Only Yesterday (1991) – Film Review

“Perhaps my fifth-grade self is trying to tell me a new way to fly.”

Only Yesterday by Isao Takahata is an animation about Taeko Okajima, a young woman in the 80’s trying to get a sense of both herself and the world surrounding her.  The film is set during two timelines, the primary one occurring in 1982 when the main character is  27 years old and working in an office in Tokyo.

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Taeko is the youngest person in her household, that includes a lifeless father, a very concerned mother, a strangely distant grandmother and two older sisters. Our main character has all kinds of memories of her fifth-grade self, struggles with young love,  dealing with puberty, an early love for theatre and other frustrations and joys of being a kid in the late 1960s. But the one memories that struck me the most was one of the family trying their first pineapple and figuring out how to eat it. This shows the film is capable of finding beauty and charm in ordinary experiences.

The characters in Only Yesterday manage to have individuality and autonomy while being part of a whole, which is remarkable. The film is subtle and cleverly structured and the ever-increasing interaction with the surroundings cames of as a form of love for nature.

There is really nothing left for me to say, just go watch it. PLEASE

I gave this film 8.5 out of 10.

Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!

 

Seeing by Saramago – Book Review

Seeing by Saramago is, to a certain degree, a dystopian novel about nameless city, ruled by nameless people, in a unknow year. 23558980

What would happen if 80% of the population of the capital decided to turn in blank ballots for the elections? After reading this book I’m still not quite sure but it certainly gave me an idea.

After having had time to take in the results of the elections, the government decides that the outcome must have been the result of some form of conspiracy. They decide to put the capital under siege, needless to say, this had no impact whatsoever on the population, who continued to live their lives as if nothing had happened.

This leads to the government taking increasingly hostile actions against the capital, blocking it off from the rest of the nation, taking over the press, using excessive surveillance, committing disloyal actions against their own citizens and after a while going after scapegoats to bring everything back to normal.

The first part of the book was rather slow, but 100 pages in I started to get into it and feeling more and more drawn into the plot. Most like in any other Saramago’s novel you have to be mindful of the long paragraphs with the dialogue embedded instead of pulled out as quotes, which if you have read anything by him before you have grown accustomed to.

This book is a brilliant political satire, which I was expecting, and my love for Saramago’s books remains, as it was, indestructible. When characters from Blindness started showing up halfway through the book my heart just gave in.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to every single soul that inhabits this planet.

Bye, keep on reading.

Booksmart (2019) – Film Review

“Booksmart” by Olivia Wilde tells us the story of two seniors, Molly and Amy, who are about to graduate high school and have spent their high school years exhaustively studying, never missing any school work whatsoever, because they believe this is the best and only way to get into a good university. They, all the sudden, find out that the other kids who have been partying and not taking school as serious as they have, have also gotten into good universities. With this, they feel like they should use this last night before graduation as an opportunity to not miss out on everything they have been passing up all these years.  mv5bmjezmjcxnja2nl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjaxmdm2nzm40._v1_

This is a well-made comedy, directed by someone we can see understands the genera. Not the mention, the amazing performances by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever who really boost the film to the next level. The supporting cast is just as remarkably hilarious as Feldstein and Dever and is given something more to do than be the manifestation of high school stereotypes.

It really feels like you are there with Amy and Molly, the plot never seems to stop our slow down mostly because most of the film is about this one night of craziness. By the end of the film, you really feel like you have connected with these people and want them to be happy and fulfilled.

It is wonderful to watch a film dealing with strong and supportive female friendships and it is also exhilarating to see it take place in an environment like a high school field with diverse students.

This film feels unique and was probably one of the funniest films I’ve watched in a long time! It manages to be hilarious and heartwarming, it is just wonderful.  For me, it was an 8 out of 10, please go watch it!

Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!

 

The Lobster (2016) – Film Review

“The Lobster” from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, presents a dystopian society where being single is a criminal act. A breakup shoves the person left alone into the corner of society. A person has 45 days after the end of the relationship to find a new partner, if the person doesn’t find a match, he/she will be turned into an animal of his/her choice. The film manages to be close enough to our reality to leave us thinking. 57480f1d15c727dfd1e2f9d8de06e7a4

The film starts with David’s girlfriend breaking up with him, after that we see David on his way to a facility where single people try to find a mate and we can, at this point, notice that he is feeling both depressed and defeated. People in the film call this facility a hotel, however, to watchers, it looks more like an institutionalized environment to control human emotions.

In this word, there are so many dangers that come with being single that something as crucial to a relationship as personal-connection becomes not only impossible but irrelevant. To add to this lack of connection, “The Lobster” is narrated in a monotone by a character that only appears later in the film. Not to mention, the way people talk reveals a complete absence of nuance and subtext, there is noT only no emotion, but you are also aware of these people’s lack of life.

In my opinion, Lanthimos is trying to show us that our own society values couples more it values single people, that we see a relationship as an accomplishment bigger than a career or any other aspirations.

“The Lobster” is different, weird, unfamiliar and satisfying all in its ingenious way. I recommend you so savour it until its last drop of amazingness. For me, it was a 6.8 out of 10, only because the monotone of the narration made me feel uneasy!

Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!

Cadernos de Lanzarote: Diário I de José Saramago – Book Review

Alo alo, habitantes da Internet!

Acho que é a primeira critica que aqui escrevo em português, mas como as únicas cópias que encontrei deste livro foram em português e castelhano não pensei que fosse útil para ninguém fazer isto em inglês. No entanto, tenho muito mais receio de escrever em português, talvez por ser estranhamente mais intimo, por favor não julguem. Bora nessa!

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Este primeiro volume de Cadernos de Lanzarote trata-se do diário mantido por Saramago no ano de 1993 (ou 94 ainda não percebi bem), enquanto morou na ilha em causa juntamente com Pilar. Neste diário o autor foca-se maioritariamente em episódios quotidianos, algumas reflexões filosóficas e claro na sua opinião implacável sobre inúmeros tópicos.

Sendo Saramago um dos meus escritores preferidos, era inevitável ler estes pequenos diários. Para falar verdade, não esperava adorar este livro, afinal de contas é um diário (um exercício que pode ser visto como narcísico, tendo em conta que o autor sabia que ia ser publicado). Foi uma leitura rápida que me deixou ainda mais apaixonada pela escrita deste autor maravilhoso. Saramago salta-nos das paginas dos livros e ficamos perante aquilo que parece ser uma verdadeira modéstia que seriamos capazes de esperara de um autor como ele.

A simples descrição do seu dia a dia deixa-me maravilhada e as conversas que conta ter com pessoas que fazem parte da nossa memoria e cultura coletiva criam em mim um quê de inveja e simultaneamente de respeito.

Foi uma leitura leve e divertida que me levou para dentro da mente de um dos meus escritores preferidos. Recomendo o livro a todos os que apreciam a escrita de Saramago e claro para aqueles que tencionam entender melhor a vida do artista.

Dou ao livro 4 em 5 estrelas.

Adeus e não se cansem de ler!

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Book Review

I have two words to describe this book: MEANINGFUL DRAMA.

I’ve always been afraid of picking up Anna Karenina, I have a problem with big books, I’m always afraid I won’t like them and afraid to end up forcing myself to read them, as I do with all the books I end up not liking (I just can’t dnf a book). When books over 800 pages came along, I became truly afraid. As you can easily understand, forcing myself to read 800+ pages of something that doesn’t bring me joy is quite more dreadful than 300 unfulfilling pages.IMG_20190711_223955_408

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy is a Russian classic written in the nineteenth century. To me, the book serves to show us how difficult life can be and that all families have their own problems. It’s, in essence, a story about life at its core.

The writing is magnificent, the author manages to talk about farming methods, political policies, or philosophical discussions without making you feel bored. He’s also able to betray every single character in a flawless manner, you truly get to know and understand everyone’s perspective on life and on what is going on in the story.

If there is one problem if the story it’s the amount of drama, which might as well be a “me” problem. From time to time I had to stop and read other things in order to reflect on everything that was going on. There are so many subplots I just couldn’t keep up without before taking a step back.

Tolstoy has this incredible power of being capable to show how one person can change their mind, how a person, can become so infatuated with something or someone and then with the blink of an eye, the feeling can change (this made me think a lot about relationships and so on).

Anna is the heroine and the villain, you love her and you hate her, you want her to be okay and then at times you just want to shout “don’t be so stupid and start accepting the consequences of your actions!” HOW DID TOLSTOY MANAGE TO DO THIS??????

This book portrays an impulsive affair, a man questioning his beliefs, an unpleasant divorce and a woman questioning her mental health. All these are still incredibly relevant nowadays, ergo its timeless appeal.

Instead of listening to me, I recommend that you read it for yourself.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur – Mini Book Review

‘milk and honey’ is Kaur’s debut poetry collection. I consider that the main purpose of this book is to bring light to important topics such as violence and abuse, as well as celebrating femininity and love.123

This book is dived in 4 parts: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. This division makes you feel like you are going on an internal journey the entire time. Kaur’s poems give an incredible message about how important it is to love yourself and not change who you are to please others.

She writes in an emotive way and some of the metaphors were exceptionally powerful, but they didn’t make me feel all that much, which made me sad. Unfortunately, it didn’t speak to me on a deeper level. But I do see it as poetry, and good poetry nonetheless.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. And I truly recommend it if you are into modern poetry.

Bye, keep on reading,

10 Things To Do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe – Book Review (Blog Tour)

This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review for this blog tour organized by Random Things Tours, thank you so much for the opportunity. unnamed

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Acorn Independent Press
  • Publishing Date: 5 Mar. 2019

Favourite quote: “So the thing about Hamlet’s madness is he puts it on, he assumes it, as some kind of defence, some kind of protection.”

This book follows Ruby whom dad has died a year ago. She missed a lot of school days and we get to get to experience what she deals with when going back. One day she finds something extremely daunting: an envelope addressed to her and it is in her father’s handwriting. Inside the envelope, there is a list saying ‘Ten Things I Hope You Do Before You Leave School’.44532426

What can I say about this book? It was sent to me at the right time. I read it while being terribly sad, almost depressed and in need of a book that made me feel every emotion. This book made me laugh and cry, which rarely happens to me while reading. I wasn’t able to put it down, everything happened to Ruby and once you get started with the list this story becomes a rollercoaster.

I loved the character development in this book, we can see Ruby as well as Josh and their mother growing up and becoming themselves again at the same time. A great thing about this book is that it manages to bring to light a multitude of important topics, such as self-harm, suicide, bullying, among others without making it feel forced. Another thing I really enjoyed was the fact that you never know if Ruby is doing something because of the list or because she feels like it since she only mentions the topic of the list once she has completed it.

I don’t have anything negative to say about this book, it’s a really good story, with credible characters and a great plot. It didn’t blow my mind but not every book has to blow your mind, right?

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

I recommend it to everyone going through a rough time but remember this is a book that talks openly about topics that might be triggering to some people.

Bye, keep on reading.

 

 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – Book Review

This book follows Tom, a young rebellious boy who lives with his aunt Polly, a very strict but caring woman. General consense says the purpose of this book is to “capture the spirit of american boyhood in the pre-civil war era”.

A lot happens to Tom in this book, he fells in love with the new girl in town, witnesses a murder, makes others paint his fence, pretends to be a pirate and goes off to live in a nearby island, makes the town believes he and his friends have drowned, among a lot of other things. As you can see he was a busy child.

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The treatment of extremely important issues in this novel was very appealing to me. Even though it is considered a children’s book it talks about murder and rape. There is also a lot of racism in this book, but I don’t know how intentional it is given that it was written in 1876.

The use of English from the 1800s together with the use of now considered archaic words certainly toke me some time to get used to. A big drawback for me was the fact that I couldn’t seem to feel empathy for Tom whatsoever, which is something that has never stopped me from enjoying a book but he just reminded me of those really mean children who need to hear the word “no” more often.

With all that being said, I found this to be an okay book, I went into it really excited expecting to be one of the best books I would ever read but it was just a quick, entertaining read, not that there is anything wrong with that. I recommend it if you want to get a perspective of what life was like during pre-civil war time in the united states.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.

Renée Stone: Murder in Abyssinia by Birmant Julie – Book Review

My thanks to NetGalley and Europe Comics for a review copy of this book.

This book follows Renée Stone, a successful English mystery novelist. This is the first book of the series, set in 1930 and Stone finds herself in Ethiopia for the coronation of Haile Selassie I.43880310

This book was ok, but that it. I enjoyed the mystery element of this story and the illustrations were satisfactory but besides that, I don’t think there is much more to this comic book.

The main character is supposed to be an independent woman (which doesn’t sound very 30’s to me but I’d be okay with that) however she does not come across like that at all. Renée spends a big chunk of the novel lusting over one of the male characters and most of the time she waits for them to decide what to do, I would be okay (mind the book is set during the 30s) if this if she wasn’t described as “modern for her time” type of woman. For me, the lack of a tied up conclusion didn’t really suit the story.

For someone who loves a mystery, and doesn’t mind any of the cons I stated above, this is an enjoyable book.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.