Who knew that I’d be back doing movie podcasting as a guest, right?
I love video game podcasting. Its been a fun, new and great adventure. For this episode, my Game Warp co-host Elwood Jones, who is also the host of his own podcast, Mad Bad and Downright Strange Showcase asked me on a second time to talk about a pair of movies in his 1001 cult film list that he aims to work through. The first time is this one HERE, and it was actually how we ended up meeting up and then soon after, started up Game Warp. A nice little story of how friendships happen on blogging and also why I love doing this so much.
On that note, last time we picked a pair of Hong Kong action films. This time around, I wanted something I was familiar with and remained slightly light so we went with a pair of movies that I love to absolute bits, which also gave me the excuse to watch them again and they are Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist and Little Miss Sunshine! Who knew that I missed movie podcasting so much, right? With that said, it was a fun episode to record.
Here it is! (I can’t embed the player for Podomatic somehow so please click on the link to open up the player.)
Netflix A-Z is back! We’re continuing on. Last time, before I left for vacation, we ended on H as in How I Live Now. So far, the Netflix list has been quite a discovery. Not all total winners but all have their charm. I Believe in Unicorns has caught my eye for a while but it sounds rather odd so I haven’t watched it yet. Here is the perfect opportunity!
Let’s check it out!
I Believe in Unicorns (2015)
Director and writer: Leah Meyerhoff
Cast: Natalia Dyer, Peter Vack, Julia Garner, Toni Meyerhoff
A road trip through the stunning and complex landscape of troubled young love.-IMDB
I Believe in Unicorns is an odd film. It is a coming of age tale for a teenage girl, Davina. Davina has had quite the tough life when her mother learned about a disease while she was pregnant with her. As a result, her father also has left the picture. All her life, she has been taking care of her sick mother who can no longer walk. Davina takes selfies of herself a lot and she seems to be unease with herself for the most part. She seems sad about many things. Her joy is to hide away in her imaginary world sometimes through her dreams that features herself as a fairy of sorts that has a unicorn. Or maybe she is the unicorn. Until in the real world, she meets an older guy called Sterling. Right off the bat, as the audience, we already know, Sterling has something. It may be the crowd he is in or the easiness he has of stealing from vending machine or convenience stores. It might be that sly smile or that changing attitude. Many many warning signs. However, at the beginning, Davina falls in love with him and is wrapped up in the beauty and joy of this relationship. Until it starts falling apart…
I Believe in Unicorns takes on a roller coaster ride of looking at various issues of coming of age, mostly in the form of young love, first love (perhaps) and the loss of love. Or even the desire to feel loved. Lots of loving going on. And it shows, there is quite a few making out scenes in here but its done not in revealing way but yet holds the powerful message and dynamic it needs. This movie probably deserves extra viewings. While the real life aspect of it is rather easy to decipher where the story is going, its fantasy parallel with unicorns and Davina as a fairy (or magical creature of some sort finding its wings) create a lot of symbolism. It starts lighthearted in a wonderment and eventually descends into a world of battle. The question I kept asking myself was what is the symbolism of the unicorn? Does it represent first love, or the love she has for Sterling and their relationship, or innocence or simply her naivety or childhood? To really understand this is that we follow Davina who seems to really live in this fantasy world for us to understand her feelings and its how we learn about how she really feels despite her innocent exterior in reality. As the road trip goes on and Davina and Sterling start to fall apart a little, Davina become more vocal about what she wants and how she feels and eventually have a confidence that we didn’t see at the start. What I’m saying is that other than the role being written really well, Natalia Dyer does really well in showing off Davina’s character and development.
I Believe in Unicorns probably isn’t for everyone. Its pretty odd and a little slow and its really reading between the lines. Davina’s character has quite a bit of development as she realizes that running away from her problems and believing that the feeling of first love she had in the first place might be misplaced. Its a lot of realizations. There is something very unique about this movie that makes it not only extremely fitted in the indie scene but also profound and thought-provoking. The parallels breath life into this coming of age between fantasy and reality. When her first love dies, her innocence and naivety seem to leave with it. Watching the process of her growing up and truly being an adult at the end is a very well-written journey. It shows talent not only in the storytelling abilities of the writer-director but also the young star, Natalia Dyer.
I think it is time to check out Stranger Things…
Have you seen I Believe in Unicorns? What did you think?
Check out my contribution for A Timely Blogathon held by MovieRob and Film Grimoire which is going on right now! Head on over and check out the full review of Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong and the other fantasic entries from other bloggers.
A huge thanks to Rob and Anna for putting this together!
This post is the next entry in this month’s A Timely Blogathon being run by Anna of Film Grimoire and myself. This review of Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (2015) is by Kim of Tranquil Dreams
Check out her site which is filled with recipes, podcasts and movie reviews galore!
Tnx for taking part Kim!
Runtime: 78 mins
Director and writer: Emily Ting
Cast: Jamie Chung, Bryan Greenberg, Richard Ng
“An attraction forms when a Chinese American girl visiting Hong Kong for the first time meets an American expat who shows her the way, but timing may not quite be on their side.” – IMDB
Before I start the review, its probably important to mention that there may be a bias on my part. Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong is something that intrigues me. It popped up on Netflix one day and I had heard nothing about it before. Going…
Before I start the review for Park City, I’d like to thank Hannah Rosner, director, writer and actress in this indie film for reaching out to me to watch her debut feature length movie. Honestly, she really made my day. This marks a personal blogging milestone and I’m forever grateful to her for that.
If you frequent Tranquil Dreams, you realize that I have a preference over watching indie films, because of various reasons. Maybe I’m just turning into a film snob. I make fun of myself that way all the time. But thats okay, I like originality and a lot of times, indie films have a little extra something to give. For one, for the most part you can see the passion and all the heart in the final product.
Enough of my babble, lets check out Park City!!
Park City (2013)
Director and co-writer: Hannah Rosner
Cast: Hannah Rosner, Joseph Mireles, Jill Evyn, David Hoffman, Don McManus, C. J. Vana, Mary Birdsong
PARK CITY is a comedy about a group of ambitious young filmmakers who lose their 35mm festival print at a pivotal moment in their career… a few hours before their world premiere at Sundance. An ambitious director (Joey Mireles), a savvy producer (Hannah Rosner), a diva actress (Jill Evyn) and… well, we don’t really know what Dave does (David Hoffman) are trapped together in a Prius as they drive across country to screen their film at the Sundance Film Festival. Once they get there, they’re so distracted by the glitz and glamour of the festival that, to their horror, their only film print goes missing – the night before their screening! Their adventure will test the strength of friendship, morality, and the law. – parkcitythemovie.com
Because this is a little different, I’m going to add the trailer also:
I’ve explained my thoughts on the general genre of comedy before. I personally don’t watch a whole lot of it mostly because its really hard to make me laugh, at least movies have that problem. Most times I would laugh AT the movie and not WITH the movie. I don’t like dumb and/or offensive comedy and it seems that increasingly, that is where things are headed for the genre. I have never actually watched a mockumentary and honestly, I had no idea what to expect. The trailer had me a little on the fence because while I got a few laughs, I wondered how it would pan out. Now, keep in mind that comedy is quite subjective so whatever my feelings are to it, you may feel differently. Its one of those genres which you really need to experience for yourself 🙂
Park City is a fantastic comedy that worked for me. I was laughing a lot. This felt a WAY more enjoyable version of The Hangover. I really didn’t like The Hangover much. This one is along the lines of the experience of The Hangover except before we get to the whole Hangover bit and retracing their memories to find the film that they lost in the countdown of hours left till their premiere is being screened at the Sundance Festival, possibly what could be the most defining moment of their lives. Plus, between sequences, as they recollect the night with certain markers, they hop into a documentary style as they document this Sundance Festival experience, which gives it a little personal touch to it. What makes this experience really fun is that right from the beginning of the movie, we start with the crew heading off on a road trip style to get to Sundance Festival. We get a better idea of who the characters are and just how much they have on the line plus how much it means to them.
That leads me to the second point of what made me enjoy Park City a lot. The characters they have here are really fun. They balance each other out and even with the more serious and responsible Hannah (played by Hannah Rosner), she has some crazy moments too. There’s one scene that is ridiculous and hilarious all at the same time. Thinking about it right now makes me laugh out loud. Their diva Jill is also really amusing to watch because she is a drama queen and a little crazy. She’s out to get a producer but she’s actually pretty naive in her own little way. Even with her whining constantly, all I could do was chuckle a little and it never was annoying to watch. As for the guys, they are the jokester of this one, especially Dave Hoffman’s role. He’s the guy that is just absolutely lost and he’s pretty simple because he just wants to have fun: get drunk and high, you know. Right off the bat, you know he’ll be entertaining as hell to watch. While Joey is an amateur director with a lot of heart, he just wants this to work out but then he’s not exactly really responsible. This crew combined together as they hunt down the film just creates a really good chemistry and balance with urgency and hilarity. They are all just really lovable characters.
Before I get too much and head into spoilers, which I’m trying hard to avoid, I’m going to end with this quickly. One last point to remember as you watch is that Park City is focused on Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Imagine that against getting a hangover, losing your film and having several hours in an unknown city faced with possibly losing your successful future at stake if you don’t find it in time. Keep that in mind as you watch this and watch as this crew takes you on their different shenanigans and encounters. If you can resist falling just a little bit in love with these dynamic characters in Park City, I don’t know what to say to you.
Overall, if you can’t tell, I had a lot of fun with Park City, way more than I expected. The whole mockumentary mixed with racing with time and a lot of funny moments full of what I consider sarcastic humor or just my type of humor at least, that I enjoy worked really well for me. Park City is amusing through and through, full of good jokes and charming characters. I highly recommend it!
**Park City is currently available for download on iTunes.**
Spontaneity is this lovely lovely trait that I sometimes like to let loose. If I was to use one word to describe this Valentine Marathon, it would have to be that. I really just looked at my list and jotted down a bunch of choices and then kind of kept changing an extremely tentative schedule, especially after it just fell behind after the last weekend. Honestly, I was originally going to watch Sense and Sensibility, because the package just arrived from Amazon or Much Ado About Nothing but I wasn’t really in the mood for fancy English so I went for a shorter runtime and a much more up in the air movie that I knew nothing about called Tonight You’re Mine.
Tonight You’re Mine’s original title is “You Instead”. Perhaps you know it as that.
Its an indie romantic comedy of sorts so lets give it a watch! 🙂
TONIGHT YOU’RE MINE (2011)
Director: David Mackenzie
Cast: Luke Treadaway, Natalia Tena, Ruta Gedmintas, Alastair Mackenzie, Matthew Baynton, Rebecca Bronson
T in the Park holds nights of the biggest music festival in Scotland with known and aspiring bands. One of these are big time duo, The Make. As the boys Adam (Luke Treadaway) and Tyko (Matthew Baynton) stop to jam a tune, they are messed with by a upcoming girl band, The Dirty Pinks lead by Morello (Natalia Tena) and her girls. While breaking up their conflict, the security handcuffs them together and disappears in the chaos, leaving them trapped together despite disliking each other. For the next 24 hours, they are tied to each other, taking a glimpse at each other’s life: boyfriend/girlfriend, music, performances, hanging out, etc. Its then they realize that there’s a connection that grows.
Tonight You’re Mine (or You Instead) is an through and through independent romantic comedy. Its story is pretty simple but the feel-good factor is off the charts. Why do I say the story is simple? Well, its your typical boy meets girl, hates each other, spends time together (forcefully) for 24 hours and then connects and falls in love. There is always a conflict that happens before they get together. I don’t usually comment on camera but in this one, its what makes it feel extremely indie and makes it feel like an extremely real event happening. The focus sometimes goes off and it emphasizes the mood and atmosphere of the scene they are in. Its not only real but its extremely spontaneous, making this double the fun. Plus, this is following two rock stars so the music helps make this so much fun to watch. I personally love really music-oriented movies so this one worked for me A LOT!
I think a lot of the awesomeness goes out to the cast to put their hearts into this. There was an amazing chemistry and mood set. It was also this witty stuff going on especially when both of the main characters, Morello and Adam both had their own relationship and they needed to get along with each other but they also showed that they both were these incompatible relationships. Although there are some pretty fantastic connection even with these supporting characters playing the boyfriend and girlfriend, the chemistry between Morello and Adam emphasizing their connection brings up a lot of really fun times and there’s even a deeper moment somewhere in there. They are both really colorful characters.
“I need a hug”
Natalia Tena as Morello and Luke Treadaway as Adam just makes you fall in love with them throughout the 80 minutes run time. They go through some performances, breakups and quiet moments. It gives their progress so much awesomeness in every moment. I really have no other words than awesome for this. It just made me feel all awesome, warm, fuzzy, giddy, happy. Its been a while I’ve felt so great after watching a movie. Now, where are these two talented stars? I need to search up their other movies!
Before I recap, this is one of my favorite moments in the movie and thats probably also the turning point in Tonight You’re Mine. Wait for the mash-up to start first at around 1:00.
Overall, Tonight You’re Mine is an amazing indie feel-good romantic comedy. Its gives a refreshing simple story set in a music festival full of awesome music. The colorful leads breath life to their characters, Morello and Adam and their chemistry is absolutely unbeatable. I absolutely highly recommend it! 🙂 Its been a while I’ve felt so passionate about a movie!
I’m so tempted to watch it again tonight but Valentine’s Marathon is still going on and I’m doing this night by night. I can’t wait to add this to my movie collection!!
Have you seen Tonight You’re Mine? Did you like the little clip? Have you seen Natalia Tena and Luke Treadaway in other roles that I should check out?
The second movie in my line-up is not only on the most packed schedule on a personal level but also one that I’ve been anticipating a whole lot. Its this little independent drama called I Origins. Mike Cahill’s first movie after Another Earth, which I totally adored. My review of that one is HERE if you’d like to check it out. Whatever Brit Marling attaches herself to, I’m willing to go see. And then there’s Astrid Berges-Frisbey who I adored in Angels of Sex (review HERE). And its been a while since I’ve seen Michael Pitt and even though the movie Murder by Numbers wasn’t all that great, I still remember Michael Pitt vividly and how I thought he’d turn out to be a fine actor someday (or at least I hoped it would).
I’m getting ahead of myself, how about a little summary before we hit the review (as complicated as it will be to write)?
Director: Mike Cahill
Cast: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Steven Yuen
Ian Gray (Michael Pitt) is a PhD student and a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye. He is ready to prove that God has nothing to do with the creation of life but rather evolution can be controlled by humans. When Karen (Brit Marling) enters into his life as his lab partner, she helps him discover the ambitious way of looking at his research and experiments. At the same time, he is also lead by the mystery of these beautiful eyes that mesmerized him which leads him to Sofi (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), a free-will and spiritual woman. Sofi becomes his first love but also the one that eventually slips away from him. Years later, all his research is questioned when the find a breakthrough of finding the impossible happen, similar iris patterns. Which brings the question: Are the eyes really the windows to our soul?
I Origins has this amazing concept and just like Another Earth, it sets out a lot of questions. Last time was essentially soul search and forgiveness while looking at the possibility of a second chance. This time, its exploring the eye, with the main questions of religious/spiritual beliefs and science. Isn’t that the big question, right? Except there is no reason to be offended by this even if you carry your faith with a certain religion. Mike Cahill is quite a genius, I find, because he explores the stubbornness of believing in science as always finding proof but then looking at whether if it were to be disapproved by religion, or vice versa with religion, whether they would be accepted. What I love about this movie is not even touching these elements but just that, it looks at whether there is a soul and reincarnation. To me, the fact that he can make something so abstract and invisible thing appear in the context of a movie and apply it so efficiently and beautifully, I was totally sold. As with Another Earth, these stories progress slowly and build their momentum to enchant its viewers. Honestly, I really think the enjoyment of this movie requires you to stay open-minded and to fully accept the possibility of anything that can happen.
The best line in the movie goes to (and its in the trailer) when Ian Gray meets a woman helping him out in India and asks him: What would you do if something spiritual disproves your scientific beliefs?
In a way, you can look at I Origins in different phases but each equally passionate for what its trying to say. The first part is an introduction with passionate love story about first love. In this sense, Michael Pitt and Astrid Berges-Frisbey are quite convincing as the really in love couple except I guess, there’s always that question of when their beliefs would get in the way. Sofi is a spiritual girl who believes that they were brought together because she feels like they are connected in a previous life, which is something that Ian obviously does not believe in. As I write this up, I’m starting to see some correlations in the movie that I didn’t even notice the first time around. Except it is undeniable that their love does feel very genuine. Although at times, it seems to brush past maybe just like how a quickly developed romance feels like with all the passion masking our logic, but thats just me overanalyzing, I think. However, we quickly see that the beginning happens as quickly their ending and that part of their relationship is what peaks the turning point of where this movie is going and thats when we fall in the world of possibilities, exploration and just simply thought-provoking area.
I have nothing to say about the cast here honestly but rather if I could, I’d put spoilers and then I’d invite everyone who has seen this to have an intense conversation about I Origins. I think the cast was perfect. The only person I haven’t talked about at this point is Brit Marling. She is a beautiful actress who knows how to dive into these challenging roles of being torn between some intense choices in life. It was that way with Another Earth, same goes to The East and now we have I Origins to add to her list of intriguing movies. Brit Marling’s Karen lights up on the passion of discovering something new shows a bit about her character itself.
I’m out of words for just how impressed I was with I Origins. It was beautiful to watch and it blew my mind. It was about deep issues: life and death, reincarnation, science and religion and especially beliefs and passion. In my opinion, Mike Cahill really went over and beyond with this movie and its amazing to see. I was speechless at the end of this and I offer my standing ovation to him and everyone involved in this movie because its been awhile that I’ve been genuinely and completely in awe with a movie and spent some time thinking about the genius of everything behind it.
Seeing as this was a Canadian premiere, any thoughts on this movie? Anyone thats seen it can please tell me whether you liked it or not? And if you didn’t, could you please explain to me why? If you did, what did you like about it?