2/21/2017

Mr. Nobody Review



It's a wonderful feeling when a film sticks with you, days, weeks, even months after you've seen it. Mr. Nobody was one of those rare gems that triggered something in me: I started to think about my life and the choices I've made so far. Can we really choose our own path? This is only one of the many questions posed in Mr. Nobody, a film which is now one of my favourites. (Trailer included below)

As I announced in my New Film Resolutions post, which is a list of films I want to watch in 2017, I am going to be writing about my initial thoughts and feelings towards every single movie on the list. This is an anual project, so definitely go and check out the list to see if you're interested in reading more in the future or if you just want to discover some new movies.


Here's the thing: when I first saw Mr. Nobody I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what it was about. Instead of reading reviews beforehand, I decided to jump in blindly and it was the best decision I could have made. 



'We are all just in the mind of a little boy face with an impossible decision"


I know what you're thinking. Jared Leto? Really? YES, REALLY. I was just as surprised as most people, but I spare no praise when I say that his performance was outstanding. And trust me when I say, not only his acting, but the whole film was incredible. It's not often that I lable something as 'masterful' - Mr. Nobody comes pretty damn close. And although it has its flaws, I am happy to overlook them simply because this film is unlike anything I have ever seen before. 





First let me clarify that there are scenes in the past, present and future. The image above is a still of the future in the year 2092. The visuals regarding the futuristic world are amazing. I would even dare to name this movie as a visual masterpiece of the modern day and age. 

Now let me set the scene: Tall buildings, strange looking people, an old man who is confused about his past life. Mr. Sandman, the song. That is one of the soundtrack songs and they couldn't have chosen a better track to represent the whole movie. 



I am not going to try and explain the plot, it's very complex and generally just better if you give it a go without knowing too much before. I confess that I am certain that my short summary could never represent the level of thought that must have gone into writing the script and producing/directing the movie. It would simply do it no justice - it's pointless. What I can do is rave about it because this thought provoking movie is a creation that not enough people know about. 


"We cannot go back. 
That's why it's hard to choose. 
You have to make the right choice. 
As long as you don't choose,
everything remains possible."



I'm not even sure if Mr. Nobody is something I would describe as a "film/movie" - it was more like an experience for me because it required, even demanded that I give it my full attention while drawing parallels to my own life and experiences, my own hopes and dreams. I have never finished a film feeling different. Sad, yes, but never like I was a changed person. I felt like I had learned something, my eyes were opened. The film, though surreal and dreamy, made perfect sense. 



Now let me address about the romance: when I first realized Mr. Nobody focused on romance a lot, I started to dread the outcome. It was off to such a great start...! But once again, I was blown away by the different style of narrative, because it's not the traditional way of telling a story. I loved the visual parallels between the past and the future. I enjoyed seeing the process of a boy growing up. I liked the romance because it was not your classical Hollywood


The romance scenes were mundane scenes, I even found the dialoge to be cheesy at times, but who could blame a puppt-eyed teenager? The thing is that the romantic scenes gave me a break to process the more complex and intense happenings. They created a contrast that set the whole tone of the movie. 




A captivating story about love, dreams and simply life. Because the concept of time is non-linear, I was feeling anxious about how they would capture it in a way that wasn't confusing for the average viewer. But surprisingly, the timeline was mostly cohesive and I found myself not minding if I was shortly confused, as it just made me connect to Mr. Nobody more. I understood how the hundred year old man must be feeling in that room. The transitions between the different timelines were smooth and brilliantly implemented. 

"Every path is the right path.
Everything could've been anything else. 
And it would have just as much meaning."

Ps. I totally looked like this after finishing the film:

Overall I recommend everyone see this film although I can guarantee that not everyone will like it. It has a certain tone to it that not everyone will appreciate in the same way. Nevertheless, it provokes thoughts and gives a visually stimulating story with ultimately one question hanging over it like a could: "What if?"
9.5/10*



2/11/2017

Couples Counseling: Archie, Betty & Veronica / RIVERDALE


Another year, another show, another Valentine's Day just around the corner! Which means, love is in the air (feel free to sing the song to get into the spirit). And what content on this blog can you, dear friend of the Internet, expect at such a time? That's right, we're back for round 2 of my Valentine's Day series Couples Counseling, where I write about your favourite definitely complicated couples on TV. What better way to introduce a new show everyone is raving about on my blog, than feature the already apparent love triangle on the CW series Riverdale. 

For those of you who are new to this blog, but enjoy this kind of posts, I'll leave the links to last year's Couples Counseling sessions below. But right now, let's get this session started. As always, I'll be playing counselor, but you can add any personal opinions, tips or feedback in the comments below. If you don't have a Valentine, then what better way to spend your time by giving advice to some pretty complex romances?

As Riverdale is a new show and I will not be joined in this session by two, but three individuals, here's a little overview of what these characters are like: 


  • Archie Andrews
Archie is a good kid, generally always trying to do the right thing. But like every teenager, he has his problems. One of them being that although he has a possible chance of pursuing football as a career, his dream has always been music. His dad is not the most understanding of this, although it looks like he's starting to accept and support his son should he choose to try to get his foot into the music industry. Archies summer was pretty eventful, as we learn he had a secret summer fling with his school's music teacher, Ms. Grundy. Overall, he's pretty much portrayed as a perfect dude (except for the fact that he slept with his teacher, but even in that he is shown as not necessarily a victim, but the "innocent one" in the affair) and well, everyone appreciates a good looking hunk. 


  • Betty Cooper
Betty is, as many would put it, the girl next door. She quickly feels insecure about herself and generally strives to be a "good girl". She is in love with her best friend, Archie, but doesn't get the reaction she was hoping for when she finally tells him this. In the first two episodes, Betty is as vulnerable and innocent as a girl next door can be. But in the last episode, we got to see a pretty different side to her. Could it be that the pressure from her own mother and the tragedy between Jason and Betty's older sister, Polly, is finally getting to her? We definitely got a glimpse of something dark inside of her, something she's been keeping inside for a long time. 



  • Veronica Lodge
Former It-girl Veronica, moved from NYC to Riverdale after her family was humiliated in a financial scandal due to her father. Realizing her personality is something she needs to work on, she tries to distance herself from her mean girl self. She seeks out to have Betty as a friend, mainly because she sees the good and pure in her and wants to learn something from her. By being around Betty, she hopes to become a better person. Veronica immediately shows an interest in Archie, but tones it down once she realizes that Betty has feeling for him. She does let her Feelings get the better of her once, in a very steamy closet scene between her and Archie.





Now that you have a brief overview of the characters, let's get into analyzing this triangle further.  



1. Archie - Betty

Archie and Betty have been friends forever. But with rushing hormones, Betty realizes she wants more than just a friendship with Archie. At the school dance she finally musters up enough courage to confess her love for him. Clueless Archie is taken back by this, but tries to let her down easy. Betty is, as can be Imagines, hurt and very upset. 


I myself find it very hard to see Betty and Archie as a couple in the near future because we already got a pretty clear answer from Archie on this one: He's just not interested in her like that. I think that the dynamics in their friendship will shift over time, they already have started to. Archie is keeping a major secret, Ms. Grundy, from his best friend, who he supposedly Trusts with anything and Betty is kind of a mystery these days. She's definitely been pushed over the edge and is starting to stand up for herself. How far she's planning to take this is another thing. She was quite scary in the last episode.... Need a little reminder?




2. Archie - Veronica

Archie and Veronica are a pair I want to see explored more in the future. We haven't had a lot of one-to-one scenes between them since the closet scene and him walking her home. I do believe, even claim to know however, that Archie has an interest in Veronica. Remember the first encounter between Veronica, Betty and Archie? Archie was clearly transfixed and taken by her. 



The hold up between them is that they are both Betty's friends and are rightfully hesitating because of what it would do to Betty. They also talk about Betty one day when they walk home and you can see that they both truly value Betty's friendship - it's a tough situation to be in. Nevertheless, the spark is there and it could be seen in the latest episode where Veronica announces she has a date. Archie didn't comment on it, but we did get to see his reaction and it was well... not the happiest. 






I also think that should the show ever explore a relationship between them, which I'm positive they will at some point, it will be interesting to see their parent's reactions. Veronica's mother looks like she's all for Veronica and Archie, but something tells me Archies father will have a different reaction. I fear that he might not be as accepting towards them due to his own romantic past with Veronica's mother. 






I do however believe that there is more to come in this love triangle, just maybe not in a way that has been seen too often before. Riverdale's creators see the show as very progressive, maybe even a little too much because at the end of the day, Riverdale is a Teen drama. There's character diversity, yes, but it doesn't necessarily have anything new or meaningful to offer. It shows every character losing a little of their innocence. My theory is that they will focus on the female friendship between Betty and Veronica to show that there doesn't always have to be female rivalry involved. I like that two girls wouldn't let a boy come between them, but he kind of already has and the result is one that can already be felt and predicted. In the promo for the fourth episode, we get to see that Ms. Grundy isn't who she says she is. Jughead is already aware of Archie's relationship with his teacher, but it becomes apparent that he is willing to go far, even so far to expose the forbidden relationship, for his cause as a writer and journalist. Should Betty find out, it's difficult to predict her reaction, especially now that we have gotten to know Betty on a darker level. 


In conclusion, my advice for Archie, Betty and Veronica is: 

Archie - stop seeing Ms. Grundy. I know you're hung up on her, but I don't like the Pretty Little Liars (Ezria) turn this thing between you two is taking. Focus on yourself for once. You are trying to juggle Football and music plus working for your dad. It's a lot and I advise you to just stop seeing girls (or women) for a while. Maybe try to mend your friendship with Jughead instead of risking everything for a sketchy teacher. You also have great friends, try giving a little more effort and do something nice for Betty. Also, don't let your past relationships define you. Try talking to Veronica, even though it might be awkward for the both of you. If you're going to be friends with Betty, try to "get along" with her other friends too. You're on a good path, just stop jeopardizing your entire future just for a summer fling. Because deep down, you know it's wrong. 


Betty - you need to get your shit together. All that pent up anger is getting to you and you're releasing it in heavy blows. Last episode, you went to far and now you're denying it? I think you need to take a step back and think about your choices. All of this can't be easy for you and I know you feel like people take you for granted. I think the school newspaper is going to do you some good because you'll have a distraction and a cause. Try to move on from Archie - now that you know that he's just not interested, don't waste your time on mourning what could have been. And when the time comes, maybe explore other possible romantic interests. Jughead is completely different from you, but something's telling me that there could be more between you two in the future. 


Veronica - honestly, just calm down, girl. Being the new girl is hard, I get that. But maybe swear off boys for a little while. Concentrate on being the best version of yourself. Invest into your friendship with Betty. I think you were scared of Betty in the pool house because you saw a little of your old self in her, but try to approach the subject appropriately. Talk it out with her and just be supportive, the last thing Betty needs is the feeling that she's being attacked.



"To someone on the outside,peering in, it would've looked like there were four people in that booth.But I was there and I can tell you,really there were only three. A blonde girl, a raven-haired girl, and the luckiest red headed boy in the universe. For one shining moment we were just kids.Those bright neon lights of Pop's keeping the darkness at bay,giving away,as all nights must, to a morning of reckonings.'' - Jughead


And this is the end of the very first Couples Counseling session of this year! What do you think? What advice would you give the three of them? Who do you ship? Let me know in the survey here on this blog!

Archie and Ms. Grundy:













Archie and Betty:










Archie and Veronica:











Or maybe even Betty and Veronica, who knows?











Couples Counseling sessions 2016:


2/07/2017

Short Film: BALANCE (Lauenstein Twins)



Five men. One box. This simple Academy Award winning short film by Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein from 1989 is a true masterpiece.  In a strange world, five strange men discover the destruction greed can cause. And as the last man standing wins the object of interest in a battle of life and death, the object he was so determined to have for himself, he realises that it is merely that - an object. 


The men - Voldemort's family?


These men are prisoners in their own world. Prisoners lacking individual personalities. Instead of names they have numbers. They are trapped in this cell without walls with just an empty void around them. 5 prisoners with a mysterious box. Wanting to inspect it for themselves, they take turns. But when it becomes apparent that the 'greedy one' out of them wants it for himself, the 'wise one' tries to push the box over the edge. Launching themselves into action, they fight over the box, one man down after the other. When all except one are gone, there's nothing in between the winner and his box. What he fails to grasp is that his fellow prisoners are what makes balance possible. So when they are all gone, and he is left with the object of his desire, he finally realises: The box is out of reach even though he is the last one standing. The balance disappeared the moment they turned on each other and nobody got the box in the end. 

 


I must confess to being quite freaked out at first because of their strange appearance. Don't they kind of look like Voldemort? Makes the whole thing a little scary. But the world is a scary place and some humans, the decisions they choose to make and the consequences of those decisions can be scary too. 


Sharing the box...

... was an option. But they wanted it for themselves. Their greed trumped their rational thoughts and all left was the force of destruction. What if there would have been a sixth prisoner, strong enough to play a kind of referee, ensuring that each one can enjoy the box? The whole situation would have become sustainable. They were just missing a player. 





Historical background

A key factor to notice when attempting to interpret the short film is the year it was made. 1989: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War coming to an end. The battle between communism and capitalism, the NATO and the soviet union, nearly over. 



Communism is centred around historical materialism. Personally, I think that this strict reliance on materialism leads to the objectification of people and in general, the value of all humans. In  consumer capitalism the focus lies on materialism and value is being reduced by its economics, leading to objectification again. It's like we are players in a game, controlled by someone capable of understanding a higher truth. The common defect is materialism and the emphasis/place it has in society. 

Socialism vs. Capitalism 
Once they found the box (parallel to wealth), the socialist era came to an end. Staying in the socialist era would have meant sharing the box in the middle of the platform. Balance would have been maintained. By entering capitalism, the world as they knew it lost its way. They lost their way. Everyone wanted the box for themselves. The transition started with the prisoner sitting on the box and sticking to it. The short film could be seen as a forewarning for what could happen if capitalism isn't ended. 


Was the speaker of the box muffled?

It's like Charles Dickens illustrated in A Christmas Carol: Ignorance and want are the forces behind so many of the world's problems. What if the box was lying on the speaker face down? The prisoners remained ignorant of the speaker, letting their want/greed take over. What followed was a fight that could not be won. Because there was no real winner. This also is a parallel to the much disputed question "Who won the Cold War?".  





The fishing pole

Anyone else notice that the last prisoner standing still has his fishing pole? He could have used it to pull the box into the middle or to fish out other objects to regain the balance. In this strange world, we don't even know if the others are dead or not. Could he have fished them back onto the platform again? However you want to see it, the fishing pole remains a symbol of hope: In a world which was destroyed, there's still an option to correct past mistakes. One just has to be willing to take a risk. 


What do you think the main message of the short film was? Did you like it?

1/19/2017

New Film Resolutions

With a new year come new years resolutions - Something I actually don't believe in, so I decided to give it my own personal twist. This year, I'm starting my own tradition of New Film Resolutions. The list below is a list of films I have heard great things about. Some are older, some are newer, but I hope to watch all of these in 2017. With every film I watch, I will post a small review on this blog. 

Mr. Nobody
The Fountain
The Man from Earth
The Butterfly Effect
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Captive
Love Me If you Dare
Her
Jacob's Ladder 
Enemy 
Vanilla Sky 
Memento
Donnie Darko 
Predestination
I Origins 
Idiocracy
The One I love 
Comet
Gattaca
The Machinist

1/11/2017

Grimm: Dark Legacy game trailer



In honour of Grimm Season 6 premiering a few days ago, I decided to give all of you Grimm fans a little update on the Grimm: Dark Legacy game that already launched. This little "trailer" gives you a little look into the graphics and functions of the game. If this is the first time you've heard of the Grimm PC game, I posted a little info on it a while back explaining what it's all about. Click here to read some general information about the game!

I haven't played it yet, but I'm eager to try; if anyone reading this post has played, please do tell me if you like it! I think it's a wonderful opportunity for the Grimm community to feel connected to the show, even though Season 6 is the final one. 

With the show coming to an end, it's hard to believe I have watched it (and stayed totally committed to it) for so long! CRAZY! With that being said, I do hope that the show writers ended it on a happy note, aka NADALIND ENDGAME. I'm also so excited for the Rosalie and Monroe baby! Hopefully we get a glimpse of the baby in season 6. That would be the best farewell present ever! That and Nick and Adalind ending up together, of course. 

To stay updated, definitely check out the Grimm fan page I help run and follow me on Twitter and my Nadalind Pinterest board, as I like to spam my followers with cute Nadalind family photos. 


1/08/2017

Nocturnal Animals (Interpretation and Review)


Tom Ford's new film, Nocturnal Animals, captured my attention alone because of its interesting title. Nocturnal Animals. Something about it just drew me in, even before I knew the story. I watched it and I can see why so many people use the term "visionary" to describe Ford; it fits. And after this movie, I am on the edge of my seat to see more creations of his in the future. 


"What right do I have to not be happy, I have everything. I feel ungrateful not to be happy."



Nocturnal animals is about art gallery worker Susan (Amy Adams), who relives her past through a novel that was sent to her by her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). The novel, a very violent and sad story about Tony Hastings (also Jake Gyllenhaal) and his family as they find themselves in a little trouble that leads to tragedy while travelling, is a form of revenge against Susan and her past mistakes. Nocturnal Animals is a tale about love, happiness, hope, tragedy and revenge. Ford creates a captivating connection between the past and the present by combining a fictional world representing Susan's past and flashbacks of her previous marriage. 


"No one really liked what they do."
"Then why do we do it?""Because we're driven, maybe a bit insecure. We get into things when we're young because we think they mean something.""And then we find out that they don't."


Though the novel is not a one-to-one retelling of his life, Edward's novel is dedicated to her and throughout the story we can spot various parallels between the thriller and flashbacks about Susan's past with Edward.



As we get to watch the happenings in the book, we get to see Edwards vision of what Tony's wife and daughter look like, which is nearly identical to Susan and her daughter. It's also interesting that Ford decided to give Gyllenhaal a double role. Edward and Tony are meant to be the exact same person. Edward's novel is a very personal one, one that he writes about himself. Susan knows this because she can read between the lines and can combine past memories with the book's plot. But to any outsider, this is fictional. 


The similarities and the fact that he wrote a book about himself, something Susan used to criticise during their marriage, is the start of Edward's revenge. He show's her something incredibly sad and well written, which basically tells her "I told you so". I personally also got the impression that Edward knew his book had very big potential of becoming a best-seller. He offers her success and being driven as she is, she instantly feels attracted to that - to him. 


"Do you ever feel like your life has turned into something you never intended?"

Ford did an amazing job of keeping the past's relevance in the present by letting us see the aftermath of Susan's actions. The parallels between Susan and Tony are remarkable. They both feel broken. They both feel helpless. They both feel lost and alone. Tony's development in the book is Edward trying to make him relatable, especially to Susan. He wants her to understand what Tony felt when his wife and child were taken away from him, he wants her to understand what it was like for him when she left him and aborted their unborn child. And for Susan, this is a trap she easily falls into. She pities Edward, even before he sends her the manuscript, describing it as "sad" that he never remarried.



The Ending - explained

The ending is something that can be a little confusing, but this is how I understood it...


Susan and Edward make plans to go to dinner. 


Right after that we see Susan having a flashback of the "good old times" between her and Edward. A time where she felt wanted, needed, desired - feelings that she grew estranged to. So when she finally feels like an object of desire again, she has a tinge of hope.


She gets ready. 


She wipes off her lipstick (shows her vulnerability; she comes out of her shell; lifts the mask)


Her hope is reflected in the tiny smile she appears to have before that final scene at the restaurant. She feels worth something again, that feeling that she has gives her a boost of confidence. But next to the hope in her smile I also saw satisfaction in her expression. After years of loosing control, she finally felt like she had some power again. 


But all of those new emotions are crushed when he stands her up at the restaurant. There, she has time to think, she reflects on her life and her actions leading up to that moment and she understands. She grasps the intentions behind Edwards actions. She sees why he sent the manuscript and why he never showed up.


In that restaurant - in that moment of comprehension - every last ounce of hope is drained from her as she realises that she will never find happiness again.  She also realises that she misinterpreted the book: While he lead her to believe that the book meant that he still cared about her, the bitter truth is revealed: He is done. He is ready to move on. It is unlikely that the same can be said about Susan. While Edward used the book to process his feelings and come to term with the past, in other words closure.

In Susan's life however, she learned to keep her emotions inside. Throughout the years, she had no way of releasing those repressed feelings. Everything becomes a blur and she can't sleep. She is a nocturnal animal because there are too many things swirling around in her head. And that was Edwards revenge. When simply put, nothing more than a stand-up, but when interpreted a devastating, sad and even petty plot of revenge. Compared to Edwards novel, the revenge in the "real world" may seem mediocre, because in the book the act revenge is something physical, ending in the deaths of those responsible for the deaths of Tony's family but also in his own. Nevertheless, Edward's act of revenge is still a brutal punishment, one that scars deep. He leaves her feeling worthless, hopeless and sad.



Review

The first half hour of this film was one of the best things I have ever seen. The story unfolded nicely, everything was connected, clever and intriguing. The middle part was a little slow, but interesting nevertheless. The ending picked up speed a little again and left me shook. Ford managed to create feelings of pity, disgust and curiosity, all at the same time. Nocturnal Animals is an emotional story that left me feeling empty inside (in a good way). It illustrates the chilling act of dehumanising someone, exposing very real, very raw human emotions. Ford gets all the praise from me and the actors did a phenomenal job. I would be surprised if none of them got an Academy Award nomination for their outstanding performances. Overall, I would give this film 8/10 stars.