Lupin season 1 part 1 ****
Thriller. Lupin’s first 15 minutes set the stage for a classic heist as we watch Assane Diop (Intouchables’ Omar Sy) enlist a crew to steal the Queen’s Necklace. But the viewer soon learns that this is only one step in an intricate plan to exact revenge on the aristocratic family who framed Assane’s late father for a crime he didn’t commit.
This thrilling series is inspired by Maurice Leblanc’s Arsène Lupin novels, a French literary staple akin to The Count of Monte Cristo, and elite thief Assane employs the fictional gentleman burglar’s techniques in his pursuit of justice.
This modern take on the literary classic explores themes of morality and justice in a social hierarchy still divided by race and class in contemporary France, as Assane, a Senegalese immigrant, often humorously employs disguises to commit crimes in plain sight.
Sy’s magnetic performance as the humble yet audacious Assane is bolstered by a stellar supporting cast and elegantly woven plot.
Not just another caper tale, every second of the five episodes of season 1 part 1 is filled with twists and turns to defy the viewer’s expectations. Definitely worth a watch.
Season 1 part 2, which also consists of five episodes, has just been released – so get bingeing! – NATASHA ELY
2021. 5 EPISODES. 16P. AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX.
I Still Believe ****
Music biopic. This deeply moving film is based on the heart-rending life story of American gospel musician Jeremy Camp (Riverdale’s KJ Apa), who struggles with love, loss and faith.
When Jeremy meets fellow student Melissa Henning (Britt Robertson from Tomorrowland) at college, he’s unaware his life is about to change drastically.
Jeremy is an introvert, but tries to adapt to bubbly, popular Melissa and soon they’re in love. The couple start making plans, but the future holds stumbling blocks no one could’ve predicted.
Jeremy, a devout Christian, finds his faith sorely tested when Melissa is diagnosed with cancer.
When she becomes seriously ill, the pair have to fight with everything they have to make it to their wedding day. But with the support of Jeremy’s father, Tom (Gary Sinise from CSI: NY), and mom, Teri (singer Shania Twain in her second acting role), Jeremy battles through the struggle he finds himself in.
This is a genuinely touching movie with great performances, especially from Apa, who performed his own singing and guitar-playing. Camp was closely involved as a producer and it’s a brave attempt by someone who’s been through so much to tell his story. Have your tissues at the ready because this is a tearjerker of note. – ABBY-GENE BISSOLATI
2020. 116 MIN. 7-9PG. AVAILABLE ON SHOWMAX, GOOGLE PLAY AND APPLE TV+.
The Vast of Night **
Sci-fi thriller. The high expectations created by numerous rave reviews of this low-budget film unfortunately lead to massive disappointment.
It starts with a pointless framing device setting up the story as an episode of a Twilight Zone-type show, which only ends up hurting the movie as its plot is vastly inferior to any of the spine-tingling tales for which the series is known.
In a small American town in the ’50s, two teens, Fay (Sierra McCormick) and Everett (Jake Horowitz), work the evening shift while almost everyone else is at a basketball game.
When Fay, a switchboard operator, hears strange noises through a phone line, she puts it through to Everett at the radio station, hoping he can help figure out where it’s coming from.
The script is padded with inane conversations to fill up the running time, and the promise of an intriguing twist ending is never fulfilled.
On the positive side, you have to admire the confidence and ambition of debut writer-director Andrew Patterson. His dramatic camera angles and long tracking shots are impressive, and the two main actors are convincing.
2019. 90 MIN. 13VSDL. AVAILABLE ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO.
A: All ages D: Drugs H: Horror L: Language N: Nudity P: Prejudice PG: Parental guidance
S: Sex V: Violence