Movie Review – Aquarius

Aquarius (2016)
Written & Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho

In 1980, Clara had survived breast cancer and celebrates her aunt’s birthday with her family in her home in the Aquarius apartment building. Her home in Recife, Brazil overlooks the beautiful beach, and she feels at peace with her husband, her children, and this renewed life she has having conquered cancer. Over thirty years later, she is a widow, still living in the same apartment with only her housekeeper as a regular companion. A developing company is attempting to buy Clara out so they can demolish the building and construct office high rises. Clara refuses and has become the only resident left in the Aquarius. We follow the aging woman for the next few months as the company, who already owns the remaining apartments, tries to drive her out and how Clara reflects on her life.

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Movie Review – Elle

Elle (2016)
Written by David Birke and Philippe Djan
Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Elle is a deceptively simple film, jolting its audience by opening on the ending of a brutal assault and rape inside the home of Michele, an upper middle class older single woman. The rapist, his face covered in a ski mask, flees and Michele with almost mechanical automaticity takes a bath, puts makeup over her black eye, and goes about her day and the next with no reaction. It’s only the following evening at dinner with friends and her ex-husband that she casually reveals, trying to laugh it off, that she was raped. The viewer is meant to be unsettled by how cold Michele is through all of this with her friends and family acting as our stand-ins, utterly shocked at what happened.

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Music Review – Boo Boo|Toro y Moi

Boo Boo|Toro y Moi (2016)
Produced by Toro y Moi | Carpark

Listening to Boo Boo by Toro y Moi is a profoundly nostalgic experience, taking me back to childhood in the late 80s/early 90s. There is a particular sound he manages to capture from the past while staying fresh and relevant to modern tastes. He recalls the 1980s R&B of Al Jarreau, mixed with the Miami sound, but never playing as cheesy, but respectful of the roots of what he’s trying to make. The dreamy synthpop keyboards float the listener away to a white sands beach on the Atlantic, likely somewhere around Toro y Moi’s old stomping grounds of South Carolina. The snappy drum loops capture that long ago feeling of childhood for people in my generation.

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PopCult Watches: Flowers Season 1, Episode 6

flowers

Flowers Season 1, Episode 6 (2016)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe

flowers 06

There is no fade to black happy ending moment with depression. You keep carrying on, hoping things get better, but with no guarantees. Shun’s story about discovering The Grubbs Family books reflects the one thing that can bolster a person suffering in seemingly unending depression: This is how the world can be, and there are others who feel like you, you are not alone. All we can do in the end is be there for each other, making sure that even someone a million miles away knows you are there for them and you feel the way do as well.

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PopCult Watches: Flowers Season 1, Episode 5

flowers

Flowers Season 1, Episode 5 (2016)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe

Flowers

Sadness is a painful emotion to express the full experience of to others. Each of our encounters with deep sadness and depression is profoundly personal that it inhibits us from letting others know. These emotions seem to exist outside known language which is what leads to people sound intelligible or merely sobbing, their only avenue of release. Series creator Will Sharpe understands the immutable incoherence of sadness and manages to express his understandings on this state of being with honest humor. In this penultimate episode, characters either reach an explosive pinnacle or find themselves strangled by their condition and unable to speak. Sharpe has stated that Flowers is “comedy with mental illness,” a description that at first may sound merely witty but after you view the series is the very core of everything that happens.

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PopCult Watches: Flowers Season 1, Episode 4

flowers

Flowers Season 1, Episode 4 (2016)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe

flowers 04

Maurice has his publishing contract terminated meaning the Grubbs Family books are finished. This sends him spiraling into an even deeper depression. Deborah feels immense guilt over sleeping with Barry, the builder. The two refuse to communicate. Barry also feels guilt and confesses what happened to Maurice who honestly is too caught up in his internal struggle and depression. Amy has her first date with Abigail and after an awkward start things suddenly go entirely right, that is until Donald shows up with a camera. Maurice and Deborah accept a dinner invite from Barbara and Steve, who have mended their marriage. This ends up being a breaking point where Maurice can’t take pretending things are fine any longer and Deborah joins him in breaking.

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PopCult Watches: Flowers Season 1, Episode 3

flowers

Flowers Season 1, Episode 3 (2016)
Written & Directed by Will Sharpe

flowers amy bed

Deborah has enlisted the builders to help her clear out and burn much of Nana Flowers’ things. Maurice has the pressure put on him by his editors to produce a new Grubbs Family book. Deborah has the family plant sees, and Nana’s ashes in the garden as a way to “heal” them but Amy questions why she keeps telling people lies about how her grandmother died. Maurice allows Deborah to spread his lie of Nana’s attempted suicide while keeping Shun his only confidante. Deborah’s sister Viv comes to visit, fresh off a divorce. George slinks around in an attempt to bed Deborah but ends up with Viv instead. Maurice comes close to telling his wife the truth but balks at the last moment.

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