The Two Reviews – Smile and Top Gun: Maverick

Smile (2022, Paramount Pictures / Temple Hill Entertainment)

Featuring Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Robin Weigert, Caitlin Stasey and Kal Penn. Music by Cristobal Tapia de VeerWritten and directed by Parker Finn.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This Halloween I found myself craving something different so thought I’d give Smile a go. It was by far one of the most creepy movies I have seen in a very long time, so creepy in fact that it left me unable to sleep after watching it. Smile is a spine tingling psychological horror directed by Parker Finn. Dr Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) works as a psychiatrist at a psychiatric ward. The suicide victim has an uncanny and creepy smile on their face just before they die. After witnessing the bizarre suicide of a patient she starts experiencing weird paranormal phenomenon and sees the same smile in one of her other patients, Carl. After thinking that Carl was manically threatening her, Rose tries to restrain Carl only to be interrupted by other staff to find that he is really sleeping. Rose’s boss fearing for her mental health forces Rose to take sick leave. It is at this point that Rose descends into a deep spiral of absurd paranormal phenomenon which makes her think that she has gone insane, and she searches for answers to what it is that is causing her to experience theae things.

Sosie Bacon gives a strong performance and is a convincing character, but I must say that some of the other actors were a little wooden. Thankfully they are not in the movie for long enough to notice. The story is pretty predictable and has many synergies with similar themed movies such as It Follows.

Smile is not a movie for those that scare easily and the subject matter delves into suicide, depression, mental illness and even takes a foray into the trauma from which it is triggered, which are not easy subjects for many to consider. Whilst the dark subject matter may cause some to not watch this movie, I found that the thin line that was walked between mental health and horror made it more believable. Despite the psychological horror and the deep and dark subject matter, Smile delivered one of the best scares I have experienced in a long time. I would recommend a watch but warn that it is not something you should watch before bed.

Reviewed by Annabelle Davis


Top Gun: Maverick (2022, Paramount Pictures / Skydance Media / Simpson/Bruckheimer Films)

Featuring Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris and Val Kilmer. Screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie. Directed by Joseph Kosinski.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Who wouldn’t want to watch Tom Cruise fly a fighter jet? After few Hollywood blockbusters on the big screen thanks to Covid-19, Maverick provided a welcome escape back to the old days of big budget movies with big names. The last five years have been filled with remakes, prequels and sequels of classic 80’s and 90’s movies and I was a little worried that Maverick would be another version of this, trying to cash in on the original Top Gun success. The sequel however proved me wrong, and Tom Cruise despite having aged somewhat since 1986 still provided all the charisma and charm of the classic action hero that every boy and girl loves to watch at the cinema.

Maverick is the sequel to Top Gun (1986), only this time Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell is a U.S navy test pilot. The story is somewhat unbelievable, over the top and the mission is seemingly impossible but never let a bad story get in the way of a good movie and some classic Tom Cruise A-class action. Many movies today use way too much CGI but Maverick got the real US navy involved and real military spec aircraft were used with real pilots (CGI that was used was used as well, but sparingly). Other than Cruise’s charisma, the real live action aviation shots is what makes this movie worth a watch and it is sure to inspire the next generation of wannabe pilots which given the way the geo-political climate is going we will no doubt need more of!

All in all, Maverick is worth a watch in all its Hollywood Blockbuster cheesiness and gets extra points from me for Tom Cruise, real planes and Val Kilmer’s cameo appearance.

Reviewed by Annabelle Davis

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