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Documentary Film Review: ‘Misconception’

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Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jessica Yu’s Misconception offers another take on the question of over population, a fresh look at forces that really drive both familial and environmental destruction, and allows the viewer the opportunity to delve in to one of the most poignant questions for modern humanity: What is the value of one human life? Who decides that? Why?

If the temperature of Russian culture were taken, it would run hot with the need to breed. If you give birth on Russia Day, you may win a luxury SUV. Conversely, the way to win a car in a part of Rajasthan is to be voluntarily sterilized – a program that targets women. The population pressure versus the statistics of a male to female ratio skewed by China’s “One-Child Policy” leads to the first act of this film, aptly titled “Lonely Emperor Seeks Wife”. The 25-year-old Chinese policy led to a severe gender imbalance and was ended this year. The consequences are staggering.

Using elegant visual poetry alongside the investigative documentary format and some reality style videography, Misconception takes us inside three far-flung cultures to review the main topics from very diverse angles. We are invited into the world of a 29-year-old bachelor in Beijing who is searching for love, a Canadian pro-life activist setting off to speak at the United Nations, and a Ugandan journalist with a missing children column in the local news who searches the streets for those who have been abandoned by their largely underage and uneducated mothers.

This intimate look at the myriad of issues surround the larger topic of reproductive health and family planning widens the scope and reveals the heights and depths of the global impact on a vulnerable group: women. This film reinforces the universal truth that what unites humanity is stronger than what divides it. Namely, we are all united in our beginnings as infants who need care, who need stable mothers, parents and community.

The premise suggests that the threat of overpopulation is a myth to be debunked. Statistician/ professor/ academic/ TED talker Hans Rosling of Sweden uses plain talk to explain that humanity has already decelerated global birth rates. Women with access to family planning and reproductive health options have chosen career pathways ahead of pregnancy, while still being sexually active. Now fairly 80% of the planet settles on a two child per couple household; only the poorest 20% are left with the five child statistics of the past. Global birthrates are affected by international policy from the United Nations, government programs, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and not-for-profits (NPO). When the financing of special interest groups drives the latter two, the use of one culture’s agenda is propagated on to a foreign culture. There is a remarkably huge disconnect between religious morals or societal ideals and what people need to survive.

The “Misconception” is that global population may continue to skyrocket. Evidence clearly presented by Hans Rosling guides a conclusion that the global population is rebalancing. For this we can thank women. The assertion is that women’s civil rights movements, the access to contraceptives which curtails unwanted pregnancy, and the ability to gain higher education and access to career choices have all helped contribute to a slowdown of population growth. The high birthrates of the past only occur where education and development for women has not. The film ends by reinforcing that the imbalance of resource usage is the main threat to this planet, that the wealthiest countries are restricting access of resources to the poorest.

The true interconnectivity of all life is what is asserted finally, that we need to switch our focus away from fear and “Misconception” and on to a greater compassion for humanity. The answer to the question of “What is the value of one human life?” should be: priceless.

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Film Review: ‘PAPA: Hemingway in Cuba’

PAPA: Hemingway in Cuba Fast Facts 
Directed by: Bob Yari
Cast: Giovanni Ribisi as Ed Myers, Joely Richardson as Mary Hemingway, Adrian Sparks as Ernest Hemingway, Minka Kelly as Debbie Hunt
Rating: R for language, sexuality, some violence and nudity
Runtime: 110 minutes
Release: April 29, 2016

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In my head, I imagine casually running into Taylor Swift, having her be completely enchanted by my quirkiness, and becoming insta-Best Friends. We’d bake cupcakes, cuddle with kittens, and go to Coachella. Well, that’s basically what happened in the movie PAPA: Hemingway in Cuba. Only, instead of me, it’s Ed Myers, a junior reporter at a Miami newspaper. And instead of TSwift, it’s the legendary American author, Ernest Hemingway. Oh, and instead of #squadgoals, it’s adventure and drama and revolution in 1950s/1960s Cuba.

The movie is based on the true experiences of writer Denne Bart Petitclerc, who penned the screenplay about his personal adventures with Hemingway in Cuba. The movie changes some of the real life details, including the name of our protagonist, but otherwise maintains historical accuracy. The opening credits include zoom-ins of newspapers whose headlines and photos give historical context to the rocky relationship between Cuba and the United States. Hemingway, an American living in Cuba, is caught in the middle. I found this to be an effective and creative way of informing the reader of the setting, without making viewers feel dumb! I also adored that the movie was actually the first Hollywood production in fifty years to be filmed in Cuba. Cuba itself felt like a character in the movie, and seeing the Cuban landscape, seas, and architecture made me feel even more engrossed in the story.

MV5BMjE5NDczNTAzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDM2NjMwNzE@._V1_SX1024_CR0,0,1024,682_AL_More than that, the film genuinely captures the complicated friendship between the two men. I attribute this to a smart screenplay. Much like his real-life mentor, Petitclerc’s writing is succinct and concise, and the story gets straight to the point. Within minutes, we learn Myers’ father was killed, and he grew up an orphan with no patriarchal role models. Myers describes in a fan letter to Hemingway that the author’s books were like an old friend to him, there when no one else was. More than that, they inspired and guided him to be a writer. Myers is shocked when Hemingway receives the letter, calls him, and invites him to visit the Hemingway’s family home in Cuba. “Call me Papa,” the author says, “Everybody does.” During a series of visits, the two grow closer, and it’s easy for Hemingway to morph into a father figure role for Myers. However, as Hemingway’s health dwindles, his depression and alcoholism consumes him, creating tension between the two that mirrors the international drama going on around them. The result is a deep character driven drama against a fascinating backdrop that I enjoyed following thoroughly.

Even though Taylor and I probably won’t get matching friendship bracelets anytime soon, I enjoyed seeing Petitclerc’s journey, as seen through Myers, as he met his idol Hemingway. The acting in the movie is phenomenal, and the intensity both Ribisi and Sparks bring to their roles is incredible.  I enjoyed the costumes, sets, and cinematography. What I loved best is that they took a real life situation, regardless of how rare it was, and made it seem so completely authentic and relatable. As such, I definitely recommend this film to you, GeekGirl World!

For a closer look at PAPA, check out the official trailer below:

What did YOU think GeekGirl World? Let us know in the comments section!

Be sure to catch PAPA: Hemingway in Cuba during its release in theaters beginning April 29, 2016!

Want more movie madness, darling cinephiles? Be sure to check out our other film reviews here!

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Film Friday: ‘The Jungle Book’ Review

This week, I’m reviewing the new live action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale about a young boy raised in the jungle and his journey to escape the imminent threat to his life. This happens to be one of my favorite animated classics from Disney. Right now, Disney seems to be on a trend where they want to make live action versions of their previously animated movies. This is a trend that I wish Disney would get over, like their trend to turn all their theme park attractions into live action movies. At least that seems to have stopped with Tomorrowland. Now if you want to know if I think this film is worth a shot, you will have to watch my review below. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

The Jungle Book is in theaters now, starring Neel Sethi as Mowgli Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Giancarlo Esposito as Akela, and Christopher Walken as King Louie.

Clips provided courtesy of the Walt Disney Company.

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Film Friday: ‘Hardcore Henry’ Review

This week I went to see Hardcore Henry in theaters. This film is particularly interesting because it was shot entirely in first-person POV with the help of some really agile stuntmen with GoPro cameras mounted to their helmets.

The premise of the film is basically this guy wakes up in a lab in Moscow as a cyborg, (half-human, half robot) and he has no memory of who he is. The Scientist there in the lab tells him she is his wife and his name is Henry. Before she can get his new voice program installed, a group of mercenaries rush in, lead by this guy with supernatural abilities, and they kidnap her. Now Henry goes on a bloody quest through the streets of Moscow to save his wife, and his own life. Directed by Ilya Naishuller, the film stars Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett and Tim Roth in a “blink and you’ll miss it” cameo.

It is definitely a wild and crazy, action packed, pseudo futuristic ride, but is it just a gimmick or is it worth your while? Check out my review and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Film Friday: Natural Born Pranksters Review (No Spoilers)

This week I am reviewing the new film Natural Born Pranksters, starring Roman Atwood, Dennis Roady and Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, the world’s three most notorious, ballsy, and outrageous YouTube pranksters come together for the first time to unleash the most epic pranks in an outrageous feature-film event. Jam-packed with cameos from some of YouTube’s biggest stars, and unbelievable social experiments taken to the next level.

I completely enjoyed this film. It is packed with non-stop pranks from elaborate the set-ups  to just random street pranking. This trio of pranksters vibe so well together you would think they grew up together pranking, but in reality they all met online through twitter. Being fans of each others work they decided to join forces and the rest is history!  They just had their world premiere in LA, so I’ve included some clips straight from the red carpet.

If you haven’t already, check out the interview I did with the pranksters, where they PRANK ME!

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Visit their YouTube channels:

Roman Atwood: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-SV…

Dennis Roady: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMgQ…

Vitaly Zdorovetskiy: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1KP…

 

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Film Friday: ‘Me Him Her’ Review

Me Him Her is being marketed as a romantic comedy, which is so weird to me! When I think “rom com,” I think cliche, vanilla, popcorn flicks starring Kate Hudson. I definitely don’t picture Max Landis‘ (writer of Chronicle and American Ultra) colorful and spirited directorial debut following twenty-somethings Cory (90210‘s Dustin Milligan), Brendan (Point Break‘s Luke Bracey), and Gabbi (The Leftovers’ Emily Meade) as they question their identity and sexuality and struggle to figure out life, all while alarming Los Angeles residents, floating through space, and engaging in dramatic sword fights (no joke)! This whimsical and zany film was definitely a stand out.

Check out my thoughts of the film in the video below:

 

Me Him Her Quick Facts:
Written and Directed by:
 Max Landis
Cast: Luke Bracey, Dustin Milligan, Emily Meade, Alia Shakwat, Geena Davis, and Haley Joel Osment
Studio: Filmbuff
Runtime: 97 min.

What did YOU think GeekGirl World? Let us know in the comments section!

Be sure to watch Me Him Her during its limited release or through video on demand beginning March 11, 2016!

Want more movie madness, darling cinephiles? Be sure to check out our other film reviews here!

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Film Friday: ‘London Has Fallen’ Review

This week I watched London Has Fallen which is the sequel to Olympus Has Fallen. Gerard Butler is back as Secret Service agent, Mike Banning and once again we have a situation where he must protect the president (Aaron Eckhart) at all costs. The movie is explosive (literally) with a lot of non-stop action sequences that really make the movie an exciting film to watch.

Check out my review of the film below, and let me know what you think after you go see the film. Don’t forget, subscribe to our YouTube channel!

 

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Fan Film Friday reviews ‘Nintendo: Old School Revolution’

Leveling up in the box office this weekend is Sony’s Pixels, and the retro gamer in me jumped (Mario style) at the chance to watch and review a video game themed fan film called Nintendo: Old School Revolution. Does it get a high score? Or is it game over for this one? Check out our review to see what we think!

Watch Nintendo: Old School Revolution here!

Special note: This week’s Fan Film Friday is dedicated to Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s 4th President who passed away earlier this month. Thank you for helping make the world such a fun place! Rest in peace.

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Fan Film Friday reviews “Lego Ant-Man”

Ant-Man plans to take a bite out of the box office this weekend, so we decided to watch and review an Ant-Man themed fan film by FinalFeature titled Lego Ant Man. Check out our review to see what we think of this Lego-esque DC and Marvel mash up featuring Darkseid and Hank Pym‘s Ant-Man!

Watch FinalFeature’s Lego Ant-Man here!

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Fan Film Friday Reviews The Other Side (Supernatural)

The CW’s Supernatural just started filming Season 11, a momentous achievement that will allow the much loved show to break the record for the longest running consecutive Sci-Fi series, currently held by Smallville (R.I.P.) with 10 seasons and 217 episodes. To celebrate, we decided to watch and review The Other Side, a fan film with a fun twist, created by the very talented women at Counter Agent Films.

Watch The Other Side here!