Mr Jones (2019) Movie Review

Director: Agnieszka Holland

Writer: Andrea Chalupa (Screenplay)

Starring: James Norton, Vanessa Kirby, Peter Sarsgaard, Joseph Mawle, Kenneth Cranham, Celyn Jones

Plot: A Welsh journalist breaks the news in the western media of the famine in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s.

Tagline – The truth can’t be hidden forever. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Mr Jones starts as journalist Gareth Jones (Norton) who has famously interviewed Hitler, has turned his attention to the Soviet Union, wanting to learn more about how Starling is affording the expenses that they have been making. Gareth makes new connections in Moscow with Walter Duranty )Sarsgaard) the man everyone turns to when they arrive in Moscow, but it his star writer Ada Brooks (Kirby) that will give Gareth the advice he needs, which will see him head outside of the city to the Ukraine to expose the truth about what is happening in the Soviet Union.

Thoughts on Mr Jones

Thoughts – Mr Jones follows one journalist’s determined journey to look for as story in the Soviet Union, a story which shows how the country would control the stories about it, while hiding a bleak truth that will see millions die, only he doesn’t know this until he sees it first-hand. Gareth Jones must try to break the traditions of the journalists in Russia to break his own story, one that will show how other people will look to cover up anything coming out, where his story could just be spun into that, nothing but a story, while he knows it is the truth, an important truth that needs to be told. The performance from James Norton in the leading role is great, where he starts with the optimism he has about his stories, before showing just how broken he is about what he sees.

Final Thoughts Mr Jones is an interesting look at one of the first story exposures of all time.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) Movie Review

Director: Lee Daniels

Writer: Suzan-Lori Parks (Screenplay) Johann Hari (Novel)

Starring: Andra Day, Leslie Jordan, Miss Lawrence, Natasha Lyonne, Trevante Rhodes, Dusan Dukic, Erik LaRay Harvey

Plot: Follows Holiday during her career as she is targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation led by black Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, with whom she had a tumultuous affair.

Tagline – Her Voice Would Not Be Silenced

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The United States vs Billie Holiday starts as we see how Billie Holiday (Day) found herself becoming the attention of the FBI after one of her songs turn heads, as it was depicting the lynching black people suffered through. The FBI managed to get Billie locked away for one year, before she tried to rebuild her career.

As Billie has been suffering from her own childhood trauma, she has an addiction to drug, this will soon become the battle between Billie’ addictions and the FBI desperately trying to stop her continue rise to stardom that could bring the bigger divide between the country.

Thoughts on The United States vs Billie Holiday

ThoughtsThe United States vs Billie Holiday is a biopic looking to the battle between the singer Billie Holiday and the FBI who believed her song bought out a new rise because it exposed more of the horrors done towards black people in America, turning to her drug addiction to make her life a nightmare. We get to go through the different years where Billie continued to look to perform and always saw people coming after her, never letting her face her own dreams, or helping her handle the nightmares which pushed her into the way she became, from a life nobody should have experienced. The FBI’s relentless hounding of her does come off as disgraceful, showing they only wanted to make her quiet, while she entertained the fans of the world. Andra Day has been nominated for her performance, which is easy to see why because she is a demanding presence on camera. The supporting cast do give us strong performances throughout, though they never reach the same heights as her.

Final Thoughts The United States vs Billie Holiday is an interesting biopic on an incredible musician that refused to back down.

Roe v. Wade (2021) Movie Review

Director: Cathy Allyn, Nick Loeb

Writer: Cathy Allyn, Nick Loeb, Ken Kushner (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Voight, Nick Loeb, Robert Davi, Stacey Dash, Jamie Kennedy, Joey Lawrence, Corbin Bernsen

Plot: Dr. Bernard Nathanson and Dr. Mildred Jefferson square off in a national battle in this untold conspiracy that led to the most famous and controversial court case in history.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Roe v. Wade starts as we learn how Dr Bernard Nathanson (Loeb) started to look into the legal right for women to have abortion, turning to Larry Lader (Kennedy) to help take this to court. A case the went in favour of the rights of women, seemingly like an easy cut and dry court case takes a very dramatic turn.

Justice Burger (Voight) wants the case reheard, with a complete justice group, the full 9 instead of 7, trying to make the vote go his way, to turn the right of women away from the legal outcome.

Thoughts on Roe v. Wade

ThoughtsRoe v. Wade is a look at how America was in the middle of a battle between the legal position on whether abortions should be legal in different states, with New York making it legal, the battle to win Texas shows us how the secretive nature of the procedures took over America, while the legal case takes a twist when it comes to how the supreme court is handling it. This is one of the most notorious cases in America justice system that showed us just how corrupt the justice system can become. The one biggest weakness in the film, does come from the pure number of people that are involved in the case, we find ourselves jumping between what feels like endless numbers of characters that are building both sides of the argument. It does feel like we might have got a lot more out of just following one of the two main sides of the story, either the justices battle for control, or the case from just a couple of clear-cut characters. For a case that was so big, it is one story that just doesn’t capture the intensity of a court case, which is one of the most impressive parts of any courtroom dramas. The performances in the film don’t come off as bad in anyway, with nobody looking out of place.


Roe v. Wade is a courtroom drama that doesn’t hit the heights it could have.

Banana Split (2018) Movie Review

Director: Benjamin Kasulke

Writer: Hannah Marks, Joey Power (Screenplay)

Starring: Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato, Dylan Sprouse, Luke Spencer Roberts, Meagan Kimberly Smith

Plot: Over the course of a summer, two teenage girls develop the perfect kindred spirit friendship, with one big problem: one of them is dating the other’s ex.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Banana Split starts as we see the perfect high school relationship between April (Marks) and Nick (Sprouse), which after 2-years falls apart when they are looking into colleges, April isn’t doing well after the break up, while Nick starts dating Clara (Liberato).

When Clara and April meet at a party, the two end up become close friends, keeping their friendship a secret from Nick, while preparing for the next stage of their lives.

Thoughts on Banana Split

Characters – April has been part of a perfect relationship with Nick for 2 years until they break up, she does struggle with the break up, but knows she is moving away to college soon, she ends up making friends with Nick’s new girlfriend, even if she wants to be with him again, she is facing the reality of moving on to college without the happy ending to her high school experience, needing the friendship she never had. Clara is the new girl in town, the new girlfriend of Nick’s and soon to be new best friend to April, the two connect like nobody has with April before. Nick is the boy that both the girls have or are dating, he doesn’t seem to have his life together either, while still being open to friendships, than he lets on.

PerformancesHannah Marks and Liana Liberato are both great in this film, they show excellent chemistry in friendship, while also highlighting the awkwardness of being in the same place with the Nick character. Dylan Sprouse works well as the boyfriend who doesn’t seem to know what he wants in life.

StoryThe story here follows an unlikely friendship that grows between two high school girls that just so happen to be the ex and current girlfriend of the same boy. The story might well put a lot of focus on the growing friendship between April and Clara, you can see deep down we are following three people that all know that after the summer, they will be facing a new life, one away from each other in college, which will be the beginning of the next stage of their lives, lives they don’t really know what they want or where they will be going next in. a lot of the friendship and keeping it a secret does work well, with the middle man getting uncomfortable and knowing what will happen next too, but by the end they will all get to grow as people being prepared for what is next… the unknown.

ComedyThe comedy the film comes from seeing how the girls friendship grows, with odd things happening around them along with funny arguments that they have in life with family.

SettingsThe film gives us the LA setting, which does automatically add some glitz to the high school world, which again always looks more over the top than anything you would expect to see from my own experiences in school, but outside the school, we hit the highlights of the area, including the beauty spots overlooking the city.

Scene of the Movie – Make Up.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There does seem to be a big mystery about what has made Clara move here, that we don’t learn anything about.

Final Thoughts Banana Split is an enjoyable comedy about growing up, getting laughs and having excellent performances from the constantly rising stars of Hannah Marks and Liana Liberato.