#drama

The Immigrant is an artistically-created modern tragedy

Director: James Gray
Writers: James Gray & Richard Menello
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, & Jeremy Renner

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The twenties is a time that has a special place in American history — it is the decade when America experienced economic growth and this subsequently led to higher standards of living, flourishing of culture, and rapid social transformation. This period dubbed as “The Roaring Twenties” cemented the United States’ prominence and had ultimately reified what is known as “the American dream” — the dream that many people in the world still aspire.

At the same time, however, this period also witnessed a drastic downward shift in the social and moral disposition of the American people, epitomized by the yearning to defy the Prohibition and laws which restricted the influx of immigrants into the country. It is in this tumultuous setting that a powerful narrative is breathed into yet another excellent period piece — James Gray’s The Immigrant (2013).

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Hannibal finale recap: It’s a beautiful bloodbath

The most-awaited season finale of NBC’s Hannibal has already aired and after seeing it, I can safely declare it as one of the best I’ve seen in recent television history.

Just like most Hannibal episodes, the finale entitled “Mizumono” started quite slowly. A lot of intimate moments were played with Will Graham at the center. We learned that he pledged his allegiance to both Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Special Agent Jack Crawford.

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Submarine is a subtle charmer

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Director: Richard Ayoade
Screenplay by: Richard Ayoade
Cast: Craign Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Sally Hawkins

I came to know about Submarine because I was (and still am) obsessed with Alex Turner and the Arctic Monkeys. I found out that there was this coming-of-age film with a soundtrack written entirely by Alex Turner during the pre-Suck It And See era; it signified the change in sound Arctic Monkeys was headed towards, from its indie rock garage band roots.

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Game of Thrones recap: She had it coming

I warned you last week, didn’t I?

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With only four episodes left, we expect only the best from Game of Thrones, right? Sure enough, the seventh episode of the show’s fourth season did not disappoint. (more…)

Revisiting life’s heartbreaks in Forrest Gump

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With film adaptations of popular young adult novels coming one after another, we once again experience the two-edged power of the page and of the screen. But there’s more to book-to-screens beyond imaginary worlds, exciting action, and young love. This May, we dig deeper into a favorite theme in literature and film — coming-of-age. Grab some tissue because here are some book-to-screens that would break your hearts and make you cry.


Director: Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: Eric Roth, based on Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
Cast: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field

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We all have regarded Forrest Gump (1994) as the kind of movie to watch with our families on a fine Sunday morning — touching, heartfelt, and inspiring. And much has been said about the film’s heartwarming screenplay and Tom Hanks’ impeccable performance as the iconic protagonist (let the six Oscars speak to you). But a second (or third or fourth) look at this film would make us realize that Forrest’s life is a reminder that life has its fair share of happiness and heartbreaks. Anyway, as what Forrest’s momma always said, “Life [is] like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

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Show to watch out for: Gotham shows the dark history behind the notorious city

Move over, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., another comic book-based tv show is here to shake up the competition.

Fox’s Gotham has been under our radar for quite sometime already but it was not until we’ve watched the newly-released trailer did we become fully convinced that it may be actually be something to watch out for.

The trailer sets off some darkly noir vibes set in the infamous city that’s arguably the most notorious in all of comic universe.

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Wes Anderson’s grandest film yet: Reviewing The Grand Budapest Hotel

Director: Wes Anderson
Screenplay: Wes Anderson
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Tony Revolori, Léa Seydoux

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I remember seeing the music video of Vampire Weekend’s Oxford Comma for the first time and thinking that it was reminiscent of the Wes Anderson aesthetic – the chapters, the way the camera pans from one scene to another for the entire duration of the video, and even the preppy outfits. The message of the song was revealed in the manner by which Wes Anderson would have told an audience of the story of one of his films; perhaps Wes Anderson’s quirky visuals and alternate realities are not just what constitute his approach to filmmaking, but something that has been established as a distinct brand of storytelling. But in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson takes this aesthetic to a whole new level, without sparing the plot of the movie from the revolutionary grandeur he took in his stride.

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Game of Thrones recap: A (purplish) wedding and a funeral

Those who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) books know that King Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell’s nuptial, or the Purple Wedding as it is fondly called by fans, will be one of this season’s highlights. Honestly, I was expecting to see it during the fourth or fifth episode because after the said wedding, the showrunners are left with only few materials to work with for this season. Remember that this season of Game of Thrones is based just on the second half of ASOIAF’s third book and not on its fourth (the fourth and fifth books, I believe, will be told in seasons five and six).

The Purple Wedding being shown in the second episode is tantamount to HBO declaring that there are a lot more to expect this year. So to my fellow fans, we better be prepared for what’s in store for us in the remaining eight episodes.

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And here goes the recap:

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Game of Thrones recap: Arya gets her revenge in the season 4 premiere

The much-hyped fourth season of Game of Thrones is finally here. With legions of fans all over the world, it’s easily the most popular television show at present. But how did the season 4 premiere fare?

Well it didn’t disappoint.

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The episode opened with a two-minute recap of what has happened in the show so far. Well the recap is more like an obituary featuring the show’s most brutal scenes including Ned Starks’ beheading at Balor, the Red Wedding (duh?!) and that time when Jamie’s right hand was cut off.

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What has become of high school stereotypes? Revisiting The Breakfast Club

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Director: John Hughes
Screenplay: John Hughes
Cinematography: Thomas Del Ruth
Cast: Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez

What hasn’t been said about The Breakfast Club? It is the quintessential high school film that effectively translated the inner turmoil of a high school teen into a glorious 97-minute story that everyone can understand and relate to. It is the precursor of teen movies, taking its root in the successful formula: that is to deconstruct the archetypal roles seen in high school. More recent teen movies, such as Pitch Perfect and Easy A, pay homage to this movie, and who can blame them? The glory of the high school movie genre began with The Breakfast Club.

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The premise is simple: five high school students went to school on a Saturday to serve detention, namely Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), the Brain; Andy Clark (Emilio Estevez), the Athlete; Bender (Judd Nelson), the Criminal; Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), the Basket Case; and Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald), the Princess. They are all kept in a room, and considering their different backgrounds (in high school, it was more like a caste system), they didn’t get along with each other so well. The audience is given a glimpse into each one’s quirks, most of which were compatible with their own social labels – nothing surprising there. The dandruff scene is comedy gold. But what made the movie an essential high school movie is how it played with the stereotypes, not just with deconstruction, but also with how one stereotype interacted with another. Locked in one room from 7 AM to 4 PM, will they all come out alive? The alternative of their pulling a Battle Royale might be epic, too, now that I think about it, but what happened in that room, and how they changed each other is more significant.

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