Zara Zaccone

I write about many things.

PASSENGERS | A Non-Character Driven Story

‘Passengers’, for those of you who don’t know, is a romance posing as a science fiction film, starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, and unfortunately falls into the category of films-I-wanted-to-love-but-just-couldn’t.

While the cast is of fairly good renown, the score (by Thomas Newman) appropriately atmospheric and the cosmic scenery positively breathtaking, the films fails in its initial goal to make the viewer care about the two bland main characters and the incidents that befall them.

In a world that seems to be concerned with sustaining the human race but for some reason values writers over engineers, the slow build-up of events can be appreciated.  As a ploy to keep one watching, the overall plot-line is continually hinted at in ways that suggest something more serious is at play, while the human drama takes the spotlight.

The main plot-points which take the primary focus, however, are predictable and generally overused in modern cinema as it is, though not to say unrealistic, unfortunately.  These personable moments are not badly acted, per se, except how foreseeable they are makes it difficult to see anything other than two actors reading from a script that’s already been written and performed a hundred times before.  Though the instance in which one character comes close to killing the other was thoroughly unexpected and, therefore, appreciated.

My one real point of praise for the narrative as a whole falls to the two minor characters, Arthur and Gus Mancuso, portrayed by Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishburne, respectively.  The introduction of the latter alone, over two-thirds of the way through the film, was so unanticipated and delivered in such an exceptionally humorous way that it elicited relieved laughter from much of the cinema audience, including myself.  Although it was only a cameo role, his character made a distinct impression and gladly shifted the definitive plot-line into the foreground.

Overall, ‘Passengers’ is a fairly well-made film that does virtually nothing to differentiate itself from other works of the same sub-genres and ultimately failed to make me care about anyone except the robot – my apologies, android – and Gus.


GERMANY | A Past, Present & Future

The two things about Germany, as a country, that intrigue me the most are the language and the history.

The language, unlike most throughout Central Europe, cannot be typically described as beautiful, like French, nor does it share the same musical quality of Italian.  Instead, partly due to its abrupt phonetics, the German language can come across to some as quite harsh and dominating in its structure, both written and spoken – although the latter characteristic may be attributed to certain aspects of German history.

German, as it stands, is one of only two foreign languages I would ever consider undertaking to learn (the other being Russian, conveniently similar – if only slightly – in sound and phonetics) and I feel the most appropriate environment for me to learn would be the country itself.  All I would bring with me to assist in this regard is a simple phrase book.

‘History’ is, fortunately, a broad term in this context and encompasses all topics, from architecture to agriculture.  How Germany came into being and continues to thrive, despite however many hindrances it has suffered and endured in between, is of great interest to me.

I have, and have always had, a particular fascination with the Second World War and I am curious to discover, firsthand if possible, how the people of Germany coped – or didn’t cope – with the political machinations of their fuhrer, and the ensuing war machine, throughout that unforgettable period.

It is an intention of mine to make an extended visit to Germany, or several short ones, and hopefully earn a position with a local historical society, so that I may freely research the intriguing country and compile my findings with two possible goals in mind:

1. A non-fiction biography of the country as a whole throughout the 20th century;


2. A more personal fiction about a family through the generations as they endure and survive, and lament and celebrate all that Germany has been and perhaps will be.

SS-GB | Make or Break or Just Plain Wait

The only things that are ‘wrong’ with ‘SS-GB’ so far are people continually comparing it to ‘The Man in the High Castle’ and the fact that only two of the five episodes have aired. Mini-series are notoriously slow-moving and even I haven’t formed an opinion yet.
It took me three full episodes – half the series – of ‘War & Peace’ to determine whether or not I cared enough to watch the rest.
In case you hadn’t guessed, it’s just plain wait.

ONE-SENTENCE REVIEW: Sherlock | The Six Thatchers

‘Sherlock’ persistently spins such a deeply detailed, and often misleading, intrigue with many a moving part that when it finally reaches the climax and ‘all is revealed’, it takes great skill, intellect, patience – and a good memory – to keep from tripping over the mesh of mystery and pulling it all down, leaving little but a shambling mess of what the writer once believed was a brilliantly constructed castle of a case to be solved, with cheap, overused tragedy as the flag to adorn the crumbling spiral tower at its centre.

Long live Mary Watson, you assholes.

Joy Division | Legend

Joy Division, in their early days (as Warsaw), were an eclectic punk rock band, but by the time they’d fully established themselves, shortly after releasing their (self-released) EP, An Ideal for Living, the punk era was as good as over.

During the production of their first studio album, Unknown Pleasures, their Strawberry Studios producer, Martin Hannett, had them alter their sound, much to the band’s initial chagrin, thus creating an entirely new genre: post-punk – and no one has quite matched nor rivalled them in elegance or execution since.

They are a legend in their own right, second to none.

Although many of Curtis’ lyrics painted pictures of desolation and loneliness, his vocals, along with Sumner, Hook and Morris’ instrumentals, were so iconic and riveting that what was being sung almost didn’t matter.  Every song is something anyone can get lost in and absorbed by, whether they related on an emotional level or not.

Little of their later material were songs that could easily be sung along to, what with Curtis’ unique voice, but were – and still are – instead intently listened to with closed eyes and open minds.  Each track chosen for Unknown Pleasures (1979) and Closer (1980) has the uncanny ability to transport their listeners to, if you’ll pardon the pun, unknown but close planes of existence and pleasure.

Long live Ian Curtis.

Long live Joy Division.

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