It’s as if two of the lead characters in the two of the most popular movies in the past few years decided to make a movie that wasn’t for 16 year olds and China. It’s a welcome respite because unlike the current rage it’s not a remake, not even a ‘re-imagining’. It’s an original telling of a familiar and timeless topic that will always be relevant in any generation most likely in any part of the world and will probably still be true (and difficult to watch because it’s so true), thirty years from now. And just because of that and how low the bar has become this movie deserves much praise.Continue reading
Some thoughts on reading Mr. Alex Tizon’s ‘My Family’s Slave‘.
At my age I remember the concept of ‘giving’ children away to other people as either ‘gifts’, as a way to pay debt or as a means of saving children from difficult or impossible lives. I do not consider this uniquely Filipino. I see it as a last resort way out of poverty and therefore would imagine this to happen even today in similarly impoverished situations.
I am convinced that many my age and older have first hand knowledge of similar events in the past or even until now. There are many families I am aware of that are living with so called ‘relatives’ that live in the same house and play with or take care of their children depending on their age but do not enjoy the same privileges. They have limited education, sleep in far worse conditions, and I suspect some may not receive wages. They however work tirelessly night and day for the benefit of the family.
The show has taken a courtroom drama turn as the legal issues between the brothers are finally threshed out and all in one episode as well. While there had been 3 episodes from the time Chuck managed to tape a confession from Jimmy, this episode closes the issue of Chuck’s attempt to get Jimmy disbarred once and for all.
We are given a short backgrounder on Hector Salamanca’s (Mark Margolis) motivations and a history of his feud with Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). It may seem oddly coincidental that he is delivering profits to the charismatic Don Eladio at the same time that Fring’s profits are delivered there too, but we take it all in stride considering how important the scene is to understanding one of the most powerful individuals in the show (incidentally Don Eladio it turns out is played by Steven Bauer, who is famous for his role in Scarface (!!). I thought I recognized him).
By far however, the scenes indicating that Mike (Jonathan Banks) is getting tired of it all are the most telling of this episode. He is first shown to ask about joining his daughter in law for dinner where he hesitates but gives in eventually. And in another he says how it feels ‘nice to fix something for once’ when Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) asks him if he fixed Chuck’s door when he pretended to be a handyman. Later on he is shown reading a DIY magazine while at work. Continue reading
I know I’m very late posting this and am doing so belatedly because I just don’t want to skip it. The two things I remember most are below:
A.) Chuck (Michael Mckean) above reminds us all why we hate him. He is condescending in his application of his own self righteous standard onto his brother, who while obviously isn’t the best version of himself still does not deserve it considering he is actually trying to improve himself and win his appreciation.
I enjoy shows that have almost no music, so when Mad Men came out I was beyond hooked. Here was a show that not only dared to de – romanticize the ’60s but even goes as far as relying on great camera work and even greater acting to get their point across, sans any music cues that in my mind serve as a disingenuous way to tell the audience when to pay attention.
Having said that I get chills whenever the music turns on during any of Mike Ehrmentraut’s scenes. Mike is a cool customer, a regular James Bond in sheep’s clothing and when he is engaged in spy like activities I cherish every second. The scene that finally introduces us how he finally ends up at Los Pollos Hermanos via a wide shot with thumping music is a winner. Seeing Gus Fring again is actually refreshing if you can say that about any bad guy, and how he gets wise to Mike is a mystery that will have me thinking about it till next week.
Of all the comic based movies I’ve got to say the people who make X-Men are the most grounded and downright courageous of them all. To come out with this movie you have had to outright declare war on commercialism and *gasp* go for pure story, pure realism. Grit and truth.
The movie discusses the utter uselessness of the hero persona, and that war per se or the constant use of battle to resolve dispute is essentially futile, and that eventually the hero ends up anything but heroic. But rather as aged, desperate, weak, regretful, bitter people longing to correct wrongs of the past.
Not that any of that of course, is a surprise. Governments use propaganda to bombard people with the idea of heroes on top of white horses galloping off into the sunset after they complete great missions. But time and time again historians and often those heroes themselves belie the truth – that war and the warrior mystique is shrouded in glamour and fantasy to course fools into fighting wars.
And here we have Wolverine the ultimate X-Men, the greatest and most iconic hero of them all taking the series of movies to its logical, agonizing and tragic end. A task that is not only truthful but worthwhile and reasonable considering the aging of the actors and of course, the fact that another X-Men with characters swooshing around in tights just won’t make sense any more.
However as much as the premise itself is beyond worthy, the story telling is not.
What I learned from The Crown is that essentially, the monarchy, or at least the British one, are a sort of government sanctioned and promoted celebrity family. People seem to love them by default whether they deserve it or not, and so the state uses this as an opportunity to promote among other things, proper behavior, loyalty to country, patriotism and devotion to duty. Something to aspire to. Without which you supposedly would have, especially among the lesser educated, mayhem.
Because they are so popular, people are obsessed with everything they say and do. Movies, books, magazines – a whole industry of publications are dedicated to everything these people eat, wear, their stature, their earthly possessions, who they ‘fancy’, none of which may actually be true yet is absorbed, fabricated and supplemented by people like water in the desert. And because there is such obsession and (unnecessarily deserving) adulation, they use this to promote their standards. Like sobriety, conservatism, restraint, respect for law and government, and all those the government sees befit a British citizen. Continue reading
So, the things I found wrong with it:
Alessandra de Rossi is good, but she seems too old for the youngish guy in the Marinduque scenes, and in addition to that, an absolute cold blooded B in the way she left him after he and his sister extended so much hospitality to her. Sure we’re supposed to feel empathy towards a woman desperate to resolve the mysterious postcards she’s been getting, but when there was apparently no scene of her giving the guy an explanation or even a goodbye I felt sorry for the him.
About those postcards, it took up to the start of the second act for me to realize those cards were mysterious at all. I thought they were still from her ex but it wasn’t made clear it wasn’t until way into the movie. Which is a pity because the plot was fairly rich. It wouldn’t have taken a sentence or two to establish this, perhaps by declaring this before she went on her trip.
I love sci – fi of almost any sort, and the premise behind this is exactly the type of sci – fi I grew up with. What if on a 90 year journey to a new world you are awoken sometime in the middle and now face the prospect of having to live the rest of your life in an empty albeit luxurious ship. Surrounded by comfort and extravagance you will no doubt still feel lonely, so how do you deal with that?
In a way its a little like Omega Man, the film I am Legend was based on, both relying on the ‘last man on earth’ plot where we investigate what a man left alone will do. The common denominator being the inevitable feelings of despair and loneliness, providing the catalyst to which all action he will do from thereon is justified against.
And that’s the problem with this movie, because the protagonists’ action was unacceptable. He awakens another passenger because he is supposedly infatuated with her based on videos about her – which make you roll your eyes because of course you’ll want to wake someone who looks like that regardless. The action of waking her up and being made to believe it’s because he likes her persona reminds me of the old joke about watching porn because of the story. It strains the suspension of disbelief necessary in all sci – fi.