Movie afterthoughts: Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

(Source: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/going-clear-scientology-and-the-prison-of-belief-2015)

I like good documentaries, and this one does lives up to my expectations of a good documentary. I have always been curious about Scientology ever since I heard about this “religion” and many would have taken a greater interest on this topic when in recent years the media has been reporting that Tom Cruise is a really high-level member of Scientology.

Oh yes, you will see some Tom Cruise (and John Travolta) footages in this documentary.

I don’t undermine people who believes in Scientology. In fact, we should not undermine anyone who believes in any religion. Extremism within a religion, especially in one like Scientology, is amusing though. From this documentary, I had learnt the great lengths people will go to achieve the highest level of the membership (mostly paying large sums of money), and how Scientology manages to avoid paying billions of tax by making the IRS recognising it as a tax-exempted organisation.

One thing that still leaves me amused is that they actually holds a lavish conference (annually?) and the whole set up looks like Oscars… Very much Hollywood style.

I won’t say it is a though-provoking documentary, but it is entertaining and not so much on the heavy-side. Considering I am not very much knowledgeable of the religion, I find the documentary is easy to follow and narrated nicely. I would consider buying the book to read too.

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Movie afterthoughts: Spy

(Source: http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2015/03/uk-posters-for-comedy-movie-spy-featuring-melissa-mccarthy-jason-statham-and-jude-law.html)

Not your average spy movie.

Melissa McCarthy as a spy? Who would have thought! But she is deceptively funny and lethal as a spy in this movie. There are few really funny scenes which I think only Melissa McCarthy can pull off. Though I find it quite distasteful to have a stereotype on fuller size women (stool softener, wet wipes?).

It did took me some time to recognise Jude Law as the spy in the beginning of the movie though. And Jason Statham is as badass as he was in Furious 7, a badass spy with a complex for danger… and a lack of wit.

Probably my favourite characters in the movie, is the unassuming sidekicks, Nancy and Aldo. Aldo, in particular, is as horny as he can get but deceptively good for leaving the audience with the question whether he is part of MI6… or whether he really learnt the accent from Downton (that was the highlight for me).

In short, just go give yourself an excuse that you need some laugh and go watch this movie!

Movie afterthoughts: When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー)

Marnie poster

(Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2015/04/15/marnie-was-there-exclusive-trailer-debut/25811877/)

There’s only a few Studio Ghibli’s movies I’d watched. My favourite will definitely be My Neighbour Totoro, because Totoro is very cute indeed.

When Marnie Was There is said to be the last movie produced by Studio Ghibli before it goes on a hiatus. That aside, this animated movie is beautifully directed. The storyline itself is interesting, focusing on Anna (the short-hair girl in the picture) and her lack of interest in her life and her foster family. She was sent to stay with her relatives far out from the city after her asthma attack in the beginning of the movie, and the rest of the film then focuses on how she came across Marnie, how she rediscover family love and friendship, and lastly, how she is related to Marnie.

The revelation in the end of the film on Anna’s relationship with Marnie may not be a surprise for many (for myself, I’d read the Wikipedia entry), it was nicely presented and the whole movie, in my opinion, was aptly made to illustrate this.

In general, if you are into some supernatural (not the spooky kind though), family-themed film, this is a really good one and not to be missed. Even if the storyline is not appealing, just sit back and enjoy some of the nicest scenes and animated setting in an animated film.

p/s: my favourite is probably the house where Anna was having her retreat. It has a great view, a vegie patch, and few short-cuts explicitly written out on sign posts.

Movie afterthoughts: Fast and Furious 7

(Taken from: http://blogs-images.forbes.com/markhughes/files/2015/04/Furious-7.jpg)

Though I’m not a close follower of the Fast and Furious series, I tend to enjoy the actions and dramatic scenes in these movies. I just find it odd to look at two extremely muscular men going against the bad guys (it’s probably just me). And I find it really hard to follow Vin Diesel’s lines in the movie, mostly due to his husky voice.

I got to say, the actions in this movie couldn’t get any better than cars parachuting out from a plane, crashing through three high-rise buildings and tumbling down from cliffs. I just find it funny that it kept on relating back to what Brian (Paul Walker) said to his son in the start of the movie: “Cars don’t fly!”

The antagonist of the movie, Ian Shaw (John Statham) could be the most bad-ass bad guy I’d seen in a long time. He leaves a trail of mess behind him and could walk away from bombings and fires. The best part of all… his accent!

The last scene of the movie as a tribute to Paul Walker is definitely a touching one. Nicely closes the movie. Paul Walker driving his car on a different direction from Vin Diesel and Vin Diesel’s last words in the movie… definitely a tear-jerking scene to end an action-packed film.

Movie Afterthoughts: While We’re Young

Source: http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/02/while-were-young-poster

A bit of comedy, a bit of irony, it’s a slice of life kind of a movie. Though I have to admit there’s not a lot of memorable scenes I can recall from the movie.

It’s a movie about a 40-ish couple trying to set into their mid-life crisis, contrasting with another 20-ish hipster couple who are deceivingly generous. It sets with the undertone that reliving youth again may probably cost you your friends… and hipsters don’t use electronic gadgets?

And since when the practice of staring at your own phones during dinner is acceptable? If I was at the table seeing 3 other people staring at their phones, I’ll be pissed!

In a nutshell, it’s a light-hearted comedy but not something that I truly can relate to. Each of the main characters have their own story to tell and I like the interaction and contrast of generational gap as portrayed in the movie.

Oh! And the final scene with the baby playing with a smart phone? I’m not sure why it’s there but definitely a food for thought for parents with young kids.

Movie Afterthoughts: Love Is Strange

I never though this movie could be a sappy one. When I watched the trailer, I thought it would be a simple love story between two men (together for 39 years!)

It got me almost to tears towards the end and I can hear people sobbing behind me… Though, the title of the movie is simple, the storyline itself is truly thought provoking. It’s not just about gay men getting married and living together. It’s also about how they deal with generational gaps, family and friends, high cost of living in NYC, and loss.

I am not a chick flick kind of person (and I don’t see this movie as one). This movie struck a chord in me and there are many touching scenes which I absolutely loved. The most touching one is probably seeing how the couple embrace each other and the look of love in their eyes. It felt so real and genuine.

I could be biased as I am no fan of romantic films, but this one has the perfect balance of romance and reality of life. The poster of the film with a backdrop of NYC, and the canvas paint in the movie (also with a simple backdrop of NYC) made a lot of sense once I watched the movie.

I will definitely put this on my rewatch list.