Greta (2019)
Genre: Thriller, drama
Director: Neil Jordan
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Zawe Ashton, Maika Monroe, Colm Feore, Stephen Rea 
Duration: 98 minutes
Class: 15
KRS Releasing Ltd

Director Neil Jordan takes a break from the follies of the aristocracy and returns to the big screen with sleek and understated thriller Greta. 

Young waitress Frances McCullen (Chloë Grace Moretz) is leading a quiet life in New York when she one day finds a handbag abandoned on the subway. 

Finding an ID inside, Frances decides to be a good citizen and returns the bag to its owner, a French piano teacher called Greta.

Greta and Frances soon strike up an unconventional friendship, Frances having recently lost her mother to cancer, finds inexplicably herself drawn to the older woman’s company. The details of Greta’s life however, don’t quite add up and when Frances tries to pull away, an obsessive and dangerous side of Greta comes to the fore. 

The film received positively tinged mixed reviews, with many critics along for the ride with Greta’s A-listers going for campy overtones, but gets lost in predictable twists and turns that the genre left behind in the 1990s. 

“Huppert should be the next Bond villain,” writes Peter Bradshaw for The Guardian. 

“The element of ridiculousness – arguably not just allowable but vital for this sort of film – is supplied by the always watchable Huppert.”

“The lonely widow that turns garishly nuts so quickly you wonder how Greta will go past the one-hour mark,” says David Edelstein of Vulture. 

“But it turns out you can fit a lot of stalking, kidnapping, and torture into 98 minutes.”

 “If Greta feels a little superficial, however, there’s still a lot of fun to be had,” writes Emma Simmonds for RadioTimes, “In a mischievous screenplay; in a shameless score giving oomph to every shock and in a vivid colour scheme which defies the notion that thrillers should be dark.”

IMDB: 6.2/10 
Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Empire: 3 stars

Judi Dench’s youthful escapades land her in hot water in Red Joan.Judi Dench’s youthful escapades land her in hot water in Red Joan.

Red Joan (2019)
Genre: Drama
Director: Trevor Nunn
Starring: Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, Stephen Campbell Moore, Tom Hughes, Laurence Spellman, Tereza Srbova
Duration: 110 minutes
Class: 12A
KRS Releasing Ltd

Based on the life of British KGB agent Melita Norwood, Red Joan tells the tale of Joan Stanley (Judi Dench), a retired librarian who is revealed to have been a spy for the Russians during her time as a secretary at a top secret programme building nuclear weaponry. 

As the story unfolds in the past and the present, we follow Joan in her youth (played by Sophie Cookson) as she navigates her studies at Cambridge. 

A shy and timid student at first, she falls for dreamy communist firebrand Leo, as the story takes us through Joan’s motivations for betraying her country. 

Critics largely booted Red Joan, with Dench and Cookson’s commendable performances not being quite enough to offset the dull narrative and rather tepid central romance. 

 “Red Joan is uninspired on all levels, with credible-enough period atmosphere but little in the way of style or scale to give this oddly flat tale an aesthetic lift, writes Dennis Harvey for Variety. 

“The most you can say about the film’s look and George Fenton’s original score are that they are conventionally workmanlike.”

“As a portrait of misplaced love and pacifist ideals, Red Joan isn’t terrible,” says Jeannette of The New York Times.

“What should be breathless and urgent is instead polite and listless: if you can’t ignite sparks from an illicit bathroom assignation, then maybe espionage just isn’t your thing.”

IMDB: 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 31%
Empire: 2 stars

Marsai Martin is still the boss in Little.Marsai Martin is still the boss in Little.

Little (2019)
Genre: Comedy
Directors: Tina Gordon Chism
Starring: Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsai Martin, Tone Bell, Justin Hartley, Luke James
Duration: 109 minutes
Class: 12A
KRS Releasing Ltd

From Tina Gordon Chism comes Little, an endearing, if formulaic, body-swap comedy. 

Jordan (Regina Hall) is a boss from hell, regularly terrorising her staff with her bad behaviour, especially her long-suffering assistant, April (Issa Rae). 

Running afoul of a young magician, Jordan wakes up to find herself de-aged, now in her 13-year-old body (played by Marsai Martin). 

Reviews were mixed on Little, with most critics clocking it as uneven but overall agreeable. 

“Consistently funny if all-around a bit too familiar and by extension, a bit too comfortable with its own plot holes and logic gaps,” writes Peter Debruge for Variety. 

“It’s tempting to wave away the premise of Little, with it’s bright and sunny production design and straight-from-the-can score, as silly fun that one needn’t think too deeply about,” says Emily Yoshida of Vulture. 

“But as many times as I tried to get onboard with its proposed brand of breezy fun, it kept kicking me off.”

IMDB: 5.4/10 
Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Empire: 3 stars

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