Fast & Furious: The Return and Reunion of the Furious Clan

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It is nostalgia season as all the eight seasons of the movie franchise “Fast & Furious” returns to cinemas across the US ahead of the release of its much-anticipated sequel “Fast & Furious 9.”

In preparation for the 9th installment of the fast-track action film, all preceding films of the franchise will be made available at selected cinemas for fans to catch up on their favorite films. In addition to its return to cinemas, fans will not have to pay for the cinematic experience either as they have to be “fast” and book their free tickets as soon as possible because each show operates on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Aptly titled “Fast Friday Screenings,” the viewing will commence on April 30 with the first film, “The Fast and The Furious,” which will be followed by “Fast & Furious 2” the following week, with each film up each week until June 18, when “Fast & Furious 8: The Fate of the Furious” will be available for screenings.

Exactly seven days later, the new film, “Fast & Furious 9,” will be released for viewing in the US on June 25 and in the UK on July 8. According to the franchise’s official webpage, fans can book their cinema seats through participating chains such as AMC, Epic Theatres, Showcase cinemas, Megaplex, Cinépolis USA and EVO. 

In a released statement, the franchise’s production company, Universal Pictures, shared that the franchise wanted to thank their vast family of Fast fans in the US for their passion and dedication for the past two decades by dedicating the Fast Friday Screenings to their entertainment. In the much anticipated season F9, Vin Diesel will again depict Dom Toretto’s character as he shares the screen with Jordana Brewster, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang and “Game of Thrones” star Nathalie Emmanuel. 

The first trailer for F9, released on January 31, 2020, delivered shocking revelations to the fans. First, the villain Jakob, reprised by John Cena, turned out to be Dom’s estranged brother, then it was revealed that Han (Sung Kang) was still alive. A second trailer also shows the crew going off to space courtesy of a rocket car. Some of the actors will also be making a comeback in the new season. Jordana Brewster (Mia), married to the late Paul Walker’s character Brian, will also be returning. There may be a possible return of Brian to the movie, but nothing is confirmed yet.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham may make a cameo appearance on the movie following their spin-off movie “Hobbs & Shaw.” Charlize Theron will also be returning to reprise her villainous role as Cipher, while Helen Mirren will be back as Shaw’s mother, Magdalene. Cardi B will be making her debut in the movie as Leysa, while Marvel star Michael Rooker is playing a character named Buddy.

F9 is expected to promote moviegoers’ return to theatre after the lockdown break of 2020 with its gravity-defying stunts and action-packed plot. As the release date draws near, all fingers remain crossed.


Pixar’s Inside Out Upholds Its Relevance by Emphasizing the Importance of Accepting Every Emotion

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When people discuss films, they often dismiss cartoons or animated films as something that is merely for children. However, they seldom realize the magnitude of the arts as a tool to entertain and touch on subjects that can help younger audiences understand the world a little better. Pixar has always taken pride in creating movies and shorts that deliver powerful messages, and its 2015 film Inside Out is no different.

Inside Out introduces the audience to emotions as living beings that live inside and guide people. The protagonist, an eleven-year-old girl named Riley, is driven by Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust, and Sadness. Joy acts as the captain who drives Riley to become a happy-go-lucky individual chock full of confidence. While she regularly lets others take control of the situation, Joy singles out Sadness, believing she plays no part in Riley’s growth.

Riley and her family move to San Francisco, and Joy tries her best to keep Riley’s spirits up. The conflict is created when Joy and Sadness get entangled over a core memory and get taken outside their base, leaving Anger, Fear, and Disgust to take the rein. Far from home, the two set off on a journey to get back to help Riley cope with her new surroundings. Without Joy and Sadness, Riley spirals into confusion, unable to hold herself together.

Inside Out talks about how most children (and adults to some extent) need to be okay with handling emotions, not just the positive ones but also the negative. Joy’s attempt to maintain the upbeat personality that Riley had in her former home may have been for good intentions but only left her struggling to accept change. In the early stages of Riley’s transition from her old home to her new one, there were moments when Sadness was needed to deal with change. Joy’s control left her no room to settle into a new environment.

To get into the head of a teenage girl, director Pete Docter consulted with experts and psychologists. While cartoons often exaggerate certain aspects of the world, Docter was determined to make Inside Out as scientifically accurate as possible. Although the film took five years to develop, the team’s hard work paid off, with many psychologists praising the movie. Experts have cited how the film captures Emmy Van Deurzen’s compass of emotion. Van Deurzen mentions how people need to experience every emotion. The act of avoiding them leaves people trapped, much like Riley in the film. As the movie progresses, Riley slowly starts to shut down and exhibit symptoms of depression, opening the door to her plan to run away from home. 

Inside Out emphasizes the importance of accepting all kinds of emotions for children and adults. It also reaches out to parents who often tell children to ignore their negative feelings. The film is a perfect example of the magnitude of how emotional suppression can lead to bad decisions and possibly trauma if kept in for a long time. Negative emotions are still emotions, and the film’s conclusion shows how acceptance can still bring people together, learn from one another, and work together to improve their situation. 


George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead Nears Its 45th Anniversary but Continues To Uphold Its Relevance Amid the Global Crisis

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George A. Romero shocked the world when he unleashed a new wave of horror with his zombies in Night of the Living Dead in 1968. While the fear factor may have subsided in the years that followed, Romero would strike once again a decade later with his sequel, Dawn of the Dead.

While his terrifying debut with a different kind of zombies may have horrified audiences around the world, the true horror was buried deep within the tone of his movies as Romero tackled real-life issues. Night of the Living Dead led people to realize that the humans were just as much the monsters as the ghouls that scratched and clawed the doors, and the zombie godfather would continue his narratives through his sequel.

Dawn of the Dead was released in 1978 and continues where its predecessor left off. However, this time he continued his narrative by taking the audience far from the solitude of the farmhouse and showing them what happened in the cities where the dead terrorized the living within a concrete setting. The film opens up with the natural order of the world spiraling down. He introduces the audience to a television news studio where panic has been running rampant.

The spotlight is shared between Stephen Andrews and his girlfriend Francine Parker and Roger Demarco and Peter Washington. With the latter two, the audience witnesses domestic racism as Roger and Peter attempt to subdue a racist member of the national guard going on a rampage killing minorities. As they leave, they encounter a priest whose presence touches on the irrationality of blind faith in religion amid the chaos. Meeting up with Stephen and Francine, the group makes their escape, witnessing the violence of the military and rednecks shooting to their heart’s delight. Romero once again presents a mirror to the audience, showing them the horrors of humanity once a crisis disrupts their daily lives.

The group makes their way to a mall. Despite being overrun by zombies, they manage to sweep the venue and block all entrances, establishing their sanctuary. Once there, they fall into their greed, opting to bask in their treasures and shut themselves away while concealing themselves from the world. After delving into desire, boredom creeps in, and material things no longer sparked the same sense of joy it did. As this occurs, more zombies start gathering outside their walls. It is the only thing they remember of their past lives, reflecting the people obsessed with material items.

While the group resolves to leave, a group of gun-loving outsiders invades their sanctuary, and Stephen perfectly reflects the consumer culture that swept the country, claiming, “It’s ours. We took it. It’s ours.” Choosing to stand and defend his materialistic obsession over his partner, Stephen eventually meets his demise. The humans and the zombies are two sides of the same coin, reflecting people during a Christmas sale or Black Friday as they rush to grab and claim items within their grasp. Francine and Roger are the only survivors left and choose to make their escape, leaving their sanctuary and greed behind.

Although the film is over forty-three years old, Dawn of the Dead’s message continues to stay relevant, especially amid the pandemic. The news of the virus reaching the shores caused nationwide panic, with people fighting among themselves for essential things to hoard. Despite the uncertainty of the situation, people—like the characters and zombies—have flocked toward their old way of life. Dawn of the Dead’s message still echoes to this day, reminding people to abandon their consumerist culture for a better chance to see tomorrow.



The “White Tiger” Breaks Free of Societal Confines and Emerges on Top

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Most movies are made for the sole purpose of entertainment, providing the viewers with a temporary escape from the reality of life. Still, now and then, films about class, race, inequality and social injustice make it to the mainstream, a jarring wake-up call to the reality of the society people sometimes choose to ignore. A strong contender for the most notable film drawing attention to societal issues is the recent Netflix movie White Tiger.

Set in India, the movie tells the story of a young entrepreneur Balram Halwai (played by Adarsh Gourav), who defied all odds to rise to the top Indian society despite being from the lower caste. Rising from the dredges of community, Balram engaged in what he described as the height of entrepreneurial mastery “crime,” conforming to a society where the corrupt are rewarded with vast wealth and influence. He learned the playground rules and surpassed those he met, becoming the top dog of the game.

Released for viewing on Jan 22, the movie became an instant hit, its plot resonating with many people, and just like its storyline, the White Tiger crawled its way to the top of Netflix’s top 10 movies. It was projected to have been viewed by 27 million households in 64 countries. The film was so well received and appreciated that it was nominated for the Oscars award under the “Best Adapted Screenplay category.” The nomination was announced by Bollywood superstar and executive producer Priyanka Chopra. However, White Tiger lost to The Father at the Academy Awards. 

Writer-director Ramin Bahrani wrote the screenplay for the movie as an adaptation of author Aravind Adiga’s 2008 Booker Prize-winning novel. Bahrani did not only get an Oscar nomination for the film but the original novel was also dedicated to him by author Aravind Adiga, his classmate back in college at Columbia University. At the time, Bahrani read the early chapters before the book was published, and he instantly loved it. Ten years later, the novel White Tiger is finally adapted for the screen. Its ravishing success gives credence to Adiga’s genius as a writer and applauds Bahrani’s screenplay writing-directing skills.

Bahrani’s other projects include 2007’s Chop Shop and At Any Price. However, the star of White Tiger was its lead actor, a relatively unknown young man, Adarsh Gourav, who blew everyone’s mind with his flawless acting. His perfect depiction of the relatable role of the poor, brown man who emerged on top after dirtying his hands with questionable deeds is a break from the monotony of the film world’s poor and honest characters.

In the movie, Gourav played the survival game, doing whatever it took to climb the ladder to success. The powerful storyline sparked societal discussions about the widening gap between the rich and the poor, how the rich should be held accountable for their actions, and most importantly, questions about whether climbing the social ladder can deprive people of their conscience and empathy.