Broadchurch Review

Broadchurch is a British mystery drama created by Chris Chibnall and starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman. It follows two police inspectors as they investigate crimes in the seaside town of Broadchurch. I really enjoyed Broadchurch. And while it’s later seasons may stagnate a bit and fall short of the original, it’s nonetheless a fairly consistent show with some remarkable twists.

Broadchurch follows detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller. When the murder of a young boy named Danny Latimer shakes the foundations of the previously crime-free town of Broadchurch, everyone has something to hide. Later seasons divert away from Danny’s death, but it nonetheless remains at the center of the show.

Alec and Ellie are foils of each other. One is antisocial, hates his job, and is extremely formal, while the other is outgoing, optimistic, and satisfied. It’s very interesting because comparing the two at the start of season 1 to the end of season 3, they almost become the same character, as their traits rub off on one another. The relationship feels very organic, and both David Tennant and Olivia Colman are very talented. Speaking of talent, some of the acting in this show is phenomenal. Alec Hardy, Ellie Miller, and Mark Latimer have some incredible moments of acting. Mark Latimer in particular is also one of the most complex characters ever written, and I personally find his motivation due to guilt very relatable. 

I am… conflicted as to the writing of this show. I don’t like Chris Chibnall very much. He ruined Doctor Who, and that show has gone down drastically since him becoming show runner. He fares much better in Broadchurch however. Truly the criminals are the last person one would ever expect, and every character feels multi-dimensional. However, the characters are also very inconsistent. Often they do actions that don’t make any sense simply for the plot to move along. Chibnall does similar things with all his writing I’ve noticed. Additionally, the final season begins to border on pandering. It starts to almost needlessly vilify men universally. This is something else Chibnall does with some of his other writing, as he puts similar statements into Doctor Who.

I like Broadchurch a lot. It features some excellent characters and acting, and it sets a bar as far as murder-mystery dramas go. It does suffer from some so-so writing and a weak final season, but I still enjoyed it. 

Persona Review

Persona is a 1966 film directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann. It follows a famed actress who suddenly got mute mid-performance. A nurse is assigned to her and they both move in to a cottage by the sea. Over time however, the two experience a strange mental and emotional convergence, where both the actress and the nurse seemingly become one person. Overall, while this is a highly influential and well made movie, I found it a little too ambiguous personally, and it falls into a similar “pretentiousness trap” alike Stalker, albeit nowhere near to the extent of that film.

Persona follows a young nurse named Alma, who is assigned to take care of a famous stage actress named Elisabet Vogler. Elisabet suddenly went mute in the middle of a performance, and hasn’t spoken since. Soon, the two women start to form into one, and it becomes hard for them to distinguish themselves apart.

It’s said that with Persona, what one person draws from it another person can draw the exact opposite. This is perhaps the most subjective film ever made, and it has many different themes one can draw from it. When discussing this on the podcast, my friends interpreted this film as about insanity, whereas I drew themes of vampirism from it.

However, this lack of concreteness and substance isn’t entirely beneficial. While I don’t mind surreal films (Brazil is one of my favorite movies ever,) Persona has literally nothing to jump off of. No conversation or semblance of rationality to ground the viewer as they stem the tide of surrealism that is this film. It makes it feel slightly pretentious, and hard to watch at times. While some people might like this, I personally was not a huge fan.

Persona is a good, influential film. The more I think of it the more I like it. That being said I don’t think its perfect, and could’ve used something to ground the viewers.

Dark Review

Dark is a German tv show centered around a small rural German town that has been shaped through the ages by time travel. It recently concluded, and all three seasons are on Netflix. The best way I can describe this show is Stranger Things meets Back to the Future. Dark has an incredibly complex web of characters who over the years have interacted with each other. And since the show takes place over about 100 years, the audience gets to see the same characters throughout their entire lives. However, this complexity also comes at a price, as I found myself constantly having to look up who everyone in the show was in order to make sense of the whole thing.

Dark takes place in Winden, a quiet, sleepy, rural German forest town. However, children are beginning to go missing. After his father’s suicide, Jonas Kahnwald begins to investigate, and soon discovers Winden hides some incredibly sinister secrets.

Dark has one of the most complex time travel plots I’ve ever seen. This show rivals even Primer in that aspect. It shows how four families have interacted with each other for almost a century, and how certain members have travelled in time. This can vary in complexity and shock factor from a simple lesbian affair in the 50s to a person’s girlfriend being their aunt and her brother being their time traveling father. The main antagonist and main protagonist are technically the same person, just one is from the future. This show pulls quite a bit of twists, and it’s really quite entertaining to watch. Additionally, the acting is really fantastic all around, despite being in German.

However, Dark’s complexity is a bit of a double edged sword. While the twists and reveals leave you stunned, due to the sheer amount of characters, it’s very hard to keep track of just what the heck is going on sometimes. The audience has to remember generations of characters, characters who are seen at multiple ages in their life, alternative versions of those characters from another dimension, AND those same characters but older and evil. Frankly, it’s somewhat exhausting, and I feel they could’ve maybe not had as many characters as they did.

Overall, Dark is a weird, wacky, intense tv show, and I loved it. While I didn’t understand what was going on at every single moment, I understood enough to follow. It absolutely merits a watch. Additionally, on a side note this show has I think the most haunting intro ever. Simply watching that alone might leave you hooked.

Another Round Review

Another Round is a 2020 Danish film starring Mads Mikkelsen. It’s a unique take on a midlife crisis, and it follows four teachers who decide to try and keep their blood alcohol content above .5% at all times, in order to prove a hypothesis by a philosopher. This movie has some excellent acting and presentation all around, and I hope it introduces Danish cinema to American audiences.

Another Round follows Martin, a Danish history teacher going through a loveless marriage, and a boring life. After a night of drinking with some friends, they all decide to try and keep their BAC level above .5% at all times. After a while, it starts to affect their life in both positive and negative ways.

This movie has a very interesting effect on the audience. In most films, we as viewers laugh at the actors, and the comedy happening onscreen. In Another Round, I found myself laughing with the characters. By using intense closeup shots of character’s faces, the audience feels as though they are almost part of the onscreen action. I’m sure not all viewers will experience this, but I definitely did. Additionally, the acting is absolutely phenomenal in this movie, universally. Not one actor is weak, and this movie also benefits greatly from the talented Mads Mikkelsen. Also, the presentation is excellent. Rather than shove information at the audience, this movie is very minimalistic. If a character dies, they show an empty boat. If there’s an affair, they simply mention they have to work late. It feels realistic and somewhat uncomfortable, which fits in it’s theme of mid life crisis.

Sadly however, this minimalistic presentation isn’t all positive. Because this movie  gives so little, it also muddled it’s own theme through ambiguity. Simply put, more so than others, this film is different for every person. The themes are extremely subjective, and there isn’t one concrete central message. Consequently, the film can feel at times, a little hollow.

Another Round is really a great film, even if some design choices hinder it. I’m confident this will win some awards and I hope this movie convinces some conservatives to expand their mind to foreign films.  

The White Tiger Review

The White Tiger Movie Critics Review – Watch Movies Online | Socially Keeda

The White Tiger is a new Indian film that was recently released on Netflix. It stars Adarsh Gourav and Rajkummar Rao. The White Tiger follows Balram, an extremely poor boy from India who decides to break free of the caste system. A lot of people are comparing this film to Slumdog millionaire. And while they’re definitely similar movies, The White Tiger is much less of a feel good movie, and more of a thriller.

The White Tiger follows Balram, a poor Indian boy from a village owned by a rich businessman. As he grows up, Balram realizes he will never naturally escape from the poverty caused by the caste system, and instead will have to forge his own fate, through any means necessary. He eventually becomes a chauffeur for Ashoke, the heir to the businessman who owns his village.

This film is very critical of the caste system in India, something which other films seem scared to do. It really enlightens you on how absolutely rigged and unfair the entire system is. It’s also used for some very interesting plot threads, such as Balram literally having to force himself to think against an ideology which has been in him all his life. Additionally, the characters in this film are fantastic. They’re extremely well written and nuanced. Ashoke and his wife are perfect examples of this. When alone with Balram they treat him like family, yet when around other people they behave completely differently. Most of all however, they feel very believable, and the conflict Balram feel when trying to rebel against a master who is nice to him feels realistic. All of this is backed up by some absolutely fantastic acting from virtually everyone in the movie.

One thing I didn’t like is that the pacing is a little weird in this film. The beginning starts off great, and it has momentum up until the halfway point. Not to spoil anything, but there is an accident and Balram is blamed. From here on I thought the movie would become much darker, but instead it almost evolves into a buddy film between Balram and Ashoke. It isn’t until the very last act that this movie begins to get very dark. It felt interrupted in a sense because of the strange pivot. Now, I understand they had to give Ashoke more character development, however they could’ve done that pre-accident, albeit in a slightly different nature, and not hurt the pace of the movie. It felt a little amateurish in what was otherwise a really fantastic experience.

I have no doubt that this film will be praised in the years to come similarly to Slumdog Millionare. However I also think this film is a lot less accessible due to it addressing uncomfortable issues, and being less of a feel good movie. That being said, despite some missteps with pacing, The White Tiger is great, and absolutely merits a watch.

The Social Network Review

The Social Network's More Relevant Now Than When It Came Out

The Social Network is a 2010 film that follows Mark Zuckerberg as he creates and transforms Facebook. It stars Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield. Recently, we covered this movie on Cinemix, and we all loved it. It has a fantastic screenplay, some great acting, and it’s a compelling film overall. However, it does misrepresent some characters, and it “scapegoats” Sean Parker.

The Social Network follows Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard nerd who gets in trouble after creating a system to rank girls online. He then begins to work on “The Facebook” using money from his friend Eduardo (played by Andrew Garfield.) Later however, it’s revealed that Mark possibly stole intellectual property from the Winklevoss twins, and they sue him.

This film has an incredibly tight script, and as far as movies based off of history, this is a model template. Although it portrays some characters wrongly, many if not all of the events in the movie are accurate. Additionally, unlike some other historical biographies such as Lincoln or Alexander, this movie is actually very engaging. The characters are compelling and charismatic, and the acting is fantastic.

Sadly however, some of the characters aren’t necessarily portrayed rightly. Sean Parker, an early business manager for Facebook is completely vilified in this movie, whereas in real life there are many accounts that he was the opposite. Even Mark Zuckerberg is portrayed a little extremely. In this movie he’s shown as this complete loser who has no friends. In real life, while he was nerdy, he did get girlfriends and he did have a friend group.

Overall, despite some light (and admittedly somewhat necessary) dramatization, the Social Network is a fantastic movie, and will go down in history as a classic. Additionally, this role has ensured Jesse Eisenberg will play nerds in movies until the end of time.

Murder on the Orient Express Review

Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 film directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. Sadly, I have not been able to write a review of this movie until now, despite covering it on the podcast about a month ago. I’ve been very busy with college work.

Murder on the Orient Express is an adaptation from the classic novel by Agatha Christie of the same name. It follows the famous Belgian Detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates a killing upon the Orient Express train. However, it is soon revealed that the case may be more complicated than originally thought.

I’m conflicted on this film. On one hand, it has a fantastic protagonist, and some good acting. However, on the other hand, the film is a bit sensationalized from the book, and despite it’s excellent cast, the movie never fully utilizes them. Hercule Poirot is a very charming protagonist. The movie introduces him expertly, and defines his character traits in the beginning very clearly. Kenneth Branagh is very likable, and his acting is fantastic in this film. That’s true for essentially all characters in this film. All are likable and function well within the story.

Sadly, the characters aren’t particularly memorable either. Despite this movie having one of the best casts in recent memory, it fails to use them much. William Dafoe is a very famous actor, and in this film he has a single scene. This is very disappointing, and feels like a missed opportunity. Additionally, this film feels very sensationalized from the book. Hercule Poirot is somewhat of an action hero in the film, whereas he’s much more reserved, and unlike in the film, he’s never shot. This feels rather strange, because on one hand, the movie sells itself as a sophisticated turn of the century mystery film, yet on the other hand it develops into die hard out of nowhere.

Overall, this movie is alright. It isn’t particularly memorable, but it’s a good film nonetheless. I think that they could’ve capitalized on the cast a bit more. If you’re considering watching this film, I highly recommend reading the book first.

Barbarians Review

Barbarians is a new German series that recently came out on Netflix. It stars Laurence Rupp, and follows Germanic tribes rebelling against the Roman Empire. In some ways, this is perhaps the most realistic show on Netflix at the moment, and it’s a fantastic one at that.

Barbarians follows Gaius Julius Arminius, a real historical figure, who is credited with giving the Romans one of their worst defeats of all time. He was a cavalry officer of Rome, but he was also the son of a German chieftain. The show realistically portrays the events surrounding his betrayal, and follows historical accounts very accurately.

The armor and clothes in this show, for the most part, are fantastic. Romans wear heterogeneous metal armor, unlike other shows where for some reason they wear leather (I’m looking at you Britannia.) Additionally, the Germanic tribes are also portrayed properly. All the Germans are wearing bright tunics and mukluks, with very minimal fur or leather. Both sides are also armed properly, with Germanic peoples using spears, while Romans use their pillums and gladius. Real historical characters surrounding the battle of Teutoburg Forest are also present in the show. Arminius’ wife Thusnelda, her father Segestes, and the Roman leader Varus are all major character in Barbarians, and are very true to their real life counterparts. The action in this show is excellent. The final battle is exhilarating, and brutal. Additionally, Arminius’ betrayal of the Roman Empire is handled realistically. He seems to betray them originally for selfish reasons, and later for a cause he believes in. It feels very well done and believable.

However, not all of the armor and weapons in the show are correct. The Germanic tribes charge into battle naked, which was not correct, they would most definitely be wearing some form of clothing or more likely some armor paired with a helmet. Arminius wears a lorica musculata, paired with a metal face mask. Lorica musculata were not used by Romans because they were extremely hard to make with Iron, and the face mask he uses, while a real artifact found at Teutoburg Forest, was not worn by cavalry officers, but rather by Standard Bearers, or cavalry soldiers during training, but not battle. Also, they use a gladius wrong in the show, as Arminius does not pair it with a shield, and he is swinging rather than stabbing. The gladius is a good weapon, but it must be paired with the traditional Roman tower shield.

Overall, Barbarians is a fun show. One can breeze through it in a weekend, and it’s got some excellent combat. So far, this might be the most historically accurate show out there, and it deserves high praise for that.

Top 5 Underrated Films

Number 5: In Bruges

In Bruges is a 2008 comedy action movie starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. It follows two hitmen hiding out in the Belgian city of Bruges (Brooge-z,) after a job went wrong. It’s funny, depressing, and has interesting themes of purgatory and morality sprinkled throughout. It’s one of my favorite films, and it is seriously under known and underrated.

Number 4: Woman in Gold

Woman in Gold is a 2015 movie starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. It follows the true story of Maria Altmann, a woman who successfully sued the Austrian Government for possession of her family’s long lost painting, the Woman in Gold. This movie is very emotional, and it features some absolutely beautiful scenes. However, the story could be told with more energy, and it does have numerous flaws. This movie isn’t considered very highly, but I actually like it despite its problems, and I believe it’s well worth watching.

Number 3: Sorcerer

Sorcerer is a 1977 movie starring Roy Scheider. It follows convicts who are forced to transport liquid nitrogen through a jungle in trucks. Liquid nitrogen, is an extremely explosive material, which can blow up at even the slightest movement. This movie is very under known, despite it being directed by William Friedkin. This is because Sorcerer came out in the same year as Star Wars, which simply overshadowed everything released. Despite that, I think this movie is excellent. It has absolutely one of the highest tension moments in all of cinema, when they have to bring a truck across a rope-bridge in a hurricane. My knuckles were literally white during this scene. Sorcerer also contains numerous psychological elements, and it’s simply a fantastic movie, that does not get enough attention.

Number 2: The Secret of Kells

The Secret of Kells is a 2008 animated movie. It follows Irish monks attempting to finish the famed book of Kells, before Vikings invade their lands. One of the sad realities of having studios such as Pixar churning out animated blockbusters every year, is that other animated movies do not receive enough attention. This film falls into that category. It has absolutely some of the most beautiful animated visuals you will see in your lifetime, drawing inspiration directly from the Book of Kells itself. Additionally, for an animated film, it’s surprisingly scary at times, the Vikings still creep me out to this day with their black staunchly contrasting the vibrancy of the Irish world. It’s an incredible film, and it should be considered one of the best animated movies ever made.

Number 1: Stardust

Stardust a 2007 film based off of the novel by Neil Gaiman. It follows a young man as he rescues a Star in human form from a coven of witches, with the help of a cursed prince, and a transgender pirate captain. This is in my eyes possibly the most underrated movie ever made. It is undoubtedly one of the best fantasy films of all time, and it’s a joy to watch. It has a very imaginative story, some fantastic scenes, and Robert Deniro as a transgender sky pirate, who doesn’t want to see that? Stardust is amazing, and it’s criminally underrated.

Titanic Review

Titanic is a 1997 movie directed by James Cameron, and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. It follows two people on the ship Titanic, as they try to overcome class distinctions, and escape the ship as it sinks. Overall, although this movie is truly epic in scope, I found it a little “cheesy” and precious.

Titanic follows Jack, a poor traveler who manages to hitch a ride on the ship Titanic right before it sets sail. While on the ship, he stops a rich woman named Rose from committing suicide, and the two fall in love despite the evident class distinctions between them. However, their time together is cut short when the Titanic begins to sink, and they must find a way to survive.

Titanic is a massive film. They built a real ship for shooting that was almost the size of the actual Titanic, and this film is very historically accurate. Real historical characters such as Thomas Andrews or James Bruce Ismay are portrayed extremely accurately, down to their respective death and escape being correct. Additionally, the manner in which the ships sinks is also historically accurate. James Cameron did very thorough research before making this movie, and it really paid off. The main characters, Jack and Rose, are very charming, and they have a believable relationship, with some great scenes, such as when Rose visits the third class.

The relationship itself however, while charming in the beginning, feels a little sappy and precious at the end. This is purely subjective, and I have friends who actually like this particular aspect of their relationship, but personally I didn’t.

Titanic is a good film. I don’t believe it’s one of the best films ever as some people make it out to be, but it is a good historical love story, and one worth seeing.