Movie Review – The Australian Dream

TL;DR The Australian Dream is a film that I think every Australian should watch because it holds up a mirror to Australian society and we need to be ready for what it shows.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

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

The Australian Dream. Image Credit: Madman.

Review

I thought when I sat down to see The Australian Dream that I was ready for what I was going to see. I was a fool. This might be the most important film I have seen all year because it shines the light on an episode that many in Australia feel more than content to sweep under the rug because to do otherwise would mean confronting our history, our way of life, and our commitment to all Australians.

At its core The Australian Dream tells the story of Adam Goodes former Australian of the Year and one of the best Australian Rules Footballers (AFL) to have ever played the game. It is the story of his life, the highs and the lows. However, it is something more than that, it is using the biography to focus in on a problem Australia has had for the last two-hundred odd years and that is how it has dealt with its Indigenous people and well there is a reason that Indigenous Australians call Australia Day, Invasion Day.

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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 – The Hate U Give

TL;DR – A powerful and unflinching look at life at the intersection of race, power, poverty, and privilege.   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

The Hate U Give . Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review

One of the most important aspects of film, or indeed any media, is its ability to help you understand a different perspective. For many people in the world, the police are a source of comfort and protection, who you call when you are in danger. But for many people almost the opposite is true, and it can be difficult to understand why that is. However, that is what film is here to do, and that is what today’s film does.

So to set the scene, Starr (Amandla Stenberg) was only a child when her father Maverick (Russell Hornsby) gave her and her siblings Seven (Russell Hornsby) and Sekani (TJ Wright) the talk. No, I am not talking about the birds and the bees, I am talking about what you do when (not if) you get pulled over by the police so you can make it out of it alive. As Starr grew up her mother Lisa (Regina Hall) was determined to make sure she could have the best opportunity available for life and sends her and her siblings to a private school. This makes Starr create two sides of herself, the Williamson side and the Garden Heights side. All of this comes to a head when Starr runs into an old friend Khalil (Algee Smith) at a party. It was a chance to reminisce about the past and how they use to all dress up as Harry Potter. After a gun goes off at the party, Starr and Khalil race to the car, and that is when the world changes for everyone.  

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Movie Review – Green Book

TL;DR – When it is a Road Trip film it works really well, with two charismatic leads, as a social commentary film which it is desperately trying to be, well it fails dismally.      

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Green Book. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

As it gets close to February, I continue my yearly tradition of trying to see all of the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars ceremony. While this is the plan, it is rarely successful, however, I thought it best to at least see all the films with a strong chance of winning on the night. Well, this leads us to Green Book which is actually a very interesting film. For it is a film of two halves, one that works and one that doesn’t, and both of these halves are in direct competition with each other.

So to set the scene, it is in the early 1960s and Frank “Tony Lip’ Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) works for the Copacabana at night as a combination bouncer/maître d/driver. As well as this, Tony always finds an opportunity to make a quick buck “bullshitting” people. When the Copacabana closes for a couple of months for renovations Tony is left with very little money to keep his family going when he gets a call about a driving opportunity at Carnegie Hall for a Dr Shirley (Mahershala Ali), only to find that he is not a medical doctor but a musician, he is black, and that he is about to embark on a tour of the deep south. Tony needs the money, but he also has problems with African-Americans to the point that he threw out two glasses that African-American plumbers used when fixing the pips in his house. Well eventually Tony agrees to take ‘Doc’ Don Shirley on his tour, well only after Don called his wife Dolores (Linda Cardellini) to check if it was all right.   

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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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Movie Review – Detroit

TL;DR – Brutal, heartbreaking, and unfortunately as relevant today as it was in the 1960s

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Detroit. Image Credit: Annapurna Pictures.

Review

Oh wow, I had no idea what to expect going into Detroit, only that it was taking a snapshot of the past event in the city. This was good in some respects because I came into the film with no preconceptions, but also I came into the film with zero preparation for what was about to come. I walked out of Detroit being completely emotionally drained, and I don’t mean that as a criticism, where so many other films like mother! (see review) have mishandled the use of tension, Detroit had me on the edge of my seat waiting for the moment when everything falls apart.

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Movie Review – Suburbicon

TL;DR – What a waste of time this film was, save yourself the trouble and go see something else like Thor

Score – 1 out of 5 stars

Suburbicon. Image Credit: Paramount.

Review

To give you an overall impression of the film, at the end of the film as the screen faded to black I was stunned by how a film with such a talented cast could be so bad, so I wondered who could have directed that mess. It was at this point when ‘Directed by George Clooney’ popped up on the screen, and I was shocked, because from my experience George is a talented director. However, then I went, ok look no matter who the director is, if the original script was bad there might be not much they could have done to make it a workable film. Well, it was at this point that the writing credits appeared and when I saw Joel Coen, Ethan Coen & George Clooney’s names I audibly gasped in the cinema. I was completely not expecting a film of this level of disaster to be crafted by people that make masterpieces. So you can probably tell from just that what my feeling about Suburbicon was, but today we’ll go into detail about just what went wrong, and there are a lot of things.

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