Movie review: Southpaw

Movie reviews

Good morning!

I’ve promised to post a review for Southpaw 2 days ago, but I am only posting it now for some reason. Better late than ever, right ? Anyway, let’s start talking about a film already.

Southpaw is the latest Antoine Fuqua’s film, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, and Rachel McAdams. It’s a sports drama distributed by The Weinstein Company. The chairmen of this company – Harvey Weinstein – is known for running very successful Oscar campaigns for the films his company distributes, so Southpaw is expected to get a few nominations as well. And it definitely deserves it! The only thing that might stop this film is its release date. Oscar season usually doesn’t start in summer, but Southpaw is trying to change the game. I hope it succeeds.

IMDb summary: Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.

Story

The script for Southpaw has been written by Kurt Sutter. Sutter has worked as a writer, producer, and director on various TV shows (Sons of Anarchy being one of them), but this is his first time writing a screenplay for a motion picture. Southpaw is a story about a down-on-his-luck boxer Billy Hope, who, due to circumstances and his own hot temper and anger, loses everything he has, even, excuse the pun, hope to get back on his feet and onto a right path. I have never been a huge fan of boxing, I’ve never really understood the appeal of this sport, or of any martial arts and combat sport. As a result, I haven’t seen a lot of boxing movies, so Southpaw for me was an interesting, exciting and quite a fresh film. However, since I’m an athlete myself, I have seen a lot of movies about sport and all of them, including Southpaw, have the same cliches, like: finding a new coach who used to train one’s unbeatable opponent, getting the necessary motivation because of some random kid’s story, training not only for the title but to provide for one’s family and so forth. Having said that, even though the film is predictable and the biggest twist is spoiled in the trailer, Southpaw is still a great, but depressing story about a man’s fight for his existence, both in the ring and in the actual ‘real’ life.

Values

Southpaw underlines the importance of family a lot; it especially highlights the father-daughter relationship, which is always a winning theme for me, since my dad is my best friend. Furthermore, friendship and fake friends are also a theme that is touched upon in this movie. In addition, the corporate and commercial side of the sport is also discussed. Lastly, a theme, which is very important to all martial arts movies and real life boxers, of mixing the ring with real life is at the core of Southpaw. Interestingly, while a lot of people (including myself) might think that anger is the driving force in all combat sports, this movie tries to show how the actual technique of fighting, speed, and fast thinking are the skills that help one win the fight. Anger can only get you or others close to you killed or at least badly hurt, both in the ring and in day-to-day life.

This movie also has an interesting structure. The thing that sends Billy Hope’s life into a downwards spiral happens in the first 15 minutes and then the audience is asked to sit through 1.5 hours of slow, almost action-less redemption ark, which isn’t very redeeming at first, and only in the last 15 minutes Billy is actually able to get his life back on track. However, there are things and people that he is not able to get back and that will leave a mark on him for the rest of his life. Some consequences are permanent and that’s the sad true that all people have to deal with.

Directing

Southpaw is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who is probably best known to mainstream audiences for directing 2001’s Training Day, starring Denzel Washington and last year’s The Equalizer, also starring Denzel. I’ve seen both of these films but never have been a big fan of them. Personally, I was introduced to Fuqua in 2004 with the film King Arthur. That movie was one of my favorites during childhood and it still is now. The fight scene over a frozen lake is one of my favorite scenes in movies ever and also, that scene, together with Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers final battle scene, are the things that made me want to try my hand at archery! And now, almost 10 years later, it’s still my hobby. Anyway, sorry for going off track, we are here to talk about Southpaw. The fight scenes in that film are shot brilliantly, you feel like you are in the ring with the boxers and that you are actually the one fighting, The dark, brownish and grayish color palette also represent the mood of the film perfectly.

The next Fuqua’s film – the remake of 1960s Western – The Magnificent Seven – will be released next year and it will have a very esteemed cast. Denzel Washington once again will work with Fuqua after taking a 1-year break, fan favorite Chris Pratt and Boyhood’s Ethan Hawke will provide their services and even KingpinVincent D’Onofrio – will stop by.

Acting

Jake Gyllenhaal as Billy Hope. Gyllenhaal deserves much more credit and attention than he gets. He is an extremely versatile actor, both with his emotions and his body. Do you remember how he looked last year in Nightcrawler and how he looks now in Southpaw? I still don’t know why he didn’t get an Academy Awards nomination last year and I will be extremely pissed off if he doesn’t get one this year. I enjoyed Nightcrawler a lot – never has a film or a character in the film made me feel so uncomfortable. I also liked Jake’s performance in movies like 2007’s Zodiac and 2010’s comedy Love and Other Drugs. I really want to check out his earlier work – Donnie Darko and Brokeback Mountain – as well.

Rachel McAdams as Maureen Hope. Usually, when an actress creates an iconic role, it’s hard for said actress to break out of that preconceived notion and stereotype. But Rachel McAdams never had this problem. In 2004, she starred in not one, but two cult classics – Mean Girls and The Notebook. Sadly, she hasn’t been able to recreate that year’s success with a wide variety of films – dramas, comedies and action flicks, but 2015 might be the year. Although her role is small and she isn’t on screen much, she kills it. I loved her character because Maureen Hope was the boss of the family and a strong female character that all movies are trying to create nowadays, but only a few of them actually succeed at doing so.

Oona Laurence as Leila Hope was amazing. Definitely, a young talent to watch. She is already pretty well know in a theater circuit for originating the role of Matilda Wormwood in Matilda on Broadway and for being nominated for a Grammy with the cast of Matilda for a soundtrack of that musical. Moreover, Oona has 7 movies (both short and feature-length) coming out this year and she is only 13 years old! Do you feel like you haven’t done anything with your life? Because I certainly am.

Forest Whitaker as Titus Wills was also a great addition to the cast. His character was believable and realistic as well as a great mentor for Billy Hope. The look of the character was also interesting and unique. I am not really familiar with Whitaker’s other films, although I enjoyed his performance in The Butler.

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as Jordan Mains was also surprisingly good. I always expect singers-turned-actors to be quite terrible, but Jackson has quite a broad film career, in addition to being a rapper. His look was also on point – those suits were amazing.

Miguel Gomez as Miguel “Magic” Escobar played the opponent of Billy Hope and was okay. His character was the only one, who, at times, seemed like a cartoon version of himself, meaning he was too over the top.

Rita Ora as Maria Escobar. Ora had a small cameo in the film and was really good in it. Previously, she had a small cameo in Furious 6: Rita met Vin Diesel at some event and they just came up with a role for her on a spot. Since then, Ora has been trying to get into Hollywood, but I don’t think she chose a great franchise as a starting point. I, of course, mean the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey, where she plays Grey’s sister. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, what comes out of it.

To sum up, I enjoyed Southpaw immensely and I have never been a fan of boxing. The movie’s plot was full of sport’s movie’s cliches, but amazing directing from Fuqua and strong performances from the whole cast, especially Jake Gyllenhaal, made up for it. I highly advise you to see this film, because I believe it will resurface when the Awards season kicks in.

Rate: 4/5

Trailer: Southpaw trailer

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Movie review: Unbroken

Movie reviews

Hi!
On Monday, I went to the cinema to watch Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. I have seen several films depicting World War II events from different angles (Schindler’s list, Fury, Inglorious Basterds, Pearl Harbor, Forest of Gods and The Imitation Game) and now Unbroken joins this list.

In short I would describe the film as a mixture of Life of Pi and Fury with a pinch of Forest of Gods and topped of with Edge of Tomorrow.

Unbroken isn’t Angelina’s directorial debut – it’s her 2nd time being behind the camera. The film tells a story of Louis Zamperini – an Olympic athlete who spent the 2nd World War in a prisoner of war camp in Japan after surviving 47 days of a raft in the middle of the ocean. It’s based on a book by Laura Hillenbrand as well as real life events. Sadly, the real Louis Zamperini died in spring of 2014 and didn’t get to see his life on the big screen.

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Acting

Louis Zamperini is portrayed by Jack O’Connell – a British actor who is best known for his work on the TV show Skins. I liked his performance, it was so-so at the beginning of the movie but in the end, when Jack really got into the character, it was just amazing. The emotional dual between him and the Bird truly showed his talent and made me enjoy the scene which was actually horrible and heartbreaking but inspiring at the same time. I would love to see more of his work.

Speaking about the Bird – a Japanese general who tortured Louis both mentally and physically – he was played by a Japanese singer Miyavi. The character seemed a bit cartoon-y to me – almost like a stupid school bully. Nonetheless, I hated the character almost as much as Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa in the Inglorious Basterds, so Miyavi did a great job as a villain.

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Other cast members included : Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Finn Wittrock, Jai Courtney, Luke Treadaway, Jordan Patrick Smith and many others. As you can already tell, this is an all male cast type of movie. I don’t have any problems with that because there were no women at war. However, I do have a problem with the fact that I can’t remember anything about the characters that these actors played with the exceptions of Jack O’Connel and Miyavi. They didn’t develop them well enough and didn’t make me care about them or even remember them at all.

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Visuals and Directing

The movie is beautifully shot and I really liked Angelina’s work as a director. The scenes in the water were cool but sometimes cheesy while prisoner of war camp was portrayed realistically.

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Sport

Louis Zamperini was an Olympic runner and for me as an athlete, the part which told us about his athletic career was the most interesting. I also loved the fact that they didn’t diminish the importance of sport in Louis Zamperini’s life. If he hadn’t been an athlete and hadn’t trained as hard as he did, he probably wouldn’t have survived the war. I loved the clip of the real Louis running with the Olympic torch in 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan.

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Religion

Louis Zamperini also was a religious person, who found God when he needed him the most. Religion’s theme was mentioned in the film but didn’t explored deeply enough. The end of the film was really touching and made me tear up. It showed the importance of forgiveness – sometimes it’s better to turn the other cheek than to raise a fist.

Criticisms

Unbroken received mixed reviews from the critics and was shut down from the award’s season. Overall, I liked the film, though, a few scenes were really unbelievable and took me out of the movie. For example, their fight with a shark – you can’t catch a shark with your bare hands. The pacing had a few problems, but I would still recommend to watch this movie if you are a sport’s fan and interested in history.

Rate 4/5

Trailer: Unbroken trailer

Photos: Screenshots form the trailer.

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Outdoor #OOTD + A/W 14 trends

Beauty&Fashion

Hi!

I hope all of you are having a great Sunday! For this week’s fashion post, I decided to show you my favorite (recently) piece of clothing in action – my new parka. I have already done a post about it. (Click here). But now, I want to show you some photos of it in a normal light and how does it look when I put it on. I paired it with simple rolled up blue jeans and high top Converse All Stars sneakers. On my neck, you can see a mustard (orang-y brown) color knitted snood which I made myself. (DIY!!!). (Sorry for the weird color in the close-up photo – snood is much brighter in real life, like in the full outfit photo).

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I am in love with this parka and I can’t wait for the weather to get cold so that I could wear it all the time. Moreover, according to GLAMOUR UK magazine’ September issue’s article by Lucy Walker, military details, edgy street-wear, faux-fur and hoods are trending big time and this parka nails all of these trends! 1 parka – 4 trends. What is more, I like the fact that high fashion isn’t taking itself as seriously as it did before. Ironic bags, T-shirts and dresses at MOSCHINO look cool and brighten my mood every time I see them. (Video from the runway show by ELLE.) I have full wardrobe of colorful slogan T-shirts which I am going to pair with neutral black or grey skirts, jeans or trousers so as not to upstage the main piece – fun T-shirt. In addition, knits are in fashion once again and a few shelves of sweaters and cardigans definitely won’t stay in my wardrobe unloved and unworn. Space elements are also hot this season and as a huge Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy (movie review) fan, I will finally be able to wear merchandise and looks stylish.

I hope you liked this short post about A/W 14 trends and how I will wear them. What are your staple pieces for A/W and are there any trends you fancy this season? Have a great week!

Haul: Autumn/Winter wardrobe UPDATE

Beauty&Fashion

Hello!

Recently, I have been shopping and picked a few really great pieces for my wardrobe. I want to share them with you and talk a bit about how I am going to style them.

The first piece is simple – my high top Chuck Taylor’s finally arrived. I’ve got classical all-stars Converse shoes made from white canvas.  They practically look good with everything: circle skirts, jeans, skater dresses, shorts and etc.  And who doesn’t have Converse shoes? Everybody needs at least one pair of them.

Price: 44 euros (I bought mine on Amazon)

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The second thing I bought is this chiffon oversized sleeveless see-through top from NewYorker (My every haul has to have at least one item of clothing from NewYorker). It’s shorter at the front and longer in the back. It’s black with red lip stain print. I can see myself wearing it with skinny jeans and heels or boots and a black wool jacket, with body con skirt or even black body con dress underneath. I am also going to try it with a circle skirt and belt it at the waist.

Price: 3 euros – bought it on sale at NewYorker

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The third thing is this TOPSHOP jumper. It really thick, a bit oversized and has pink/blue flowery print. I have been wearing it a lot, although, I’ve just bought it like 3 weeks ago. It’s really comfortable and looks nice with jeans and converse shoes.

Price: about 1 euro – found it at a second hand store.

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P.S. I wore it today with skinny jeans and white converse. As an accessory, I put on three bracelets to complement each part of my outfit – white bracelet for white converse; pink and blue bracelets for the jumper!

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The last piece I’ve bought is the piece I am most happy about. I have been looking for a good winter coat and couldn’t find one. But store BERSHKA was my savior. This parka style coat is super versatile. It’s in this dark brown mustardy color; has huge pockets and can be cinched in at the waist. It is also fur lined, so it’s super cozy and warm. The fur can be removed and I even think I can wear it separately! Parka without the fur is also great when the weather hasn’t gotten super cold yet. It’s like 3 coats in 1.

Price : 100 euros (Get it here)

10717439_957782917581871_253512670_n10715832_957782924248537_1231065889_n10708054_957782914248538_855345395_nI hope you liked this little haul and found some inspiration for your wardrobe:)

Fashion : Autumn #OOTD

Beauty&Fashion

Hello!

Can you believe that it is almost the end of September? I am still living in the summer, but this morning the weather in Lithuania truly showed that it was autumn. So, I decided to share with you one of my outfits for autumn. It simple, comfortable but still stylish. It has edgy, sporty and masculine vibe with a touch of femininity.

Let’s start with the clothes:

Skinny black jeans from a local boutique

Dark purple vest top from NewYorker

Khaki color over-sized shirt – I used to hate khaki color, I had a khaki coat when I was younger and I would fall into a dark mood every time I put it on, but I really love this shirt – found it this weekend at a thrift store – it cost me 1 Euro – absolute bargain. I can wear it loose, tucked into pants or a skirt or even tied into a knot at my waist.

Shoes – classic low top Converse all stars in white.

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Hair – in the first photo my hair are simply put to one side, but after that I put them into ponytail – it goes better with the look.

Accessories : Chunky silver necklace from NewYorker

H&M silver rings in different width. H&M shop does best rings ever.

My bag is really old, it has two smaller straps and one long strap, some metallic studs outlining the shape. Color – dark brown (real leather).

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Nails: I painted my nails with Rimmel London sparkly pink polish to add femininity and some color to this masculine and quite dark outfit. I am not particularly happy with this nail polish, it last only a couple of days. It might be because it is quote old. The color khaki is really neutral , so pink goes perfectly with it.

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So, I hope you liked these short style post. The statement piece of the look is khaki shirt, which I found at the thrift store – you don’t need to spend a lot of money to look great. Most importantly, dress yourself in the way that makes you feel good! Have a great week and don’t let autumn clouds darken your mood!

Bicycle marathon

Sports

Hello my dear readers!

Sorry for not writing for so log. I was quite busy with school and preparations for prom/senior formal.

Today I am going to tell you about a bicycle marathon which I participated in last weekend. It was my second time competing in this type of competition. I chose the distance of 15.8 km. Other options there 47 km or 103 km.I was definitely not prepared for that much of cycling. In the end, I was very pleased with my result because I haven’t trained much. I’ve got 4th place and did my best time (last year I’ve got 2nd). My friend also participated with me and she got a 3rd place. (I will beat her next year 🙂

The weather was perfect for outdoor competition – chilly but not too cold. However, the wind was really strong and you had to cycle up the mountain against the blowing wind – so that was pretty hard .

Bellow you will find some photos from the event. Next sport post will be either about my swimming competition in Berlin at the begging of June or running marathon on June 15th.

Have a nice weekend and bye:)

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Another day, another run

Sports

Hello everybody!

I hope that all of you had a great first day of May. There is only one month left till summer – I haven’t really noticed, how quickly this year flew by, but this post isn’t about it, so lets continue with our topic.

Today,I participated in a run for peace. It was held in our city center and it was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the star of World War I. 100 years ago, on May 1st, 1924, a crucial war started and it took a lot of lives and, most importantly, a lot of innocent lives.

Me and my friends participated in this run in order to commemorate this important date. I ran 3,3 km distance and it was really hard for me, because I literally just ran another marathon 4 days ago, so I haven’t had time to rest. Overall, I liked the experience and I always enjoy the feeling of doing something for great cause.

Next run that awaits me will be held on June 15th.I will run 10 km there.Before that I will have 15 km bicycle marathon on May 11th. Stay tuned to my blog and you will find my stories about these competitions. Bye:)

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Start of the run – photo belongs to Erikas Ovčarenkas /15min.lt 

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Style inspiration: skater skirt !

Beauty&Fashion

Hello everybody, how is your Saturday?

For today I prepared a fashion post. So, while snacking on chocolate chip cookies I am going to tell you about the most versatile clothing item ever invented. in my opinion, this well-deserved  tittle goes to the skater/circle skirt. It comes in variety of colors and flatters every body shape. My skirt is black, because it is my favorite color (keep in mind, I am no goth:) and I am going to show you two ways how to style it. Inspiration for these looks comes from a TeenVogue magazine, which celebrates individuality and simplicity while looking gorgeous and true to yourself. So here we go.

The main piece – black skater skirt is form NewYorker.

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1.Style – Sporty/Edgy

ImageAs InStyle magazine maintains, classical denim with a worn out look is on trend again. The collar shirt is from H&M and I rolled up the sleeves to give it more of a grungy look. The shoes are simple sneakers in a bold color (any tennis shoe would work here too). Accessories: stud bracelets I have made myself – they add an edgy touch and a sparkly grey broach in a shape of lizard is from FashionZone. It gives a bright and vibrant feel to the neck area without being to much. Statement necklace ,in this case, would not work, because it would just overcrowd the top of the outfit.

2. Style – Glamorous, but still Comfortable

ImageThe top of the outfit is this simple grey T-shirt with interesting ruffles on the sleeves. Brand – Madonna’s MaterialGirl. Shoes are last year’s dark blue flats with studs. (However, flats are taking over the fashion world this year as seen on the runway of Simone Rocha and Rochas at fashion week). I bought mine in a local boutique. Accessories: statement necklace in white and black colors with a bit of sparkle – this was a gift from my aunt. Bracelet – another gift, but this time from my friend. It is a snake wrapped around a wrist like a Isabelle’s whip in the Mortal Instruments series (told you, I am a geek too).

So these are two of many ways how to style a skater skirt. If you are cold, you can add leggings or tights underneath both of these combinations Like I said, it flatters every body shape and everybody can make it their own. I know that I for sure will be styling this skirt in a variety of ways this summer and these two are just couple of them. I hoped you enjoyed this post and maybe it gave you some inspiration. Bye:)

Links: http://www.newyorker.de/en/fashion-lifestyle/  http://www.teenvogue.com/  http://www.instyle.co.uk/  http://www.fzone.lt/   http://materialgirlcollection.com/fall_2012/

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Basketball match and #OOTD

Beauty&Fashion, Sports

Yesterday, me and my best friend went to a basketball match between our native city team “Zalgiris” and Madrid “Real” from the capital of Spain. This was the last match for our home team in the “Turkish Airlines Euroleague” championship. This year “Zalgiris” wasn’t playing so well, but surprisingly, they won against the royal Madrid “Real” club. The best player was Justin Dentmon , who scored 36 points for “Zalgiris“. In addition, Dentmon broke an all-time “Euroleague” record for most three-pointers in a season with 74. All in all, “Zalgiris” won the match 87-80. “Zalgiris” finished last in the Group F and Madrid “Real” – 2nd. The season in “Euroleague” for “Zalgiris” is over, but Spain’s team will meet defending champion “Olympiacos” Piraeus in the playoffs. This will be a rematch of last season’s final. I had a great time, the atmosphere was amazing, everybody were really pleasantly surprised, when “Zalgiris” won. We were all shouting, dancing, clapping and chanting.

Now on what I was wearing. After all, this is a fashion blog too:Image

Embellished Tiger Sweatshirt – “NewYorker”; Blue Plaid Collar shirt  – “H&M”; Leggings – “Reserved”; American Flag sneakers “NewYorker” . Bracelet – aunt’s gift from Turkey. (It’s a nazar stone that protest form the evil eye)                 *                        http://www.newyorker.de/en/fashion-lifestyle/  http://www.hm.com/us/

Moments from the game:
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