Tomb Raider: Grittier but Worse


The Tomb Raider franchise has been resurrected, ditching Angelina Jolie for Alicia Vikander. The film, Christian Tesfaye found, was just as unsophisticated as all the previous video game adaptations ever made. He awards 4 out of 10 stars.


Unbelievable Gringo

Gringo is a welcome respite from superhero and based-on-a-true-story movies. It is about a guy that has been unlucky most of his life but makes up for lost serendipity in a couple of days. Christian Tesfaye found the protagonist unique but the plot fantastical. He awards 6 out of 10 stars.


Red Sparrow Doesn’t Fly

Is it The Spy Who Came in from the Cold? Is it The Manchurian Candidate? No, it is just Red Sparrow, a Jennifer Lawrence vehicle, that is not worth the ticket price. This is a movie about a Russian spy but remains too shallow to be immersive. Christian Tesfaye awards 4 out of 10 stars.


And the Oscar Goes to …

If all that existed were mainstream movies, then 2017 was a terrible year for cinema. Fortunately, there were many great movies with exceptional humour, plot, characters and visuals that graced the big screen. Unfortunately, they have all remained under the radar. Christian Tesfaye sheds some light.


Guardians of the Tomb, Attack Senses Too

Guardians of the Tomb is perhaps the movie of the future. It is an excellent example of the lack of depth and originality of today’s cinema. It lazily puts a group of people in a cave and runs them through a predictable loop of running and hiding before each one of them dies one by one. Christian Tesfaye found nothing of merit here and awards 3 out of 10 stars.


Nothing to be Proud of Mary

Proud Mary is not a movie that exists for a purpose except to be stylish. But it fails even there and falls into a politically incorrect territory. There was little to stir Christian Tesfaye to give any higher than 4 out of 10 stars.


Inconsequential Death Cure

The three-part Maze Runner series that had begun back in 2014 has come to a hilt with a series finale that is subtitled The Death Cure. Its action is bigger but the film remains unsophisticated as always. Citing mainly an unexploited opportunity in the development of the film’s philosophical side, Christian Tesfaye awards 5 out of 10 stars.


Den of Thieves, Sound Plots

There is something different about Gerald Butler in Den of Thieves. He is scarier and unlikable. He is also at his best, starring in perhaps what is his most watchable film since 300. Christian Tesfaye found Den of Thieves a well composed, well-acted action movie that deserves the ticket price, awarding 7 out of 10 stars.


Film Review By Christian Tesfaye: Commuter to Terrible Third-act

Liam Neeson is at it again. He is battling bad guys, this time on a train in The Commuter. But other than that plot element, there is not much to distinguish the film from the multiple action movies that have been trying to emulate the success of Taken. It was hollow enough to get Christian Tesfaye to award 4 out of 10 stars.


Not Quite Above the Clouds

The darling of the judges of the Ethiopian International Film Festival (EthioIFF) held two weeks ago was K’demena Belay, taking home the three most important prizes, best writer, director and producer. A film with a hard-hitting plot-twist, and expressive visuals, it was one that nonetheless slightly disappointed Christian Tesfaye, who awards 5 out of 10 stars.


Silly, Colourful Lambadina

Lambadina, a film that was released three years ago is making the rounds at theatres of Addis Abeba. The cinematography is its most commendable feature, while its story leaves too much room for improvement. Christian Tesfaye was not nuts about the movie but still felt there is a great deal local films could learn from it, awarding 5 out of 10 stars.


Jumanji: An Unwelcoming Movie

Studio heads must have high regards for the box office appeal of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart to open Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle a week after the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But what kept Christian Tesfaye around for the last reel was Jack Black’s performance. He awards 4 out of 10 stars.


Last Jedi Strikes Back

The lightsabers are on, futuristic guns are blazing and starships are travelling through the cosmos at light speed. It could only mean one thing, the most famous franchise has struck again. The much expected The Last Jedi is out, and it continues the story of the struggle for the heart of the galaxy. Christian Tesfaye liked it, awarding 8 out of 10 stars, and not just out of nostalgia, he claims.


Coco Lives to Entertain

Coco has a sense of humour about the afterlife. It is a place that is much like, well, life. And a 12-year-old that accidentally stumbles upon it (not to worry, no gruesome deaths here, just a tasteful curse), has to find his way back to the land of the living. Christian Tesfaye took the journey, was impressed by the skinny characters, the film’s emotional plotline but could not shake that the external conflict could have been solved early had someone uttered a simple sentence. He awards 8 out of 10 stars.


The Chemistry Amiss Between Us

Kate Winslet and Idris Elba are great actors; only that they could not act well together, which is a problem since they were expected to play lovers in The Mountain Between Us. Christian Tesfaye did not think it was as bad a movie as the critical bashing the film received had him believe still he awards 5 out of 10 stars.


Mark Felt: Two-thirds of a Film

Is history repeating itself in the Trump-Russia investigation? Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House, Matti Cinema’s recent offering, has no clue. It is a dramatisation of the eponymous real-life figure’s defining role during the Watergate Scandal, where he fulfilled the part of the famous Washington Post source “Deep Throat”. Christian Tesfaye was worse for wear for he felt cheated out of a climax, and a commentary on contemporary American politics, awarding 5 out of 10 stars.




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