LA LA LAND directed by Damien Chazelle (USA, 2016)
Movies don’t exist in vacuums. La La Land is the ideal antidote to the ongoing carnage of Trump.
It presents a cloud cuckoo land where the American dream is alive and skipping with a populace ready to burst into song at the drop of a hat.
Here, a traffic jam on a Los Angeles freeway is an excuse for a spontaneous party.
Here is a glossy world where the chief concerns are the demise of traditional jazz and the difficulty of breaking into Hollywood.
A world in which romance is not dead, racism doesn’t exist and where gender roles are well-defined. For two hours, we can pretend that all is well with the world and can exit the auditorium gushing that they do, after all, still make ’em like they used to.
It’s a movie that forgets it is a musical half way through and remembers just in time to concoct a grande finale but, just to show its post modernist edge, denies us the satisfaction of seeing our hero and heroine dancing off into the stars hand in hand.
In short, the mega-hyped La La Land is plastic, superficial and dumb. The perfect entertainment package served up as opium for the masses. An escapist yarn with the flimsiest of plots that the critics and audiences, desperate for distraction in these desperate times, are gleefully lapping up in their droves.
Not me! I stand with the party poopers.
PATERSON directed by Jim Jarmusch (USA, 2016)
What does take to be a poet? A way with words and a keen eye helps. Then you need time, both to think and to write. The Welsh poet, W.H. Davies wrote “A poor life this is if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”, the first lines of ‘Leisure’ published in 1911.
The title of Jim Jarmusch’s gentle and warm-hearted movie has three main points of reference: Paterson, the city in New Jersey, the title of an epic poem by William Carlos Williams and the name of a conscientious bus driver.
The location is the birthplace of Lou Costello of Abbot & Costello fame and it is also where a triple homicide took place that led to the wrongful arrest of Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter in 1966. Continue reading
TONY ROBBINS – I AM NOT YOUR GURU directed by Joe Berlinger (USA, 2016)
Why do people need personal trainers and life coaches?
In a gym, once you have been shown how to use the equipment safely you should, in theory, be able to organise your own workout. Instead, many like the reassurance of being monitored by an ‘expert’.
As it is with bodies, so it is with emotions.
We all know in our hearts, what diets, habits and relationships make us feel good. So why do we still crave for someone else to show us the way?
Low self-esteem and general lack of confidence make us look to others for help even though we all have the capacity to succeed in whatever we set out to achieve.
Tony Robbins is a self-made man who has built a personal fortune as a life coach for the rich and famous. This Netflix documentary purports to show how he would like to share his insights to all and sundry regardless of age, gender, social status or level of income. As the man might say himself: “Anyone who believes this, say AYE”! Continue reading