▲FILM: 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

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10 Cloverfield Lane, the ‘spiritual sequel/blood relative’ to the 2008 Cloverfield, is creepy, funny, surprising and will have you constantly mouthing ‘woah‘ throughout it’s entirety. Well, I did anyway.

The beginning sets up the scenario, why Michelle (the protagonist, Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is where she is. You think, okay, this is setting up a slightly eerie mood. Then the title sequence is like…SHIT. I won’t give it away but honestly that was one of my favourite parts just because the editing was bloody SPOT ON and perfectly jarring. Go watch it and you will see what I mean.

The film centres around Michelle who wakes up in an underground shelter built by Howard (John Goodman) and accompanied by Emmett (John Gallagher Jr) who claim that the outside world is uninhabitable due to a chemical attack.

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The most impressive and unique thing about this film is that is has the audience constantly updating their understanding of the genre. From the title and previous knowledge of the Cloverfield, you think okay- aliens. Struggle for survival. But then it’s a very real thriller with a scary protagonist and any supernatural notions seem ridiculous. Then a murder mystery? But oh no maybe everything is a twist and what is happening?

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John Goodman was incredible in this film. Everything I have heard before and since seeing the film make it seem like this is a universally accepted truth. His character, Howard, is so confusing you have no idea whether to hate him, love him, pity him or fear him.

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It’s definitely one of those films where I personally I think, the less you know the better, so I refuse to talk much about the plot. I personally loved it. I wasn’t 100% on board with the very end, which I hear a few others saying as well- but it left it open to a sequel, which was probably the idea.

I watched Cloverfield after this because I had never seen it! I was worried that it was a sequel, or would have direct references to the previous, but it does not at all. It is a separate film and story entirely that simply hints it could be from the same womb. With the title, ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ I believe J. J. Abrams was simply saying ‘hey if you like that film, you’ll probably like this one’ like those stickers you find on novels and Netflix recommendations.

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Michelle is a great, believable, strong female protagonist. She kicks ass but shows her vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Emmett is like the pet dog that you’re slightly suspicious of but really he just wants to be petted and Howard is one confusing son of a bitch. I would recommend this film to anyone who wants a thriller that’s going to challenge your guessing abilities of where the hell this plot is going.

10 Cloverfield Lane, Dan Trachtenberg, 2016

☾CHALEESI☽

 

▲FILM: COWSPIRACY: the sustainability secret

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Cowspiracy literally changed my life. This documentary is filled with things that most people would prefer to remain ignorant about. Even the title makes people think- oh, this is another film about vegetarianism/veganism, I’m going to ignore it. If you choose to eat meat, and you love it and are used to your lifestyle, a lot of you will want to argue with everything just because you feel defensive of this fact.

Now, I’m only very recently a vegetarian. I have never eaten much meat, mainly a little bit of fish and chicken and very very occasionally, some red meat in pasta etc. I always wanted to make the change but it is easier to just…not. But as I’m growing older and becoming more passionate about seeking out knowledge about my world, food, nutrition, sustainability and the truth about how industries work, I decided to try and make the change. I want to be a better human being. I want to do my part in saving the world from this shit storm we are putting it through and I want to stop ignoring my morals.

Cowspiracy is a documentary about how animal agriculture really effects our world and why environmentalists aren’t preaching this fact loudly and clearly. The facts and figured shocked me. I cried numerous times throughout different aspects of the film. Mostly, when it shed light on how animals are treated, even on the farms that label themselves ‘sustainable.’ It shows that making the conscious decision to not eat meat is not only about caring about the animal’s welfare and life. It is about so many other species who are becoming extinct because of the land that is being turned to livestock farming. It is about the acres of rainforest and our ocean being completely pillaged. Within years our ecosystems are going to completely collapse- for what? The chance to eat a dead animal because we like the taste and its easier to just ignore it and eat what you want.

I know people argue incessantly about these subjects, everyone thinks their opinion and what they have been exposed to is the right thing. Basically, we are selfish creatures and we are all going to do what we want to do. I am just imploring that everyone, everyone, EVERYONE at least watch this, and whatever other information/docos/whatever they need to educate themselves, and then make the decision they feel is right for them.

It is a personal journey. I myself have chosen to stop eating all meat. I may slip up every now and then but informing and educating myself makes that way less likely. I am also making vegan changes as (which cowspiracy will show you) dairy farming takes up way too many resources, and when I think about it, it just doesn’t make sense that we eat it. Also for heath reasons, my body does not react well to dairy. However I am still choosing to eat eggs and may have dairy occasionally. I may one day call myself vegan, but again, it is a slow journey that we all have to make for ourselves and our bodies and our world.

I am no expert, but I am an advocate for knowledge. You can buy the film from the website or you can watch it on Netflix. Please do. x

COWSPIRACY TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV04zyfLyN4

COWSPIRACY WEBSITE: http://www.cowspiracy.com

☾CHALEESI☽

▲FILM: CRIMSON PEAK

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Crimson Peak, the Gothic horror/romance directed by Guillermo Del Toro (WHAT A BLOODY VISIONARY) was exactly what I had hoped for. Since coming across the trailer, I knew I had to see this film and I was not disappointed. I see some people online already saying they were let down because this wasn’t ‘horror’ enough. Just as many, if not more Gothic fantasy fans are teaming up and replying angrily with ‘HORROR IS NOT WHAT CRIMSON PEAK WAS MEANT TO BE.’ Edith, the protagonist played by Mia Wasikowska, aptly described the film when speaking of her manuscript in the story- “It’s not a ghost story, it’s a story with ghosts in it.”

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I absolutely have to talk about the visuals first off. Dark, whimsical, period-drama-esque and incredibly stunning. The costumes are absolutely on point, over the top and brilliant. When the characters arrive at the mansion in England, the home of Lucille and Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain) everything looks like a gothic fairy tale.

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The house is standing on a clay mine essentially, which Thomas has been trying to turn into a profit for many years. The clay is red and of course oozes into the house through the decay of the floorboards on the lowest levels of the house and the walls. The house literally drips red. There are also giant black moths that thrive within the manor and cover the walls, fluttering and generally adding to the spooky atmosphere. I cannot describe the ornate beauty of this film, you will just have to see it, for the cinematography and set design alone.

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Interlude- we just have to talk about how fabulous Tom Hiddleston is. Yes, you see his bum. I won’t lie, this is a bit exciting. He’s a charmer and I love him. So. Here you go. I am a bit jealous of Mia because Tom is all up in her grill. Despite the creepiness and obvious suspiciousness of Thomas Sharpe, something in me still ships him with our naive protagonist. IN A PERFECT WORLD.

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I don’t want to go too far into the story, because it is of course a bit of a mystery. I wouldn’t say this story is ‘predictable’ but I did guess almost every twist and turn that went on to happen. I do not think this takes away from the script at all however, because I feel like this is just what a gothic fantasy film should be. Also perhaps I am just incredibly brilliant and studying scripts and screenwriting in University has made me a master of the screen stories. (Ha.) 😉

The main characters, Edith, Lucille and Thomas, meet in America. Lucille and Thomas Sharpe are from England and entice Edith with their foreign charm. Soon, she is lured to their manor in England and she begins to understand the warnings that ghosts have rasped at her all throughout her life- ‘BEWARE OF CRIMSON PEAK.’ I won’t lie, the ghosts are actually a bit terrifying, just not something that would scare me after the actual film. Dark and skeletal, you can definitely tell when they’re going to rattle their breath through the halls or scream their ominous warnings. It may ask for some severe hand holding in anticipation.

This film brings beauty, murder, mystery, ghosts, love, intriguing characters, bravery, a lot of scenes that had me whispering ‘ohhhh fuck thaaaat’ and the screwed up relationship of a very very damaged brother and sister. See the film if this is your thing, as well as all of Guillermo del Toros’s beauties because why the hell not. HALLOWEEN IS ALMOST UPON US. You know that, that’s a great idea. Maybe I’ll do that.

☾CHALEESI☽

▲FILM/BOOK: THE MARTIAN

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So I just finished the novel ‘The Martian’ and then immediately after, went to see the new film adaption. It is one of those stories that make me grow very very agitated when somebody complains about it. Straight after seeing the films I heard comments from people I know saying it was ‘predictable’ or ‘the script could have been better.’ I just DISAGREE. Maybe it’s just because I get annoyed when somebody criticises something I like. But also it’s because I know IT’S JUST VERY GOOD.

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So let’s break it down. Mark Watney (a bloody brilliant character in my opinion) is part of NASA’s third trip to Mars. His crew is caught in a terrible storm which means they have to abandon their entire mission and leave the planet. Mark gets hit by a loose satellite (I think its a satellite) and the crew think they have lost him to the crazy temptress that is Mars. They leave him. Turns out he is indeed alive, and now stranded on Mars with not enough food, or water and no way to contact anybody living.

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SCIENCE! This book has been acclaimed for the accuracy of the science used within it. Something that viewer’s have to have nowadays in science fiction is believability!
‘Andy Weir, the son of a particle physicist, has a background in computer science. He began writing the book in 2009, researching related material so that it would be as realistic as possible and based on existing technology. Weir studied orbital mechanics, astronomy, and the history of manned spaceflight. He said he knows the exact date of each day in the book.’

Yes, I took that from Wikipedia. But it’s great. Andy was one dedicated author! NASA invited him to tour the Johnson Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory upon publication of the book, and when Ridley Scott began production of the film, Weir contacted NASA about their potential involvement. Key NASA staff members that joined the partnership were James L. Green, the Director of the Planetary Science Division and Dave Lavery, the Program Executive for Solar System Exploration.

NASA answered hundreds of questions on a weekly basis, they sent hundreds of photos of Mars and the control centres for the production team and have timed marketing with the theatrical release. It is said that NASA has had more involvement with The Martian than any other film, as it also serves as a plug for a manned mission to Mars. I just think that is so cool. I have always loved NASA, not that I dare to comprehend most of what is involved in anything space related. I am definitely one of those people who are endlessly fascinated by anything SPACE. But when I let my brain grasp too far, I feel it physically turn to moosh.

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Now can I also just compliment the cast? Being a stranded astronaut on Mars and the sole protagonist, Matt Damon was alone for most of the film. However there were many supporting actors! Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan and Aksel Hannie play Watney’s crew: Lewis, Martinez, Johanssen, Beck and Vogel. They spend their time in the ship returning to Earth. Then there’s the crew at NASA who are busting their asses to get their astronaut back home; Kristen Wiig- as Annie Montrose: NASA spokesperson, Jeff Daniels- as Teddy Sanders: head of NASA, Sean Bean- as Mitch Henderson: mission director, Chiwetel Ejiofor- as Vincent Kapoor: mission director, Benedict Wong- as Bruce Ng: director of JPL, Mackenzie Davis- as Mindy Park: satellite planner in mission control and then there’s Donald Glover (aka Gambino) as Rich Purnell: astronomer.

I was very happy with the casting. As I read the book after I had seen the trailer for the film, Matt Damon was already Mark Watney in my mind. Regardless, I think I would have believed he was a perfect Watney. Watney is the genius, easy to love guy that never takes anything quite too seriously. Instead of having a meltdown at the prospect of being entirely alone on an empty and desolate planet, Watney decides I am not going to die here. With that decision, he remains himself, the botanist/engineer that can get himself out of any situation. I read a review that said it was not believable because Watney cracked a joke at every turn, making himself seem like a character stitched out of cheesy one liners. I wholeheartedly disagree because that is just Watney’s character- the loveable idiot who keeps it light. He keeps himself sane because he can remain himself. I’m sure that inside, he is absolutely fucking terrified most of the time. But he doesn’t let it kill him.

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One of my favourite parts of the book is this line which shows how hilarious Watney is, even when he is faced with almost certain death. The script changed the line of course, but I was still happy with the adaption. It conveys the humour just the same, and although I think the book is funnier, perhaps it would not have come across the same.

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Back to the rest of the cast, aside from being far more attractive than reality would have it, the NASA crew were just great. I feel like they each conveyed their characters in a pretty fine way. I had Johanssen down in my imagination, but had not seen the rest of the cast as their characters properly. Apart from only brushing over Johanssen and Beck’s blossoming relationship, I was happy that the film referenced it at all. I was excited by the presence of Sebastian Stan, because like many many others, my eyes and ovaries just bloody love him, and I hadn’t realised that he was in the film at all!

I also fell completely in love with Mackenzie Davis as Mindy. She is so bloody gorgeous and I loved Mindy’s character, somebody so low on the NASA food chain who just gets swept up to play with all the big fish. Also, I hadn’t realised GAMBINO was in it! And I imagined Rich Purnell as an overweight older male, so I found this quite humorous. I loved Glover’s portrayal.

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(Also I just have to mention… LOOK AT MARA’S DRESS! IT IS BEAUTIFUL. I NEED IT. Sorry.)

So basically- I loved the book, and I loved the adaption. I liked the book better, as one usually does, because I just think it works better as a book although the ways they pulled it off in the film I very much applaud. Of course, there are a few things left out and a few things added, but I was impressed by how much of the story is straight out of the original. Yay! I recommend that one reads the book first, but if you haven’t already and just want to see Matt Damon and his beautiful body- I mean- acting skills, in a cinema, then I will forgive you. But as is my philosophy with everything, one is always more invested when they read the book first!

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Go and see/read/feast your eyes on the ‘surely a whole team of scientists can’t all be that good looking that’s it I CAN’T BELIEVE ANY OF IT NOW,’ the beautiful science, the emotional suspense and humour of the The Martian.

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The Martian. BOOK: Andy Weir, 2011. FILM: Ridley Scott, 2015.

☾CHALEESI☽

▲FILM: TROLLHUNTER

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Trollhunter is a Norweigan mockumentary about the Trolls that live in the forests of Europe. It centres around a group of college students who are in the midst of covering a story on an illegal bear hunter, only to find that the mysterious nomad is actually hunting trolls.

The premise of the film seems ridiculous, and I’m sure if it was done by Americans it probably would have been. The style of filming and the direction that the film takes, save it from that. I liked that it wasn’t predictable. It kept me interested and invested in where the story was going to take me.

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I liked how it took the story book attributes of trolls and made them plain truth. If presented with sun (or UV) light, a troll with turn to stone… or blow up. They can smell the blood of a Christian man. They’re stupid, and one of them was shown living under a bridge. trollhunter_banner

Despite this, this film is no fairy tale.  Of course, as soon as ‘the largest of them all’ is mentioned, this band of hooligans find it.

I would definitely recommend this film. I always appreciate foreign films when I find them, and this dark fantasy reminded me to keep at it.

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TROLLHUNTER, ANDRE OVREDAL, 2010

☾CHALEESI☽

▲FILM: WHAT IF

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“I just had sex. I’m about to eat nachos! It’s the greatest moment of my life!”

What If is a very cute film. It’s a love story starring cuties who pull off a witty script. It’s light and fun and will make you feel a little bit fuzzy on the inside. Also ZOE KAZAN. I think I’m becoming just a touch obsessed with her.

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Daniel Radcliffe plays Wallace and Zoe plays Chantry. The two meet at a party and through much witty banter, become interested in each other rather quickly- only, Chantry has a long time boyfriend.

They settle for being ‘just friends’ but of course, this is a film about a romance, so they don’t really.

The secondary characters are Chantry’s cousin Ben (who stars in Simon Pegg’s and Nick Frost’s films,) Chantry’s sister, and Chantry’s cousin/Wallace’s room mate Allan with his girlfriend/fiance. (Adam Driver who you may know as the weirdo in Girls. He’s great.)

The story is fairly simple, and fairly standard. Boy meets girl. Girl has boyfriend. Boy pretends not to pine for the girl. Girl starts to pine for the boy but lives in denial. They eventually give in and live happily ever after.
But- the script is sweet and funny, the characters are believable and interesting and it’s really just such a nice feel good film.

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Chantry is an animator- and one of her animations, a fairly like girl, flys through the film as a symbol of the character’s emotions. There’s little personal moments and a running inside joke about Elvis and his ‘Fool’s Gold.’

Gotta love Daniel, gotta love Zoe.

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What If- directed by Michael Dowse, written by Elan Mastai. 2013

▲FILM: IN YOUR EYES

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The best thing about myself – the only thing that I like – is you.
This film is a supernatural love story. Becky & Dylan have a telepathic link that has  brought them together since they were children. At first, they can only feel each other when they go through pain or an extreme emotion. Their vision becomes each other’s vision- and they are literally within each other’s eyes. 

I thought this film was fresh and new and even though a telepathic link between two people who fall in love has definitely been done, (read some YA Fiction books) it was still original and captivating.

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It’s so sweet- when the two characters figure out that they can talk to each other, and start to control this strange link that they have. When they talk out loud, the other one hears them, and it’s practically a phone conversation without the phone, except they can see what each other is seeing as well as what they are seeing. This obviously opens up the conflicts and problems of the characters within the film- as you can imagine, talking to yourself all day isn’t considered too stable.

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This film is written by Joss Whedon, and he released it online without any warning- (pulling a beyonce.) He actually wrote the script in the 90s and in one scene in Buffy, ‘IN YOUR EYES’ is written as showing in the Sun Cinema. Cheeky Whedon.

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People complain that as Whedon is known for writing strong female characters, on this film, he didn’t deliver. Becky is portrayed delicate, both mentally as well as being a cute little tiny button, physically. She relies on her husband to ‘look after her’ and basically has not much of a life of her own. Still- I disagree with this comment. She may be dependant, but she makes herself that way, and she has many strong moments. Also, I think her character is believable and relatable, as is Dylan’s. They both have many flaws, and both of their situations in life aren’t the best. They could both be doing so much better for themselves, and in the viewer’s starry eyes, we hope that in the end, that is where they are headed.

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Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl-David star in this film, and I think that they are both adorable. Zoe is a great actor, known for her role in Ruby Sparks,  and I think she shines in this one. Michael, known for Cloverfield, plays the funny, warm hearted Dylan who is too smart for his surroundings.

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Anyway- GO WATCH IT. It’s sweet, new and interesting. 🙂

IN YOUR EYES 2014. Brin Hill/Joss Whedon

☾CHALEESI☽