by Shannon Griffiths
CAPTAIN MARVEL – 4/5 STARS
Twenty films and thirty-something characters later, the ever expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe finally has its first female lead adventure with the long awaited Captain Marvel. Starring Oscar winning actress Brie Larson as the titular hero and a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson back as the younger version of Nick Fury, 1995 is where we find Earth caught in the middle of a galactic conflict between two alien worlds. Prequel to the entire established MCU taking place thirteen years before the events of Iron Man, this unseen chapter in the history of the world’s biggest and most successful franchise does its job in delivering an exciting introduction for its newest character with a film that doesn’t let down.
Gifted with the abilities of superhuman strength, energy projection and flight following an accident where her DNA was fused with that of an alien race known as the Kree, former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Carol Danvers (Larson) joins the elite military space-team Starforce before returning to Earth to defend her home against an impending invasion. Crossing paths with a two-eyed Nick Fury, who at this point in time has not yet encountered a superpowered being, the two form an unlikely partnership to bring down the shape-shifting “Skrulls” before it’s too late, all the while set to the backdrop of 90s nostalgia.
With an impressive supporting cast featuring Ben Mendelsohn, Annette Bening and Jude Law alongside Djimon Hounsou and Lee Pace reprising their Guardians of the Galaxy roles, long-time fans of the series will also get a kick out of the return of Clark Gregg as fan-favourite Phil Coulson.
A good story with great chemistry between characters and a perfect lead in Brie Larson, Captain Marvel sets a new standard for the modern MCU in a world post Avengers: Endgame. Set to feature in that film this April too, the world is introduced to a new hero sure to inspire little girls everywhere.
Just as Wonder Woman proved in 2017, superheroes are for all genders and there’s fun to be had here for all.
VELVET BUZZSAW – 4/5 STARS
Continuing the abundance of quality content Netflix has to offer, the recent Velvet Buzzsaw sees Jake Gyllenhaal re-team with Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy for an interestingly bizarre yet quietly brilliant satirical thriller set in the contemporary art world scene of modern day Los Angeles.
One of the rare films you have to witness to fully understand the meaning of the title, unforgettable imagery and a completely original premise tie perfectly with a top-notch ensemble cast for a dark tale of personal taste meets artist inspired horror.
Morf Vandewalt (Gyllenhaal) is a world renowned art critic whose professional opinion means a great deal to those in the world of art. Unfulfilled in his personal love life, he soon begins a relationship with friend Josephina (Zawe Ashton), who works for gallery owner Rhodora Haze (Rene Russo).
Coming across a plethora of tortured paintings after entering the apartment of a recently deceased man who lived in her building, Josephine steals her findings to show Morf and Rhodora who become fascinated with the the man who created them, Vetril Dease. Deciding to exhibit the pieces with the help of Morf’s curator friend Gretchen (Toni Collette), many interested parties help ensure an instant success.
When Morf looks into Dease’s tormented life, realising he suffered from childhood abuse that grew into mental illness, he and all those involved from rival gallery owners to anyone attempting to get their hands on a piece find themselves prey to supernatural happenings and hallucinations that none can explain. With Dease seemingly enacting revenge from beyond the grave, who will pay the ultimate price for the sake of collecting?
An engaging, intellectual genre-blending indie with the next great Gyllenhaal performance at its centre, Gilroy follows up the outstanding Nightcrawler with another LA set film. Also co-starring the likes of John Malkovich, Stranger Things’ Natalia Dyer and Billy Magnussen, Velvet Buzzsaw might not be everyone’s cup of crazy, but it’s definitely worth a watch.