Passengers (2016)

Title: Passengersmv5bmtk4mju3mdizof5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjm2mzy2mdi-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_
Year: 2016
Director: Morten Tyldum
Genre: Action/Drama/Science-Fiction
Date Watched: May 10, 2017
Category: #25 A film about travel

This is a great premise for a movie, and absolutely topical. Space travel, cryogenics, AI and so on. Of course a ship malfunction has one passenger wake up early and even with som much to explore he gets lonely so he wakes up someone to be his friend. A girl.

What follows is a weird combination of love story and mystery as they try to solve the problem of what’s wrong with the ship and come to terms with living the rest of their lives on board the ship. The idea that they might spend their whole lives trapped in this one place with only one other person for company is horrifying. While it sounds like it could be fun to begin with I think it would get boring quickly, even in such an amazing place as a space ship.

This is a great movie though, almost like Castaway for a new generation, with less focus on survival and more on the emotional aspects of isolation.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Title: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2mv5bmtg2mzi1mtg3of5bml5banbnxkftztgwntu3nda2mti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_
Year: 2017
Director: James Gunn
Genre: Science Fiction/Action
Date Watched: May 9, 2017
Category: #28 A science fiction film

I’ve been excited for this for a while even though the first film had become completely fuzzy in my mind, but after a quick rewatch off we went to the cinema to see the new one.

I might be in the minority here but I actually like vol. 2 better than vol. 1. Vol. 1 for me had the novelty factor in that it was new characters, new location, new technology etc but vol. 2 made me really care about the characters and relationships. Even better it changed my opinion of several characters throughout the movie from Yondu to Peter. But also… Baby Groot made this movie hilarious.

One of my favourite scenes has to be Baby Groot being told which button not to press but also the first scene in the movie with Baby Groot dancing while everyone else is fighting.

But Yondu’s arrow is a close second in entertainment value for me. I want one.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Victor/Victoria

Title: Victor/Victoriadvdcover_7435
Year: 1982
Director: Blake Edwards
Genre: Musical
Date Watched: April 28, 2017
Category: #24 A musical

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Julie Andrews from my seven year old obsession with The Sound of Music which I insisted on watching at least once a week for several months (maybe even a year). Of course, Mary Poppins was also a favourite of mine growing up. And then as a teenager it was the Princess Diaries and Princess Diaries 2. Somehow, this one slipped past my radar, I’d heard of it at different times but never actually looked it up. It doesn’t hurt that Julie Andrews reminds me a little of my grandma.

At any rate, I finally found this movie and was pleasantly surprised. Right from the start it was funny and of course the music was fantastic. In so many ways this movie was way ahead of its time, treating the gay character of Toddy as just another character in the movie rather than a novelty. Of course, I do have a few issues with how it was treated throughout the movie as well. For example, throughout the movie King Marchand expresses his displeasure at being perceived as gay given his relationship with Victoria who has been presenting herself as a man. The fact that Marchand is displeased with this is understandable to me, even now, as he is being perceived as something he is not, and given the stigma associated with being gay in the early 80’s this is even less surprising. What I do find frustrating is that Victoria who during her professional career has met and associated with many gay people, including her best friend Toddy, does not find issue with Marchand’s behaviour. She does not discuss his opinions with him, nor does it seem to impact her own feelings towards him in any way.. This could have been a great opportunity for the writer/director to call out the behaviour as unacceptable though they chose not to. Honestly, I don’t really hold it against them because ultimately the film really is far ahead of its time in depicting a largely positive gay character as well as a gay relationship and many other ways. However, if the film was made today, I would hope that it would address some of these issues.

Perhaps my favourite part of the film is the running gag involving the waiter from early in the film who then appears several times, each more confused than the first.

Honestly, if you haven’t seen this film then it is well worth a watch even though it’s not quite old.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Cannibal by Chuck Palahniuk and Other Short Stories

Okay, so this one is going to be a little different in format. Rather than just one short story there’s 4 here! Enjoy! All these stories were available online so I’ve included the links for you to read them if you wish. Before we jump in though, the first two on this list are definitely a little more gory than many people can handle so feel free to skip past them if that’s not your thing. (The quote above is from Chuck Palahniuk)

Title: Cannibal
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Genre: Short Story
Words: 2505
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

So, if you’ve never read any of Chuck Palahniuk’s books or short stories then you are in for quite the treat. That being said, this one is not my favourite of his short stories. I won’t spoil this one too much because it is quite short and Chuck Palahniuk is known for his twists and turns. Go check out Guts if you like this one though, that is one of the most disturbing things I have ever read. What I will say about Cannibal is, that I started reading it not long before I needed to go somewhere and lost track of time and was very nearly late to where I was going, only to have to find the last of the story on my phone and read it once I got there.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 


 

Title: Obsolete
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Genre: Short Story
Words: 4347
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

This one is a little different to the other stories I’ve read by Palahniuk and didn’t hold my attention nearly as much as the others. Though I was still surprised by the ending at least. If this is your first time reading something by Palahniuk I would suggest picking something else to start with even if this one is comparatively tame by his standards. It just doesn’t fit together as well as some of the others I’ve read.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 


 

Title: The Zero Meter Diving Team
Author: Jim Shepard
Genre: Short Story
Words: (????)
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

This one was actually quite a sad read, unsurprising given the subject matter, though I was immediately drawn to it because of the subject matter. The Zero Meter Diving Team is the story of a trio of brothers and their experiences with Chernobyl, with one working there, one living nearby and being on the river at the time of the explosion and the third being part of the bureaucracy called in to help with the clean up. The imagery in it is beautiful, and the emotions are raw. It was just a great read.

Rating: 4/5 stars

 


 

Title: All Summer in a Day
Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Short Story
Words: (????)
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

This was an unusual read for me. I’ve never read anything by Bradbury before (despite actually knowing his granddaughter), but I saw this and decided to give it a shot. The writing isn’t necessarily a style I enjoy but it was written quite a while ago so I don’t mind. What was unusual for me, is that it is about such an ordinary school yard occurrence except that it occurs in a science fiction setting in a school room on Venus. That being said, I definitely identify with the poor girl in the story (I won’t tell you more so I don’t spoil it).

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Book Thief (2013)

Title: The Book Thieflarge_xwun4gftft3eha1culkrbuodrjq
Year: 2013
Director: Brian Percival
Genre: History/Drama
Date Watched: March 5th 2017
Category: #51. A historical film

Let me preface this by saying that if you haven’t already dne so, you should definitely check out the book version of this. While I loved the film there is a lot missing from it and a lot to be gained from reading the book version that it’s based on.

Set in Nazi Germany this book tells the story of Liesl Meminger and the town of Molching. The film starts out in the same way the book does and for the most part does follow the plot as it appears in the book, albeit some of Liesl’s books have different titles and there is now a full dictionary in her basement rather than just parts of it.

There were only two changes in the movie that really bugged me though – rather than taking a little time to warm up to Max and become comfortable, she immediately gets along with him. And secondly, she doesn’t have the chance to feed bread to the walking Jews with Rudy. But as I said, it does stick to the story fairly well despite these and a few other omissions.

If you liked the book then I would definitely see the film version, the acting is good, the sets are good, it’s just a well made film. If you haven’t read the book, I would pick it up and give it a shot, it’s worth the extra effort for what it will add to your watching of this film.

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

The Girl With All the Gifts (2016)

Title: The Girl With All the Gifts mv5bngexzgrimjctzge3oc00zjaylwfjzjqtywmyotdlztg3ymq5xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjgynjk3mze-_v1_Year: 2016
Director: Colm McCarthy
Genre: Dystopian/Action
Date Watched: March 3, 2017
Category: A book adaptation

Let me start off by saying that if you have not read this book then go get it right now and read it. It’s one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. Oddly enough, I picked up the book originally because I saw a trailer for the movie and thought it looked very cool. I was not disappointed by either the book or the movie.

The story is that of Melanie who lives in a post apocalyptic society, the movie doesn’t specify but from memory it begins outside of London with the group eventually travelling through London. It’s unclear exactly how old Melanie is but my guess would be around 12, and she’s never known anything outside of cell, corridor and school room that she grown up in. Her and the other children live a life full of routine, transit, school, and food in the bathroom on Sundays.

But what happens when Melanie finds herself outside? What happens when she begins to realise what she is? What happens when she tastes human blood for the first time?

That is the story that get to see here. While the film is not quite as complex as the book and some parts are omitted or altered (such as food being given in their cells rather than in the bathroom), it is still a well crafted film. While there are changes, I would argue that in this case they do not detract from the story  or omit anything of too much importance.

I don’t want to ruin too much of what happens but I will say that the acting is incredible from the well established Glenn Close to the young Sennia Nanua as Melanie. It’s a bit dark and a little graphic in places but the scenery is beautiful and it’s well worth the watch if you’re at all interested in post apocalypse films.

Rating: 4/5 stars

La La Land (2016)

Title: La La Landla_la_land_film
Year: 2016
Director: Damien Chazelle
Genre: Drama/Romance/Musical
Date Watched: February 14, 2017
Category: A film in the cinema

I’ve been pretty excited about this one for a while. Ever since I heard that Emma Stone was teaming up with Ryan Gosling again (I’m a huge fan of Crazy, Stupid Love). So finally as a Valentine’s Day outing I managed to get my fiancee to come along with me.

I had really high hopes for this film and was the tiniest bit disappointed, but I think that was more a result of how different it is from Crazy, Stupid Love and also how many awards it has won. Let me be clear though. I really loved this movie. The use of sound in particular was just beautiful and so perfectly on point, almost as if it were a character itself. It truly feels like a movie that would have been at home several decades ago if it wasn’t for the use of mobile phones. Somehow they’ve perfectly blended clothes and sets that look like they belong in the past but at the same time don’t look out of place in a movie set in the 2010’s.

My only criticism of this film is also somewhat of a merit. There were parts of the film where the tension was just so palpable that it was uncomfortable to watch. I could feel everything they were feeling as if it were happening to me. Which is surely the mark of a great film, but at the same time an uncomfortable experience particularly when those emotions are anger or sadness. It felt like watching my parents fight, always a little awkward to say the least.

I left the cinema feeling like something had changed but not sure what it was. It was like I’d walked out of a dream.

I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it but the ending of this movie was just, completely amazing.

Rating: 4/5