One Night in Miami (Amazon) Movie Review

Powerful, artistic, high-minded and stylish from head to toe. These words could just as easily describe the four men at the heart of Regina King’s directorial debut as the film itself. One Night in Miami takes some artistic liberties with its portrayal of a real historic meeting of minds, but grounds itself so forcefully in politics and humanity that it forms what might well be one of the most realistic and striking films of this year. The vast majority of the film takes place in an unassuming

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Netflix) Movie Review

In a year of incalculable loss, the shocking death of Chadwick Boseman still smoulders as a particularly stunning blow. So much so that in a film based on a play by the legendary August Wilson and dominated by yet another breath-taking Viola Davis performance, it’s almost impossible to stop thinking of Boseman’s tragedy. Particularly as he delivers a performance that’s somehow better than what you hoped his final turn would be, embodying his character and imbuing every on-screen moment with una

The Prom (Netflix) Movie Review

With a cast list boasting more stars than the crisp December sky, The Prom should really be more entertaining than it is. The Netflix release is based on a play of the same name. The storyline involves Emma, a teenager who gets banned from her prom because she’s gay. It’s pretty topical stuff, really – it’s about Broadway stars and high school dances, both of which were extremely impacted by Covid-19. Despite that, The Prom comes out a bit odd, a few giant leaps removed from relatable. The fil

Mank (Netflix) Movie Review

Fincher's deep dive into the life of Hollywood screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, who clashed with volatile genius Orson Welles on his magnum opus, is a beautiful film about the Golden Age of Hollywood. Citizen Kane is, of course, one of the most famous pieces of cinema – and culture – of all time. Studied and discussed and derided and worshipped by many a film student and cinephile, the 1941 film is often found sitting atop 'Best of' and anthology lists, so in a way is obvious fodder for ‘behi

Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix) Movie Review

Based on a controversial best-seller by J.D. Vance, Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy is ostensibly a true story, though the film goes out of its way to make it seem like pure cinematic fiction. When Vance’s memoir of the same name first came out back in 2016, it quickly divided opinion. There were some who saw it as an explainer of how Trumpism gained popularity, an insight into the working class communities of America’s Rust Belt. There were others who saw it as a biased and skewed condemnation of

Small Axe: Mangrove (BBC) TV Show Review

Steve McQueen has already carved his name into the annals of history, of the British, Art, Cinema and World varieties. Now, the multi-hyphenate creator has moved to the small screen, with anthology series Small Axe chronicling the lives of the Caribbean community in London between the late 1960s and the mid 1980s. Not content with being the first Black filmmaker to win the Best Picture Oscar or being the darling of the art world for receiving the Turner Prize, McQueen has taken to BBC (and Amaz

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix) Movie Review

Like it or not, it’s pretty much the most wonderful time of the year. Even though there’s lockdowns and a pandemic and worldwide upheaval. Christmas does not care about your melancholy (and neither does capitalism). Not keen on all this Christmas spirit and seasonal magic stuff? You should probably steer clear of Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey then, which is not merely just a Christmas film, but also a musical to boot. The film is bookended by a Christmas story Phylicia Rashad is reading to

The Undoing (Sky/Now) TV Show Review

After the extreme success of Big Little Lies (well, the first season anyway), it was only a matter of time before some of BLL’s key players reunited to bring us another look at the sordid and murderous lives of society’s elite. Enter The Undoing, starring Nicole Kidman, written by David E. Kelley and set amongst the glittering skyscrapers of New York (remember when people could bustle up and down the Big Apple’s streets? Sigh). It’s clear from the first few minutes that this show poses the hypo

The Queen's Gambit (Netflix) TV Show Review

If you’re reading this thinking that a period drama series about a female teenage chess prodigy isn’t for you, hold on a second. The Queen’s Gambit might have a very niche premise, but you definitely don’t need to be a Grandmaster to be hooked… Based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis, The Queen’s Gambit is set over a decade in the 1950s and 1960s. We start with young Beth Harmon (initially played by Isla Johnston), who’s orphaned after her maths-genius mother is killed and is m

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix) Movie Review

Aaron Sorkin has become one of film’s biggest Marmite stand-ins. Fans think his crackling dialogue, smirk-inducing one-liners, rosy ideologies and sweeping epic dramas make him one of the most successful and admirable modern filmmakers. Critics say his films’ unlimited supply of impassioned monologues and romantically rose-tinted view of leftist politics make them preachy and self-absorbed. Either way, a Sorkin release is a big deal, and The Trial of the Chicago 7 is peak Sorkin. The film is ba

Blumhouse's Evil Eye (Amazon) Movie Review

With a remote relationship between family members at its heart, Evil Eye is another timely addition to the Amazon Prime streaming collection. Part of Amazon’s collaboration with Blumhouse, Evil Eye is adapted by playwright Madhuri Shekar from her audio play, which made ingenious use of voicemail and phone conversations to tell a modern tale with ancient underpinnings. This film adaptation is produced by Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and represents part of Amazon and Blumhouse’s commitment to diverse r

Jordan Peele's The Twilight Zone Season 2 (Sky/Now) TV Show Review

On paper, last year's reboot of The Twilight Zone couldn’t have come at a better time. As it happened, the Jordan Peele series ended up going a bit under the radar, with a few standout episodes slotted in amongst others that didn’t quite catch the imagination. Enter Season 2, which comes at a time where each episode of the Ten O’Clock News feels a lot like an episode of The Twilight Zone. In a twist almost worthy of the genre, the 2019 first season suffered a little from comparison to the recen

Utopia Season 1 (Amazon Prime) TV Show Review

The latest US remake takes on the cult British classic Utopia. Adapting, rebooting, remaking, reshaping (or whatever we’re calling it this week) a cult classic series like Utopia (2013) was always going to be a tall order. Then again, could there be a more prescient time to be making a pandemic conspiracy thriller? If nothing else, this Amazon Prime release is blessed with a hell of a lot of good timing. Or the worst possible timing. Either way, it’s topical. All eight episodes have been writt

The Third Day (HBO/Sky) TV Show Review

There’s really only so much you can say about Sky Atlantic’s The Third Day, which started this week, without giving too much away. It’s relatively safe to say that the thriller from Dennis Kelly (Utopia – which is incidentally being rebooted on Amazon later this month) is set on the island of Osea and is predominantly concerned with Sam (Jude Law), who’s having a bit of a time. The series is made up of sections set in each season. In Summer, Sam, who is having a long, drawn-out breakdown after

The Babysitter: Killer Queen (Netflix) Movie Review

Netflix’s 2017 horror-comedy The Babysitter was one of the platform’s best loved movie releases for a while. An unapologetic love letter to classic slasher flicks, the combination of teen drama, gore, slasher thrills and decent comedy made it a bit of a cult classic of the streaming world. In fact, that it got a sequel at all is quite a testament to how well-received the film was – sequels aren’t all too common in Netflix film world. The same director (McG) and many of the same cast members ret

Away Season 1 (Netflix) TV Show Review

Given that we’ve all spent the last six months longing for a bit more space, Netflix’s drama about the first manned mission to Mars should really be something of a hit. Starring Hilary Swank, the ten-part series is about a group of five astronauts and scientists who leave Earth on a three-year mission to become the first humans to set foot on Mars. In a fresh twist on the adventures in space genre, the series focuses largely on the ways in which such a monumental mission actually affects the pe

I Hate Suzie (Sky) TV Show Review

Billie Piper stars in a sharp, topical and joyously chaotic drama about the perils of modern female celebrity. The story goes that when writer Lucy Prebble (of Succession and Secret Diary of a Call Girl fame) tried to shop I Hate Suzie, multiple networks turned her down, having already filled their female-led quota. Thank God, then, for Sky Atlantic, who have blessed us with a witty, sharp, searing, shocking, knowing and just generally brilliant comedy-drama that reminds us once again that Bill

Black is King (Disney Plus) Movie Review

Death, taxes, and Beyoncé releasing content that more or less breaks the internet. This time it’s Black is King, released on Disney+ this week as an accompaniment to last year’s album The Gift. That album was inspired by The Lion King, the live action version famously based on the classic animation, though Black is King has no such convoluted roots. It’s almost a shame it’s studded with references to John Favreau’s 2019 flick (though it is a Disney+ joint, after all), because its message of Bla

How to Build a Girl (Amazon) Movie Review

Nostalgia is a potent drug these days. While most of us are just longing for the days of mask-free dinners and being able to pop to the shops without the fear of a deadly virus looming over us, in the internet age there’s always a bit of fondness to be found in looking back over the ostensibly more simple days of the 90s. Enter How to Build a Girl, adapted by Caitlin Moran from her own book, which is itself based loosely on her early life. Johanna Morrigan (Beanie Feldstein) is pseudo-Caitlin (

Brightburn Movie Review

As we all know, superhero films are very much ‘en vogue’ for Hollywood right now – the bigger the franchise the better - so it's quite surprising that the 'anti-superhero' film hasn't become a huge genre in its own right. What if Superman was crossed with Carrie and Damien and a couple of other supervillains? Films like the Unbreakable trilogy Watchmen , the Kick-Ass films, and Super spring to mind, but we haven’t been saturated with them. For that reason alone, Brightburn presents as a refres
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