Gemini (2017)

The color, the composition… Where to begin describing such a masterfully-crafted piece of cinematography? And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The mystery… no explanatory monologues or contrived conversations… The movie let’s the story unfold naturally to develop its tone; the pacing is spot on. A traditional Noir set in a modern era, the lack of clever dialogue isn’t due to poor screenwriting. Rather, it’s to the story’s advantage—the Devil is in the details, e.g. what isn’t said. Somehow the striking visuals don’t distract from the intriguing dynamics between characters. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to say which is more impressive: that out of the plethora of stars, none of them chews the gorgeous scenery or any of the aforementioned qualities that make this movie to mesmerizing.

Nerve (2016)

Often, teen dramas don’t get enough attention simply because their target audience already does. This cautionary tale—hypothetical yet plausible—depicts an online game, in which the viewers anonymously vote on the actions of the players, all being equal participants. A strong performance by lead, Emma Roberts keeps the story from falling flat. The ending is heavy-handed in its delivery of the movie’s message (a warning about the dangers of peer pressure fueled by social media) but considering the kind of behavior we see exhibited on a regular basis… is overstatement even possible? While this movie won’t go down in cinematic history, it’s fast-past and full of twists and turns; i.e. a clever and entertaining story. What else should we expect from the filmmaking duo, who brought us “Catfish” (which subsequently coined the term used to describe a fictitious online persona designed to deceive)?

Ingrid Goes West (2017)

Ingrid’s passion for social media both reflects and fuels deep-seated insecurities. Following an epic meltdown that ruins a friendship, Ingrid indulges her obsession with a popular blogger, who seems to be and to have everything she wants by moving across the country to stalk her. The skill with which the writers handle so many complex issues is impressive. Given the extreme responses of the general public, who expects to be told how to think, it comes as little surprise many people hoped the movie would take an extreme stance about social media. The beauty of the script is how multifaceted the characters are and how the story is crafted so as to give them breathing room. It shows us a hilarious yet painfully accurate portrayal of ourselves. Like any other machine or tool, social media can equally heal and hurt depending on how it’s used.