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Entertain Me - January 2018

Watching

I, Tonya

Margot Robbie’s meteoric rise up the Hollywood ranks continues in this biopic that’s already attracting Oscar talk. The former Neighbours star takes the title role as disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, whose arranged knee-clubbing of Olympic teammate and rival Nancy Kerrigan in 1994 is the stuff of lurid tabloid legend. The film is shot through with black humour without losing sight of the story’s more tragic elements, and Robbie’s not the only one scoring critical props: look out for a scene-stealing performance from The West Wing and Mom vet Allison Janney as Tonya’s Mum-from-Hell.

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The Post

Some serious Hollywood star power combines in Steven Spielberg’s 70s-set The Post, with ‘The Beard’ shepherding Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in a docudrama looking at The Washington Post’s coverage of the Pentagon Papers, which blew the lid on many of the country’s clandestine activities in the Vietnam War. Kate Graham (Streep), the first female newspaper publisher in the US, and hard-driving editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government in this bustlingly entertaining – and timely – tale of the events that shifted American journalism’s relationship to power.

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Molly’s Game

Jessica Chastain turns out (yet another) show-stopping performance in this cinematic retelling of the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target. Written and helmed by TV maestro Aaron Sorkin, who directs a feature for the first time, the film follows Molly (Chastain) as she establishes an underground poker empire for Hollywood celebrities, athletes, business tycoons, and finally – and unbeknownst to her – the Russian mob. As the FBI close in, Molly’s only ally is her defence lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba). Variety’s called it “a dense, dynamic, compulsively entertaining affair”.

DVD: Waru

Premiering at the 2017 New Zealand Film Festival, Waru is a powerful, thought-provoking story from eight female Maori directors. Each contributed a short film; these combine as a continuous story unfolding around the tangi of a small boy (Waru) who died at the hands of his caregiver.

Listening

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Primal Heart, Kimbra

Recorded following her move from Los Angeles to New York, Kimbra’s first drop since 2014’s The Golden Echo sees the Kiwi singer-songwriter trying something a bit bolder, completely changing up her sound: in her own words she’s been “…hunting more for a core emotion that unfolded with texture and mystery”. You can get a feel for things from first single releases ‘Everybody Knows’ and ‘Top of The World’; the first incorporating slick, 80s-infused electronic synths that help to create a grittier pop sound, with lyrics speaking of maturing after a relationship that’s left you hurt, while the quite-different latter is a funky, victorious (if angst-tinged) step into the future with a strong hip-hop influence.

Revival, Eminem

Eminem may have dropped off the radar a bit, popping his head up only occasionally to turn heads with a rap/rant about President Trump or nab some cash from the National Party, but he’s been beavering away on new album Revival, which taps everyone from Beyoncé to Pink and Ed Sheeran (yes, that Ed Sheeran), who knocked out his parts of their unlikely colab while staying at Russell Crowe’s house. The Queen-B featuring and deeply personal ‘Walk on Water’ has certainly already attracted plenty of attention, and recent second single ‘Untouchable’ features a seemingly newly-woke Eminem wading into Stateside controversies like white privilege and police brutality in a full blown civil rights song.

Here Come The Runts, AWOLNATION

The electronic LA rockers who went gigantic with smash hit ‘Sail’ drop their third studio album this month; if you haven’t heard catchy early banger ‘Passion’ yet, you might want to look it up on YouTube, as the music video that features Brazilian skateboarder Og de Souza, who lost the use of his legs as a child, is a gorgeously shot and inspiring goodie that’ll put your own life challenges in perspective.

Playlist

The killer tracks on high-rotation in the Cityscape office.

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Weezer
‘Feels Like Summer’
Pacific Daydream

Arcade Fire
‘Creature Comfort’
Everything Now

Portugal. The Man
‘Live in the Moment’
Woodstock

Lorde Feat. Khalid, Post Malone & SZA
‘Homemade Dynamite REMIX’

Camila Cabello Feat. Young Thug
‘Havana’
Camila

Reading

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Driving to Treblinka: A Long Search for a Lost Father, Diana Wichtel

Noted television critic Wichtel sets out to discover what happened to her father, a Polish Jew who never followed his family to New Zealand after surviving the Holocaust in this poignant, gripping true story that’s longlisted in this year’s Ockham
NZ Book Awards.

Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece, Stephen Fry

The Greek legends get the Stephen Fry treatment in the writer, actor and TV personality’s typically warm, wry and humorous style, complete with 34 famous illustrations of
myths from classical art and
old masters.

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