Thursday, April 14, 2016

"Six Percent is 90."

Working in the mental health field I've seen some pretty bad crap happen to kids and adults, but some of the hardest stuff I had to work with were clients that were sexually abused. One time I was very traumatized just hearing the recounting of what happen to a kid who was younger than 5, and was abused by his mother. I knew what the film Spotlight was about, but I didn't know the extent of it. I didn't really start paying attention to politics and news until 2009 when President Obama took office, ever since then I have done my best to know what was going on in the world around me, and everyone else needs to do the same thing, and get their news from a reputable source (this excludes: Facebook, CNN, CNBC, FOX, ABC, and CBS as they are oftentimes highly biased and filled with fluff to boost ratings). Pick up the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, New York Times, Washington Post, or Watch BBC News, PBS Newshour (can also catch the different segments of the newscast on Youtube), or Al Jazeera.

The film was very good, and very well done. It follows an investigative group of reporters who discover to what extent the Catholic Church leadership covered sexual abuse of children perpetrated by Catholic priests. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schrieber, John Slattery, and Brian d'Arcy James all play the real people at the Boston Globe who investigated these horrific acts perpetrated by the Catholic priests. Stanley Tucci, Jamey Sheridan, and Billy Crudup provide excellent supporting roles. The cast was perfection, and that's all that needs being said, although I do have to say that Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo really shined. Everyone masterfully played their character, and I'm not certain to what extent it was factually representative of the real people, and what really happened, but even if it was just the spirit, I think that it was enough. Tom McCarthy wrote and directed the film along with Josh Singer, and all I can say yet again about the writing is perfection. It was some really, really good writing; compelling, emotionally deep, relevant, and thought provoking in the most numbing and astonishing way. Howard Shore did the music, but I barely noticed it, which I suppose sometimes is how you want it, but I can actually recall nothing musically from the entire film; Howard is one of those composers where it's either an amazing or bad score. Of course the film won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, and Best Editing. It was a truly great film and every person in the whole world needs to see this film, and understand why investigative journalism is important and how it is a great check against abuses of power and wealth. I will definitely see this film again.

Now I'm going to move onto the soap box part of my blog writing. I don't know how much of you are familiar with the history of the Catholic Church, but I'm going to say that the Catholic Church is most likely the most corrupt organization that has endured for the past 1500 years ever, period. There are the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the manipulation of political affairs in Europe, warmongering in Italy and the surrounding regions, a disgusting double standard of it's clergy and leaders, and perhaps worst of all were the indulgences which is what pushed Martin Luther to separate from the church during a time when Protestantism was on the rise in Europe. Throughout the world and throughout history many have done terrible things in the name of religious beliefs and ideals, but I don't even think Hinduism and Islam in regards to terrible things done in the same of religion can compare to the Catholic Church. And I think I know what it is that drives these priests mad; sexual repression. An uncomfortable topic it may be, but I've seen what this can do to people while working in the mental health field, and it isn't pretty. I also grew up in a very hostile/strict, religious environment and some of the worst kids in the church were usually the pastor's as well as the church leaders or "sacred families" as we called them. I have an idea of what could be done to solve the problem of what's going on with the Catholic church, but it is quite radical; I will say that reform will never help rid the church of it's centuries of slime and filth, something far bigger needs to be done. In the meantime though, people need to continue to think for themselves, ask the hard and uncomfortable questions, and to never let someone use power to take away another's. I hate bullies and self-righteous, religious hypocrites; this describes the worst of humanity in my opinion. Read good news. Stay informed. Or else, over the next 100 years, the United States of America will lose many of the freedoms we enjoy now all because people would rather read about the Kardashians rather than why a local union is covering up money laundering, or how the Dallas City Council is abusing amortization laws so that they can make money my forcing out "undesirable" businesses to make room for more desirable businesses. Trump says he can make America great again. I disagree. Everyday Americans can make this great country even greater all by themselves; a politician is not required.

Spotlight final scene (watch for the words that come it is truly numbing).

Spotlight interviews with cast and crew

Dr. Strange trailer (looks...interesting)

Monday, April 11, 2016

"What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Stranger...."

Even though I am getting to the point where I am all 'comic-booked" out, I still watch the stuff as some it looks interesting at least. Jessica Jones wasn't something I was initially interested in but then I spoke with my sister who said that it was good and thought I should consider watching it. So I did watch it, and much like the second season of Daredevil I felt like the show's first season was good at times, and then not so good; times where the characters were spot on and interesting, and then times when they were completely obnoxious. By the way, I know nothing about this part of the Marvel universe, so I am oblivious as to source material accuracy; I'm looking at the technical elements of the show, and enjoyment factor. Krysten Ritter plays Jessica Jones the main and title character, and I have to say that the actress did a fine job. The character isn't all that appealing in my personal opinion, but I do like seeing the darkness and drama unfold in a very real and raw sense with how the character was written. And Ms. Ritter did an extraordinary job bringing that character to life and making it believable. Rachael Taylor played Trish Walker, Jessica Jones' best friend. She actually came across as the moral compass for the show and all of the characters in it, which I thought was nice as it is usually the hero that has that role. She was funny, serious, intelligent, and a very strong positive female character; one of the better ones I've seen written as of late. Eka Darville plays Malcolm who is high for most of the series, but then due to some plot alterations changes and takes a larger role. He was actually a really great character, although I would have written a few things differently myself. David Tennant as the villain Kilgrave was utter perfection. Not only is this actor brilliantly talented, but he created a character who was dynamic and interesting; this villain is not flat and all powerful, but very real with real vulnerabilities. He was the best part of the show. Carrie-Anne Moss played Jeri Hogarth a high flying lawyer, and she was amazing. Slick and smooth and devilish, with great style. Mike Colter Played Luke Cage, and his character was very interesting and cool; definitely very likable, with a strong presence. Apparently he is also getting his own show for some odd reason.

So Jessica Jones is a private investigator with superhuman strength and a lot of personal problems with no people skills whatsoever. She has been mind controlled previously by this man and is trying to get on with her life, but this man is back and wants her back under his control. So this is more of a drama driven show than action, but there are some moments where there is some fairly intense stuff going on. It was very interesting and fascinating with excellent characters and acting, but oftentimes the weight of the drama and the stupidity of the characters would grate on my nerves a lot. The writing was relatively well done and the series was shot well. The pace of the plot was well thought out, and the risk factor that the villain posed was quite impressive as well. Never quite certain who was going to die next (a lot of people die). It was entertaining, but not certain if I'd watch it again...maybe for David Tennant's performance, but that's about it. Not a show for people who don't like dark or gritty; this show is not light and fluffy. In other news, I finished writing the lyrics for my songs in my musical and now I am putting together "the book" so that should be fun, despite the formatting being a pain in the neck. Soon it will be done though and perhaps I'll get some music composed for it and maybe get the whole thing off the ground; who knows.

David Tennant on the show Jessica Jones

Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them trailer 2 (looks really good!)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Chance At Redemption.

So I finally got around to seeing Mad Max: Fury Road after everyone kept telling me to see it, and after winning 6 Oscars. It's definitely a very unique film; basically one very large and extensive action/chase sequence that lasts for the duration of the entire film. What's exactly going on and why with the characters and their interactions with the environment isn't clearly explained at any given point, but it sounds like drilling for oil and climate change are the big reasons why what happened in the film happened. So basically this one really bad dude in the desert controls all of the water, and his wives/sex slaves/prized breeders run away with one of his chief lieutenants, Furiosa, to get to greener pastures and along the way they meet up with Max a former policeman (I think) who was also held captive by the evil dude's forces but then escapes per chance and helps the women out. The group of them then embark on an epic journey across the desert to reach their destination growing and learning more about themselves and the people around them. Charlize Theron was amazing as Furiosa; she was both powerful and empathetic with a tender love, but also still possessing the no nonsense let's get down to business behavior. Probably one of the best characters in the film. As for Tom Hardy, I went back and forth with him as Max. He does little more than grunt for nearly half of the film, and then says very little afterwards; however, when he does speak, it is very good and makes me kind of wish that he actually had more articulate lines. Clearly, he has mental health problems that he is struggling to cope with, and there is a great depth to him, but I don't think it was explored as much as it could have. Great character though. Nicholas Hoult as Nux one of the low life henchmen was at first unrecognizable and then as the film went along I started to recognize the actor. I actually couldn't stand the character, but then as he grew and changed he was most likely the second best character in the film, definitely a very talented man. The rest of the cast was good, but it was Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron that drove the film, but truly it was the profoundly epic and excellent cinematography and action that drove people to see and enjoy the film.

I give a lot of credit to the style and success of the film to George Miller the director. It must have taken incredible talent and gumption to pull off this film, so definite props to him for that. The writing was relatively good, although there was a lot of nonsensical moments where things were happening and you didn't know why and it was never fully explained unfortunately. So I get to beam again over Junkie XL (aka. Tom Holkenborg) who did the music for the film which worked so perfectly for the film, and I enjoyed it greatly. The man has talent, truly; his music has a powerful and vivacious energy to it. The true star of the entire film though was the cinematography though; it was breathtaking, gritty, and terrifying at times. John Seale must have needed a long vacation after being the director of cinematography for this film. The other big star of the film though was the action. All I can say is wow (and yes that is a technical word). It was nonstop, almost mind-numbing at times due to the sheer volume. The action was dynamic though and kept pace with what was going on with the story and characters, I was definitely impressed, and description won't do it justice; you need to see it if you haven't. There were some disturbing elements to the film, and one very highly disturbing scene which I will not go into, but I will say it if you're a young mother, then you can't watch this film. In this film you get showcased a taste of how depraved humanity can really become, and what I found so disturbing is that the filmmakers accurately captured the essence of what people could become like in another 100 years or so. Something to think about.

Junkie XL on composing the music for Mad Max: Fury Road

Interviews with Cast and Crew of Mad Max: Fury Road

Rogue One teaser trailer (This to me looks better than The Force Awakens did, hopefully it will not disappoint like Episode VII).