Serendipity.

So… a friend of mine – a male friend of mine, it should be noted – was telling me his favourite romantic comedies were ones with John Cusack, to which I was not sure how to respond. The only thing I remember seeing John Cusack in, is Con Air, which isn’t exactly a romcom…

Anyway. I was in Beijing recently, and said friend and I met up, and we decided to drink wine (he drank wine, I drank tea) and watch old movies… and who showed up on my Netflix browser but John Cusack.

In a way, I’m really not a fan of this film. It perpetuates the unicorn myth – at the end of the film, I turned to my friend and said, “No wonder you believe in unicorns.” On the other hand, it is a kinda sweet story… And Kate Beckinsale is bloody gorgeous.

Okay well. If anyone knows where I can find a copy of Grosse Pointe Blank, do let me know. Haha.

The Sum of All Fears.

I’m sorry, Ben Affleck, but Chris Pine’s Jack Ryan is so much better than yours. I suppose, though, it wasn’t your performance. It was the not-great script, the fact that with the exception of Morgan Freeman (who died around halfway into the movie) and the beautiful Bridget Moynahan who really could have been cut out of the film and it would not have made a difference, it was a movie made up completely of boring white men. And when the president has to make tough choices based on the limited info he has, it’s difficult to sympathise with him (unlike in Designated Survivor, where the complexities of every single decision makes every choice a hard one…)

But I suppose it’s unfair to compare a movie made in 2002 to those from this decade. But… I mean, The Matrix is a 1999 film and I still love it… so… yeah.

Not my favourite film.

A Plastic Ocean.

Watched on a CX flight from Beijing to Hong Kong. June 2017.

So. I met Craig Leeson because he’s a filmmaker in Hong Kong, and he’s a friend of a friend. I had no idea that he is a journalist, and I had no idea that he was making this film. It’s incredible, and tragic, and so shameful.

The film begins by juxtaposing a beautiful baby pygmy whale with the disgusting pollution in the ocean… The excitement of finally spotting a whale, and then the awfulness of the water all around it. Just terrible.

So the story goes all around the world, following both Leeson and free diver, Tanya Streeter, as they find the plastic story from history and origin to where the plastic is ending up – in the oceans, collected on the ocean floor, floating in the waves, caught in coral. The picture is terrible.

And compounded with this horror, was the fact that I was eating the plane meal, with plastic cutlery, drinking Sprite in a plastic cup. And then we got to the segment in the film where Leeson approaches a number of restaurants and cafes, to get food to go, but asks staff not to put the food or drink in plastic. The difficulty this presents is almost astonishing – except it’s not that astonishing at all. Thinking about my own life and the places I get take out from – sushi in plastic boxes, chicken rice in a styrofoam box, iced tea in a plastic cup… with a plastic straw… and a plastic long spoon….

A Plastic Ocean is a huge wake up call. Though I’m pretty sad to say that I have friends who will watch it and still think it has nothing to do with them. Sigh. It really is a fucking fantastic film. Absolutely loved it.

 

The 24 Hour War.

Watched on a CX flight to Beijing. June 2017.

Phwoar! First of all, the 24 hour races are just crazy. Secondly, I did not know how big a part Ford played in them!!!

The story is incredible. Watching the history of the companies and how they grew, hearing the drivers and the crew talk about the races and how the cars evolved, the history behind the rivalry between Enzo Ferrari’s company and Henry Ford’s company… so compelling, so intense, and so damn dangerous…

Loved it :D

Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark.

Seriously. Trevor Noah is my hero. Not only does he have a daily show on Comedy Central, he has also written a book, and he still does stand up, touring all over the United States and he travels home to South Africa every week or every other week… or something like that. I look at him, and I wonder what I am doing with my life. I also wonder whether or not he is actually human. He could well be machine. i mean seriously.

Anyway. Thanks to Netflix, I watched his stand up show in New York, and it was so on point, so well delivered, the man is not only a comic genius, but also does incredible imitations and fabulous accents.

If you haven’t seen it, please do so. Asap. In the meantime, I’m off to perfect my Russian accent :D

I heart Trevor Noah. A lot <3

Look Who’s Back.

by Timur Vernes.

First of all, the cover art is incredible. So much kudos.

Secondly, what a premise for a story! Adolf Hitler (the one and only real one) wakes up suddenly, randomly, in 2011 in Berlin. Because he is the Fuhrer, he learns quickly to adapt to his situation, and because it is the age of media, of course he is lauded as a comedian with impeccable research skills, and who quickly becomes a YouTube sensation.

I have never, ever wanted to learn German before in my life. While reading the book, not only did I wish I read German (although the English translation is, I’m sure, brilliant) but I also really wished I knew more about German culture and references. I’m pretty sure the story would have been that much more hilarious.

Such imagination and wit and satirical talent. Loved it.

Sports Doping – Winning At Any Cost?

Watched on a CX flight from TPE to HKG. June 2016.

Okay. Since it’s June now, there have been new additions to the documentary section of the Cathay Pacific entertainment system… and there are so many things I want to watch, but on a one hour flight, there are only so many things I can watch without pulling my hair out. Some, for example, like A Plastic Ocean and The 24 Hour War, both of which are almost two hours long, are an utter no no, as I won’t be able to get to the ending of the film. Luckily, the person curating this section has the good sense to include some shorter TV documentaries, like the one I ended up watching, which was an engrossing 52 minutes long.

Sports Doping – Winning at Any Cost? follows Dr Xand van Tulleken as he talks to athletes, doctors and scientists around the world, while investigating the use of anabolic steroids, which has become increasingly widespread within the general public. It’s an eye-opening piece not only on the psyche of athletes who want to be the best no matter what the cost, but also on the psyche of all humans, including those who “just” want to look good. It cautions strongly against the use of drugs, interviewing former athletes who used steroids regularly and now have lost use of kidneys, have shown cognitive impairment, etc.

An really insightful, well-researched film. Good stuff.