Movie reviews: Ben Is Back, Happy Death Day 2U
BEN IS BACK (NC16)
This family drama takes you on a turbulent 24-hour journey undertaken by a woman (Julia Roberts) and her son Ben (Lucas Hedges).
The teenager, who suffers from drug addiction, makes an unexpected visit home on Christmas Eve during his rehab stint, causing plenty of conflict in the family.
Hedges perfectly captures the cruelty of addiction. His performance shows the way the disease is acting through him, swinging from anger to panic to remorse.
He puts the audience in the shoes of his family members as he constantly keeps them second-guessing his intentions and sobriety.
Roberts is just as powerful, allowing us to empathise as she plays the tough yet vulnerable and devoted mother trying to protect her child.
While the film seems to drag on at times, it succeeds in sustaining the suspense surrounding their reunion.
The mother-son dynamic is also beautifully portrayed, one that is both stunning and heartbreaking. - SERAFINA BASCIANO - 4 Ticks
HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U (PG13)
In this funnier sequel to the 2017 slasher flick with a sci-fi bent, college student Tree (Jessica Rothe) wakes up to find herself stuck in a parallel universe, where everyone is a different version of themselves.
Somewhate mirroring the first instalment, she finds herself the target of a masked murderer whom she must confront and stop. Only this time, the lives of her inner circle are threatened too, so she resigns herself to die over and over again to stop the killer.
Once again, the sequel's cavalier treatment of suicide as a form of humour remains a little distasteful.
Ironically, all the plot holes, illogical writing, repetitiveness and heavy reliance on slapstick shtick miraculously work in its favour.
While certainly no piece of art, Happy Death Day 2U nonetheless succeeds as undemanding entertainment - and one that does not mind taking jabs at itself.- JASMINE LIM -3 Ticks