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The House That Jack Built

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Lars von Trier’s latest film takes inspiration from the titular nursery rhyme. The phrase ‘The House that Jack Built’ can have a few different meanings – it is often used as shorthand for a shoddy project or build, and it can also refer to a never-ending endeavour with constant add-ons, often in repeating patterns. Von Trier’s film combines both: it is a shoddy project resulting in two and a half hours of a seemingly never-ending, repetitive tale that fails to excite or even shock.

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The Old Man & The Gun

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The story of bankrobber Forrest Tucker “is, also, mostly true” according the opening scene. The ‘mostly’ probably refers to the fact that the story we get told is pretty rose-tinted. Apparently Robert Redford is hanging up his acting hat, and The Old Man & The Gun is his final role, so if we take the movie to serve as a vehicle for Bob’s last hurrah then this rose-tintedness may be forgiven. Actually, knowing it’s to be Redford’s last makes the entire movie a bit more worthwhile.

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Ladies in Black

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Sydney 1959; we find ourselves in Goode’s department store where Lisa (Angourie Rice) starts a summer job over the holiday period as she awaits the results of her final exams. She hopes to be able to go to university to realise her ambitions of becoming a poet or an actress. Her mother (Susie Porter) is keen to see her achieve her potential; her father (Shane Jacobson) isn’t particularly interested in this – he never went to university and he did alright, so why should his daughter?

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Bird Box

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Bird Box jumps between two timelines – we start with Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and two kids travelling blindfolded in a boat down a river, where to we do not know, but right from the opening scene learn that they must not look or they will die. The second timeline is about 5 years earlier where we meet a then heavily pregnant Malorie and her sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson), as they see news reports about some unexplained phenomenon in Europe and Russia causing mass suicides.

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Backtrace

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Macdonald (Matthew Modine) survives a shoot-out after a heist gone wrong, but he has lost his memory and spends many a year in prison without knowing what really went on. Officer Sykes (Sylvester Stallone) was originally on the case and has kept a close eye on it as it went cold and colder. When Macdonald is sprung from prison after seven years, Sykes gets some help from the FBI to help track him down.

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The Kindergarten Teacher

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In this remake of the 2014 Israeli original, Maggy Gyllenhaal plays the titular Kindergarten Teacher, Lisa Spinelli, a 40-year old woman bored with her day to day life and her uninspiring family. One day after class, one of her pupils, 5 year old Jimmy Roy (Parker Sevak), paces around the room and almost robotically mumbles out a seemingly random few lines, which Lisa recognises as a beautiful poem. She sets out on a mission to help him develop his talent, to obsessive extremes…

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Outlaw King

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The story of Outlaw King sort of picks up where the most famous movie about the Wars for Scottish Independence ended: Mel Gibson was William Wallace in Braveheart, and in the Outlaw King we only see some of Wallace’s bodily remains as a catalyst for renewed energy to fight off the English. Outlaw King tells the story of Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine), the self-proclaimed King of the Scots who waged the continuation of the war for independence against King Edward I (Stephen Dillane) and especially his son Prince Edward (Billy Howle).

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Crazy Rich Asians

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If you think of Crazy Rich Asians as My Big Fat Chinese Wedding you sort of get the picture. Take a handful of Chinese ‘deep’ cultural values of ‘Tradition’ and ‘Family’ and ‘Honour’ and juxtapose these with the American ‘shallow’ belief in ‘Follow Your Passion’; then add insane amounts of money, old and new, and you have the basis for the bananas plot.

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Juliet, Naked

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Annie (Rose Byrne) lives with her boyfriend Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) and they find themselves in a deep rut, something she sort of know but lacks the chutzpah to do anything about, and something he seems too self-obsessed to realise. Actually, Duncan is obsessed with someone else: Tucker Crowe, an obscure American rocker who disappeared in the middle of a gig sometime in the 90s.

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First Man

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We all know who the First Man on the moon was. Well, we all know his name, but we don’t know much about the man himself. It is of course a fascinating story, and the movie is exciting in all its air- and spaceborne scenes – being in the ‘tin’ alongside the pilots and astronauts are thrilling experiences and make you reflect on the fact that the risk taking to be ‘first’ was immense.

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