Saturday, March 29, 2014

We Are What We Are

Another 2013 Drama/Horror/Thriller, also with fantastic potential because of the thought-provoking storyline, but this one much better acting, much better research and wonderful transitions throughout. It doesn’t make the list of my favourite films of all time, but it held the viewers attention from beginning till end. 

Original screenplay written by Mexican Jorge Michel Grau whom made the first and Mexican version in 2010 had his story/film was adapted into an American script by American Nick Damici and it was directed wonderfully by American Jim Mickle.

New and fast on the film scene Julia Garner (although she was not the main character) really did steal the show, and Ambyr Childers, Jack Gore, Kassie Wesley DePaiva and Bill Sage also brought great acting chops to this dark tale.

1 win and 9 other nominations this twisted blood-bond dysfunctional family curdled the audience’s psyche for 105 minutes. Although they only grossed $76 thousand USD at the box-office it was a really solid film with beautiful cinematography and a thrilling story. The ending was a bit disturbing and disappointing to say the least and the soundtrack didn’t do the film any justice.


This 2013 Drama/Horror/Thriller written and directed by Eric England in my opinion had plenty of promise; decent story-line, one’s whose message is a serious message to the youth or more importantly promiscuous youth; but sadly not enough back-story or research to make the series of events believable for the audience. 

I liked the shots used by the Director of Photography though the transitions were choppy as it was a lot of ‘cut to black’ like television spots. The acting was I must admit not memorable or notable and there were very many scenes that could be cut or not important enough to carry the story along that didn’t hold any weight with viewers, like the fact that our main character was a lesbian.

It was a run-time of 78 minutes, with a typical and disappointing ending and this film only grossed $3,328 USD at the box office last year. It’s good to see potential in our young film-makers minds, but this is a perfect example that goes to show that having money to make a film isn’t all it takes to make a cinematic gem.

Friday, March 28, 2014


I’d admit I was never a huge fan of Tyler Perry movies, but I was always a fan of the man Tyler Perry himself. He came from nothing to a notable and successful film-maker; I think anyone who endures through struggles and finally gains success at their dreams is worth admiring. I found his prior movies entertaining but pretty much the same strain; however this 2013 Drama rang quite different and it’s message was a wonderful story told in modern-day circumstances.

The name speaks for itself; and the audience could pretty much predict the sequence of events as they unfolded. Lust, betrayal and a mistake found out a little too late. The ending though had viewers wide-eyed and grieve-stricken. The story was simple yet solid and beautifully told. Candice Coke, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Vanessa Williams, Brandy Norwood, Lance Gross, Ella Joyce, Robbie Jones, Renee Taylor and the forever talked about Kim Kardashian all came together to bring this tale to life.

This film had one win and 5 nominations that year and I must say my favourite Tyler Perry film to date. Madea surprisingly did not make an appearance and thank-fully so; it was beautifully shot, with smooth transitions, charismatic and moving acting and an excellent message. Makes for a good night of racing hearts and lovely heightened anticipation. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


“Get in. Get out. Getaway.”

Exactly my sentiments for this 2013 action/crime/thriller that was written by Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker and directed by Canadian Courtney Solomon. Ethan Hawke is a decent-enough actor, but for a film so predictable and whose plot has been exhausted so many times already; it was pretty easy for viewers to stop focusing on what characters were saying and just focus on the car slamming into things. 

The dialogue by Selena Gomez was pitiful and her strength in the movie could have been done without; it was a lot of ‘’ass-hole’’ and “shit” comments and blaming going on and it got old real fast (no pun intended). Her acting was not believable at all. With a budget of $18 million USD this film did not make it back at the box-office and didn’t inspire, teach a lesson or have a solid ending.

Filmed in Bulgaria; it could have very well been filmed anywhere. Besides cars and running people, the entire film took place over the course of a few hours at night; and there was no massive distinction on the importance for a European location; not to mention 2 American characters who just so happened to relocate to Bulgaria to live.

Disappointing and not worth your time. If you want to learn ‘what NOT to do’ for an action film; tune in to this one; and learn the basics of continuity gone Very wrong.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

All about Timing

**A little inspiration from Jared Leto - after not working in years to scoring a role of a life-time in the film 'Dallas Buyers Club' which earned him several awards this season~ Enjoy! **

Friday, March 14, 2014

Delivery Man

“You’re never quite ready for what life delivers.”

Wanted to watch something light on my transcontinental flight; and under ‘Comedies’ this one had a decent rating and popped up. Written and Directed by French Ken Scott, who brought us the comedy/drama “Starbuck’ in 2011 and aptly received 9 wins and 14 other nominations, decided to give this old film a new American take and probably gross more earnings. Can we teach an old dog new tricks; or in other words take an older French movie and make it new American one? The answer is: You most certainly can!

With an estimated budget of $26 million USD, ‘Delivery Man’ grossed $30 million USD and not only delivered plenty of laughs but also some heart-felt emotions by it’s audience. Young adults experiencing trouble and wanting and missing the love, admiration and support from their parents is enough to play a tune on anyones heart-strings. Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Bobby Moynihan, Simon Delaney, Cobie Smulders and over 100 actors came together to make this movie a reality.

Makes for a good night of fun and shares a wonderful message to our audience in that we must remember to do what’s right despite the urges or fear to do what’s wrong.


Perhaps some young men’s fantasy, this story written by a man named Christopher James Hampton from Portugal and adapted into screenplay by the well-known Anne Fontaine (Chloe, Coco Before Chanel) from Luxembourg; this 2013 drama was disturbing to the max yet viewers found it hard to rip their eyes from the screens. Although they didn’t make it big at the box-office this story was so provocative and insanely sensational that it got 5 nominations that year and even more buzz with it’s numerous reviews. Mothers who are life-long friends who fall in love with each other’s sons’; is enough to raise quite a few eye-brows! But it is a topic like this that gets people talking and furthermore confronts the philosopher Freud in all of us.

Set in a suburb of paradise Australia by the sea and paired off with chiseled surfer actors Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville. If the story doesn’t spark some interest the lovely aesthetics will. Oscar nominated English actress Naomi Watts and Golden Globe winner American actress Robin Wright play the adults with lusty emotions. Rated R for sexual language and content this is not a family bonding type film.

This is Fontaine’s first film directed completely in English and she does an excellent job with weaving this controversial tale into a thought-provoking masterpiece. Magnetic and fascinating to say the least but unbelievable in many respects; not just by the relationships ensued but simply by the seemingly comfort this family had despite the tensions and conflicts it would cause in society not to mention the safe and wealthy lifestyles they all lived in. I found it difficult to connect with the overwhelming and unexpected desperation and loneliness that lead our main characters to make infantile decisions.

Exquisite cinematography of surfy/beachy landscapes and architecture, incredible, unsettling and an astonishing story; and decent acting displayed; this is a film with which although I disagree with 100% ; I feel it’s a fantastic recipe of posing questions about morality and ethics! Enjoy! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

12 Years a Slave

English director Steve McQueen not to be mistaken for the hip and ultra-cool American actor Steve McQueen is hip and ulta-cool in his own way; but better known for his gutsy, uncomfortable and beautifully shot stories that he brings to film audiences worldwide. His latest and probably best work  yet, won him 3 Oscars, another 131 wins and 137 other nominations this year. It’s safe to say that his 2013 film ’12 Years A Slave’ will go down in history as an iconic cinematic achievement. 

Based on the book and real story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York and his abduction into slavery, this movie was adapted into screenplay by John Ridley (Undercover Brother). English Chiwetel Ejiofor with the large expressive eyes played Solomon Northup and personified the anguish and fear felt after struggling to not only stay alive but keep his dignity after being given the shock of a lifetime and served horrendous cruelty.

Michael Fassbender in my opinion was 2nd best in show, and probably one of the best villains to date. Not only was he a bit eccentric but was extraordinary and believable in his performance. Newcomer and black-beauty Lupita Nyong’o who is polished, poised and graceful in all her interviews and was nominated and won extensively this season, (don’t stone me for being honest) in my opinion, is a wonderful human being but I didn’t find her work as outstanding as everyone praised her to be. Other powerful actors included: Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Annie), Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story), Alfre Woodard (Greys Anatomy), and Brad Pitt.

McQueen showcased hints of French New Wave in deeply rooted and long-lasting scenes, lovely cinematography and harrowing and gripping music. This Biography/Drama/History is currently rated number 1 film on IMDB and for this year’s award season. Not my cup of tea; but certainly worth seeing as it gives viewers the truth of the time and hope in the hearts of people who were set-back and are still struggling to find their way.


**Back when Madonna was a boss! ;) ~ **

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

American Hustle

Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Pena, Robert DeNiro and Writer/Director David O. Russell you may remember from award winning films like ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, ‘Three Kings’ and ‘The Fighter’ what is there not to love with this impressive line-up!?

This 2013 Crime/Drama was based on true events that took place in New Jersey during that time period, and the characters and story developed by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell was magnificent and brilliant in that our characters were well developed, seductive, and magnetic but also because the story was equally clever and thought-provoking.

Rated R for some sexual content, brief violence and foul language, this $40 million USD budget raked in a remarkable $146 million USD at the box-office. With a run-time of 138 minutes viewers were absorbed and had their fancies tickled with entertainment the whole way. Jennifer Lawrence and Cooper deliver some of the best jokes and although the film is mostly Drama, it plays light and un-complexed compared to what actors Adams, Bale and Renner usually play. 

No heavy message to be had except ‘Do the Right Thing’; your reputation depends on it! 

Captain Phillips

“There’s got to be something other than being a fisherman or kidnapping people…”, “…Maybe in America, Irish, maybe in America.”

“I came too far, I can’t give up.”

One of my favourites for nominated Oscar films this year. Nominated for 6 Oscars, 68 other nominations and 16 wins. This true story that took place in 2009 and adapted into film in 2013 was thrilling from beginning till end. English Director Paul Greengrass fabulously captivated the beauty, terror, relief, and fear of all the characters. Tom Hanks gave a performance of a life-time (probably his best yet) and newcomer Barkhad Abdi native Somalian was a thing of beauty, strength, truth, and hope. 

This film touched me in so many wonderful ways, but what stood out the most for me was certainly the amount of effects caused by globalization, the desperation of human-kind, and the exquisite soundtrack for this movie. With a run-time of 134 minutes, I was not ready for this film to end. It was riveting, intense, and heart-poundingly good!

With a budget of $55 million USD this film grossed not only $107 million USD back, but also for Adbi’s first film, an Oscar nominating performance we’ll never forget. I felt myself feeling for both main characters, the villain and the hero, but more so the villain was the one that was most captivating and stole the show! He was a limo-driver, had a dream and Tom Hanks picked him as lead after seeing 700 other applicants.

‘JourneywithJair recommended’; makes for a nail-bitingly-fun night! :))


There was so much hype behind this movie, not to mention the amount of accolades, recognition, nominations and awards that it was high on my list of Oscar winning movies to see. Written and Directed by Mexican Alfonso Cuaron and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, this 2013 Drama/Sci-Fi/Thriller had me captivated for a lot shorter than I’d have liked.

With a budget of an estimated $100 million USD, with production contracts with Warner Bros. and a run-time of 91 minutes, lets just say ‘Houston had no problem’ with bringing in a cool $270 million USD at the box-office a few months later.

I must admit there were many beautiful cinematic moments throughout, and I am certain the writer, director, 2 actors and voice actors put in a lot of work to make this story semi-believable; however I must also tell the truth that this same story was not compelling enough to hold my attention or wonder when it was going to end. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but proved to be exhilarating for many. 

The main message of the film though was priceless; teaching our audience that the world is a lot bigger than we perceive and that we are not in control of everything. There’s something a lot bigger than all of us and we got to learn to let go.

I’ll leave you with some quotes from the film:

“Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission.”

“Half of North America just lost their Facebook.”

“I get it. It’s nice up here. You can just shut down all the systems, turn out all the lights, and just close your eyes and tune out everyone. There’s nobody up here that can hurt you. It’s safe. I mean, what’s the point of going on? What’s the point of living? Your kid died. Doesn’t get any rougher than that. But still, it’s a matter of what you do now. If you decide to go, then you gotta just get on with it. Sit back, enjoy the ride. You gotta plant both your feet on the ground and start liven’ life. Hey, Ryan? It’s time to go home.”

Monday, March 10, 2014

In & Out

I’m not speaking about the famous Californian fast-food restaurant, but instead about the rhythm of our breath. It occurred to me after one of my classes tonight that I can’t take everything to heart. Although we may be quite passionate about our crafts, we need to take criticism constructively and not chew our own heads off! We are works in progress. Perfectly imperfect and there is beauty in our faults. It is in being imperfect that we build character, depth, strength, beauty, recognition and uniqueness.

It may hurt, the things others say about you or to you. But what do they know? Just as we breath effortlessly; one breath in and the other out, so should we automatically be able to listen constructively to negative things, take heart, and blow it out just as fast. If you don’t keep breathing, you can’t live. You’ve got to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. Whoever hit the ground running? Don’t be puppets in this already brain-washed modern society. Go the straight and narrow path - shortcuts get you nowhere except to disappointments. You’re better than that. You’re stronger than that. You don’t have to follow the crowd. When you finally get there…after that harrowing journey, you’ll know that you deserved the prize, because you worked honestly for it. Your pain, your faults, your ridicule was not in vain. 

Don’t worry about everyone else. Keep focused on  your journey, your lessons, your growth. Everyone is at a different state of consciousness and it isn’t your job to judge. There will be a time for that, whether we care to acknowledge it or not.

You’re more than a model!

You’re whatever you know you can be!

Be you!

Don’t listen to what others say - they’re not the boss of you - your Creator - knows exactly who you are, he made you, from the beginning until you meet again. The core of your talents, desires, destiny all are well-known and possible with the Universe/God/Creator. Stay true to your faith; everyone has their day in the sun….it may be a tad rainy now - but sweet victory is around the corner darlings!


Love Jair

Saturday, March 1, 2014

You are Enough - Cold Tangerines

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the book or play ‘Cold Tangerines’ you may want to read on a bit further. ‘Cold Tangerines’ is about celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life; or in other words capturing, embracing and realizing all moments within your life that you deem to be non-spiritual are actually quite spiritual after all.

Based on the book written by Shauna Niequist whose inspiration was to bring hope to those heartbroken, bored and unsatisfied this collection of stories was adapted into a play by my dear and talented friend Lynn Downey Braswell. After 3 years of writing and re-writing, having script readings and loads of discussion over coffee, Lynn was able to transform this story into every woman’s story - celebrating the beauty of everyday life and in turn offering courage, strength and healing.

If this noble yet empowering project isn’t tickling your fancy at this point you may just need to attend the play yourself which runs from May 30th till June 29th of this year. If you feel that you’re a ‘Bom-chicka-wow-wow’ chick whose got it all together all the time but know someone that may benefit from this lovely play then help by donating or spreading the word.

Producer Betsy Roth, Director Karissa McKinney and Playwright Lynn Downey Braswell continue to enjoy the journey of bringing this life-changing story to life to all of us. The message being one of ‘YOU ARE ENOUGH’, enjoy this creative gift; be inspired; and help these young ladies bring one of their many dreams to healthy fruition. For more information feel free to visit:  or