Reviews

Review: Logan

First off, I want to start by saying that Logan is the best Marvel film I have seen so far. The last time I ever felt this way about a “comic book” movie was after seeing The Dark Knight, and that says a lot. Logan lacked the quality of a fantasy/sci-fi comic book film (pretty much the opposite of X-Men Apocalypse) but that doesn’t diminish it in anyway. I feel like movie-watchers who aren’t huge comic book fans will still enjoy Logan as long as they have some background knowledge on the Wolverine. The film had grit, emotion, and character. I think James Mangold did an incredible job with directing Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart’s final film portrayal of the Wolverine and Professor X.

[Spoilers ahead!]

I went to the theater and saw Logan twice. The first time, I played close attention to the plot and character development, while the second time, I focused more on the little details and the cinematography. I highly recommend seeing it twice because I was surprised about how much I missed. Before I get into the details, I’m going to discuss the major theme I noticed in the film.

Even though comic book movies usually revolve around “good vs evil” storylines, Logan was different. Don’t get me wrong, there were antagonists and conflict, but the main theme of the film revolved around family. Three scenes in particular stuck out to me the most and really pulled at my heartstrings. The scene when they were all eating dinner at the kitchen table, smiling, and joking around, was a moment that felt “normal”. Even if it was only for a moment, it felt nice to see Logan, Charles, and Laura briefly step away from the madness and live like a normal family (before X-24 showed up of course, also why do nice helpful families always have to die??) .

The two other scenes involved Logan carrying Charles and then Laura. When Laura watched Logan carry Charles up the stairs, there was a moment of tenderness that really hit me. You could also see this happen when Logan lifted Laura off the ground (after temporarily knocking out X-24) and carried her to the truck. He was torn up, limping, in pain, but he showed a different kind of strength in those two scenes. I loved that the idea of family was emphasized in Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart’s last time playing their X-Men characters because not only did they have “father and son” relationship throughout all the X-Men movies, but because I grew up watching all the X-Men movies, and they both kind of felt like family to me. And let’s not forget the ending. When Laura turned the cross onto its side to form an X, I became a blob full of tears. I wish there could’ve been more done for Charles’ death but what more can you do when you’re on the run and most mutants are gone anyway. I think Logan was a good send off for both Jackman and Stewart. Besides Mangold’s great work on this film, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Dafne Keen’s performances were outstanding.

After seeing Logan for the second time, there were many small but significant details that I noticed. In the final scene when the kids buried Logan, I noticed that one of the kids was holding a yellow suit Wolverine figurine. I loved that they brought this back into the movie because although they never really included the yellow suit in any of the recent X-Men movies, it was nice that they included some of the comics and the figurine. The character that has inspired so many deserved to make an appearance in the final moments of an era. By seeing it again, I was also able to make out some of the dialogue that I missed. For instance, Charles’ last words to Logan about being on the water and the boat they were going to buy together.

And the last thing I have to say is how glad I am that they decided to make Logan a rated R film. Following the success of Deadpool, it made sense that they would incorporate the grit, gore, and profanity that made Deadpool so popular. Seeing Charles and Logan swear at each other like a bickering father and son felt so right.

Overall, I would rate Logan a 9.5/10, and I highly recommend it to any movie lover out there regardless if you like comic books or not. 

Much Love,

Syd

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Music, Reviews

My First Chicago Symphony Experience

On Saturday, February 4th, I went to my first Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert. Since this was my first time attending a performance for classical music, I had no idea what to expect. As I arrived, I was blown away by the sophisticated, but also exciting, mood in Orchestra Hall. The venue was designed by Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham, and after many renovations, it continues to be the place where people are able to see and hear world-class musicians demonstrate their talent. The conductor of the concert was the highly acclaimed Bramwell Tovey, a Grammy and Juno award-winning conductor and composer. Tovey has travelled to China, Korea, Canada, Australia, and the United States, where he has taken on the role of a guest conductor while also inspiring many other musicians. It truly felt like an honor to be in his presence and to be able to see his impact on the music.

At 8 pm sharp, the lights dimmed down and the Chicago Symphony started their performance by playing a piece composed by William Walton, the first of three composers featured that night. William Walton was a famous British composer who was one of England’s most important composers. Walton was influenced by Edward Elgar, Igor Stravinsky, and Paul Hindemith and composed scores for numerous films like Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1947), and others. But that night the symphony played Orb and Sceptre, which really woke up and drew in the audience. The piece utilized the many aspects of sound, especially dynamics. It is also the march played for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The Chicago Symphony played it so beautifully and the piece was memorable and sensational. Because of this, it completely makes sense that the symphony chose this march as an “entrance” for the rest of the concert.

They continued the performance by playing Benjamin Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. As described in the name, this piece singled out every family of instruments in the symphony and allowed me to distinguish the different timbres. He introduced the higher pitched instruments like the piccolo and the flutes and then went down to the lower instruments and the percussion. Britten composed The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra because he was asked by the British Ministry of Education for it to be used in the short educational film Instruments of the Orchestra (1946). This piece was also featured in Wes Anderson’s film, Moonrise Kingdom (2012). I’m glad that the symphony played this because I was able to really focus on each family and appreciate how unique every different sound is.

After about a fifteen-minute intermission, the Chicago Symphony ended the night by playing Act 2 of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. Before they started the piece, Tovey spoke to the audience about the story that goes along with Act 2, and how hearing the tone color and dynamics change throughout the piece allows you to imagine what’s going on in the story. As someone who has seen Disney’s Sleeping Beauty many times, I was amazed when I realized that the music wasn’t built on the story, but the story was built and inspired by the music. The symphony played the entirety of Act 2, which was almost an hour long. But there was not one second where the musicians showed any signs of exhaustion or boredom. It was fascinating to see how you could feel their passion not only by hearing the music, but also by watching their body language. Overall, I really enjoyed my first experience seeing the Chicago Symphony and I definitely will be coming back to see future concerts.

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Reviews

My Planner

A few weeks ago I came across a Paper Source store and immediately spotted the things that I’ve had my eyes on for awhile. Planners. I’ve been trying to look for a higher quality planner that I will be able to use during my first year college. I wanted a planner that does its job but is also somewhat aesthetically pleasing. After lots of “research” I was stuck in between the Kate Spade planner and the Rifle and Paper Co. planner but in the end I chose the “2016 Birch Floral” Rifle and Paper Co. planner and here’s why:

  1. This planner is beautiful. Rifle and Paper Co. is known for their pretty designs and the Birch Floral design is definitely one of their best. I love the black with bright colors in the floral design and the gold accents inside. I also really like that the outside cover encloses the spiral (it annoys me when the wire gets caught onto something and bends out of shape).DSC_0083DSC_0085
  2. The size. This planner is 8.25 x 6.75” and in my opinion, the perfect size. It’s small enough to carry around but is large enough to fit everything you need in the pages. DSC_0086
  3. The detail. What made this planner stand out was the amount of detail that was put into each page. In the weekly sections of the planner, there are check boxes next to each line of the day (which I like because I love being able to see what I have accomplished in a specific day), and also a different quote from numerous of inspirational people.DSC_0091DSC_0093 Overall I am very pleased with this planner, and hopefully it will help me organize this upcoming school year!

Would I recommend?

Definitely yes if you’re looking for an efficient planner that is also simplistically beautiful.

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Reviews

Review: Jurassic World

I finally watched Jurassic World last night! I’m a little over a month late but now I can understand the hype over this movie. At 7:30 last night, my mom and I drove over to the theater to see what everyone has been talking about. Late as usual, the only seats left were the ones in the front, but it ended up being ok. I definitely have to say that we enjoyed this movie a lot but there were a few things that bothered me or I would’ve changed.

Bryce Dallas Howard aka “Claire”. I’ve seen her in a few other movies and was never really annoyed until I watched her play “Claire” in Jurassic World. This character was probably the most irritating thing about this entire movie. Exhibit A, Claire and Owen (Chris Pratt, I’ll discuss him later) have to run away from flesh eating dinosaurs but Claire was wearing heals, white skirt, white blouse and manages to have perfectly tamed hair?? In one scene, her hair goes from straight to perfectly curled hair. Now if this was a real situation, her hair would be disgusting and matted with blood and sweat. Maybe this wasn’t her fault and maybe it was just a huge flop of the make up/hair department, but still. Besides the ridiculous wardrobe, Claire’s personality was just whiny and annoying to me. I feel like the movie could have been so much better without Claire at all.

On a good note, Chris Pratt saved the movie. I have admired him ever since Parks and Recreation and it’s kind of weird seeing him play such a serious role when he’s actually a really hilarious actor. But that didn’t affect his performance in Jurassic World at all. Maybe I’m just biased because I’m already such a huge fan of him but I think he was amazing in this movie. Besides that, I wasn’t that interested in the whole backstory with the two brothers and their family situation. It wasn’t because they were annoying or anything, it’s just that their story didn’t seem important in the movie (It’s hard to care about your parent’s divorce when you’re running for your life from genetically designed monsters/dinosaurs).

The special effects and sound effects were great and there were definitely times when I jumped in my seat. Overall I thought this was a good movie and is definitely one that I will keep in mind if scientists announce that they will start recreating dinosaurs (which should never happen). The original Jurassic Park films are still my favorites, but I wouldn’t mind seeing this one again.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a thrilling movie to watch and it’s about dinosaurs (with the bonus of Chris Pratt)

Rating: 7.8-8/10 (7.4/10 on imdb, 71% on rotten tomatoes)

P.S. Who tf came up with the name of “Indominus Rex”?

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Reviews

A Few Of My Favorite Films

If I had a marathon of some of my favorite movies, it would look something like this:

Pride & Prejudice (2005):

  • Directed by Joe Wright
  • I read the novel prior to watching the film and I think Keira Knightley fits so well as Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen is the PERFECT Mr. Darcy.
  • I think that out of all the versions of Pride and Prejudice out there, this one is the best one (sorry Colin Firth).
  • The love and chemistry between Liz and Mr. Darcy is so pure, that even though they never really kiss, it’s still SO romantic.

The Theory of Everything (2014):

  • Directed by James Marsh
  • Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne have outstanding performances in this film (Redmayne won the 2015 Academy Award for best performance by an actor in a leading role).
  • This film is based off of the real Stephen Hawking and the relationship he had with his wife while struggling with a fatal neural disease.
  • After watching this I felt very inspired because of all the things that he accomplished as a physicist with ALS.

Boyhood (2014):

  • Directed by Richard Linklater
  • Boyhood is unique because it was filmed over a period of 12 years. This feature allowed me to “grow up” with the characters and really connect.
  • Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette are both amazing in Boyhood.
  • I saw this film last year with my mom and as a high school senior, it is definitely a movie that makes you reflect.

Before Sunrise Trilogy:

  • Directed by Richard Linklater
  • This is a three part story about 2 people who meet at a train to Europe and find that they only have one night together. It sounds kind of cheesy but the entire film is basically dialogue and you get pulled into their deep conversations (I love this).
  • Since they are both directed by Richard Linklater, Boyhood is similar to these films because they both are over periods of time using the same actors and actresses (Ethan Hawke is in both too).
  • My favorite in order would be Before Sunset (2004), Before Sunrise (1995), Before Midnight (2013).
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Reviews

Review: Testament Of Youth

Many period pieces are some of my favorite films of all time. For example, Pride and Prejudice and Titanic. I really love period pieces because they have the power to indulge you in a setting that is completely different than one that you’re used to seeing. The music, costumes, set, and acting in these types of films are excellent and remarkably detailed. Watching the Testament of Youth reminded me of how much I enjoy period pieces. This film is based off of the memoir written by the real Vera Brittain during WWI. I’m not much of a film critic but I do have to say that it was very moving. The story revolves around a young woman, Vera Brittain (who is played by Alicia Vikander), and how WWI impacted her life. She was on the pathway to become a writer, she had a loving family, and she even met a man. Despite being determined to live her dream of studying at Oxford, Vera had to put everything on hold because of the war. Alicia Vikander was perfect as Vera. I do believe that this is her breakout role as an actress. You could feel her sadness just by looking at the expressions on her face. With an incredible set, and amazing acting, I feel like the film is a great adaptation to the actual memoir. Overall I was very impressed. Alicia Vikander’s performance proved to me that she is now one of my favorite actresses. Kit Harington and Taron Egerton were also great (I love you Jon Snow).

Would I recommend?

YES. Even if you’re not into period pieces, this film is definitely worth checking out.

Rating: 9/10 (84% on rotten tomatoes by the way)

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Review: Womb

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Where do I even start with this movie. Two days ago, my friends and I decided to watch this movie because of how strange it seemed. We were right about the strange part. To demonstrate just how weird this movie is, here is a simple summary of what this film is about:

As children, Rebecca and Tommy establish a fairy-tale romance. After being separated for many years, they are reunited as adults, but their passionate relationship is short-lived when Tommy is killed in a freak car accident. Devastated, Rebecca feels that life cannot go on without him. Her consuming love compels her to bear Tommy’s clone. Despite the great joy of having her Tommy back, Rebecca cannot fully escape the complexities of her controversial decision. When he grows to young manhood in the exact image of her beloved, how will Rebecca explain away the confusing urges that new Tommy doesn’t understand?

Do you see what I mean? From start to finish, the overall mood of this movie was eerie and depressing. Never was there sunshine or even people. I felt like I was looking through the mind of a lonely, depressed, deranged woman (which the main character, Rebecca, actually was). Despite how wrong the concept of this movie is, the acting was actually decent. Eva Green, who plays Rebecca, definitely gave off that eerie vibe. If I start cringing just from seeing a close up of her face, that’s probably saying that she’s doing something right. Womb made me laugh and feel disgusted at the same time.

Would I recommend this?

No. Even if you’re into this kind of stuff, the movie was boring and kind of a waste of time.

Rating: 4/10

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