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MOVIE REVIEWS: What you should see at the cinema this week

I, Tonya Margo Robbie and Lisa Kaye Kinsler

The lead actress in each of these movies has been nominated for an Academy Award this year. In fact, both Margot Robbie and Allison Janney have each been nominated for an Oscar for I, Tonya, Janney in the supporting role. Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell have also been nominated for Academy Awards in the best supporting actor category for Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri. It’s actually a great year for Aussie movie lovers as we have an Aussie among the contenders and we can see each of the movies in cinemas right now!

The Post

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Running Time :  116 minutes

Release Date :  In cinemas now

Who is in it : Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie

What is it: based on the story behind the releasing of the secret government documents that would later become known as the Pentagon Papers.

Given to a journalist in 1971, these papers documented decades of cover ups by the United States government. Threatened with legal action from the White House itself, an Editor (Hanks) who refuses to back down and the ever present threat of becoming a backwater newspaper trailing forever in the shadows of the mighty New York Times, publisher Kay Graham (Streep) must decide whether to give into the government (and thus be complicit in the cover-up) and save her business or fight alongside her staff for freedom of the press.

Why should I watch it : although the events depicted happened almost 50 years ago, the timing of this movie could not be more perfect. With the current political climate, particularly in the US, combined with the US President’s continued banging on about fake news and the accompanying rhetoric, this is a timely reminder why a free press is so vital and must be protected at all costs. Directed by the almighty Steven Spielberg and with Tom Hanks as her leading man, Streep…. . well Streep just does her thing.

This movie is not all cloak and daggers and meetings in dark alleys with shady characters. What it does show is the bravery of whistle-blowers, the hard work of journalists as they piece together, what was for them, a seemingly unbelievable decades long story and the importance of a publisher who will risk their reputation and livelihood to allow the truth to be revealed.

4 stars

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Running Time :  115 minutes

Release Date :  In cinemas now

Who is in it : Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Sandy Martin, Peter Dinklage, Samara Weaving, John Hawkes

 What is it: Mildred (McDormand), a bereaved mother frustrated and angry at the local police who appear to have stopped looking for the man who murdered her daughter (the circumstances are harrowing to say the least), pays to have 3 billboards set up asking the police an awkward question. This sets her on a collision course with local law enforcement, including the nice guy with a dark secret Chief Willoughby (Harrelson) and a sooky bratty mama’s boy (Rockwell) SO sooky and SO bratty, he has to be seen to be believed.

 Why should I watch it : If you are easily offended… anything….. you need to not watch this movie. It is full of violence, deeply disturbing characterisations and copious amounts of profanity. It is not just dark comedy, it is an inky, jet black offering that will enrage you one moment and have you in gales of laughter the next.

A mother, so deeply wounded by the death of her daughter and so full of rage at society’s inertia when it comes to violence against the less powerful, has little left to lose when she picks a fight with the biggest bully in town. And when he comes after her, she kicks him in the balls and dares him to come at her again.

Filled with outstanding performances that have garnered the big awards alongside those that remain un-nominated but are as equally mesmerising, this is the movie that will have you thinking about it for many weeks after. Whether you like it or not, it will stay on your mind.

4 stars

I, Tonya

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Running Time :  120 minutes

Release Date :  In cinemas now

Who is in it : Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, McKenna Grace, Julianne Nicholson, Paul Walter Hauser, Bobby Cannavale, Bojana Novakovic, Caitlin Carver

What is it: Tonya Harding was a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Literally. A gifted ice skater even at the tender age of 4, she was destined to be a champion, if only the establishment could get over itself and give her a chance. She would become the first American woman to perform a triple axel on the ice but it would be the events of January 6, 1994 that would ultimately prove to be this woman’s enduring legacy.

Why should I watch it : because Allison Janney is brilliant and Margot Robbie is even brillianter! Robbie brings more than a touch of Aussie bogan to this rough around the edges character and with Janney as her sparring partner for a fair bit of the movie, all you can do is watch in awe as these two women duke it out, sometimes physically, on screen.

The movie is a no holds barred look at a story that will live in infamy. It revels in its loud, bawdy, vulgar storytelling, slyly smug in the fact that it actually telling conflicting stories. Just as its cinematography presents a world that is, for the most part, devoid of any real colour and character, so too are its characters.

Trapped by a world of violence and abject poverty, with an on again off again husband who beat and tormented her relentlessly, Tonya Harding never really stood a chance.

But did she know about it? What is the truth?

Honestly, by the end of the movie, it doesn’t even matter anymore.

4 1/2 stars