Archive for category Movies

Chris Pratt and the new superhero image


Having recently re-watched Guardians of the Galaxy, possibly my all times favourite superhero movie, I had the pleasure to discover a feature on and with Chris Pratt in Glamour  magazine. Yes, it was in the June issue and yes, I have missed it when it came out due to a situation with my address being changed to a wrong street number in their system. Never mind, it is all sorted now.

It was pleasant to discover a few things on the guy, described as “a curious mix of humility, enthusiasm and self-assurance”, which does not come completely as a surprise. Turning the few pages in the magazine which present him as the G MAN of June, on awaiting the premiere of Jurassic World, this is exactly what I saw myself in the two photos taken for this feature. A confident guy, as far from being cocky as Pluto from the sun, whose posture and mimic show modesty and a genuine person.
Reading through the article only enhanced this impression. The guy apparently came from a social background which promised nothing such as staring in Hollywood one day. As he briefly mentions it, he grew up being poor and not caring too much about this. But once he got into acting, this was what he wanted to do. Not out of ambition, not for the money and the glamour (if I am good at all in reading between the lines), but just because this was it for him.

Aware of the challenge to keep up now with his own success, Chris does not seem keen on staying a Hollywood star forever. He actually speaks of completely retreating from the limelight at some point, alongside his actress wife, after securing a comfortable amount of money which would allow them to raise their son, generally enjoy life and maybe shifting their creativity towards writing and painting. I must confess this part completely melted my heart. As a writer and former journalist, far from hitting success as Chris did at 35, this is exactly what I am striving towards together with my partner: securing a comfort which would allow us to express ourselves without any other major worry for our future.

If you think of it, back to the movie, the actor, not your usual Hollywood superstar, embodies a quite atypical superhero. He’s got the looks, although it is a somewhat different type of handsome. Not a complete hunk, while not a complete sweety either (think Leo in Romeo and Juliet), he seems the type of the handsome neighbour you could actually trust. Infused with a certain cheekiness which stays with the character, Peter Quill has that something pleasant about him as a man who knows he’s handsome, without caring too much about it.
As for personality, where should we start? Raised by thieves, but not a rotten apple himself really, just a guy who does what he knows to make ends meet, he is the least expected to lead a team of superheroes who would save the galaxy from destruction and dictatorial evil power. And by the image of their leader so is the whole gang of unlikely heroes who save the day.

A few weeks ago I watched the movie again at home, with my friend Ana, who hasn’t seen it before. She loved it as much as I did. On the other hand, I was just curious how I would react the second time at certain scenes. If anybody else wants to know, I cried again with my cheeks covered in tears at the end, when Groot grew around his group of friends, embracing them to protect them from imminent death. It was just as strong as when I watched it the first time and Ana was sobbing herself next to me. Then, when we turned the lights back on, we chatted about the movie and how apparently these guys only superpower was their friendship.
And indeed this is the tweak in the whole movie. Yes, Quill is cunning and he has got some assertiveness skills to shame other heroes in the genre. The big red guy has that blood thirsty rage as all which was left to him after losing his family.  The green girl Gamora, raised by Thanos after he killed her parents in front of her, has all the skills of a deadly warrior, together with an unquenchable thirst for freedom. The little angry Rocket, a racoon genetically modified and tortured, has his implacable instinct of survival. While Groot, oh dear Groot, the walking tree seems to be very single minded while deeply caring for his close ones. This character made me think of nature which provides for us all, without really asking for anything in return, and which in the end could prove to be our real saviour when all else is lost.

Most important, what binds this bunch of unlikely friends together? First, none of them have any roots or attachments any longer, but finding themselves entangled in the circumstances, they need to work together to get out of the situation. And then they become friends. They understand each other’s hurt, disillusion and rage, and friendship is what in the end moves them towards becoming the heroes of the day. Had the circumstances not brought them together, each of them would have minded their own business and would have probably tried to keep away from the disaster.
Of course they are all outcasts and the scene before the very final one, with them all walking towards the repaired ship, is completely delightful. Their questions of what they are not supposed to do any longer as it might be illegal have the twinkling humour of innocence. These guys did not choose to become outcasts, somebody else had chosen for all of them until the right time came to make their own, personal and very decisive choice.

I must admit that an outcast superhero has always appealed to me possibly more than an all righteous one. This is why I’ve always preferred Batman to Superman, as his dark side is always lurking just one step behind his justice maker persona. It may have something to do with the fact that the first novel I have ever read was “Robin Hood”, while my later heroes became the three musketeers and they were no angels whatsoever.

As I did not intend to write a movie review, but to stress what stayed with me after watching it twice, I will not really analyse anything else about it. It remains the best superheroes movie I have seen in quite a while, although in tight competition with “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. While on both movies have a score of 8.1, what made the difference for me was the unlikeliness of these characters to actually be the saviours of the day, as well as the brilliant humour. Most viewers and reviewers stressed on how this was one of the elements which actually changed the paradigm of the genre.

And how could it have not changed it?
It was not amazing superpowers which enabled them to defeat the bad guy (although there is this tweak about Quill which will probably unravel in the sequel), but exactly his humour turned the fierce Ronan into a distraught man losing the plot. All evil expects to be opposed by a display of force, brought forward with all the energy and rage their opponents are capable of. And what does this Quill do? Starts dancing and singing as of inviting him on the spotlight at a disco party? This proves indeed enough to stop an evil mind on its tracks, even for that needed moment for the team of friends to take control over the situation and completely change the outcome.

Now I do hope the sequel will rise to the expected standards, and I do hope Chris Pratt remains the nice guy I have seen glimpses of. It’s good to be able to relate to such stories and such people in the craze which constantly pulls us in ten directions at a time.

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Mad Max: Fury Road – a burning world

After watching the movie, I can say the trailer does it justice, while at the same time leaving out one of the best side stories. Most important, it works. The images got stuck in my mind since seeing it before Fast and Furious 7, and I knew I have to watch it.

You’ve got in this trailer the beautifully mastered start of the movie, with the broken rhythm of reality for a mind lost in madness. You’ve got the oppressive ruler who aims to bend life to his own will. You’ve got the action pumping crazily like the flames exploding in a city set alight by a dozen of arsonists at the same time. And you’ve got the deep, dark and broken voice of the guy whose eyes see it all: Max. The mad one. No madder than the rest of the world.
And there is something else, which charmed me at first sight: the images worked with surrealist refinement. I know, this is some quite pretentious language I am using right now, but please believe I cannot help it.
I’m also pondering on how much to reveal as not to spoil it all for you, but to say enough of what I really want to express.

After debating with myself, I have decided I will not reveal anything about the very first image on screen, which made me whisper to my friend, Ana: “Wow, it looks amazing!” (and it wasn’t a flowing summer dress, a pair of gorgeous shoes or a picturesque landscape – well, a landscape it was, burning your retina rather than soothing it)
What I will tell you is how impressed I was with the start of the movie in itself. It has all it needs: good timing, good rhythm, great vision over the jerked movements of the outside seen by a mind gone mad, over the haunting fears and regrets lurking inside.
A small gem in its own, it sets high expectations for the rest of the movie, while it gives you just enough to be satisfied from the very first steps into the story. I would say it was a clever strategy from an experienced director, in line with basic entertainment (and not only) principles: give them enough to keep them interested, but not too much as to overwhelm them. Or put it this way: meet people’s expectations as much as needed not to frustrate them, but go one step further and surprise them as well. This makes the best scaffold for any good entertainment product for the large audience, after all.

In this respect, George Miller marks point after point with Mad Max: Fury Road . I must confess that I have seen the first series a good while ago, probably as a young teenager, and I am not that young any longer (by biological age, at least). So besides Mel Gibson’s charisma, some good action and a misty, faint image of the post-apocalyptic world in that series I cannot remember much. Of course I have always loved Mel Gibson and I can confess that the beautiful madness in his passionate eyes cannot be equalled, at least by my (emotional or not) standards. But then Mad Max: Fury Road  gives you more than one great charismatic actor burning from inside out on the screen. The new movie brings a truly memorable world, the madness spreading through and along, in such a way in which it becomes almost touchable. It imprints its setting into the viewers’ minds with powerful and haunting images not soon to be forgotten. And it does this while pumping crazy action scenes one after another.
Apparently, it has been reported (according to that this was the director’s intention: beautiful settings and breath-taking action to speak for itself.

I have mentioned the images so many times now that I need to give you a few examples, without spoiling the story. See the trailer: the War Rig (huge oil truck), escorted by a few other vehicles, rolling down in a dessert landscape, under a bright sky. Then watch the chasing party catching their tail, the radioactive sand storm, the young woman in bride like attire walking from the oil tank to the truck’s cabin, the beauty and sadness in Furiosa’s eyes. See the water flowing from a burnt huge rock to the people waiting for a drop to keep them going.
And then what you don’t see in the trailer is even better: the night scenes, engulfed in a surreal hue of blue, almost glowing but still heavy like the shadows of death, of all the lost souls who roam a wasted land not entirely alive, but not dead yet.

The way this post-apocalyptic world has been designed and set into motion looks most compelling. No one is spared pain or disease, not even the rulers and their packs of War Lords. Tumours, blisters, poisoned lungs, weakened limbs are the most common things. Never mind the masses waiting at the foot of the high rocks: they seem to exist out of inertia, only due to this self-preservation instinct that all forms of life, but even more human beings, with their sense of self, posses.
Immortan Joe, one of the three dictatorial rules of this world, decides who gets what around his Citadel. He gives the masses speeches and a little water every day, with a voice tone and tactic reminiscent of Hitler. He keeps the right to breeding to himself and his own, he decides for all the rest.

For someone as interested as I am in society and humanity values, certain scenes have a strong impact. I found myself impressed at showing how a handful of peopl decide who gets to have the basic survival needs met and who doesn’t. Immortan Joe gives them words and a little water, while growing lush gardens and vegetables on the top of the rocks for him and his chosen ones, on whose support his power rests on. Somehow this is not necessarily a post-apocalyptic world of the future, it happens today and most people do not think of it, some probably say it’s just the way things are, we cannot do anything to change them, and some even support this state of facts, as they probably feel they are the chosen and entitled ones.
There was another thread of the story which touched me. The character appears in the trailer, but you would not expect much of him, nor think he actually has an important role whatsoever. Besides the two strong lead characters, Max and Furiosa, this guy grows a personality and his personal development is one of the most delightful parts of the whole movie.

While he is still only chasing targets set for him by a choice deprived society, he embodies the fanatic. However, there is innocence in this character throughout. In a certain scene when he gets blessing from the big guy, and my friend Ana was somehow showing her disapproval, I whispered to her, actually with tears stuck in my throat: “give the faintest string of hope, even in death, to somebody who has nothing to expect in this life, and you’ve turned them fanatic”.
To my delight, this character has kept his innocence and supported my observations.

Without spoiling the action, the twists and turns, the dark humour and how the story grows in between the fighting scenes, I can say that Mad Max: Fury Road  is a movie about hope. It shows what happens to people who do still have hope in a non-egotistic way, as they share it with others (Imperator Furiosa). It shows how one without hope, who lost a lot and who is still haunted by all the losses can go mad (Mad Max). It gives the perfect image for egotistic greedy unscrupulous people, who build all their hopes and expectations on the shoulders of others and of taking whatever fits them from all. It gives a touching delicate image of the ones who have just received hope and now have not only what to fight for, but what to die for fighting.
At some point, Max talks about not having hope, a powerful striking statement, but I will let you discover for yourselves.

What this movie is not is a “feminist propaganda” product. Whoever (sorry I cannot be bothered to check) uttered such non-sense could possibly be a person with nothing else to say or do in order to attract more attention on themselves.
Strong women? So now you have to be a feminist and to spread feminist propaganda (whatever that is) to approve women are strong and can fight for themselves, need be?
Strong women escaping an oppressive regime? Please, just read the newspapers and you will see over and over again examples of women standing for their human rights and against discrimination in regimes where they are mere breeders and sexual objects, as well as servants for the man around them.
Or is it really so far-fetched that, in a post-war world ruled by warrior men, who take all the can take and make the law with no respect to other human beings (who are breeders, blood banks or just cockroaches lurking at the foot of the Citadel), women would be treated as providers of babies and pleasure and nothing more? Is it now?

The two main characters in this movie play their part beautifully and success depends on both of them. Imperator Furiosa chases a dream from her childhood, fights for her own when nobody cares for women other than they themselves, but finds her dream shattered. She cannot give up on her paradise, is ready to carry on running to catch its illusory shapes. Max helps take the right turn, his madness proves to be the needed element to change the world whilst making it collapse inside. While his drive is survival and as such he finds himself alongside the fugitives, at some point his perspective changes as well, the hope he lost stays alive in these women, and he cannot fight its bonding strength.
And, as men are said to tend to, he comes up with a solution, in the end.

Last, but not least, George Miller thinking this movie as standing on its own and not a remake of his earlier works proved brilliant. Not a fan of remakes whatsoever, I appreciate how he used a setting and a character to create something new and to emphasize on society and the way it is still heading today.

As we were getting out of the cinema, Ana told me this was the craziest action movie she’s seen in a while, comparing it only to Kill Bill. Then later on, back home, she expressed she liked this one more than Ex Machina, yet another production that I have to write on as I found it clever, refreshing and haunting at the same time.
Definitely, it is the movie which made me think, debate and analyse the most of all I have recently seen.

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Hollywood goes stupid on BDSM


It has been a while since the whole internet (and not only) was buzzing with “Fifty Shades of Grey” frenzy. Unlike many, I did not run to the cinema to watch it, although I knew I would eventually have to. As somebody interested in alternative erotica and how it makes it into mainstream, watching it was a must.
Despite reading a couple of reviews and personal opinions on it, I went to the cinema with an open mind. Therefore, I can say there are some good scenes, which could have given the watcher a good sense of domination in sex and everything connected with BDSM eroticism. However, the sensuality of these scenes is suppressed and even shattered by all the unnecessary and abusive elements brought into the picture without any real consideration. After paying to see this movie, some of us may feel that it was nothing but a shallow use of controversy for the sake of box office success only and no further considerations.

(Photo: from wikipedia, featured picture of Lady Byron)

Yes, very Hollywood-like indeed, if we are to be very critical of the American movie industry. And as A., my partner, put it, those intimate moments between Dominant and Submissive which are not messed up in the movie might have actually been copied from whatever material available in the sex and porn movies industry. They somehow managed to give a glimpse on the erotic pact which is part of the BDSM game, but only to later aggravate everything and turn eroticism into abuse.

And this is the reason why I am writing now about “Fifty Shades of Grey” in English, after I have done it in Romanian. Not to talk extensively about the movie itself and to mainly criticise how they portrayed the Dominant as an abuser, exactly what alternative sexuality needed, but to debate how harmful it actually is.
To do this, I will present you the following plot: a very successful business man, who is also gay, gets very passionate about a young student, who is not very certain he really likes men or not. The successful guy does everything he can to seduce and convince the subject of his desires, but only to abuse his younger lover when he finally gives in. At the same time, you actually find out that the seducer has been raped himself by an older man when he was 15, which made him become gay, and now he just somehow propagates unto the others what happened to him, saying “this is how I am”. Nice, isn’t it?

I want to believe not many would accept today such a plot on homosexual eroticism, and for good reasons. Bringing into the mainstream the idea that somehow people with other ways of expressing their sexuality than the majority are deranged, have a problem, were traumatised and therefore became little monsters in their intimate lives does not seem clever at all. Society today is still tarred with misconceptions, fears and very judgemental views on the different, and yet another media product reinforcing such things is not what we miss.  

Speaking of homosexuality, I wonder how many people know that it used to be scientifically classed as a paraphilia, which meant a sexual deviation with not very favourable psychological implications. Doing a little research, we can read that homosexuality, although it was no longer considered a crime even in the interwar period (Poland 1932, Denmark 1933), was still officially seen a “disease” or “mental disorder” until 1973. That year, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), due to sustained civil protests and lobby from the gay community in the 70s.
Think of it: how intelligent can it be to judge a person as suffering of a disorder on the basis of his/her sexuality only, if it causes no harm to anybody, if it is consensual and a source of contentment and joy?

It is true that, despite the antidiscrimination laws being clear in most of the Western world today, they cannot make each and every person think. Nothing can really make people use their brain capacity if they prefer not to. But at least stigmatising others on grounds of their personal preferences cannot be tolerated in a society which respects human rights.

Going back to “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the main message it conveys is that whoever might call themselves a sexual Dominant is actually an abuser, while whoever sees themselves as sexually Submissive are actually victims. Is this really needed?
Back in Bucharest, in 2008 I have met a guy over the internet whom I became friends with. We never dated, it was instant friendship. We talked about photography, books and also about sexuality. When I came back from the hospital, after I had my appendix removed and nearly got peritonitis in the process, he brought me a big photography album by a renowned Japanese artist. He was, to my knowledge, the first Dominant I have ever met in real life. Had he not told me, I would have never known. This guy was very polite, very intelligent, loved paragliding and other challenging sports, he loved photography and apparently he liked tying women up when he had sex with them. One day I actually met an ex of his, they stayed friends, and they were both very relaxed in each other’s presence, joked a lot and laughed a lot.

My male Dominant friend never actually told me a lot on his personal sexual preferences. He was a discrete guy. But he did tell me some stories, and also that there are some idiots out there calling themselves Dominants who treat their Submissive so badly and just push them beyond their limits. He completely condemned those people, and apparently would always encourage and even help the abused submissives to get out of that type of a relation.

So what about Christian Grey? Is he a Dominant or an abuser? Unfortunately, I guess the first and only advice my friend would give to Anastasia would be: get away from him! He will not have a relation with you, he will just abuse you and demand you be happy for being abused. And this is just wrong.
Let’s take it step by step (in big steps, we do not have all day, actually). In the beginning, Christian says he will not touch Ana until she signs the contract. What does he do? Break his own word, right away! Would you trust this man to tie you up and use a whip on you for sexual arousing? I know I wouldn’t.

Next? He presses on, despite the fact he knows Ana does not have any solid sexual experience. Apparently, the movie wants us to believe that the attractive Mr. Grey actually wants Ana so much that he makes one mistake after another. Does he, really? Well, then theory confirmed: this guy is nothing but an idiot with a very well equipped playroom, but with a very poorly equipped brain. After 12 years of experience, all he can do is loose patience, not follow his own terms (having BDSM sex with Ana only after she is fully aware and fully consenting), and at the end truly abuse his new lover? This man does not deserve to be in any kind of a relation.
And what is his actual “excuse” for it? Well, poor thing, he was the son of a heroine prostitute, he was traumatised in early childhood, before ending up as adopted by a very wealthy family. Dare I say that this is the story, up to the being adopted and raised by a high class family, of so many criminals who never ever get out of trouble. But because this guy is attractive, rich and influential we should somehow feel sorry for him and hope that Ana comes back to and tames this wild beast, shouldn’t we?

I hope at this point it is quite clear why such a movie does not do any service to people who prefer to express their sexuality through Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism. While DSM-5, the current American Psychiatric Association manual (which is a benchmark for the whole world in matters of psychiatry and psychology), released in 2015, excludes BDSM practices from any clinical classification as long as they are consensual and do not cause harm or distress, a Hollywood product throws things back to where you might be considered demented if you prefer sexual arousal by means of kink toys (ropes, whips, crops, handcuffs, and other such gadgets which apparently can be fun).

Since I have learnt about the history of how different sexual orientations used to be criminalized and also about discrimination by law on basis of one’s sexuality, I admired the work of Charles Moser, a physician specialised on sexual medicine. Based in San Francisco (what a nice coincidence, isn’t it? the city of the Beat generation), he is very well known and respected in his field, a professor on sexuality studies, and also a specialist who has long advocated against diagnosing different sexual preferences as disorders. I have read some of his work, and one very strong argument he brought against what was stated in DSM-4 was the following: 1. BDSM practices were clinically diagnosed because they pose the risk of causing harm. Therefore, a Dominant or a Submissive suffers of a disorder. 2. Extreme sports such as mountain climbing pose the risk of causing serious harm and even death. Still, no respectable psychiatrist would think of diagnosing a mountain climber who reaches the Everest as suffering of a disorder.

With the changes made in the psychiatry manual, people such as Charles Moser can be finally happy that their life long work brought positive changes for society as a whole. People writing books and making movies such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” cannot. When society as a whole and many uninformed people do not know enough about something, you do not just give them a very negative view of the subject, in terms of “how not to”. You cannot start explaining and enlarging people’s views on something which is not known to them… by telling them what that particular thing is not meant to be. I do not know how it is presented in the book, but I did not hear anybody protesting too much that they have messed the story up with the movie.

So when you want to write on a controversial and very delicate subject such as what people might prefer in their intimacy, what arouses them and can be classified as unusual, you must be socially irresponsible to make it look like abuse, and not even criticize it enough.
Fortunately, in today’s society we have tools to get informed, read and educate ourselves, then write and give others the chance to consider and dismiss products which can only be but called stupid and misleading, and not much else.

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50 de nuanțe de ”așa nu”

După amânări prelungite, am văzut în sfârșit și marele film care a adus sexualitatea kinky în mainstreamul de Hollywood. Să ai în cinematografe un film în care se face sex cu strigături… și bice, și cătușe, sfori, cravașe, palme la fund pentru ”obrăznicie”, ei bine, poate fi considerat un adevărat fenomen.

Înainte să-l văd am citit, mai cu atenție, mai pe diagonală, câteva păreri pe interneți. Vreo doi prieteni mi-au spus cum li s-a părut lor. Unul dintre ei mi-a mărturisit interesul pentru bondage, născut în urma unor discuții mai vechi. Am dezbătut în lung și-n lat, de câteva ori, cu prietena mea Ana, tema dominării în sex. Eram, bineînțeles, curioasă dacă filmul chiar este atât de prost pe cât auzisem.
Cel mai relevant din tot ce citisem în prealabil mi s-a părut un articol din The Guardian, în care oameni activi pe scena BDSM (da, există și o ”scenă”, mai degrabă o comunitate unde cei atrași de practicile kink pot întâlni pe alții cu aceleași preferințe) criticau fără drept de apel ”Fifty Shades of Grey”. Cam toți spuneau că filmul nu face decât să pună egal între jocurile de dominare sexuală și abuz, ceea ce este o prostie, una cu atât mai rea cu cât asta ajunge la omul obișnuit, care poate să nu aibă, altfel, nici o părere despre asemenea preferințe erotice. Iar să induci judecata că trebuie să ai ceva probleme și tulburări de personalitate ca să-ți placă un simplu joc intim nu pare o idee prea inteligentă.

Să trecem însă la subiect.
Filmul ”Fifty Shades of Grey” intră la categoria ”așa nu”. Aproape din toate punctele de vedere. Senzualitatea intensă dintre un partener dominant și unul supus în sex se pierde în enormitatea lipsei generale de sens. Dominantul, cel care ar trebui să sprijine echilibrul întregii relații, fie ea și pur sexuală, cel care ar trebui să dea acea senzație de siguranță fără de care submisa nu i se poate încredința, chiar el pare căzut din cu totul alt scenariu.

Să ne înțelegem, Christian Grey are, în aparență, atuurile unui dominator, și nu, nu este vorba despre bani și prestigiu. În prima scenă, afișează un calm și o stăpânire de sine fără cusur, urmărește reacțiile femeii, răspunde, se apropie de ea, face pasul înainte și apoi pe cel înapoi, ca în dans, pentru a destinde atmosfera. De aici ar fi putut ieși ceva frumos.
Să mergem și mai departe în film, la prima scenă de dominare din camera ”de joacă”. Vocea, gesturile, modul în care îi cere Anei să se așeze în genunchi, cu spatele spre el, modul în care îi împletește părul, în care o atinge cu cravașa, în care îi arată că nu, cravașa nu e acolo să o sperie, ci ca să aprindă întregul cadrul, să trezească personajele, să pornească jocul, un fel de baghetă magică, dacă vreți, toate au o măsură bună. Din păcate, acest domn cu mulți bani, multe jucării și cu o aparentă stăpânire de sine ratează chiar în momentele cheie care ar fi putut să-i asigure ceea ce-și dorea: devotamentul și dăruirea femeii dorite.

(clipul e mai bun decât filmul, pentru că arată un dans în doi, momente pline de tensiune senzuală, frumoasă, spre plăcerea ambilor parteneri)

Mai exact, Christian Grey pare un idiot care habar nu are ce face, în ciuda a peste zece ani de experiență în dominare, de o parte sau de cealaltă a biciului. Inițiat de o doamnă dominatrix cu mult mai în vârstă, căreia el i-a fost supus vreo 5-6 ani (bine, nu vorbim despre faptul că și aici trebuia neapărat să fie ceva abuziv, un puști de 15 ani sedus de o doamnă matură, arrrgh!), tipul decide că i se potrivește mai bine rolul de dominator. Așa are el vreo 15 partenere care îl vizitează în weekend și relația cu ele este strict una Dominant-Submisă, extinsă la un mod de viață 24/7, și nu un simplu joc erotic în intimitate. De ce era nevoie și de asta probabil doar autoarea cărții știe (dacă chiar vine din carte și nu e o găselniță scenaristică). Nu se motivează pentru că nu explorează nimic în profunzime, totul este la suprafață.
S-a vorbit despre carte ca despre fantezia supremă a femeii plictisite, care nu mai are nici umbră de pasiune în viața ei, care visează să fie futută bine, să fie urcată pe pereți, să simtă cum carnea îi tremură pe ea sub palma unui bărbat bine. N-am citit cartea, dar filmul chiar așa arată: o fantezie dezarticulată, de minte feminină care tânjește după un bărbat rău, foarte masculin, foarte sexual și foarte seducător, pe care să-l țină lângă ea și eventual chiar să-l ”domesticească”  prin farmecele ei (asta în ciuda faptului că el o domină sexual).

Nu ar fi o problemă în sine faptul că unele doamne au asemenea fantezii. Problema este când fac din asta o poveste care se dorește cu lipici și nu țin cont de impactul negativ pe care lipsa lor de viziune îl poate avea.
Dar cum nu am citit cartea, cine știe, s-ar putea să fie doar gura lumii rea?

Să ne întoarcem la film.
Păcat de scenele în care Christian Grey arată că are potențial. De ce păcat? Pentru că pontețialul ăla e făcut praf și pulbere.
Păcat de scenele în care cei doi arată că, de fapt, erotismul kinky e, în esență, joaca unei pasiuni pe vibrații de coardă întinsă. Când Anastasia vine la biroul domnului, cu contractul citit și adnotat, pregătită pentru o întâlnire de afacere, scena are toate atuurile necesare să rămână memorabilă. În timpul schimbului de replici dintre cei doi, femeia este cea care impune distanța și limite, bineînțeles cu un zâmbet neastâmpărat în colțul gurii, i-am spus lui A. că e frumoasă și bine făcută scena, îmi plăcea. El a zis ”Și mie… până aici”. Până unde? Până în momentul în care simpaticul domn Grey îi spune Anastasiei că vrea să o fută undeva la mijlocul săptămânii viitoare. Drăguț. Și-a ales foarte bine momentul. Atât de bine încât toată încărcătura atmosferei s-a fâsâit ca un balon dezumflat cu încetinitorul, pe tăcute. În mod firesc, femeia pleacă și nu semnează nici un fel de contract erotic, iar el rămâne cu așteptările în gât, sau mă rog, în alte părți, dar cu siguranță nealinate.

Ce se întâmplă către finalul filmului arată mai mult decât prostesc. Omul cu bani și apucături dominatoare, care ar putea să aibă toate atuurile, ba chiar dorește femeia asta mai mult, se pare, decât pe cele dinainte, face gafă după gafă. Investește răbdare și efortul de a-și introduce partenera într-un univers erotic nu la îndemâna oricui, pentru a da cu bățul în baltă fix în momentul cheie. Pare un personaj incongruent cu propria lui poveste, care ar avea nevoie să cheltuiască mult pe la tot felul de terapeuți.
Fata, de altfel, nu are nici o vină. Virgină până să-l întâlnească pe grozvul domn Grey, ea face greșeala oricărei tipe la 20 și ceva ani care visează cai verzi pe pereți și zmei transformați în prinți care îți cântă serenade. Se îndrăgostește de inconsecventul care îi spune că nu vrea decât să o fută, ca apoi să o plimbe cu elicopterul și să o ducă la o cină în familia lui (el, care nu fusese niciodată văzut cu o iubită până atunci). Este doar o altă naivă care crede că bărbatul ăla nu are nevoie decât de o femeie bună ca să devină brusc și el un partener iubitor.

Ca să nu mă mai lungesc, povestea e slabă, cusută nu cu ață albă, ci cu resturi de ațe de toate culorile. Nu are nici măcar cea mai mică urmă de profunzime, senzualitatea se pierde în idioțenia scenelor următoare, iar finalul e atât de prost încât mi-a lăsat senzația clară de ”wtf have I just seen?”. Fix senzația pe care ai vedea-o dacă în plină stradă ai vedea pe cineva țipând din senin ”tocmai mi-am omorât verișorul pentru 100 de lire ca să-mi iau cocaină, dați-mi și mie vă rog 10 lire ca să-mi pot cumpăra doza!”.

Spunea cineva la un moment dat, am citit undeva, că filmul ăsta este despre cum un tip cu bani se chinuie timp de câteva săptămâni să convingă o tipă naivă și altfel simpatică să îl lase să o bată. După ce o mângâie cu pana și îi arată că o cravașă în palmă sau peste cur nu doare de fapt chiar așa tare și se pierde în intensitatea orgasmului care urmează, o pune cu fundul în sus pe banca de pedeapsă și îi arde cele mai serioase curele la cur pe care le-ar putea da orice supărat pe viață. Face treaba asta el, cel care vrea ca femeia să rămână, să-i fie submisă în sex, el, cel cu experiență și resurse, și nu un începător care nu știe că a-ți domina erotic partenera nu înseamnă să o faci să vrea să fugă mâncând pământul, ci să stea și să ceară mai mult.
Dezamăgitor și chiar dăunător. De ce este însă chiar așa dăunător am să vorbesc într-o postare următoare.



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The fantasy world of my generation



For the second year in a row going to the movies has been a festive thing to do around Christmas. Why? Because “The Hobbit”, that is why. I dear you to try and find a better reason.

Me and my partner have been yesterday in Tower Park, Poole, to watch it and, as I have already mentioned on Facebook, I came back with such a good energy that I did ALL the dishes myself, hand-washing, without a flickering thought in my head to try and avoid it. And if this doesn’t say a lot, I don’t know what will.
Not to mention that I had such a good, deep, relaxing sleep, waking up after almost 10 hours (which I have not really been able to do lately, work or no work involved), with such great dreams, that I have to link it to something out of the ordinary.

Now that I have mentioned the possible effects of the last part of the trilogy, I can go on and tell you a couple of things about it, trying to control myself and not spoil it for you, although this would be hard. Maybe come back and read after you have seen it as well. But then, why would you bother? I guess there won’t be anything I could add as to make the movie better or worse.
However, for the movie passionate, finding out about what others see in them can be a way of extending the joy and fun. So here we go.

Let’s start with the little guy who gives the name of the original book, as well as the name of the trilogy: the hobbit, here for you, Bilbo Baggins. There is not much to tell of the halflings, other that they have no special abilities, can’t fight, and love their homeland above all. And yet…
In this last part, as in the previous two, Bilbo continues to be the most adaptable of them all, the one who finds a way to go where others can’t without bigger risks. He is a burglar after all, isn’t he? One specialized with the art of breaking locks and opening closed doors. And yes, he keeps at it and he still has the best humour in the whole movie, him and his good friend Gandalf.

But that is not all. Bilbo dares to do what others can’t. Being the new friend, without old ties to the whole group, and at the same time not being a dwarf who has to be loyal to his king’s wish, Bilbo can push things where the others can’t, even if they all see what is going on and how mind racking the power of gold is.
I won’t tell you more, as I really do not want to spoil one of the most dramatic story lines of the movie.

What of the others then? Be them elves or dwarves, they are all fascinating in their own ways, but when their ways come to impose themselves and vanities flair up, they turn  ugly in their unreasonable and arrogant attitudes. They prove all the same ready to burn down the world only so that they can claim what was meant to be theirs, but taken by a common enemy, undefeated until now. And there is no time for patience, negotiation and finding common grounds. They want it now and they will start a war to have it.
In the end, aren’t Tolkien’s books in essence speaking of this, how destructive and absurd wars are, but at the same time how people can come together and prove qualities which in time of peace they might not have deemed possible in themselves? And isn’t such a harsh and absurd situation as war also a test for true friendship, devotion and courage?

After all, look around you. In today’s world, we can see people blaming one another for everything that goes wrong and, mostly, for what they think they are entitled to possess. This subtle hatred that is spurred of British people towards immigrants, between the Western world and the Middle East, of Gipsies and of Eastern Europeans, is mostly based on fear to lose the comfort and financial prosperity people want and feel they are entitled to. “The Hobbit” might be a fantasy movie, but, just like all fantasies and fairy tales, is deeply rooted in the real world.

So I myself see the same kind of despise and arrogance in the way dwarves and elves perceive each other. The dwarves, with their hearty, “what you see is what you get”, loud and jolly ways, very stubborn and ready to get into a fight for the fight’s sake, and shake hands afterwards, are the complete opposite of the very composed, very rational, elegant and aristocratic elves. But both creatures value loyalty and courage. And both are as determined when they want something as they are stubborn beyond reason.
Under the circumstances, the love story between an elf lady, Tauriel, and the dwarf Kili comes as a bonus for me, although it was an addition in the movie. Shamefully, I have not read the books yet, but I intend to and I must. However, I have read about the books as being a big fan of the movies so far.










In this last part of the trilogy, there isn’t much time for love. Once the dragon is down, the people of the Lake Town go back to the mountain to rebuild, the dwarves are busy with the treasure, the elves want their gems back and all of them are on the brink of starting a war. Only that one stupid conflict comes to an end with a real threat from the orc armies. Everything is alert, no time to stop and smell the roses whatsoever, and the in love elf and dwarf part on the lake shore, with tearful eyes, only to meet again in fight with a force that seems undefeatable.
While this is somehow a Romeo and Juliet tale introduced by Peter Jackson, it is not only that. The two love each other despite being different creatures and despite the hatred between their kin. However, this is not all. Legolas himself, the Elf Prince, is in love with Tauriel, as we could suspect in the first two movies. And here comes that part about devotion, even if the one you love cannot love you back the same way. While Tauriel leaves her kin to fight with the dwarf to start with, Legolas himself stands by her side until the end, disregarding his father’s wish to retreat from the battle. It’s a beautiful side story, and the way the relation between father (Thranduil) and son (Legolas) unfolds is also a good addition.

The last part of the trilogy is as alert as it gets. Once war starts, there is no moment to catch your breath, your eyes are gasping at the very elaborate battle scenes and those of individual fights, such as first Tauriel against Bolg, who defeats her, then Legolas against the same Orc leader, or Thorin against Azog. Even more than the big clashes between armies, these individual battles are intense, with some unpredictable twists and turns and very well rendered by use of visual effects.
Now here is something that some criticised in the movie: too much computer work, too many visual effects, too much green screen (at least that was what Ian McKellen repeatedly found difficult and I completely understand him, as an actor who comes with a long theatre experience), too much of the 3D stuff. Well, I disagree.

For a generation of people who grew up with the classic computer games such as Heroes III or Age of Empires, Pharaoh and Caesar, World of Warcraft and Starcraft, which all started with basic visuals only for some to develop to today’s versions, all with computer animation movies for each of the chapters, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is just our fantasy worlds coming alive. While I am not the greatest gamer alive, I still play on my laptop from time to time and I can only say that, as somebody who used to treat themselves to an all-night session at local internet café’s when I did not own a laptop back in Romania, seeing the Dwarf leader riding a boar made me jump with joy whispering “Look, A., it’s just like in Heroes!”. A bit of a child still in me, I must admit.

But at the same time I would ask the ones who criticise on these grounds: when you have all of this technology to use, why not put it to work in building a fantasy world? What better use would be for it on the screen? You want a realistic movie, you watch a realistic drama. You want something else, you expect a lot of visual effects, don’t you?

And now, to conclude, and please be aware that I will make it a bit of a spoiler, I must say that the end of the movie is as sad as optimistic at the same time. They have lost friends and loved ones, people to whom they never had the chance to tell how they felt for them. They have all been shaken deeply. But at the same time they have the memories of their adventures and battles fought together to last for a life time.
Even for the ones that died, what better death would be than to be able to tell your friends who survived “go, plant your trees and watch them grow”?

All of these, and probably more, all reason for me to keep being a fan of Jackson’s movies. And when this last part of the trilogy ended, I told my partner now I have to go back and see Lord of the Rings again, as well as, finally, read the books.

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