In the era of Netflix, torrenting and online streaming, watching movies are a common way to wind down at night, but growing up, I remember raiding my local Video Ezy and Blockbuster stores for new release films instead. Maybe that’s why I enjoy seeing movies in theatre, it becomes a little adventure rather than a daily norm. In between final exams, the Taiwan trip, and summer subjects, I found time to see some movies on the big screen. Here are my thoughts…
Your Name: The hype is real, and so are the feels
Whether you’re a self proclaimed otaku, or a reluctant friend of one (in which case you have probably been gently bullied into watching one or all Studio Ghibli masterpieces), or a mysterious case Z that had no idea Japanese animation was even a thing, Your Name is a must. see. movie.
The illustrations and soundtrack are so brilliantly vivid you forget everything is animation, and you begin to wonder what form of sorcery was used to instil real emotions in the pixel characters. You can catch a glimpse of this magic in the trailer, here, (you’re welcome). What that trailer doesn’t prepare you for is the eccentric story line. My advice is to let your imagination flow.
The Edge of Seventeen: Oh em gee it’s an Asian
I’ve spent a quarter of my life subscribed to successful YouTubers like Wong Fu production and Community Channel who have justly criticised the “glass ceiling” met by Asians in the Western media/entertainment industry. Naturally, when I saw the trailer for The Edge of Seventeen, I was ecstatic to see an Asian male playing the lead’s romantic interest.
Behind the unassuming chick-flick genre, The Edge of Seventeen told an evocative story of growth laced with humour and rawness of personal experience. The protagonist, Nadine, can be frustrating at times as it seems most her problems are self-inflicted, however, this makes the win (seeing her mature) all the more rewarding. Movie highlights include Nadine’s conversations with the sassy teacher, and Asian guy’s endearingly awkward character.
La La Land: *jaw drop*
Seven Golden Globe Awards aside, La La Land is a movie for anyone who a) enjoys musicals b) have been waiting for a Ryan x Emma comeback since Crazy Stupid Love and/or c) is looking for an inspiring, feel-good, follow-your-passion kind of movie. I happen to be d) all of the above, and had the pleasure of watching this on New Years Eve with a lovely friend.
I’m sure like many others, I was already bought after watching the trailer. However, as the story unfolded, I became more emotionally invested in Seb and Mia’s life and relationship. Their perseverance and unfaltering support for each other’s passion inspired me to reflect on my upbringing, where ‘practicality’ prevailed over any creative career aspirations. Although I won’t be transferring from Commerce into Fine Arts any time soon, I now see more opportunities to be courageous in the pursuit of my own life goals.
A United Kingdom: How to be human
Unlike other films I had carefully researched before watching, it was an impulse decision to see A United Kingdom. It was also the first movie I ever saw alone, which freed me of probable mental distractions (e.g. “I hope Jenny likes my movie selection”).
This movie follows the true love story of the King of Botswana and a London office worker. Their old school courtship was a welcome digression from the modern day love plight, and even more heartfelt was the King’s love for his nation. In this film you are invited to reflect on racial dogma, how it divides and demeans the human race. And it shows you a love that rises above that. In essence, this story is captivating and will teach us all a lesson on how to be better humans.
Passengers: Crazy CGI
After seeing The Martian in late 2015, which I loved, I was 110% ready to watch another space themed movie. Needless to say, the presence of Jennifer Lawrence (my Hollywood girl crush) was a contributing factor to my anticipation and excitement.
As the story progressed, my high hopes slowly deflated as I was constantly able to predict what would happen next, and characters were born as quick fix solutions. This is disappointing given the setting (futuristic spacepod holding people frozen in time) offered so much scope for a more compelling plot. One thing I loved was the phenomenal sound and production design which crafted mind-blowing realness in the sci-fi technology and serene galactic walks. Almost enough for me to dismiss the unfortunate plot flaws.