20 March 2018

REVIEW: Jessica Jones Season 2

I do not own any of these images.

Season 2 of the popular Marvel show Jessica Jones recently dropped on Netflix, and it did not disappoint. The television side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is now fully established, with two stellar seasons of Daredevil, season 1 of Jessica Jones, seasons 1 of Luke Cage & Iron Fist (easily the weakest link) and of The Defenders which brought all of the New York 'vigilantes' together. Let's not forget the most recent show to debut, season 1 of The Punisher

Season 2 of Jessica Jones tackles emotional trauma, hard truths and the what makes a hero? question. Instead of focusing on crime fighting action sequences JJ delves into character driven story-telling, giving secondary characters such as Trish, Malcolm & Jeri proper arcs. Each character has an individual story-line with each thread eventually being woven in to the main plot of the season : IGH, the people behind illegal human experimentation of which Jessica was a victim of.

Despite a few halts throughout, overall season 2 of JJ is a success and definitely worth watching. The lead Krysten Ritter still successfully carries the show but the secondary characters receive much more screen time this time round. This season is more relevant than ever following recent cultural & political movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, putting women at the forefront in front and behind the camera. This review contains very minor spoilers!

  • Character driven storytelling
As I mentioned previously this season is widely character driven. Each character is battling their inner demons, whether it be emotional trauma, a recent life changing health diagnosis or an unhealthy ambition. As each individual confronts their situation we begin to understand their strengths & weaknesses and how either one can be used against them. As the show progresses each character arc slowly entwines with the main plot of the season: IGH.

Jessica's past comes back to haunt her as she is forced to confront her situation. She's an alcoholic with powers, and following the events of the previous season Jessica fears that she will become an unstable murderer who uses her powers for evil (repeating 'That's not me' when she is mistakenly arrested for a gruesome crime). This season we see her grow, we see her struggle to move forward and come to terms with her self-imposed isolation, and we see how she deals with this emotional trauma. Jessica reflects on her self-loathing and her past, and the last sequence of the season reflects this growth and paves the way towards a (hopefully) brighter future. Krysten Ritter truly shines in this role, she is the driving force of the show; I'm struggling to put in to words the brilliance of her interpretation of Jessica Jones, so here are some quotes that articulate my thoughts so brilliantly:

“Season 2 of ‘Marvel’s Jessica Jones’ does all it needs to — which is to say, it brings Ritter’s fantastic interpretation of Jessica Jones back to TV, with every ounce of shadowed malice and explosive desire on display. Ritter’s Jessica is a gender-bending mishmash of noir character traits — femme fatale and hardboiled detective rolled into one.” - Sonia Saraiya, Variety

“Another actor might find these obstacles insurmountable, but like her character, Ritter clears them in a superhuman bound. Even when the story has ground to another halt, you won’t want to take your eyes off the screen … Although it stumbles in the darkness that it goes to great lengths to establish, ‘Jessica Jones’s’ second season sheds light on societal ills while also lighting a way out for its protagonist.” - Danette Chavez, The A.V Club


18 March 2018

What makes Peaky Blinders so compelling?

*We do not own any of these images*

It's taken me so long to get a few words together regarding the forth season of Peaky Blinders. Every time I opened this draft my mind just went blank. Which aspect of this show should I even focus on when all of it is so wonderfully crafted? Just as I told Joe Cole last summer, Peaky Blinders is simply one of the best shows out there. The writing, directing, cinematography, female characters- I mean the whole thing is fantastic. As a film graduate it is so satisfying to watch. Peaky Blinders is a stellar example of great film-making in a television format.
This general spoiler-free review will touch upon several elements of the show and explain why it is, in my opinion, such a success.


13 March 2018

Taupo NZ in 35mm - Backpacking vlog #7

Our time in Taupo was possibly the most eventful and memorable stop of our entire New Zealand backpacking trip! It included one of the big NZ bucket list items: the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a 20km hike over an active volcano, as well as the Maori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupo. Our Kiwi Experience bus dropped us off at the Base hostel, which was possibly the worst one of our entire trip due to our room being directly above a loud bar (and no hot water after the hike) but luckily we had great roommates we got only really well with. Read our previous Taupo post here!

I couldn't be happier with these film pictures, we were fortunate enough to have beautiful clear skies the afternoon we went on the boat trip to see the carvings. We booked the boat ride with the Kiwi Experience Bus, it included free pizza and music - it was a lovely, laid-back afternoon spent in good company and would definitely recommend it. Watching the sunset from the deck of the boat, wrapped up in a warm poncho and listening to music was such a wonderful experience! Our Kiwi Experience bus also stopped at Huka Falls for a short while on our way to Taupo.

Notre stop dans la ville de Taupo en Nouvelle-Zélande fut riche en événements, tels que le crossing Tongariro (un randonnée de 20km sur un volcan) et un petit séjour en bateau sur Lake Taupo afin de voir les sculptures Maori. Ces deux activités faisaient partie de notre 'bucket-list' au NZ. Notre bus Kiwi Expérience nous a déposé à l’auberge de jeunesse, qui malheureusement était le pire de toute notre voyage car il se situait au-dessus d'un bar bruyant (et parce-qu'il n'y avait pas d'eau chaude quand on est revenu de notre randonnée) mais nos colocataires étaient vraiment superbes ce qui a énormément amélioré notre visite. Je suis très satisfaite de ces photos argentiques, nous étions très chanceux avec le temps en ce qui concerne le petit séjour en bateau. L'activité bateau était organisée avec le bus, et comprenait du pizza gratuit et de la musique, ce qui a créé un atmosphère très agréable surtout avec le coucher du soleil. Avant d'arriver à Taupo notre bus s'est aussi arrêté aux chutes Huka Falls.

Sadly we didn't have good weather for the Tongariro Crossing (understatement). A shuttle bus picked us up from the hostel at 6am, dropping us off at the start of the hiking track two hours later. We had really bad weather for the hike and sadly didn't see any of the stunning volcanic landscape, not even Mount Ngauruhoe or the Emerauld Lakes - instead we had a near-death experience crawling on our hands and knees while the wind, rain & snow battered us! In the vlog I managed to film a fair bit of the first 2 hours (the entire hike usually takes 6-8 hours) before the weather & terrain got too dangerous for me to use my phone or camera. 

Malheureusement c'était pas le cas le lendemain. Un bus est venu nous chercher à 6 heures du matin, nous déposant 2 heures plus tard au pied du volcan pour la randonnée. Le temps était vraiment, vraiment mauvais cette journée là, nous avons même pas vu le fameux Mount Ngauruhoe ni les lacs - pour résumer, on marchait sur quatres pattes pendant que le vent, la pluie et la neige nous frappait de chaque côté, notre vision très pauvre à cause de la brume! Dans le vlog j'ai réussi à filmer les deux premières heures de la randonnée (elle dure entre 6-8h) mais les intempéries et le terrain dangereux m'ont empêché de filmer le reste, je pouvais même pas sortir mon portable de ma poche!

Needless to say it was a very scary experience, but we survived it and now we can officially say we hiked an active volcano! If you can imagine 4 of us squatting, locking arms in a line as we descended a slope against the wind, trekking through snow and ice... It was definitely an unforgettable experience that I'm glad I did. It wasn't all bad, the views we did see were truly beautiful, and technically we were hiking through Mordor (Mount Ngauruhoe was used for Mount Doom in LOTR!) which is pretty darn cool. If you do a quick Insta or google search of the Tongariro Crossing, you will see what a breathtaking, stunning landscape it is, it's considered as one of the best day hikes in the world - IF the weather is clear. In the vlog you can see how misty it was when we did it. I would only suggest doing it if you are guaranteed clear skies, and if you are confident in your physical capabilities. I am glad I did it, and I couldn't have done it without the two amazing ladies travelling with us! And we completed it in just under 6 hours, which is pretty impressive considering over half of our shuttle bus had turned around due to the weather. The track was actually closed the following 2 days due to the poor conditions, and sadly we learnt a few days after our hike that a man had lost his life doing the crossing (the same day we did it) and was only found 2 days later.

On our way to River Valley (that you will see in the following vlog!) our bus actually stopped for a short while outside the Tongariro National Park where we were able to admire the stunning Mount Ngauruhoe from afar. Read our blog post about the crossing here ! Please let us know what you think of the vlogs, any kind of feedback is welcome!

Même si c'était une expérience de mort imminente, nous l'avons survécu et maintenant on peut dire qu'on a traversé Mordor! (Le Mount Ngauruhoe a été utilisé dans le tournage des Seigneur des Anneaux pour Mount Doom) Malgré la peur que j'ai ressentie pendant cette expérience c'était quand même quelque chose d'inoubliable, et je suis fière de l'avoir fait! Si vous faites une petite recherche sur google vous pourrez voir la beauté de ce lieu, c'est vraiment dommage qu'on a pas pu voir grand chose à cause de la brume mais c'est vraiment un endroit magnifique. Si vous souhaitez le faire un jour, pensez bien à vérifier la météo et faites-le seulement si vous vous sentez à l'aise dans vos capacités physiques! On a appris quelques jours plus tard qu'un homme est mort pendant la randonnée (il était là le même jour que nous) et ils l'ont retrouvé 2 jours plus tard à cause des intempéries.
Quand on est remonté dans le bus quelques jours plus tard, il s'est arrêté dans le parc du Tongariro où l'on a pu voir le Mount Ngauruhoe de loin! (A voir dans le prochain vlog) Voir nos articles précédents ici !

Summer x


12 March 2018

A few words on Black Panther

*We do not own any of these images*

I'll keep this review short and sweet. I nearly didn't post anything at all regarding Black Panther because I don't think I'm the best person to discuss it. Not that it didn't impact me (it DID) but because it will have had a greater impact on someone who sees themselves represented on screen like never before in the history of mainstream Cinema. Their words matter more than mine and the attention should be focused on the impact Black Panther has had on people who have been and continue to be marginalized today. That being said I think that any positive words on this film would be beneficial and as a film critic I felt it was important for me to inform others on why this film is so significant. Before I begin I just want to say that I would highly recommend watching interviews of the cast on YouTube and reading articles/reviews by POC whom have been truly impacted by this Historic film.

Black Panther is not just about entertainment or the MCU: it represents a monumental shift in Cinema. It's about the long-awaited celebration of Black Culture. It's about representation, the on-going consequences of colonisation, slavery, racism - it's important, it's educational. Simple as that.

Je n’ai presque rien écrit du tout sur le sujet de Black Panther puisqu’à mon avis je ne suis pas la bonne personne pour en discuter. C’est pas pour dire que ce film ne m’a pas inspiré (justement il m’a beaucoup inspiré !) mais parce que ce film aurait eu un impact plus important sur quelqu’un qui se voit représenté dans le film comme jamais avant dans l’Histoire du Cinéma ‘mainstream’. Leurs mots sont plus importants que les miens et le media devrait se fixer sur l’effet ce film a eu sur ceux qui ont été marginalisé dans le passé mais encore aujourd’hui. Ceci étant dit je pense qu’un article positif sur ce film ne serait que bénéficiaire, et en tant que critique je tiens à expliquer pourquoi ce film est tellement important et pourquoi elle porte tant de signification.
Avant de commencer je vous conseille à regarder des interviews du Cast et à lire des articles/revues par des personnes qui ont la peau noire qui ont été fortement touché par ce film.

Black Panther n’est pas qu’un film blockbuster Marvel : il représente un changement dans le Cinéma. Le but de ce film est avant tout de célébrer une culture dit en Anglais-Américain ‘Black Culture’. Le film aborde le sujet du colonialisme et ses conséquences, l’esclavage, le racisme- C’est important et c’est éducatif tout simplement. 

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