TV and Movie Reviews - Week 2
The Movie Maestro, Evan Wade!
Starting us off this week is 2017's I, Tonya. Set during the early 1990's, this Tarantino-esque biopic/black comedy is loosely based on the career of infamous figure skater, Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) and focuses on the events that led to her becoming one of the most controversial athletes in sporting history when her ex-husband (Sebastian Stan) sets out to injure fellow olympic contender, Nancy Kerrigan. Overall the best way I can describe this movie is - fun. From the music of the era and the fantastic sound design, to the exhilarating ice skating performances, there's not often a dull moment. The plot is constantly engaging with it's many off the wall characters, such as Harding's hard-ass mother/trainer played brilliantly by Allison Janney. Margot and Sebastian also play off each other brilliantly as a troubled 'white trash' couple, but all the praise goes to Margot as she portrays Harding's fiery personality and emotional breakdowns so colourfully. I have to give a special mention to the hilarious Paul Walter Hauser, who played Shawn Eckhardt, Harding's bodyguard during the interviews, in which he gives his side of the events.
Second this week is Studio Ghibli's wonderful 2001 animation, Spirited Away. 10 year old Chihiro is on her way to her new house with her parents when they stop off at an abandoned amusement park, off the beaten track. When she suddenly ends up lost and separated from her parents, she finds herself whisked away onto a giant moving bath house in the spirit world, where all kinds of spirits come to unwind from their time on Earth. Chihiro then embarks on a journey of growth and self-discovery as she tries to reunite with her parents, making strange new friends along the way. My dad took me to see this film in the cinema in 2003 when I was just about 10 myself (it had a delayed release date here), and I fell in love with it. It reminded me of Labyrinth, my favourite film, with it's otherworldly setting and strange and friendly characters. And of course, I was the same age as the main protagonist, Chihiro at the time, so it meant that much more to me. Recently I watched it again for the first time in years, with my girlfriend (who had never seen it before) and I loved it just as much. She loved it too, as it's got a certain magic to it that I believe can capture people of any age. Not to mention it won the Oscar for best animated film in 2001. With an incredibly beautiful score by Joe Hisaishi this truly is a timeless tale that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Lastly is one my favourite series in all British crime/drama television, Line of Duty. Written by the very talented Jed Mercurio and produced by BBC, Line of Duty tells the story of D.S. Arnott (Martin Compston), a firearms officer who's been transferred to the Anti-Corruption Unit, or AC-12, after refusing to help cover up an unlawful shooting by within his own team. Arnott teams up with Superintendent Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) and Detective inspector Fleming (Vicky McClure) as they investigate the suspicious activities of Detective Tony Gates (Lennie James) Created and written by the same man who made the highly acclaimed mini-series, The Bodyguard, Line of Duty encapsulates everything it needs to qualify as a perfect show. Incredibly well written plot, and even better dialogue, absolutely exquisite tension and pace, and all delivered perfectly through the phenomenal acting. Season 1 is fantastic alone, but seasons 2 & 3 build on the first season's magic and soar from there. There are a number of interrogation/interview scenes throughout the show and they are by far the standout moments in terms of acting and writing. The back and forth game of wits are like watching a combat by speech and you'll never know which way it's gonna go. Craig Parkinson as D.I. "Dot" Cottan is a particular standout performance. Believe me, this show will get you hooked!
And that's all for this, folks! Have a good weekend and check in again next time for more!