Film Review: The Big Sick (2017)

RATED: 4/5

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

One thing I like to do before watching a movie is avoid watching the trailer. If I had watched the trailer for this movie I would have thought it was another one of your run-of-the-mill rom-coms. But this one is so unconventional, and not just for the obvious reasons. To call it a “rom-com” seems ill-fitted even though it really is a romantic comedy. Can I just say, first of all, how freaking cool would it be to write a movie about yourself and then star in it?!

What I find separates this to a conventional rom-com is that it’s almost as if the more important relationship that blossoms is not actually between Kumail and Emily, but instead between Kumail and Emily’s parents, AND as a ripple effect from that, the relationships between Emily’s parents themselves, Kumail and his parents, and eventually Kumail and Emily.

What worries me the most about how people might react to this film is that they might not understand why his family is the way it is. I am not saying people would be ignorant or uncultured, but I truly believe it would be so hard to wrap your head around his parents’ reasoning for basically disowning him.
Take it from me, a Filipino girl whose devout Catholic parents moved to Australia for a better life but are still so attached to their ancient, strict, Catholic Filipino culture, and I am in love with an Australian man! My life is basically a watered down version of Kumail’s, and I still find it hard to not think his parents are being unreasonable. If I didn’t relate to Kumail so much, I would probably think the way his parents were portrayed was a wild overreaction and that that just does not happen in real life. But it does!

One thing I found a little bit hard to believe was their reason for breaking up in the first place. It just wasn’t enough. I thought that it was just a heat-of-the-moment fight, not that they would break up over that.
Again, I personally went through a watered down version of this. While my parents preferred I married a Filipino man, it was forgivable if I didn’t, but there was absolutely no way I was “allowed” to marry a man who was not Catholic. My boyfriend is Catholic, but he is the kind of Catholic who was baptised as a baby and that’s about as religious as he gets. We were three months into our relationship before I told my parents about him, and not once did he even worry about the fact that I was keeping him a secret from my family, because he understood. He understood that even if you are a grown adult, parents are still going to be strict and sometimes scary. Emily did give Kumail a chance to explain but it seemed to have gone in one ear and out the other. She doesn’t understand that it’s just not that simple.

Kumail’s relationship with Emily’s parents, especially her mother, was just the absolute best part! She was being such a bitch to Kumail, as per the protective-motherly rule of disliking anyone who hurts your daughter, and then she did a 180 and straight up defended Kumail from a racist heckler at one of his stand-up shows. It totally humanised her, made her a real, complex human being. And the way she turned into an excited little kid when Emily woke up from her coma…

There needs to be more characters like her in movies. Not just people who are evil simply because they are evil. You can’t have the good guy as always and only a good guy the whole time, nor the bad guy only ever being bad. To make them real everyone has to have a bit of a shitty moment or a sweet moment and it shouldn’t be unusual for that character, it should just be one mood in a whole spectrum of emotions.
The overlapping dialogue makes the conversations real. We often forget that real life doesn’t play like he-said-this-then-she-said-that. This is what I love the most about The Big Sick. Everything is so real. The characters are real. The premise is real and very relevant to second generation (or other) kids from traditional families growing up in the modern western world. I want to forget that I am watching a movie – I want to see reality.

This film recently popularised a conversation about the lack of brown women in films. I find that the topic was raised for the wrong reason, seeing as it is based on a true story and I don’t believe there is any “discrimination” here by having a white girl as the female lead – it drives the story. But it does bring forward a true and important issue. This has been something I’ve had a problem with for a long time since I dreamed of being an actress as a young girl and found it difficult to not just be cast as a character who didn’t have a nationality specified, but also to even be typecast because of the fact that there is just no demand for brown-skinned South-East Asian females.
By all means, start the conversation about this – let’s finally have real diversity in the screen industry – but don’t use this film as a platform for this argument. Really just take any film with a white female lead where the nationality has nothing to do with the story.

Anyway. The Big Sick was a big plus for me. Seeing a non-Hollywood romantic comedy on the big screen is refreshing.

Book Review: “A Court of Thorns and Roses”

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RATED: 1.5/5

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

Let’s cut to the chase. There are so many things wrong with this book that I don’t even know where to begin. I can say that at least first of all, this book is not for young adults. Yes there’s a lot of graphic violence but also a lot of sexual tension and a little bit of sex. Truthfully, this girl could’ve been a grown woman and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the story, except that it wouldn’t be in the young adult section of the book store.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is like one big Twilight, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Hunger Games mash up.

My biggest issue with this book is that nothing really makes much sense. I found it hard to believe a lot of things in it.
Why did Feyre not find it bizarre that because of some “treaty”, she had to live with the High Fae of the Spring Court? Wouldn’t there be a ton of other criminal human beings also living there with him if that were the case? Instead, it was all new to all of them and yet there were no questions asked, just constant escape on her mind.

Why did Feyre bother so much with her family? They were horrible and not worth caring for. I understand there was a “promise” she made to her mother before she died but even then, she explained that her mother wasn’t great either when she was alive, so why would she want to keep a promise to someone like that? She slaved away for her family and there was hardly any gratitude in return. Her sisters were selfish and her father may as well have died considering how miserable he was with his botched knee. The way her family was introduced at the start of the book portrayed them so negatively in my eyes, it never made any sense to me why she would be so desperate to get back to them and take care of them when she was able to live a luxurious life without having to work and being able to paint, because she killed a faerie.

Tamlin was a confusing character for me. I felt at times like he was literally just the beast from Beauty and the Beast. His attitude towards Feyre was confusing. One chapter they hate each other and the next chapter he’s like some cute Labrador puppy and they’re in some meadow hanging out in the sun and it’s all happy out of nowhere and they’re getting along so well. Then there was all this sexual tension that I just couldn’t buy. Honestly, I could tell they were supposed to end up together just by how it was being written, but characteristically I couldn’t see it. I mean damn, I shipped Feyre more with Lucien or Rhysand than Tamlin!

That leads me to my next point. The trials that Feyre had to undergo to “prove her love” is true and pure towards Tamlin proved anything but that. How does fighting a giant worm prove you love Tamlin? Doesn’t outsmarting it and killing it prove you are street smart? That doesn’t prove love. That doesn’t have anything to do with Tamlin. Even her second trial proved more about caring about Lucien than Tamlin.

Amarantha was so powerful and evil, and her whole backstory was not enough to justify it. One of my peeves about stories are when there is an evil person who is just… too evil, you know? It’s like she’s just being evil to be evil. There’s nothing really there to her character apart from some very petty revenge she should have gotten over decades ago. I also find it hard to believe that all of Prythian would have submitted to her so easily. If someone rules over a country the way she does, she would have caused a riot so fast that she would have been dead or other decades ago.

This one book could have been two separate books. The story of the blight/curse and then Feyre’s long ass story. Another peeve of mine is when a character has to explain everything instead of information being found out as the story progressed. I don’t know if that would have been possible for this book, but when Alis explained the entire bloody history of Prythian and the curse, etc. just, no! It’s not natural or realistic. It’s as if the author had written the whole backstory about the blight separate to the book, but then couldn’t find a way to integrate it into the story, so she just copied and pasted it into Alis’ mouth. And it was conveniently part of the curse that they weren’t physically able to tell Feyre any of this during the 49 years.

I don’t think I need to explain why I didn’t like the part where Feyre was dead, but then the High Lords all gathered around her body and dropped some golden kernels on her and she came back to life as a High Fae.

ACOTAR moved at an infuriatingly slow pace. A whole lot of nothing happened in the middle. There are about 200 pages worth of things that didn’t need to happen, or could’ve been written faster. For an illiterate girl, Feyre sure has a lot of descriptive eloquent thoughts.

I was most impressed with the writing. It was beautiful. I could really picture everything, from the description of different kinds of magic, to even the way a person can have a hundred different kinds of smiles (Amarantha). Truthfully, it may have been part of the problem the book moved so slowly. There was one part that went on for 3 pages where Feyre was describing music that she could hear playing somewhere in the distance. Like I get it, there’s music playing and it reminds you of Tamlin from that night of festivities. The only reason I finished reading this book was because I bought it (I try not to leave unfinished books on my shelf) and because there was so much hype around this trilogy that I was hoping the story would get better, but it was a mess. If I had borrowed this from the library I would have stopped about 100 pages in.
Finishing this book was actually quite a relief because of how long it dragged on.

I feel terrible for leaving such a scathing review. There were a lot of issues with the story and so much of it was not believable but weirdly enough, I didn’t hate it as much as I thought. If the writing wasn’t so good, this would’ve had no stars and maybe not even a review because I would not have bothered finishing it.

Sarah J. Maas sure knows her way around words, but the story had a lot of holes that needed filling. Who knows, maybe the next two books make the story better (though sequels rarely are) but I think I’m going to give this series a miss and move on to faster-paced things.

Film Review: Nerve (2016)

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

RATED: 4/5

There are very few movies that leave me sitting there as the credits roll, as if stunned, trying to sink myself back into the real world after being so lost in a thrilling story. Surprisingly, this did it for me.
Forgive me as it’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed something!

Nerve is a cautionary tale for youth in the digital world. Unfortunately, it seems almost entirely possible something like this could happen, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe something pretty similar actually did happen, resulting a lot of young teen suicides.

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There are a lot of digital world issues that this film touches on in a realistic way. Many people nowadays are glued to their phones and obsessed with “instafame” and gaining followers. Sydney (Emily Meade) is the prime example of this in the film and even though you can see her growing obsession with followers from a mile away, it’s still infuriating to watch, but in a good way. Her scene on the ladder between the two windows was so nail-biting! Drunk and in heels doing that?! Also, how did they happen to know the people in the apartment at the other end of the ladder? She is just that desperate to have more watchers than her own best friend, she would risk her life so callously.

The characters are a little stereotypical, but it’s hard to not make them like that. There’s Tommy (Miles Heizer) who managed to nab two stereotypes as a character – the shy friend who is in love with the main character and it’s so obvious to everyone except for the main character, and the tech geek friend who knows all about codes and hacks, and coincidentally becomes a very useful skill when push comes to shove.
Ian (Dave Franco) is the cool and mysterious hot guy (he rides a motorbike…) who is always composed and you know he’s going to be the love interest the second you see him. His character wasn’t bad. I appreciate that he didn’t play it so over the top.
Vee (Emma Roberts) was a shy girl who rarely did anything out of her comfort zone and was unsurprisingly the school’s photographer because she’s an *outsider looking in*, she’s invisible, an observer, quietly captures *moments*.

I would consider Sydney to not be quite the stereotype only because she is friends with Vee, which is baffling to me. She is a bit of an obnoxious, out-there, “bad girl” who does what she wants and (apparently) doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. So why is she friends with Vee? Sydney even said it herself, something along the lines of, “I’m fun and you’re boring.” Vee seems like someone she wouldn’t even notice in high school.
J.P., the guy Vee had a crush on, is one hell of a jock stereotype that I can’t even be bothered getting into.

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What I really enjoyed about this film is the editing and motion graphics. I believe what made this film so good was, yes, the story, but also the way it was put together. It really got my heart racing because the pacing was just right. The graphics made you constantly aware of the app, so that even when you weren’t looking at the app itself on screen, it was like you were always in the app, hyperaware of it like it was following them everywhere.

I have to admit, when we were made to believe that there was something sketchy about Ian’s past and found out that he had played Nerve previously in Seattle where he and some other guy were in the final when the other guy died, I thought I had already figured it all out. Since Vee never divulged into how her brother died, I thought we would find out later that the other guy who died playing Nerve against Ian was her brother, and she would find out Ian was the guy that could have saved him and climactic drama ensues. Though that might have been an interesting path to take, I’m glad I was wrong because I don’t like being able to predict a plotline.

My favourite part was the ending. I was a little hesitant to believe that the majority vote was ‘yes’ to shooting her. People are messed up, but I like to believe that they aren’t that messed up and that stupid. What did they think would come of it? There were thousands of people in the arena watching, and tens of thousands more watching online. Do you really think authorities wouldn’t know or do something about it? Or the media turning it into an international headline? There were thousands of cameras there to capture the shooting and the sickening jeers from the crowd chanting for Ty to shoot her.

But of course, they are that stupid, because it’s only until they read on their phone that they are an accessory to murder that they realise what they just took part in.
The crowd went from 100 to 0 after that, and their silent exit didn’t sit well with me. They didn’t appear to feel guilty – which I’m assuming that’s what they were trying to portray – instead they looked careless, as if it was just another notification on their screen. They read the message, then shut off their tablets and went to bed like they didn’t believe they really are an accessory to murder. I mean I know they weren’t because she wasn’t actually shot, but they don’t know that!

But after all of this reflection, in the end it’s all about that premise; are you a watcher or a player? And that’s what resonated with me the most. Some might argue that Vee didn’t need to step out of her comfort zone because there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. True – there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, but there’s a difference between introversion and never taking a risk. I’m just like Vee at the start of the film; I am 100% a watcher through and through, and I hate it. This movie doesn’t inspire me to take risks (if anything, it is steering me deeper into the opposite direction) but it does send a true message. It really is in all of us – we just have to get out of our own heads. No, you don’t have to shoot someone to take a risk and no, followers do not equate to love.

I really did enjoy this movie. I was on the edge of my figurative seat the whole time and never knew what to expect or how it was going to end. It was a pleasant surprise how well they sent you a message about our world without being too obvious about it.

One more thing – there’s no way in hell their phone batteries would have lasted throughout the night like that!

Let me know your thoughts on the movie!

The Hipster and The Books

I’m not the avid reader people seem to assume I am, but I believe I read more often than the average teenager. What the hell is an ‘average teenager’? There are always labels to disconnect you from ‘average’, isn’t there? Okay, let’s just ignore that tangent.

So people think I’m always reading, though when I think about it, I didn’t read very many books in 2012, and I usually only read during my breaks between semesters. But what else can you do once you’ve been shoved into the ‘nerd’ and ‘hipster’ category? I don’t love or hate my labels – they’re just labels and it can’t be helped because this world is sometimes shitty to human beings.

Anyway, I started off this blog to start reviewing books/movies/music/etc. and I haven’t been doing that. Mostly because I never stick to anything, I’m lazy and also because I’m ‘busy’ with uptight college tasks.

So I thought I should just write a snippet about each of the books I read in 2012. Also, spoilers, hello.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Four or five years ago, this big shot book store guy came to our school to talk to us about books and he mentioned this one, when it was newly released. It sounded fucking awesome so I made a mental note to read it. Five years later, I still hadn’t read it and the movie came out. After I watched the movie, I was so mind blown about how crazy good I thought it was, because I had no real idea what it was about exactly. So I got the trilogy straight away and the first one was better than I expected. I thought it would be written a little ‘Twilight-y’, but it was much better. Suzanne Collins has a real talent for casually mentioning something in one page and letting that one small detail mean shit goes down twenty pages later, e.g. Many things Haymitch, Peeta or Cinna say becomes some really important detail in the long run.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Goddamn. That was a good book. This was my favourite of the trilogy. The first one might have been my favourite if I didn’t already know what was going to happen. So when they went back into the games in this book, I went all ghetto *click click* dayum this book yo. The main problem I have, because I am just terrible at comprehending things, is the whole ending with the wire and the tree and the force field. I’ve read it twice now and I still don’t know what the hell happened there. Well, I know what happened about Beetee trying to break through the force field and everything, but I still don’t know what their supposed plan was meant to be, originally. I kind of do, but there are just pieces missing that I don’t understand. But anyway, it was a good book. I think I got through this one quicker than the first.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Aggggggghhhhhhhh. I don’t know. It took me a while to read this, and I was kind of over it. The whole ‘I am the mockingjay’ thing ruined it for me. The whole war thing. I don’t really like war books, and this one didn’t really work for me. I don’t even remember what happened. Except for camera crew following Katniss around while she makes motivational speeches to the rebels. The existence of District 13 was a good twist, but I didn’t like District 13 – they were too Silversun (shitty sci-fi TV show) to me. I can’t even remember how it ended except that Prim died and that was just CRUEL.

Looking For Alaska by John Green

It has been a long time since I read that, but I do remember vaguely reviewing this in my TFiOS review. I was half and half on this one. I’ve read most of John Green’s books, and I’ve always been a little iffy (oh, the irony) about the way he writes. He uses capital letters a little too excessively for shouting, which feels too casual for a book, in my opinion, and it sounds like all the characters in the book sound the same – the way they talk. Also, the protagonists’ love interests seem to be very similar to each other, except that in TFiOS, he was a boy with one leg, but still a hard to read, unpredictable, unique-minded being (it’s 2a.m. I have English is not being gooder words). So all in all, I somehow found this book, and Paper Towns, to be quite similar to each other, but I still like this one more than Paper Towns. I despised the love interest from that book since the beginning.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Despite what I said above, I really did thoroughly enjoy this book. So much that it is now one of my favourites. This book made me decide to start highlighting phrases in my novels because there were so many things in this book that I agreed/disagreed with or simply thought was interesting, so I had to read it again. I also have a whole long ass review on this book already.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I never finished reading this because I just got caught up in doing other things after my first sem break and another book must have come along while this one fell to the wayside. Let me just say this – I read somewhere in the book that this was written for a niece or what have you named Alice. And I really can’t imagine a child reading this. The plot, absolutely, but the way it was written… takes a lot out of you. There are lots of words and not a lot of paragraphs!

The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara

Well, I enjoyed the film so much that when I found this book at Vinnies for $2, it’s a given. I haven’t finished this one either (there are a lot of books on my shelf which I’ve never finished reading) but it’s still on my list. I’m determined to finish reading it. I really do want to learn the details of his adventures, because I find it annoying when I see teens wearing his face on their shirts and they don’t know who he is. After all he’s done, to end up just being a fashion statement.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

I haven’t finished this one either, and I won’t make excuses for this one. I just don’t like it. It’s not for me, this book (did I just have a Yoda moment there?). I remember I even started reading this in 2011 during my ‘omg penguin classics are the way to go’ phase and I still have about a third or maybe even half of it to go. As soon as I finished reading Fahrenheit 451, I put it down and picked up Lolita. I got really excited because the writing style was entirely different. It was so fancy and proper and all uppity, for lack of a better word. I actually liked reading it right up until they started staying in hotel after hotel and I was just thinking, ‘Is something new going to happen?’ And eventually I just lost interest. What’s really sick about this book is that the guy (I don’t even remember his name) seems less of a vulgar pedophile because he writes so well. And that is an extraordinary achievement, so kudos, Nabokov.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This one I actually finished reading! Admittedly, I didn’t always know what was going on in the book. I should just super glue myself to young adult fiction. I don’t do well with these kinds of books, but I think it was okay. I couldn’t go into detail about this because I have no real opinion of it and it seems I read it so long ago. I read that last sentence and it sucks that I have no opinion of it. Clearly, I read this while unconscious and I need to read it again for real. I’m excited for the film, though I’m still a tad unsure about Tobey Maguire. But I love watching worlds and characters in books coming to life on the screen. The constant adaptations from book to movie is often shunned and complained about, but I think it’s amazing to see it coming together outside of your imagination. Don’t you think, old sport? 😉

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Did you know this book was published in 1999?! But thanks to the hipsters of this generation it became popular enough to become a movie! Hurrah, hipsters! A friend told me about this book about two or three years ago, and all I remember her saying was how messed up it was and that I should read it, so I made a mental note to read it, and I never did and the movie came out. I do genuinely mean to read these books I make mental notes of, but I just never get around to doing it in the end. And all the books I’m supposed to have read just turn into movies, so I watch the movie and that convinces me one final time to go and read the book.
Anyway, right now this is probably one of my favourite books. Actually, no. I watched the movie first, and I liked the movie better. I just think the book was much more depressing. And I get that he was pretty mentally and emotionally unstable, but did he really have to cry that often? Sometimes it’s hard to read because of the way it’s written – it’s an epistolary novel. And the way Charlie writes sounds like his voice is… pathetic? Like sad and mopey. Kind of the way Eeyore sounds. But the reason I love this book and movie so much is because of Charlie’s friends and Charlie himself. It doesn’t seem to make sense based on everything else I said. But Charlie in the film version is just so alike me it’s unreal. I actually think he’s just a better version of me. A more honest version. I love him so much, because he really is such a wallflower – someones who exists and observes and makes very little impact. Though by the end, his impact was made.
I think I was just very relieved that there is this kind of person. Not necessarily that this kind of person exists, because he doesn’t, but that Stephen Chbosky can create such a character who is so much like me, so I’m not crazy, I’m not this average mixture of all things and definitive of nothing in particular. That I still want to do all the teenagery things in life but I’m so much of a wallflower that I can never find the opportunity to do so.
Charlie’s friends, Sam and Patrick, are the absolute epitome of the kind of friends I dream of having. This group of misfits who don’t give a shit about high school cliques but still do all the teenagery things like drinking, smoking, doing drugs, partying, and aren’t worried of embarrassing themselves and are just all over carefree and always happy. They are exactly the kind of people who don’t exist within a 1000km radius of me. I like to think of them as ‘movie friends’ because I can just imagine looking over at them from across the lunch room and they’re laughing and someone throws food at someone and the other playfully hits one and just looks too Hollywood movie staged, to be real. I feel like these kinds of people don’t exist.
Also, this book gave me a pretty sick list of music and books to get into. I’m currently obsessed with The Smiths song, Asleep, which by the way, I never really understood the hype about The Smiths. There are only about five or so songs that I love from them; everything else sounds like someone trying to be poetic and philosophical, and just added a random melody with no real song structure to it. Sorry, Morrissey! But other than that, yes! I really love that song! I’m also now reading Catcher in the Rye, thanks to this book. I’ve read some of the books on that list, but I kind of just want to read ALL OF THEM.

Okay, so maybe Perks should have been in a different post altogether. Oops!

Amateur Review: Thor (2011)

*Please note that when I call them “Amateur Reviews”, they’re not technically reviews, they are actually just my scattered thoughts on the subject at hand.
**This also contains juicy spoilers you may or may not want to read.

I just finished watching Thor, and I’ll be honest with you, it’s very hard for me to engage in films such as this one. The “epic”, “other-worldy” kind where they dress up in elaborate costumes and speak in dramatic Old English accents even though they’re from an entirely other “realm”. Because that’s all I see when I watch this kind of film – grown men wearing costumes and playing heroes. It doesn’t matter the budget, I can’t take it seriously sometimes. It just looks a tad ridiculous! Especially Loki with his horn-shaped looking helmet thing. Maybe it’s just me; I never got into Marvel comics.

This film, however, slightly impressed me. There wasn’t anything particularly notable in terms of script, acting, editing, whatever – I was mostly impressed that I was actually entertained. I’m not so much into these kinds of movies, but I decided to give it a go since my whole film class is obsessed with The Avengers and Batman and I’m clueless when they start talking about it. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this movie. I liked the turn in character of Loki. I don’t know if I’m the only one who felt this way, but I actually still felt sympathetic towards him at the end of the movie. To me, he became this power-hungry kid who just got his first taste of real authority and got too excited over it. And I can’t remember the exact words, but I remember him saying to Thor, something like, “I never wanted the throne; I only wanted to be your equal.” The fact that Thor was such an arrogant bastard at the start too, also made it seem like I can understand why Loki went nuts. I remember thinking at the start of the film, why the hell does Thor get to be crowned and not Loki? The IMDb synopsis described Loki in the crowning ceremony as “looking on enviously” which I think is total bullspit. Loki seemed so genuine and was always supportive of Thor and not slightly rebellious like he was (that was until we found out Loki actually helped the frost giants from Jötunheim to get to the blue power casket thing). But I like that about this film, because even though this is a “superhero” film of sorts, the villain is a little bit different. He’s not blatantly evil. I’d usually dislike the villain from the beginning, because I knew he was going to be evil, but this time, it was a bit of a slow build. I’ll admit here and now, I am the only living being of this generation who hasn’t seen The Avengers, so I recognised Loki from the trailers and whatnot, but I actually couldn’t place him of what kind of character he actually was, until I found out his name was Loki.

I sound like I don’t like Thor as a character, but he’s alright I suppose. I can’t help but see him as this uncultured, brawn-and-no-brain kind of guy though, which doesn’t mean I don’t like him, it’s just that he seems like one of those innocently dumb characters who you can’t help but love (“This drink. I like it. Another!” *smashes mug on the ground*).

Another thing I couldn’t help but scrutinise in terms of cinematography is the constant dutch tilt they were doing after Thor was banished to Earth. I get that it’s meant to make the situation feel all out of place because he’s in another world and it’s all weird and different, but I feel like it was a tad overdone, and perhaps applied to some of the wrong shots, like the establishing wide shot of the cafe. It was too noticeable. In fact, I think I noticed each time it was a dutch tilt, and I was taught that good cinematography (and editing) should be smooth enough to not notice these kinds of things. It should just evoke the feeling that the shot intended, but not make us blatantly aware of how it evoked that feeling (in this case, it’s noticing that there is a dutch tilt on a shot). When they did dutch tilts during Thor and Loki’s conversation in that interrogation room, I noticed it, but forgave it because to me it seemed quite natural (most people wouldn’t notice it) and had a very clear intention. But that’s really the only negative note I, as a complete amateur (and in no way think I’m right, this is all opinion!), can give.
Well… I was a little bit sceptical about how or why a strong relationship ever happened between Thor and Jane. It seems to me like they only knew each other for a very short time and never really bonded enough for me to believe that they miss each other and think about each other a lot after their separation. It was a little bit Romeo and Juliet in terms of how fast they fell for each other.

Other than those pretty minor things, I thought it was pretty good. The main things I look for in a film is entertainment (of course) and for it to be thought-provoking. I feel like this is one of those American, big-budget type of films that are more concerned about entertainment value and influx (? What’s the word I’m looking for?!) of money at the box office. But if their aim was to entertain me, then well done.

I rate Thor: ★★★½✰✰

Amateur Reviews: I Am Number Four, directed by D.J. Caruso

*Please note that when I call them “Amateur Reviews”, they’re not technically reviews, they are actually just my scattered thoughts on the subject at hand.
**This also contains juicy spoilers you may or may not want to read.

I watched this yesterday while I was stuck at home with a blocked nose and a mountain of tissues in my bin, so I’m not sure there is much I can say about this film.

Plot, characters, setting, actors, music? Whatever! I don’t think this is going to be one of those films I’m going to remember in a year or so, seeing as I’m writing it the day after and I’m already trying to remember exactly what it was about (I don’t have a terrible memory, I remember it now, thanks). There isn’t really anything special about the film, but I do love Dianna Agron’s character. I love that kind of character – the stays-out-of-the-spotlight, artsy, takes photographs of everything, sees the world differently kind of girl. I would love to play that kind of character in a (short) film or play. I think they are fascinating.

Also, that dog. When he came out of the bushes at the start, I swore he was evil, like he was one of those “Mogadorians” morphing into a cute little dog so he could get close to Number 4 and then get into his house and crazy murder him. So throughout the movie, there I was, thinking like a schizophrenic, “Omg, evil dog, get away GET AWAY HIS EARS ARE SO FLOPPY AW he’s gonna eat you alive oh them puppy dog eyes stop it you’RE HYPNOTISING ME” and so on and so forth. So even though he was adorable, I didn’t trust him, pretty much had no sympathy for him. Then he morphed into that crazy bitch giant dog in the car and I was like, “I TOLD YOU I KNEW IT EVILLLLLLLLLL” and then I find out he was helping “John Smith” against the bad guys and I was suddenly in love with that little monster. What annoyed me was that there he was, back to his little dog-self, injured, bleeding, lying down alone, meanwhile freaking John Smith is out there blowing shit up and then the scene changes. It was as if he didn’t even go looking for his dog, who just saved his life! The last thing I saw of the dog was him lying down in a pool of blood, and then they went into the “epilogue” scene!
I THOUGHT HE DIED! I thought he died, and no one cared, like he was an insignificant loss! All I was thinking throughout the whole end scene was WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO THE DOG. And it came limping out, cute and all.

Thank you. That was all I needed to know.
Number 6 was badass. And for some reason, the ending seemed to be set up for a sequel. I don’t think a sequel will go well. Just my opinion.

Message of the film: Dogs are loyal as fuck.

I rate I Am Number Four: ★★✰✰

Amateur Review: Chronicle, directed by Josh Trank

*Please note that when I call them “Amateur Reviews”, they’re not technically reviews, they are actually just my scattered thoughts on the subject at hand.
**This also contains juicy spoilers you may or may not want to read.

I did have interest to see this film when it first came out, but not enough to actually get off my arse and to the cinemas. Then as I was forgetting about it, Chronicle was briefly mentioned in my Film and TV History class this morning. And I thought, why not? So here I am, having just finished watching the film not more than five minutes ago, and let me tell you this: my emotions are confused.

Chronicle was very easy to follow. I suppose it is one of those “teen movies” where they are more focused on showing rather than to make you think.
Admittedly, and unsurprisingly, I watched a download of this that my friend gave me, which was a recording in the cinemas. Honestly, I didn’t think people did that anymore. I don’t really like to watch films like that when the quality was so poor, but alas, I had a downloaded copy and it would save me the effort. The reason I’m rambling on about this whole bad-quality-downloaded thing is because when they suddenly cut to the three of them doing all their telekinesis tricks was because I thought that the download I owned had a chunk missing or something. But then I guess it didn’t. So it kind of left me out of whack when all of a sudden they have these magical powers; the cut in storyline was a little too sharp for me. But I guess if they’re trying to stick to the whole naturalism/realism style, you wouldn’t really expect Andrew to coincidentally record an accidental moment of discovering their telekinesis abilities.

I was okay with “believing” the whole telekinesis thing when they did it (willing suspension of disbelief), but the flying through the clouds bit was a bit much. I can believe them flying, but not through the clouds. Yes, of all things I’m not willing to believe, it’s that they were in the clouds. If they’re trying to make this whole thing realistic, what with the “found footage” style, at least let all the aspects outside of telekinesis make sense. You can’t breathe in the air pressure of that altitude, and it would be so freezing up there, that a thermal jacket isn’t going to fix things. Also, I couldn’t help but laugh after extremely serious and dramatic confrontations that ended with one of them just turning around and flying out of a window or something. It just looked comical to me.
Other than that, I was surprisingly responsive to this movie. When I watch movies at home, yes, I talk to the screen and smile and laugh and make ‘aaw’ noises and insult the irritating characters. When I was watching Chronicle, I was so aware of me smiling, for so long, throughout a lot of the first half of the movie. A big smile, with teeth! I was having fun watching them having fun (although I was very aware of how obnoxiously dumb and immature they made this generation look. But that’s already how people see us anyway :/). I am still extremely jealous and want to go find a hole with weird crystal things that will make me pass out and then have magical powers afterwards.

In my opinion though, most of them are douches. All the people in the high school are those typical brutally excluding cliques. Casey, though. Freaking Casey. Yeah, she’s supposed to be the cool girl who’s also kind of mysterious and walks around with a camera, and Matt’s there trying so hard to impress her and saying all this pretentious shit, and she was just so demeaning. Especially when he went to her house, she just had that smile and nod that wasn’t for good intentions – like she was belittling him, like she didn’t really care at all what he was saying, or just wasn’t even listening, just thinking, ‘wow, get a load of this guy’. Andrew’s dad was quite clearly a douchebag and a half. I don’t really want to get too much into this guy, because he just makes me irritated. But I feel he was a bit flat as a character – he was all rage rage rage, grief, blame, rage rage, half-dead. I just wish he smothered Andrew with a pillow when instead of crying and shouting at him. Or at least just cry because his wife just died and his son is in the ICU because he went nutso trying to get money for his mother’s medication. Also, I find it hard to believe he went out looking for Andrew that night. Really.

And Andrew. Fucking Andrew. He really is that high-school-nerd-who-is-unloved-and-doesn’t-belong-and-ends-up-becoming-a-crazy-serial-killer type character! Yes, I’m being serious! It’s always the quiet ones that end up being the crazy villains because of their horrible past. I think it’s safe to say, I had no sympathy for him from the beginning. Okay, maybe at the very beginning when his dad hit him and pushed him on the ground, and bullied by those sad-life jocks. After that, rave party onwards, I was already over his whining and his, ‘guise, wer r u? gaiz i dont think u shud go in da hole guyz, omg lets go back gaiz omg matt ur my ride home’. Fair enough, everything bad he did, initially, had good intentions. And yes, he went nutso and clearly had no good intentions there, but I think, to put it simply, he had rage issues. Any harm he caused purposely was caused by his rage issues. You saw it when he said things like, ‘Seriously, Steve, stay away from me, I need to be alone right now, just leave me alone’. BAM. Steve dies.

The most satisfying part, though, was when Andrew’s dad started beating him up again and Andrew throws him against the wall and puts on this epic voice and says, ‘I CAN CRUSH YOUUUU’. Lordy, that settled a lot of rage out of me. It’s just one of those things, you know? When there’s that one character who is just constantly on your nerves and always gets away with it, but you can’t do anything because you can’t freaking control the movie, so finally a character gets shit done and throws a bitch down.

Despite how many negatives I seemed to have mentioned about this film, it’s safe to say I enjoyed it. In the style that it is, I enjoyed it. The thing is, my kind of movie is the very thought-provoking kind where I don’t mind getting a little confused along the way because there’s a lot to take in, and not just seeing a plot unfold. I’m not saying this movie isn’t thought-provoking, because every film should be. I’m saying this is the kind of movie that you can just sit and enjoy and not have to think too hard about what that close up means, or why the music is contradicting the image, etc. It’s very much a movie to watch with your friends (ironically, I didn’t) and just not analyse (ironically, I did)!

So on an entertainment level, it was pretty good, but on an overall level, I think some things were missing, or some of the characters needed a bit more dimension. But the bottom line is, I enjoyed watching it enough to talk to the characters in the movie (especially, ‘SMOTHER HIM WITH A PILLOW’ to his dad when Andrew was in hospital; I knew mayhem was about to break out!).

I rate Chronicle: ★★★✰✰