Film Reviews

Hello, readers! I want to start sharing more of my thoughts on films. I recently downloaded the app “letterboxd” and it helps me log (and remember) what movies I watched and enjoyed.

Breakfast on Pluto

I think this film did an incredible job at visualizing transphobia. Although it was not based on a real life person, the story line feels realistic. The plot line involving the Catholic Church beliefs versus Paddy’s orientation speaks volumes on how the “religious” treat people who do not fit their ideal image of a person. This film also opened my eyes more to the war between Ireland and England, and it is important to see Paddy’s role in this society. One major con I have with this movie is Cillian Murphy playing a transgender woman. Do not get me wrong, I love Cillian Murphy and believe he did an excellent job portraying the role. HOWEVER, it is more important that transgender actors represent themselves in films. I know this film is a bit dated–it was released in 2005– but that is not a valid excuse. Rating: 3 out 5 stars.

Moana

Oh my goodness, when I tell you I loved this, I loved this film! I am all for spiritually themed animated films, so this was right up my alley. Moana’s journey away from her family resonated with me a lot. It was important for Moana to follow her path despite what people, especially the ones closest to her, had to say about it. The music in this film was spectacular. I loved every minute of this film. Highly recommend. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Wanda

Written and Directed by Barbara Loden, this independent film is apart of the Criterion Collection. Wanda, the protagonist, takes a backseat on her life as she goes along with a criminal, Mr. Dennis, who verbally abuses her. I need to do more reading on this film, especially other people’s reviews. I do not want to spoil so you feel more encouraged to watch! Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Knock Down the House

If you are a voted in the United States, watch this documentary that follows progressive politicians trying to break into the House of Representatives. I especially encourage you to watch this if you do not identify with the progressive politicians, because it is important to understand ALL sides especially the side that you feel reluctant towards. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

The Craft

Yes, I finally watched The Craft for the first time. Shocking, yes I know. I thought the film was extremely fun to watch. I enjoyed the portrayal of performing witchcraft and show the effects of casting spells. Spells are no joke and that energy will return to you by the power of three, Nancy assures. From a screenwriting standpoint, the turning points, aka plot points, are strong. It was clear what the objective is, and the objectives for each character were clear. Highly recommend this film to all the peeps who want to watch something witchy this upcoming Halloween season. Rating 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Night of the Living Dead

Another film I finally got around to watching for the first time. Watching this in 2020 really made me think about how life imitates art, haha. What particularly interested me about this film was the role of Ben, the only Black character in the film. His interactions with the other characters depicts the reality of discrimination Black people face. It was striking that I did not learn that his name was Ben until the end of the second act. Besides the themes of racial injustice, I did not really enjoy this film. I found the turning points to be weak and the characters one dimensional. Rating 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Black Panther

Upon hearing about Chadwick Boseman’s passing, I found that it was appropriate to watch Black Panther. I went through a phase where I avidly avoided superhero movies, which I’m growing past, so that is why it took me too long to watch this film. Wakanda gives me Star Wars vibes, regarding the airships and the city in particular. Each character had a clear motivation. All the turning points were strong and effective for building up to the final showdown. As I was watching this film, I could not help but to think about all the children who finally saw themselves as a superhero. I hope all the children who looked up by Chadwick’s portrayal of the Black Panther receive the support and love. Rating 5 out of 5 stars.

Experience: Gallon of Water per day challenge

Hey Guys and Gals! Sabrina here, wanting to honor my promise to share my experience drinking a gallon of water a day. The challenge allowed me to drink tea and coffee without sugar and milk. Personally, I already drink my coffee black, so this was not an adjustment for me. The goal of the challenge is to eliminate sugary drinks for the week, but I’m sure adding some honey or a teaspoon of sugar won’t break you. Some people use the water from their gallon for their tea and/or coffee, yet I advise you to not do that. 

During the first day of the challenge, I was drinking the water a little too fast. I primarily focused on getting through it, which taught me that I can take my time for the second day. The second day was difficult for me, considering I had a mild stomach bug. Despite the bug, I still pushed to drink the entire gallon of water, and I did! It felt great not giving up on the challenge. My symptoms from the bug did not last longer that a few hours, thanks to the water. 

By the third day, I really started feeling refreshed. I started waking up in the morning with my alarm clock without wanting to go back to sleep instantaneously. If you are like me and have sleep inertia, getting up in the morning is tough. Drinking enough water really kicked it out of my system. Another benefit from being hydrated was curved hunger. Of course, I was hungry when it was meal time. However, I did not feel hungry again an hour after eating. This day of the challenge was the day I decided I needed to make drinking this much water a part of my daily routine. I enjoy feeling hydrated, and realized I probably was walking around slightly dehydrated for way too long. 

The rest of the challenge was a breeze. I noticed my body was not reacting harshly to the rising temperatures. I am very sensitive to temperature change, but being hydrated helped my body regulate the change. My skin felt softer, and my acne went down significantly. Honestly, I do not have any cons for this challenge. I will share that this challenge is easier if you have a gallon water bottle, but buying seven is not great for environment. My suggestion, which I did, is buy only two gallon water bottles and refill them with Brita or filter water. You reduce your waste, and you have an accurate measurement of a gallon! It helps to keep your drinking water separate from your Brita. 

I have been keeping up my water intake since finishing the challenge. I weighed myself on the last day, noticing I shed a few pounds. Highly recommend this challenge to anyone who wants to restart their journey towards a healthier lifestyle. 

My first experience participating in NaNoWriMo

Welcome back! As much as I miss everyone and wish this quarantine would be over already, staying safe indoors and social distancing when outside will really get COVID-19 under control. Like many people, I do not have work for the time being. I challenged myself to expand my writing portfolio by participating in something called NaNoWriMo. 

What is NaNoWriMo? 

It is a virtual writing camp that encourages writers to write everyday for a month towards a completed draft of 50,000 words. The goal is not to write a perfect piece ready to be published. It is to establish the daily habit of writing with the end goal of a first, or rather a rough, draft of a novel. With that, your daily goal is to write 1,667 words a day. Seems like a big number to reach every single day of the month, but it is possible with enough preparation. 

My friend, who was the first person to tell me about NaNoWriMo, shared their experience participating a few years back. After listening to their experience, I was hooked into doing the challenge. 

Honestly, I never felt this invigorated about a writing project ever. I attribute my energy to the Pre-Writing work that nanowrimo.org provides. They give you a downloadable PDF that forces you to get thinking with cool prompts. I did not start my month of writing with a concrete idea, which is perfectly fine. The Pre-Writing work stimulates you to get thinking of an idea that you will passionate about! It did for me. Once I finished the prompt section, the Pre-Writing dives into character development and outlining the events taking place. 

Preparing character sheets and a beat sheet really motivated me to keep going with the challenge. If I was unprepared and started free writing a novel, I definitely would lose motivation thus leading to giving up on the challenge. What really helped me keep up was knowing how I want to start and end the novel. Knowing your ending drives you to get there, not matter what. Once I finished developing, it was time to start writing. 

In the Pre-Writing outline, NaNoWriMo gives you suggests on how to incorporate time in your schedule to write. I chose to use the Pomodoro method every day. The Pomodoro method is working for 25 minutes then taking a 5 minute break four times. Essentially, using Pomodoro method means I was writing for two hours a day. I went from barely reaching an hour of writing to two uninterrupted hours of blissful writing. Not having concrete work schedule allows me to write as long as I want without having to worry about obligations. 

Writing the first half of my novel up to the midpoint felt like a breeze. I was surpassing my daily word goal of 1,667 words easily. The ladder half of writing my novel was more of an uphill battle. I would reach between 1250-1500 words opposed to my daily goal. As much as I wanted to beat myself up for not reaching the goal by a small margin, I chose to keep going. To keep getting up and writing first thing in the morning. My future edit could also be the blame for lacking some momentum, but I challenged that thinking with “Well, there won’t be a future edit until you finish this draft first.” 

Finally, I finished the novel by reaching 50,000 words. Is the ending written the way I want it to end? Not exactly. Do I need to go back to write more in-depth character backgrounds for some major players in my story? Definitely. Was I exhausted from writing? Yes and no. The catharsis from spilling on the page can be exhausting in the best way possible. I can best compare it to exercising. While you are exercising, you might feel tired or down, but you always feel great when you complete your workout. It was important that I take a few days of rest from this intense writing before I dived back into my work. Currently waiting for two people to give me notes on the draft before I go back to edit the crap out of the novel. My plan is to adapt the novel into a feature length screenplay. I cannot speak on when or how I plan to release the novel, but it will be accessible one day. 

I am extremely grateful for this experience, because it made me fall in love with writing, again. Highly encourage anyone with a story on their mind, in need of a writing habit, or need something to do to participate in NaNoWriMo! Usually, the month to write your novel is November, but you can participate anytime at your speed. 

Thank you all for reading! What kind of creative endeavors have you dived into during quarantine? I would like to hear about some of the stuff my readers are working on, especially if it is just for your enjoyment. 

My Quarantine Watchlist

Hey, everyone! After writing my post about feeling overwhelmed by content, I decided to make a watchlist. It came in handy due to the Coronavirus Quarantine. Some of the titles on the list I have been able to watch in the last few days. Hopefully, I will be able to get through these, so I can watch more stuff. Let me know what you think of some of these titles.

Without further ado, here is my watchlist!

The Wire

Marriage Story

The Bling Ring- I watched this one the other night. I am a Sofia Coppola fan, so I was psyched to see her name pop up as Writer and Director. The film dissects the idea of privacy, and how it easy it can be to have access to other people’s lives. I wasn’t really attached to the characters, and didn’t have any feelings toward them. Still something I recommend.

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez – I am in the progress of watching. This is extremely heavy.

On My Block

The Talented Mr. Ripley 

A Wrinkle in Time 

The Little Hours 

Horse Girl 

Wanda –

Tie me up, Tie Me Down 

A Brief History of Time

Orpheus 

Paris, Texas – A fan of slow cinema, I really enjoyed this film. The color palette works to bolster the emotions of the characters. This is definitely not a watch for people who need a lot of stuff happening. This film is definitely unique.

A Woman Under The Influence

The Seventh Seal

Seven Samurai 

Drunken Angel 

High and Low

The Witcher – “Throw a coin to your Witcher..” Although I think this might have been a bit overhyped, I really enjoyed watching this series. Unlike Paris, Texas, this show has a LOT going on. Lot of timelines to follow. Looking forward to the next season for sure.

Lock and Key 

Daredevil

Laser Wolf