The Beguiled

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Handsome blue-belly found injured in wood
Beguiles headmistress and her all-girls brood
 

“Edwina,” says the eponymous head of the Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies (Nicole Kidman) to her obedient teacher (Kirsten Dunst), “bring me the anatomy book.” Cue the Eastenders doofs. The reason for her blunt order? One of her five students, Amy (Oona Laurence), has stumbled upon an injured Unionist soldier, Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell), while out picking mushrooms in the wood. Remember the mushrooms for they are a game-changer.
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Churchill

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Cigar-chomping PM fond of a Scotch
Fears Allied invasion will be a botch

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Think Sunday, think 9 pm, think BBC 1. For that is where director Jonathan Teplitzky (The Railway Man) and first-time screenwriter Alex von Tunzelmann’s pedestrian film belongs. Not at the Herr Flicks, not even on DVD, but just after Songs of Praise, Countryfile and Antiques Roadshow. Though, if the snooker was on BBC 2, I’d swap the green baize for this beige biography of Winston Churchill (Brian Cox) any day. Continue reading

Whitney: Can I Be Me

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Black girl from da hood who’s manufactured
Into a pop princess feels so fractured

Watching Rudi Dolezal and Nick Broomfield’s warts and all documentary about the first and only artist to release seven consecutive number one singles in the American charts (surpassing even The Beatles and the Bee Gees who mustered an impressive but second-placed six), one word struck a chord: “moldable”.

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The Book of Henry

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Supercalifragilistic Expialidocious
Not a word to describe mystic film of child precocious

Pardon the pun, but following the car crash that was Diana, you’d have thought Naomi Watts would have exercised greater caution in her choice of film roles. Alas, The Book of Henry by first-time screenwriter Gregg Hurwitz would suggest otherwise. Continue reading

The House

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Broke parents launch underground casino
To pay college fees of their bambino

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Lyrics from the opening and closing tracks of director Andrew Jay Cohen and his writing partner Brendan O’Brien’s The House (That Jack Shit Built) say it all really. “Open up the champagne” from Flo Rida’s titular track refers to Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler and their respective agents popping open a bottle of bubbly for services rendered. Alas, the only sounds emanating from the auditorium were not hoots of laughter or slaps of thighs but the roll of tumbleweeds and the whirr of air conditioning. And “Amazing, amazing, amazing” from Crown and The M.O.B.’s Love My People are three words you will never hear anyone use to describe this unfunny, unoriginal, unedifying flop. Continue reading

Baby Driver

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Baby-faced getaway driver Brighton
Rocks as noose round his neck starts to tighten

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Haunted by flashbacks of his mother’s sudden death in a car accident which, as a backseat passenger, left him with a constant, high-pitched ringing in his ears, the titular and tinnitus-stricken Baby aka Miles (Ansel Elgort) tries to outrun his demons by outrunning the cops as a getaway driver for the deadpan criminal mastermind Doc (Kevin Spacey in sparkling form). Continue reading

My Life As A Courgette

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Children left with no father or mother
Find love and support among each other

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An hour-long animation with a PG certificate. I know what you’re thinking: talking fish, feel-good songs and they all lived happily ever after. Wrong! For Claude Barras’ first full-length feature which was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe (pipped both times by the box office blockbuster that was Zootopia) deals with far more weightier issues than the bright-coloured poster and cute-sounding title suggests. Adoption, grief, loneliness, first-love and “the thing” that is sex to name that tune in five. Continue reading