Wednesday, September 20, 2017


       As far as allegories go, writer/director Darren Aronofsky takes a risk with the  biggest there is, Creation to Apocalypse and back again as represented by a house in a meadow. The house is occupied by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as an unnamed couple, who may or may not be God and Mother Earth (depending on your own interpretation).

       The entire story takes place inside the house, with a few outside POVs. What starts out seemingly as a domestic drama, soon explodes to biblical proportions. Mr Aronofsky drops plenty of clues throughout the film, some more subtle than others. Ed Harris, Michele Pfeiffer, Brian Gleeson and Domhnall Gleeson co-star as unnamed characters that again, may or may not seem obviously familiar. Kristen Wiig also has a small cameo.

      The film is beautifully shot as Mr. Aronofsky makes wonderful use of light and space. He also infuses it with an interesting combination of humor and dread. It is not a simple entertainment. There is a complexity and intelligence here that has to be appreciated and as a viewer, you will find yourself constantly challenged.

       You may find yourself tempted to walk out early as the film may confound and anger you but there is something about it that is so compelling, it deserves your attention to go the distance. Love it or hate it, you will be talking about it.

Thursday, September 07, 2017


Written and directed by and starring Justin Chon, this new Indie drama examines multiple themes in a racially charged setting.

Mr. Chon sets his story in 1992 during the Rodney King riots in South Central L.A. and aims for a similar tension filled atmosphere as "Detroit" albeit on a much more intimate scale. 

This is the story of two Korean brothers  trying to make ends meet with the shoe store they inherited from their father. One is a hustler named Eli, played by Mr. Chon, trying hard to keep the business going while his older brother, Daniel, (played by David So) secretly longs to be an R&B singer. They share an odd friendship with an eleven year old African-American girl named Kamilla who hangs around the store everyday. Kamilla is played by Simone Baker and she is a revelation.

The microcosm of a growing confrontation centers in this one racially mixed neighborhood between the local African-American and Asian population. Connections between many of the characters are slowly revealed as the story plays out against the riots. 

As a first feature, there are some minor continuity and camera issues but they can be easily overlooked by the raw honesty of the script. Mr. Chon is heavily influenced by early Spike Lee, especially "She's Gotta Have it" with some "Do The Right Thing" thrown in. The influence is not in plot but rather style, as he opts for shooting in black & white, while using an eclectic jazz soundtrack and occasional slow motion to help drive his narrative. It's a strong first feature from a promising young talent.