What to watch: AJ and The Queen & Richard Jewel

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AJ and the Queen. (PHOTO: NETFLIX)
AJ and the Queen. (PHOTO: NETFLIX)

AJ AND THE QUEEN SEASON 1

Rating: 3/5

RuPaul stars as Robert Lee, aka Ruby Red, a down-onher-luck drag queen who’s been ripped off by her boyfriend – he’s stolen the life savings she was going to use to open a club.

She sets off chasing him across America, performing at clubs along the way and picking up a young stowaway, the recently orphaned AJ (Izzy G).

RuPaul is as charismatic as ever, but each episode packs in more drama and melodrama than it needs, overshadowing the star’s fine performance. – DENNIS CAVERNELIS

2020. 10 EPISODES. 13.

RICHARD JEWELL

Rating: 4/5

True-life drama. At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta in the US a backpack containing three pipe bombs explodes, killing two and injuring more than 100 people.

But it could’ve been worse had it not been for the eagle eye and quick thinking of security guard Richard Jewell (Paul Walter Hauser), who spots the unattended bag.

Thirty-three-year-old Jewell is hailed as a hero and the media can’t get enough of him until the FBI start investigating him as a “hero bomber”, in it for fame and glory.

Director Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven) skilfully tells the story of this eager former police officer maligned by the press and made to suffer a trial by media.

Hauser’s nuanced portrayal earned him a deserved best breakthrough performance award from the US National Board of Review, while Oscar nominee Kathy Bates as Jewell’s mother, Sam Rockwell as his lawyer and Olivia Wilde as journalist Kathy Scruggs – who broke the story about Jewell being the FBI’s main suspect – deliver equally outstanding performances.

Despite controversy surrounding the portrayal of Scruggs, who died in 2001, as a reporter who traded sex for story leads, this film is well worth a watch to get a glimpse into why this case continues to be taught as a cautionary tale in journalism classes in the US. – LYNN ELY

2019. 131 MIN. 16DLV.

ALSO AVAILABLE ON DVD, GOOGLE PLAY AND VODACOM VIDEO PLAY.

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