Judy (2019) – Over The Rainbow

Released: 10th October
Seen: 8th November

It’s probably fair to say that one of the most tragic figures in Hollywood history is Judy Garland. Performing since she was 2 years old, Judy went through the wringer despite having the kind of talent that should’ve made life easy for her. With her gifted comedic chops and a voice that no one else could even come close to, Judy had the kind of pure star quality that defied description… she was also turned into a drug addict by a mother who gave her uppers to perform and downers to go to sleep before she was ten. The head of the studio she did most of her early work at (Louis B Mayer, may he rot in hell) would have her living on chicken soup and regularly insulting her looks, calling her “my little hunchback” and putting her on amphetamine pills to help her lose weight (which was sadly common at the time). Go through any biography of Judy and you see the story of a woman who had more talent than anyone else that was repeatedly dragged down by a system that was willing to put her health at serious risk to squeeze every dollar out before discarding her. Her story is also one of resilience, of a woman who kept being knocked down and then got up again because you were never going to keep her down. Her last big moment was a British concert called Talk of the Town, the last thing she did before her early death in 1969. This biopic focuses on that brief period right at the end and that focus helps it, and it’s lead actress, considerably.

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The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019) – DIVE DIVE DIVE!

Released: 31st July
Seen: 4th August

In the 1980s there was a huge refugee crisis in Sudan. Thousands of Ethiopian Jewish refugees fled persecution by making an arduous trip to Israel. To help get these refugees from Sudan to Israel, Mossad agents set up a fake hotel as a cover that they used to keep eyes off them while they were sneaking large numbersof refugees to somewhere safer. The entire endeavour was lead by a man named Gad Shimron and he, along with his team, saved over 12,000 people from persecution. It’s a story that Gad put in a book called Mossad Exodus or you can read a condensed version in an article from The Sun. To quote the end of the article “It is, [Gad] says, important to remember that the bravest people in the story aren’t the Mossad operatives but the Ethiopian Jews who endured endless hardships trying to reach Israel by land, sea or air — uncomplaining men, women and children who crowded into trucks, small boats or planes with no guarantee of safe passage.”… but Hollywood decided that they could get Captain America to play a Mossad agent and that changed the focus considerably.

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Hotel Mumbai (2019) – I Have Absolutely No Funny Pun Or Subtitle To Put Here

Released: 14th March
Seen: 26th March

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In 2008, between the 26th of November and the 29th of November, 10 armed gunmen took to multiple locations in South Mumbai, including a cinema, a railway station, a cafe and a pair of hotels including the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Over four days these terrorists killed at least 166 people and wounded 300 before police were finally able to take them down, killing nine of them while one was captured and his information led to multiple other arrests before he was also executed by the state. It’s a horrific story that is referred to as 26/11 by many people and, here’s where things get weird, has been made into 5 movies in the years since then. Today we’re going to talk about the latest film about this terrifble event.

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Mary, Queen Of Scots (2019) – We Are Not Amused

Released: 17th January
Seen: 20th January

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This year has only just begun and we have two historical epics revolving around queens. One of them was a slightly slow but none-the-less entertaining jaunt through the final years of a monarch, torn between her lesbian lovers that decided to portray their sexuality as a natural element of their lives without demonization of any kind. Then there’s one, where it would be fair to say that a veneer of progressivism that is undone by the use of one of the most horrible tropes that has been a part of the landscape for a while and because I can’t help myself. I’m going to rant about it a considerable amount once we’re through the basic positives and plotline stuff. Strap yourselves in kids; this one’s going to be a ride.

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The Favourite (2018)- She’s A Killer Queen

Released: 26th December 2018
Seen: 14th January

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There’s something about historical comedy that has always fascinated me, ever since I first saw an episode of Blackadder II and saw an exaggerated rendition of Queen Elizabeth the first. It was truly a masterpiece, the visual style of a historical drama with joke after joke thrown in for good measure created a contrast in ideas that I hadn’t imagined before. This interest carried over to movies, such as last years The Death Of Stalin, which have been able to blend history with a sense of wit and ups the production values to the point where a film can look like a historical epic but have some of the funniest dialogue put on screen. With a film like The Favourite, we not only get to enjoy another comedic interpretation of a Queen but, once again, we mix elements of a biopic and a comedy to get something that can be genuinely fun… most of the time.

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Goodbye Christopher Robin

Released 23rd November (Australia)

Seen 29th November

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Directed by Simon Curtis
Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce & Simon Vaughan
Produced by DJ Films & Fox Searchlight Pictures
Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Will Tilston & Kelly Macdonald

A few days ago I reviewed The Man Who Invented Christmas which took the story of how Charles Dickens wrote one of the most beloved stories of all time and intercut it with the very story he wrote to create a comedic exploration of how a writer creates his story. Goodbye Christopher Robin has a slightly different idea in mind… namely, it want’s to rip your still beating heart from your chest and make you suffer from a serious case of the feels.

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Dunkirk

Seen 20th July

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Christopher Nolan has one of the best track records in film. The man knows how to put together a movie better than most. When he does blockbusters they bust every block around, when he want’s to go cerebral and produce a weird dream movie then he makes the most elegant dream movie ever. He’s a fantastic film maker… usually.

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