Green Book (2019) – It’s Not Easy

Released: 24th January
Seen: 30th January

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When it comes to topics that will spark an intense conversation about a movie, there is none quite as fraught as the delicate subject of race. It’s a subject that must be handled with care because the fact of the matter is that when trying to explore the history of racism in a movie, you can run the risk of accidentally making things worse in your attempt to explore it. I’m certain, for example, that the filmmakers behind Crash had the best of intentions when making their film regarding racism and were clearly trying to explore what causes it. At the time the film was given critical praise and a Best Picture Oscar… now we look back on it as a poorly executed film that is all surface and no depth. Even the people who gave it the award now look back and say “Oh damn, we should’ve given it to the one with the Cowboys”. To quote Ta-Nehisi Coates article ‘Worst Movie Of The Decade‘ from The Atlantic:

“I don’t think there’s a single human being in Crash. Instead, you have arguments and propaganda violently bumping into each other, impressed with their own quirkiness.”

For the record, I only know this quote because of Lindsay Ellis’ fantastic video essay on the movie Bright, another film that brought up racial issues without thinking them through for more than about 15 seconds. The point is that this is a very tough topic to talk about and I want to address this difficulty at the top because I’m aware of how important this is and how, as a white person, I’m probably the last guy who should be talking on this topic… HOWEVER it’s an element of the film I saw, I talk about films I see here, so it would be pretty weird if I didn’t address it in some way. I encourage you to seek out reviews of this movie by people of colour who can undoubtedly address this topic better than I can, but since you’re here let me fill you in on my thoughts about this movie.

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A Star Is Born (2018) – Come On Everybody, Shout Out Loud

Released: 18th October
Seen: 9th November

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There is probably no movie that’s been remade more times than A Star Is Born. It started as a film called “What Price Hollywood” back in 1932 before it got the iconic title we now know in 1937 when Janet Gaynor took on the lead role. It was an episode of the TV series Robert Montgomery Presents back in 1951. 1954 brought us the Judy Garland version of this story. Barbra Streisand had her turn at it in 1976 and now it’s Lady Gaga’s turn to take on the role of a young songwriter who falls for an older alcoholic who slowly pulls her into the spotlight and might end up taking her down with him… I look forward to the remake in 2035 when a sentient AI that sings will star in the new version.

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Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) – Mama, just saw a film…

Released: 1st November
Seen: 26th October (Advance Screening)

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I want to start with a simple declarative statement of fact. Everyone’s favourite band is Queen. I know you’re going to say “Mine isn’t, mine is (Insert the wrong answer here)” but just be honest, every single person on the planet loves Queen in some form. You know at least 5 of their songs, you’ve sung We Will Rock You on the school bus, you bang your head to the song that this movie borrows its title from, they’re everyone’s favourite band and that’s the end of that discussion. This leads us to ask why it’s taken so long for Hollywood to make a biopic out of them, this film has been stuck in development hell for eight years. Sacha Baron Cohen was going to be Freddie, but he bailed due to creative differences, then it was going to be Ben Whishaw but he was also replaced by Rami Malek who gets the honour of saying that he brought Freddie Mercury to the screen and god damn it did he bring him to the screen.

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Baby Driver

Seen 5th June

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Edgar Wright has been somewhat of a miracle of cinema since he burst through the door with Shaun of the Dead. He’s a man who knows what he want’s to make and always had a way of selling his work. From Shaun to Hot Fuzz to Scott Pilgrim, time and time again Edgar proved to everyone that he knew his stuff. Edgar has never made anything quite as perfect as Baby Driver.

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