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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Routines (2020) – Routine

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Routines Info

Political Correctness is ruining comedy. That’s the phrase you will hear by a lot of comics who got really big in the 90s and haven’t changed their act at all in the 30 years since they started, expecting the same jokes that worked back then to get the same reaction now. You’ve undoubtedly noticed comics who get really upset that they can’t tell a joke that mocks a certain minority group but the truth is… well, maybe those comics just aren’t actually funny anymore and need to update their material. Routines feels like someone decided to take one of those comics and place him in a dramatic story of love and loss and it works – occasionally.

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Bone Cage (2021) – Beautiful and Heartbreaking

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Bone Cage Info

There’s been a recent trend online where people are posting pictures of notes at local restaurants or other businesses that say that they don’t have enough staff because a lot of their workers left during the pandemic. It’s been a long time coming for workers of all kinds to realise that they don’t need to be treated like dirt anymore and don’t need to take demeaning jobs that make their lives actively worse so it’s nice to see people standing up and basically forcing a lot of big companies to pay their workers a livable wage and treat them better… of course, there are still those who might be stuck in a job that they hate due to circumstances beyond their control, which is the central idea behind Bone Cage and god damn is it just an incredible film.

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Externo (2021) – The Medium Sized Short

Seen at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Externo

One of the more fun things that have been happening over the last several years is just watching slowly as more and more people develop an attitude that can best be described as “Hey, those people who collected Marie Antoinette’s head had the right idea, maybe it’s approaching time to do that again to a different bunch of rich assholes”. It seems like the majority of us have finally cottoned onto the idea that we’re not going to become independently wealthy and those who already have the money won’t be sharing any time soon. Pointing out the power and influence the wealthy hold is certainly a great idea for a film… Externo tries it, kinda succeeds, but also kinda bores.

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Let Him Go (2021) – Can’t Hold Back Anymore

Released: 4th February
Seen: 29th August

Let Him Go Info

Let Him Go follows elderly couple Margaret Blackledge (Diane Lane) and George Blackledge (Kevin Costner), proud parents to their son James (Ryan Bruce) who is married to a young woman named Lorna (Kayli Carter). James and Lorna have their own son, little Jimmy, and things seem to be going well for this little family until one day when James falls from his horse and breaks his neck. 

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The Little Things (2021) – Little Point

Released: 18 February
Seen: 25th August

The Little Things Info

The Little Things is a police drama about a pair of cops hunting down a serial killer. The cops consist of one wild card cop, Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington), and one straight laced rule following cop, Det. Jim Baxter (Rami Malek). Together they make quite a strange pair as they hunt for their killer. It looks like they might have it when they run into oddball Albert Sparma (Jared Leto) and they focus heavily on him but could the difficulties of their job make them unable to actually solve the crime? It certainly seems to stop them from making a film that’s as exciting as it should be considering the talent that’s on screen… yeah, there’s so little to talk about with this one that one of MY reviews starts with the plot instead of a wild tangent, I’m just as shocked as you are.

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The Courier (2021) – It Absolutely Delivers

Released: 1st April
Seen: 25th August

The Courier Info

In a recent review of the movie Six Minutes To Midnight I pointed out that there were so many war films, particularly about the two big ones that the whole world took part in, that we had hit a point where it was hard to imagine someone doing something new with the genre. It’s grown stale, there is no real new story to tell and to back me up on this we have The Courier, a film that feels like it should bore me with its familiarity… but surprise, this one is actually good enough to work despite its recognizable tone.

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Six Minutes To Midnight (2021) – Too Slow

Released: 4th March
Seen: 23rd August

The “story about a small event that happened during one of the world wars” film is something that seems to come about yearly, either a film set during one of the wars that uses the horrific events as a backdrop for something else (such as the 2019 film The Aftermath) or actually telling a story that happened during either war (such as the 2020 film 1917). At this point it feels like we’ve been told every possible story about these two wars and yet they keep on making them for no perceivable reason other than an enjoyment of using the grimy filter that probably came with the cameras when they bought them… it certainly can’t be because there’s an interesting story worth telling because I just sat through Six Minutes To Midnight and it definitely didn’t have one of those.

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The Tomorrow War (2021) – Big Time Fun

Released: 2nd July
Seen: 1st August

The Tomorrow War Info

One of the interesting things that’s started happening over the last year and a half of the pandemic has been witnessing big film companies selling off their features to streaming services in order to ensure the biggest possible release in the current circumstances. The Tomorrow War was originally meant to be a big Christmas day release in 2020, taking the mantle of being one of the few holiday blockbusters that weren’t made by Marvel. 

Of course because last year was the year we learned “Avoid it like the plague” was a complete lie, that film had to be pushed back in release and was eventually sold off to Amazon for release on their Prime video service… and that change in venue is the biggest weakness of The Tomorrow War.

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