4 Best Releases Starring Raza Jaffrey

The Spool Staff

The Serpent Queen

The Serpent Queen is the latest historical drama on offer from Starz. It will leave you wondering where the line between calculating ruthlessness and stone-cold survival skills lies. The series centers around the life of Catherine De Medici, Queen of France, during the Valois Dynasty. Samantha Morton stars as the titular character, giving a powerful and disarming performance, while Liv Hill portrays the younger Catherine in flashbacks.   Continue Reading →

Sweet Girl

Similar28 Days Later (2002), Rebecca (1940) Star Trek: Generations (1994), The Good German (2006), The Party (1980), The Party 2 (1982), Volver (2006),
MPAA RatingR

Director Brian Andrew Mendoza and Jason Momoa go back way before their newest collaboration, the Netflix feature Sweet Girl. Not only did Mendoza serve as the cinematographer for Momoa’s 2018 action vehicle Braven, but Mendoza has also produced several other Momoa projects and even made a small appearance in the actor’s 2011 Conan the Barbarian movie! Unfortunately, their rich history together doesn't inspire a greater level of depth (or basic entertainment value) in the latest entry in the Netflix DTV action world, Sweet Girl. Continue Reading →

The Rhythm Section

Though cinematographer Reed Morano shows some directing chops, the Blake Lively thriller is uneven in style & tone. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Reed Morano’s bracing The Rhythm Section follows its own beat. Misleading marketing and the dreaded late January dump positioned it as a gender-reversed thriller in the vein of Liam Neeson’s recent run of revenge thrillers with expert journeyman Jaume Collet-Serra -- but the film is exhilaratingly out of step with the autopilot assassin stylings of the John Wicks of the world. Whereas Keanu Reeves’ multiplex conquering series has largely thrived as moody but absurdist routines of grotesque precision; nothing about the capabilities of Stephanie Patrick (an unusually wan Blake Lively) could be considered automatic. If anything, DP Sean Bobbit and Morano shoot every scene with a life-or-death urgency – all trembling limbs and determined close ups – that refuse to shy away from the physical realities of a brittle frame faced with hardened professionals who won’t hesitate to pull the trigger, let alone, level a young woman with a body blow to the gut. Stephanie isn’t a damsel in distress by any means, but the film has been almost completely drained of the usual power fantasy element that courses through these tales of vengeance to the point that she begins the film coded at her rock bottom as a sex worker and addict beaten down by losing her whole family in a mysterious plane crash. That choice outlines the film’s occasional jarring limits of empathy, but it’s nonetheless telling in placing the first half of the film closer to melodrama than genre film. Continue Reading →