Anything for Selinas! Remembering an icon.

Anything for Selinas! Remembering an icon.

Today marks the 24th anniversary of the murder of Selena Quintanilla Perez. Known by most of the Latin American and Texan communities as “La Reina de la Cumbia” and “La Flor” after her #1 hit song titled “Como La Flor” and her love for white roses, this woman and her band Los Dinos revolutionized tejano and cumbia music and brought it to the main stream media.

Not only did this 23 year old bring this sound only known by the Latin American (mainly Mexico) community to the entire world but Selena and her band also broke through a predominate male oriented industry. Tex-Mex was usually big banded with only male band members while the women would serve as scantily-clad, back-up dancers.

Selena and her family had been in the music business since she was little and even ended up learning Spanish through her singing. I remember when I was nine years old and discovered her music and fell in love with it and her. To me, Selena was a great example of achieving your dreams and really starting from the bottom—contrary to Drake. I never had the pleasure to meet her or see her perform but in her interviews I see a genuine quality in her. She seemed happy, go-lucky and was a beautiful woman with an infectious laugh. Finding out she had died just months after I had discovered her music in and talent in 1995 broke my heart in a way I had never felt pain before. I remember not understanding how someone so young could die (she was 23) or how someone could kill her and not really understanding the story but being incredibly fascinated by it. Selena was also my gate way for my love of true crime.

For such an icon with nicknames in the press as “the Mexican Madonna” she felt relatable. She was always humble and shared her story of coming from a lower middle class living and working hard to get to her fame. She never talked about a strict diet but her love for double pepperoni pizzas and coca cola. I still can’t understand why such a light in the world could be extinguished so tragically because of something to petty as jealousy, obsession and some legal files.

On November 2014 I finally achieved a goal on my personal bucket list of visiting Corpus Christi, Texas where Selena’s Museum and recording studio, an overlook memorial and her resting place is located. My cousin drove us down on a Monday morning and we attended all three locations. At the age of 27 I was just as excited to see all these relics of clothing, art work, photographs and awards that belonged to Selena. Her car was even displayed, this beautiful red porsche, in one of the corners of the museum.

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Me outside of the Selena Museum in Corpus Christi, Texas! This Salvadoran/ Canadian finally made it!
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The Selena Museum was actually (and still is) Q Productions, the family owned Production Studios where Selena’s Dreaming of You song and album was recorded and produced. It is still run by the family. That is me with her father, Abraham Quintanilla who I had the pleasure to meet. Sadly, he wasn’t so friendly with me even after I told him how far I came to see this place and pay my respects to his incredible daughter.
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Me inside her record studio. There is now a giant picture of her hanging there and her piano under glass.

Her overlook titled “La Mirador de la Flor” beautifully overlooks a gorgeous marina and blue water. Her bronze statue leaning cooly on the pillar.

Her grave site was full of flowers and tidied. It was protected with a fence and some people had even thrown money at her tomb plate. It was all very humbling and emotional to see and experience.

I feel so fortunate to have made this trip and still fondly remember her and sing along to her music like many others still do today. In 1997 a film about Selena’s life  directed by Gregory Nava (El Norte) was released and is still considered Jennifer Lopez’s (only) best performance. It also made her the big star she is today. That is where my blog title comes from actually. A favourite line from the film that is usually quoted by those who have seen it. Selena has become a legend and an icon that the Latin American community and Texas holds dear. What is much more beautiful is how many people she influenced and inspired all over the world and how even 20 years later Selena still lives in our hearts. Selena vive siempre en nuestro corazón!

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I leave you with my favourite song by Selena titled “No Me Queda Mas” (I Have Nothing Left). A mariachi style song about losing a love and fondly remembering the beautiful moments she had with that person.

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“Don’t underestimate who I am.” Alita: Battle Angel Film Review

“Don’t underestimate who I am.” Alita: Battle Angel Film Review

alita-poster3-xlGoing into Alita: Battle Angel I knew quite a bit about it.  First announced in 2003 this movie has been 16 years in the making and is yet another CGI-dependant, sci-fi motion picture co-written and co-produced by James Cameron.  This film was set aside so long due to Avatar and now the long-awaited Avatar sequel slated to come out sometime in 2020, 10 years after the first instalment. Alita: Battle Angel started off as a 3 hour screenplay adapted from the manga series of the same name by Yokito Kishiro. With the help of director Robert Rodriguez, the film was packed into a 2 hour and 22 minute epic that, although entertaining at times, does feel overwhelming with too many plot lines, sub plots, and plot holes that leave the viewer with a lot of questions.  The movie is packed full of story, adventure and action and this is my take of as much of it that I can touch on.

The film begins by briefly giving us the history of Iron City, a post apocalyptic civilization set in 2563, three centuries after “The Fall”, a war that wiped out half the population. This new dystopian world is separated in two. The Iron City metropolis where the poor survive amongst cyborgs and bounty hunters and Zalem, a city in the sky where the wealthy elite reside that we never get to see. The two cities are run by Nova. The big bad guy in all this, clouded in mystery until the very end when he is revealed. I’ll admit now that I had to stifle a laugh at the casting choice. He’s not a bad actor or anything, just not what I expected considering how evil he is suppose to be.

Considering how poor and horrible Iron City is described by the characters they really do a terrible job selling the danger and poverty of this place to us.  I mean the building themselves look like a bunch of old air conditioners piled on top of each other with terrible wiring amongst old 20th century buildings made of stone but the climate looks great and the air looks clean and sustainable. From the film, cyborgs and humans live in unity, many languages are spoken and people seem happy.  Other than Zalem using the Iron City to dispose of their waste the city doesn’t seem all the bad. The landscape reminded me of the favelas found in Brazil which I felt was one of the many Latinidad nods given by Rodriguez throughout the film. He has a reputation of adding his culture into his movies and as a fellow Latina I’m here for it.

When Alita is finally introduced she is found in a scrapheap by cybernetic doctor Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz). She is just a humanoid head with an intact, living organic brain. He takes her back with him and rebuilds her with the help of his assistant played by Idara Victor who had so few lines in the film – she has little need to be part of the film at all. Not her fault of course! I blame the writers and maybe editors.

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When Alita wakes up she’s not scared or confused but a happy-go-lucky, typical teenager that even eats an orange – which I have so many questions about. Why become a humanoid if you still need to eat food to gain strength? Why become a teenaged humanoid at all?! Even though she doesn’t have a memory of who she once was she doesn’t seem to care to know, which really off sells why we as the viewers should care. As soon as she steps out of Ido’s lab she is not well liked by others for reasons that aren’t entirely hashed out. She also soon meets human Hugo (Keean Johnson) who becomes her love interest in all this but not until her young teenage, robot body given to her by Ido, based on his late daughter, is upgraded to a high-tech body that reshapes itself to the subconscious image of herself that includes a sweet rack that catches Hugo’s eye.  Even as a cyborg, the male gaze is alive and well.

The films incorporates so much more that I am hesitant to touch on, like bounty hunters who kill people who are wanted for whatever reason.  Alita eventually becomes a bounty hunter herself but becomes a target because of her skills as a trained fighter and good nature. Or the people who rob cyborgs of their parts to sell in the black market for money.  I also can’t forget to mention this world’s sport of choice: Motorball. It’s like a cool mix of roller derby and rugby. It’s a lot, which might as well be the theme of this movie: A LOT!  We soon learn Alita is awesome at it. But how? But why? Does it matter? It does. See, the winning player of the Motorball Championships gets to ascend to Zalem. I smell foreshadowing! Of course this sport is run by super villain Vector played by Mahershala Ali and Ido’s ex-wife and also amazing cybernetic doctor Chiren played by Jennifer Connelly. These two are out for Alita as well. The Motorball scenes are fantastic and a lot of fun. This sport could have been its own film frankly. I found it one of the most entertaining and stronger parts of the story.

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I do want to point out that Alita as a character is really likeable. She’s sweet, adorable and bad ass AF. She a dog lover, fights for what is right, pure, generous and good beyond belief.  She’s a character that overall heightens this film and keeps it afloat throughout even if she’s practically perfect with no flaws what-so-ever. I guess it comes with being a humanoid? Played by Rosa Salazar we learn Alita is a 300 year old, skilled warrior from another planet trained in a special martial arts that has long since extinct. Her model is also extinct with a heart that could power Iron City for a year alone. The job of “battle angel” doesn’t even exist anymore since the War on the Moon—another long story I’m not going to delve into.

The fight scenes were so well choreographed and beautifully done it really took away from all the plot holes found throughout. One scene that really stood out for me was a fight where she’s left severely damaged by her opponent. With just one arm left and a bit of her torso she springs into rage to finally defeat her cyborg enemy and I couldn’t help but cheer along with the crowd. I felt so immersed and invested during the action scenes.  The film is also viewed in 3D which is not really a selling point for me. Call me a purist but I’ve never felt the need for it to enjoy my film watching experience and I don’t think it adds much more to the film.

Alita: Battle Angel ends on a cliffhanger. I guess Cameron and Rodriguez are really hoping for a sequel from this one. It was something I felt was a bit overzealous and arrogant of them. The film has very little working for it. It comes off as an ambitious project that didn’t quite pan out.

Not even the incredible cast full of a diverse, star studded actors could attract enough momentum to pursue that sequel they are promising us at the end. Alita herself is a strong, wonderful character that I really enjoyed and fell in love with, but sadly her world and life is too overpacked and complicated to follow along in a 2 hour feature film adaption.

The Catty Critic’s Top Ten Films of 2018

The Catty Critic’s Top Ten Films of 2018

As a self proclaimed film buff/cinephile I find I constantly fall in love with films and my lists just keeps piling up as the year goes on. I’m also that kind of person who will give you a top 3-20 list of their favourite restaurants, ice cream shops etc. because I can never choose just one. As you can imagine, making a Top Ten of 2018 is not an easy feat for me but after making a list for another outlet I write for (check out the Underscene) I felt compelled to share it on here. Also with the Oscars coming up this is the perfect opportunity.

I feel like I saw a lot of films this last year but comparing my list to others I may have missed a lot of the buzzworthy films because they didn’t make my list. I also still have so much to catch up on regarding films that came out in 2018. My list will definitely not match others but I’m confident in saying these titles shouldn’t be looked over either.  I also provide special mentions and my personal pick of the three worst films of the year.

Here we go:

10. Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse:

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One of the last films of 2018 that I managed to catch and did not regret it one bit. Not only is the animation quite spectacular but it incorporates a bunch of different styles, some sweet graphics and graffiti. I also found the story to be entertaining and funny. It was really cool to see it star Miles Morales star in this Spidey flick because we’ve seen the Peter Parker story so many times already.  Bit by a radioactive spider in the subway Miles Morales an Afro-Latino teenager suddenly develops super powers that turn him into Spider-Man. But then he meet Peter Parker and soon 4 other Spider-Men/Women/Pig show up from other universes that show him he’s not alone. This film is about finding yourself, making lasting friendships and family. The soundtrack for this animated movie is also pretty lit. Can I say that? It’s lit! Nominated for best Animated Feature at the Oscars I see this one being a big contender.

9. Won’t You Be My Neighbour:

mrrogersThere were a lot of impressive documentaries this year but nothing beats Won’t You be My Nieghbour which is about the beginnings of Mr. Rogers and how he came to be a staple in children’s television for 33 years. I grew up with Mr. Rogers myself as he was one of the few television programs my grandmother approved. I feel like I’m a kinder person because of the simple, moral based lessons he taught and stories he told.  I learned some interesting facts about him like how he was an ordained minister and came from a wealthy family and was a lonely child himself growing up. It was a beautiful documentary I ended up seeing twice because I enjoyed it so much. If like me you were lucky enough to catch some Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood programming growing up you’ll enjoy the nostalgia of learning what it was like to work for Fred Rogers, be on set and the origins of Daniel Striped Tiger.  You will need some tissues handy though.

 

8. BlackkKlansman:

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A dark humoured, based on true events film by veteran filmmaker Spike Lee about African American police officer Ron Stallworth played by John David Washington who successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of fellow cop who happens to be a Jew. Although Ron is behind the voice who speaks with them on the phone Flip Zimmerman played by Adam Driver plays Ron in person and eventually becomes the the cult leader.  This film is a fantastic ride of hilarious, disturbing and incredibly clever.  Also it tragically links the events of this film based in the early 1970s to that of what’s going on in modern day America right now. A must see of 2018 for sure and that Prince song at the end is just perfection. This film has 4 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Score.

7. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs:

THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS CR: NETFLIXThis character-rich and striking cinematography film that is compiled of six short films told in story book manner by the genius Coen Brothers is worth a view. All the stories are quite tragic with a sprinkle of dark humour and a life lesson that may be hard to watch at times. I love my dark humour clearly! All of them are based in the Old Wild West in 19 century post-Civil war era.  The anthology also speaks to modern day even though it’s set in the past and the cast is incredible. Some stories resonate and are more engaging than others but overall it’s a beautifully done anthology. Look out for performances by Zoe Kazan, James Franco, Tom Waits and Liam Neeson. You have no reason to miss out on this one as it can be found on Netflix as well! This film has two Oscar nominations!

6. Hereditary:

heredity-2018-movie-scene-790x444I’m a huge horror fan! However I’m also a bit of a snob when it comes to my scary content. I want well thought out storylines and characters, clever and shocking gore and a satisfying, unpredictable ending if possible. I’m not much into slasher films which is why Halloween is not making this list—-sorry, not sorry—-but Hereditary is a MUST mention for me.  This film is a slow burn I would compare to 1968’s Rosemary’s Baby. The film starts in a much slower pace and intensifies as you watch but climaxes at the end and leaves you thinking about what you just saw for days after. The film revolves around the death of the matriarch of the Graham family who happened to be a very secretive woman in life. The film begins to unravel when her daughter played by the talented Toni Collette begins to uncover the cryptic and disturbing secrets about her ancestry and tries to outrun the sinister fate her family has inherited. There is a lot of disturbing imagery and the ending was something I would not have predicted completely although I did begin to catch on where it was headed closer to the end. It still gets a pass and if you’re a horror buff you need to watch this one.

5. Mandy:

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Another horror makes my top 10 by Greek-Canadian director Panos Cosmatos and his latest psychedelic-thriller titled Mandy. This film is a wild ride! Based in 1983 in the Northwest Pacific couple Red Miller and Mandy Bloom live in a glass house in the middle of nowhere by Crystal Lake. Their loving and peaceful existence is destroyed when a crazy biker gang, cult and their sardonic leader Jeremiah Sand try to kidnap Mandy and kill Red but only fuel his taste for vengeance. He sets out to kill the cult and biker gang and enters a phantasmagoric journey that is visually hallucinatory, beautiful and at times cheesy and gory AF. Starring Nicolas Cage as Red this character is tailor made for him and one of his best roles in film yet. The soundtrack is also stunning!  A revenge film that filled me with shock and joy both times I watched it.

4. Eighth Grade:

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This realistic coming-of-age film by Bo Burnham caught my attention immediately when I first heard about it. I’m a sucker for a good coming-of-age film and main protagonist Kayla is incredibly endearing, relatable and resembles a true 13 year old in modern day America. The film doesn’t venture far from every day issues she faces daily and highlights her insecurities as she struggles  her way through her final year of elementary school before entering high school and tries to discover who she is. I wrote a review about this film earlier this year you can check out here! It highlights further what I loved about this film and why you need to check it out.

3. Tully:

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I have enjoyed many of Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman’s collaborations in the past so when I heard about Tully I was intrigued. This film was not what I expected nor how it was unfortunately advertised.  It takes an interesting look at motherhood, sometimes too honest, realistic, unflinching and difficult to watch at times. However there is a lot of warmth, some good laughs in between and beautiful performances by Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis.  I wrote a more thought out, spoiler free review of this film you can check out here! This film is about more than just motherhood and concentrates on losing who you were and your relationships  before having children. It’s definitely worth a watch… maybe even two because of the stellar twist ending!

2. Isle of Dogs:

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I’m a lover of anything Wes Anderson makes. Isle of Dogs is an animated joyride into a world where canines are no longer seen as man’s best friend due to an outbreak of a disease that only affects dogs and they are exiled to an island used as a garbage dump where they must fend for themselves. The film is based in future Japan and has beautiful stop motion animation, fun, quirky characters and an impressive—as always—voice cast comprising of Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bryan Cranston, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton and Yoko Ono. The film is classic Anderson at his best and really resonated with me. It has a coming of age sub plot with character Atari, a 12 year old boy looking for his dog companion who was sent to the island and an epic journey that involves an unexpected friendship and many adventures into the unknown of Trash Island. There was a bit of controversy surrounding the possible appropriation of this film with many calling it a “white man’s fantasy of Japan” and because I am not Japanese myself I cannot comment on it but I personally enjoyed it. I thought it was a beautiful, fictional story that happened to be set in a fictional city in Japan that highlights real issues on politics and immigration. Anderson himself has even stated that the movie is strictly fantasy and would never suggest that it is an accurate depiction of any particular Japan but a tale heavily influenced by films of Hayao Miyazaki and Akira Kurosawa and co written by Kunichi Nomura. This film has also been nominated for Best Animated Feature against Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse.

1. Roma:

romafilmThis film was probably the most anticipated on my to-watch list during the Toronto International Film Festival. After a failed attempt to get tickets I rushed this film twice before finally being successful and getting my own chance to view it. Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron’s 7th feature film follows a live-in housekeeper named Cleo who works for a middle class family. The film chronicles a year as the family and Cleo face unexpected changes in the household, Mexican landscape they live in and her own personal life. The film is a semi-autobiographical take on Cuaron’s upbringing in Mexico City and captures the raw and real situations going on in the 1970s. The film is completely in black and white and is achingly beautiful, tragic and hopeful. As a Latin American woman myself who has been fortunate enough to spend a majority of my summers growing up in El Salvador where my parents are from this film was both familiar, fantastical and nostalgic. It reminded me of home and the hardships I would see not fully understanding myself at that age I saw them what exactly was going on until I got much older and would reflect back. This film was my absolute favourite of 2018 and would recommend it to everyone. This film has TEN nominations at the Oscars including Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director and Best Lead Actress.

As hard as this list was to comprise I do have some special mentions!

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  1. The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man: Another incredibly fun and inspiring documentary on the legend Bill Murray who lives in life in pure spontaneity. The man doesn’t even own a cell phone! He has ONE landline you can reach him at where he may or may not get back to you. It was a documentary I needed to watch when I did and had the pleasure to see during the 2018 Hot Doc Festival in Toronto.
  2. Love, Simon: I’m a sucker for rom coms and this was so well done. Everyone deserves a love story but for 17 year old Simon who is gay and struggles coming out to family and friends this is more complicated for him. This film is beautifully told through Simon’s eyes as we follow his life choices—-both good and bad—-and bravery as he discovers who he really is. A modern romance also brews online with an anonymous classmate who is also currently struggling to come out to his family and friends as Simon tries to find out who he is.
  3. Black Panther: What can I say about this film? It was not only an incredibly enjoyable superhero movie but with a bold, auteurist twist, amazing cast and also proves yet again diversity sells in Hollywood.

Worst Films:

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1. A Star Is Born: I get the buzz but I’m not buying it. Not only is this the 4th remake of this film but this version was more Bradley Cooper heavy considering the title is based off Lady Gaga’s character. The acting was impressive, sure. I even enjoyed the hit song Shallows but this film fell flat and was not impressive. I refuse to feel sorry for a man who let his troubled childhood, alcoholism and fame get to him. It does not give him the right to treat and practically ruin a young woman’s budding career just because she surpassed him. I’m sick of seeing stories of men who need a woman to save them but when that fails they blame for destroying them all the same. I realize this will be an unpopular opinion but I stand by it.

2. The Happytime Murders: I really wanted to like this and had high hopes going in. Oh man did this movie ever suck. Read my review why here!

3. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald: This film was a hot mess of too many sub-plots, characters and messy storylines that felt like a quick turn-around, money grab compared to the success of the Harry Potter franchise. There was a massive lack of character development overall including the old and new characters introduced and the build up to characters that were immediately killed off. Also wasn’t Creedence killed in the first one? Suddenly he’s alive again but we’re not given any reason how or why. The way they concluded this sequel that is suppose to lead to three more instalments is suggesting a Nazi-wizard army in it’s future but it’s so lost in it’s own story following I feel like it will continue to struggle and flop further tainting the commercial value and Harry Potter legacy. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

A Personal Reflection of 2018

A Personal Reflection of 2018

Going into 2018 I didn’t expect the year to end up how it did. At the beginning of the year I had been working for a company we’ll call “R” for about a month and a half after just a month of unemployment due to a layoff. My second layoff in approximately a year to be exact. Back at the end of 2016 I experienced my very first layoff after working almost 4 years for a company we’ll call “CE”. The company then went through a restructure that impacted many jobs including mine. The second company I ended up working for 3 months later also happened to go through a restructure themselves that later affected my job 9 months into my role.

I wasn’t worried having done the whole unemployment game before. I felt fearless. Like the veteran I was I applied for Employment Insurance and job hunted like it was my job—which it technically was. Within a month I had secured a contract with “R” with a chance of renewal. It was my first experience getting a job through a recruiting company and working as a contractor. I remember thinking my recruiter was a bit unprofessional. He didn’t seem to know what the job entailed and provided me with terrible interview suggestions and information regarding the role. Having worked in television broadcast for about 5 years at this point I knew exactly what was needed of me to get the role. I also happened to know two people already working on the team I’d be part of so I felt confident going into the interview and was offered the position that day.

My six months working there were interesting to say the least. Out of all the companies I have worked for this company was the most corporate than the rest of them. As a contractor I also didn’t feel directly part of the team or like I mattered to the company as a whole. I barely had any contact with our supervisor, contractors weren’t allowed to attend team meetings and my training was a bit of a mess with Specialists in charge but fellow coworkers teaching me because the Specialists were too busy.  My coworkers were lovely though and always invited me to eat lunch with them and made me feel like I belonged. They were probably the best part of that job for me. I always looked forward to speaking to everyone, laughing and sharing an adventure buying lunch somewhere else in the area.

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When my six months ended I only just felt like I got the hang of the role. To make matters worse my recruiter never bothered to message my supervisor and ask for an extension. In turn my supervisor never thought to check and ask if I was still available for a renewal. They both seemed to point fingers at each other.  I found out I would not be extended on my last day there by my coworker who only wanted to give me a proper goodbye after discovering herself. As angry and upset as I was I now look back and realize I dodged a bullet working for that company. The months following sounded like a mess from the other co-workers still there. One of my favourite people I had met during my time there ended up being laid off himself and another incredible co-worker and fellow contractor wasn’t hired full time when the opportunity arose either. Instead it was given to someone who had been there for mere months.  However I was sad to be back where I had been twice already in the last year, unemployed, unsure where and when money would be coming in and unsure when I’d get hired for another role.

I was unemployed a total of 8 months this time. Much longer than any other time I’ve been laid off and although some of it was during the summer season which wasn’t all horrible, it was still a scary time. It sort of felt like a high school summer at some points. I would go to the beach because it’s free and just swim, read and laze in the sun after a morning of job hunting.  I also did have Employment Insurance but the amount they give you is the bare minimum depending on your living situation. Living on my own plus having to pay for my utilities and taking care of a pet cat who I love with all my heart really puts your finances in perspective. I should thank my mother here for randomly supplying me with some funds when she could help. It wasn’t all the time and it wasn’t a lot but it was helpful and I am so appreciative for it.

Before I continue my unemployment story I want to take the time in this reflection to highlight the awesome stuff that also happened in 2018:

New Friends and Good Friends:

I have never been a wealthy person but I am definitely wealthy in the amount of wonderful people I have collected over the last three years and have stood in my corner. I made new friends at dodgeball who introduced me to their friends who have become heavy hitters in my life.  Two of those friends were so generous during this year offering me free tickets to movie events they couldn’t attend. One made me a writer for her web outlet which has been a really fun experience and kept me busy. I also got close to one of my fellow co-workers at “R” who is now one of my closest friends. This person not only checked on me daily to make sure I was ok during my unemployment process but we shared a few concert experiences together as well. On Valentines Day I attended a random single ladies meet up where we got together to eat pie and I made a friend there who has been beyond generous, full of wisdom and become a close friend as well. In just under a year I made two soul sisters.  Last year in stupidity—-others may call this bravery but I assure you it’s not—-I asked someone out before the holidays and he said no. That said he didn’t stop being my friend which I’m incredibly grateful for. He is not only one of the kindest souls out there but incredibly classy for not giving up on our friendship over an awkward misunderstanding on my end. Not only has our friendship grown from it but it’s a freeing experience to be able to be myself around him and not feel like I needed to impress him. I also want to shout out those friends who have been by my side for years on end. My friend Jen who moved to the UK but has been awesome keeping in contact with me this year she’s been away and I miss every day! My friends from Murphy Madness who welcomed me with open arms and the Murphy family who let me stay with them at their cottage one weekend in the summer. My sister Ruth and friends Roxy and Zoya. And a special shout out to Cecelia, Emily B and Emily M who took my phone calls on my darkest days and always checked in without fail. Sometimes daily if they needed to.

Concerts: 

While I was employed I purchased many concert tickets to artists and bands who were on my bucket list. This includes Elton John, Greta Van Fleet, Jack White, Father John Misty, Childish Gambino, Phil Collins—the highlight of my year —and Radiohead. In April when my contract ended I thought about selling them so I could make the money back I wouldn’t have but a friend told me to hold on to them so I’d have something to look forward to. I’m so thankful I did. As silly as this is going to sound, it served as another reason to get up in the morning, keep fighting and an event to look forward to where I could forget for those 3 hours the troubles that haunted me daily. I saw a total of 12 artists/bands in 2018 and three were generous invites from friends who had an extra ticket.

I saw Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit when it came to Toronto.

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I picked up some work as a Brand Ambassador. I got to march in the Pride Parade as a sausage for Schneiders, hand out free samples of Sumol and Kinder products and got to be part of the Santa Clause Parade as an elf for Metro.

My dodgeball team won Fall Championships for Wednesday nights which is my first ever win in my three years playing and meant the world to me during my hard time. It was just the bit of good news I needed while I was in the thick of all that bad luck.

I volunteered! I gave my time to the Toronto International Film Festival which was an amazing experience. I got to see a total of 11 films for free including my favourite film of the year ROMA and made new friends in the process. I also volunteered for Rotaract and the Harbourfront Centre.

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I faced three fears! I started dating someone near the end of September and although it didn’t work out between us he helped me overcome two fears/hatreds. Ice skating and bowling—both long stories for another time. I also faced the fear of eating alone in a restaurant on my 31st birthday by treating myself to The Keg.

I won HQ Trivia! I’m a whole 60 cents richer.

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My Halloween costume. I am just proud of this.

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I saw one of my all time favourite films in theatre for my 31st birthday celebration. This also began the Dumpster Raccoon Film Society where some friends of mine and I attend the Dumpster Raccoon screening event once a month. If you’re in Toronto check it out! It’s a lot of fun!

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I took these awesome pictures with Little Chairman Mao and my sister for charity!

Back to my unemployment story: In the 8 months I was without a job I applied to over 50 positions. I tried to stay in my field of television broadcast since I have the most work experience in that but it was tough to find any job postings some days. I also chose to be a little pickier with the roles I applied to. I avoided contracts due to that horrible experience with “R” and I also applied to positions I was interested in even if I didn’t have all the requirements they asked for. During that entire time I had a total of 5 job interviews that never lead to an offer. One of the interviews was so gruelling and ridiculous and it was only for a glorified receptionist role for a tech company. As cool as the company sounded the whole process really tested my optimism, teased my faith and broke me the hardest when I received that rejection email.

My mom and friends assured me something better was out there waiting for me but as it inched closer to December I wasn’t so hopeful anymore. In fact, I applied to the last three roles of the year begrudgingly thinking if I did hear back it wouldn’t be until the new year. One of the companies I applied to was the first company that started this tough employment journey when they laid me off back in 2016, “CE”. By this time it was close to the middle of December, my E.I. claim had ended back on the 1st and I had less than $300 in my bank account to last me the rest of the month while I figured out what to do. I had already decided I would be heading to my parents for the holidays on the 20th and managed to apply for Ontario Works—what most know as “welfare”—- with my application appointment being on the 20th before I was heading out of town. On Thursday the 13th I received an email from the hiring manager at “CE” asking me if I was available for an interview the next day. I was surprised, exhausted but ready to give it a final go.

Going back to “CE” was an odd experience for me. Losing that job felt like a break up. It hurt so much to be laid off because I loved my role until the day it was all over. Walking in it felt good to be back in that building. Much had changed in the two years I hadn’t been there but it still felt comfortable and exciting. It made me realize that even though things ended in circumstances I didn’t have control over I had no hard feelings with the company. I thought the interview went well. We mostly went through what the role’s expectations and requirements were which was much more creative than any of my previous roles including those I had previously interviewed for. The role would have me making movie lists to sell to stakeholders and buying programs and films along with working primarily with drama programming. I had worked with kids programming and even dabbled in adult content but never had I worked in content I myself watched and aimed at my demographic.  I answered any questions he had honestly and expressed how this role would advance my career and I was excited for the consideration.  I sent my thank you when I got home and tried not to overthink the interview and mull it over too much that weekend. The following Monday I received an email asking for my references. I sent them immediately. On Tuesday I received another email asking for my home address and if I could come in Thursday the 20th in the morning to meet the director of the department.

Thursday I went in bright and early and felt incredibly nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect and although I was asked for my address and references I didn’t want to let myself think the best case scenario after all the rejections that came before this moment. The night before I had practiced potential second interview answers to questions they may ask and prepared like I had any other interview. I didn’t sleep a wink. I went in dressed in my best and greeted everyone with a firm handshake. It ended up being a very casual meeting where the director let me know her perspective of the role and I asked her some great questions I had also prepared the night before to be safe. After everything was said and done they extended the offer to me and placed a contract in front of me. It was surreal! I wanted to cry and kept telling myself to contain my happiness and relief. They told me I could take my copy home and bring it back before the 24th but I told him I really wanted this role and if they gave me 5 minutes I would read through the contract and sign right then and there. Everything listed was beyond what I could have negotiated and better than I would have asked. This role was better than anything I had interviewed for before and the closest thing to a dream role I could think up for myself.

Leaving that office it felt like a dream I didn’t want to wake up from. I sat in the lobby in shock and tried not to cry as my eyes welled up with tears. I texted some of my closest friends one by one on what had happened. Many of them told me they cried hearing my news. It made me realize how my stress, anxiety, depression and frustration during these 8 months really weighed on those around me who saw or spoke to me all the time. I really didn’t feel like I could be 100% myself or a good friend to anyone because I was in the thick of all this shit I was going through.  In full circle, the lay off that started it all at “CE” is ending once again… at “CE”. How crazy is that?

I start in the new year and I could not feel more fortunate and excited for what 2019 has in store for me. I wouldn’t call myself a religious person but in these tough times I have found myself finding comfort in my faith. Although I may not attend church every Sunday —or any Sunday— I felt like prayer has always been something I continued doing. I would pray about how thankful I was for my amazing friends, the fact I was able to pay my rent each month and the health of Little Chairman Mao (my cat). Sometimes I’d spend hours praying and asking why this was happening to me and asking God, the universe, to give me strength on my darkest and lowest days where I’ll admit I thought about ending things so I’d stop being a burden to my family and friends or make the pain of being a failure go away.  I’ve had more panic attacks this year than I’ve had when I was diagnosed with social anxiety in 2010. I missed my high school best friend’s wedding because I had lost my job weeks prior and couldn’t face seeing him on his happiest day in my worst and saddest state. I had to say no to many events because I literally couldn’t afford to attend and my mood was so low I didn’t want anyone to see me that way.

This whole experience has deeply humbled me and also brought me closer to my beliefs. I have always believed in miracles but I’ve never had anything this big ever happen to me. It has really given me new perspective and I hope this long reflection gives someone hope. Maybe it provides some comfort and helps someone else not feel so alone as they go through their hardships! If I can offer any advice it’s not to give up even when you want to and feel at a loss. Also confide in your close friends and family how bad things are getting because they will support and help you where they can. I have never experienced so much generosity and love as I have this year.  I consider myself a proud, Latina woman but even I in my stubborn nature couldn’t have made it to the end of 2018 without the help I have received from everyone.

Thank you and cheers to 2019!

“As we’ve learnt, when the day is done, some stuff and nonsense could be fun. Can you imagine that?” Mary Poppins Returns Film Review

“As we’ve learnt, when the day is done, some stuff and nonsense could be fun. Can you imagine that?” Mary Poppins Returns Film Review

marypoppinsreturnsWe have been getting quite a wave of sequels for films made decades prior. Disney is no exception to this fad. 2016’s Finding Dory came out 13 years after the success of Finding Nemo back in 2003. The Incredibles 2 literally picks up where it left off 14 years ago when the original installment was released. This brings us to Disney’s latest, Mary Poppins Returns. This sequel has been in the works for some time. When it was announced the film was in production, I was skeptical of who they could get to play Mary Poppins after Julie Andrews’ rendition. When I heard Emily Blunt would be filling her shoes, I couldn’t be more excited.

Emily Blunt is probably one of the most underrated actresses out there. She has come a long way from The Devil Wears Prada. She’s honed her craft by playing tougher and more versatile roles that better show off her talent. If you haven’t seen the video of Emily Blunt’s accent game during a round of Heads Up on The Ellen Show I recommend you check it out! So much has changed in our world and many advances in cinema have happened since the 1964 release of Mary Poppins. My fear going into the Canadian premiere of Mary Poppins Returns was how it would go up against to the original 54 years later. Could it end up being just as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as the first one?

The film opens with the classic shot of London, England set in 1934. Some 24 years after the original took place in 1910. Cockney lamplighter Jack played by Lin-Manuel Miranda is turning off the street lamps all over the city on his bike. He sings “Under the Lovely London Sky” a sort of love letter to London during the thick of the Depression.  The scene is beautifully mixed with live action and oil paintings of the city life from the era along with the opening credits until we reach the family Banks home. A nostalgic sight to be back at 17 Cherry Tree Lane where we find a grown-up Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer). They still reside there along with three children and their childhood caretaker now a lot older herself, Ellen (Julie Walters).

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It’s not long when chaos ensues in the family home when a pipe bursts in the kitchen. The three children Anabel, John and George Banks, clearly accustomed to this sort of disarray immediately do their part to help out. They are Michael’s children, and he is struggling to make ends meet after the death of his wife. During all this they get visitors at the door, two repo men who’ve come to inform them the house is up for repossession. Michael has fallen three months behind on a loan he had taken out previously to help the household.

Jane reminds Michael of the shares their father had while working at the bank that could help pay off the predicament they find themselves in and immediately start searching for the certificates. Meanwhile, the children are sent to fetch groceries after Ellen points out there is nothing to eat in the home. During their walk to the store Georgie, the youngest of the three is distracted by a kite and a mysterious wind that ends up almost blowing him away… literally!

After being saved by Jack, we see that the winds have also brought a familiar silhouette that floats down from the clouds. Mary Poppins has returned to work at the Banks home once again! The children are skeptical and reject the idea of having a nanny at first thinking themselves independent enough. After a quite eventful bath time, they find out it’s not so bad after all! I enjoyed that the children had more maturity than Michael and Jane did at their age. It works as a kind of reminder of our quickly maturing youth and serves as a lesson to let kids be kids.

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I don’t want to spoil too much more of the plot line. It’s a ride that is worth going blind. But what I enjoyed most about the film was how it kept that old school dazzle and flair the original had. There are some minor, modern changes. For example, Mary Poppins BANGIN’ outfits that now include royal blue and burgundy side hats and coats and polka dot blouses with cute contrasting bowties. She is practically perfect in every way, but that doesn’t mean she outshines her predecessor in the slightest. Andrew’s Mary was snobby but had a good mythical force to her. Blunt possesses the same irresistible combination of qualities of being an angel, a disciplinarian, a devotee of the imagination, a tutor of delight and a splash of vanity like Andrews. She just doesn’t have that benevolent aura that Andrews had with her smile alone.

This Mary Poppins has more mystery surrounding her, and a better poker face rather than that devious smile Andrew’s Poppins always seemed to have.  All that said Emily Blunt still radiates in the song and dance numbers and provides a magical element we love about Mary Poppins. She did the role proud. There is no doubt her Golden Globe nomination is deserving.

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The songs, all original have that same precursor sing-song catchiness filed with lessons and morals like those found in the 1964 version.  They really take you through each scene, and it conveys the feelings of the characters beautifully providing those of us who are familiar with the original that nostalgia. But the songs won’t get stuck in your head the same way “Spoon full of Sugar” did.  From a private moment where Michael is in the attic looking through his late wife’s things, he sings about how hard her death has been for him to the final song titled “Nowhere to Go But Up” we are given an incredible soundtrack that ties the film together beautifully but none have that ear worm quality.

Lin-Manuel Miranda steals the show during the Lamplighter song “Trip A Little Light Fantastic.” They use the street lights to guide them home including impressive dance moves using ladders and flame torches. When I think back to the film this is the scene that most resonates with me and left a lasting impression overall. It really brought me back to the Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke performances we all loved and old Disney films that had those flashy and impressive musical and dance numbers.

The all-star cast, in general, is exciting to see but Dick Van Dyke, all of 92 years of age makes an incredible cameo. It reminds us what a life force he can still be in cinema.  Angela Lansbury has an appearance herself. Meryl Streep plays the eccentric cousin to Poppins and Colin Firth plays the bank manager who insists on helping The Banks with finding their shares before he repossesses their home.

Oh, and you can’t forget the penguins!  The Banks head back to the classic animated world this time in the form of a broken vase, an homage the original no doubt and the penguins are a pretty big deal in this one too. Everything from the wardrobe to the acting to the storyline really filled me with such joy while watching. I really can’t say anything terrible about this film although I’m sure others will. There are even some inside, adult jokes so the parents can enjoy a little mature laugh in between all the kiddie fun.

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SEE IT! Mary Poppins Returns is the feel-good movie to take the entire family to during the holidays! You will not be disappointed! This is a spoon full of sugar much needed in the world right now. Even though it’s based in the past it’s meticulous and modern in all it’s moving pieces from emotional to sensory value.  With everything terrible going on in the current world, the film vows to carry us forward on a more positive note because as the final song points out there is nowhere to go but up.

 

“No Such Thing as a Hollywood Ending!” Anna and the Apocalypse Film Review

“No Such Thing as a Hollywood Ending!” Anna and the Apocalypse Film Review

annaposterI first heard about Anna and the Apocalypse during the Toronto After Dark Film Festival back in mid-October. It was being advertised as Shaun of the Dead meets La La Land and even though I wouldn’t call myself a fan of musicals I was intrigued.  My relationship with musicals has been a rocky one. Growing up, I was part of all the music programs my schools had to offer and even sang competitively. Obviously, the odd musical number was thrown in during my time performing, but between all the Rent and Joseph and the Technical Dream Coat covers, I tended to lean more towards the darker musicals like Evil Dead the Musical and Sweeney Todd. Musicals with ends that weren’t such a fairytale and songs that would make you cry instead of make you want to sing in the rain.

Eventually, I outgrew musicals all together and thought them too corny for me to stomach as regularly as I did as a teenager. I tend to avoid them unless it’s Jesus Christ Superstar on Easter Sunday which is a family tradition in my home. Anna and the Apocalypse take Christmas movies to another level. It adds zombies and shakes it all up with dance numbers and some decent songs in the mix but still fails to meet expectations.

The film opens with our main characters Anna and John getting a ride to school by Anna’s father Tony while the radio news warns of a lethal pathogen that is invading Britain. Anna quickly changes the station to Christmas music. Due to an excited slip up by John, it is revealed that Anna, a senior in high school will not be attending university next year but taking a gap year to travel to Australia. Her father Tony is against the idea which ensues an argument between the two causing them to part ways angrily. Tony uses his recently deceased wife and Anna’s mother as bait for how much he disapproves of her choice and causes Anna much distress. Anna and John go to their classes and Tony, who we learn is a custodian at the school heads to start work.

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Once inside the school we are introduced to American student Steph who works on the school newspaper, runs the school charity and is stuck in Scotland for the holidays while her parents are in Mexico. Vice Principal Savage is the villain of this story. He runs a tight ship and rejects Steph’s latest article for the paper and confiscates her car keys in the process stating she’s parked in the faculty parking lot. This is when the song “Break Away” begins and it’s the audience’s first glimpse of the musical portion in the film.

The song introduces all the characters beautifully and ties them all together for us. Sarah Swire who plays Steph and Ella Hunt who plays Anna harmonize wonderfully and have powerful parts in the song demonstrating their musical chops and the trials and tribulations these angsty teens are facing.  Nothing, of course, compared to the zombie apocalypse they’re about to face, but we’ll get to that eventually.

In true teenager trope we learn John, the dorky sidekick is in love with Anna, but Anna loves bad boy Nick. Some asshole kid we meet who seems to have a history with Anna we can’t quite put a finger on just yet. There is a fun musical number in the cafeteria with the song “Hollywood Ending” lead by John. It foreshadows this film won’t end like other teenage rom-com, Christmas themed flicks might. There are some fun dance numbers in this scene that give off a High School Musical vibe and a chorus that is actually very catchy. “Wo-oah, wo-oah, no such thing as a Hollywood ending…” the song goes.

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We’re also introduced to Chris and Lisa, friends to Anna and John and the boyfriend and girlfriend couple in the group. Chris likes to take video on his phone and aspires to be a filmmaker while Lisa has a big performance at the Christmas concert going on later that evening. I found Lisa’s school performance a bit of a show stealer overall as it was the funniest scene in the entire film. Similar to Mean Girl’s famous Jingle Bell Rock dance routine and something Michael Bublé would maybe croon, Lisa sings a song titled “It’s That Time of Year.” It’s packed full of sexual innuendos and shirtless high school boys in Santa hats dancing behind her. It’s the scene that got the most laughs during my viewing with lyrics like “There is a lack of presents in my stocking. And my chimney needs a good unblocking…” You get the idea!

Finally, we are offered a glimpse of the zombies that are slowly taking over and infecting the town population who are all at the concert. Except for Anna and John who didn’t attend because they had shifts at the local bowling alley where they work. Instead, they both wake up the next morning to eventually discover the terror that has beset them. This is where the film turns a dark corner and eventually, our characters reunite to try to save Anna’s father and get out of town. It’s actually from this moment I felt the film falls flat for me.

I hoped the zombie angle would be an appealing hook, but they literally shuffle by, attack now and then. We’re left with all the teenage drama between the love triangle Anna has with John and Nick, her determination to save her father who’s relationship isn’t fully fleshed out enough for me to buy and bad musical numbers because songs like “Human Voice” and “Soldier At War” just don’t live up to the songs before them. By the end of it, the film just feels obvious and the ties the audience are suppose to have with the remaining characters—spoiler?— just isn’t there.

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I will say I was touched to hear this film started out as a 2010 youtube video titled Zombie Musical made by Ryan McHenry. He was also a favourite contributor to the Vine glory days. Remember Vine? McHenry was the genius who did the Vine series titled “Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal” which racked up over two million views in its day. Ryan McHenry planned to direct this feature, but at age 27 he lost his battle to cancer in 2015. There is a scene where Chris and John are talking about the celebrities that have been bitten or probably have survived, and Ryan Gosling comes up. John exclaims “Alive or dead, Gosling is still cool.” A sweet tribute to McHenry’s claim to fame.

UNLESS you’re a massive musical buff, I don’t see this film really bringing out the masses. I wanted to love it! I came in with high hopes! It’s comparison to Shaun of the Dead which is a masterpiece in its own right in the zombie genre and La La Land an Oscar-winning film is deceiving. Anna and the Apocalypse has a lot to live up to against those two but falls quite short of it all.

“Now the best thing we have going for us, is being who we are. Because no-one thinks we have the balls to pull this off.” Widows Film Review

“Now the best thing we have going for us, is being who we are. Because no-one thinks we have the balls to pull this off.” Widows Film Review

widowsposterAs celebrated and talented as Steve McQueen is in the film world, I have always felt his films are the kind I can only watch once in my life. Dealing with topics like starvation, addiction and enslavement and watching his characters punished on screen is not necessarily what I want to revisit on a Friday night. That said, his previous works are definitely masterpieces worth a viewing! He’s an incredibly talented filmmaker with a lot to say but the films that test the hand of time are those that can be enjoyed over and over.

Going into Widows, I already sensed a shift in his storytelling. Working with Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) as his co-writer, and adapted from a 1983 British television crime drama, I knew this film was going to be heavy but action-packed and dare I say different to the rest of his body of work. After viewing it, I can definitely say it’s more than a heist film. It’s about the resilience of four women who do what they need to do for their family and livelihood after their husbands perish in a robbery gone wrong.

The film begins with an intimate scene of couple Harry (Liam Neeson) and Veronica Rawlings (Viola Davis) kissing passionately in bed. This is paired with alternate scenes of three other relationships, most not so loving and nurturing as this one. Then the film takes a contrasting turn with a heist scene. Harry and three other men fleeing into a van that explodes into flames in a job gone wrong.

Veronica, now a widow comes to learn that not only has she lost the love of her life. He left her a hefty debt of $2 million. One that he stole from crime boss Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), who also happens to be in the midst of a political campaign. Jamal pays a very intense visit to her penthouse and shakes up her little dog—NOT COOL MAN. He demands she liquidate her assets and gives her exactly one month to settle the debt.

Viola Davis’ performance as Veronica is chilling and exquisite. During the film, she has these intimate flashbacks with her husband showing the viewers how passionate and loving their relationship was. It almost makes us forgiving of the situation he’s left her in. There is this beautiful scene where she gazes at her reflection through a window at her home. She imagines Harry nuzzling up to her, holding her from behind as Nina Simone’s “Wild is the Wind” plays in the background.

But all is not lost! Veronica is given a key to a safe deposit box that holds a journal containing details to Harry’s final job. She is desperate and determined enough to execute it but not without some help. Veronica recruits Linda played by Michelle Rodriguez, a woman who owned a Quinceñera dress store that was ransacked by creditors due to her deadbeat husband gambling away her rent money. She also recruits Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) whose husband beat her and is now being pushed to market herself to wealthy gentlemen as an escort by her mother. Both women are also widows from the same ill-fated robbery that took Harry’s life. There is a forth woman, Amanda but she has a newborn baby and makes it clear she cannot help.

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Linda and Alice are fierce in their own way in the film. Neither women have experience in pulling off a heist but use their smarts, wits and in Alice’s case, looks to get what they need for the job. After all, this isn’t for fun as portrayed in other heist films. It’s out of realistic anguish to get themselves out of the financial holes they also find themselves in.

I felt completely engaged throughout the 2 hours and 9-minute film. I was just as tied to the subplots and secondary characters as I was to the widows themselves. Jatemme Manning played by Get Out‘s Daniel Kaluuya is Jamal’s brother and right-hand enforcer. He is as evil as they come as the villain. Stoic but sardonic and incredibly cruel, some of his scenes have that shock value that pulls you into the story that much more. There is also Jack Mulligan played by Colin Farrell who is running against Jamal Manning for Alderman. He’s the son of an elderly but incredibly powerful ex Chicago politician played by Robert Duvall. His character pretty much is deranged and yelling explicits and racist undercurrents throughout. Similar to Grandpa from The Simpsons but angrier and more offensive.

The scene-stealing supporting character of this film though has got to be Cynthia Erivo’s character, Belle O’Reilly. She joins the widow’s heist gang wanting to provide the best for her daughter as a single mother. She is the only character who can stand up to Veronica’s demands.

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With all this said there are a few criticisms I feel need to be pointed out that didn’t sit well with me. Jackie Weaver overdid it as Alice’s overbearing mother. So much so, I was thankful she was barely in it. Also as much as I respect and enjoy Colin Farrell as an actor his accent for this film was terrible! His voice went from a scratchy and sleazy Chicagoan to an Irish man trying to hold down a fake American accent too many times. It was distracting me from what was otherwise a wonderful performance. I get it, accents aren’t easy, but I need to be honest here. Otherwise, the witty dialog in general and intensely moody score by movie music master Hans Zimmer rounds out the film overall and elevates it beautifully.

Widows is packed with crowd pleasing action, audience gasping twists and some fantastic payoffs that must be enjoyed on the big screen! The acting from all the women especially Davis and Erivo are incredible. This is what I would call an entertaining, feminist heist film! Oceans 8 eat your heart out! There are even a few laughs sprinkled in between all the dread and complicated topics. The nature of modern political dynasties, gender roles expectations, police racism and socioeconomic inequality are all addressed in between the grand scheme being carried out. Only McQueen could touch on so much and seamlessly integrate it all into the main story without it feeling too preachy or excessive. Finally! A Steve McQueen film worth revisiting!

Minor spoiler alert: Rest assured the little dog is ok throughout the film. Veronica carries that little floof everywhere she goes. As a fellow pet lover, I can’t stand to see animals injured in any way on film.