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  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Movie, Movie Review, Movies

    Review of The Great Hack: A Documentary About Data Rights and Democracy

    the great hack

    The 2016 election was an election that shocked the United States. Many people were confused as to how Trump became elected despite his scandals and lack of political experience. Earlier that year, there was a movement in Britain to leave the European Union, famously known as Brexit. Strangely enough, there is a commonality between the Brexit movement and Trump’s presidential campaign: Cambridge Analytica, a data company. Not only does this documentary, The Great Hack, investigate the intrusive role of this company in Brexit and the 2016 U.S. election, but it also raises awareness about the right to own your own data. As for myself, I found myself watching with awe and horror how big companies had so much leverage in determining the future of a nation by using our data.

    Here’s a trailer if you’re interested in The Great Hack:

    If you’d like to read more about this topic, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campaigning_in_the_2016_United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Movie Review

    Falsettos: significant and timeless

    falsettos

    Some works of art have clear messages, while others you have to hunt for. Art makes us feel and causes us to think. It should make us ask questions. Falsettos is a musical that ticks all of these boxes.

    What Falsettos is all about

    Falsettos is a two-act musical comprised of March of the Falsettos, written in 1981, and Falsettoland, written in 1990. They’re written by William Finn and directed by James Lapine. The show opened on Broadway in 1992, revived in 2016, and had a national tour in 2019.

    The story surrounds a Jewish family in New York. Set in the early 80s, the AIDS crisis created mass panic and fear. The plot revolves around Marvin. He is married to Trina, and they have a son named Jason. When Marvin leaves Trina for a man named Whizzer, their “tightknit” family is quickly disturbed. Trina begins to lose her mind and starts going to therapy. She eventually falls in love with the family psychiatrist: Mendel.

    Just as Trina starts to pick up the pieces of her life, Whizzer becomes sick. Jason is stuck in the middle of all the conflict. He is frustrated, confused, and starts to act out. Much to his parents’ horror, he states that he doesn’t want a Bar Mitzvah. The “lesbians next door,” Dr. Charlotte and Cordelia, are unconditionally supportive to everyone else. Will this family be able to move past their conflicts to support Whizzer, and each other, through his diagnosis?

    How I found Falsettos

    Personally, I was introduced to the world of Falsettos with the 2016 Broadway revival cast. I was a fan of other projects the cast had been apart of, so I thought I would give it a chance. I was obsessed with the cast recording. Something about the arrangements, the vocals, and the lyrics felt different from any other show. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Will Marvin ever learn to control his emotions? Will Jason push through the chaos and grow up to fulfill his potential? Does Jason only look up to Whizzer? Is Trina okay? What in the world is a “banana-carrot surprise”?  Still, to this day, whenever I listen to the album or watch the filmed version, it makes me think.

    I saw the national tour in Charlotte, NC, and got to meet the cast! The production exceeded my expectations. I was in awe of the pure talent on the stage and the emotion in the room. Falsettos is heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and important. Some members of the audience have memories of the time period, while others weren’t even born yet. I think this speaks to the significance of the story, and shows that we still have a long way to go.

    Why Falsettos is Timeless

    Not everyone was accepting of the story and characters of Falsettos in the 90s, and lots of people still aren’t. That’s why the story, and others like it, should continue to be told. Falsettos is simply an illustration of family; it proves that love conquers all. The family is far from perfect, but they make it work. Every person in the audience can relate to something within one, or between two of the characters. 

    Some things, like acceptance, should be expressed until everyone listens and learns. Life-changing pieces of work stay relevant throughout time, and have the ability to impact many generations because family and love are themes that will never expire.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Movie, Movie Review, Movies

    A Review of “Mona Lisa Smile”

    Mona Lisa Smile

    The Run Down

    “Mona Lisa Smile” is a movie starring Julia Roberts as a professor at a women’s college. It is set right after World War II when women were still seen as housewives. The college is very traditional and conservative in view, while Julia Roberts plays a more liberal woman who wants to teach the girls that they can break tradition, get an education and get married, and other newer ideas of the time.

    My thoughts

    It is a great movie to watch, even though some of the issues do not apply in today’s world. The various girls at the school represent different types of characters and their lives address different issues. Despite the women going to college, the school teaches them how to be a proper wife, marriage takes priority over their education. One of the women has to choose between going to law school or marrying her boyfriend. Another simply marries the man her family wants her to, and her life becomes a disaster. Julia Roberts’ character, Katherine Watson, guides them through different ideas of women empowerment through her art history class.

    It is a great movie to watch with friends or on your own. It is interesting to consider the different roles that were expected of women and how far we have come. The setting combined with the different characters truly makes an amazing movie that urges you to think along with the women at the college. It is also just a feel-good movie as it has an inspiring and happy ending. It leaves you feeling good, so if you need a happy movie that also addresses some interesting topics, you should watch “Mona Lisa Smile.”

    You can see the movie on Netflix and watch the trailer below:

  • GirlSpring.com, Movie Review

    Reviewing the Netflix Original Documentary – Period. End of Sentence.

    period end of sentence

    Period. End of Sentence.

    A Review of the Netflix Original Documentary by Suneeti Chambers

    As I was browsing Netflix one day, I saw the preview of a documentary called Period. End of Sentence.

    Since I have a passion and an interest in women’s health, I felt that this was a documentary I would learn a lot from and enjoy.

    After watching it, I discovered that I was right!

    The documentary takes place in India and talks about a significant topic that is considered ‘taboo’ in India: menstruation.

    As you watch the documentary, you can see the awkwardness and uncomfortableness that the women and girls show when asked about the topic of menstruation. You can immediately tell how little attention this health topic is given, despite its extreme importance. Even men are asked about periods and menstruation, and they express a lack of knowledge concerning the subject.

    Furthermore, many women India resort to unhygienic ways to take care of their period, as seen in the documentary.

    To combat this problem, an Indian man by the name of Arunachalam Muruganantham has created a machine which creates pads. It is a relatively simple machine but it is able to create pads that are abundant in quality and quantity. Then, he got people to teach women from certain villages how to work the machines and create their own pads.

    From there on, the documentary shows women with an entrepreneurial spirit, selling their own pads and getting their own money. The pride and happiness seen in these women’s faces prove that nothing can get in the way of the perseverance and power of women. The documentary has reminded me to be proud to be part Indian and to be a woman.

    Most of all, it has reminded me that we should never hesitate to change the status quo!

  • Movie Review

    Netflix Series Review: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

    If you have not seen the Netflix original series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, then I recommend doing so. It is Netflix gold with its sense of humor and relation to real-time problems with society. I would like to note that there is a decent amount of cursing, and the rating for the show is TV 14.

    The show follows Kimmy, a recently rescued young woman who spent 15 years of her life underground as part of a perverted male’s religious cult. The plot of the show is that she is trying to move on from the past and make a name for herself without the pity of being what is commonly referred to in the show as a “mole woman.”

    She packs her bag and moves to New York City where she finds herself living in an apartment with a seemingly talented, gay, black man, with a delusional, older, white lady as the landlord. The mix of the protagonist’s personality and the other cast members help bring this slightly musical series to life.

    One of the lead writers for the show, Tina Fey, is a known comedian from Saturday Night Live. She is one of my favorite female role models in television, and she continues to create healthy female characters for people to look up to. Kimmy Schmidt not only wants to do what is right all the time, but she wants to make sure that she is helping those around her through her actions.

    The series boasts positivity in speaking up for yourself and trying hard to achieve your dreams. Sometimes life gets us down, and we feel the need to give up. This is where Kimmy Schmidt and Titus Andromedas—her roommate—would tell us to keep trying.

    So, if you’re in the mood for some feel-good comedy about a “mole woman,” then you should check out The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

    Here are some comparable series:

    Superstore

                Modern Family

                American Housewife

                Don’t Trust the B— in Apt. 23

                Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

                The Mindy Project

  • Movie Review, Movies

    The Incredibles II Movie Review

    The Incredibles II Movie Review by Jana

    The Incredibles II is finally back after a fourteen year wait! I’m going to be talking about my general thoughts on the movie, and give it a score out of ten. Keep in mind this review contains spoilers for The Incredibles and The Incredibles II.

    –SPOILERS AHEAD–

    WHY I LIKED THE FIRST MOVIE
    The thing I loved about the first movie was the politicized nature of the supers, and the way the movie subverted common superhero tropes. I think it’s fair to say that The Incredibles subverted tropes similar to the way Watchmen had subversive politicized superhero tropes, but certainly not to the same extent as Watchmen. Instead of existing in a society that fully embraced them, the heros in The Incredibles faced backlash for civilian casualties / property damage they caused while performing saves. Another thing I loved about the first movie was the excellent score, which I’m happy to report is not absent in The Incredibles II.

    THE VILLAIN PROBLEM IN THE INCREDIBLES II
    The second movie had an interesting villain who I would have loved to have been more fleshed out. Evelyn/ Screenslaver is a fascinating character whose motivations felt poorly explained and even lacking in important details in her big villain monologue to Elastigirl.

    Her distrust of supers goes back to her father’s love of them, and his reluctance to use the family’s safe room while they were getting robbed. He instead opted to try and use his direct line to supers who arrived too late, and he was thus killed for his over reliance on supers. Evelyn’s father was shown to be an important political figure to supers and advocated for their rights.

    Basically, Evelyn dislikes the way the general public overly relies on the actions of the supers and wants the public to go back to distrusting them. Also, her hatred of supers ties into the way she uses them to try and give the supers a bad name: screens. Her villain identity is called Screenslaver, and she used screens to hypnotize people into following her orders. Screenslaver delivers a monologue regarding the way people are overly reliant on technology, and seems to make this point very well by demonstrating her ability to hypnotize anyone looking at a screen. She fashions screens into goggles for the supers, and forces them to act in a way that makes the general public distrust them.

    This is such a fascinating character with commentary about people’s reliance on technology, and I would have liked it if we got more backstory and explanation about this character. It’s worth acknowledging that she might have gotten more fleshed out in scenes that didn’t make it to the final cut.

    THE FAMILY FOCUS
    Like the first movie, The Incredibles II was as much about superheros as it was about the Parr family dynamic. I loved the way Bob and Violet’s father / daughter relationship evolved, and gave Bob room to make mistakes as a parent. Additionally, Helen’s move to front and center superhero for a short period of the movie was excellent. Bob’s jealousy when Helen was selected to carry out a mission instead of him wasn’t condemned or painted as a negative aspect of Bob’s character. Rather, his jealousy was understandable, and he made a visibly painful effort to demonstrate his happiness for her success.

    This tied into how he grew as a parent for all of his children. While Helen was out on the mission, he had be the sole caregiver for his children, something he clearly wasn’t used to. His jealousy seemed to make him resent this work at first, but as he got better at these parental duties, he began to enjoy carrying them out more. His frustration over not being able to understand Dash’s homework led to him pulling an all nighter to learn the math so he could help his son do well on the test. His comically botched plan to save Violet’s relationship with her love interest backfired and led to a heartfelt apology where he admitted to some degree of fault for the relationship’s undoing. As a quick aside, the way the family weaponized Jack Jack’s powers was hilarious; holding Jack Jack like a gun and saying, “pew pew” to make lasers shoot out of his eyes was comedy gold. Another brilliant moment I enjoyed was at the very end of the movie when Evelyn/ Screenslaver was arrested. Violent makes the comment, “Yeah but she’s rich, so she’ll probably get away with a slap on the wrist.”

    Overall, I’d give The Incredibles II a 7/10 simply due to how enjoyable it was, but wish it could have offered a more fleshed out villain.

    Catch a sneak peek here:

    https://youtu.be/i5qOzqD9Rms

  • Movie Review, Movies

    The Incredibles II Movie Review

    The Incredibles II Movie Review

    The Incredibles II is finally back after a fourteen year wait! I’m going to be talking about my general thoughts on the movie, and give it a score out of ten. Keep in mind this review contains spoilers for The Incredibles and The Incredibles II.

    –SPOILERS AHEAD–

    WHY I LIKED THE FIRST MOVIE
    The thing I loved about the first movie was the politicized nature of the supers, and the way the movie subverted common superhero tropes. I think it’s fair to say that The Incredibles subverted tropes similar to the way Watchmen had subversive politicized superhero tropes, but certainly not to the same extent as Watchmen. Instead of existing in a society that fully embraced them, the heros in The Incredibles faced backlash for civilian casualties / property damage they caused while performing saves. Another thing I loved about the first movie was the excellent score, which I’m happy to report is not absent in The Incredibles II.

    THE VILLAIN PROBLEM IN THE INCREDIBLES II
    The second movie had an interesting villain who I would have loved to have been more fleshed out. Evelyn/ Screenslaver is a fascinating character whose motivations felt poorly explained and even lacking in important details in her big villain monologue to Elastigirl.

    Her distrust of supers goes back to her father’s love of them, and his reluctance to use the family’s safe room while they were getting robbed. He instead opted to try and use his direct line to supers who arrived too late, and he was thus killed for his over reliance on supers. Evelyn’s father was shown to be an important political figure to supers and advocated for their rights.

    Basically, Evelyn dislikes the way the general public overly relies on the actions of the supers and wants the public to go back to distrusting them. Also, her hatred of supers ties into the way she uses them to try and give the supers a bad name: screens. Her villain identity is called Screenslaver, and she used screens to hypnotize people into following her orders. Screenslaver delivers a monologue regarding the way people are overly reliant on technology, and seems to make this point very well by demonstrating her ability to hypnotize anyone looking at a screen. She fashions screens into goggles for the supers, and forces them to act in a way that makes the general public distrust them.

    This is such a fascinating character with commentary about people’s reliance on technology, and I would have liked it if we got more backstory and explanation about this character. It’s worth acknowledging that she might have gotten more fleshed out in scenes that didn’t make it to the final cut.

    THE FAMILY FOCUS
    Like the first movie, The Incredibles II was as much about superheros as it was about the Parr family dynamic. I loved the way Bob and Violet’s father / daughter relationship evolved, and gave Bob room to make mistakes as a parent. Additionally, Helen’s move to front and center superhero for a short period of the movie was excellent. Bob’s jealousy when Helen was selected to carry out a mission instead of him wasn’t condemned or painted as a negative aspect of Bob’s character. Rather, his jealousy was understandable, and he made a visibly painful effort to demonstrate his happiness for her success.

    This tied into how he grew as a parent for all of his children. While Helen was out on the mission, he had be the sole caregiver for his children, something he clearly wasn’t used to. His jealousy seemed to make him resent this work at first, but as he got better at these parental duties, he began to enjoy carrying them out more. His frustration over not being able to understand Dash’s homework led to him pulling an all nighter to learn the math so he could help his son do well on the test. His comically botched plan to save Violet’s relationship with her love interest backfired and led to a heartfelt apology where he admitted to some degree of fault for the relationship’s undoing. As a quick aside, the way the family weaponized Jack Jack’s powers was hilarious; holding Jack Jack like a gun and saying, “pew pew” to make lasers shoot out of his eyes was comedy gold. Another brilliant moment I enjoyed was at the very end of the movie when Evelyn/ Screenslaver was arrested. Violent makes the comment, “Yeah but she’s rich, so she’ll probably get away with a slap on the wrist.”

    Overall, I’d give The Incredibles II a 7/10 simply due to how enjoyable it was, but wish it could have offered a more fleshed out villain.

    Catch a sneak peek here:

    https://youtu.be/i5qOzqD9Rms