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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.

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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.

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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.

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*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.

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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.

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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.

 

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I’m currently digging:

TV: Love Island

Movie: Black Panther (trailer)