Rescued By Ruby (2022) – Adorable

Released: 17th March
Seen: 4th April

In the almost 5 years that this blog has been around, possibly the biggest target of bile has been films featuring a dog. A Dog’s Purpose was a film that won my inaugural Worst Films list about as handily as one could win such an award, the follow up A Dog’s Journey was bland enough to be a forgettable annoyance, the spin-off A Dog’s Way Home was bad enough to make an honourable mention on the 2019 worst list. Then there was Show Dogs, a Miss Congeniality ripoff that got mildly infamous for having a scene people could compare to child grooming… basically, dogs in movies are one of this blog’s enemies and I worry every time I see one so naturally Rescued by Ruby looked like it was going to piss me off… but it’s undeniably charming enough that I kinda like it so yay for progress.

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Dream Horse (2021) – Dream On

NOTE: Here is my review from Soda & Telepaths that was posted back on June 9, 2021

Dream Horse, based on the documentary Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance, follows a little welsh town that’s landed on hard times. Jan Vokes (Toni Collette) is feeling particularly hopeless, going from between her work at the co-op and her bartending job in order to make ends meet while dealing with her distant husband Brian (Owen Teale) and her parents, both of whom lean on her help more and more. 

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The Eyes Of Tammy Faye (2022) – I See What They Did There

Released: 27th January
Seen: 16th March

The Eyes Of Tammy Faye Info

Tammy Faye Bakker is one of the more fascinating figures in televangelist history. When one thinks of televangelists you tend to think of the fire and brimstone preachers, the prosperity gospel peddlers and those who use their bully pulpit in order to bully those who God would’ve actually commanded them to love… Tammy wasn’t like that. Tammy was kind, loving and had a fondness for waterproof mascara.

She was energetic, full of joy that emanated from deep down in her soul and was a bit of a rebel… by that I mean she was one of the first people with a big platform during the 80s who not only sided with the LGBT community during the AIDS crisis but she was noted for trying to convert Christians onto a path of love for those who needed it. She was an angel, and The Eyes Of Tammy Faye does a pretty good job of telling her complicated life story.

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King Richard (2022) – Serves A Good Time

Released: 13th January
Seen: 15th March

King Richard Info

If you were to ask who is the greatest athlete alive today, you could absolutely say Venus or Serena Williams and get absolutely no arguments from anyone with half a brain. Since their debut match, the Williams sisters have been widely considered to be two of the greatest tennis players to ever hit the court and with good reason. Their rise to fame is nothing short of meteoric and undeniably due to their talent. Venus Williams currently has won Wimbledon 5 times and Serena has won 23 Grand Slam championships, both of them would tell you that a large part of their success is due to their coaching at the hands of their father Richard Williams, AKA King Richard.

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Belfast (2022) – Bel-slow

Released: 3rd February
Seen: 11th February

Belfast Info

In August of 1969, there was a series of riots in Belfast that started a 30 year conflict colloquially known as “The Troubles” or the Northern Ireland Conflict. Without going into detail (cos I suck at history), the short version is that it was effectively a civil war between Catholics and Protestants that made life hard for those caught in the middle… one of those people was a young Kenneth Branagh who was only 9 when his family left Ireland and moved to England in order to escape from The Troubles.

When you live through something like that and grow up to be an influential filmmaker like Kenneth did, it feels inevitable that you might turn that period of your life into a film at some point and with Belfast, Kenneth did exactly that… so god it’s going to be awkward to say I’m on the fence on this one.

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Being the Ricardos (2021) – You’ve Got Some Explaining To Do

Released:21st December
Seen27th December

Being the Ricardos Info

The I Love Lucy show might be one of the biggest TV shows in history, not just in terms of ratings but in influence on the comedy landscape. Every single sitcom since then has wanted nothing more than to be even half as important as I Love Lucy – and very few matched it. The power couple of Lucy and Desi Arnez created a trailblazing show that changed television forever, while also dealing with a whirlwind of a marriage and many problems in their personal andprofessional lives. That fascinating period in TV history is the foundation for Being the Ricardos which is certainly an interesting take on this time but I’m not sure if it’s a great take.

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tick, tick… Boom! (2021) – Explosively Great

Released: 19th November
Seen: 20th November

On January 25, 1996, the musical Rent opened to rave reviews. It was written by one Jonathan Larson who sadly would never get to read those reviews or bask in the 12 year run that Rent had because on the day Rent opened, Jonathan Larson passed away due to an aortic dissection. The only other work of Jonathan Larson’s that we know of is a piece called tick, tick… Boom! which began as a one man show in 1990 and then was adapted posthumously into a small 3 person play. Well, here we are about 30 years later and that little monologue has turned into a major movie musical and… god damn I’m so glad we’ve got people doing musicals properly again, Cats had me worried we’d never get to enjoy this genre again!

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Respect (2021) – Lady Soul

Released: 19th August
Seen: 14th November

Respect Info

A little over two years ago I talked about the documentary Amazing Grace, a film that documented the recording of the greatest selling gospel album of all time by the legendary Aretha Franklin. At that time we had heard about a biopic being made with Jennifer Hudson taking on the role of the legend herself and it’s hard to deny that there was some serious excitement just from that casting. That film would come to be called Respect, released earlier this year and… yep, Respect is an Aretha Franklin biopic alright, with everything that one might think of when they hear the phrase “Aretha Franklin biopic”

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Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021) – Shantay You Slay

Released: 17th September
Seen: 27th September

In 2011 the BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 hit the airwaves. It told the story of Jamie Campbell, a 16 year old boy who wanted to be a drag queen and debut his drag persona of Fifi La True at his school prom. Keep in mind that back in 2011, Drag wasn’t as mainstream as it is now. At that point Drag Race, the show that would basically push the artform into the mainstream, was still a scrappy little show in its third season on Logo that would be lucky to rack up a half million viewers so going to school in drag was a big damn deal. Big enough to warrant a documentary.

That documentary then was seen by enough people to catch the eye of the West End and become a monster hit musical called Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and now the time has come for this hit stage show to turn into a movie.

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The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) – You Let Me Down

Released: 29th April
Seen: 11th July

The United States vs Billie Holiday

As I mentioned in my Judas and the Black Messiah review there were 2 films that were part of the major categories of this year’s Oscars that I didn’t get a chance to see in time. Judas was possibly the one I had the most chance of seeing, since it appeared in Sydney a month before the ceremony (but that’d involve a train ride into, what is still an epicenter of Covid cases). The one that would prove to be impossible to view in time was The United States vs. Billie Holiday… a film released on Hulu in the US back in February, because nothing says “thing that should be impossible to view legally” like a film put on a streaming platform. Anyway, it finally became available down here so I watched it and… well, I get why the only point of awards contention was the lead performance.

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