also the cinematography in this show is stunning

Review: Anne with an ‘E’ (Spoilers)

So I had just finished the Netflix series Anne with an ‘E’ with my Mum (who watched all of it a week prior to me) and I feel as if I need to give a consensus as a child who read all the books and felt that the 1985 adaptation was as close to perfect as anyone could get. I also see my younger self as a little Anne Shirley which is why I am so fiercely protective of this series and any adaptation of said series. So lets get to it:

My Praises

-The Cast: Although I do have an enternal love for Megan Follows, Jonathan Crombie, Colleen Dewhurst, and Richard Farnsworth as their respective characters; I could not imagine another better cast as the one in Anne with an 'E’. Newcomer Amybeth McNulty undeniably shines as the fierce and imaginative Anne Shirley. She captures Anne completely with even the slightest of expressions. Lucas Jade Zumann becomes Gilbert “Heart-Eyes” Blythe with his loving smirk and utter adoration of Anne. I also commend Geraldine James for making such an exquisite Marilla. James nailed Marilla’s sterness and sensitivity. Lastly, Corrine Koslo made Rachel Lynde my absolute fave and I have no problems with that.
-The Soundtrack: That upbeat and vibrant Celtic music.
-The Cinematography: It felt like I was truly experiencing the world through Anne’s eyes. So stunning to watch.
-The Episode Titles: I just loved this little detail they added in making all the episode titles Jane Eyre quotes. Since it is my favourite novel of all time, it did make me squeal a little everytime they mentioned it in the show.
-The Directing: Speechless, honestly. Props to the 5/7 female directors. We honestly do not see enough of them in this day and age.
-The Feminism!: That theme of feminism that underlyed throughout the show was something that made it stick. In a young girl’s coming-of-age story, there always should be a bit of feminism and girl empowerment to make it relatable. It was also Marilla’s coming-of-age in a way as well, becoming a “Mother in a Modern World”.
-Anne & Diana’s Adorable Friendship: Bossom Friends till the end.

My Criticism

-The Anne and Gilbert Love Story: Now before you all throw your hands 'round my throat, hear me out. These two are my precious babies. They are the teenage Lizzie and Darcy. Now Lizzie didn’t talk to Darcy because “a friend liked him”. No. Lizzie didn’t talk to Darcy because of her own stupid pride. Just like Anne. I have no idea why the writers thought of that “friend obligation” thingo. Anne was stupidly proud and ignored Gilbert because of that. Gilbert also was a bit of a twat when he pulled her hair and called her “carrots” (fucking iconic) not all soft and gentle. But the rest they got right. Except for the last episode (which a will get to..) where they called “truce”. Anne and Gilbert did not call “truce” until like 3 years later. Apart from that, the kids had amazing chemistry and were extremely adorable. Could have had extra time with spelling bees and stuff though.
-The Theives: I seriously have no clue. I was literally like this at that strange cliffhanger ending “!?!?!?!?!?”. It was really out of place.
-Gilbert working on the Docks: This honestly just made me really fucking mad. How is this going to change Anne and Gil’s relationship!? Is he coming back to school!? Is he going to become a doctor!!??
-The Lack of Anne’s Pride and Vanity: I wanted the Anne who accidentally dyed her hair green and climbed the roof of the school! The one who was so incredibly proud and vain. It made her relatable.

Overall, I think the pluses outweight the minuses. Y'all should give it a watch ASAP. Nothing will ever top the 1985 adaptation (or ya know the books) but this one certainly gives it a run for its money.

anonymous asked:

hello! i saw on your 'about' that you watch a lot of tv shows- me too! i've recently finished a series (dexter) and was wondering if you have any recommendations? i enjoy crime/comedy shows like dexter and i think i remember seeing that you watch it too so hopefully you can recommend some similar shows. thank you!! :))

Hello! Yeah, I love Dexter!! I also really enjoy those type of shows; crime/dark humour/mystery so hopefully you’ll like my suggestions:

  • Hannibal- this is really quite gory but very cleverly written (with beautiful cinematography) and has an awesome crime/mystery storyline that focuses on relationships and people very well too. It also has the ‘crime fighters work unknowingly with serial killer’ aspect that I love in Dexter! 
  • Fargo- I’ve only watched season 1 so far but it is incredible!! The cinematography is stunning, the characters are so well formed, the storyline is gritty and gripping and it’s also got some great dark humour in! I’d definitely recommend it to anyone!
  • The Americans- this is 100% my favourite tv show of all time. It’s incredible and really doesn’t get the credit it deserves! It’s about 2 Russian ‘sleeper agents’ during the cold war- they’re in deep cover in America posing as a family (with their 2 kids who think their parents are travel agents) in suburban Washington. It shows both sides of the fight; Russian and American (the Russian agents happen to live opposite an FBI agent). The characters are amazingly portrayed with real depth and the storylines are incredibly clever. I honestly can’t say enough how amazing this show is!! Please watch it!!!!!!!!!
  • Santa Clarita Diet- this show is on netflix and it’s incredibly funny, heart-felt and kinda gory (which I like)! It’s about a suburban realtor mom who becomes a zombie and has to deal with the complications that brings. I can’t really explain it very well but Drew Barrymore is amazing in it (and so is Timothy Olyphant) so watch the trailer and you’ll see what it’s like. I watched it all in one weekend! 
  • Designated Survivor- this show started in 2016 so there’s not too much to catch up on (new episodes are put on netflix every week). It’s about a low-profile politician who becomes the president after a terror attack on the capitol building. It can be very predictable sometimes and quite cheesy but it’s enjoyable to watch, has some interesting twists, and is well acted too. It’s the kind of show that I try to watch in the background whilst trying to study but end up getting sucked in every time! 

Her and it’s lineage in the 21st century “anti”-Romcom

This essay contains potential spoilers.

About this time ten years ago, two decade defining “Rom-coms” were released at around the same time and broke a million hearts all over. Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation signified a modern update of the well worn and a change in the taste of cinema-goers. Here were two films rooted in a traditionally mainstream and vacuous genre which forged an original standpoint, which was recognised both in Academy nominations, critic responses and impressive audiences, for films of their budget and size.

To argue then that Her, the new film by Spike Jonze, is an updated amalgamation of those two films shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. In it’s plot and concept, there are clear parallels and influences from those monumental heart-breakers. Her shares Eternal Sunshine’s vaguely sci-fi element; being set in the not too distant future and showing the consequences of utilising modern, semi-fictional, technology as a solution to human relationships, and Lost in Translation’s theorising of latter-aged relationships and stunning cinematography thanks to magical yet alienating Tokyo, which here is a perpetually sun-drenched and bleached out Los Angeles, occasionally stood in for by Shanghai.

But aside from that, Spike Jonze also has a fairly personal connection to both those films, which almost certainly has influenced the production of Her. This was Jonze’s first largely solo-penned film (more on that later), but he has also spoken openly about taking influence from his long term collaborator Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) for his writing on Eternal Sunshine and Synecdoche, New York.

As for his relationship with Lost in Translation, well that much is painfully clear. Many speculated that Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson; another connection)’s husband John (Giovanni Ribisi) was based on Jonze, as the film was shot and released shortly after his divorce with director Sofia Coppola. While Coppola denies this, the themes of unsatisfied love cannot be ignored in her film, or indeed Jonze’s.

For Her largely follows the same lineage of unresolved love as those two, and manages to bring “their” themes of alienated individuals in modern-day metropolises into one film. Central to Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Pheonix)’s motives in Her is his inability to come to terms with his divorce to childhood sweetheart Catherine (an ice cold Rooney Mara), and finds escapism in a new Operating System which, for a while at least, fulfils his every need. This is consistent with Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet)’s treacherous and vengeful deleting of each other from their memories only to repeat the cycle, and Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Johansson)’s mutual love fuelled by their frustrations with their respective partners. In both examples, through memory erasing techniques and flânerie to strange and distant, modern, cities, the characters are unsatisfied and unsure of themselves, literally lost in their fallible human relationships.

Jonze’s Her however goes one step further, perhaps as it has the benefit of hindsight of ten years on Kaufman and Coppola’s scripts, but ultimately it successfully fully explores this “modern love story” to such a full potential that it questions the human condition itself. Because although Her central conceit is one involving man falling in love with a computer, Jonze dares us, through his own personal experiences and inspiration, to question all “loving” relationships.

Much of what makes Her a fascinating narrative is what is happening on the periphery of the frame, which connects to Tokyo in Lost in Translation. While that is a present day text, Tokyo is one of the most brutally technologically advanced cities in the world, something Bob and Charlotte are reminded at every turn as they immerse themselves but never really connect with their surroundings. Here, near-future LA has advanced to the point where the metropolis is largely uniform, hence why Shanghai can easily supplement it for certain scenes. The modifications to the city’s landscape, apartment and it’s inhabitants’ fashion tastes are constantly present, but given the majority of those on screen would rather be looking at their phones, an all too familiar image, it’s easy to miss these little touches.

‘Love’ as unrealistic

There is a key line about 2/3rds through Her delivered by Theodore’s friend and neighbour Amy (Adams) in which she states:

“Falling in love is a crazy thing to do. It’s kind of like a form of socially acceptable insanity.”

This will ring true to anyone who’s been invested and disappointed by love (i.e: everyone at some point in their lives) but it’s a crucial moment in the film. Here is the first moment Theo realises he shares Amy’s disappointment, having now both had their human relationships dissolved and are finding comfort in technological alternatives (Amy also uses the OS system but is simply “close friends” with hers’) and begins the eventual move to the film’s climax.

Amy’s assertion is important because it realises that the act of “falling in love” is a socially accepted, indeed, encouraged, act which is almost expected of us as humans, but also acknowledges that it is essentially a fallacious type of “insanity”. The fact that in the film’s near-future world, love has progressed to the stage of loving inanimate objects is pre-supposed as a new normal, shows that these flawed humans in society are adapting and evolving just as much as the OS system does, despite being at rapidly different rates.

This idea drives the central relationship of Theodore and his Operating System “Samantha” and therefore the film’s ironic title. Throughout, Theodore is consistently shown as a deeply flawed individual, but his endearing charm is what keeps him relatable and human. In many ways, Jonze employs the typically novelistic “unreliable focaliser” trope with Theodore, an incredibly difficult thing to capture on film, as he is a man who right up until the final scene of the film is a man who is deeply lacking in emotional engagement.

From the film’s opening, we see Theodore’s expressing this lack; constantly having flashbacks of his estranged wife, failing to recognise the irony in writing falsified, meaningless love-letters for people who don’t have the time, calling sex-chat lines, and importantly, seeing an advert for the OS system which briefly changes his life. Jonze handles the relationship Theodore has with his computer delicately and masterfully; over the course of the film we get a snap-shot of a typical relationship: introduction > establishing shared interests > flirting > admitting feelings > consummation > honeymoon period > growing apart > dissolution.

Except, none of this really happens in the normal sense. Or at least, as the computer is not a human, but artificially intelligent, it can only engage in ways it has been programmed, which is by the film’s setting so advanced that it actually mimics and evolves every time it interacts with Theodore, or anyone else, until it grows too advanced for it’s master and leaves. So while it may suggest that it’s having “human thoughts and feelings” the only human in this particular relationship is Theodore, which shifts the action significantly to his motives. Anything “Samantha” has learnt and relays to Theodore has been projected onto her by him, initiated by the screening questions the OS asks while Theodore is installing it, like a dating website would today, and otherwise learnt from the 8,316 other people “Samantha” engages with (and 641 it also loves), much as millions upload and share their feelings to social media websites every day.

Jonze makes this distinction of unrealistic love explicitly, but as it is told from the focal point of Theodore’s recently divorced, unrelenting mind, it is easy to miss in the midst of the “love” which “helps” him. Early on in their relationship, “Samantha” explains how she is programmed by thousands of developers and that she

can understand how the limited perspective of an unartificial mind might perceive [Theodore’s confusion] that way. You’ll get used to it.

She tells Theodore this right from the off, but his reaction is to laugh it off, because he clearly attracted and intrigued by her voice in his sorrowful mood. Thus, Theodore and “Samantha’s” conversations increasingly sound like excerpts from his love-letters, because she has consumed and learned them within split-seconds, making her assertions that she can be human as false as the love professed by those who’ve hired Theodore.

As he struggles to come to terms with the dissolution of his marriage, he selfishly believes that a computer could ever really love him, not seeing that, like his love-letters for other people, because he’s unwilling to accept that perhaps he is at fault for the divorce. His ex-wife Catherine is shown to us almost entirely in flashback, and in her only present day scene, quite rightly loses any fondness their distance had created, when he tells her he is in a relationship with his OS. She is unsurprised by it, claiming it’s perfect for Theodore as “Samantha” is the archetypal “unattainable woman” and thus can’t be ruined by his selfishness, as it is largely created by it. Here, Catherine exposes it as a ridiculous concept, but an increasingly understandable one, as humans turn ever-frequently towards technology of a means of self-indulgent escape from other humans, who we will always inevitably disappoint or vice versa.

This links directly to Eternal Sunshine’s Joel, who’s act of bitter revenge in erasing present-day Clementine becomes a tragic mistake when he realises it means erasing all the happy, past memories, only to wake up and begin the cycle again. It is an unrealistic solution but due to man’s fallible nature which he only realises until too late.

'Love’ as flawed, human, mortal and as resolution

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In Her we’re to compare this unreal relationship with Theodore’s nameless (dehumanised) blind date (played by the seemingly omnipresent Olivia Wilde) whom “Samantha” implores he sees before he mentions anything about being sexually unfulfilled. The date starts promisingly but ends dreadfully due to Theodore’s commitment issues and self-imposed emotional scarring, as thoughts of his wife and of “Samantha” rattle around disturbing his mind. When Theodore returns home to “Samantha” he feels sorry for himself and talks about how he just wanted to be sexually fulfilled as a short term solution to his problems leading to “Samantha” dutifully obliging by engaging “sexually” with him. 

Crucially, this cannot continue, partly because it’s unhealthy, but largely as aforementioned, “Samantha” is such an advanced piece of artificial intelligence that is only growing smarter and more powerful to the point that she outgrows simple human interaction. There is an important moment where “Samantha” makes a joke to Theodore and his friends that as humans they’re all going to die, showing how impossible their relationship is.  This is to be compared to Amy’s realisation after her break-up that:

I’ve just come to realize that, we’re only here briefly. And while I’m here, I wanna allow myself joy. So fuck it.

This is what leads to Theodore finally understanding the error of his ways, once “Samantha” and the other OS’s have left, writing the first legitimately endearing letter of the whole narrative to his ex-wife, and taking Amy up to their apartment block’s rooftop to finally gaze upon something other than a computer screen. The final scene is still fairly ironic; rather than some great scene of natural beauty, Theodore and Amy are in fact together taking in the futuristic city-scape which has been omnipresent throughout, like Sofia Coppola’s Tokyo. However it is still an acceptance that while human love may bring disappointments and lack assurances, given we never know what will come, if anything, of theirs or our relationships, it is still a vital part of the human condition and it’s mortality, which makes it a powerful dénouement.

Reaction

It is unsurprising that Her won best screenplay at the Golden Globes, and while it is nominated for 5 Oscars (including best film) it is unlikely to win much different there. In a year where 12 Years a Slave happened, there is potentially no shame in that, but for all of the excellent, semi-autobiographical, writing of Spike Jonze, with help from Charlie Kaufman and Amy Adams (who reportedly help flesh out her character), this would suggest the film is more than the sum of it’s parts. While perhaps due to the nature of a dialogue-heavy film where half the action takes place off screen, it may not be that surprising there has been no actor/actress nominations, it still seems a shame that given the delicate subtleties of the role, neither Joaquin Pheonix or Scarlett Johansson have been given a nod (Adams has a thoroughly deserved one for American Hustle.) Intriguingly, British audiences don’t seem to have taken to Her as uniformly positive as American, reflected in its complete snub from the BAFTAs.

One final point, Her is Academy nominated for Best Original Score, provided by Arcade Fire and their long-time collaborator Owen Pallet (Final Fantasy) and it stands a strong chance of winning. Given all the action and design of the film, it’s possibly easy to miss the beautiful score which is rumbling along underneath, and it is interesting to find out that Arcade Fire’s 'Supersymmetry’ was originally written for this before it appeared as the closing track off of last years’ Reflektor album. The use of soundtrack places Her among these (for lack of a better term) “anti-romcoms” as, aside from being a director who is very experienced in combining music with motion pictures, this feels remarkably similar to Kevin Shields and My Bloody Valentine’s contributions to Coppola’s film (EDIT: or Beck’s to Eternal Sunshine). While their divorce clearly rings true in both films, it is often in much more subtle fashions that their influence on each other becomes apparent.

10 Spoiler Free Reasons to Watch Marvel’s Daredevil
  1. Fabulous acting.  There’s not an actor in the bunch that I haven’t enjoyed, but Charlie Cox is a standout.  Knowing him only from movies like Stardust and a brief appearance in Downton Abbey I was dubious when I heard the casting choice.  I am eating every word of doubt because he’s stand out as Matt Murdock.
  2. Complex and compelling villains.  From street level Russian thugs all the way up to Wilson Fisk himself, I couldn’t help but feel for them.
  3. Badass ladies.  We have in Karen Paige and Claire Temple two ace leading ladies and a supporting cast featuring all sorts of sharp women on both sides.  My favorite has to be the chilling Triad leader working with Fisk.  She may be a little old lady with a cane, but watching her banter Fisk is delightful. 
  4. Predominant characters of color.  Not only is Fisk dealing with a refreshingly international crime syndicate, Claire Temple, a black nurse in the comics and Ben Urich, who gets an incredibly effective racebend, feature heavily in the main plot.  Plus Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer is fabulous as Vanessa, Fisk’s romantic flame.
  5. Subtle connections to the wider MCU.  I was worried it was going to be over the top, but if you miss a few ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ references to rebuilding after the battle of New York and jokes about billionaire superheroes, you could almost forget.
  6. Great action.  It’s gritty and violent and very bloody, but it’s avoidance of high wire stunts in favor of focusing on Matt’s boxing and martial arts training is a great grounding in a universe often dealing with over-the-top superpowers and aliens.
  7. The writing is incredibly tight.  With the exception of a couple of episodes in the middle that are a bit flashback heavy (one for Matt, one for Fisk), the pace hurtles along.  Let’s just say I’m glad this show isn’t airing weekly because there are some doozies at the end of a few episodes.
  8. Levity among the seriousness.  This is very much a gritty realism approach to Daredevil, but with his character it’s really effective.  The show allows for lighter moments, especially between Foggy and Matt and it cuts through a lot of the oppressiveness without feeling heavy handed.
  9. The cinematography is stunning.  The combat is great, the atmosphere is great, and it’s really just arresting to look at.
  10. It is an effective homage to some of the best Daredevil writing while requiring no previous knowledge from it’s viewers.  It so obvious to me as a long-time Daredevil fan that the creators and cast, but it also does a very good job of not being super referential.  Sometimes adaptations rely far too heavily on knowing the source material, but this is not guilty of it. It’s exciting to think that such a good show is going to be many people’s first exposure to one of my favorite heroes.

when you talk about movies you can say stuff like “great script” or “stunning cinematography” to show just how much you like movies and how smart you are you can also say “meticulous pacing” or “uncanny realism”