Movie Review – The Farewell (Bié Gàosù Tā, 別告訴她)

TL;DR – A truly emotional work of film that affected me in ways film rarely does.     

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

The Farewell (Bié Gàosù Tā, 別告訴她). Image Credit: A24.

Review

Wow, just wow, I thought I had some handle on how this film was going to affect me when I walked in, but I had no idea. I didn’t know I would be tearing up in the first five minutes and that it would not stop until the credits rolled. It is a film like this that shows the power of the medium to tell stories that can affect us on our deepest human level.

So to set the scene, Billi (Awkwafina) is struggling to find her place in the world after failing to get the fellowship that she was after. While at her parents to use their washing machine she notices that her mother Jian (Diana Lin) and father Haiyan (Tzi Ma) are acting odd. Wounding the worse, Billi discovers that her beloved Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao) has been diagnosed with late-stage cancer, but also that the family has decided not to tell her. Using a wedding as an excuse the whole family is going over to China in part to say goodbye without actually saying goodbye.       

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Movie Review – John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (John Wick: Chapter 3, John Wick: Parabellum, John Wick 3)

TL;DR – It takes everything that worked in the last two films and took it up to 11 

 Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Review

One of the first reviews we ever wrote back in the day was for the first John Wick film and since then we have really had a love affair in this world of under the table dealings, societies in this world but out of this world, visual storytelling, and neon rock operas. This is a world that is told in part by creative directing, interesting stories, and also the sheer determined strength of character that is Keanu Reeves and everyone in the whole cast and crew that make the character of John Wick shine. Today we get to look at the third film in the series that has John at his lowest and discovering there are more places to fall.

So to set the scene, at the end of John Wick Chapter 2, John found himself in a very precarious position. Someone had Marker on John (Keanu Reeves) forcing him to do his bidding (killing his sister) and then turned on John putting a contract out on his life for the before mentioned killing of his sister. After fighting his way through New York he arrived back at The Continental Hotel and though warned by the Manager Winston (Ian McShane) John killed the man on hotel grounds one of the few unbreakable rules in their universe. Winston gives John one hour of life before he is excommunicated from the organisation and this is where we open. John is running through the streets of New York as the skies bucket down because the Gods are at war. He is trying to get to the New York Public Library but as one of the Bowery King’s (Laurence Fishburne) henchmen calls out tick tock, tick tock John.

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Movie Review – How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (How to Train Your Dragon 3)

TL;DR – Beautiful, joyous, funny, emotional, a film for everyone, and one of the best sequels I have seen a very long time   

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene, but the credits are delightful

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Review

The How to Train Your Dragon series has been one of those little gems that keeps binging quality films, time and time again. It is a really simple premise, you live in a world with dragons, and you can either fight them or make friends with them. It is a simple but effective morality tale about fearing what you do not know and finding a new way forward. Well, today, the third film in the series is out in cinemas and we thought it was really good, like really, really good, like you really need to go see it good.

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Movie Review – Roma

TL;DR – Delightful, heart-breaking, alienating, immersive, full of complicated people in complicated relationships, a film that I would recommend everyone to see.        

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Roma. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

There is always an interesting feeling when the credits start to roll and the world comes back into focus, and the wave of emotions that have built up over the last few hours comes crashing down. Do you realise that you just wasted the time on something with no substance, or did your whole world change whilst time stood still? Well, today we look at a film that falls more on the later side of that divide. A world where everything is right and normal, and it all can be pulled out from underneath you in a moment. A film that will stay with me for the weeks and months to come.

So to set the scene, we open in on 1970 Mexico City as Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) washes the tiles of the driveway of the house she works at. We watch as she gets the house ready for the day for her employers Sofía (Marina de Tavira), Antonio (Fernando Grediaga), and their children Paco (Carlos Peralta), Pepe (Marco Graf), Sofi (Daniela Demesa) and Adela (Nancy García García). Cleo is an indispensable part of the family, but then she is also not part of the family because she is a maid and this disconnect filters throughout the film. Things in the household shift when Antonio leaves for a conference in Canada and stays longer than planned, and when Cleo meets a man Fermín (Jorge Antonio Guerrero) and the tension under the surface of Mexico starts to rupture.

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TV Review – Doctor Who: Demons of the Punjab

TL;DR – In the battle between love and hate, on which side would you be on? This is the question today’s episode asks before emotionally punching you in the gut.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

 

Doctor Who: Demons Of The Punjab. Image Credit: BBC

 

Review

When I heard Doctor Who was going to set an episode in colonial India, you can bet I was deeply concerned. A British TV Show doing an episode on the British occupation of another country, it is a recipe for disaster if handled wrongly, and the title Demons of the Punjab didn’t exactly fill me with confidence either. However, then we got to see Rosa (see review) earlier this season all about Rosa Parks and her struggles, they showed a real understanding of exploring deeply complex historical events, so I had a hope that they would be able to here as well, and I honestly think they pulled it off.

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TV Review – Bodyguard: Season One

TL;DR – This show is a masterpiece of building tension and always keeping you wonder, just who is telling the truth.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

 

Bodyguard. Image Credit: World Productions

 

Review

Across the internet, I had heard these whispers about the show dropping in the UK called Bodyguard. It was the kind of whispers that instantly makes you wonder, just what kind of show this is going to be, and then it dropped over here on Netflix. So, I thought, hey let’s give this a look, and then those first twenty minutes of the first episode happened and wow, never have I experienced such a tense twenty minutes of television before. From that moment onwards, I knew I had to see all of this as quickly as I could and I am so glad I did, even if it meant some essays might be returned a bit late, so a belated sorry to my students.

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Movie Review – Crazy Rich Asians

TL;DR – During the film, I along with the whole cinema, laughed, cried, gasp ‘oh no you didn’t and I can’t remember a film that had that same reaction

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Crazy Rich Asians. Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Review

There are some films that simply be being made are making a statement of intent. These are films like last year’s Black Panther (see review) and Wonder Women (see review), films that “conventional” Hollywood wisdom states that they shouldn’t be made because they won’t make any money. There is a long history of information coming from focus groups that people are not interested in films helmed by women and people of colour, information which is inevitable proven wrong time after time when the box office numbers are released. To put this in perspective, the last live-action film from Hollywood to feature a predominately Asian cast was The Joy Luck Club twenty-five years ago in 1993. This means a whole generation of people have grown up and not seen their stories or people like themselves up on the big screen, and well folks this is why representation matter. So while Crazy Rich Asians is important for just existing, it is even more power from the fact that it is also a fantastic film in its own right and one of my films of the year so far.

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