Arya) and her team protect a priceless gold egg that once belonged to Cleopatra. But it turns out they’re too late as art thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) has already stolen the egg and replaced it with a fake! That sparks the beginning of a cat-and-mouse chase, which becomes even more complicated when rival art thief The Bishop (Gal Gadot) gets involved, as she wants the egg to complete the set of three.

Rawson Marshall Thurber, who has already worked with Johnson twice, has assembled such a high calibre action star cast for his heist comedy. Considering all three actors are already proven to be capable of leading their own action blockbusters, you would expect them being brought together for one film would make it three times more fun and awesome. But you would be wrong – they don’t really seem to excel in each other’s company. Perhaps it’s a case of too many cooks? I like them in their individual movies but working together here, I felt like they cancelled each other out and were acting at each other rather than with; it hardly ever gelled or clicked.

Reynolds plays the same part he always does and his trademark motor-mouth wise-cracking shtick has mixed results. It’s not always funny, but he still brings the most comedy value to the film and you can tell that he worked hard to come up with alternate gags on the spot. He is the funniest thing in the film, but that’s probably because Thurber – who also wrote the screenplay – relies on his witty one-liners, banter and meta references and we don’t get many other comedic moments elsewhere.

Johnson comes across as much more serious and bland in comparison to the kooky Reynolds, even though I usually find him pretty funny in his other films. His character also has to be rather vague which doesn’t help with the blandness issue and Hartley makes choices that initially don’t make any sense. It was refreshing to see Gadot as a playful character – a sexy femme fatale type who is cheeky, light-hearted and a tease. She looked gorgeous and put her action skills to good use.

The plot features many twists and turns and double-crossing that probably wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny so I’d recommend leaving your brain at the door and letting the ridiculousness of it all wash over you. The film is nowhere near as funny as I’d expected it to be, most of the action scenes were rote and unexciting, the CGI seemed quite budget at times, and the whole thing felt formulaic, generic and forgettable.

This makes it sound like I hated Red Notice so I must concede that it’s enjoyable enough, had some good moments and a handful of laugh-out-loud opportunities – but I just expected it to be much better given the all-star cast involved.

Streaming on Netflix from Friday 12th November

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.