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“Kajillionaire,” Reviewed: Miranda July’s Astounding Metaphorical Vision of a World Out of Whack



Imagination cannot be quantified, but Miranda July nonetheless boldly tries to in her new film—starting with its title, “Kajillionaire.” It’s saying too little to credit July with more imagination than most filmmakers. More important, her formidable powers are distinctively cinematic—they aren’t limited to the conceits of screenwriting but run comprehensively through her movies, inflecting image, performance, sound, dialogue, music, the conception of character, and the very vision of the world. Like July’s 2011 film, “The Future,” “Kajillionaire” (which opens in theatres on Friday) is built on a cosmic scale, with personal suffering finding correlates—even effects—in enormous geological events with a metaphysical twist. Like “The Future,” “Kajillionaire” is a simple and linear story in which complexity arises from the radical expressiveness of more or less its every moment, and in which the elements of fantasy look deeply at fundamental realities. Just as “The Future” is one of the most discerning movies about the lives and loves of young idealists, “Kajillionaire” is a ferociously sharp-minded movie about parents and children, about families and their bonds, about family unity and its place in the world.

It’s the tale of the Dyne family, a trio of desperate scammers: Theresa (Debra Winger), Robert (Richard Jenkins), and their daughter, Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood), who has been raised to be a scammer along with them, and whose very name—which isn’t even heard until late in the film—is the vestige of a scam. Unable to raise the rent on their strange and sordid unofficial apartment (an empty office in a rundown factory), they pursue one more scheme, and, along the way, Theresa and Robert lure an outsider—an optician’s young assistant, named Melanie (Gina Rodriguez)—to work with them and enter the family circle, sparking Old Dolio’s jealous resentment. Old Dolio has been raised with the toughest of love, with no discernible signs of affection and no childlike frippery. (She wears style-free and mismatched sweatshirts and pants; her hair hangs loosely down, untended; and her quasi-robotic voice reflects an upbringing without emotional expression or empathetic connection.) Yet the faux warmth with which Theresa and Robert welcome Melanie arouses Old Dolio’s yearning for some authentic parental warmth—and Melanie, with authentically warm feelings toward Old Dolio, engages in some manipulative behavior of her own, in the interest of her prospective friend.

The movie’s drama is built on an abstract and fantastic framework (Did Old Dolio ever go to school? Did her somewhat distinctive background arouse questions?), but a bare-bones synopsis hardly captures the florid displays and pointillistic touches with which July dramatically expands and exquisitely illuminates the action—the emotional power that arises from her large-scale inspirations along with her finely discerning, poignant sensitivity to the piercing power of offhand remarks and passing glances. It’s in these adornments, at both ends of the perceptual spectrum—the monumental and the flickering—that July turns an implausible fantasy into a work of emotional and intellectual realism.

Also like “The Future,” “Kajillionaire” is a story of the temptations of isolation and solitude in the name of independence. Yet “The Future” is built on the dramatic bedrock of simple, familiar, instantly recognizable situations and characters, a pair of thirtyish artists living on dull day jobs and pining for the time and the mental space to create in unencumbered freedom. By contrast, “Kajillionaire” is a narrative house of cards, with many tiny backstory details, dropped in along the way, that have to fit together just so in order for it to make any sense at all. The elaborate setup makes the movie very hard to describe—because nearly every detail is both a plot point that shouldn’t be spoiled and a giddy surprise that’s wondrous to experience. What’s more, it’s all too easy to dwell on July’s teeming, idiosyncratic contrivances at the expense of the strong ideas that energize them. July’s world-building, her creation of a wholly synthetic setup, is ingenious in and of itself, but its allegorical artifice is not at all divorced from the mind-bending pressures of the modern day. Rather, its surrealism is a way of facing present-day realities minus the political particulars that can hardly be addressed without screaming. “Kajillionaire” is a metaphorical vision of a world out of whack, and it sees the disturbances in a vicious cycle that links economic despair, embittered nostalgia, and wanton cruelty. July’s aesthetic imagination is inseparable from her empathetic curiosity and emotional urgency; it tempers a howl of anguish at a world of pain into a kind of cinematic music that unfolds it in nuanced detail and extends a hand of consolation, even offers a note of hope.

The Dynes’ main scheme is postal theft; Old Dolio somersaults outside the post-office door (as if avoiding detection) and, reaching deep into a post-office box that they rent, steals letters and packages from neighboring boxes. They don’t just pilfer merchandise and checks; they insinuate themselves into the lives of people whose names and addresses they harvest, and hand-deliver ostensibly “lost” merchandise in quest of rewards, or, with clever diversionary tactics, steal from them. But, at the start of the action, the family is desperate: they’re on the verge of eviction from their utterly inadequate housing, an empty office in a company called Bubbles, Inc., which actually makes bubbles. Their room leaks bubbles (they have to be there at specific times, to mop the overflow), but they pay only (!) five hundred dollars per month, which now they don’t have. They’re three months in arrears and cadge a two-week extension for their fifteen-hundred-dollar debt from the company’s owner (Mark Ivanir), whose comedically involuntary soft-heartedness is a natural fit for a suds-maker.

It’s Old Dolio who figures out the scam that will pull them through, with a payout of fifteen hundred and seventy-five dollars (a figure that turns into a sort of incantation, as does its divisibility into an even three-way split). Old Dolio, the virtually nameless child, is also something of an ageless child (though she’s revealed to be twenty-six). She is an equal of sorts to her parents but also their total dependent—even as, to a large extent, her parents depend on her (not least, for her skills as a forger). Theresa and Robert, called upon to justify their unsentimental ways, present them as egalitarian—they treated her like an adult, without the comforting illusions or delusions of childhood gaiety and frivolity. What’s more, they take for granted that their nurture follows her nature—that she utterly lacks the human feelings that others, such as Melanie, display. They’re wrong, of course; Old Dolio’s journey of self-discovery—aided by Melanie’s alert ruses—and self-differentiation from her parents is the movie’s core.

The Dynes are raw survivalists whose lives of crime keep them off the grid, where Robert wants them to be; he fears surveillance cameras, fears being traceable in any way by society at large, thinks that society at large is inherently corrupt and is run on addictions as much material as emotional. (He cites caffeine and sugar.) Father knows best: with contempt for what passes for ordinary life, he uses the very title of the film to belittle the widespread and delusional dreams of wealth which he thinks drive people to lead lives of quiet aspiration. (Spoiler alert: the real kajillions are love.)


The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses




When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack




Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).

It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.

However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.

With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.

Choosing the Wrong Table

Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.

First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.

Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.

Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.

When to Hit and Stand

As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.

One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.

While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.

Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.

When to Split and Double

If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.

Click here to check the best tips on blackjack tournament strategies:

Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.

While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.

It is not recommended to split when:

  • You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
  • You are dealt two 9s
  • You are dealt two 5s
  • The dealer holds a 10 or picture card

It is best to split when:

  • You are dealt two 8s
  • You are dealt two aces
  • The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)

Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.

Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.


Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.

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Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students




The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like. 

Who Are You?

Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.

Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:

  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What do you like or hate most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest value in life?
  • What emotions do you express easily?
  • What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
  • Who you want to become in five years?
  • What is your major objective for next year?
  • Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
  • What motto do you try to live by?
  • Where would you like to travel?
  • If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?

Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.

Sentence Completion

Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:

  • Before I came to college, I was interested in…
  • When I was a child, I wanted to become…
  • The best moment I remember most about high school is…
  • My favorite pet is…
  • The things I value most are…
  • Five years from now I hope to be…
  • My greatest personality trait is…
  • My favorite subject at high school was…
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • My greatest fear is…
  • After I graduate from college, I…

The Reception Line

You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • What motto do you try to follow?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What music do you like?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What do you like about college life the most?

Take Sides

You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:

  • Watermelon or banana?
  • Sweat or bitter?
  • Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
  • Partying or hiking?
  • Listen or speak?
  • Rock or pop?
  • Morning or night?
  • Superman or Batman?
  • Robocop or Terminator?
  • Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
  • Los Angeles or New York?
  • Liberal or conservative?
  • American football or ice hockey?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.

These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.

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