Movies: Only you think you’re in control

Thursday 10 April 2014, 12.01am HKT


ANOTHER instalment of my temporary movie fetish as I race through my out-of-control life.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) via Wikipedia

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

American Empirical Pictures etc, colour, 1 hour 34 mins

The plot seems to me:

Nerd boy meets internally troubled girl in rural America on some fictitious island. Nerd boy eventually meets up with troubled girl all the time. The pair are simultaneously detached and close to each other, which is a feat in itself. They then elope, bouncing from island to island (or island to mainland) in bad weather with only boy scout skills that would otherwise challenge the skills of battle-hardened Navy SEAL commandos. Unnecessarily overwrought search party catches up with the pair and both kids get a beltful around the ear. End of story.

The whole point of the movie:

If you’re going to make someone your big squeeze, make sure the pair of you ‘dig’ a significant amount of the weird facets or fetishes of each other’s personalities (or at least could handle them). When things start going to pot, only the pair of you will have each other for support. In short, don’t settle — otherwise in rough times your partner probably won’t be able to understand your shiz, much less offer support and comfort.

Interesting:

To me, this is one of the most atmospheric movies around, ranking just behind the taut “The Year of Living Dangerously” (1982) and the surrealistically unfathomable “Mulholland Drive” (2001). The girl who plays the troubled girl looks 100% brainy, and I’ve since learnt that she’s a member of Mensa (membership requirement IQ 131–148, or 98th percentile).

My private name for it: “Life As A Fetish”

(Image via Wikipedia)

Reunion in France (1942) via Wikipedia

Reunion in France (1942)

MGM, black & white, 1 hour 42 mins

The plot seems to me:

Career woman in the fashion business enjoys a luxurious lifestyle with her industrial designer boyfriend in occupied Paris, 1940. She’s outraged that her man is fraternising with the Germans, who don’t actually appear too unsavoury. A crash-landed, overbearing American pilot turns up one day, and she gives him aid and soon falls in love with him. Then it transpires that her old lover was actually aiding the resistance by producing defective weapons for the Germs. She then goes back to the old lover. I get the impression that everybody is either pretending to be okay with her lover-by-lover tango or jealous that she gets to wear glad rags all the time.

The whole point of the movie:

You’re never in control of anything. You can only control how you react to things. Sometimes you can’t even be sure of how you’re supposed to react. If you don’t know what or how to react, be sure it’s not over the top. With money, you have a better class of misery.

Interesting:

Has some of the most horrifically in-your-face sarcastic jabs of any movie I’ve ever watched. The storyline is so-so. Just watch it for the barbs.

My private names for it: “You Think Life Works?” or “Because F.U.”

(Image via Wikipedia)

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Movies: Kick-ass now, or be ass-wiped later

Monday 7 April 2014, 12.01am HKT


12.51pm local time, 24°C (75°F), sunny and warm

TWO more movies watched last week but I was too scared to write about them until this week.

God Is My Co-Pilot (1945) via Wikipedia

God Is My Co-Pilot (1945)

Warner Bros., black & white, 1 hour 30 mins

The plot seems to me:

Dramatisation of American Colonel Robert Lee Scott Jr’s air-force service in the Pacific during WW2. At 34 and considered too old for aerial combat, Scott volunteered for a secret bombing run from the Philippines on Tokyo. When the mission was scrubbed, he instead flew cargo over ‘The Hump’ (the Himalayas) into China. Desperate for an aerial combat fix, Scott wangled his way into flying ‘pursuit’ (fighter/interceptor) missions over China with the Flying Tigers fighter group (then of the Republic of China Air Force). Did the job kick-ass.

The whole point of the movie:

If you want something badly enough, you’ve got to have it your way — kind of like that bitch magazine editor in “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006) but in a more constructive way. You’ve got to have that raw farkin’ hunger to want something and that raw farkin’ singlemindedness to want to get things done — otherwise you ain’t gonna be given it because people won’t think you’ve got it in you to carry on with it.

Interesting:

This is one of the very few wartime movies that injects Hong Kong into its central themes. It (accurately) mentions many of the landmarks of the place and the sentiments of the Hong Kong Chinese of the time. When the film was released (7 April 1945), Hong Kong was still under Japanese occupation (until Liberation Day, 30 August 1945).

My private name for it: “Touch Me, and I’ll Put You Down”

(Image above via Wikipedia)

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) via Wikipedia

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

IMF etc (studios), Warner/Columbia (distribution), 1 hour 40 mins

The plot seems to me:

Two Terminators get sent back in time. Skynet’s well-built, well-mannered and well-cleavaged T-X is gunning for John Connor & Co. The rude, rube and outdated T101 from the Resistance tries to keep them meatbags alive. The future Mrs Connor gets sucked into this raw deal of meatbags vs. meat-mincers, made worse knowing that she’ll eventually be a widow on 4th July 2032. Skynet becomes ‘self-aware’ (which is probably the best middle finger to its creators who probably had never been even nominally self-ware anytime in their lives) and launches massive nuclear strikes against the whole human race. The rest is future history.

The whole point of the movie:

When you’re going to test out something never before tried, kindly do it first in a self-contained environment with a reasonably easy termination switch. If it ever gets out and messes with Real Life, your troubles are about to hit Warp Factor 5½ Million and unfixably massive, and there might be no way back. Common sense, really. It also shows that government officials are jointly and severally LESS SENTIENT than a simple PC with no mouse and an outdated graphics card that’s been infected with an egotistical Internet virus made by the NSA.

Teaches us:

That which helps or succours eventually will be our undoing should we become overly attached to it — which is how the great John Connor behaves towards T101, which wet-jobs him on 4th July 2032.

Interesting:

In Hong Kong, the censors cut out the juicy bit — the T-X in extreme undress at the start of the movie. It was felt that the nakedness was against the sensibilities of the Chinese people. That’s rich, coming as it does for a population of 1.3 billion with uncontrollable breeding habits…

My private name for it: “Beta Testing”

(Image above via Wikipedia)

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Movies: Overworked for nothing

Sunday 6 April 2014, 6.00am HKT


Originally 05 APR 2014, 11.56am local time, 24°C (75°F), sunny

HERE are two more movies that I’ve watched during this week.

No, I’m not making a regular habit of this. And this isn’t a movie review of two movies (one classic and the other a modern one) with my “conceptually unique” take on them.

To Have and Have Not (1944) via wikipedia

To Have and Have Not (1944)

Warner Bros., black & white, 1 hour 40 mins

The plot seems to me:

A street-smart skipper-for-hire who’s old enough to know better on the inconsequential island of Martinique becomes romantically involved with a beautiful drifter. The drifter cleverly manoeuvres him into helping the pointlessly patriotic French Resistance by smuggling clumsy Resistance operatives with overly nice etiquette into Martinique after the fall of France in 1940. The lazy, overweight Vichy French turncoats who administrate the island are nastier than the Nazis, who are nowhere to be seen.

The whole point of the movie:

All things good and bad happen all the bloody hell at once at the least opportune moment. Those you depend on have the nasty tendency of being clumsy, ugly or stupid (or all three). If you’re about to do something mildly complicated or dangerous (preferably not both), do one thing at a time — not all of them at the same time. Have an escape plan if and when things go horribly wrong. When in doubt, know your way out. Beauty may be before the swine, but the swine makes for better chow.

Interesting:

Other than the title, the movie has little if any resemblance to the Hemingway novel.

My private name for it: Stop Screwing Around With So Many Things”

(Image above via Wikipedia)

The Devil Wears Prada (2006) via Wikipedia

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

20th Century Fox, colour, 1 hour 39 mins

The plot seems to me:

Superstar magazine editor creates strife-ridden work environment with her rude, supercilious, demand-all-that’s-demandable attitude. One particular underling who’s not in the traditional mould of the magazine’s dog-eat-dog culture comes out unscathed, didn’t sell out, and all the more wiser (even after going on a company junket to Paris Fashion Week). Meanwhile, the underling’s boyfriend is pissed off — and who the hell wouldn’t? The girl gets to wear all the brand names FREE at work, and she didn’t even bring home a nice belt for him. Bitch.

The whole point of the movie:

Srsly, DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT, not the job you have. Your highflying paper credentials generally means dick if you can’t even dress ‘proper.’ (I’ve been telling people this for years.) Do what your job actually requires, not what the job specs say. Think conceptually about work, not regard it as a set of procedures to obey or live through. There is no such thing as ‘job duties,’ only duty to the job. Job security is fiction anyway, therefore offer job loyalty. Life is too short to work in anything that you don’t like or cannot do for more than a few months. Backstabbing IS the farkin’ workplace, so wise up, bitch. You don’t have to be slim or a Size 0–2; you just need to be fit and tummyless. If you’re going to sell out, sell out in some semblance of style, please. As your professional life improves, your private life deteriorates. “Let me know when your life goes up in smoke,” you three-fifths of a human being.

Teachable lesson:

It’s like a septic tank — the big and worst bit always float to the top. And if you don’t sell out after going to Paris on ANY KIND OF company business, you’re in the wrong business or living on the wrong planet.

Interesting:

Not one of my favourite films. It would be a far more interesting (and less stuck-up) movie if the studios made one about my former boss, Jacqueline Bouvier (a.k.a. Jackie Kennedy Onassis), who was once an editor. (Bet you lot didn’t know that…)

My private name for it: “I Exchanged My Life for Shoes, Belts, Etc”

(Image above via Wikipedia)

_____

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