This weeks episode of The Mandalorian sees the return of a classic character and the end of the season’s second act. Yes, that’s right folks, Boba Fett is back in full force.
The visual language of cinema has changed a lot since the first movies were produced, but one thing they retain is the ability to affect the people. Citizen Kane, widely regarded as one of –if not the– best films of all time, is a thinly veiled look at the life of William Randolph Hearst, and not a kind one.
The authorship of the screenplay of Citizen Kane has been a controversy for decades now. The story was initially conceived of by Welles and Herman Mankiewicz, but who wrote it? Welles? Mankiewicz? I don’t know the answer to this question but Mank, the latest film from David Fincher supposes that Mankiewicz wrote it nearly entirely, and tells the story of that man’s life during the time that he was writing it.
Is that accurate? I don’t know, but it makes for a hell of a story.
I first reviewed Absolute Drift way back in the before-times of 2015 (when I was deep in my lead-with-an-almighty-anecdote phase, apparently) after having met developer Dune of Funselektor demoing his game at a stall in Vancouver’s Chinatown. It’s clear that I loved the game (if fact, it was pretty much love at first sight, from the beginning), and this love only grew stronger as I played it for hours on PC, then on PS4.
You can imagine my glee, then, when I saw the Switch version was incoming.
Absolute Drift is the perfect game for dipping in and relaxing after a hard day, so I was curious as to whether the port would capture that again. Well, thanks to a copy provider by the publisher, I can tell you that I’ve been back in its gloriously minimalist settings for the last week, and it is somehow better than ever.
If there’s one thing we need in 2020, it’s movies with a good heart. Godmothered is one of those movies even if it takes the safest route to get there.
This weeks episode of This he Mandalorian has been one of the most anticipated of the entire season for one reason, and one reason only: it is the live-action debut of Ahsoka Tano, former Jedi and Padawan to Anakin Skywalker. A mainstay of the animated universe created by Dave Filoni, and original creation of George Lucas himself, she is one of the most popular characters in the franchise. She’s a total badass, too.
Deepa Mehta is known for directing thoughtful dramas that explore the conventions of the world, and how people don’t fit into them. Funny Boy, adapted from the novel of the same name by Shyam Selvadurai, is another of these films. Following the life of Arjie, a young gay man growing up in Sri Lanka, in a culture that does not accept homosexuality.
It is a thoughtful film and one that will be important to anyone who is seeking acceptance in a society that doesn’t accept them. It also tells a story we’ve seen before but pitched against a backdrop of the tensions between the Tamils and Sinhalese peoples that eventually led to the Sri Lankan Civil War.
It’s strange to think we might be in a world where there are people who haven’t seen a Black Beauty movie. Anna Sewell’s novel was a runaway smash hit when it was published in 1877, and has been adapted to the screen no fewer than four times. This most recent adaptation takes the story, we all know and love and transplants it from the United Kingdom to the United States, and from 1877 to 2020.
What makes a classic story a classic story though is that you can tell it any way you want, and adapt it to any time you want, and it will still teach you the same lessons. Black Beauty has always been more than just a simple story of a boy and his horse, and the ideas of kindness and loyalty that the book originally championed are still here in this new adaptation.
When Chadwick Boseman passed away this summer, it cast a new light on all of his recent work. Not only did he work nearly constantly while also suffering from stage four cancer, but he also took the time to inhabit meaningful African American characters and to bring African American stories to the screen. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has a hell of a lot of expectations, being both produced by Denzel Washington and adapted from the August Wilson play of the same name, and that’s before you consider that it is Boseman’s last film.
So it’s a good thing that its a good movie then.
As of this week, we’re officially at the halfway point of this new season of The Mandalorian, and so far each little side quest has revealed something about the bad guys master plans. This week is no different, and it brings back Carl Weathers, Gina Carano, and Horacio Sanz as Greef Karga, Cara Dune, and Mythrol from season one.
Here’s where I admit that I never watched The Christmas Chronicles. The response, at the time, was mixed and very generally speaking Christmas movies in November are not my favourite thing. Now that there is a sequel coming out I took the time to watch them both and you know what? You guys were wrong. The Christmas Chronicles is delightful, and while it definitely loses something by being a sequel The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two is too.
The Star Wars Holiday Special is, in a word, infamous. It has all the hallmarks of a cheap TV cash in, including guest stars and musical numbers, but over time it has become a cult classic. First traded on VHS bootlegged from TV, and more recently traded around the internet via sharing sites and BitTorrent.
When Disney+ was announced to launch with a large cross-section of all of the vast libraries of film they own including an entire section devoted to Star Wars, many hoped that the Holiday Special would be cleaned up and released. Those hoes have not been answered, but Disney did hear the fans because instead, they have created The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, which takes some of the elements of the original, updates them with the new characters, and then uses a magical MacGuffin to take a ride through the history of Star Wars.
It is, to put it simply, a lot of fun.
This week the father and the child end up on an ocean planet and join up with some familiar faces in what might be the most intense episode of the series to date. It turns out that Fan Service: A Star Wars Story leans way harder into the Dave Filoni created television shows than the films. Also, one revelation that I find super intriguing. Let’s take a closer look at The Heiress.
It would be easy for the story of an ageing former prostitute who looks after the children of other prostitutes, and who forms a bond with a young Senegalese boy, to be a little too saccharine. In the hands of a lesser director, or a with a lesser cast, that might certainly be the case. As it stands the film toes that line but doesn’t cross it, thanks largely to Sophia Loren and young star Ibrahima Gueye.
Recently, in reviewing the recent Disney+ / National Geographic series The Right Stuff, I commented that while it was competently made, the new adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s seminal book didn’t really bring anything new to the table, or the story. In hindsight, that may have been unfair. It’s true that the story is not new and that I have seen it before, but it did at least bring us the story of seven men rather than seven heroes.
The Real Right Stuff, a documentary about the same seven men and the Mercury Space Program, is in some ways a perfect follow up to that series. Using previously unreleased stories, audio recordings, and footage, it takes an in-depth look at the first American men to fly in space and what they had to go through to get there, and casts them once again as heroes.
In effect, the mini-series and this documentary form two parts of a whole. The former giving us a closer look at the men themselves, and the latter giving us a more complete overview of the mercury program itself.
Appalachia is a region that has an image on the world stage that is coloured by stereotype. Poor white people. Bootlegging, moonshining, drug running, and everything that leaps to mind when you think of the movie Deliverance. It is, of course, more than that. There are good people there and culture that has a deep respect for family and loyalty.
Left behind in recent years as the industry that once drove the region gives way to resources being imported, and jobs drying up. There’s a vast amount of interesting societal issues at play in the region, and one that I am sure is fascinating to read about in the book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Written in 2016 by JD Vance, the New York Times best-selling book has proven divisive, with fans and detractors alike claiming it either knows everything or is already out of date.
Unfortunately, much of the examination of class struggles in the region is basically ignored by this film.