REVIEW: A Glitch in the Matrix

So this documentary was meant to explain whether or not we are living in a simulation, and give some basic evidence to support the theory. I am sure you want to know, are we living in a simulation? And the answer is, I have no idea. The movie was incredibly confusing, circling back on itself multiple times, and none of the ideas presented connected to each other or to an overarching theory at all. I spent the entire movie trying to figure out what point each story or explanation was trying to make, and I got nothing.

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The first thing I found confusing about the documentary was that most of the interviewees were not introduced nor explained to have any sort of credibility at all. Other than one person, who was an Ivy League professor, the people presented were mostly shown as avatars, and claimed layperson jobs. Most of them had just experienced what they described as some sort of realization that they live in a simulation. I really think the movie could have been a lot more coherent and convincing if there were more credible, actual sources, and information that made sense to back up the theory instead of random people telling their stories about why they believe this is a simulation.

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Something I also believe that the movie missed out on was sort of stepping back into the big picture of the simulation theory. Even just an explanation of exactly what it was would have been very helpful, as many of the different sources that spoke about the theory described it in opposing ways. Some claimed that there were higher beings controlling us video-game style, and some said we are just being watched in a laboratory. This would have been intriguing if the ideas were presented sequentially, but all of the different theory explanations were intertwined as the documentary continued, which made it very hard to follow. It would have made the documentary much clearer to me if it was presented less as a collection of stories and ideas, and more as a coherent theory or conviction that we do live in a simulation.
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Overall, I would not recommend this documentary unless you have a lot of prior knowledge about the simulation theory. As a newbie to this idea, I felt constantly lost and like I had missed an important point that would have brought all the different ideas together into an actual argument. I think the stories told were interesting, but at the end of the movie, I still felt unconvinced, and felt that I had not actually gained any information about this idea at all. I am now intrigued about the simulation theory, but find it hard to make it applicable to my own life or musings because this documentary simply gave me nothing to work with or think about.

PREVIEW: A Glitch in the Matrix

This documentary that comes out on February 5th, 2021, centers around the question of whether we are living in a simulation. Filmmaker Rodney Ascher uses testimony, philosophical evidence, and scientific explanations to try and work through the question, and possible answers. Director Ascher is also known for the documentaries “The Nightmare” and “Room 237”.

I am excited to watch this documentary because I have often pondered this question, and I hope I can be convinced one way or the other by the evidence that is provided! The trailer also looked super creepy and thought provoking, so I’ll hopefully be thinking about the simulation we live in for days after the movie.

The movie is available through the Michigan Theater Virtual Movie Palace for $12 (and $10 for members). Link to the teaser trailer and the movie here: https://www.michtheater.org/screenings/a-glitch-in-the-matrix/

REVIEW: Once Upon a River

When the movie began, there was a quick succession of jarring, high intensity events, without much background about the characters or context for them. As the movie progressed, the storyline moved slower and slower, which caused my interest to wane. I liked the movie as a whole, but I would most likely not recommend to a friend, because of the lack of character depth and the slow pace of the movie.

One point I think that is important to discuss about this movie is the lack of character background or profundity. Right away, the main character experiences several tragedies and traumas, and the audience barely knows who she is, so it is hard to know if these are routine, or actually traumatic. We as an audience aren’t given almost any background about what her life usually consists of, which makes these first few events very disorienting. This also made it somewhat difficult to empathize with her struggles at first. I find that this often happens when a movie is adapted from a book, which can have a much richer expansion of details and exposition, as well as elaboration on thoughts of the characters. This was especially tough because the main character was meant to be mostly quiet and broody, so I feel like the movie audience missed out on a lot of her personality and feelings about what was going on in her journey.

Something I loved about the movie was that the characters were all so different and interesting people. As the main character travels along the river and beyond, she comes across people with such rich and unique lives. However, I felt like the movie lacked woefully in giving them their full background and history that would have really improved the movie. However, what I did learn about the people she met was so intriguing, especially because I felt like I was getting a glimpse into a world that I have never experienced or even brushed up against. I found it especially interesting to see the characters in the movie because it was set in rural upper Michigan.

This movie was certainly unique, but the underdeveloped characters and lack of excitement made it less enjoyable than it could have been. I think that the book was probably very enjoyable and interesting, but the adaptation into a movie did not exactly do the story justice. While I was definitely fascinated by the storyline and characters, I would not choose to watch this movie again or recommend it to others.

PREVIEW: Once Upon a River

Once Upon a River is a drama set in rural Michigan, on the edge of the Stark River. Margo, a Native American teen, endures trauma and tragedy before setting out on a quest to find her estranged mother. On her journey, she meets all sorts of interesting people, and comes to understand herself, while leaving her difficult past behind.
I am excited to see this film because I love a good coming-of-age story, especially with a non-white star. The movie sounds very intriguing, has won awards in several different film festivals, and is adapted from a bestselling novel of the same name.

The movie can be rented through the Michigan Theater Virtual Movie Palace, for $12 (and less for members). Watch the trailer and rent it here: https://www.michtheater.org/screenings/once-upon-a-river/

REVIEW: Stage: The Culinary Internship

Stage: The Culinary Internship follows 20 hopeful chefs as they participate in a program at one of the top 10 restaurants in the world, called Mugaritz, in Spain. The interns stay there for a year if they can make it through the brutal training and daily hardships, learning how to make difficult, unique dishes and withstanding the pressure of a busy kitchen that demands perfection.

Stage: The Culinary Internship' Review: A Polished Restaurant Doc - Variety

Through the documentary we learn about a few of the students specifically, who have come from all over the world to learn at Mugaritz. The documentary focuses a lot more on the lives of the students than on the restaurant itself, and it follows them through several months of their internship and some of their personal struggles in the kitchen. A lot of them decided to go home instead of moving on to the second round, or quit the program because of its difficulty. This was surprising to me, as I thought that such a selective program would make people want to stay and that it would have gathered people who were much more passionate about cooking than it seemed. It felt like perhaps the documentary missed out on a lot of the struggles of people day to day, and skipped over their difficulties. It just showed them deciding to leave and exiting the program, which seemed a little confusing. Also, I was expecting more of a focus on the food they were making and how it was made, so this was a little bit of a disappointment to me. I liked hearing about the stories of the different people, but I would have really enjoyed a focus on the foods as well.

Stage: The Culinary Internship | documentary Channel

But what was shown of the foods was incredibly interesting. They have a whole team of people who just design the ideas for the foods, giving them a backstory and reason before sending off someone else to figure out how to make them. And the foods they made were so odd, from the actual items used in the dish themselves to the presentation of the platter. I was so intrigued by their use of all sorts of flowers, animal parts, and things I had never even heard of. The head chef of the restaurant even remarked in the documentary that he did not care if the patrons thought the food was disgusting, he just wanted to incur some kind of reaction from them. I thought this was very interesting, because usually a restaurant tries to make dishes that appeal to people that they will enjoy.

Stage: The Culinary Internship - Enzian Theater

Overall, I liked the documentary, but I would have preferred more of a focus on the food than the different interns, as I was so much more interested in the different things being made and the way the restaurant operated. If you like culinary shows and weird foods, than I would definitely recommend this documentary!

PREVIEW: Stage: The Culinary Internship

This award-winning documentary follows the apprenticeship of a small group of interns as they learn culinary skills and wisdom through one of the best restaurants in the world, Mugaritz. It is a Michelin-starred kitchen, under the world renowned Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz. The documentary reveals the inner workings of a restaurant such as this, and the difficult, risky journey these interns have embarked on.

I am excited to see this documentary because I love watching highly rated chefs and kitchens in action, especially when they are showing new chefs the ropes. I hope I can also pick up some cooking skills on the way as well!

The documentary is available through the Michigan Theater, in their Virtual Theater Palace. The movie is $12 to rent, and less for members. Watch it here: https://www.michtheater.org/screenings/stage-the-culinary-internship/