BlacKkKlansman (2018)

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Picking up lots of potential awards season heat and rightfully so, this Spike Lee joint sizzles with a totally resonant consciousness, one that has you feeling both amused and angered by the racial divides seen on screen.

Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) wants to be a cop and make a difference. He gets hired by the Colorado Springs police department and after a while he makes a call to the Ku Klux Klan and pretends to be an angry racist white man to infiltrate and find out about any possible racially motivated attacks. Detective Zimmerman (Adam Driver) takes the mantle of Ron and goes along to KKK meet ups and finds out there could be trouble brewing.

The Ron Stallworth brothers story cleverly mixes a healthy amount of identity comedy and ridiculing the white cloaked members of the KKK. It also is a narrative that can make you feel on edge, uneasy I’d go as far to say as well, flashes of nasty racism and worrying statements uttered that are clearly meant to echo what has been said by Trump’s America all do their job in creating this timely cooking pot of tensions and prejudice.

This is never a film that pokes its finger at white people being the whole issue and painting them with the same brush, which a lesser movie could easily have done. We’re shown a comradery with most of the figures in the police force; a brilliantly applause worthy scene in a bar near the end shows this tight unit at play.

Spike Lee gives this movie a hell of a lot of style, as Ron and student president Patrice talk about black icons, the film shows Pam Grier and Shaft posters, these on-screen billboards and newspaper cutouts all add a punchy visual way of storytelling. Barry Alexander Brown utilises some enhancing cuts, a frequent amount of overlapping edits further add to the 70’s set world. There’s a excellent smooth dolly shot of Ron and Patrice and a burning cross in the final moments which is spooky, coolly spine-tingling and damn effective in mimicking a style straight out of those 70’s movies they were chatting about.

As the actor-led story finishes, we see clashes in Charlottesville from 2017, which really boils the blood and becomes a sobering, stark reminder of how far America truly has to go to be the great nation Donald Trump thinks it is. When the screen went black, the audience was movingly silent causing one of the most immersive reactions I’ve felt in the cinema for a while.

‘BlacKkKlansman’ is a hugely powerful film that has brilliant 1970 production design but sadly sounds like it’s come right out of now. The issue of racial struggles in America and the questions of how it’s still going on are all expertly scripted and performed in this comedy drama.

8/10

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Ten from the Bottom ’16

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Well thank goodness 2016 is nearly over. What an eventful year, iconic celebrities passing away, politics around the world going crazy, Stranger Things deservedly soaring, Trump undeservedly soaring and movies of the past 12 months missing the mark more than usual. It truly was a disappointing year for film with a lot of the feature’s I’d seen scoring average marks at best.

This easily could have been a Top 20 list…I’ve even had to be cheeky enough to tie a couple of films just to squeeze them into the running order. I’m also sick of this year and looking forward to a joyful experience of 2017 that here’s the bad movies that just missed out from pride of place in the final countdown:

Ghostbusters….The Legend of Tarzan….A Bigger Splash….Bad Neighbors 2….X-Men: Apocalypse….Office Christmas Party….Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children….The Big Short….Bad Moms….Keeping up with the Joneses….The Girl on the Train….Finding Dory….Passengers….The BFG and The Huntsman: Winters War. 

On with the main show then —

10) SUICIDE SQUAD…AND SAUSAGE PARTY

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Yes it’s cheating the system slightly but just call it the Troy Review Electoral College and this is why they both win (or lose by being in the list). Firstly with Suicide Squad, an eagerly awaiting fun looking film with a punchy trailer that actually had a poor script, poorer execution, a soundtrack like an epileptic record player and a bad Joker. Squad review.

Sausage Party had a good if not great premise but is such a film catered to guffawing teenagers with smut layered on every scene that eventually the sex jokes wear thin and there’s nothing left to offer…that food orgy scene is OTT, a lame sequel set up comes about and well…read more in my full review —> SP

9) ME BEFORE YOU

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Not my type of film anyway but on top of this is the near constant cheesiness involved. It’s also a film pushing into trying to be that sad movie that girls wipe away stains of mascara after watching it. More than this, the problem lies with the main disability and how forced it becomes. Me B4 U review

8) ALLIED

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The so-called passion between Cotillard and Pitt is more wet than a Christmassy brussel sprout fart, the story-line is absurdly dull with no clever turn and the boredom factor reaches near Spinal Tap levels of 11. Don’t be a traitor, read the full review here.

7) ZOOLANDER 2

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Fashion is danger! So is this ‘comedy’ sequel sprawling with celebrity cameos, a very shaky script and an overwhelming disappointing feeling you get by seeing it. It tries too hard and fails harder…check out how hot my review is right now.

6) FRIEND REQUEST…AND THE 5TH WAVE

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Let’s begin with Friend Request which is like an unwanted invite you get after seeing Unfriended. This sort of follow up/remake film is terrible. There’s lame jump scares, things become unintentionally funny and it feels similar but badly so to the visual flair of Unfriended. Delete now.

Chloe Grace Moretz in this shocking young adult science fiction attempt is okay but stares into the distance a lot, like I did trying to watch this film. Cheap effects and a terrible twist don’t help the movie along. Review.

Into the Top 5 we go –

5) AMERICAN PASTORAL

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The directorial debut from Ewan McGregor but not one to remember. The one word that would describe this movie is boring. It could have been way more interesting and powerful but it’s overly sentimental and hard to get through. American Bore

4) WARCRAFT

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So much going on and none if it really any good is this mostly boring fantasy flick from the brilliant director Duncan Jones…though you wouldn’t think it watching this. Long, silly and a titled beginning which hopefully has no middle or end to come. Borecraft.

3) BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

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Long. A ridiculous plot. Lex Luthor’s more ridiculous plan. Jesse Eisenberg’s even more ridiculous acting. Boring Cavill. Boring generally. MARTHA! Thank goodness for Batfleck. BvS review

2) WIENER-DOG

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A couple of laughs really really really don’t save this film. It’s dreary, striving to be artistic and/or pretentious. The comedy it does have becomes annoying as it gets drawn out to breaking point. The movie is disjointed and the ending of it all is so horrendous and of bad taste that it leaves the film with such a sour note making you hate it further. Wiener of a film

Well…after taking that depressing trip down movie memory lane, I’ve come to the end of the line. Numero uno, the big kahuna of bad…a film so utterly terrible, unfunny and disgraceful that I knew it would be the first placed worst movie as soon as I’d finished watching it, almost a year ago.

1) DIRTY GRANDPA

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What do you want?? Read my review. I don’t wish to waste time writing more about this film. Go away…see you (hopefully) in 2017!