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Justin Woods

I don’t watch tat dharling & if it’s popular I’m probably gonna hate it - no spoilers - don’t just rate a movie/show a 5/6 - write about it FFS

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Judas and the Black Messiah
2021 . Drama, History

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An biographical film based on true events of the FBI’s & Chicago police attempts to dismantle the Illinois chapter of the black panthers party which eventually lead to the murder of its chairman Fred Hampton - while it may seem the film is carried by our 2 main actors - Fred Hampton (played by Daniel Kaluuya), William O'Neal (played by Lakeith Stanfield), there are no small parts in this film - outstanding & Oscar deserving performance by DK - reminded me of Cry Freedom- essential viewing
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Them
2021 . Drama, Horror, Thriller

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Possibly a AHS pastiche - No - Them really disturbed me - several times I had to remind myself that this is not real - but the reality is it probably has happened to someone at some point in time - 12 YAS / Mississippi goddamn / strange fruit - the racism & just inherit hatred directed towards our protagonists (not to mention the poltergeist evil in situ)- how hard it must have been to a POC to compartmentalise acts of violence & live under such conditions in 1950’s America - not a lot has changed 70 years on? Them takes Jordan Peele GO & rises the tension up to 12 - Not a bum note on the acting scales either - brilliantly cast - Not light viewing but is exceptional.
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Hausen
2020 . Drama, Horror, Mystery

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Hausen as it’s name suggests is a Germanic series - some will think it hot on the heels ‘Dark’ - but that’s an unfair comparison - of course thro’ out there are obvious visual / contextual nods to ‘IT / Cujo / Amityville / Stranger Things - Hausen is a dark complex horror - medium tempo & straightforward - no cliches required as the drama leads the way with a strong narrative to keep the voyeur involved - probably not for everyone - a new favourite of mine
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Apocalypse Now
1979 . Drama, War

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An epic ode to the question of what is morality - Apocalypse Now Redux - 3 hours + but worth it for the extras that add a new dimension to the already classic original 1979 cut - AN’s premise is from Conrad’s HOD - albiet set in Vietnam - this version is as close as it gets to the paperback - it is THE NAM film - 2nd / 3rd - Deer Hunter/ born on 4th July respectively (eat that Oliver Stone) - made at a time when films were films & not green screen CGI - nevermind the documented saga behind the scenes - not to mention Brando would be sinful - ‘The Horror’ that is FFC masterpiece AN - is a savage and darkly examination of the absurdity and double standards of war - quintessential viewing
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Heart of Darkness
2003 . Joseph Conrad

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For a longtime I have wanted to read HOD due to the fact that Francis Ford Coppola’s apocalypse now is based upon this piece - I say piece as it weighs in at a mire 134 pages - HOD is a classic & on reflection is so for a number of reasons - it sets a now common used narrative of story within a story / the unknown narrator (think of how many books / films you’ve seen / read utilising this methodology - it’s endless) - like sinclairs ‘the jungle’ (no irony just fact) - HOD serves as a parable of such of the dichotomy of dark & light in the human soul / & the wanton base desires of the soul seem civilised but are just obscured
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TINA
2021 . Documentary, Music

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Survivor - Icon - Tina the docu navigates the life of Anna Mae Bullock to Tina & Ike Turner - the highs and the brutality endured - to finally rising from the ashes with nowt but her name to become a true global star on her own merit and self belief - a fitting swan song to a true legendary performer
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The Windsors: Inside the Royal Dynasty
2020 . Documentary

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Please note this is factual not a drama like the Netflix drama - Interesting that a detailed affair narrating the Windsor’s should come about to coincide with ‘that interview’ - airing on the uk’s C4 atm we are 2 episodes in - starting with King G, his 2 sons - Edward’s romance with Wallace Simpson, later abdication & flirtation with fascism - I will update as airs -
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John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise
2021 . Documentary, Biography, Crime

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JWG is probably the most prolific killer in American history- with a known 33 deaths - even tho it is alleged he boasted of 45 being a closer figure - it is said his actions coined the ‘serial killer’ phrase we now use - for those expecting a cut & dry docu series (Bundy) - please think again - this is a detailed 6 episodic affair each at 55mins - whilst you may believe it to explore the depths of Gacy’s depravity with exclusive never seen before interview footage with the former, his sister, the victims families - JWG - DID unearths the failures of law enforcement still to this day surrounding this cases, it’s victims & the perpetrator - on a sidebar - it is a hard watch not because of graphic detail - more due to the intricacies & complexity of information thrown back n forth - the identification of victims is still ongoing up to 2017 (correct me if wrong) - ultimately on completion - as a voyeur I was left frustrated & saddened at the lack of closure for all parties involved - comment below I’d love to hear your feedback
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Invincible
2021 . Animation, Action & Adventure

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Invincible is an animated feature based on the Image comics novel of the same name & co authored by Robert Kirkman responsible for TWD/FTWD/Outcast (cancelled now I believe) - reminiscent of cartoons of my youth albeit with pc morals apparent - whilst we’re not reinventing the wheel here - Invincible is an enjoyable romp with a stellar vocal cast
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Ham on Rye
2007 . Charles Bukowski

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HOR is my vade mecum - a lot of people espouse the brilliance of Kerouac (IDK) - IMO - Hank was so far superior with his reaching in writing & subject matter - by dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight - (see factotum/ post office/ women) - HOR is autobio albeit alter ego fiction - nihilistic emotive with a greater influence than the formers ‘The Road’ - the original outlier - akin to ‘Rebel without A Cause’ - quintessential reading
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Gomorrah
2014 . Crime, Drama, Thriller

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Words escape me to describe the depth of intensity - heart of darkness - the hypnotising horror - that is Gomorra - from the pen of Roberto Saviano (also see the epic Zerozerozero) - whom has had to go into hiding like Rushdie due to death threats - loosely based on the author’s investigative & infiltration of the Napalese Cammora - no one is safe - everyone is fair game - think AGOT at its best - the red wedding - we get see our protagonist Genny’s character progress from wideboy innocence to depravity - maturity as a kingpin (Don) - acted out by the commanding Salvatore Esposito (man crush - see him in Fargo SO4) - taking the godfather / michael corleone mould - making it look like sesame street - sky atlantic / canal + announced last year SO5 would be its last - & filming has begun - it will be interesting to see how the series folds - not essential - quintessential viewing
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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

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Meh, another Marvel franchise for those thirsty fan gurls out there - 1 episode in - I’m questioning the merit of this - yet that opine may change with time like a fine wine - so far? The jury is out for recess
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The Jungle - Upton Sinclair: Annotated
1905 . Upton Sinclair

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Seldom in life one comes across a piece of art literature or music that changes your perspective on life & society - Sinclair’s ‘Jungle’ is one such novel - written at the turn of the 1900’s - a first in investigative journalism - its timeless thematic relevance is what makes it exceptional - harsh brutal & saddening - but important in that due to its frank depictions of work/life standards - on publication- it created public outcry & investigations - to reforms which led to the later establishment of the present day FDA - I challenge anyone who has read this not to be immune to its depth- essential reading
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How to Fix a Drug Scandal
2020 . Documentary, Crime

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Nothing beats a good story - but again this seems like the low hanging fruit of go to series genre for Netflix right now - so much so I can’t keep up - meanwhile as for the story - yet another scandal to tantalise voyeurs interested - personally I question are we becoming numb to the amount atrocities being made public in documentaries of such
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