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Director: Barry Jenkins Starring: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King Running Time: 117 minutes


“I hope that nobody has ever had to look at anybody they love through glass.”

The words of James Baldwin, from a character that sadly knows that plenty have had to look at someone they love through glass, or through some restriction or another, few, if any, deserving to have their full hearts clutched by oppressive fists. As a writer who felt even harder than he thought and had too many of his own restrictions, it’s hard to blame the writer for his frustrations that ignored that pathos. Writing about the cinema of his time that aimed to show the black experience, socially active author Baldwin only ever found it inadequate. Their feel-good narratives rang false, tripping gracelessly over themselves to reassure and reframe for guiltily ignorant, or ignorantly guilty, white audiences. We can’t speak for Baldwin, but in adapting his novel If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins has clearly and skillfully endeavoured to present a lived experience that is genuine, lives that feel real, and a lush love story that is all the more enriched by that effort to be genuine.

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Director: Gareth Edwards Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Alan Tudyk Running Time: 133 minutes


The ambition to have a Star Wars movie come out every single year may end up hitting a point of diminishing returns, but for now the annual return to a galaxy far, far away is still fresh enough to be music to the ears of fans and lining to the pockets of Disney. No one knows quite like they do how to appeal to a wide range of demographics; though The Force Awakens definitely owed a lot of its success to the memories it stirred in fans who had been left in the cold by the prequels, it aimed and succeeded at continuing the series tradition of kid appeal, something that goes right back to George Lucas’ attempts to recreate his own childhood joy watching pulp sci-fi serials. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is unlikely to sell as many toys as last year’s film, but it should provide older fans that have grown up with Star Wars with they’ve always wanted: more of the actual wars.

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