A stumbling, loosely conceived action thriller that lacks conviction but has atmos, cinematography and music of mood, to recommend it   MA15+, 110 minutes 2 Stars Netflix     Review by © Jane Freebury This latest film with lead actor, John David Washington, is a straightforward actioner without any of the fluctuating time and space … Read more


M, 107 minutes 3 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury   Beauty pageants demand so much more of contestants than they used to. Parading around in bikinis and glittering gowns used to be the trick, but now you need to show that you excel in other ways like practising karate, playing violin, being an engineer … Read more

The Rose Maker

Despite some twee familiarity at the start, this story about a tough, committed businesswoman becomes a story about youth and second chances   M, 95 minutes 4 Stars   Review by © Jane Freebury Another year, another rose show, and still no recognition for the quality of her blooms. Is it because the rose breeder … Read more

The Souvenir

MA15+, 119 minutes Netflix 4 Stars         Review by © Jane Freebury   This highly accomplished feature is a portrait of the artist as a young woman, unformed and unsure, as she starts out in life. It’s a finely crafted miniature of a film that takes its title from the late 18th … Read more

Shiva Baby

  M, 99 minutes 3 Stars   Review by © Jane Freebury Who brings a baby to a shiva?’ Guests at a funeral keep asking each other the question in this coming-of-age film set deep within New York’s Jewish community. It’s a neat play on words in a feature that is often razor sharp, if … Read more

Jungle Cruise

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt on a Jungle Cruise. Courtesy Disney   M, 127 minutes 3 Stars   Review by © Jane Freebury This theme-park inspired Disney feature offers a charming romantic couple front and centre and a sense of fun. If it tends a bit cumbersome at times, the spirited pair headlining the fantasy … Read more

A Perfect Fit

PG, 112 minutes 3 Stars Netflix   Review by © Jane Freebury The island of Bali, beautiful in so many ways, forms the backdrop for this sweet romance from the Indonesian film industry. The story is set among the locals and has virtually nothing to do with the foreign visitors that have been descending on … Read more

Nine Days

M, 124 minutes 4 Stars       Review by © Jane Freebury   Building new worlds and creating new rules might just be worth contemplating in these strange times. Edson Oda, a young Japanese-Brazilian writer-director, has gone big and bold in this sci-fi drama, his outstanding first film, entertaining ideas about salvaging what’s good, … Read more

Black Widow

M, 134 minutes 4 stars           Review by © Jane Freebury Given that Black Widow is the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a movie about this particular female superhero has taken a while. After all, Scarlett Johansson has been showing us her martial smarts as Black Widow, aka Natasha … Read more

This Little Love of Mine

G, 91 minutes Netflix 2 Stars   Review by © Jane Freebury   The romantic couple in this new Australian feature first clap eyes on each other on their way to a tropical island. No prizes for guessing what eventually happens there, but in romantic comedy it’s the journey that counts, isn’t it. They couldn’t … Read more


  MA15+, 97 minutes 3 Stars   Review by © Jane Freebury It was, at least in part, a career in opera that saw Phillida Lloyd direct one of the most successful screen musicals ever, Mamma Mia!. She had built a terrific reputation for herself as a director of opera when she worked on the … Read more

In the Heights

PG, 143 minutes 4 Stars   Review by © Jane Freebury Joyous, vibrant. There are good grounds for this song and dance extravaganza becoming a hit. What’s not to like about appealing lead characters and a cast of thousands? It was filmed on location in Upper Manhattan, NYC, with the graceful Washington Bridge as occasional … Read more

My Zoe

M, 102 minutes 4 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury The actor and filmmaker, Julie Delpy, has a habit of weaving details of her personal life into her work. It’s a seductive practice. My Zoe may or may not reflect this but what the writer-director often achieves is, in my book, a strong sense of … Read more

Valerie Taylor: Playing With Sharks

PG, 94 minutes 4 Stars Review by © Jane Freebury            To be fair, a fear of sharks is sound as far as phobias go. If a shark appears, who has the presence of mind to decide it belongs to the great majority that aren’t a danger to humans? Getting the … Read more

Heroic Losers

  M, 116 minutes 3 Stars   Review by © Jane Freebury As you might expect, this amiable comedy from Argentina involves a group of blokes who have had enough of hard times. Their scheme to lift themselves out of their poverty could be a goer, but they are tricked out of the finances they’ve … Read more

Dream Horse

PG, 113 minutes 4 Stars     Review by © Jane Freebury   How do you explain the emergence of a champion? What does it really take to overcome the odds and beat the rest? Dream Alliance, the horse that won the Welsh Grand National in 2009, did not have a promising start. He began … Read more