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Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy


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Movie review: Get Out

We saw this movie only recently, though it was released in February (and is now available on DVD / streaming). What convinced me to go despite horror not being one of my go-to genres was its 99% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, along with:

mv5bnte2nzg1njkznv5bml5banbnxkftztgwotgyodmymti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_All this advance research proved correct. Of course the movie had violence, but not much more than you’d see on network TV. It was about suspense, not gore.

And yes, the startling moments, the twists, the laughs, were more enjoyable with a crowd to share them (though this was a sparsely attended showing).

It is a good movie. Just on the surface level, it’s fun trying to figure out the plot, and it does have a good mix of humour in with the mysterious goings-on. The lead character, Chris, is going to spend the weekend with his girlfriend’s family for the first. She’s white; the family does not know that he’s black.

She assures him that it will not be a problem, but in fact, his interactions with the family are uncomfortable, whether by over-compensating (“my man!” exclaims her father) or by thinly veiled hostility of her brother. As well, the few black people in the area behave rather strangely, almost zombie-like. Things only get weirder and, for Chris, more alarming from there.

So if you want to get analytical, there’s also a lot to work with here: issues of cultural appropriation and white liberal racism and even gender issues (the victim here is not the pretty white girl). One of the smarter movies out there.


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Movie review: Side Effects

*** Side Effects (February 2013) – Theatre

Side Effects movie posterRooney Mara, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Twisty story featuring a young woman with depression, her husband released from prison after serving his sentence for insider trading, and the woman’s current and former psychologists.

She says: I never could guess where this one was going, as the power and viewpoint shifted from one character to another. The side effects of the title refer to the fact that all the medications the young woman takes to manage her depression have side effects, and one in particular gets the plot moving through its disturbing paces.

I don’t want to say too much as the whole fun of this movie is watching the elaborate plot unfold, but it struck me in particular how the story says your sympathies should shift from one character to another as secrets are revealed, that doesn’t quite happen. Instead, you really end up sympathetic to no one, just shaking your head at how people can be.

He says: OK, yes, that was enough plot. And no, I didn’t guess how it would go. It was just mind-bending following all that.