Monday, February 27, 2006

"Rent" Review

I'm not sure if you've seen either the musical or the live show on Broadway, but I really hated this movie. Well... not hated, but was disturbed by its message or meaning. Maybe it was because of what I was initially led to believe it was about and what actually came across the screen.

I was under the impression that this movie was about the struggles of group of friends who had to deal with AIDS. That's not what the movie was about. It was about blaming others for the situations you've chosen for your life. It was very clear in this movie who the bad guys were - it wasn't the dope pusher, the strip club owner, the addict, the squatter, the stripper, the violent, the disrespectful, the free-loader and the lazy, etc. No, it was the restaurant owner, the police, the manager, the average family unit, the married, corporate America, the heterosexual, the religious and the educated.

I did not hear one morsel of personal responsibility in this movie. Most of the characters were living with AIDS, but they did not deal with the prevention or cause of those AIDS. It was as if the disease was the problem and the behavior was the consequence, when it was the other way around. The AIDS was a result of the lifestyle they had chosen for themselves. It was their choice to be junkies and have unprotected sex - not Corporate America.

Then they shirk their responsibility as productive citizens. They lived in this studio apartment that they haven't paid the rent on in a year, because they refuse to work a steady job in the name of squealching their creativity. Here's creativity for you - get a job, pay your rent all the while pursuing your dream. When did the Landlord become the bad guy? This was his property (regarldess how he obtained it). It didn't belong to them, yet they took advantage of his friendship and completely disrespected him. They told him that he 'used to be' an artist, but sold out. Why.... because he's got a paycheck and doesn't live off the charity of others? No, I don't think he was the sell out, they were. He still had his dreams. He wanted to build his studio. It's wasn't the squatters dream, so they call him a 'sell out'. So much for compassion and understanding. This group had none unless it dealt with themselves.

I saw them all as selfish.

Joanne - she wanted Maureen - and nothing else mattered. Maureen tried to make her feel bad because she was educated and a lawyer.

Maureen - tried to blame hormones for being a slut. "I can't help it - since puberty I've received this type of attention from both male and females". You receive the attention you seek after. Everyone controls how they behave. All dogs know when a female is in heat - so does the dog herself. Maureen was self-absorbed. Everything was about her, even Cohen's documentary, the protest and even her relationship with Joanne. Not once did I see her think about anyone else.

Yet despite their difference, lack of trust in one another or any common group, the relationship stood in the end.

Cohen - he thought himself a traitor to work a 9-5. It stifled his creativity - he was a sell out. His Jewish parents called him on Christmas and he was revolted by their happy family demeanor. A functionaly family unit was obviously disgusting to him. How selfish of him! His family called to tell them they love him - and not even an "I love you" in return! No, only selfish contempt and a resolidification that of his desire to be rid of them. He of course never got the girl - or anyone for that matter.

Mimi - a drug addict stripper who wants to be loved, yet can't love herself. She expects the guitar player to do what - hold her hand while she binges and dies? How fair is that to him? Especially since he's already buried one AIDS effective addict. What was she willing to bring to the relationship? She dies in the end, only to have experiance a near-death experiance that had Angel (who had died earlier) sending her back to 'carry on'. Carry on doing what?

The guitar player (forgot his name... I'm terrible with names). Poor guy - he can't find his song, so he does nothing. He doesn't work, doesn't try to help support his friends, but sits around wallowing in self-pity. Then, he seems to have a little bit of a backbone by refusing to give into Mimi's seduction - but then caves. He takes a little trip to New Mexico (which I haven't understood why it's so bad to go to be there), but realizes that he's just as much a bum there as he was in New York, so he heads back home. At least he wouldn't have to squat alone. He finds his song and it's all about Mimi. It was like his life didn't exist before her. He goes home to find that his girlfriend is now homeless (never knew she had a home, being as she was a squatter like the rest of them). He sings her her song, which brings her back to life.

Angel/Teacher (Can't remember his name either) - Angel just wants a thousand kisses and he'll keep his teacher financially covered. Isn't that being a sugar-daddy/prostitute? What was the other guys contribution to the relationship? He was a teacher, but never seemed to have a job. However, he was there to be with Angel in the end, which was admirable. The most functional relationship in this whole movie was between Angel and his teacher. However, what kind of message is that sending? That money solves everything? It couldn't be, because none of them thought that they needed it - and hated the world for having it and for the condition they found themselves in.

Throughout this movie they talked about the intolerance, biggotry and condemnation of the world around them... and they did all in the name of tolerance, acceptance and excuses. This movie wasn't the story about people living with AIDS - it was as much a mouthpiece of hate as any Ku Klux Klan rally or Abortion Clinic Protest. Yet, race and abortion were the only two issues that didn't come up.

Though the singers had wonderfully talented voices, this was the worst movie I've ever seen. I guess because I'm a responsible adult - I just don't get it.

Till next time,
T.L. Gray

Friday, February 10, 2006

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review 5:14 Tomb

Episode 14
Season 5

Wow, what an episode – but what was I watching? It didn’t feel like Smallville – it was better! I actually felt like I was watching an episode of Supernatural or some motion picture thriller. It was great all over. It was filled with great writing, great acting and great visual effects. I was literally on the edge of my seat during most of the show and on the verge of tears at the end.

OMG – a Chloe shower scene! I didn’t think I’d live to see the day – and in the same shower that Lana had once used – Go figure! I thought it might have been Lois in the shower, because it was her voice I heard first, but it turned out to be Chloe. I was shocked. Did anyone see the scary face in the shower curtain? It sent chills down my spine.

I thought that something had to be wrong with Chloe. As smart as she was, I couldn’t believe she was taking a shower during a thunderstorm. I suppose since her mother left when she was younger that was one of the lessons she missed out on. Anyway, the whole scene was creepy. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw the body rush past while Chloe lit her candle. Then when she wiped the mirror and the girl, who looked like she might have been related to that freak from The Ring, popped in – I screamed! My poor fingernails are gone now!!!

Couldn’t Lois tell that Chloe wasn’t acting herself when she opened the door and saw her sitting there with her slit wrists? I mean, come on! This is Chloe Sullivan, one of the most driven girls in the world. Why would anyone just believe that she tried to kill herself? A person with goals and aspirations are not suicidal. Besides that… she was in Smallville. By this time EVERYONE should question EVERYTHING that happens in Smallville. Yet, Lois doesn’t question her cousin’s actions?

Tom Welling is getting so good at his craft. His facial expressions alone in this episode spoke more than his lines ever did or ever will. He was excellent!

Clark was the only one in Smallville who suspected that something wasn’t right. When he showed up at the hospital and Lois told him that Chloe had tried to kill herself, you saw this look on his face that screamed, “Ain’t no way… Chloe?” Then, he didn’t treat Chloe like a porcelain doll and just came right out and asked her why she did it. He knew that something wasn’t right. Also, I loved Chloe’s line about being a writer and if she wanted to kill herself she’d have one heck of a suicide note. I don’t know why anyone else wouldn’t have thought the same thing. I had been screaming for ten minutes, “This is Chloe Sullivan – if she wanted to kill herself, she’d make sure it would make the front page of the Daily Planet!” I did do the checklist as the doctor listed the symptoms of possible causes and Chloe had all of them, but Chloe’s not your typical ace reporter – she’s the best friend of Superman.

Then Lana shows up. It didn’t bother me that she showed up, I expected that. Chloe is supposed to be her best friend and her roommate. (Yet, I’ve never quite understood the friends’ thing because I’ve never thought Lana had been much of a friend to Chloe, but that’s another story.) Lana doesn’t question anything and she completely forgets everything about all the past events that have happened at Belle Reve – including what happened to Lex. But, she runs to Lex (which is understandable now that she doesn’t feel comfortable talking with Clark) and asks him to help ensure that Chloe is committed? Who the heck does she think she is? It’s obvious that Lana doesn’t know anything about Chloe. She should have run to her boyfriend and Chloe’s best friend, Clark, or at least her cousin, Lois. This moment wasn’t about her – it was about Chloe. She knew how Clark and Chloe feel about Lex and how they both feel about Belle Reve. Okay – I’ll stop there and get right onto Lex.

Lex could care less about Chloe, yet he had two alternate reasons to try and help her. 1. To win favor from Lana and be viewed as someone who cared. 2. To get Chloe into Belle Reve so that he can probe her mind and find out what she knows about Clark. I saw his stripes as plain as day when he showed contempt towards Clark outside of the dorm-room. He knew he had an opportunity to try and make Clark look bad at the same time making himself look like the mature one – in front of Lana. I hope she felt really bad and like a cheater when Clark came around the corner. She had no business involving Lex. Clark noticed her betrayal I think for the first time.

Does Clark not tell his mother what goes on anymore or does she just not care about Chloe? She acted like she didn’t know anything, not even a “How is Chloe doing?” I suppose Lionel’s appearance still had her all shook up. BTW – why was Lionel at the backdoor instead of the front? Is he a peeping Tom? I don’t know why Martha didn’t just kick his butt right back out of the door. Why does she tolerate him?

So, Lex is looking for Professor Fine? I thought he was dead? But, then again – if he was neither human nor Kryptonian, combined with the fact that his spaceship also disappeared, I think we will be seeing him again.

So, what exactly was the FOTW’s gift? To make (crazy)girls feel comfortable with him and tell them their secrets, yet he also told them his – so he had to kill them? Was it sort of like the gift of truth that Chloe once had? Could that have been the reason why only she could see the girl – or was fused because of the lightening? I don’t’ think it was the lightening, because we saw her face in the shower curtain long before the lightening strike hit. Sometimes I think its best not to try and figure out the FOTWs gifts and just go with it. I thought he did a great job acting psychotically freaky and the ghost girl did a great job of acting scary and Chloe did an excellent job of acting possessed.

And now… Chloe’s mom! I HATED that they didn’t show me her face, but am appreciative that they focused on Chloe’s. I choked up. The hard lump in my throat took at least ten minutes to go away. Clark’s facial expressions when he was talking to Chloe about her mom were excellent as well. It showed how much he cared about Chloe. It was completely selfless and had nothing to do with him. He was only concerned with her well-being and he used his own loss as a way to reach out to her. That was love. They’re comfortable together and they can be their true selves.

Like I said before, I think this was one of the best episodes I’ve ever seen. It didn’t really feel like Smallville, but it was great. Maybe this is how Smallville should be!

This has been Crazy4Smallville’s weekly review. Till Next Time!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Crazy4Smallville's Weekly Review 5:13 Vengence

Wow... let me wipe these tears from eyes before I get started. I was very touched in the last scene. Not only I, but the whole room was deathly muted for a whole two minutes. That was, until my sob broke the silence.

But, I don't want to start at the end.

Clark/Martha - That darn old tractor. Just about everytime we saw Jonathan, he was always repairing that tractor and now Clark has resumed his role, but he's not as good at it (or is he?) I mean, come on - can't they figure out how to fix it right the first time? Besides, Clark is Superman - why don't he just do the work that the tractor was meant to do.

This brings up another question. Clearly Martha can see that her son was not destined to be a farmer. Clearly Clark knows there's more in-store for him or else he wouldn't be off in college. So, why don't the Kent's sell the farm, now that Jonathan is gone? It takes a lot of work to run a farm and niether Martha (who runs a coffee shop) nor Clark seems inclined to do so. Perhaps this will be the next emotional struggle that Clark will face - to take his father's place on the farm or his biological father's place as a leader.

Martha getting rid of Jonathan's clothes was a sad moment in the beginning. When she offered them to Clark, in his grief and denial he refused them. Then he refused the watch. But, why would Martha take the watch with her to the community center? Anyway, I think her getting mugged was what brought Clark's anger to the surface, not just the watch. Once again one of his parents were in danger, yet he wasn't there to save them. With all these powers and gifts that he has and has used to save so many, he seems to fail with saving those closest to him.

Clark/Chloe - I love their interaction. We get to see more of the real Clark when he's with Chloe. He get's to be himself and I think the more he's free to be himself around someone he trusts, the more he'll develope into who he's supposed to be. She keeps him 'grounded'. Their fake mugging scene was hilarious and when Clark snatched that hood off of his head, I've never seen him look more sexy. Even my eleven-year old went, "Oooo".

Even though Clark didn't give heed to all of Chloe's advice, it still calmed him. Imagine the level of his anger had she not been there?

Martha/Chloe - It's about time! Chloe has known Clark's secret for how long now and without hardly any acknowledgement from the Kent's? Even though Martha went to Chloe for that support, and Chloe delivered magnificiantly, I felt there was still a wall up on Martha's end. Martha has, with open arms, accepted Lana, who has caused Clark more emotional pain than anyone,and made her feel as part of the family. She has also opened up her heart to Lois. Yet, neither of them know about Clark, nor can offer Clark the support he needs. Yet, here is Chloe, who has been Clark's best friend for years, she knows his secret and has been giving him support all this time, but she's only acknowledged when they need something. Like when Jonathan needed Kara's fingerprints and now Martha when she can't find Clark. The fact that she knew that Clark would be with Chloe should be reason enough to be accepted as much, if not more, than Lana or Lois in their life.

Clark/Lana - Okay, now I'm really confused as to the state of their relationship. The beginning of the episode was believable, given the state of Clark's anger and the separation at the funeral. When he pushed her away - it was plausible. However, her going out to find the watch (I won't talk about the plausibility of her getting to Metropolis and back to Smallville)seemed somewhat out of place. Yet, from a different angle it could make sense. In the sense that now the tables have turned. Lana was the one who walked away from Clark, because he won't be honest with her and open up to her, after all these years of him chasing after her. Now, she's the one chasing him, and he's the one walking away. Isn't that the way it was supposed to be in the first place?

Lionel/Lex - Who the heck is Lionel? I'm so confused by this character. I think he knows all about Clark's secret. Not just that he has super powers, but the whole Kryptonian history. Remember, Lionel studied the caves, he was downloaded with information concerning General Zod, he was possessed by Jor-El, etc. I think he knows everything. The reason he's against Lex, is because the son he wants right now isn't the one he's created, but the one he's discovered. I think in his deranged mind, he thinks that he can win over Clark and mold him into the son that he's always wanted. Lex has always been too weak for him (in his mind), but Clark is super. Besides the fact that he also has a thing for Martha Kent. However, Lionel doesn't realize how powerful of a son he has created.

How the heck did Lex know about Lionel and Jonathan's meeting, unless he's got camera's set up in the Kent barn. Wouldn't be a stretch, since Lex knows a lot happens in that barn. Someone Lex knows every move that Lionel takes - it makes me wonder exactly how much he truly knows about Clark. If he knows about Clark, he must also know what his father truly desires - and that is why he's able to foil his plans. It could also be the driving wedge in his heart, knowing his own father prefers Clark - much like everyone else - including Lana.

The FOTW - Angel of Vengence - She had a purpose - to show Clark that he can't let his anger rule over him. She also was a catalyst to drop some great ideas and direction for Clark in the future. But, other than that - I didn't really see a purpose for her, other than for product placement. I thought she was okay, but nothing spectacular. I think it would have been a better touch had she been the one to return the watch - as a sign of repentence and a possible future alliance with Clark.

So, overall - I liked this episode. It had a lot of elements crammed into it, but most of them were not plain and obvious to see. They were more on the subconscience level.

Till next time!