Film Review: Annihilation

Film Review: Annihilation

The Science Fiction Epic You Have Been Waiting For
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*This review contains minor spoilers regarding the first 20 minutes of the film*

Annihilation is written and directed by Alex Garland and stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason-Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. Annihilation takes place in a familiar reality like our own but in this world, an alien force field-like aura called "The Shimmer" has descended upon the earth.

The film centers around the character of Lena (Natalie Portman), who lives an ordinary life as a biology professor at the start of the story. Things get interesting when her husband, Kane, returns unexpectedly from a secret military mission. We soon learn that Kane (Oscar Isaac) is horribly sick. After being intercepted by government officials, both Kane and Lena are brought to a secret facility located in proximity to "The Shimmer." There, Lena learns that her husband went on a military mission into "The Shimmer" and that he was the only one to survive.

Lena learns from Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason-Leigh) that "The Shimmer" appeared three years ago and has been expanding ever since. Lena finds out that Dr. Ventress plans to lead a team of scientists into "The Shimmer." Lena, knowing that her experience with the study of biology and military background could prove useful, volunteers to join. The film then follows a team of female scientists as they investigate the alien Shimmer.

Annihilation is a cerebral experience. It is a movie that discusses complex ideas of life, death, self-destruction, brokenness being made anew, and how humans fit into these mind-bending concepts.This is a very bold artsy sci-fi movie that will be discussed and dissected for many years to come.

This is probably one of the best looking sci-fi movies ever made. The world of the "The Shimmer" is beautiful and visually stunning. The visual effects are gorgeous in that they really bring to life the familiar yet truly alien world. The vibrant mix of colors traps the viewer in the astounding alien world, which only adds to the total immersion. The environment becomes more surreal and alien as the team of scientists ventures deeper into "The Shimmer."

At times, Annihilation feels more like a horror movie. Garland creates an unnerving atmosphere and handles suspense in a masterful way. There are certainly more than a couple of moments that are utterly terrifying, but fortunately, the film does not completely rely on jump scares to create this effect. The film reminds me of Ex Machina (Garland's previous film about the dangers of AI) in that the feeling of an ominous dark presence lurks in the shadows throughout the entire movie. This feeling builds the tension and suspense of every fleeting moment, ultimately unleashing in full fury during the prolonged epic climax of the film.

In regard to acting, the performances were solid. In particular, Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason-Leigh were phenomenal. Oscar Isaac was good, but nothing spectacular. The others, unfortunately, did not really stand out, but that reflects more so on the writing than the acting.

One of my issues with the film is its pacing. The film takes a long time to get moving, and I found myself checking my watch several times during the first act. Heavy exposition and the bouncing between flashbacks and reality bring the opening to a slow crawl. Fortunately, as soon as the characters enter "The Shimmer," things get very interesting.

Overall, Annihilation is a fantastic science fiction epic deserves a spot next to the classics like Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The pacing may not be the best, but that does not completely affect the overall film. Alex Garland has created a wholly unique alien invasion film, and if you are in the mood for a complex story that oozes thought-provoking ideas, then I recommend Annihilation.

I give Annihilation an A- and a recommendation.


RELATED FILMS TO CHECK OUT: Ex Machina, Interstellar, Arrival.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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9 Eligible Princes You Need To Know About Now That Prince Harry Is Off The Market

You too could have a Meghan Markle fairytale
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Prince Harry's royal wedding is officially over and there won't be another British royal wedding for quite some time now, as Prince George is way too young to start thinking about that. Fortunately, there are plenty of other countries with plenty of other princes that are still eligible bachelors at the moment. Lucky for you, I did my research and compiled a list of all the eligible princes you need to know about know that Prince Harry has tied the knot with Meghan Markle.

1. Prince Louis of Luxembourg (31)

Prince Louis is the third son of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg. He has recently become a bachelor again after his separation with his wife of 10 years, Princess Tessy.

Fun Fact: He graduated from Richmond, The American International University of London with a BA in Communications. He can also speak Luxembourgish (the fact that's even a language is fun fact by itself), French, German, and English fluently.

2. Prince Sebastien of Luxembourg (26)

Prince Sebastien is the youngest child of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg, so if you marry him, you'll probably never actually be queen because he's pretty far removed from the throne. However, he's relatively young and single, so best of luck.

Fun Fact: For some bizarre reason, this prince actually went to college in Ohio. He played rugby and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2015. Now, he is back in his home country and is an officer in the Luxembourg Army.

3. Prince Phillipos of Greece and Denmark (34)

You read that correctly, Prince Phillipos is the prince of not one, but two countries. He is the youngest son of King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie of Greece and Denmark. Unfortunately, Greece abolished their monarchy, so he's a prince in name only there.

Fun Fact: Like Prince Sebastien, Prince Phillipos also went to college in the United States. He earned his B.A. in foreign relations from Georgetown University in 2008. Fortunately, for us American girls, he is actually still living in the US and he works in New York City as an analyst at Ortelius Capital.

4. Prince Albert of Thurn and Taxis (34)

Ever heard of Thurn and Taxis? No? Me neither. Anyways, Prince Albert is from the House of Thurn and Taxis, which is essentially a very old German aristocratic family. He is the son of Prince Johannes XI of Thurn and Taxis and Countess Gloria of Schonburg Glauchau. His family is well known for their breweries and castles, so unless you're gluten-free, you can't really complain.

Fun Fact: He's not just a prince. He's also a racecar driver and 10 years ago he was ranked 11th on Forbes Magazine's List of The 20 Hottest Young Royals.

5. Prince Mateen of Brunei (26)

Prince Mateen is basically like all the guys you already know, except he's royalty. He's the prince of Brunei, which is a small country on the island of Borneo, south of Vietnam. He is one of the five sons of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, and he also has seven sisters. Maybe that's a little different than the guys you know, but one thing he takes very seriously, just like most frat guys, is his Instagram.

Fun Fact: Mateen enjoys playing polo, flying in his private plane, cuddling cute wild animals, and keeping up his Insta game with 890k followers. You can follow him @tmski.

6. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai (35)

Sheikh Hamdan also has a killer Instagram with 6.3 million followers. Anyways, Sheikh Hamdan is the billionaire crown prince of Dubai and the second son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and essentially the king of Dubai (Emir). He's actually next in line for the throne because his older brother died in 2015.

Fun Fact: Hamdan's hobbies include skydiving, zip lining, and diving, just to name a few, so if you're an adrenaline junkie, Sheikh Hamdan is the prince for you.

7. Prince Hussein of Jordan (23)

Prince Hussain is the son of the extremely beautiful, Queen Rania and Abdullah II of Jordan and next in line for the Jordanian throne. At 23, he's already a second lieutenant in the Jordanian Armed Forces and he was the youngest person ever to chair a UN Security Council Meeting


Fun Fact: Like Prince Phillippos, Prince Hussain also graduated from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.. Also, like Prince Mateen and Prince Hamdan, he's Insta famous with 1.3 million followers and you can follow him @alhusseinjo.

8. Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece and Denmark (19)

Like Prince Phillipos, Prince Constantine-Alexios also has two countries. Lucky for us though, he is also living in the US right now attending Georgetown University in Washington D.C. (like pretty much every other prince, amirite?) He is the oldest son of Crown Princess Marie-Chantal and Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.

Fun Fact: He's Prince William's godson, so that's pretty neat. However, if that wasn't cool enough, you might like to know that this Greek/Danish prince was actually born in New York. Oh yeah, you can also follow him on Instagram @alexiosgreece where he has 88.7k followers.

9. Prince Joachim of Belgium (26)

Prince Joachim of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este is the third child of Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este and Princess Astrid of Belgium. Although he bears the title, "Prince of Belgium," he is also Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, and Prince of Modena. Unfortunately, he'll probably never actually be king in any of these countries as he is ninth in line to the Belgian throne.

Fun Fact: Prince Joachim has degrees in economics, management, and finance, but he decided to join the Nautical School in Brugge after completing college and is currently an officer in the Belgian Navy.

Hope is not lost for all you girls dreaming of finding a Prince Charming that's literally a prince. After reviewing the data, my best advice is to transfer to Georgetown where princes are basically around every corner.

Cover Image Credit: @meghantheduchessofsussexstyle/Instagram

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Your Favorite Rapper/Abuser/Homophobe Died And I'm Indifferent

Supporting abusers, racists, and sexual predators makes you look bad.

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On Monday afternoon, a video was released showing rapper Xxxtentacion shot dead in his car after shopping for motorcycles in Florida. The video and announcement of his death came swiftly to social media, followed by outcries of sadness and anger. Social media users quickly divided themselves up into fans who were devastated by the death and those indifferent to his death because of his extremely violent nature.

I'm one of the latter.

When Xxx died, he was in the middle of a lawsuit from 2016 in which he disgustingly abused his pregnant ex-girlfriend. After physically and emotionally abusing her throughout the year, he finds out she is pregnant and beats her so terribly that he sees it necessary to lock her in a bedroom and wait for her face to heal before he takes her to the hospital. While I spared the gory details, her account of the abuse is horrifying.

If abusing women isn't enough for you, Xxx also admitted to beating a man within an inch of his life while he was in juvenile detention because he "thought he was gay." He then smeared the beaten man's blood all over his hands and face as if he enjoyed the violence.

As accounts of this violence arose, Xxx's music grew and it seemed as if the violence was fueling the popularity of his music. His abusive behavior went hand in hand with his career; there was never a moment where his fans did not know the extent of his crimes.

So, to hear people say that he was "too young to die" or to "respect the dead" is ridiculous and harmful for the victims he traumatized. Death is never a good thing, but supporting someone into their grave that was violently homophobic and misogynistic shows a lack of humanity and speaks volumes about our society today.

Our society excuses an artist or influencer's crimes simply because of their talent. It puts the value of entertainment above sexual assault, abuse, racism, and homophobia. It eradicates the importance of the victims and their feelings, along with any future incidents the artist might commit.

It speaks even more to the idea of the victim in our society. Despite the trauma the victim has gone through, the perpetrator is often given the victim complex. Excuses arise to shed the perp in a better light; she was dressed promiscuously, he was an orphan with a rough childhood, he was reaching for his wallet but he may have been reaching for a gun.

We've all heard it before.

When will the victim be free to heal and seek justice without the idea that it may have been their fault?

Your favorite rapper beat two people within an inch of their lives but because he creates "bops," you're still going to support him? Your favorite singer put his hands around another singer's throat and beat her black and blue, but because it was nine years ago he should finally be given a break? Your favorite actor sexually assaults countless co-stars, belittling them and traumatizing them, but you want to separate their work from their crimes?

I didn't want Xxxtentacion to die, but I will not be mourning his death. His fans are cowards who are unwilling to stand up for victims of abuse and violence. If you feel differently, maybe you should look within before you speak out.

Cover Image Credit:

@xxxtentacion / Instagram

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