Escape Room (2019) – Get Me Out Of Here

Released: 7th February
Seen: 4th February (Advanced Screening)

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In 1997 there was a film released called Cube, a glorious little horror film about six strangers waking up in a cube that turned out to be part of a gigantic maze. During the 90’s horror resurgence this was one of the big markers of change, showing you could basically create a tense powerful horror film that relied on people being intelligent instead of just being the dumb jock and the virgin girl. They also dealt with things like suspicion, doubt and the general fear that comes from not knowing which room is going to carve you up into tiny pieces like a box-shaped blender, creating a sense of tension that built every time they would enter a new room and find a new math puzzle. That’s right, it’s a horror film and everyone tries to save themselves with complicated mathematics. It’s a genuinely brilliant thrill ride and I highly recommend it… because that’s basically what Escape Room is, except Escape Room wishes that it was as intelligent as Cube was.

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The Mule (2019) – No Relation to Gladys the Groovy

Released: 24th January
Seen: 2nd February

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In 2014, the New York Times printed an article titled “The Sinaloa Cartels 90-year-old Drug Mule” about a man named Leo Sharp who spent around a decade as one of the biggest drug runners for El Chapo. Dubbed Tata (The Grandfather), Leo would drive around the country in an old truck with hundreds of pounds of cocaine in the back. He’d go undetected due to his age, his clean record and by how fragile he could appear. The article itself is a fascinating read, exploring just how a senior citizen could go from being a veteran to transporting potentially thousands of kilos of cocaine. It’s a tale that seems tailor-made to be a movie and I guess Clint Eastwood thought that too because now we get a film about the 90-year-old drug mule and honestly, it’s not that bad.

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Another RuView: All Stars 4, Episode 8

We’re getting down to the nitty gritty, it’s not too long until the finale and we still have half a dozen queens to get through. The upcoming weeks are destined to be absolutely insane, the queens are now so good that hairs will be split and we have to deal with some strange eliminations that we didn’t expect to happen at any point… yeah, this week’s going to be interesting to talk about, but let’s talk about it.

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Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) – Did Somebody Mention Art?

Released: 1st February
Seen: 1st February

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According to Urban Dictionary, the term “Velvet Buzzsaw” is a term with two possible meanings. The first one is a slang term for vagina (Which the dictionary itself uses in the sentence “As the conversation became sexually charged, she could feel her Velvet Buzzsaw begin to hum”). The second being an extreme oral sex technique where the male essentially motorboats the aforementioned vagina, meaning it’s theoretically possible to Velvet Chainsaw a Velvet Chainsaw. Interestingly, both these meanings of the term predate the conception of this movie by decades and neither one really has anything to do with the actual content of the film. It’s a vulgar title that elicits an image that the film itself chooses not to use; it merely refers to it when one female character explains that she used to take that on as a name in a moment that implies it reflects on her past. It’s a nickname that links her to female art groups like Pussy Riot, an artist group that intentionally chose a name that suggests sexuality in order to gain attention so that their message can be heard.  Now, I bring all this up to show you the disconnect between this film and the very idea it’s trying to explore… that art critique done for the purposes of profit is a crime worthy of the death of the critic and all those who might profit from their work. This idea makes this a fun film to try and talk about, but let’s see what happens.

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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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Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2019) – [SCREAMING INTENSIFIES]

Released: 24th January
Seen: 29th January

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In 1984, Akira Toriyama created the first Dragon Ball comic and started a multimedia franchise that has survived for three decades. Multiple TV series, specials, video games and manga comics have been made. It even got turned into a live-action film that we won’t talk about in any great detail because I can’t bring myself to acknowledge the existence of that film any more than I need to. This series is older than I am… and I am sad to say, I barely watched it. Sure, I watched a few episodes of the Dragon Ball Z series when it aired because it was usually on while I was eating breakfast before going to school and it was a bright colourful distraction but I was never really a huge fan of the show. My only memory of Dragon Ball Z is the theme tune that literally everyone in my generation had hammered violently into our heads because it was obscenely catchy.  In fact, I’m not even that big an anime fan. My limit with anime was watching Deathnote about 5 years after the TV series ended, and of High School Of The Dead, which is the stupidest zombie-related thing that I’ve ever seen in my entire life and I’m very much including (Insert topical political reference here). I am, in no way, the target audience for this film SO, this film presents an interesting question that I hope I’m able to address… can a person who doesn’t know anything about the series, or indeed this entire genre, still get something of value out of this film adaptation?

Oh, a major piece of info, I watched the dubbed version of this film. I do not know if a subbed version is showing near me so I cannot tell if that changes anything about it.

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The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) – All Hail The King

Released: 17th January
Seen: 27th January

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One of the most enduring stories of all time is the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It’s the kind of story that has been retold more times than I dare to count and in every form you can imagine. It’s a glorious story about a group of men brought together out of loyalty and friendship who fight to defend their country and the iconic imagery from it is a key element of our culture. The adaptations of this story can focus on anyone in it, from Merlin to Arthur or even one of the knights, it’s a great classic tale and we have another adaptation of it and, to the surprise of almost no one, the story still finds a way to resonate with the audience and capture our imagination.

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