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Mank

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If Tommy Wiseau's The Room is "The Citizen Kane of bad films", my question is: "Is David Fincher's Mank the Citizen Kane of impenetrable biopics?" Set in Hollywood, starring Gary Oldman as the titular character (officially known as Herman J. Mankiewicz), the film's narrative jumps back and forth between the present (1940) and various flashbacks in the 1930s. After receiving complete creative freedom from production company RKO, Orson Welles (played by Tom Burke) hires Mank as his screenwriter for his first feature film - the legendary Citizen Kane (1941). However, Mank is a notorious alcoholic and the film's producer (Sam Troughton), Mank's secretary (Lily Collins), and Orson Welles express concerns over the screenplay's density, as well as its looming deadline. It goes without saying that Mank's appeal for cinephiles is its story, about what many consider to be the greatest film ever made . There is an appetite for biopics that explore t

Misbehaviour

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This review contains spoilers. Yesterday I watched Misbehaviour and to be honest... I found it pretty forgettable. This is hugely disappointing, as on paper it sounds like my cup of tea: Set in London, in 1970 - and based on a true story, Mature UCL History student Sally (Keira Knightley) and a group of anarchistic feminists (led by Jo Robinson, played by Jessie Buckley) plan to disrupt the annual Miss World beauty pageant. The film has a couple of subplots - Firstly, the role of Miss World's guest host Bob Hope (Greg Kinnear) who infamously "took the winning girl home with him" the last time he guested on the show. Secondly, Sally's struggle juggling being a student, a mother and a feminist activist. Thirdly, the story of Jo Robinson and her "commune" of feminists. And lastly, but most importantly, the role of Jennifer Hosten (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Miss Grenada and the first black woman to win Miss World. As it's Women's History Month, there

Call for Dreams

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If you haven't seen Call for Dreams , stop what you're doing (yes, including reading this review, I won't mind) and go and do so right now. It's on Amazon Prime . You have no excuse. I recently re-watched it for the third time, and it gets better and better with each viewing. In fact, I would probably say it's the best film of 2019. Set in a nocturnal, rain-drenched, neon-lit Tokyo, Eko (Mami Shimazaki) places an advert in a newspaper, offering her services as a dream interpreter. Prospective clients simply need to call the number in the ad, leave a voicemail with a description of their dream and Eko "might get back to them" and re-enact the dream with the client (but this is a service purely for non-sexual purposes). However, Eko finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation in Tel Aviv after a client leaves a message describing a dream in which he shoots a Japanese woman. From the beginning of the film, it's apparent that the boundarie

Yesterday

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This review contains spoilers. Yesterday is aptly named, because it offers absolutely nothing new. This is the latest Danny Boyle film, with a screenplay by Richard Curtis, of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually fame (we'll come back to the screenplay later). Set in the present day, Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a struggling musician who often sings and plays guitar to indifferent public audiences at pubs or piers. However, after Jack is hit by a bus during a mysterious brief global blackout, he discovers that no one knows who The Beatles are, after playing 'Yesterday' to his friends and his manager/childhood friend/love interest Ellie Appleton (Lily James). He begins performing their songs and passes them off as his own. Following a performance on a local TV channel, Jack attracts the attention of Ed Sheeran (as himself), who invites him to play as the opening act at his gig in Moscow. Sheeran's agent Debra (Kate McKinnon) invites Jack to

Toy Story 4

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This review contains spoilers    I'm a bit late to the party... but I did it. I finally got around to watching Toy Story 4 and it lived up to my expectations. If I had to pick one word to describe it, it would be "unnecessary". But hey, those new Woody/Buzz Lightyear/Bo Peep/Forky (shudders) toy action figures aren't going to sell themselves without a decent 100 minute-long advert. Although the first scene of Toy Story 4 takes place "nine years earlier" to establish what happened to Bo Peep (who didn't make an appearance in the third film), there is no clear indicator of the amount of time that has passed since Toy Story 3. We can only assume Toy Story 4 is set not long after Andy donated his toys to Bonnie, as she is only just beginning kindergarten in this film. Woody, who is often left in Bonnie's closet while she chooses to play with the other toys, feels aimless and clearly isn't over being one of Andy's favourite toys.  Bon

Late Night

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I just got back from seeing Late Night and I enjoyed it! As it only came out in the UK yesterday (June 7th), I will be keeping this review spoiler-free. The film focuses on Molly Patel (Mindy Kaling, who also wrote the film's screenplay), an Indian-American chemical plant efficiency expert, who is a life-long fan of Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson), an iconic late night talk-show host. Katherine is the only woman who has ever achieved this feat. However, as Katherine finally faces the fact that her show's ratings have been declining over the past decade, one of her colleagues points out that its due to her phobia of hiring other women; her team of writers are all white middle-class men. She quickly hires Molly as a new writer. But as Katherine and her writers struggle to breathe new life into her talk-show, Molly strives to prove that she's more than a diversity hire and has what it takes to give Katherine the unique, authentic voice she knows she has. I loved the

Booksmart

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  This review contains spoilers Booksmart is a dumbfilm. See what I did there? Okay. Let's press on. I didn't really know much about the film beforehand. I just knew the basic synopsis: Best friends Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) are in their final year of high school. They are both proud academic overachievers and feminists. The day before their high school graduation, to Molly's horror, she realises that several of her classmates whom she considered stupid, or destined for unspectacular colleges due to spending their high school years partying, are actually bound for good jobs and colleges. She finds Amy and immediately tries persuading her to go out with her to school vice president/popular boy Nick's end-of-year party, out of fear of being known for doing nothing fun with her adolescence. I went into the cinema with fairly high hopes. Personally, my last few years of school were very uneventful, so I was expecting the film to resonate with