Jonathan Finn

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Hunky Dory Review


Good
With a lively recreation of 1970s South Wales, this relatively standard nostalgic teen drama holds our interest through its colourful settings and characters. Although without a clear central figure, the film feels rather diffuse.

Viv (Driver) is an unorthodox drama teacher at a Swansea school, where she encourages her students to express themselves. But this causes problems when Davey (Barnard) keeps getting knocked back by his crush Stella (Branch), Kenny (Evans) hangs out with a band of skinhead thugs, Jake (MacKay) starts seeing this sister (Nixon) of his best pal (Byard), and Evan (Harries) realises he doesn't like girls. As their class production, a rock-infused version of The Tempest, approaches, everyone will need to take a stand. And it could get rather messy.

Continue reading: Hunky Dory Review

Billy Elliot Review


Excellent
"Just because I like ballet, it doesn't mean I'm a poof," says 11-year-old British mamma's boy Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell). And that just about sums up the story of this oddball child prodigy. After all, when a lad from a northern British mining town forsakes his granddad's boxing gloves for a pair of satiny ballet slippers, it's more than the neighbors and townsfolk can comprehend and, therefore, inherently good cinematic drama.

Beyond the fact that the whole coal-miner's-kid-has-talent-and-big-dreams genre has been horrifically overdone from the earliest days of English-language narrative, Billy Elliot (aka Dancer) is actually a treat to watch. Maybe it's just the funny accents, but the dialog comes off fresh and surprising, even when it's just Billy's dad (played by Gary Lewis) saying some stock like, "No son of mine is going to be dancing ballet." In fact, Lewis conveys an intense fury through his role as the apparently ignorant father, while maintaining a sense of depth and dimension that is, at times, endearing.

Continue reading: Billy Elliot Review

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Jonathan Finn Movies

Hunky Dory Movie Review

Hunky Dory Movie Review

With a lively recreation of 1970s South Wales, this relatively standard nostalgic teen drama holds...

Billy Elliot Movie Review

Billy Elliot Movie Review

"Just because I like ballet, it doesn't mean I'm a poof," says 11-year-old British mamma's...

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