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Dunkirk

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Director Christoper Nolan lets us experience ‘Dunkirk’ by means of three storylines: one on land, one in the air, and one on the sea. With dialogue being minimal, it is all about the combination of visuals and Hans Zimmer’s nerve-wracking score to tell the story. And that works very well.

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Hidden Figures

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This film tells the story of a group of black female mathematicians who worked on the early NASA space programme. This being a time when the US was still racially segregated, the women had to endure “coloured only” bathrooms and even segregated water fountains while contributing to the space race with the Soviet Union. The film focuses on three women in particular, who are friends. Katherine Johnson is the most brilliant mathematician, drafted in to help NASA calculate flight trajectories in an age when computers were in their infancy and most calculations had to be done by hand.

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Anthropoid

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Reinhard Heydrich was Hitler’s third highest ranking officer, who had earned himself nicknames such as the Butcher of Prague and the Blond Beast. The Czech government was in exile in London at the time, and they sanctioned Operation Anthropoid: to assassinate this animal in Human Form.

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Colonia (6/10)

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The Colonia Dignidad (‘Colony of Dignity’) was a religious cult in Chile, led from 1961 by Paul Schaefer, a fugutive from Germany following accusations of child molestation. The Colonia Dignidad was shrouded in secrecy, with up to 300 residents living in the colony behind barbed wire, working mainly as farmers, and never allowed to leave the colony. Whilst trying to portray an image of peace and order to the outside world, over the years it has become clear that the colony suffered daily incidents of torture, (child) rape, and other forms of physical and mental abuse as a means of ‘spiritual growth’.

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Eddie the Eagle (7/10)

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This movie about how a little boy with big ambitions became Eddie the Eagle may be light fare but it is also admirably successful in what it aims to be: an underdog-comes-out-on-top feel-good movie.

Eddie (Taron Egerton) has had a dream from a very young age: to compete in the Olympics. It took him decades of hard work to get there. You might expect that hard work to be about someone becoming a world class athlete at their chosen sport – but no that’s not Eddie. He’s not really an athlete at all, and he isn’t committed to a specific sport to shine in either – yet he will achieve his Olympic Dreams.

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Spotlight (7/10)

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‘Spotlight’ is the section of the Boston Globe’s paper that looks beyond and delves deeper – work done by the paper’s investigative journalism team led by Robby Robertson (Michael Keaton). In 2001, the newspaper gets a new Chief Editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber). Marty suggests the Spotlight team take a closer look at priest Geoghan, as there have been various stories about accusations against him.

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Hunger (5/10)

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Hunger chronicles the last months of Bobby Sands. Sands (Michael Fassbender) was an IRA member, imprisoned in the Maze prison in the early 1980s. The IRA prisoners, amonst others, refused to wear the standard issue prison clothes as they insisted their terrorist acts weren’t criminal but politically driven, and hence they demanded ‘political status’ in prison. Thatcher refused.

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Experimenter (6/10)

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Even if not by name, most people will have heard of the experiments this movie is about. Milgram was trying to understand how people respond to (perceived) authority and rules when they are given instructions that most people in ‘normal’ circumstances would generally be thought to obviously decline to carry out.

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Dragon Blade (3/10)

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The most expensive Chinese movie ever made, Dragon Blade cannot be accused of lacking ambition. The intent of the story is grand and some of the battle scenes are grander still.

I went into this movie with an open mind hoping for some spectacle as the scale has awe-inspiring potential. But blimey did they mess this up. The angle to the whole story is incredibly sappy… amplified by a painfully melodramatic score to ‘highlight’ all the emotional bonding that is going on when enemies become allies and Jackie Chan continues to fight for the common good…

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