Much akin to his relationship of Wimbledon and tennis, this critic’s understanding and knowledge of the horse racing world begins and ends with the Grand National. As such, to my shame, I had never heard of trailblazing Australian jockey Michelle Payne prior to an experience Ride Like a Girl, the new biopic to tell her story. I confess to knowing less still about the sexism still at rage in contemporary equestrian circles. To this end, the film, which has this week made its home cinema debut, proves as educationally notable – if not quite analytical – as it is visually attractive.
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It’s embarrassing how long it has taken the MCU to embrace meaningful equality. Twenty films. No female-led films. How come Chief Feige? Hot on the heels of last year’s revelation that leading heroes don’t have to be white, Captain Marvel now seeks to prove that they don’t have to be women either. Who knew? Whilst this isn’t the sickly romcom Scarlet Johansson once forecast in a bitingly brilliant spoof – ‘Marvel knows women!’ – neither is it the groundbreaking triumph that was Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman two years ago. When push comes to shove, Captain Marvel is actually very average.
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Adapting a trippy children’s book from the sixties is no picnic and Disney have already cocked up Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time before now in 2003. What’s impressive about Ava DuVernay’s bigger budget take on the tale is how the Selma director makes it her own and uses it as a vehicle to communicate to an underserved audience with emotional intelligence. Sadly, it is the less impressive script and oversaturated visuals that wrinkle in the mind.
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