Two Cars, One Night (2004)

I usually review feature films, but I thought that this short by Taika Waititi was worthy of its own post. Waititi is currently one of the most acclaimed directors and writers in Hollywood. He won an Oscar last year for his Best Adapted Screenplay for Jojo Rabbit (2019). He is well-known for his joyous and humorous tone, and his not-so-subtle accent. His films are full of heart and humor, and this short titled, Two Cars, One Night, is no different. Let’s dive in a bit and see what makes Waititi so special.

from Searchlight Pictures on YouTube

The Story.

When two boys are left in a car one night, they rely on humor to occupy them while they wait for their parents to return. The two boys have contrasting personalities, one is a “book worm,” while the other is a “talker”. The outspoken boy is drawn to a girl in a nearby car. They share insults, expressive reactions, and mirrored behavior. In juxtaposition to the kids, flashes of nearby life are shown sped up to acknowledge the surroundings of the children.

Although this film is short, it provides an interesting glimpse into the lives of kids and exposes the lengths at which they will go to gain each other’s attention. While a typical movie-watcher could watch this short film and find it mediocre, I argue that anyone who appreciates movies will find this short intriguing and special.

Follow the tumultuous journey in two cars in one night. No pun intended. The New Zealand accents add even more humor to this story. The pop culture references of “Romeo and Juliet” and “Johnny Depp” make it relatable and add perspective. My favorite line is, “Shut up man, I’m reading.” Well said. Well said. Just watch this short, there is no way to describe it, it’s just something that needs to be watched to understand its full potential.

Sentence Summary.

When children are left in the car one night, an unlikely friendship forms through humor and impatience.

Rating: 9/10

Rating: 9 out of 10.

I have seen quite a lot of short films. I was on the reviewing committee for several film festivals. I have seen some great films and some shallow ones. This film has a perfect balance of humor and heart, the brilliant combination that Waititi is best known for. I also found this short compelling and thought-provoking. For those reasons, I think this short deserves 9 stars. The kids are the stars of this film and I am a fan of that. The directing is also incredible, so keep an eye out for that!

See ya!

As you can see, Waititi’s first film was not Thor Ragnarok (2017). Some of this other films are Boy (2010) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016). Although these films are not as well-known as Thor or Jojo Rabbit (2019), they are worth a watch. I could talk about his films for days and why they are so brilliant, but I will leave the mystery up to you. Go watch them for yourself and you will see why I adore Waititi’s films so much.

Talk to you next week. Thanks for being here.

Arianna

My Top 5 Halloween Movies

I am not a huge fan of horror films, so I was not going to write this post, but I think that there are many people out there that also love Halloween, but not creepy movies. This post is for you. If you want a list of the scariest, creepiest, bloodiest films, then this post is not for you. Sorry to disappoint your Halloween-loving heart, but these movies are mostly light-hearted, and not meant to keep you from sleeping for a week. That being said, let’s get into it!

1. Halloweentown (1998)

This movie came out the year I was born, so I guess you could say I have some sort of connection to it. I watch it every fall without fail and it never gets old. There are many sequels, but the original movie is my favorite. The characters are witty, the plot is humorous, and the world it creates is just plain weird.

Halloweentown tells the story of a young witch who is just coming to terms with her magic and learning about the magical world that her grandmother lives in. If you haven’t watched this film, what are you doing? Watch it now! It is fun and sweet. Not spooky, it’s feel-good.

from Disney Channel on YouTube

2. Twitches (2005)

TWIN WITCHES! Twitches! Honestly, what were they thinking when they titled this film? The title still boggles me, but I used to love this movie. Maybe because it had twins in it, and obviously Disney Channel loves twins (ie. Zack and Cody). This film stars the Mowry twins who get reunited on their 21st birthday. In order to save the world, they need to use their magical powers to harness their strength. Will they have the power to save everyone, or will they back down and let the darkness take over? Spooky, this movie actually scared me a little when I was a kid, but it is all good now.

from YouTube

3. IT (2017)

Ok, this is definitely more scary then those two previous films I mentioned. I honestly found this movie more funny, than scary, but that does not mean that this movie is not creepy. The characters have funny lines, the directing is done beautifully, and the visuals are incredible. All of the acting is spot-on and made me so enveloped in this story. Will Pennywise the clown eat all the kids of Derry, Maine, or will the kids outsmart this blood-loving, big-haired, poofy-skirt wearing clown? Watch it and let me know what you think is the scariest part.

from YouTube

4. Scream (1996)

I was so scared the first time I saw the first 15 minutes of this film that I turned it off and didn’t watch the rest of it until a year later. Yes, that is absolutely a true story. I watched it for the first time a few days ago and it has a great blend of gory horror and punch-gut humor. What is with horror movies also being funny? This movie is way scarier than IT in my opinion. I wanted a teddy bear to hug. I still want a teddy bear to hug, but the ending made me feel a little better. A little. Think about the scariest thing that could happen and this movie probably includes that scenario.

from YouTube

5. Psycho (1960)

A classic! You have heard of this film, I am almost positive. Directed by the iconic Alfred Hitchcock, the story of Norman Bates and Marion Crane shocks audiences with creative horror scenes. Many scenes from this film are used in other films, in commercials, and in other creative disciplines as examples of a terrific, terrifying, and engaging story-line and plot. Give it a watch if you have not seen it as of yet.

from YouTube

Thanks for reading! What are your must-watch Halloween movies? Are they different than mine? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram! I guess I do like some spooky movies! I do not watch scary movies often, but I guess I do have a horror side. They can be fun sometimes! Sometimes. As long as it isn’t too late and you aren’t alone. Am I right?

Hope you have a great afternoon! Filled with no clowns, no witches, and no twitches.

Arianna

P.S. Some links are affiliate so I make a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thanks for supporting me and my creative work.

Enola Holmes (2020)

Lord Tewkesbury’s full name is quite a mouth-full, but this movie was underwhelming, to say the least. Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Sam Claflin, Henry Cavill, Helena Bodham Carter, and more, Enola Holmes (2020) had a lot of hype surrounding it. As a fan of Sherlock Holmes and mystery films, I was looking forward to this adaption, but I was horribly let down. If you are not under thirteen, I suggest that you pass on this film.

I do not usually write about movies that I dislike, because I know how much work goes into a film. It takes years of hard work and planning in order to finally have a film to share with the world. That being said, I have to be absolutely honest about this film. Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) narrates much of this story and talks directly to the audience. This made me feel uncomfortable. I think that the narration could have been done in a smarter, more successful way, that was not as confrontational.

I also think that this movie would have been better off as a T.V. series. Each episode could have had its own mini plot and then ended in a big finale episode. Although it is likely this movie will have a sequel, I do not think that it requires one. If a sequel is made, I would want it to have a different writer and director. Overall, the acting is perfectly fine, but something about the story does not pull me in. The characters are not fully developed and I feel as if I missed half of the story.

Additionally, the tone is everywhere. Sometimes Enola is ok with her mother leaving her, and other times, she is very emotional, as if the movie has just changed to an intense drama, when the rest of the film is a light and airy children’s movie. I do not think children’s movies are bad, but I expected this movie to have higher stakes and be targeted at a larger audience. I watched this film with my mother and brother, all of which are over the age of thirteen, and we all agreed that this film is meant for a younger audience. If I watched this film at the age of ten, I would have loved it! It has a great message and tells a moving story, but it is missing something, if it wants to be loved by a more mature audience.

I have read a few reviews where the reviewers loved this film. However, I cannot find anything about this film to rave about. I would change the timeline of the story, the structure of the plot, the dialogue, the directing, the character development, and so much more. On the bright side, the movie is visually stunning with the country and city scenery, and the clothing changes, but I cannot think of anything else to brag about.

from Netflix on YouTube

What to think about:

One of the highlights of this movie is the over-encompassing meaning and female empowerment. I love this message and the relationship between the mother and daughter. However, I wish the film showed more of Enola and Eudoria together, and did not just tell their stories through flashbacks. But besides that, this film gave me time to think about the female’s role in society and how it has changed drastically over the last few centuries. Women still have a long way to go in order to be treated as equals to men, but it is clear that we are not going to be silenced. We will continue to push forward until our voices are heard loud and clear.

Rating: 5 out of 10.

Rating: 5/10

Clearly, I was not a fan of this film. If it was not for the female empowerment aspect of this film, and the encouragement to be yourself and follow your own path, I would have rated this film much lower. However, when I think of this film as a story for children, I am more inclined to give it a higher rating, around 7/10. But if I compare this film to the Sherlock Holmes films I am used to, this film deserves a 5/10.

Although you could easily watch this film on Netflix, I would recommend watching something else instead. If you plan on having this movie in the background while you are doing something else, then this film might be worth putting on. Or if you have a young child that enjoys mysteries, they would love this! Otherwise, I would watch something else on Netflix. There are a lot of great other options.

Sentence Summary

When Enola realizes that her mother has left her, she is forced to make important decisions that will drastically affect her future.

See ya!

Thanks for being here. What did you think about this film? Let me know on Instagram or in the comments below. I always enjoy reading your feedback and your opinions. Although I was not a fan of this film, I acknowledge that not every film is for everyone, and that is perfectly ok. Everyone is different and is entitled to their own opinions. That’s the beauty of cinema!

Have a great day!
Arianna

Big Time Adolescence (2019)

Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

Starring: Griffin Gluck, MGK, Sydney Sweeney, Thomas Barbusca, Pete Davidson, Emily Arlook, Jon Cryer and more.

Director and Screenwriter: Jason Orley

As someone who keeps up with film festivals, I became aware of this film when it premiered at Sundance last year. There was hype around it, but it has calmed down now. I recently started a free trial on Hulu, so I could watch new films. After reading the summary of this film, I was not intrigued. But I thought I would give it a try anyway. Just a heads up: Pete has great hair in this movie.

Movie Coverage from YouTube

Movie Talk:

I was skeptical. I thought this film would be like any other teenage coming-of-age story with over-the-top characters that do things I would never do as a teenager. Although the movie does have some generic teenage jokes and events, something about this film stands out to me.

Most of actors in this film are great, especially Griffin Gluck (Mo) and Davidson (Zeke). I think it is important to mention that Davidson’s character does not seem far off from who he is as a person in real life. His character, Zeke, is not a far stretch from the characters he usually plays on SNL. That being said, most of the characters in this movie are dynamic and provide a nice balance of comedic relief and drama. The relationships between the characters are at the center of the film.

Zeke becomes a mentor to Mo, a high school student. Even though Zeke might not be the best mentor to have, he really does care about Mo. Zeke is an example of what happens to those cool kids from high school after they graduate. Even though Zeke is older, Mo sometimes acts like the older, more mature of the pair. However, Zeke has more life experience than Mo, and that becomes quite obvious. Together, they balance each other out and show how one personality trait can manifest and escalate to become a major problem, or a major contributing factor to one’s success.

Something I found funny about Zeke’s character is when he says, “Ok.” A simple word, but the way Pete says this line reminds me of his character Chad from SNL. One thing that I did not like about this film was the music. It was cheesy sometimes and took away from the film. One thing that I did like about this film was how it chronicled a part of life that is often glossed over in films: the time after high school when kids do not know what to do with the rest of their lives.

Get a little deeper.

The characters in this film truly care about each other. Not on a childish level, but on a deep level. When Mo needed help in the pool scene, Zeke pulled him to safety and was a true friend, when he could have easily left Mo behind. Zeke can be a bad influence, a very bad influence, but he also cares more about Mo, than the fact that his girlfriend left him. Mo would follow Zeke anywhere. That kind of bond is unique.

Mo lives with his family and does not need to pay for his own things, while Zeke has to live on his own. Zeke teaches Mo through his mistakes and helps him grow into an adult. Mo acts in juxtaposition to most of the other characters, until he starts to become just like everyone else he is surrounded by. Zeke is willing to take the hit for Mo, but at some point Mo realizes that he needs to move on from Zeke.

Symbols and Lessons:

There are a lot of lessons and symbols that are mentioned/used in this film. Here are some of the stand out moments/quotes or scenes that stood out to me.

  1. Each character’s bedroom helps tell the person’s story.
  2. “The world doesn’t care about what you might do if you really put your mind to it, it cares about what you actually did.”
  3. At times the camera stayed still and did not move to follow characters.
  4. Zeke keeps telling stories from high school, even when he is 23 and should have more stories to tell by then.
  5. “I liked you, I don’t like you anymore.”
  6. Kids make mistakes.
  7. “I don’t want to end up like you man.”
  8. Mo’s dad wonders why his son likes Zeke more than him.
  9. Mo shuts a door and a picture falls, as a symbol of things beginning to change.
  10. Mo is driving away while Zeke is visible in the rearview. Mo is moving on from his old life.
from Variety on YouTube

What to think about:

This movie made me think about the things I did and did not do as a teenager. It also made me feel the importance of the people you are surrounded by on the daily basis. You become who you spend your time with, and if you are not careful, they may have a negative effect on your future. Sometimes friends can help you emotionally and make you feel good short-term, but in the long-run, you might need to leave them behind in order to reach your full potential.

I enjoyed how this movie started with the ending, it is clever and interesting. It makes you wonder about your potential future and if you will be happy with it, or not.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Watch this film: 6.4/10

This film wasn’t incredible or awful. I laughed at times and there is heart to this movie, it isn’t just an empty comedy. However, it is not my favorite genre. I normally watch drama, or action/adventure films. Keep that in mind when you read my review. I am not an avid comedy watcher because I often do not find comedies very funny. Thus, I think it is significant that this film actually made me laugh a few times.

Sentence Summary

When a high school kid starts to hang out with new, older friends, his life starts to change: in some ways for the better, and in some ways for the worse.

What happens when high school is over?

See ya!

Thanks for reading! I appreciate you. I want to see Pete in more serious roles. He has been through a lot and I would love to see him in a role in a deeply moving movie.

I also want to start writing about movie premieres, actors, upcoming shows, and trailers, so let me know what you want to read! Send me a message on my Instagram, or let me know in the comments below.

Arianna x

P.S. tongue daddy. (You will only understand this reference if you have watched this movie, otherwise you will just think that I am weird, but I am fine with that.)

The Devil All The Time

One of the most anticipated movies of the year came out a few days ago. Like most mainstream films, I started off very skeptical. Popular movies tend to lack depth and have regurgitated story lines that have been seen many times before. However, I was pleasantly surprised by The Devil All The Time (2020). The movie is suspenseful, every moment leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting to find the glue to put the story’s puzzle pieces together. Let’s talk about it.

What a story!

I want to start off by mentioning that the genre of this film is not something that I normally watch. I was originally drawn to this film because of its all-star cast, but I stayed because the story sunk its teeth into me. Horror, love, revenge, and the battle between what is good and what is evil.

Much of the story is up for interpretation, many of the characters are not clearly “good” or “bad,” they are a bit of both. This balance beam walking act kept me engaged with the film for its entirety and almost made me forget to breath.

All of that being said, this film is a thriller, a mystery, and plays with your mind. There is death, heartbreak, and some themes that made me feel uneasy, but throughout the film, I focused a lot of my attention on the characters. While most films focus on plot, this film had a nice balance between the characters and plot, and how they carefully intertwine. For instance, Willard (Bill Skarsgard) has some slanted beliefs, but underneath it all, he seems to be a nice man. He loves his son, he loves his wife, and he loved his dog. But something about him is not right. Something about him cannot be trusted. So, what does that mean about Arvin?

There are very few definitive answers in this film. There are no super heroes. No ghosts. Just setting, plot, and characters. This is one of those films that I will be thinking about for weeks. Right after watching the film, I did not think that I liked it. It was weird. Strange. But now, a day later, I appreciate it’s intricacy and its attention to detail. I also acknowledge the great acting and directing. The screenwriting was also well done because I was never confused. I felt happy when I could put the clues together for myself and was not simply told plot points. Well done all around!

from Netflix on YouTube

Something to think about:

Willard has this saying that is repeated throughout the film, “There’s a lot of no good sons of b***hes out there.” This saying made me think about how our psychology and inner dialogues affect our everyday lives, and thus, our lives as a whole. We tend to see what we think we will see. We tend to find what we think we will find.

In other words, if in the morning we think that we are going to have a good day, we will remember the instances in that day that are good. However, if we think we are going to have a bad day, we will remember the parts of the day that are bad. A single saying laid out the structure for Willard’s life and in some ways, Arvin’s life as well. If you think people are out to get you, you will find people who are. If you think people are kind, you will find people who are.

The way you look at the world changes how you experience it. I wonder how Willard’s life would have turned out if he had a different catch phrase.

Sentence Summary

When Spiderman comes back from Thanos’ snap, he finds himself surrounded by corruption and a gone-rogue Edward Cullen.

Now, onto the real sentence summary: Arvin’s family history is engraved in him and leads him down a path that his father started for him many years ago.

See ya!

Thank you for reading. You are awesome.

What did you think of this film? Did Tom Holland surprise you, or did you always know that he had the acting chops in him?

I knew that Tom was something special. His Spiderman is goofy and adds just the right vibe to the Marvel Universe.

However, some of the other actors in this film could work on their southern accent! Ahem. I think you know who I am talking about… not Pattinson, he was incredible, as usual.

Arianna

P.S. Let’s talk about Pattinson.

I wrote this post and realized that I did not even mention the brilliant Robert Pattinson. He can truly play any role. In this film, he plays a preacher who is entrancing. His character is despicable, but somehow he also has this magnetism to him.

I cannot think of an actor who is as versatile as Pattinson. What a brilliant artist. And a fellow weirdo. I appreciate that. But his character in this film was brainwashed and had no sound moral compass.

He played the character incredibly. Round of applause for him! But not for his character, because he was a d-bag.

Exciting news!

Hi all! I have taking a few weeks off blogging because I have been up to some exciting projects. One of the projects is ready to share with you and *drum-roll please* I created my own shirts, mugs, and hoodies! I have always liked designing humorous graphic tees, almost as much as I like wearing them. I decided to share some of my designs with you guys because I think that we could all use a nice, funny graphic tee right about now.

All of the products are available on Redbubble! I have some of my photography for sale on my profile as well, but I am most excited about the movie related graphics that I just added. Here are some of the products:

The two graphics say: “Let’s watch a movie together” and “You can talk to me when the movie is over.” The face mask is perfect for going to the move theatres and not wanting to be bothered while you are watching the movie, especially as many movie theatres are just starting to open up again.

Here are links to some of the products:

Click on the product that you are interested in and it will bring you to the web page. These are just some of the products, for all available products, you can check out my dashboard on Redbubble.

Lightweight Hoodie

Classic T-shirt

Pullover Sweatshirt

Essential T-Shirt

Let me know your feedback and I will apply them to future designs! I made the prices as affordable as possible.

As always, thank you so much for your support. It means more to me than you will ever know. If you decide to purchase something, let me know on Instagram! I would love to know what you got!

Sending you some sunshine,

Arianna

Gifs and Giggles ft. Conan

Let’s review some gifs. Time to laugh! Film lovers, writers, and creatives unite! Let’s laugh at our creativity and small successes that make us so happy. Get ready to have some fun and hopefully laugh a little. And thank you Conan, you make some pretty great gifs and your facial expressions are pretty unique.

1. When someone says your writing sucks.

from GIPHY

2. *New email*: Your film was accepted.

GIPHY

3. Plot twist!

GIPHY

4. Off to accept my award… in my dreams.

GIPHY

5. When the audience understands your joke.

GIPHY

6. When you get a little too nervous…

GIPHY

7. When a horrible film wins the award.

GIPHY

8. When the ending of a movie is perfect.

GIPHY

9. When the director is explaining their film and it is a masterpiece.

GIPHY

10. Pose for a picture! (aka shy people on a red carpet)

GIPHY

Thank you for being here. I like you. Go for your dreams. You can do this. Come back and look at this post when you start to doubt yourself. Laugh a little. Know that you are not alone. You got this!

Come back next week for a better post! But, laughing is pretty fun, too. 🙂

Have a splendid day!

Arianna

Moe N. Reed and Bern Houston

This week I had the incredible chance to interview the writer, Moe N. Reed. She is a CSU Northridge alum and has a M.A. degree in screenwriting. One of her past projects premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in 2018 in the best documentary category! She loves collaborating with other creatives and working in a variety of genres.

When asked why she got into filmmaking she replied, “I decided to write and produce my own content because I have a passion for storytelling. I enjoy coming of age stories and depicting characters in a non stereotypical fashion. I think it is important to have diverse images in the media.” I agree, so many main-stream movies have duplicate characters that are seen over and over again in different films. Diversity needs to be better displayed in film, and it is because dedicated creatives like Reed, that media is starting to become more diverse. What a great achievement!

Next, I asked what is something she has learned on her filmmaking journey. Reed replied, “I learned to trust and believe in my instincts. Filmmaking is a creative process and not everybody will see my vision, but it is important to be persistent.” I have also learned this lesson. Being a creative can be hard when others do not see your vision, but ultimately, it is up to you to accurately represent your ideas and stay loyal to your vision.

When I meet filmmakers, writers and creatives, I like to ask what their favorite tv shows and movies are. You can tell a lot about a person by watching their favorite stories. Reed enjoys Atlanta on FX. She “initially liked the show because of the cast,” but continues “to like the show because of its high production value.” She enjoys the acting, writing, and would love to work on the show! One of her favorite films is Love Jones “because it has the perfect balance of romance and comedy.”

Lastly, I asked Reed what is some advice she would give to a new filmmaker. She had some great words of wisdom:

It is important to have a plan and a back up plan in order to deal with the mishaps that often happen within indie filmmaking. 

It is important to be flexible when it comes to scheduling and have a budget for the entire film process (pre production – post production).

In addition, it is important to know just because the project didn’t come out perfect, still celebrate the victory of completing it.

Moe N. Reed

Reed’s Current Projects:

She has a 6 part web series, called “The Life of Bern,” that is available to watch on YouTube. You can support the series by following them on all platforms, click here to follow their Instagram.

Overall, this is what Reed had to say about the web series: “The web series follows the life of Bern, a teen who was diagnosed with Selective Mutism as a child, but after winning a rap freestyle contest, Bern must learn how to navigate the challenges of his new found fame. The episodes will document Bern’s journey, from an introvert to the hottest sought-after rapper in Los Angeles, as he tries not to become another gimmick emcee.”


Thank you for reading and supporting independent writers, cinema, and diverse stories. I enjoy getting the chance to meet new creatives and share their wonderful work with you! And, thank you Moe for giving me the chance to interview you. I appreciate your time!

Arianna 🙂

*All photos in this post belong to Moe N. Reed.

%d bloggers like this: