Film Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

MV5BMTYyMTcxNzc5M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTg2ODE2MTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is a bit like that friend you had in high school who was everything you wanted to be but has since… well, not changed at all. They still walk around with the swagger of a fifteen-year-old, but the rest of the world has grown up and moved on around them.

The latest instalment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, is really annoying to type out in full, first of all. It’s also the most shallow in the series so far, checking off all the boxes that made the first three so popular without any of the soul.

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Film Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

MV5BNDFmZjgyMTEtYTk5MC00NmY0LWJhZjktOWY2MzI5YjkzODNlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDA4NzMyOA@@._V1_SY1000_SX675_AL_When the trailers for this movie were released they brought actual tears to my eyes. As somebody who has absolutely no connection to Wonder Woman I’d say that was a huge achievement. They made me feel empowered, inspired and awed – everything you should feel after seeing a superhero movie. So did the actual movie live up to it?

Honestly, yes and no. For me this was an average superhero plot line with a ‘more than average’ (to use Steve Trevor’s words) set of characters involved.

 

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Four things I’m taking away from Netflix’s Girlboss

Girlboss3Sophia Marlowe isn’t exactly what people would call a role model, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t offer any useful life lessons.

I thought the series had a lot of interesting things to say in terms of creative projects and living in the digital age. So here are four nuggets of advice that I took away from the series.

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Mental Illness: In the Media

When somebody puts how you feel into words, it’s magical. Especially when it’s on the big screen or in the pages of a book. Sometimes it’s so accurate, it feels like they lifted it all straight from your own memory.

In this last post in my Mental Health Awareness Week series, I’ve picked apart three portrayals of mental illness in the media that felt like they were taken from my life.

I could easily have talked about the times I felt like the media got it wrong, but who am I to say that it didn’t ring true for somebody else out there? Besides, I wanted to end this series on a positive. So I’ve stuck to the times a portrayal rang true for me.

The best part is that all of these are mainstream and have been enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. How better to spread awareness? And how better to tell people who are suffering that they’re not alone?

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Mental Illness: My Experience

THE BAD PANINI

It was the end of my first year of college and exams were well underway. We had an exam just after lunchtime. My friend and I were running late, something unusual for me. I shovelled down a panini before rushing off to the classroom where the exam would take place. We were last to arrive and take our seats.

As I arranged my pens on the table in front of me, the people around me were doing the same. They were a distant stream of noises and movement – chairs scraping and creaking, sniffles and coughs, pens tapping, examiner’s footsteps. My head was buzzing with thoughts and my body was hyped up, having reached the exam just in time.

The exam began. Everything went quiet.

About half an hour later I started to feel weird. It was hard to hold my pen, my hand slipping with sweat. I felt nauseous and I thought must have been a bad panini. I put my hand up and asked if I could go to the toilet.

I don’t remember the rest of what happened that day. I’m pretty sure that I calmed myself down in the toilet, made sure I wasn’t going to be sick and went back to sit the rest of the exam. It didn’t register at the time that this was the beginning of anything.

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Mental Illness: Why is ‘awareness’ so important?

I’m the kind of person that when faced with something unknown, I have to make it known.

When I started having panic attacks at college, I didn’t know what they were. I started looking for any shred of information I could find. It wasn’t hard to find a basic definition, a set of symptoms and a couple of treatments. It was useful, but that alone wasn’t what I needed. Reading up on the medical definition of a cold won’t tell you how it feels to have it, not really. I needed something to relate to.

I found forums where people posted all about their experiences with panic attacks and a whole array of other mental illnesses. Reading those posts made that great big unknown feel a little bit less great and big.

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Girlboss (2017): How do you solve a problem like Sophia?

GirlbossIt’s been about a week since I finished watching Netflix’s Girlboss and I’m still trying to figure out why I liked it when it seems that so many didn’t. In fact it has some rolling their eyes and tutting and muttering about how millennials are everything wrong with the world.

The Netflix Original series, released on 21 April 2017, is a ‘real loose’ retelling of true events from the best-selling memoir #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso. The first season follows Sophia’s unconventional path to becoming the Founder, CEO and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a wildly successful vintage clothing e-tailer.

Like a lot of people I did find the main character, Sophia Marlowe (Britt Robertson) hard to get along with, especially in the first half of the season. She is everything that gives millennials a bad name – painfully selfish, hurtful and self-entitled. Though I’d like to point to a handful of non-millennial bosses off the top of my head with the same set of flaws such as Steve Jobs, Tony Stark and Harvey Specter. But the generational thing aside, Sophia Marlowe is not a nice person a lot of the time. She is frequently terrible to her friends, she steals and she is unapologetic about it. So what had me so compelled?

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Writing: five-sentence thriller challenge

It’s ‘mystery and thriller week’ over at Goodreads right now. To mark the occasion, they challenged six authors in the genre to write an original mystery/thriller with a catch – write it using only five sentences.

I’m not an author in the genre, in fact I’m not even an author, but I was inspired so I gave it a go anyway. It was a lot of fun to do and it’s left me itching to write more. What follows is my response.

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Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

BookCover-SharpObjects-02I didn’t read the synopsis on this one before I dove in. From what I’d heard of Gillian Flynn I expected messed up characters and a mystery to solve. That’s exactly what I got. I read it in one day and while I won’t say that it kept me on the edge of my seat or that it had me nervous, there was something about it that kept me gripped until the end.

We follow our main character, Camille, a reporter for the Daily Post in Chicago as she goes back to her small hometown in Missouri to investigate the deaths of two young girls. It took me a while to get used to Camille’s voice because of the rhythm of her sentences but after the first few chapters it eventually settled into an apathetic southern drawl in my mind, quiet and bitter.

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Book Review: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

41IpJcqm+kL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I bought this book a few days after I finished my university course for a bit of light reading. (I have never felt more like Hermione than at this moment). After three years of studying fiction and of learning about how fiction works I was burnt out. I needed something completely different. A non-fiction book from the psychology section felt like a good idea.

When I took it to the counter at Waterstones the man at the till lit up with enthusiasm and started telling me that it’s one of the best books he’s ever read. He was gushing with praise and I left feeling like I’d made a great life decision. It then sat on my shelf for a month or so to get settled into its new home as new books in my house are wont to do. I picked it up this month thinking that I could take it slow… and then I finished it in a matter of days.

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