Parasite (기생충) – Review

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5 STARS

Director: Bong Joon-ho
Writers: Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Choi Woo-sik, Park So-dam, Jang Hye-jin, Jo Yeo-jeong, Lee Jeong-eun, Lee Sun-kyun, Park Myeong-hoon, Jung Ji-so, Jung Hyun-jun, Park Seo-joon

As foreign language films go, not many manage to make it into the Western/Hollywood mainstream alongside English-language cinema. Hardy any at all, really. But now and again something comes along that manages to break down the language barrier and become something truly special (by Western reckoning). Parasite is apparently one of those special films. In fact, potentially the most special to date. It’s been winning numerous accolades and awards, starting with the Palme D’or at Cannes last year (being the first Korean film ever to win the award), right through to Best Foreign Language film at the Golden Globes (again, the first Korean film to do so), Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAG awards (the first non-English film ever to win in this category) and numerous nominations at the upcoming BAFTAs and Oscars (including Best Film/Picture at each, and being, yes, you’ve guessed it, the first Korean film to be nominated for any BAFTA award and Best Picture at the Oscars). It’s truly a mouthful to reel off all the praise that’s been bestowed upon Parasite already (making it a huge travesty that the UK and Ireland are the last to see its release in cinemas), but is Parasite really worth all this buzz, or is it a whole lot of hype over something that’s really nothing?

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Bombshell – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Jay Roach
Writer: Charles Randolph
Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Mark Duplass, Allison Janney, Rob Delaney, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Malcom McDowell, Liv Hewson, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Richard Kind, Ben Lawson, Josh Lawson

Cinema, along with many forms of art and media, is often used as a vehicle for bringing light to subjects that may be taboo or uncomfortable to talk about and tackle in everyday life. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, you’ll have noticed that one of the biggest issues in society, the treatment and inequality of women in the workplace, has been placed firmly in the spotlight. Hollywood itself is historically one of the worst places for the fair treatment of women, and as such, the women of the entertainment industry have been finding their way to speak up by using their own medium. Bombshell is the result of one of those ways, a film that depicts the treatment of women in the journalism field. But is it enough to really shake things up and help bring about the change sorely needed, or is it just riding the wave to make a quick buck?

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1917 – Review

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5 STARS

Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Cast: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Colin Firth, Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq

Some people say that cinema is too graphic these days, that it depicts shocking events and violence that it ought not to. But surely, as long as things like war and murder occur in reality, there will always be room for them in cinema? Even if one day we end up in a time of peace, those films would become all the more important in reminding us of what our ancestors had gone through, would they not? Not to mention being a good reminder of what not to do. While some people now concern themselves with the future potential of a third world war, Mendes’ 1917 brings us another look at what the men on the front line went through during World War I, another reminder of the sacrificial, and at times futile, efforts of those who put their lives at risk, or that laid down their lives all together. Has Mendes and his team succeeded in bringing us another truthful and poignant war film along the lines of Saving Private Ryan and Dunkirk, or does it miss where it should directly hit?

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The Academy Awards 2020 Nominees & Winners

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It’s been a rollercoaster of a year in film, a year which has seen women and people of colour and minorities break more ground in front of and behind the camera. Of course, there’s still a long way to go in terms of equality in multiple areas, but the movements continue to gain momentum and bring us diverse, educational, entertaining and beautiful cinema. Having said that, the Golden Globes and BAFTAs haven’t provided us with the diversity we need, and now the Oscars have not proven much different, with the Best Director category in particular missing some amazing female and minority talent. While some women are leading the way in few areas such as Best Documentary and Best Adapted Screenplay and there is a little diversity in the inclusion of international films such as Parasite in many of the major awards catergories, it’s still not enough to represent the wider public. We can only hope that the members of the Academy whose job it is to nominate these films improve their decision-making year by year, and that minorities are given more opportunities to fulfill their creative aspirations and bring us more of what we, as diverse audiences, crave to see.

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The Gentlemen – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding

Guy Ritchie hit the ground running at the beginning of his career, with the likes of Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels rating high amongst critics and audiences. His projects since have been quite up and down, opting for some out-of-the-ordinary genres amongst his more familiar action/mob/very British settings. The Gentlemen sums up the latter of Ritchie’s choices in its title alone, making it enough to get excited about. Has Ritchie successfully come back from a whole new world, or has his magic carpet lost its way somewhere between The Man from U.N.C.L.E and Aladdin?

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