22 Jump Street (2014)… ohhh these guilty pleasures!

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22 Jump Street

My rating: 6

IMDB rating: 8.0

IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2294449/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Dearest reader,

The best thing you can do after watching this film, is watching this review by @jeremyjahns on Youtube:

 22 Jump Street: Jeremy Jahns Reviews

First of all, I loved 21 Jump Street, you would think that ‘love’ is a very strong word here, but it actually is not strong enough! This film just renewed the whole buddy-cop movie genre in such a way that if another Starsky & Hutch remake would suddenly appear and Hill and Tatum does not get the parts, I would not go and watch it. These two just have the most amazing chemistry on-screen.

That being said, it kind of feels to me that this movie intentionally set out to not be as good as the first movie. And no, I did not just think of that all by myself, it is literally said in the movie over and over again. The plot is exactly the same as the first movie, except that Hill is now the odd one out. They even get the same undercover identities.

Their relationship is very comically explored in this film, while the first film only hints at a kind of inter-dependent play on a stereotypical heterosexual relationship, the second film does so obviously and explicitly, which makes for great comedy. What I really missed in this film, and it was such a huge part of the first film, was that typical, dry, Jonah Hill-type of humor that literally kept you gasping for air as you laughed and laughed. It seems as though he was quite intentionally toned down in this film which is quite a shame.

Not to include any spoilers, but all credit goes to the production and marketing team who not only left the ‘twist’/ the funniest part of this movie out of the trailer, but out of the press as well. Also, if you are still going to watch this film, keep seated for the credits as they are almost the funniest part.

Want to read more on 22 Jump Steert? Try these…

22 Jump Street.

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22 Jump Street- Review.

The Blair Witch Project (1999) …the birth of something horrific

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My rating: 6

IMDB rating: 6.4

IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185937/?ref_=ttmd_md_nm&licb=0.7668708752779095

Dearest reader,

For the longest time, I have wanted to watch this film because of the cult-status it has achieved in pop-culture. I have to say that I was not disappointed, but I do think that years and years of being exposed to ultra commercialized violence, especially in the horror genre left me with the sense of… but nothing really happened in this film?!

The fear that the characters felt almost becomes a whole character on its own in this film as they start to unravel because of it. The relationship between these three characters is heightened and most likely the most interesting aspect about this film. From a feminist perspective (and it is a perspective I so love to take), this film really is revolutionary in the fact that it does have a strong female character.

I gave this review the title ‘the birth of something horrible’, because something truly horrible really was born from this film and that is the so-called ‘found-footage’ films. I will make no secret of the fact that I yet have to see a found-footage film that I will like. Every time I think about this specific genre, I think about the nauseating disaster that is the Paranormal Activities films (I am sorry if this offends you, but I just hate these movies). I found this list about the best found-footage films on about.com and will certainly make an effort to educate myself a bit more in this regard.

I once read somewhere that our obsession with ‘selfies’ and our need to film everything we do (as a found-footage film demonstrates) stems from the intense narcissistic, post-modern beings that we have become. I absolutely agree with this statement, but to add I would like to quote something from The Blair Witch Project,

It’s not the same on film is it? I mean, you know it’s real, but it’s like looking through the lens gives you some sort of protection from what’s on the other side.

We have this need to filter reality through a lens to create distance between us and it, it is the ultimate defamiliarization or ostranenie.

Want to read more on The Blair Witch Project? Try these…

Roger Ebert: Blair Witch Project

The Guardian: The Blair Witch Project

Rolling Stone: The Blair Witch Project

Minoes (2001)… Annie M.G. Schmidt & Carice van Houten!

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My rating: 7

IMDB rating: 7.0

IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0279231/?ref_=ttmd_md_nm

Dearest reader,

If you do not know who Annie M.G. Schmidt is, it definitely is worth looking up right know. She is one of the most famous Dutch writers to emerge from the twentieth century. She also had a very large range of mediums that she worked with; she wrote novels, TV series, lyrics and poetry. Her most famous work probably is the children’s novels Jip en Janneke.

While doing a comparison between Dutch and my native tongue Afrikaans, it is sometimes easy to see that our main differences rely on social incompatibilities rather than complicated language rules. One of the main differences therefore being that while South Africa is a quite conservative country, the Netherlands are more relieved.

Therefore, what got me interested in the work of Schmidt was the fact that as a Dutch youth literature author, she is allowed a certain amount of freedom to write about issues whether they are more commonly understood by adults. Being from a more conservative South African background, our authors are more restricted in terms of topics. These stories usually reflect the “ideal morals” of society rather than exposing the reader to relevant issues that also applies to the life of children.

That does not mean that Schmidt writes above the level of a child, in fact she introduces these more ‘grown-up’ issues in such a way that children are introduced to these moral dilemmas.

Minoes is a typical children fiction movie, that can also be enjoyed by adults. It is the story of a cat who by some miracle gets changed into a human. She then tries to survive in this human world and in the process meets Tibbe, a journalist, whose career she helps boost by sharing the news that the cats see their human companions do. Through this the (child) viewer is introduced to the concept of corruption, manipulation, love and mutual respect.

Carice van Houten plays the role of Minoes. I first saw her in a Dutch produced movie about the South African poet Ingrid Jonker called Black Butterflies, where she was absolutely amazing. But if you are wondering where you know her from, it is most  probably from Game of Thrones where she plays the Red Woman, Melisandre.

Want to read more on Minoes? Try these…

Roger Ebert: Minoes

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books: Minoes

filmjournal.com: Minoes

Fight Club (1999)… indoctrination, emasculation and watching it all go up in flames

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Fight Club   My rating: 9 IMDB rating: 8.9 IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0137523/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 Dearest reader, Wow, it is really difficult for me to write about this amazing movie. I am ashamed to say that this is the first time that I have watched this film and I cannot believe that I have gone the last 23 years without knowing this brilliance! The most important thing for me about this film, is its comment on masculinity. Masculinity and especially white masculinity is something that interests me a lot. White men have for the longest time been on the top of the food chain. In terms of society, they have held the most important standing not only in their own houses, but in the business and political world. But that, of course changed. White men have been ‘demoted’ from their place on the throne to dwell among the equals. Many of their previous ‘rights and privileges’, especially in their homes, have been ‘taken’ from them and has been replaced with a decrease in power. This movie, to me, is an excellent example of the white men’s attempts to regain their power. By starting a ‘fight club’ they take some form of power over their own bodies, over their anger and over their emotional frustration. Exactly that, is what makes this movie so brilliant, because it explores this aspect in such a way that even a female viewer finds something to relate to. This movie is a must-see for every cinephile! Roger Ebert: Fight Club Rolling Stone: Fight Club Totalfilm: Fight Club

Easy A (2010)… sharpening your pencils?

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Easy A

My rating: 9

IMDB rating: 7.2

IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1282140/?ref_=ttmd_md_nm

Dearest reader,

Olive: That’s the one thing that trumps religion: capitalism.”

If you had to ask anyone in my family what my family movie is, they would without a doubt say Easy A, just another one of my little guilty pleasures!

The reason why I love this film is just because it is so damn witty. Emma Stone, who I firmly believe is just as witty in real life, just plays the role of Olive perfectly as the story chronicles a different type of coming-of-age film. Olive comes of age by exploring her religious beliefs, friendships and reputation.

Another thing that I love about this film is the fact that it has such a strong female character. One often finds that films where teenage sexuality is explore like American Pie and Fired Up, that they have stronger male characters while women are reduced to mere objects with which said exploration can take place.

Other than that, the family dynamics touched on in this film is also quite interesting. And one can of course not mention this film without mentioning the religious aspects that this film is not afraid point out. Marianne, who is super-religious spreads the rumour, judges the most harshly and above all tries to convert Olive in a intervention-type of situation. Whether one is religious or not, it is easy to see why Christians are often judged very harshly for their self-righteous methods.

If you love Emma Stone, this movie is definitely worth the watch. Also, see the trailer for her new movie, Magic in the Moonlight, directed by Woody Allen.

Want to read more on Easy A? Try these…

35 Easy A quotes

1000 & 1 Movie Reviews: Easy A.

Roger Ebert: Easy A

A Knight’s tale (2001)… showing some Ledger love

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Knight's Tale

My rating: 8

IMDB rating: 6.9

IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0183790/?ref_=ttmd_md_nm

Dearest reader,

This film will always be my favourite Heath Ledger-movie. There are so many things I like about this film, beside Heath Ledger, of course.

The first of these things are the character of Alan Tudyk. He is so hilarious in this film that you just want to bottle him up and let him loose on some other mediocre films. To me, it was also very cool to look at his filmography and find that some of his more recent work includes the voice of the Duke in Frozen.

Further, the grandiose styling of Geoffrey Chaucer (this film was, as a matter of fact, inspired by his Canterbury Tales) was portrayed by Paul Bettany, who I will forever remember as Peter Colt in Wimbledon. As a result of a very well written dialogue, Chaucer certainly delivers of the most memorable scenes in this film.

Then, how can one forget the crowd chanting We will rock you in rhythmic unison? This film relies on its anachronisms that it so subtly introduces. The soundtrack borrows mostly from the 70’s classic rock era and so does the actor’s hairstyles.

Courtly love is also explored very sweetly in this film. Some prominent ideals of courtly love, such as the worship of women, love as a disease and the idealisation of true love, is shown in such a way that it makes you wish that you were living in the Middle Ages.

This comedy/action/ romance film is definitely one of my favourite childhood films and certainly worth the watch.

Want to read more on A Knight’s Tale? Try these…

Roger Ebert: A Knight’s Tale

Empireonline: A Knight’s Tale

NYTimes: A Knight’s Tale

It’s complicated (2009)… No, It’s Meryl Streep!

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It's Complicated

My rating: 7

IMDB rating: 6.6

IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1230414/?ref_=ttmd_md_nm

Dearest reader,

Watching a Meryl Streep-movie is always worth while, even a romantic comedy such as this film. Here, she teams up with other actor veterans Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

Just to re-emphasise Streep’s status as the goddess of all things film, she joins the cast with two actors know for their comedic work in both film and television, and end up outshining them in the comedy section.

This ‘backward’ kind of coming-of-age plot that this film sports can also be placed with feminist critique as it chronicles the sexual emancipation of a middle-aged woman.

What I liked most about the film was the ending, because it certainly did not end up being a ‘happy ending’-type of narrative. No, in fact, this emancipation of the woman keeps being the focus and the only ‘happy ending’ is the fact that she retains her new-found status as an individual, self-dependant woman.

This film certainly has its charms; except for the stunning Streep, there are more than a few laugh out loud moments, some heartfelt family love and several reminders of when RomComs were still fun and good enough to watch.

Want to read more on It’s Complicated? Try these…

 CinemaBlend: It’s complicated

Oprah.com: It’s Complicated

The Guardian: It’s Complicated

Roger Ebert: It’s Complicated