The Festival (2018)
Genre: Comedy
Director: Iain Morris
Starring: Joe Thomas, Hammed Animashaun, Claudia O’Doherty, Jemaine Clement, Hannah Tointon, Kurt Yaeger
Duration: 98 minutes
Class: 15
KRS Releasing Ltd

British director Iain Morris, whose 2011 film The Inbetweeners Movie became the most successful British comedy of all time, tries his luck again with another comedy.

The film revolves around Nick (Joe Thomas) whose girlfriend unceremoniously dumps him at their university graduation. He is convinced his life is over and vows to spend the summer confined to his bedroom but his best mate Shane (Hammed Animashaun) has the perfect solution: three days at an epic music festival. With the help of festival aficionado Amy (Claudia O’Doherty), Shane tries to get Nick to embrace the music, the mayhem and the mud.

The film – which is replete with stereotypes and squirm-making moments – received good reviews, with Simran Hans of The Observer expecting The Festival to fare better at the box office than The Inbetweeners.

She wrote: “It delivers its ‘lessons’ with a light touch, allowing Nick a couple of moments of genuine, relatable pathos... but encouraging the audience to take his self-loathing with a pinch of salt.”

Andrew Lowry of Empire said: “There are highs and lows, with a fair amount of shoe leather required before you get to the good stuff. Pretty much like a real festival, appropriately enough.”

And Mike Cahill of The Guardian said the film’s “pursuit remains broadly likeable, and Morris again backs it up with real comedy nous”.

Critics also loved the supporting cast, especially O’Doherty andJemaine Clement as Shane’s stepfather.

IMDB: 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Empire: 3 stars

Vanessa Hudgens dreams of a better life in Dog Days.Vanessa Hudgens dreams of a better life in Dog Days.

Dog Days (2018)
Genre: Comedy
Director: Ken Marino
Starring: Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Finn Wolfhard, John Bass, Eva Longoria, Jessica LoweDuration: 113 minutes
Class: PG
KRS Releasing Ltd

The romantic comedy, directed by Ken Marino, follows the intertwining lives of various dog owners.

Among these is Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev), a charming anchorwoman who seeks advice from her dog’s therapist. Then there’s Tara (Vanessa Hudgens),  a spunky barista who dreams of a life beyond the coffee shop. Daisy (Lauren Lapkus) is a dog walker who is enamoured with a client, while Garrett (Jon Bass) pines for a woman while trying to keep his adopt-a-dog business afloat.

The film sees how these canines soon start to influence their owners’ careers, friendships and romantic relationships in funny and unexpected ways.

The film received average reviews, though some critics complained about the storyline and the saccharin-sweet plot.

Cath Clarke of The Guardian wrote: “There’s really not much for the humans to do, other than flash brilliant white smiles, making the film feel like the world’s longest toothpaste advert. And it’s a toothbrush you’ll be reaching for after all so much sugary sentimentality.”

Peter Debruge of Variety wrote: “Unfortunately, the behaviours on display have virtually nothing to do with real life, serving as empty escapism for the dog lover in all of us.”

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter took a slightly more positive outlook. He commented: “For undemanding audiences not looking for too much substance in the summer's dog days, Dog Days should go down relatively easy.”

Released on August 8 in the US, the film has so far grossed $5.9 million at the domestic box office.

IMDB: 5.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Empire: N/A

Denzel Washington returns as a mysterious and elusive vigilante in The Equalizer 2.Denzel Washington returns as a mysterious and elusive vigilante in The Equalizer 2.

The Equalizer 2 (2018)
Genre: Action
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo
Duration: 121 minutes
Class: 15
KRS Releasing Ltd

Academy Award-winning film-maker Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) returns to the director’s chair of the thriller based on a 1980s TV series of the same name.

The film also sees the return of Denzel Washington as the mysterious and elusive vigilante Robert McCall. This time, his past cuts especially close to home when thugs kill his best friend and former colleague, Susan (Melissa Leo).

The film received average reviews, with critics lamenting that it is no different to the 2014 original picture.

Jeffrey M.Anderson of Common Sense Media, in fact, wrote: “The sequel to The Equalizer, is more of the same, with (too) familiar screenwriting, a compelling lead character and inventive action scenes.”

Similarly, Molly Freeman of Screen Rant commented that the film is “an equally stylish sequel but with fewer thrills and surprises”.

Made on a $62 million budget, the film has grossed $124 million since its US release on July 20.

IMDB: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Empire: 3 stars