Movie Review: Ma
There's a recurring Monty Python gag where a staunch colonel will step into frame and tell everyone to "Stop this! It's far too silly".
Ma needs that colonel to spare us from the silliness.
Not that it's fun. Ma can be found at the junction of grim and silly.
This isn't a horror in the way one might expect from Blumhouse Productions either - the studio that proudly tells all it brought Get Out to the world.
This is like a slightly more sinister TV movie. Is the benevolent stranger as nice as she seems? Of course not.
Not that Ma is short of potential, but it's ruined by showing its hand far too early.
Confirming the titular character's duality within minutes of meeting her means the audience has to endure the tiresome wait for the characters to undergo the slowly dawning realisation that their new unhinged friend might just be unhinged.
At first glance, one wonders what could attract the talents of Octavia Spencer, Alison Janney, Juliette Lewis and Luke Evans to such a project.
Well, Tate Taylor directed Spencer to a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2011's The Help.
That film also starred Janney, who has picked up an Oscar herself since then.
Lewis is Oscar-nominated and Evans isn't short of talent either.
Some of the young cast is great, particularly Diana Silvers who looks like a coven of studio execs successfully summoned a new young Anne Hathaway into being.
The twists, such as the attempts to play on your sympathies for Spencer's "Ma", feel more like sudden ideas added by writers rather than all part of the plot. The more it goes on, the sillier it feels, and Silvers sides more with the audience in trying to urge her friends to leave all the nonsense behind. It's daft, it doesn't really make sense and the talent here could have, should have created something much, much better. - 2 Ticks
STARRING: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans, Allison Janney
DIRECTOR: Tate Taylor
THE SKINNY: A woman (Spencer) befriends a group of teenagers and lets them party in her cellar. Whats starts out as fun turns sinister as something about ''Ma'' does not seem right and the kids start to feel unsafe, as do their parents.
Movie reviews: Fisherman's Friends, The Rookies
FISHERMAN'S FRIENDS (PG13)
Fisherman's Friends is as predictable as the tides, but more than makes up for it with heart and charm.
This musical comedy-drama that is based on a true story follows cynical music manager Danny (Daniel Mays) as he tries to turn a group of shanty-singing fishermen into pop stars.
It is a heartwarming, feel-good romp, and the sense of camaraderie, community and brotherhood emanating from them is palpable.
A strong performance from James Purefoy, who plays Jim, the stubborn leader of the fishermen, also helps ground the film.
His no-nonsense attitude emphasises how out of place Danny is as a smooth-talking city-dweller.
Danny's budding relationship with Jim's daughter (Tuppence Middleton) is surprisingly romantic and believable.
And while the sea shanties may not sound like they were sung on set, they manage to be beautiful and even haunting at times. - JOHN TAN - 3 Ticks
THE ROOKIES (PG13)
In this Chinese actioner, an extreme sport lover (Talu Wang) accidentally enters the world of spies after a case of mistaken identity.
Recruited by superspy Bruce (Milla Jovovich), he must go to Budapest to complete a dangerous deal alongside a crew of other rookie spies.
The Rookies is an incoherent mess. It has passable action and very flashy editing, but characters are paper-thin, with little depth and unclear motivations.
The pacing is frantic and never stops to let the audience breathe, while the plot is confusing and contrived.
What's worse, its villainous eco-terrorist Iron Fist (David Lee McInnis) is devoid of screen presence and has no established motivation for turning people into plants.
And while Jovovich is heavily featured in the movie's marketing, her role is reduced to an aggressively campy cameo.
The Rookies feels like a rookie production all right. - JOHN TAN - 1 Tick
The Lion King (PG)
Lion cub Simba (Donald Glover) idolises his father King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and takes to heart his own royal destiny, but his uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has plans of his own.
Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
The Dead Don't Die (M18)
A peaceful small town and its police officers (Bill Murray, Adam Driver and Chloe Sevigny) find themselves battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves.
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Child's Play (M18)
This contemporary re-imagining of the 1988 horror classic follows a single mother (Aubrey Plaza) who gifts her son (Gabriel Bateman) a Buddi doll, unaware of its more sinister nature.
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
When a massive hurricane hits her Florida hometown, a woman (Kaya Scodelario) ignores evacuation orders to search for her missing father (Barry Pepper). Both become trapped in the crawl space of their family home.
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
The Professor And The Madman (PG13)
A professor (Mel Gibson) begins compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid-19th century and receives more than 10,000 entries from an asylum patient (Sean Penn).
Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Spider-Man: Far From Home (PG)
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) decides to join his best friends on a European school trip, but his holiday plans are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%