Tag (Film) Review

This month is May-hem Month (see what Jill did there?!) and we start off with quite the bang. I’m not sure if that’s in a good way either because I am still trying to work out what the fuck happened. So without further ado, let’s get down and dirty with our first May-hem pick!

Tag (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

A girl’s life cascades into chaos as everyone around her suffers a gruesome fate while she herself becomes less and less certain of who she is and what kind of a world she lives in.

TAG-by-Sion-Sono

My Review

WTF was a common phrase running through my head as I watched this. I have little to no understanding of what happened which actually doesn’t matter that much as it adds to the general vibe of what our main character Mitsuko is going through. I’ll try my best to elaborate anyway.

Mitsuko (Reina Triendl) appears to be a sensitive soul, writing poetry and being less abrasive than her classmates (in short, there’s something special about her, bear that it mind). On a school trip, our heroine narrowly escapes a bloody and inexplicable fate. (Like the most creative death scene since Ghost Ship (2002) – it is immense!).

Killer wind, anyone?

Dazed and confused but very much alive, Mitsuko immediately stumbles from the scene of the accident into a (different) school where her peers all seem to recognise her – but she’s got no clue if she’s a student there, who she is, who they are. Bemused by her sudden flakiness, her friends – Aki, Taeko and Sur – make her cut class and they all end up in the woods. Whilst there, Mitsuko outlines what happened on the bus (killer wind, sliced up bodies, all that jazz) – and puts it down to being a bad dream.

This leads to an existential discussion about parallel timelines and alternate worlds lead by Sur (short for ‘Surreal’) – who philosophises that to avoid a horrible fate and set the world back in motion, Misuko just has to do something completely unexpected (honestly, I got lost here but there is a giant crocodile dream sequence which is pretty glorious).

still-tag1

When the girls return to their classrooms, they are torn down by homicidal teachers with machine guns (and I thought Catholic school was heavy). All but Mitsuko are slaughtered where they stand. From here we flip and flop into an exploration of these alternate universes, as Mitsuko becomes Keiko and Izumi (played by different actresses so very confusing). Her alternates are a bride betrothed to a boar headed man (been there) and a marathon runner.

(You with me?) LOL.

Mitsuko keeps on meeting the same group of girlfriends who are either friend or foe in these realities – but they generally end up killed in the most OTT ways imaginable. Always constant however is Aki, who pops up to support or gee up Mitsuko/Keiko/Izumi along the way. At one point she tells Mitsuko that she might be these other two characters in different lives but at the core she will always be Mitsuko.

Aki also explains to Mitsuko that in order to stop the cycle of all her friends being slaughtered in every reality, she needs to die. Later there’s a convoluted thread about all this being a computer game with Mitsuko as the main character, some stolen DNA and a sinister as all fuck shrine to all her dead classmates.

I guess the final point here is, will Mitsuko make the ultimate sacrifice to save her friends?

maxresdefault

My Thoughts

Apart from the gore there isn’t an awful lot to engage me here – which is ludicrous because on paper this is the most me film you can think of. However, I just didn’t connect with it at all. I loved the killings and the fantasy/horror element of everything but the plot is just too incoherent for me to keep up. I’ve read through the Wiki synopsis a few times and I’m still confuddled.

I do like what it’s supposedly saying about the ‘boys club’ and how everything is run by a bunch of sad and pervy little boys and I would have liked more of an exploration of that. It would have been amazing to have seen Mitsuko fuck up the patriarchy – but it is refreshing to watch a movie run by so many females.

In tone it reminds me of a film called The Machine Girl (2008) – which dials up the blood and goo but doesn’t deliver much else. Again, believe me I’m as surprised as anyone that this sub genre doesn’t seem to be for me.

My Rating

Sorry, but 1.5/5.

What did Jill make of this one? Would she leave it outside in the killer wind or follow it through parallel universes for lyfe. Find out here.

Update on Anxiety

My anxiety has been more in check these last couple of weeks since the panic attack but I am definitely feeling more sensitive to certain things. Like, if there are too many people at an event, I’m out thanks. I’ve always been this way to a point (50% introvert, 50% extrovert donchaknow?) but as the nicer weather starts to show its face and large pockets of people congregate all over the place, it fills me with dread. Even if they are all smiley and happy.

I’m not against joy or anything and I love people really, even though I pretend I don’t – but large collectives stress me out. Even at my own events (like I throw those regularly!), I feel like I can’t sufficiently spread my attentions around and get flappy. So I’m feeling a bit angsty lately and fighting the urge to hide away – I say fighting because so far I’m winning, go me.

These kind of introspective periods make me think a lot about what I’m doing with my life and although I’m pretty happy, I’m starting to lose patience with some things and some people. I think I just have to keep reminding myself that I have the power to make changes, however small.

Thankfully it’s the Bank Holiday weekend and I’ve got lots of plan to podcast, watch movies, see good friends and just chill the fuck out, without having to make any big plan yet.

Bring it on.

God’s Own Country (Film) Review

Here at Collab HQ (it’s more of a state of mind than an actual place given that we’re camped on separate continents), we love to devastate ourselves. Sometimes we favour fluff just to get over the utter weep-fests we’ve put ourselves through.

Although this week’s movie might not have had that exact effect on me, it did leave me with a heavy lump in my chest. It was a movie I felt profoundly and I’m so glad we finally got round to it. Thank you Netflix for coming through.

*Spoilers*

God’s Own Country (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Spring. Yorkshire. Young farmer Johnny Saxby numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker for lambing season ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path.

Ct1HY-UXEAAI2RZ

My Review

Johnny (Josh O’Connor) lives with his dad and gran on a cattle farm in Yorkshire. Rural life is fucking tough, his father isn’t that well and Johnny dulls his pain and loneliness with booze and secret liaisons with boys down the local (I feel ya, Johnny). Delivered home puking most nights by furious cab drivers, Johnny’s folks just think he’s irresponsible and don’t understand him at all. This just exacerbates his feeling of isolation and when he does bump into friends from his past, he’s bitter because they’ve moved on and left him behind.

When it becomes apparent that the farm will need more help during lambing season, they hire Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) who quickly becomes a god send, much to Johnny’s irritation. The pair doesn’t hit it off immediately and Johnny burns bridges in the first few days by referring to Gheorghe as ‘gyppo’.

While Gheorghe pretty much just gets on with it, even around the awkward energy between Johnny and his family, he doesn’t take kindly to Johnny’s racist attitude and nips it in the bud quickly. One weekend, away from the farm but very much on farming duties, the boys come head to head and the friction that’s been building between them explodes. What begins with a fight, ends in rough sex in the mud.

After this encounter, the two barely speak about it though there has been an unmistakable shift between them. Later that night, they fuck again, this time with a little more tenderness.

tumblr_oudyi7o6C91ww441wo2_r1_1280

Back at the ranch, the sex continues but it also becomes more than that. Johnny invites his lover to share his bed in the farmhouse but he declines, preferring to stay in the caravan.

As Johnny and Gheorghe get closer, Johnny’s father suffers another stroke and the future of the farm is placed in Johnny’s calloused hands. When he discusses the prospect of Gheorghe staying on and permanently running the farm with him, Gheorghe expresses some concerns, namely living and working together simultaneously.

This sends Johnny into a tailspin and he acts out enough to send Gheorghe packing. Gheorghe also suffers some predjudice in the pub which doesn’t help.

Johnny’s nan Deidre (Gemma Jones) blames him for fucking up again and wonders how they’ll manage now. When Johnny goes to see his father about the future, he’s surprisingly understanding and gives his blessing for Johnny to do what he needs to to be happy – can you guess what that is?

Will Johnny do the right thing and make a success of his future finally? What do you think?

This film is gorgeous to look at but it’s all in the glances our lovers share, in the secret looks and the slightest of gestures. It’s in the loneliness, the isolation and the ache of not being able to be open to who they are – until they can be open with each other and I really felt it all.

The performances are heartfelt, while the pace of the film is quite slow which I didn’t mind. Not once did this feel like a slog and I think there’s a skill in that kind of film making. The movie very subtley addresses the topic of homophobia but more so in the fact that it isn’t talked about and everything has to be secret. While I don’t remember any out and out prejudice, this is only because Johnny’s not out publicly.

It was heart-warming to learn that perhaps Johnny’s family knew more than he thought about his ‘secret’ and that in their own sweet way they just wanted what was best for him. As for Gheorghe, we get little insight into his own life in Romania, something I would have liked but I understand wasn’t strictly necessary.

All in all this is a nice love story that felt authentic – and yes, it almost finished me.

My Rating

4.5/5.

What did my love think of this one? Would she take it down the local for a fumble or toss it out with the cold bath water? Find out here of course.

Motivated May

I am hereby renaming this coming month Motivated May and vow to post at least three times a week for the month.

I have so many book reviews and half-completed drafts in my folder that I’d love to finally publish – plus, it won’t hurt me to have a think about the posts I write for a while. Film reviews are great and I love doing them with Jill but I have more in me, I swear.

In other news, I’ve started a film blog over at Thursday Night at the Movies where I talk solely about films I’ve seen in the cinema. It’s going pretty well and encouraging me to go to the theater as much as possible and see things I might not normally. Have a glance, if you’re into it.

So, a busy month ahead, which is good because I’m never happier than when I’m watching movies, blogging and podcasting.

See you soon!

East Side Sushi (Film) Review

As a die-hard fan of grittier movies, it is sometimes nice just to tune into something gentle and pure. This movie is a marvel in its simple plodding but also evil because now I can’t stop thinking about crispy salmon skin and california rolls.

*Spoilers*

East Side Sushi (2014)

IMDB Synopsis

Single mom Juana can slice and dice anything with great speed and precision. After working at a fruit-vending cart for years, she decides to take a job at a local Japanese restaurant. Intrigued by the food, she learns to make a multitude of sushi on her own. Eventually she attempts to become a sushi chef, but is unable to because she is the ‘wrong’ race and gender.

maxresdefault

My Review

Juana (Diana Elizabeth Torres) hasn’t exactly got it easy as a single mother living in Oakland, Cali. She lives with her widowed pop and daughter in modest surroundings, forever trying to make those pesky ends meet with a series of jobs that amount to little. One of those jobs is running a fruit cart which one evening gets held up at gunpoint.

Majorly fucked off and tired, not only of the injustice of being robbed but also of the shitty part-time hours she’s scrabbling around for at a gym, Juana takes a chance on a Help Wanted sign in the window of a Japanese restaurant, Osaka. Due to her extensive kitchen experience, Mexican Juana is quickly offered an interview but her pop is a little wary of his daughter taking this direction. Why would she want to work with Japanese food? And what will she bring home after her shifts?

Uh, only the best food ever invented, Dad. No biggie.

Regardless of this mild negativity, Juana gets stuck in and finds that she really takes to it like a duck to… a Japanese dish? Juana falls not only in love with the cuisine itself but with the challenge of getting really fucking good at making it. There might even be a spark between her and Aki, the head chef (Yutaka Takeuchi) who is infinitely patient and also pleasingly impressed with everything she does.

02a-east-side-sushi-juana-and-aki

Unfortunately, the restaurants big boss Mr. Yoshida (Roji Oyama) isn’t stoked about Juana having ideas above her station because she is Mexican but I suspect more so because she is a WOMAN. He bans her from being out front, insistent that she was hired to work the kitchen and in the kitchen she will stay, away from the actual sushi cheffing action. Even though she’s bloody good and the restaurant has started serving several of the fusion dishes she has invented.

Nothing Juana says or does will swerve Mr. Yoshida’s traditional way of thinking, even when Aki gets involved. Especially when some of his (male) customers make comments about keeping the restaurant authentic. In the end, Juana loses her cool and quits the job. She also applies to be a finalist on reality TV show Champions of Sushi. Can you see where this is going?

Will our determined young sushi ingénue win the competition and therefore get offered her rightful place behind the sushi bar at Osaka or what? Will she flip one sticky rice covered middle finger up at the patriarchy at the same time?

eastsidesushi1

My Thoughts

Although this movie might not set your world alight, it is a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon and if I’m honest, there was something really satisfying about it. It would definitely fit well into Feminist February because Juana is a dreamy character with an impressive work ethic and a thirst for learning who takes on the stuffy ideals of her boss head on. She doesn’t quit and isn’t afraid to follow her dreams and I frankly loved her for it.

An aside but this film in its themes reminded me a little bit of The Ramen Girl. In it, an American girl (Brittany Murphy) gets stranded in Tokyo and ends up training to be a râmen chef. It’s lovely and I recommend that too. 

Juana is played by the beautiful Diana Elizabeth Torres who brings such a warmth to her character, and although there are no bodices being ripped or sexy times going down in the kitchen, there’s something good and genuine about the chemistry she shares with Aki. You root for them to get it on but it’s all implied and I liked that too. Juana’s true love is being a sushi chef and everything else is secondary.

I did find myself a little bit annoyed by her stubborn father at times but his reluctance to embrace a new culture did lead to the concept of tailoring traditional Japanese dishes to his very Mexican tastes and thus was the secret to Juana’s success.

Good pick, Jill.

East-Side-Sushi-1-Full

My Rating

3.5/5. I’m starving. 

What did Jillian think of this one? Would she order it up by the plate load or sack it on the spot? Find out here.

Weekly Digest

This week I am seriously digging:

atlanta-watching-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600

Atlanta, Season 2

The first season of Atlanta was so good, I feel like I’ve been waiting a life time for it to return. And now Donald Glover and friends (including the amazing Lakeith Stanfield) are back and it’s just as good as ever. Not only is deeply observational, it also has a lot to say about the state of the world, from the point of view of its mainly black cast.

It’s also funny as hell with some of the most off the wall scenarios (particularly episodes 1 (“Alligator Man“) and 6 (“Teddy Perkins“)). One of my favourites so far is episode 5, “Barbershop” which is pure perfection in its simplicity but is written so well and made me cackle all the way through.

06-killing-eve-101.w710.h473.2x

Killing Eve

I’m two episodes into this Phoebe Waller-Bridge co-written thriller and I’m frankly OBSESSED. Starring Sandra Oh, Fiona Shaw and always-flawless Jodie Comer as super-assassin Villanelle it’s already been pretty explosive.

Currently playing on BBC America it’s one of my most favourite current shows and I can’t wait to see how Oh’s Eve Polastri fares in her mission to uncover the identity of the woman knocking off several of the world’s most prolific people. What’s more this all feels very female and while we do meet your usual bullshit male bureaucrats, it’s very much the women who shine here.

Jillian, I think you will LOVE.

12 (26)

This Jumpsuit (Above)

Look at this total babe in her orange kimono sleeved jumpsuit.

I can’t imagine myself looking half as good as this in it, however I still want to swan around in this in the warmer months, a straw bag swinging from one arm and my own statement earrings embellishing my ear lobes.

DWpi-3lXkAAzW0t
Penguin Modern Collection

There are 50 books in the Penguin Modern collection and are only £1 a pop, so you can grab yourself some classics from the greats without breaking a sweat. So far I’ve got:

Fame by Andy Warhol
New York City in 1979 by Kathy Acker
Food by Gertrude Stein
The End by Samuel Beckett
Investigations of a Dog by Franz Kafka
Three Japanese Short Stories by Akutagawa and Others
The Breakthrough by Daphne Du Maurier
The Missing Girl by Shirley Jackson
and The Custard Heart by Dorothy Parker

Not bad for under a tenner, eh? And they look amazing on the bookshelf or in my case, dotted around the flat.

What are you digging this week?

Anxiety 1, Voluptuous 0

I had a panic attack yesterday morning and had to come home from work. I lay down until it passed and then watched The Conjuring with a cup of tea and a banging headache. I’m off again today with the same headache but really it was frightening and I still feel out of sorts.

Even though I have an anxiety disorder, I very rarely have these attacks. I can remember two over the last year and they were scary bastards. This was no different – I felt like I was going to collapse and then I just felt an ominous feeling engulf me, like something really bad was about to happen. I felt like I had to flee and I couldn’t get out of the office quick enough.

Yesterday (and today) are the sunniest days we’ve had all year, everyone’s smiling and showing skin – and I’m home feeling sorry for myself. I know I’m normal but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Can’t I just live?

I feel daily as though there is a war raging inside me, one between the anxious me and the confident me. They’re such polar opposites with such vastly different attitudes and they butt heads constantly. Anxious me wants to break me with the self-doubt it sends coursing through my veins. I will never let her win but sometimes I’m not quick enough and I hear what she’s whispering – “You’re not good enough”, “Nobody likes you”, “You don’t deserve that”… oh, she’s a little cunt alright.

She’ll never get the better of me but sometimes I let her run the show, she is part of me after all. And while this is happening Confident me has a nap, posts Instagram memes and rallies against the patriarchy in her head (the patriarchy is responsible for consumerism and the unrealistic beauty ideals that keep us feeling like we’re never good enough). Confident me tries on jumpsuits and shushes Anxious me when she tells her (me) that I can’t wear that.

I’m tired and I’m feeling sorry for myself. My head hurts and I feel old and crabby. My skin needs moisture, my fringe needs a cut and everyone looks so effortless in the summer sun. I wish I was out there and I’m glad I’m indoors. I want company and I want to be left alone. Like I said, a constant battle, an eternal game of tug-of-war.

This is Not a Wellness Blog

An idiot's journey inwards

Another Millennial Reviewer

Cinema lover, taking it one film at a time.

Thursday Night at the Movies

I’m just a girl, sitting in front of a screen, asking to be wowed

Life, Camera, Action

Film. Food & Drink. Travel. Life.

iScriblr

Life hacks, fashion and beauty tips, celebrity updates, health gyan and profuse knowledge about everything and anything under the sun!

Samantha In London

Travel Blogger turned Londoner

booksandopinions.com

The Book Reviews You Can Trust!

The WordPress.com Blog

(of a woman) curvaceous + the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought

The Book Review Directory

Over 150 Book Reviewer Bloggers Listed

Randall's Review

Laughing through one day at a time..

FINDING GRIZZLY

My Bipolar & BPD Chapter - Passionate about Mental Health Problems being Heard & Understood: Send your Guest Posts to findinggrizzly@gmail.com - Peace and Love xx

More Than Greens

Mostly vegan/always vegetarian food, cruelty-free beauty, travel, and nature.

A Life More Ordinary

the everyday things

Rewind Cinema

A weekly podcast that goes back in time to randomly select movies to discuss.

%d bloggers like this: