Saturday, September 19, 2020
Saturday, August 15, 2020
Like many, I spent a large chunk of my childhood fantasizing about having a super-power, and what I'd do with that power once I'd mastered it.
Flight? Flying would be a neat sensation -- the first few times, anyway -- and get me across town faster. But as my lone superpower? Meh.
Super speed? I couldn't afford the grocery bill necessary for maintaining the metabolism required for that lifestyle.
Invisibility? Fantasizing about that super-power always reminds me of a Porky's movie.
Super-Intelligence? Comic book characters with super-IQs always dress in nerdy costumes (see Mr. Terrific's "fair play" costume branding).
Super-Elasticity? See Invisibility.
Project Power, the Netflix original starring Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Dominique Fishback, shows us what our world might be like if a drug existed that would give you super-powers for five minutes.
Project Power pretends to be a sci-fi flick about super-heroes, and there is some of that in the plot about a pill that gives enhanced animal-based powers to users. But really, the movie is a standard about a man fighting against overwhelming odds to find his kidnapped daughter. The plot is predictable, the script melodramatic, and the whole thing underachieves. The story builds to a dramatic super-powered fight where a character's power is revealed to be that of a . . . wait for it . . . pistol shrimp.
I prefer the power of invisibility.
Saturday, August 01, 2020
Sunday, July 26, 2020
It's not the exercise itself. I grew up an athlete and still, as an older man, will beat your ass in a game of basketball.
No, I just hate running. It's boring, and I can't find the motivation to do it. With sports-that-serve-as-exercise -- basketball, tennis, and (perhaps) golf -- I can use the competition with others as motivation. But running? I'm just competing with myself.
And that's a lot less fun.
However, something about Brittany Runs A Marathon inspired me. I understood why she felt stagnant; I connected with her desire to create new life habits. Hell, during this 103 minute flick I had three different "concessions" while watching from my couch.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created some real challenges to living a more healthy lifestyle. I hunkered down in my house for a long while, planning to resume my normal activities once it dissipated. I moved less, stayed distressed, and gained weight.
Clearly, I need a new plan. The well written, well acted, comedy-drama Brittany Runs A Marathon inspired me see that.
Saturday, July 25, 2020
Saturday, July 18, 2020
But I found First Cow to be a complicated, multi-layered story about relationship, passion, and ambition.
Cookie Figowitz and King-Lu (played by John Magaro and Orion Lee) meet briefly by chance during a fur trapping expedition, then connect again several days later at a trading post in the burgeoning Pacific Northwest. The two men have dramatically different personalities: Cookie is a gentle artist, a trained baker who seldom talks but has something important to say when he does, while King-Lu is drawn to enterprise and wealth, and seems forever focused on his next exciting adventure.
The combination of their talents, combined with the first milking cow in the Territory of Oregon, furthers the plot and allows the audience to become emotionally invested in the story. We know early that the ending won't be happy, but the journey to the end can be.
The relationship that forms between Cookie and King-Lu is complex. Both men spent the majority of their young lives on the move, never really settling down anywhere or with anyone. But very quickly each comes to trust the other, and they develop an unusually deep relationship.
Is it platonic? Romantic?
Reichardt doesn't provide that answer, and it really doesn't matter. It's enough to know that one man is the yin to the yang of the other. A beautiful scene early in the film, when the men first reconnect, illustrates this. King-Lu invites Cookie to visit his shack for a drink then goes off to split wood for a fire, leaving Cookie standing alone in the threshold of his home. After a few second of awkward uncertainty, Cookie picks up a broom and starts sweeping the floor.
It matters not whether the love the two men feel for each other is romantic or platonic. What is important is that each found something in the other that fills a void. As individuals they are flawed and empty; together they are complete.
Monday, June 29, 2020
Jon Stewart's "Irresistible," isn't a great flick. In fact, it's barely any good.
But that's because it's a direct, honest look at the current goings-on in the U.S.: our short-attention span culture, deep political divide, our lust (for money, fame, and power as much or more as for sex), and our desperation. Stewart holds a mirror up to our faces and makes us take a look.
It's not pretty, and it's not entertaining. But it's truth.
Here's the best review I can offer (with a hat-tip to my friend Donutbuzz who reminds us often that everybody knows):
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight is fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
~ Leonard Cohen
Saturday, May 09, 2020
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Each week I cared less about the on-field athleticism and more about how the spread was moving. I bet big on the single game Thursday night so I knew going into multi-game-day Sunday if I could go big or should stay small. A win by my favorite team became less important than if I beat the spread.
My hand to God: when the movie ended Mrs. Film Geek said: "Can we watch something happy now so I don't have to go to bed feeling this way?"