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Palatkik last won the day on September 20

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  1. Help [2021 TV movie] A young woman seems to have found her calling working in a Liverpool care home where she has a special talent for connecting with the residents. Then, in March 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic hits. A downer drama as can be expected about care home failings at the time with two very strong lead performances to make it worthwhile.
  2. Cry Macho [2021] A one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder takes a job to bring a man's young son home and away from his alcoholic mom across the border in Mexico. On their journey, the horseman finds redemption teaching the boy what it means to be good. Overly slow modern day cowboy drama, would barely pass muster but for it coming from 92 year old Clint. Not bad, but not that good either.
  3. Herself [2020] A young mother escapes her abusive husband and fights back against a broken housing system. She sets out to build her own home and in the process rebuilds her life and re-discovers herself. A jarring mix of unbelievable kindness and nasty cruelty kind of works for this mostly upbeat Irish drama.
  4. Slalom [2020] Under the guidance of a strict ex-champion, a promising 15 year old girl trains as a professional skiing star. Excellent French drama traverses the Alpine slopes at exhilarating speeds whilst swerving into the slippery slope of when close physical training becomes sexual abuse.
  5. Riders Of Justice [2020] A soldier takes compassionate leave home to see his teenage daughter, after his wife dies in a train accident. It seems like an accident until a mathematics geek, who was also on the train, and his two colleagues show up. Excellent Danish revenge thriller with a wickedly funny dark side, action packed, full of subtle drama and surprises. Worth seeing.
  6. The Toll [2021] A low budget darkly-comic thriller set on the Pembrokeshire coast about a toll booth operator with a past that is fast catching up with him. Enjoyably amusing crime caper, with an acceptable cheesy ending, hits the ground running with nonstop deadpan humor amongst the rolling Welsh countryside.
  7. Censor [2021] After viewing a strangely familiar video nasty, a film censor, sets out to solve the past mystery of her sister's disappearance, embarking on a quest that dissolves the line between fiction and reality. Ambitious low budget horror flick set in 80's Britain works OK. Worth seeing if you are into the horror genre.
  8. The North Water [2021 TV Limited Series] Dramatic period thriller TV series of a disgraced ex-army surgeon who signs up as ship's doctor on a whaling expedition to the Arctic in 1869. Hoping to escape the horrors of his past, he finds himself on an ill-fated journey with a murderous psychopath. In search of redemption, his story becomes a harsh struggle in the Arctic wasteland. This slow moving thriller, flat at times, jumps hoops showing it's based on a novel, has a top cast giving some good performances, set in a stunningly bleak environment.
  9. Stillwater [2021] Drama piece of an American oil-rig roughneck travels from Oklahoma to the French south coast to help his estranged daughter, who is in prison for a murder she claims she didn't commit. Confronted with language and legal barriers to understand in a foreign country, he builds a new life there with a mission to exonerate his child. This dodgy story is just about held together with fine character portrayals.
  10. Annette [2021] A stand-up provocateur comedian and his opera singer wife have a two year old puppet 'daughter' with a surprising talent. This unique rock opera by the avant-garde Ron and Russel Mael duo of Sparks, in their first ever feature is certainly different. A mix of brilliance, frustration and tedium. Bizarre as only Sparks can be. Worth seeing only for those who can stomach the genre.
  11. Small Axe [2020 TV Limited Series] Five part mini TV series named after the Wailers song, is based on the real-life experiences of London's West Indian communities between 1969 and 1982. Each episode telling a different story, each directed by Steve McQueen, chip firmly on shoulder with agenda driven one sided race relations point of view can feel clich├ęd. Nevertheless a good series best watched as a whole with some top soundtracks of the era and good performances, episode 1 a two hour epic in itself and episode 2 for the soundtrack alone.
  12. Summer Of Soul [2021] Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is an entertaining feature documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which celebrated African American music and culture. Vibrant mix of archived political interviews, performing footage of some well-known blues and soul singers of the era, supposedly not seen since this was filmed as the tapes have only recently been recovered some fifty years on.
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