Mud – Film Review

Picture
Before I get all crazy… 

First of all, I would like to apologize for not writing in my film blog since like September. I guess I have been just too busy living life, traveling the world, going to school, and finding new adventures. But now that I am back in the saddle again, I am ready to start writing more in my film blog. I want this blog to show the beauty of cinema. My very first post was how I was going to review the filmography of all of my favorite directors, but no one really sits down and watches every Martin Scorsese movie in a row to review them (As much as I would love to though). I want to be more active in this blog, so sometimes I’ll break down scenes from movies or even review movies in theatres. Maybe I will make videos someday. I want this blog to be a collection of my notes and thoughts. Movies are about watching them with your friends and family, going to the cinema on a Friday night and eating a jumbo-sized bucket of popcorn. Since my last post in September, I have watched over 300 films and have gone off to film school in Los Angeles for a month. I am also working on a short film called “Sunday’s With Paris,” a coming of age story about a college radio host who weighs the pros and cons of adulthood. But yeah, as you can see, I want to work and do something with movies for my career, whether as a director, producer, owning my chain of movie theatre’s or operating at a movie studio or even doing marketing/advertising for films and studios. Hell, being an agent would be cool too, but we all know it isn’t easy like Ari Gold makes it in Entourage. Anyway, I just wanted to clarify all of that with everyone before I get all crazy in this post.

Here we go!

Mud, directed by Jeff Nichols starring Matthew McConaughey opposite Reese Witherspoon is a coming of age story about a young boy named Ellis who slowly learns how hard love can be and what love is. If you take away the hillbillies, the southern accents, the guns, and the manliness in this film, you can see the underlying main message is how love is real. That is the central message of the film, but the main problem is that people choose to reject love because we are afraid or we are looking out what is best for us. But, through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy, we believe that love is real because that is what he believes despite his mom leaving his dad, an older girl leading him on and blowing him off and Mud’s girlfriend always ditching him! I usually hate kids in movies… but this kid was unreal. Tye Sheridan did a great job, and I hope to see him in more films in the future.

Three Quick Notes

1. The cinematography was beautiful. All the shots on the boat and the scenery of the wildlife was extraordinary.
2. The storyline was great. It was like experiencing a modern-day telling of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
3. Matthew McConaughey didn’t carry the whole movie! Tye Sheridan made you forget about Mud. Oh, and yeah, Reese Witherspoon plays one hot honky tonky southern girl with a lot of baggage on her.


The storyline of this movie was great. I love seeing two southern boys with southern values, doing southern things. Ellis and Neckbone (how hick are those names) find this abandoned boat on some small little island with plans to keep it. That is until they encounter some fugitive named Mud, who is living in that boat. Well, anyway, Mud tries to befriend these kids but fails. Ellis sees something more in Mud than just some bum. This is because he actually gets to know Mud. He finds out that they both grew up in the same place and he is waiting to see his girlfriend, Juniper. Ellis is so fascinated by their love story of how she saved Mud’s life from being bitten by a cottonmouth when he was ten. Ellis can really relate to Mud because of how Mud’s soul was born on the same river and how they both have girlfriends that they love, despite being screwed over by them countlessly. But the two don’t care, they would do anything for these girls because they genuinely love them. That is the bond between the two characters. Ellis has such an admiration for Mud because he is a true romantic at heart just like Ellis is. He begins to bring Mud food and supplies to live in the woods and soon brings him materials to get the boat out of the tree so he can travel onward. Ellis later finds out that he is a fugitive running from the law and so obviously he and his friend Neckbone are going to ask Mud about it. Mud kills a guy that Juniper went out with a while back. The guy he killed came from a family with a lot of money, and he would beat Juniper all the time. So he explained that sometimes a man has to be punished for doing horrible things and he can’t be forgiven. Ellis sees that he genuinely loves Juniper and that Mud will do anything for her so he tries to help Mud as much as he can so he can escape and be with her. Ellis even acts as a messenger between the two.
Picture

 As the story goes on, we find out that Ellis’ parents are getting divorced and that he won’t be living on a boat in a river anymore, which is basically his whole persona right there. This drives him to further befriend Mud and help him out. Also, he is being led on by this girl whom he goes on one date with and kisses. He starts to call her his girlfriend in the movie, despite her not calling back and always blowing him off in public. This storyline adds to Mud’s story because due to his non-existent failing relationship with his girlfriend, he wants to do anything in his power to set Mud free and reunite him with Juniper. Despite all the crap in his life, Mud’s love for Juniper gives him hope that love truly exists. Later on, the plan is for Ellis to escort Juniper to the island so they can ride off on the boat and live happily ever after. But, she doesn’t show up, and Ellis finds her at a bar flirting with some other guy. This kills Ellis. He is so let down, but Mud doesn’t show any emotion when he finds out. So Ellis sends her a breakup letter from Mud saying that he totally understands and now it’s over. Finding out that they gave up on each other really kills Ellis, especially after everything he and Neckbone did for him.  This is the scene where you can see how hopelessly heartbroken he is because he was lead to believe that there was such a thing as true love by Mud.

Picture

For the win!

This scene critical to the whole entire movie because we, the audience already knows that he has lied about a lot of stuff already. That he has been just using these kids to get free. We think we know that is what is going on. Everyone thinks wow this guy is a dirtbag loser bum hillbilly. Ellis has been the only one who has seen good in him during the entire movie up until this point. For the whole film, Ellis has tried to see the good in him, but now in this scene, the audience and Ellis both know that he is genuinely just a scum bag. This is a scene where the audience and character finally connect with each other, and we both are now on the same page.  Now, what happens next is Ellis runs away and falls into a creek full of cottonmouth snakes and gets bitten. Neckbone tells Mud, and you know what Mud does, he saves Ellis! He risks being caught by the authorities or bounty hunters that are after him by rushing him to the hospital. Wow, Mud was really the guy that Ellis saw. He isn’t a scum. He actually is a good person. We were all wrong about Mud after all! Side note, he kind of reminds me of Boo Radley or Huck Finn or that angry old man across the street in Home Alone. But yes! Mud is a good person, and he does what is truly right in this world, and sometimes doing the right thing is the hardest thing. There aren’t too many people out there like that. He would rather be in hiding his whole life so Juniper could be safe and free all because he loves her. Ellis saw the good in someone that most people couldn’t see the good in. That is hard for people to do these days because it is hard to find empathy, to walk in someone else’s shoes.

I really enjoyed the overlying theme in the movie that true love does exist, but we always choose to reject it and the fact that as we grow older we some times forget about what the powers of love actually hold. It was really cool watching this story unfold through the eyes of a younger kid as he realizes this. Plus, who wouldn’t want to hang out with Matthew McConaughey?

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation here: Venmo

Noah – Film Review

Picture

Last Friday night, I found myself at the cinema once again. Does not really surprise me by now.  I heard on the radio that Pope Francis from Argentina blessed this film! Now, how badass is that?

Noah is based on the famous biblical story of Noah’s Ark. The movie could have been called Genesis 6-9 cause that is where the story is in The Book of Genesis. Now, being the nerd that I am, I actually read the story of Noah’s Ark on my cell phone before I went to the cinema with my friends.

Biblically speaking, this story is not word for word accurate with what goes on with the film at all. Most people who watch this movie from a religious perspective will not like the film. But, people who watch this from a moviegoers perspective will enjoy the film! Why? Because there just isn’t much that is explained in Genesis 6-9. Noah’s wife didn’t even get a name mentioned in the story! The three sons didn’t have any central roles in the story. There was no old man who was Noah’s grandfather, who lived in a cave! Oh yeah, thank God for Director Darren Aronofsky for writing Emma Watson’s character into the story. No pun intended.

Overall I really enjoyed a lot of things about this movie because this is an excellent storytelling. Director Darren Aronofsky took like 15 pages of scripture from the bible and created a whole story out of it with dialogue. That has to undertake major research!  There was nothing in the story of Noah’s Ark that said that Noah had to fight off all of these sinners, heretics, and people of Cain. We don’t know what Noah said to his son’s about not having kids! But as a filmmaker, that is what you have to do! You have to fill in the blanks! If I didn’t know a damn thing about the story of Noah’s Ark and I wanted to go and see a Russell Crowe movie, then yeah I would have totally bought all of this because it is pretty realistic. That is the whole job of a filmmaker to take the unreal and to make it real. Filmmakers are storytellers, and some storytellers try to be accurate, others try to make you believe that their story is real and some storytellers try to get you to understand what they are showing is the truth through their illusion.

Three Odd Balls
1. Why did Anthony Hopkins over due to his creepiness factor in this film? Every part he was in was totally overdone. Also, you see him like five times in the film, and the first time you see him, you know that he’s been living in a cave for like 150 years and he is all pale and hermit-like. The next time you see him, he is on his death bed pretty much, and he looks like a corpse! Now, the third time you see him, he is tan, white teeth and he is moving around and functioning normally. Those details really bothered me. 

2. I love Jennifer Connelly for some reason. I just really admire her, don’t ask me why. Maybe because there are so many famous “Jennifer’s” out their and she is like the forgotten one. Anyway, she had 3 scenes where she had to stand up to Noah, and Russell Crowe totally overpowered her in her most famous scenes. If I were the director, I would have hired another actress that could have handled Russell Crowe’s screen dominance. OR I would have just said “YO RUSS,” take it easy on her, will ya? Overall, she did an excellent job preparing for this role, considering Noah’s wife had one mention in the Genesis 6-9. She said to interviewers that she met and spoke with archeologists and historians to figure out a voice, manners, and how women would act at the time. Now, maybe that added a lot to her character but Russell Crowe can totally overwhelm you in any scene. 


3. I would just like to point out the outfits in this film. I am pretty sure the women didn’t have symmetrically low cut tops, wearing perfectly fitting long sleeves back then. Oh, and yes, you see all of these nicely put together jackets and backpacks. That really threw me off. I am pretty sure people wore rags and what not… but what do I know.

I love how this film was totally romanticized. How they created magic and explained other stories through visions and showed other creatures, we had never seen before. Like those rock giant things. I thought that was good. Because… how did Now build that big ark without help from anyone besides his family? That is one big Ark? So, I can accept the fact that there were Rock Giants that protected Noah and helped him. 


Picture

Let me point out…
Emma Watson, well she is a really ugly crier. Other than that, she did a really excellent job. 

Picture

I am no biblical expert, but I think Aronofsky wrote in other parts of the bible to contribute to the story like how the world really was. How there were these civilizations lead by Cain just to emphasize that humans are greedy and that we have power. Whereas, there is Noah who still lives the way that the Creator intended for the world to be lived. This added a lot of conflict in the story. But I really think he could have done more of an emphasis on God or the Creator besides having just visions.

Three and Out. 

1. Again, Russell Crowe. That is all I have to say. Like what do you expect from him? I thought he could have been Noah. His character progression throughout the story was terrific. He slowly went from this prophet, this protector, or this savior to this tortured man who really wanted to follow the creator’s orders. So halfway through the film, you see a complete 180 in his character as he is building the boat. Everyone starts to question his ways and to disagree with him. The book of Genesis didn’t really go into detail of how hard it was for Noah to do this task…. especially cause he was 600 years old. His character progression could have told the story itself. 

2. His second son, Ham played by Logan Lerman gave the story a excellent side route. This was a boy who was old enough to know the difference between being a man and a boy. Now, at this time, meant to have a family is what would make you a man. He was upset that his father had a wife ready for his older brother and not him. So OBVIOUSLY he is going to be upset about it! He goes and runs into the village looking for a girl to save and take her to the ark. During this time, we see that people are naturally good despite their sins and greed. So he brings this girl back, and Noah doesn’t save her at the end of the movie, creating this great tension between Ham and his father. I kind of viewed Ham like Scar from Lion King or Claudius from Hamlet. You know the character in the family who becomes somewhat evil. 


3. People in this movie talked so up close to each other’s faces. This really bothered me cause I couldn’t imagine what their breath’s smelled like back then.

Picture

Overall, I say this movie is good for the average filmgoer who wants to hear an EPIC story told in a 21st century EPIC fashion. It is not 100 percent biblically correct, but it follows the themes of this story to its purest form. If you watch this movie and see the ideas of God’s judgment on Man’s Rebellion against God, God’s love and protection towards those who obey him, God restoring balance to the world, Ham’s Sin (our actions can lead to future problems), and the God keeps his promises then yeah, the movie did the story justice.

Go and see this movie! Try not to take it too seriously and just enjoy it! It is a movie that is meant to be enjoyed, and if you can see those themes in the film, then you can get what you want out of it. This is a excellent adapted screenplay that filled in so many blanks. 

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation here: Venmo

Divergent – Film Review

Picture

I went into this movie thinking nothing of it, knowing nothing about it just going to see Shailene Woodley (the love of my life) kick some ass. My friends wanted to go, and if you know anything about me, I really have no interest in movies based on books for middle schoolers. That sound’s awful.  But I left the theatre, shocked! I found this movie so fascinating!  But when I left the theatre, I knew that it would get so many bad reviews regardless of how amazing I thought it was. I was right. HOW can Rotten Tomatoes give this movie 40%? I found this movie great for different reasons. In fact, I bought the book by because I loved it so much.

Leading off…

Divergent follows a story in a dystopian future, where basically the world is wiped out because of some war. Everyone is divided into five factions based on their personalities. Erudite (intelligent), Amity (peaceful), Candor (the honest), Abnegation (selfless), and the cool people who run around doing cool things DAUNTLESS  (the brave). Oh and yes, the factionless which are people who don’t belong and basically represent the homeless people.  Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley), is a 16-year-old girl who is in the Abnegation faction and as every other 16 year old she has to take a test to be placed in the faction that you belong in. This test is supposed to tell you what one you reside in, and every year the 16-year-olds have a ceremony that they get to go up and choose what faction they want to be in. Well, Beatrice’s test results were inconclusive because she could belong in any faction making her Divergent.  This stirs lots of trouble for her in the film because she chooses a different faction, the dauntless, and she is the only one who can fight the rebellion. You can read the plot summary right here on Wikipedia… I don’t want to go into all of it. 

Three Strikes

1. This film makes me think so much for many reasons. When you are in high school, college, the work place, etc. you have to choose what group you want to belong too. That is an adamant thing to do. Imagine a 16-year-old girl having to pick what social group she wants to be in for the rest of her life? That is nuts!

2. The style of how the film is presented, shot, edited and so on is very similar to any blockbuster teen novel adaptation in the last 15 years; Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, etc. So, if this movie were to come out 8 years ago, it would have gotten stellar reviews and would not have been so highly compared to The Hunger Games. You cannot compare Hunger Games to this movie or story. Hunger Games is so damn unrealistic, where every year people select 2 people from every district, and they fight and kill each other to survive. That is unrealistic that will never happen in real life! 

3. When you think about how this society works in the film and compare it to real history, you can see that stuff very similar has happened before! Really? Why do you say that, Zos? Remember those concentration camps in world war 2? Hitler separated people, grouped them, and said you aren’t allowed to talk to anyone else outside of your group and you can only do this job until told otherwise. When I visited Dachau in Munich, I learned that each of those designated groups would have a job to do every day just like how in the movie each faction had their job to keep peace in society. Then we all know that he would move those groups around and kill them through various ways of Nazi torture and punishment. Remember the French revolution? There were 3 groups; clergy, monarchy, and everyone else. Two percent ruled 98%. This was a time during the Enlightenment, where people who didn’t know any better were starting to think otherwise about how society should be formed and ruled and etc. Anyway, some guy named Maximillian Robespierre, someone who was divergent and believed that you could change the way society worked and how people were ruled, lead the French Revolution and the downfall of Louis the 16th.  If you think about it, then maybe we already live in a society like Divergent. There is upper class, middle class, lower class, and people who live in poverty. People get taxed differently based on their class that they fall into. When you apply for a job or fill out any information, they always ask you what race you are. People still refer to different groups of people based on where they come from, the color of their skin, or what they believe in. 


…. Also, in the film, there is a wall that separated their society from whatever lurks in the rest of the world. Remember the Iron curtain people? That it basically cut off all of the Soviet Union from the rest of the world! People in Soviet states didn’t have Levi jeans or credit cards or McDonald’s till 1990-1991. This is because communist society brainwashed their citizens to believe that communism was the only thing, the best thing and the best way to live JUST like how in the world of Divergent they brainwashed everyone that their way of living is the only way that works. It really saddens me to see how brainwashing people in society actually is effective. The thing is that we are all a subject of some form of brainwashing.  CHECK OUT THE SCENE that I posted above this text. This scene shows how their society is brainwashed through chemistry and how divergence threatens their system of protecting society of practicing free will. This is a scene in a story where the protagonist realizes that what they have known their whole life isn’t correct and that there is a different way. This is where Beatrice knows that she has to do something. That is what I love about this scene so much. There are a lot of real-life similarities that can be related to in the film.  That is why I really enjoyed it. 

Picture

The movie basically revolves around her being trained to become Dauntless. Which I really liked because it showed so much character progression. She went from average soft-spoken, unconfident, never say a word about nothing kind of girl to this mighty fierce leader. It was no easy task for her, I’d have to say. Shailene Woodley was by far the best part of this film.  Because the acting is very mediocre compared to how great the story is. But that sometimes happens in cinema. You can have the best story in the world, and okay actors and the movie can still be great! I really think that is one of the other factors why that the movie got terrible reviews.  Shailene Woodley knows how to play this character type very well. In fact, I have been following her career for many years, and the moment I saw her, I knew she was going to have a good job. The fact that the character becomes more and more efficient in the story makes her more powerful. She starts to be more confident and badass, which makes her really appealing to most men. People love boot camp stuff and watching people train because it makes you wanna get up and do 1000 push ups and run a marathon! A lot of people like the character type that she plays in the movie of a normal girl that is just … well, normal but she has guts! We need guts! 

Picture

I would like to talk about acting again. First things first, Kate Winslet played the powerful women of corporate America. She wouldn’t have been my first casting choice for this role at all. But, it was a smart casting choice because she is in a lot of artsy films that your parents have all seen. Yes, this will bring parents into the theatre’s when they take their kids to go see the movie. That is smart! I am still not sure about how I feel about Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort because they didn’t really add much to their parts in the movie. But, I think we are going to see a lot more of them in the future. Theo James, on the hand, did an excellent job of playing the badass love interest. He was brave when he needed to be, he was mean when he had to be, he was nice and he was affectionate when he had to be.
Despite how hot this scene is, let’s take a look at the turning point in the movie. During the whole film you feel so alone with Beatrice Prior because she is the only one that we know who is divergent! She can be anything she wants to be! She now has found someone that has the same commonality with her. When I first saw this, the first thing that popped in my head was that no one is ever alone. There is always someone fighting a similar battle. Four shows Beatrice these tatoos of all the factions that he secretly can belong in because he is divergent too! He explains to her that he wants to be more than just one thing! This shows the primary protagonist that she can believe that she can be more than one thing as well. This inspires her so much that it inspired me because who just wants to be one thing and belong to one group! The total character progression that Shailene Woodley shows in the film is unbelievable. She basically went from Mother Theresa to The Black Widow in the Avengers because she believed she could be multiple things other than what she has known her whole life! That is insane. Dare to be different!

Picture

Let me point out…

Four has a pretty badass tattoo of all of the factions. Now, this is like something that could get him into a lot of trouble because you are supposed to only represent who you are and not others. Not gonna, lie I wish I had a tattoo like this representing who I was. But this tattoo also kind of made me wonder how dangerous that was. Having a tattoo like this could have gotten him killed! This is like growing up in the Soviet Union and tattooing an American flag on your chest! But, now that I think about it, this is real in real life too. People wear what they believe on their sleeves regardless of what the government and society say. 


I love how Four somewhat secretly knew that Beatrice was divergent like him. This is why he slowly helps her out throughout the film without showing hardly any signs of affection (Fella’s take notes). This gave the whole “will they or won’t they” fall in love aspect of the film. Every good story needs a love story! I am glad that the story wasn’t revolved around that story arch though. The story was about a girl who wanted to lead this revolution to say, “hey we can be different” and that we belong together. The best part of this film was how she was slowly starting to think differently in terms of all the personality types of society. You saw that Beatrice was intelligent, kind, honest, selfless a brave in many scenes showing how dynamic she can be. This, to me, represented that we all can be dynamic and that we all can be more than one thing.

Last thought…

I have never really belonged to one group of friends or in one clique in high school or have really solely set myself to be one type of person. I have multiple groups of friends that I hang out with. I hung out with various different cliques in high school. If you look at all of my best friends, they all come from the most diverse backgrounds. I am not trying to toot my own horn, but I know very few people that have a diverse set of friends like me. But, like Beatrice Prior, I couldn’t ever 100% associate myself with any group. Look at me, I am half Asian and half Caucasian.
 
I really have no group, I have to be independent and open to new things all the time. That is the only way I can survive. For some people, they need to find an association in the world, and for me, I just haven’t been able to ever really do that for a consistent basis. But, for other people like me, these people find it liberating to belong to multiple groups because it expands their minds, and it grows them as a person. That is why it is so hard for divergent people to just affiliate themselves solely to one group because we are the types of people that find an association with individuality. Others find association through being in a group because those people find it the most comfortable. Those are two different types of people, and we need each other to survive. If you look at history, every revolution is lead by a divergent person who tries to connect with multiple groups of people. Look at Abe Lincoln… do I need to explain? Beatrice Prior dared to be different, and she inspired so many people in this story to do the same. The society that we live and the society that Divergent is in makes it hard for divergent people or people with individuality to live in. But we need both types of people to progress in the world so that we can further practice our free will. That is what the film is about. You can’t just have five groups of people doing the same thing in society for the rest of eternity! That is because there would be no progression in our world. That is what Beatrice Prior saw and was trying to fight.

So if you are divergent and can relate to multiple things and people, please don’t be afraid to express it!
If you feel better to associate yourself with a group, then good for you, you found a place and just remember you are just as important as anyone else in your affiliation!

But, there is nothing wrong with being divergent, and a lot of people fail to realize it. It may be hard, but remember we all can be more than one thing.

Dare to be different.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation here: Venmo

300 Rise of an Empire – Film Review

Picture

I really wish I had like a guitar solo to start off my blog posts. But all I can say is Eva Green. Wow. Take my land and rule my people. I still cannot stop thinking about Eva Green. Can they make a spin-off film and make the whole movie about her?

This is my third review based on some sort of scripture or previous writing. Back then, there were comic books, and now they are called graphic novels. As we all know the first move, 300 is based on Frank Miller’s epic graphic novel of the same name. This movie came out before the graphic novel did. I think that is an attractive marketing ploy.


Not a Sequel or a Prequel

I can’t find the right word to describe how this story was told. The events of this movie take place before, during, and after the events of 300. So, if you did not see the first film and you saw this one, it would make no sense.
One thing that I was sort of disappointed to see is that there was no part for Gerard Butler because he made the first 300 so memorable. But, Eva Green totally one-upped that expectation of mine, and it was a pleasant surprise. She totally made me forget about King Leonidas and made me so intrigued by her motives throughout the film as Artemisia.
Picture

Three Strong Periods (Hockey periods)

1. The story line was so exciting! The movie opens up at the end of the first movie, then immediately cuts to the Queen Gorgo, played by Lena Hadley leading her men to a battle as she is explaining the story of Themistocles, played by Sullivan Stapleton. Themistocles is just an average Greek trying to lead his separated nation to become Greece.
2. This story isn’t romanticized as much as the first 300 film. As I was watching this, I believed that this actually happened and from what I know about Greek history, I felt that this was more accurate to the story. No giants, no monsters, no monsters with razors for arms.
3. I really admired how they had a back story for Xerxes and how he became a God. But, I really enjoyed the back story for Artemisia, how she was abandoned by her own people and thrown into Persia to die. But she was taken in by the King and became this wreckless warrior eventually becoming the leader of the Persian navy. Now that back story felt real and believable, not say it was real, but it was believable. Xerxes back story was him finding a golden pool and coming out of it a God!

Picture

What I liked about this movie more than the first 300 is how much more accurate was to what actually happened in history. The writers and director do a really excellent job using narration and imagery, showing how all the different states of Greece united to fight the Persians and become one nation.

If you didn’t see the first film, then I would say this film would be very confusing to follow due to the unique story line the movie shows. My favorite part was how Themistocles goes to Sparta while the Spartan men are at war during the first 300 movie. Here you can tell that this is happening during the first 300 and here he asks Queen Gorgo for Sparta’s hand in the War because with out Spartans the rest of Greece has no chance to survive. I like how you can see the contrasts between other Greeks and the Spartans. You see all of these teenaged boys training to become warriors, built to battle versus the middle-aged Greek men who do not even compare to the Spartans at all. Queen Gorgo refuses and sends them away, saying that they do not want to become part of Greece. This leaves the protagonist, Themistocles, and the rest of Greece hopeless against the Persians. But, Themistocles gives the Greeks hope and they fight the Persians anyways, despite being entirely out numbered! The coolest part of the story is where they are going into the final battle, and you see Queen Gorgo with her Spartan men traveling on sea, where the movie started off. She just finished telling the story of Themistocles and his bravery to unite a country, and then the Spartans ambush the Persians in the final battle scene of the movie. That part sort of stunned me but I really liked how the story line went back to the beginning of the film where you first here Queen Gorgo leading her men to the battle.

There really isn’t much for me to say about this movie because it is one of those movies that I will buy on DVD and watch it 100 more times before I get a reasonable opinion on anything. But, overall if you enjoyed the first 300 and understood everything in it, then this movie is for you.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation here: Venmo

Why You Need to Watch “About Alex.”

In this day and age of film distribution, independent films get lost in the midst and lore of big-budget, superhero, sequel, or any high-end studio film. It takes me six to seven months to see any independent film because I have to wait for it to be on demand or on Netflix. This is because the major movie theaters out there are not playing these movies, and if they are, they will be on screen for such a short time.

This is why I am going to write about what independent films you should watch on Netflix. So, cuddle up with your significant other, dog, or cat. Grab some food and “Netflix and chill,” to an independent film called, “About Alex.”
Picture
The logline states:

“After a troubled young man attempts suicide, six of his former college classmates stage a reunion to help him heal, but old issues resurface.”

This film is very dialogue heavy, it takes place in one location, making it a “horror film with no horror” and contains powerful themes such as friendship, trust, and honesty.

What I loved about this film is how the titular character, Alex, is the first character that has the big problem and suddenly all of his best friends from college come from all over the US to help him out on a moments notice. These characters are all in their early thirties and are really into their careers.  Which, I don’t see most friends doing for most people in this day and age. But that is why we watch movies like this so we can understand what a good friend being is to someone from another perspective other than your own.  As the other characters in the film are trying to help Alex, everyone else realizes that they all have significant issues as well that have been seriously bothering them before the film. My favorite part of the film is that we don’t ever get to know what exactly lead Alex to attempt suicide, but we get to see what other internal problems that all of the other characters have and how ironically enough, Alex is the one who helps solves everyone’s issues.  This movie teaches us that if we were to be in a room with a bunch of people and if we all told each other what our most significant problems were that no one would trade their problems for yours.

The plot of this film sounds like the plot of a cheesy 1980’s coming of age teen angst film, but since Alex is the one helping everyone get through their issues despite his own, it gives a refreshing twist to the film.  Another refreshing thing is how one of Alex’s friends, Isaac brings his new girlfriend to the reunion. Her name is Kate, and she is 22 while the rest of the characters are in their early thirties. Kate brings light to the film, and while being an outsider to the group of friends, she makes them all appreciate their friendship that they all had.

Jason Ritter was phenomenal in this film as Alex. I think it was the best performance that I have ever seen from him. Without him, I don’t believe that this film would have worked so well.

Aubrey Plaza plays Sarah, a tax attorney who is very sweet and caring. Most people know her as April Ludgate from Parks and Recreation. I really think if you are a fan of Aubrey Plaza that you will enjoy her playing a character who is nothing that you have ever seen before. I was thoroughly impressed with her performance that stepped way outside of her boundaries.

Max Greenfield, we may know him as Schmidt from New Girl, plays the overdramatic “know it all,” like he always does. But, he brings something new to this type of character that he always plays. I won’t ruin it for you, so that is why you have to watch the movie.

Although having a minimal role, Jane Levy, who plays Kate steals the show. She is going to be an acting talent that everyone should watch out for.

If you want to see a film that will give you a new perspective on friendship, trust, honesty, then I highly recommend that you watch About Alex.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation here: Venmo

Why You Need to Watch “Dixieland.”

If you are a “Yankee” or anyone who does not understand how hard life is in the deep south, someone that wants to be exposed to a new culture, socioeconomic area and anyone who wants to experience something completely different in a vicarious medium then Dixieland is a great film to watch.  This film is incredibly authentic to the “deep south,” Mississippi trailer park culture because of the portrayal of the two protagonists of the story, Kermit, and Rachel.

Personally, I think this is Romeo and Juliet meets a southern Mississippi trailer park. But that is for you to watch the film and decide.

Picture
The logline states:

“Fresh out of jail, a decent young man tries to go straight, until he falls for his pretty neighbor and makes a desperate stab at giving them a better life.”

Dixieland stars Chris Zylka, Riley Keough and Faith Hill who portray extremely authentic characters. The film is paced at a rhythm that drums to a beat to what life is like in the deep south. Which, I think gives it the authentic feel that I touched on earlier. The cinematography of this film was unique to me, containing different movements of the camera from scene to scene as if the director handed off the camera to someone who lived in a Mississippi trailer park and told him to shoot the film. I say that in the right way because the cinematography was absolutely raw and honest, giving the film an authentic look that I had never seen in this culture before.
My favorite part of this film is how there were about eight or nine random characters who spoke directly to the camera telling anecdotes about their life and hardship that they have gone through being a drug dealer, ex-convict, stripper and etc. and how they had overcome those things of their past.

The central theme of this film is “change.” Kermit, played by Chris Zylka, gets out of prison and has no plan on ever returning no matter what. He doesn’t want to break his “Mama’s” heart again, so he tries to avoid trouble. Faith Hill plays his “Mama,” portraying her as a tough-loving mother who has her own personal problems but chooses to stay healthy through the thick of life. Kermit decides that he is going to be a barber and wants to stick with that plan. But, there is a flip side to every coin: Kermit meets the girl next door, Rachel, played by Riley Keough whose mother falls ill to cancer. She turns to dancing at the local strip club to pay the bills for her mother. Throughout the film, you can see Rachel and Kermit’s romance grow in a tasteful and charming southern romance. But, Kermit has to deal with temptation, money, drugs and Rachel’s hardships: a confrontation happens at the strip club, causing her to quit and she suddenly cannot pay her mother’s hospital bills. Being a man of action, Kermit decides to toe the line one more time so that Rachel does not have to strip anymore.

A fellow screenwriter once told me that, “Everything a man does in life, is for a woman.” If you don’t understand that, then watch this film, and I guarantee that you will.

If you want to see a film that will give you a new outlook on how people deal with the pressures of change in life and how sometimes doing the wrong thing for the right people who you love can be the right thing, then I strongly suggest that you watch Dixieland on Netflix. Above all, you will be totally indulged with this film because you will have a better understanding of the southern lifestyle due to the stories ability to persuade you to empathize with the characters.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation here: Venmo

Why You Need to Watch “The Paperboy.”

Have you ever known anyone who puts a mask on and pretends to be someone else just to advance themselves to the next higher opportunity in life? What about, someone who has to hide their deepest darkest secret just to protect everyone around them from harm? Sometimes in life, we won’t stop at any cost to find the truth or want something so badly that we can’t have and other times once we have the desires that we want; we suddenly don’t want it anymore.  Have you ever been in love or infatuated with something or someone to the point where you will never let go? 
When everything is so corrupt and evil in the world, it is hard to stay pure and just because something is pretty and beautiful on the outside does not mean that you should touch it. Something’s are meant to be enjoyed at a distance like the Mona Lisa.
Picture

If any of those things apply to you, then please stop reading this post and watch The Paper Boy on Netflix right this moment.Drop everything and watch it.

The logline states:

“Convinced by a mysterious woman that a death row inmate is innocent, two brothers investigate a case marred by betrayal and deceit.”

If that logline didn’t just blow your mind, then what about this:

Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey play brothers in this film who tries to solve the case. Nicole Kidman plays, Charlotte, a vulnerable, funny and sexy middle-aged woman who is infatuated with creating silly romances with prison inmates by writing them letters.  John Cusack plays a creepy, slimy, and psychopathic inmate that is the love interest of Charlotte. When Zac Efron’s character, Jack, a young naïve college dropout falls in love with Charlotte, things go awry.

The film takes place in the deep south during the 1960s during the civil rights movements, so race, sexual orientation, and woman’s rights play a prominent theme in the film. I felt that this film was very true to the times and that Zac Efron did not let the likes of Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman overpower his character’s arc throughout the film. John Cusack also played a role that I had never seen before, which made me feel very uncomfortable. I need to give love to David Oyelowo for his portrayal as a black reporter from England, whom we find out that his character is actually from the same region as everyone else but is pretending to be British to get a job as a reporter. My favorite part of this film is how all of the characters look and feel exasperated by the humidity and heat in the south. In almost every scene someone is covered in sweat, giving the film an authentic look which I appreciate very much.

This is an independent film that is thrilling, funny, erotic, and horrifying. I am coming to be a bigger and bigger fan of Nicole Kidman as I rediscover her filmography and this is a film that people absolutely need to watch because she needs to be recognized again as the icon that she once was and will continue to be.

The theme of this film is deception. How far are all of these characters willing to go to get what they want? Do they really want what they set out for? Why do people have to deceive people all the time to only find out that the truth isn’t as appealing as the journey to obtain that mystical truth.  How come the only character that doesn’t deceive people, Jack (Zac Efron), gets hurt the most?

I don’t want to give away any spoilers so please go and watch this film. Comment on my blog below so we can engage in constructive conversation, and I really want to know what you think. The film is on Netflix, and I will be reviewing more independent movies on Netflix that most people dismiss.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation here: Venmo