Platform: A Social Criticism

Blog, Movies

Note: If you haven’t watched Netflix’s Platform then stop! There are spoilers 🙂

After finishing the film Platform, it’s “obvious” the film centered around the dangers of capitalism and human nature. Goreng (Iván Massagué), a young man who voluntarily enters the prison to get his accredited degree, lies at the epicenter of this social criticism piece. This review we will take a deep dive into some film’s central themes.

First, the film opens up with a quote that remains essential throughout the entire film:

“There are three types of people: those at the top, those at the bottom and those who fall.”

The quote parallels life in the prison, aka the “hole.” People at the top are content with where they are. While those at the bottom don’t have the resource to make change.  People throughout this movie fall both literally and figuratively. Some fall to their death when trying to change levels. For Bahart and Goreng, they intentionally choose to descend into the hole in order to make change and send a message to The Administration.

Second, each prisoner is allowed to bring one item. Goreng chooses to bring Don Quixote, a book written during the Spanish Golden Age by Miguel de Cervantes.

This is an odd choice for Goreng. His roommate brings a knife that sharpens itself as he uses it. While another prisoner brings a rope, hoping to climb up levels himself. Both Platform and Don Quixote center stories around feat versus famine.  I don’t want to give too much away, but if you are interested in classic literature, I would definitely give this a read.

Lastly, the confusing ending. What does it all mean?

After Goreng and Baharat ascend 333 levels, they leave a young girl on the Platform as a message to send to the administration.

I don’t know about you but I was hella confused. Did she make it? Is Goreng dead? Is this all just a dream?

When asked if the message reached the administration,  Director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia wrote, “That’s something you should ask society. It’s up to all up to you… it depends on whether we want to remain the most miserable species that have ever set foot on the planet…”

Although his response was grim, allowing the audience to make their own ending gives power to a viewer’s interpretation.

Spoken like a true artist, he further notes,

“As I said before, this is a self-criticism. I don’t feel authorized at all to tell anyone what to do. The film only aspires to explore, not to indoctrinate or to lecture. And, of course, there are many who do what they have to do, but most of us spent the day looking for an excuse.”

Each prisoner entering the “hole” is promised a prize. Whether it is freedom or an accredited diploma these prizes symbolize an individual’s “American Dream.”

As people cling to hope, they soon realize aspirations to reach the top are dramatically inhibited by an oppressive institutionalized system designed to keep them down, sound familiar?

Okay this is Cynical.

The film’s version of humanity is not generous, yet it allows us all to take a step back and ponder about societal inequalities facing us today.

Have a better way to spend your quarantine?

Until next time,

Lauryn 🙂

Have you seen Platform yet? Let me know what you think about it!

If there are any movies you love, let me know! Would love to watch them!!


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Life’s Inverse Relationships: A Review of “The Social Network”

Blog, Movies

The movie The Social Network, written by Aaron Sorkin attempts to portray the story of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. Before becoming the face of data privacy, Mark Zuckerberg was a student at Harvard University who developed one of the greatest inventions of all time: Facebook.

As always, I’d first like to start off my admiring the case. Let’s be honest, the casting director deserves a round of applause. I re-watched this movie for the second time and I forgot how many hotties they casted: Jessie Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, and let’s not forget Justin Timberlake.

This has nothing to do with the cinematic content or value of the film. But, I have a confession. I kind of have a weird obsession crush on Jessie Eisenberg…. I know, I know. But he’s hot. Disagree? I don’t care. HE PLAYS A HOT NERD PEOPLE. For a girl who is on her way to getting her third degree, his character is the best thing since sliced bread. Wait, I’m not eating carbs this week… either way, more for me 😛

ugh, I had to! Maybe I should stop having so many celebrity crushes. Nah, it’s too fun.

ANYWAY

Let’s talk about the actual movie for a hot sec. A couple of observations:

Don’t get me wrong, ultimately I loved the dialogue. However, I felt like I had to watch the opening dialogue between Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) like 30 times just to understand what they were saying. It was one of the moments where I didn’t know if they were speaking English or trying to sound intellectual. Sorkin’s writing embodies a certain level of sophistication. But it is hard to believe that anyone talks like this in real life. Correction, no one talks like this in real life. Overall, the dialogue is corky, unconventional, and surprisingly makes you laugh at times where you feel like you shouldn’t. In other words, it grows on you.

Although Mark Zuckerberg may be the reason your mom posts embarrassing photos of you online, The Social Network describes a deeper inverse relationship that we experience in our lives.

One of my favorite writers is Mark Manson. In his article Why the Best Things in Life Are All Backwards he says,

“Most activities in life do not operate along the linear effort/reward curve because most activities in life are not basic nor mindless. Most activities are complex, mentally and/or emotionally taxing, and require adaptation.

Friendships operate on a diminishing returns curve. Having one friend is vital. Having two is clearly better than one. But having 10 instead of 9 changes little in your life. And having 21 instead of 20 just makes remembering people’s names that much more difficult.”

– Mark Manson

This movie may seem like “yesterday’s news” but there is more than meets the eye. In the film Eduardo Saverin ( Andrew Garfield) gives Zuckerberg money to fund the initial operations of Facebook. Even though Saverin invested the first $1,000 he becomes father removed from Facebook’s development. He ultimately sues the company and settles for an undisclosed amount shortly after.

I don’t think this movie was created to see whether Mark Zuckerberg acted in accordance with his character in the movie. That is another issue. He created one of the greatest inventions of all time. If anyone were to be the CEO of one of the greatest inventions of all-time, you’re going to need more than intelligence. A person of that caliber has an atypical combination of courage, wit and a strong sense of what they want to be in this world.

Despite the movie cutting back and forth between two separate lawsuits, the color palette in this film was warm and inviting. The movie often used grey undertones tones with a hint of the “Facebook” blue. The city of Boston also functions as a perfect backdrop for this corky coming-of-age story.

Overall, this movie was far beyond its time. When Zuckerberg created a social network, his invention developed a platform to build digital connections. But as we strive to “connect” through social media, our relationships become less intimate overtime.

Is this the price we pay for innovation? Exchanging genuine friendships for popularity?

. . . and just to feed your curiosity . . .

Return of the Matrix!!

Blog, Movies

Hello beautiful humans,

Today, Warner Bros. has officially announced that the Keanu Reeves will return for the 4th Matrix.

Literally me right now

This is ground breaking!! I am so excited! As you already know, The Matrix Trilogy has been celebrated since the early 2000s.

And let me reminder you that it will forever be one of the coolest movies of all time.

In school, I remember a group of friends asking me what I wanted to be when I grow up and I honestly said “Trinity.”

Little did I know that being a young adult does not consist of jumping off of buildings, being in love with “THE ONE” and having a closet filled with endless amounts of black leather.

At least I can pay my cellphone bill…

Not to mention, this is one of the most iconic scenes in movie history.

BTW: If you didn’t do this while playing dodge ball, during water ballon fights or playing with NERF guns, then who are you?

Was I the only one that started bending metal spoons in restaurants? I felt pretty cool about this until the manager came around and told me that it wasn’t the Matrix and spoons cost money.

To this day, my mother believes I have no table manners…

To make this day even more spectacular, it is rumored that the Matrix reboot will include my man Michael B. Jordan.

sup.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store!! More news to come, and if you hear anything then PLEASE let me know.

In the meantime…I will search the internet for a black leather outfit. . .

Couple Goals


I’ve been at “The Firm”

Blog, Law and Entertainment, Movies

It’s been a long time. Sorry. Let me first begin by saying that there were certain life activities that have kept me away from this blog (law school). But. . . I am back and better than ever!!

You know, Johann Sebastian Bach the German composer and musician?

Well, not better than ever. This is the best it’s going to get.

Life Update: I survived the first year of law school. Which isn’t easy. You think your life is going to like:

However, it’s more like…

Next thing you know, every human interaction is a chance to tell everyone how difficult law school is…

Now, I plan to use every human interaction to deliver great commentary on movies, shows, and plays. I know what you are thinking…

Yes, I know. But what if I tell you it is more complicated than that.

For example, The Firm, a 1993 thriller starring Tom Cruise and Jeanne Tripplehorn is a shocking tale about Mitch McDeere, a young Harvard Law who gets offered an opportunity of a life time. Recruited by all the top firms in all the top cities, McDeere decides to accept a small firm in Texas. This is no average firm. Warning there are spoilers ahead.

The firm gives him:

  • A fully furnished house
  • New car
  • Phone
  • Bar Exam preparation courses
  • Prestige
  • Happiness

For Mr. McDeere, a brilliant yet broke law student, this is better than a dream come true. Before I move on, can we take a moment to appreciate young Tom Cruise. . .


I’ll teach you about jurisdiction if we change the venue to my place


Wow

Okay…court is now back in session.

What begins as a dream come quickly changes into a living nightmare. The firm is legal counsel to the Mafia and every attorney they’ve hired has died when trying to leave. Luckily, Mr. McDeere uses his good looks intelligence to strategically defeat the firm while still following the law. It’s a tremendous thriller. Made in 1993, The Firm is a movie far beyond its time. A thriller with a sophisticated twist demonstrating how crafty one can be while still following the law.

If you are one of those people who are constantly looking for “the loophole,” you’ll find it in this film. Perfectly captured on film, director Sydney Pollack displays what it truly means to “think like a lawyer.”

To add, the movie has some pretty colorful characters. Holly Hunter plays a risqué yet clever secretary. Gary Busey plays a savvy private investigator. While David Strathairn plays McDeere’s older brother, a man convicted for committing manslaughter. The four characters create an unlikely team, making the audience laugh, cry and stay at the edge of the seat until the very end.

The film leverages on McDeere’s inability to move on from his insecurity. Growing up in a lower economic class, McDeere strived to give his wife the house, car, and stability to create the life they have always wanted. However, McDeere traded his dream for a harsh reality. His salary-driven decision did not make him happier. In fact, it got him into more trouble.

Overall this film was a classic cinematic masterpiece. A must-see for action lovers, thrill-seekers, and intellectuals everywhere. 🙂



‘The Upside’ Review: A Charming Bromance

Blog, Movies

There is an old saying: Opposites attract.

The corky differences between you and another person make any relationship exciting, edgy, and dynamic. It’s true and we all know it. That’s why instead of dating that “nice” person from across the hall, you keep going back to your crazy ex. Not to mention, we all have that one person that makes us think, Hmm we’re an odd pair but hey, it works.  Don’t worry I am not judging you based off your life choices (except your choice to read this blog, which btw thank you). I can also name a couple relationships that were/are a bit odd. But let’s not get too involved in my nonexistent personal life.  

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The Upside, directed by Neil Burger ( Limitless) stars Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston. The story follows Dell, an ex-con who is hired as a life auxiliary for Phillip Lacasse, a man who has been paralyzed from the neck down due to a hang-gliding accident.

We’ve seen this story before. The Upside is a modern remake of The Untouchables, one of the most profitable French-language films in the history of cinema (which, btw, grossed more than 400 million worldwide).

Oh good, now we know the real intentions of this remake: To make just as much money To tell a hart-felt story about life, a tragic disability and friendship.

The Upside is an unconventional film that pulls at your hart-strings (okay I’m done). The two characters are a lovely juxtaposition of personality and perspective that enlivens the relationship. Overall, writer John Hartmere developed a “hart-felt” story suitable for a wide variety of audiences ( I COULDN’T RESIST).

Although the plot line is a bit predictable, Dell and Phillip develop a friendship centered around a mutual interest: music. And no it’s not rap. Instead, Mozart, Giuseppe Verdi, and Aretha Franklin creatively linked these two interesting characters in a charming way. Kevin Hart’s genuine role is a refreshing look into his persona on screen. Job well done.

Some saw it as controversial, an able-bodied man portraying a paraplegic. But Bryan Cranston was brilliant in this role. Hands down. Cranston already showed us his amazing acting skills as Walter White in Breaking Bad. But this role was different. Filled with the complexities of playing a disabled man crippled by his physical and emotional obstacles.

Although their friendship is touching, the film managed to show nothing more than a stereotypical black man showing a millionaire that there is more to life than spending money and hang-gliding. So I guess the lesson is money doesn’t buy happiness? Debatable. Money manages to give Dell a hefty weekly salary, an upscale Manhattan apartment, and the opportunity to repair the relationship with his son and wife.

[Side note, Mark Frieberg, the production designer, did a WONDERFUL job with Phillip’s apartment. It is truly a piece of real estate heaven]

As a life-auxiliary, Dell has the opportunity to change his life, make new friends and discover a passion for opera. I don’t know about you, but after the movie ended the first thing I did was Google “how to be a life auxiliary.”  Although I am not particularly interested in a job centered around changing catheters and giving sponge baths, I would gladly befriend a new person and discover a hidden passion…..while living rent free of course.

On the other hand, maybe I’m really looking for a friend….

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Nah just kidding. I’m looking for free-rent.

When compared to The Untouchables, there are minimal changes made to the storyline. One of the main differences is location. Instead of taking place in Paris, The Upside is shot in New York.

Occasional pop-culture references will make you giggle. While Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston’s chemistry on screen is a true bromance.

Awwwwwwwww
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The Upside:a film filled with life lessons, catheter jokes, and an atypical friendship. It’s a bit odd but hey, it works!


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Glass Movie Review: How M. Night Shyamalan Teaches Us How To Be Our Own Superhero

Blog, Movies

*** warning this review contains a few spoilers about the films Split, Unbreakable and Glass 

Writer/Director M. Night Shyamalan is redefining what it means to be a superhero with an unexpected twist. It’s no surprise that Shyamalan is a fan of developing movies with a shared cinematic universe.  Together, Split, Unbreakable and Glass are the “Eastrail 177” Trilogy. It’s a new story. One that appears to be a psychological thriller but uses elements of a classic superhero movie to study the psyche of three very unique characters.

Bruce Willis is David Dunn in Unbreakable, a story about former football player turned unconventional superhero when he discovers his superhuman strength, invulnerability and the ability to see crimes others have committed simply by touching them. Later, the denouement of Split reveals that Kevin Wendell Crumb, the main antagonist, lives in the same world as David Dunn. 

THE ACTORS 

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Before we get into the storyline let’s talk about the characteristics of the film. Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis were amazing!! But I cannot get over James McAvoy’s performance. OH. MY. GOODNESS.  I don’t know about you, but McAvoy’s ability to play 21 different personalities still gets me EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. Truly a top-rate performance. Homeboy even had a personality that spoke Spanish! Fue incredible y no me lo esperaba. My favorite personalities are Hedwig, Dennis, and Patricia. Dennis acts like he’s the boss. Hedwig’s dialogue is funny and relatable. While Patricia reminds us all that she’s really the HBIC. Although THE BEAST is supposed to give me nightmares, I couldn’t help but notice McAvoy’s abs and biceps. 

Every time he had to take off his shirt to become the beast I was terrified yet intrigued all at the same time….

M O O D
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I love how the film kept the original cast from the movies! That was an amazing detail and really helped tie all the movies together. There was even footage of Unbreakable that was used as a flashback! Once I saw young Bruce Willis on screen I screamed in the movie theater. “YESSSS THIS IS WHAT EVERY MOVIE NEEDS.” The “This” I am referring to is 1) young Bruce Willis <3 and 2) ACTUAL flashbacks.

*Note: I’m a loud movie watcher so if you ever hear someone screaming at a theater, its probably me. 

ROMANTIC INTEREST?!

When Kevin is placed in a mental institution, Casey Cooke, the sole survivor from Split, visits Kevin…and his 24 other personalities. During the visit, there’s a bit of chemistry between Casey and Kevin. Hedwig, one of the other personalities has a crush on Casey so naturally, he doesn’t like this. But to be real, Casey needs to back up off my man James McAvory. With his incredible performances in Split, Wanted and Glass, he’s shaping up to be one of the hottest actors in 2019. SO HANDS OFF.  

Getting touchy there…
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THE BIG TAKE AWAY: Don’t let the haters stop you from doing yo thang. EMBRACE YOUR INNER SUPERHERO

There are four Twists in the film:

  1. Kevin’s dad and David Dunn were on the same Eastrail 177 Train 
  2. Mr. Glass is responsible for the Eastrail 177 explosion, killing Kevin’s father.
  3. Dr. Staple is apart of a secret organization dedicated to eliminating superheroes and villains. 
  4. Kevin and Dunn were never supposed to make it to Osaka Tower


All of these are excellent twists in the film, but I’m going to focus on number 3. 

Dr. Ellie Staple is a psychiatrist that specializes in people who believe they are superheroes. Throughout the entire film, she is trying to convince Mr. Glass, Kevin, and David that they don’t have superpowers. According to her, David Dunn is a man with a heightened sense of intuition. Kevin, although he suffers from DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), does not have the animalistic “BEAST” personality seen in the last moments of Split. 

But she’s wrong. 

We discover that the crazy Mr. Glass was right. They were all superhumans and Dr. Staple reveals that her organization is responsible for destroying these special types of beings. 

The message: believe in yourself and the superhero in you will rise. 

It sounds cliché, but why does it have to be? There are many times where we loose faith in ourselves. People question our character, ideas, identity and worth. In a split second, we have someone else tell us not to believe in ourselves… and sometimes we listen. We spend years developing the strength to be comfortable in our own skin and for what? Just to have some random person or even a close fake friend tell you something otherwise. I started reflecting. I have experienced some “Dr. Staples” in my own life. People who have tried to list some B.S. reasons why I am not super. Wanna know what I think?

Bish I am super. We don’t have to bust through walls, have 24 personalities or even one good personality for that matter. Embrace who you are and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

I know what you are thinking. This is a lot taken from a film. But you know what? I don’t care. You know why? Because this is who I am. And if you read this far obviously you like what I have to say.

(I appreciate you reading btw, you rock).

Moral of this superhero story: Don’t let the haters stop you from doing your thang. 


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Bodyguard: Love in the First 5 Minutes

Blog, TV Shows

Some people believe in love at first sight. Which is valid, I do too. It can be a person’s captivating smile, that twinkle in their eye, or they’re simply giving off the right aura. Whatever that inexplicable attraction may be….I’ve felt it. It happened. Recently. During the first five minutes…of watching Bodyguard on Netflix.

Damn, this show actually makes me want to be a spy. Actually, no correction. This show makes me want to commit a crime that is a threat to national security just so Richard Madden comes to my rescue.

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Ignoring his outstanding good looks and charming accent, it is no surprise Richard Madden received a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a drama series. He perfectly melts into his role throughout the entire pilot.  The show centers around Richard Madden as David Budd, a war veteran who works as a Metropolitan Police Service in the Royalty and Specialist Protection in London. In episode 1, we are quickly exposed to David’s private life. He is captivating. In the first twenty minutes, he calms down a suicide bomber thanks to his striking good looks wit and communication skills. While the next scenes show us he is talking with his ex-wife (Vicky) about their dissolving marriage.

After his successful negotiation with the suicide bomber, David is appointed as the police protection officer for Britain’s Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes). Montague is the definition of HBIC. She’s a stern politician, advocating for British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as increasing government powered surveillance to protect public safety. Julia’s numerous enemies don’t make David’s job any easier. Plus, David’s broken relationship with Vicky makes him extremely emotionally available. UGH, so Julia and David end up having some mad attraction between each other. *rolls eyes out of jealousy

But David experiences his own inner conflicts. He is loyal and devoted to a case that repeatedly places him in life-threatening situations while constantly reminded of traumatic memories, accompanied by emotional and physical stress. The disparity produces a cognitive dissonance, which is why David appears to be so unhappy in the first episode.

Although it’s just the beginning, I’m in love. I found myself glued to every, single, micro-expression that David made throughout the episode. Within the first episode, Bodyguard has proved to be a well-written political thriller that is all-encompassing. The dialogue and cinematic style create a story filled with anticipation that kept me hooked the entire time. I can’t wait to see what happens next.


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