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Red Sparrow

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A “sparrow” is the term for a Mata Hari style secret agent, trained to seduce men in pursuit of secrets. Ballerina Dominika Egorova (played by Jennifer Lawrence) is inducted into this life by her uncle Vanya (I know, I know; the Chekov references could be subtler), a spymaster, when her ballet career is cut short by a serious injury. Trained at spy school by the cynical Matron (Charlotte Rampling) and directed by General Korchnoi (Jeremy Irons), Dominika is soon thrust into the cut and thrust world of espionage.

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Their Finest

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Catrin Cole (played by Gemma Arterton) appears married to a handsome but struggling artist/painter Ellis Cole (Jack Huston), and against his wishes decides to get a job in order to shore up the couple’s frail finances. She is hired as a writer to help the established writing team. Catrin is sent to investigate a potentially stirring tale of a pair of twin sisters who take their drink father’s boat to Dunkirk to help in the rescue, and concludes that, despite some serious issues, the material may make a flagship propaganda film.

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Race (6/10)

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After watching the fun Eddie the Eagle the other day, I thought I’d give another Olympic biopic a go. The story of Jesse Owens is one of the rise of an impressive athlete who had to endure and fight racism at home in the US to make it to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. 1936 may have been before WWII, but the nazi regime was already well established including their Racial Cleansing policies.

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The Man Who Knew Infinity (8/10)

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This film tells the remarkable true story of Srinivasa Ramanujan (played by Dev Patel), who grew up in grinding poverty in Tamil Nadu at the end of the 19th century but proved to have a remarkable gift for numbers and mathematics. Even as a 15 year old he developed his own theorems in number theory, despite hardly any formal education. At 16 he obtained a library book on mathematics and studied it in depth, continuing his researches in his notebooks. He never completed a degree but managed to secure a job in a tax department whose boss happened to be interested in mathematics.

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