FOR A GRIPPING TRUE STORY: Blonde
Blonde is a biographical drama written and directed by Andrew Dominik (The Assasination of Jesse James) and based on the 2000 novel by Joyce Carol Oates. Oates’s book chronicles the fictional inner life of Marilyn Monroe and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award back when it was published. The resulting film offers an intimate, unsparing vision of Norma Jeane – the woman who became the Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe. The film tells an all-American story of how a fragile, gifted young woman makes and remakes her identity, surviving against crushing odds. From her volatile childhood through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs the lines between fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private image. It’s received some negative criticism for being unflinchingly depressing, but it’s well worth watching for former Bond girl Ana de Armas’s incredible transformation into Norma, alongside star turns by Adrien Brody (playing Arthur Miller), and Bobby Cannavale (Joe DiMaggio). The film is in cinemas now, but will land on Netflix on 28th September.
FOR ALL THE OFF-SCREEN DRAMA: Don’t Worry Darling
This new film by Olivia Wilde has had so many mixed reviews, it’s probably worth heading to the cinema this weekend just so you can make up your own mind. More anticipated for its off-screen drama than the film itself (listen to the SL Team podcast here if you need bringing up to speed), the plot focuses on Alice (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Harry Styles), who live in the idealised community of Victory, an experimental company town that houses the men who work on a top-secret project. It’s the 1950s, and while the husbands toil away, the wives get to enjoy the beauty, luxury and debauchery of their seemingly perfect paradise. However, when cracks begin to appear in her idyllic life, exposing flashes of something sinister lurking beneath the surface, Alice can't help but question exactly what she's doing in Victory.
FOR A FIVE-STAR WATCH: Moonage Daydream
Moonage Daydream casts new light on the life and genius of David Bowie. Told through kaleidoscopic, never-before-seen footage, performances and music, this experiential, feature-length cinematic odyssey from Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) explores Bowie’s creative, musical and spiritual journey. The film is guided by Bowie’s own narration and is the first officially sanctioned film on the artist: in 2018, Morgen was granted unprecedented access to Bowie’s archive, which encompasses a lifetime of materials, including an extensive catalogue of unseen footage and his personal collection of his own art and poetry. The sound team – featuring Bowie’s long-time collaborator, friend and music producer Tony Visconti – has mixed 48 Bowie tracks from their original stems, resulting in a truly impressive, all-encompassing documentary that’s seen critics handing out five-star reviews.
FOR TRUE-CRIME FANS: Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Between 1978 and 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer took the lives of 17 men. Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a series that exposes these unconscionable crimes, centred around the underserved, innocent victims and their communities impacted by the systemic racism and institutional failures of the police that allowed one of America’s most notorious serial killers to continue his murderous spree in plain sight for over a decade. While this isn’t the first series about Dahmer’s hideous crimes, this dramatized series has been created by Ryan Murphy of Glee, Pose and Feud, stars Evan Peters (American Horror Story, Mare of Easttown) and has a score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
FOR SOMETHING UPLIFTING: Gutsy
Apple TV+ is really giving Netflix and its competitors a run for their money this year with a slew of new series including Severance, Ted Lasso, Slow Horses, Bad Sisters and Tehran. Its latest show Gutsy takes viewers on a journey with former White House hopeful Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea as they go on adventures with some of the world’s boldest and bravest women – from household names to unsung heroes – as they inspire viewers to be more gutsy. From bowling with comedian and actress Wanda Sykes, painting with rapper Megan Thee Stallion, discussing advocacy with Kim Kardashian and talking boldness with feminist icon Gloria Steinem, this is a varied and inspiring show.
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