Judy – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Rupert Goold
Writer: Tom Edge
Cast: Renée Zellweger, Rufus Sewell, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Darci Shaw, Michael Gambon, Bella Ramsey, Lewin Lloyd, Andy Nyman

The Wizard of Oz is, without a doubt, an absolute classic and a landmark in cinema, with its popular musical numbers, instantly recognisable characters and that transition from black and white to colour, which meant so much more than just a technological advancement. But what of its lead star, the young teenager Judy Garland? Her name, just as recognisable as her character of Dorothy, is still known by people all over the world, but how much do we know about what went on behind the scenes, both then and for the rest of her life? Judy gives us a glimpse into her early career at MGM Studios and the last few months of the Hollywood legend’s life, but is it something we really need to know about, or should her private life have remained so? And having delved so deeply into her story, does it do her justice?

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Joker – Review

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5 STARS

Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Frances Conroy, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Brett Cullen

He’s a character virtually just as famous as Batman, a villain who has often overshadowed his vigilante nemesis in story and deeds, featuring a face that is instantly recognisable. There’s a lot to be said about the Joker, and a lot more to be seen. We’ve had many different iterations of him in the past, through comic books, graphic novels, television, animation and film, but they all also have their similarities that link them together (whether it be the costume, the make-up, the characterisation etc.). As interesting a character as the Joker is, it can’t be easy to come up with original ideas pertaining to how he became arguably Batman’s/Bruce Wayne’s enemy number one. But then one of the best things about the character (at least, the best thing for writers) is that, unlike most comic book characters, the Joker has no definitive back story, no origin that is considered canon, meaning he is fair game for writers with imaginations or who want to use him in a particular way, i.e. for social commentary (too obvious, perhaps?). Is director/co-writer Phillips’ Joker just another version of the character who doesn’t veer too far from the common stories/appearances of the character, or has being a standalone film, away from the madding DCEU crowd, meant we’re actually getting something fresh and new?

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What’s On – October 2019

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October is usually the month for horror/thriller movies, as we have Halloween fast approaching, but this year seems pretty low on the genre(s). We have the likes of The Dead Center, Tales From the Lodge and an animated Addams family adventure (hardly to be a terrifying watch, but still), but this month seems to be more about themes that matter in our current society, ranging from racial and disability discrimination (Farming and Chained For Life, respectively) to corruption within the police force (Black and Blue) and the Catholic church (By the Grace of God). Of course we do have much lighter films interspersed (the latest Shaun the Sheep movie actually looks like a good giggle), so this month’s four potential must-sees are a bit of a mixed bag.

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Hustlers – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Lorene Scafaria
Cast: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lilli Reinhart, Cardi B, Wai Ching Ho, Mercedes Ruehl

As women, we often bemoan the way we are portrayed in movies, and rightly so. More often than not, mainstream films are written and produced and directed by men, and therefore women (generally young women) will be entirely objectified, created with barely a word or meaningful action to offer the plot and seen as either overly sexualised or frumpy and unattractive (from a male perspective). So, it’s quite the relief to see a movie that not only represents women for the well-rounded human beings we actually are, but also allows the women onscreen to own their stories and their physical attributes. Based on a newspaper article by Jessica Pressler, Hustlers does all of this in abundance, but does it all actually work for the greater good, or is it missing the point?

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Ad Astra – Review

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4 STARS

Director: James Gray
Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland

Space. The final frontier. Words so spoken often at the beginning of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode or other Star Trek movie. Though Ad Astra (Latin for ‘to the stars) ain’t no Star Trek, much about it rings true to those words, with space not only being the final frontier for human exploration, but also how it makes us reflect on ourselves; the mind is the final frontier in understanding how we operate mentally as living beings, much of it still to be explored. Although the trailer boasts something of an Armageddon-style adventure-thriller with Brad Pitt in the driver’s seat (complete with Liv Tyler hanging around again) and promises much in the way of mystery, does it really deliver?

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