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Film Reviews

Richard Jewell

★★★★ - OBSERVER  - Just when I thought one of the worst movie years in memory was down for the count, Clint Eastwood arrived at the last minute with Richard Jewell, to show us all how great movies are made. Yes, this is a great one, and a magnificent centerpiece performance by an unknown actor...
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Helen Kelly: Together

★★★★ - STUFF  - When unionist, advocate, campaigner and all-round good sort Helen Kelly died in 2016, of a cancer the restlessness and impatience of which were nothing if not appropriate to the host, we lost one of the great ones.  Tony Sutorius' film Helen Kelly: Together picks up Kelly's life in...
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Beats

★★★★ - STUFF  - Why this Scottish drama is worth raving about, pumping up the volume for -  By 1994, the UK rave scene was pretty much a fag-end of its former self. The 1988/89 Summer of Love had been and gone a long time before. But, as young Johnno says to his best and only friend Spanner,...
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La Belle Époque

★★★★ - STUFF  - Victor Drumond (Daniel Auteil) feels like a man out of his time.  He never goes to the movies anymore, his favourite record store is long gone and he refuses to buy a smartphone.  It doesn't help that his best friend recently made him redundant from his role as a newspaper...
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Beats

★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN Shot in the kind of scrappy black and white that looks like a photocopied club flyer, Beats is both a coming-of-age and a film about endings. The backdrop is the nub end of the illegal rave scene, about to succumb to the twin pronged attack of, on one side, the criminal justice...
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For Sama

★★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN Unconstrained by notions of balance, non-fiction cinema has done a more complete job of describing the devastation wrought by the Syrian conflict than swathes of the broadcast and print media. Sean McAllister’s A Syrian Love Story plotted the ups and downs of a couple forced...
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The Extraordinary

★★★★½ - STUFF  - The French film-making duo of Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano have done it again.  After the twin delights of The Intouchables and C'est La Vie, the pair return with another engrossing, crowdpleasing charmer which will draw the whole gamut of emotions from viewers. Inspired by...
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Frida: Viva la Vida

★★★★ - STUFF "I've been thinking a lot," said a friend of mine, over a laksa, in an alleyway off Wellington's Cuba Street, "about the way our future affects our past." And now I'm thinking about that line too. And wondering if maybe the life and post-life of Frida Kahlo is a perfect example of...
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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

★★★★ - STUFF  - Some interviews leave a lasting impression. I still distinctly remember talking Thanksgiving with Martin Sheen as he prepared to host the family, chatting about teenage crushes with Winona Ryder and getting parenting advice from a sweary Kate Winslet.  But, I have to admit, I've...
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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN - In last year’s lucrative yet scattershot documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the world of the much-loved children’s TV staple Mister Rogers was gently cracked open for an audience who might be familiar with his on-screen persona but less aware of his personal life. There...
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Just Mercy

 ★★★★ - ROLLING STONE - Just Mercy isn’t what you would call groundbreaking — you’ve seen this kind of legal drama before, many times over. But the hard truths about racial injustice in its fact-based storytelling come through loud and clear, thanks to stellar performances from Michael B....
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Dolittle

★★★★ - STUFF  - An hour-and-change later, I was walking back out into the Wellington sunshine, when a new poster caught my eye. "Bum," I thought. Some numpty has remade Doctor Dolittle with Robert Downey Jr. Because, on the face of it, there's exactly nothing that a 21st century Dolittle can add...
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