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Film Reviews

The Children Act

★★★★½ - STUFF  - High Court judge Fiona Maye (Emma Thompson) is used to the time pressure and intense public interest some of her cases put her under. But her most recent one has affected her a little more. Having to make a decision about whether to allow doctors, against the parents' wishes, to...
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Three Identical Strangers

★★★★½ - STUFF  - These days, a documentary can provide just as much of a rollercoaster ride for the viewer as an action movie or thriller. Tales like Man on Wire, The Imposter and Project Nim brought to life little-known incidents from our past to compelling effect. However, even an awareness of...
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Fahrenheit 11/9

★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN  - Out of his foxhole, raining mortar shells in every direction, comes Michael Moore, with this fiery, furious account of the rise of one Donald Trump. No one is shielded from Moore’s scattershot aim as he searches for a culprit for Trump’s ascendency. Clinton, Comey, Putin, the...
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Sorry to Bother You

★★★★★ - STUFF  - In present day Oakland, California, pretty much nothing is as it seems.  Cassius – Cash – Green and his partner Detroit wake up in what looks like a cramped but OK little apartment. Until the automatic door malfunctions and we realise they are actually living in a garage. Detroit...
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Shoplifters

★★★★ - STUFF  - Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda has developed a reputation as the modern-day Yasujirō Ozu. From I, Wish to Our Little Sister, the prolific 56-year-old film-maker has crafted a series of compelling contemporary dramas looking at the mores and maladies of modern life, just...
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Pick of the Litter

★★★ - STUFF  - Move over spelling bees, science fairs and dancing competitions, here's a documentary that focuses on a programme with really high stakes. Every year around 800 dogs are born into the American Guide Dogs for the Blind's (GDB) breeding programme, but only 300 will make the grade as...
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Widows

★★★★ - THE GUARDIAN  - The 12 Years a Slave Oscar-winner turns an 80s Lynda La Plante miniseries into a muscular, ferociously entertaining crowd-pleaser packed with superb performances.  As far as unlikely film news goes, word that artist-turned-director Steve McQueen would be following his...
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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

★★★★ - FLICKS  - Like all Pottheads, I am a lover of canonical whakapapa. You might be delighted to know, as I was, that the grandson of Newt Scamander, Rolf, marries Luna Lovegood, for instance. Or that Nymphadora Tonks is Bellatrix Lestrange’s niece. It’s with the same fascination I love to trace...
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Kusama - Infinity

★★★★ - FLICKS  - “I convert the energy of life into dots of the universe and that energy, along with love, flies into the sky” explains Yayoi Kusama as Kusama: Infinity commences. It’s an apt description of the relentlessly creative life and artistic career this documentary goes on to depict over...
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The Old Man & The Gun

★★★★½ - STUFF  - Fifty-six years after making his debut as Private Roy Loomis in War Hunt, Robert Redford signs off from the cinema with this charming character piece. And in many ways it couldn't be more fitting as a swansong. A self-confessed gentleman bankrobber, Redford's Forrest Tucker evokes...
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They Shall Not Grow Old

★★★★★ - STUFF  - The last time Sir Peter Jackson directed a "documentary" he caused a national outrage. After his and Costa Botes' convincing, compelling and admittedly slightly confounding look at unsung Kiwi film-maker Colin McKenzie, Forgotten Silver, aired on TVNZ in 1995, many viewers were...
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Vermilion

 ★★★½ - STUFF - From an opening moody rendition of Hunters and Collectors' anthemic Throw Your Arms Around Me to a final study in conveying emotion via silence, this Kiwi drama is very much a showcase for one of our finest actors. Jennifer Ward-Lealand (Desperate Remedies, TV's Dirty Laundry) is...
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  • Bolshoi Ballet 2018/19 La Sylphide
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