movie

Dope: A Movie Review

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How can a movie starring ZERO (Tony Revolori) from The Grand Budapest hotel not be good?! Dope is a 2015 coming-of-age comedy-drama with a plot-line similar to the Jump Street series but more funky, more original. In my opinion, Dope is, well, dope! The soundtrack is awesome, the story unpredictable, the characters quirky, the events cool. This is not your typical “hood” story. I am so glad I watched this movie and totes recommend you do, too. Though do be aware, she’s a bit rude.

FIVE OUT OF FIVE.

The Intern: A Movie Review

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Building on from my Valentines Day post, I think Nancy Meyer’s new movie, The Intern makes a suitable first date film and that is all.

In my opinion, it is the baby-food of the movie world. That is, it’s easily digestible, in fact, watching it, you do not need to use your brain at all and often times, flavorless and monotone. Except, for the occasional sweet blueberry or two (let’s call them Zack Pearlmans) that find their way through, The Intern doesn’t have much going for it at all. Why? Well, I’d say, watch it for yourself and you’ll know but since I don’t like wasting your time (oh no she didn’t) I’m-ma just go ahead and tell you:

1. It is trying too hard to be cool. Packed to the rim with modern stereotypes (hipster office-space, stay-at-home dad, career woman vs. judgemental stay-at-home moms, sickly adorable child, social media, social media, social media), it’s almost uncool.
2. Unrealistic relationships. SPOILER ALERT: her husband cheats on her and they get back together as if he’d simply misplaced her hairbrush. Sure, these things happen and people resolve their issues, they forgive and forget but not that soon? Surely, not?
3. It’s too long. Thirty min shorter and it could have been good.

To close on a good note, Anne Hathaway’s outfits, her office-space and De Niro’s face are pretty cute.

2.9/5

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter: A Movie Review

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There is dark side to Japan which you won’t get to know by simply sight-seeing Tokyo. Behind the lights, tall-rise buildings and kimonos are literally millions of overworked citizens eating a plain dinner of instant ramen (not just a stereotype) while still wearing their monotonous uniforms, alone, in their crammed match-box apartments in the early hours of the morn.

I had been seeing the red and white movie poster for Kumiko everywhere, all the while thinking that it was a modern remake of little red riding hood, meaning to watch it but never getting around to it. Last night, alone in my apartment, I finally had the chance to and I wish I hadn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great film and by great I mean, so artistically able. Rinko Kikuchi (Kuniko)’s acting is incredible and the cinematography just as good with little dialogue, a gorgeous soundtrack and many many beautiful shots from crowded Japanese subway stations to frozen ski lifts.  But, living and working in Japan and watching a movie based around a young individual driven mad by the vicious Japanese work-system just wasn’t good for my soul.

I’d recommend Kumiko to those who enjoy and appreciate the art of film, who are either interested in Japan or and especially for those who have lived and experienced Japan; the good and the bad. Also, to the patient viewer as the build-up is gradual.

5/5

Anomalisa: a movie review

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If there’s one thing I learnt from my University creative writing course it’s that it’s important to make art relatable. Which, if you’re good at what you do, doesn’t necessarily have to be non-fiction or truth. This is how stop-motion films with a puppet cast like Anomalisa, become more relatable, more human, more real than movies with Tom Cruise. At first, watching Anomalisa I was confused. Mainly because every character (boy, girl, child) all had the same voice. WTF, I thought. But isn’t that wonderful? That I thought? That I actually used my brain. Okay so there is one other learning I can conjure from ENGL112 and that is to assume your audience is able. Show don’t tell. Actually, come to think of it, we already learnt that in high school…

Anyways, Anomalisa makes you think and more specifically, relate what you see to your own feels. Though each of those (feels) is different for each individual. Oi! You in the corner, yes you! I heard that sarcastic, “well, duh”! SHHH! What I’m trying to say is that it’s pretty darn difficult not to relate to at least one of the character’s problems, anxieties and/or thoughts. For example, how many of us have at one stage or another, felt our life as monotonous? Meaningless? Shallow? Or if not that, who hasn’t felt heartbreak? The desire to love and be loved in return and/or experienced the pain of finally letting that special someone go? What female (or male! Don’t attack me) hasn’t felt insecure in front of an ex lover after years of physical change? See, it’s relatable.

HOWEVER; it’s almost entirely relatable of negative feelings, of human shortcomings. So, put simply, watching it made me feel worse. I mean, I could and I am appreciating the incredible creativity and value of it all but it is what it is, raw, tear-jerking, heartbreaking, (negative) human truth.

This is how director, Charlie Kauffman put it in a recent interview:

“People are to get from it what they bring to it, how they interact with it, what it inspires in their minds based on their experience of the world. I’m not going to tell people what they should get from it. I was writing about this character who struggles with this particular problem. We’ve had an enormous diversity of reactions, and it’s not even about I love it or hate it, even though that’s part of it for some people … For me to say what it’s about would sort of preclude the possibility of people having that experience, so I’m not going to.”

So, whether you relate to Michael (the protagonist) as a selfish, egotistical, money-driven, materialistic and unbalanced asshole (Ha perhaps I shouldn’t mention that my ex’s name is Michael) or you relate to Lisa, either by having felt as “the less attractive friend” or made to feel special by a certain individual then suddenly left without a word, you’ll enjoy and by enjoy I mean you’ll pour salt on your unhealed wounds. That, or lemon juice. And, if you don’t feel anything at all, then well, lucky lucky you!

4.5/5

Brooklyn: a movie review

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You know what? I’m gonna be 100% honest with you: Japan ain’t all kimonos and castles. In the same way that France ain’t all berets and croissants and Italy ain’t all sex and pizza. Okay, maybe Italy is all sex and pizza…But what I’m trying to say is, migrating to a new land, leaving your friends, family and everyday comforts behind to start afresh in a faraway foreign land is hard. So so so hard. And homesickness is inevitable and don’t tell me that it’s not and that “home is where the heart is” and all that jazz cos I feel this shit in my bones. Which is part of the reason why I found Brooklyn so relatable. But, you don’t have to have felt that specific homesickness, the one of living 10000 miles from home to get/like this film. In fact, I will go as far as to say that if you do not empathize, sympathize, identify, what have you, with the raw emotion and charm of this film, there is something wrong with you. Yes, I felt that strongly about it!

I found Brooklyn charming, romantic (accents, dancing), emotional, inspiring, thought-provoking (life decisions, priorities) and last but not least, funny (Italian kid Italian kid).

Lastly, I want to mention “the look”. Eilis’s look back, just before setting foot in America (image below) is SO darn beautiful that I would happily watch Brooklyn for days straight just to see her green eyes sparkle once more.
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Oh, and the last scene. The last scene and the last quote.  Oh goodness, I am smitten, bad. Or perhaps, like Eilis I just yearn for an Italian man to fill the dark void that’s materialized in me since leaving home (tehehe). Calm down, I mean FIGURATIVELY…

Here’s that last quote:
“And one day the sun will come out and you might not even notice straight away it’ll be that faint and then you’ll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past. Someone who is only yours and you’ll realise that this is where your life is.”

5/5

Did someone say CAKE?

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The (2015) drama CAKE, you know, the one with Rachel, I mean, Jennifer Aniston has received a lot of criticism. But why? It’s SO brilliant. Okay, so apart from that one lump of unmixed baking soda which we shall call Anna Kendrick, there really isn’t much else spoiling (the) cake. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Kendrick hater. In fact, I loved Pitch Perfect as much as the next person. Put simply, I don’t think her sweet personality gels with a mean character. A nasty, self-obsessed suicidal mother? Na, stick to singing songs with plastic cups, I say.

Aniston on the other hand, WOW, what an actress! She, so very accurately, portrays what it’s like to be a chronic pain sufferer; from the way she holds her physical self to the moans and groans she utters to her cold bitter demeanor. And, at the same time as being this inconsiderate sour bitch, Aniston makes us love her, empathize with her, vouch for her and see a little bit of our own tired and defeated selves in her character.

In addition to Aniston’s brilliant performance, I was impressed by the plot itself. Even after a good hour into the film, the storyline still had me engaged with unaswered questions. Why is she in pain? What is her story? What was her relationship to Nina? What’s going to happen? How will it end etc etc.

So, I will not be one a wanna-be hipster and say I hated it just because rotten tomatoes scored it a low percentage. No, I will always, I am always up for another round (slice) of CAKE.

3.8/5

Watch this if you’re hopelessly single

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Which I am. Actually, (I have a confession to make – since honesty is essential to this movie and all), I watched Man Up (2015) whilst eating chocolate mousse straight out of a blender last night. Yes, that dear friends is what goes on behind the scene of a food blog. To my defense, it was just cacao powder and banana but still, it was pretty freakin’ wild for a school night.

I’m not good at movie reviews and yes, you there, in the fleece zip-up, I heard your sarcastic comment: “I thought this was a food blog” and it is, but frankly, it’s nice to take a short break once in a while. Man Up stars the dude (the internet tells me his name is Simon Pegg) from Hector and the Search for Happiness which I absolutely loved. You know, the one where he announces he’s going to China and someone happens to drop a metal tray which makes a gong sound at the same time. The one where his girlfriend is that disturbed chick from Gone Girl!

Anyways, I liked Man Up because it’s not like your conventional rom-com. For one, the lead lovers aren’t Hollywood attractive or young. Instead, they’re flawed, quirky, intelligent, awkward and fun. Don’t you think there’s something so appealing about border-line real people falling in love? Which brings me to the greatness of the screen-play/dialogue:

Jessica: It’s an international bestseller.
Nancy: So is The Da Vinci Code.
Jessica: Oh, another excellent book.
Nancy: Not…not an excellent book.

Nancy: I’ve got a confession to make. I’m not really your blind date, Jack.
Jack: What?! Are you even twenty-four?
Nancy: Ah. Add another ten.

Nancy: I met a man today. For the first time in ages, I put myself out there. And I took a chance. Blah, blah, blah, the end.

Tehehe funny right?

I liked it. It made me LOL and it made me feel better for being single.

4/5 

happiness is an obligation

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Today was the first Saturday I’ve had off work/study in a VERY long time (you know I’m serious when it’s bold and in capitals!). So, to celebrate, my beautiful sister and I treated ourselves to a highly enjoyable lunch and movie date. Lunch was a delicious salad from Coopers and Co at The Colombo (the best mall eva!) and the movie was Hector and The Search for Happiness – so incredibly good, I.just.can’t.recommend.it.enough. In fact, I would go so far as to say; it has become my most favourite movie of all time. EVERYONE should see it. Seriously though, “feel-good” doesn’t even come close. Rather, it is simply life changing.

PS I cried.

PPS it stars Rosamund Pike (the freaky – to put it lightly – blondie from Gone Girl) – another reason why you should see it. ASAP.

Lessons that Hector learns:
Lesson 1- Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.
Lesson 2- Happiness often comes when least expected.
Lesson 3- Many people only see happiness in their future.
Lesson 4- Many people think that happiness comes from having more power or more money.
Lesson 5- Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.
Lesson 6- Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains.
Lesson 7- It’s a mistake to think that happiness is the goal.
Lesson 8A- Happiness is being with the people that you love.
Lesson 8B- Unhappiness is being separated from the people that you love.
Lesson 9- Happiness is knowing that your family lacks for nothing.
Lesson 10- Happiness is doing a job that you love.
Lesson 11- Happiness is having a home and a garden of your own.
Lesson 12- It’s harder to be happy in a country run by bad people.
Lesson 13- Happiness is feeling useful to others.
Lesson 14- Happiness is to be loved for EXACTLY who you are.
Lesson 15- Happiness comes when you feel truly alive.
Lesson 16- Happiness is knowing how to celebrate.
Lesson 17- Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love.
Lesson 18- The Sun and the Sea make everybody happy.
Lesson 19- Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think.
Lesson 20- Happiness is a certain way of seeing things.
Lesson 21- Rivalry ruins happiness.

An Anisa and Ryan Collaboration

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Drop what you’re doing because I bring you HEALTHY caramel corn!

Yes, healthy.

Nutritious, even.

Oh mama!

A few months ago, I went on what I’d hoped to be, a romantic date to the cinema. I happened to be early and he happened to be running late so I decided to purchase our tickets and a large sized popcorn in order to make a good impression (everyone loves popcorn right?). Unfortunately, the first thing he said to me when he finally arrived was: “oh YUCK, popcorn” (guess he missed the straightened hair, painted nails, new dress – whatever). Long story short, turns out Mr. wrong used to work at the cinema and one of his responsibilities included making copious amounts of popcorn. However; it wasn’t the idea of popcorn or the thought of the task that disgusted him but rather the actual popcorn itself. Apparently, commercial corn is horrifyingly unhealthy as it is packed with extensive amounts of butter and salt. In the end, he didn’t eat any popcorn and instead bought himself an ice cream. Awkward, is an understatement.

My rather unpleasant experience with commercial popcorn has inspired me to create this tasty and guilt-free caramel corn recipe which is also naturally free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar:

popcorn:
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 tbsp coconut oil

caramel sauce:
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
1/4 cup almond milk

In a deep pot melt 1 tbsp coconut oil on medium-high heat

Place two popcorn kernels in the pot and close the lid. Once the two kernels pop, the oil is hot enough to pop the rest.

Open the lid and add the remaining kernels. As the kernels start to pop, shake the pot occasionally and more vigorously as the popping increases

When ready, transfer popcorn to a bowl and set aside to cool

In a small saucepan melt 2 tbsp coconut oil on low heat

Add the honey and almond milk and stir to mix evenly

Let the mixture boil for about 6 minutes without stirring

Take off heat and stir vigorously – this part is truly magical; suddenly the bubbles disappear and before you the most fragrant caramel sauce appears! You’re welcome.

Drizzle over popcorn and toss to coat evenly

Place popcorn bowl in freezer for 10 minutes

Remove from freezer and brake into smaller pieces using your hands.

Hide it in your purse, take it with you to the movies and watch…

GONE GIRL

WORDS  RYAN PATRICK

“You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s … gone”. My feelings exactly while pawing desperately at the left-over crumbs of anisa’s addictive caramel corn as well as the tagline to what is sure to be, one of 2014’s most talked about films. Gone Girl stars Ben, soon to be Batman, Affleck and Rosamund, holy crap where did this amazing actor come from, Pike but the biggest star of this film is definitely director David Fincher. Most recently he made coding cool with The Social Network and made your parents uncomfortable with the English language The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. However; he initially gained a cult following by Brad Pitt star makers Se7en, and Fight Club. Infamous for his intensive pre-production, post-production and demanding shoots, Fincher has rightfully gained a rep as one of the truest perfectionists in film today. And Gone Girl only further adds to his already stunning filmography (we’ll let Alien 3 slide). Based on Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel, Gone Girl stylistically portrays the thrilling unravelling of a husband as he attempts to uncover the truth about his wife’s disappearance. Flynn also wrote the screenplay for the film bringing her sardonic view of upper middle class America to the screen. Her script is twisted and appalling and horrific and so absolutely freakin’ entertaining. Make sure you visit the bathroom before entering the theatre because, trust me, there is NO point in this film that you will be able to take your eyes off the screen! Gone Girl is best described as a tangled web of modern day mystery with an intriguing side-story delving into the mad world of American media and crime. Intrigued, captivated and disturbed all at the same time, you’re bound to forget the healthy popcorn you brought along… sorry Anisa. GO SEE IT!