TV Review – When They See Us

TL;DR – This is a series that I think is important for everyone to see because what we do has consequences and those consequences can be ruined lives.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

When They See Us. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

When I loaded up this limited series, I kind of had an idea of what to expect. I had heard about the Central Park Five before and I thought I had a rough framework as to what happened and of course, having the blowhard-in-chief double down on it helped bring it all back into focus. However, while I understood what happened, it was an intellectual knowledge and not an emotional one. While I walked in here with what I thought was understanding, I now know I had no idea, none what so ever.

So to set the scene, one evening in April in New York City a group of young people of mostly African-American decent came together to have a bit of a raucous in Central Park. Soon the police arrived and brought a bunch of them in disturbing the peace after roughing more than a few of them in the process. However, later that night in the north section of the park woman was found clinging to life after being raped and assaulted. It is at this point that detective Linda Fairstein (Felicity Huffman) draws the connection between the two incidents. Soon Kevin Richardson (Asante Blackk), Antron McCray (Caleel Harris), Yusef Salaam (Ethan Herisse), Raymond Santana (Marquis Rodriguez), and Korey Wise (Jharrel Jerome) are dragged in front of the police, with no adults present. Soon the police would have their confessions, for assault and rape, confessions that looked dubious even under the most cursory inspection.

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Movie Review – Instant Family

TL;DR – There are some moments of real humour and it can be really heartfelt, but it has also be smashed into a rigid three-act structure to the point that you can see the plot beats coming a mile away.    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Instant Family. Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Review

Adoption and foster care are two very important issues in society today. There are not enough foster parents for all the kids in the system, meaning that they get bounced around from house to house, or left in a worst state than when they came in. Which is a tragedy because these are some of the most vulnerable members of society and we need to be protecting them. Today we look at a film that explores this issue by looking at what happens when you go from having no kids to having three.

So to set the scene, Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) are a couple going through life that seemingly has it all. They run a successful renovation business where they buy down and out houses and then do them up to flip them for a profit. This helps gives their lives purpose, until one day Ellie’s sister mentions that they are never going to have kids and a look ensues. This leads to them having a look at adoption websites and being overcome by the need. So they attend training run by Karen (Octavia Spencer) and Sharon (Tig Notaro) and on a lunch playdate/get to know all the kids/totally weird event, they come across Lizzy (Isabela Moner) who everyone else is ignoring because they don’t want teenagers. They really like Lizzy but there is one catch, she comes with two siblings Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and Lita (Julianna Gamiz) and all of a sudden they become a family of five.

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Movie Review – The Favourite

TL;DR – At times funny, at times perplexing, and at times very dark, it explores the world of immense power and those who want to obtain it, and the damage that can do.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

The Favourite. Image Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review

We live in a world where thanks to technology we can explore galaxies far away, to fantasies imagined in every which way, but sometimes reality can be stranger than anything we can muster. Today we are exploring a film that is set around the power politics of last years of the House of Stuart as different people position themselves in an ever-shifting world. This would be interesting enough in itself, but in both a less and in some cases more dramatic way this is what really happened (or at least what was alleged to have happened) in real life. It is a snapshot of absolute power, but also of sadness, and regret.

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Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody

TL;DR – At the heart is the powerful story of Freddie Mercury, but you can see the difficulties of adapting a life as grand as his into a standard film runtime.     

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There footage during the credits that you want to stay back for.

Bohemian Rhapsody. Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review

There have been a lot of productions that have been stuck in ‘production hell’ for years before they get made (and some never exit it) and one of the big casualties of this was the Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic. It had gone through multiple directors and leading cast before finally going into production, only to find out that the difficulties were not done there. With clashes on set and the inevitable replacement of the director befalling production. When this has happened in the past, it has led to at best an uneven film, but often times the final product is a complete mess. Thankfully, Bohemian Rhapsody avoids the latter but you can still see the problems under the hood.

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Movie Review – Outlaw King (Outlaw/King)

TL;DR – It is a film that is completely serviceable, with some amazing action, but just comes off feeling lacking in many ways

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Outlaw King. Image Credit: Netflix

 

 

Review

This is a real odd duck of a film, even before it came out there were questions about its runtime and how it was edited together, with reports that over 20 minutes got cut for its final release. Add to this the only other thing it was noticeable for was a certain alleged scene involving Chris Pine and well, that was not a strong platform to release a film on. So, my real concern was – did taking a hatchet to the film trim it down to only its best parts, or did it turn it into a hacked up mess – and the answer is a bit of both. Now just a quick thing, I will let others more versed in Scottish history to comment on whether or not the film is accurate with history or not.

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Movie Review – Boy Erased

TL;DR – This is at times a very difficult film to watch, but it is an important film because abuse is abuse and that is what this is.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Boy Erased. Image Credit: Focus Features

 

 

Review

There are many reasons you can make a film, okay well other than making a profit, it is a business after all. It can be to entertain, it can be to inform, it can be to titillate, it could be to scare, or even to keep the kids entertained for 90 minutes so the parents can clean the house. However, sometimes a film exists to shine a light on a subject people might not know about, but they should. Today with Boy Erased we are looking a just such a film as explores the Pray the Gay Away industry in the United States and the dangerous harm it does to people.

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Movie Review – BlacKkKlansman

TL;DR – Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman is at times hilarious, at times deeply provoking, and at no time will it hold your hand as it explores the deep centred racism in America (spoiler: it is not just America)

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

BlacKkKlansman. Image Credit: Focus Features/Universal Pictures

Review

I was not one hundred per cent sure what it was that I was getting myself into when I walked into to see BlacKkKlansman. I knew it was about a black police officer infiltrating the KKK and that it was based on a true story but that was about it. Spike Lee is a filmmaker whose work I am unfortunately not that familiar with, so was this going to be a comedy, was it going to play it straight, was it going to do both while being deeper for it? Well with that in mind let’s take a look at the race relations of the 1970s which in no way reflects on America of today … in no way …

So to set the scene, in 1972 Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is hired as the first black police officer in Colorado Springs. While this is meant to be a step forward for race relations, Ron is hidden away in the records room taking abuse from his fellow police officers. That is until one day an important African-Amerian activist Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins) comes to town and they need someone to go undercover at the speech and well every other member of the police force would stand out. It is here where he meets Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier) one of the event organisers, and listens to the speech which focuses on promoting the cause of African people from white oppression, up to and including armed resistance. Happy with his success the police decide to move Ron into the intelligence division and on his first day he responds to an ad in the paper about a new KKK chapter starting up in the town. One slight problem, just a small thing really, but it kind of won’t work if they ever have a face to face meeting. So Ron enlists officer Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), Ron is Ron on the phone, and Flip is Ron in person, and all of it flows from there.

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