Polar (2019) – Sub-Zero-Par

Released: 25th January
Seen: 22nd February

Polar Info.png

 

On the 1st of February in 1982, the television sketch comedy series Not the Nine O’clock News aired an episode that contained a song called “Nice Video, Shame about the Song”. The song was a satire of the recently created MTV and in particular the music videos that had begun littering it with insanely strange yet interesting imagery that accompanied substandard songs. This was the era when all you needed to make it in the music industry was a confusing “artistic” music video that ran through every new tool that was made available at the time. The Not the Nine O’clock News team satirized this by making the most garishly elaborate video they possibly could, complete with images of comical satanic rituals and Elizabethan dress-up, all set to a song that was intentionally designed to be confusingly bad. It’s one of the most gloriously pointed critiques of the music video genre and the phrase “Nice video, shame about the song” became a bit of a personal shorthand for films that worry so much about looking cool that they don’t bother thinking about things like plot, character or dialogue. Films like Avatar or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets are films that I would put into this category… and now, we can throw Polar into that very specific group of films

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If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) – Let Them Talk

Released: 7th February
Seen: 18th February

If Beale Street Could Talk Info

In America today, one of the major issues is the way people are shuttled through the prison system, specifically people of colour. Thanks to a large amount of systemic racism that poisoned the prison system, African Americans now make up over a third of the prison population while only making up roughly a tenth of the American population. For me to go further into the details of what this means would be a pointless aside, though if you want the full context you’re going to need for this film then I suggest watching the amazing (and should’ve been Academy Award winning) documentary 13th on Netflix. The story of the prison system and what it has done to black American’s is the backdrop for If Beale Street Could Talk and while you might not need that bit of knowledge, it will make the film a richer experience.

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

Released: 24th January
Seen: 2nd February

The Mule Info.png

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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Death Wish (2018) – What A Waste Of A Wish

Released: 2nd March
Seen: 6th December (Catch-Up Screening)

During the ’70s and 80’s, there was a series of films called Death Wish where Charles Bronson played a father whose wife and child were attacked in a home invasion and ended up becoming a vigilante to try and put an end to the injustice in the town. While the series was never a hit with critics, audiences ate it up because it was a revenge story that acted as a little bit of escapism, the idea that any man could pick up a gun and save the town was enticing and managed to endure long enough for a run of sequels that became Charles Bronson’s most famous role. So, what if someone took that cult series of films and polished it up to look mostly acceptable and then threw in an actor with no charm, charisma or ability to move at a speed above a lethargic snail with back problems? Yeah… this is not going to be fun.

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Widows (2018) – Nobody Thought They Had The Balls To Pull This Off

Released: 22nd November
Seen: 27th November

Official Trailer for Widows (2018)

One of the standard genre’s that is almost always guaranteed to be a really good time is the heist film. For some reason, we all just enjoy a movie where a bunch of criminals stick it to someone higher in the social food chain while also making a ton of money. Widows is certainly going to fit that standard mould, a bunch of people plan to steal a large amount of money that will stick it to the people above them in the social food chain and that would be good enough. It would be enough if Widows was just a standard heist film but it also happened to star a group of amazing women, that would be good enough… but this is a Steve McQueen film, good enough doesn’t cut it here.

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