Monday, September 17, 2018

Bagonoun's Wonderful Songbird - a Beauty & the Beast tale in South Pacific


Greetings, commies!
I've been on my Beauty & the Beast binge. Except, sometimes I like to see the roles reversed. What if the female protagonist was ugly? John Rosenman's Bagonoun's Wonderful Songbird came in as a perfect treat.

Synopsis:
An old man and a young girl are unlikely lovers, but what happens when a magical bird starts to sing? Bagonoun's Wonderful Songbird is an improbable love story that takes place on the island Nauru in the South Pacific. Sometimes miracles come true.

My thoughts:
I enjoy Rosenman's novellas and short stories because they read like Twilight Zone episodes. You get philosophy and ethics infused into each piece. Most of Rosenman's works take place in space or on another planet. "Bagonoun's Wonderful Songbird" takes place on an island in South Pacific in some ambiguous past. The idea of a much older man and a younger woman has been explored in his previous work "More Stately Mansions". The twist here is that the girl is deemed ugly by the villagers, too ugly to marry. I know it is very posh now to bash "Western beauty standards". Guess what? Non-Western cultures can be even more brutal when it comes to beauty standards. At least in modern America or Europe you cannot be denied employment or medical care if you do not adhere to the beauty standards. What plays in the girl's favor is that Bagonoun, pushing seventy, is past the point of evaluating women based on their looks. He has a "been there, done it" attitude. In his youth he was married to a beautiful girl and fathered six children with her. Now, in the twilight of his life, he starts looking beyond outward beauty. He is one of the few villagers who bother to get to know Emet, the unmarriageable outcast. However, Bagonoun still has not lost his competitive streak. He  still enters his songbird into competitions. He has not denounced all worldly vanities. He still craves recognition. As he spends time with Emet, telling her myths from the island, their friendship morphs into love - the kind that transcends appearances and transform their very bodies. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Status Rises - a sequel to Vincent Robert Annunziato's cyber thriller

Commies and game addicts!

Last year I reviewed a marvelous YA cyber thriller by Vincent Robert Annunziato Status, a novel of an addictive game fueled by social egos. Today I am posting a review for Status Rises, a sinister sequel. 

Synopsis
The game too dangerous to stop playing returns in this intense sequel to the original "Status The Game." 

Since Status shut down last year, life has just about returned to normal for the town of Madison. Bob Brookes and his former students have struggled to move on, but Status has other ideas. Odd things pop up around town. Old symbols, people who look out of place and a new version of the game threaten the fragile peace of Madison. Amongst it all somewhere, somehow, someone has gone to great lengths to draw Bob and his alliance back into the game. 

Rumors surface about Timmy, the high schooler who took his life at the end of last year’s finale. Some say he is still alive and he concocted an elaborate hoax to fool everyone about his death. Others say there are prophecies that once fulfilled will allow him to rise from the dead and enact his revenge on those that defeated him. Either way Bob and his crew have to be wary. 

Will the team reunite and take on this new menace? Or will they ignore it all in hopes it will go away? Of course, there's only one way to find out.

Stay Strong! Stay Loyal!

Click now and get in the game!


My thoughts
Like cancer, it returns. The addictive game that had ravaged the town of Madison the year before, having turned students and faculty into zombies. It seems that with the main perpetrators either dead or institutionalized, things should be returning to normal? Not so fast. Too early to let the guard down. You can shut down the game, but you cannot shut down the human weaknesses and vices that fuel the game - insecurity, vanity, hunger for power and revenge. Timmy's bereaved mother reinvents herself as an avenger, determined to make the survivors of Status pay for her son's death. Once again the line between human beings and their embellished virtual analogs blurs. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Gaspar Noe's "Love" - a compilation of sexual cliches

Commies,
I could not resist reviewing this cinematic abortion that I stumbled across. Gaspar Noe's Love is an example of sloppy, lazy, unimaginative writing and cinematography. The cover image of three tongues connected by strings of saliva pretty much sets the mood and the viewers' expectations.

My thoughts
Drugs, repetitive sex, threesomes, suicidal tendencies, older married boyfriends, broken condoms. All been done. The director must be really naive to think that viewers are shocked by full frontal shots. Sorry to break it to him, but most of us know what various body parts look like. The sex scenes are not sexy - they are silly. There is very little left to the imagination. The writing is equally unimaginative. Declarations of love mixed with threats and profanities. The character development is below minimal. The movie is supposed to be set in Paris, yet you wouldn't know if you weren't told. The most unrealistic part was the size Murphy's apartment. Does the director know how much Parisian flats cost and how much an American film student can afford? We are told that Murphy is a film student, yet he looks and acts like a club bouncer. Gotta love that wife-beater he wears for half of the movie. So you basically take a guy who looks like he belongs on the streets of the Bronx, call him a "film maker" and stick him in Paris. And that suddenly makes the whole flick more sophisticated? If you are intrigued by a pathetic attempt to make an "edgy" movie, and if you have 2+ hours of your time to waste, by all means, give "Love" a try.