Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

 

Based on the novel by Giorgio Bassani, Il giardino dei Finzi Contini (The Garden of the Finzi-Continis) is the story of an upper-class Jewish family living in Ferrera, Italy during the time of Fascist Italy as they deal with the growing political turmoil of the times. Directed by Vittorio De Sica and screenplay by Vittorio Bonicelli and Ugo Pirro with un-credited contributions by de Sica, Franco Brusati, Alain Katz, Tullio Pinelli, Cesare Zavattini, and Valerio Zurlini, the film is an exploration of a family whose lives are changed by Fascism as they find themselves lost with the young family members trying to find joy. Starring Lino Capolicchio, Dominique Sanda, Helmut Berger, Romolo Valli, and Fabio Testi. Il giardino dei Finzi Contini is a ravishing and somber film from Vittorio De Sica.

Set in the small town of Ferrera, Italy from 1938 to 1943, the film is an exploration of the life of an upper-class Jewish family who live nearby the home of a richer Jewish family known as the Finzi-Continis whose lavish garden is an idyllic landscape that becomes an escape during the growth of Fascism in Italy. The film is an exploration of the lives of these two upper-class Jewish families as one of them is in love with the daughter of the richer family ever since they were children as they deal with the growing world around them with this lavish garden being a place of wonder. The film’s screenplay by Vittorio Bonicelli and Ugo Pirro does feature bits of flashback as it relates to its two young leads in Giorgio (Lino Capolicchio) and Micol Finzi-Contini (Dominique Sanda) who knew each other as kids with the latter’s family home being this haven where they can play tennis and have fun at this lavish garden that includes Micol’s younger brother Alberto (Helmut Berger) and their friend Giampiero Malnate (Fabio Testi).

The first act is about the life of the Finzi-Continis and the garden that is their escape with the second act being about Giorgio’s pursuit of Micol as she rejects him believing he’s not good enough for her. Even as the second act also play into this chaos with Italy becoming a more Fascist state with Giorgio’s father Beniamino (Romolo Valli) trying to keep the family together as he sends his younger son Ernesto (Raffaele Curri) to France to study. It also play into the world that is crumbling where Giorgio had already been expelled from the tennis club and later a library where he is unable to study because he is Jewish while interracial marriages are also banned. The film explore Giorgio’s own encounter with the real world while Micol has isolated herself in the family home not wanting to deal with the real world with Alberto becoming ill. The third act does play into Italy entering World War II as life for Jews become more difficult with Giorgio pleading with Micol to be with him while also coming to terms that life will never be the same as the garden itself is a shell of its former self.

Vittorio De Sica’s direction is definitely full of gorgeous imagery and a sense of realism as it is shot largely on location in Ferrera with some of it in Venice with the garden shot at the park of Villa Ada near Rome. De Sica’s usage of the wide and medium shots do help play into the many locations in the film but also the world that is the garden at the Finzi-Contini estate where many of the young people play tennis and involve themselves with many activities as a way to escape from this growing threat of war that is to come. Even as De Sica would maintain this air of intimacy in the direction with the medium shots and close-ups inside the homes of Giorgio’s family and the Finzi-Continis where it showed a world where Giorgio’s family do perform certain Jewish traditions while the latter maintain this presentation of being posh and not overtly Jewish to raise concerns with the authorities.

De Sica also play into this sense of beauty that is the Finzi-Contini estate from the road way outside their home where Giorgio would ride his bike on as well as where he would park his bike and climb over its wall. The garden is the centerpiece of this estate filled with trees including a few palm trees and other things as it is a place where everyone can escape from the real world yet as the film progresses. The garden becomes less idyllic despite the beauty it presents itself but without many people there. It doesn’t feel the same as the third act has an air of coldness that looms along with a sense of danger in the fact that anyone who is Jewish, communist, or not wanting to be a part of this world of Fascist Italy is fucked. De Sica’s ending is ambiguous as it relates to the fate of characters but it also presents a world that is lost and could never return with those also filled with regret of the future they could’ve had. Overall, De Sica crafts an intoxicating yet harrowing film about two upper-class Jewish families dealing with the growing changes in Fascist Italy.

Cinematographer Ennio Guarnieri does amazing work with the film’s cinematography with its usage of soft lighting for a few interior scenes along with some natural and lush lighting for the scenes at the garden during the spring and summer as well as low-key lighting for the scenes at night and in the winter time. Editor Adriana Novelli does excellent work with the editing with some stylish jump-cuts for some of the bike ride scenes through the forest as well as a few montages including some of the flashbacks as it play into Giorgio and Micol’s time as teenagers. Production/costume designer Giancarlo Bartolini Salimbeni and set decorator Franco D’Andria does brilliant work with the look of the homes of Giorgio’s family with its modest furniture that is a sharp contrast to the more spacious interiors at the Finzi-Contini estate with its large library where Giorgio is allowed to study while the costumes are also exquisite in the posh dresses that Micol wears that is another sharp contrast to the modest suits that Giorgio wears.

Hair stylist Anna Cristofani and makeup artist Giulio Natalucci do fantastic work with the different hairstyles that Micol would wear throughout the film as it went from stylish to eventually becoming less so as the film progresses. The special effects work of Ettore Catalucci is terrific for some of the minimal shots that play into Alberto’s own sickly state as well as imagery to help make the film feel dreamlike. The sound work of Max Galinsky and Massimo Loffredi, with additional work for its restoration by Stefano Di Fiore, is superb for the sound as it help play into the atmosphere of the locations including the town with the speech over the declaration of war from Italy being a key moment. The film’s music by Manuel De Sica, with additional contributions by Bill Conti, is incredible for its lush and somber orchestral-piano score that play into the drama and romantic tension that looms throughout the film as well as themes that are upbeat that play into happier moments as it is a highlight of the film.

The film’s wonderful ensemble cast feature some notable small roles from Giampaolo Duregon as a friend of the Finzi-Contis in Bruno, Marcella Gentile as Giorgio’s young sister Fanny, Raffaele Curi as Giorgio’s younger brother Ernesto who goes to France to study, Barbara Pilavin as Giorgio’s mother, Ettore Gere as the majordomo Perotti, Inna Alexeievna as Alberto and Micol’s grandmother, Katina Morisani as Alberto and Mico’s mother, Cinzia Bruno as the young Micol, Alessandro D’Alatri as the young Giorgio, and Camillo Cesarei as Ermanno Finzi-Conti as the patriarch of the Finzi-Contini who allowed Giorgio to study in his library as he always liked Giorgio feeling he is a good match for Micol and a good friend to Alberto.

Romolo Valli is excellent as Giorgio’s father as a businessman who is proud of his Jewish heritage but would hide during the growth of Fascism as he is concerned for Giorgio as it relates to Micol as well as what will happen to the family knowing something is going wrong. Fabio Testi is brilliant as Giampiero Malnate as a family friend of the Finzi-Contis who is also a communist that isn’t fond of Fascism while he would later lament over the state of the Finzi-Conti with being isolated as he would be called up to military service as he and Giorgio also deal the world around them. Helmut Berger is amazing as Micol’s younger brother Alberto as a young man who idolized Malnate and love Giorgio as a friend as he also deals with illness while becoming aware of some of the drama involving Micol and Giorgio.

Lino Capolicchio is incredible as Giorgio as a young man from an upper-class Jewish family who is in love with Micol and wants to spend the rest of his life with her as he also deals with the changes around him as he’s kicked out of clubs and university because he’s Jewish as he also laments over everything as well as this paradise that is the Finzi-Conti garden that becomes less idyllic. Finally, there’s Dominique Sanda in a phenomenal performance as Micol Finzi-Conti as a young woman who is a childhood friend of Giorgio as someone who is trying to distance herself from the real world while isolating herself as a way to shield from that reality including Giorgio feeling that he’s not good enough for her. Even as she deals with the reality that she and her family eventually have to face as well as what she could’ve had.

Il giardino dei Finzi Contini is a magnificent film from Vittorio De Sica. Featuring a great ensemble cast, ravishing visuals, its themes of isolation and longing during a tumultuous time in Italy’s history, and a rich music score by Manuel De Sica. It is a film that explore life in Fascist Italy just before and during World War II as well as its effects on two upper-class Jewish families where one deal with what is happening while another is trying to not see the truth. In the end, Il giardino dei Finzi Contini is an outstanding film from Vittorio De Sica.

Vittorio De Sica Films: (Rose scarlatte) - (Maddalena, zero in condotta) - (Teresa Venerdi) - (Un garibaldino al convento) - (The Children Are Watching Us) - (La porta del cielo) - (Shoeshine) - (Heart and Soul (1948 film)) - Bicycle Thieves - (Miracle in Milan) – Umberto D. - (It Happened in the Park) - (Terminal Station) - (The Gold of Naples) - (The Roof) - (Anna of Brooklyn) - Two Women (1960 film) - (The Last Judgment) - (Boccaccio ‘70) - (The Condemned of Altona) - (Il Boom) - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow - Marriage Italian Style - (Un monde nouveau) - (After the Fox) - (Woman Times Seven) - (Le streghe) - (A Place for Lovers) - (Sunflowers (1970 film)) - (Lo chiameremo Andrea) - (A Brief Vacation) - (The Voyage)

© thevoid99 2022

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Psychomagic: a Healing Art

 

Written, directed, and starring Alejandro Jodorowsky, Psychomagic: a Healing Art is a documentary film in which the famed cult filmmaker explore the world of psychomagic and its practices in how helps people. The film explore a form of healing that Jodorowsky is part of as he helps people through their problems through this art of healing. The result is a fascinating and riveting film from Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Throughout his life away from the world of theatre, art, and film, one of the passions of Alejandro Jodorowsky is through psychomagic as it is a form of therapy that allows those who have been traumatized by an event or something that’s been passed down from generations to act through the unconscious and allow themselves to confront it by any means necessary. Its methods are unconventional as Jodorowsky has been doing a lot of these practices since the 1990s and so on while also doing free lectures from time to time as he uses it to help people. In this documentary, Jodorowsky showcases the usage of psychomagic through a series of different people seeking help as well as how elements of trauma and healing are shown throughout many of his own films. Among those he profiles include a man still reeling from the abuse of his late father, a woman feeling unloved and fear of becoming a mother, a couple going through trauma, a man with a stuttering problem dating back to childhood, an 88-year old woman suffering from severe depression, and others dealing with many traumas and struggles.

With the aid of his wife/cinematographer Pascale Montandon-Jodorowsky, Jodorowsky keeps a lot of the imagery straightforward while also not allowing himself to be involved in a lot of these testimonials. Instead, he is overseeing the therapeutic process that occurs where the first story has the man dealing with his father’s abuse be buried underground except for his head where he is covered by a plastic bowl with holes so he can breathe. A woman had to strip down as if she’s in another woman’s womb as a way to become a baby and yet feel loved where she would become pregnant months later with an air of excitement and optimism. A woman who had left Mexico 8 years after the suicide of her fiancĂ©e on the day they were supposed to be wed makes a return to the country and to the building where he killed himself as she would wear a wedding dress to a church and then go sky-diving.

These methods aren’t just cathartic in the way people deal with trauma as Jodorowsky isn’t trying to knock down the ideas of psychotherapy as he does see its benefits in helping people. His approach is more physical but also from within as it’s more about the heart and human emotions rather than something cerebral where he uses clips of many of his own films as examples. Even as an Australian man living in Paris who is estranged from his parents and siblings is given a chance to express his anger by smashing pumpkins with a sledgehammer with hearts inside them as he would mail them into a box and send it to his family. These are unconventional ideas where the film also feature some footage from other events such as two twin brothers just acting out their sadness as it was filmed in the 1990s while one story about a woman dealing with thyroid cancer goes to a lecture by Jodorowsky where he and the people in attendance help her through a form of a mantra. It’s not about curing someone but rather find ways to get that person to allow themselves to open up and confront these traumas and then be able to live their life the next day.

Editors Amanda Fawn Holmes, Giuseppe Lupoi, and Maryline Monthieux do excellent work in not just using footage from Jodorowsky’s own films but also his own lectures and specials relating to psychomagic as it is largely straightforward while sound editor Quentin Romanet captures many of the conversations as well as audio excerpts from Jodorowsky’s lectures. The film’s music by Adan Jodorowsky is amazing for its somber orchestral score that help play into the drama while also utilizing classical music and music pieces that he created from a few of his father’s films into the soundtrack.

Psychomagic: a Healing Art is a phenomenal film from Alejandro Jodorowsky. While many of the therapeutic methods in the film might not be for everyone, it is a film that does explore the work that Jodorowsky puts in towards this strange art of healing as well as how it is able to help people. Even as they have to confront their own traumas and struggles head on while getting the chance to live another day. In the end, Psychomagic: a Healing Art is a sensational film from Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Alejandro Jodorowsky Films: La Cravate - Teatro sin fin - Fando y Lis - El Topo - The Holy Mountain - Tusk (1980 film) - Santa Sangre - The Rainbow Thief - The Dance of Reality - Endless Poetry

Related: Jodorowsky's Dune - The Auteurs #59: Alejandro Jodorowsky

© thevoid99 2022

Monday, August 08, 2022

Nope

 

Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Nope is the story of two siblings who both investigate the death of their father who was killed by an object in the sky as they believe that it might involve UFOs. The film is an exploration about mysterious events in the sky where two ranch-owning siblings seek help from various people that relates to this event where people are killed for looking up. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea, Barbie Ferreira, Donna Mills, Wrenn Schmidt, Keith David, and Michael Wincott. Nope is a horrifying yet intense film from Jordan Peele.

The film revolves around the mysterious death of a ranch owner after a nickel fell down onto his eye as his two adult children deal with not just what happened but also a mysterious object in the sky that is wreaking havoc on their small town near Los Angeles. It is a film that play into these two siblings who deal with what happened to their father but also disappearances around them including a few of their horses. Jordan Peele’s screenplay is largely straightforward though it opens with a quote from the Bible in Nahum 3:6 as it relates to exploitation as the first scene shown revolves around a monkey named Gordy (Terry Notary) who wreaked havoc on a soundstage during a TV show taping as it then cuts to the present where Otis Haywood Sr. (Keith David) is tending to his horse ranch as it is one of the few black-owned ranches that works with Hollywood as Haywood trains horses alongside his son Otis Jr. aka OJ (Daniel Kaluuya).

After Otis Sr.’s death, OJ is struggling to keep the family business afloat with his sister Emerald “Em” Haywood (Keke Palmer) who is more interested in selling it altogether as she is more of a free-spirit while OJ is more serious. Even as he had sold horses to a former child star/western theme-park owner Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun) to keep his ranch afloat where the behavior of a few of their horses and their eventual disappearance prompt the siblings to buy some security tech as they get help from a tech store employee in Angel Torres (Brandon Perea) who would discover some things that both OJ and Em are suspecting. Even when Jupe would have an encounter during one of his shows that became the catalyst for OJ, Em, and Angel to take action as they sought the help of the renowned yet eccentric cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott) who is resistant at first until he heard about an incident as he wants to capture footage of this mysterious alien object that is causing a lot of trouble.

Peele’s direction is definitely vast in terms of not just its imagery and usage of 65mm film stock for IMAX but also in creating a world that is this strange mix of the western, horror, and suspense with bits of humor. Shot on location in Agua Dulce near Los Angeles, the film does play into this air of intrigue as it has chapter breaks named after some of the horses that the Haywoods own as well as the monkey Gordy and the eventual name they give to this mysterious alien spaceship. The usage of wide and medium shots do play into the setting of the location as well as in some unique tracking shots that Peele create to help play into the sense of wonderment and horror. Notably as Peele doesn’t show the object in full at first but rather through wide shots for brief seconds as it’s more about what is happening on the ground where he would use close-ups to get a reaction from OJ and Em at different points in the film. The scenes that relate to the young Jupe and his encounter with this chimpanzee named Gordy for a TV show alludes to the film’s opening text and what happened during a film shoot where one of Haywood’s horses got agitated all because of a sound.

Even during the second act where Jupe is holding a show yet also has an exhibit about the incident which he pays tourists a lot of money to see this exhibit. His show is a key moment as it play into exactly what this UFO really is as it is far more sinister in the way it treats everyone with OJ, Em, and Angel also getting a closer look at this mysterious thing as it would arrive to drain out whatever electrical power it encounters. Its third act that involves Holst do play into the idea of how to trap this monster as it doesn’t just play into using technology and horses as bait but also to figure out what is it they’re dealing with. Its climax is grand and intense in terms of the stakes but also what a few characters would do to get a shot of this mysterious creature with the resources they have. Overall, Peele crafts an exhilarating and mesmerizing film about two ranch-owning siblings trying to uncover a mysterious creature not of planet Earth.

Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema does phenomenal work with the film’s cinematography with its emphasis on some low-key natural lighting for some of the exterior scenes at night as well as its naturalistic look for the daytime scenes while using some lights for some of the interior scenes. Editor Nicholas Monsour does excellent work with the editing as it does have some style in a few montages and some jump-cuts to play into the suspense and horror while also being straightforward to play into the reaction as well as in the long shots. Production designer Ruth de Jong, with set decorator Gene Serdena and art director Samantha Englender, does amazing work with the look of the home and ranch that the Haywoods own as well as Jupe’s own western theme park with all of its attractions. Costume designer Alex Bovaird does fantastic work with the costumes as it is largely straightforward with the exception of the cowboy costumes that Jupe and his wife wears for their show.

Makeup designer Shutchai Tym Buacharern and prosthetics designer Vincent Van Dyke do terrific work with the look of a character that is a guest of Jupe at his show who would also witness this strange phenomenon. Visual effects supervisor Guillaume Rocheron does brilliant work with some of the visual effects such as the motion-capture work of the chimpanzee Gordy as well as the look of the alien creature that is designed by John O. Dabiri as it has this unique look as well as what it looked like from the inside. Sound designer Johnnie Burn does superb work with the sound as he creates unique sound effects and some of the way music sounds and how it would slow down whenever the power goes down as it is a highlight of the film. The film’s music by Michael Abels is incredible for its rich orchestral score that has elements of bombast but also themes that play up to the suspense and horror while music supervisor Krishna Bissessar creates a soundtrack that largely feature music that is played on location including some hip-hop, pop, and R&B that include pieces from Corey Hart, Dionne Warwick, the Lost Generation, and a strange acapella rendition of The Purple People Eater by Michael Wincott.

The casting by Carmen Cuba is wonderful as it feature some notable small roles and appearances from Oz Perkins as a commercial director, Eddie Jemison as an assistant director, Jacob Kim as a young Jupe, Andrew Patrick Ralston and Jennifer Lafleur as a couple of young Jupe’s costars, Sophia Coto as the young Jupe’s teenage costar, Devon Graye as a TMZ reporter wearing a weird helmet who appears late in the film, Donna Mills as an actress for the commercial, the trio of Lincoln Lambert, Pierce Kang, and Roman Gross as Jupe and Amber’s kids, Barbie Ferriera as Angel’s co-worker, and Terry Notary in a terrific performance via motion-capture as the chimpanzee Gordy who goes nuts during a taping of his show. Wrenn Schmidt is fantastic as Jupe’s wife Amber who works with him for his shows as well as knowing that he’s doing what he can to make money out of his own trauma. Keith David is excellent as Otis Haywood Sr. as the father of OJ and Em who runs a horse ranch that trains horses for movies and TV shows as he is seen prominently in flashbacks as he is also the catalyst for what OJ and Em have to deal with after his sudden death.

Michael Wincott is brilliant as the renowned cinematographer Antlers Horst as an eccentric filmmaker who is reluctant to help OJ, Em, and Angel out following a commercial shoot that OJ and Em was involved in but joins in after an incident involving the alien creature where he is aware of what is at stake but also wants to capture something that no other filmmaker has done. Brandon Perea is amazing as Angel Torres as a tech worker for Fry’s Electronics who helps install cameras at the Haywood home where he makes a discovery into what has been captured as he also helps out OJ and Em in their exploits while is also a resourceful individual. Steven Yeun is incredible as Ricky “Jupe” Park as a former child star who owns and runs a western theme park, with an exhibit devoted to his trauma, as he is trying to help the Haywoods financially while he would create a show as it relates to this alien phenomenon unaware of what it wants.

Finally, there’s the duo of Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer in phenomenal performances in their respective roles as the siblings OJ and Em Haywood. Palmer’s performance is the more exuberant of the two as a woman who harbors some resentment towards her late father for not allowing her to train her own horse as a kid where she would go into the world of hustling and such to get by while coming up with unconventional ideas to trap the alien. Kaluuya’s performance is more reserved as this man who loves tending to the family ranch while was the one who had to drive his father to the hospital during his final moments as he deals with grief but also wanting to avenge his father. Kaluuya and Palmer have unique chemistry in the way they act out as siblings as they have opposite personalities yet are strong when they work together and get shit done as it relates to this being that is not of planet Earth.

Nope is a tremendous film from Jordan Peele that features great leading performances from Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer. Along with its supporting cast, ravishing visuals, eerie sound work, a haunting music score, and its themes of exploitation. The film is definitely an unconventional yet riveting horror-suspense film that isn’t afraid to take on something big while also grounding it with a story of two siblings dealing with loss and wanting to avenge their father. In the end, Nope is a spectacular film from Jordan Peele.

Jordan Peele Films: Get Out - Us (2019 film)

© thevoid99 2022

Friday, August 05, 2022

Mainstream (2020 film)

 

Directed by Gia Coppola and screenplay by Coppola and Tom Stuart from a story by Coppola, Mainstream is the story of a young filmmaker who meets a strange man living off the grid as they would make films on the internet where they would become successful but also controversial. The film is an exploration into the world of internet culture and influencers in which a young woman tries to find a way to be successful where her meeting with this eccentric man would eventually lead to chaos. Starring Andrew Garfield, Maya Hawke, Nat Wolff, Johnny Knoxville, and Jason Schwartzman. Mainstream is a whimsical yet eerie film from Gia Coppola.

The film explores a young woman who wants to become a filmmaker as she meets a strange man with an exuberant personality as they make internet videos on YouTube where they gain fame although his views on social media and such has also made him a controversial figure. The film is a satire of sorts on the world of social media and influencers in how they use social media where this young woman is hoping to make it as a filmmaker and get some attention as she meets this man who is full of energy and ideas even though he lives off the grid and doesn’t care for social media. The film’s screenplay by Gia Coppola and Tom Stuart has a simple structure in how Frankie Cabot (Maya Hawke) meets this mysterious man in Link (Andrew Garfield) who was wearing a rat costume for his job as she spends her nights working at a nightclub with her friend Jake (Nat Wolff) who is an aspiring musician. Upon getting to know Link and hear his story, Frankie asks Jake to help her come up with ideas for Link as they get the attention to talent agent Mark Schwartz (Jason Schwartzman) who helps Link become a major internet sensation.

Yet, the script also play into Link’s persona and the kind of message he wants to send as the show he, Frankie, and Jake created is a game show where they test a viewer’s desire as will that person sacrifice their phone or their dignity. Going under the stage name No One Special, Link would use the show to play into the many wrongs of social media despite the many contradictions he is bringing with Jake starting to feel neglected in the creative process as he would make some discoveries about Link on his own. Then there’s Frankie who is excited by all of the attention and success but starts to question the moral implications following an episode where a young woman named Isabelle (Alexa Demie) is humiliated by Link during a taping of the episode as it would later have serious consequences. Even as Link becomes more chaotic and confrontational following a livestream hosted by Ted Wick (Johnny Knoxville) with other internet celebrities that only add to Link’s disdain towards internet culture and influencers.

Coppola’s direction is definitely stylish as it is shot on various locations in Los Angeles, California that is the epicenter of celebrity and celebrity culture. Coppola’s direction features a lot of wide and medium shots to play into these locations that include a party at a graveyard along with some intimate moments at the nightclub where Frankie and Jake worked at. There are also some close-ups that Coppola uses as it play into the intimate moments between Frankie and Link as they do get romantically involved much to the chagrin of Jake who has feelings for the former. Coppola does play into the world of internet culture as this form of satire in the way Link presents himself as it starts off with him being a goofball and just making fun of the idea of celebrity culture as it plays into the first act with the second act is about him, Frankie, and Jake finally getting a set to create their show.

Coppola also play into how intense things can become when Link decides to do something in an attempt to boost the show’s viewership following a small decline as it relates to Isabelle as it was a stunt that made Jake really uncomfortable. The film’s third act begins with Link being part of this panel that feature some real-life internet celebrities such as Jake Paul, Charles Melton, Desmond Napoles, Rola, and Patrick Starr as they discuss what Link did as it ends up being a farce as it play into the lack of accountability in these celebrities and their disconnection with the real world but also Link’s own contradictions. Even as it climaxes for this big livestream event that Frankie is to take part in but she begins to question her role as well as her own moral conundrum as she realizes that Jake’s suspicions on Link are founded but also wonder who Link really is. Overall, Coppola crafts a compelling and witty film about an aspiring filmmaker’s meeting with a mysterious man and his views on the world of social media.

Cinematographer Autumn Cheyenne Durald does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography with its colorful usage of lights for many of the interiors including some of the studio sets for Link’s show as well as some natural lighting for many of the film’s exterior scenes. Editor Glen Scantlebury does excellent work with the editing as it is stylish for some of the montage sequences as well as some straight cuts to play into the humor and drama. Production designer Nathan Parker, with set decorator Taylor Jean and art director Mars Feehery, does amazing work with the set design from the look of the sets for Link’s shows including its finale as well as the nightclub where Frankie and Jake worked at. Costume designer Jacqui Getty does fantastic work with the costumes as it has some style in the clothes that Frankie wears as well as some of the outlandish clothes that Link would wear throughout the film.

Hair/makeup designers Ange Bebbington and Gina Monaci do terrific work with some of the makeup including the hairstyle of Link as he would become more glamorous as the film progresses. The visual effects work of Alastar Arnold, with animation work by Justin Hantz, is superb for some of the film’s minimal effects including some of the animation that is often used for phone apps. Sound editor Peter Horner and sound designer Dennis Leonard do incredible work with the sound as it play into the atmosphere of the locations as well as some sound effects that play into the zaniness of Link’s show. The film’s music by Devonte Hynes is wonderful for its mixture of throbbing and soothing electronic music with bits of R&B and hip-hop elements that play into the world of Los Angeles while music supervisor Rob Lowry creates a soundtrack that mixes an array of music that features pieces from Earl Sweatshop, Kirin J. Callinan, Lansing-Dreiden, Nat Wolff, Kiki Gyan, Grimes, King Princess, and the duo Fiora Cutler and Eldad Guetta.

The casting by Chelsea Ellis Bloch and Marisol Roncali do marvelous work with the film’s ensemble cast as it feature appearances from real-life internet celebrities such as Jake Paul, Juanpa Zurita, Rola, Desmond Napoles, Patrick Starr, and Charles Melton as themselves plus costume designer Jacqui Getty as Frankie and Jake’s boss, Pascale Coppola as a young girl Link watches early in the film, Colleen Camp and Marshall Bell as a couple of performers at the nightclub, Casey Frey as a contestant at Link’s show, and Nathalie Love as a Christian influencer whom Link argues with over her work. Johnny Knoxville is superb as an internet celebrity who hosts a roundtable who was once an idol of Link until Link becomes confrontational. Alexa Demie is fantastic as Isabelle as a young woman who is a guest at Link’s show where she becomes a victim of his bullying in showing her real face. Jason Schwartzman is excellent as Mark Schwartz as a talent agent who helps Link, Frankie, and Jake with their project as he is also eager to make lots of money no matter how controversial Link is.

Nat Wolff is brilliant as Jake as an aspiring musician who has feelings for Frankie as he helps her and Link out in creating their ideas while he also feels like there’s some things need to be said as he gets pushed out by Link that only adds Jake’s suspicions on who Link really is. Maya Hawke is amazing as Frankie Cabot as a young filmmaker that is just trying to find herself as she discovers Link in the hope they can create something cool where Hawke has this exuberance but also someone who has morals as she ponders what she had helped create. Finally, there’s Andrew Garfield in a phenomenal performance as Link as this man living off the grid with a sense of disdain for social media as he becomes this eccentric yet vibrant figure that challenges people while isn’t afraid to be grotesque nor confrontational. It is a performance where Garfield does a lot of outrageous things yet seems to have fun playing a character that ends up being an absolutely disgusting person who doesn’t give a fuck what anyone thinks of him as it is a quintessential performance from Garfield.

Mainstream is a remarkable film from Gia Coppola that features a tremendous leading performance from Andrew Garfield. Along with top-notch performances from Maya Hawke and Nat Wolff, its commentary of social media and internet culture, colorful visuals, and a hypnotic music soundtrack. The film is a witty yet intense take on the world of internet celebrity culture and how someone is willing to confront that world and take it too far with a young woman realizing the trouble she has created. In the end, Mainstream is a marvelous film from Gia Coppola.

Palo Alto

© thevoid99 2022

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks: Math in Movies

 

For the 29th week of 2022 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We go into the subject of math in movies as math is a subject that allows people to figure out things as well as solutions to a problem. Math is something that the world that is helpful and allows people to find things and also allow people to realize their potential. Here are my three picks as they’re all based on real people who found creative ways with math:

1. Stand & Deliver
The 1988 film about the East L.A. calculus teacher Jaime Escalante is a phenomenal film in which a man who teaches math at a high school in the predominantly-Latino area of East L.A. as he finds potential in these kids through teaching calculus. It is a film that doesn’t just showcase the importance of math and how a teacher can get through these young kids but also give them a future. Even as the work they do in the first test forces them to take it again under a lot of suspicion that is partially-based on social classes and racism.

2. A Brief History of Time
Errol Morris’ documentary about the late, great Stephen Hawking is an unconventional film that explore the man’s theories on time and space. Even through the usage of math as it play into Hawking’s ideas in his field of astrophysics while the film also play into the idea of Hawking believes in God. It is a documentary that manages to show a lot more of who Hawking is than the 2014 film The Theory of Everything which only scratched the surface of who Hawking is.

3. Hidden Figures
A film that should be considered in the pantheon of cinematic classics isn’t just this engaging fact-based movie about three African-American women who played key roles in the 1960s space race but also being the women who were able to rise above the prejudices of the times and make their own mark. The trio of Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, and Octavia Spencer really shine with Henson’s performance as the mathematician Katherine Goble showcases why she is one of the unsung heroes of space program in the 1960s and why she gained the trust of the astronauts who wanted to make sure nothing went wrong.

© thevoid99 2022

Monday, August 01, 2022

Endless Poetry

 

Written, narrated, designed, and directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, Poesia sin fin (Endless Poetry) is a sequel to the 2013 film La danza de la realidad that is about Jodorowsky’s life as it explore him being as an adolescent who grows into adulthood where he discovers bohemian culture in Santiago. The film is an exploration of Jodorowsky’s own growth into adulthood as well as the events that would define his young life with Jeremias Herskovits reprising his role as the teenage Jodorowsky with Adan Jodorowsky as the young adult Jodorowsky. Also starring Brontis Jodorowsky, Pamela Flores, Leandro Taub, Julia Avendano, Felipe Rios, Carolyn Carlson, Bastian Bodenhofer, and Felipe Pena. Poesia sin fin is an intoxicating and heartfelt film from Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Set from the late 1940s and early 1950s in Santiago in the then-working class neighborhood of Matucana, the film is about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s time as a young teenager trying to find himself where he eventually becomes part of the bohemian culture where he finds his love for poetry and art while dealing with growing pains as a young man. It is a film that explore this man’s search for himself after having to leave his childhood home and live in this town where so much is happening after the events of World War II. Jodorowsky’s screenplay is loosely structured in the way it play into his own development from his time as a young teenager who feels stifled by the pressures of his family and eventually discovering a new home in the first act with the second act being about his first love and also finding friendship with another poet to the third act being about Jodorowsky gaining some success but political and social changes would emerge that would force him to flee Chile. It is a story in which Jodorowsky himself would appear as he reflects on these events but also in reconciling with the past including his relationship with his parents.

Jodorowsky’s direction is definitely stylish in not just its overall presentation that is shot on location at the Matucana neighborhood but also infusing it with actual locations and artificial sets. Notably as Jodorowsky opens the film in that neighborhood as it is in the mid-2010s and then transforms it through a mixture of backgrounds and such to show the neighborhood as it was in the late 1940s in his father’s shop where the teenage Alejandro works at where he reluctantly beats up a thief who was trying to steal clothes at his father’s shop. There is a lot of style that Jodorowsky would put into his direction as there would be actors covered in black clothing from head to toe who would serve as props to get a small object for a performer or scenes that play into this strange world that the young Jodorowsky would go into such as a bar that is filled with artists that often serves as a place of those who come to die as it is a place where Jodorowsky and his friends would frequent.

Serving as the film’s production designer with additional help from art directors Patricio Aguilar and Denise Lira-Ratinoff, Jodorowsky does create a world that is unique that play into the young Jodorowsky’s journey in the way the homes of the bohemian community including a few friends of Jodorowsky such as the poet Enrique Lihn (Leandro Taub) and his first lover in another poet in Stella Diaz Larin (Pamela Flores) although they’re portrayed in a fictional version. Jodorowsky’s usage of the wide and medium shots play into the world that his younger self would go into as well as some usage in the latter to play into some of the intimate moments. Jodorowsky also play into his own recollection about his time as a young adult where for all of its eccentricities and artistic rebellion. There was always a part of him that felt unfulfilled as the film’s ending does mirror the ending of its predecessor yet it also has Jodorowsky appear to express some regret over the things he never go to say or do. Overall, Jodorowsky crafts a rapturous yet whimsical film about his life as he comes of age into a young man who is trying to find himself.

Cinematographer Christopher Doyle does incredible work with the film’s vibrant and colorful cinematography as its usage of lighting to play up the colors in the daytime along with some unique lighting for some of the interiors at night as well as some of the exterior scenes as it is a highlight of the film. Editor Maryline Monthieux does excellent work with the editing as it has elements of style in the jump-cuts yet much of it is straightforward to play into the humor and drama. Costume designer Pascale Montandon-Jodorowsky does fantastic work with the look of the clothes in the many costumes the young Jodorowsky and his friends wear as well as the look of Stella Diaz Larin.

Visual effects supervisor Felipe Astorga does nice work with the visual effects that is largely bits of set dressing that help play into the look of the city of what it looked like in the late 1940s/early 1950s. Sound editor Sandy Notarianni does superb work with the sound as it is largely straightforward as well as it play into the atmosphere of the locations as well as the way live music is presented in carnivals and such. The film’s music by Adan Jodorowsky does amazing work with the film’s score that is a mixture of circus-based music as well as some somber orchestral pieces to play into the sense of drama and reflection while the music soundtrack feature an array of standards and folk music of those times.

The casting by Roberto Matus A. and Roberto Matus is wonderful as it feature some notable small roles and appearances from Kaori Ito as the Japanese dancer Cana, Felipe Pena as the composer Gustavo Becerra-Schmidt, Bastian Bodenhofer as the famed Chilean leader Carlos Ibanez del Campo whose return to the country would force the young Jodorowsky to leave Chile, Montserrat Lopez and Patricia Pardo as two sisters who own a house for all of the starving artists to live in that includes the young Alejandro, Carolyn Carlson as an American tarot reader in Maria LeFevre, Julia Avendano as a dwarf-like woman in Pequenita who would become a lover for both Lihn and the young Jodorowsky, and Felipe Rios as the famed poet/physicist Nicanor Parra who was an idol for the young Jodorowsky as he would appear late in the film for some advice that the young Jodorowsky wouldn’t take. Leandro Taub is fantastic as the poet who would become a friend and collaborator of the young Jodorowsky as they would embark on things that would give them artistic inspiration.

Pamela Flores is excellent in a dual role as Alejandro’s mother Sara who often operatically sings her dialogue as she laments over her son while the other role is a fictionalized version of the poet Stella Diaz Larin who would become the young Jodorowsky’s muse and his first love as she gives him ideas for his poems. Jeremias Herskovits is superb in his small role as the teenage Jodorowsky as a young man just trying to figure himself out as he would eventually let out his anger during a visit to his relatives. Brontis Jodorowsky is brilliant as Jodorowsky’s father Jaime as a communist salesman who is trying to get his son to not endure failure as he disapproves his son becoming a poet while he has this great moment in the film’s final moments that play into a sense of regret and acceptance. Finally, there’s Adan Jodorowsky in an incredible performance as a young version of his father as he brings in a lot of innocence, energy, and charisma to play into a man trying to find himself but also lamenting over what to do next despite the gift that he has.

Poesia sin fin is a tremendous film from Alejandro Jodorowsky. Featuring a great ensemble cast, incredible visuals, amazing art direction, a compelling coming-of-age story, and a mesmerizing music score. The film is definitely an engaging and exhilarating film from Jodorowsky that is also one of his most accessible for a filmmaker that is known for making weird cult films. In the end, Poesia sin fin is a spectacular film from Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Alejandro Jodorowsky Films: La Cravate - Teatro sin fin - Fando y Lis - El Topo - The Holy Mountain - Tusk (1980 film) - Santa Sangre - The Rainbow Thief - The Dance of Reality - Psychomagic: A Healing Art

Related: Jodorowsky's Dune - The Auteurs #59: Alejandro Jodorowsky

© thevoid99 2022

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Films That I Saw: July 2022

 

This has been hell of a summer not just in terms of the chaos of the world but also in the fact that it’s fucking hot. Not just here in Georgia where the heat has been unbearable at times but also around the world. Once again, it is climate change and we have done little to really confront this issue as the world is still dealing with the remnants of the COVID-19 pandemic while here in the U.S. Things aren’t getting any better with the country just being divided on all sorts of things and it is just showing the ugly and stupid aspects of humanity. Everyone has to pick sides and such as I just prefer not to be involved since I think both liberals and conservatives can just fuck off. I have other things to worry about that are more important than a bunch of stupid issues and causes that I have no interest in.

The world of professional wrestling this year has been insane considering not just the highs and lows with WWE having its most chaotic year so far as they would have a good match worth watching every now and then but there’s too much shit that their audience have to endure. Even if that audience are nothing more than a bunch of mindless sheep who are unaware that the people at that company really doesn’t give a fuck about them. Ever since November of 2014 is when it was the last time I watched an episode of WWE Monday Night Raw in its fullest only to stop altogether as I had become not just bored by the product but also disillusioned with the whole company in the way they treated their talent and the booking. Most of all, Vince McMahon himself as he was starting to become more of a liability in the way he had been booking and organizing everything to the point of writing the shows up to the last minute.

Ever since he bought World Wide Wrestling Federation from his father back in 1982 and re-branded it as World Wrestling Federation only to change it 20 years later to World Wrestling Entertainment following a legal loss with the World Wildlife Fund. McMahon has been the creative force behind the company as would take his father’s company from this regional promotion in the Northeast of the U.S. and make it national where if it wasn’t for him. I wouldn’t be watching pro wrestling but then he made “wrestling” a dirty word as he chose to not brand his company as pro wrestling but sports entertainment. Sports entertainment is a term that McMahon used as a way to not deal with sports commissions and other things as some of it is true as what he does is entertainment but the product for more than a decade has been anything but entertaining.

It’s not just the product that I think drove away fans to either look for other and better things such as New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Impact, and now All Elite Wrestling. It’s McMahon himself as the show Dark Side of the Ring on Vice has definitely showcased a lot of the dark aspects of pro wrestling and a lot of it involves McMahon. There’s no question that the stories of how he helped destroy the wrestling territories in the 1980s to go national as well as the steroid trial of 1994 and other activities he had done back in the 1980s and 1990s. It is also no surprise for those that had read about him are aware that he’s been having extramarital affairs with other women including women wrestlers and such. However, what happened this past month in the fact that there’s NDAs involved and $12 million in hush money toward a few women in the past 20 years has become concerning. When you’re a CEO of a publicly-traded company, there’s certain behaviors that can’t be tolerated and the fact that he wasn’t taking it seriously until a few weeks ago is definitely alarming.

There have been stories of McMahon doing awful things to women including raping then-WWF referee Rita Chatterton in 1986 and told about it six years later only for a settlement to occur with no resolution. Chatterton’s story isn’t the only thing that wrestling fans know about as there is also a story about the late Ashley Massaro back in 2006 at a Tribute to the Troops show where she had been raped and the company did nothing to help her. Even as she was treated as more of a sexual object to McMahon and longtime WWE TV director Kevin Dunn as she later left the company never to return and is unable to tell her story due to her suicide in 2019. It’s not just McMahon that’s being investigated but also former head of talent relations in John Laurinaitis who had also been having extramarital affairs behind the scenes. Laurinaitis is pretty much gone as this point as I hope HHH told him in Laurinaitis’ own raspy voice “budget cuts kid” in the same Laurinaitis told released talents in the past few years.

It’s not just Laurinaitis that is pretty much out of the company but Kevin Dunn is also likely on his way out because he has been really unpopular with a lot of the people in the company in the way he presents the TV product with its shaky-cams and fast-cuts as well as the fact that he’s a fucking creep. Also on borrowed time are two more of McMahon’s cronies in longtime creative head/booker Bruce Pritchard and Michael “P.S.” Hayes as they’re just a couple of old farts who WWE don’t really need as it is clear that it’s not just McMahon’s cronies that are on their way out but also McMahon. On July 22, 2022, Vince McMahon announced his retirement as CEO of WWE placing his daughter Stephanie and Nick Khan as co-CEOs of WWE with HHH now doing double-duty as head of talent relations (w/ Pritchard for the time being) and head of creative. McMahon’s retirement is something fans have been waiting for though it’s a forced retirement due to the fact that $14 million dollars was unrecorded in tax records as it allows the federal government the one thing they didn’t get to do back in 1994 during the steroid trial. That is to put McMahon in jail.

With McMahon and his cronies on their way out for now and Stephanie and her husband HHH along with Nick Khan in charge, change is going to come to the WWE but it’s going to be a slow process. Will it get me back on board? Probably not as I’m largely content with AEW, New Japan, and the NWA while I’ll watch something from Impact and GCW. The WWE wrestling style doesn’t impress me though I’ll watch a match or two from them on YouTube depending on word of mouth. HHH is someone I’m rooting for as he did a lot of amazing work in creating and building new stars that came from the indies in NXT as it was the brand that kept WWE afloat though once someone from NXT is called up to the main roster whether it’s on RAW or Smackdown, they’re fucked. I hope HHH succeeds and allow the talent to find themselves and get over on their terms without having the old man micro-manage everything and have them say stupid things to appeal to the audience.

The one thing I’m worried about for HHH, Stephanie, and Nick Khan is the WWE audience as they really have no clue what they want as they would cheer for Vince which is proof that they’re sheep. Plus, they would want this and then want them which only adds the argument of what Bryan Danielson said during his heel-run in the late 2010s in WWE by calling them fickle. There’s also the idea that McMahon and his cronies could return which is what will hold this company back as well as it relates to business as WWE might be putting themselves up to be sold to some other company. The library and content of the past is worth a lot of money but the television and pay-per-view programming however is largely terrible. Who will buy WWE and for how much? What will happen when McMahon comes back and makes things worse to the point where the company could go bankrupt? This is now a new era for WWE but where it is going is now filled with uncertainty. For their competitors, they’re keeping a close eye knowing what WWE has done in the past as they will be ready for a big fight.
In the month of June 2022, I saw a total of 31 films in 20 first-timers and 11 re-watches with 7 of these first-timers directed by women as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. Slightly down from last month yet there was a lot of good films that I saw as a highlight this month has been my Blind Spot film in Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams. Here are the top 10 first-timers that I saw for July 2022:

1. Midsommar
2. Hereditary
3. Endless Poetry
4. New York City Ballet
5. La Ricotta
6. North Terminal
7. Summer of 85
8. Thor: Love and Thunder
9. All the Crows in the World
10. Blue
Monthly Mini-Reviews/What Else I’ve Watched

The “Dew” Project



A short film made by Brie Larson when she was just a kid, it is a hilarious short that has Larson running away from something that is really horrifying. She’s in a park with her mom and sister as she keeps seeing some object that is just scaring the living fuck out of her. Honestly, I don’t blame her. I don’t like what’s scaring her at all. It’s disgusting. No wonder she was freaking out as this is just a fun short from an already incredible figure in cinema.

Avengers: Quantum Encounter



While this is just a short film Marvel made strictly for Disney cruise ships (like I would ever go to another fucking cruise ever again), there is something that fans of Marvel would like to see. It is in this short in which Ant-Man and the Wasp are trying to present a new gadget that suddenly goes wrong which brings in Ultron and his army as the two along with Captain Marvel, Captain America, and Ms. Marvel to come in and save the day. It is a fun little short film that does give audience the chance to see old and new heroes saving a cruise ship and having some fun with Ms. Marvel definitely holding her own and having fun interactions with Sam Wilson.

La Ricotta
From Pier Paolo Pasolini, that was part of an anthology film made with Jean-Luc Godard, Roberto Rossellini, and Ugo Gregoretti known as Ro.Go.Pa.G., is a segment that got Pasolini in trouble with the authorities in Italy over its religious content. Yet, it is a segment that marks a unique period in Pasolini’s career that would have him explore not just comedy but also serious subject matters in the years to come. Starring Orson Welles as a filmmaker trying to make a film about the Passion as it includes an actor trying to get some food to eat as it is told in a comical manner. Add a difficult actress to the mix as well as shot in an array of cinematic style is a short that fans of Pasolini need to see as it is available on MUBI.

ASSEMBLED: The Making of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
From Disney+ is the next making-of documentary film from the ASSEMBLED doc series that focuses on Sam Raimi’s film that is hosted by Bruce Campbell. Featuring interviews with the cast and crew, the documentary series does showcase the work that Sam Raimi put in towards the film with a lot of the actors wanting to do their own stunts in order to add some realism to a film that is largely a fantasy. The subject of the multiverse is also discussed with the actors as well as the sources from the many comics on the characters in the film. It is a strong effort from Marvel as well as another entry in the ASSEMBLED documentary series.

All the Crows in the World
The 2021 winner of the short film Palme d’Or at that year’s Cannes Film Festival by Tang Yi is an incredible short that explores a young schoolgirl asked by her cousin to attend a dinner with a bunch of older men as if she is meant to become a future bride for one of these men. Yet, it a short that does play into bits of fantasy but also revelations into one of the men at the dinner whom the young schoolgirl befriends where they would act out as it is told in colorful style.

North Terminal
From Lucrecia Martel is a 36-minute short released exclusively on MUBI is a documentary short of sorts set in the largely-conservative area of Salta, Argentina that explore a group of musicians and artists who don’t play to the conventions of that area. Lead by Julieta Laso, the film is shot largely in the forest that explore different array of music including a transgender folk performer as it allow these musicians and artists who are expressing themselves as there’s a richness to these performances. Especially with Laso who is accompanied by a pianist who fucking kills it with that instrument as it is something that anyone who loves music must see.

New York City Ballet

New York City Ballet 2021 Spring Gala from Ivan s3m on Vimeo.



A short film by Sofia Coppola funded by Chanel and shot in March of 2021 is about the ballet group who return to the stage after a year because of the pandemic. The short feature five different performances by members of that group where four of them are shot in black-and-white. Coppola and cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd bring a lot of movement and style while knowing when to step away to let the dancer or dancers do their work with the final performance shot on the main stage and in color. It is something fans of ballet would need to see while it is also an incredible short by Coppola who adds another winner to her body of work.

The Unseen River
One of two shorts from Southeast Asia that I saw on MUBI revolves around paralleling stories set in a river in Vietnam. One about a couple who travel to a monastery where a young seeks a cure for his insomnia while another story revolves around a middle-aged woman meeting an old lover she hadn’t seen in years. It is a short that explore the world of nature and the modern world and its collision yet also this sense of peacefulness that these characters encounter.

Blue
From Apichatpong Weerasethakul is a surreal short film about a woman trying to sleep as it is shot on a soundstage where the backgrounds would change at times while there are also these moments that add to the surreal elements of the film. It is a fascinating and visually-entrancing short that showcases why Weerasethakul is considered one of the best living filmmakers working today.

Volleyball (Foot Film)
A 10-minute avant-garde silent show by Yvonne Rainer is essentially a shot of a volleyball on the floor with a person’s feet on display. It is just a simple short that was available on MUBI that is still worth watching despite its lack of a strong premise.

Gucci Premiere



One of two commercials helmed by Nicolas Winding Refn has him making one for Gucci with Blake Lively for a new perfume as it is told with such style. Notably as it revolves around this perfume with Refn making an appearance in the commercial as it is a worthwhile commercial to watch.

Hennessy X.O.: Odyssey



Refn’s second commercial but for Hennessey’s new cognac in how it is created. It is again told in style as it has a lot of things going on but it showcases the hard work that it takes in creating cognac. It is the better of the two commercials that Refn has directed as it is something filmmakers need to do for the money they need to fund their own projects.

Ms. Marvel (episodes 5 & 6)
Given the polarizing reaction towards the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as far as the films are concerned (though I do enjoy most of what they’ve done), it is the television work that Marvel has been producing that’s been really solid. After the viewing the last two episodes of this show, I must say that this isn’t just best thing of Phase 4 so far but easily one of the best things of the MCU. My only gripe about the fifth episode was that it was too short though it did give Western audiences not just a closer look into the Partition but also a look in who Kamala’s grandparents are as they’re played by Pakistani-film icons in Mehwish Hayat and Fawad Khan (that man is GORGEOUS) as well as how Kamala’s grandmother was able to be saved during the last train to Karachi. The season finale is one of the best in not just how the titular hero got her name but all of the things she had gotten for her costume that was ultimately made by her mother and named by her father.

This show really grabbed me in ways I didn’t expect as it not just giving me a history lesson and a look into a world that not many Western audiences know about but also in the sense that there is a community and a group of people who care about each other and just want to live peacefully. Even if they have to deal with a racist government agent who had the audacity to walk into a mosque while wearing shoes and to be dismissive of quotes that aren’t even from Qu’ran. I was moved by it at times but I was also enthralled as I really love the look and feel of it as well as the ensemble cast with Iman Vellani giving such a phenomenal performances. If this show doesn’t get any serious Emmy nominations including in the acting front, then the Emmys can go fuck themselves. The lone post-credit scene is definitely a joy to watch as it now has me even more excited for what is to come that is… The Marvels.

Wrestling Match of the Month: FTR vs. the Briscoes for the ROH World Tag Team Championship at Death Before Dishonor (Best 2 out of 3 falls)
While Ring of Honor currently doesn’t have a TV/streaming deal at the moment, it is still thriving under its new ownership under the eye of Tony Khan despite some issues behind the scenes with the-now former ROH World Heavyweight Champion Jonathan Gresham before the Death Before Dishonor event that eventually saw Gresham drop the championship to Claudio Castignoli. It proved to be a great show that featured incredible matches including Wheeler Yuta vs. Daniel Garcia for the ROH Pure Championship and Mercedes Martinez vs. Serena Deeb for the ROH Women’s World Championship. Yet, the match of the night that could be another contender for the match of the year towards the end of the year is a rematch for the ROH World Tag Team Championship between current champions FTR and the Briscoes.

This match was tag team wrestling at its most pure in terms of not just the stakes but also in the sense of physicality. These are two teams that are definitely among the best working in professional wrestling as the Briscoes are long-time veterans of ROH and have often prove to be among one of the best tag teams ever. The two matches against FTR have proven that they will always be considered to be one of the best tag teams ever while FTR are continuously being the best tag team right now. How can anyone root against a couple of guys from North Carolina with one of them delivering a heartfelt promo about his own daughter who had a hole in her heart and then was able to fill that hole a few years later and say “I’m gonna fight like an 8-year old girl” get over with the people? While Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee are currently the AEW World Tag Team Champions, FTR should be next in line to have those tag titles to add to the belts they already have from ROH, AAA, and New Japan.

Top 10 Re-Watches

1. Citizen Kane
2. Coming to America
3. Mickey’s Trailer
4. Three Little Pigs
5. The Tortoise & the Hare
6. Hawaiian Holiday
7. Mickey’s Rival
8. The Grasshopper & the Ants
9. The Big Bad Wolf
10. Toby Tortoise Returns
Well, that is all for July 2022 while let’s take a moment to pay respect to those who have passed such as Bill Russell, Nichelle Nichols, Pat Carroll, David Warner, Tony Dow, Mary Alice, Tony Sirico of The Sopranos, Paul Sorvino, Paul Ryder of the Happy Mondays, Monty Norman, L.Q. Jones, Lenny von Dohlen, and James Caan as they will all be missed. Especially Sirico, Sorvino, and Caan as with the passing of Ray Liotta back in May, God is already assembling one hell of a fucking crew. In August, I hope to watch Nope as whatever new release coming in theaters or in streaming services based on my different watch lists while I’m not sure what Blind Spot I will do next as there’s still a couple of them that I need to get that I wasn’t able to in this month’s Barnes & Noble Criterion sale. I hope to get those two films in the next flash sale as I’m just going to focus on what I have right now. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2022