Review – The Sapphires

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The Sapphires is a crowd-pleasing musical comedy drama film that entertains its audience through infectious soul music and the incredible cast. The film has a lot of heart and the narrative is infused with an inherent sense of honesty.

 

The film mirrors a lot of African-American films where the Negros face racism and discrimination from White people and it’s a tale depicting the adversity they faced.

For example, the beginning of the film is set in a rural area in the Outback of Australia and it depicts the idyllic lifestyle for an Indigenous Australian – one where they can co-exist with nature and family.

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While similar films such as Dreamgirls and The Commitments have tackled similar issues, The Sapphires differentiates itself by having a rich screenplay that also tackles inclusive themes such as a family fighting for a better life while at the same time coming to terms with their painful past – themes that all individuals have experienced as everyone has experienced hardship before. The merits of doing so is that through humour, pathos and musical choices, the narrative of this film shines because the screenplay sets the story against the historic context of Australia’s scandalous treatment of its Aboriginal population and ties the infectious and sassy elements of music with the serious and racist moments in Australian history.

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The film is often praised for its stellar cast where Chris O’Dowd’s character was a great comedic device and all 4 of the main actresses turn in impressive performances that showcase not only their vocal talents, but also their ability to connect with one another and the audience. Each character had their own time and way to shine by each having clashing personalities.

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However, the film needs to be criticised for having stereotypical characters. For example,

Julie: the one with the talent

Gail: the one with the chip on her shoulder

Cynthia: the one with libido

Kay: the cute and innocent one.

However, while one can use this as an example of inclusive communication because they’re relatable, it’s a criticism because the characters become stale, predictable and repetitive. Another criticism regarding the film is that the film doesn’t take risks and it does follow a standard formula.

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However, this crowd pleasing film received a standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival and most critics agree that there’s a strange comfort in watching a film where any battle – from family feud to one of the bloodiest conflicts of the 20th century – can be eased by singing and dancing regardless of skin colour.


Lin Yang

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Responding to Collider’s “Why Zemo Is One of the MCU’s Best Villains” Article

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It’s not contentious to say that the MCU has a villain problem. Besides Loki, most if not all villains in the MCU are pretty forgettable or bad and there’s a BUNCH to choose from. Let me start by saying this: can you name me the villains in Iron Man 1, 2 and 3, Hulk, Thor 1 and 2, Ant-Man and Captain America: The First Avenger? Ok, ok, ok, I concede that the villain in Captain America: The First Avenger is pretty memorable, given the fact his name is Red Skull and his appearance is literally a skull THAT’S FUCKING RED.

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But I digress…

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Hell, even Ronan The Accuser is pretty fucking forgettable and poorly written, especially when he was overshadowed by Thanos in his own movie, has no discernible powers or personality, you don’t give a shit about what he’s doing, he has nothing to do with Earth, is called The Accuser meaning he’s a fucking space lawyer (WOT ?!) and is defeated by a dance-off (WTF?!?!?!). But apparently people liked him because I guess MCU fans are dumb fucking simpletons who can’t grasp complex characters and COMPLAIN BECAUSE LEX IN BVS WAS TOO GOOFY AND ANNOYING, EVEN THOUGH THAT WAS PART OF HIS FACADE IN MAKING YOU UNDERESTIMATE HIM WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTED SO HE CAN BE 2 STEPS AHEAD OF YOU WHICH ALLOWS HIM TO ACHIEVE WHAT HE WANTED SUCH AS KILLING THE CONGRESS, GAINING ACCESS TO ZODS SHIP, KILLING SUPERMAN, CONTACTING DARKSEID, LEARNING ABOUT ALIEN CIVILISATON FROM MORE THAN HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DIFFERENT PLANETS BUT APPARENTLY ALL PEOPLE CAN TALK ABOUT IS THE FACT LEX IS ANNOYING?!?!?!!

…but I digress.

Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" Premiere - Red Carpet

Many would argue and agree that Winter Soldier, directed by The Russo Brothers, was the best MCU film to date. While I can agree to an extent, people were eagerly awaiting how the Russo brothers would portray another Marvel villain in their next MCU film. People are currently drinking the MCU cool-aid and have compared the film to be on the same level as The Dark Knight (here). While people are allowed to have their own opinions, I recently read an article from Collider (here) that said Zemo is one of MCU’s best villains. While that’s not saying much because the 9/10 of villains in the MCU are utter trash, I still find Zemo to be quite disappointing overall, and here’s why.

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“He ripped the Avengers apart and he did it without a single Infinity Stone or even a superpower”

No he didn’t. He momentarily  made Iron Man angry and Iron Man almost killed Winter Soldier, that’s it. He was never going to kill Captain America because he’s not responsible for his parents death and the other Avengers don’t know about Bucky being brainwashed by Hydra to kill the Starks. However, in the end we see Tony Stark have a change of heart after reading Steve Rogers note. If Zemo really did rip apart the Avengers, then why did Tony decide to help Steve by NOT helping the U.S Secretary of State, Thaddeus Ross, when Steve Rogers was infiltrating the prison to release his friends and Ross wanted Tony’s help?

Also ripped apart the Avengers? Bitch, where?

Rhodes is paralysed but he was never a part of the Avengers to begin with, The Vision is on the side of peace and will help anyone that’s in danger, regardless of the past and Tony Stark had a change of heart in the end of the film, as explained above.

Spiderman isn’t a part of the Avengers yet, Black Panther helped Steve Rogers in the end, Black Widow is still on good terms with Steve when he helped Steve and Bucky escape during the airport scene, and all that’s left are the characters who are on Team Cap.

So tell me how Zemo ripped the Avengers apart?!?!?!?

Bitch, where?

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“Zemo is a fascinating villain for several reasons…Zemo feels guilty for not being able to save his family, and turns that guilt into a mission of vengeance…Zemo is almost a sympathetic character”

Yes, but then that turns to shit when he becomes a stupid hypocrite and the premise is wrong. He feels guilty for not being able to protect his family and blames the Avengers for murdering his family.

Firstly, the Avengers didn’t murder his family. That’s not what murder is. Look it up. It’s considered murder when there’s the INTENT to kill someone/ end their life. The Avengers definitely didn’t have that intent when they were PROTECTING civilians from a GLOBAL catastrophe. Furthermore, the Avengers can’t protect or save everyone and they’re not perfect. They’re simply humans who have powers and they use those powers to help people. Sometimes they fail, but most of the time they’re successful. Blaming the Avengers for the death of his family is like blaming the police department for 9/11 or a terrorist attack. You’re blaming the wrong people dude. Oh yeah, this also applies to that black mother in the beginning. Girl, bye.

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And he ultimately becomes a stupid hypocrite because he then shares the same pain and devastation towards other people. He felt guilty for not being able to protect his family and that guilt turns to hate and pain aimed towards the Avengers. So because of that, he’s going to make other people feel the same thing as he does, thus continuing a cycle of hatred and revenge amongst people, just because he’s falsely accusing the Avengers for something they didn’t do? Confused? Let me explain…

So Zemo felt BAD for not protecting his family and he wants to get rid of the Avengers because he thinks they’re responsible. So because of that, he decided to bomb the U.N meeting, thus INTENTIONALLY killing more humans who are going to experience the same pain as he does (e.g., the Black Panther).

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While the film did say Zemo bombed the U.N so he can place blame on the Winter Soldier, thus allowing for his capture…it’s silly because he could have achieved this without killing anyone. The problem with bombing the U.N and killing people is that Zemo ultimately becomes a hypocrite and the audience can’t agree with his reasoning anymore. What once become a sympathetic villain has now become a hypocritical one where the audience just can’t agree with him. And simply saying, “well he’s a villain, so who cares?”, is a bad response because the director tried to portray him to be more than just a villain, but maybe more of an anti-hero.

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Because of this, Zemo really does become another stereotypical villain that can be categorised with the rest of the MCU villains who just do evil shit just for the sake of it without much reasoning.

“And what really knocks Zemo out of the park is that he wins!”

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NO! NO! NO! BITCH, WHERE?! WHERE DOES HE WIN? WHERE?! BITTCCHHH!!! WHHEERREE?!

THE AVENGERS ARE STILL FRIENDS. IRON MAN DOESN’T HATE CAPTAIN AMERICA ANYMORE. BLACK PANTHER DIDN’T KILL BUCKY, HE GOT OVER HIS HATE. THE AVENGERS STILL EXIST. NO ONE DIED. WHAT DID YOU ACHIEVE? TELL ME! TELL MEEEEE!

IN FACT, HE HELPED THE AVENGERS. NOW THEY HAVE BLACK PANTHER, ANT-MAN AND SPIDERMAN AS PART OF THE TEAM. THERE’S MORE AVENGERS. THERE’S NO HATE BETWEEN EACH OTHER. THEY’RE ALL ON AMICABLE TERMS. IRON MAN IS STILL RICH. BLACK PANTHER IS STILL KING. CAPTAIN AMERICA HAS MORE SUPPLY OF ADAMANTIUM. BUCKY IS STILL ALIVE. THE OTHER WINTER SOLDIERS ARE DEAD. SPIDER-MAN NOW HAS HELP FROM IRON MAN AND IS THUS STRONGER AND A BETTER SUPERHERO/ AVENGER.

WHAT. DID. HE. ACHIEVE!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

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Tl;dr: Article is trash and writer needs more critical thinking skills


Lin Yang

Wolf Children – Struggle, Beauty, Humanity and Acceptance

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Every apartment is like its own little world inside… It’d be nice to have a home. A place where I belong… I could build a bookshelf, and once I filled it with books, what’s to stop me from building another? You just can’t put a price on freedom like that.

(Spoilers below)

I enjoy films for many reasons and one of them  is when a film teaches me something and touches me on a personal level. Wolf Children is a Japanese animated film directed by Mamoru Hosoda and it’s a very touching and beautiful little film that shows a single mother, named Hana, raising two children who happened to be human and werewolf hybrids. It showcases the trials and tribulations, struggle and joy that Hana goes through while raising her two children and has many themes and ideas about life and raising children. While the themes and ideas aren’t groundbreaking or shocking, its simple, yet sharp execution and grounded realism is what makes this film a gem and one of the best animated films of 2012.

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One of my biggest fears I had before watching this movie was how the fantasy elements would be handled and if it would balance well with the setting, as it’s set in the real world. Not only did the movie do an amazing job of balancing the fantasy element with the real world and most of all, it never felt sappy in any sort of way and how the director told this story was very believable.

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The plot elements were well grounded and I really enjoyed this heartfelt story about a mother raising her children. Everything from how the main protagonist and her lover met, the struggle that the protagonist is faced in order to take care of her children and the happiness she achieves as she overcomes each challenges were well structured and well focused. The movie followed the characters very well, giving them personality and did a great job of having you care for each character. This film carried a great message and has this “thank you” message for mothers everywhere.

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I loved the theme of perpetual acceptance that Hana showed towards her children and how that echoes towards today’s society where there is a level of intolerance towards people who are different, whether you’re black or gay. It’s very touching and definitely showed that parents should embrace differences in their children.

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Also, the film makes you care about Hana because she has so much on her plate. She’s a single mother who’s caring for two children that she doesn’t know how to raise. This is because when her children turn into wolves, they can still talk, but she doesn’t understand the animalistic side of them so she has to escape the city and live in a farm that’s far away from a judgmental society. So a definite theme of this film is keeping secrets and fearing judgment from a society. The children are afraid of being themselves around other people, being judged, bullied and having no social life because of it, so they have to pretend to be something else in order to blend in. This parallel between the wolf children and real life is emotional and effective because it’s something that everyone has experienced, especially during elementary and middle school.

The film has a lot of mundane, everyday life scenes, such as the mother learning how to be a farmer and failing a couple of times because she doesn’t know how to plant vegetables or take care of them properly. While there’s nothing epic about this, it’s simplicity was emotional to watch because you’re watching her struggle to provide for her children and I found that very heartwarming. All parents make sacrifices and struggle for their children, so it was great to see being shown in other ways. It definitely helped develop her character and make her more likable.

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The animation was great, vivid, colourful and detailed, and the director does not fail of presenting a beautiful world to the big screen. The character animations were good, but I really enjoyed the scenery. You’ll see the character go to this very rural area or go down this snowy slope and the animation for this scenery was simply beautiful. Also, for a film that has a cast of actors with no voice acting experience, I found the performances to be surprisingly good. They weren’t great, but did a great job and I have to give praise to the cast.

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Overall, this is a very wonderful animation movie and I will admit that I did not cry so hard in any other movie as much as I did during the ending credits.


TL;DR

I love film in all forms, some more than others, and animated films is definitely one of the top. This film literally moved me to tears while watching it. It’s filled with heartbreak and joy. Laughter and sorrow. It’s been a while since I’ve watched a movie and been so touched by it. If you love anime and movies, do yourself a favor and check it out. It might seem long, tedious and bland, but it is so well written and animated beautifully.



Lin Yang

Thoughts on Game of Thrones – ‘The Mountain and the Viper’

Each week of Game of Thrones this season we’re going to be posting a collection of thoughts about the episode in the form of a recap/review. This is from the perspective of someone who has read the first two books and not any further than that, so the show’s plot will all be new to me. Also, please watch the show beforehand because there will be SPOILERS! Enjoy!

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Thoughts on Game of Thrones – ‘Mockingbird’

Each week of Game of Thrones this season we’re going to be posting a collection of thoughts about the episode in the form of a recap/review. This is from the perspective of someone who has read the first two books and not any further than that, so the show’s plot will all be new to me. Also, please watch the show beforehand because there will be SPOILERS! Enjoy!

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Thoughts on Game of Thrones – ‘The Law of Gods and Men’

Each week of Game of Thrones this season we’re going to be posting a collection of thoughts about the episode in the form of a recap/review. This is from the perspective of someone who has read the first two books and not any further than that, so the show’s plot will all be new to me. Also, please watch the show beforehand because there will be SPOILERS! Enjoy!

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Thoughts on Game of Thrones – ‘First of His Name’

Each week of Game of Thrones this season we’re going to be posting a collection of thoughts about the episode in the form of a recap/review. This is from the perspective of someone who has read the first two books and not any further than that, so the show’s plot will all be new to me. Also, please watch the show beforehand because there will be SPOILERS! Enjoy!

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Thoughts on Game of Thrones – ‘Oathkeeper’

Each week of Game of Thrones this season we’re going to be posting a collection of thoughts about the episode in the form of a recap/review. This is from the perspective of someone who has read the first two books and not any further than that, so the show’s plot will all be new to me. Also, please watch the show beforehand because there will be SPOILERS! Enjoy!

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Thoughts on Game of Thrones – ‘Breaker of Chains’

Each week of Game of Thrones this season we’re going to be posting a collection of thoughts about the episode in the form of a recap/review. This is from the perspective of someone who has read the first two books and not any further than that, so the show’s plot will all be new to me. Also, please watch the show beforehand because there will be SPOILERS! Enjoy!

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Thoughts on Game of Thrones – “Purple Wedding”

game-of-thrones-season-4-purple-wedding-joffrey

Each week of Game of Thrones this season we’re going to be posting a collection of thoughts about the episode in the form of a recap/review. This is from the perspective of someone who has read the first two books and not any further than that, so the show’s plot will all be new to me. Also, please watch the show beforehand because there will be SPOILERS! Enjoy!

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