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Judas and the Black Messiah | Review

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The Oscars are due to take place in April and even though they’re taking place a little later this year, people are still already making their predictions for what will win and get nominated for various awards. Judas and the Black Messiah is a film that’s been on a lot of people’s lists for quite a few months and now the film is finally with us. But is it worthy of winning any awards at the Oscars in a few months’ time? Absolutely! Read on to find out why.

Judas and the Black Messiah tells a story that despite being set in the late 1960s, manages to be incredibly timely in today’s world. The film sees FBI informant William O’Neal, played by LaKeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You, Get Out, Knives Out), as he infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party to keep an eye on their leader, Chairman Fred Hampton played by Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther, Widows). Kaluuya and Stanfield both give absolute mesmerising performances in their best roles to date and the two of them are both the stand outs of the film. Judas and the Black Messiah also stars Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), Dominique Fishback (Project Power), Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) and Martin Sheen (The West Wing).

When we first meet Stanfield’s William O’Neil, we see him stealing cars by pretending to be an FBI agent and then we see his journey to becoming an FBI informant and to infiltrating the Black Panthers. And the film centres mainly around O’Neil, as the ‘Judas’ referred to in the title. However, that’s one of my biggest problems with the film. Kaluuya and his character Fred Hampton seem much more interesting than William O’Neil and the film probably would have been a bit better if instead of O’Neil being the main character, they pushed him into the supporting role and focussed more on Fred Hampton, the ‘Black Messiah’. In terms of awards categories, Kaluuya is being pushed for supporting actor and Stanfield for lead and this definitely makes sense given their respective roles in the film, it just would have been a better film if the film made Fred Hampton the lead character, side-lining O’Neil just a little bit. Even though O’Neil is a really good character, Hampton just seems much more charismatic and a better character to centre the film around.

Regardless of which character was more compelling and which the film should have focussed on, both Kaluuya and Stanfield are electric and give outstanding performances. It’s one of those films that’s worth watching just for the talent on display. The two extraordinary acting performances aren’t the only talent on show here as JATBM is director Shaka King’s second feature film and the skill that King has behind the camera is also very evident.

Judas and the Black Messiah is a really good film with two powerhouse performances that’s come along at just the right time and is sure to hit big at this year’s awards season

★★★★☆

Judas and the Black Messiah premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and will be in cinemas in the US and on HBO MAX from February 12. The film will be released internationally soon.

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Drama

The Fabelmans | Official Trailer | Steven Spielberg

Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, a young man named Sammy Fabelman discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.

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Genre:

Drama

Release Date:

November 23, 2022

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Cast:

Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen

Plot Summary:

Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, a young man named Sammy Fabelman discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.

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Comedy

Heartstopper Review | An Irresistible Gay Teen Drama

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Heartstopper

Based on Alice Oseman’s beloved graphic novels, Netflix’s bite-sized adaptation of Heartstopper continues to kick the door wide open for queer stories on the small screen. In the same vain as Young Royals and Dear Victor, Heartstopper’s exploration of queer teen romance is just as endearing, if not made more real and lovable by some incredible performances by Joe Locke and Kit Connor who play the show’s main high-school sweethearts.

Heartstopper owes its incredible binge-factor to its main focus on the story of two British teens at Truham Boys School, Charlie (Locke) and Nick (Connor) and how their entanglement perfectly represents the highs and lows of young romance. Manoeuvring alongside our main characters’ connection are some other, deeply adorable queer-centric stories – from a pair of secret lesbians at the nearby all-girls grammar school, to the perspective of a trans girl navigating life outside Truham; all of which tangle throughout the show’s eight chapters, giving a genuine take on teen love and friendship during the digital age.

Photo: Netflix

While Euphoria is a ridiculously over-the-top representation of high school life with actors well-in their twenties playing teens, Heartstopper instead follows leads and supporting characters that feel like real teenagers, which doesn’t help the waterworks when it comes to some incredibly emotional moments in the show.

What the show decides not to focus on is sex and swearing, which is usual when it comes to these kinds of stories. Instead, Heartstopper goes down a more wholesome route, diluting some of the web comic’s more serious topics in favour of a more family-friendly teen drama. That’s more than acceptable, but it may leave the show not exactly suitable for everyone for how young it is leaning, despite how charming it is. It’ll be interesting to see how the web comic’s strong fanbase take to these changes, but it feels like a good move for the most part.

That being said, Heartstopper brilliantly doesn’t leave out realistic aspects that come to growing up queer in Britain; our main characters are never far from bullies or trolls. With how young the show’s audience is targeting towards, this feels like a great move on showing how to approach these pressures that make-up everyday life for teenagers.

Overall, Heartstopper is easily destined to prove a success for Netflix; from the authentic feel of all the friendships and relationships depicted to the enjoyable ride that comes with all eight chapters, this show is a welcome addition to the increasingly queer canon that is flying into the mainstream.

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Drama

Belfast review | A Magical Adaptation On The Town I Know and Love

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Belfast is directed by Kenneth Branagh and stars Jude Hill (Buddy), Lewis McAskie (Will), Caitriona Balfe (Ma), Jamie Dornan (Pa), Judi Dench (Granny) and Ciarán Hinds (Pop). A very big Irish cast that makes the film ever so better with everyone doing exceptional jobs but we’ll get to that later.

Branagh retells his story of childhood in a city of magic called Belfast. With this he details what it was like to be a Protestant during The Troubles a historical event that people from Belfast like me will always be reminded of and the horror that went down during it. I’m happy people can learn more about it through this adaption of the town because I remembered my Granny and Grandad’s stories while watching this, it helped me to immerse myself into the film and be brought back to the days of when my family was getting to know each other. It was nice to hear these stories of how accurate Branagh took The Troubles and put it on screen well.

The family aspect in this film was top notch, it showed the stress a protestant family would go through, especially this family. The pressure of paying bills and keeping the house and even being pressured to move across the water (something a lot of family’s had to for their kid’s sake) and I applaud Branagh for that because I know this film will hit audiences in Ireland and they’ll be happy with the adaptation. I was told people have been applauding the end, something that never happens in Ireland from my experiences but on to the performances.

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The entire cast do a phenomenal job with the script, they all looked to have fun during filming and in interviews. It’s great to see Irish representation in a film like this. Branagh was definitely the man for the job and the cast were the people for it. What makes me happy with these performances is how they work with the time period with the generic accent the actors have and it’s beautiful to see and hear and with the audio, they decided to use was immaculate and the aspect ratio they went with was great to see the on the big screen with the cinematography being a highlight.

Jude Hill was a standout in this film, he gives a brilliant performance as Buddy. He’s genuinely really funny in this and his emotional acting is top-notch and for a first-timer. He’s going to have a bright future ahead of him and I can’t wait to see him in more because he deserves it. Jamie Dornan also standouts out aswell with him taking loads of awards home which he deserves and it’s great to see him back in his home town for this because you can tell he’s trying hard in the role and in interviews he says he hopes people from the town like the film because he put his heart and soul into the performance and that’s always great to see.

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SPOILERS FROM NOW ONWARD

The beauty of Branagahs Belfast is so many things that happened during this film, happened to my family. I find that beautiful because I’ve never seen anything like it. One scene in particular, the grandad’s death that hit me like a bus because that exact situation has happened to me but with my granny and that exact singing scene was something we use to do to honour them. The number of tears I had during that scene was mad.

Now I’m going to discuss heavier themes of the film, the religion side of it. I want to give more info on that, so let’s get the thing you all probably know already. There are two sides in Ireland Catholic and Protestant and while Branagh was on the Protestant side it’s interesting to see that story of someone going through that because I can’t name a film that does it better. The story of The Troubles is something in the history books and I recommend you do more research on the topic because it is intriguing and the events that happen are shocking.

Now I’m gonna talk about the final scene, the singing scene again because of how great it is. It only reminds me of another fantastic film with heavy messages and near the same ending and that’s ‘Another Round’ but just how the cinematographer captures the two and then the others in the crowd is beautiful and I know I’m going on and on but I love this movie and I’ve talked about everything in it.

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AWARD CHANCES

Before I wrap this review up let’s talk about Belfast and if it has a chance at the big boy Oscars and I believe so it should win Best Picture and when it does I’m gonna be here screaming my head off and applauding the entire cast and Branagh because it’s a masterpiece and deserves everything it gets and in terms of acting I don’t think it’ll win much they’re some powerhouses competing this year, and that’s a shame.

For The One’s That Stayed, The One’s We Lost, And The One’s We Left Behind

KenNeth Branagh

Belfast is a magical film that captures Belfast in such an impressive way the film is instantly gonna become a classic and I cant wait to see it again and check this one out to learn about the beautiful city I know and I love thank you to the entire cast and crew you have made something that has hit me emotionally and made me want more from the story that is already over.

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