Film Friday #221

Citizenfour (2014)

Oscar winning documentary Citizenfour tells the thrilling and disturbing story of Edward Snowden, a former NSA employee who exposed the fact that the US government collects and stores endless information about not only their own citizens but people all over the world. As Snowden shares his information with filmmaker Laura Poitras, writer Glenn Greenwald and the international press, the inevitability of the authorities discovering his identity and extraditing him is ever present. When it comes to political thrillers, Citizenhour is more exciting than a lot of fictional thrillers I have seen – not only because what Snowden has exposed is real and affects it all but also because it hints that his revelations are just the tip of a very, large iceberg and that his life is genuinely under threat if  the US government ever finds him. It’s easy to see why Citizenfour won the Oscar and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is concerned about privacy, wondering what their government (or the US government, who has decided that they can collect information about anyone around the world without any limitations) is up to or how business decisions really get made. 4/5

So we'll smuggle me out in a burka, right? And I'll just live out the rest of my days in the IPC's basement

So we’ll smuggle me out in a burka, right? And I’ll just live out the rest of my days in the IPC’s basement

Breathe In (2013)

An Upstate New York family hosts a British exchange student who upsets their entire family dynamic. Megan (Amy Ryan), Keith (Guy Pearce) and their daughter, Lauren (Mackenzie Davis) seem to have the perfect life. Lauren is a champion swimmer, Megan is super involved in Lauren’s school and the local community and Keith divides his time between teaching music and playing in the philharmonic orchestra. When eighteen year old pianist, Sophie (Felicity Jones) arrives for the semester her presence and particularly her connection with Keith starts to expose cracks in the family unit. Keith feels stifled by Megan and her desire for stability and suburbia and feels drawn to Sophie’s apparent free spirit. While Megan is so wrapped up in creating a supportive environment for her daughter that she knows nothing about Lauren’s activities with Aaron (Matthew Daddario), who is also drawn to Sophie. And Sophie is searching for a father figure, seemingly innocent but obviously aware of the power of her sexuality. This was the first film I watched off my 2015 blindspot list and I found it really compelling and thought-provoking with a particularly strong performance from Pearce. I wasn’t completely sure about the ending but it left me thinking so that has to be a positive thing. 3.5/5

Breathe IN

Hold still I’m breathing in your beard

She’s All That (1999)

Zack’s (Freddie Prinze Jr) long-term girlfriend, Taylor (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) dumps him for a reality TV star (Matthew Lillard) after the summer holidays. Rather than being devastated, Zack suggests to his friend, Dean (Paul Walker) that there’s nothing special about Taylor, who is a shoe-in for Prom Queen, and that given the right hair, make-up and boyfriend any girl could rule the school. And a bet is made. Dean will pick the girl and Zack will turn her into the Prom Queen. Dean picks, Laney Boggs (Rachel Leigh Cook), a very obviously attractive girl who… gasp… likes art and… double gasp… wears glasses! Zack sets about dragging the perfectly content, Laney, out of her life and into his superficial, judgmental one where she’ll have to content with Taylor and her gaggle of evil friends, pluck her eyebrows and try to figure out if Zack actually fancies her. (Spoiler alert: he totally does… but only once he hots her up). Where do I begin with this one? I think the biggest problem is Laney. Her character is so devoid of any kind of personality that it’s hard to imagine why anyone would be interested in her. On the other hand Zack is just as confusing because most of his behaviour makes him seem like a genuinely nice guy but at the same time he’s entered into a bet with his friend that has him treating another human being like a product and he spent years with a harpy like Taylor for whom he appears never to have had any affection. As 90’s teen movies go, this one is a total stinker and best avoided. 1/5

Looking at my nails is more exciting than this movie

Looking at my nails is more exciting than this movie

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (1994)

Drag queens, Anthony ‘Tick’ Belrose / Mitzi Del Bra (Hugo Weaving) and Adam Whitely / Felicia Jollygoodfellow (Guy Pearce), along with their transsexual friend, Bernadette (Terrence Stamp) decide to take a gig in Alice Springs arranged by Tick’s wife. In order to get there from Sydney they’ll have to travel cross-country in a mega RV, which Adam has bought with his mother’s money. As they make their way across Australia’s barren centre they’ll wrestle with an array of interesting characters, a series of prejudices and their own demons before Tick sees his son for the first time in years. This wonderfully over the top Aussie road trip movie is in equal parts hilarious and touching and the performances of all three leads are excellent. Stamp brings a quiet elegance to Bernadette, while Weaving is strong yet vulnerable and Pearce shines in his first breakout role. Director, Stephan Elliot, makes great use of the natural beauty of the Outback juxtaposing it against Tick, Adam and Bernadette’s amazing costumes. Highly recommended. 4/5

Cock in a frock on a rock

Cock in a frock on a rock


  1. I know glasses equals unattractive in some films haha. I like the genre, but She’s All That really was a poor film. Citizenfour does sound interesting.

    1. Abbi

      She’s All That had potential but it’s so superficial! I would very much recommend Citizenfour. It’s scary how much information our government let’s the US collect about us with no permission.

  2. I’m very concerned with my privacy–and the lack of losing it–Citizenfour is a documentary I will definitely watch. Thanks for the review, Abbi.

    1. Abbi

      It’s scary how worrying but unsurprising Citizenfour is!

  3. theipc

    I’m always looking for more souls to drain down in my basement!

    Did you shit on your swan yet??

    1. Abbi

      I have discovered they all belong to the Queen and shitting on one is a capital offence. How are you doing?

      1. theipc

        I would hate for you to be put away for treason…! Doing in general? Or my shitting? The only swans around here I have to drive to so I haven’t got around to them yet. Maybe tomorrow!


        1. Abbi

          Go forth and defile many birds on my behalf!

  4. Jay

    For some reason Priscilla was one of those movies that made the rounds of my office.

    Citizenfour was ‘important’ but I’m not sure if it was a great documentary. It was too passive for me. It’s a very cool testimony to history, but not much of a commentary on it.

    1. Abbi

      Priscilla is a classic. Right now it seems run of the mill but at the time it was revolutionary. I see where you are coming from on Citizenfour but the risk to Snowden and his associates made it a compelling watch for me.

  5. It’s well known that i have an insatiable lust for girls wearing glasses.

    By the way, Citizenfour sounds fantastic

    1. Abbi

      I used to wear glasses but lasik has set me free. I would highly recommend Citizenfour. It’s eye’opening but unfortunately not surprising.

  6. Great reviews. With the exception of She’s All That, really want to see these films.

    1. Abbi

      I hope you get to see all of them but definitely skip She’s All That.

  7. I’ve though of watching Citizenfour many times, but I keep feeling like it will bore me for some reason…

    It looks great though and the topic seems quite interesting.

    I don’t know why I can’t just sit down and watch it haha

    1. Abbi

      It’s filmed a lot like a spy thriller so I doubt you’d be bored. You should check it out.

  8. I absolutely adore Priscilla!! This wasn’t your first time watching it, was it??

    1. Abbi

      No it wasn’t but it was the first time since I started doing reviews. It’s a great film. I’ve also seen the West End musical. I’m normally not a fan but it totally worked for Priscilla.

  9. I’ve been debating that Breathe In movie, not sure yet about it. I’ve seen the other ones you mentioned all good choices. I used to love Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It all makes sense now because I love my drag queens too. 🙂

    1. Abbi

      It’s a good watch but it’s depressing.

      Even before Drag Race I was secretly wishing I could be a drag queen.

      1. Me too 😦 what does that say about us! I always tell my husband I wish I had a drag queen friend. lol

        1. Abbi

          It says we are so secure in our femininity that we want to crank it up to 11 in a way that you can only do if you’re actually a man… or something.

          1. That’s what it is, I had no idea! And yes we need to be able to crank it high girl!

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