I, Tonya

A terrific triumph of willpower in a doomed town of malice and spite.

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Raised by a competition addict, Tonya had no choice but to sidle into the limelight as her love for figure skating became an all-consuming and career defining movement that resulted in sizable disappointment from a young age.

Despite the underlying inevitability of ruined success, this film has a hopeful plot that allows the audience to feel optimistic for a character who has to overcome the odds to achieve her goals in spite of the world’s onlooking perceptions.

Director, Craig Gillespie, stirs away from the usual film formula, choosing instead to present this story in an interview format, which combines the stories of past and present to the give the audience a well-rounded explanation of this truly unique plot, that is, after all, based upon a true story.

Due to its unusual format, the film can feel a little lackluster at times, with the chopping of character dialogue often adding nothing but confusion to the mix.

Though these momentary lapses can act as dissuasive stints, luckily the cast, fronted by Margot Robbie, manages to steal back the attention by giving performances which are intriguingly robust throughout.


Black Panther

Stealth is not only important for a superhero, but it is a way of life for whomever finds themselves to be the King of Wakanda.

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T’ Challa must take over the throne in the midst of his fathers death. However, it soon becomes clear that the transition from prince to king is not a straightforward one, as his ruling is thrown into question when a long-lost relative comes to town.

Despite being under the Marvel label, this film has a very different imprint; focusing more on the dynamic of the plot and the subtleties of the storyline and less than on the all too familiar rampage of superhero action scenes.

Though the film does stand out from the usual Marvel protocol, some elements still remain, such as the quality and creativity of the cinematography which are of a superb standard.

It is clear from the outstanding reviews and appraisals for this film, both by critics and throughout this year’s awards season that the film has impressed audiences in their millions and continues to break both cultural and cinematic barriers alike.


The Shape of Water

An aquatic quest that dives into unchartered waters.

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Whilst working night shifts as a cleaner at a high-security government laboratory, Elisa (Sally Hawkins) discovers the unthinkable as she stumbles across a water-born creature like no other.

As a mute, the character of Elisa has zero dialogue throughout this frighteningly original plot, making the quiet silence of the film uniquely eerie whilst still unfathomably intriguing.

Despite this lack of verbal discourse, the film does not suffer from a lack of communication due to the addition of subtitles.

Director, Guillermo Del Toro, is able to further instigate a sense of context by surrounding the main character with a support system of actors, thereby adding both authenticity and understanding.

Though the film is excellently produced and artistically executed, the plot itself baffles in its direction with its haphazard storylines which gives way to disorientated confusion.


The Mercy

An oceanic adventure that ends in a wave of merciless peril.

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Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) is determined to be the first novice sailor to win the Golden Globe Race, but his admirable motivation soon becomes a distant memory when he finds himself alone on a yacht in the middle of the ocean with little hope of winning.

Despite being based upon the true tale of Crowhurst’s 1968 defeat, Director James Marsh reconstructs every inch of this dramatic demise with a touch of fictional elegance which allows for a fairytale discovery that leaves the historical facts trailing behind.

With Firth taking on such a delicate and somewhat lonely character, the expectation of emotional success could be comprised, but Firth manages to excel in this department by showcasing his tumultuous talent which radiates throughout the film, creating an unrelenting emotional connection between actor and audience.

Though at its core this film is riddled with sadness and defeat, it still stands as a testament to a man willing to risk everything to pursue his dream of adventure.



Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Justice has never looked better in the headlights.

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After her daughter was raped, murdered and then burnt, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) takes the law into her own hands when she puts up three controversial billboards questioning the local police forces’ lackluster investigations.

Though the film is incredibly serious in its nature, the ludicrously wonderful levels of sarcasm and general humor injected into the script provide ample relief for what is a painfully heart-wrenching tragedy.

At the heart of this comic relief are Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson (Chief Willoughby) who take the craft of acting to a new level, with beautifully sensitive performances that give their characters a quiet sensitivity which is echoed throughout the storyline of the film.

Regardless of this films inherent delicacy, as a stand-alone piece of cinema, it is a spectacular culmination of small-town community and human compassion.



Little is the new big.

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Financially strapped for cash, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to take part in the latest scientific breakthrough; downsizing.

The logistics of this film are somewhat tricky when big meets small, but director Alexander Payne, seems to take on the challenge as he creates a world that is befitting to the characteristics of all sizes.

Though this film has the makings of greatness, unfortunately, the plot falls short of its potential as the story escalates into a battle of confused madness, which almost seems to run away with itself, all whilst leaving the audience behind in a muddled haze.

Even the quick wit of Christoph Waltz (Dusan) isn’t enough to save this film from its epic decline, but it does at least provide some comic relief from an unrelenting plot disaster.


The Post

Uncomfortably accurate in this time of political unease.

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After the papers release incriminating documents regarding the government’s involvement in the Vietnamese war, President Nixon takes on The Washington Post in an attempt to stifle the freedom of the press in a lawsuit like no other.

Director, Steven Spielberg, manages to adapt this significant moment of journalistic history into a stark tale of government intervention which hits at the very core of politics today.

With Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks at the helm of this non-fiction escapade, the film is given a subtle sense of maturity that adds to the already beautifully constructed frenzy of the plot.

In essence, the film is a realization of the economics of journalism, which strives to serve the governed, rather than the government.