Dark Waters (2020) – Drink It Up

Released: 5th March
Seen: 30th August

Dark Waters Info

In 2005, chemical company DuPont was fined $16.5 million by the EPA for, essentially, poisoning the water supply of a town with Perfluorooctanoic Acid, a chemical used to create teflon. They were forced to pay this, along with several other settlements with people who they poisoned, thanks to a civil suit filed by Robert Bilott way back in 1999. The full scope of the poisoning and what it did to the people affected by it wouldn’t be known for years and the entire story is one of negligence and capitalism run rampant in a story we’ve heard time and time again, told in the film Dark Waters with a passion that cannot be denied.

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Greyhound (2020) – Explosively… fine

Released: 10th July
Seen: 7th August

Greyhound Info

It’s somewhat of a cliché to refer to movies about the war (any war really) as “Dad movies”, but it’s one that feels weirdly appropriate no matter what kind of dad you have. There’s something about the genre that just paints the image of a dad on a couch ignoring everything while watching some good old boys bomb some nameless bad guys who have accents and maybe a weird 4 legged spider on a flag. Greyhound is definitely playing to that kind of dad, but a dad who also has things to do and needs to get his movie watching done in under 80 minutes if it’s at all possible.

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The Current War (2020) – Shockingly OK

Released: 19th March
Seen: 6th July

The last time I got to see a film in a cinema was the 21st of March when I went to see Onward. Even back then I kind of knew that I wouldn’t be walking into a cinema for a while but no way could I have known it would be a little over 3 months. In that time we’ve watched as film after film has been pushed back to be released either in the latter half of this year or sometime in 2021, if not just sent straight to digital streaming where they probably should’ve gone in the first place (Hello Artemis Fowl) and I was left to wonder just what would be the first film I saw when the cinemas would reopen. Well, they finally opened my local up again and to the shock of no one, the pickings are slim so I decided to dive into a big theme of this year in cinema… “Hey, what’re the Avengers cast doing to follow up Endgame?”. Well, technically this film was made BEFORE Endgame but still, I figured seeing Dr Strange, Spiderman, Beast and Zod running around in period outfits and arguing about electricity would be a fairly good time and I almost got what I expected, so that’s nice.

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Midway (2020) – Midway Of The Road

Released: 30th January
Seen: 14th February

So… the guy who directed Independence Day and that really bad American remake of Godzilla wants us to take him seriously. Roland Emmerich, a director who only has 2 films that got above average reviews from critics, would really like it if you could look at his film Midway and say “Why, Roland, you are an artist who is right up there with all the other great war filmmakers”. I would love to say that, I genuinely would. I would love to have a fun subversive twist by ending this slightly sarcastic paragraph with the shocking reveal that this film is actually great… but I’m not a liar and “it’s average” is not enough, especially when the average Roland Emmerich film is so awful.

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The Last Witness (2018) – Badgering The Witness

Released: 29th May (2018)
Seen: 21st November (Lift Off Film Festival)

Sometimes you can tell everything about a movie just by a basic description of its genre and the descriptive term “Your average”. For example, if I said to you that The Prowler was your average 80s Slasher then you would have a good idea of what to expect from that movie. You automatically picture certain visual style, acting choices and even setting and as long as the movie hits those notes it’s fine. It might not be great but it’s fine. Well, The Last Witness is your average post-WW2 movie set in Britain. It delivers what you expect, but that’s about it.

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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

Hotel Mumbai Info.png

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

Mary Queen Of Scots Info.png

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

The Favourite Info.png

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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