Or, a not-so-subtle critique of the irrational social rules that we’re forced to blindly accept

Image for post
Image for post
Image credit: Granta Books

‘Earthlings’ is Sayaka Murata’s second novel to be published in the UK after ‘Convenience Store Woman’ was received with critical acclaim in 2018. It is narrated by Natsuki as both a child and an adult who struggles to understand basic social constructs and the unspoken ‘rules of life’. …


Image for post
Image for post
Image credit: Universal Pictures

Day 38 of lockdown and here I am talking about a movie about people stuck in a room, how oddly appropriate. This was entirely coincidental. But when you think about it, what better way to reminisce about hanging out with your friends than watching a movie about ‘friends’ hanging out?

The Breakfast Club falls under the often-overlooked genre of ensemble films because it follows a handful of characters instead of one protagonist. The benefit of this? It allows for a very authentic portrayal of a friendship group. The downside? A handful of cynical people might see it as nothing more than a ‘boring’ movie where a bunch of teenagers just sit around and have a chat about their petty high school problems, essentially just waiting for time to pass. And they’re not wrong. …


Image for post
Image for post
Image credit: Harvill Secker

As I was halfway through writing this article, I found myself questioning whether this will be the first time I finally admit to myself that the phrase ‘the book is always better’ is flawed. I have always been a big believer that the original version of any story in the textual format that it was first intended to be in could never be beaten by any sort of adaptation. And I still stand by the idea that that is true almost 99 per cent of the time, but maybe Orwell’s most critically acclaimed novels fall into that 1 per cent.

Last year I somehow found myself spontaneously in a West End production of George Orwell’s 1984. I went in with slightly low expectations because I was absolutely adamant that nothing could even come close to beating the masterpiece that was his novel, but I was pleasantly surprised. I read 1984 in school countless times for one of my exams and it’s safe to say I now know that book like the back of my hand; and I fell more and more in love with it every time I read it. What I didn’t expect though, was to be even more impressed with its theatre adaptation. …


Image for post
Image for post
Image credit: Vancouver Sun

The fact that Nickelback is somewhat of a meme has become common knowledge over the last few years. Somehow, the internet has collective agreed at one point that Nickelback has become laughingstock in the industry, and the same can be applied to those who like his music. At this point, there seems to be only two kinds of people in the world; those who unapologetically enjoy listening to Nickelback and those that fuel the collective hatred towards him. For the purposes of a non-biased article, I won’t disclose which side I stand on.

While listening to his music and following his work as a teenager, I was completely oblivious to this phenomenon, only to be made aware of it once I came to university. After seeing countless memes and hearing a great amount of jokes being made about him, I decided to finally try and understand why people aren’t particularly fond of Nickelback. When did this happen? Who initiated this seemingly worldwide movement singling out one particular artist? …


And the award goes to… the patriarchy

Image for post
Image for post
Warner Bros.

Awards season for the film and television industry kicks off on January 5th with the Golden Globes and comes to a close on February 10th with the 92nd Academy Awards. During that month, smaller scale awards shows such as The Critic’s Choice Awards and the BAFTA’s will take place, stirring up momentum for the big Oscar night.

The 1st Academy Award was broadcast back in 1929 and since then it has praised many outstanding pieces such as All About Eve, La La Land and Titanic (all of which received a record number of 14 nominations each) and also recognised some exceptionally talented individuals such as Meryl Streep who broke records by having 21 nominations to her name. However, it has also sprung controversy as it overlooked some emblematic works such as Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction which was overshadowed by Forrest Gump in 1994 and Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange which lost to The French Connection back in 1972. This year, Joker is the film with the highest number of nominations (eleven), becoming the first comic book movie adaptation to receive such a high number. …


Image for post
Image for post
Image credit: Nathan Hussain

Nathan Hussain is a graphic artist based in the North East of England who specialises in uplifting and emotive collages. His designs are unique in the sense that they juxtapose uplifting typography with surreal images under a very soothing colour palette. In a recent interview with Forbes magazine he explained that he has always been obsessed with the aesthetic of day to day life and that clearly translates in his work.

His career has had a huge boost in the past few years with the growing success of his Instagram page @AnalogbyNat which now has over 65,000 followers. The fact that Nathan can say that his job is to create innovative designs and inspire individuals is something he still has to pinch himself about, he admits. …


In recent years, millennials have shown an increasing interest in tabletop games. So much so that the global board game market is predicted to be worth more than £9 billion by 2023. The millennial generation is constantly searching for escapism and instant gratification, and spending a night playing board games and sinking someone’s battleship on a first hit provides just that.

Playing board games can be quite a nostalgic experience especially considering that millennials will have grown up alongside quite a few emblematic titles such as Cluedo and Operation. Revisiting these memories by playing classic games or even trying out new ones can elicit a comforting sense of familiarity and nostalgia. …


Short Film Review: Run Out

Image for post
Image for post
Photo Credit: Flying Hamster Creative Studio

Run Out follows a (not so) typical businessman as he wakes up one day and decides to quit his dead-end job that has been holding him back. His loneliness and sense of despair are quite visible and we’re able to connect with his desires and goals from the very beginning. Although the film is clearly set in Brighton, it manages to create a very fabricated and dreamlike (at times nightmare-like) world through its heavily stylised cinematographic style, which immediately draws the audience into the world of the character.

The filmmaker makes a very bold statement with the heavy contrast between the lights and shadows in this film, to the point where even natural light feels unnatural. This creates a unique aesthetic and consequently makes it stand out. From the strong geometrical lines that dominate quite a few compositions throughout the film, to the constant use of symmetry when framing the main character, the distinct style of Run Out is at the forefront of its creative ambitions. Although this is mostly a positive aspect, sometimes the heavily edited colour grading can become distracting and misleading as it becomes more prominent than the story itself. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo credit: Marshall Stief

Little Chief tells the story of an exhausted yet resilient schoolteacher, Sharon, as she faces the everyday struggles of dealing with her students, some of which are fighting battles of their own. Although the premise of centring a story around a struggling teacher is not necessarily ground-breaking, Little Chief manages to explore this in refreshing ways as Sharon’s lack of empathy towards her students ironically makes us sympathise with her even more. From the very beginning we can see that she is a three-dimensional character through her detached yet assertive actions and, of course, her ‘warriors respect women’ tote bag.

Perhaps one of the most compelling aspects of this short film is how it first presents its protagonist within the context of the story and boy, am I a sucker for a good character introduction. The first time we see Sharon she sneaks into a fancy hotel to steal a couple of soaps and sweets, and I found myself nodding along in approval of this brilliantly scripted short scene. …


Image for post
Image for post
Image Credit: Courtesy of Lewis Costello

Gina, an eight-minute short film, follows Lewis Costello as he performs one of his stand-up comedy sets centred around (what I now presume to be) his ex-girlfriend Gina as he recounts the events of when he found her cheating on him. Lewis is a 26-year-old comedian from Manchester who has opened shows for artists like Ed Byrne, Johnny Vegas as well as American comedians like Doug Stanhope and Jackass star Steve-O.

Featuring moments of discomfort, tension, and relief, Lewis’s debut short film evokes a whole range of emotions from the audience. Recounting real life, personal events in such a light-hearted manner surprisingly establishes the film as quite sad and melancholic. There is a moment during the set where Lewis explains the events leading up to when he found his girlfriend naked in bed with another guy, but he then proceeds to laugh at his own misfortune. …

About

Malu Rocha

MA Publishing Student at City University

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store