Showing posts from September, 2015

Before Midnight (film)

Before Midnight (Directed by Richard Linklater)/2013 This film is the final of the trilogy by Richard Linklater. It explores the themes of love and the fading nature of a long-term relationship. Jesse and Celine are the central characters of Linklater's romantic tale that spanned over a decade. Jesse left his wife and son and chose to start a new relationship with Celine 18 years ago. Fast forward to today’s time, Jesse and Celine are on a holiday on a Greek island with their young daughters and troubled by the battle with Jesses's ex-wife for the custody of his son . Early in the film we see the quotidian grind of the long term partners: work, children, planning, logistics etc. etc as if the earlier times of their relationship have melted away into a rose-tinted past. At dinner, Jesse, Celine and their friends discuss love and relationships. We see people dancing around the topic of love: the rational human-beings at the table are unwilling to come out and openly a

A Most Violent Year (film)

A Most Violent Year (Directed by J.C. Chandor)/2014 A Most Violent Year is set in New York during the 1980s: crime and corruption are high and it is a difficult time to engage in honest business. Abel Morales, played by Oscar Isaac, is the owner of Standard Heating Oil Co, an up-and-coming heating oil company. The company is routinely hijacked by competing businesses, and we learn that there is a mafia element involved. The movie operates on two levels. We witness the drama of Morales trying to figure out who is threatening his livelihood. His drivers are held up at gun-point and thrown out of the fuel trucks and engage in lengthy chases. People show up to his family’s house at night to threaten them and leave a gun outside as a warning. There is a bit of mystery around who is performing these acts. We also learn that his wife is the daughter of a previous mobster and at times puts pressure on him to go down the less righteous path and fight back with violence. What this movi

The Jinx (TV Show)

The Jinx: the Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (Directed by Andrew Jarecki)/2015 This show is amazing throughout, but what happens in the last episode will make it a timeless classic. Unfortunately, as this is a review and you may not have seen the show, I cannot tell you what happens. And don't under any circumstances read about Robert Durst on the internet before watching the show! The Jinx is a documentary miniseries that was made and released by HBO. Due to the almost unbelievable content of the show, the whole thing seemed like a case of life copying art. Throughout my viewing, I thought to myself ‘how could this really happen?’ If it were a purely fictional drama, a viewer would likely dismiss it as too unrealistic. The blurring of life and art is also intensified by Jarecki’s use of classic HBO drama stylistic tools: the beautiful, abstract introduction and the clever use of music throughout. Robert Durst is an heir to a wealthy family. He was first suspected of

Challenging the Stigma of Mental Illness (book)

Challenging the Stigma of Mental Illness (edited by Patrick Corrigan)/2011 The debate around the stigmatisation of mentally ill people revolves around this question: is it the label of being mentally ill that leads people to be shunned by others in workplaces and housing or is it the behavior caused by the mental illness which leads people to turn away from them? This question is dealt with extensively in this unique set of essays edited by Patrick Corrigan. This review will cover a few of the ideas outlined in that book and then present Corrigan's conclusions. It is no secret that mental-health labels are often accompanied by negative stereotypes, and that the labels are at least partly the driving factor in producing stigmatisation. The label might come from a psychiatrist, from the person themselves, or be obtained through association, such as being seen coming out of a psychologist’s office. These stereotypes might not bind to the labels by necessity, but cultural history h

Show Me a Hero (TV Show)

Show Me a Hero (Directed by Paul Haggis)/2015 Show Me a Hero follows the development of a housing complex in the city of Yonkers, New York in the late 80s. It follows the cross section of political dynamics that is involved in an operation of a city.  The federal government requires the city to build a housing complex for low income families in the projects majority of whom are black.  The city withstands this as long as it can.  Its constituents do not want this. The reality is that it has no power to push back; nevertheless, various city counsellors make false promises to their constituents in order to get elected and once elected, repackage the message and proceed with the housing development. The citizens are outraged. The white middle-class folks do not want people from the projects to come and turn their neighbourhoods into a ghetto. The black folks don’t want to move to a place where they’d face discrimination and hostility. Some decide to get off the couch and get out