‘Disobedience’: Religion and Sexual Repression

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

LGBT storylines in film have become increasingly popular due to its Academy Award winning predecessors Moonlight and Call Me By Your Name and the new drama Disobedience follows in their path.

Set in an Orthodox Jewish community, New York photographer Ronit (Rachel Weisz) goes back home for her Rabbi father’s funeral but finds herself rekindling with her old flame, Esti (Rachel McAdams) – who is also married to their Rabbi childhood friend, David (Alessandro Nivola).

Living in a one-sided relationship is hard enough as it is but when you add the complexity of hiding one’s sexuality. Ronit has the freedom of living however she feels while Esti is trapped in an unaccepting community where everyone knows what goes on behind closed doors.

This relationship was different than the others. Where Call Me By Your Name is more erotic and lustful, Disobedience is sentimental and heartbreaking.

These two women have been in love since their youth but their environment continuously tears them apart and manipulates the way they live. And the way it affected the husband and/or third party is much more meaningful and real.

Along with acting being its strongest quality, the story was just as powerful and special.

Disobedience gave a quintessential look at human feelings, not desires. It’s simple and refined while dealing with the complexities of love and living in a benighted world.


My Rating: 80%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3/4

Story: 3/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

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‘Book Club’ is the Romantic Comedy that Older Viewers Deserve

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

While romantic comedies seem to be limited to the 30 and under crew, there are those few films that connect with an audience that deserves more love than it’s given.

Book Club, starring Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen, offers a new look at the stereotype that the 50+ don’t have sex when four women in a book club reevaluate their love lives after reading 50 Shades of Grey.

Even though this is a regular romantic comedy, it also makes its audience question how we portray older men and women on screen and whether or not the film industry should be tapping into this kind of an audience.

As I walked into the theatre to see this movie, the entire audience was over 50 years old. Of course I’m just speculating there but generally that demographic doesn’t regularly go to the movies unless it’s something that they can relate to.

So why not make films that connect with all audiences?

Book Club challenges the stereotypes that falling in love is restricted to the 20 year olds and allows its viewers to see themselves on-screen with positivity and liveliness.


My Rating: 75%

Acting: 2.8/4

Cinematography: 2.7/4

Story: 3/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4

Penetrating the Interminable Mystery Of ‘Ismael’s Ghosts’

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

2018 has already had a good share of foreign films, when you put Zama and Fantastic Woman (which won Best Foreign Film at the 2018 Oscars) in the mix. It was exciting to see that a French foreign film was coming to theatres as I knew it would have an interesting plot and involve a person named Pierre as all french films inevitably have.

Ismael’s Ghosts ended up becoming very confusing very fast. It was simple, at first, seemingly about a woman named Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her boyfriend of two years, Ismael (Mathieu Amalric), who have to recover from a strange turn of events as Ismael’s presumed dead wife Corletta (Marion Cotillard) shows up at an unexpected time.

The acting was slightly better than mediocre. The actors and actresses were new to me, for the most part. Amalric was previously in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Munich, and Quantum of Solace. Cotillard is a one-time academy award winning actress for La Vie en Rose and also appeared in Inception.

As for the plot, it’s complexity develops into something significantly more mysterious, intense, and confusing. This included a story about Ismael as a director and his movie which ends up being part of the twist at the end. At least, I think it was. It got so complicated at the end that I couldn’t tell if it was a twist or something I was just missing the whole time.

Overall, Ismael’s Ghosts was a fine movie. It was confusing beyond confusing but that was its biggest flaw. Make sure you’re ready, though, because it’s the longest 2 hour and 15 minute film you’ll ever watch. As in, it will feel like you’ve been there for a full year before you leave.


My Rating: 74%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 3.3/4

Story: 2.8/4

Enjoyability: 2.8/4

‘Breaking In’: A New Kind of Movie Mom

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Therese Gardner

Happy Mother’s Day! Today, we celebrate and praise all of the matriarchs in this world which also includes our movie moms. Coming in on time for the holiday is the new action and thriller Breaking In where we live through a mother’s worst fear and realize that they are (literally) unstoppable.

Warning to all moms: don’t see this movie unless you’re stable in your own paranoia.

Breaking In features Gabrielle Union as the dedicated mother who is locked out of a house while three possible killers hold her children hostage. The film wastes no time in getting to this point, as it happens almost 10 minutes in.

Aside from the intensity, let’s talk about how refreshing it is to see a mother single-handedly be the hero. Let’s be real, we all know that if this happened to any other mom then they’d fight until their own last breath, but to have it shown in a film makes you appreciate all of the little things she does for you.

Gabrielle Union pulls off the revenge-driven performance we all hoped for based off of the trailer. Cinema always depicts mothers as fragile, soft-spoken, and gentle. Well, this mom doesn’t mess around. She kicks ass and refuses to be manipulated. Union’s character definitely takes the cake this year as best movie mom.

But, Union herself is one of the only women this year whose acting doesn’t consist of using her sexuality as a weapon. Though it does make for an interesting character, its overplayed. Watching a movie use her actual strength, wits, and motivation as a weapon is a good change that I wish the rest of Hollywood would take notes on and use.

Breaking In is fresh in story and exhilarating in action. It proves that actresses are more than just their stereotypes and that being a mother is more than just its title.

‘Tully’: The Truth About Motherhood

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Let me start out by saying that this movie is easily in my top 3 movies this year and deserves an Academy Award nomination. No other movie has felt so real and candid while still being enjoyable and fun.

Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde, Monster) plays Marlo, a mother of three suffering from severe postpartum depression. Her husband (Ron Livingston) doesn’t do much for the kids, except being the homework helper. Marlo’s rich brother (Mark Duplass) sees just how sleep deprived and exhausted his sister is becoming and recommends a night nanny who can take care of the baby at nights so Marlo can sleep.

At first, Marlo is iffy and uncomfortable with the idea. The thought of having some stranger take care of their newborn baby Mia and leave before they even wake up was strange. They decide not to call the night nanny at first, even though Marlo knows she can’t handle it. Eventually this catches up to her and she calls Tully (Mackenzie Davis), the 26 year old “fun facts for fourth graders” night nanny who is ready to not only care for the baby, but to care for Marlo.

That’s the first part of that movie that I find very meaningful. Tully’s overall philosophy is that she is also taking care of the mother if she’s taking care of the baby. This is because, according to Tully, the newborn Mia’s cells will remain in Marlo’s body for years to come. This makes it so they are one whole, therefore another “baby” Tully is here to take care of.

The acting from each of the characters was absolutely phenomenal. First we have Charlize Theron, who is always phenomenal. This movie was different though. It was extremely easy to notice just how much power and dedication she put into this role to give the “postpartum depression” storyline her all, given its sensitive material.

Mackenzie Davis, who has previously been in Black Mirror, gives us a brilliant portrayal of a “light at the end of the tunnel” type of character that everyone absolutely loves. Neither of these characters (Tully and Marlo) would be quite as appealing if the actresses behind them didn’t know what they were doing.

This was a movie where I didn’t have even the slightest interest to check the time on my phone, or question how long it’s been going. I was genuinely interested in Marlo and Tully’s entire story, beginning to end, and you will too.

Tully teaches love, care, neglect, nourishment, and how it is for some people entering motherhood for their first, second, third, or fourth time. It shows that even already having two kids and another on the way doesn’t mean it needs to be easy, persay. Postpartum can come from any child, and it’s important to have either the husband or somebody caring for you when you’re going through that. Nobody should have to go through that alone.


My Rating: 96%

Acting: 3.9/4

Cinematography: 3.7/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4

‘Veronica’: The Scariest Exorcism You’ll Ever See

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If you’re like me, you may not watch very many foreign horror films or have any interest to, either. Most people don’t watch horror films too often nowadays to begin with (with the obvious exception of Get Out (2017) and A Quiet Place (2018)), much less any foreign ones.

Stumbling across Veronica on Netflix at 1:30 AM was probably the worst decision I’ve ever made. Not because it was bad (it was quite the opposite), but because it was the best scary movie I’ve experienced in years.

15 year old Veronica (played by Sandra Escacena, whose most notable role is now this one) is a typical teenage girl who babysits her younger siblings while mom is at work, has constant teen drama, and wants nothing more than to use a Ouija board during an eclipse with her friends in the basement of her school.

Things escalate from there, as Veronica is possessed by a spirit from the game. Don’t judge a movie by its premise though. Veronica leads you through the events leading up to the allegedly true disaster that happened in one apartment building in Madrid in June of 1991.

Veronica is based on an actual police report about Veronica and her situation which, if you ask me, makes it a million times scarier.

This movie does what most horror movies fail to do. It uses relatively new – but ridiculously talented – actors and actresses, meaningful color schemes, minimal jump scares, and consistent building anxiety to make you cover your eyes out of fear every few minutes.

Maybe you’re the type of person who is in a very “been there, done that” type of mood after seeing so many exorcism movies. There was The Exorcist (1973), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Last Exorcism (2010), and oh so many more. Seriously, you can find about 100 movies just about exorcisms, it’s completely unnecessary. If you’re one of these people, I highly recommend giving Veronica a shot. It isn’t the same old exorcist movie you’ve seen two dozen times. It’s a fresh take on a genre that was holding onto its last breath.

Veronica scares you so much that you want to watch it twice.

With a certified fresh standing on Rotten Tomatoes, Veronica is quickly proving to be a movie that is altering the horror genre. This new genre doesn’t need to have jump scares every few seconds, gallons of blood, and cheap screams. Veronica shows just how genuine a story can be told while still leaving you sleepless.


My Rating: 93%

Acting: 3.9/4

Cinematography: 3.7/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.6/4

Confidence is Sexy in ‘I Feel Pretty’

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Amy Schumer, the comedian we all know and hate, has made another movie. Except this time, instead of trying to get by on outrageous jokes that no one’s laughing at, this film has a message. The message that anyone can be beautiful if they could just see themselves as so.

I Feel Pretty follows Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer), your typical girl who lacks confidence and compares herself to everyone around her. Renee’s lack of confidence in her appearance affects every aspect of her life, including holding her back from her dream job and having any kind of love life. That is until she falls off her bike at SoulCycle, hits her head, and then magically sees herself as the most beautiful girl in the world, even though her appearance hasn’t changed a bit.

I actually don’t hate Amy Schumer as much as everyone else (despite my opening line) and went into this movie really wanting to love it. I did love the message and what they were going for with this one, but it just fell short on execution.

Although there were some pretty funny parts of this movie, I didn’t really find myself dying from laughter like I was during other comedies that have come out this year like Blockers and Game Night. I think the premise of this movie was a lot funnier than the actual lines and comedic timing of the actors.

Also, the story lagged a little bit. There were just points where it got a little too absurd for me. There was also a weird 15 minutes of the movie where Renee started acting very rude to all of her friends and almost cheated on her lovable boyfriend Ethan (Rory Scovel) because she was so full of herself. This just seemed counterintuitive to the message they were trying to send with the film.

Speaking of the message of the film, that was my favorite part of it. The whole idea that all you need to be beautiful is to have confidence in yourself is a very important message to be sending to girls of all ages. I also noticed that unlike pretty much every other thing Schumer has done, there was no vulgarity or nudity in this film giving it a PG-13 rating. I loved this because that meant that girls of all ages could go see this film.

The other thing I loved about this film was the satirical element of it. It uses the classic story of a girl with no confidence who magically becomes beautiful, loses that magic and returns to her old self, but then realizes she can have a great life no matter what she looks like. Except in this film Schumer’s character’s appearance does not change and it’s all in her head. This relays a message not that your life can be great even if you’re ugly, but instead that you have control over how you perceive yourself and your own personal beauty.

The satire is also very well played out in Schumer’s acting where she is clearly intentionally trying to be over the top to show how ridiculous of a notion it is that you can magically become beautiful and all your problems will be solved. This shows that it takes self reflection and acceptance to improve issues related to your self esteem.

This film supplies women with a very powerful message that shows that you are in control of your beauty and your own self perception. I just wish it was executed a little bit better.


My Rating: 72%

Acting: 2.8/4

Cinematography: 2.5/4

Story: 2.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.3/4