Showing posts from February, 2018

Snapshots - #39: Coco, Pitch Perfect 3, Star Wars: Episodes VII and VIII

Coco (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Miguel, a young aspiring singer, is afraid to defy his family's forsaking of music. On the Día de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday to celebrate the dead, Miguel is, unwillingly, granted night passage to the Land of the Dead, where he meets his ancestors and gets valuable life lessons.

This Disney/Pixar production has great animation and music, is colorful, fun, has endearing characters (both living and dead). Coco also has meaningful lessons about the value of traditions, the importance of family, loyalty, and honoring one's ancestors, all in a very entertaining package. Don't let the fact that it is an animated movie deter you from enjoying this gem. Coco is a great story to ponder for kids and adults alike.

Pitch Perfect 3 (2017), (♦♦♦♦): The members of the a cappella singing sensation ‘The Bellas’ have graduated from college and are realizing that they suck big time at real life. They miss the singing, the mischief, and the camaraderie. The father of on…

Snapshots - #36: Detroit, The Foreigner, The People Vs. Fritz Bauer

Detroit (♦♦♦♦):In July, 1967, the city of Detroit became the epicenter of racial riots by a black population that had become increasingly marginalized while being policed by an abusive, white police force. The protests spiraled into looting and violence, and eventually the National Guard stepped in.
On the periphery of the Algiers Motel, a group of National Guardsmen reported sniper fire believed to be coming from the Algiers Motel. Rooms were searched but no weapons were found. Meanwhile, a few policemen engaged in what they called a "death game": the torture of a group of black men and two white women who were guests at the place.
I'll never understand why social movements of whatever ideology start with rightful civil disobedience and become headless mobs capable of looting and criminal activity. 1967's Chicago protests, though born from injustice, were no different. What was significant was the violation of those men and women's civil rights by a police force t…

Snapshots - #35: Marshall, American Made, The Glass Castle

The movies…
Marshall (♦♦♦♦): Black lawyer Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) is entrusted by the NCAAP to defend a black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) in Greenwich, CT, who has been accused of rape by his white employer. As Marshall is not allowed by the judge as legal counsel because he doesn't hold a CT license, he engages, reluctantly on both sides, the service of Jewish insurance lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), whom, with Marshall's help, will have to acquire criminal defense experience in a matter of months. But as the case is tried in court, it becomes evident that it is anything but cut and dry. Powerfully acted by Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, and Sterling K. Brown in the leading roles, Marshall treads a fine line between inspiring legal thriller and drama. On both counts it delivers in spades. Based on a true story, with race and bigotry fueling public opinion, before the apogee of the Civil Rights Movement, this accused black man is doomed from the start. A full century…

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories by Denis Johnson (♦♦♦♦½)

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is a collection of five stories varying in themes, styles, and lengths. Some were naturally more successful than others, but all were of great quality. The ones that resonated with me most were the three last ones, curiously the atmospheric ones with more somber undertones. Without further ado, I give you my impressions.
I. The Largesse of the Sea Maiden The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is an introspective and vividly described collection of ten vignettes, some short, some longer, around a central character who narrates the stories, and whom we get to know in stages. His name is not revealed until the final story. Starting with the first vignette titled Silences, each successive one is connected to the previous one and occasionally to the one after, by an underlying theme however tenuous.
I liked some stories more than others, the longer ones in particular, because they allowed fuller development of the theme explored. Accomplices was insightful and very acco…