The Circle (2017) – Review

The Circle is a 2017 thriller movie written and directed by James Ponsoldt, starring Emma Watson (as Mae Holland), Tom Hanks (Eamon Bailey), John Boyega (Kalden) and Karen Gillan (Annie Allerton). This is the movie adaptation of the sci-fi novel The Circle by Dave Eggers, written in 2013.

The Circle introduces us to Mae Holland, a young girl employed in the call center of a water company.
Receiving a call from her friend Annie, she is given the opportunity to attend an interview at the huge technology and social media company The Circle.
Mae, excited, attends the interview. She conducts it brilliantly, and she is hired.
The company comes across as cutting-edge, with a friendly, youthful company culture. The buildings are organized like a campus, where you can participate in sports, group parties and more.
Mae’s work is constantly monitored and evaluated, with a very quick feedback.

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White Nights, Fyodor Dostoevsky – Review

The novel White Nights, published in 1848, is one of the first works written by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It is no coincidence that the story is set in St Petersburg, the city where the author spent his youth. The main themes are: dreams, solitude, introspection and love from the point of view of the dreamer.

The protagonist is a young boy who usually wanders alone in the streets of St Petersburg. He has no friends or family and lives on unrealisable dreams and realities. Aware of the unrealizability of his thoughts, he prefers to isolate himself, because only with himself he can truly be happy. His life is turned upside down when, one evening, wandering through the streets of the city, he meets a girl. The woman cries and despairs and tells the young man her sad fate: in love with a man to whom she and her grandmother had rented a room, he promised to return after a year with enough money to guarantee her a future. A year has passed, and still no trace of the man. The two begin to confide in each other and become more and more intimate when, on the fourth day, the fiancé suddenly returns. The woman does not hesitate for a moment to leave the protagonist alone to his fate who, resigned, returns to his world.

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Brain on Fire (2016) – Review

Brain on Fire is a 2016 autobiographical drama movie directed and written by Irish director Gerard Barrett. The movie is based on Susannah Cahalan’s memoir Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness and stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Jenny Slate, Thomas Mann, Tyler Perry, Carrie-Anne Moss and Richard Armitage.

The movie begins with a brief flash forward that shows us Susannah in a catatonic, suffering state in a hospital bed.
The flash forward stops. Susannah is a reporter for The New York Post, engaged to Stephen. Her life seems to be going well: she is employed, has friends, and a boyfriend who loves her.
However, in the middle of her birthday party, she has a brief episode of spacing out. For a moment, a very brief moment, she loses track of reality. As brief as it is, Susannah doesn’t really pay attention to what happened.

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Burmese Days, George Orwell – Review

Burmese Days is a novel by George Orwell published in 1934 about the decline of British imperialism before the outbreak of World War II.

The story opens with the intrigue-filled scenario of U Po Kyin, a cunning and spoiled magistrate whose ultimate goal in life is to increase his power by joining the circle of the British. The only way to succeed is to discredit the only other possible candidate, Dr Veraswami, who is a friend of a British man called Flory, who works in Burma as a timber merchant.

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I Want to Eat Your Pancreas – Review

I want to eat your pancreas (君の膵臓をたべたい Kimi no Suizō o Tabetai?) is a 2018 anime movie directed by Shinichirō Ushijima, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Yoru Sumino.
The story stars a young student, whose name we won’t know until the end of the movie, and Sakura Yamauchi, a classmate of his who is, apparently, very cheerful and sunny.
By chance, the boy finds Sakura’s secret diary, where he learns that she is suffering from a terrible pancreatic disease. Because of this, she has only a few months left to live.
However, the boy reacts with stoicism, not caring too much, and Sakura notices.

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George Orwell – Homage to Catalonia – Review

Homage to Catalonia is George Orwell’s personal account of the Spanish Civil War of 1936, which saw Franco’s fascists lined up against socialists and anarchists.

Orwell took part as a militiaman in the left-wing anti-stanilist party POUM. The war the author describes is not the one we might mistakenly imagine, also influenced by 21st century film works. It is a war of positions, exhausting and stressful. George Orwell describes camp life at that time: the endless hours of waiting, the incessant rain that makes the ground muddy, the bunkers dug at best and shared by dozens of comrades-in-arms, the crabs, the tattered clothes, the outdated weapons, the scarcity of ammunition. In Barcelona, however, the situation is completely different. As if the war were just a scary story to admonish children to go to bed early and not throw tantrums, people live carefree lives, social hierarchies are broken down and an air of well-being hovers everywhere.

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