Coco (2017) Film Review

Synopsis

Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. After meeting a charming trickster named Héctor, the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
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Release dateNovember 22, 2017 (USA)
Box office807.1 million USD

My Review 

Pixar does not disappoint. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen a Disney Pixar movie I have not fallen in love with. I finally got around to checking this movie off of my must see list, and I loved every second of watching this film.

The animation is top-notch, and the color, music, and overall environment created in this movie was astounding to look and listen to. One of the amazing things about Pixar movies is that no matter how old you are, these movies will always have a special place in your heart. This movie is relatable for a wide age range. Whether you’re a kid balancing life and family, a parent trying to understand your child, or an elderly family member stuck in the past. This movie had a lot of life lessons that could be learned, and I truly feel any audience member will connect with the film on an emotional level.

This film was not predictable for me, and I did not see the plot twists coming. Which is not a typical element of a children’s film. The plot had me interested and engaged throughout the entire movie, starting from the first ten minutes of the movie. If you are interested in learning more about other cultures and their traditions, I strongly recommend you watch this film. I have always been fascinated by the tradition of Day of the Dead. This movie gives an interesting look into this tradition, and how family is valued into Mexican Culture.

Overall, this movie is an incredible feel good movie to watch solo or with the family. It’s a highly emotional story that will tug at your heartstrings.

My Rating

4.5 out of 5

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Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Film Review

Synopsis

Writer and notorious marriage detractor Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) falls for girl-next-door Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane), and they tie the knot on Halloween. When the newlyweds return to their respective family homes to deliver the news, Brewster finds a corpse hidden in a window seat. With his eccentric aunts (Josephine Hull, Jean Adair), disturbed uncle (John Alexander), and homicidal brother (Raymond Massey), he realizes that his family is even crazier than he thought.
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Release dateSeptember 1, 1944 (USA)

My Review 

If you have not seen this film… Go Watch It Now! This movie has been on my top 10 list of films for years now.

My favorite thing about this film is the plot structure. They based this film off on a play and that shows. This play follows the old style of comedy with dramatic irony. The audience is fully aware of what is going on in the movie, however a lot of the actors are left in the dark. Which leads to a lot of confusion among the characters within the film and adds to the comedic element for the audience.

Something I love about this film that I think more plays and films need to be inspired by is all the comedic timing and use of facial expressions. Image result for arsenic and old laceCary Grant’s facial expressions throughout this film makes for some of the best comedic moments. This is also something that is known to be one of Cary Grant’s signature strengths.

The plot of this film is quick paced, and there are several stories lines going on all at the same time. Newly wed Mortimer Brewster is trying to leave on his honeymoon, his aunts are murdering elderly gentleman, his uncle thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, and his crazy brother Jonathon shows up  on the run from the police. While the overall feel of the movie is left very light and comedic, the action within the play is insane and the audience gets to watch along on the journey.

I absolutely adore the acting in this film. Besides Cary Grant’s amazing performance, everyone else does a fantastic job. There is not a bad acting performance in this entire film. Image result for arsenic and old laceJosephine Hull and Jean Adair as the two aunts is my favorite. These two women do not disappoint in this film, and their characterization is amazing. They are nothing short of being sweet elderly women in this film, which makes it even more of a comedic shock to find they have single-handedly poisoned and buried several men in their cellar. 

Lastly, the camera work and lighting of this film are unique and appealing. Much like the play, this film takes place solely inside the Brewster’s living room. While we see action take place in a few other locations, most of the film is set in one area of the house. However, the film does not get boring and as an audience member it’s hard to notice that the camera has not left the one room. The camera work is very innovative and creative.

My Rating 

4.5 out of 5

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The Shawshank Redemption Review (1994)

Synopsis

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover and is sentenced to a tough prison. However, only Andy knows he didn’t commit the crimes. While there, he forms a friendship with Red (Morgan Freeman), experiences brutality of prison life, adapts, helps the warden, etc., all in 19 years.
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Release dateSeptember 22, 1994 (Beverly Hills)

My Review

I do not understand why it took me so long to see this film, but I am thrilled I did. This film blew me away. It’s a powerful story, with incredible acting and amazing plot action. I was immediately drawn into this film from the very beginning and only became more captivated in the story the more it went on.

My favorite thing about this film was the powerful acting performances. I was not as familiar with Tim Robbins as I was with Morgan Freeman before watching this movie. However, unlike most movies, neither actor over-shined the other. Image result for the shawshank redemptionBoth of them did such an incredible job, and as an audience member it truly felt like the two actors were feeding off of each other’s performances and energy which only strengthened their acting. The other actors in this film were incredible. There was such distinct and committed character development, which added a lot to the film and made it seem even more lifelike.

This film had a very natural flow to it. The plot points moved effortlessly from one to the other. I never noticed a moment where this film seemed to drag on and lose my attention. I think something that aided in that was Morgan Freeman’s character narrating the film and guiding the audience through the story. As an audience member, this also made me feel more involved within the world of the film and helped me get invested into the story of the film.

Probably the most powerful and affective element of this film is the writing. With it being adapted from a Steven King novel, I knew that the writing would have a strong foundation to base off of. Image result for the shawshank redemptionHowever, the writing of this movie entirely blew me away. The movie is very intense and leaves a huge emotional impact on the audience. Since the audience gets so emotionally invested in the main characters, there are many parts of this story that make you mad. Even after watching this film, the emotional impact will stick with you, and you will think about it long after watching the film.

My Rating

4.5 out of 5

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Harriet (2019) Film Review

Synopsis 

From her escape from slavery through the dangerous missions she led to liberate hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad, the story of heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman is told.
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Release date: November 1, 2019 (USA)
Box office: 43.3 million USD

My Review 

I was extremely excited to see this film. Harriet Tubman is one of my favorite historical figures, and it’s about time someone makes a movie about her. However, this movie did not live up to my expectations.

First things first. The soundtrack of this movie made no sense at all. I often got sucked out of the world of the film. The soundtrack did not match up with the scenes of the film, and instead of heightening the audiences emotional experience, it only took away from it. Image result for harriet movieThere is a powerful scene in the movie where Harriet is getting taken away by boat to safety after the passing of the fugitive slave law. It was a powerful and emotional scene. However, the music sounded like a song from a funeral and did not match up with the action of the film. 

One element I really liked about this film was how historically accurate they made it. By sticking close to history, the filmmakers lost a good chunk of creative freedom. But this was something I really appreciated about this film. I appreciated how they tried to incorporate the use of Harriet’s god given visions, but the way the filmmakers incorporated it into the film was confusing. It made more sense as the film went on, however, at the beginning it was hard to tell if the audience was getting a look at visions or flashbacks.

The most redeemable trait of this film was the acting. Cynthia Erivo  gave a convincing performance as Harriet Tubman. Image result for harriet movieShe did an excellent job of showing the growth and contrast of Harriet’s character from the beginning of the film to the end. However, Cynthia’s acting stood out the most and compared to her the other actors/actresses only did a sub par job.

It took me a hot minute to get emotionally invested into this movie, but once I was invested, it stayed constant till the credits rolled. I understand that the filmmakers needed to set up the story and show Harriet’s life before the Underground Railroad. But the movie did not get interesting until she ran away and come back for her husband and family.

Overall, I enjoyed this film, but I would not watch it again. However, I would recommend that everyone see it once in their life. As there is a lot to learn and appreciate about Harriet Tubman.

My Rating

3 out of 5

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) Film Review

Summary

Lloyd Vogel is an investigative journalist who receives an assignment to profile Fred Rogers, aka Mr. Rogers. He approaches the interview with skepticism, as he finds it hard to believe that anyone can have such a good nature. But Roger’s empathy, kindness and decency soon chips away at Vogel’s jaded outlook on life, forcing the reporter to reconcile with his own painful past.
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Release date: October 10, 2019 (USA)
Box office: 64.1 million USD
Budget: 25 million USD

My Review

I definitely had different expectations for this film. I knew that Fred Rogers would not be the focus of the film, since Tom Hanks was the supporting actor. However, I did not expect the film to intertwine two worlds by transitions related to Mr. Rogers show. This was one of the most confusing elements of the film. While it was very creative and looked amazing from a visual standpoint. It was hard to tell if the film was taking place in real time or was just another episode of Mr. Rogers show.

The show starts off with Mr. Rogers on set for his show talking about a man named Lloyd. And the movie cuts between the show and Lloyds’s life until finally the two intertwine. Image result for a beautiful day in the neighborhoodThis got even more confusing toward the end of the film when the audience ended back on Mr. Rogers show. The mixing and cutting between the two worlds was unique and interesting, but very confusing in terms of time and space.

The strongest thing about this film was the acting. Tom Hanks did not disappoint, and he fully became the essence of Mr. Rogers. In fact, it was hard to remember that it was an actor portraying Fred Rogers instead of the real deal. I was pleasantly surprised by the other actors of the film. Especially Matthew Rhys and Chris Cooper. I have not seen a lot of movies with either of these actors in it, and they did a fantastic job. However, compared to the scenes with them on screen alongside Tom Hanks, their performance was weak in comparison and less believable.

Overall, I enjoyed the feel of this movie. The color grading, music, and camera style was kept very similar to how an actual show of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Growing up watching the television show, this was very nostalgic for me and helped as an audience member to peak my interest further into the world of the film. Image result for a beautiful day in the neighborhoodHowever, the transitions got confusing as times since as I stated it was hard to tell if the film was in real time or all flashbacks. This is a main reason I would not watch this film again. I enjoyed it, however, for me once is enough.

My Rating

2.5 out of 5

The Worst Movies Of the Last Decade

Rambo Last Blood 2019

Synopsis

Vietnam War veteran John Rambo tries to find peace by raising horses on a ranch in Arizona. He also developed a special familial bond with a woman named Maria and her teenage granddaughter Gabriela. But when a vicious Mexican cartel kidnaps Gabriela, Rambo crosses the border on a bloody and personal quest to rescue her and punish those responsible.
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Release date: September 20, 2019 (USA)
Box office: 91.5 million USD
Budget: 50 million USD

My Review

This was the first movie I have seen from the Rambo movies. The action scenes of this movie did not disappoint. However, the plot structure and narrative of this movie were not very well put together. While this movie was sentimental for fans of the Rambo series as a standalone movie, it was extremely weak. The plot point that sucked me into this movie was when Gabriela gets kidnapped by the cartel. It feels like only a few moments later when Rambo rescues her, only to have her die. The rest of the movie is dedicated to revenge. However, at this point, I had no strong emotional connection to the movie. I knew since it was a Rambo movie he would succeed in a very bloody battle scene. The conflict was resolved way too soon, and the rest of the movie was just full of filler action.

A Wrinkle in Time 2018

Synopsis 

Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace, have been without their scientist father, Mr. Murry, for five years, ever since he discovered a new planet and used the concept known as a tesseract to travel there. Joined by Meg’s classmate Calvin O’Keefe and guided by the three mysterious astral travelers known as Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, the children brave a dangerous journey to a planet that possesses all the evil in the universe.
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Release date: February 26, 2018 (USA)
Box office: 133.4 million USD
Budget: $100–130 million

My Review

I was so excited to see this film since this was one of my favorite books as a child. However, from the start of the movie I knew I would be disappointed. The writing was very poor. This movie had such an incredible cast, but the lines did not feel natural and the movie was full of awkward and forced dialogue. They spent most of the budget of this film on graphic images. While the CG in this film was not terrible, it was not the best I have ever seen. With such an elaborate budget, I had higher expectations for this movie. The thing I disliked most about this film is the fact that they changed so much from the book to the movie. In the book, Mrs. Which has a hard time verbalizing and is also described as a traditional-looking witch. However, with Oprah playing Mrs. Which in the film, they gave her plenty of elegant and well-spoken dialogue. Some other major changes include the exclusion of Aunt Beast, the Happy Medium, and the addition of Meg’s bully. A Wrinkle in Time is such a well put together book If they had stuck to it, I think this film would have been a lot better.

Beauty and the Beast  2017

Synopsis

An arrogant prince is cursed to live as a terrifying beast until he finds true love. Strangely, his chance comes when he captures an unwary clockmaker, whose place is then taken by his bold and beautiful daughter Belle. Helped by the Beast’s similarly enchanted servants, including a clock, a teapot and a candelabra, Belle sees the sensitive soul behind the fearsome facade. But as time runs out, it soon becomes obvious that Belle’s cocky suitor Gaston is the real beast of the piece.
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Release date: March 17, 2017 (USA)
Box office: 1.264 billion USD
Budget: $160–255 million

My Review

I wanted so much for this film to be an incredible experience. However, it was anything but. My first biggest disappointment was Emma Watson’s singing. There was such heavy pitch correction, and auto tune on her voice it sounded unnatural and annoying. In its entirety a lot of the musical numbers in this film did not live up to those of the animated movie. The only songs I truly enjoyed were Gaston’s and the song they added for the Beast. This movie had such a strong cast, and the acting was phenomenal. However, this movie still did not grab my overall attention and left me knowledgeable of the fact that I was watching a movie.

Dirty Grandpa 2016

Synopsis

Uptight lawyer Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) is one week away from marrying his boss’s controlling daughter, putting him on the fast track for a partnership at his firm. Tricked by his grandfather Dick (Robert De Niro), Jason drives the foulmouthed old man to Daytona Beach, Fla., for a wild spring break that includes frat parties, bar fights and an epic night of karaoke. While Jason worries about the upcoming wedding, Dick tries to show his grandson how to live life to the fullest.
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Initial release: January 21, 2016 (Brazil)
Box office: 105.2 million USD
Budget: 25 million USD (2015)

My Review

Going into this movie, I knew that it would either be a hit or miss, and it was definitely a miss. The jokes and humor of this movie were just not funny at all. A lot of the humor was juvenile, which I expected, and it just did not reach the target audience for this movie. The humor was very dated and predictable and felt too forced as an audience member. I am a huge fan of Robert De Niro, but I did not appreciate his appearance in this movie. Jack Efron also came across as very awkward and forced throughout much of the film.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2014

Synopsis

Confident in his powers as Spider-Man, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) embraces his new role as a hero and spends time with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in between protecting New York from criminals. However, his greatest battle yet is about to begin. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront an enemy far more powerful than he is. And when his old friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns, Peter comes to realize that all his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp.
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Release date: May 2, 2014 (USA)
Box office: 709 million USD
Budget: $200–293 million

My Review

I am a huge fan of Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Spider-Man. However, I enjoyed the first movie in the series so much that this movie highly disappointed me. The biggest thing I dislike about this film is how much it leaves the series opened and not closed. For me, there were way too many subplots of this movie that did not fully tie together at the end. The movie also leaves a lot of unanswered plot holes that take away from the overall film. The portrayal of Harry Osborn in this movie was also a huge disappointment. The character was not written in a way that the audience could connect with him, and he was overall very uninteresting.

The Wolf of Wallstreet 2013

Synopsis

In 1987, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) takes an entry-level job at a Wall Street brokerage firm. By the early 1990s, while still in his 20s, Belfort founds his own firm, Stratton Oakmont. Together with his trusted lieutenant (Jonah Hill) and a merry band of brokers, Belfort makes a huge fortune by defrauding wealthy investors out of millions. However, while Belfort and his cronies partake in a hedonistic brew of sex, drugs and thrills, the SEC and the FBI close in on his empire of excess.
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Release date: December 25, 2013 (USA)
Budget: 100 million USD
Box office: 392 million USD

My Review

This film, let me tell you. Watching this film was an experience. I know many people did not like the movie because the main character was so unlikeable. However, the movie makers wanted the audience to dislike the main character, and they pulled that off beautifully. The thing I strongly disliked about this movie is how silly it was. There was no real plot structure, and many of the scenes and plot points in this film had to purpose. Therefore, the movie did not tie very well together and a lot of it seemed like pointless filler. I am also a huge fan of Leonardo Di Caprio and the other actors in this film. But they couldn’t even take this film seriously, which impacted their overall performance. Overall, this while movie felt like a giant joke and many of the scenes felt pointless to the movies overall themes.

The Dark Knight Rises 2012

Synopsis

It has been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale), in collusion with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), vanished into the night. Assuming responsibility for the death of Harvey Dent, Batman sacrificed everything for what he and Gordon hoped would be the greater good. However, a cunning cat burglar (Anne Hathaway) and a merciless terrorist named Bane (Tom Hardy) force Batman out of exile and into a battle he may not win.
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Release date: July 20, 2012 (USA)
Box office: 1.084 billion USD
Budget: 250 million USD

My Review 

The Christian Bale portrayal of Batman is incredible, and The Dark Knight is a widely known and respected film found on many of the top 100 films list. In fact, it’s widely acknowledged as a film that every film major needs to see at one point or another. However, this movie was an extreme disappointment compared to its predecessor. The development of Bane was really lacking. As an audience member, I felt no connection to him. What makes a great villain is a character who you hate but have an innate connection or emotion for (like the Joker). Bane is just a puppet for the true villain of this movie, and because of this, there is a barrier between the audience forming a true bond with him. Therefore, the audience has no investment in the quarrel between Batman and Bane, and it’s easy to lose interest in this film. This movie also seemed to drag on for an elaborate amount of time, only to have the conclusion very abrupt and predictable.

Midnight in Paris 2011

Synopsis

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a screenwriter and aspiring novelist. Vacationing in Paris with his fiancee (Rachel McAdams), he has taken to touring the city alone. On one such late-night excursion, Gil encounters a group of strange — yet familiar — revelers, who sweep him along, apparently back in time, for a night with some of the Jazz Age’s icons of art and literature. TheN more time Gil spends with these cultural heroes of the past, the more dissatisfied he becomes with the present.
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Release date: May 20, 2011 (USA)

My Review

The overall idea and the plot of this movie are very interesting. However, it felt very long and dragged on and on. The whole movie felt like a giant cliche. The main problem I had with this movie is the lack of character development. Throughout the entire movie, I had no emotional investment with the characters in the film. Which proved to be problematic since the whole movie the audience is watching the main character (Gil) on this literary journey of sorts. This left me not caring about the movie or invested in the movies turn out. Which is surprising and disappointing for a Woody Allen film.

Nanny McPhee Returns 2010

Synopsis

Enigmatic Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives on the doorstep of a harried mother, Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is trying to raise her kids and tend to the family farm while her husband is away at war. Isabel has her hands full with not only her own three but also with her sister’s spoiled pair. With no time to lose, McPhee uses magic to instill in the children five important lessons.
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Release date: August 20, 2010 (USA)
Box office: 93.2 million USD
Budget: 35 million USD (2010)

My Review

This movie is such a disappointing sequel to Nanny McPhee. The first movie was so well thought out and well put together that this movie cannot compare to it. As a kids’ movie, it’s great. But the whole movie is so predictable for any older audience member watching it there is no element of mystery or suspense in wondering what will happen. While perhaps it is a kids’ movie, the first movie was not as predictable and cliche. This movie was not as much as a whimsical experience as the first, and it felt like for the filmmakers since the first movie was such a success they put a lot less care and thought into the making of the sequel.

Rear Window Film Review

Synopsis: 

The story of a recuperating news photographer who believes he has witnessed a murder. Confined to a wheelchair after an accident, he spends his time watching the occupants of neighbouring apartments through a telephoto lens and binoculars and becomes convinced that a murder has taken place.

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Release dateAugust 4, 1954 (New York)

My Review

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Rear Window is my favorite Alfred Hitchcock film and has been on my top 10 list of films for years. My favorite thing about this film is the set. The whole movie takes place from Jeff Jeffereies (James Stewart’s) apartment. Throughout the movie the viewer looks into the lives of his neighbors through Jefferies window and into the neighbors’ windows. All the shots spying on the neighbors are done from a point of view aspect. This is creative and different for movies made during the 50s. The camera shots get very creative. My favorite point of view shots is when Jefferies looks through his telephoto lense on his camera to get a closer look at the lives around him. As the camera cuts from Jeffereies looking out, to what he is seeing the audience sees the images on the screen as if they themselves were looking through a telephoto lense. In this way, the director has taken complete control of the audience and has manipulated how they will watch and perceive the film.

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Another creative camera movement this film does an innovative and creative job of accomplishing is breaking the 180 degree rule. In film, we use the 180 degree rule when setting up camera shots. The 180 degree rule says that two characters in a scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other. Traditionally, if the 180 degree rule is broken it disrupts the scene and causes disorientation to the audience. However, there is a scene in this movie upon which the 180 rule is broken, causing no kind of distortion. In a scene between James Stewart and Grace Kelly, she crosses over the line and into the other side of the action. However, the way they pull it off there is no disorientation to the audience which is hard to do. 

The acting in this film is totally on par. James Stewart never disappoints, and his acting in this film is extremely compelling. The acting of the neighbors though small roles, are done exceptionally well. Something that’s important in this film is the disconnect between all the neighbors. Throughout the entire film, the viewer sees a world in which all of its characters are stuck inside their own worlds and never fully connect with each other. Image result for rear windowThe only time the neighbors interact is when the death of a neighbor’s dog brings them together. I really appreciated this element of the film because it felt a lot like real life. Typically, we are so stuck inside of our own lives we don’t always notice the small details around us until a tragedy brings us all together.

The last thing I really enjoy about this film is the plot structure. This film flows so effortlessly, and it follows a well put together plot structure. It’s the type of movie in which you forgot your watching a film. Every element of this film flows so effortlessly and ties together. perfectly it’s easy to see that the creators of this film put a lot of time and effort into the films pre-production which paid off.

My Rating:

4.5 out of 5

5 Things I’ve Learned in Film School from a College Senior

I’ve heard many times in my life that I am wasting my time and money by going to college to study film. However, as I’m approaching my last semesters of my college career, I am realizing just how much I have learned. Here are the top five things my University has taught me about the film industry.

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1. Collaberation

The most valuable thing I have learned from being a part of the film and theatre community is that you must be willing/able to collaborate with your peers. I have seen so many people who think they know best and are not willing to listen to anyone else’s ideas. However, this only results in BAD films and bad contents. No one person is an expert in every area of film production. While it’s important to understand all the various fields such as lighting, sound, camera, directing. Everybody has their speciality and is nowhere near being an expert in these fields. The best films come from working with someone that specializes in each field and being able to listen to each other’s ideas and play off of each other’s feedback.

2. Confidence

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The second main thing I have gained throughout my college career is confidence. Being able to turn in projects and gain the feedback/ constructive criticism of classmates and professors is HUGE. A big confidence booster is being able to see your growth from Freshman year onward. That is something you can always do outside of a university setting. However, the community environment built by fellow students and faculty is an amazing place for being challenged and growing as a filmmaker. I have definitely gained so much confidence in my filmmaking and that gives me great ease as I think about graduation and getting into the film industry.

3. Connections

A major benefit I have found from attending a university for film studies is all the connections you will make. My classes have had a wide variety of guest speakers, and former students come to talk with us including an editor from the Ellen show and a camera operator from the Walking Dead. I talked to both speakers and show them my work. The feedback from them was extremely valuable and their lengthy advice for getting into the film industry. I have also gotten the amazing opportunity to showcase films in various festivals and meet filmmakers through professors and advisors. I still collaborate with other filmmakers I have met through professors and learn from them more and more every day.

4. Professionalism

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From watching film professors and being thrown into professional environments, I have learned how to act and be very professional in various situations. I have also gained more confidence in approaching and talking to peers and how to react in certain social situations. I have lots of social anxiety, so this has been extremely beneficial to me, especially as I leave school and head into the “real” world.

5. Production Elements

Having different professors that each specific in different fields is very beneficial. I have learned a lot from audio, directing, camera work, documentary film-making, editing, sound editing, graphic design, media writing, etc. Having a professor in front of you that specializes in that specific field is extremely useful, and I have learned so much. In the production side of things, I have learned way too much to count into one blog.

What Did I Just Watch (A Midsommar Review) *Spoiler Alert

Midsommar

Synopsis  

A couple travel to Sweden to visit their friend’s rural hometown for its fabled midsummer festival, but what begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.
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Release dateJuly 3, 2019 (USA)
Budget$8–10 million
Box office42.3 million USD

My Review: 

I’m sure I am not the only one left heavily confused after watching this film. I am a huge fan of Ari Aster and his work, and I knew going into this film it would most likely be full of deep and dark symbolism and disturbing ideas. After watching this film, it left me confused and in deep thought about what I had just watched. For some people, this is a reason they dislike the film. However, I think there is a lot of strength in a film that resonates with you hours after watching it. This film made me think and reflect on the movie even days after watching it.

The film focuses around Dani and begins with her tragic life. Her sister has committed suicide while also killing Dani’s parents. The audience then meets Dani’s boyfriend Christian, whom we discover has been looking for an excuse to break up with her for almost a year. From the beginning, I disliked Christian and felt bad for Dani, which I think the director was hoping for. Dani then tags along with Christian and his friends to visit his friends hometown in Sweden for the Midsummer ritual.

Ari Aster said he wanted to create a film about a breakup. While Dani and Christian’s relationship was a central part of the plot, I felt that the movie mainly focused on family and the need to feel wanted. From the moment Dani gets the call about the deaths in her family, Dani calls Christian and leans on him more than ever. She becomes severely dependent on Christian, even to where he can’t even get away from her and go to Sweden alone with his friends. Most of the movie I saw Dani as weak and dependent on others for emotional and physical support.

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Once in Sweden things get weird, the characters all experiment with drugs and it seems their hallucinations mix in with the reality of the cult-like society to where the audience doesn’t know what’s real and not real. Towards the beginning of the movie Dani and Christians bear witness to a ritual of the cult in which the older members of the society throw themselves off a cliff to recycle their life before old age sets in. Of all the guests visiting the society, Dani seems disturbed yet intrigued by the ritual. Through a Point of View shot, we see Dani make eye contact with one of the cult leaders and there seems to be some level of connection between the two. One by One Christian’s friends get killed off by the cult members. However, the audience sees Dani become more and more intrigued by the society and everything it represents.

If you notice later in the film, Dani sees the society in the way she did while on drugs without depending on drugs. In comparison, Christian still only sees the society as Dani does while on hallucinogens, which he’s even reluctant to take toward the end of the film. This just goes to show the contrast between the two characters and the separation between the two on their own personal journeys. Dani depends less on Christian and more on the society. During the May Queen ritual is when the audience sees the real change within Dani.

Throughout the film, flowers seem to represent the family unit. There are flowers in the room shown with Dani’s dead parents lying in their bed, and they cover the room in which the visitors stay with paintings. The members of the cult also wear flower headpieces throughout much of the film the clothes they wear even have flowers embroidered on them. However, the audience does not see Dani wear flowers until the May Queen ritual in which she wears a flower crown. It is here when Dani makes a real internal change.

Image result for MidsommarThroughout the ritual process, the audience also sees Dani smiling the most genuine smile she has made in the entire film. Before that she was depressed and often anxious, never smiling for longer than a  few forced seconds. This represents just how much she’s feeling the emotional support and sense of community she has been looking for throughout the entire film.

Things take a real turn once they have declared Dani the May Queen. The audience now sees her covered in a whole robe of flowers, further showcasing her conversion into the strange society. The breaking point for her occurs when she sees Christian having sex with a cult member in a strange ceremonial procreation ritual. Dani begins crying and screaming, visually upset and the cult members surrounding her scream and cry as well. Taking on a load of her emotional burden. It is here that Dani furthers her conversion and begins emotionally depending on the society even more.

The film ends with Dani deciding to send Christian to burn alive in the last ritual of the Midsummer festival. As she watched the temple with Christian inside she at first seems sad and begins crying, and again the society shares in her burden and begins crying and screaming. After a few moments of this the camera then shows a closeup of Dani and she lets out a sickly and disturbing smile. Her smile brings the film full circle and symbolizes her complete conversion into the Swedish cult. Image result for MidsommarShe has finally found what she has been looking for the entire movie and has completely given herself fully to the people and society around her. She has found a new family and one that allows her to depend on them more than Christian ever did.

My Rating:

3.5 out of 5

Overall, I enjoyed watching this film. I liked that it required me to analyze it for its deeper meaning, and I appreciate the uniqueness of this film. However, for me seeing this film once is enough and I don’t see myself urging to watch it soon.

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