9

Staff & contributors

A tribute to Windham Rotunda’s life may be next to impossible without the WWE, where he spent over a decade dazzling audiences with his talents in pro wrestling. In this thoughtfully crafted documentary, we learn about the inspirations and thought processes behind the Wyatt Family and the eerie vignettes called the Firefly Funhouse. Members of Windham's family, as well as his closest peers, also share their memories of the man behind Bray Wyatt—a supportive, ever-present family guy and friend. It’s a touching celebration of Windham’s life, even though a thinly veiled company slant frames his obsessive creative process as being “difficult to work with,” which felt unnecessary. But that’s WWE for you and you take what you get.

Genre: Documentary, Drama

Actor: Adam Scherr, Alexis Cabrera, Cody Runnels, Colby Lopez, Dwayne Johnson, Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Jon Huber, Joseph Ruud, Mark Calaway, Mike Rotunda, Paul Michael Lévesque, Rebecca Quin, Taylor Rotunda, Windham Rotunda

Director: Steve Conoscenti

It's uncanny how innocent love can resemble stalking and obsessiveness. We first see Lea’s (Alessandra de Rossi) perspective as she meets funny-man and friendly neighbor Tonyo (Empoy Marquez) out of the blue. Later, we see Tonyo’s perspective and follow his pathetic journey through the heartbreak that led to him shadowing and eventually speaking to Lea. By the time we see both perspectives, it’s too late to judge the surprising events that unfold. The premise seems simple: it follows a relationship that feels comically wrong as it involves a temporarily blind woman and a man who only develops his confidence from not being seen. But it comes alive thanks to the playful chemistry and casting of de Rossi and Marquez, who charm in this brilliantly self-aware Pinoy rom-com.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Alessandra de Rossi, Carolle Urbano, Empoy Marquez, Junpei Yamamoto

Director: Sigrid Andrea Bernardo

In Last Night in Soho, director Edgar Wright has so much to play with. The old lady character serves an unexpected role, while Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie) faces an interesting morality crisis as she tries to decide who to help at the end of the film. Just as fascinating is the film’s Ghibli-esque premise: we follow a hero going on an adventure far away from home and into a world where it's unclear where reality ends and fantasy begins. However, a lot of the time, it feels like the film was made to serve a big twist that doesn't have enough weight to it. The fantasy is far more intriguing than any tame interaction the film has to offer, so it doesn't feel like it lives up to its potential. But there is one obvious exception: Anya Taylor-Joy’s magnetic presence as Sandie—it’s a presence powerful enough to hold a film together.

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Al Roberts, Alan Ruscoe, Andrew Bicknell, Anya Taylor-Joy, Celeste Dring, Colin Mace, Derek Lea, Diana Rigg, Elizabeth Berrington, Jacqui-Lee Pryce, James Phelps, Jessie Mei Li, Josh Zaré, Katrina Vasilieva, Lati Gbaja, Lisa McGrillis, Margaret Nolan, Matt Smith, Michael Ajao, Michael Jibson, Michael Mears, Oliver Phelps, Paul Brightwell, Pauline McLynn, Rita Tushingham, Sam Claflin, Sam Parks, Synnøve Karlsen, Terence Stamp, Thomasin McKenzie

Director: Edgar Wright

Rating: R

The documentary offers a simplified, reflective look at the origins of meme culture and hive mind, and how online anonymity has led to toxic beliefs and behaviors in real life. It features a nostalgic collection of 2000s memes and references that awaken the sleeping cringe, as well as valuable insights from people who have contributed to or lived through the destructive milestones that ironic memes created. At best, it is an informative work that doesn't waste time or become so overwhelmingit even comes with short, entrancing animations that serve as a respite from the depressing subject. At worst, it's preaching to the choir.

Genre: Documentary

Director: Arthur Jones, Giorgio Angelini

Rating: R

, 2023

Rewind picks up rather quickly with a marriage montage, invoking the infamous first 10 minutes of Up. But this is no classic Pixar tearjerker. This is a good old-fashioned Pinoy telenovela romance, featuring a life-changing car accident, a saint-like child, and an emotionally dead relationship. It explores a premise anyone can instantly connect with, which challenges the comforting notion that a quick burst of reparations makes up for a lifetime of errors. This touching story leaves little room for downtime, but every minute coasts on cheesy writing and a religious slant to deliver a didactic message straight out of a mildly entertaining homily.

Genre: Drama, Romance, Science Fiction

Actor: Ariel Ureta, Chamyto Aguedan, Coney Reyes, Dingdong Dantes, Ina Feleo, JC Alcantara, Jordan Lim, Joross Gamboa, Lito Pimentel, Marian Rivera, Mary Joy Apostol, Neil Coleta, Pamu Pamorada, Pepe Herrera, Sue Ramirez

Director: Mae Cruz-Alviar

The documentary sees WWE Superstar Cody Rhodes as a wandering journeyman, a prodigal son returning home. Cody—sharply dressed and occupying the center of a fancy studio hall—offers detailed insight into his bond with his late father and legendary wrestler Dusty Rhodes, various gimmicks and ventures that steadily refined his skills, and his ultimate goal to finish his father’s story and win the elusive WWE Championship. WWE slaughters a fattened calf for Cody, showing videos and photos of every major promotion he worked for outside the company, including their biggest competitor AEW. It’s a polished, surprisingly comprehensive film, that like many WWE documentaries, drags a bit too long and admits WWE was the bad guy in the story.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Ashley Fliehr, Brandi Runnels, Chelsea Cardona, Christian Brigham, Cody Runnels, Colby Lopez, Dustin Runnels, Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan, Joe Anoa'i, Kevin Steen, Mark Calaway, Matthew Massie, Nicholas Massie, Paul Michael Lévesque, Randy Orton, Ric Flair, Stephen Amell, Tyson Smith, Vince McMahon

Director: Matt Braine

Rating: PG-13

The film takes us into the mind of a performative teenager trying to convince us, or an imaginary cameraman, of his coolness and wisdom. The second-person device may evoke teen comedy series from the 2000s (at best), but it is incredibly disorienting in this 100-minute movie. It is a slog of straightforward punchlines and tired cliches, which picks up a little too late in the final act where the central idea finally reveals itself: the harder you try to maintain control, the more easily it slips away. Similarly, the less brain power you use for this film, the better it gets.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Charithra Chandran, Charles Camrose, Daisy Jelley, Dhanushka Anson, Guz Khan, Kunal Nayyar, Lucy Punch, Madeline Holliday, Maisie Peters, Nick Frost, Sebastian Croft, Tanner Buchanan, Tim Downie

Director: Alex Pillai