Film Review: Hamilton

Hamilton: An American Musical is a musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda that tells the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, the show casts non-white actors as the Founding Fathers and other historical figures. This is the filmed version of the original Broadway production.

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Film Review: Star Wars – Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

The ninth episode in the Star Wars Skywalker saga and the third instalment in the sequel trilogy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set a year after the events of The Last Jedi. Directed by J.J. Abrams, Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe (Oscar Isaac) lead the Resistance’s final stand against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. Forced to confront their past, it’s time for the battle between the Jedi and the Sith to come to an end.

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Film Review: Le Mans ’66 (Ford v Ferrari)

Based on a true story and directed by James Mangold, Le Mans ’66 follows visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and the fearless British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) as they battle corporate interference and the laws of physics to build a revolutionary race car for Ford in order to defeat Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France.

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Film Review: Knives Out

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Knives Out follows the investigation into the apparent suicide of renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), who is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday. When the inquisitive Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate, Blanc must sift through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death. The knives are out amongst Harlan’s dysfunctional family – (Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Katherine Langford, Riki Lindhome, K Callan, and Jaeden Martell) – and loyal staff – (Ana de Armas and Edi Patterson) – to find out the truth.

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Book v Film: All The Bright Places

“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”

Based on the book of the same name by Jennifer Niven and directed by Brett Haley, All The Bright Places follows two high school students – Theodore Finch (Justice Smith) and Violet Markey (Elle Fanning) – who meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school. At first, it’s unclear who saves whom, but when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

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Film Review: Parasite

Directed by Bong Joon Ho, Parasite is a South Korean black comedy that follows two families. The Park Family are the picture of aspirational wealth, while the Kim Family are rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together when the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik), the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist, to the Parks. But when an interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, an underhanded battle for dominance breaks out.

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Film Review: 1917

Directed by Sam Mendes and based in part on an account told to Mendes’ grandfather, 1917 tells the story of two young British soldiers – Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) – during the First World War who are ordered to deliver a message calling off an attack that will stop 1,600 men from walking straight into a deadly trap. This message is especially important as Blake’s brother is due to take part in the attack, but it is a race against time.

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Film Review: Uncut Gems

Directed by The Safdie Brothers, Uncut Gems follows a charismatic New York City jeweller (Adam Sandler) who’s always on the lookout for the next big score. As he makes yet another series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.

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Film Review: Little Women (2019)

Based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott which was originally published in 1868, this 2019 adaptation of Little Women, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, is the seventh film adaptation of the widely loved story, in which Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) reflects back and forth on her life. She tells the beloved story of the March sisters, four young women – Jo, Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh), and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) – who are each determined to live life on their own terms.

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Film Review: The Gentlemen

From director Guy Ritchie, The Gentlemen follows American ex-pat Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) who, having built a highly profitable marijuana empire in London, is attempting to sell off his highly profitable business to Cannabis Kingpin Mathew (Jeremy Strong). But when word gets out that he’s looking to cash out of the business forever it triggers plots, schemes, bribery and blackmail in an attempt to steal his domain out from under him.

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My Top 20 Films Of The Decade: 2010s

Not only is it the end of the year, but it’s also the end of a decade, so this is the first time that I’ve ever been able to do this properly as it was in 2010 that I started reviewing films.

So, you might have seen a hundred of these lists already, but here is “My Top 20 Films Of The Decade”, going by UK release dates from 2010-2019.

This was a mammoth task but I feel like I’m finally happy with how this list has turned out. I’ve tried to keep it varied, including a few of my personal favourites whilst also taking into account better quality films over some that I was more entertained by. I’ve also tried to keep the genres varied by only included one superhero film and ensuring that I’ve included a foreign film and an animated film.

However, you will have to excuse the fact that four musicals have somehow slipped into this list, although it very easily could have been five so I do feel like I’ve compromised a little…

For me, these are the films that have defined this decade and all deserve to be watched if you haven’t seen any of them already. Keep reading to see why I have chosen these films and for a link to my reviews of them.

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My Top 10 Films of 2019

This year, I have watched 513 films (45 released this year and 282 for the first time). My most watched director was Steven Spielberg and Alfred Hitchcock and my most watched actors were Samuel L. Jackson and Domhnall Gleeson.

Film Review: The Irishman

Directed by Martin Scorsese and based on the 2004 biographical book I Heard You Paint Houses by former homicide prosecutor, investigator and defense attorney Charles Brandt, The Irishman was released on Netflix this month. It chronicles the life of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), an alleged mafia hitman who confesses to a crime that he committed when working for the Bufalino crime family, headed by Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci). Now older, the WWII veteran once again reflects on his most prolific hits and, in particular, considers his involvement with his good friend Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino)’s disappearance in 1975.

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Film Review: Marriage Story

Directed and produced by Noah Baumbach and released on Netflix this month, Marriage Story follows a stage director (Adam Driver) and his actor wife (Scarlett Johansson) as they struggle through a grueling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.

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Film Review: Last Christmas

Directed by Paul Feig and based on the song of the same name by George Michael, Last Christmas follows Kate (Emilia Clarke), a young woman subscribed to making bad decisions. Working as an elf all year-round in Santa’s (Michelle Yeoh) Christmas store in London, Kate has somewhat given up on life and spends most nights drinking and taking home strangers. Things seem too good to be true when she meets Tom (Henry Golding), a caring night courier who re-opens her eyes to the more wonderful things in life.

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Film Review: Frozen 2

Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee and the sequel to the 2013 film, again loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen‘s fairy tale The Snow Queen, Frozen 2 is set three years after the events of the first film and sees Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad) and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.

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Film Review: Joker

Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker is a standalone story centring on the iconic DC character of The Joker. Set in Gotham City, Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a mentally-troubled comedian who lives with his mum (Frances Conroy). A clown-for-hire by day, Arthur is disregarded and mistreated by the fractured society of Gotham and soon embarks on a downward spiral of revolution and bloody crime, bringing him face-to-face with his alter-ego, “The Joker”.

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Film Review: Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood follows a faded television actor, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles. Following multiple storylines and serving as a modern fairy tale tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age, Rick also has a famous next-door neighbour, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), as their lives soon become intertwined in the least expected way.

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