Darkest Hour (2017) Film Review

I don’t know a lot about Churchill – I know of his alcoholism, his depression (famously, his black dog) and the ‘We will fight on the beaches” speech. I found it fascinating in the Darkest Hour to learn about how Churchill became Prime Minister, at a time during the war when the Nazi forces were their strongest there was a real threat of losing much of the British forces. It’s a film about politics, about personalities battling against each other and the devastation of war.

This film reminded me a lot of Lincoln in that both show that politics has never been straightforward as coming up with a good idea and following through – it is about backroom deals and double-crossing and planning against each other, and it is truly a dirty world. I loved the world around Churchill – the upstairs/downstairs and breakfast served in bed and backing out of the room with royalty, though I am hoping that this world is long gone. Though… probably not. I also was very aware that this is a dramatization and it makes me wonder what was real and what wasn’t. How much of an influence was his wife, his secretary, the King of England?

Darkest Hour was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Gary Oldman) and for BAFTAs for Best Leading Actor (Gary Oldman), Best Make-up/Hair, Original Music, Best Film, Best Supporting Actress (Kristin Scott Thomas), Outstanding British Film of the Year, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Production Design.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Film Review

It’s been a year since the daughter of Mildred (Frances McDormand) was brutally raped and murdered, and she’s fed up with the lack of action from the police. Her response is to put up three billboards challenging the local police, targeting the senior office, Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). This polarises the local community, including fellow policeman Dixon (Sam Rockwell), who likes to take action with little thought.

I really love the work of writer and director Martin McDonagh. As with In Bruges, this film goes places that are totally unexpected. It amazes me that I can be horrified and in tears with the violence and the terrible nature of people and yet, moments later, be laughing. It’s a very, very dark comedy, and one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama (Frances McDormand), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture (Sam Rockwell) and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Martin McDonagh) and was nominated for Best Director – Motion Picture (Martin McDonagh) and Best Original Score – Motion Picture (Carter Burwell). It was nominated for BAFTAs for Best Leading Actress (France McDormand), Best Screenplay (Original) Martin McDonagh), Best Film, Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell), Best Supporting Actor (Woody Harrelson), Outstanding British Film of the Year, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and the David Lean Award for Direction.

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The Post (2017) Film Review

Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) is the owner of the Washington Post in the early seventies, dropped into the role after the death of her husband who was appointed by her late father. When the opportunity comes to be part of an expose that involves breaking the law and putting her fortune and even her freedom at risk, she is torn between the advice of her board and her editor, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks).

It’s a slow start, with a lot of very necessary character and background information, and while I was interested, I wasn’t all that compelled. But as the action heated up, I was on the edge of my seat. I was so tense, feeding from the high energy and stress onscreen. And at the end, I felt down. Looking at the sixties and seventies, people really seemed to care about the government lying to them. Now, it seems that it doesn’t matter. People in power lie blatantly in ways that are easily proven and yet there is no outrage, no consequences. Such a timely film.

The Post was nominated for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama (Meryl Streep), for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Tom Hanks), Best Director – Motion Picture (Steven Spielberg), Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Liz Hannah, Josh Singer) and Best Original Score – Motion Picture (John Wiliams).

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Queen of the Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter – Book Review

The third book in the White Rabbit chronicles, Alice Bell and her slayer friends are still battling the zombies, plus the awful corporation, and still trying to find her way in her love life.

What I particularly like about these books is while they are somewhat cheesy and a little bit creepy (far too much sexy talk about spanking for me), they don’t seem to go the to the typical dystopia of so many YA novels. I want to see where the characters go. I want them to win, and I want them to have a happy ending. I’m more than happy to go to the fourth and (I think) final in the series.

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Mascots (2016) Film Review

Christopher Guest (of many classics including Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind and Best in Show) brings us a look into the world of Mascots – you know, those crazy animals (and the like) that get crowds fired up for sporting events. Travelling from around the world, Mascots are coming together to compete, and this mockumentary follows the personal and political issues they face.

I wanted to love this, and there are certain parts which were great. However, it felt a bit like colour-by-numbers, and with amazing actual documentaries like Pecking Order and Tickled with larger than life people living strange lives, I feel the mockumentary really needs to be amazing to compete.

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Westworld vs Westworld

Westworld – TV Review

It’s the future.  Westworld is a holiday destination where the average people can go to the Wild West and live their dreams, be it searching for gold, have a shoot out with the bad guys, visit the hookers – the possibilities are endless. What’s more, the guests can’t die, but the people in the world can, because they are robots. But what happens when the robots start to become self-aware?

This is intense and fun. I particularly love the parts in the real world – behind the scenes, where the robots are built and repaired. There is a lot going on, and you have to pay a lot of attention to ensure that you are following the  various plots and how they work together, and there are a couple of things that I am not one hundred per cent sure that I even get. I just hope that I can manage to keep up for season two.

Westworld (1973) Film Review

I’m really glad that I watched this after the series – not that the TV show gives away any plot points, it just seemed to work better for me. The film is great – very seventies, and I liked the fact that the film had more on the other worlds – the one set in medieval times, and the other set in ancient Rome. It was great, clever, and actually quite sad.

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T2 Trainspotting (2017) Film Review

Twenty years since Renton (Ewan McGregor) ripped off his mates and now he’s had to come back to Edinburgh from his new home in Amsterdam. Back to Sickboy (now known as Simon, played by Jonny Lee Miller) a wanna be pimp, small time drug dealer running the least successful pub in Scotland. Back to Spud (Ewen Bremner), still often a junkie who is trying to get clean and spend time with his kid, with little luck. Back to Begbie (Robert Carlyle), the psychopath with a score to settle. Well, let’s face it, they all have a score to settle. It’s not going to be a trip down memory lane.

But yet, that’s kind of exactly what it is for the audience. In many ways, this is the perfect sequel  – non perfect characters searching for some resolution, with much of the black humour and ridiculousness of the first film. It’s great. The soundtrack is not as good as the original, but it was always going to hard to beat that for me.

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