April 20th, 2020

More alone time.   More social distancing.   More voluntary self isolating (for the most part except once a week for groceries, a walk here and there) and doing more things in the condo.   Life is about balance, and being alone for me means not just watching TV, but rather puzzles, reading, music, and watching live safaris from South Africa.

If you are interested, check it out:  https://www.facebook.com/WildEarthLIVE/?__tn__=%2CdkC-R&eid=ARCZfDKlpj0AA6TJnDnIxDM7BEyRng305QBHolELUhH9c7WDCHskHJBHu7iL4Me8nUxx_OkIUgPrigia&hc_ref=ARRVOmgrqB3hXKyLUYcNlp5rFYrMYwMC0rH9JkCse3kq3A0Ya3JXbZG_hNbaIi2d91k

Now on to the movies and reviews.

The first movie was The Invisible Man, with Elizabeth Moss.   Now the Invisible Man story has been told before, more recently to my memory was with Kevin Bacon in Hollow Man.   This new addition is basically a re-telling of another similar story Sleeping With the Enemy with Julia Roberts.   It has a bit of a technological update but the basic structure remains.  A young woman, married to a narcissistic, controlling and abusive husband, seeks freedom away from him.   If you stop and think early on, the entire enterprise would be for not if she just avoids the family house pet, Zeus, but never mind.   There are bigger questions that will arise and leave the viewer pondering those instead.  But I won’t look to spoil them, but happy to discuss once viewers have seen this (if they choose to).   So the initial plan, doesn’t go as expected, and new measures need to take place.   Moss plays the fleeing wife, and choose to live with a male friend who is a cop, and his daughter.   She remains frightened.   There are little bits of other movies like The Entity and Terminator in this.  The story moves on and she must keep her sanity all the while trying to figure out the things that keep happening to her, and those she cares about.   Much like a Terminator, it is hard to explain that someone has become invisible and is a real threat, even when they begin to get mowed down like Sarah Connor’s keepers in her asylum.   By the end, it is just a mess.  There were a couple of jumps of surprise.  But I didn’t buy it, I saw where it was leading and I didn’t particularly care.   I wondered, if I had created this capability, would I be using it to try and be with a person who didn’t want to be with me?   Unlikely.   Money.  Power.  Everything likely would be possible.   But there it is.   I wouldn’t want to spend more time in this.

I followed that Moss mess with the black and white The Lighthouse with Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, who has long since moved away from his role in Twilight.   Set in the US in a remote island where there is a lighthouse, surprise, surprise and these two men are relieving the previous workers.   They have a few weeks there before they are relieved.   The older Dafoe character looks and sounds like Captain Highliner.   He tells stories and bosses the younger lad around.   They eventually become closer over time as they learn about each other.  There are some surprising elements that impact the two players.   In truth this could be a play rather than a movie.   It is really a story of two men pushed to their mental and physical limits.   The real reason to watch this would be the cinematography and feel of it.  It is beautiful to look at, with realistic water, lighthouse, storms and seas.   Both actors are very good.  The story?   Meh.   It takes a long time to tell and really isn’t all that satisfying.

I finally finished the second season of Succession.   The first season was okay, as the primary thread was the health issue of the patriarch of the family (a media magnet worth billions and his children, and spouse, exes, and extended family).   Season 2 was better for me.   It had the intrigued of a corporate acquisition, as well as a government investigation.   It is remarkable to watch how dysfunctional this family is.   Each member has their own challenges.  Seeing how they interact with the father and each other is fun.   There will be a Season 3 and I will look forward to it.   The cast is good and plays their parts well.   Kieran Culkin is particularly seedy.   I wouldn’t want to have dinner with them, but I wouldn’t mind sharing the yacht and location from the last episode.

Bombshell outlines another in a line of ugly men in powerful positions, who abuse their power to extract sexual favours from female employees, typically who are ambitious and wish to get ahead or have an opportunity.  It’s not Harvey Weinstein at Miramax and film this time.  This time it is at Fox News, and there are real time anchors like Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, played by Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman.  Roger Ailes is the real life TV news mogul who is played by John Lithgow.   Between this role and playing Winston Churchill in The Crown, Lithgow must be used to wearing fat suits.  The Ailes story has also been put on TV with Russell Crowe playing the unsavoury Ailes.  He won a Golden Globe for the performance (The Loudest Voice).   In short, Ailes is the news director for the successful Fox News where the environment is one where they are garnering viewership by putting anchors in short tight skirts behind glass tables.   The news room makes a billion dollars a year for owner Rupert Murdoch.   Incidentally, this is not a new formula and women have been objectified here and elsewhere (Entertainment Tonight famously with Mary Hart, TSN, ESPN, CITY and countless other channels).   What separates out Fox with Ailes is his looking for “loyal” team members, read ones who won’t talk about his sexual advances.  His saying “if you want to get ahead, you have to give head” tells the story really.   Ailes was able to isolate his victims, ensuring their silence but also had them move ahead.  WHat he could give, he could also take away.   A young employee played by Margot Robbie becomes the target of his affections.   She later is approached by star anchor, Kelly and they have an interesting exchange.   There is a sea of quiet in these situations and many are to blame.   The enablers, assistants, people who know year after year who don’t want to know what is happening.   They could be whistle blowers.   The women/victim themselves, even after the Kidman character (Carlson) makes the lawsuit known, were avoiding her and outright aggressive against her (the wearing of pro-Roger tee-shirts in the office was telling).   Of course it goes without saying that the men involved must know better.  The other anchors who also participated (say Bill O’Reilly) require greater character.  They all have mothers and many should have daughters.   And what about Ailes’ wife?   Roger Ailes was dismissed from his position in July 2016 at 76 years old.   He died May 2017, less than a year later.   Sadly he never had any jail time, and the settlement given ($20M to Carlson alone) was covered by Fox and not him personally.   This was a good movie and interesting with good performances.   It gets wrapped up in political bashing, but this is to be expected with the Kelly and Donald Trump feud.    But it is worth checking out.

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