‘Prisoners’ is intense, dark, and one of the best movies this year

I finally took some time out of my hectic school/work schedule for some “Me Time” – some desperately needed work/life balance – to go watch Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners. Here’s what I wrote in my Rotten Tomatoes review (which generally are more blabbing than proper reviewing – forewarning):

This is one of those movies where you have to pay attention all the way through. The director – who’s Canadian! – makes it easy for you by slowly guiding you through the story.

The performances, of course, should be mentioned because you have never seen Hugh Jackman like you have seen Hugh Jackman in this movie. I was a little wary going into this movie that Hugh and Jake Gyllenhaal were a little too young for their roles, but they both did extremely well. Gyllenhaal, for one, does less of his “Zodiac” I-need-to-know performance, but does a more subtle performance. As for Jackman, he just goes off the charts in this role. There are some spectacular scenes he’s in that really impress you – I would say it’s his most emotionally intense role yet, but I haven’t seen all his movies, so I can’t say that for sure!

This year’s TIFF experience was exhausting

TIFF ended 15 days ago, and I am just writing my TIFF experience blog now. Sigh. I’ve had such a hectic schedule since the end of August, I’m not sure why I decided it would be a good idea to start a brand spankin’ new blog. Perhaps I underestimated the workload for the first month of school… Though actually, it’s less about the “first month of school” but more “first month of the last year of undergraduate school”. I have always been involved with extracurricular activities at school, but because I am in my last year, I’ve felt greater pressure to add more to my resume to ensure I can start my career as soon as I graduate. This meant trying to juggle positions at two part-time jobs, one student group, four school courses, and briefly, a two-week volunteer position all at the same time. Chaos.

Make the most of your 20s

We’ve been called pre-adults, emerging adults, millennials, the defining decade and the lost decade. We graduated during the worst economy in recent memory and pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps to recover what was lost. We’ve been told 80% of life’s most significant events take place by age 35, but listened to other 20-somethings daydream about “taking some time off,” presumably to spend more time gaming. We have an intuitive sense that the foundation we lay now will continue to carry us throughout life. We’ve seen lists on “20 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make” go viral and helped make it happen. One thing is clear: we’re searching for answers on how to make sense of this messy life we’re leading. I know, because this is my generation.

I read this article a couple weeks back, and it made an impression on me. “20 tips to makes the most of your 20s” sounded just like another article formatted as a list particularly for millennials like me who have short attention spans, but the article gave great advice. I am in my last undergraduate year, so the list reminded me of all the things I should do to change my mindset about my future.

But looking at this list, I can confidently say that I am definitely fulfilling at least seven of these suggestions: Be honest, choosing the right friends, start listening etc. But there is also a lot of work to be done: Stop complaining, be revolutionary, make a cold call etc.Β When I turn 30, I want to have cleared this list!

Begin the end

I suppose it’s very fitting to start a blog today out of all days.

Today marks the last holiday weekend before the start of my last undergraduate year. Today marks the summer Transfer Deadline Day for the 2013-2014 European football season, which my all-time favourite players moved from my team for the past three years to his home team, AC Milan. And last week, I helped participate in organizing and promoting Ryerson University 2013-2014 frosh week on their various RU Student Life social media accounts, which was significant to me because I had never attended the frosh week for my first year at Ryerson University – way back in the fall of 2007. As my Instagram caption for the photo I published on last week’s first day of frosh, “Beginning the end with the beginning I never began with.”

Instagram

  • Did you even see it, if you didn't see it in a theatre during public release? 😏 That mahjong scene still made me tear up the second time around. And definitely appreciated Henry Golding even more the second time around too. Thank you, @warnerbrosuk, for bringing the UK release date forward two months. I can't imagine what the wait would've been like if #CrazyRichAsians was to be released in November like it was originally planned. πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Also, is my skin really that dark in real life?! Good grief, I tanned some several shades this summer. 😩
  • Storybook vibes. I want to go back. 🏞️ (Note to self: I think the poor photo quality is because I was on a motor boat that legit barrelled down the fjords at like record speed, so fast the camera couldn't stabilize fast enough. 😭)
  • It was a sunny Sunday in Brighton. But in just one week, summer is over. Back to miserable ol' English weather... πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§
  • Repsweating: "It's the idea of sweating it out over representation, that feeling of: 'I don't even need to like this thing, but I need it to win.'"⁣ πŸ’ͺ🏻
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That was me going into the movie. I've been positively obsessed with this movie for the past two months - reading all the spoilers, following all the critical reviews, checking box office numbers every day... I needed it to succeed in North America because I knew that if it succeeded in Canada and the United States, it meant that we could get more of these projects. More Asian actors in the Western hemisphere starring in Western film projects. ⁣
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What I didn't expect though, was how anxious I would actually end up feeling when I sat there in the cinema lobby watching all the audience members file in into the movie. Majority of them were white. There were Asians (East Asians), sure, but most of them were white. When I realized this, after having sat down in the theatre, I started feeling a bit nervous. Would this UK audience react to this movie the way the US audiences have? Would this UK audience react to this movie the way I wanted them to? Would they understand the references? Would they get the jokes?⁣
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If I was watching this movie in Toronto, I wouldn't have been as nervous. I knew that the movie would succeed. East Asians are everywhere in Toronto; we are the majority visible minority group. And having grown up in a multicultural Western city like Toronto, we were like Asian-Americans. We would come out to support this, no question about it... ⁣But I'm not in Toronto, I live in London UK now.⁣
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I've been through so many experiences here in the UK where I've been made to feel ashamed of my culture, that when I sat in the theatre, I realized that this film experience would be way more personal than I thought it would be. Now that it has succeeded in the States, and the sequel is a guarantee, I needed an almost all-white British audience, in a country vocally proud of its imperialist history, to really embrace and enjoy this movie. ⁣
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(continued below...)
#CrazyRichAsians
  • Squid and shellfish risotto. 🐚
  • When #London gives you free hamburgers, you go queue up and eat them. πŸ” #GeniusGlutenFree