Sunday, March 26, 2017

God Help The Girl (2014)

The songs of Belle & Sebastian always seem to tell a story & this time they really do as frontrunner Stuart Murdoch writes & directs this film God Help The Girl.


A fantastic cast carries you through this coming-of-age 20-something romp & meander through a young girl's life transition out of a mediochre depression & into the real world.


Emily Browning looks as every young hipster wishes she could, big lips & eyes, demure & innocent at the same time with a classic style that hangs off​ thin limbs with soft curves. Olly Alexander is the perfect male friend, talented, kind & cool, he has a great voice & face in this film, as does his female equivalent Hannah Murray, a truly unique beauty.

It feels realistic, as the story is not very climactic, but it is intruiging enough to hang out with these kids & want to share the time with them. The songs are similar to Belle & Sebastian songs & it made me want to listen to them again.





Monday, January 16, 2017



Sing Street - A perfect example of an 80s film released in 2016

This might be my new favourite movie. After watching it, I started it right over from the beginning to watch it through again. Then I watched it again the next day and found the soundtrack online to enjoy. (You know you like a movie when…)

The 80s is back in brilliant sound and colour in this wonderful film about owning who you are, finding love and making a life for yourself with the help of your friends.It starts out with the simple plot of family trouble (typical 80s) causing a teenage boy, Conor, to have to switch schools. At the new school he meets a beautiful woman a couple years older than him, perhaps out of his league? (another typical 80s theme, a la John Hughes). And this is where the plot gets so great: Conor decides to win her heart over by starting up a band, from scratch! Just like that! and then appeals to her desire to become a model by asking her to be in his music video. This guy may look like a sweet choir boy, but he’s also got balls!



This is not just any band by the way, no way! This is a band that produces the new pop-sounds coming from America. Reminiscent of early british 80s sound, I found myself appeal quite naturally to the music. With Bowie-esque glamour, complete with synth and makeup, we come to discover this boy’s talent and spirit as he does. Faced with adversity and humiliation by a strict religious principle at the new school, Conor is not faltered in his sense of purpose and leads the band with conviction and skill.



Along the way he also has the mentorship of his Seth Rogan-alike brother, Brendan. Jack Reynor plays a stellar performance of the enthusiastic hippie high-school dropout who schools his brother in the art of music history and what it takes to make it in the industry. All done with a rather fun nostalgic 90s-esque quality of plaid-shirts about him, implying he is wise before his time.

While the music is pop and the context teenage, it is one that any fan of the 80s could get into. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo does wonderful performances and I am now a fan of his grass-root musical career outside of the film as well.

Does conor win the girl? Well, I’m not going to ruin it for you, you’ll just have to watch it yourself and find out.



Rogue One - This isn’t Star Trek

There are so many great things to say about the new stand-alone Star Wars film. One important one being that Diego Luna may very well bring the mustache back. I mean, it never looked so sexy to me before.



Seriously though, what a stellar lead Felicity Jones brought. She carried the protagonist role very well. Nothing like a self-empowered heroine to lead a rebel cause. Yes, this was a risky attempt to overthrow a corrupt power that was threatening to take over the universe in blatantly destructive ways. So risky, it became a potential suicide-mission. No, they couldn’t just be beamed up at the last minute as in Star Trek. Perhaps that’s why it’s a stand alone film, yet gracefully it held it’s own in how well it was executed, while seamlessly fitting into the Star Wars universe and history.

We feel this movie as if they are fighting for our own people, as if we are part of the rogue going in and seeking to change the world, being activists for a righteous cause. It’s quite thrilling. One very good point my mother brought up though was, how is this mission to overthrow a threatening and corrupt power any different than say, ISIS wanting to overthrow the values of North American greed and corruption. A very good point. In many ways I think we are all sick of North American greed and corruption too, but how can we actively go about overthrowing and establishing a new government in North America that truly serves its people and the global community? Are there better ways then rebel rebellion that involve many casualties?

I see this different from ISIS for example because the rebels are going in in order to access the information they need and only fighting in self defense towards that goal. They don’t intend to kill civilians, they go direct to the source. The casualties of war then being due to the damaging resistance of the powerful dark-side. Of course every film is going to make the bad guys appear all evil looking and menacing, the dark purposes are not so easily defined and clear to see in the real world.

I like how the Alliance was realistic about its hesitancy to start a war, wishing there were a better way to reason with the Dark-side, or deciding to simply turtle and hide as long as they can from it’s destructive power. Unfortunately in nature, ignoring the dark-side results in further damage. Often you can reason with the shadow and positively integrate it, you set up a meeting and you discuss in rational ways and come to agreements and compromises to make things work for everyone. But sometimes, especially with too much ignorance for too long regarding too many important issues, it can get too out of hand and damaging. This is when your government needs to be overthrown so a new one can be established.

On a lighter note: K-2S0. Perhaps my favourite character, this bad-ass robot thankfully carried no circus-like Jar-Jar cheese. Instead he had a classic R-2-like humour whilst fighting like a true Rogue. I don’t think I ever cared about a robot so much and I grew up in the 80s :)

The OA

Up to this point I have only discussed film here, but today I had the urge to delve into a tv show on Netflix that surprised me with how poignantly it moved me, while inspiring me in such a surreally beautiful way. I will be discussing the show’s archetypal significance (a regular practice in some fields of psychology),based on my own experience and knowledge.

“This is one of the strangest shows I’ve ever watched”. As I watched it, I continually found myself saying this to myself and asking why I am watching it. I have to admit I should watch the show again to have a more in-depth processing of what I experienced the first time around because I did not give this show my complete full attention. I did not initially recognize its value. (I have since watched it again before posting this). It did hook me though: so I stuck with it and was constantly drawn deeper into it as I did.  I believe it was a combination of the tangible human experiences, the mysteries inherent in the plotline, mixed with its abstract subject matter that made this show particularly unique for a television show. It is not very often you see such artistic license on television that usually shines through film.

One thing I find significant about the show is it doesn’t give you many answers to what is going on, so as you watch you are merely presented with people and their experiences, without knowing how any of it pieces together. The only guidance you have is Prairie, who says many strange things that you aren’t at first fully convinced are sane, since she speaks strangely and of a mission she must fulfill. She is constant as the main character who is with you in the present as she lives her current life, as well as in the past which is her present self sharing her past story. Both in the past and present you encounter several characters, all of who play their own piece in the vast puzzle that is their existence. In this way, I find each character to be a facet of the jewel that makes this story so brilliant. The entire show seems to symbolize the mythic heroic quest. Though led by Prairie, Prairie seems to only be one part of the hero archetype here. In fact, each character seems to represent a different side of human nature or the individual human psyche; the significance being that their purpose is to unite for a greater purpose that they don’t fully understand or know. The beauty of seeing a group of people (all very much their own person) come together for a united goal is so touching and inspiring.
I will attempt to not reveal too much about the show, but I would like to analyze the characters and their individual significance to the grande scheme, or larger archetypal plot at play in the show.

Prairie – Seems to be the Superego, the leader of the group. She symbolizes courage and this is the first part of her story she tells us about. While she appears vulnerable and is often shamed in the show, she is consistently brave. She is brave enough to return to her home after adversity and to live out her life path. She does so with confidence that she is living her own life path the best way she knows how. She speaks her truths knowingly, even though others here only craziness coming from her mouth and do not recognize the value of her words and what she knows. They try to “help” her see things the way they think things should be seen, they do not see how she is bravely living her purpose in the face of adversity.

Khatun – Is very much the mystical Mother Nature figure. She is the wise old hag, the guiding mentor. It is these scenes that are perhaps the most strange, as they occur in a kind of dream, or altered consciousness. She is the gateway to our collective unconscious where the archetypal knowledge lies. It takes work for Prairie, Homer (and the others which we see limitedly) to access their spirit animal and consume it’s transcending qualities.

The Past:

Homer – Is the part of us that needs to work in coordination with our courage. This is why Homer and Prairie develop the friendship they do. Homer symbolizes our paternal qualities: particularly our instincts for progress. This is displayed by one scene where we observe his sexual frustration as well as his need to father his children and his ability to gently guide Prairie to have strength. The only way for us to gain control of these progressive instincts is to work in union with our courageous sense of self and life purpose that Prairie embodies.  It is also no wonder that Homer faces both conflict and intimate pleasure with Renata.

Renata – Is our daimon. Renata is hard to trick into submission. She needs to be free, to live in the moment and to be able to express her artistry. She is our creative urge, much like the paternal energy and the need to create life that Homer embodies.

Scott – Is our Skeptic and doubting Thomas. He is our Judas as well as our Christ. He is the weaknesses we carry that we think will drag us down, when really they are our Grace. When we acknowledge them, they are the way we are able to be strong and endure adversity.

Rachel – Rachel is admittedly a bit of a mystery to me. She is not as active a character as the others, in fact she is quite passive. All we know is that she ran away from home and had a brother she wished to care for, but who ended up in a wheelchair due to a car accident (she was driving). She also sings a hauntingly beautiful song midway through the show about her brother. Perhaps she is our “good intentions” and our “regrets” that perhaps have a life of their own at times.

I believe these past characters are descriptive of the basic ancient functions of the psyche inherent to play significance in our functioning on a daily basis. They are the primal functions, given that they are discovered in an isolated environment. Often this is where we get in touch with these and learn to manage them wisely: in isolation or via meditation.

The characters in the present represent archetypes that are often associated with the gods of ancient lore. They are the archetypes we may have conflict with and play a large part in our relationships.

The Present:

Steve – Is our Loki. The god of mischief: He’s always getting into trouble, stirring it up himself and causing it for others. He may threaten the safety of the entire unit, while also being a significant part of keeping it together. Steve at one point gets into conflict with French, which naturally is the case within ourselves between our chaotic self and our more organized sense of security.

Buck – Is our anima/animus. Buck is androgynous for this purpose, you notice that you can’t completely tell what sex he is and it is hinted at one point that he is using hormone therapy. Buck is mainly innocent, somewhat reserved and means well. He seems to be someone who would be a good friend and who seeks to unite the group in order to see their purpose through to completion.

Phyllis –Perhaps a bit of a mother figure, since she really cares about her brother as well as the kids in the group. I believe she is more fitting of the part of our shadow that we don’t like to admit to: the overweight, not very pretty part. She is in many ways the very face of what our current social mind resists, albeit playing a vital role which is overlooked. Phyllis soon became one of my favorite characters as you see the genuine fight she carries within her to do what’s best. She ends up being a truly robust strength for the group, at one point working quite bravely to save Loki from trouble. While Phyllis seems to stumble through her life, doing things in her weakness that are not permitted by social etiquette, or a professional workplace, she has the group’s heart as her forefront priority. 

French- Is our Independence: our need for self-preservation and security. Often times our independence requires a focus on other purposes aside from our main purpose in life, ones that are a striving in and of themselves for greater things. This is what motivates us to move away from our parents and to establish a life of our own. French sometimes loses sight of his part in the grand scheme, or his sympathy for his weaker mother who has trouble with her own independence.  We also see that in attempting to always be alert and in control French makes the unsafe choice to take drugs. Surely each character is very real in their imperfections, yet overall French is characterized quite honorably, and at one point even helps Prairie out of a difficult circumstance with her parents.

Jesse – Jesse, like Rachel, is a bit of mystery to me as well since he is quite passive himself. If anything, he seems to be our "inner child". Specifically perhaps the orphaned child who has their need to connect with the group and tag along with the group’s purposes. He tends to tag along with Steve the most, which is perhaps natural for our inner child to accompany mischief. He is no less significant, as Prairie claims he is needed as much as the others in order to fulfill their purpose.

Prairie speaks her prophecy, the truths she has come to discover. Within them are 5 movements that each person in the group must perform. Each person has their own part to play in establishing the overall dance they learn to perform, and it’s a sometimes grueling process each person must encounter in order to learn how to participate in the whole. The whole idea of movement being symbolic in the sense that each part of the psyche must relate with each other in one fluid agreed upon action played out in unison. When we act out of our whole and true selves, with all of our parts coordinated in unison, we are acting out our full authentic purpose. A purpose of which can ultimately fend off those who seek to destroy.

I was so moved from a deep place watching this show. At first I didn’t see all of this information, I only felt it. The archetypal information came afterwards as I wrote this article. It tapped into the significance which my spiritual life and practice of meditation has for me. Through meditation, I am uniting all of these different parts of myself and learning to live out of my authentic self. No claims of full individuation here, just a hope-filled practice centered on compassion and purpose.


This show is truly a work of art: One with significant purpose. 

Monday, October 10, 2016



Sci-Fi For Girls

While many men enjoyed this film, it's clear this one was written for young women. Having a female protagonist who, as with most mythical heros, lives a modest life while not being aware of her royal descent. Also, as many bright young women, she struggles to get by in a menial job, in her case cleaning toilets & houses of those more privileged. It's telling when each day she awakes saying "I hate my life", perhaps somehow subconsciously aware that she is much more talented and able then her job, which takes up most of her time & barely permits her to do much more.

In this way, we instantly connect with the character, along with her heart for her family & strong character.

To be honest when I first saw this movie I thought it was just OK. But, upon this second viewing I came to appreciate more fully the messages in this film, which are quite significant. The awareness that time & family are some of the most valuable resources is displayed in clear contrast in the protagonist's past & present life. That class is nothing without humble values & discerning character, is also displayed with graceful contrast, as well as the significance of recognizing what one has & being pleased with it. Because of this opening awareness, by the end of the film, Jupiter no longer hates her life; While she had every choice available in the universe for how she could be spending her life & time, she chose going back to her simple life, menial job & familiar family.


Yes, there were a couple new additions in the end: a realization of her own worth & her own power, a conscious choice every moment of every day to live with gratefulness, & a hunky strong new boyfriend who happened to save her life on several occasions.



While this film had it's cheesiness, especially regarding the love interest, it was fun & familiar. Jupiter displayed some guts & wit & was devoted to what she knew she wanted, as well as to her values. The plot was intriguing & imaginative & the character a true heroine.

Artistically it also carried some humble recognition of much sci-fi that had come before: the statue of the previous "Jupiter Mother" being a similar rendering of a vampire queen from one of Anne Rice's films "Queen of the Damned", the music at times carrying hints of Star Trek and other past sci-fi, yet also well done standing on it's own.

The actors were also quite strong in each of their roles. Mila Kunis an attractive lead heroine, Channing Tatum a fitting love interest & Eddie Redmayne & Douglas Booth both strong despicable evildoers. Eddie particularly threatening merely due to his creepy character voice.

One of my favorite parts of film is visual arts direction, and this film was also not lacking here. It held up very well for it's genre as well as having beautiful set, costume and design; most noticeably in the wedding scene. But, I also tend to multitask when watching film which persists mainly in listening. To this regard, I mainly observed this current viewing & to which I came away impressed & inspired.

Check out the cool posters!
Sci-Fi For Girls

Jupiter Ascending

While many men enjoyed this film, it's clear this one was written for young women. Having a female protagonist who, as with most mythical heros, lives a modest life while not being aware of her royal descent. Also, as many bright young women, she struggles to get by in a menial job, in her case cleaning toilets & houses of those more privileged. It's telling when each day she awakes saying "I hate my life", perhaps somehow subconsciously aware that she is much more talented and able then her job, which takes up most of her time & barely permits her to do much more.

In this way, we instantly connect with the character, along with her heart for her family & strong character.

To be honest when I first saw this movie I thought it was just OK. But, upon this second viewing I came to appreciate more fully the messages in this film, which are quite significant. The awareness that time & family are some of the most valuable resources is displayed in clear contrast in the protagonist's past & present life. That class is nothing without humble values & discerning character, is also displayed with graceful contrast, as well as the significance of recognizing what one has & being pleased with it. Because of this opening awareness, by the end of the film, Jupiter no longer hates her life; While she had every choice available in the universe for how she could be spending her life & time, she chose going back to her simple life, menial job & familiar family.

Yes, there were a couple new additions in the end: a realization of her own worth & her own power, a conscious choice every moment of every day to live with gratefulness, & a hunky strong new boyfriend who happened to save her life on several occasions.

While this film had it's cheesiness, especially regarding the love interest, it was fun & familiar. Jupiter displayed some guts & wit & was devoted to what she knew she wanted, as well as to her values. The plot was intriguing & imaginative & the character a true heroine.


Statue from "Queen of the Damned"

Artistically it also carried some humble recognition of much sci-fi that had come before: the statue of the previous "Jupiter Mother" being a similar rendering of a vampire queen from one of Anne Rice's films "Queen of the Damned", the music at times carrying hints of Star Trek and other past sci-fi, yet also well done standing on it's own.

The actors were also quite strong in each of their roles. Mila Kunis an attractive lead heroine, Channing Tatum a fitting love interest & Eddie Redmayne & Douglas Booth both strong despicable evildoers. Eddie particularly threatening merely due to his creepy character voice.



One of my favorite parts of film is visual arts direction, and this film was also not lacking here. It held up very well for it's genre as well as having beautiful set, costume and design; most noticeably in the wedding scene. But, I also tend to multitask when watching film which persists mainly in listening. To this regard, I mainly observed this current viewing & to which I came away impressed & inspired.





Friday, August 12, 2016

"Damn it Jim!"



Star Trek is such a timeless classic and I believe one of the major reasons why this is so is because, here is a team of people who really work well together, despite their differences. They each have their own unique character, ethnicity & skills that when brought together, utilized and respected; all work towards the common good.


A scene from the current film looked very much like something from the original series:


From the original series: 




This continuation of the Star Trek Series of films has done an excellent job of creating a new adventure for the crew that is reminiscent of the traditional TV show. The opening scene for example, while a bit cheesy, really reflected the types of situations Captain Kirk's character tended to get himself into & was due a worthy chuckle.

Part of what endears me to these new films is just how well each actor plays the original characters; it is almost as if I'm catching up with old friends from childhood.



Now if I were actually a character in the film, Jaylah would be a cool one to be. She is a pretty great character and new addition! Looking a bit like an attractive rogue female Darth Maul, she is both feisty bad-ass, skillful & a darn cute character with her broken English. I'm curious to see how her character may evolve in future films.



Admittedly though, I would be O'Hura. Literally because she's currently the only female on the crew of what seems to be a bit of a boy's club. (Although in the original there was also a blond who has now been forgotten). She's quite a cool character, though you don't really see a ton of her spunk in this film. Mainly though, in each film you catch a glimpse of her adoration and soft heart for Spock. This is mainly why I wish to be her: she's with Spock! (& damn he's cute!!).



My favourote dialogue has to be between Spock & the Doctor. The best quotes, comedy & philosophy are here. Also, I mean, how cool is it that Spock, even though he's fit to be a captain, as Kirk expounds at the beginning of this film, he chooses to be Kirk's right hand. *Swoon*.

I think it's pretty great how this film interweaved a tribute to the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, as it acknowledged the pain I'm sure the actors carried, along with many Star Trek fans, particularly those Spock empathizers & adorers, in regards to his passing.



In thinking about the original crew who are still alive & their first viewing of the film, I can see that Lin took much care to create this film specifically as a work of love for them. Not only did he frame much of this adventure according to it's original vision, but the dialogue & the relationships developed between the characters really speak.

"To the enterprise and to absent friends" -Kirk

"What would I do without you Spock?" -  Kirk

"Fear of death is what keeps is alive!" - Bones

"We will find hope in the impossible." - Spock

They acknowledge the pain & yet it's bittersweet as we can't help but giggle when Spock says as he starts spouting somewhat irrational philosophical poetry, going a bit crazy due to both loss of blood and pent up emotional pain;

"The miserable have little to gain, but only for hope"

And of course how could they not insert the doctor's "Dammit Jim!" As he gets roped into going beyond his role in taking on daunting tasks, as he always was in the original show. Many great quotes in this film!

I was looking out to see if they may mention the young Checkov, Anton Yelchin's passing somewhere. While I did not see this, I am assured it was in the credits. I did keep my eyes open for every moment to see him in the film though, and they managed to carry his character quite fluidly throughout. It's quite amazing to know that people will be seeing him for weeks all across the world, immortalized in film though he has ventured into the undiscovered country along with Nimoy. He will surely be missed in the coming films and I'm not sure quite how they will replicate his fine work, he was so darn likable. May he Rest In Peace: he was gone far too soon.



Monday, November 16, 2015

Lisbon Story (1994)



I'm so glad that I recently stumbled across this film at the dollar store. It's a shame that such a gem was not purchased for what it was worth, but it is with thanks to this venue that it found it's way into my hands and before my eyes (And, to think I nearly put it back!).

This film was more than I expected it to be, because frankly it sounds like a slow-moving plot, and not very exciting:


Fritz invites his friend Phil to Lisbon, where he claims he needs his help. Phil, an idealist, wishing to help his friend and to do some work, manages to find his way there, only to show up without Fritz anywhere to be found. 

So Phil, a thoughtful and positive observer, moves into Fritz's humble abode and befriends the local children who wander playfully through the streets. Phil then starts about his work; He travels around Lisbon looking for Fritz and along the way picks up the breadcrumbs of clues as to the work Fritz had called him here to do. Phil reads the books Fritz left behind, discovering where Fritz's addled mind had been over the last month or so before he disappeared,
 ("Ah não ser eu toda a gente e toda a parte!". This phrase (roughly translated as "Would I be everybody and everywhere!"), written in one of the walls of the house where Winter's staying, is the last verse of "Ode Triunfal", a poem by Álvaro de Campos, one of the three main heteronyms of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.) 




and he starts to record the sounds of the city to match the images he finds that Fritz had captured. Along the way he befriends a Fado band, Madredeus, who has an enchanting lead singer. (The music is very beautiful!)



Though the idea for the film is merely intriguing enough, the scenery was beautiful and the Lisbon life captured was charmingly pleasant. Stopping to smell the roses truly feels like something of value and purpose in this film, something I believe we too often overlook the significance of in our lives. The very fact that this is an artful act is valuable. Phil even makes his mishaps seem like worthwhile events.

Ultimately though, I found the lead actor added much to the film with his endearing character; humorous in his human authenticity at his goofy mishaps, in his stumbling over himself in-love with the beautiful singer, and in his being so eager to capture the beauty of the city and to share this joy with the children (and with us). I found myself engaged through the whole film, wanting to know what Phil might wander into, what happened to Fritz, and if Phil will piece together this story he's stumbled into?



A simple, yet truly delightful film. It has settled onto my heart and nestled in to it's very own spot there.