Category Archives: film

3 Snakes (but really films) on a Plane

I spent most of July in the U.S. It was my first trip out of Europe & I wasn’t really expecting much. I stayed at a local university, our dorm located two blocks from the White House. I was blown away by the city. I don’t think I’ve ever loved travelling anywhere more. My three weeks in D.C. were brilliant.

But do you know what else is brilliant? VIRGIN AIRLINES. Holy shit. The farthest I’ve ever travelled is London to Athens, and while they had a big screen everyone could watch Spiderman’s Homecoming (fun because I absolutely loved it) on, nothing compares to having films straight out of the cinema in front of you. For a glorious 7 hours. It’s now over a month since that beautiful day but since I watched more films there than I had in 2018 combined, I figured I’d write down what I thought. Mind you, I’ve not read reviews of any of these.

The Greatest Showman

laundry rooftop scene the greatest showman

We have the radio on in the office I’m interning in over summer, and all through June, every single hour, This is Me would come on. Sometimes twice. This type of prolonged exposure changes you. In the end, it became a part of me. The film itself — I loved it!! It felt like a fairytale. It was just a ton of fun, and drama, and singing, and what’s wrong with any of that!! When the notorious This is Me actually came on, it moved me to tears. The cast was so great throughout, even if the Zendaya/Zac Efron storyline (and Rewrite the Stars, another classic on rotation on our office radio) were underwhelming. An absolute highlight was the scene with the laundry lines. All in all, I felt like I straight up needed this; something fun, heartwarming, and a little bit inspiring.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

three billboards bug

Holy SHIT. I’ve seen this on the top of everyone’s lists and Oscar buzz all around, but was still blown away. That’s how you tell a story. From the writing to the cast to the pacing to the visuals. . .take these f–king Oscars, all of them.1 (Mind you, I’d not checked this year’s Oscar winners — the farthest I got was reading up on Brittani’s predictions.) It reminds me this rare format I’ve encountered — where it feels less like a classic rollercoaster structure, but where things start to get better and just as your heart starts to heal, they tear you back down, and so on, breaking your heart and giving you hope, just to f–k it all up again in five minutes. I can’t believe how funny they made it. Definitely the best film I’ve seen this year (not that it’s competing against many).

Black Panther

black panther

Watching this after Infinity War was such a change of pace! Seeing Martin Freeman anywhere than Sherlocks f–ks me up. Everyone else in the cast killed. I’m definitely giving it a re-watch, but even my truncated view (I kept falling asleep because I’d been awake for about 30 hours by this point) showed that this was awesome — the ‘bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from ships because they knew death was better than bondage’ line haunts me because it wraps up Killmonger’s character — and a whole bigger phenomenon–in just one sentence. It’s not my favourite Marvel film but I don’t think that’s the point–the cultural significance of this is far greater. I’m also so thoroughly impressed how they let women take charge all throughout, even if T’Challa and Killmonger were men.

On the plane back, I was travelling Norwegian and the film selection was underwhelming on the whole — but they had The Shape of Water! I managed 10 minutes and fell asleep. I woke up as we landed. RIP. Anyway, what did you guys think?! (Would love it if you linked to your own reviews!)

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1 OK, I am of the belief Academy Awards don’t matter — theoretically. In practice, I’ve grown up with them, they’re still exciting, and ‘Oscar-worthy’ means something different to me than literally winning Oscars. So please bear with me as I try to resolve this internal conflict.

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Selma (2015)

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My dissertation’s thesis is that nonviolence is an overemphasised narrative in civil rights’ movements. About 8 weeks into my phenomenal American history module (the first I’d ever studied the U.S.!) in autumn last year, I emailed my professor to say ‘I always imagined people just became more aware of human rights and basic decency and that was why civil rights movements worked, but obviously that was not enough.’ (Reading back on my questions to lecturers is a mix of hilarious and deeply embarrassing, but I guess I’m here to learn.) And nonviolence is such an elegant fill-the-gap between segregation and the post-racial era — I just don’t think it’s enough. By attributing the victories to Dr King we do a disservice to the staggering courage and drive of the grassroots activists — and more dangerously, we think we do live in a post-racial world (or America), because the Civil Rights Movement finishes neatly in 1968, with King’s assassination and the second Civil Rights Act.

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Jupiter Ascending (2015)

1I’m quickly becoming a fan of naps. They are fantastic, especially if I get to climb under the warm covers in bright daylight peeking through closed blinds, turn to a dark wall and put some music on and sigh blissfully at the thought of others having lessons while I’m home having a nap. Dark rooms are for sleeping, not napping and five-minute naps are pussy naps; yet I took one today.

At some point during the third endless lightsaber battle scene of the horror film Jupiter Ascending I blacked out. Don’t worry, though — as I woke up, there were still people in the cinema. And that shit show went on for 30 more minutes.

The film probably wants to be Star Wars with an immigrant girl from Chicago but fails so fast you don’t even have time to blink. One of the most demoralising things is how explicitly and quickly it’s made clear all humans are ignorant cattle (not Kunis though, she is the queen or some shit). Films that establish how inferior the human race are are usually good at it; here, you just feel you’ve been shat on. The chick meets her destiny, a half-dog eyeliner-wearing Channing Tatum, and what follows is a painful, embarrassing attempt of an adventure where time feels to be moving in slow motion, so when meaningful I love you looks are exchanged in what seems to be 10 minutes into meeting, any hope of the film being being funny-bad turns into a-gun-to-my-head-bad. Extensive amounts of fake mythology and pretty visuals are usually not a bad thing but it’s too much and too little at the same time and everything ends up in a dull blob. So details like the breath-taking outfit the girl queen has as she saves the world become impossible to appreciate. A hundred and seventy-six million dollars was spent on this stinking pile of garbage. Think how many kids could pay off their college debts with this.

Jupiter-Ascending

I considered a ‘x things I hate about Jupiter Ascending’ post about the horrible Russian, the cringe-worthy stereotypes, how Mila Kunis acted worse than I ever thought possible, about the underdeveloped… everything… but mostly plot, characters, background and structure, the utter lack of chemistry between any of the characters, the atrocious writing, the terrible battle scenes, how overdramatic every scene was, the idea that using the word “gene” as many times as possible explains everything, the stupid last name of the goddamn great dynasty, and the whole film was like a mash-up of great films put together by a greatly incompetent mixer, but in the end, there are only so many synonyms for ‘horrible’ and I kind of wanted to share the nap thing. I went to see this with a friend (and the joy of spending time with her was 100% of the reason I didn’t walk out) and by the middle, we were both so horrified that we couldn’t even make fun of the film.

JUPITER ASCENDING

I did like the ending. The jury’s still out on if maybe it came from joy of the film finally being over, but I think I also appreciated how sweet Kunis was and how pretty that rooftop was.

A quick peek into tumblr told me terrifying things: people actually liked this film. So I’ll go all out and say: no, there were no redeeming qualities for me. I though Eddie Redmayne was ridiculous, any hidden meaning gets lost in how awful it is to simply go through the film, it’s overly long and I still want to punch a wall for not reading up before and wasting any of my time or money on this shit. Don’t see it. Official recommendation.

Whiplash (2014)

1 copyWhat is up with the 2014 film trend ‘let’s make you little shits in the cinema as uncomfortable and disgusted as possible’? I adored Gone Girl, Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler and Whiplash all in depth but jesus, when did it become a prerequisite for a fantastic film to have people walk out from the film (I had literally never seen that happen at a screening of an American film before) throughout and making you feel like you’d rather crawl out of your skin than stay in yours because you will never be able to wash the filth off?

People are putting down Boyhood so often, but if I had to choose between Boyhood or any of the four other films, I’d choose the first in a heartbeat. It made me feel nice and fuzzy inside and was a fantastic watch. Begin Again was another lovely film — sure, not as much excitement, but super enjoyable, and none of the disgust.

Never in a million years would I put down JK Simmons’s powerful portrayal or the nuanced work of Miles Teller (good for him for getting better roles, by the way!) but where I would ordinarily become crazed about the cool film and the great music, I had to keep my mouth shut as I left the cinema, just not to throw up. For once, I was glad about spoilers — the utterances of ‘Whiplash is Black Swan with a male lead’ had prepared me for some of it.

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I had to think for minutes before starting this paragraph, because honestly — all I remembered from the film was the disgust. There was something else, too, though. The structure was so interesting, I couldn’t keep up with it! Right after the film, I thought that all storylines but the drumming had been rushed and incomplete, but now I am thinking that it was very clever — we got to see Andrew’s perspective, right? So we saw how little everything else meant for him. The dinner scene was as excruciating for the viewer as it was for him. So the structure, even if it made me feel like I was completely lost most of the time, actually worked well in the film’s advantage. It was exhilarating, really, to have no idea what is coming next — only thing is that it took me too long into the film to learn to let go of trying to guess, and just go with what is on screen. I still would’ve liked to have seen more beginning, though, because whatever Andrew went through, I can’t help but to wonder what was before that.

I also have to mention that Whiplash has the best trailer I have seen in ages. It is so well crafted. Feverish, spectacular — all the words work. For the film, too, probably, I just don’t have the stomach for the 2014 horror films posing as blockbusters. Oh, Whiplash was exciting alright. But at what cost?

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Me whenever thinking about Whiplash, honestly.


Personal note: I know I spend more time apologising than writing posts and coming by your blogs, but I greatly underestimated the weight of the IB, my course in school, which has me study 6-7 hours after 9-hour school days. Blogging has been out of the question. (I’m writing this review at 1.30am after having worked on my English essay and it’s Friday — well, Saturday now.) And the time that’s left I’ve spent freaking out about some pretty terrific news — can’t say much about it yet, but it’s made me smile often and randomly throughout the past few days. Things are tiring but pretty damn great.