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The MCU So Far…

Okay , so I’ve had a couple people ask me some things about Marvel since Infinity War’s release date was close enough to talk about, like:

“Does it matter if I haven’t seen all the other Marvel films?” or “Do I have to see them in order?”

So I decided to write a summary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) so far. They’re pretty general but I’ll add a spoiler alert because post-credit scenes will be included.

PHASE 1

Iron Man (2008)

Summary: Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is captured by terrorists and in order to escape, build a suit of armour. When he returns home, he utilises the suit and becomes Iron Man, fighting to protect the world from evil.

Post-credits scene: Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) makes his first appearance and introduces the Avengers Initiative.

Image result for iron man horizontal posterGrace’s thoughts: The OG Marvel film that I will always hold close to my heart and have watched countless times but is sadly the only really good Iron Man film.. 12 yearold me had the biggest crush on RDJ and also didn’t know about the whole post-credit thing so it was years before I realised that it was a staple in the MCU.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Summary: Exposure to gamma radiation enables Dr Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) to periodically turn into the Hulk – a massive, green humanoid. Banner attempts to cure himself but is forced to go on the run from General Thaddeus Ross who wants to weaponise the Hulk.

Post-credits scene: Tony Stark makes an appearance, mentioning the Avengers.

Grace’s thoughts: I don’t even consider this part of the MCU.

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Summary: Set 6 months after the first film, Tony Stark has since revealed himself to be Iron Man and the US government demands that he hands over his Iron Man technology. Ivan Vanko, a rogue Russian scientist, develops his own tech, using it to create weaponry to target Stark. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a newly casted War Machine (Don Cheadle) make they first appearances.

Post-credits scene: Agent Phil Coulson reports the discovery of a large hammer.

Grace’s thoughts: The most forgettable film in the MCU; I always struggle to recall my memories of it.

Thor (2011)

Summary: Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the crown prince of Asgard, is banished to Earth andImage result for thor 2011 poster horizontal stripped of his powers by his father, Odin, after restarting a long-dead war. Meanwhile, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), attempts to claim the throne.

Post-credits scene: The Tesseract is introduced.

Grace’s thoughts: An okay film, don’t have much of an opinion on it. Makes for an okay viewing but leans on the boring side.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Summary: Mostly set during World War 2, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a sickly man from New York, is transformed into a super-soldier, thus adopting the alias, Captain America. He must then stop the Red Skull from harnessing the power of the Tesseract to take over the world.

Post-credits scene: Fury meets with Rogers to talk about saving the world.

Grace’s thoughts: A fine entry to the Captain America trilogy, not the best but not a bad film. Kept me entertained and the big reveal left me shook.

The Avengers (2012)

Summary: Nick Fury recruits Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Hulk, Natasha
Romanoff/Black Widow and Clint Barton/Hawkeye to come together and save the world from Loki’s plan to take control.Image result for the avengers horizontal poster

Post-credits scene: First there is a mid credit scene with Thanos stating that he has underestimated Earth. The post credit scene has the Avengers eating shawarma in silence.

Grace’s thoughts: Wow, revolutionary. Had never seen anything like it and it still holds up as a fantastic film.

PHASE 2

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Summary: Stark is suffering from PTSD caused by the events of the previous film whilst having to deal with a brutal terrorist, the Mandarin.

Post-credits scene: Tony has been telling the film’s story to Bruce Banner who has fallen asleep.

Grace’s thoughts: This was the film that let me know that the powers that be at Marvel were a bunch of jokers. An unserious film.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Summary: Thor and Loki band together to protect the Nine Realms from being destroyed by the Dark Elves.

Post-credits scene: In the mid credit scene, the Aether is given to the Collector (Benicio del Toro) as they do not want to keep two Infinity Stones close together, as they already have the Tesseract. In the post-credits scene, Thor and Jane reunite whilst a monster runs amok.

Grace’s thoughts: Again, nothing special, quite boring really. I only watched the first two films because the third looked alright.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Summary: Captain America teams up with Black Widow and Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to take down a new enemy – the mysterious Winter Soldier (Sebastian Image result for captain america winter soldier horizontal posterStan).

Post-credits scene: First in the mid-credits, Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver are teased and then in the post-credits, the Winter Soldier visits the Bucky memorial.

Grace’s thoughts: This has long been my favourite Marvel film, can’t praise it enough. Sen-say-shun-nall.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Summary: A group of intergalactic criminals – lead by Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) – reluctantly come together after stealing a powerful artefact.

Post-credits scene: The Collector sits with two of his living exhibitions.

Grace’s thoughts: I really enjoyed this, a surprise hit. Visually stunning, funny and really well acted and written. A little bit unserious but not enough that it was distracting.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Summary: The Avengers come together again, this time to defeat Ultron, an artificial intelligence set on causing human extinction.

Post-credits scene: A mid-credits scene where Thanos vows to get the Infinity Stones himself.

Grace’s thoughts: Couldn’t stand this the first time around, but upon second viewing I really enjoyed it. Plus, it set up Infinity War so I can never be mad at that.

Ant-Man (2015)

Summary: Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a petty criminal, is approached by Hank Pym, to pull off a heist, using a suit that can increase and decrease in size to that of, well, an ant.Image result for ant man horizontal poster

Post-credits scene: Pym shows his daughter Diane, a Wasp suit. In the post-credits, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson have Bucky Barnes in their custody.

Grace’s thoughts: A decent film and Paul Rudd is his usable likeable self. Wish Edgar Wright had directed though.

PHASE 3

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Summary: Disagreement over the Accords set by the UN cause the Avengers to split into two sides – one led by Rogers, the other by Stark.

Post-credits scene: In the mid-credits, Barnes is offered recovery in Wakanda by T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and the post-credits sees Peter Parker (Tom Holland) revealing a gadget made for him by Stark.

Grace’s thoughts: Another legendary Captain America film, too sick and rounds off my top 3 Marvel films.

Doctor Strange (2016)

Summary: Top surgeon Doctor Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) begins learning the mystic arts after a devastating car crash.

Image result for doctor strange poster horizontalPost-credits scene: Mordo removes from Pangborn, the mystical energy that allows him to walk.

Grace’s thoughts: A decent film, visually amazing with a very interesting and unique climax.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Summary: The Guardians help Peter uncover the truth about his mysterious parentage.

Post-credits scene: Multiple scenes – Kraglin uses Yondu’s arrow, Ravager leader Stakar Ogord gathers his old team together, Ayesha creates a Sovereign named Adam, Groot is a teenager and an informer (Stan Lee) talks with the Watchers.

Grace’s thoughts: Can’t fault the film, absolutely loved it. Laughed out loud so many times, emphasised with Quill and generally had feels.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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Summary: Peter Parker attempts to balance school and being a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man whilst facing the Vulture.

Post-credits scene: In prison, Toomes denies knowing Spider-Man’s true identity. Captain America makes some cheeky announcements.

Grace’s thoughts: An entertaining, fun film that gets extra points because it didn’t rehash everything the other versions had already told us. I was also genuinely left shook at a particular reveal.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Summary: Thor attempts to stop the impending apocalyptic Ragnorok whilst battling his evil sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the goddess of Hel.

Post-credits scene: Thor’s ship is met by Thanos and in the post-credits, the Grandmaster encounters some rebels.

Grace’s thoughts: Unserious but entertaining. Visually stunning with some great scenes. The best Thor film, which actually isn’t a feat that’s hard to achieve.

Black Panther (2018)

Summary: T’Challa returns home to Wakanda to find that his title has been challenged.

Post-credits scene: Shuri speaks with Bucky who has been recovering.

Grace’s thoughts: Never been more gutted to not have thoroughly enjoyed a film, sigh. It was fine but didn’t blow my mind or anything. There were engaging action scenes, great acting and stunning visuals but something was very lacking. Hoping that it was the okay entry into a series of amazing films.

Avengers Infinity War (2018)

Summary: All the characters we have previously met – the Avengers, Guardians and more – try to stop Thanos from collecting all of the Infinity Stones.

Post-credits scenes: There is one at the very end that I will not spoil for you.

Grace’s thoughts: This film broke me. Goodnight.

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~

If you want to watch the films in chronological order, here’s a list:

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger
  2. Iron Man
  3. Iron Man 2
  4. The Incredible Hulk
  5. Thor
  6. The Avengers
  7. Iron Man 3
  8. Thor: The Dark World
  9. Guardians of the Galaxy
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
  11. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  12. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  13. Ant-Man
  14. Captain America: Civil War
  15. Doctor Strange
  16. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  17. Thor: Ragnarok
  18. Black Panther
  19. Avengers: Infinity War

I, Tonya

Tonya Harding. An American figure skater notorious for her connection to an attack on fellow skater, Nancy Kerrigan. I remember reading about her story as a child and I thought that she was pretty much a bad woman. So when I heard that there would be a biopic about her, I just didn’t really understand why.

But surprisingly, I found that the film looked quite interesting and had a buzz surrounding it, so I was pretty happy to be able to see a preview of the film.

As a child, Tonya (Margot Robbie) is made to skate by her cruel and abusive mother, LaVona (Allison Janney). As she grows, Tonya quickly becomes one of the best figure skaters there is, competing in the Olympics. Along the way, she falls in love with and marries Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) who carries on the violence that Harding has known all her life.

It’s a simple enough premise but the story, written by Steven Rogers and directed by Craig Gillespie is told with serious style and peppered with amazing dialogue like “If your mind is blank no one can pick up on your vibe”. I was surprised to learn that aside from essentially being a mockumentary, the film breaks the fourth wall and is actually very funny.

I, Tonya is interesting in that, although Tonya is our protagonist, the viewer still may not like or side with her. She’s raw, crude, flawed and an unreliable narrator – a present day Tonya and Jeff both dispel what one says about the other – but she’s also unapologetically herself. She doesn’t always take responsibility but she also never claims to be perfect. She’s not liked by skating officials because her redneck persona doesn’t fit into the grace and beauty that’s typically expected – even if she is a damn excellent skater. I was quite shocked to find myself kind of on her side, especially as in my opinion, she gets hit (my bad) with the worst of the punishment for the attack.

I have to shout out what has to be one of the best casts I’ve seen in a while. Robbie proper encapsulates all of Harding, the good, bad and the ugly. As a stan of Stan, he is a chameleon as Gillooly, somehow perfecting a mild mannered abuser. Paul Walter Hauser is hilarious and a scene-stealer as Tonya’s ‘bodyguard’ Shawn Eckhardt, who gets some of the film’s best lines. Bobby Cannavale who plays sleazy exceptionally well and had skin so tanned, I had to double check that it wasn’t a brown-skinned actor instead. And Janney, my longtime fave, is incomparable as a mother who can casually tell her daughter that she ‘skates like a graceless bulldyke’.

If you couldn’t tell, I just really flipping enjoyed this movie. Despite frequent humour, so many moments were dark and left me quiet. Like Jeff manipulating his wife emotionally, lashing out at her physically, her doing the same back to him, LaVona routinely failing her daughter since childhood but still receiving umpteen chances from her or Tonya staring at herself in the mirror and desperately trying and failing to hold a smile.

By the end of I, Tonya I was reminded of my younger self who thought Harding to be a bad person. And I’m glad to have been given a chance to learn more about who Tonya Harding was and in turn receive one of the year’s best films.

~

Bright – It’s Lit

Number one in a series on the shows and films that I’m watching on Netflix.

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Bright is set in an alternate present where humans live alongside fantastical creatures such as elves, orcs, dwarves and centaurs. LAPD officer Daryl Ward (Will Smith) is partnered with the nation’s first orcish police officer, Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton, unrecognisable under layers of makeup) who is disliked by humans and his fellow orcs (who consider him a traitor), only Ward is indifferent towards him.

I’ll admit, I saw the trailer and especially the part where Ward says “fairy lives don’t matter today” and had to ask no one in particular: “What is this?” “What is going on, Will Smith?” My brother assured me that it was a great film and a few days later, I sat (really laid) down to watch the film. And I enjoyed the film. In a time where sequels and remakes populate the cinema, I was intrigued to see an original premise, especially one with social commentary. The elves are the upper class, humans are middle class or just regular and the orcs are the underclass and frequently discriminated against.

One night, Ward and Jakoby comes across an elf Tikka, in possession of a wand, which you’d be forgiven for thinking is a good thing. Because it’s a really bad thing in this world, where it can be used as a weapon of mass destruction and can only be held by a Bright, who is someone that has the ultra-rare ability to use magic. Phew, got that?

Bright isn’t perfect, the plot was a bit holey and convenient at times, the dialogue not always great (see the aforementioned play on ‘Black Lives Matter’) and Noomi Rapace and Édgar Ramírez were greatly underused. Like I said, I didn’t expect to like this film at all really, but it was honestly a breath of fresh air. Smith is of course, a very  engaging lead but I was more drawn to Edgerton, who even when buried under layers of orc, is able to give quite a touching and soft performance.

Critics generally ripped the film apart but I, along with the majority of audiences were able to appreciate Bright for being original, fresh and entertaining. If that’s what more movies are going for in 2018, then I can’t wait.

~

What I’m Watching:

House Party – A YouTube miniseries I had the pleasure of working on.

A Night With the Supers.

Long time no see. Here’s a talk through of sorts about Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League. I’ve just realised that this post contains a sort of Marvel v DC rivalry. 

Thor: Ragnarok

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The Thor series has always been my least favourite in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; I’ve just never cared for it. But seeing as I was actually influenced by the hype surrounding Ragnarok, I decided to make it a point to see the film. I only saw Thor a couple of months and ago and quickly watched the sequel a week before Ragnarok came out and I found the two films to be very underwhelming and honestly quite forgettable. Needless to say, I didn’t have high hopes going into the film.

However, I was pleasantly surprised.

Directed by Taika Waititi, the film has an incredibly light and jovial tone, never taking itself too seriously, or really at all. (But I’ll come back to this later). The film follows Thor as he realises that Ragnarok – a prophesied apocalypse – will soon materialise and his newly-discovered half sister Hela, the goddess of death, has been released from her prison and hell bent on causing chaos and destruction. Naturally.

Most of the original cast returns, with notable exceptions being Odin (who dies after what is essentially a cameo), Jane Foster (who I found to be incredibly dull and not at all worthwhile) and by extension, Darcy, who I actually liked but was a small price to pay if it meant that we wouldn’t see Jane again. Jane and Darcy’s absences were even more appreciated (by me) because it meant that we didn’t have a film about a Norse god that was set primarily on Earth. Ragnarok takes us through other worlds, in addition to Asgard. New additions to the film include Valkyrie, an alcoholic bounty hunter who can hold her own against anyone and once legendary member of the Valkyrior and Grandmaster, ruler of the planet Sakaar, who is played by Goldblum and also, Jeff Goldblum. I found him to be an absolute delight even though his character was quite backwards.

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As aforementioned, the film provides an abundance of laughs but honestly, it kind of detracts from the film as a whole and really became a comedy with a touch of of action. This is true of the MCU as whole, they stay trying to make the audience laugh, even in dramatic moments and it just isn’t necessary. I can laugh at Hulk being a punchline but not when it comes during the film’s climax. Oh yeah, the Hulk is back which is great because it’s been a while since we last saw him, but I wish he wasn’t included in the film’s’ promo so that I could have had the reaction of my cinema partner, whose mind seemed to be blown. I feel like I’m always asking for more action from a lot of films these days, there were some cool scenes – none more so than the short, slow-motion scene of the Valkyrior in battle. My gosh, I cannot stress enough how much I loved it and wanted to see more – but just not enough. I wanted to see Hela do an absolute madness and but instead felt kind of shortchanged.

Having said all this, it really is the ‘worst’ thing I have to say about the film, I did really enjoy it and Waititi’s direction was wildly different from the previous films. He has a fantastic eye for visuals and I really admire his work as a filmmaker, plus he provided the performance of my new favourite character Korg, who I laughed at pretty much constantly. I also think the film cemented Chris Hemsworth’s status as a leading man; he really came into his own here which I think was due to the humour. He is a funny guy from what I’ve seen in his interviews and the cast as a whole was amazing.

I’ll actually be excited if another Thor movie comes out.

Justice League

I don’t think I’ve ever entered a film with less hopes and standards than I did for the film. Let’s be honest, DC doesn’t have a good rap but I tried to not let it discourage me because the only other DC film I’ve seen is Suicide Squad and what I know of the DCEU (EU for Extended Universe) comes from reviews and word of mouth.

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Okay, let’s start with the plot: following Superman’s death, five superheroes come together to save the planet from the threat of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons. Steppenwolf seeks the three Mother Boxes, the sources of ultimate energy, which are on Earth, two of which are guarded by the Amazonians and Atlantians.

The Justice League are Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Flash (Ezra Miller) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa). Batman who knows himself that he has no business being in the League, helms the group, followed closely Wonder Woman who is actually a really good person and arguably the most powerful and should honestly be leading the group but because she’s humble, she won’t push for it. I’m indifferent towards Affleck’s performance and don’t actually have much to say about him; Gadot makes a good and believable Wonder Woman and this may seem like an odd observation but I loved her battle face. It did suck to see shots focused on her bum and having to watch the film from a male gaze, but what else is new I guess. I really enjoyed seeing Cyborg’s arc and think that Fisher gave a quiet yet commanding performance as a man struggling to hold onto his humanity and I am always happy to sing Miller’s praises who shines as the socially awkward, neurotic yet hilarious new addition. A lot of his lines aren’t actually that funny but he makes it work with his delivery, the bit where he tries to spud Cyborg had me laughing hard. Momoa has a ridiculously strong and powerful on-screen presence and it’ll be good to see him further his role.

I have to highlight the action that occurs when Steepenwolf has the audacity to come for the box guarded by the Amazonians. Guys, my head was spinning, mind was blown, all of that. I absolutely loved the women and their sheer strength and power and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t watched Wonder Woman and missed out on what I hope is several more scenes that showcase how sick they are. I also liked that Steppenwolf alone put up a serious fight which showed him to be a formidable opponent who held a chance, no matter how small, that he might still be standing at the end of the film.

Sigh.

Pretty much after this, I can only ultimate sum up the film in one word: messy. And please, I’m actually upset to write that because I had such hopes after the aforementioned scene. My first thought upon seeing Steppenwolf was “Oh, he looks weird” but I figured that I would get used to it and I did. But guys, listen, Justice League had a budget of $300 million, making it so far the third expensive film of all time. Please, someone tell me where they spent that money because the film had no business looking as ugly as it did.

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The visuals are just one of the film’s many issues. Zack Synder is billed as the director but he stepped down during production and Joss Whedon of Marvel fame (hey, there’s a link between the films that I didn’t have to force), leading to two months of reshoots which cost about $25 million so I guess that’s where a chunk of the budget went. Synder and Whedon’s styles slightly clash, with aspects of the former’s being dark, gritty and slow-motion whereas the latter is light and quippy.  During the film, I wondered why Henry Cavill’s face looked fake. “He’s a real person” I thought, “So what’s up with that?” It turns out the reshoots coincided with Cavill filming Mission Impossible 6 and he had a moustache and the powers that be wouldn’t let him shave it, so it was edited out. Listen I don’t want to get too ahead of myself here but what I’m saying is that, the film had so many issues behind the screen that unfortunately it spilled out onto the screen, really putting a dampener on what had the potential to be a great film.

At this point, I’d rather just watch a director’s cut (preferably Synder’s) and be done with it. I’ve heard that Cyborg was supposed to be an allegory for Trayvon Martin amongst other things which I’d love to actually see. Hopefully it gives you more understanding as well because some things are missing. For instance, although I thought Steppenwolf would be a strong adversary, yet he became gradually worse. And this isn’t a comment on Ciarán Hinds’ performance, not at all, because he does the best with what little he has but (light spoiler) Steppenwolf is able to take the second Mother Box from the Atlantians with little issue and literally has zero problems taking the third. Like, he literally takes it and zooms off into the sky. The Atlantis scene was very forced and full of awkward dialogue and reminds me of Gretchen from Mean Girls trying to make ‘fetch’ happen but this time, with  the inhabitants of Atlantis and Aquaman’s backstory. It’s not going to happen.

I’ll stop here and say that I don’t regret watching this film. It wasn’t a waste of my time or anything like that but the amount of potential gone to waste is very frustrating. Clearly it isn’t the end for the DCEU as they have a lot more films in their pipeline, hopefully they don’t fall victim to what has ailed so many of their films before.

~

What I’m Watching:

How to Get Away with Murder, Brooklyn Nine Nine

What I’m Reading:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

What I’m Listening to:

I Will Follow – Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Gba – Burna Boy, Breathe Into Me Oh Lord – Fred Hammond

But I Already Knew That

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I hate spoilers and I strongly dislike the people who do the spoiling. But I have a confession: I have spoiled many a movie, for myself. I have always spent a lot of time researching movies and reading plots, with no regard as to whether or not I’ll actually end up watching the film.

So, here’s a list of films with serious plot twists, that I spoiled for myself. Spoiler alert yo!

1.  The Sixth Sense (1999), dir. M. Night Shyamalan

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I feel like this is the number one film people discuss when it comes to plot twists and twelve year old Grace went to fast herself up and read all about it.

Its about a child, Cole Sear, who sears  and talks to dead people. Enter child psychologist, Malcolm who tries to help him but his dumb self doesn’t even realise that he isn’t alive.

I know my mind would have been blown at the reveal that Bruce Willis’ character had been dead all long. YO I literally tried to force myself to forget as I forced one sibling to watch with me, but ugh, to no avail. Great movie though.

2.  American Beauty (1999), dir. Sam Mendes

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Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnham, an executive, living in the suburbs, going through a midlife crisis and becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter’s teenage friend. Nasty.

Okay the reveal that Lester dies didn’t bother me too much because when I actually watched the film, Lester himself freaking tells us that he dies in the first minute. Jeez, this is just a dishonourable mention to be honest.

3.  Fight Club (1999), dir. David Fincher

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Yo, this is probably the reveal that hurts the most? Another film I forced my family (and a family friend) to watch, my mum was confused but I feel like they appreciated the reveal. Since I already knew it, I just tried to see if I could notice that The Narrator and Tyler were the same person. I don’t think I could. This is also another film I spent so much time researching and I just wanted anarchy after I saw it for the first time. Wild.

If you somehow have never heard of this film (teach me please if that’s the case), then it’s the story of The Narrator who, disillusioned with his boring job and life, creates a fight club with new ‘friend’ Tyler Durden.

4.  The Usual Suspects (1995), dir. Bryan Singer

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Verbal Kint tells his story of version of what happened at a massacre where he was the sole survivor.

I realised that I held a very unpopular opinion about this film after I saw it. Bar the twist, I thought this film was so freaking boring. This is the only instance where I don’t even care that I knew the ending beforehand because if I hadn’t, I would have never carried on until the end. And even then, I still felt like it wasn’t worth it. But hey, as long as Keyser Söze is gloriously drunk.

5.  The Village (2004), dir. M. Night Shyamalan

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A psychological thriller where in 1897, a village’s inhabitants live in seclusion and fear of creatures referred to as ‘Those We Don’t Speak Of’ but later, it is revealed that it is really present day and the village was created to deter the villagers from leaving. I don’t know about you, but for me, this reads so well. It sounds sick but I’m not sure if it actually pays off as I’ve only seen the twist and honestly, have no intention of watching the whole thing.

6.  Seven (1995), dir. David Fincher

Se7en is about two detectives who  are tasked with finding a serial killer whose murders are based on the seven deadly sins.

I have the audacity to shout ‘WHAT’S IN THE BOX?’ more or less every time this film is mentioned but I’ve never seen it. I’m sure it’s a fantastic movie but at this point, I’ve read the synopsis so many times, I probably won’t bother actually seeing it anytime soon.

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~

I’m just realising that Kevin Spacey stars in half of the movies I mentioned.

I’d like to say I’ve learnt my lesson and have stopped reading film plots on Wikipedia but I really still do, albeit not as much.

What I’m Watching:

TV: Narcos

Detroit

 

 

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*big exhale*

This film left me conflicted but before I discuss in spoiler-free manner, let me give you a summary of what it’s about.

Detroit is based on the Algiers Motel incident that took place during the titular city’s 1967 riot. The film opens with a party celebrating the return of black veterans in an unlicensed club, when police stage a raid that soon escalates, causing the beginning of the city’s riot.

Following Larry Reed (an exceptional Algee Smith), the lead singer of Motown group The Dramatics  and his friend Fred Temple (a strong, quiet and controlled Jacob Latimore), we end up at the Algiers Motel where they meet two white girls, Julie and Karen and a few black teenagers, including Carl and Aubrey.

A gunshot is fired from the motel leading the police to open fire and begin their reign of terror on its residents in order to find the gun. Phillip Krauss (a chilling Will Poulter) leads his fellow officers Demens and Flynn in terrorising the residents but also present is Melvin Dismukes (John Boyega, on form) a black private security guard who is there to help but is ultimately unable to do anything about the injustice and brutality he witnesses.

~

Okay, summary done, let’s discuss.

I left this film feeling veryheated! Once the brutality began in the motel and I realised that it was where the majority of the film was going to take to place, I felt incredibly trapped. And not in an ‘ah it’s immersive’ way, but in an ‘I am very uncomfortable and if I don’t get out of here I’m going to start swinging‘ sort of way. With a run time of 143 minutes, you can imagine that I was forced to feel like this for a long time.

It’s important to note that Detroit was made by a nearly all-white crew, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by frequent collaborator, Mark Boal. The two of them made The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, two films that I found to be fantastic andI really admire Bigelow as a filmmaker but I am always weary of a white person or any non-black person really, being in charge of something mostly specific to black people.

And it’s for good reason as this film had no heart. And I understand how that may sound considering the film’s topic and issues of racial inequality and police brutality but why was this film actually made? What point were they trying to get across? Who is it for?

If you’re going to make me watch police casual kill and beat up black teenagers, it’s going to have to be for a reason because I see enough of that in real life.

It was the ‘you better start praying’ scene that actually left me burning in my seat and if you’ve seen it, please let me know your thoughts. I honestly wanted to leave at that point because I was silently fuming but I just kept telling myself to stick it out, there might be a payoff.

This film is not badly made, like I’ve mentioned, Bigelow has tremendous skill as a filmmaker, not to mention that the film has an absolutely outstanding cast. I will say that I think that it is badly told. Black women held an important role in this part of history but were unsurprisingly cast to the side, there to lay a comforting hand on the shoulder of their husbands or call an ambulance for a boy in need. What’s crazy is that although it has polarised a small amount of people, I can honestly see this film being up for Best Picture noms. I wanted to love this film, I thought I would when I first heard about it and I definitely didn’t hate it straight off the bat. I’ve heard black people talk about how they like it and I won’t fault them for it because I’m still confused about how the film seems to have all the right components but ultimately didn’t sit well with me, at all.

Detroit may have the right idea but ultimately it’s an empty film devoid of heart and any real meaning.

 

Here’s what I’m:

Watching:

Game of Thrones Guys, I’m still going strong, I hope you’re proud. I’m midway through season 5 which is so far, the most boring season but I’m pushing through. It’s the wildest TV show I’ve watched and I frequently need breaks in order for my mind to have peace. The day the evil red priestess gave birth to a demon spirit shadow type thing, was the day I no longer knew the type of show I was dealing with. By God’s grace, I’ll be finished by July 16 when season 7 starts.

Love Island Along with the rest of the nation I am watching this reality show. My fave couple is Garcel (Gabby and Marcel) and I have a lot of love for Camilla. Slowly but surely my least favourite people are leaving and I’m glad to have a consistent show to watch for the next month or so.

The Mummy Hmm. This film wasn’t very good, it was very meh. Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) accidentally releases Princess Ahmanet into the world and chaos ensues. Mini spoiler their first mistake was putting Courtney B. Vance in the film for 5 minutes (end of mini spoiler). It tried so hard to be funny but it just really wasn’t, which was a complete shame because Jake Johnson is in it (Nick from New Girl) who is hilarious but he wasn’t given good material to work with, so where there should have been laughter was mainly just awkward silences. Also, I don’t really understand Tom Cruise being cast as the lead, it didn’t really suit him and it just seemed like an opportunity for him to do Tom Cruise stuff in an action film again. The film is a set up for the Dark Universe and hmm, they’re not off to a good start.

YouTube Apart from film channels like CineFix that I’ve previously mentioned, I don’t watch many channels except to support friends and family: Ore who talks about film and TV, Hilary, Kike, Sarah and Simi who are vloggers.

Doing:

I’m chilling, eating, going to restaurants, working on and writing for an exciting new project, going to church, job-hunting. Ohmygosh guys, job-hunting is hard and can also be quite disheartening because I want to work in film production but it’s difficult to get into but, I’m also not worrying because of the grace of the God. I know I’m going to get a job, it’s just that the road to it is long. Also, I met Daniel Kaluuya this week and he was so lovely, I pretty much just told him that he was amazing in Get Out and how much I was looking forward to Black Panther. I almost didn’t speak to him but it was something else that I was able to do by the grace of God, because honestly, I was quite nervous to approach him.

Looking towards:

Graduation, living my best life, travelling, making movies, wiring, being creative, exploring more of London, new movies, a play from the theatre production company that I am a part of (YiA) titled Out of the Darkness*.

Listening to:

DJ KhaledWild Thoughts, Reekado BanksProblem, PhynoFada Fada, Childish GambinoRedbone, HAIMIf I Could Change Your Mind, Joann RosarioHoly God, Soul for RealCandy Rain, Artists for Grenfell – Bridge Over Troubled Water

Thinking:

Of the tragedies that befallen people – Grenfell, Syria, London Bridge, Philando Castile, Nabra. How to stay positive when feeling low – I have to seek God in order to truly know peace – take time to be alone, spend time with those around me, journal. If you follow me on any social media platforms because of my website, let me know, if you’re a constant reader or not, I appreciate you all so much.

All glory to God.

~

*tickets can be purchased at www.waterlooeast.co.uk

Big thank you to Fee for her lovely stock images.

Special thank you and love to Danielle for her kind words on Twitter that made me write a review for The Mummy.

Baby Driver

Yesterday I went to a surprise advance screening of Baby Driver. I will admit that when I first heard about the film/saw the trailer, I commented that it looked like air, essentially meaning that it looked like nothing/rubbish.

I was so wrong bruv.

This film was actually fantastic, and honestly, I should have expected it because I am such a big fan of the film’s writer/director Edgar Wright whose films include Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Ant-Man.

baby-driver-poster1

Baby (an engaging and talented Ansel Elgort), the best (getaway) driver around, who is never not listening to music as he uses this to block out the tinnitus caused by a car accident he was in as a child. Baby is the preferred driver of Doc (an effortlessly cool Kevin Spacey), the mysterious leader/organiser of a crew of bank robbers who never likes to use the same team twice. Baby longs to leave the criminal underworld behind and uses the money he earns to help look after his deaf and wheelchair-bound foster dad, Joe.

Of course, Baby meets and falls for Debora (Lily James), a waitress who literally walks into his life singing his name. Debora is pretty much a typical female love interest and reminded me a little bit of Laura Dern’s character in Blue Velvet, an otherwise innocent character who gets dragged into her potential other half’s mess. With Debora, I don’t think this is a bad thing though as the audience only needs to see her enough to know that Baby likes her.

Baby Driver‘s supporting cast is stellar in the aforementioned Kevin Spacey, Eiza González and Jon Hamm as Darling and Buddy, a murderous and completely loved up couple who always toe the line of sociopathy and a scene stealing Jamie Foxx as the erratic and impulsive Bats.

If you’ve seen any of Wright’s previous films, then you know of his gift for visuals. The electric opening scene let me know the film was good but I wasn’t convinced of its greatness until maybe around the second act; you’ll see what I mean. The score and what we see on screen are one and the same and the use of subjectivity when it comes to Baby means that we experiences what he does, tinnitus and all.

When it comes out on June 28, make sure you’ve got a seat.

~

I’m currently digging:

TV: Game of Thrones

YouTube: CineFix

Now playing: The Grace Film

Hi!!!

I’m so excited to share with you my new blog, as you can tell by my near-excessive use of exclamation marks, but I mean, there’s a ‘dot com’ and everything so who can blame me? Honestly, I haven’t been too happy with things and I just felt like I could do better with my blog. I literally did it all within a day or so and it’s all by the grace of God, I didn’t even set out to change my blog.  The website is now called ‘The Grace Film’, the same handle as my Twitter and Instagram. It just made sense to be honest, even though I will very much miss my baby ‘film-ish’, which I will leave up instead of deleting.

~

I don’t know if you’ve seen it but Marvel dropped a teaser trailer for Black Panther… Guys, I don’t think that I have ever wanted to give a film my money as much as I do now. The soundtrack, the actors, the visuals, guys, the visuals. All that melanin in a mainstream movie that isn’t depicting slavery – unheard of! I’m seriously considering wearing ankara, maybe even agbada, when I see it by God’s grace but that’s all the way in February 2018.

Unfortunately but expectedly, I have seen a select few people dismiss Black Panther as discriminatory which I find absolutely ridiculous. Growing up, I was surrounded by people who looked like me but hard pressed to find that on-screen. How was I to enter a profession where I had to search high and low to find anyone who looked like me? So when I did find that, in shows such as That’s So Raven, The Proud Family and How to Get Away with Murder and films like House Party, Do the Right Thing and Set It Off, I grabbed them with both arms and held them close.

Because representation matters.

I shouldn’t have to sit through numerous film lectures at university where the few times I see black people it’s in the form of racist caricatures (this literally happened in one of the modules I took for final year), or have a character completely erased due to whitewashing, nor should the only black person in a film be reduced to a Magical Negro.

For some black kids, this might be the first time they see a superhero that looks like them, heck maybe not even kids but those way older. It’s a win, our win and I couldn’t be happier.

So, big up Ryan Coogler and everyone involved in this beast of a film. I’ll see you in February.

 

~

I’m currently digging:

TV: Love Island

Movie: Black Panther (trailer)