Nerve (2016)

 

So, I’m not going to lie, I became a little obsessed with this movie. I don’t know if it just hit a particular nerve for me (no pun intended), but I really thought this movie was fantastic. I read one review where someone said the characters were stereotypical and flat, but I agree only as far as they are the everyman. The characters were people we know all too well: the smart girl who gets overshadowed by the more flamboyant friend, the flamboyant friend who pushes to be liked too hard, people like that. The story was a large, progressing journey that kept the watcher (again no pun intended) interested and engrossed as it shifted and changed into different dynamics.

The story is about Vee, a senior in high school who has lived a reserved and safe life thus far. With her adult life at her doorstep she finds her teetering on the edge of what she wants to do and what is expected by her mom, but finds herself lacking in the courage to face her fears and tell the truth about her dreams. A new game online called Nerve (a Truth and Dare – high risk game – without the truth) is the furthest thing from her mind, but one last push from an embaressing encounter in front of her friends and her crush sends her headlong into the questionable game. Her first dare to kiss a stranger lets her meet Ian, another player. The Watchers push them to team up and, at first, Vee starts seeing a different side of herself. But things start shifting in the game and it soon becomes clear that this game has a much darker side to it.

So, for most people the first thing that comes to mind is the comparison to the new Pokemon Go app. It’s not hard to see how a game like this could actually happen; in fact, many of the responses I saw in the theatre were the same as the Watchers in the movie. The message is clear and laid-out: be careful of getting obsessed with the digital world and the dangers it can pose. Besides that I thought that the chemistry between the two leads was exemplary. The film itself was pure art; the play between camera shifts (from ‘hand-held’ first person to normal) and then the interactive graphics that let the audience feel like they were one of the Watchers in the movie at times. It really made for a fun film. I’d highly suggest this movie.

Kimi No Todoke

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Alright, so this anime which is based on a manga and also has a live-action Japanese movie about it is a very sweet piece. It’s based on early high school experiences and the subject matter focuses on how the characters see each other and how those things can have lasting and hurtful effects. Even though this was definitely an uber-innocent anime, I was still drawn to it. Probably because, sadly, I shared a lot of similar experiences with the main character.

The anime is about Sawako, a young soft-spoken girl, who, because of her similarity to Sadako from the Ring, is generally avoided by everyone around her. Whether it be because of her long black hair that covers her face or her awkwardness around people, her fellow students often are afraid of her, even though the reality is that, after years of being avoided, she has no self-confidence. But life for Sawako is about to change when she befriends a young man in her class.

So, probably my favorite parts rested in like the first 10 episodes. It was bursting with such sweet and warm scenes that I sometimes felt like I had heart emoji’s coming out of my eyes. It does bear stark similarities to Nobuto Wo Produce, at least with the main character. After the first 20 episodes though it did seem to lag a little bit and I found myself skipping quite a bit because I was getting bored with the tug and pull of her character growth. She would be making progress then for two episodes she would digress then she would inch forward, then digress, etc.

The Hunger Games

Hunger Games

So, this film is one of my favorite fantasy films and I think most people would agree with me. Yes, it’s main stream, but at the same time the story is daring and harsh. I absolutely love Jennifer Lawrence in this and I think it was really well directed and produced. It’s also one of the few movies based on books that had the author so involved in the process which kept it true to the original story and feel.
The story is about Katniss Everdeen, a young woman, who lives in a future post-apocalyptic world where the bulk of the civilization is separated into ‘Districts’. The Capital of Panem regulates these Districts and keeps them in check by hosting a competition called the Hunger Games where two young adults (12 to 18 year olds) are chosen from each district to fight to the death. Katniss volunteers in place of her younger sister along with another young man, Peeta.
While this movie is awesome, I have even a greater respect for it after watching the behind the scenes. It was great to see how much the book meant to the director, producers, actors and others involved in the film, because they tried so hard to keep true to it. I personally think they did great on all accounts. The production team gave a great homage to the original, but also created their own cinematic masterpiece. Everything was thought through in amazing detail from the costume and set design, the stylistic use of the cameras and the balance of CGI, stuntmen and the actual realistic usage of the actors and the surroundings.