Saturday 30 December 2023

REVIEW: Silent Night (2023 Film) - Starring Joel Kinnaman

Review by Jon Donnis
Director John Woo's "Silent Night" takes the audience on a relentless journey through a world of bloodshed and vengeance, all set against the backdrop of a silent Christmas Eve. Starring Joel Kinnaman as the vengeful father, the film successfully marries intense action sequences with emotional depth, creating a compelling, albeit imperfect, revenge thriller.

In this gripping tale of retribution, a haunted father (played by Joel Kinnaman) experiences the tragic death of his young son during a gang-related crossfire on Christmas Eve. Struggling to overcome a debilitating injury that robs him of his voice, he dedicates his existence to seeking vengeance and commits to a grueling training routine to mete out justice for his son's demise.

One of the film's standout features is the daring decision to limit spoken dialogue. This choice adds a unique layer to the storytelling, forcing the audience to rely on the characters' actions and expressions to comprehend the depth of their emotions. Joel Kinnaman's portrayal of Brian Godlock, a father consumed by grief and revenge, is commendable. His physical transformation and commitment to the role contribute to the film's overall impact.

The action sequences, notably the stairway shootout and the final battle scenes, showcase John Woo's signature style of choreographed chaos. The masterful execution of these scenes elevates the film, providing adrenaline-pumping moments that leave a lasting impression. The cinematography captures the brutality and beauty of the violence, making it a visual feast for action enthusiasts.

Despite its strengths, "Silent Night" does have its drawbacks. The decision to limit dialogue, while innovative, may alienate some viewers who prefer a more dialogue-driven narrative. The film's pacing, at times, feels slow and formulaic, detracting from the overall intensity. However, the simplicity of the revenge plot and the commitment to the genre's roots help balance these shortcomings.

Joel Kinnaman's performance is complemented by a strong supporting cast, including Scott Mescudi as Detective Dennis Vassel. The emotional struggles of Brian's estranged wife, Saya (played by Catalina Sandino Moreno), contribute to the film's emotional resonance, although her character could have been further developed.

In conclusion, "Silent Night" is a gripping action thriller that successfully blends intense action with poignant emotional moments. John Woo's expertise in crafting visually stunning sequences is evident, and Joel Kinnaman delivers a compelling performance. While the limited dialogue may not resonate with everyone, the film's simplicity and commitment to the revenge genre make it an enjoyable ride. With a fair score of 7 out of 10, "Silent Night" is a recommended watch for fans of old-fashioned, edge-of-your-seat action thrillers. Sit back, suspend disbelief, and let the silent symphony of revenge unfold.

Out now on Apple TV at 
And Amazon Prime at

Thursday 28 December 2023

REVIEW: The Family Plan (2023 Film) - Starring Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan

Review by Jon Donnis
"The Family Plan" delivers an enjoyable mix of action and comedy, directed by Simon Cellan Jones and written by David Coggeshall. Starring Mark Wahlberg as Dan Morgan, this film takes audiences on a wild and unexpected journey, blending family dynamics with espionage, resulting in a fun and entertaining ride.

The storyline follows Dan Morgan, a former government assassin turned suburban car salesman, who must dust off his lethal skills when enemies from his past resurface. To protect his family, he embarks on a cross-country road trip to Las Vegas, blending action-packed sequences with family bonding moments.

Mark Wahlberg, known for his charismatic performances, adds his signature touch to the character of Dan Morgan. Wahlberg's portrayal brings a perfect balance of humor and action to the film. The family members, played by Michelle Monaghan, Ciarán Hinds, Zoe Colletti, and Van Crosby, are well-written with distinct character arcs, adding depth to the storyline.

The film's witty script and good old-fashioned action sequences contribute to its overall entertainment value. The comedic elements are well-executed, providing genuine laugh-out-loud moments throughout the movie. The chemistry between the family members feels authentic, enhancing the emotional engagement of the audience.

However, "The Family Plan" falls short in terms of originality. The plotline, while engaging, follows a somewhat predictable formula and occasionally feels like a by-the-numbers action-comedy. The film's runtime of nearly two hours might test the patience of some viewers, as it could have been tightened without sacrificing the story's essence.

Despite these drawbacks, "The Family Plan" succeeds in delivering what it promises, a fun and entertaining movie experience. It doesn't take itself too seriously, allowing audiences to enjoy the humor, action, and family dynamics seamlessly woven into the narrative.

In conclusion, "The Family Plan" earns a fair score of 7 out of 10. While it may not break new ground in terms of originality, it compensates with a charismatic lead, well-developed characters, and a blend of action and humor that keeps viewers engaged from start to finish.

Out Now on Apple TV -

Tuesday 26 December 2023

REVIEW: Wonka (2023 Film) - Starring Timothée Chalamet

Review by Jon Donnis
"Wonka," the 2023 musical fantasy film directed by Paul King, offers a delightful twist to the classic tale of Willy Wonka's chocolate empire. Starring Timothée Chalamet as the titular character, the film explores the early days of the enigmatic chocolatier in a whimsical and visually captivating manner.

The plot unfolds as Wonka, portrayed with charm by Chalamet, faces financial struggles and an unscrupulous boardinghouse owner, played convincingly by Olivia Colman. The film introduces the character of Noodle, played by the talented Calah Lane, who becomes Wonka's assistant and adds a heartwarming dynamic to the story.

One of the film's strengths lies in its ensemble cast, featuring standout performances from Keegan-Michael Key as the chocolate-addicted chief of police, Paterson Joseph as the cunning Arthur Slugworth, and Hugh Grant as the endearing Oompa-Loompa, Lofty. The chemistry among the cast members contributes to the film's overall appeal.

The musical aspect of "Wonka" is a mixed bag, with some solid new songs adding to the whimsical atmosphere. However, the film might alienate viewers who are not fans of musicals due to the abundance of musical numbers. Additionally, while the film brings back the joy and optimism associated with the chocolate factory, it falls short of capturing the darker undertones present in Roald Dahl's original stories.

Visually, "Wonka" impresses with its charming set designs and creative use of visual effects. The film successfully creates a fantastical world that complements the magical nature of Willy Wonka's original chocolate factory.

On the downside, some might find the portrayal of Wonka lacking the dark edge seen in previous adaptations. In an attempt to make the character more likable, the film sacrifices some of the edginess present in Dahl's original stories. This departure from the source material might disappoint those who appreciate the darker and weirder aspects of Dahl's work.

In conclusion, "Wonka" is a heartfelt, funny, and whimsical film that brings joy to audiences, especially children. While it may not fully capture the darkness of Dahl's original stories or the inventiveness of the 1971 film, it introduces a fresh take on the beloved character. The film's few missteps, such as an excess of musical numbers and a somewhat softened Wonka, prevent it from reaching the heights of its predecessors. Nevertheless, "Wonka" remains a solid entry in the Wonka film legacy, earning a respectable 7.5 out of 10.

In cinemas now
Buy the book at
Pre-order the home release at

Sunday 24 December 2023

REVIEW: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023 Film) - Starring Jason Momoa

Review by Jon Donnis
Directed by James Wan, "Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom" is released as the 15th and final installment in the DC Extended Universe, marking the sequel to the 2018 hit "Aquaman." Starring Jason Momoa as the titular character, the film navigates the challenges faced by Arthur Curry, now the king of Atlantis, as he attempts to balance his responsibilities on both land and sea.

The film unfolds several years after Arthur's ascent to the throne, revealing a married life with Mera (Amber Heard) and a son, Arthur Jr. The stakes are raised when marine biologist Stephen Shin and the vengeful David Kane / Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) continue their pursuit of Atlantean artifacts, and eventually using a cursed Black Trident leads to a confrontation that could have devastating consequences for both the underwater and surface worlds.

In an effort to prevent catastrophe, and to learn where Kane is hiding, Arthur breaks his half-brother Orm out of prison, portrayed by Patrick Wilson. The two meet with the crime lord Kingfish (Martin Short), who provides information leading to a volcanic island in the South Pacific, they then embark on a mission to uncover the mysteries surrounding the lost seventh kingdom of the seas.

Jason Momoa's charisma remains a standout element in the film, as he brings a compelling blend of strength and charm to the character of Arthur Curry. The actor's commitment to the role is evident, and his enjoyment adds an extra layer to the overall viewing experience.

Despite the entertaining popcorn movie appeal, "Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom" doesn't shy away from criticisms. Some DC fans might feel that the film treads familiar waters, lacking the exploration of new elements in storytelling or character development. Editing issues, possibly influenced by controversies surrounding Amber Heard, are apparent, with key events feeling rushed and impacting the overall flow of the narrative.

Visual effects, a crucial component of superhero films, fall short of expectations, continuing a trend seen in recent DC and Marvel productions. The rushed and subpar visual effects detract from the potential grandeur of the underwater sequences.

In conclusion, "Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom" provides an entertaining underwater adventure led by Jason Momoa's magnetic performance. While it may not break new ground in the superhero genre and faces challenges in editing and visual effects, it remains a recommended watch for those seeking a fun and action-packed cinematic experience. With a fair score of 7.5 out of 10, the film is especially suitable for family audiences looking for an enjoyable ride with the King of Atlantis.

In Cinemas now!

Watch Aquaman 2018 at

Friday 22 December 2023

REVIEW: Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire (2023 Film) - Starring Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, Ed Skrein, Michiel Huisman, Doona Bae, Ray Fisher, Charlie Hunnam, and Anthony Hopkins

Review by Jon Donnis
"Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire" marks Zack Snyder's ambitious foray into the space opera genre, delivering a visually stunning and action-packed film set in a richly detailed fictional galaxy. The ensemble cast, led by Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, and Ed Skrein, brings life to a diverse group of characters in a universe dominated by the militaristic empire of the Motherworld.

The plot kicks off with the tragic assassination of Princess Issa, who was expected to bring redemption and unity to the war-weary Motherworld. The power vacuum is quickly filled by the ruthless Regent Balisarius (Fra Fee) and Admiral Atticus Noble (Ed Skrein), setting the stage for a renewed era of conquest and conflict. On the distant farming colony of Veldt, Kora (Sofia Boutella), a former Imperium soldier with a mysterious past, emerges as the protagonist. Her journey to assemble a team of warriors from across the galaxy forms the backbone of the narrative.

One of the film's strengths lies in its world-building. The Motherworld and its Imperium present a believable and intricate backdrop for the characters' struggles. The lore surrounding the Motherworld, hinted at throughout the film, adds depth and intrigue, leaving audiences eager for more. The collaboration between Snyder, Johnstad, and Hatten results in a narrative that successfully blends elements of epic space opera with dark undertones reminiscent of everything from Star Wars, Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy and Total Recall.

The cast delivers commendable performances, with Sofia Boutella embodying the conflicted and complex character of Kora. Djimon Hounsou brings gravitas to the role of Titus, the disgraced Imperium commander turned warrior for justice, while Ed Skrein portrays the menacing Admiral Atticus Noble with conviction. The chemistry among the ensemble cast enhances the overall viewing experience.

The action sequences in "Rebel Moon" are a visual spectacle, with detailed choreography and impressive CGI work. The film's cinematography captures the vastness of space and the intensity of the battles, creating a cinematic experience that is both immersive and thrilling. The soundtrack complements the epic scale of the story, adding emotional weight to key moments.

While the film excels in many areas, it does have its drawbacks. The plot, at times, follows predictable patterns, and the overall narrative arc may feel familiar to seasoned sci-fi enthusiasts. Some viewers might find the lack of groundbreaking elements a missed opportunity for innovation in the genre.

In conclusion, "Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire" is a solid entry into the space opera genre, offering a captivating blend of action, lore, and character dynamics. The film's strengths lie in its detailed universe, well-executed action scenes, and a cast that brings the characters to life. While it may not break new ground in terms of narrative innovation, it sets the stage for a promising franchise and leaves audiences eager to explore more of the Motherworld's mysteries. With a score of 8.5 out of 10, "Rebel Moon" is a worthwhile addition to the sci-fi genre and a testament to Zack Snyder's ability to craft visually stunning and entertaining cinematic experiences.

Out Now in limited cinemas and on Netflix

You can also get the The Official Movie Novelization Audiobook – Unabridged at

FULL MOVIE: Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) starring Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards and Ellen Barkin

An annual beauty pageant in small-town Minnesota turns ridiculously competitive and ultimately chaotic in this biting comedy. Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst), the daughter of hard-drinking mom Annette (Ellen Barkin), and Becky Leeman (Denise Richards), who is motivated by her former beauty-queen mother, Gladys (Kirstie Alley), are among the top contenders in the event. As Amber, Becky, and other local girls prepare for the big day, bizarre incidents occur, leading up to an ending with a bang.

Director: Michael Patrick Jann 

Writer: Lona Williams 

Stars: Kirsten Dunst,Denise Richards,Ellen Barkin

Also available on Amazon at

Thursday 21 December 2023

REVIEW: Godzilla Minus One (2023 Film) - Starring Ryunosuke Kamiki

Review by Jon Donnis
Godzilla Minus One, directed, written, and visually crafted by Takashi Yamazaki, stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Godzilla franchise. This 2023 Japanese epic kaiju film marks the 37th installment in the series and the fifth film in the Reiwa era, delivering a unique blend of gripping human drama and awe-inspiring kaiju spectacle.

At its core, Godzilla Minus One distinguishes itself by placing the spotlight on human resilience and sacrifice, a departure from the typical Hollywood CGI-driven Godzilla adaptations. The film delves into the emotional aftermath of World War II, crafting a narrative that explores the impact of tragedy, survivor's guilt, and the unwavering human spirit.

With Japan already devastated by World War 2 a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster, you know the story by now I am sure. Godzilla is mutated and empowered by the United States' nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll, and then attacks Japan. In this version of the Godzilla story, Godzilla is just a cold blooded monster. Can he be stopped?

Despite a presumably limited budget, the visual effects in Godzilla Minus One are commendable, harking back to the traditional Japanese Godzilla films that captivated audiences for decades. The filmmakers' emphasis on practical effects adds an authentic touch, making it a refreshing departure from the reliance on computer-generated imagery seen in many contemporary blockbusters.

The engaging human stories seamlessly anchor the film's spectacular kaiju action, resulting in a truly compelling cinematic experience from start to finish. Godzilla Minus One manages to strike a delicate balance between sweeping spectacle and tense action while delving into the nuanced themes of war and loss.

Ryunosuke Kamiki delivers a poignant performance as Kōichi Shikishima, a former kamikaze pilot haunted by his past. The ensemble cast, including Minami Hamabe, Yuki Yamada, Munetaka Aoki, and others, contributes significantly to the film's emotional depth.

The film's portrayal of Godzilla as the scariest yet adds a layer of intensity to the narrative, enhancing the stakes and making each encounter with the iconic monster a nerve-wracking experience. Godzilla Minus One effectively evokes emotion from a vulnerable period in Japan's history, creating a connection between the audience and the characters on screen.

The film's score, composed by Naoki Satō, complements the narrative impeccably, heightening tension and emotion at crucial moments. The meticulous attention to detail in the film's effects, screenplay, set and sound design, cinematography, and character development collectively contribute to its excellence.

While Godzilla Minus One impressively manages to deliver a compelling story with its modest $15 million budget, one cannot help but wonder if a larger budget would have allowed for even more ambitious visuals. However, it's equally plausible that a bigger budget might have compromised the intimate human emotion and storytelling that sets this film apart.

In conclusion, Godzilla Minus One earns a well-deserved 9 out of 10. It not only stands as the best Godzilla film ever made, in my opinion, but also exemplifies the power of storytelling and human resilience in the face of unimaginable challenges. Takashi Yamazaki's masterful direction, coupled with the stellar cast and a well-crafted narrative, cements this film as a kaiju masterpiece.

Out Now in UK Cinemas.
You can also buy the films official soundtrack at

FULL MOVIE: Colorado Christmas (2023) - Starring Luba Bocian, Brit Ellerman and Paul Anthony McLean

Melody Miller has left her dream job of teaching music to work as a carer. When one of her clients falls ill, his son rushes home, who to Melody’s surprise turns out to be none other than country music superstar, Johnny Colorado! As the unlikely pair grow closer, it looks like it could be the start of the perfect Christmas romance, until an old flame of Johnny’s arrives at the family ranch.

Director:  Elgin Cahill

Writers:  Elgin Cahill, Kate Mobley

Stars: Luba Bocian, Brit Ellerman, Paul Anthony McLean

FULL MOVIE: Safe Harbour (2007) - Starring Melissa Gilbert, Brad Johnson and Liana Liberato

Escape to Safe Harbour in this story of love, loss and the powerful bonds that can heal a wounded heart. Ophélie is a grieving young widow. Matt is a heartbroken artist. Both feel as though they have lost everything, until, on a remote, fog-shrouded California beach, they find each other. But as their passion grows into something far more then either dares to dream, the darkness of their pasts threatens to destroy what could be their last chance for true love. Based on Danielle Steel's best-selling novel, this romance is more than extraordinary; it's a moving journey into the heart.

Directed By Bill Corcoran

Written By Edithe Swensen based on the novel "Safe Harbor" by Danielle Steel

Starring Melissa Gilbert, Brad Johnson, Liana Liberato

Also available on Amazon at

Sunday 17 December 2023

REVIEW: Fast Charlie (2023 Film) - Starring Pierce Brosnan and Morena Baccarin

Review by Jon Donnis
Fast Charlie, directed by Phillip Noyce and penned by Richard Wenk, brings together a stellar cast, led by the charismatic Pierce Brosnan, in a slick and violent action thriller that, despite some formulaic elements, manages to captivate audiences with its engaging narrative and unexpected twists.

The plot revolves around Charlie Swift, a hitman with the moniker "Fast Charlie," portrayed convincingly by Pierce Brosnan, who embarks on a mission to prove the validity of a hit gone wrong to a ruthless mobster, Beggar Mercado. Brosnan seamlessly sheds his Irish accent for a Southern twang, adding a layer of authenticity to his character in this breezy crime thriller.

One of the film's standout features is its 90-minute runtime, a perfect duration that ensures a brisk pace, keeping the audience hooked from start to finish. The Gulf Coast serves as an atmospheric backdrop, contributing to the film's overall appeal.

The chemistry between Brosnan and Morena Baccarin, who plays Marcie Kramer, adds depth to the story. Baccarin's portrayal of a strong-willed character with a complex past complements Brosnan's sly and flirtatious yet reluctant heroism. The duo's dynamic contributes significantly to the film's success.

While Fast Charlie adheres to certain genre conventions and might feel formulaic at times, it compensates with its unexpected dark humor and a well-executed will they or wont they love story. The film doesn't break new ground but manages to deliver the kind of engaging action thriller that Hollywood once effortlessly produced.

A notable aspect is James Caan's final performance as Stan Mullen, Charlie's best friend and mentor. Caan's presence adds emotional weight to the narrative, making the characters' quest to protect Mullen's legacy more poignant.

In summary, Fast Charlie earns a solid 8.5 out of 10 for its entertainment value, successful execution of genre tropes, and the commendable performances of its cast. It may lack originality in certain aspects, but it compensates with a perfect blend of action, humor, and heartfelt moments that make it a must-watch for fans of the genre.

Fast Charlie streaming in the UK on Prime Video 15 March. Distributed by Signature Entertainment

Out Now in the US on

Saturday 16 December 2023

REVIEW: There's Something in the Barn (2023 Film) - Starring Martin Starr, Amrita Acharia, and Kiran Shah

Review by Jon Donnis
"There's Something in the Barn," directed by Magnus Martens and written by Aleksander Kirkwood Brown, brings together a delightful concoction of horror and comedy in a Norwegian setting. Starring Martin Starr, Amrita Acharia, and Kiran Shah, the film follows the Nordheim family as they relocate to a remote cabin in Norway, only to encounter murderous elves in their barn. The movie successfully weaves a tale that blends elements of Gremlins, Krampus, National Lampoon's, and Home Alone, resulting in a unique and entertaining horror comedy.

The plot unfolds as the Nordheim family settles into their new home, with Lucas (Townes Bunner) discovering the existence of elves in their barn. As the story progresses, the family ignores the local legend of the "Barn Elf Rules," leading to gruesome consequences. The film introduces a mix of characters, including Bill (Martin Starr), the oblivious father; Carol (Amrita Acharia), the stepmother trying to maintain a positive facade; and the rebellious teenage daughter Nora (Zoe Winther-Hansen). The main elf, portrayed by Kiran Shah, adds a captivating and sinister element to the narrative, creating a perfect blend of horror and humor.

One of the film's strengths lies in its ability to infuse culture clash gags, adding an extra layer of comedy to the narrative. The Norwegian authenticity contributes to the overall atmosphere, making it a festive treat for audiences. The combination of gore, humour, and a holiday setting makes it a nostalgic throwback to the creature feature films of the 1980s.

On the positive side, the film earns praise for its successful fusion of horror and comedy, creating a bloody yet enjoyable Christmas horror experience. The second half of the film is particularly commendable for its non-stop craziness, delivering on the promise of an entertaining ride.

However, the film does stumble in its incorporation of left-wing politics and woke topics, particularly in the discussion of gun control. This element feels forced and detracts from the overall enjoyment of the movie. Additionally, some viewers may find the first half of the film a bit slow, but the momentum picks up, delivering a satisfying climax.

In summary, "There's Something in the Barn" has the potential to become a cult classic comedy horror. Its unique blend of genres, coupled with a mix of humour and horror, offers a refreshing take on the Christmas horror genre. Despite a few missteps in handling political themes, the film stands out as a solid 8 out of 10, making it a perfect addition to the Christmas horror film repertoire. Only time will tell if it attains cult status, but its entertaining mix of elements certainly makes it a standout in the genre.

Out now at

Friday 15 December 2023

REVIEW: Family Switch (2023 Film) - Starring Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms

Review by Jon Donnis
Directed by McG and written by Adam Sztykiel and Victoria Strouse, "Family Switch" is a 2023 American comedy film that embraces the tried-and-true formula of a family comedy but adds a delightful twist. Starring Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms as the Walker parents, the movie explores the chaos that ensues when the family members find themselves swapped into each other's bodies after a mysterious incident during a planetary alignment.

The plot centers around the Walkers' attempts to navigate each other's lives while desperately trying to revert to their original selves before the rare planetary alignment ends. This sets the stage for a series of comedic mishaps and heartwarming revelations about the importance of family.

One of the film's standout qualities is the stellar performances by Jennifer Garner and Ed Helms. Garner brings a genuine warmth and charm to her role as Jess Walker, and Helms delivers his signature comedic touch as Bill Walker. The chemistry between the two leads adds authenticity to the family dynamic, making their on-screen interactions a joy to watch.

The supporting cast, including the talented young actors Emma Myers and Brady Noon, as well as Rita Moreno and Matthias Schweighöfer.

While "Family Switch" follows a somewhat predictable narrative arc, the film succeeds in delivering laughs and heartfelt moments. The family's attempts to navigate each other's lives lead to several hilarious and endearing situations. The script, although not groundbreaking, is well-crafted, maintaining a good balance between humor and emotional resonance.

The film's predictability might be a drawback for some viewers, and the plot twists are telegraphed well in advance. However, the movie compensates for its lack of originality with its heartwarming message about the importance of understanding and appreciating one another.

"Family Switch" is undeniably a feel-good holiday film that caters to a broad audience. It's a movie that doesn't require much thought but offers plenty of laughter and warmth. As a perfect choice for a family movie night during the festive season, "Family Switch" earns a solid 8 out of 10. Despite its predictability, the film's charm, humour, and positive message make it an enjoyable and heartening experience for audiences of all ages.

Out Now on Digital

Thursday 14 December 2023

REVIEW: The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023 Film) Starring Tom Blyth

Review by Jon Donnis
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes audiences on a journey 64 years before the events of the original film, exploring the origins of the infamous President Snow. Directed by Francis Lawrence, the film offers a compelling origin story for the trilogy's main antagonist while delivering both familiar and fresh elements for fans of the franchise.

The film succeeds in building upon the established mythology of The Hunger Games, striking a balance between nostalgia for the original trilogy and introducing new, engaging content. It manages to please fans while expanding the world and lore of Panem.

The portrayal of President Snow's early years is a strong point, providing a nuanced and compelling origin story for a character who becomes the primary antagonist in the original trilogy. Tom Blyth's performance as Coriolanus "Coryo" Snow is exceptional, marking a standout moment in his career.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is arguably the strongest installment in The Hunger Games film series, offering a fresh perspective on the dystopian world and its characters. The film succeeds in immersing viewers in the morally complex and politically charged landscape of Panem.

Despite a lengthy runtime, the film struggles with character development and story arcs. The pacing feels rushed, moving from one narrative element to another too quickly, leaving little room for audiences to connect with the characters on a deeper level.

Rachel Zegler's portrayal of Lucy Gray Baird, while earnest, is hindered by the poorly written character. The attempt at a Southern accent falls flat and becomes distracting, detracting from the overall immersion in the story.

The film's ending feels somewhat rushed and leaves certain storylines frustratingly unresolved. A more balanced conclusion could have provided a more satisfying payoff for viewers invested in the characters and plot.

With a runtime of 158 minutes, the film feels overly long. Trimming some unnecessary scenes could have improved the pacing without sacrificing the core narrative.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a solid addition to the franchise, offering a compelling origin story for President Snow. While the film has its flaws, including rushed pacing and underdeveloped characters, it successfully blends nostalgia with new content. Tom Blyth's standout performance and the exploration of Panem's history make it a must-watch for fans. Despite its imperfections, the film earns a fair 7.5 out of 10, making it a worthwhile experience for those invested in the Hunger Games universe.

Out Now in cinemas and on digital at 
Pre-order from Amazon at