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Juliette’s Trousers: Leggings Are Not Trousers
This film is a graduation project mostly shot on the AUC campus. Now as any student who’s tried to make a film knows, filmmaking is incredibly hard work; it can be very costly, even if you’re working with a micro budget, and usually it consists of using friends for as much free labour as possible. It’s an immensely difficult task and requires major guts and perseverance, but having said that, Juliette’s Trousers isn’t a very good film. And while some of its faults can be blamed on a small budget, the film’s biggest fault is in the script and plot; two things that could have held it together should all else fail.
The film revolves around the idea that leggings are not trousers and should not be treated as such. Arguing this is Tarek El Ibiary, while taking the stand for the opposing side is his girlfriend Mona Lasheen. He disapproves that she wears leggings with short tops; she maintains that her fashion choices are none of his business. This is the one issue that poses a problem for them in their otherwise blissful relationship and the film is basically a chronicle of how Mona’s leggings brought them together then tore them apart.
Funnily enough for a film with a central argument, it fails to make a convincing case for either side. The characters speak in clichés and platitudes never delving beyond the surface. Their arguments can be summed up to: leggings overly reveal a girl’s body, and the counter argument that girls are free to wear whatever they want. What is absolutely astounding is that not once does Mona tell Tarek that perverts will stare at a woman no matter what she’s wearing, and that the onus is on the harasser to stop and not on the woman to alter her lifestyle. There was clearly a concerted effort to avoid sexist tropes but due to the film’s shallowness, they fall into many of them anyway. For example, the justification that he is doing this because he cares and isn’t a control freak is trotted out a few times, though this makes it no better. The film doesn’t seem to realize that sexism is sexism no matter how sugar coated or how well-intended that person is.
Another problem that goes hand in hand with the aforementioned one is that the characters are wildly inconsistent with Tarek being the number one example of that. He fluctuates all over the place, starting out as a guy who’s idea of a good time is watching women as they walk by - in fact that’s how he first met Mona - only to become possessive when his friends insinuate that her leggings are a sign of her easiness. From then on, he goes back and forth between being mad at her for wearing them and supporting her right to wear whatever she wants. The acting doesn’t help much either; the cast is made up of amateurs and therefore the dialogue often sounds forced.
As for the technical side of things, the film is for the most part, poorly shot, lit and edited; some ‘funky’ editing tricks are liberally used, giving it an amateur feel - but there are some commendable points nonetheless. It was a pleasant surprise to see that even though the film revolves around leggings, not once did the camera focus on a woman’s curves, preferring instead to use multiple below the knee shots and guys’ reactions to convey the idea. The filmmakers chose the anti objectification route and kudos to them for that; this choice seemed to send a stronger message than all of the film’s dialogue. It says that women shouldn’t be ogled at no matter what they’re wearing and that is ultimately a very decent message to send.
Peter Jackson’s fourteen-year-long Middle-Earth adventure has finally come to a close with the third and final instalment Bilgo Baggins’ journey with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; a slightly bloated, but generally successful, finale that boasts plenty of action and technical superiority over its immediate predecessors.
Hitting the ground running and wasting no time in plunging audiences in the deep-end, The Battle of the Five Armies begins exactly where the second film left off, with Smaug (once again voiced superbly by Cumberbatch) setting Lake-town ablaze as Bilbo (Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Armitage) and his army of loyal dwarf-followers watch from the Lonely Mountain.
After escaping imprisonment, Bard (Evans) slays Smaug, leaving the endless treasures of the mountain unguarded for Bilbo, Thorin and co. to continue their quest. But as news spreads of Smaug's demise, the lure of the mountain's coveted riches triggers an inevitable path to war.
A With a running time of just over two hours, The Battle of the Five Armies is the shortest of all of The Hobbit entries, though it’s also the most ambitious and visually-creative of the lot. The cinematography is exquisite and the CGI techniques seem to have been pushed to their very limit.
The cast is, as always, steadfast and dependable with Armitage delivering a blockbuster performance as Thorin, though Freeman’s usual whimsical nature and superb comic timing is, surprisingly, underused. Similarly, the rest of the cast, including Lilly as the she-elf, Evans, as the newly-emerged leader of Lake-town, and McKellen take a back-seat.
With this being the finale, it plays out like a climax and is heavy on the action and not much else – as a standalone film, it may feel a little hollow for some, but for fans, it's a fittingly spectacular conclusion to the series.
Although there are moments of genuine hilarity to be found in the follow-up to the delightfully raunchy 2011 comedy, Horrible Bosses, it’s hard not to wince at just how eager and desperate it is to please.
Directed by Sean Anders – who also co-wrote the script along with John Morris – Horrible Bosses 2 once again follows the turbulent, and at times abstract, lives of Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudeikis) and Dale (Day); three good friends who, after successfully managing to free themselves of their ‘horrible bosses’, are now contemplating starting a new business together with their invention, the Shower Buddy; an elaborate and ever-so-slightly ridiculous shower head inspired by car washes.
Their efforts attract the attention of wealthy retail tycoon, Bert Hanson (Waltz), who offers to fund their business if they can produce 100,000 units. After taking out a loan, renting a warehouse and hiring employees, Hanson takes the stock but back out of the deal, leaving the three friends in six-figure debt.
Considering that their previous plot of murdering their bosses didn’t quite go as planned, the three friends decide to go in another direction; kidnap Bert’s extremely spoiled and arrogant son, Rex (Pine), and ask for a hefty ransom. However, their seemingly bullet-proof plan goes haywire when Rex – a shady figure like his father – quickly turns the tables on the dim-witted threesome with a devious scheme of his own.
Just like many comedy sequels – see Hangover II, Dumb and Dumber Too – the payoff is never quite as satisfying as the first-time around. Relying on the same brand of humour, Horrible Bosses 2 just isn’t as funny as its predecessor and becomes repetitive pretty early on – particularly the crass rape jokes.
Only Chris Pine comes out of the other end with any dignity, bringing his deliciously devious character to life, with the always brilliant Christoph Waltz needlessly tarnishing his recent rich vein of form with what is a completely unnecessary sequel. Though the cast is packed to the rim with popular and likeable actors, all seem to be going through the motions – though the blame for that should fall squarely on the monotonous, tedious and cringingly uncreative script.
At its very core, the film is flawed. Those who wronged our three heroes in the first film were to be condemned to murder. This time round, the son of the man who did them wrong is condemned to a kidnapping. Sequels should build and go bigger than the original; Horrible Bosses 2 bafflingly aims lower.