5 Lines (or Less) Movie Reviews: Oscars 2016 Winners Edition

Racism, sexual abuse and climate change; these were among the multitude of issues that were addressed in 2016’s Academy Awards ceremony. Despite the fact that this years Oscars were surrounded by the racial discrimination controversy (which was tackled throughout the event by the delightful host, Chris Rock.) it was the best Oscars ceremony I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Oscars 2016
Credit: http://www.facebook.com/TheAcademy

Why? Because my favorite movies won 😀

From Inside Out winning Best Animated Movie to Mad Max: Fury Road being the front-runner with 6 huge wins, and Brie Larson winning Best Actress for my personal favorite movie of the year: Room; the most awaited moment was when the Best Actor category arrived. Oh yeah. History was made, and the internet lost its mind 😉

I can NOT forget how hard I was clenching my fists when the Best Actor category came on, and my screaming, jumping, clapping and cheering on top of my lungs when Julianne Moore said these 7 magical words “And the Oscar goes to…. Leonardo DiCaprio.

Leonardo Oscar Win
Just look at him smile when he won. Just… look at him. :’)

This win wasn’t special to me because Leo is my favorite actor of all time. It was because this was an inspiring moment for me. I was rooting for him because that guy has taught us that what is the fruit of resilience. That when you love what you do and keep doing it with undying passion even though you don’t get the due-recognition you deserve (and have deserved for so many years), then it eventually pays off in the end. Leonardo DiCaprio’s career is an inspiration for us all. I know an Oscar (or any award or recognition) is not the determinant of greatness, but my tears of joy for that man were because all of us has a Leo inside us, and today he won; someday we will win too 🙂

Now let’s get to the reviews. So I won’t be talking about the movies I haven’t seen by now (DUH!) and have already reviewed, like my Mad Max: Fury Road Review  and Inside Out Review. For the rest of the 5 big winners, here is 5 Lines or Less. Get ready to see a lot of Potahtos being handed out!

Room:

Room
Credit: http://www.filmvilag.blog.hu

Room takes a gravely heartbreaking topic and turns it into a beautifully moving story of the relentless love between a mother and a son that transcends the worst of obstacles. Seeing the world from the innocent perspective of a brave child is not only sublime but also life-affirming. Brie Larson’s performance moves you to tears, and guys, keep an eye on Jacob Tremblay; one day he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Oscars Won:

  1. Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – Brie Larson

Potahto Rating:

10 out of 10 Potahtos

The Revenant:

The Revenant
Credit: http://www.rollingstone.com

A grueling tale of survival and revenge, the Revenant reveals the power of human spirit and resilience in the most jarring and ruthless of conditions. It’s realism is shocking and jaw-dropping. A standing ovation to Alejandro G. Iñárritu for keeping the Art of Cinema alive with his unbelievably phenomenal direction and Leonardo DiCaprio for giving the performance of a lifetime that will be remembered for generations to come.

Oscars Won:

  1. Best Achievement in Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki
  2. Best Achievement in Directing – Alejandro González Iñárritu
  3. Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – Leonardo DiCaprio

Potahto Rating:

9 out of 10 Potahtos

Bridge of Spies:

ST. JAMES PLACE
Credit: http://www.independent.co.uk

Isn’t it weird that a movie based in the era of the Cold War leaves you with such a warm feeling inside? Bridge of Spies has a LOT of heart! Every time Tom Hanks is on-screen, his positivism, his ethics and his bond with the (lovable) Soviet spy constantly makes you smile despite the fact that the story is set in a time where the tiniest of mistakes could result in nuclear warfare. Well, it’s a Spielberg movie, perfection was imminent.

Oscars Won:

  1. Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Mark Rylance

Potahto Rating:

9 out of 10 Potahtos

Spotlight:

Spotlight
Credit: http://www.youtube.com (review by Kevin Falk)

Spotlight makes you feel uncomfortable as it shows such a side of one of the most respected institutions in the world that is unthinkable to the masses. It depicts the real story of how the media can be used for raising your voice for the good and bringing justice to the affected victims. Stellar performances, an audacious script and exceptional direction make Spotlight a worthy winner for Best Picture.

Oscars Won:

  1. Best Motion Picture of the Year – Michael SugarSteve GolinNicole RocklinBlye Pagon Faust
  2. Best Writing, Original Screenplay – Josh SingerTom McCarthy

Potahto Rating:

9 out of 10 Potahtos

The Big Short:

THE BIG SHORT
Credit: http://www.collider.com

Financial analysts, housing bubble collapse, corporate corruption and a LOT of banking terminology sure sounded like something that’ll bore me to death, but surprisingly enough The Big Short was a delight to watch. Powerhouse performances from some of my favorite actors along with astounding direction and amazingly well-written script that even a lay-man can applaud, The Big Short is definitely among the best of 2015.

Oscars Won:

  1. Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay – Charles RandolphAdam McKay

Potahto Rating:

8 out of 10 Potahtos

“Firewatch”: A Beautiful Exploration of Love, Commitment and Isolation

When we were kids, playing games on our lovely Sega and Nintendo consoles, did we ever imagine there will come a time when gaming will become a medium as deeply impactful and moving as most great books and movies are?

Well ladies and gentlemen, we are living in that time now. And Firewatch is the perfect (living) proof of it. I don’t remember being so profoundly touched by a game in my entire life. And that’s saying something because I’ve been gaming since I was 5 years old.

Firewatch Poster
Image Courtesy: http://www.blurppy.com

The Plot:

Excerpt taken from IGN.com

Firewatch is a mystery set in the woods of Wyoming, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio. You play as a man named Henry who has retreated from his messy life to work as a fire lookout in the wilderness. Perched high atop a mountain, it’s your job to look for smoke and keep the wilderness safe. An especially hot and dry summer has everyone on edge. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is available to you at all times over a small, handheld radio – and is your only contact with the world you’ve left behind. But when something strange draws you out of your lookout tower and into the world, you’ll explore a wild and unknown environment, facing questions and making interpersonal choices that can build or destroy the only meaningful relationship you have.

My Take on the Game:

The only thing I knew about Firewatch before starting it was that it’s based on exploring wilderness. I didn’t read about the story, or the characters. I went in completely blank. I thought it was a National Park Ranger Simulator. And well, that was reason enough for me to be excited about it because 1. I love nature, and 2. I love nature VERY MUCH.

So when it started off, I rubbed my hands together all giddy like a child, thinking “This is gonna be so exciting walking around the woods.” And then suddenly in the very first 5 seconds, a written narration starts. Telling me about a clumsy but charming guy (Henry), and a sweet and confident girl (Julia), and their meet-cute in a bar. And at this point I say to myself with sudden realization “Oohhh, I think I’m gonna fall in love with this game.

Now the question arises; if this guy has such a perfect life with Julia, why would he move to a dead-end job as a lookout out in the woods?

Wanna know the reason? Please purchase the game. This game deserves to be purchased IMMEDIATELY.

[The screenshots I’ll be sharing in this post are of the actual gameplay. Yes, the beauty of it leaves you speechless.]

Firewatch Sunset
Image Courtesy: http://www.superbwallpapers.com

Firewatch is perfection in every single aspect. The way this game deals with adult issues through world-class storytelling with the support of a hilarious and heart-wrenching script along with some of the most amazing voice-acting I’ve ever heard in my life makes Firewatch easily my most memorable interactive gaming experience. And how can one forget the perfection of the art direction and gorgeous visuals. It literally blows away your mind.

As I’ve already discussed, the game is completely narrative driven. You, as Henry, work under your supervisor Delilah, and 95% of Firewatch is based on the dialogues of these two individuals over the handheld radio. And that’s where the beauty of this game lies. Just like when reading from a book, you get to enter the minds of these two people who have both run away from something from their life back at home. Along the way, you do run into some trouble. Firewatch goes from something moving to something harrowing in just a couple of chapters, and there are times when you are scared to go out in the dark because of the lurking danger and the terrifying conspiracies surrounding you.

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Deadpool: Marvel’s Finest Creation Yet

A movie that starts of by saying that it is produced by “Asshats” and directed by “An Overpaid Tool” is a total winner in my books. 😀

I really shouldn’t admit this, but I enjoyed Deadpool way more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Mad Max: Fury Road. Please don’t hurt me. *hiding under the bed*

This is hands down the MOST entertaining movie experience I’ve ever had in my life. No hyperbole intended.

[Note: The following review is SPOILER FREE]

Deadpool Poster

Movie Synopsis:

Excerpt Taken from Rotten Tomatoes:

“Deadpool tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.”

Deadpool

My Take on the Movie:

Before starting my review I’d like to applaud the Marketing Team of this movie. That whole department alone deserves a special category in the Oscars. I’ve read a few Marvel and DC Comics over the years but I never planned on reading Deadpool. I don’t know, I just wasn’t into the “Merc with a Mouth”. But the adverts and marketing of Deadpool swept me away! Seriously tho, that is the only reason I was excited to see it. Not only its trailers, TV spots, outdoor and print ads; its Social Media game was on point. I mean, just look at this!

Deadpool this Valentine's Day

If you wanna learn how to sell a hardcore, violent, raunchy, action-packed, comic-based movie at a time of the year when girls are squealing to their boyfriends to take them to a sappy rom-com, then please contact the person who made this cover 😛 Simply genius 😀

Coming back to the review.

I have nothing against Marvel movies – I’m a huge die hard fan – but we all know that they are popular for their big budgets, the big names, big-time superheroes, loud mind-blasting action, over-usage of CGI and their snarky but cute humor here and there. Ant Man was a very fine exception from that rule, and I love that one to bits; but what I loved the MOST about Deadpool (another movie with a tight budget) were it’s unique style of storytelling and script.

My goodness, this is how you turn a painfully overdone superhero formula into a BENCHMARK for all other comic-book films.

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“25” by Adele: The Wait Was Worth It

The most anticipated album of 2015 was released three days ago, and then suddenly, life was the right amount of perfect. Adele’s “25” is currently shattering all records, and for good reason: it’s the best thing that has happened to the music industry in the past 4 years.

Adele 25 Cover
Image Courtesy: http://www.digitalspy.com

The thing that I loved the most about 25 was that it was so… optimistic. I was expecting a LOT of tear-jerkers (“Hello” and “When We Were Young” being the only ones that made me ugly-cry) but most of the songs in it are about celebrating love, not brooding over it. I was continuously smiling while listening to this entire album.

Next came the challenge: to shortlist my Top 5 Favorite songs from it. Ergh, that was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do this year, only because no track – and I mean NOT A SINGLE TRACK – was mediocre. Nope. That’s a rarity.

So without further ado, let me share which 5 songs I think are the ones that I’ll keep listening to all my entire life.

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November 9 by Colleen Hoover: “Crippling, Debilitating, Paralyzing Love”

Let me start this review by sharing what happened to me when I finished this book. It was 4:20am, I was lying in my room in the dark and everyone else at home was fast asleep. The moment I finished it, I got up from my bed – my knees shaking – closed my bedroom door, and right then and there I fell to the ground and starting crying as if these tears were held inside me for years. I cried so much I couldn’t breathe anymore. I crawled to the bed, lied face down into my pillow and bawled as loud as I could.

I was a complete mess.

Those weren’t tears of sorrow. They were tears of joy. :’)

I love you Colleen Hoover, for making me believe in love again. :’)

Image courtesy: www.goodreads.com
Image courtesy: http://www.goodreads.com

I usually read a book’s Goodreads review before starting it. I need to know what others think about it, because I hate it when I realize I’ve wasted my time with a lame story. But with November 9, I went in completely blind. I had no idea what it was about, what rating it got, how “bestselling” it was. I avoided reading anything about it like I avoid reading Game of Thrones spoilers. I only knew that it was written by CoHo.

And I would advice you to do the same.

I promise you, it will be worth it.

As for my review, it will be completely spoiler free. Yeah, there will be a few quotes here and there, but they’re only for the purpose of convincing you to read this book immediately.

Okay, now I’m just gonna rant on like an idiot about WHY I loved this book so much.

My Take on November 9:

“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.”

THE ROMANCE:

November 9 has the most engaging and one-of-a-kind romance I’ve read in a long, long time. The formula CoHo used has been done before – obviously – but how she executed it, how she dealt with those characters and the purity of love between them (I haven’t swooned so much in YEARS), and that mind-boggling twist near the end, HOLY GUACAMOLE, it left my head spinning.

It made me feel ALL THE FEELS!!!

“You left with my soul in your fists and my heart in your teeth, and I don’t want either of them back.”

I have plenty of experience with romance novels but this time there was something different. You know when you read/watch an amazing love story and you say to yourself, “Yeah right, THAT’S never happening to me. I’m gonna become a cat-lady and die alone.”

Abeeha the Cat Lady

But in November 9, Ben and Fallon’s love seemed too real. So real that it made me believe that one day I too can have something like that. Do you remember what I said in the beginning? About me crying like a baby? It was because I suddenly knew it in my heart that I WILL find my Ben someday :’)

“I’m in love with her. Like, really in love with her. Crippling, debilitating, paralyzing love.”

Laughing-Crying Matthew

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“Until Dawn”: Another Breakthrough in Survival-Horror Gaming

If I had to summarize Until Dawn in one sentence it would be that this game is the perfect blend of all those Hollywood movies that are the pinnacle of psychological horror cinema; movies like Psycho, The Shining, Scream, The Descent, Saw and Cabin in the Woods. This game is all of them rolled into one!

Image Courtesy: www.videogamesblogger.com
Image Courtesy: http://www.videogamesblogger.com

Before proceeding any further, I would suggest that you play the following Theme Song of Until Dawn. Yeah, you’re already in love with the game, aren’t ya? 😉

The Plot:
Taken from Until Dawn Wikia

“When eight friends become trapped on a remote mountain getaway gone wrong, things quickly turn sinister and they start to suspect they aren’t alone. Every choice the player makes while playing as each of the eight friends – even the seemingly trivial ones – will carve out a unique story. The player’s actions alone determine who survives until dawn.”

My Take on the Game:

Let me be clear, I don’t appreciate games in which you’re just this big badass with a massive gun and you just run around shooting people (or creatures) and stuff without any solid purpose in mind. I crave a meaningful plot and characters that I can relate to. The last time I loved a game this much was when I played “Heavy Rain” back in 2010.

I’m not a pro gamer; that’s why I won’t get into the technical nitty-gritty details. If you want that, stop reading and go to Gamespot or Metacritic or something. The forthcoming rant is all coming from a gal who just adores classic horror.

Enjoy the Horror

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5 Lines (or less) Movie Reviews: MI5 Rogue Nation, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Paper Towns

5 Lines (or less) Reviews

Mission Impossible 5 – Rogue Nation:

Image Courtesy: http://screenrant.com/
Image Courtesy: http://screenrant.com/

MI has become the “Coca-Cola of Movies”: they know how to sell it, it maintains a consistent quality and it NEVER disappoints. It is the one single franchise from which you can always expect the best, and Rogue Nation is no exception. Visually stunning, gripping and suspenseful storyline, mind-DESTROYING action scenes, and Tom Cruise who is definitely a vampire (that guy does NOT age) is ridiculously fantastic as ever.

Potahto Rating:

4 out of 5 Potahtos

Watch It If:

you want to see the single best chase scene in action movie history (not kidding). And also if you’re super into great espionage-thrillers starring a 52-year-old Tom Cruise still kicking ass looking like a sexy 30-year-old.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl:

Olivia Cooke as "Rachel" and Thomas Mann as "Greg" in a scene from the motion picture "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl." CREDIT: Anne Marie Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures [Via MerlinFTP Drop]
Image Courtesy: Anne Marie Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures [Via MerlinFTP Drop]
Friendship, love, parenting, witty banter, high-school cliques, crazy short films, stop-motion animation, cancer-drama, fear, life, death and a coming-of-age tale all rolled into one heartfelt and delightful package. I admire the way the writer dealt with cancer by not forcing you to feel pity and constant sorrow for the lovable characters. And I simply cherish that RARE event when a movie turns out to be better than its book.

Potahto Rating:

5 out of 5 Potahtos

Watch It If:

you are tired of sappy love stories and believe that teenage flicks on illnesses should not be so “boo-hoo-please-cry-for-me” type. And also if you need to see something that is in many ways better than The Fault in Our Stars.

Paper Towns:

Image Courtesy: http://www.usatoday.com/
Image Courtesy: http://www.usatoday.com/

It’s sad when a movie you were really excited about turns out to be a major let-down. Paper Towns is painfully dull! Nat Wolff who seems like a full-of-life-fun-guy IRL was the biggest depression-inducing aspect of this film for his monotonous performance. The super hyped Cara Delevingne: non-existent. The script: not so powerful. The only acceptable performances were by the main lead’s two best friends. 

Potahto Rating:

2 out of 5 Potahtos

Watch It If:

you want to see a mildly decent bromance. Otherwise, please don’t bother.