Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Evan Rachel Wood
Director: Eric Appel
Writer: Eric Appel, ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, Swiss Army Man) leads the cast in the not-so-true to life biopic of the ever weird and wonderful Al Yankovic. Featuring most of Yankovic’s hit parody covers, and one stellar “original song”, Weird takes audiences on the ride of their lives. Comedic performances aplenty and hilarious sequences that will have audiences roaring with laughter from start to finish. 

Radcliffe holds the entire film together with his fantastical performance and is supported wonderfully by Evan Rachel Wood (True Blood, Westworld) who boasts a fascinating portrayal of rising pop star Madonna. Yankovic‘s band mates are led by Spencer Treat Clarke (Agents of Shield, Animal Kingdom) and don’t miss a beat, literally. The film is jam packed with side splitting celebrity cameos, some more surprising than others. 

The script bends the truth within an inch of its life but the film doesn’t suffer for it, it’s as wacky and wonderful as you’d expect a film about Weird Al to be. With emotional beats which make no sense and drug infused madness that make too much sense. Not enough can be said about Radcliffe’s fascinating performance, an actor that is always worth watching and makes inspired choices in the projects he takes on. When first announced this film seemed like career suicide but Radcliffe manages to pull the whole thing together with style and complete madness. 

Ridiculous, hilarious and in an industry currently obsessed with deep, meaningful and at times harmful biopics, Weird does something fresh, innovative and down right brilliant. Weird is an immediate cult classic and should be seen.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

Fantastic Beasts and the Secrets of Dumbledore

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Mads Mikkelsen, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Callum Turner
Director: David Yates
Writer: Steve Kloves (Story by JK Rowling)

It feels like a century since we last went on an adventure with Newt (Redmayne), Tina (Katherine Waterstone), Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob (Fogler). At the end of Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald we left the gang in Paris where they fought Grindelwald (then portrayed by Johnny Depp) in an elaborate battle, and in the process lost one of their own, Leta LeStrange (Zoe Kravitz). 

In a dramatic cliff hanger, Credence (Miller) was left traumatised when he found out he was in fact part of the Dumbledore bloodline, a plot point that fans across the world questioned with strong arguments based on the already established history of the Dumbledore family. 

The third instalment of the supposedly five-part series has had a lot of obstacles to overcome along the way. After Warner Bros. made the decision to recast Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald with the highly celebrated Mads Mikkelsen, the production was put on hold. The production team then recruited Potter favourite, screenplay writer Steve Kloves to take over from JK Rowling who penned the first two instalments. JK Rowling herself was then centre of controversy, leading to actress Katherine Waterstone distancing herself from the role. And, if that wasn’t enough, in the weeks leading up to the films release, Ezra Miller has been arrested, restrained and the topic of conversation relating to an assault accusation. 

So to say the film has been through the ringer is an understatement. 

The second part of the spin-off franchise (Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindlewald) received varied reviews and led people to lose faith in the series. Leading fans to question its position in Warner Bros. Wizard World Cinematic Universe. 

Has Secrets of Dumbledore done enough to restore that faith? Probably not. Is it more enjoyable than it’s prequel? Most definitely. 

I suppose it makes sense for me to approach the Grindelwald in the room first. As a life long Johnny Depp fan it is going to take me a few watches to get used to the dramatic change, not only in actor, but in character. Mads Mikkelsen is a fantastic actor, there’s no doubt about that, but his stripped back, sinister take on the super villain is a completely new vision compared to Depp’s crazed, evil portrayal. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the performance, if Mikkelsen had owned the role from the start it would have worked a charm, it just seems like quite a dramatic jump from what we saw of Depp previously. 

Jude Law and Eddie Redmayne don’t miss the target in their wholesome portrayals of the two main characters. Introducing Richard Coyle as Aberforth Dumbledore was inspired casting, he embodies the inner turmoil of the character that we originally witnessed in Deathly Hallows part 2. The return of Jacob and Queenie gave the film the softer touch it needed, it’s a lot of doom and gloom without the forbidden love story that the Muggle and witch have to tell.

Despite the title “Secrets of Dumbledore” being fairly ambiguous, considering there are three Dumbledore’s in this film, I was expecting more from Credence. I always enjoy Ezra Miller’s performances (despite his behaviour off screen) and I’d have liked to have seen more of his characters tortured tale.

In the same way as the two previous films, the plot is over complicate and attempts to follow the story of too many characters, leaving the audience loosing track of who’s who and where everyone is. 

Kloves managed to pull the body of the film back to the original brief, this film is not short of a Fantastic Beast or two. Teddy the Niffler and Picket the Bowtruckle are, without a doubt, scene stealers. And thanks to the improved visual effects, both have the desired presence in every shot, resulting in (most) audience members audibly “aww-ing” every time we see them. 

Character developments are both crucially important and feverishly risky when writing prequels, even more so when telling stories of characters that are so incredibly beloved as those in the Potter-verse. I think Kloves and Rowling have managed to hone in on the character relationships and personalities enough to keep audiences watching and (in my case) hoping for more, whilst sprinkling the script with enough fan service to keep the Potter-heads interested.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, anyone expecting these films to be as good as the Harry Potter series are fooling themselves, but it’s worth a watch and it’s redeeming qualities from the second film allow it to captivate the audience, heart warming, shocking at times and most importantly, entertaining. 

I can’t wait to see what’s next for Newt, Teddy and Picket. 

Fantastic Beasts and the Secrets of Dumbledore


Cast: Peter Dinklage, Hayley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Ben Mendelsohn
Director: Joe Wright
Writer: Erica Schmidt

Based on the original 1897 stage play from Edmond Rostand titled Cyrano de Bergerac, director Joe Wright (Atonement, Darkest Hour) brings the retelling of the story of Cyrano (Dinklage), a physically challenged rogue who is madly in love with Roxanne (Bennett). Roxanne is a traditional romantic who falls head over heels for Christian (Harris Jr.) when she spots him in a crowd. What Christian has in looks, he lacks in articulation and with the help of Cyrano manages to win Roxanne’s heart through letters. Determined to defeat Cyrano, is De Guiche (Mendelsohn) who will do everything within his power to claim Roxanne as his own. 

With the use of brilliantly beautiful costumes, makeup and scenery, Cyrano captures the heart of the audience. The intelligent use of comedy and powerful dramatic prose allows the characters to drive the story whilst being perfectly accompanied by beautiful music. 

The truly wonderful cast is lead by Dinklage who manages to portray the heart ache and powerful willingness of Cyrano whilst being charming and endearing. Bennett delivers a delicate and original portrayal of romanticist Roxanne. Managing to be both charming and emotional in a career defining performance. Supported by Harris Jr and Mendolhson, the cast is witty, clever and joyous. 

Cyrano boasts a selection of hilarious character interactions as well as powerfully emotional dramatic scenes leaving the audience thoroughly entertained. 

Nominated at both BAFTA and the Academy Awards, Cyrano will be released in cinemas on February 25th, with select preview screenings on Valentines Day, and deserves to be seen on a big screen. 


A Quiet Place II

Director: John Krasinski
Screenwriter: John Krasinski, Scott Beck
Starring: Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds

John Krasinski’s long awaited sequel to his 2018 hit is finally getting its cinema release in the upcoming weeks. The anticipation is high for this one and rightly so, the nail biting thriller packs as big a punch as its predecessor thanks to the intense plot and scene stealing performances.

The film opens with a flashback to Day 1 when we get a look into what actually happened to cause the apocalyptical world they now find themselves living in. In a traditional American town the locals gather for a little league baseball game, parents sat in the bleachers chat to each other and we are briefly introduced to Emmett (Cillian Murphy). As Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) and Evelyn’s son, Marcus (Noah Jupe), steps up to bat, everyone is distracted by a somewhat meteor falling from the sky and panic breaks out. I absolutely loved this opening, it gave a distinct feeling of what was at stake whilst this small, friendly town is under attack.

A time jump then takes us back to where the first film left off, 400+ days into the apocalypse, Lee Abbott has been killed by the monsters and Evelyn, Marcus, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and their baby brother are leaving the farm that has been their home for the past year to try and find help. In doing so they come across Emmett, who gives them shelter for one night in the hope that they will leave him in peace the following day.
Twists and turns result in the group being separated from one another, Emmett and Regan find themselves seeking aid from another group of survivors whilst Evelyn goes out alone to try and find medical supplies.

The cast is flawless, strong performances all round, which is a testament to all involved as it’s such a small cast. Blunt gives another incredibly well crafter performance as Evelyn, proving that a mother will do anything she can to protect her children. For me personally, the stand out performance was from Jupe, early on in the film he stands on a bear trap and the single scream of pain he lets out is painfully convincing, he’s definitely a young actor to watch out for. Simmonds also held her own, her performance was equally as strong as it was in the first film, and she is given a lot more to do in the sequel as the main brunt of the plot revolves around her and the decisions she makes.

I really loved the film, despite being incredibly nervous whilst watching it, it hit all the right beats thanks to it’s creative direction and beautiful cinematography (shout out to Polly Morgan who managed to capture the reality of the situation through her stunning imagery). The score also held the audience in suspense throughout the entire piece.

A Quiet Place II is getting its well deserved cinema release on 3rd June 2020.

A Quiet Place II

The Way Way Back

Director: Nat Faxton, Jim Rash
Screenwriter: Nat Faxton, Jim Rash
Starring: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell, Liam James

The Way Way Back is one of those films that will be remembered for being thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. We follow Duncan (Liam James) a young teenage boy who is struggling with his new step-father Trent (Steve Carell) and step-sister Steph (Zoe Levin) imposing on his family after his parents divorce. The newly formed family drive to Trent’s beach house for the approaching hot summer as an attempt to bond and act as a normal family, only for things not to be as perfect as they hoped.

Duncan struggles to fit in and being surrounded by beautiful sun kissed teenagers is instantly a problem for him, so on a solo day trip to explore the town he bumps into Owen (Sam Rockwell) and develops and unlikely bond. On another exploration Duncan finds himself in the company of Owen again, only this time in the Water Wizz aquatic park where Owen is the manager. Duncan finds himself happy for the first time since the start of the summer and begins spending most of his free time at Water Wizz with Owen.

Set against the bright sunshine of the idyllic vacation town, Duncans internal grief for his parents deceased relationship is told through the contrasting colour palette and dramatic differences between Duncan and the majority of the other characters. The screenplay is jam packed with juicy dialogue, all written to be witty and charming and each line is delivered perfectly by its corresponding performer. Sam Rockwell’s portrayal of the slightly useless yet extremely loveable theme park manager, Owen, is so on point it makes the film addictive. Living in the neighbouring beach house to Duncan and his family is fun loving Betty (Janney) who also carries the film with her witty remarks and cheeky sense of humour.

From start to finish the film is highly relatable, even for an audience member who hasn’t been through those exact events in life, the overall feeling was one of reality. The moment Duncan is forced to go to the beach with Steph (his new step-sister) and her friends of beautifully preened teenagers it becomes instantly an awareness of age, awkward moments and development for Duncan. It truly highlights the ridiculousness of division within teenagers and the effects it has on them. Steph is a spoilt brat, Duncan in a recluse, they are so different from each other than the idea of them hanging out on the beach is ridiculous.

It’s rarely seen in coming of ages films that the first storyline the audience is introduced to is one of the supporting roles, the beauty of the script for The Way Way Down is that you’re led to believe it’s going to be a story of the parents relationships with the children, when in reality it is Duncan’s story from the off. He spends the entire film learning small, but very important things about himself including talking to a girl for the first time alone, making new friends, his first job and finally his first kiss. The turning point for the plot is when he learns that he has been right not to trust his step-father all along. Finding a way to tell his mother what he’s found out without breaking her heart seems to be an impossible task for Duncan but one he manages to fulfil.

The film showcases some breathtaking moments of characterisation that drive directly from the powerful performances of the cast. Toward the end of the film Trent starts to square up to Duncan after he runs off to say goodbye to his friends at the water park and Owen takes this as an opportunity to put Trent in his place and stands between the step-son and step-father. Rockwell gives a slight motion of his head and a tiny bit of eye contact that implies the shift in responsibility for the boy; it’s enough to give anyone a lump in the throat. This is just one of many times the film reminds the audience of the power of companionship and loyalty between friends, it’s powerful, beautiful and above all else completely relevant.

With an absolutely stellar cast and a screenplay to match, The Way Way Back holds an impression on its audience and enlightens all watching with a strong sense of empathy and passion. An absolutely must watch.

The Way Way Back

Films that support the Black Lives Matter movement

We live in a world where the only thing we get for free is our education. It is all around us for us to take whenever we want, on whatever subject we want, whether it’s reading articles, books, watching videos, admiring art or listening to music.

For me, I find I constantly learn from watching films about real life and real people. So in an attempt to pass on the education I have compiled a list of films that I believe will educate you if you feel disconnected or unaware of the reason behind the protests and demonstrations taking place around the world to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Hate U Give (2018)

(Available on Sky Movies and Now TV)

Based on the 2017 young adult novel of the same name, The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr (Amandla Stenberg), a young black girl from Garden Heights who is trying to find her place in a society. Starr attends a highly respected, and predominantly white, high school where she tries to fit in knowing she is different. She lives in a complicated world where her family are learning and growing whilst trying to heal from past events. One night changes everything for her and she has to make the decision of who she is going to be.

Every scene in this film is entirely relevant for the situations taking place around the world at the moment. I feel so much more aware of the position people have to try and live in thanks to this film, it’s brilliantly made and perfectly told with outstanding performances from everyone involved.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

(Available on Netflix and Amazon Prime)

12 Years a Slave is a biographical account of Solomon Northups (Chiwetel Ejiofor) life whilst he was working as a slave on the cotton plantations of Louisiana. After being tricked into the slave trade by two conmen in New York he becomes the property of slave traders and spends 12 years fighting to return to his wife and two children. 

A powerful period drama based on true events and educating its audience of the reality of the slave trade from the 1800’s, 12 Years a Slave is an absolute masterpiece and deserves to be watched. 

BlackKKlansman (2018)

(Available on Sky Movies and Now TV)

Spike Lee’s 2018 historical crime drama follows Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), an African-American policeman from California, who successfully manages to infiltrate the Klu Klux Klan with the help of his white Jewish colleague Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver).

Set in the early 1970’s, BlackkKlansman showcases the level of racist acts that took place in the hands of the KKK, whilst highlighting the activists that took to the streets to fight for their freedom. 

Mudbound (2017)

(Available on Netflix) 

When two soldiers return home to Mississippi after World War II and both land jobs working on a farm they encounter multiple levels and acts of racism and have to learn to deal with their differences despite their similar past.

Absolutely jam packed with stunning performances and a career best from Mary J. Blige, Mudbound is an eyeopening drama telling a difficult story from multiple different sides. 

Fruitvale Station (2013)

(Available on Netflix) 

An intimate look at the last day of Oscar Grant III’s (Michael B. Jordan) life after an incident took place on the BART train on New Years Eve, 2008, resulting in a policeman shooting Oscar in the back. A story of love, family, friendship and injustice told beautifully through Ryan Coogler’s writing and direction. 

Full of outstanding performances from both Jordan and his supporting cast, made up of Octavia Spencer as Oscar’s mother and Melonie Diaz as Oscar’s girlfriend.

Cooglar’s work, alongside the acting talent of Michael B. Jordan, is changing the film industry for the better with his inclusion of black stories and casting of African-American talent. His other works include Creed and Black Panther.

6. Hairspray (2007)

(Available on Amazon Prime) 

Telling the story of Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonski), a young white girl with big dreams of becoming a dancer but who’s priorities change as she comes to realise the level of systemic racism within the entertainment industry. Full of inspiring songs telling the stories of the black community of Baltimore, Maryland in the 1960’s, Hairspray is surprisingly relevant today with terminology like ‘integration’ ‘checkerboard’ ‘negro day’ being regularly used throughout. 

Queen Latifa gives a career best performance as Motormouth Maybelle, the mother of young black dancers who are trying to achieve an impossible goal of appearing as regulars on the Corny Collins Show, and gives a groundbreaking rendition of “I Know Where I’ve Been”. 

The following films are, unfortunately, not currently available on UK streaming platforms, however I highly recommend watching them if the opportunity arises. 

I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

Documentary from writer James Baldwin of the story of race in modern America, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. 

Harriet (2019)

The biographical story of Harriet Tubman who fought her way across country to release her family from the binds of slavery. Starring Cynthia Erivo and Janelle Monae. 

Fences (2016) 

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis star in this stage to screen adaptation about working-class lives of African-Americans in 1950’s America.

The Help (2011)

Oscar winning drama based on the book of the same title, with a star studded cast including Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and Emma Stone, telling the accounts of the lives of “The Help” during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. 

Hidden Figures (2016)

During the 1970’s NASA space programme, Hidden Figures follows the lives and careers of three female African-American mathematicians as they face work place discrimination. Starring Taraji P. Hensen, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae. 

The Colour Purple (1985)

Opera Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg star in this tale of a black Southern woman who struggles with her life living with her abusive father. 

Selma (2014)

The historical drama telling the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s campaign to secure equal voting rights in 1960’s Alabama.

Malcom X (1992)

Spike Lee directs Denzel Washington in the biopic of the influential Black Nationalists leader’s life.

Detroit (2017)

Katherine Bigelow directs this crime drama telling the story of the Detroit riots of 1967. Starring John Boyega, Anthony Mackie and Will Poulter. 

Just Mercy (2019)

Michael B. Jordan and Jamiee Fox star in this courtroom drama about the civil rights defence attorney, Bryan Stevenson, who’s work included trying to free a wrongly convicted death row prisoner. 

Queen & Slim (2019)

A ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ style drama starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith following a couples first date after a police officer wrongfully pulls them over.

Films that support the Black Lives Matter movement

How Do You Know

Director: James L. Brooks

Reese Witherspoon
Paul Rudd
Owen Wilson
Jack Nicholson

“We are all just one small adjustment from making our lives work”

How Do You Know tells the story of Lisa (Reese Witherspoon), a professional soft ball player who doesn’t make the cut for this seasons national team, and George (Paul Rudd) an employee of his fathers company who has made a mistake during his employment and now faces the federal courts. Both characters are down on their luck, making bad relationship choices and ignoring all the advice given to them by their friends and colleagues. Thanks to a mutual friend the two main characters stumble upon each other for an awkward first date. 

After Lisa’s boyfriend, Matty (Owen Wilson), overreacts when she has George at their apartment for a drink she ends up back at George’s house where they stay up all night putting the world to rights and spend the night bonding and building a much needed friendship. 

Both Witherspoon and Rudd give convincing performances as two incredibly charming leads who, whilst dealing with negative life events, find solace in each others company. Both characters go on journeys of self discovery without realising it and discover new things about themselves and each other as the plot unfolds. 

The film bids a strong supporting cast from the likes of Owen Wilson; who plays a cocky, yet very funny, professional baseball player. Alongside Wilson is Katherine Hahn who plays George’s heavily pregnant assistant who wants to help him in ways she’s unable to without putting her job at risk, and Jack Nicholson (a regular in James L. Brooks’ films) who plays George’s high powered father who puts the companies reputation in front of the needs of his son. 

The supporting characters aid the plot in suitable ways to constantly bring the lead characters down, which encourages the audience to root for George and Lisa as both individuals (Georges personal issues with his father) and as a couple (Lisa’s unstable relationship with Matty). This is reflected in the writing which is padded out comfortably with witty dialogue and creates likeable characters within both roles. 

Written and directed by James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, As Good As It Gets) the screenplay is witty and entertaining with constant character development encouraging a well paced plot. It holds a feminist streak right from the start with comments about women in sport being too emotional and Wilson’s character making male/female comparisons with regards to their professions. This is an element that helps bring Lisa to the forefront of the film despite there being two leads, an unseen skill in romcom’s a lot of the time. Brooks has a supreme talent to write in shocking moments for the sake of entertainment, this film has a few of them, including the moment that makes the audience believe (for a good 5-10 seconds) that Jack Nicholson is the father of Katherine Hahn’s new child, until the moment of faith is broken by the entrance of the real father – a brilliant moment of comedic value. The ending felt a bit ploddy but that’s often the case with films of this predictable nature, shaving 20 minutes off the run time wouldn’t have harmed it in anyway. 

If like me this film completely passed you by when it was first released back in 2010, it’s good watching for a cosy night in and will make you feel ok about things not always going exactly as they were planned. 

How Do You Know

Dune – First Look

After completing Frank Herbert’s gigantic sci-fi novel for the first time this time last year my excitement for this film grew to a gargantuan level. Not only is Dune being directed by one of my favourite directors Denis Villeneuve (Arrival is in my top 5 films of all time) but it also features a selection of some of my favourite actors. I have been a fan of Timothee Chalamet since his great supporting performance in Greta Gerwigs 2017 hit, Lady Bird and thus have now seen every one of his films multiple times, he’s a force to be reckoned with, with a range above any young actor of his calibre. Alongside Chalamet are many other big screen favourites of mine, Oscar Isaac (Star Wars), Josh Brolin (Avengers Infinity War and Endgame), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Jason Mamoa (Game of Thrones) and of course the incomparable Zandaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming and Far From Home). It’s just an absolute power force of talent and massive performers who are undoubtably going to bring so much life to this epic story. With cinematographer Greig Fraser (Rogue One, The Mandalorian), who is proving himself to be one of the best sci-fi cinematographers of the age, in the mix we really are being set up for a Christmas release that could be something incredibly special. So, to say I’m excited would just be a total understatement.

Dune bring up economical, political and environmental issues that was way ahead of its  time with an original publication release date in 1965, a time when people chose to ignore these important themes if they were able to. I’m very excited to see what modern cultural references Villeneuve will be ballsy enough to include in the film (without straying from the original source material, of course).

Chalamet is portraying the role of Paul Atreides, the son of the great ruler of Arakis, Duke Leto (portrayed by Isaac) who must overcome challenges expected of a young heir to a powerful thrown, and eventually takes on challenges unbeknown even to him. Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica, is played by Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible, The Greatest Showman) and has to aid her son in the decisions he makes whilst dealing with her own demons and strong abilities she must keep hidden.
Arakis faces challenges which all come from the desired ownership of Spice, the most valuable substance in their universe, causing debate and battle between different settlements.

That’s probably the most basic summery of the plot I can give you without either confusing everyone reading or giving away way too much of the plot. 

It really is a mind blowing novel and it’s clear that sci-fi greats like Star Wars, Stargate, Alien, Blade Runner and so many other beloved fictional worlds have taken their inspiration and influence from Herbert’s masterpiece. I can’t wait to see this work of art on the big screen.

These newly released production stills are all we need to increase the hype, I honestly haven’t stopped looking at them since they made their highly anticipated appearance on social media yesterday.


Dune is currently scheduled to be released on December 18th, all being well and the world reawakens in time, it’s going to be a very happy Christmas.

Dune – First Look

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Dir: Cathy Yan

Margot Robbie
Ewan McGregor
Rosie Perez
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Ella Jay Basco


To say I’m not a DC fan would be the biggest understatement of the century, I am yet to enjoy a DC comics film that isn’t the Joker (and lets face it, Joker doesn’t count as a “DC comics film”) or Shazam! (and I really only enjoyed Shazam! because it was so dumb). I find the stories painfully predictable, the overuse of slow motion painfully forced and the character development just painful.

It gives me great joy to say Birds of Prey is an exception.

Set after 2016’s Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey tells the story of Harley Quinn dealing with her recent break up from Mr. J (The Joker) and realising that without the protection of her boyfriend, who also happens to be the most feared villain in Gotham, she is vulnerable. And it just so turns out that many, many people in Gotham want her head on a sharp stick. In a bid to buy back her protection she finds a group of super kick-ass women to fight her corner. There is a background plot involving some valuable diamond or something but I kind of didn’t care much about that, I just wanted to hear Robbie’s eccentric accent and watch some women kick some male ass.

Margot Robbie’s performance as “the one Harley Quinn” is almost addictive to watch, something I don’t remember at all from Suicide Squad. She’s quirky, messed up and totally reckless all in a weirdly endearing, captivating way.

The plot is patchy in a few areas but that’s expected for me, as it’s a film adapted from a series of comics I know next to nothing about. The introduction to the new characters could have been a bit stronger, it took me a really long time to work out who the actual “Birds of Prey” were. It helped that I had read before seeing the film that Harley herself isn’t actually part of that group. I wasn’t expecting the GCDP detective to be a Bird so that was a nice surprise at the end, they also totally got me with the surprise reveal of Black Canary’s vocal powers, similar to that of Banshee in Marvel’s X-Men.

Ewan McGregor as super villain Roman Sionis was comical and camp with enough fright in his character to terrorise the audience. The face slicing was like something straight out of a Quentin Tarantino film and was quite simply, gross.

My heart literally ached when that delicious all day breakfast sandwich hit the floor and I found myself aww-ing at Bruce, the domesticated Hyena. The film is totally new and cleverly put together with some whoop-ass women at the helm, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Queen & Slim

Director: Melina Matsoukas
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith 

When I first saw the trailer for Queen & Slim I thought it wasn’t going to be something that would interest me in the slightest; gun violence, police chases, and a culture I can’t relate to in any way. After watching it tonight I am angry at myself for the assumption that not knowing something about a topic makes it a write off. Even if you have no previous knowledge or understanding about gun laws and equal rights in the US you should go and see this film, actually especially if you know nothing about those things. 

Queen & Slim tells the story of two young people reaching out to one another at a time when all they crave is companionship. On their first date in a run down diner they discuss their lives, families, beliefs and food preferences, like on any first date the atmosphere is slightly awkward yet charming.
Jodie Turner-Smiths’s character, Queen, makes it perfectly clear that the date was simply that, just dinner with no strings attached. On their way home the two are pulled over by a policeman for simply forgetting to indicate when changing lanes on an empty road. This encounter takes a turn for the worst when Slim is asked to step out of the vehicle by the policeman and one thing leads to another. In a bid of self defence Slim ends up shooting the policeman dead. 

The two decide their best chances are to go on the run. 

The film follows them on their journey in a beautiful homage to that of Bonnie and Clyde (1967). As they come across allies along the way and find moments where they are able to enjoy each others company and develop a loving, caring and truthful relationship for one another. 

The performances from the entire cast are second to none. Passion oozes from this film and it is brutally clear that it comes from the heart with evidence of past experiences from the writer Lena Waithe apparent. In an interview Waithe has admitted to having no trouble finding a studio to get this film made, it is apparent that this film has a time and place and that is here and now. 

Daniel Kaluuya is an actor I am thoroughly fascinated by, he has the ability to project realism into every performance and with that allows the audience to understand exactly what it is he’s going through in every single scene. Queen & Slim is no exception. 

I hadn’t heard of Jodie Turner-Smith until this film, taking on this role in her first acting performance must have been undeniably terrifying, it holds such importance to so many people and she carried it off with pure grace and intelligence.

The film is quick paced and intense. The intensity is in places it needs to be and when it’s not needed a smooth, calm approach is taken. With stunning landscape shots of the southern states of America and a compelling soundtrack to match, it really is a visual masterpiece. 

Cinema has the power to move us, to enlighten us, to provide us with much needed escapism but above all it has the infinite power to educate us. Queen & Slim educated me on something I didn’t think I needed to know about because it doesn’t effect me. White privilege coming into play, yet again. I have a lot to learn and I know that now. 

Congratulations to everyone involved. Queen & Slim is an absolute must see. 

Queen & Slim