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 New This Month 

What's out in the month of February?


Dear reader, 

I hope this finds you well,  this week you'll find some previews of what's new and exciting this month!

Please enjoy, and if I've missed a belter that you're looking forward to I'd love to hear about it!

Can’t Get You Out of My Head


I don’t really review series, I’m more of a film guy. But there’s always room for exceptions. Since hearing him speak in interviews and watching his documentary Hypernormalisation (available on iPlayer – incidentally a great place to go digging for doco’s) I’ve found Adam Curtis a profoundly interesting thinker. He’s primarily a historian and geo-political commentator, but he’s clearly a humanitarian, and despite his high intellect he seems a normal kind of guy, he loves Brian Eno, Bowie, Trent Reznor, This Mortal Coil. He’s interested in balance and contrast, he’s interested in the power of the collective consciousness vs the rise of individualism, and in following the emotionally movement of human development. This is the latest in his mind boggling and perspective shifting documentaries.

Where to watch? BBC iPlayer – 11 Feb

The Mauritanian


Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, and Benedict Cumberbatch (doing a deep gravelly and probably inaccurate southern accent) in a US legal drama. It’s a strong line up, it looks very Hollywood, I’m almost certain it’ll have a happy feel-good ending. But it is nice to see a Hollywood film that takes a somewhat anti-government stance. Presidencies from both sides of the political spectrum have continued to overlook the immense human rights violations that take place at Guantanamo Bay. With more films like this perhaps we are a step closer to seeing an active resolution. It feels like this comes from a good place. Also, I love a prison movie! Tahar Rahim was superb in Un Prophete.

Where to watch? – Unfortunately, probably won’t receive a cinema release so expect this to come to various streaming services – official UK release: 26 Feb

Assassins


I wasn’t aware of the absolutely insane story behind the death of Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother, until I discovered it recently in the Netflix documentary series Spy Craft. Kim Jong-Nam was, to put it mildly, the black sheep of his family. A love for movies and consumerism meant that he was not too popular among the conformist elite that took over after his father’s death. It already sounds like the premise to a cute Hollywood caper I know, but wait it gets better.

Exiled after visiting Disney Land Tokyo on a fake passport in 2001, Kim Jong spent years on the run and in 2017 was assassinated in Kuala Lumpur airport where two women smeared his face with a toxic nerve agent. After being arrested by Malay police, the women revealed they were recruited by North Korean TV execs to take part in a prank game show. Unbeknownst to them they were really recruited for much darker purposes, and the North Korean’s flew back scot- free to Pyongyang.

Done with enough craziness yet? No? Well North Korea later issued a public apology to the nations of these women but maintained a hard denial when questioned about being behind the Assassination… okay that’s enough you can check out Assassins for a deeper dive into this murky and quirky tale of despot espionage.

Where to watch? (out now) Available via virtual cinemas as well as VOD services including; Amazon, BFI, Curzon and others – best bet is to head to assassins-film.co.uk to see where works for you 😊

St Maud


Released in cinemas last October, this well received horror about an obsessive Christian nurse went somewhat under the radar due it’s 2020 cinematic release. This month it comes to DVD meaning those of us who couldn’t get to the cinema in October finally get the chance to see it!

British director Rose Glass’s first feature was picked up by A24, which going on their prior horror profuctions (Midsommar, Hereditary to name a few) is a great sign.

Need more good signs? It was Mark Kermode’s film of 2020 and was described by Danny Boyle as "a genuinely unsettling and intriguing film. Striking, affecting and mordantly funny at times, its confidence evokes the ecstasy of films like Carrie, The Exorcist, and Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin." I don’t know about anyone else, but that sounds like my kind of movie. Can’t wait!

Where to watch? – (out now) buy the DVD! Remember those? Alternatively, available to hire via various mainstream VOD services.

Malcolm & Marie


Seconds into the trailer for Malcom & Marie and you’re gripped. A stylish jazzy backing track, edgy looking black and white cinematography, two exciting young actors in John David Washington and Zendaya. One minute into the trailer and you’re asking yourself, is this all that’s going on in this film? A heated argument between a couple?

Then you read it’s set in one location, over the course of one night, and was filmed with no more than a crew of 12. An intimate, performance driven story. Well, that’s kind of cool maybe it will be like a tribute to Cassavetes. But Cassavetes didn't need a pandemic to use these techniques. He never made a film on a whim over the course of a couple months. In fact, he worked tirelessly with his actors in rehearsals to develop the strength of his characters.

Would Director Sam Levinson and Zendaya have made this film if their work for Euphoria wasn’t halted? Probably not. Is it cool that they made something anyway, just for the sake of it? Sure. Will their passion and drive to create come through in the film? There’s only one way to find out. Shall we try that new Netflix thing later? What’s it called, ‘Mork & Mindy’? Sure, why not, it could be interesting.

Where to watch? Netflix as of 5 Feb – Twitter if you want an abridged more opinionated version.
Adam Curtis Edits the Guide.

In promotion of his new documentary series, The Guardian gave director Adam Curtis the reigns to 'the guide' last weekend. Check it out for some interesting articles and an insight into the mind of Curtis. I particularly enjoyed this article about his favourite cover songs
Next week: What exactly is a 'feel good' movie, and where can I find one?

I run down what the genre means to me and where you can stream some good examples right now.

Because we could all use a bit of fun at the moment!
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