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Gregory’s Girl (1981)

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You know, there’s this feeling you feel as a teenager - it’s hard to describe… But it’s sad, it’s beautiful and it’s rather tragic. It is the feeling of being hopelessly in love.

It’s crazy, because as a teenager you really don’t know what to do with this feeling. You’re too scared to talk to ‘her’ - the idea of perfection in your mind. When you do somehow manage to talk, you make a fool out of yourself. You believe that she is the one and yet you cannot even approach her! That’s exactly the case with Gregory, the lead character of this wonderful film, Gregory’s Girl. 

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Gregory, you see, is deeply, wildly and rather madly in love with Dorothy; this new girl in school. She is blonde, pretty and perfect - so God damn perfect that he doesn’t even stand a chance with her! He tries his best to get closer to her, to catch her attention, to ask her out and yet, to his dismay, he fails every God damn time. Now how many times as a teenager did you feel like that? I am one, I know this has happened to me, and boy, I swear, never in my life do I want to feel like this ever again! Never. Ever.

And if all that wasn’t enough, do you know what makes this worse?

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Dorothy recognises Gregory - she talks to him, she understands his feelings towards her and yet, she doesn’t like him back. She is wiser than him and understands the silly thing called “love”. She knows that Gregory isn’t the only guy in love with her; so are a countless others - after all, she is the ONLY girl in school who got into the football team. She talks back to all of these guys and is nice to all of them, but at the same she ensures that she doesn’t fall for any single one of them.

Of course, that doesn’t mean shit to the guys. No one just gives up simply because the so-called love of their life doesn’t love them back. They try, try and try. Gregory, in particular, tries a lot. He asks his sister for advice - but that’s just funny, because she is a 10 year old who knows nothing about love. Then, he asks his best-friend for advice - but even that’s just funny, because all this best-friend cares about is food. Gregory’s life, henceforth, is a mess.

One day, however, things change when Dorothy suddenly asks Gregory to practice football with her - to Dorothy this might only mean football, but to Gregory this means the world. Driven to believe that Dorothy somehow, for some God forsaken reason, is into him, Gregory finally manages to ask her out. To his surprise, she even says yes to him!

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Now, wouldn’t that be wonderful? The girl of your dreams says yes to you. She; the perfect one, the one you’re so in love with - she says yes to going out with you! That is probably the best thing that can happen to anyone and it happened to Gregory!

Well, yes, except, not really… You see, as I mentioned before, Dorothy gets love. She knows that Gregory isn’t in love with her - he just thinks he is. Plus, more importantly, she herself isn’t in love with him - to her, Gregory is just a slow, awkward boy. So, what Dorothy does is that she sends Gregory on a wild goose chase that ends up being one of the most bittersweet moments I’ve ever seen.

It’s sweet because Gregory comes to realise that he really doesn’t know who he is in love with. It’s sweet because Dorothy helps Susan, a friend of hers who has had a crush on Gregory for a long time, to get closer to him. Most importantly, it’s sweet because Dorothy helps Gregory become more confident.

But, then, it’s bitter because seeing all this happen, you realise that Gregory really will never get Dorothy. You realise that sometimes, no matter how much you think you’re in love with a girl, the truth is that you are not in love with her.

The movie is all about this bittersweet feeling - and that, exactly, is why it is worth watching.

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You see, there are plenty of films about falling hopelessly in love as a teenager - many such films are good; some, in fact, are even great. But, rarely do any of these films project the truth as realistically as Gregory’s Girl does. It, in the quirkiest, weirdest and craziest manner possible, offers laughs in unexpected ways, helps describe one of the most important aspects of growing up and really defines what it means to be a teenager. By doing so, the movie, in turn, becomes real. And wonderful. And excellent.

If you aren’t planning on watching Gregory’s Girl, you aren’t doing yourselves any favours. Give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.

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Happy Christmas

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Here’s a film without a plot-line, a start or (you guessed it) an end. Yet, I loved it. Why? Probably because the film is so brutally honest that it is hard not to stop, ignore and forget watching it.

I know, I know - now I’m just contradicting myself! I just said that I loved the film. Then why, now, am I saying that it’s hard not to hate it? Well, because, the only reason I hated this film was that it was too honest - and I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, if a film can make you hate it, simply by being truthful, you have yourselves a strong, impactful and good film.

And such films, I believe, should be loved.

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Plus, besides all that, the film stars Anna Kendrick, who is undeniably likeable, as its lead character. So, yeah, there’s that too.

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Well, anyway, you might be wondering what this film, without a plot-line, a start or an end, is about? The answer to that, fortunately, is simple: The film is a character study of a grown up woman who refuses to grow up.

This woman, played by (as already mentioned) the flawless Anna Kendrick, has some serious issues. She, of course, has no idea that these issues exist.

As the film progresses, we get to know more about these problems. For instance, we realise that this woman refuses to take on any kind of responsibility. We get to know that she has no understanding of how her actions have consequences. We see and understand that she has no goals, no ambition and no care for her future. She is happy living in her brother’s basement; smoking pot, doing nothing.

As all this happens, we, sadly, see our society in the film. We realise that this woman, who refuses to grow up, represents our society - especially if we belong to today’s generation. This, as you might have already realised, is when the film’s brutal honesty kicks in.

Of course, however, the film isn’t a criticism of this woman; who represents us. It, instead, is a character study - so amongst all that negativity, it even projects to us the positivity within this woman. It shows us how in today’s day and age, this woman is ready to fight for her rights and is ready to become independent. What she does with these rights and this independence, though, is a completely different story.

As the film reaches its end, we are left with the thought that behaviour, like that of this woman, is contagious. Those of us who can realise that this, no matter how good it seems, is bad for us, move on in life. Those of us who do not realise anything, on the other hand, are left stuck, thinking that life is good even when it is horrible. In the end, the only one who can make a difference and who can change things is us.

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Joe Swanberg’s film, Happy Christmas, isn’t telling you any stories. It is just reflecting to you what our society has become - the fact that most of it was improv just scares me, because everything came so naturally to the actors

See this film. If not for entertainment, see it to realise, understand and know what our society has become.

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Community lives on!

Remember when a few months ago NBC did what we all had been fearing about for a long time by cancelling Community? I’m pretty sure all of us had the same reaction:

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Well, guess what? We’re now out of the darkest timeline.

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Oh, yeah, you heard me right.

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BUT HOW? Well, you just have to thank Yahoo! Because, you know, COMMUNITY LIVES ON!

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Now, I just want to thank Yahoo! for being so nice and conclude by saying:

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Edge of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise has been both, a ‘movie star’ and an excellent actor for ages. With performances like the one in Magnolia and with blockbusters like the Mission Impossible franchise, he has proven this.  Similarly, Doug Liman has been an excellent film maker for ages. After having made amazing films like The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, he has proven that he knows what he is doing.

Sadly, however, both Cruise and Liman have been struggling for the past few years. They have made good films alright, but these films haven’t been as good as they used to be - and believe me, the films used to be very good.  With Edge of Tomorrow, though, both the actor and director in question have made a comeback. In a somewhat similar sense to its central theme, the film has allowed Tom Cruise and Doug Liman to restart their careers (with a great push).

The film’s plot-line is rather complicated: Tom Cruise plays Major William Cage, who is the kind of man who sends any number of people to war until he doesn’t have to fight the war himself - one day, however, under some rather unfortunate circumstances, Cage wakes up to find out that he now himself has to fight the war he desperately ran from. As one might expect, chaos ensues - but not in the way you might think. You see, while (actually after) fighting the war, Cage finds out that he can now restart his day whenever he dies. Cage must now befriend Rita Vrastaski aka Full Metal Bitch aka Angel of Verdun (Emily Blunt), a total badass woman who teaches Cage how to use this power and become someone who can fight the war and kick some alien ass, until of course, the Earth is safe.

Albeit complicated, it seems like an interesting concept, right? Well, it is. This, after all, is like a combination of Groundhog Day and a film such as Oblivion (another Cruise film). But that’s not what makes this film so good - instead it’s Cruise, it’s Liman’s direction and it’s the surprisingly well written script of this film.

Let me explain.

Firstly, after having seen Tom Cruise play a fearless, calm and nonchalant character time after time in film after film, seeing him in this film is delightful. He plays such an afraid, scared and powerless man that it’s hard not to be baffled with just how good Tom Cruise is as an actor. The way he pulls of being this wimp is exceptional and marvellous and rather entertaining.

If that’s not enough, Liman knows how to use Cruise. He gives us the scared and worried Cruise who is discovering the sadness and hopelessness of death again and again and who is trying to escape the war in any and every way possible, but then he also gives us the Cruise we have all come to love over the years: you know, the one with that ever-so-charming big smile and the one with an undeniably likeable arrogance.

To add to that, with the film’s script, Liman is also able to keep the audience entertained and interested at every possible single moment of the film. The script, after all, uses the Groundhog Day concept (living the same day again and again; can I call it that?) to create action, humour and a sense of confusion.

You see, as the film progresses, it creates a video-game like theme in which our hero has to die again and again until he learns how to finish every challenge faced, so that he can fight and destroy the final boss at the end of the game. This allows Cage to become as strategic, brave and powerful as possible until he finishes all his challenges and fights and destroys this final boss.

By adding humour and confusion to this ingenious action, Doug Liman pretty much makes the film great. 

Other than that, even Emily Blunt, who, as mentioned before, plays Rita Vrataski (aka Full Metal Bitch aka Angel of Verdun) is pretty good in her role. Vrataski is Cage’s trainer and romantic interest in the film - not much if we think about it. However, Blunt is able to add a sense of mystery and depth into this character that you have to like her and you have to want her to have as much screen time as possible. (Plus, there’s that part where this character is nick-named Full Metal Bitch).

Together, all these elements add up and mix so well that disliking Edge of Tomorrow becomes almost impossible, if not fully impossible. In fact, they all layer up and blend so well that they make Edge of Tomorrow, at least in my eyes, one of the best (if not the best) films of summer 2014.

I have heard that the film isn’t doing a very good business and that’s a pity - not because I liked the film so much, but because it is a really good film which has the potential to make loads of people like it. Honestly, do yourselves a favour and go watch Edge of Tomorrow. It’s a great film.

Harold Ramis, 1944-2014

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I know that this message is very very late, but I still have to write it and pay homage to one of the greatest writers, film-makers and actors of all time: Harold Ramis.

Why countless people and I adore this man so much is not only because he has entertained us and made us all laugh a million times, but also because he has helped cinema reach the stage where it is today.

This man, along with Bill Murray and John Candy established comedy in the 1980s. He took risks and produced movies which were incredible beyond words and are still remembered. All his movies - whether it be Groundhog Day, Stripes, Caddyshack or Ghost Busters - just took the genre to a different level. They were funny alright, but they were also new and interesting and different… They had lovely characters, mind blowing plots and wonderful humour! They made you laugh, they made you dream and imagine, they made you feel nice and they even made you realise things about life you otherwise probably wouldn’t - and all this is because of that one man.

Whether he enacted in movies or directed them or just wrote them - it didn’t matter. They were good and in fact, they still are! That’s all that matters. That’s all that has ever mattered, and that’s all that will ever matter.

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Goodbye, Harold Ramis and rest in peace. You’ll always be remembered and your legacy will remain forever. Thank you for all that you did.