Posts Categorized: movies

[Guest Post]: How to Make Yourself Cry on a Plane

October 16, 2017 movies, recs, travel 2



I’m particularly excited to introduce my good friend and former roommate Bianca to you today! I’ve collaborated with her on my dormant YouTube channel before (Socially Awkward and The Friendship Test), so if you’ve been around for a while you might remember her. She surprised me with a fully written post that fits perfectly into my Movie Mondays category (if you don’t remember it, it’s because I only did it like twice and then forgot about it, but I recently found the graphic again, so clearly it was meant to be). I really enjoyed reading it, and I’m sure you will too. Don’t forget to show Bianca some love in the comments!



movie monday graphic on reviews and cake
Movie Mondays is a series of reviews, discussions, and general movie talk. Get yourself some popcorn, lean back in your seat, and enjoy the show.

Bianca’s Post

Hello lovely readers of Vlora’s marvellous blog about books, lifestyle, tv series, films and apparently also about cake. I wanted to write a guest post on this little corner of the internet for years and apparently today is finally the day.

A bit about me: My name is Bianca and I have been Vlora’s roommate for most of our time studying for our Bachelor’s degree. I love reading, watching tv series and traveling the world. Oh…and I also really love penguins (you should do some research on them; they are amazing)!

This July I did a bit of travelling to South Korea which is an absolutely beautiful place. However, this blogpost is not going to be about my time in Asia but about the time it took me to get there and to get back home. A flight from Germany (where I live) to South Korea takes about 10 hours 40 minutes. That times two makes over 20 hours of travel time. And what do you do when you’re on a plane for that long? You try to use the on-board entertainment as much as possible (given that your airline provides on-board entertainment). I was really lucky and had many film options to choose from.

However, my choices were, let’s say, strategically not the best ones since I had to hold back tears for almost half of my flight to not make the person next to me wake up next to a crying bunch of both misery and joy. Because you don’t want to be the one explaining that you neither have fear of flying nor homesickness but that you rather just weep easily.

Nevertheless, the films I watched were all really really good, and if you ever feel the need to let it loose and just cry a bit, may it be on a plane, on your sofa or wherever you want, these are three of my suggestions for you:

1. The Zookeeper’s Wife

This 2017 film is based on the non-fiction book by Diane Ackerman and tells the true story of Antonina Żabiński, her husband Jan, who was the director of the Warsaw Zoo, and their children. During World War II the Żabińskis rescued over 300 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto by hiding them in their empty zoo. Prepare the tissues because this film is not for the fainthearted. It has amazing actors and is very beautifully shot but it does not fear away from portraying the brutal reality of the war and the absolutely terrible conditions in the Warsaw Ghetto. However, what ultimately made me cry my eyes out was the portrayal of bravery and humanity shown by the Żabińskis and the other people who risked their lives and safety for others. This story is a beautiful message of hope and shows that compassion can overcome so much and even save lives.

Vlora: I can confirm this. I slept through the first ten minutes of the movie (I probably finished an essay the night before or something), which my friends told me was the happy part, and then bawled through literally the entire rest of it. I was in a cinema and not on an airplane, but still. It was emotional, guys. I second the recommendation!

2. A United Kingdom

Things based on true stories always make me really emotional and these stories don’t even have to be sad. The film “A United Kingdom” tells the love story of Sir Seretse Khama and his wife Ruth Williams. I had never heard of these two before watching the film but their story is just beautiful.

Seretse is the heir to the throne of Bechuanaland. After World War II, he studies law in the United Kingdom and meets Ruth, who he falls in love with. They get married despite the protests of their families and the British government. Many political issues accrue, and Seretse is exiled from his country by the British government. Meanwhile, Ruth delivers their first child in Bechuanaland and becomes more and more accepted by the local people. Eventually, Seretse is allowed to return to Bechuanaland and tries to negotiate its independence from the British Empire. Finally, Seretse helps to lead Bechuanaland to democracy and becomes the first elected president of newly founded Botswana.

It just always makes me happy (and therefore cry) to see how amazing people influenced the world. I’m always just moved to see what a privilege it is to live in a democracy and to be able to vote for what I consider right, and films like this one show what it took to get there.

3. Lion

Last but not least, I watched the beautiful film “Lion” which received six Oscar nominations including Best Picture. I wanted to see that film since it came out but never came around to do so. However, when I saw it on the on-board entertainment list I was so happy to be able to finally watch it, and it was definitely worth the wait.

Based on the true story of Saroo Brierley who, at the age of 5 gets seperated from his family in India as he falls asleep on a train and wakes up 1500 kilometers away from home. Since he doesn’t know the name of his mother nor of his hometown authorities are unable to bring him back to his family. Saroo is later adopted by an Australian couple and grows up in Tasmania. 25 years later, he begins to search for his biological family in India via Google Earth and ultimately succeeds in doing so.

I love films about family and this one has so much family in it. The love of Saroo’s adoptive parents for him and the desperation of his biological mother who didn’t know the whereabouts of her son for 30 years is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. This film is definitely a tear-jerker.

So dear readers, now is the time to stock up on tissues and get watching! And if they don’t make you cry, you have at least watched some good films and maybe learned something new about history.

Please let me know in the comments about films that make you cry or experiences you had with the on-board entertainment on airplanes.


About Bianca

bio pic Bianca is a Peace and Conflict Studies student in Germany. She likes reading, traveling, and discussing the latest Riverdale episode. She’s active in her church’s youth group and has become very proficient at making flyers. She hopes to one day be a diplomat, or possibly a band member. She also let Vlora write her biography, so clearly she is too trusting.

Find Bianca

On Twitter: @stumblinpenguin
On Instagram: @b_p_k




Huge thanks to Bianca for recommending some great movies (well, I’ve only seen one, but I trust her taste in most things)! Don’t forget to follow her on her social media and let us know about the great movies you’ve seen recently.

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The Wolf of Wall Street

May 2, 2016 movies, reviews 1

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Movie Mondays is a series of reviews, discussions, and general movie talk. Get yourself some popcorn (or M&Ms if you’re like me), lean back in your seat, and enjoy the show.


Welcome to the first edition of Movie Mondays! I’ve been wanting to start this feature for about a year. I’m not sure what stopped me, but it might have been my laziness. See, it’s a point of pride for me to make a graphic when I introduce a new feature, even if it is a shitty one (and let’s face it, it usually is). I’m sure someone else is doing Movie Mondays, because the alliteration is just too good to pass up, but these are Movie Mondays on Reviews and Cake and what else are you going to do on a Monday?



I’ve been meaning to watch The Wolf of Wall Street for ages, but I missed it when it was in theaters and then it just sort of never happened. I finally sat down and watched it years later, and I have to say I’m a little disappointed. I think my biggest problem is that the movie is exactly what I expected, but not in a good way. There was nothing really new or innovative about it. Of course not every movie needs to be new or innovative, but if it isn’t, it needs to shine in other categories. But it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong; the cinematography is very polished, the acting oscillates between adequate and great, and the story is okay. It looks as it should, but nothing surprised or moved me in any way. If your main character isn’t likeable, your story needs to be interesting, especially for a three hour movie.



I’m not going to give you a summary of the plot, because you’ve probably already heard about it and, really, there isn’t that much to talk about. Poor guy gets rich, is a complete douchebag, gets into legal troubles, and continues to be a douchebag. There’s a lot of nudity, sex and drug use in the movie. The point of this is to show the excess the characters live in, but… I got the point after the first few times. There’s one scene, in which Jordan Belfort – our main character – takes stronger drugs than even he is used to and we see the whole thing in vivid detail. This was the only scene that at least managed to kind of move me insofar that I felt pity for the character and admiration for the acting. There are no interesting female characters that get more than a minute or two of screen time. The character which the movie does focus on – Jordan Belfort – has no redeeming features. This would be fine if we at least got to understand him, but I never felt like I got more than a shallow insight into the inner workings of his mind.



The Wolf of Wall Street is not Scorsese’s best work – it’s not even Leonardo DiCaprio’s best work. It attempts to be a psychological profile of a man’s affair with greed, but never manages to get further than mediocre softporn. The movie’s only redeeming features are Matthew McConaughey (because Matthew McConaughey) and the fact that it does at least manage to evoke pity for the main character in one or two scenes. It takes itself far too seriously for something that adds nothing new to the discussion.

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Polish Films and Scottish Universities

April 23, 2016 books, miscellaneous, movies 16

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What’s New?

What ISN’T new would be the better question. The last few weeks have been kind of crazy, but mostly in a good way. I’m writing this from the sofa of my temporary flat in Berlin, where I’m staying for six days to participate in a film journalism seminar. It was all very last minute and stressful, because I was also visiting a friend in Dublin last weekend, but now that I’ve had some sleep and rest again I’m very glad I did it. I love movies and writing, and we’re learning a lot about Polish films, because the seminar is organized by the Polish Institute, so overall I’m having a great time.


Read more »

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The Hateful Eight

February 22, 2016 movies, reviews 1

It’s that time of the year again: movie aficionados all over the world scramble to watch the movies nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. I have to admit I’ve only seen a couple of the contenders so far, but The Hateful Eight was one of them.



I did manage to catch an English showing of The Hateful Eight, because there was no way I was going to watch a crappy dubbed German version of it, but I didn’t get to see the 70mm version. If you haven’t been following movie news, Tarantino, in an effort to put all other movie nerds to shame, filmed The Hateful Eight in Ultra Panavision 70, a format that hasn’t been used for decades, which basically means that you get a wider and much more detailed image. Since most cinemas don’t have the equipment to show the movie in this format, there was (is?) a roadshow featuring the movie in its original format and in a slightly longer version. Since I couldn’t go, I can’t say whether it’s worth it, but I have to admit the whole procedure of dressing up and making a proper night out of it appeals to me. Plus, I imagine you get to be pretentious and wax poetic on the vivid colors and crisp image of the movie in Ultra Panavision 70, as opposed to the much inferior digital version, while gesticulating with your wine glass. Ah, one can dream.
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Ten Feel Good Movies For When You Need Some Light Entertainment

December 7, 2015 fun, miscellaneous, movies, recs 6

I was looking for posts on feel good movies earlier today, so I figured I’d just make one of my own. When I need some distraction, I tend towards the light and entertaining, and I could write a whole essay on why these kinds of feel good movies are just as important as all your dark, critically acclaimed epics, but I’ll give you this list instead. Feel free to add to it in the comments; I’m always looking for recommendations! These are some of my very favorites, the créme de la créme of movies that bring a smile to my face.

What a Girl Wants

The classic modern day Cinderella story set in London’s royal society, starring Amanda Bynes as Daphne Reynolds, a girl from New York who is trying to figure out who she really is. I’ve watched this movie too many times to count when I was younger, and I still enjoy it now. My memory isn’t usually good enough to quote movies, but I can mouth the lines to this one.


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Why Bambi Is Actually A Horror Movie

May 4, 2015 discussion, fun, movies, reviews 15

Remember Bambi? Bunnies hopping, birds singing, deer frolicking,… or that’s what you think. I watched Bambi with my roommate last week, and we spent about 20 minutes curled up in little trauma balls afterwards. Since my way of processing things is to write about them, you get to find out EXACTLY why.



Rape, death, annoying little children… this movie has it all. Let’s make a list! Do I need to warn for spoilers for Bambi? Consider yourself warned. Where was I? Right, list.
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The 90s Assemble

April 25, 2015 books, miscellaneous, movies 22

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The Week

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been blogging less since the semester started, so I really like these weekly wrap-up posts to tell you what’s happening. I’ve been in a bit of a funk today for no particular reason, but tuning in to my favorite Indie station (which is running a Ramones mixtape right now – I approve), blogging and, oddly enough, cleaning seem to have done the trick, so now I’m feeling more like myself again. Moving on! This week I…

  1. went to the university cinema (namely a lecture hall) and watched Guardians of the Galaxy again. I didn’t love it the first time round, but I actually fell in love with it this time! I still think the villain sucks, but it’s hilarious and awesome and all the good things.
  2. went to a housewarming party and danced to 90s music, which is clearly the best music
  3. watched Disney’s Anastasia with my roommate, which is creepy and beautiful and another good 90s thing
  4. only ate out, like, twice, so clearly I have impeccable self-discipline
  5. decided that sentimental literature REALLY isn’t my thing. Unfortunately, I still have to take a seminar on it
  6. decided it’s time for my yearly move to another apartment, so I’m looking for places to live (I don’t actually plan to make this an annual event, but who knows – everyone has a thing. Ellen DeGeneres and her wife move around every six months, so… Actually that’s totally stupid; they can afford beautiful houses, why would they move? Moving is stressful. Someone tell them)
  7. FINALLY watched Avengers: Age of Ultron and I even got to watch it in English

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Graphic Design and Superheroes

April 11, 2015 fun, miscellaneous, movies 25

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The Week

This week was busy! Tell me, how do people go to work, have a social life AND blog several times a week? I didn’t work per se, but I finished my last term paper on Monday, and then I had a seminar on graphic design all day from Tuesday to Friday. I am SO glad I’m done with my term papers. I have no idea how they turned out, but I’m hoping for the best. It’s very nice to have some guilt-free relaxation time, but of course the next semester starts in a couple of days. The graphic design seminar this week was voluntary, and I think I learned a lot! I’m pretty sure those skills will come in handy in the future, so I’m glad I went and that my university offers things like that for free.

Photo of the week:

This is my university town – pretty, no?

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Movie Review: The Imitation Game

February 18, 2015 movies, recs, reviews 10

Remember waaaay back in December when I talked about wanting to watch The Imitation Game? If you need a quick refresher on the basic premise of the movie, check out that post. Anyways, I finally watched it!

benedict cumberbatch the imitation game poster


…and OH MY GOD WAS THIS MOVIE GOOD.

It was everything I expected and more.

Great Acting? Check.

Coding? Check.

Frenemies? Check.

A TEAR MY HEART OUT BECAUSE I’M DYING OF ALL THE FEELS story? Doublecheck.

It’s no surprise that Ben rocked the role like Axl Rose on his best day, but I was really suprised that Keira Knightley was right up there with him in terms of quality acting. Now I knew she can’t just play the damsel in distress and she’s had some good roles before, but out of all the movies I’ve watched with her, this was definitely her best performance.

I’m not going to go into the end of the movie or the great twists and turns throughout because I want you all to enjoy the full experience, but trust me when I say it’s great storytelling. At times I knew I was being emotionally manipulated (okay basically the entire point of a movie is to emotionally manipulate you, but you know what I mean), but I didn’t care. It was just heartbreaking and awesome and did I mention it’s a good movie? It’s somewhat anachronological and it took me until the middle of the movie until I understood the exact timeline, but I think it was mostly well done. The soundtrack wasn’t revolutionary, but in this case I don’t think it was a mistake to go with what worked before.

For some reason I kept being reminded of other movies while I watched it. Like, at the very beginning of the movie there’s a scene where a newspaper boy calls out 800 000 children evacuated and you can see the station with the trains leaving and I couldn’t help but think meanwhile in Narnia. And then later you can see kids with gas masks and how can that NOT remind someone of Are you my mummy? (unless that person has never watched Doctor Who, I guess, but in that case what are you even doing with your life)? Then there’s this revelatory scene in a bar that reminded me of A Beautiful Mind (which, by the way, is also a very good movie).

The Imitation Game is nominated for 8 Oscars, a fact I’m very happy about. I never cared much about the Oscars, but I’m planning to watch them this year, and I will SO be rooting for this movie to win a couple of awards.

Have you watched the movie yet? Are you planning to? And what do you think about the Oscars – must watch or totally irrelevant?

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Talk to Me: Blogging Communities

February 9, 2015 books, discussion, movies 10

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to pose a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it! Obviously feel free to write up your own post on the topic and link it in the comments.


Topic

Today’s post is about different blogging communities! Okay, so if you follow this blog or have stumbled upon it before, you might have noticed that, while I mostly post about books, I also post about movies and random stuff I like. If I’ve posted about something that is not book related several times in a row, I wonder whether I can still say I’m a book blogger. It doesn’t really make much of a difference, but since I feel most at home in the book blogging community, it’s worth consideration to me. I think I do consider myself a book blogger, but who says you only have to be one thing? Which brings me to my actual question: What kinds of blogging communities are there? And do most people just keep to one of them, or are they part of different communities?

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Spotlight: Five Movies I’m Looking Forward to in 2015

February 4, 2015 miscellaneous, movies 8



2015 is shaping up to be a great year when it comes to movies! Here are some of the movies I am most looking forward to this year:

Avengers: Age of Ultron





I’ve been waiting for this movie to finally come out for so long that I’m almost over it. Except I CAN’T WAIT OMG. Avengers is like one of my main obsessions and I got on the nerves of everyone I knew for AGES after I saw it. In fact, I probably still do. If you forgot to turn off your bluetooth and you find a “StarkPhone” or a “StarkBook” nearby, I’m probably close. Or someone stole my phone and my laptop, in which case please contact me.

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Couch Potato Edition

January 25, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous, movies 10

Heeeello internet.

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I’ve been dreadfully sick all week, but I decided to crawl out from under my blanket for long enough to let you participate in my misery. Sound like fun? Yes, I thought it did.

Story time!

Okay, let me paint a picture here: After several nightmares in which my tongue is stuck to my gums, I wake up to find out my tongue is actually stuck my gums because my mouth is so dry it might as well be the fucking sahara. I have a massive headache and my floor is a sea of snotty tissues (as in they were actually full of snot, not as in they were stuck-up).

stuck up box of kleenex

This box of tissues is not amused.


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Spotlight: The Imitation Game

December 17, 2014 movies, recs 2

I just decided to introduce a new feature to this blog!



will give me an opportunity to ramble about all the random things I enjoy without it taking over my blog. Although I guess my whole blog is already exactly that, so mission failed. Anyways, here we go.

benedict cumberbatch the imitation game poster


For some reason I never really liked Benedict Cumberbatch. It wasn’t that I hated him as an actor – I hadn’t really watched anything with him in it – it was just something about him that always pissed me off. Strange, I know. Then my roommate introduced me to Graham Norton by showing me the Doctor Who-related clips, and for some reason I decided to watch an episode of the show with Benedict Cumberbatch in it. Turns out the guy is really smart and funny, who would have known? Stop jumping up and down while yelling “ME!!!”, Cumberbitches, I know all about you.

One of the things Ben (we’re on nickname basis now that I like him – he’s totally cool with it) talked about on the show was this movie, and it sounds so frickin’ awesome that I cannot WAIT to watch it. It’s about Alan Turing and his team of code breakers. If you need a quick refresher (I did), Turing is the guy who helped the Allies win World War II by breaking German ciphers and who spent his spare time inventing the computer and theorizing on how tigers got their stripes. He was thanked by society with a chemical castration because he was gay. Go humans.

It looks like Benedict Cumberbatch is an actor that approached this role with great respect and dedication, which is why I’m looking forward to seeing this movie ASAP. Since I want to watch it in English, and German cinema has the annoying habit of dubbing all foreign movies, it might be a little while though. That’s okay though, I’ll just be over here anticipating the crap out of this one.

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