A Hologram for the King (2016)- Movie Review

Tom Hanks: the revolutionary behind words and phrases such as “Wilson!!”, “I’m the captain now”, and “You got a friend in me.” It’s all a testament to the man’s brilliant acting chops, and the fact that he can make something seemingly complex on the surface seem relatively easy. History has a tendency to repeat itself, and with the film “A Hologram for the King,” I think the aforementioned notion will rear its proverbial ugly head once more.

It’s the same old adage: A down on his luck businessman (Alan Clay, played by Tom Hanks) is brought into a project to appease a crowd of people, in the hopes of reinvigorating his career. The project in question is a virtual system for a future metropolis in Saudi Arabia, and the crowds of people are Arabian royalty and their associates. The down on his luck businessman is suffering from depression, and the initial stress we see his character in is quite extraordinary. He has nothing else (family, house, and to an extent, his debilitating health) aside from this demanding job, and is looking to have this post (the job, not this piece lol) build him back up.

In terms of things I liked, the cinematography was a true shining point in this film. I’ve never seen scenery so vivid and representative of a situation since The Revenant (my bias for cinematography is Roger Deakins), so kudos to cinematographer Frank Griebe for his efforts. Also, the theme of appearance versus reality (my generation’s version of this being “Yo this guy got SNAKED”) was done quite well and showed the harsh realities of someone adjusting to a new country with a heavy burden on his shoulders.

But if there’s one character I’d love to point out that stood out from the rest, it has to be Sarita Choudhary’s performance as Dr. Zahra (the love interest of Alan Clay). Seeing a female function in a male-dominated country such as Saudi Arabia was truly an eye-opening experience for me and was a successful use of the culture shock trope. She injects new life into this downtrodden soul and thus is the source of Clay’s renaissance in his career. In the words of my millennial generation, it’s what they would call relationship goals.

If there’s one gripe I have about this film, it’s that there’s a lot to digest at first, and it doesn’t chomp at the bit until the very last act. So if you see or identify as being impatient, this might not be the best film for you.

All in all, it was a magnificent film that opened my eyes and made me appreciate the power of one person to change another’s life for the better, as cliché as that sounds. If you like Tom Hanks, or if you want to spice up your life with an inspirational film, then give this a try.

SCORE: 85/100

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Benefits of Taking French All Throughout High School

So here I am watching an episode of Friends, where Phoebe teaches Joey, the struggling actor, French for his play. Phoebe recites the words “Je m’appelle Claude,” or “My name is Claude.” The former’s accent is natural and the latter’s sounds like the lad at the local pub who gets drunk for the first time. His audition is coming up the next day. To remedy his woes, he enlists the help of an educational CD, with the person telling him the numbers from one through five in French; he responds by saying words like floo, flay, bloo, and blah. The audition starts, and suddenly I see a man looking eerily similar to James Earl Jones (AKA Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy), Joey, and his co-star acting out their respective roles. Given what we know about Joey’s command of the French language, it was certain he wasn’t going to get the role. In comes Phoebe, who tells the James Earl Jones look-a-like that he’s (and I quote) “mentally retarded.” Jones then relays the message forward to Joey saying that his French was really good, but that he wouldn’t get chosen for the part.

What I got from that episode was how awesome it’d be to have French be a part of your language arsenal. My next thought was why most Canadian high schools don’t emphasize the importance of this language in their curriculum. Here are some reasons why schools should consider implementing a four-year high school French curriculum.

Picture this: You are in high school, and you are taking a French course in Grade Nine. Then, because you aren’t in a French program, you decide to not pursue this course for your next three years. We’ve been so accustomed to learning about the English language and all its nooks and crannies, yet whenever we learn French, people avoid it like the plague. It’s important to remember that French is an official language for Canadians, especially when it comes to finding jobs and travelling to others parts of the world. Most employers see languages as a plus, and having even intermediate competency will definitely bring a smile on their faces. Also, if you travel to other areas where French is spoken, the cost of having to buy a dictionary or investing time and effort in finding a translator can be eliminated, thereby making your experience that much more worthwhile.

Let’s say that you, a male, stumble upon some drop dead gorgeous female, who knows only how to speak French. You’ve been waiting your entire life to finally see if your pick up game’s good or nah. What better language to do it then French, a Romance language. Provided you can do a good job and not mess up things like which words are masculine or feminine, you’re gonna be picking up more chicks than ever before. Heck, you might even be famous if she happens to be the talk of the town. Let’s all hope we don’t end up like Joey and bloo de la bloo de la bloo bloo blay our way into a conversation.

Until next time folks,
Kelvin P ^____^