Staring at the television

Lately I’ve been neglecting the real world and sinking my time watching movies I’ve borrowed from the local libraries. I favour movies over tv-series as they don’t require me to commit too much time in advance, just 2-3 hours and that’s it. No fear of getting hooked for a longer period of time. Since I really have been watching a lot of movies, I might as well briefly comment on them.

Recent hyped movies

Two movies were Oscar best picture winners, Moonlight (2016, directed by Barry Jenkins) and The Shape of Water (2017, Guillermo de Toro). They were both by all means fine, but they made me even more skeptical on using the Oscars as a central measurement stick what makes a great movie. At least for my taste.

Then where was The Florida Project (2017, Sean Baker), which lingered quite a while in my mind afterwards. Maybe because of the way it showcased how impossible situations some young, uneducated and frustrated single mothers can be in. And also of course how the kids try to make the most of it themselves by wandering around the surroundings of their motel.

Outcasts of American motel life in the movie The Florida Project.

Amazing Grace (2018) was a Aretha Franklin live concert film I was expecting a lot thanks to the hype, but in the end it turned out to be more of a curious documentary of gospel concerts I’m not that familiar with.

Romance, war and science fiction

One of the best romantic movies I’ve ever seen was Before Sunrise (1995, Richard Linklater) back in the 90’s. I was worried it might have lost its magic after two decades, but it still turned out hold great, effortless acting of two young people getting to know each other in Vienna.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988, Philip Kaufman) on the other hand failed to impress. Acting in particular was bad (with the lone exception of Lena Olin) and the story was a mess (unless the numerous scratches on the DVD skipped important scenes, it had seen a lot of life in the hands of other borrowers).

Cross of Iron (1977, Sam Peckinpah) was a terrible war movie with a plot and characters that felt they were straight from some cheap Korkeajännitys comic. In that sense I can see why Quentin Tarantino liked the movie. Oh, and lots of explosions just for the heck of it.

I’m a sucker for sci-fi movies, so I rewatched Interstellar (2014, Christopher Nolan) and Arrival (2016, Dennis Villeneuve), even though I saw them in the cinemas years back. Arrival still had an interesting perspective on the possibilities with language, while Interstellar’s slow tempo and hard science approach pleased me. The extra features on the discs nicely opened the backgrounds of both films.

Epic scale movies and faith tested under Japanese oppression

Trying out something different, I also borrowed the classic epic movie Doctor Zhivago (1965, David Dean). Although the acting was a bit cheesy and dialog overly British, it was worth watching thanks to the grand sense of Big Cinema (I understand this was one of the last of its kind). Julie Christie was dazzling, I admit. I guess I’ll have to check Laurence of Arabia next (same director).

For some weird reason it completely went past my radar that Martin Scorsese finally got around completing his eternity project Silence (2016). The story (based on a novel) is about two Jesuit priests going to 17th century Japan to find their mentor that was rumored to have committed apostasy.

Even though the movie lasted almost over two and a half slow hours, I was locked to the screen from start to finish. Beautifully directed, can’t believe it actually bombed at the box office.

Missionaries faith on God is put to the real test in 17th century Japan.

A photo service (still) in decline

In the other news, after a few years break I decided to renew my Flickr Pro subscription. I think it was the first internet service I’ve payed for back in the day and it has been important with my photography hobby as a place to show my digital captures over the years.

However, sharing photos has changed a lot since it’s glory days after the arrival of smart phones, Facebook, Instagram and cloud storage like Dropbox. Also, the bulk of the community of Flickr has always felt a bit alien to me for some reason. Even so, it will be a shame if it gets shut down as it seems to struggle keeping the business profitable. Then again, services come and go.

And I have to admit my greatest spark with photography has been long gone for a while. I think I need to have more planning what to aim for than just shooting randomly and hoping for the best.

One of the few photos I’ve added to my Flickr stream. I like to imagine the bridge being a passage between worlds instead of islands along the archipelago of Finland.




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