Category Archives: film

[Review] John Was Trying to Contact Aliens (2020): A Documentary Short

The title of the short is very intriguing that I added it to my list a long time prior to its official release. I watched it on Netflix (Turkey) just this morning, realizing it was about 16 minutes long and feeling a little disappointed that it was not a full-length documentary. Let’s get to the gist—I did not like it, and I’ll tell you why. [Note: Heavy spoilers!]

Credits: IMBD via Netflix, colors edited by Hazal’s Camera.

The documentary tells the story of a boy who is adopted by his grandparents upon his parents’ divorce. I do think this part is important because John mentions how his mother was “out of this world” with no more detail, and on the contrary, his grandparents are supportive of his unusual interests. There is also a small detail mentioned that John is gay, which, later finds its place in John’s story. So, John begins to use radio waves and airs cultural music (heavily instrumental selection of Indian, African, Jazz, etc. music) that reaches beyond the moon and towards the infinite space. After about 30 years of research, he quits, and, plot twist happens here: John finds true love.

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[Review] The Godfather Part III (1990): Can the Most Unholy Sins Be Redeemed?

rBVaR1vmbwyAS_3FAANhiAr1qJQ635The Godfather Part III (1990) did significantly better according to both domestic and worldwide box office data ($66,520,529) in comparison to the previously released The Godfather Part II (1974). While Paramount Pictures did not have to try and sell the film to the fanatic movie-goers, the reviews for the film remain dissonant to this day. The author of the 1990 NY Times article is mesmerized by the film; in fact, she claims it was completed by “fascinating threads of continuity”. Members of other websites like Reddit and Rotten Tomatoes would agree The Godfather Part III is the worst one of it all. I’d summarize my experience like this: Another great film packed with death, guilt, and a little more romance this time; however, it is still not as good as the first two productions. I’ll examine the bigger themes and talk about a few logistical mistakes in this article.

Read first,

[Review] The Godfather (1972): An Immigrant Story of Succession

[Review] The Godfather Part II (1974): The Role of Women and Children

 

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Between the Lines (Part II and III): The Off-Screen Transformation of Michael Corleone

The Godfather Part II begins roughly in 1958-1960, and about 20 years pass until the audience sees the Corleone family again in the third film, which begins in 1980. I’ve seen many reviews that felt the characters remained the same during the part of their lives that were unseen, or off-screen. To me, it is the opposite. Connie showed her cunning side a little more, and Kay seemed to have returned back to her free American roots, just as she was before her marriage to Michael. I already talked a bit about the contrast between the two women here; To add, this contrast was a little more exaggerated within the part III film. Continue reading

[Review] The Godfather Part II (1974): The Role of Women and Children

Welcome to the second review of The Godfather trilogy directed by Francis Ford Coppola. If you haven’t already, read the first review here: “[Review] The Godfather (1972): An Immigrant Story of Succession”.

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“I saw a strange thing today. Some rebels were being arrested. One of them pulled the pin on a grenade. He took himself and the captain of the command with him. Now, soldiers are paid to fight; the rebels aren’t.”

“What does that tell you?”

“They could win.”

Becoming The Monster Child: Michael Corleone (Based on Part I & II) 

The Godfather 2 (1974) is a sequel to the groundbreaking first film The Godfather; however, it would be an insult to call it a continuation. The film intertwines the lives of Michael’s father Don Corleone (as Robert De Niro) and his most favored son and heir Michael (as Al Pacino). While the audience watches Michael advancing his position as Don and the respected crime leader, the film is more about Don Vito Corleone’s past and its impact on Michael. [Spoiler ahead] Continue reading

[Review] The Godfather (1972): An Immigrant Story of Succession

Freddie, you’re my older brother.

I love you. But don’t ever take

sides with anybody against the

Family again.”

Summary: A crime drama based in the 1940s New York City, tells the story of an Italian American father transferring power and influence of his mafia business to his son.

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The Italian Mafia Reimagined: Theme of Succession in The Godfather

In the 2019 Fresh Air interview by NPR’s Terry Gross, the writer and director Francis Ford Coppola travels back in time and talks about the small but crucial decisions he had to make when shooting The Godfather. While answering questions for what is classified as a crime film, Coppola says all aspects of the production had to support the theme of succession. “I would always know that as long as I was telling the story of the succession of – there was a king, and he had three sons.” says Coppola during the conversation. Indeed, The Godfather is a reflection of the collective Italian culture and their togetherness under one patriarchal roof—that is Don Corleone (as portrayed by Marlon Brando). Despite the clashing personalities of his sons, there are barely any arguments about the (then unstable) future of the family between those who enter and exit Don Corleone’s office, which appears in the film several times. Thus, the peace of the family is secured under whoever becomes the leader of the family business and has a duty for the wellbeing of all. Continue reading

April 2020 Book, TV, and Film Roundup

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Staying home, fasting for Ramadan, and moving very little limited by the square inches of my apartment turned me into a lazy person. As a result, I came to consume media at the fastest rate humanly possible while knitting. The roundup this month is an extensive one, and even with saying that I do not think it reflects the real amount of media I consumed; there is more to it than what is written here! The good news is that I kept the roundup short this time, and this has no direct relation to my newly adopted habit of laziness. Cheers!

Other April 2020 Blog Entries

February – March 2020 Book Roundup: The Self-Isolation Edition

Top 10 Podcasts of 2020: The Next Generation Radio to Fix Your Pandemic Blues

The Shelf

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (2007)

The author Díaz begins by taking a well-known storyline, the fat sci-fi obsessed boy who should not have any hope in life, and he makes this boy a hopeless romantic Dominican. There is an explanation for his uncool, no girlfriend type life—he is a victim of the family fukú (which means a curse). While the first few chapters introduce Oscar, the fat kid, Díaz decides the best way to explain his eternal damnation is through observing the family history as well as the political history of the Dominican Republic (DR) which the reader can follow through the footnotes. In fact, the author could have easily added another 150 pages to the book if he expanded on these notes about the Trujillo ruling. (I share similar feelings because I was born in a developing country; I appreciated his laments that may seem out of nowhere to some readers). Continue reading

January 2020 Book, TV, and Film Roundup

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It’s been a minute since the last time I did one of these roundups. So, I decided to welcome February with one! Now that I am a person who has the occasional free time, I get to write a little more. I still have an academic project I am aiming to finish within the next month so, I will juggle between that and the blog. Continue reading

[Underrated Mondays]: The Zodiac (2007)

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There is a new section on the blog: Underrated Mondays. In this section, I will review movies that are filmed between the years 2000 and 2010, and that I think are underrated. For the sake of clarification, movies that make it to this section will be ones that do not double their budgets (reflected as ‘gross box office data’). I expect to update this section twice: the first and third Mondays of the month.

“It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest, because man is the most dangerous animal of all.”

The first film that has the honor to start this section is The Zodiac (2007) directed by David Fincher. Despite its intriguing topic and hall of fame cast, it barely surpassed its budget of 65M USD, grossing 84.8M in the box offices. It is fairly surprising that this film did not gather greater public attention. Nonetheless, here is my limited critique of the film—do not let it blow you off; it is a film guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Zodiac is a film based on the true crimes of a Bay Area killer, active between the 1960s and 1970s who is known as the zodiac killer. For nearly five decades the police were not able to identify the killer. What makes the film so interesting is its loyalty to the real events, as well as its well-crafted ending. While much of the public criticism was due to the unsatisfactory ending that does not reveal the status of the killer, I would argue that it only places information on a fair ground in terms of storytelling—Afterall, how fair would it be to project a success that the police, reporters, and victims were not able to experience for your at-home entertainment? Continue reading

“Batwoman is the best in the franchise”: Holly Dale on Filmmaking as a Female, Director-Actor Chemistry, and the Rise of Batwoman

At a time that builds upon the momentum of movements like Me Too and LGBTQ Pride, female filmmakers are finally starting to get the recognition they have always deserved. Holly Dale, the award-winning director, producer, writer and editor(!), gets up from her seat within the audience and faces them as she enters the Vancouver Film Festival’s (VIFF) stage. As her long-time colleague and friend Norma Bailey says proudly, Dale has a perfect record of five plots proposed, and five directed. On top of this, she has directed 200 hours’ worth of screen productions.

You probably already viewed many of Dale’s works: Durham County, Mary Kills People, Flashpoint, Being Erica, Dexter, The Americans, The X-Files, Law & Order True Crime, Limitless, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Falling Skies, are some of the most popular ones. Dale is currently working on the highly anticipated Batwoman (2019) series, in which she is producing and directing. Batwoman aired on CW just last week, and already has the internet people talking! It currently sits at a high 73% on Rotten Tomatoes; however, it has also been a victim of the toxic fan culture because of its nonapologetic characters.

It seems that Dale will gather a lot of attention while the Batwoman debates catch fire. Meanwhile, I had the privilege to attend Dale and Bailey’s masterclass in October and meet her personally. Unlike someone who has so much experience as Dale, she was very humble; she wanted to connect with every single person in the audience. Hence, why she stayed for another hour or so to answer questions and guide aspiring filmmakers in their individual journeys.

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Holly and Norma Kill People

As the moderator and co-director of Mary Kills People, Bailey cheerfully states, she and Dale met at a time when both directors decided to move away from documentary filmmaking and into drama. When filming documentaries, Bailey felt she was exploiting people to do what she creatively wanted to accomplish, and that was to tell stories. On the other hand, documentary filmmaking was never Dale’s intention either. However, through drama, Dale rightfully obtained the title of being an actor’s director; someone who knows how to approach an actor’s needs. Continue reading

September 2019 Book, TV, and Film Roundup

As October is welcomed with its sweet rainy weather, I cozied up at home drinking coffee and watching films. Hence, this roundup is a longer one. Before you get reading, I just want to mention that I may have to stop writing the roundups for the next few months. I am getting closer to my highly anticipated graduation and things have been busy in a nice way. I will, however, keep writing reviews for individual intermedia products that I like.

If you like reading posts like this one, consider getting me a coffee here. I write a lot faster with caffeine.

The Shelf

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Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) by Neil Postman

I have read snippets of Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death numerous times for classes throughout the university. I never had the chance to read the full book until I came across it in a second-hand bookstore this summer. It is a foundational book from Postman, the media theorist, and educator, that takes both Orwell and Huxley’s predictions about the techno-future and shows them under a clear lens for our eyes.

Part I sets up the importance of epistemology; in other words, the information about how media come to our lives is just as important as how we engage with it. There is invaluable information about the history of typography here. Postman wants to make sure we know the difference between how things were, and how things are. While we retained important information then, we get trivial knowledge that is worthy of a few quick seconds now. Hence, the news does not mean anything; people die on TV, and we get over it. In Part II, Postman digs deeper into the social components of our lives and how they are represented on TV. He talks about religious shows that are drained out of their spirituality to entertain a wider audience and keep their attention for long periods, too. He, then, talks about politicians as actors on TV and strongly despises it. He argues, TV strips the political content out of its history and ideology. Lastly, he argues that TV as an education gadget cannot work simply because it lacks interaction. When education becomes an entertainment toy, it stops educating. Continue reading