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Alias Grace Review

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Sarah Gadon plays Grace Marks in Alias Grace - Alias Grace Review

Alias Grace Review – Spoiler Free

Alias Grace is a new original series from Netflix which comes in 6 parts. The series is based on a novel written by Margaret Atwood, which was based on the true story of Grace Marks. The series stars Sarah Gadon, Edward Holcroft, Rebecca Liddiard, Zachary Levi, Kerr Logan, Paul Gross and Anna Paquin.

Alias Grace retells the story of what happened to Grace Marks who is an immigrant from Ireland that was imprisoned in 1843 for the murder of Thomas Kinnear. What’s interesting about the plot is that Grace claims she has no memory of what’s going on at all and is possibly innocent. The story is set up in a way that as it unfolds you in the audience hear about her life and what had happened to her, but you don’t really know if she’s innocent or guilty of the murder the whole way through. Grace retells her story to a doctor who visits her, Simon, who sits and listens to her for each of the episodes and we slowly uncover what happened from Grace’s point of view. I don’t want to go into more of the story than this as you can gather similar points from the trailer. But I would like the mention that Alias Grace was a story I came to really enjoy.

Alias Grace is a series which tells the slow tale of what happened to Grace and as it does take some time to unfold, but during the tale a significant amount of character development occurs. This was something that I loved about the show, by the end of the 6 episodes, you do really feel that you know Grace quite well and the narration of certain parts by Grace herself certainly helps with doing that. Much like doctor Simon, I was intrigued to hear more of what she had to say or what she was getting up to. Her daily tasks, her goings about, the people she met, her interactions with everyone. Other characters were also well written and their descriptions and their depictions from Grace’s point of view did well for the telling of the tale. All of the characters were all so interesting to see.

Edward Holcroft plays Dr. Simon Jordan - Alias Grace Review

Edward Holcroft plays Dr. Simon Jordan – Alias Grace Review

The directing of all six episodes for Alias Grace was done by Mary Harron, who some may know as the director for the much loved American Psycho (2000). Alias Grace is set in what I think is a difficult time period for many stories, the 1800’s and in a farm environment where nothing really exciting can happen. But there is something strangely alluring about a murder and in a time when people were very religious and conservative it’s almost out of place in their quiet lives, even more so when a woman is the murderess.

Mary Harron did well to capture the right tone for the telling of Grace Marks’ story, which is one with heavy themes surrounding murder and the guilt that comes with it as well as the type of person that would commit such a thing. Exploring Grace Marks’ character in this way brought with it quite a lot of issues with the society in which she lives. Women at that time just weren’t as free as they are now and there was much abuse towards them from the men of that period. This was even more so for women who were working in the homes as helpers and were under the employ of wealthy men who had a whole household of helpers. The damage that bad men can cause to women during that time was a significant theme running alongside the murder plot and was something that was interesting, but possibly difficult to direct. But the pacing of the story, the balancing of the themes and the slow uncovering of Grace’s character and other characters as well was the highlight of the show and Mary Harron did this well for all six episodes with this.

The acting in this series was very well done. As much as I liked hearing about Grace’s story, I enjoyed Sarah Gadon’s performance. As the central character for the series Sarah had a lot to do here and a lot of chances to impress and she certainly did, I’d certainly want to see more from her in the future. Edward Holcroft was also quite good as Dr. Simon Jordan who spent much of his time listening to Grace’s tale. There’s also an appearance from Zachary Levi who I haven’t seen in anything since Chuck (2007) but he certainly has improved on his acting. Anna Paquin and Rebecca Liddiard were also two very good actresses and had some great scenes in the show with Sarah Gadon, the three worked well together.

Sarah Gadon plays Grace Marks in Alias Grace - Alias Grace Review

Sarah Gadon plays Grace Marks in Alias Grace – Alias Grace Review

The look of the show is always something I pay attention to. The costumes in this were all very nice, the women wear dresses and bonnets and the men wear suits. Everyone had a different look depending on their position in society and with the variety of characters and personalities it can be hard to dress all those people. But I was glad to see quite a lot of colour in the show for a period which usually has a lot of brown’s and greys. The filming locations, the design of the homes for the characters as well as the furniture choices were also well made.

Overall Alias Grace is a great TV series to give a go this weekend. The life and the story of Grace Marks is an interesting one and the retelling of it over the 6 episodes was fascinating. The story is set in the 1800’s and is filled with murder, intrigue and the problems of the society of that time. Each episode is very well directed by Mary Harron.  Sarah Gadon who is the lead actress playing Grace Marks was certainly very impressive and was truly the star of the show. The story is well written with strong character development along the way. I highly recommend checking this out on your next free weekend at home.

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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Review

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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Review - Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Review - Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a film which comes written and directed by Quentin Tarantino who some may know for films such as The Hateful Eight (2015) or Pulp Fiction (1994). The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning and Al Pacino. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is about a fading Hollywood actor and his stunt double who are striving to achieve success in the final years of the Hollywood golden age.

Before going into this film, I must admit I was quite excited about it. This is the 9th film from Quentin Tarantino, who is one of my favourite directors of all time and the cast is filled with so many great actors there’s no reason to not want to see this one. Even though my expectations for this film were set very high, I came out of the cinema incredibly happy, very entertained and extremely impressed with what I just saw. Quentin Tarantino has truly delivered something very special this year and I highly recommend going to see it.

The way the story is told is very interesting. The audience follows the career of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is trying to maintain his stardom and Hollywood status in a time when things are changing. The actor is trying to transition from being a major TV star to a Hollywood actor, but it’s very difficult. On top of this, Rick Dalton is ageing and he is no longer in his prime, he’s sort of becoming obsolete. Cliff (Brad Pitt) is sharing a similar fate with his career tied to the success or failure of Rick’s. In contrast to these two, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is a character who is everything good about Hollywood in 1969, her personality is welcoming, she helps people and she’s friendly. Quentin Tarantino’s Sharon Tate is the ideal Hollywood star of the time.

Quentin Tarantino with this film captured the spirit and essence of Hollywood in 1969. I felt like I was watching real people going through real things. The attention to detail on each of the characters and also watching them develop as the film progresses was very well done. This film also one has of the best endings and is maybe the best film that I’ve seen in 2019.

The actors were all great, I really enjoyed watching Leonardo DiCaprio in this film. The actor has a very wide range of things he could do as his character Rick Dalton is going through quite a lot and there are a lot of different emotional elements. On top of this, as a character who is an actor, Rick is seen acting in other films within this film as different characters he is playing. There are some very good performances within this film from Rick Dalton and in some ways, I wish I could watch the films that he was making within this film. Brad Pitt does very well and so too does Margot Robbie. Dakota Fanning surprised me a lot in this film as I didn’t even recognise her as Squeaky Fromme, she was only in the film for a bit, but for that time she was, she was very impactful.

Overall, I have no further comments to make about this film without having to go into major spoilers discussing all the different elements of it. It’s hard to write a long review for a film when everything was awesome in it. The directing, acting, writing, music and everything else about Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was awesome and Quentin Tarantino exceeded my expectations for this film. It may just be one of his best ones yet. I highly recommend going to see it at the cinema this week or as soon as you can. I am already wanting to see it a second time and probably will re-watch it on Blu-Ray when it’s released.

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Crawl Review

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Crawl Review

Crawl is a film which comes directed by Alexendre Aja who some may know as the director of The Hills Have Eyes (2006). The film stars Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper.

Crawl is a film about a young woman named Haley (Kaya Scodelario) who attempts to save her father (Barry Pepper) who is trapped in his house during a category 5 hurricane. Tremendous damage has occurred to the home and the surrounding area during the storm, with the streets slowly flooding But that’s not the only danger to be wary of, the flood waters have paved the way for dozens of alligators to come into town and they’re ready to feast on anyone still around. Will poor Haley and her father survive though?

Going into this film. I was actually quite excited. I do enjoy these action films where there’s some creature out there and it’s preying on whatever character the film is about. This film is a little similar to The Meg, but it most reminded me of Anacondas (2004). All of these films and Crawl included wouldn’t be ones I’d say were legendary films, but gosh, I definitely have fun watching them!

Crawl as a story is about survival. There are themes all throughout it related to man vs nature and also the idea of the apex predator is scattered all throughout it. Both characters in the film are constantly challenged and struggle to survive in the a town getting torn apart by the storm.

The main reason most people would go to see Crawl at the cinema would be for the action and that’s the same reason I wanted to go along and see this one. I wanted to see what the alligators could do and I wanted to see some people get eaten up. Did I get that? I certainly did! Did I need much more out of this? Probably not.

As for Crawl being scary. I’m not too sure, I find it all quite fun. But there are people who this would probably frighten a little. Much of the film is cgi and for what it is and for the type of movie this is I think it was just the right quality. They didn’t try to go too big like in The Meg where the cgi seemed to struggle in certain areas. Although the limitations of the cgi are visible in Crawl, it’s not too bad in the end.

The acting in Crawl isn’t too bad. Kaya Scodelario is who you’ll be watching for basically the entire film and she delivers a pleasant performance. Some may recognise this actress from her appearance in The Maze Runner (2014) where she played Teresa. Hopefully there is more to come from her in future films.

The tone of the film, while at times can be a little intense with all the danger out there did actually feel a little light. Alexandre Aja seemed to keep the tone not too serious and embraced the silliness of it all in certain areas to keep it light and fun. But it was also tense and scary when it needed to be.

Overall I had a good time with Crawl at the cinema last week. This isn’t a film that is going to blow anyone away with how good it is, but it’s something to see for a bit of fun over the weekend. You get to watch two characters try to survive a massive hurricane and not get eaten by alligators. Crawl was 1 hour and 27 minutes of fun!

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Sea Of Solitude Review

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Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude is a game which was developed by Jo-Mei Games and was published by Electronic Arts. It is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC via Origin. It is a single player third person adventure game. The game has the player control a character named Kay who explores an abandoned and flooded city.

This was a game which caught my eye only very recently when I first heard about its release. After watching the trailer, I thought the art style, strong colours and animations looked very interesting. Also as a person who went mad one day and subscribed to EA’s Origin Premiere late last year so that I could play some games I had missed out on over the years, I was pleased to see something new added to the store that wasn’t a typical Electronic Arts style major franchise game. Knowing I could get this one for free was enough to give it a go. But if you’re not part of that program to get it for free, I’d say that the $26.95 asking price for this digital title is certainly worth it.

The game isn’t too long, most hardened gamers will probably be able to finish this one in a single session, which I actually managed to do yesterday morning. I didn’t time myself, but I’d say to expect about 3 or so hours out of it, a bit more if you look around for collectables.

Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude Review

On the surface, Sea Of Solitude is about a young girl named Kay, who is searching through a city, which is for some reason flooded. You start the game all alone on a tiny boat, way out at sea on the water. You make your way to the city, where you find a monster clad in darkness is blocking your path. Through exploration and activating certain things, Kay brings light to an otherwise dark city.

Underneath the main plot though, is a game with strong messages and themes related to loneliness and relationships. Kay as a character is someone who has become lonely, isolated and quite depressed after issues with her family and her boyfriend. The game sends the player on a journey to free Kay and other characters from suffering from the effects of loneliness and related themes. What I didn’t expect this weekend, was to play a game which seemed to have the objective of tackling these mental health issues in this way and I never expected to play something this weekend from the gaming genre with such deep meaning to it.

In many ways, Sea Of Solitude reminded me of my experience with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice which was also a game that focused on mental health issues and is still a game I hold in very high regard. Both of these games were experiences that I could not put down once I started playing as I just had to find out what was going to happen with my character. Games tackling these mental health themes and the issues involved are quite rare in this medium, so when an experience like this does come along, it’s very unique and interesting. The difference between Sea Of Solitude and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is that Sea of Solitude is a little lighter in tone and not the intense gruelling experience that Senua’s was. This makes a player’s time with Sea Of Solitude one that is peaceful to experience.

Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude Review

The art style in Sea Of Solitude is something I enjoyed looking at. The animations are very rounded, colours stand out on the screen and the use of blacks in contrast with visibly bright blues, whites and orange was what I loved the most. The music and also the voice acting, was soft and did fit in well with the tone of the game’s themes and art style. All together, visuals and audios seemed to be just right.

The gameplay in Sea Of Solitude is something I’d say is probably a little simple. It’s essentially a platforming game where you will jump, swim, drive a boat and shoot flares onto enemies. There aren’t any button combinations to learn or any level up systems. The game is accessible to people of most ages and even to people new to gaming could easily pick this one up and get through it.

Overall coming out of playing Sea Of Solitude, I was filled with positivity and happiness. The story is quite heavy when playing through it, but very warm in the end. The art style and animations are nice to see and the sound and voice acting was just right. I do like to see that the games industry can use the medium to tackle such heavy topics and release games like this which show how well this medium can tell a story and provide its audience with something of great meaning. I’m happy to recommend Sea Of Solitude for your gaming collection.

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