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Staff & contributors

Bank of Dave is a simple but well-told film that feels utterly satisfying from start to end. Dave is the little guy who only wants to give back to his community, but stopping him from achieving his noble goals are the big guys in suits with vested interests and too narrow a focus to appreciate the good that Dave is after. The film is David versus Goliath, countryside versus cityside, socialist versus capitalist (or, if you like, ethical capitalism versus unethical capitalism). You know who will triumph in the end, but that doesn’t detract from the film’s overall enjoyability. The dialogue is smart and stirring, and you can’t help but root for the film’s small heroes to win big. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Adrian Lukis, Angus Wright, Cathy Tyson, Drew Cain, Florence Hall, Freddie Bolt, Harry Michell, Hopi Grace, Hugh Bonneville, Jo Hartley, Joe Elliott, Joel Fry, Naomi Battrick, Paul Kaye, Phil Collen, Philip Gascoyne, Phoebe Dynevor, Rick Allen, Rick Savage, Roger Morlidge, Rory Kinnear, Steve Edge, Vivian Campbell

Director: Chris Foggin

Rating: PG-13

No one watches a romantic comedy expecting anything novel, although it’s nice to be surprised once in a while. In the past years, we’ve seen movies like Rye Lane and Palm Springs subvert expectations and give the genre a pleasant, refreshing twist. Upgraded isn’t like those movies. It’s pretty standard and formulaic, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t enjoyable—Amazon Prime’s latest romcom is breezy good fun from start to end. The predictable parts of the film are buoyed by vibrant performances. As leading lady Ana, Camila Mendes expertly toes the line between approachable and aspirational, while Marisa Tomei delivers campy goodness as Ana's boss Claire Dupree, who is like a less serious, more humorous Miranda Priestly. In fact, the entire film is like a pleasant blend of The Devil Wears Prada and every single Cinderella story in Hollywood, from Pretty Woman to What a Girl Wants. If you’re looking for something new, you can skip this film, but if you like recalling your favorites and are satisfied by performances before anything else, then Upgraded comes highly recommended.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Aimee Carrero, Alex McNally, Andrew Schulz, Anthony Stewart Head, Archie Renaux, Camila Mendes, Carlson Young, Fola Evans-Akingbola, Grégory Montel, Joe Osborne, Lena Olin, Marisa Tomei, Matteo Lane, Paul Hawkyard, Rachel Matthews, Renny Krupinski, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Thomas Kretschmann

Director: Carlson Young

Rating: R

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, Judith O'Dea, Kunal Nayyar, Lucy Punch, Madeline Holliday, Maisie Peters, Nick Frost, Russell Streiner, Sebastian Croft, Tanner Buchanan, Tim Downie

Director: Alex Pillai