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The Girl with the Daffodil Tattoo

A Welsh girl let loose in a wild world

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Films/Series

The Marshlands (La isla mínima)

Director: Alberto Rodríguez
Writers: Rafael Cabos, Alberto Rodríguez

One of the most well made films I’ve seen in Spanish. A police drama rich in sociopolitical commentary, reminiscent of True Detective.

The ending is bitter sweet; some criminals walk free.

Director: Alberto Rodríguez
Escritores: Rafael Cabos, Alberto Rodríguez

Una de las mejores hechas películas en castellano. Una drama policiaca que recuerda de True Detective.

Eo final es agridulce; algunos criminales están libres.

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A Brief History of Everything 4/5

Insanely good performance from Eddie Redmayne. Definitely deserved an Oscar for that. Incredible!

In general I found the film to be a bit too emotional for my taste but it’s definitely the perfect film to watch with your family (parents and grown up children etc).

———-

La actuación de Eddie Redmayne fue super bien. Le mereció el Oscar de verdad!
Para mi, la película es un poco “emocional” pero es el tipo de película que es perfecta para ver con la familia (padres y hijos adolescentes)

American Sniper: 0/5 The Worse Film I’ve Ever Seen

I had reservations about watching American Sniper. I worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it because of American propaganda, but I got lucky; this film has a lot more wrong with it than skewed ideology.

No Female Soldiers/ Soldiers of Colour

Women make up 14.5% of the active-duty force (according to CNN), while African American soldiers make up around a quarter. So with almost half of soldiers on active duty being made up of women and African Americans, you would think any modern war film worth its salt would try to accurately represent that, wouldn’t you? Well, you would be wrong.

Mental Illness/Masculinity

Men are at four times more risk of suicide than women. Some psychologists argue that this is because of hegemonic masculinity, which demands a “tough guy” front from men, who are conditioned from an early age to not talk about their feelings, leading to them not being able to ask for help later in life.

I found it completely irresponsible, that this film portrayed Chris Kyle (who seems to be suffering from classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress), as some sort of “strong silent type”, who’s miraculously cured by a 20 second scene with a psychiatrist who tells him simply to “help others” in order to recover. I don’t know whether this is Clint Eastwood’s old school portrayal of masculinity, or whether the problem comes from the autobiography that the film is based on.

Portrayal of Iraqis

Opens with “call to prayer”, which is normally played in Mosques.

Iraqis are referred to as “savages” by American soldiers.

Characters proclaim: “We’re not fighting for this dirt”

Brutal, unnecessary violence from “bad guys” (such as the scene where the enemy leader uses a drill on a child and then shoots both the child and the father), whereas American soldiers are depicted as just “doing their jobs”/”protecting themselves”.

The film depicts roughly 1 American soldier dying to 6-10 Iraqis. In actual fact, during the whole war, 4,500 American soldiers have been killed,  and 450,000 Iraqis, meaning  that a more realistic ratio might be 1 American soldier dying for every 100 Iraqi deaths.

Badly Made

-Comedy baby doll, completely obviously fake.

-Sound, in general. Car noise random and too loud.

-Wooden characters.

-Doesn’t hold together.

-Passage of time only shown by size of children (not by any changes in adult actors)

-Only one female character.

-Only one black actor.

Filth 2013 3/5

James MacAvoy plays a drug taking, violent police officer, manipulating everyone around him in order to gain a promotion which he believes will bring him and his wife back together again.
Male Sexuality
The protagonist Bruce Robertson uses his authority in order to gain sexual favours from women, such as the young girl he tries to coerce into giving him oral sex, and the office secretary he tricks into having sex with him by using the enlarge function on the photocopier to make her think he has a bigger penis.
Bruce uses all the tricks he possible can to intimidate, bully, and turn everyone else against each other, in order to become the most eligible for the promotion. He believes that the promotion will make his wife come home again, as she will be attracted to his success.
By the end of the film, a younger character, who James used to dominate, who was depicted as having a “small penis”, gets the promotion that Bruce wanted so badly. This is too much for Bruce to bear (that he be inferior to such an individual) and contributes to his suicide.
Female Sexuality
Throughout the film, Bruce uses women, tricking them into doing what he wants using various methods. By the end of the film, he is raped by one of his lovers who demands sex from him. This signals his downfall.
Representations of Mental Illness
Bruce’s coworker emplores him to seek help, but he brushes her off, thinking it’s some sort of tactic to rise through the ranks (ahead of him).
The film ends with Bruce choosing suicide over the love of a new lover, who is presented as a kind recently widowed mother of a young boy.
 Year
2013
Running Time
97 min.
Country
 United Kingdom
Director
Jon S. Baird
Screenwriter
Jon S. Baird (Novel: Irvine Welsh)
Cinematography
Matthew Jensen
Cast
James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell, Joanne Froggatt, Eddie Marsan, Jim Broadbent, Emun Elliott, Kate Dickie, Shirley Henderson, Ron Donachie, Martin Compston, Iain De Caestecker, Pollyanna McIntosh
Production Co.
Steel Mill Pictures / Logie Pictures / Altitude Film Entertainment
Genre
Thriller. Comedy | Black comedy. Crime. Drugs
Synopsis / Plot
A bipolar bigoted junkie cop, manipulates and hallucinates his way through the festive season in a bid to secure promotion and win back his wife and daughter. Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a corrupt, cocaine-snorting, hard-drinking Edinburgh cop, is angling for a promotion to detective inspector, and is prepared to secure it by any means necessary. After a messy marriage split, however, his mind might not be as sharp as it was…
Critics Reviews
  • “Baird sticks quite faithfully to Welsh’s novel, though he dilutes its relentlessly nasty tone and changes some minor plot points (…) Filth is still a hugely entertaining breath of foul air” 
    Stephen Dalton : The Hollywood Reporter
  • “This descent into Scotch-marinated madness begins as ugly comedy, segues imperceptibly into farcical tragedy, and inevitably — perhaps intentionally — loses control in the process” 
    Guy Lodge: Variety
  • “A bulked-up James McAvoy dominates the screen in this razor-sharp Glasgow smile of a black comedy, packed with aberrant sex, hard drugs and maximum David Soul. (…) Rating: ★★★★ (out of five)” 
    Damon Wise: Empire
  • “After a certain point, watching it is like listening to the ravings of an increasingly incoherent and abusive drunk.” 
    Stephen Holden: The New York Times
  • “‘Filth’ (…) is wired to explode. Even when the film falls to pieces, McAvoy’s bonkers brilliance will blow you away. (…) Rating: ★★★ (out of four)” 
    Peter Travers: Rolling Stone

127 Hours 4.5/5

127 Hours
James Franco gives a sublime performance throughout this film. We watch him move from cocky jock impressing women, to lamenting his own hubris, to displaying the human will to survive no matter what the personal cost.
Feminism/Gender Representations
The film, based on the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”, features periphery female characters, but that is because two thirds of the film portrays Aron Ralston’s quest for survival while in an extreme situation, thinking back over his life, and his treatment of his family and ex-girlfriend.
I enjoyed watching the protagonist’s character develop from a cock sure mountaineering type to a simple man who loves his family and has been placed in an extremely difficult situation. It reminds you that you never really know what is behind someone’s facade, man or woman.
Aron laments his treatment of his parents, especially his mother, as by not returning her call, he realises that no one knows where he is, or that he is even missing. This leads him to lament his own macho bravado:

Aron Ralston: I do see! Now… Is it true that despite, or maybe because you’re a big fucking hard hero… you didn’t tell anyone where you were going?

Aron Ralston: Yeah. That’s absolutely correct.

The strong family theme to the film is heightened by the ending, in which we see the author of the book, and are told nothing more about his life after amputating his own arm other than when he met his partner and that they have a child. This suggests that the purpose of a man’s life is to find someone to start a family with, which is a rather middle American, Christian conclusion to the film, which is surprising given that there is no talk of “God” or a “creator” within the film, except for a small reference to the event being predestined for both Aron, and the rock.

Negatives: Product Placement
I don’t want to give the brands a drop more publicity, so I’m not going to name all of the brands mentioned in the film, but I will say this: I counted 6 products placed in the film.
After dabbling in making a documentary and watching teams work, I realise that making a film is incredibly expensive, especially equipment and post production. I suppose if someone doesn’t want to see products advertised (subtley or otherwise), they should support the movie industry by paying to see films in the cinema, or paying an online service to watch films at home, instead of illegal downloads.
But according to Box Office Mojo, the film had a worldwide gross of just over $60 million USD, with a production budget of $18 million, so the net profit was 42 million USD. Leaves a person wondering why product placement would be needed in a film that was so popular.
Stats: Film Affinity
Year
2010
Running Time
93 min.
Country
 United Kingdom
Director
Danny Boyle
Screenwriter
Simon Beaufoy, Danny Boyle (Book: Aron Ralston)
Music
A.R. Rahman
Cinematography
Anthony Dod Mantle, Enrique Chediak
Cast
James Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn, Clemence Poesy, Treat Williams, Kate Burton, Lizzy Caplan
Production Co.
Co-production UK-USA; Fox Searchlight Pictures / Pathé
Genre
Drama. Adventure | Mountaing Climbing. Survival Film. Biography. Based on a true story. Nature
Synopsis / Plot
Based on the Aron Ralston true story, a reckless young american mountain climber who became famous in May 2003 when he was forced to amputate his lower right arm with a dull knife in order to free himself after his arm became trapped by a boulder when he was mountaineering in Utah.
Awards
2010: Academy Awards: 6 Nominations, incl. Best Picture, Screenplay and Actor (Franco)
2010: Golden Globes: 3 Nominations: Best Actor Drama (James Franco), OST, Screenplay
2010: 8 nominations for BAFTA Awards, including Best British Film, Director and Actor
2010: Independent Spirit Awards: Best Actor (Franco). 3 Nominations, including Best Film
2010: American Film Institute (AFI): Top 10 – Movies of the Year
2010: Critics’ Choice Awards: Best Song. 8 Nominations, including Best Picture

Fargo 5/5 (TV Series) 2014

fargo

As we were finishing watching the final episode of the first series, my partner sighed: “Now, that was a good series!”.

I have to agree. Fargo, series 1, is truly excellent; script, character development, acting performances. It’s shows like this that are setting the bar higher and higher for home entertainment.

Feminism/Gender Representations

One of the most important characters in the show is Molly, the capable cop, who works tirelessly trying to solve the case despite her superiors trying to block her. She is supported by her father, an ex-cop who asks her to leave her job due to a string of shootings, but respects her decision to stay.

Another intricately portrayed character is that of Gus Grimly, who is a devoted single father. By the end of the series, we watch him swallowing his fear and doing his best to protect his family, without any macho bravado.

True Story?

The series starts with the same quote as the film, which reads:

THIS IS A TRUE STORY.
[…]
At the request of the survivors,
the names have been changed.
Out of respect for the dead,
the rest has been told exactly
as it occurred.
When I saw the film, I didn’t question the veracity of this statement, but watching the series, one starts to question more and more whether these events really happened in such small towns in Minnesota.
Ethan Coen revealed the truth behind the ‘true story’ in the introduction to Fargo’s published screenplay, the closing sentence of which read: “[the film] aims to be both homey and exotic, and pretends to be true.”
Untrue, but still unbelievably good!

 

Stats (FilmAffinity)
Director
Noah Hawley (Creator), Adam Bernstein, Randall Einhorn, Colin Bucksey, Scott Winant, Matt Shakman
Screenwriter
Noah Hawley
Music
Jeff Russo
Cinematography
Dana Gonzales, Matthew J. Lloyd
Cast
Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks, Martin Freeman, Joey King, Allison Tolman, Bob Odenkirk, Tom Musgrave, Susan Park, Keith Carradine, Julie Ann Emery, Spencer Drever, Peter Breitmayer, Chad Stanley Martin, Oliver Platt, Russell Harvard, Joshua Close, Gary Valentine, Adam Goldberg, Glenn Howerton, Barry Flatman, Rachel Blanchard, Kate Walsh
Production Co.
FX Productions / MGM Television
Genre
TV Series. Thriller. Drama | Crime. Police. Black comedy
Synopsis / Plot
In 2006, a drifter named Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton) arrives in Bemidji, Minnesota and influences the population with his malice and violence, including put-upon insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman).
Awards
2014: 2 Emmy Awards, including Best TV Miniseries. 18 Nominations.
2014: Golden Globes: 5 Nominations including Best Mini-Series Or TV Movie
2014: Satellite Awards: 4 Nominations including Television Series, Drama
2014: Screen Actors Guild (SGA): Nominated Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries

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