Iron Man.

The film that gave Marvel Studios credibility. The film that started the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe saga. The little film that could.

Rewatching this film made me happy. I’d forgotten how awesome Pepper Potts was (“I do anything and everything Mr. Stark requires, including occasionally taking out the trash.“), and how hilarious it was when Tony Stark trained himself to be Ironman, and how much I’d enjoyed Terrence Howard as Rhodey (although Don Cheadle more than handled the role in the rest of the films).

So much fun happened in this film. Major kudos to Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr, but also to Marvel Studios for having the foresight to trust Favreau & RDJ with this outing. After 9 years of MCU films, this one is still in the top 5.

Advertisements

Transformers.

I don’t remember when I watched the first Transformers film. I don’t even remember which cinema I was in, but I do remember I was sitting on the right side of the cinema… I don’t know why I remember that.

So because it’s on Netflix, I decided I should revisit this old franchise, and it really was a pretty fun film. First of all, I didn’t even remember that Josh Duhamel was it in, so when his face showed up two minutes in, I was like… what?! And then Shia Laboeuf’s character was actually pretty fun – and cheeky, which is always great. And when the shiny silver blue and red lorry head showed up, I yelled out loud (thank God I live alone), “Yay! Optimus Prime!”

So yeah. I enjoyed it. Now I’m going to watch the next one, and the next one, and see where it all fell flat…. Hahaha.

 

Watermark.

Watched at HKU, hosted by the Hong Kong Documentary Initiative. April 2017.

I had never watched Watermark the film, although I have been through the book numerous times, and have stood in front the photos in Ed Burtynsky’s Watermark exhibition for hours on end. It is incredibly humbling to think that I know this great artist who produces these fucking fantastic photos. Just mind boggling.

The film is reflective, and jarring, inspiring, and tragic. Just the opening – water gushing across the frame, lots and lots of it, the sound of water hitting water, and then silence as the camera looks directly at cracked earth, scorched dry – hits hard as you contemplate how water is the source of life and without it, we’re just doomed.

It’s a film that is more beautiful the larger the screen you watch it on, and carries such weight as you watch stories about the loss of water, the building of dams, the sacredness of cleansing, and of course, pollution caused by human activities… Burtynsky produces incredible beauty from devastation and death. It’s just fantastic.

Black Code.

Watched at Sky Olympic as part of HKIFF 2017. April 2017.

There’s a part of me that’s still processing this film – much like how I am still processing the Israel trip last year – because this film (like that trip) reaches far enough down to really make one think.

Surveillance – whether on my physical being (through CCTVs or my phone) or on my thoughts and feelings and dreams (via social media or hacking) – is everywhere. There is a part of me that thinks I’m way too boring for anyone to be interested in following what I am doing or thinking or saying, but on the other hand, who the heck knows.

There was a huge part of me that wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to blog about watching this film. But since I’m doing this mainly to remind myself of things I’ve been doing these days, I suppose I should. (And yes, I am at an age where I don’t actually recall what I’ve been doing say last week or sometimes even yesterday.)

This film is rather more journalistic than Nicholas de Pencier’s other films (Manufactured Landscapes, Watermark), it’s much less reflective and presents stories that are compelling and tragic and fucking freaky as hell. The main subject is Professor Ron Deibert, who wrote the book of the same name, and which inspired de Pencier to make this film. Deibert runs the Citizen Lab in Toronto, and we follow his journey as he treks to a Cold War bunker in Sweden to meet the CEO of the company that holds the servers which held all the Snowden info before it became widespread, flies to Pakistan to meet a super interesting gentleman who is fighting for the right to information, and gives talks around the world about information and surveillance.

We also meet and hear the stories of super enthusiastic citizen journalists down in Brazil, who form a group called Mídia Ninja, a Syrian journalist who now resides in Jordan, a Tibetan filmmaker who escaped to Northern India, and then we have the stories of Sabeen Mahmud, who was gunned down in Pakistan after being outspoken on various rights issues, including that of free speech, and Bruno Ferreira Teles, who was accused of – and immediately condemned for – throwing a molotov cocktail at the police. Teles is one of the rare, uplifting stories – he was cleared of any wrongdoing when he appealed to Mídia Ninja followers for videos that would prove his innocence. In the end, using the Ninja videos, it was discovered that the actual people who threw the explosives were policemen. Sheesh.

Super interesting film, and I’m a bit anxious (but also very curious) to know what the repercussions of this film are going to be. I mean… this is an incredibly sensitive topic (what with the Wikileaks, then the FBI demanding information from Apple, and more locally, the great firewall of China along with the censorship and monitoring that we all know goes on there, etcetc). This is a story worth following, if only because it affects every single one of us who have some sort of digital footprint…

Elementary – season two.

Okay. I loved Rhys Ifans as Spike (in Notting Hill), but I really haven’t liked him in anything else. Not in the Spiderman movie he was in, and definitely not as Mycroft Holmes. That could potentially be because Mark Gatiss is just incredible as Mycroft in BBC’s version…. but I don’t know. Rhys Ifans just doesn’t quite fit. And him and Lucy Liu together… ugh. To me, not believable at all.

Also, this version of Lestrade is damn annoying. Perhaps because Rupert Graves is so awesome (BBC casting seems to really be much better than this CBS version), but yeah. I’m really not sure about the second season of the show. Oh well… Onto season three now…

The Bling Ring.

Yeah okay no.

When The Bling Ring came out a couple years back, I wanted to watch it because it was Emma Watson and it because it was Sofia Coppola, and because the premise – I thought – was quite interesting. I didn’t expect it to be quite so high school… I should’ve known. I mean, it’s about high school kids for goodness sakes.

Anyway. I really wanted to switch it off about a third of the way through… but I didn’t. Mainly because I was also practising my letters, so really, it was just playing the background. But yeah. No. Not my cup of tea at all.