"Dallas Buyers Club" presents some fundamental questions concerning… More"Dallas Buyers Club" presents some fundamental questions concerning the purpose of law and the practice of medicine, though it paints with the limited colors offered by our libertarian protagonist. You wouldn't know it from the movie, but the FDA worked compassionately with the HIV community in the first decade, bending the rules by allowing buyers clubs to exist and giving otherwise terminally ill people a chance to fight nearly however they wanted (there were no government raids that the movie depicts) while the health industry worked to figure out a treatment with proper science. The movie also doesn't reveal that the Dallas club was considered too experimental by some of the other eight clubs; any whiff from around the world of a chemical with a possible positive effect and it would be made accessible by Ron Woodroof, who offered 130 different drugs unapproved by the FDA. Sadly, the film places ill motivations on behalf of the government and healthcare community in regards to the lack of treatment options. But rather than malice, we were dealing with ignorance. This was a brand new disease with about a 100% death rate, and both the FDA and doctors were rushing to treat the infected with any potential treatments they responsibly could. The problem for all involved boils down to a lack of data and the wide variations of analysis of what little data there was.
Two-thirds in, I realized how fortunate I was to finally see Spike… MoreTwo-thirds in, I realized how fortunate I was to finally see Spike Jonze's "Her" just a few days ago - these two are spiritually entwined, both placing the greatest value in the harmony of two minds, paying no heed to social conventions. Whereas Turing is the founding father of "artificial" thought, in "Her," whole industries create humanoid intelligences that bond with and surpass mankind. And whereas Turing saw room for unique thought-programming by each individual or machine, society arguably pushed him to his death as a response to his own. Turing may have dreamed of a world similar to "Her," where the only concern a person has for their neighbor is whether they are free to be themselves. Even on the notion of not just who but what forms we can intimately bond with, Cumberbatch's Turing has something in common with Phoenix's Theodore, yet oddly many people who scoffed at the premise of relating with an intelligently crafted personality in "Her" have said nothing but great things about this movie. But then, beyond introducing the existential and technological ramifications of Turing's work, this movie tells an extraordinary true story and also reminds us how little any of us know (even those with the most power) what goes on behind the scenes of international relations.
The premise is right up there with any Charlie Kaufman film (Being… MoreThe premise is right up there with any Charlie Kaufman film (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Scynecdoche New York), containing so much juicy potential for interpersonal revelations, but the entire set up is thrown away in the third act for a "thriller" movie that came out of nowhere and does nothing but add a period in the middle of the sentence. I wonder what th.
Both plot and science too convoluted (atrocious plausibility… MoreBoth plot and science too convoluted (atrocious plausibility grievances not included since Nolan thankfully unabashedly threw that goal out of the window very early on in the story), dialogue and character direction too awkward, and cinematography too frustratingly static and short-sighted. There were a few moments of great other-worldly wonder, but Interstellar tried to be too many movies, failing in one way or another at each of them. And I sure hope that I never again have to hear an astronaut feel the need explain to another astronaut that black holes are so dense that even light can't escape. After this and "Gravity," maybe big-budget (mass-market) astronomy sci-fi is just destined not to sit well with me.
Writer-Director Farhadi has stated that this movie is about the… MoreWriter-Director Farhadi has stated that this movie is about the process of judgement, and he succeeds. From the very first scene, we understand the stalemate between a husband and a wife seeking divorce in front of a representative of the state. They had plans to leave Iran, and just as the bureaucratic process grants them able, the husband's father has become so chronically ill that his son refuses to leave him. The wife wants her 11 year old to grow up in a better environment, and the visa granting her ability to leave will end in 40 days. It's hard to find fault in either one's wishes, really quite the opposite. The complications of the husband now being a single father and taking responsibility for his own father result in one tragic situation after another. "A Separation" continues with razor-sharp writing, both in plot development and in dialogue, as each character navigates the people and forces in their lives in a very arduous situation.
You're dating an operating system. When you tell people, what kind of… MoreYou're dating an operating system. When you tell people, what kind of reaction do you expect? Fortunately whatever you have in your head is nearly entirely absent from "Her" because the future society shown here has evolved alongside each step of the technology - the act of dating an OS is new but understandable. This isn't a story about the herd but rather the individual, whether they are man-made by fusing zygotes or man-made by fusing knowledge with creativity. If you were just your brain plugged into the cloud (albeit a super brain able to read a book in 0.2 seconds), what would you feel and who would you be? If you could communicate and travel alongside a human via their devices, and bonded, what challenges would your relationship have? This is the film's focus along with Theodore's biggest challenge that ended his first marriage, which is how to keep long-term relational intimacy while each individual changes over time. Phoenix and Johansson are adorable to watch together here, which is pretty incredible considering there is only one meatbag ever present. A fascinating, bittersweet story with a visionary end that surprised me but now seems inevitable.
Freddie specializes in creating cocktails from anything he can get his… MoreFreddie specializes in creating cocktails from anything he can get his hands on, be it torpedo propellent, photography chemicals, fertilizers, or paint thinner. His dad killed himself with alcoholism, he long lost his mom to a mental institution, and now he's just come home from the experience of killing other men in WWII. He copes with these traumas by staying inebriated, and yet the pain still drives him to violence. Yet Master Dodd, who tells readers in his cult book that man is not an animal and must do away with emotional impulses (and farting), sees more inspiration in Freddie than weakness. While being told to repent of animal instincts, Freddie is busy writing a note to the pretty woman sitting across from him: "Do you want to ****? :-)." Dodd is envious of Freddie's free and honest nature, beholden to no one, and most importantly, wholly unashamed of his animalistic self. Freddie, who apparently has missed out on experiencing an affectionate, intimate friendship, becomes Dodd's personal bartender and loyal protector against the world who challenges Dodd's ideas. It becomes apparent that the Master, the wise seer of truth, is himself a slave to two other dueling masters - booze loosens his strings, and his latest wife pulls them taught. Mrs. Dodd sees their fearless family friend as a threat to her dreams of success, and the Master has to find a reason to keep his song bird around. This reason, perhaps genuine or perhaps selfish, does do Freddie a service. What happens next teaches Freddie self control and the ability to soberly deal with his life's pain head on, eye to eye, without so much as flinching. What does a sober, functioning, and centered Freddie look like? What does he do with himself? What does he want? That's for you and the Master to find out.
I don't watch the dinosaur shows on cable television, and I'm not… MoreI don't watch the dinosaur shows on cable television, and I'm not educated enough to know whether or not current research supports these creature's depictions - like the T-Rex piling dung and other material on top of their eggs to create warmth via a compost heap - but this was a charming handful of vignettes about the only alien world the human race will likely know for a long time. The writers smartly created stories we could identify with, like one following an eccentric dinosaur whose fixation in the entertainment of moving objects (think of any dog ever) catches him in mortal danger, and another whose curiosity finds themselves drugged by mushrooms into a semi-incoherent state and in danger by two opportunistic predators. Then there are the themes and emotions in parenting, where among the few stories told, one begins with a winged reptilian mother teasing her three nest-bound young with a fish. She then swallows it whole to demonstrate that the free-ride is over and it's their time to fly and feed themselves. I won't say what happens next, but let's just say nature, by default, is not on any individual's side. "Dinotasia" handles the story of the dinosaurs as a dark comedy that reminds us of our own fragility and potential impermanence, relying on luck, fate, and instinct. I recommend checking it out while it's on Netflix streaming.
"Wild" offers a fulfilling journey full of intrigue and mankind's good… More"Wild" offers a fulfilling journey full of intrigue and mankind's good will as Cheryl processes the traumatic events in her life while hiking a thousand miles. Like most travelogue's, she meets many people, but they aren't the source of the movie's drama, nor are they the wise strangers who show her the way - her inward journey is done alone. I wish we could have more explicitly seen her transition here, but the raw, honest expression of her thoughts and actions guarantees our smiles and endearing affection for this burdened soul-seeker.