Movie reviews: The Nun II, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3, American: An Odyssey


“The Nun II,” a new horror film starring Taissa Farmiga and now playing in theatres, is a sequel to a movie that was a prequel to the sequel of 2013’s “The Conjuring.” Confused? Not to worry, despite its convoluted pedigree, all you need to know is that “The Nun II” brings back one of the creepiest characters of recent memory.

The follow-up to 2018’s “The Nun,” the new R-rated (for violent content and terror) movie is set in 1956 France. Farmiga returns as the determined and devout demon warrior Sister Irene. When a priest is murdered in spectacular supernatural fashion, Sister Irene investigates, sensing the evil handiwork of her old adversary, Valak (Bonnie Aarons). Once an angel, Valak was rejected by God and sent to Hell before resurfacing to spread malevolence while disguised as a nun.

“What we’re going after,” says Sister Irene, “is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”

As Irene zeroes in on Valak, her investigation leads to a French boarding school where Maurice (Jonas Bloquet) – wo saved her life at the end of the last film but may now have something to do with the spread of Valak’s reign of terror – works as a handyman. Joined by schoolteacher Marcella (Anna Popplewell), her daughter, Sophie (Katelyn Rose Downey), and rebellious novice Sister Debra (Storm Reid), Irene battles to prevent Valak from spreading evil to the world.

“I know why it’s here,” Irene says, “I saw what it wants.”

“The Nun II” has atmosphere to burn. The boarding school, which appears to be made up of nothing but long hallways, flickering lights and a decrepit old chapel, provides an effective shadowy backdrop for much of the action. The dark, murky cinematography hangs over the proceedings like a shroud, creating a gloomy vibe that adds to the overall feeling of dread.

Trouble is, Sister Irene’s journey to vanquish Valak is low on actual scares. There are a few pretty good jump scares, some eerie imagery, and the demon in full nun regalia is still an unsettling sight, but the movie is just a little too similar to “The Nun”—it’s another story about Irene and an ancient demon destroying relic—to feel anything but familiar.

The final 15 minutes, a showdown between the divine and the demonic, is visually interesting and ends the movie with a flourish, but even with the flashy finish, it’s hard not to think that, at this point, “The Nun” franchise is becoming a bad habit.



The “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” franchise is baklava in theatres this weekend, bringing with it some familiar faces—Nia Vardalos and John Corbett return as married couple Toula Portokalos and Ian Miller—and a load of Grecian-Americans stereotypes. The question is, on the third outing, is there anything fresh left for the franchise to say, or is it a Greek tragedy?

Twenty-one years ago, the original “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” told the silly and saccharine story of happy couple Toula and Ian.

“There are three things that every Greek woman must do in life,” says Toula in that movie, “marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed everyone.”

That Ian wasn’t Greek was a problem, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome with some slapstick and sweet-natured good humour.

Two movies later, the light tone continues, but the family is mourning the loss of Portokalos patriarch Gus (played by the late Michael Constantine in the first two films), a man so proud of his heritage that he can trace any word back to its origins in Greek… even the word kimono.

In death, he’s still proudly Greek, leaving behind a last wish that his family visit his childhood village and reconnect with their roots. At the family reunion, Toula and Ian, with daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) and Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) in tow, explore the village, meet Gus’s old friends and pass along a journal he wrote about his life’s journey.

“This is one reunion we’ll never forget,” says Toula.

They may never forget the reunion, but the film is not memorable. The original movie was sublimely silly with just enough naturalism to keep the story earthbound.

Those days are gone.

If the good old Funk & Wagnalls was illustrated, the definition of the term “broad” could easily be accompanied by the poster for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3.” Everything about Vardalos’s film—she wrote, directed and starred in it—is stretched and overblown. Whether it is the humour, the cloying sentiment or the manipulative undertones of nearly every scene, it is all played so broadly that it’s amazing she didn’t have to shoot the whole thing with a wide-angle lens to capture the puffed-up vastness of it all.

It’s a shame because there are some intimate moments that, if played with even a hint of restraint, could have pulled at the heartstrings. Instead, we get souvlaki jokes, banal schmaltziness and choppily edited tourism bureau style footage. Also (SORTA KINDA SPOILER), this may be the first film with the word “Wedding” in the title to have a wedding, but not show the actual ceremony.

Still, franchise fans may get a kick out of spending some time with familiar characters. Martin has all the best lines, and the cast performs with enthusiasm. But is enthusiasm enough? Nope, but “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3,” for better and for worse, much worse, tries harder than any other movie this year to make you love it.


“American: An Odyssey to 1947,” a new documentary from director Danny Wu now on VOD, combines the artistic and ethical to form an intriguing portrait of the turbulent political landscape of the mid-20th century in the United States.

The film’s first half focuses on director Orson Welles, the wunderkind who, after taking the New York theatre world by storm in 1936 by staging a version of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” with an entirely Black cast and creating a nationwide sensation with his radio adaptation of “The War of the Worlds,” moved to Hollywood and made one of the greatest films of all time, “Citizen Kane,” all before the age of 25.

Although familiar to film fans, the story of how “Citizen Kane” landed in the crosshairs of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst is recounted here. The specifics of how the influential newspaperman used his political sway to torpedo the film and Welles’ Hollywood career are intertwined with details of the director’s growing involvement in politics and progressive causes.

In 1947, with the House of Unamerican Activities showing more interest in him than Hollywood, Welles decamped for Europe.

“America is not as happy with me as I am with it,” he said.

Wu then broadens the film’s focus to report how key moments of the time, the New Deal, World War II, the bombing of Hiroshima and racial injustice, played a part in shaping Welles’ political and personal life.

Dropping the Hollywood biopic feel of the first half, Wu integrates the stories of Hiroshima survivor Howard Kakita, Isaac Woodard, an American soldier and victim of racial violence and Satsuki Ina, a psychotherapist born in an internment camp.

Disjointed though they may feel from time to time, these testimonials provide historical perspective and context for the over-arching look at the formation of Welles’ political awakening. Their stories are compellingly told, painting a grim picture of the hardship and inequity that informed the political climate of the time by expanding the micro to the macro.

What emerges is a portrait of an artist, influenced by world events and steadfast in his beliefs, even when those opinions threatened his career.

In “American: An Odyssey to 1947,” Wu does a good job of setting up time and place, and even though the shift from career retrospective to personal stories isn’t smooth, the film finds its balance to become an interesting, inventive recontextualization of a well-documented life.


Goz News: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably.

Related Articles

Back to top button