From Budapest to Blackfish


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Batters up! Here goes my first movie review(s) for Amica.

So, I recently watched two very different films over the Easter holiday long weekend. And when I say different, I mean like the difference between Kim Kardashian and Hillary Clinton or Rihanna and Andre Rieu (basically like so different that I’m not even sure they should be on the same spectrum). One of these films left me smiling and feeling so nostalgic, I felt like I might have actually grown up in the 1940’s, as opposed to the excessive 80′ s. The other film made my heart ache so bad that I needed to physically lie down afterwards and remind myself ‘good’ really did exist in the world, maybe just not with some Sea World Executives.

On the lighter side of the coin, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is definitely one of the more charming, original films to come out of Hollywood in recent times. The story is pretty simple, an old man sits in his library reminiscing about his time spent at the once glorious but now shabby and slightly tragic Grand Budapest Hotel. The ‘now’ is actually 30 years earlier, where the narrator (played by Jude Law and Tom Wilkinson) visit said hotel, which though frequented by very few, seems to attract a loyal set of customers who practically live there. One of these guests is the supposed owner, Zero Moustafa, whose love for the hotel seems to surpass the connection gained from mere ownership. Turns out the owner was once an immigrant door boy, mentored and employed by the flamboyant Monsieur Gustave, the famous concierge of the then opulent Grant Budapest Hotel. The story of how this seemingly insignificant door boy became the owner of the Grand Budapest Hotel holds the thread to this hilarious, melancholic, and mad movie.

The performances are outstanding, the chemistry between the young actor playing Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) and Ralph Fiennes, as the perfumed and perfectly coiffed Monsieur Gustave pulls at the heart and the girth strings. Also, for a film with so many characters and cameos from luminaries including Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Adrian Brody and Tilda Swinton (though barely recognisable) the emphasis on dialogue and clever yet simple photography, keeps the movie grounded in reality and hilarity.

Not everybody will enjoy this film, but if you’re someone who’s ok to suspend logic and sensibility, then please go and see this seriously witty and note-worthy film. I’m going to give it a hearty 4 out of 5.



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On Blackfish, I don’t feel qualified to give a detailed review as I confess I haven’t watched too many docos to truly know what a quality doco should encompass. Having said that, I know my taste well enough to realise I’m not a huge fan of the Michael Moore style of doco, which appear to be decidedly one sided. I do however admire people like Michael, who have the courage to shed light on important issues, like the American health system and challenge the status quo.

Like Michael Moore, the team behind Blackfish explored an unknown issue, the life of orcas ( more commonly known as killer whales) in captivity, and exposed the tragic circumstances which led to the death of Sea World trainer, Dawn Branchaeu, who was killed by the very Orca  she trained. By investigating Dawn’s death, the doco exposes a myriad of truly disturbing facts about the treatment of orcas in captivity, and how these magnificent and highly intelligent creatures have come to inadvertently kill many of their trainers. I walked away from this movie with not only a better understanding of orcas, but also started looking deeper into the animal entertainment industry and the work of environmental activists.

As a film, Blackfish isn’t perfect, but the message of the folly of animal exploitation, the role of humans to preserve and protect our fellow inhabitants is not one to be missed.  I highly recommend watching Blackfish.

Until next time, Sabs xx




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  1. Glad I’ve influenced your weekend Olympia! Let us know your verdict! X Sabs

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