Tag Archives: He Named Me Malala

He Named Me Malala

malala

Academy Award winning director Davis Guggenheim’s 88 minute educational documentary, He Named Me Malala, aims to share with the world the private and public life of teenage activist and the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai.

If I think back to the first time I heard about Malala’s story, it was on BBC Oxford back in 2013. I used to listen to local radio a lot whilst driving to and from work, but one national story caught my attention that day.

You see, Malala – who now lives in Birmingham – was being interviewed about why, at the age of 15, whilst sat in the classroom of her home town of Swat Valley in Pakistan, she was targeted for assassination by the Taliban and shot in the head at near point blank range.

In talking about her road to recovery, from being in a coma to bravely discussing how she was not going to let the death threats stop her campaign, I was genuinely moved and close to tears because it was such a powerful speech. Not the most practical of problems to have when you’re trying to navigate the A34 roundabout at 8.30am – although I believe that’s what you might refer to as a first world problem.

But it’s true. It was incredibly moving and I simply couldn’t believe that it was a 17 year old saying these things. If I try to imagine what I was like at that age, and whether I’d have been able to do what she did? There’s just no way on Earth that I’d have had the kind of fortitude that Malala displayed.

After being shot in the head, kicked out of her country and told if she were to ever return, her entire family would all be killed, just for holding an opinion that was different to the criminals who had overtaken her home town and imposed their own rule of law; it’s unbelievable.

Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, becoming the youngest person ever to win it. But He Named Me Malala focusses slightly less on the importance of winning the award and instead what it really tries to do is balance this by showing Malala the way she is at home. Particularly focussing in on her family and her relationship with her dad; a huge influence on her activism. There’s also an attempt to balance this personal life with her travels around the world, speaking to presidents and royalty.

Not only speaking with them, I might add, but telling them, without any fear, exactly what she wants from them. For example, her appointment with Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria where she demands he does something to save the girls that were kidnapped by Boko Haram shows exactly why Malala is an incredible person.

Unfortunately, the documentary is something of an inconsistent mess. By trying to focus on two different aspects of her life, and with such a short run time, it can’t truly decide what it really wants to be. You see the mundanity of life for a teenage girl, sitting on class and writing her homework, mixed with scenes of her recounting being oppressed in Pakistan. Then it’s straight to a scene of her looking up pictures of Roger Federer on Google images, back to talking about how her dad’s life was threatened. It’s simply not enough of one thing nor the other, despite what should be an interesting juxtaposition.

It paints the picture of Malala as a normal, regular human being. But then, on the other hand, it shows you the extraordinary things she’s achieved and is capable of and you see with your own eyes, hear with your own ears, just why she’s not a normal, regular 17 year old. She’s capable of so much more than the normal person.

Apparently, He Named Me Malala is being made available to secondary schools all around the country. And rightly so, in a way. Her message of equality of access to education for everyone in the world is an important concept for kids to learn about, so it clearly makes sense to send it in to schools.

Likewise, I am personally glad that I managed to catch it in its short theatrical run because I have learnt a lot about Malala that I didn’t know already. But – and it’s unfortunate that there is a ‘but’ – it seems like it could’ve been more insightful and may be a case that the person at the centre of the story is more interesting than the way her story is told.

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Failed Critics Podcast: Awe Steve That Stinks

scouts guide

Everybody, raise your right hand and say it with me:

On my honour, I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to Owen and to Steve,
To help other people
And to keep the Failed Critics Podcast on my iTunes subscription list at all times.

You may lower your hand so that you can press play now and listen to your hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes, with their special guest Brian Plank, play a game of 20 Questions around the camp fire, stay up late talking about movies (such as He Named Me Malala, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and Kill Your Friends) and scare Brian by telling him ghost stories.

Well, Steve tells a ghost story of sorts with a review of Housebound, a horror film from New Zealand (not Australia). Owen finds possibly the worst Bruce Willis movie ever made in Hudson Hawk, whilst Brian – still recovering from the shock – talks about indie documentary King of Kong.

There’s time before all of that for the group to sing a rendition of Kumbaya – but unfortunately the mic wasn’t plugged in. So instead of doing seven versus in full again, they decide instead to take a look at why the Chinese market get a different Star Wars trailer and what’s wrong with Warcraft. We pay a small tribute to horror icon Gunnar Hanson who passed away this week, as well as casting our beady eyes over the BIFA nominations.

Join us again next week where we’re inviting you lot to send in your listener questions! We’ll answer them, whatever they may be about, during the podcast.

LISTEN VIA ACAST FOR THE MOST INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE

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US Box Office Report: 02/10/15 – 04/10/15

The Martian sciences the sh*t out of making money, The Walk loses its (bank) balance, Sicario means “dolla dolla bills y’all”, the public vote against Freeheld, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Proving that Matt Damon can say all of the most accidentally ignorant crap that he likes and that Ridley Scott can spend a full half-decade crapping out stinkers whilst both still remain the kind of perfectly lovable and bankable box office draws that Hollywood executives wish to Maker they could create out of thin air, The Martian is your new box office number 1.  The big story for many people is how the film has fallen just short of breaking Gravity’s “Best October Opening Ever” record – by $750,000 – although the estimates may push it over the top.  Because, after all, who cares about excellent openings unless they break records, right?  Besides, if we should be sad about anything, it should be the fact that the godawful Hannibal is still Ridley Scott’s best opening weekend ever.  That’s the real tragedy.

Speaking of tragedies, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Pepé le Pew imitation in The Walk.  This is meant to be a serious movie, right?  Cos, quite frankly, I probably won’t be able to take seriously two hours of “Omlette du fromage”.  Audiences very much seemed to agree with me, in this instance – that, or they saw Man On Wire and sussed that they didn’t need to see it fictionalised and in 3D – and even with critical acclaim and an initial opening exclusively on IMAX theatres, its true home, the film failed to find much of an audience.  In fact, and in sharp contrast to Everest from a few weeks back, it didn’t even manage to crack the Top 10, stalling out at number 11 with only $1.5 million.  The film hits actual theatres that people want to go to next weekend, but this whole “release early in IMAX” thing really doesn’t seem to be paying off as studios were likely hoping it would.  Y’know, probably because IMAX really just isn’t very good.

But do you know what is very good?  Sicario, that’s what!  One of the year’s absolute best films finally went wide this week and, for a bleak-as-f*ck and slow-moving thriller that is as decidedly uncommercial as… well, as Denis Villenueve’s Prisoners, did surprisingly well, securing third place with a decent $12 million.  The film even supposedly has an “A-“ CinemaScore, too, so it may have some legs over these next few weekends.  Comfortably above it on the chart, meanwhile, is Hotel Transylvania 2 which actually held better than the first film did – and that only dropped 36% between weekends, let’s not forget – with a miniscule 32% drop and $33 million.  So, once again, can Genndy Tartakovsky please go and make whatever he wants now?  It’s clear the public will accept it!

Do you know what they didn’t accept, though?  Freeheld.  Yes, the weekend’s big Limited Release, and the latest blatant entry in Julianne Moore’s awards nomination reel, turned out to be a bit of a stinker, and nothing kills off a Limited Release’s box office prospects better than middling reviews.  Freeheld therefore only managed to scrape $40,000 from 5 screens and a per-screen average of $8,000.  Still, at least it can take comfort in the fact that it’s not Stonewall!  That film, incidentally, dropped down to 83 screens and made an absolutely pathetic $18,700 this weekend.  Better performing was the documentary He Named Me Malala which took a strong $56,000 from 4 screens for a per-screen average of $14,000.


the martian 2015

You know what’s been strong this week?  My paragraph transitions!  …here’s the Full List.

Box Office Results: Friday 2nd October 2015 – Sunday 4th October 2015

1] The Martian

$55,000,000 / NEW

Super happy to see this one do well, if for no other reason than it might give Ridley Scott the kick up the arse he needs to stop making crap films this decade.  Yes, I know that he plans to make his next film another Alien movie/Prometheus sequel, let’s focus on his career after that, OK?  In fact, whilst I have everyone’s attention, can we all just stop making Alien-related movies, please?  We haven’t had a good one in almost 30 years, and I highly doubt that the Neill Blomkamp who just made Chappie is going to turn that around.  Although I will admit that I am still excited for that one, in a “trainwreck fascination” kinda way.

2] Hotel Transylvania 2

$33,000,000 / $90,541,765

Saw this yesterday and a review will be up by Thursday as I still have to write this week’s Lost Cels first.  Film’s millimetres away from being genuinely great, for the record, although its best asset is still its utterly amazing animation.  Seriously, the work that Genndy and co. have done with translating 2D-style squash-and-stretch animation to 3D is just outstanding.  I cannot wait for him to put it to use in a film that doesn’t have Adam Sandler’s icky undertones attached to it.

3] Sicario

$12,075,000 / $15,076,295

Just a few more days and I get to see this brilliance again!  God knows I’m going to need something to wash down Pan with.  Have I ever mentioned that Pan looks like utter garbage?  Cos it really does.

4] The Intern

$11,620,000 / $36,523,892

You know what?  If this actually built to something and wasn’t two sodding hours long, I’d be giving this a full-on enthusiastic thumbs up.  It’s not particularly funny, but it is really charming and its characters are really likeable and the cast are great, and it manages to balance lionising The Older Generation and The Way Things Were with a genuine respect for the modern world and businesswomen who try to juggle work and family without being condescending or placing one higher than the others.  Seriously, it gets so much right; I just wish it built to its ending, was actually funny, and wasn’t two sodding hours.

5] Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

$7,650,000 / $63,241,124

And the maze keeps running running, and running running, and running running…

6] Black Mass

$5,905,000 / $52,521,030

No, seriously, how has no-one made a Black Eyed Peas parody song about The Maze Runner yet?  Is it because The Black Eyed Peas were The Absolute Worst and nobody actually remembers anything from any Maze Runner after having experienced them?  And I just answered my own question.

7] Everest

$5,510,000 / $33,181,310

Tosh from Torchwood is in this.  Unsurprisingly, she is given basically zero lines.

8] The Visit

$3,950,000 / $57,695,090

Anybody managed to see Cooties yet?  I have high hopes, since I actually laughed at the trailer and it has Alison Pill who always deserves the best things, but I know that this can easily go very, very wrong and the reviews aren’t great.  Still, at least it looks better than Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, a film whose trailer is Exhibits A, B, C, and all the way down to Z on why we should just stop using zombies now forever.  ZOMBIE BOOBS LOL!

9] War Room

$2,800,000 / $60,544,613

Oh, just go away already.

10] The Perfect Guy

$2,400,000 / $52,615,190

So Creed isn’t due out in the UK until January.  January.  Now, initially, I got really confused, since it’s basically a new Rocky movie and Rocky Balboa opened simultaneously in the USA and the UK.  But then I realised something: they’re setting up Creed to be an awards season contender, so now I’m just annoyed.  Even if it’s good, Creed ain’t getting nominated for jack, and the whole Awards Season thing of keeping us Brits out of the loop on seeing these films until the opening of the next year is bullsh*t.  Again, NON-SIMULTANEOUS RELEASING OF ENGLISH-LANGUAGE FILMS IN 2015 IS BULLSHIT!

And you thought I’d get through one of these pieces without stepping on my soapbox!  Ha!

Dropped Out: The Green Inferno

Callum Petch guesses we’re kicking this city down.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!