Everything I Learned Came From The Television Short Film Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

Everything I Learned Came From The Television is a very unique science fiction short film, that explores the damaging effects of media consumption. There are metaphors that symbolize the media’s influence, whether it be from a friend, or an inaccessible overlord, media will always have this hold on people.

The opening of this film is haunting and powerful, as a song with the title of the film, begins to play. The imagery in this film is quite stunning because of the lighting and shadowing used from the television monitors versus the world outside. We see young Hannah (Brittany Lynn Blanchard) staring at multiple monitors, as she sits on the floor. Her eyes are blank and the static from the television replace her pupils.

It locks you in the moment it begins because of how interesting the visuals are. The story is linear and the concept is intriguing because of how well crafted this film is. However, the concept does get lost in translation, as the dialogue doesn’t quite explain the purpose of Hannah recruiting minions for this ‘cult’. She has been tied to her Protector (Josh Wingate) and wants to be free of this attachment. It was a mental journey for Hannah because she started to understand the underlying issue of her powers.

Everything I Learned Came From The Television has solid visuals, beautiful cinematography and symmetry within the frame. The concept of this short film is really interesting and works well in the current climate. Technology is a beast and it can be perceived differently by other generations. It explores the true state of media consumption through a science fiction tale.

Project Power Review


By: Amanda Guarragi 

Project Power is a jam packed, action film, that explores having unique, superhuman abilities by taking a yellow pill. The powers last for a total of 5 minutes and each pill carries a different power. The streets of New Orleans is crawling with these unpredictable yellow pills, young teenage Robin (Dominique Fishback) and Frank (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a local cop must team up with ex-soldier, Art (Jamie Foxx) to dismantle the group who created the pill. The film, co-directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman is a generic action film, with an interesting story written by Mattson Tomlin.

The concept of this film will remind audiences of the mutant powers in the X-Men, but it is able to change up the superhuman abilities a bit more because of how unpredictable the pill can be. Within 5 minutes of taking the yellow pill, it can affect everyone differently, it could cause death, or they could suffer serious ailments after taking it. It is symbolic for holding power in your hand, whether it is good or bad and it could affect your life within those 5 minutes. Tomlin’s script is really well thought out but the execution is what was lacking for this film.

The cast give great performances and they really carried the film until the very end. Dominique Fishback, Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt all had great chemistry with each other and had very strong backstories that came together nicely. The connection between Robin and Art was interesting because she reminded him of his daughter and the flashbacks to show how he lost her flowed nicely in those scenes they shared. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the undercover cop was such great casting, he was so good in his role and it’s always great to see him in an action film.

The story was really detailed and the information about how the yellow power pill came to fruition, unfolded nicely as the film went on. The issue with the film was the pacing, special effects and the execution of certain actions sequences. The editing was messy to the point where it was hard to understand who was fighting on screen. The different superhuman abilities were also confusing because they never explained how or why each pill was different.

Project Power has strong writing and performances but lacks in executing action scenes that work with the concept. The special effects were pretty mediocre but the ideas that were put in place for these superhuman abilities were commendable. It has the typical action film clichés, some questionable moments regarding political commentary and some choices that will surprise you. It is another original concept from Netflix and that is the important thing because we have to support original films.

Liebster Award Nomination

This morning I woke up to find out, that I was nominated by Film: Uncharted EIF for a Liebster Award. I am truly grateful for the time you have taken to read my reviews and am honoured by the nomination!

Without further ado, the official rules of the competition are as follows:

  1. Thank the nominator in your award post.
  2. Place the award logo somewhere on your blog.
  3. You must state up to 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Complete the questions that your nominator provided.
  5. Nominate as many bloggers as you’d like (11 is the maximum).
  6. Ask your nominees a series of questions (11 is the maximum).

Facts

  1. I consider myself a full Italian, even though I was born and raised in Canada. 
  2. I was a musical theatre junkie growing up and I even starred in stage plays.
  3. I went to a Regional Arts Program in high school for Theatre. 
  4. I have been to Las Vegas and New York over 4 times now.
  5. I am an only child. 
  6. I am an arachnophobe.
  7. The Aviator (2004) was the very first film that made me fall in love with everything that goes into making a film.
  8. I have attended TIFF for the past seven years and each year is better than the last. 
  9. My favourite dish to make is Risotto, love mixing it up a bit.
  10. I fractured my nose when I was 4 and now it’s crooked but you can’t really tell, only I can, which is somehow worse.
  11. Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video still haunts me until this day.

Questions:

1. If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?

I would love to have dinner with Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin because they represent two, very different eras, in the industry and I would love to find out how they coped with the politics during their given period.

2. What would be on the gag reel of your life?

I have fallen way too many times. I think falling of a skateboard or a bike would most definitely be on there. I also think falling from the top bunk bed while playing hide and seek would also be on there for a gag reel.

3. Which fictional character would be the most boring to meet in real life?

I think Harry Potter would be boring in real life. I mean, without all the Voldermort drama, he really is just a dude who does magic and he can’t do magic in front of muggles (assuming I am one), so really, is he all that he’s cracked up to be?

4. If you could read minds, whose would you want to read?

I would love to read Martin Scorsese’s mind. He’s a walking encyclopedia of film knowledge and I think it would be fun to hear his actual thoughts while watching other movies.

5. What problem or situation did TV / movies make you think would be common, but when you grew up you found out it wasn’t?

I think house parties were the biggest myth, I was so disappointed when I got to high school, to find out that it’s mainly just sitting around and talking. It’s actually more awkward than anything they painted it out to be.

6. Do you judge a book by its cover?

I think everyone does at first but then they do attempt to get to know others and that’s what changes their perception of them. Rumours and gossip also tends to ruin the perception as well. I personally don’t, I like to look at things on my own terms and try to assess things from the inside out.

7. What wastes the most time in your day to day life?

Twitter, I’m looking at you.

8. What’s the one food you could never bring yourself to eat?

I have stayed away from horseradish my whole life because I hate the smell.

9. If your life as a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles
Thunderstruck – AC/DC
Independent Women Part. 1 – Destiny’s Child
Love Shack – The B-52s
Giulia – DJ Lhasa
Gloria – Laura Branigan
Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard

10. What terrible movie do you love?

Since Adam Sandler is universally hated for some reason, I’m going to go with Billy Madison (1995), that movie is a classic and I love it so much.

11. If you had to live in a different country, what would it be?

Italia, always.

Nominees:

  1. Eddie Harrison – Film Authority 
  2. Jordan and Eddie – The Movie Guys
  3. Leo – Geekly Goods
  4. Shawn and Todd – Movies Matrix 

Questions: 

  1. Name one film that you would watch on repeat for the rest of your life?
  2. What are your Top 3 Best Picture Winners
  3. Name one film that is critically acclaimed but you just didn’t get the hype?
  4. What was your favourite childhood film?
  5. What is your favourite movie theatre snack?
  6. How many films have you watched in a single day?
  7. What is the one place that you’ve always wanted to travel to?
  8. What are the Top 5 films you would recommend to someone?
  9. What is your go to comfort film?
  10. If you could be in any comedy film, which one would you be in and why?
  11. If you watch one director’s filmography for the rest of your life, whose would you choose?

 

Have fun!

‘The Great’ Review


By: Amanda Guarragi 

The Great is a series, that is based on the play created by Tony McNamara, which focuses on the history of Russian Emperor Peter III and the fearless Catherine the Great. It is a satirical, comedic drama that follows Catherine’s (Elle Fanning) journey as an outsider, as she navigates her way to solidifying her position as a ruler. It is a fictionalized series, that details Catherine’s early twenties and her plot to kill her deranged and sadistic husband. The Great on Hulu is completely unhinged, daring and humorous because of how exaggerated their behaviour is.

It is a series that is so bold with its storytelling because of how honest and vulgar the dialogue is, especially when Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) is speaking. It is a strong piece on the Catherinian  Era that really has not been done before. It is incredibly entertaining, charming and does not shy away from the possibility, that people in that era, would have been just as heinous in their personal lives. It is eye opening because it is believable that the murder, torture and poor treatment of women in the Russian Kingdom, under Emperor Peter III’s rule, would have been that brutal.

the great

Courtesy of Hulu (left) Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning 

The character development for Peter and Catherine, shift immensely from the beginning of the series and it is almost as if they began to pull traits from each other. At the start, Catherine is this love struck, naive, young woman, who is pulled into the authoritative, violent hands of Emperor Peter III. She was taught that love conquers all and that her kind heart will serve her well in this life. She had this romanticized perception of the palace life, until Peter broke her innocence. Catherine’s loss of innocence was probably the most moving aspect about this series because she had to quickly adapt to the situations unfolding around her.

Peter, on the other hand, did not care about anyone else but himself and his narcissism got the best of him. He has a gigantic ego and pleases himself in anyway he can. He does not care for his Kingdom, or his subjects and did absolutely nothing to help his people. He would drink, eat, torture and have affairs with whomever he wanted. Catherine took notice of his unbearable behaviour and any romantic feeling, that could have developed between the two of them, seemed impossible. The sex scenes between Catherine and Peter, were cold, rigid and neither of them felt anything, they went through the motions because it had to be done, in order to conceive an heir.

The first half of the series shows Catherine’s crushing realization, that Peter was not a normal human being. In fact, he is one of the most peculiar characters I have seen on a series in a while. He is so complex, in an obscure way and just when you think he falls into some kind of normalcy, he surprises you. Catherine builds up her power and forges a plan to take down Peter, through her network of people that have sided with her and against the Emperor. Catherine slowly develops the same raw, animalistic and daring traits as Peter, but utilizes them against him. She was cunning and knew that in order to take Peter down, she had to feed his ego and in doing so, she became more powerful than he could ever be.

ctg

Courtesy of Hulu (center) Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great

The humour was also quite refreshing and honest and I think that’s why I fell in love with this series. It is definitely unconventional and Nicholas Hoult gave one of my favourite performances of the year as Emperor Peter III, his line delivery and presence on screen really carried the series and made it so entertaining. The script was filled with dirty one liners and ballsy dialogue, that you normally would not hear in a comedy today. Hoult and Elle Fanning had such powerful chemistry, that with every scene they shared their feelings became more palpable and the closer that their characters got to each other, created more playfulness that resulted in a great finale.

CTG 2

Courtesy of Hulu (left) Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult 

Elle Fanning was a dream as Catherine the Great, she embodied her perfectly and had a fantastic performance alongside Hoult. It was just such a beautiful portrayal because of her journey and her development as a ruler and a woman. She was fearless, ferocious and stopped at nothing to get what she wanted. She perfectly manipulated him with her intelligence, wit and faux naivete that proved she would be the better ruler. The finale was well written and executed so well, that the final shot of Catherine, obviously left me wanting more and thankfully there will be a Season 2.

The Great on Hulu is one of the best series that has come out this year; it is fun, sexy, hilarious and unique, which will leave you wanting more after each episode. The energy from Hoult and Fanning is infectious and their chemistry carries the entire show. The endless cycle of manipulation creates a very entertaining atmosphere for the ensemble and everyone wants to take a jab at Emperor Peter III. It is incredibly binge-worthy, that you will be able to hopefully finish it in one sitting. If you loved this Era of history, then this show is definitely for you!