The Week’s End

Friday, July 18, 2014

As we move into the week’s end, think on this:

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Handle your anger. Yes, handle it. In other words, don’t let it sit and course through your veins. It only will flow right back into YOU. Anger, if not tended to, will set up shop on the inside and, before you know it, a den of robbers will begin to steal your joy. That is not good. Anger needs attention; it knows its own power which is why it provides a moment for us to step back and rightly assess a situation. It is only fair to give it an outlet to perform. I remember an episode on Desperate Housewives when husband and father Mike Delfino (James Denton) had been killed. His wife, Susan (Teri Hatcher) and son Preston (Brent/Shane Kinsman) were putting away groceries when Preston accidentally broke a jar of jelly on the floor. Susan paused, then grabbed another jar and smashed it on the floor. What followed was a jelly-jar-smashing orchestral expression of anger over the death of Mike. After that, Susan and Preston began the process of moving through their grief. Remember Jesus brandishing that whip in anger over the thieves in the temple? (I just had a Prince moment). Anyway, He handled his anger. Matthew 21:12-13 tells us after that episode, Jesus declared, “My house will be called a house of prayer”. Exactly! Once you handle that anger you can cease from it as the Psalmist bids us to do in Psalm 37. Peace shall abide.

Run on anger. Walk on anger. Lift weights. Stomp in the basement on anger. Dance. Sing. Write it out in a journal without judgment. Pray on it. Pour water over it. Audition for a play as I did on Tuesday night to deal with my anger over an incident that blindsided me that weekend. Being in the theater was just what the doctor ordered.

Handle your anger; it’s only fair.

May peace and joy abide within you.

Happy week’s end ~ to all of you!

~ K Lynn

Snowpiercer @ The Ross

Snowpiercer, the train

Snowpiercer, the train

Snowpiercer is the latest venture into dystopian society from South Korean film director Joon-ho Bong. Set in the near future, Snowpiercer pierces through the vein of consciousness with rapid speed. It is brutal. It is gruesome. It is cold; difficult to watch. The earth has frozen over destroying all life after a disastrous global warming experiment. Billows and dunes of snow cover the earth; it is the dead of winter–every day … always. Those humans who survived board a train whose engine is designed by Wilford (Ed Harris) to travel around the globe for all eternity. Eighteen years! Eighteen years in an iron box with 1,000 people, and you had better know your place!

Tanya (Octavia Spencer)

Tanya (Octavia Spencer)

Imagine that. Living and having your being on a train; coming of age on a train; dying on a train. Imagine a society set up in long narrow confines where bunk beds abound. Bong depicts the constellation of hierarchies formed within that space without so much as a blink of an eye. The upper crust enjoy lavish living, fine dining, and socializing in the front of the train. The poor, packed in like sardines in the tail end of the train, are tyrannized by Wilford’s minions–and they abuse the children too! Rebellions have occurred; all but one, however, have been quashed by Minister Mason, played with exquisite evil by Tilda Swinton.

Curtis (Chris Evans) fearless leader of the revolt

Curtis (Chris Evans) fearless leader of the revolt

Chris Evans stars as Curtis, the passenger tapped to lead the revolt, and hope for freedom abides not only in him but in the valiant revolutionaries aboard the train who arm themselves to fight with him. The revolutionaries exhibit an indomitable spirit, and even though you know the majority will die, their heroics are worth going through the well-rehearsed visual punishment. The fight scenes are awe-inspiring as each illustrates what the oppressed will do to gain their freedom with the knowledge they may not come back alive from the war. Evans exudes trust through his character Curtis; you know he will make it even though the odds are stacked against him and his crew.

Minister Mason (Tilda Swinton)

Minister Mason (Tilda Swinton)

Make no mistake: The Train, or the snowpiercer is the devil in film. Art director Stefan Kovacik imagines an ominous iron horse that, through Kyung-pyo Hong’s cinematography, pierces all ice it encounters on the track; it is disheartening to know it never will stop–never. Hong takes us underneath the train and lets the audience feel the wheels on the steel track; to feel the relentless speed of the demon; to see the depths of the drop if it derails. No one will hear them scream.

The Ross logo

Snowpiercer plays through July 24th at the Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.

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Also playing through July 24th is Big Men, Rachel Boynton’s very impressive documentary on the discovery of oil in the country of Ghana, Africa.

Watch for film television & more. In the meantime,
Catch a Movie …
Share the popcorn …
Feed your soul!

Halle Berry ‘Extant’

Halle Berry as Molly Woods

Halle Berry as Molly Woods

CBS
Wednesdays
9/8CT

Extant: in existence; still existing; not destroyed or lost

Of course it rankles that the storyline revolves around a woman of color who is pregnant and does not know who or what the father is. That she conceives in outer space with no one on that spaceship but a computer-generated station assistant named Ben is even more bothersome. I won’t move too far into the race and gender territory just yet. I prefer, instead, to make honorable mention of the larger import of Mickey Fisher’s (King of Iron) new television series.

Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols)

Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols)

Extant is very important for historical reasons whether the writer and producers know it or not. The series is paying homage to a legacy of African American astronauts portrayed on television and who are members of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As for the small screen, Extant‘s main character, Molly Woods (Halle Berry) honors Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), the communications officer from the United States of Africa aboard the USS Enterprise in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek television series (1966-1969). Extant also compliments NASA’s diversity in space flight programs. Dr. Guion Stewart “Guy” Bluford, Jr. was the first African American astronaut in space (1983) and, more specific to Woods, Mae Carol Jemison (1992), the first African American woman in space. For these historical entries, I reserve my comments on the aforementioned categories (well, until later that is).

Mae Carol Jemison

Mae Carol Jemison

Now on to the synopsis/analysis. Extant is compelling, and in the spirit of the singing sensation Ashford and Simpson, the writing and acting are solid as a rock. I wanted the story to keep on going, and I viewed the pilot again and watched every one-to-three-minute Behind The Scenes video on CBS’s website in an effort to satiate my hunger for more.

Mickey Fisher indeed has created a captivating futuristic drama with Steven Spielberg at the helm as executive-producer. Cinematographer M. David Mullen beautifully imagines a pilot production embedded with allusions to other films about androids, outer space, and curious pregnancies, namely Spielberg’s own A.I., Minority Report, Avatar, Rosemary’s Baby, and I Know What You Did Last Summer, among others. The time? Thirty years from now.

Molly Woods in space

Molly Woods in space

Academy Award winner Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball) stars as Molly Wood, an astronaut returning home from a 13-month solo journey in the cosmos. After a medical examination with gynecologist Dr. Sam Barton (Camryn Manheim), Molly learns from Sam that she is pregnant. The expected That’s not possible! I can’t get pregnant! responses come next from the astronaut upon hearing the news. Berry remarks,

The first episode is about reconnecting and then [Molly] finding out she did not come home alone. [While in space] she had an encounter with something … this entity that is able to present itself. […] There is mystery, and it is interesting to watch how it is going to unfold …

Molly wrangles a promise from Sam to withhold that mystery from her report until she has time to sort things out. After all, she just has arrived to earth. Fisher slathers the rest of the plot with a provocative narrative layered with “whodunits” and “who can/not you trust?” overtones. These are enough to encourage the audience to tune in next week.

A happy Molly and Marcus (Sergio Harford) in memory

A happy Molly and Marcus (Sergio Harford) in memory

It is good to see Halle Berry–really good–and her timely choice to return to the small screen after several cancelled shows (Living Dolls, Knots Landing), places her in the room with Black women enjoying major roles in television, most notable Keri Washington (Scandal), Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy), Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), and Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder).

Guion Bluford, first African American in space (1983)

Guion Bluford, first African American in space (1983)

An artistic maturity illumines Berry’s comfort and self-assurance as she interprets a vulnerable but tentative (and weary worn) astronaut adjusting to her life on earth. I missed her presence when forced to watch the other plot points of the story; her management of the space ship testifies to her character’s confidence, discipline, and knowledge of the world of space and science. In other words, Molly Woods probably graduated in the top 5% of her class, and with her strong work ethic, she earned respect and trust from her colleagues. She has to be quite skillful and exceptional to have been assigned a solitary mission. This astronaut is awesome!

John (Goran Visnjic) introduces his 'son' Ethan (Pierce Gagnon) to scientists

John (Goran Visnjic) introduces his ‘son’ Ethan (Pierce Gagnon) to scientists

Goran Visnjic plays her matter-of-fact husband, who soothes his desire for fatherhood by ‘conceiving’ Ethan (Pierce Gagnon), an android child he programs to ‘feel’. Writing of feeling, Family Woods comes across as hollow, if not as sterile. If you have shopped in the frozen food section in short sleeves in the winter time, then you know what I am talking about. No warm fuzzies here except when Molly reminisces about her dead but extant former lover, Marcus Dawkins, played with bone-chilling affection by Sergio Harford.

Family Woods

Family Woods

For all of its family drama and debates on artificial intelligence and how to fund it, Extant excites with its state-of-the-art technologies: prototype self-driving cars, transparent iPads that light up, touch screens on refrigerators and bathroom mirrors, a medi-assist bot, flying spaceship toys, and flat-bottomed eggs.

If you are one who waits with baited breath for the next catalogue of newest gadgets as does a child for the Toys R Us Christmas booklet, Extant is your series.

Film • Television • & More coming your way!

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