Monthly Recap: May 2021

Despite the fact that absolutely nothing has changed in my life to make this change in me, I've been feeling like a whole new person lately. 

I applied for jobs without letting anxiety take over (too much) — I'm still getting rejected over and over again though. I was able to put aside films and TV series and focus more on being creative — which resulted in me writing many story incipits that go nowhere as I never developed anything, but still, I put in the effort to write. And honestly, I forgot how liberating it can be to just write down whatever comes to your mind, even if nothing connects.

And I feel joy in writing on the blog again — despite Google tried their best to make me give it up by randomly deleting a couple of my posts (they are back now but still, that was annoying and it really pissed me off). As if using the new Blogger interface wasn't enough of a struggle already.  

It wasn't all roses though as I slipped back into an old toxic habit of mine, counting calories (actually, I started in mid-April); which at first I used to make sure I wasn't undereating — and I definitely was — but then became an obsession. That, and the fact that I started lifting weights again, fucked my brain up again so of course, I skipped my period last month. I fucking hate being me sometimes. 

I read three books in May and I'm quite ashamed to admit it. John Krakauer's Into the Wild was a very compelling read although it took me a bit to get into it and there were parts that could have and should have been left out of the book. But I guess he just didn't have enough material to transform the article into a novel so he put in there stuff that didn't need to be in there. After 10 years, I picked up again Silvio Pellico's My Ten-Year Imprisonment and managed to finish it. I struggled to get into this one too as first because it's written in 1800s Italian which is pretty weird and doesn't really flow well — and I guess I still remembered those bits from when I tried to read the book in high school and therefore I was bored — but it grew on me and I ended up loving it. I finally read The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor and all I have to say about it is this: if you have a body, read it. I also read one of the books on my 2021 reading list, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cooku's Nest and, you guessed it, I struggled a little with this one too. That said, I still ended up "enjoying" it as a whole. Oh, I also read Thomas Mann's Death in Venice again because why not. 

I struggled a lot to watch season 2 of Ozark but I swear it's not the series, it's me. I love the show but a one-hour long episode is a lot and I ended up watching an episode every now and then when I was in the mood for such a commitment. Season 3 of Master of None came out on the 23rd and I struggled to get through that one too — I love Denise and Alicia is cool, but, as someone who doesn't want kids and doesn't even like kids, I just didn't like that it focuses on pregnancy; they do a great job at showing how hard and consuming the whole IVF process can be. And, of course, I watched Friends: The Reunion which I'm putting here because it's TV-related although it really isn't a series. Anyway, I loved it. It was so emotional right from the start; seeing Matthew like that kind of broke my heart and I wanted to hug him so badly; and seeing all those fans describing what Friends meant to them, it was just beautiful. It could have done without Cara Delavigne and Justin Bieber though. I don't know, maybe they should have used actors from the show. 

Surprisingly, I didn't even watch a lot of movies in May — probably because I spent countless hours watching skincare videos on YouTube (but at least my skin looks better than ever now!).

Yes, God, Yes (2019)

Plot: After an innocent AOL chat turns racy, a Catholic teenager (Natalia Dyer) in the early 00s discovers masturbating and struggles to suppress her new urges in the face of eternal damnation.

I was expecting it to suck, to be honest, but it turned out to be such a fun and charming coming-of-age movie. It could have been executed a little bit better but the short running time helps tremendously here and Natalia Dyer is just lovely in the leading role. Rating: 3,5/5

The Love Witch (2016)

Plot: A modern-day witch (Samantha Robinson) uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her, with deadly consequences.

I fell in love with the film's visuals immediately as it is still gorgeous — the colours are vibrant, the lighting is on point, the vibe in general is just cool — but the story didn't really work for me. I didn't care about it, I didn't care about the characters, and Samantha Robinson's line delivery annoyed me sometimes and I don't even know why. Rating: 2/5

Hellboy (2004)

Plot: A demon (Ron Perlman), raised from infancy after being conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, grows up to become a defender against the forces of darkness.

Baby Hellboy is one of the cutest things I've ever seen (and I don't even like babies) and it was kind of cool to see an early sketch of the amphibian man from The Shape of Water, and I absolutely loved the character and seeing him die made me very sad. The film, on the other hand, started out well but it got boring eventually and I lost interest. Am I falling out of love with comic book movies too now?! Rating: 3/5

Big Fish (2003)

Plot: A frustrated son (Billy Crudup) tries to determine the fact from fiction in his dying father's (Albert Finney) life.

I am going to get a lot of hate for this, but damn what a boring movie! I had very high expectations about this because everyone speaks so highly of it, and it's a Tim Burton movie, and it has Ewan McGregor. But damn, it was boring! And if I knew it all revolved around romance I would have never watched it. Rating: 3/5

The Social Dilemma (2020)

Plot: It explores the dangerous impact of social networks on people both through interviews with people who worked in the business for years and with acted scenes showing how it happens. 

I would have enjoyed this semi-documentary so much more were it only a documentary because the documentary parts are very compelling and well done, but the acted bits are weird and you can tell the actors are faking it. Rating: 3,5/5

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Plot: The true story of Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt), an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama (Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk) at the time of China's takeover of Tibet.

Someone warned me on Twitter that this was going to be very, very boring and they were absolutely right. It's got interesting material and a great cast but did it really have to be so damn boring? I almost fell asleep ffs! Rating: 2/5

The Woman in the Window (2021)

Plot: An agoraphobic woman (Amy Adams) living alone in New York begins spying on her new neighbours, only to witness a disturbing act of violence.

I was quite excited about this film because I enjoyed the novel and it stars Amy Adams, and I was happy Netflix bought it. And of course they bought it, it fits perfectly with their dreadful original movies. The murder scene looks like a cheap horror flick kill, the score doesn't really make sense. Actually, the whole thing doesn't really make sense. The supporting cast is terrible as they deliver their lines with so much sarcasm like they are trying to point out how fake it is. Amy Adams is the only saving grace and, honestly, I feel bad for her. She needs to pick better projects. Rating: 1,5/5

An Education (2009)

Plot: A coming-of-age story about a teenage girl (Carey Mulligan) in 1960s suburban London, and how her life changes with the arrival of a playboy (Peter Sarsgaard) nearly twice her age.

Well, this one was a major disappointment as I've read so many good things about it over the years. I found it interesting at first but as soon as I figured out Sarsgaard's secret I lost interest and it turned into quite a dreadful watch. The cast is great though. Rating: 2,5/5

Clemency (2019)

Plot: As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine (Alfre Woodard) must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates. 

I knew it wasn't going to be great because of the reviews I had read but I wasn't expecting to be so frustrated by it. The problem is that the film has plenty of potential but it is poorly executed. Rating: 2/5

Training Day (2001)

Plot: A rookie cop (Ethan Hawke) spends his first day as a Los Angeles narcotics officer with a rogue detective (Denzel Washington) who isn't what he appears to be.

I never thought I would say this but I don't think I've ever hated a character as much as I hated Denzel's in this. That one is arguably one of the scariest characters ever — he has no redeeming quality whatsoever; he is just pure evil. And Denzel gives a terrific performance that makes the character even more disturbing. The film is also very compelling and Hawke also gives a strong performance. Rating: 3,5/5

12 Monkeys (1995)

Plot: In a future world devastated by disease, a convict (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

I wasn't really in the mood for Bruce Willis that day and the synopsis on Netflix did its best to make me not want to watch it, but I'm glad I did as it was a very engaging and entertaining film. And Brad Pitt's performance is spectacular here. Rating: 3,5/5

Ex Machina (2014)

Plot: A young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a highly advanced humanoid A.I.

Netflix finally added this so I rewatched it hoping I would understand why people love it so much. And I did, and I frankly don't know what was wrong with 2015 Sonia because this film is great. I still didn't love everything about it — I guess the skin is special and adapts, I don't know, but I just can't with Asian skin fitting Alicia Vikander, and some of the nudity wasn't necessary — but it's such a compelling film that asks us so many questions, both Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson are great, and there's subtle humour that I didn't notice the first time. Rating: 4/5

Deep Impact (1998)

Plot: A comet is discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. As doomsday nears, the human race prepares for the worst.

Thirty minutes in and I knew already I would be watching some sort of bad Armageddon remake. And I was right. The story isn't the most compelling, I didn't care for the characters, the romance between Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski is just, I don't know, weird, and the pacing is slow. Rating: 2

Army of the Dead (2021)

Plot: Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.

I'm not the biggest Zack Snyder fan and was not planning on watching this. But then I found out Matthias Schweigh√∂fer was in it so of course I ended up watching it. And it was an okay movie. I wasn't a fan of the font and colour used in the opening credits, and the last 45 minutes or so feel like they are never-ending, but Schweigh√∂fer is amazing — I'm so happy his character is getting his own movie —, Tig Notaro is pretty awesome herself, and the soundtrack is a banger. Also, the special effects are pretty cool. Rating: 3/5

Cruella (2021)

Plot: Estella (Emma Watson) is determined to make a name for herself with her designs but she gets by stealing in the streets of London with Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser). One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness (Emma Thompson), a fashion legend, she starts working for her and soon embraces her wicked side, Cruella. 

I usually have very low expectations for Disney live actions but not this time because it's directed by Craig Gillespie and stars one of my favourite actors, Emma Stone. Thankfully, while it isn't perfect, it is such a fun, entertaining film with a terrific performance from Stone — arguably one of her best. If you have time, check out Katy's review as she wrote pretty much how I felt about the film, only she did it beautifully. Rating: 4/5

5 comments :

  1. Such a great variety of movies!

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  2. I was really holding myself together throughout the Friends Reunion until that section of fans telling us what the show meant to them. I'm glad you're starting to feel better! <3

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    1. Same! My eyes were wet the whole time but that moment with the fans... damn, that made me cry.

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  3. Hey Sonia! I just want to say, keep writing! I know it's hard at times to get the creative juices flowing, but even if it's short stories, or whatever, just keep at it. I started writing film concepts decades ago but never actually written a full script until 7 years ago or so, which ended up becoming a short film that went to film festivals all over the world and now I'm hoping to develop the feature version. So you never know where your writing might lead. I wish you the best of luck in your job search too!

    Bummer about The Woman in the Window, I was excited for it initially but meh, now I'm not sure. Glad you love Ex Machina though, that is a GREAT film. Seems I'm in the minority about Cruella amongst bloggers, ahah.

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    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement! I will not stop because I love writing since always (I started writing a horror novel when I was 13 but never finished it) but sometimes it's hard when I write just a bunch of non-sense. I'm glad to hear about your short film and hopefully you'll get to do the feature film.

      I kind of hated Ex Machina the first time but damn, it is such a good movie! I'm sorry Cruella didn't work for you.

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