This week’s episode of Broadchurch

To sum it up:

Meanwhile the Daily Fail, the bastion of all that is decent and moral and upstanding (written with heavy irony), is outraged at the lesbian kiss. (To be clear I’m outraged at the shoddy plot lines and what the what with that Eve Myles character?)

Although I am still not sure what caused more outrage a) that the ladies are lesbians b) that they are middle-aged or c) a combination of both?

To be fair – even the Daily Fail comments section* is like – are you serious with this sh*t?

I never EVER thought I’d see the day I would see eye to eye on anything (ANYTHING!) with any random Daily Fail commentator.

But there you go.

* Or rather the first 10 comments. I cannot read too much of Daily Fail comments section. It gives me the urge to stick a fork in my eye and makes me lose the will the live.

Fresh Off the Boat

What it is labeled as: A sitcom. It is based on the memoirs written by Eddie Huang. Huang’s family moved from DC to Orlando, Florida where his dad managed a number of restaurants in the 1990s. While Eddie’s dad is all about the American dream, the rest of the family has a bit of trouble adjusting to their neighborhood (apart from Emery. Emery is adjusting surprisingly well, as his mum puts it).

What I like to call it: A good sitcom.

Reasons to watch: All the cast! I like all of them, although if I HAD to pick a favorite it would be Constance Wu.

Why it shows promise: a) It’s funny, I mean some scenes made me snort out loud. b) Did you know that this is the second EVER Asian American sitcom? (first being Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl)

Freaking Hollywood, behind the times as ever.

The down side: I thought it was funny. It is not super funny just yet. But then again that is the case with most sitcoms, it takes a while to get into that groove. So yes I was snorting and sh*t and then I looked the show up and read this article written by Huang. So now I’m what the what?! It’s network television, they are going to water stuff down, that’s kinda what they do. I’ve read Kuhn and remember (a little) about paradigm shift and whathaveyou. But am I out of touch? And offending anyone by laughing?

Has anyone seen Fresh Off the Boat? How did you like it?

Fortitude

What it is labeled as: a psychological thriller. Me thinks however they were aiming for a Scandi noir.

What I like to call it: Broadchurch on ice. Yes, I am aware how that sounds like, but it was my first association.

Reasons to watch: Stanley freaking Tucci! Michael Gambon. Sofie Gråbøl. Also? Fuzzy sweaters! So many fuzzy freaking sweaters!

The down side: I’ll be honest – I don’t have a clue what the what is going on at the moment (3 episodes in).

A dude was killed with a potato peeler (yes, a freaking potato peeler of all things! They peeled him to death. Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun). Everyone is sleeping with everyone else. It seems to be a normal thing?

Also everyone walks around with riffles because polar bears? BUT if a polar bear attacks someone you kill the human rather than the bear? I thought that was odd, but what do I know, Bear Grylls I am not.

Why it shows promise: So did you know that in permafrost nothing can decay? As in corpses and stuff? So they still have people buried there with the plague. BUT plague aside there is this mammoth, yes? And they showed it a number of times already. So am thinking ancient virus/bacteria? Or wait – that would be more SyFy’s jam, right? I KNOW, I’m facepalming myself. See?

Where to watch: Sky in the UK. Pivot in the US.

The Company of Wolves (1984) – a Review

Note: This is an old post from a couple of years ago I did for my friend. As I’m quite satisfied with it, I decided to post it here as well.

Thanks to the “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” movie franchises, there’s been a resurgence of the fantasy genre in film over the past decade or so. Among them emerged a distinct subgenre telling darker, edgier versions of well-known fairy tales. Just this year we had “Oz the Great and Powerful”, “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” and “Jack the Giant Killer”. Last time these darker fantasy films were this popular was in mid-1980s and recently I saw one of them: Neil Jordan’s “The Company of Wolves”. Jordan has, throughout his career, made quite a few films dealing with strange and supernatural: beside this one, he also made “Interview With a Vampire”, “Ondine”, “High Spirits” and recently released “Byzantium”.

“The Company of Wolves” turned out to be smarter and more challenging then I’ve expected which was refreshing as similar movies today are mostly formulaic cash-ins that substitute cynicism and action for maturity. Based upon a story by Angela Carter, this modern re-imagining of Red Riding Hood fairy-tale has interestingly convoluted structure: it is a series of stories told by characters existing within a nightmare of a present day teenage girl (Sarah Patterson, who also plays Red Riding Hood). Now, telling stories set in dreams does allow for more fantastic elements to come into play without a need to explain them but it also tempts the storyteller into using the crusty old cliché of “it was all just a dream” as a way of ending the plot. Thankfully, “The Company of Wolves” actually resolves the story before the dream ends.

Within her dream, teenage girl – called Rosaleen – lives in a village surrounded by forest. Exact time and place of the story are uncertain. The forest is dark, fecund and obviously built on a sound stage but this increases our suspension of disbelief instead of lowering it: we’re seeing a kind of forest that a child might imagine. Dreamlike imagery abounds: there are white rabbits, giant mushrooms and snakes crawling everywhere. Through this surreal landscape, Rosaleen’s sister is pursued and killed by wolves who prey upon the villagers and their livestock. Afterwards, Granny (played by Angela Lansbury from “Manchurian Candidate” and what an inspired choice she is!) warns her remaining granddaughter to never stray from the path in the forest, never eat a windfall fruit and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet in the middle.

You see, there are two kinds of wolves: those with the hair on the outside and those with the hair on the inside. This other kind is more dangerous: they lurk within forest and hide their beastly self from girls such as Rosaleen while they lure them away from the path. Granny tells a story about an unfortunate woman whose new husband, “a travelling man” turned out to be one such beast. This and her other tales show us that, for a kindly old lady, Granny sure has a morbid hate towards men and women who indulge them. This might explain why she lives alone in the middle of the forest. Also, this film is not really about wolves, is it?

“The Company of Wolves” is made out of stories that characters use to teach and explain their world to each other. Even a hunter staking a wolf has time to tell a short story. It’s a wonderful and appropriate way to portray characters in a fairy tale. Once Rosaleen starts telling her own tales about wolves and men and wolf men, we see she’s developing a different outlook then her Granny, one built not on fear but on sense of her own growing power, one that allows women to match the beast in men.

I hesitate to say I liked “The Company of Wolves”: it deals with uncomfortably personal issues in a dark and eerie way. But I believe it to be a good film, a kind of film that a person sees and then rushes to the Internet to find interpretations of its individual scenes or of its ambivalent ending. Such is the curse of the Internet: with all this free information at our fingertips it’s much easier to google the answers then to try and reach them by ourselves. Which would be a shame here. “The Company of Wolves” set out to tell a allegorical tale using lingering imagery about certain deep fears within us. In this, it succeeded wonderfully.