Category Archives: Movies

Podcast: The Redemption of M. Night Shyamalan?

M. Night Shyamalan’s career of producing good movies has been an unfortunate pattern of hits and misses.

In 1999, Shyamalan hit the blockbuster payload when The Sixth Sense gave the universe the ultimate freaky line that would stand the test of time.

“I see dead people.”

Shymalan’s ultimately created a shock and awe template for his films that left audience members with a twist, with sprinkles of Alfred Hitchcock seen throughout.

But following the horrible, white washed flop of Shyamalan’s 2010 film The Last Airbender the director began what we could easily call a “creative freefall into hell”.

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Tea & Review: Train to Busan

Train to Busan is a South Korean zombie movie.  The bulk of the movie takes place on the high-speed train, the KTX, as it leaves from Seoul to Busan.

The zombies in the movie are reminiscent of the ones in the cinematic version of World War Z or 28 Days.  They are a strong and swift horde that engulfs anyone in their path,  spreading the sickness within seconds of being bitten. In the realm of zombies, Train to Busan doesn’t offer anything new.  As an audience, we have seen these types of zombies before.  But the other aspects, like the pacing and characters that make it a blockbuster.

The pacing of the movie is well done.  The outbreak doesn’t happen suddenly, rather it builds into the catastrophe.

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Tea & Review: La La Land – For Love or Career

(Photo Courtesy of Lions Gate Publicity, Photo Credit: Dale Robinette) 

The opening scene of La La Land was exactly what I wanted to happen when I was in middle school.

I wanted my fellow students to jump on top of their desks and dance in an in sync, yet unrehearsed manner. And then, somehow magically, I too would develop the voice similar to that of The Little Mermaid. I would holler out of a showstopper.

It is truly a wonder that I was never in the drama club.

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Astro-bite: Notes on Liberation

Editor’s Note: A forthcoming collection of poetry titled Liberating the Astronauts by Christina M. Rau will be debuting in 2017. Tea & Fiction is very excited to share excerpts from the collection. From the Pointer Sisters doing the Neutron Dance to David Bowman’s exclamation while traveling through the stargate near Jupiter— from stealing Joan Didion’s sadness to erasing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby— this collection weaves its way through the paradoxical struggle of wanting freedom while fearing it.

In Liberating The Astronauts, we see that not fitting in gives us the freedom to stand out.

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Tea & Review – Rogue One: A One and Done Star Wars Story

Editor’s Note: The podcast contains spoilers. The written review is spoiler free. 

In today’s world, we live a society that loves to exploit popular franchises to the max.

Example: The Hobbit,  one book that ended up being 3 movies of excessiveness.

Hunger Games, cutting the last book in 2 parts for no good reason at all.

Hollywood loves to pull at our wallets till we’re broke. It has become a norm to say at the end of a film, “Well, I guess we have to wait a year to find out what happens!”

This is why I love, absolutely love Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Rogue One is exactly as promised: a self-contained story that doesn’t pull us into its depths to have us get emotionally invested in the characters and then leave you wanting more.

Rogue One drops us into the Star Wars franchise between the Episode 3 (Revenge of the Sith) and Episode 4 (A New Hope). Because Rogue One exists outside of the known canon of the franchise the storyline is given a lot of latitudes.

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No Female Director for ‘Gotham City Sirens’

Well, smack my ass and call me Christmas.

Just when I had given 2016 up for dead a little light has glistened in this dark, dark time.

It was announced today that David Ayers, director of ‘Suicide Squad’, and Margot Robbie are teaming up to bring the ‘Gotham City Sirens’ to the silver screen.

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“Fantastic” Spinoffs and Where to Find Them

I picked up the first Harry Potter book– actually, it was given to me by a kindly school librarian– when I was 12, just a year or so after the book was published in 1997. The series took a decade to complete, culminating, for me, with a trip to a bookstore in Germany to buy the UK edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows during a backpacking trip before my senior year of college.   Like any piece of art that wallops you at just the right time, those books embedded themselves in my identity. Who would I have been without Harry Potter, or for that matter, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Simpsons, Monsoon Wedding, or that mural on the wall of Amoeba Records commemorating the free speech movement? (When I was a freshman in college, I walked by it twice a day and still think about it pretty often.) We are what we love, especially what we love when we are young.

So, it’s not really correct to say that I’m a “fan” of Harry Potter. It’s deeper than that. The series provided a framework for my adolescence. The first movie coincided with my first real crush, who kissed another girl at the screening and provided my first real heartbreak. I picked up the fourth book one hot high school summer and stayed up till 3 AM weeping over the return of Voldemort, my brothers collaborating on music in the next room. The sixth book came out when I was working at a mini-Borders in a shopping mall, so I remember staring at those unopened boxes in the windowless storage room, eating turkey sandwiches brought in from my parents’ house. Then there was the pinnacle seventh book that summer in Europe, a reading experience so dear that I stopped reading it on the plane in order to finish it in the privacy of my own home.

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Tea & Review: Arrival – A Perfect Modern Sci-fi

There’s an art to any story. For me personally, I have an issue with loving new science fiction movies. Specifically modern day science fiction movies.

Why? Well, we’ve been kind of spoiled. In terms of popular science fiction, we’ve peaked really quickly. When Star Wars debuted in the 80’s it kind of setup a template, a marker if you will as to what a good science fiction movie should look like.

This isn’t a diss against Star Wars. As you’ll see in December we will be all about the new Star Wars movie Rogue One. But let’s be real for a second. Star Wars created a format for any future science fiction film. We got a bad guy, good guy and  space in-between.

And then we move into the modern day version of a science fiction with movies like Independence Day. I can’t speak for every movie goer but after the first Independence Day came out it seemed like Hollywood was hell bent on sticking to the humans vs. aliens format.

It becomes problematic when you start seeing the same storylines over and over again. Hollywood then sees that people like it and they seem the same concepts on repeat.

This is literally what makes Arrival an amazing film. It defies all the common expectations. It distinctly doesn’t allow itself to devolve into a cliche, which any moviegoer can appreciate.

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TEA & REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

 Do you ever have that feeling, when you want to like something so badly? And you’ve assured yourself that it isn’t even that awful, that it must be perfectly logical to like it. For me, I would love to enjoy lemon meringue pie. I’m not sure why I don’t like it. I love the meringue bit on top and the texture of the pie itself. I just don’t like all the ingredients together. Many people adore this dessert. I am not amongst them. I just didn’t expect Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to be my lemon meringue pie.

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