Thursday, September 12, 2019

What's Next On My List? Takers

As a tradition, each year in memory of Paul Walker, I review a movie that he starred in as long as I run out. I miss him terribly still... he was truly one of my favorites. This is for you, happy birthday!


A group of professional robbers come across an old member of their team who went to jail for some of his side deals. Their old member, however has some beef and wishes to take revenge on the men who left him behind. Meanwhile, two cops going through their own personal trauma decide to dive into the last robbery the team committed and get pretty close to taking down the whole gang.

It still amazes me how this movie has not blown up. It has the biggest names, not just for 2010, but today too. Starting from Idris Elba, Zoe Saldana, Matt Dillon, Hayden Christensen, and Jay Hernandez. I remember back then that, I was hyped that at the time, my two favorite actors, Walker and Christensen had a movie together. And I don't want to force my female gaze onto the viewers: but OH MY GOD, Walker looks stunning gorgeous in this movie, like he was cut from marble. But basically everyone, I just... giving them dark suits, seriously, the designer deserves all the awards. These men were dressed in the best way possible and I couldn't look away. That said, going back to the movie itself... I feel conflicted, after watching it, but I do think that was the intent of the movie. Allow me to elaborate.
We see the "bad guys", the team of robbers, and at the same time the police officers, the "good guys", as they try to crack this case. And what we see is that the line between them is terribly thin. The bad guys might have money and the skills to pull off jobs, but they also have everyday problems: they want to be married, they want to care for their siblings, their parents and try their best to not harm anyone in the meanwhile. And then we can look at the cops: one of them breaks the law just in order to not lose his family. They are not rich, and they very well know the difference between good and bad, but life pushes them to a line where they don't know how to get back from. One neglects his family, the other would do anything to save them. So what is the line between good and bad? The reason I am conflicted about this movie, is that it puts a one villain to the story, who then makes everyone else look better, both good and bad guys. But I actually LOVE that I cannot wrap my head around my feelings in this movie, because that what life really is: complicated. It is impossible for me to decide if I was rooting for the right person and I like that. Our own moral compass might not always be the best way to proceed, it is, however, how we will proceed every time and in every case. 

Watch it? I think it is a wonderfully made movie with some incredible star quality on the screen. I think it simply went unnoticed and then it disappeared because of the terrible human being that Chris Brown turned out to be... and it is a shame, because the rest of the cast should have kept it afloat. I know, because if I went and cut out all of his scenes, this movie would still be awesome. Maybe they should do that...

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _

Paul Walker - John Rahway
Idris Elba - Gordon Jennings
Matt Dillon - Jack Welles
Michael Ealy - Jake Attica
Chris Brown - Jesse Attica
Jay Hernandez - Eddie Hatcher

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Blogger: My Completely Justified Hatred Of (Some) Vegans

Disclaimer: No, I have nothing against anyone's dietary choices. I have a family member suffering from gluten intolerance, and that is no joke. People like to leave out gluten when they are doing small diets, and it enrages me, because it makes people suffering from this actual disease (which has been proven to be the leading cause for stomach and intestine cancer) are not taken seriously. People keep making jokes about how stupid people are for shoving their allergies into your face, WELL, you would not hate on somebody with a peanut allergy, so STOP hating people who have allergies that cause harm within their body. The same way some vegans do not have a choice, and many vegan meals help people with intolerance as well as diabetic people, I understand the need for it and I appreciate. 

My beef comes from those people who think they have the right to shove it into my face. (Pun intended.)

Photo by mokra from FreeImages
I respect everyone who has their dietary choices, I have a lot of vegetarian friends, and I too choose what kind of meat I like to eat because I know that red meat is harmful in every way.  Actually, if asked, I crave a big fresh salad over any fast food option, always. I not only get that it is a healthier life style, but it can also be very tasty. The reason I know that being vegan is also good, is because I had discussions about food, I have read books on it, listened to interviews with doctors and so on. I do not wish to share my food preferences because I don't want to be "hip", or to showcase my superiority, in  this case, in comparison to the rest of humanity. If you do that, I hate you. I find that vegans as a whole approach everything from a wrong angle: they have become aggressive over the years and to me they are a nuisance because of this particular practice:

I am sick and tired of people taking a hammer to the outcome of a problem instead of trying to solve it at its root.

I read an article that a group of vegans stood in front of a meat fridge and ambushed people who wanted to buy meat products... they wanted to raise attention to the fact that the animals that provided them were mistreated. That's is indeed an important issue, but why the f*ck are you ambushing grandma who is trying to make meatballs for her only grandchild instead of petitioning against animal cruelty? You can't change a consumer's mind by being a bully! You can't lie in the middle of a store and "protest" the items they buy and sell and just wait for human compassion to kick in... it won't. The same way, and I am not afraid to make this comparison: by shoving pictures of babies into a woman's face who wants to go to an abortion clinic is NOT gonna make her change her mind. You have no idea why she has to do that, nor do you have any idea about a person's dietary choices. You can inform someone, you can approach them and share your concerns, ONLY if you are welcome. You can still make an impact, a far bigger one, by you yourself showing the kind of compassion that you are waiting from them. 

The issues some vegans are fighting for are very important, but the message is lost.

Photo by Eduardo Valderrama from FreeImages
You need to come up with sooo much better practices to inform people. Look at a math equation: if you don't get the result you should have, you don't go and check only the last step, no, you go back to the beginning and start again. Same with animal cruelty, you have to go back to the source of the problem! Teach this at schools to children, teach it in high school, teach it at university, it does not matter, but help change in some place other than by bothering grandma!!!! Inform people by approaching coffee places and restaurants to change their products to local farmers and markets, petition the government to help the little guy, so they can lower the cost of freshly produced fruits and vegetables, ask the farmers then to teach their costumers. Make MORE youtube channels, NOT about taking action, but about instructing people on how to change their diets. I understand that the consumer has an impact (you know, supply and demand), but we have to be smart about it instead of being aggressive. It is a little bit like religion to me: I care and love you when you wish to share, the minute you want to force it on me, I am going to be very upset, and I feel that way about many if not all vegans that I encountered so far (and I am sure that not all are like that).

And you know what? There might be youtube channels like that already out there but none of the reached me. And that is at the root of this problem, at that is what needs fixing. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

FRESH FROM THE THEATER: Dark Phoenix

So my best friend and I went to see this movie together back in June and I really want to talk about it.

In an attempt to save a group of astronauts, Jean is exposed to a dark material in space, that makes her open her mind to memories and thoughts that were shielded by Charles at a young age. In her rage against the man she thought loved her, Jean joins forces with aliens who were following the dark material that resides in her and use her as their pawn in a much bigger game. In the end, Jean has to be the one who stops herself.

"- I don't want to fight you.
- I get that a lot."

It took me a while to get down to writing this review - actually two months have passed, so it is not so "fresh" anymore - but the reason for that is that I had to spend some time to think about WHY people hate the X-Men movies... because, to me, as far as music, setup, acting and composition is concerned it was just like First Class, a fan favorite. People seemed to hate Apocalypse, which is far from the worst non-MCU movie I have ever seen, and to me Days Of Future Past is simply perfect. On that note, yes, these are not MCU, so I do believe that even comparing them is stupid. But I find that there is only one thing that I hated and that was the way they treated Mystique's character: Jennifer Lawrence would have made an awesome villain all throughout the movies, but they never really went that far, although Days Of Future Past was a good setup for that. The same way that Fassbender made a great potential enemy/villain, that never really came into full effect because, overall, we all understand the struggle of both sides, both Charles and Eric. And well, what I REALLY liked about this movie was that Charles and Eric well full-blown, well established characters, who stood out from the crowd, but they still lack the knowledge of wise old men that we have seen in the original trilogy (and the comics of course).
So what might have been the reason that THIS movie was not an utter success? First, I think that most people did not see it... like, they have pre-established that it is going to suck and that is it. Second, as I talked about established characters: this movie kept bringing in more characters while refusing to work on the old ones after Days Of Future Past. That movie was not an action movie, but it was setup very well by First Class. Unfortunately Apocalypse brought in too many new faces with very little time to help us connect to any of them, and that is why I believe Dark Phoenix suffered. Does that make it a bad movie? No, because quite frankly, the casting is still effing outstanding. I love Sophie Turner's Jean Grey and the interactions between Charles and Eric were simply put: magnificent. This movie suffered because of the setup of the whole franchise, and not because it was in itself a bad movie.

"It's funny. I can't actually remember the last time you were the one risking something. And by the way, the women are always saving the men around here. You might wanna think about changing the name to X-Women."

So watch it? Most definitely. I do not know anymore what kind of impossible standard the fans are setting these movies to, but for the exception of maybe two Wolverine movies they very much refuse to acknowledge the others and I believe it is time to re-watch them. I am going to miss this cast, and am happy for the stories we saw. Stop comparing it to the MCU. It isn't. But they all have a charm to them and suffer from a misplaced prejudice in many cases.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Jean Grey / Phoenix - Sophie Turner
Scott Summers / Cyclops - Tye Sheridan
Ororo Munroe / Storm - Alexandra Shipp
Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver - Evan Peters
Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler - Kodi Smit-McPhee
Vuk - Jessica Chastain
Raven/Mystique - Jennifer Lawrence
Charles Xavier - James McAvoy
Erik Lehnssher - Michael Fassbender
Hank McCoy/Beast - Nicholas Hoult

Thursday, August 22, 2019

What's Next On My List? Baywatch

One of these evenings I was looking to watch something simple and just lighthearted to have a little bit of fun. When the trailer came out I was very unsure about this movie, I figured it would be just terrible. And I was both wrong and right...


Mitch Buchannon is about to recruit a new group of lifeguards to his bay, only to notice some illegal activity going on at the clubs surrounding the beach. Instead of waiting for the police, like a normal person would, he decides to give out justice in his own way, using his team and recruits they uncover a drug dealer poising the bay.

Well... I am glad I did not see this movie right away, because I would not have been happy with it. Watching it now... it was exactly what I needed, but I also saw right away why this movie flopped. I believe there was one writer out there who wanted to make a movie that was aware of itself: making fun of all those stories in the original Baywatch series that made our eyebrows go up and question "Is this right?", while still giving a nod to the actors who portrayed those iconic roles. The movie knew its source material and it shows on multiple levels. And... had they kept it there, it would have been my favorite comedy of all time, because there is plenty of material to make fun of in the original series. I loved it in the movie when Mitch sees a child getting into the water behind his back, that they pretend his lieutenant status means anything, his flip flops... even the casting was just outstanding for this movie. But then... then some producer came in and told them to add toilet humor and that is where I am sure they lost a good chunk of their viewers. You see... I do not think people expected that, and well, to sell well, they wanted to pander to the widest audience possible, even people who might not know Baywatch and... everybody knows Baywatch. It has been my experience that movies that combine high humor with toilet humor always fall flat... I have found myself laughing at loud at a lot of the jokes and it was just overall good but it would still be a good movie if I cut out all the unnecessary disgusting jokes and it would have reached the same amount of people, in my opinion.

Watch it? Well, if you are looking for harmless fun and beautiful beaches, then yes. But be ready... puke is not the only thing happening here. And to me, on a better day, that would be a complete throw off. It is simply disgusting, I mean, the situations in the movie were not even relatable... nobody ever blew up a human being in front of me, or did I get stuck in a morgue... like no. And it is a real shame, because the good jokes were home runs. So I think everyone should decide for themselves.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Mitch Buchannon - Dwayne Johnson
Matt Brody - Zac Efron
Victoria Leeds - Priyanka Chopra
Summer Quinn - Alexandra Daddario
CJ Parker - Kelly Rohrbach
Stephanie Holden - Ilfenesh Hadera
Ronnie Greenbaum - Jon Bass

Friday, August 16, 2019

Blogger: My First Time At Sziget Festival

For years now I have avoided the Sziget Festival, despite it being organized in my city, mostly because 1, I did not appreciate during my teens live music as I do now ; 2, I am not spontaneous enough... When my friends told me stories, I would only heard the bad things, and well, that is my fault. But I grew up in a household where it is easy to hide behind fear, especially if we think that fear was justified by one news article... so here we are, hearing "horror" stories of how there are too many people, how getting of the island was problematic, drunk teens left and right, storms, mud everywhere... I just put it off.

... but music persisted.
Years passed and my love for music grew deeper and deeper. So much so, that I have made a list of bands and singers that I just have to see live at least once in my life. One of these was The 1975, who have been touring around Europe for years, with three albums out in just six years, and they finally returned to Hungary. But I have written about them in detail a few weeks back, and you can read that here! So going back... when I saw the line up, I just knew that I had to buy the tickets. Never again will I pass up an opportunity like this, if I have the money for it. And that meant losing my Sziget virginity...

The thing that I never thought about, although I should have, was that I have very smart and intelligent friends who loved Sziget and maybe, instead of an article about the problems, I should have focused on the good things they told me about. I don't want to make excuses, really, I was just uninterested for the most part. I don't really drink when I go to concerts, I like to be sober, to take in every second, remember every moment and enjoy every beat. Being among drunk, well, hippies, was not on my bucket list... but I finally went and was somewhat... mesmerized.

Now, I keep reading about Woodstock...
It appears in movies, TV shows, just the other day I saw an article entitled "50 Years After They Met at Woodstock, Couple Finally Finds a Photo of Their First Hours Together", it is a part of history that will remain with us forever. And first, I had this sense of sadness, because I felt that I will never experience something like that, but then, it also made me happy how music brought people together in a way that made its mark in the history books. And when we arrived at Sziget I was without words, as if, I was able to travel back in time to a place where the problems of the world are left outside. OK. To be fair, one guy tried to air-hump me and like, honestly dude, f*ck you, but jerks exist everywhere and since they sell alcohol it was somewhat expected too, but I felt that that was just a reality check in case I forgot that I am still alive and that I did not travel in time.
@esthersusancsorba
Nonetheless, the way music brings people together amazes me. First, everyone was wearing clothing that even a casual Friday would disagree with: from the shortest shorts, to the big full body kangaroo onesie. And then, the glitter... so much freaking glitter! Some very well placed, along with the sparkly make up, and some just everywhere on the body. I believe that the guys who had glitter on their chest hair were my favorite kind of people. The theme that got closest to my heart was the emphasis on diversity. The whole island has the theme of freedom, from war, work, hatred, reality... everything that today makes our world bad again. CocaCola signs saying #LoveIsLove, couples being free and there was (for many consecutive years now) a tent from BudapestPride where you could marry your loved one, whatever their gender. I do believe that a lot of artists are voicing their opinions on how equality is key, and for Sziget it is very smart to enhance that message, helping their guests and just being good hosts in a world that tries to promote hate. One of my favorite moments of the two days I attended was when I tried to take a picture with a huge Sziget sign, and this random girl showed up and just hugged me, photo-bombing my pic, but I could not stop laughing. This kind of love of one another is the one that we should all promote...

... and the bands I saw did promote love.
As I said before, the first band I watched was The 1975, who have just gotten in trouble for fighting the ban on homosexuality in the United Arab Emirates. But they are not shy on political issues. I find that nowadays very few songs focus on current political situations. I was just at a peace march a few days back and all the songs they played were from the 90s... and of course, we had very good times, but they are shit now... This band is not shy when it comes to expressing their opinions. Matt Healy, the singer, said "I hate guns", and then proceeded to dedicate their song "Be My Mistake" to the United States... I find that to be a very powerful message already. Their song "Love It If We Made It" is also a nice nod to the disgusting filth going on in the political sphere of the planet as of right now. During one song he asked the audience to embrace their loved ones, girlfriends or boyfriends, and just sway with them to the melody of "Couldn't Be More In Love". I have been waiting six years to see this band live and it was everything I dreamed of. They are wonderful performers and they got the crowd dancing and singing with them, featuring songs from all three of their albums. I was blessed to have seen them, and I plan to go every time they come anywhere near me again. They are simply my favorite band of all time. 
And the promotion of love and peace was overall the main message of Woodstock as well, so in that fashion, the second concert that I went to hit all the right notes again: Florence + The Machine. The other day I realized that I had been with this band for over ten years, not having realized that their first album came out in 2009. I heard their song "Cosmic Love" in the show One Tree Hill, and I did not really take into account how many years have passed since... I became legal that year, and it was actually this silly drama for teenagers that taught me to value music more in my life. Florence, stepping out barefoot onto the stage and dancing her way through the whole concert, dedicated this very song to us, the fans who have been here since the beginning, saying it was the first they wrote, while very hungover. I felt blessed to be part of their fan community, and blessed is the right word: Florence went down to the audience and chose one person to whom she directed "What Kind Of Man" and the guy was simply in trans. What we saw on the big screens in those three minutes was worthy of a thousand hours in church. She took the audience with her on a trip and we all felt every note of that song flow deep within us. She spoke one more time before that, and told us to tell the person we came with that we love them and then to turn to strangers and do the same. Finally, she dedicated their song "You've Got The Love" to the LGBTQ+ community, telling as that "We love you and we are with you". I still cannot understand how I was lucky enough to take part in this experience.

Final thought...
What this island now represents to me is simply the notion of being present. The fact that I experienced all of these moments live is something fascinating to me. I, for one, will never forget that Richard Ashcroft when on and he closed his set by singing "Bitter Sweet Symphony", a song I have known for 20 years, 2/3 of my life, and there I was, hearing it live and I felt tears come to my eyes. I think that for too long I was focusing on the how of the organisation of these concerts, instead of the fact that I would hear my favorite artist live. That is the major change in me when it comes to concerts now: being there in the moment is much more important to me, then just hearing a song on my MP3. Now, my list of artists I wish to see live is not that long, but I got at least two more crossed out and that alone made even the weird and unwanted moments of the Sziget experience worth it!