Moonlight (2016)

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Identity and acceptance are two themes that course through this film, one which explores the life of a gay black man living in the rough area of Miami, exploring the black community and the many difficulties they face. Moonlight is an incredibly rich intellgent story and essential viewing owing to its exploration of many themes such as homosexuality and drug culture. The film is further bolstered by both the incredible number of positive responses and the many awards it has accumulated. Now, I won’t speculate on numbers regarding who has seen this film and who hasn’t, nor am I going to condemn you for having missed this experience in cinemas, but the film is out now on DVD, so you know, hint hint.
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John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

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There is an abundance of action films lead by leading male protagonists. Many of whom nowadays can be seen either clad in spandex, performing death-defying spectacles involving aeroplanes and extremely tall buildings, or driving very fast cars over submarines. Though I do have a personal preference for those spandex clad heroes (Yes, I know how that reads). There is one male action character whose antics in his first film caught my attention and though he does drive an impress muscle car and wear a fantastic array of suits, it’s not James Bond.
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T2 Trainspotting (2017)

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Trainspotting first graced our cinemas in 1996, however, it took me another 20 years to finally watch the cult classic. Ridiculous I know as a prior film student, but it took a fantastic film marathon at a friend’s house for me to finally sit down watch it. Trainspotting is arguably one of the most powerful representations of the drug culture, unique owing to not only its refusal to be set in a glamorised format but also because of its unconventional manner, such as the film’s poster. Trainspotting explores a profoundly dark and seedy narrative, with scenes made from the stuff of nightmares, but with what I can only imagine to be realistic scenarios when things inevitably go wrong.
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Jackie (2016)

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The Kennedys are a fascinating family, full of intrigue, sorrow, success and blighted by a future they were denied by helicopter accidents, their own personal flaws and most famously of all, a bullet. If any of these references seem alien to you, then I urge you to explore the family history, read their stories, listen to their voices, and watch the many adaptations from over the years exploring the different generations, from Joe to Jack and onto Christopher.
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Assassin’s Creed (2016)

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Video games as a format primarily work because as the player you are in control of a character within a narrative, thus placing you in the moment. This is also why in my opinion the horror genre is now best depicted in video games. So, depending upon the game, you must complete a series of tasks such as learning how this new world works, and how to adapt to your environment. You must also make important decisions regarding your character’s various upgrades before finally deciding how to best utilise all you have learned to your advantage when you inevitably face the bosses along the way. These are some of the most fundamental reasons why people play video games, and is an element you cannot presently incorporate into film.
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Silence (2016)

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I’ve always been fascinated by religion, more so now in my early twenties than I have been previously. I grew up reading condensed forms of passages from The Bible, reciting the lord’s prayer each morning at my primary school. When I transitioned to my secondary school I attended weekly chapel services, singing hymns and sitting once a week in the crypt to listen to sermons from the school Chaplin. I find Cathedrals and Churches to be some of the more beautiful and fascinating pieces of architecture, as they serve as a testament of the faith that others have to a deity, and I have been fortunate enough to visit many Cathedrals such as the one in Durham, as well as those in Italy and France.

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The Birth of a Nation (2016)

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Nate Parker is an ambitious man, directing, writing and starring as the lead in his first feature film. ‘The Birth of a Nation’ explores the historically significant story of Nate Turner in 1831, whose actions are believed to have been the spark for events such as, The Civil War and abolishment of slavery 33 years later. Nate Turner was a slave who became a preacher and travelled with his master across the country, preaching to other slaves whose masters feared they were not being as subservient as they ought to be.  Continue reading

Sweet Smell of Success (1957) Cheat Sheet

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Background: A noir film directed by Alexander Mackendrick, ‘Sweet Smell of Success‘ is regarded as a cult classic by those aware of the film, and much like other cult classics such as ‘Fight Club’ and ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Sweet Smell Of Success’ was poorly received by audiences and critics at the time. However, over the years its popularity has grown and the films stands out not only as one of Tony Curtis’s best performances on screen, but the film has also aged quite well in its profound depiction of seedy men and corrupt business.

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Their Finest (2017)

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For a film about propaganda, its own marketing campaign was quite well organised. Last weekend a feature was published in The Times which contained a charming interview with the film’s star Gemma Arterton. In this interview, she discussed her desire to move from big blockbuster films to smaller character driven ones. Arterton is probably better known for her roles in big blockbuster American films such as ‘Prince of Persia’, ‘Hansel & Gretel’ and ‘Clash of Titans’. Arterton explained that whilst these films offered well-paid opportunities to new talent, they were ultimately unsatisfying roles, a familiar path for many actors including Bill Nighy.
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Casablanca (1942) Cheat Sheet

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Background: Casablanca is a 1942 black & white romantic drama directed by Michael Curtiz, and it was based on a stage play called ‘Everybody Comes to Rick’s’. Casablanca is a city located in the north-west area of Morocco and the film is set during the start of the Second World War. Continue reading