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  • Heimlich manoeuvre
    If the victim is choking on popcorn: stand behind the victim and wrap your arms around his waist. Place your fist with the thumb side against the victim's abdomen slightly above the navel and below the rib cage. Grasp your fist with your other hand and pull it into the victim's abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Repeat the movement several times if necessary.

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  • Recent comments
  • Chris
    This is 40 (2013)
    Great review Helen – love reading your reviews. Think I’ll give this one a watch!
  • Helen
    Looper (2012)
    He can totally still ‘kick butt’.
  • Jen
    Looper (2012)
    Nice review. I’m now tempted to see this, if only to disprove that Bruce Willis can still...
  • soundtrackzdll
    Animal Kingdom (2010)
    i Love this movie.JD is great.
  • Frank
    I Am Number Four (2011)
    Well, sounds like the same feeling I had when I went seeing Percy Jackson and the...
  • Helen
    The Tourist (2010)
    that’s a bit harsh. She’s quite good in some movies. She’s so thin now...

Out of the Furnace (2014)

Filed under: — Helen on February 19th, 2015 04:02:28 pm

out of the furnace film posterOut of the Furnace is a bleak film where there is no sense of hope for any of the characters. From the start, there is a sense that there will no happy ending for anyone involved. This sense of doom is brought about by the bleak Pennsylvania town setting and the fact the main characters seem unable to stay away from trouble. Despite the negative atmosphere though, the performances are compelling and give a fresh take to a familiar story.
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Robots to Storm the Box Office in 2015

Filed under: — Brandon Engel on February 5th, 2015 10:02:42 pm

TIOSS

With a slate of upcoming films that prominently feature artificial intelligence, 2015 is shaping up to be an “Age of Robots.” There’s no question that, in many ways, modern technology has enriched our lives — from robotic surgeries minimizing medical risks in England, to improved mining equipment helping alternative energy providers to keep costs low in the United States, to the compact touch-screen interfaces that make life around the globe feel more like 2001: A Space Odyssey. This may provoke a certain elation within the futurists in our midst, but for the rest of us, we can’t help but feel concerned about the expanding role that technology plays in our lives, as it might be used by hackers to steal our information or may even turn against us if we imbue it with artificial intelligence (AI). What happens when technology becomes too intelligent for our own good? The following films , slated for release this year, appear to illustrate this ambivalence towards the automated age quite nicely.

 

Chappie (March 6)

From the mind of Neill Blomkamp comes this film which presents the story of an intelligent and sentient robot that is stolen by a couple of gangsters for their own nefarious ends, clearly reflecting the fear that AI might be misused by unsavory characters. That being said, the childlike Chappie appears to be a manifestation of our best hopes for AI: that it might be a benevolent force that will work with us to create a better world. Of course Chappie has his skeptics, namely the anti-AI militant played by Hugh Jackman, who seeks to destroy Chappie because he believes that AI is too unpredictable to be trusted. It is also possible that the fears of Jackman’s character could be a reaction to Chappie’s uncanny approximation of humanity. Jackman’s character appears to be a cynic that has seen the destructive potential of human intelligence and projects his misanthropy unto the not-quite-human Chappie. Hopefully Chappie will prove him wrong and in the process enter our hearts as the Iron Giant and WALL-E have.

 

The Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

In this sequel to the 2012 Marvel hit, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) creates Ultron, an AI designed to protect humanity so that the Avengers can retire to quiet lives. Of course this doesn’t exactly pan out the way he had expected: Ultron sees just how deep human depravity and deprivation run and decides that the world would be better off if the majority of humankind was eliminated, prompting the Avengers to save the world once again. In contrast to Chappie, Ultron focuses exclusively on the potential dangers of AI. It shows us that AI–even if designed with the best of intentions–might have a different plan for humanity’s future than the one we envision, and may even act like a sociopath to make its vision a reality. If this film is any bit as thrilling as its predecessor, it will surely be one of 2015’s must-see films.

 

Ex Machina (April 10)

This British sensation follows Caleb (Oscar Isaac), an employee of a tech company selected to perform a Turing Test (a test of how human-like an AI is) on Ava (star on the rise Alicia Vikander), a robot his company is developing. Unlike Chappie and Ultron, Ex Machina is much more ambiguous about the relationship between humanity and AI; we really don’t know if Ava is trying to help or harm Caleb through her interactions with him. In addition, Ex Machina dives right into the Uncanny Valley in a way that Chappie and Ultron simply don’t. Ava has the face of an alluring woman, but her exposed mechanical body, blank expression, stilted speech and uncannily fluid motions belie her human appearance, resulting in a discomfiting experience that combines the familiar and the foreign. Ex Machina has all the makings of a sci-fi thriller that will enthrall audiences as they try to decipher Ava’s intentions.

The Five Best Controversial Documentaries of Recent Years

Filed under: — Brandon Engel on December 11th, 2014 12:12:45 am

Bolex2

 

Film is an incredibly powerful medium. It informs public opinion, and helps us to preserve pieces of our history. Some of the most influential writings on the potential social utility of non-fiction filmmaking were produced by Scottish born Canadian filmmaker John Grierson, who thought of film as a means of empowering the powerless, and calling attention to social ills. Grierson’s influence is still resonant, as evidenced by this collection of films that seek to enrich public discourses through their films.

 

Here are the top five thought-provoking documentaries from recent years.

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Black Sea (2014)

Filed under: — Helen on December 9th, 2014 06:12:25 pm

black sea film posterBlack Sea is a gripping submarine thriller that covers themes of desperation and greed. The film is held together by a strong cast providing frantic on edge performances which are enhanced by the dark and claustrophic setting of the submarine. There is a sense of tragedy as men who have dedicated their lives to their work find they are thrown to the bottom of a scrapheap,  and have to resort to desperate measures to get revenge and make a living.
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What could Brian Ross Learn from Woodward and Bernstein?

Filed under: — Brandon Engel on November 14th, 2014 11:11:24 pm

WoodwardandBerns

 

Art history is perhaps one of the most comprehensive encapsulations of world history humanity has at its disposal. The role of religion in society at large, social mores, taboos, inequitable societal structures, social unrest, political scandal…it’s all been documented by artists.

What’s great about the 20th Century is that cinema has played such an enormous role in documenting this era in human history. Some of the most compelling films of all time have dealt, self-reflexively, with the role of media in modern society — films like Citizen Kane, Wag The Dog, Network — it’s an extensive list.

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Christine: Carpenter and King’s Abhorrent Auto

Filed under: — Brandon Engel on October 29th, 2014 11:10:44 pm

 

christine-on-fire

In the history of Stephen King novels adapted to film, some have fallen short by a wide margin, some have become immensely successful, and others still become relatively obscure over time. Then there are those films like The Shining, which didn’t receive much praise upon its release, but has since gone on to be regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time. One of the major issues for Stephen King fans with The Shining, and indeed, for Stephen King himself, were the philosophical/spiritual incongruities between King and director Stanley Kubrick.

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Demons, Aliens, Renegades, and Slashers: The Grim Imagination of John Carpenter

Filed under: — Brandon Engel on September 10th, 2014 08:09:38 pm

JohnCarpenter

John Carpenter has created some of the most terrifying movie monsters in the history of cinema, but he’s also managed to make films that are moving emotionally, and he has continually defied what audiences have expected from self-aware genre films. What’s more, he could achieve all of this on a miniscule budget, with casts comprised primarily of unestablished actors. In fact, he helped to establish some performers, including Jamie Lee Curtis.

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Mistaken For Strangers (2013)

Filed under: — Helen on August 3rd, 2014 04:08:15 pm

mistaken for strangers posterMistaken for Strangers was supposed to be a rock documentary about the popular band ‘The National’ as they embarked on their 2010 tour, but it turned out to be something much more original and stirring.  Filmed by Tom Bernenger, the younger brother of ‘The National’s’ lead singer Matt Berninger, as he is invited to come on tour with the band and work as a roadie for them, Mistaken for strangers is more a film about sibling rivalry and self discovery than a music documentary. It not only shows the not particularly exciting off stage antics of a rock/indie band, but it shows how brotherly love and patience can be tested by jealousy and being in close proximity to one another. 
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Lovelace (2013)

Filed under: — Helen on May 5th, 2014 04:05:36 pm

lovelace film posterLovelace is the story of Linda Lovelace, the woman who starred in the 1972 porn classic Deep Throat, which was one of the first porn films to gain popularity with the mainstream public. Shortly after  leaving the porn industry, Linda went on to campaign against the porn industry and become an advocate for women’s rights and Lovelace outlines the reasons why.
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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Filed under: — Helen on January 27th, 2014 08:01:47 pm

inside llewyn davis film posterInside Llewyn Davis comes at a time when piracy and the internet are making it harder than ever for musicians to make money out of their music. People are buying music less and less from shops and getting everything online at a cheaper rate. With this and the still recent financial crisis in mind, this film about a struggling musician is a story bound to strike a chord with many people. Llewyn’s efforts to get himself heard has the potential to resonate with any person who has struggled to find work  in a changing marketplace. 


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