Medici: Masters of Florence – TV Review

Ah, the 1400s, the rich, the poor, wars, conflicts, affairs, betrayal, plague, this has it all! It’s the story of the Medici family – Cosimo (Richard Madden) who is in charge after the death of his father, Giovanni (Dustin Hoffman) and his brother Lorenzo (Stuart Martin) and best mate Marco Bello (Guido Caprino) as they try to hold power from Rinaldo Albizzi (Lex Shrapnel – what a name! Nice one, Lex). There is everything…. It’s not as sexy and dragony as Game of Thrones, but there is a lot of cool stuff going on. Oh, and the always wonderful Brian Cox. What a man.

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Hidden Figures (2016) Film Review

How often do we hear that some of the key players within NASA in the sixties were African American women who were still forced to ride in the back of public buses and use separate bathrooms and drinking fountains to white people? For me, it was never until now. Hidden Figures tells of three women and their rise against the odds. There’s Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) who sees that the department she is unofficially managing (Computers – this being at the very start of machines being called computers, so computers means people who doing the calculations, and in this department, black women)is becoming obsolete just as a huge IBM machine is brought in. As she has a skill for mechanics, she steps in to find a future for herself and her fellow employees. Then there’s  Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) who is assigned to compute with the engineers and is soon identified as having a brain that is capable of far greater work and is encouraged to take a degree in engineering. Finally, Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) who is put to work with the department working out the mathematics for the re-entry of the first manned mission to space. She is battling not only the attitudes of those around her who see her as a threat, but the politics of the time, with the only bathroom she is allowed to use being quite some distance from her desk. Then there is the love interest, Jim Johnson (Mahershala Ali), which I felt was totally unnecessary to the film – in fact, kind of undermined it in a way, because it was as if being extremely intelligent wasn’t enough, you have to have a man too. Still, it’s a great story and a thoroughly enjoyable and funny film.

Hidden Figures was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Octavia Spencer) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi). It was also nominated for Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Octavia Spencer) and Best Original Score – motion Picture and for a BAFTA for Best Screenplay (Adapted ) (Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder).

 

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Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) Film Review

A group of men (well, three men and one boy) go back in time in a faulty hot tub and… this is really as awful as it sounds. I used to really love John Cusack and I feel like I’d see anything he did, but this was one I avoided for so long and for good reason. It’s offensive, it’s homophobic, it’s misogynistic, it’s just plain awful and I cannot think of any reason for anyone to watch it. Actually, the soundtrack is ok.

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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) Film Review

What do you do when the world is going to end? Like, for sure end. There is no chance of survival, there’s no hope. Would you assess your life and see it lacking? Would you have regrets? Would you try to make things right, or would you party? Get trashed? Have an orgy?  Commit a whole bunch of crimes?

Dodge (Steve Carell) is in a world going crazy, with an asteroid heading to destroy the planet. His wife has gone, and he decides to track down his first, true love. Meanwhile, he meets the nutty English neighbour, Penny (Keira Knightley) and they end up figuring things out together.

I enjoyed this film so much more than I thought I would. I love Steve Carell most of the time – and he’s so good at the sad sack type of character. I thought that Penny was going to be a bit of a manic-pixie-dream-girl character, and I’m rarely a hug fan of Keira Knightley, but I liked her in this, and I really liked the film, even with the cheesy quirks.

 

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Hail Caesar (2016) Film Review

Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a studio ‘fixer’ in the studio system in 1950s Hollywood, dealing with communists, divas, scandals, gossip columnists and the untalented.

Fun, funny and gorgeous – this is one of the Coen brothers’ lighter films, with a top cast and great lines. I guess my only criticism is that it all just seemed a bit too easy; often the Coen brothers films really challenge my viewing, but this was like a bubble bath. Nice and relaxing and familiar.

 

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Get Out (2017) Film Review

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is being taken by his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) back home to her folks place, a sprawling estate next to a forest in a very wealthy part of the world.  He’s black and is quite concerned about how the family will react to their daughter’s new black boyfriend. It’s ok though – Dad (Bradley Whitford) would have voted for Obama for a third term. Mum’s a psychologist (Catherine Keener) and bro Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) is a bit of a freak, but surely it’s ok? Oh, no. That’s when you need to remember that this is a horror film and things just are not going to be that straightforward.

It’s been talked about as a film where the horror is being a young black man surrounded by well-meaning white folks, and that’s pretty reductive. Yes, there is a lot of fish-out-of-water humour, but there’s a lot more to it than that. I only really discovered Key and Peele over the last year or two (I’d suggest if you have not seen the show, get onto it. It’s hilarious, often also very clever, and all on Netflix. Get Out is by Jordan Peele, and thus it’s funny and clever. Get onto it – and don’t stress out too much by the horror side. You’ll only scream a few times.

 

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Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) Film Review

Roberta (Rosanna Arquette) is a dissatisfied housewife who lives through the message she reads in the personals – in particular, those between Jim (Robert Joy) and Susan (Madonna) as they chase each other across the country. Following Susan at one meeting, Roberta finds herself in trouble and being searched for not only by her husband, Gary (Mark Blum) but also a mysterious man (Will Patton). Thank goodness for the dreamy Dez (Aidan Quinn).

This is such a good film. Daggy, yes. Dated, absolutely, but in the best possible fashion. It’s got it all, and it is wonderful. I think I may even watch this again this weekend, just for fun. I guess I must just be crazy for it.

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