Movies: Four days of realistic faffing around

Saturday 12 April 2014, 1.00am HKT


THIS week I’m taking a slightly different approach to unloading my temporary movie fetish and do you a single movie, one that makes an impression on me because of my tenuous link with Italy.

Le Quattro Giornate di Napoli (1962) via Wikipedia

Le Quattro Giornate di Napoli (1962)

The Four Days of Naples (English dubbed version)

MGM (in USA), Titan (in Italy), black & white, 2 hours 4 mins

The plot seems to me:

Like most spaghetti films, you’ve got to think quite a bit to fathom out if there IS a plot.

In 1943, occupying Germans force the townsfolk of Naples to work in slave camps, a fact which throws a monkey wrench into Axis cooperation. The Napoletanos have had enough of the crap, they snap, and tip over into open rebellion with the aid of the Resistenza Italiana. However, the rebels and the Resistenza aren’t making any headway against the Germans. The tide turns for the rebels when a bunch of cute-looking boys with fantastic cheekbones and clear complexion (from the local orphanage or something) joins the rebellion. The chicks who join in soon after are so fine too. A whole lot of very italianate patriotic weeping and sloganeering ensues among the rebels while the faffing around continues unabated. Amazingly, four days of this tiramisu tumult actually drove out the Germans. When everything settles down, Allied troops then conveniently turns up and the city is awarded a fantastic medal of valour.

The whole point of the movie:

Meals take prime precedence over any kind of rebellion or fighting. Respect your elders, but you don’t have to listen to them at any given time. You shunt from one position to the next so often and so much that your enemy just becomes completely nonplussed and incredulous at your unbelievable level of faffing around. This being Napoli, the home of another big Mafia group, you either bloody well snap at your enemy when you (get round to) doing your rebellion — or follow the traditional Mafia routine of slowly strangling your enemy to death down some alleyway. When your young men and women look absolutely cute and adorable, your Win Factor goes up several notches. Ugly people makes for ugly and longer-lasting fighting.

Interesting:

This is actually a rather realistic portrayal of how Italian generally fight against oppression. Those who don’t understand Italians (and therefore won’t understand this movie) will think this movie has got to be sh*tting them and looks more like an Italian version of Keystone Kops. The chicks are absolute babes, if you get my drift.

My private name for it:

“Now I Know Why They Want to Eff With Us”

.

Italian girls at a football match

No, these are NOT the rebels you’re looking for

(Images from Wikipedia and HotPenguin.net)

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DocID: B14105

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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Movies for the week: Insanity as a mental asset

Saturday 5 April 2014, 11.47am HKT


8.05am local time, 19°C (66°F), fine and sunny

MOVIE reviews are not a regular fixture on this blog for the sensible reason that movies are for watching rather than to read about. So here are the movies I’ve watched this week.

I watch a lot of movies because I’m often forced to wait hand and foot on my clients while they faff around over their markups for typesetting or printing. My blogging is also a byproduct of that waiting around.

A lot of my people find my take on movies (and clients too) are rather “conceptually unique” (as my friend A.T. helpfully puts it) and sometimes suggest I should blog about it.

I’ll present two movies watched during the week — one modern, the other an oldie or classic — that have been interesting enough as blogging fodder. I’ll first give my own highly personalised description of the movie and then my take — ‘the whole point of the movie,’ so to speak.

I won’t be psychologising the inner artistic merits or the acting — that’s for amateur film critics, to be perfectly honest.

The Hill (1965) via wikipedia

The Hill (1965)

MGM, black & white, 2 hours 3 mins

The plot seems to me:

Allied soldiers sentenced for insanely trivial misdemeanours while fighting the enemy are now fighting to survive the gruelling conditions of a ‘glasshouse’ (a.k.a. military detention camp in Britspeak, or stockade in Americanspeak) in the blazing Libyan desert during WW2. An inmate dies from the stupid, fetishistic Victorian-era abuse (excused as military discipline). To cover up the mess, the screws (‘canaries’ in British militaryspeak) abuse the other inmates even more. The officers are too gormless and scared to contradict the senior NCO running the show.

The whole point of the movie:

Given half the chance and especially abroad, the British (or more correctly, the English) are even more sadistic and racist than the Germans. Unfortunately, they can be surprisingly creative in their ritualistic, stiff-necked puritanism disguised as discipline and making up excuses.

Clearly, things have improved vastly in our modern times because the sadism and abuse are now more systematic and scientific (per 9/11). It’s just unethical and legally actionable to tolerate personalised sadism and abuse because that just creates a hostile working environment.

Interesting:

Completely confirms the Turkish saying, “Only the English would burn their mattresses to get rid of fleas.” One scene shows the proper way to carry out mass disobedience in the face of sadistic discipline.

My private name for it: “Pay Attention to Who You Work or Fight For”

(Image above via Wikipedia)

Trance (2013) via Wikipedia

Trance (2013)

Cloud Eight etc (studios), Fox (distributor), colour, 1 hour 41 mins

The plot seems to me:

Up-and-coming art auctioneer gets into a terrible mental flap with his “moderate problem” of gambling and consults a hypnotherapist. Warp-speed romantic involvement with the therapist ensues, leading him to do a gutsy heist for an Old Masters painting. He then forgets where he stashed it. The jocks he’s in cahoots with are stupefyingly stupid enough to unquestioningly believe in the therapist’s song-and-dance routine about fishing the required information out of the auction-boy’s head. The psychobabble mindgames then spiral out of control, with an innocent bystander horrifically losing her life for helping out of kindness and good manners.

The whole point of the movie:

There’s NO WAY to tell how mental some people are inside (or eventually become). Indeed, some people (like that hypnotherapist) are probably more unbalanced in their own quiet way than even they themselves realise. It teaches us that, if you’re going to offer help to anyone, be sure to help fully but at arm’s length. Those who need help are not the type you’d be advised to associate too closely with. Common sense, really.

Interesting:

Every movie with Rosario Dawson in it has her saying the line “In an ideal world…,” which leads me to think her movie contracts might actually specify it.

My private name for it: “Shrinkwrapped”

(Image above via Wikipedia)

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2014. (B14101)

69 my 99 bitches? 86 it!

Wednesday 28 August 2013, 4.54am HKT


CASHING in on my unbelievably successful streak subliming the movies, I’m blowing my mental capital on another heist for your own recognizance. Post will be ‘in character’; some semi-adult language follows.

the taking of pelham 1 2 3 flickminute

(via Flick Minute)

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