Author Archives: ehk

triple movie review

In one day I watched three movies on Netflix. Yes, there will be spoilers.

Star Wars: Rogue One

The Queen of Katwe

Philomena

Overall, I liked them even though there were things I didn’t like in each film. What I noticed was that each film has a female lead and the co-star was a non-romantic-interest male actor. Maybe Rogue One was somewhat romantic, but not enough to say it was so. There was a hug but no kiss, thank goodness. It would’ve ruined the movie.

Rogue One was really boring for most of the movie. It’s as if every SW movie must have the same scenes in it, repeating themselves in every film as long as they make a SW film. The best part was actually the last act of the movie (which was very not-SW like), with the principal cast of rebellion fighters. They brought a freshness with their different faces and skills. Even the robot was refreshing with his distinct personality. Yet why did almost everyone have to have a British accent? That seemed to distract me.

I actually liked how each of Jyn’s gang of rebels died in the film. It was heartless how everyone had to die, even Jyn and Cassian, truly tragic. It seemed like a hopeless movie for these characters. Oh, but then they get you in the end with the last shot of the movie with Leia saying “Hope,” as she holds the plans for the Death Star in her hands. In that sense it portrayed the brutality of war. However, this is SW, so it can’t ever get that tragic.

After seeing Rogue One, it did make me want to see the original SW trilogy again. How is it that those three old movies still seem fresh while every SW movie made afterwards seems derivative?

The Queen of Katwe is based on a true story of an African slum kid who becomes a chess champion. It’s a really sweet feel-good movie. There were many scenes where I just wanted to cry, maybe because I miss Africa and want to go back someday. The ironic thing is that the screenplay was written by a white American male telling the story of a Ugandan girl. The scenes sometime get confusing and bumpy with the time jumps in the beginning, which make it hard to get the viewer settled in. After that it gets better and you can just enjoy watching a story of a girl who shifts her place of belonging from where she was born to where she was born to be. That really is the best message of the movie.

Philomena is also based on a true story of an Irish-Catholic woman who searches for her son 50 years after the nuns who took care of her during her teenage pregnancy forced her to give him up for adoption. The news reporter who helps her is her non-romantic co-star and a pretty good foil for the Irishwoman, played by Judi Dench. It’s a British film, so it’s a lot more subtle in everything, from action to dialogue to climax and ending. Sometimes it really frustrates me, but I’m sure every British person is deep down frustrated by having to be so reserved.

The best part is the character contrasts of the Irish mom and the British reporter as Catholic vs Atheist and some of the discussion about religion is good but like most of the movie, it doesn’t get too deep into any topic. It mostly touches on the main themes so you can think about it without having to preach to you. Religion, God, adoption, family, what’s important, what you believe in, forgiveness, etc.

This post is now too long and so I’ll wrap up saying I ate some ramen today at a place that’s highly rated and popular, but after I tried it I had no idea why it was considered good. Overrated and overpriced. I only went there because the place I originally wanted to go to had shut down and I didn’t know it until I saw the empty restaurant and a couple legal notices on the door. A sad day for ramen. But tomorrow ramen will rise again.

love and peace or else

I remember a line that Bono sings/says during a song or maybe it was in a book; it may not be his words but he says them and I remember them. Something along the lines of “don’t become a monster in order to defeat the monster.”

We really need to not become monsters to defeat the monster of racism.

plays

I’ve read a couple plays for a class I’m taking and they are very modern plays, meaning they’re not Shakespeare with lots of fluffy words and a cast of a million characters.

These plays only have four main characters and aren’t very long. No multiple acts, just a large handful of scenes and lots of talking. Plays, I’ve noticed, have lots of talking. It’s all about talking. Not so much action, or it’s not the emphasis. The words are supreme.

Plays appear to basically express the writer’s intellectual thoughts about an aspect of society. While in some ways it’s really great, in other ways it can be total BS. And of course you can interpret a play both ways. Isn’t that the great thing about plays?

the mind of a chef

I’m watching the PBS series “The Mind of a Chef” and I’ve learned stuff already from it. Like maybe I want to go to Japan and eat lots of ramen and seafood there (that’s from season one with David Chang). There’s a segment where they do cook a dish and talk about it and I learned some cooking tidbits, but already forgot them because I watched but didn’t practice the cooking technique.

Anyway, it’s good because they’re half-hour episodes, which to me is a digestible size of program. Did I just make a food pun? Because I would never ever use puns. Puns are terrible.

gratitude

Recently I’ve been in a bad mood, being crabby, grouchy, whiny, pouty, sullen. It’s not an unfamiliar place, but I don’t like being in that place as much as I used to. Mostly because I’ve experienced joy and happiness and I like those feelings more, even if those feelings don’t always last as long as the others.

A friend who is quite busy these days took a few minutes to tell me about gratitude. Gratitude does change things. It changes your focus from the few bad things to the many good things. And even if it’s more bad than good, focusing on the good keeps your mind from the gutter and thinking the worst, when the worst hasn’t happened or may not happen at all. It’s entirely possible that the very best could happen.

The situation doesn’t change, but the perspective and mindset changes. And if you think, therefore you are.

stand up

Some of my favorite comedians talk about food. Two I really like are Jim Gaffigan and Gabriel Iglesias.

Gaffigan’s material on food is really funny, basically observations about Americans’ approach to food in today’s culture. And food is a universal topic as well as a way to connect with a foreign culture. I’m sure that any non-American can watch a few of his specials and probably understand Americans. Not really, but maybe.

Iglesias is the same, but he mostly talks about food with a different approach. It’s more personal, and he makes it more personal by telling stories about his interaction with fans.

One thing both of them do very well is voices. They can tell jokes with many different kinds of accents and voices. They’re great storytellers. Gaffigan can do great East Coast accents and a raspy female voice. Iglesias does an amazing sexy female voice and amazing sound effects.

I’m not sure how to end this post, so I’ll just say this is the end of the post…

And I don’t care about Game of Thrones. At least not until I watch the show, and I won’t do that until the series is finished and I can binge watch sometime in the future.

suits

Someone recommended the TV show “Suits” and I had no interest at first because it was about two male lawyers. Sounded so boring. But when I started to watch I had to admit it was good and it looked good. The name of the show is quite fitting.

The wardrobe makes a huge statement for each character. The female characters wear amazing dresses and they look so good while not being glamorous. Yet you know nobody dresses like that in real life…or do they?

Anyway, it’s a good show and worth watching. It’s a real drama in the sense there’s no smiling, all the characters are dealing with multiple fires at once, they appear to never sleep, and the whole season is to arrive near the end with a few smiles and laughs after overcoming the huge obstacles in the way, while the last few episodes set up the next season’s dramatic problems for the main characters.

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moving

I’m not moving. I have friends who are moving. One just moved to Tokyo yesterday; I can’t believe they’re gone. But they’re not really gone, especially with the Internet.

Another friend is moving to New York. I also can’t believe they’re moving. But they’re not really gone because we talk on the phone regularly. And we have the Internet.

I just made a new friend over the weekend, and she’s from New York City and traveling the country this summer break. I’m a little jealous of her travels, but then I’ve already done the traveling thing. And it’s just too hot to travel these days. Apparently it’s just hot everywhere right now. Might as well stay home and enjoy sleeping in my own cozy bed instead of some unknown housing situation.

That’s just me for now. I do have an itch to travel and I got me a new tote bag for the weekend trips I’ve imagined I’ll be taking soon. It’s from LL Bean and it’s a tough canvas bag that’s cool but not trendy. Classy.