Tetris (2023) – Fittingly Exciting

Released: 31st March
Seen: 22nd April

In 1985, back in the USSR, a man named Alexey Pajitnov was tasked with testing out a new piece of hardware to figure out what it was capable of. Of the many things he tried, one thing he did was make a game where a set of blocks fell from the sky in random shapes consisting of four squares and if you lined them up, those blocks would disappear. That game was called Tetris and for a game that is such a ubiquitous part of gaming, the story of how it ended up managing to be released outside the Soviet Union (that’s how long ago this was, Russia was still the Soviet Union at the time) is absolutely bonkers and told wonderfully in the movie Tetris… shame because I was hoping the Tetris movie would be an insane attempt to turn the actual game into a narrative but hey, a biopic works too.

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Dog Gone (2023) – Doggone It!

Released: 23rd March
Seen: 28th March

Dog Gone Info

It’s slowly starting to feel like the mortal enemy of this reviewer is dog-based films. No idea why, dogs are better than people and are truly precious on every level so surely just telling a story about a cute doggie doing cute doggie things should be enough to make for a nice movie but it seems like it’s just not to be. Films that use dead dogs as a plot point, boring but overall fine stories about police dogs and even films about dog shows that end up being pulled from cinemas to remove a joke that people compared to child grooming have all come out in the time that this blog has existed and every time the film is either irritating or bland or irritatingly bland. So, where does Dog Gone fit in? Honestly, it’s harmless… harmlessly bland.

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Weird: The Al Yankovich Story (2022) – Now You Know

Released: 4th November
Seen: 6th November

If there is any genre that would be on my dislike pile it would be the biopic, after all despite each one being about a very different artist, they all end up being the same. A traumatic childhood, hard-fought battle to get a recording contract, a surprise hit, lots of drugs, more hits, more drugs, more hits while doing more drugs culminating in a massive meltdown during a very important concert and redemption set to the tune of one of the most famous songs of that performer’s career.

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Blonde (2022) – Some Like It Not

Released: 28th September
Seen: 28th September

Blonde Info

When you think about pop culture for long enough, inevitably you think about Marilyn Monroe. Her image, the perfect blonde hair and baby doll voice are iconic on a level that is practically impossible to describe. Her image is so well known that every female celebrity will, at some point, try to emulate it for a photoshoot. She’s a Halloween costume, a glossy image that has become a shorthand for fame and glamour… she’s also a woman who lived a life that was full of tragic moments that the public never knew about, or maybe they didn’t want to know. Slowly as time goes on, we’ve looked back on the life of Norma Jeane and learned more and more about the pain that hid behind the glamour. For years people have tried again and again to tell her story in many assorted ways, which leads us to Blonde… possibly the most exploitative version of the story ever told.

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Elvis (2022) – Set My Soul On Fire

Released: 23rd June
Seen: 12th July

Elvis Info

For years now there has been a conspiracy theory that Elvis Presley isn’t dead. The story goes that Elvis grew tired of fame and of his exhausting schedule and so he faked his own death and went off to live as a normal person. People claim to see him in coffee shops, he works in a little cafe in the middle of the desert, people just see Elvis all the time. I have never subscribed to this theory, I firmly believed for years that Elvis Aaron Presley died on August 16,1977 in his home in Memphis… now I might have to question that because Austin Butler might just be the pseudonym that Elvis chose to perform under one last time.

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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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