Monthly Archives: March 2016

John Wick (3 Stars)

Probably not a film to be praised about for it’s script of plot line, it is a simple enough storyline. John Wick (Keanu Reeves), is an retired assassin who has just loss his wife. His wife who knew she was dying organises a gift to her grieving husband in the form of a dog. Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen, Theon Greyjoy in a Game of Thrones) sees Wick’s car and offers to buy it. When Wick refuses, Tarasov breaks into his house and steals the car and kills Wick’s dog.

Unbeknown to Tarasov, he didn’t just break into anyone’s house, he broke into the Baba Yaga (The Boogeyman)’s house. Wick comes out of retirement and back his assassin’s ways to seek revenge for the murder of his dog.

The film is gripping and some of the stunts of brilliant. I think Keanu Reeves is very well suited to the film and gives a great performance, maybe because he has so much empathy with his character giving his personal experiences with loss.

It’s not a film to win for screenplay but in terms of all out violence and a good dose of ‘What the Hell’ did he just do! It’s well worth a watch.

 

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Munich (3 Stars)

It’s funny that even when I am taking a break for working on German history I am drawn to German history film topics. Although this film focuses a little more on Israel than Germany. In 1972, The Summer Olympics are held in Germany, during which members of a Palestinian terrorist organisation known as Black September. Walk into a very relaxed Olympics Village and kidnap and eventually massacre 11 members of the Israeli Olympics team in what is known as Operation Iqrit and Biram (which were two Palestinian Christian villages forcibly obtained during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and became part of the State of Israel). The film dramatically shows those events in the opening film.

In revenge for the massacre, Israel launches Operation Wrath of God, under Mossed control. What is surprising is that this is one of Spielberg’s lowest grossing films, one of the reasons for that could be arguably the nature of the topic. It was quite a controversial topic choice, and one which in 2005 had received very little debate of discussion about. Perhaps in somewhere making the film helped bring it out in the open to be discussed. The film itself is interesting and has a lively dialogue throughout and at some points is very white-knuckle interesting. However, I found elements of it quite difficult to follow, and in some areas it became confusing – particularly around the breakdown of the operation.

Elements I particularly liked about this was Eric Bana’s character Avner Kaufman, who is the leader of the operation and his ‘breakdown’ as the operation continues. There are elements of this film I really like and I think it was great, however I don’t think key actors – such as Daniel Craig, were well cast in this film and I don’t think those bad casting decisions bought much to the film.

I thought it was a good and interesting attempt, but it wasn’t brilliant.


Cinderella (3 Stars)

Although a predictable Storyline and one you’ve probably all watched before I did enjoy watching this version of Cinderella. I really like the Brother’s Grimm and I am trying to read them in German at the moment so it is nice to watch them as a film as well. Although largely based on the Children friendly version of the story, this film just breath new life in the beginning of the film – so it is not a rematch of previous films. It also adds new breath with great performances by Cath Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter. It also had some lovely costumes.


Revenger’s Tragedy (1 Star)

 

I found this film weird, complicated and elements of it just left me puzzled. The film is based on Thomas Middleton’s Jacobean play of the same name, written in 1607. The language of this film is true to the original play and is in Middle English. Yet the film itself is set in a modern day if not slightly futuristic setting, which I didn’t think complimented the film at all. There was elements of the film that just didn’t seem to flow or make sense because they were difficult to interpret with the opposing modern vs. traditional spheres of the film. I felt I had to work to hard to understand the film and in doing so elements of the film were very much lost in translation. It was a fair attempt but I think it needed to be either modernised entirely or kept completely traditional.


The Boy Next Door (4 Stars)

This film has a relatively low Rotten Tomato score, which is not unsurprising. I was a little apprehensive about watching it because I didn’t think it would be good. I was pleasantly surprised. Some scenes were chillingly creepy and produced some chills and genuine excitement, which made up for the films shortcomings of average performances and predictable and dull in places storyline. Ryan Guzman was a thoroughly convincing certified weird psychopath with superficial easy to fall for charm.

It is easy to see why this film was overlooked and it isn’t particularly a game changing in it’s genre but for a chill out easy to watch film that is somewhat exciting whilst not regarding you to think to much, it’s a good film worthy of any rainy day.


All Stars 2016: My favorite smoothie recipe! 

Hi. My name is Priscilla and as part of 2016 All Stars I am Emma’s blog today to share with you my favourite smoothie recipe that I make. First, a list of ingredients and a few of their benefits:

Ingredients:

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1 banana – rich in potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure. Good for improving and/ or maintaining blood sugar levels and insulin levels. This is helpful if you are diabetic, or want to avoid unplanned (and usually unhealthy) snacking caused by sudden hunger pangs from the sudden drop of blood sugar levels. Plus they are naturally free from fat! 

1 large pear – high in fiber and low in calories. This helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer without consuming too many calories! Pears are also approximately made up of 84% water, which is good for keeping the digestive system flowing and flushing toxins out.

1 avocado – a super fruit! The Avocado is a naturally nutrient-dense fruit that has nearly 20 kinds of vitamins and minerals in it. On top of that, it contains a lot of healthy monosaturated fatty acids. This helps in improving/ maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and also is thought to help reduce belly fat.

plain yoghurt (half full or low fat) – contains probiotics, calcium, and protein. Probiotics are “good” bacteria and helps to maintain a natural balance of  organisms in the intestines, which of course directly effects your digestive and immune system. Calcium is good for your bone mass, and protein is needed for building muscles. More muscles = higher metabolism rate = higher fat burning rate at resting status. That’s right, just by having more muscles, you burn more fat whilst doing nothing!!! 

low fat cottage cheese – contains a protein and complex B vitamins. Cottage cheese has been very popular in the diet community. This is because you get a lot of protein (which also makes you feel fuller for longer) without so much calorie intake. Cottage cheese is also a cheaper source of protein than meat, so great for the wallet! Complex B vitamins are help our body convert food into fuel.

honey (optional) – raw honey is a fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free way to sweeten up your drink. 

water – …do I need to explain? 😀

Tools needed:

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A blender/ food processor of some sort, a knife, chopping board, a peeler (for the pear), and a cup/container to serve/take the smoothie with you on the go.

You can decide to use a vanilla flavoured yoghurt if you’d like a sweeter taste, but then I would skip the honey. I prefer to use half full or low-fat products instead of no-fat products for a number of reasons. First being that I fat is also good in keeping me fuller for longer. Secondly, a lot of no-fat products have high levels of sodium (salts) and artificial flavouring substances so that the product tastes better. Therefore, I prefer to use less amounts of a “full fat” product (and avoid the artificial stuff and salt) that more amounts of a “no-fat” product.

Method:

There are no measurements because I usually eye-ball everything :D. But let’s say I put in about 1.5 – 2 table spoons of cottage cheese. You put everything in a blender and blend away. What you end up getting is a very thick smoothie. Of course you keep on adding water until you get the consistency you desire. I like my smoothies kinda thick.

You also end up with a large amount of smoothie, so you can refrigerate it, or share with a friend. Because I leave the house early, run around the whole day, and come home late, I don’t always have time to eat or buy something to eat during the day. Therefore I carry about a litre of this with me for the day, and because of the filling nature of the ingredients, it’s enough to sustain me the whole day until I’m home and able to have dinner.

 


Doubt (4 Stars)

After watching Spotlight and being really impressed by the film, I thought I’d look at other films that explore the Catholic Church. I had wanted to see doubt at the time of it’s release but ended up missing it and never got round to seeing it, until now.

The film centres around predominately three characters played by Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. Despite a relatively small class and a lack of complexity to the film in terms of locations and storyline, this film marvels in it’s simplicity. This simplicity allows you to really focus on the relationships of Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep), Father Brendan Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Sister James (Amy Adams) and explores Father Flynn’s relationship with Donald Miller (Joseph Foster). Sister Beauvier seems to take the close nature of the two to be something more than it should be and strives to protect the child. Sister James, at first seeing the good in Father Flynn defends him until her experiences and recollections are altered when discussing them with Sister Beavier.

The extended metaphor of doubt, it sustained throughout the film so there is no clear resolution to the film, which begs the question, what was the relationship between Father Flynn and Donald Miller and was Sister Beauvier right in her suspicions and right to act the way she did.

The film reminds me alot of the song ‘A Thousand Trees’ by the Stereophonics…it only takes one tree to make a thousand matches, it only takes one match to burn a thousand trees.

I can’t help but really feel for sorry for Father Flynn, because I presume it to be innocent until proven guilty and so to tarnish someone’s reputation with only suspicions.