📺 WATCHED

Turning Red (2022)

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

I'm so grateful this wasn't another cruel narrative about how "awful" puberty is. Turning Red asks big questions about how new generations of women can redefine their identities, and not-so-big questions about how a giant panda could participate at a middle school birthday party. I grew up knowing Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. Now I'm in my 20s, and Pixar is still producing some of the best films I've watched. With Domee Shi directing, they're telling stories with more nuance than ever, and I can't wait to see what she has in store next.

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📺 WATCHED

Cats (2019)

⭐⭐⭐

Reading about the making of this film, I learned that the animators were mistreated, and given far too little time to achieve the visual effects. I'm so impressed that, in my opinion, they pulled it off. Who cares if a human hand is visible, or if someone's feet doesn't quite touch the ground? The eccentric proportions of each set were weird in a good way. Feline features made the choreography more sensual, mysterious, and fantastic.

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📺 WATCHED

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Held up nicely the second time! Each story is worth watching, with a few really stand-out moments.

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📺 WATCHED

When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

⭐½

Wow so Harry was a complete asshole the entire time and Sally somehow put up with him? No thanks

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📺 WATCHED

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)

⭐⭐⭐

Don't let those three stars fool you: this is the best film I've ever watched.

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📺 WATCHED

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Aw man I forgot how much I love this film. An adventure equal parts silly and meaningful, with strong social commentary just sprinkled right on top 🍨

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📺 WATCHED

Ella Enchanted (2004)

⭐⭐½

Things that slap:
○ The sound effect that played every single time Ella's gift was activated
○ Pretending that the green screen shots worked well
○ Every scene with the snake
○ Giant farts
○ Critiques of capitalism in a 2004 kids movie

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📝 NOTE

Google locked me out of my phone

Hey! It's been a while. I'd like to share a frustrating story from this week.

Quite a few years ago, I bought a Google Pixel 2 to replace my iPhone 5c. It has been a great phone! However, it's getting old, and Google stopped promising software updates for it a while back. I was fine with that for a while, but now it's 2022 and I'd like some sort of update to my phone's operating system.

So, what custom ROM options are there for Android devices these days? After a bit of research, I landed on Lineage OS, a community project that's relatively well-known for breathing life into aging Android devices. It supports an impressive array of devices, and offers features I've come to expect in a smartphone.

So, the first thing you have to do to install a custom ROM like Lineage OS is to unlock the bootloader on your phone, allowing you to install your own operating system over the one it shipped with. Google proudly claims that you can do this, offering an "Unlock OEM" option in the developer settings of their Pixels. Unfortunately, my Pixel 2 refused to be unlocked. After so many tries and factory resets, Fastboot consistently reported that "Flashing Unlock is not allowed." It appears that this problem is relatively common with Pixel 2s, perhaps because I got a warranty replacement device back in 2018.

It bothers me so much that my phone is now obsolete, and the manufacturer won't let me install what I want onto it. I contacted Google Support to see what they had to say, and a lovely person by the name of Erick seemed genuinely sorry, but could only suggest that I send my handset in to Google for "repair." I might try sending it in at some point, but I can't afford to mail my phone away for a couple of weeks for a potential fix.

My friend Ben came to the rescue! He bought a Pixel 2 XL at the same time I bought my Pixel 2, and has since upgraded to a later model. I messaged him about my woes, and he agreed to sell his unlockable phone to me. So, my Pixel 2 is still locked, but I'll still get the pleasure of giving an old handset a second life.

By the way, Lineage OS is a wonderful project worth supporting on Patreon!

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📺 WATCHED

Shiva Baby (2020)

⭐⭐⭐½

This film had me so stressed out! I agree with the reviews comparing it to Uncut Gems (2019): beyond Jewish themes, they share a relentless sense of panic. Shiva Baby felt more like a nightmare, with Danielle's friends and family crumbling almost as much as she is.

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📺 WATCHED

Encanto (2021)

⭐⭐⭐⭐

You know what? Encanto surprised me. It hit all the beats I was hoping it would, and tied the plot up with a lovely bow. Beside a few songs that felt rough around the edges, there was an attention to detail in this film that makes it worth watching.

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📺 WATCHED

Palm Springs (2020)

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Watched on Sunday January 23, 2022.

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📺 WATCHED

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004)

⭐

Less San Francisco, more orphans and problematic feminism!

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📺 WATCHED

The Princess Diaries (2001)

⭐

Oof. When I watch a film this bad I like to check and see if the budget was a limiting factor. $26M and you didn't put a second pair of eyes on the script? Once Mia got a makeover by a body-shaming asshole, her life turned upside-down with fame and power. With mediocre acting, flat cinematography, and a cliché Disney ending, I wasn't a fan! The star is for the few gags that made me laugh.

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📺 WATCHED

Uncut Gems (2019)

⭐⭐⭐⭐

During the opening credits, music is mixed over the dialogue to make a confusing mess of noise. Things get more and more suffocating, as we watch Howard make one bad decision after another. An artistic and well-paced film that is hard to watch.

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📺 WATCHED

Columbus (2017)

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Every shot is stunning. The plot was less important than the exploration of meaning in relationships, architecture, and life. The dialogue was a bit rough at times, but beautiful at others. I recommend this film!

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📺 WATCHED

The Shape of Water (2017)

⭐⭐⭐½

So much to like in this film! Sally Hawkins' performance was stellar, the visual aesthetic was dreamy, and I fell in love with Giles. There were moments of romance, excitement, and comedy all paced out very nicely.

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📺 WATCHED

Midnight in Paris (2011)

½

Oh wow that was trash. I can't think of anything nice to say. Goes to show that an all-star cast and $17M budget does not guarantee a good film.

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📺 WATCHED

Booksmart (2019)

⭐⭐⭐

This film had a unique style to it, but I don't feel like it had much to say. Yay for mending some relationships on the last night of high school?

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📺 WATCHED

Tangerine (2015)

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've been excited to watch this film ever since I saw The Florida Project (2017) and Starlet (2012).

Tangerine grew on me. With fantastic acting, pacing, and camera work, this film builds a narrative that feels human and raw. By the end, I realized how invested I had become in the characters and their journey.

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📺 WATCHED

Cashback (2006)

⭐⭐

Cashback has some artistic moments, and some that don't sit well with me. It tried a bit too hard to be profound, and didn't clean up after itself. I love the aesthetic of setting a film in a supermarket though!

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📺 WATCHED

Palm Springs (2020)

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

I got my Moderna booster, fed the dogs, got mildly intoxicated, and watched Palm Springs for the first time. And it delivered the exact vibes I was looking for.

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📺 WATCHED

Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics (2020)

⭐⭐

I enjoyed some of the stories, but the animations that accompanied some of them really turned me off. I would have enjoyed this film much more if it was just interview footage.

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📺 WATCHED

About Time (2013)

⭐⭐⭐½

Ugh I love romantic movies, and this one was so cute. I did take a few points off for how gendered the premise was.

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📺 WATCHED

Another Round (2020)

⭐⭐⭐½

Curious how hard middle-aged Danish men can go? Look no further! This film reads as nuanced commentary on Danish drinking culture.

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📺 WATCHED

The French Dispatch (2021)

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wes doin' what he does best. It was fun to see the same cast members from his previous movies, appearing like old friends to tell the latest story. I loved the sets, costuming, and mixing of b/w and color shots. I felt a bit lost by multiple plots held together by characters I didn't care about very much. If you enjoyed Grand Budapest as much as I did, you'll enjoy this one too!

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