Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Gru and the minions are back in the third instalment of this much-loved franchise. However, this time round the focus is on Gru finding out he has a twin brother. While the twist can be accompanied by an interesting story line, I found this film to be very predictable compared to the first two films in the series. Do not get me wrong I love the despicable me movies. The first two were fantastic and I still re-watch them on a regular basis, but there seemed to be something missing with this third film.

Let’s break it down…

There were some sweet parts that received a few chuckles from the audience but the humour was nothing compared to the first films. I was really looking forward to the film because of how much I love the characters. Gru is hilarious and no one can pull off an accent like that but Steve Carell. He always brings the best out of the character. A villain who has a good heart adopts 3 girls and forms a family… It is a fantastic personality to slot into an animation! It is part of what makes the franchise so successful.

Another part of the films everyone loves is the minions! These funny, cute, yellow little things who talk a language that no one understands. My entire family adore them. My father especially, it is part of the reason why the family outing was to see the movie. However, the minions had such a small part to play in the film. The little part that they received felt so disjointed in comparison to the rest of the film. It did not really fit. I feel there was so much more that could have evolved around the minion’s storylines and I feel that they deserved to be a part of the film more. I mean, who doesn’t love the minions?!

The new antagonist “Balthazar Bratt” is such an entertaining designed character. His 80s persona is such a fun add on to the film. I loved watching the dance battles between him and Gru and for some odd reason I really enjoyed the destructive chewing gum which was his weapon of choice. He also came across as a personal challenge for Gru which added some depth to the film. It felt like if Gru were to finally catch him it would make all his own mishaps melt away and I would have loved to this play out. But I didn’t… does this mean there is an opening for a fourth instalment perhaps?

The animation is absolutely beautiful and it is always comforting to see loved characters return to the screen. This will be what carries the film. The film will do well because of the history that the characters already have with the audience, however, the story, unfortunately, is a weak spot for me. I would have loved the story about the minions needing Gru to have been developed further rather than this long lost brother plot. It almost felt misplaced. It was sweet, just rather forgettable. I doubt the third film will leave as much of as impression as the first two films did.

*lights out*

Natalia

xx

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Hidden Figures

It finally happened! After almost a year of waiting, I got to go and see the film ‘Hidden Figures.’ I remember watching the first taste of a

After almost a year of waiting, I got to go and see the film ‘Hidden Figures.’ I remember watching the first taste of a trailer almost a year ago and running to tell everyone that Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Jim Parsons, Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst were starring in a film all about Space and Female Equality. I was so Excited. The trailer was released not long after the series Astronauts wives club had finished airing and space was all the range, well actually not space but rather how the people on the ground prepared to make history. FASCINATING!

I always say that true stories fuel the greatest films and this was no exception. The film and cast also did very well this awards season and took home the golden globe for best film ensemble. After watching the film, I can see why. There was some sort of magic between the cast members and it made the film. In short, this film is about 3 young black women and how they overcame discrimination, stood up for themselves and got the first American astronaut into space. These 3 women were mathematicians, engineers and mechanics working for NASA. Except for the fact that in the 1960s America was still dealing with segregation and a black woman in high positions wasn’t exactly heard of. However, this film is so much more than just that.

The first thought that came to my mind after watching the film was is this the main issue in this film a racial one or a gender one. I thought about this a lot and finally came to the conclusion that even though the film is completely multi-dimensional the issue that came across the clearest to me was Gender-based. These were WOMAN facing major discrimination however they just happened to be African American during a time where America was still segregated.

I have watched many films that deal with similar issues since these are issues that transcend anything and everything, but sometimes I feel like it can seem overdone. In this film, however, it was done tastefully and even though I am not an African American woman, I still felt proud. Proud of the accomplishments of the three woman in the film, Proud to be a woman myself and proud to see such a powerful story being shown on screen.

It is amazing to think that NASA was able to send a man into space, however, they could not have done this without these exceptional women on their team. Even though we think that we are stepping over this mountain of discrimination, we haven’t really stepped that far over and we always need reminding of how far we have come as a human race and how far we still need to come.

In terms of the cinematic experience, it was a great film. The art department was on point considering the fact that this film is set in the 1960’s. The hair, makeup and wardrobe departments did a great job. The casting was done incredibly well and I cannot explain how wonderful it was to see such great actors play such different roles. Who knew Jim Parsons could play an antagonist? And who knew that Taraji P Henson could play a role so completely opposite to The Oh so fabulous Cookie Lyon? I loved watching her in this role. Taraji is so graceful on screen, she has such poise yet when she needs to make a statement boy, oh boy does she make a statement! Like I said before, this cast was exceptional!

I really want to go into all the wonderful moments that are in this film. They bare still going round and round in my head because of how powerful they were. Small gestures, short dialogue that just expresses so much more. However, I feel like no matter who you are, what race you are, which gender you fit into, everyone needs to experience them for themselves. It is so important. Films like this need to be taught to the masses because it is more than a 2-hour entertainment piece. It is a treasure. Something that will last for years and years and never age. I watched a film about 3 women trying to get a man up into space and I came out inspired. Inspired to do the right thing. Inspired to stand up for myself and for what I believe in. And inspired to treat everyone equally because you never know what talents lie underneath the exterior.

Dorothy Vaughan: If you act right – you are right. That’s for certain”

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

The 2017 Oscars

 

Hi guys,

Ok so if you have been living under a rock, this past weekend was the 89th Academy awards. The Oscars are my favourite awards show of the season because it celebrates the best of the best in film. The celebrities are fantastic, the presenters look beautiful and the host needs to keep the audience awake for almost 4 hours!

There is so much to write about! But I will try to narrow it down to my favourite moments from the show…

This year, the show was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. The nominees included greats like Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman and Denzel Washington. There were some awesome movies nominated too! Hidden Figures, LA LA land and Hackshaw Ridge were amongst the 9 movies nominated for best picture…. (yes I know the mixup of the century, I’ll get there later on) There were beautiful musical performances for best song. These included Lin-Manual Miranda for How far I’ll go from Moana. Two original songs from La la land performed by John Legend and Can’t stop the feeling from Trolls. The show actually started off with Justin Timberlake performing this song and it set the tone for a fun, celebratory show.

One of the most anticipated awards of the evening was the best-supporting actress… this category was tough! Nicole Kidman, Naomi Harris, Michelle Williams and Octavia Spencer were all nominated alongside Viola Davis. Viola won making her the first black woman to win an oscar, an Emmy and a Tony for acting. Her speech was brilliant. You could feel she was really proud to have won and I am really happy she did because she is wonderful at what she does. In her speech, she said something so profound and I would like to share it with you;

“People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. I became an artistand thank God I did—because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life”

I thought she expressed herself so well! And she was so correct artists are the ones who get to tell the stories that the world may have forgotten and it is a gift and a privilege…

The next part that really impressed me was the performance for the best original song for the film Moana. Lin-Manual Miranda (who is a brilliant man by the way) gave a lovely rap introduction to Auli’i Cravalho, the young woman who voices Moana in the film. She was wonderful! Seeing this song performed live made me like the song so much more than before.

A very sweet moment in the show was when Kimmel organised for sweets and treats to come down from the ceiling in little parachutes. There were kids in the audience since many of the films this year included kids in the cast and I feel that this little element helped them just as much as it helped the adults stay in tune with the show. The ceremony can sometimes be very drawn out and this was a nice break in between.

Kimmel also did a hilarious stunt. He invited a tour bus of tourists to the Dolby theatre and led them to believe they were coming to an exhibition of Oscar gowns. The whole tour bus walked into the theatre and once they realised what was happening were completely shocked. They got to shake hands with the front row and it was hilarious to watch how all the people reacted to the prank. Sadly, however, this was the end of Kimmel’s good moments for me since I felt he turned the rest of his hosting moments to a roast of Matt Damon. I didn’t get the humour of picking on Matt. Maybe I just missed that bit?

There were many great nostalgic moments too. Presenters like Charlize Theron, Seth Rogan and Javier Bardem got the opportunity to present with their role models. They each did a skit that explained their favourite movie memory and then appeared on stage with that person. The in the memorial was also done beautifully. Sarah Berellis did a beautiful tribute for that bit.

Next wonderful winner… Miss Emma Stone- she was up against MERYL! Can we just take a moment to let that sink in? She also delivered a very humble, well-said speech;

“I realize that a moment like this is a huge confluence of luck and opportunity, and so I want to thank Damien Chazelle for the opportunity to be part of a project that was so special and once in a lifetime. I’m so grateful to have been involved in this film and thank you for your faith and your patience and such a wonderful experience.”

Ok, this brings us to the mixup that will last a century… When it was time to announce the best picture AKA the biggest award of the evening. The presenters announced that La La land won. The whole cast and crew ran up onto stage and excidely started thanking everyone involved, mom, dad and G-D for this amazing oppotunity. They couldn’t have done it without the hard work of the entire cast and crew… a dream come true. HOWEVER, backstage hands started looking around for the enevelope becasue the envelope that was given to the presenters was in fact the envelope for best actress NOT best picture. PROBELEM! The producer of LA LA land then graciously announced that there had been a mistake and that Moonlight had actually won the award. This was an unfortunate mistake however I feel that all involved handled it well. I mean what were they meant to do storm off stage and have a temper tantrum? La La land still did exceptionally well at the awards and came home with 6 out of the 14 nominations.

Overall, I think it was a great show. I enjoyed it a lot more than last year’s ceremony and I think there was some wonderful talent celebrated! So with that being said, I would like to thank the academy for all their hard work and for bringing us the biggest awards ceremony of the year! Till next year :p

(p.s if you want to watch all these wonderful moments, have a look on the official Oscars website)

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

 

 

 

LA LA land (2017)

Hi all,

So If you have not heard about the film LA LA LAND, you are living under a rock… La la land is a modern day musical that is making the rounds in a big BIG way at the moment. The film broke records when it won every category it was nominated for at the Golden Globes and is going to be the most nominated film at the Academy Awards this year… (My bet is that it actually wins for best film, let’s see if I am right) I recently finally had the chance to go and watch this film, was a unique experience.

I usually see a film and come home to write about it strait away but I felt like I needed to marinade in this film before I could put all my thoughts down.  This film is so wonderfully different. It is like nothing that has been on screen for a really long time. It is fun, colourful, charming, romantic, magical and cinematically, it is a treat! I left the cinema feeling like I had had my eyes opened. Not to anything too intense but to something that was just a breath of fresh air. I feel like this is why this movie is getting such good responses and is killing it at awards season this year. I feel like people are really enjoying something different being shown on their big screens.

The more I have been thinking about this film, the bigger impact it is having on me… Here is the thing, though, it starts off slow and it took me a while to get into the film. However, the film began to move swiftly along when Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were on screen together. The film is certainly about these two characters and they make it what it is. No wonder Emma Stone is winning all the awards- she is wonderful as the protagonist Mia. I felt like Ryan suited his role. I didn’t LOVE his character, I found him to be a bit full of himself, however, I loved when the two characters were together. They seemed to balance each other while still challenging each other. It was a fun dynamic.

My favourite part of the film was the idea that Director, Damien Chazelle, wanted. He wanted to create an old Hollywood type musical in modern day LA. He absolutely achieved this goal and I feel like he can be proud of that fact. The film was set in 2016 but the themes were very much old Hollywood which I loved. It made me feel like class, elegance and magic really can exist in our fast past, technological driven world. Watching a film that brought this idea to life made me remember why I decided to go into the entertainment industry in the first place. A moment that stood out for me was when Mia and Sebastian (the protagonists) are taking a walk and the view is breathtakingly magnificent. They begin to tap dance (YES TAP DANCING MAKES AN APPEARANCE AND IT IS FANTASTIC!) It feels very much like a Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire moment, and then Mia’s phone rings and she picks up her 21st Centaury iPhone.

Let’s go back for a moment to the Tap Dancing thing… yes, there is Tap Dancing in La La land and I loved it! Tap dancing is such a wonderful style of dance and Mandy Moore (the dancer not the actress) did such a fantastic job of choreographing it. She really mastered the concept of old Hollywood in modern times and I was completely engaged in the dance routines that she put together. The dancing felt so natural and comfortable to the performers. I have loved Mandy Moore’s work since I saw her work on ‘So you think you can dance’ and this film made me love her work all over again.

All in all, I get why this film is being recognised so much. It is a wonderful film. And I think it deserves the press that it is getting. Was it the most exciting film I have ever watched- not really but it was incredibly romantic and it left me with butterflies in my stomach. This film is truly for “the fools who dream”

My vote is that film is going to grab all the Oscars it has been nominated for, so watch this space!

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

Collateral Beauty (2017)

Hi everyone,

So last night I got the chance to see a preview screening of the film ‘Collateral Beauty’. I was really excited to see the film even though I had heard some mixed feedback about it. Online, people were saying how sad it was. How much they cried. Other people were saying it had ‘weak’ performances. However, I went in with an open mind…

For starters, the cast is brilliant. Will Smith, Kiera Knightly, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren to name a few. You can’t really get a better cast than that! Is this a nice film- not really. Is this a good film- yes! Reason being is that the movie is sad. The film is about Howard (Will Smith) who has suffered a tragedy and to try and deal with his feelings he writes letters to Time, Love and Death. It sounds kind of cheesy right, but the twists within the narrative are wonderful and give the film a much-needed lift since the theme is rather intense.

I thought that Will Smith was brilliant in the film. His performance was so intense and you could feel how deeply he connected with the character however it wasn’t overbearing. He had just the right amount of emotion and I didn’t get frustrated at his hesitance, it worked. Helen Mirren’s character (Death) added a touch of comedic value to the film. Her character was deep as it was intended, but there were moments when the irony of the ‘thing’ she was playing was funny. I enjoyed her scenes a lot.

I actually enjoyed all the actor’s performances. Kiera Knightly was perfectly cast as Love and Edward Norton was a convincing best friend to Howard. The only criticism I have is that I felt Kate Winslet’s American accent was a bit forced. Maybe this was because I am so used to her speaking voice that I wasn’t used to it but something felt disjointed for me. However, this didn’t stop me from being drawn into the film.

I do however feel that it was the narrative that kept my attention rather than the cinematic elements. The film takes place in New York and although there were certain moments where the scenery of New York was beautiful, I didn’t feel like they were ‘IN’ New York. Maybe it had to do with the colour palette of the film. The creative team used duller colours and it felt like the grade for the film was used to make the colours look even duller. Maybe this was to mimic the emotion of the main character, which would then make sense? I understand that this is traditional when it comes to the Genre of Drama but I felt it was too emphasised.

There was an interesting element of the creative side of the film was the contrast of time and place. The film takes place over the holiday season. But the cheer of the holidays is contrasted against the inner turmoil of Howard. I found this to be interesting and it really showed off the idea that life goes on. The protagonist was going through this awful tragedy and yet, the world around him was still turning. He was suffering but the people around him were taking part in the annual holiday traditions.

Overall, this film is exceptionally thought provoking. I do not want to give away the ending but I will say this; If you find yourself losing interest towards the middle of the film, stick with it! The ending makes it worth it. There is a wonderful twist that to some may seem obvious but to others will be a lovely surprise. This film makes you want to hug the people you love and it makes you miss the people you have lost. It is a journey through every emotion. Love, happiness, sadness, anger but most of all it leaves you wanting to notice the Collateral Beauty…

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

 

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Hi everyone,

Don’t you just love the feeling when you have seen a great movie and it leaves you feeling happy, inspired and touched? I certainly do, and it is exactly how I felt after watching this goody of a film. In the beginning, the film kind of reminded me of ‘Perks of being a wallflower’ but then it became so much more…

The Edge of Seventeen is a teenage comedy about the ups and downs of growing up. It sounds like a cheesy storyline, right? But it is so far from it! Nadine is the protagonist of the story and she takes the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions. During the course of the film, Nadine loses friends, makes allies, fixes relationships in her life and grows up.

Hailee Steinfeld plays the role of Nadine and she is brilliant. At only 20 years old, Hailee has starred in one of the most popular movies- Pitch perfect and has been on tour opening up for Megan Trainor! Now she steals the show in Edge of Seventeen. I really really hope she gets the recognition she deserves for this film. Her performance was exceptionally honest, raw and hilarious. From the first moment she was on screen I felt a connection to her character, a strong connection.

Her role could have come across as pathetic and desperate but instead it comes across as completely truthful. I think she was lucky to have landed such a well-written character and she just brings it to life even more. Hailee interacts with the other actors in such a genuine way that she really invites the audience into her relationships. She makes the audience feel the emotions that her character is feeling. Her performance made me laugh, smile and cry. What more could you want from an actress?

Woody Harrelson plays Nadine’s teacher, Mr Bruner, and the two of them share such a fascinating relationship.  They just get each other and their chemistry is great to watch. Their scenes are so sarcastic that it is just so funny. The way they look at life in the film is so critical but yet makes so much sense. Their scenes in the film turned out to be some of the parts that stood out for me.

There is so much I could say about this film that it is actually difficult to narrow it down. One of the things I have learned at film school is that it is so important to create something that the audience can relate to. When telling a story you need to ensure that the audience will be able to see parts of themselves within the film. This film gets that concept down to  a T! There were so many moments when I felt like I was watching a mirror image of my life. I just felt things watching this movie and it was truly an awesome experience.

The movie is based on a 17-year-old girl, but it truly transcends to any age. I am 21 years old and I related to everything. I didn’t feel like I was watching a ‘teenage’ movie, I just felt as if I was watching a portrayal of life. It is so difficult growing up. People you thought you knew turn out to be different. You think you know what you want and then it all changes. You get tested too many times to even count and you have to stay afloat when everything seems to be pushing you under water.

If I am going to watch a movie about the dysfunctionality of life, I want to be able to laugh about it. This movie not only makes you laugh but makes you cry too. It left me feeling grateful and happy, like whatever happens to me isn’t the end of the world and everything will work out in the end. I loved it.

*lights out*

Natalia

xxx

Finding Dory 2016

Hey guys,

So yesterday the 13-year long wait ended. We finally got to go see Finding Dory! I was really excited to see this film because Dory was my favourite character in Finding Nemo. So what could be better than a whole film dedicated to my favourite character?

Let me start by saying the film is super cute. Baby dory is the cutest fish you will ever see! I really want someone to get me on for my birthday… Nemo is as charming as ever and Marlin is even more caring, if that is even possible. The storyline is similar to Finding Nemo. The fish set out on an adventure to find something. For the first film Marlin sets out to find Nemo, in the sequel they set out to find Dory’s family. While the plot may be the same, personally I didn’t go to see the film because I wanted to hear a new story. I went to see the film because I wanted to catch up with old friends. And I feel like this is where everyone is clashing.

I have read a lot of reviews of the film and many people are saying that it was nothing new. However, it is not a new ‘family’ so to speak of characters. We know the characters of Finding Nemo and we love them. If I wanted to go, see a new story I would have waited to see ‘The secret life of pets’ (which by the way looks great!) But I wanted to see what Nemo, Dory and the gang were up to. The film had a comforting sense of familiarity, which I loved. As people we grow, we develop it only makes sense that our favourite characters develop with us.

Disney and Pixar are experts when it comes to creating heart warming moments and tear jerking sequences and they didn’t disappoint. It is moments like these that give the adults in the audience something to watch. Animation is not only for children; the parents need something to hold their attention too. I can honestly say that I enjoyed the film just as much, if not more than my little brother did and it is because it is filled with emotion and memories.

The film is also beautiful. Animation just seems to be getting better and better. The colours of the reefs where the fish live are so bright and happy. It makes you wonder why any fish would want to leave home in the first place. I love watching animations because it is almost magical how animators create these detailed worlds from nothing. Every fin, every scale, every piece of sea weed needs to be carefully planned out and drawn to absolute perfection. No wonder it took such a long time for the film to be released! Disney and Pixar animations are done so well, that you forget it isn’t real, the characters draw you in to their worlds in such a way that you feel for them. I want to be a part of their world, and that’s the magic of filmmaking.

Not only did it look beautiful but it sounded great. Ellen did such an awesome job being the voice of Dory. She kept her hilarious charm that we all love and transported it into Dory. She didn’t try and mask her voice, Dory did sound like Ellen and being a avid fan of hers I could tell in an instant that it was her but it didn’t matter because there is no better person to give Dory a voice. Dory is Ellen and Ellen is Dory and that is just how it is.

Disney and Pixar always manage to comment on the importance of family and supporting people you care for. Family is very important and sometimes it does not necessarily mean your blood family. Family can be anyone who cares about you and wants you to be safe and happy. This message was apparent in the film however I felt like there was another message laced within the film. This one about change. Some fish enjoyed living in the aquarium and some wanted to go free, but any animal should not be restricted to a small box. They should all be free to live how they are meant to.

There was an octopus in the film who wanted to go on to become a permanent exhibit at the aquarium but Dory convinces him that he needs to be brave in order to live out his destiny in the ocean. Before Dory, the Octopus, Hank, would never had had the guts to go free and live a carefree life. Dory shows him that with a little love and care you can do anything. She also speaks about the unpredictability of life and how sometimes the best memories and experiences come from things that weren’t planned. It is amazing how much we can all learn from Dory.

She has her challenges; she suffers from short term memory loss (or as Dory likes to call it ‘short term rememoring loss) But she does not let that stop her. When she puts her mind to something she achieves it and it goes to show the power of the mind. People sometimes like to give up because things get to hard. Work is difficult, exams are stressful, relationships are effortful and life is just a whole lot of curveballs thrown at you from every direction. But all these things aid us in becoming happy and life is to short to be unhappy. Sometimes we all just have to be like Dory and Just keep swimming, no matter how strong the current may be…..

Natalia

xxx