Movie Review: Searching

I didn’t know her. I didn’t know my daughter

directed by first time director Aneesh Chaganty, Searching stars John Cho, Debra Messing and Michelle La.

When Margot Kim disappeared following a study night session, David Kim is hellbent on finding his daughter uncovering secrets in the process.


The Good

One of the most notable features of the movie is how the movie completely takes place in a computer screen. This has been done before with movies like unfriended and unfriended 2. However what makes Searching great is that it used this style of film-making to engage it’s audience. From the moment the plot kicks in, you are hooked with what’s happening on the screen and you also find yourself looking for clues and answers with what’s presented to you.

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John Cho mostly carries this film, his acting is phenomenal and with what limited space he’s got to work with he’s done a great job showing a range of emotions throughout the whole film.


The Bad

Nothing bad to say


Rating

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Searching David Kim (John Cho)

Overall Searching delivers an excellent thriller mystery story with strong performances from John Cho and Debra Messing. The story keeps you guessing and puts at the edge of your seat, definitely one of the best this year and highly recommended.

Good Bad 4.8/5
    • Engaging story
    • Unpredictable/thrilling
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Book Review: Origin by Dan Brown

Sometimes, all you have to do is shift your perspective to see someone else’s truth.

Origin is the fifth book in Dan Brown’s series starring the Harvard professor, Robert Langdon. When futurist Edmond Kirsch gets assassinated during his groundbreaking presentation. It’s up to Robert Langdon and curator Ambra Vidal to disclose to the world Edmond’s discovery, the origins of life.

Origin has all the staple elements that makes a Dan Brown novel. A high stakes mystery, Robert Langdon’s female companion and a rogue assassin that’s after our heroes. Not to mention countless of commentary on art, architecture and several exotic locations. Though repetitive author Dan Brown still manages to keep it entertaining.

The book starts out strong setting up the premise of the story, the topic is intriguing and I found myself invested in the outcome. Like previous books starring Robert Langdon, this follows the same beats with our main character adding his commentary on everything around him. Sometimes it’s relevant to the plot however at times it feels tedious.

The novel touches on a lot of themes from religion to science to technology even to the ever growing topic of artificial intelligence. And though far fetched, there’s a level of plausibility on the concepts and ideas presented.

The book drags a bit and there are plot points presented at the start that were completely forgotten as the book goes on. At times it’s predictable and at times it’s hard to care about some characters, right around the middle the story got convoluted and by the third act it becomes a muddled mess.

Overall Origin isn’t one of the better Dan Brown books but it still manages to be entertaining. The ideas presented are interesting and I found myself researching on the history behind it. If you’re a fan of these books, you might find to your liking but if you’re not it’s not recommended.

Rating: 3/5

 

TV Show Review: 13 Reasons Why

It has to get better. The way we treat each other and look out for each other. It has to get better somehow.

13 Reasons Why is based on a best selling book by Jay Asher. It stars Katherine Langford, Dylan Minnette, Kate Walsh, and more.

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When Clay receives 13 cassette tapes containing a voice recording of his former classmate Hannah, depicting 13 reasons why she killed herself. He stops at nothing to uncover the truth about her suicide and confront those all who’re involved.


The Good

13 Reasons is a very powerful show with a very heavy message. One of the best things about this show is how they handled topics such as suicide, depression, bullying, drug-abuse but more importantly sexual abuse. The show doesn’t dance around the topic but rather tackle it head on.

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The actors/actresses are mostly new names and with the exception of some they are still great overall. This is an impressively acted show and with a heavy theme the cast did an incredible job in their roles.

The best thing in the show however, is it’s story. The way it was told and the way it draws the viewer in, the pacing of it all was well executed. The show tackles some very dark themes but as a viewer it keeps you wanting to know more and makes you look forward to each episode right until the very end.


The Bad

There are very little complaints, and they are minor, but the show becomes inconsistent at times. With one strong issue being brought up with one episode, yet it never fully gets dealt with until three episodes later. Or how some characters, behaved at the beginning of the series despite the situation they’re in.

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The music can become overbearing at times and it becomes distracting. Especially on certain scenes where a viewer should be heavily affected. The music mostly consist of indie songs, unfortunately majority of these didn’t mesh well with as the show progresses.


Rating

Overall 13 Reasons Why is an incredibly powerful show, a viewer has to be in a certain mindset to get through some of the episodes as it gets disturbing. However with the importance of the message they’re telling here, it’ll help to pay full attention to it when watching.

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The cast is incredibly diverse and that’s one thing the show should be credited on as it worked in their favor. It really captured what it feels like when you were in high school.

As mentioned the show tackles topics such as suicide, depression, substance abuse and sexual abuse and unless you’re willing to face the harsh reality about these topics, you shouldn’t watch it. But with a very powerful message it’s encouraged that, apart from kids, everyone should check this out.

Good Bad 4.5/5
  • Powerful Message
  • Amazing Cast
  • Well Told Story
  • Minor Inconsistencies
  • Music

And if you are someone who’s going through similar hardships depicted in this show, you are not alone and there are people willing to help and it’s important to call for help. Likewise if you know someone who’s going through something, be there for that person the smallest things can help a person’s life.

TV Show Review: The Night Of

Very reminiscent of the successful outcome of True Detective Season 1 (note Season 1). The Night Of delivers an unforgettable crime drama, which shows the dark, harsh truth about the justice system.

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After spending a night with a female stranger, Nasir ‘Naz’ Khan wakes up only to find his  new friend stabbed to death. With all evidence pointing at him, Naz fights the system to prove his innocence at the same time, experience first hand the horrors of life in prison.


The Good

One of the most impressive aspects of this show was it’s talented cast. Riz Ahemd who plays Nasir ‘Naz’ Khan did an incredible job capturing the essence of innocence lost via the flaws of justice system. His transition from a college student to a man who spent time in prison is horribly fascinating and it shows the harsh reality that time in prison can change a man no matter how defiant he is.

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The supporting characters are all incredible and portrayed their roles with a high level of complexity, giving the audience a doubtful approach to these characters. You never really know who’s trustworthy and you are not sure who are the good guys, the bad guys or if there are even any.

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The star of the show however is John Tururro who was consistently impressive through out. This is without a doubt his show and he’s brought a very human element to his character and it’s incredible.

The overall story is great, the way it shifts it’s narrative from a murder mystery to a courtroom drama to showing the aftermath of life in prison and how it affects everyone around. The show captured the harsh reality of a changed man who’s a victim of a flawed system.


The Bad

The show is with flaws and though they were very minute in numbers, they were still noticeable. There were scenes which were never explained as well as character choices seemed very questionable given the circumstances.


Rating

Overall this is an amazing show from start to finish, the acting is tremendous and the cast did an exceptional job with their roles. Riz Ahmed was incredible and played his role with magnificent consistency. As the same time John Turturro which was perfect in every way.

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The story was deeply enthralling, accompanied by a terrific cinematography that delivers a subtle intensity in every scene. This is easily one of the best shows of 2016 and is highly recommend it to everyone.

Good Bad 4.9/5
  • Enthralling Story
  • Strong Supporting Cast
  • Riz Ahmed & John Turturro
  • Questionable Character Decisions

Book Review: The Girl on the Train By Paula Hawkins

“Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps”

-Paula Hawkins

Rachel Watson is your typical commuter, taking the 8:04 train in the morning heading to work and the 5:56 train heading back home. It takes her train 54 minutes to get to work and an hour and one minute to head back home. For Rachel, this has been a typical routine of her daily life, though one thing that keeps her intrigued is a couple living in a certain house which she can see from the train. Each time the train passes, Rachel gets a quick glimpse of the couple’s lives. Fascinated by the couple, Rachel imagines what names or jobs they might have or simply what lovely life they’ve been living. Till one fateful day where Rachel sees the girl with another man, and was reported missing the next day. Baffled by the recent occurrences, Rachel decides to seek explanation on the girl’s disappearance as she is thrown into a world full of deceit, manipulation and lies.

There are good things to love about this book, the story is intriguing, the pacing is just right and the writing is easy to follow hence making it an easier read. The book starts out just right it’s not overbearing neither is it underwhelming it gives you a simple format, though repetitive there’s enough intrigue to keep going. In the process, you learn about the characters, on who they are, what are they all about and it’s all very interesting at first. Once the disappearance occurs, it becomes a game of whodunnit as everyone’s a suspect and this is where the book’s unpredictability comes into play and it is fun. The mystery kept me hooked and it kept me wanting to read all the way to the end.

The one big major flaw of the book are its characters. As everyone seem to have something nasty to hide, it made the characters unlikable and as a reader made me unsympathetic. I understood that everyone’s got inner demons to face, however none of them have redeeming values making it difficult to relate to anyone. And for a book comprised with mainly female characters, none of them showed admirable characteristics to the point where it felt like the writing of the women was borderline misogynistic. Though there are moments where the book drew out emotions out of me, it wasn’t enough to make me like someone and root for them. There are even moments where a character’s subplot becomes uninteresting mainly because it was difficult to care for them.

Overall this is still a good mystery story, it is well paced and the story itself is intriguing and even if the characters are unlikable the mystery is enough to drive this book on it’s own. Highly recommended for people who love a simple mystery or thriller.

Rating: 3.5/5