You will see a lot of documentaries this year and you will struggle to choose ones that offer a little more than a moralising commentary on the modern world. You will want to see something that shows you facts, but in a touching and identifiable manner deprived of over-sentimentality and manipulation. You will want to watch a story of a man who was just like us and yet managed to change the whole world. And you won’t have to search any further from today, because here it is: Internet’s Own Boy.

Photo 01_Aaron_Swartz

I went to the screening of Internet’s Own Boy reading some sort of minimalistic blurb from Google’s first page where the only information I got was that Aaron Swartz was the co-creator of Reddit. I know Reddit, I thought. I LIKE Reddit. But what is there to say much about it and especially one and not the only of its creators? Well, thank God I wasn’t put off by te Google’s blurb because Internet’s Own Boy is definitely not a film abour Reddit. Unless of course we are talking about what Reddit stands for. Not literally, but ideologically. So really (in the proper blurb written by the people who actually cared to promote what the film is really about):

The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz; from Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two year legal battle with the Federal government. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26.”

Brian Knappenberger cares. Knappenberger cares to make a film that will make its audience care. I’ll be honest with you, I am not that familiar with the director’s filmography to judge his personal involvement in the political activism around the internet, but he definitely did his research with love and passion that is extremely contagouos. Internet’s Own Boy does tell the story of Aaron Swartz from the moments of when we see him as a kid teaching his brothers some basic maths to the moment where he manages to demolish SOPA- yeah, you know, the cenzorship of the internet we learned too late about. But Internet’s Own Boy is really about power. Aaron Swartz was just our opportunity to realise that we, too can have the power.

Photo 02_Lawrence Lessig and Aaron Swartz

I’m not sure how much information I will now serve you because it comes from what I heard from him and her and other people in my life that were in smaller or larger form involved and interested in the politics of the internet. Apparently the guy who created it wanted it to become a free medium for every human being. We know where that went. And some of us, more interested in the topic might realise that freedom doesn’t necessarily comes hand in hand with the internet.

Yes, there is an amazing part, the part that Aaron Swartz used and promoted- the internet used to share information for free between its users, the chance to gain new knowledge, meet new people, develop ourselves and our society. And there’s also the darker side- the internet controlled by the government, cenzored internet, internet owned by one man. Internet’s Own Boy focuses on dicussing the argument for making internet people’s medium again, it inspires to gain knowledge that would enable us people to use it as a way to promote social activism. And yes, I hope you can see it in my words already- Internet’s Own Boy is a very inspiring movie.

It makes you want to get into coding and start another Wikipedia. It makes you want to connect to other people and together build a website where knowledge gained by humanity throughout ages would be free. It makes you want to believe that we can form a better future for the next generation, generation which hopefully would feel more in control of this medium. And it makes you feel like you can change the world by the age of 26, like Aaron did.

It also makes you sad. Aaron’s death is real and after watching his philantropic work succeed, it is extremely painful for us all. Internet’s Own Boy is an important film that comes out at exactly the right time. Let’s use it for something more than just a passive admiration of wonderful editing, great directing and a heart-touching story. Allow it to inspire us and let’s learn the lesson, not moralising but actually true, that it gives us.

by Amelie

It’s time to write this annoying article where I promise you that everything you hate about this blog will soon change into butterflies and rainbows. It’s been hard. I felt bored with an old template so I went back to an even older one sure that I’d be able to make it as impressive looking as it first did. But hell, the template seemed to forgot everything I taught it. First of all, when you go on the main page (the only page anyone probably goes on these days) you see some old banners scrolling promising competitions that are long closed and disurbing your eyes with some weird arse photoshop picture of Channing Tatum being raped by Ted. I know, I know. It isn’t fun. People complain and by people I mean my friends. My friends worry about this blog being so chaotic and disorganised and also not kept up to date (as is my usual problem), so as of today I announce that

Midnight Review is Under Maintance

What does it mean?

Well, first and most importantly- you can’t complain anymore. Because why would you? I am fixing some bugs, changing a template and working on some important shit. And now it’s official. So you can’t say I’m a lazy bastard.

Secondly, it means that some maintance is actually being done Right Now. Yes, I am not joking when I promise you that the template will change soon. It will and it will be fucking amazing. Your jaw will drop, your eyes will pop. Most importantly, it will be fun to use. But it’s a difficult template to make and it’s being made from a scratch, so you have to be patient. I promise it’s worth it.

Yes, it’s been a difficult journey for the last year. I’ve been quite busy with my life, my other writing which is more important to me than film reviewing if I’m honest with you and often I simply didn’t have a brain capacity to post a review or even a news article here. But these times have changed. I realised that if I don’t drink every evening I might find a little time to write something, so I promise that from now on, in this maintance madness you will find articles on Midnight Review every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Maybe more often than that, but only three days I can guarantee.

Also, a new exciting section will be added to Midnight Review and I am very happy and privilaged to announce it. Finally someone was brave enough to ask me to write some book reviews, so today I will publish one and from then on, it will become a regular thing. So now bookworms, you are welcome to hate me too.

I used to write this column on an amazing website called Filmaster (I wrote about the website on various occassions, you should check it out, you hipster) and I am thinking of continuing it here. So I will now also review Bad Horrors on Midnight Reviews, and if you’re Polish you can always click on the link and read the review in Polish on Filmaster where I will be also publishing a version of them. If you’re not Polish, you can just visit Filmaster for the sake of it. It’s very cosy there. You would love it.

So for now, that’s that. I will try and keep you updated as much as I can. There’s stuff happening on Facebook always because I’m bloody addicted to it, so do not hesitate to rant there, recommend me a film or just say hi. I will say hi back. And I will watch your film.

by Amelie

It’s a little late but living in Medway I find it hard to see good films that seem to come out every week this summer and yet, do not reach this area whatsoever. So I travel to London to see good films and it often happens, like this week, that every film I see is brilliant. Add Curzon Soho to the viewing experience and you get a night to remember forever.

I saw the Congress, Two Days and One Night and Lilting the same week and it took me a few minutes to pick one to review. I was thinking about it quite hard even though shortly, because I tend to only review bad films on my site and although ranting is fun, I do not promote those who deserve it. So Lilting.

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Lilting might be leaving cinemas soon, so go and see it before it does. To say that the story is brilliant and the acting is just outstanding would be an understatement. It is so much more than this. Lilting is extremely urgent and importnat film, especially today when half of us travel from place to place trying to feel at home furthest from the one we were brought up in. Lilting is a story about communication, fitting in and understanding oneself and other. It is told with butterfly sensitivity, in beautiful shots and through editing like no other. It is a poem that runs like waves, small and large, angering and calming the sea.

I hate this part of a review when you are suppose to reveal the plot, so as most of the times I will be very broad and vague as chicken soup. A pair of lovers, one of them dies. His mother, a Chinese woman who never adjusted to English culture she’s been surrounded by since she moved to England years before, is left alone in a care-home, a non-home to her. The son’s lover, Richard (amazing Ben Whishaw) decides to visit her, one, two and then every day and with a help of a young Chinese speaking girl, he learns how to communicate with the mother of Kai.

Andrew Leung and Been Whishaw in Lilting

I wish this description could give Lilting the justice it deserves but the story is just a pretext for the film to uncover the subtelties of communication, the complex details that make it difficult, often impossible. Not only is it language that allows us to communicate but we need to move within the cultural frames, often to foreign to understant. Lilting offers us an important look into the feeling of being lost- lost in a different culture, lost in your age, lost after the death of a loved one. The director, Hong Khaou is a poet behind the camera, leading our eyes into hearthtouching and melanholic images always balanced with a gentle smile which kills cheesy sentimentality that so often destroys films like this one.

I cannot recommend Lilting enough. It is a beautiful, tear-sweetening story, one that stays in one’s heart for a very long time after the screen goes black.