Solo: A Star Wars Story

Well, the Star Wars movie nobody has asked for has finally arrived. Truth be told, the behind the scene stories of this movie are most likely way more interesting and gripping than the movie itself. There was a lot of drama going on during production. The original directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have been fired from the project just weeks away from completing principal photography, due to creative differences, namely they were not as keen to sticking to the script provided by the studio. A legitimate reason for firing, but very unfortunate in terms of timing. The duo still retained producer credits on the movie. Couple of days later, enters Ron Howard, a veteran of the movie making business and takes over the role of director and the daunting task of steering the project back on course from the detour Lord and Miller have took. As such, he proceeds to reshoot, reportedly, about 80% of the movie.

All the while, the movie’s release date stays the same, which made a lot of people justifiably nervous. Also, Ron Howards extensive reshoots meant that the actors attached to the project had to stay onboard a lot longer than initially planned, which was not an option for everybody. As a result Michael Kenneth Williams is cut from the movie and Paul Bettany is dealt in. As if all this would not be enough, the initial movie posters released by Disney for Solo had to be changed because French artist Hachim Bahous claimed that their design were stolen from a series of album covers he did for Sony Music, back in 2015. And seeing the posters and the album covers next to each other was pretty much all the proof anybody needed to realize, the guy was right. Now, the newest entries of the Star Wars movie family were never without their individual set of controversy, whether it was the critical and fan base response to Ep 7 and 8, or the behind the scene issues concerning Rogue One. But the sheer amount of issues that this movie had to overcome, public or not, had put the head of Lucas Films, Kathleen Kennedy, in a very uncomfortable position. There is a good chance that she might have to step down from her position because of this movie. It all depends on how much of a financial success will Solo be, if at all.

So, after all this hubbub, what is this movie about? Well, we get to learn how Han became Han Solo, how he met Chewbacca, Lando and the Millennium Falcon. It is a pretty much straightforward origin story. There are a couple of new faces as well, such as Qi’ra, played by Emilia Clarke, Tobias Beckett, played by Woody Harrelson, and Dryden Vos, played by Paul Bettany. Now, there are some other bigger names in the cast lists, such as Thandie Newton, or John Favreau, but their characters don’t bring anything to the table as they share the same 3 scenes in the first act and they are pretty much done after that. Emilia Clarke brings a solid performance, but by no means extraordinary. But then again, she isn’t given that much to work with either. She did the job done and without reminding us that she is the mother of dragons. Harrelson was good, but for him a role like this is like a walk in the park, he could do this high on cocaine, and we still would not know it. The only problem I had with his character was the name, Tobias Beckett. For somebody that is a criminal in a galaxy far, far away, a long, long time ago, he has a rather specific, earthly name. Like before the events of this movie, he was pulling jobs with Danny Ocean, or something. A minor detail that just bothers me a little. However, we have to remember. These new characters, they do not really matter. Their sole purpose in “life” is to offer us the excuse to see a movie with Han, Chewie and Lando. And it works. Alden Ehrenreich is a great Han Solo, he channels the same attitude and charisma as Ford did in the original Star Wars movie. But he is a touch softer, more younger and therefor much more naïve than Ford’s character, which is good, because, well, he is young Han Solo here, which is to say that the contrast between Ehrenreich’s and Ford’s character is a pretty good indicator of just how much time is between this movie and the original Star Wars, from a story perspective. Donald Glover steals every scene he is in as Lando Calrissian, and he is every bit a suave as Billy Dee Williams was as Lando in Empire Strikes Back. Both actors manage to impersonate the younger versions of the iconic characters and be respectful to the originals and make the current versions their own at the same time. And then there is Chewbacca. Sadly, Peter Mayhew was no longer able to reprise his iconic role, so here too a younger actor had to step in the form of Joonas Suotamo. The only difference is that Joonas already filled in as Chewbacca in Ep7 and 8 as well, and in Ep7 he was working in tandem with Mayhew. As for Chewie in the movie, he got to do a lot more than usual, and the chemistry between him and Han is great, as it was to be expected. It was rather fun to see this iconic duo getting started, and I do think that the scene that the two meet for the first time was rather clever. And, since this is a SW movie, there has to be a signature droid as well, in our case L3-37. Unfortunately, this is not really the droid that we are looking for. They tried to go on the same route as in Rogue One, where K-2SO had a voice of its own along with an opinion, but here that voice and opinion takes on social justice, namely equal rights for droids. It is easy to see the parallel between the present day social climate and the movie, which I do believe that was not thought through right. On one hand, whenever a science fiction movie ties itself to something specific from its present day, the movie does not age well. The trends and technologies that were “happening” while the movie was made might have a rather short life and then they become strange and obscure when the movie is revisited 10-20 years later. On the other hand, L3-37 is used somewhat as a comic relief, therefor whatever it is standing for also comes through as a joke of some sorts. As such, the struggle for equal rights becomes more of a punch line than an actual issue, which is not an inspired choice.

Sadly, Solo: A Star Wars story is not that well received by the SW fan base. Which is a shame, really, because personally, I think it is a darn good movie. It is not original, it is not epic, it is not what SW is usually about. This is a light, humorous, adventure/heist movie that happens to be in the SW universe. And this is what makes it a perfect science fiction movie. Because good SF is just a good story that could be told in any context/time-period, but for some reason it is told with starships and ray guns. As for this movie in particular, it is the perfect pallet cleanser after the plethora of comic book movies or whatever else this year had to offer so far in cinemas. I haven’t had so much fun at the movies in a long time.

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Deadpool 2

I loved the first Deadpool movie. It was great. It was a passion project for many people, it was cared and nurtured for for many years, it had one of the best marketing strategy ever conceived for a movie and when finally it arrived on the big screens, all expectations were blown away. It was fresh, it was new, it was radical. It was a great success. There really was no doubt in anybody’s mind that a sequel will be made. Now, 2 years and 13 other superhero movies later, here we are at last, Deadpool 2 has arrived. Now, the big question when it comes to sequels of successful films is “will it measure up to the original?”. Historically, few sequels have ever been on par with the original movie, or surpass it even. When it comes to comedies, which Deadpool is, that is even a taller order.

Now, I am getting somewhat numb to the entire superhero movie genre and I am no longer expecting that much of these movies, so, as long as they are fine, I am satisfied, I guess. That being said, I did find Deadpool 2 to be one of this year’s better comedies (Game Night can still steal the #1 spot, depending what day you are asking me). But I am not going to praise it to high heavens either. In a nutshell, the movie goes like this: Deadpool finds himself in another quest, where he must rescue a kid from Cable, a mutant from the future. In order to be able to succeed, he forms a team of his own, called X-Force, and from that point, the usual shenanigans ensue.

Now, it might not be a total surprise if I tell you that this movie is not as good as the first one. But then again, how could it have been? The first one had a sizeable surprise factor on its side, while this one had only sky high expectations. Also, there was some behind the scene drama during the making of this movie, when the director of the original has quit the project. To top that, this movie only had 2 years at disposal to be made, while the first one was had a better part of a decade if I am not mistaken. But, there is more. One of the originals strong points were all the references that were dropped. It was new, it was funny. This time, they overdid it and it really took me out of the movie. I mean, ok, I get. Deapool knows that there is an actual real world out there and can burn some jokes that only the audience will understand. But when every 3rd joke is a reference to something, it gets really old. Somewhere in the second half of the movie, Deadpool meets a new character and he starts listing how he loved his “work” in about a dozen or so specific comic book issues. At that point I really had it with all the referential stuff. The joke also did not land as it supposed to for being too damn long and a bit too inside baseball for the casual moviegoer.

This is again, something that I noticed, that many of the jokes don’t work. TJ Millers character, Weasel, was hilarious in the first movie, but here he should have been cut altogether. His performance was the weakest, as he was not funny at all. But the main problem of the movie is that it has no villain. Say what you want about Francis, but he was an excellent villain to Deapool in the first film. In Deadpool 2 there are no actual villains. Cable is not a villain. He is a pretty good opponent to Deadpool, but ultimately, they are on the same side. There are another 3 bad guys in this film, but none of them of substance, none of them can claim the title. The only true villain would be the one Cable is fighting, but he is in the future, so his actions serve more as motivation to Cable, they are not actual plot points, he is not in this movie, not really.

But, there are a lot of things that are better in this movie than the original one. For starters, the action sequences are way better. This can mainly be credited to the director, David Leitch,who is behind movies like John Wick or Atomic Blond. The new characters, Cable and Domino, are great. They are cool to look at and really fit in the Deadpool universe. If there will be any future instalments in this francize, they certainly will make a comeback. The kid that needs saving is also well played Julian Dennison. I mean really. And there is a twist at the beginning of the 3rd act that just caught me off guard. A moment has been build up and then it takes a total left turn. It was the best set up joke in the movie, hands down.

As for Deadpool, the character, he didn’t really changed. He is still his own worst enemy. His core motivation is still his girlfriend, Vanessa and he again is confronted with a life changing event to which his response remains the same as in the first movie, a dramatic overreaction masked by a plethora of jokes and snarky remarks.

Overall, Deadpool 2 is a welcomed pallet cleanser after Avengers Infinity War and it is a fun movie. Could have been better? Yes. But, it also could have been way worse too. However, if they do decide to make a 3rd instalment to the francize, they have to tweak the formula. Less meta humor and more original, new stuff. More creative storytelling. Silly jokes will no longer do the job.

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Manchester by the sea

Manchester by the sea is a drama. It is a non-stop, start to finish tragedy. It is an actor’s film, where they can really flex their dramatic muscle and shine. You watch it, appreciate the performance that you are allowed to witness and then you thank God that the movie is over and that you do not have to watch it again. In a strange way it will make you feel better about yourself, because no matter how bad you are doing right now, you are still better off than the characters in this movie.



Lee is a custodian and leads a simple and desolate life. He is not happy and by the looks of it he doesn’t wants to be happy either. For some reason, he has chosen himself corner to stay in and he is sticking to it. He is just going through the motions, day by day, trying to avoid any distractions as much as possible. And then his brother dies…


Lee is forced to take a break from his routine and to return home where he has to deal not only with the loss of his brother, but with his teenage nephew as well, not to mention the ghosts of his own past. To make things worse, his nephew is a total asshole. The kid is self-absorbed, rash, has hockey practice, basketball practice, band practice, 2 girlfriends and cannot possible comprehend that life is not about him and his needs.

The movie is fairly long as it is, over 2 hours but given its pace and subject matter, it might seem a lot longer than that. To be honest, I cannot think of anything that important that could not be edited to make this movie shorter and it is my opinion that a 100-110 minutes’ runtime would have been much better than the actual runtime of 137 minutes. Most of time is used to show the interaction between Lee and his nephew, which, except for a couple of brief moments of actual communication, is mostly shouting and mutual indifference. This part definitely could have been a lot shorter. Another big part of the time is used up by flashbacks that presents Lees backstory, why he is such a tragic character and why his brother was so important. This part actually works as it is much more relevant to the overall story than all that garnish we are presented in present time. Also, Kyle Chandler gives an excellent performance despite the small material he is given. I dare to say that he is the best part of the movie. The remaining of the movie is filled up with Lees interaction with other characters, or by some scenes where his nephew is the protagonist, since him too has a small story arc, also tragic. Most of these scenes are only there to move the story along, conversation in the hospital, conversation at the funeral house, conversation with the lawyer about the will…. Elements that you would expect in a story like this but they are rather 2 dimensional, with no depth whatsoever and I cannot decide if this is a flaw in the script or if it is deliberate approach, to highlight just how superficial and empty our day by day interactions with each other really are and to provide just one more reason for Lee to choose a self-imposed exile from society. There is a particular scene which makes me think of this, where, during the wake, Lee is asked by his friend if he had anything to eat that day and then proceeds automatically to ask his wife to bring him some food. Naturally, the wife is on the other side of a packed room and the 2 cannot carry an intelligible conversation with each other so after like 2 minutes of shouting nothing really happens, which is kind of what Lee wants, nothing. There is one very important exchange of words towards the end of the movie, between Lee and his ex-wife, which is really important and the delivery of which made by Michelle Williams was highly appreciated, earning her an academy award nomination. It is a short scene, but with a big punch. Casey Affleck brings a solid performance as Lee in a “less is more” fashion, which in this case fits like a glove. He did get the Oscar for this role, so he definitely got it right. I have yet to see all the nominated performances to give a verdict if the academy got it right, but so far I agree with this decision.

There really isn’t much more to say about this movie without spoiling some of its plot points. It is a good movie, but difficult to sit through and most likely, you will not revisit it, ever… It is a movie that exists firstly for the actors and not the audience, and while I can and do appreciate its value in an objective fashion, I do wonder, was it necessary to make it?

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Dunkirk

This was one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. The expectations were set sky high since the film is written and directed by Cristopher Nolan and because it is a WW2 movie. Now, Nolan is currently one of Hollywood’s greatest working directors and even though his last 2 movies were divisive amongst critics and fans, he has yet to bomb at the box office, and his movies were always solid. Even in his worst movie, the good parts outweigh the bad. Also, he never attempted to make a war movie before, which only made the movie goer audience even more curious to see what Nolan can do with this ever-popular genre. So, as I said before, the bar was set high.

First, the technical details. True to himself, Nolan once again shot on film, using 70mm and Imax formats to squeeze every last drop of image quality that celluloid can offer. Over 70% of this movie is shot in Imax and it shows. This, combined with Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography delivers a stunning result of visuals which demands to be seen in the best and largest screen available. The music composed by Hans Zimmer will keep you continuously in suspense and the sound effects will literally make you jump out of your seat. One of the most important driving forces of this movie is the realism of what can be seen on the screen. Therefore, you best believe that the cameras were actually floating on water or mounted on top of an actually flying airplane to get the shots that you are witnessing. Also, no CGI was used for the ships, people or anything else. Nolan went to great lengths to make this movie as immersive as possible and here in lies the problem.

This is a concept movie. It has been conceived, designed and executed to offer the viewer an experience, to put them in the shoes of the soldiers on the screen. It is, for all intentions and purposes, a thrill ride, a roller-coaster of despair. This is the basic concept behind the movie that demanded an enormous technical achievement and all was done on the expense of the story. The story is unusual. There is no main character in this movie besides the event itself that it depicts. All the characters we are introduced to, they receive little or no development whatsoever. Of course, this plays into the hands of realism, as one would most likely know nothing about the man standing next to him in a situation like in the movie, but still, nobody can be expected to care for a huge mass of nameless/faceless people. The events in the movie will provoke an emotional reaction from the viewer, but this is not true for any of the presented characters. Some receive more screen time than others but they all are secondary characters and are portrayed as such. Yes, there is a number of big names on the cast list, but honestly, they all might have been exchanged with a bunch of no name actors, it would not have made a difference. They had little to work with and the movie was carried by Nolan’s name, not theirs.

In the end, this is a movie build around a technical execution concept rather than around a compelling story and/or characters, kind of like Son of Saul or The revenant. And while you cannot take away nothing from the actual technical aspect of the movie, its thrill ride sensation will most likely be gone by the second or third viewing. It will make an interesting foot note in a paper about war movies, but it will never become a classic. This movie is designed to take home awards. It is designed to create a sensation, to give a rush of adrenalin, to be an instant hit that everybody went out to see but nobody will be talking about in 2-3 years. It is designed to make serious money and prestige at the same time. It just is not designed for good storytelling.

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Older Works – The Righteous Fart – 04

Gordon walked in the room casually. He knew that he was late, but then again, he didn’t really cared. He was Baxters right hand man, and Baxter was running the place. This made him a big deal. Also, nothing new was supposed to happen today. Just another day to kill. He was wearing yesterdays clothes, last weeks beard and last nights breath. His head was just one size smaller than it should have been. At least, that’s the way he was feeling. “Man, I should have not drunk the entire bottle…” he said to himself. He managed to get hold of a bottle of Solomons stuff. Nobody knew from where the man was getting his merchandise, but there was not much else to chose from. And last night Gordon was in the mood to kill some brain cells. So he went out to his favorite spot, sat down and started drinking. Now, he was paying the tax for it. But, it was nothing new to him. Certainly wasn’t his first time being hung over at work. As he walks by the desks, some people look up by the corner of their eyes, but they all know the drill, they do not say a word. Not that they would care to. Gordon opens the door to his small office, sits down behind the desk, puts his feet up the desk with his left over the right and tries to not to feel his head.

“Man, you look like shit.” Baxter is standing in the doorway. “I’m surprised that you are even vertical this early. Was it worth it?”

“mmm…. best entertainment in town…”

“Solomons stuff?”

“Yeah… about a bottles worth….”

“ What, are you trying to off yourself? What’s in that stuff anyway?”

“Fuck if I know, but it knocks you out like a fucking train. Why, you worried?”

“Neah…. But if you do decide to leave this merry place, do me a favor and give me a heads up, will ya?”

“Deal…. So, is there something on today’s agenda or can I hit snooze for the day?”

“Donno, you tell me. A ship should come in this morning, the Bad Seed.”

“Ah yeah. Is that today? Forgot about that. The Bad Seed… now that’s name you look forward to. Hey, Toby!”

“….downstairs” answers somebody.

“Of course he is” mumbles Gordon as he picks up the phone and dials in a number. “Yeah, give me the turtle… Toby? There is a boat on today schedule, the Bad… ship, boat, like I care whats the difference… just get your ass up here and give us the rundown of it, OK?. And Toby? Make it sharpish.”

Ten minutes later Toby walks in the room reluctantly. He really does not wants to be there, but that is all right, the other two men don’t want him there either. So this will be fast.

“So? The Bad Seed?” asks Gordon somewhat impatiently.

“The Bad Seed. Ship. Brings regular supplies. Food, medical supplies, some spare parts, couple of guys for grunt work.”

“So nothing unusual” concludes Baxter.

“No, nothing unusual. Except for the other guy”

“What other guy?” asks Gordon, while he sits up straight.

“Some guy named Gruber. His name was not on the supply list but on additional note later on.”

“An additional note for somebody they sending over. Hm… That’s actually is somewhat unusual, wouldn’t you say Toby? Let me see that note.”

Toby hands over the paper to Gordon. As he starts reading it, Gordon seems to have difficulty comprehending some part of the text at first, but as he reads it again and again he just gets madder and madder.

“Toby, why haven’t you said anything about this before, huh?”

“You haven’t asked.”

Gordon is ready to jump over the table straight to the boys neck, his face is displaying multiple shades of red and purple. Baxter finds this scene both funny as hell and worrisome. But for the time being, it is the best show in town, so he just takes a step back and enjoys spectacle.

“You idiot! I swear to fucking God, I could kill you right now! I couldn’t care less that a frigging boat, or SHIP, comes with supplies. I don’t have to ask you about that. But when you get a paper like this, you don’t just sit on it! I can’t ask you about them because I don’t know that they will come, now do I? You come to me and tell me about them! Do you understand me you fucking moron?”

Toby nodded his head.

“Now get the fuck out oh here! And how many times do I have to tell you not to wear that fucking pod everywhere on your back. Put it the fuck down. Makes you look like an idiot. Not that your not.”

Gordon could have yelled a good ten minutes more if his head wouldn’t have hurt already like hell without this. Toby dragged his feet out of his office and disappeared somewhere. Gordon sat back behind his desk and started searching around in a drawer until he found a bottle of pills. He popped the bottle open and swallowed quickly two of them pills. Baxter was still watching, but his curiosity started to get the best of him.

“You know, you really should talk to some of the grunts. They could teach that snot a lesson or two.”

“Neah, already tried that. For some reason, they don’t want to touch him. Like he has the plague or something.”

“Don’t tell me now that somebody has this pussy’s back. He sure in hell can’t defend himself.”

“I don’t know and I don’t want to take the effort to find out. Eventually, I am going to beat the living shit out the turtle myself. Don’t care if somebody has his back or not. His ass is grass and I’m the lawn mower. “

“Good man.” said Baxter amused. “Now tell me, what gives?”

“You are not going to believe it. This Gruber character is to be our new warehouse manager. He is going to be in charge of our entire inventory. Everything that is on storage will go trough his hands.”

“You are absolutely right Gordon. I don’t believe you.”

“Well, here. Read it yourself.”

Baxter took the paper. But there it was, black on white. The new guy was there to stay and he was management material.

“What do you make of this?” asked Gordon.

“Must be some hothead that screwed himself royally. Like challenging some heavy name on the open. Otherwise it just doesn’t make sense to create a high level job here that isn’t even needed. Did we ever had a warehouse manager?”

“No, never. No need for one. If you put something there, you are in charge of it. Worked just fine until now. You know what this means, don’t you? Headaches.”

“Might be. A lot of people will be angry over this. We just might have to earn our keep for a change. Go out, meet this Gruber fellow. Size him up. Oh, and do me a favor. If you happen to run into Solomon, tell him that I would like a couple of pairs of his sausages.

Older Works – The Righteous Fart – 03

The ship was moving but you could not tell this. The fog was that dense. Grey everywhere you looked. It was like being stuck in time. Gruber was on the deck for only an hour, but it felt like a week. Some other folk walk around occasionally, but everybody kept it quiet, for their selves. Gruber was bored out of his mind. He was used to crowds, noise, lights, big city life. This…. this was a graveyard. The people ghosts. He pulled out a cigarette out of his pocket, put it in his mouth and lit up a match. Smocking always calmed him and right now, it also gave him something to do. But he was down to his last two packs. And there will be no more cigarettes where he is going. Fucking hell… where is he going anyway? They never told him, not really. Just that he is being reassigned.

“Pack your things son, you just got promoted!” the division chief told him, “You leave tomorrow morning. But don’t take too much with you, just about a backpack worth, everything else that you might need will already be there. Go on, make us proud! You lucky bastard, you…” The grin must have been ear to ear on his face. Gruber would have bet good money that his former colleagues even threw a party because he left that place. Those bastards. But than again, he knew that his promotion was not really a promotion. It was a death sentence. There were various degrees of punishment in the company for doing wrong. You had your slap on the wrist, you average screw with your pants on, you could have been demoted and you could have been fired. Some even got killed. But all of these options were favorable in comparison of this promotion. But sleeping with the bosses daughter? Now that had to be exemplary. And there you go, being the new warehouse manager of the righteous fart. What does that even mean? The righteous fart? Sounds like something that a twelve year old would laugh to… damn….

“So, ready for the righteous fart?” asked Dino. Dino was the ships clerk, but you could have not guessed it by the looks of him. His hair was in dreads, round sunglasses on his eyes and his clothes looked like they were on him for the last 5 months. Probably they were too.

“Huh?” asked Gruber somewhat rattled “Jesus, man! Where did you come from? I almost lost last night dinner in my shorts!”

“Chill dude… I just climbed onboard. I was down below, counting the inventory, making sure that everything is set for our little stay at this months lovely pit stop.”

“You climbed up… from where?”

“Uhm…see that rope over there? Like to you left..” Gruber face was of complete disbelief. “Man, you need to relax… too much tension will kill ya… you know what you need? Some of this stuff right here” points to the joint in his mouth, inhales strongly and releases a smoke as grey as the fog around them. “man, I am telling ya, this stuff is better than any blowjob a woman can give you. Cheaper too…”

“Let me get this straight. You climb all over the place without any safety measure, you are in charge of who knows how valuable cargo and you are stoned all the time. How are you not fired?”

“Pff…man, like they care. I mean they care, but only about the bottom line. As long as the deed is done and the money is there, I could dress up only in a sock. And I really would like who else would come to replace me… yeah that would be the day…” and Dino blew out the smoke from his lungs in the shape of circles.

“I see….” said Gruber. “Hey, tell me, what is this place exactly?”

“Your shitting me, right?” it was Dinos turn for disbelief “You come this purgatory but you don’t know what it is? What, you lost a bet or something?”

“Worse, I’ve got promoted.”

“Man, you are fucked.”

“OK, I AM! Now will you tell me at last what this place is?”

“Geez man, don’t have to bite my head off. Kinda see why you have been promoted.” Grubers eyes started to stab Dino “Ok, ok. So, basically, you remember those pictures of oil rigs, from before everything went down the toilet? Well, this place is something like that. The company had a couple of those one next to the other around here. One day, in they infinite wisdom, the people upstairs decide to tie them rigs together, making one big one to bring something else up from the ground. Not oil, something much trickier.”

“Like what?” asks Gruber “fuck if I know. Something expensive. I like to keep things simple, you know. The stuff is rare, expensive, hard to get to. That’s enough information for me.”

“Aha… And what’s with the name? Righteous fart, what’s up with that?”

“Yo, what time it is?” asks Dino “Are going to leave hanging like that?” asks Gruber back. “Listen man, if you want to know what you want to know you will tell me what time it is.”

“Whatever…. it’s nine, happy now?” but Dino was not “Like, nine sharp?”

“Yeah, nine sharp. Sharp as a coffin nail.” Dino shook his head with a serious frown on his forehead and reached for another joint. As he lit it up a huge flame torn the sky in two, much to Gruebers surprise.

“There’s your righteous fart, son. Every hour a machine releases a flame. Something to do with pressure regulating. But it looks like a powerful fart. Smells like on too. So the name stuck.”

Dino started walk away, but after a couple of steps he turned around. “You know, your kinda an asshole, man.”

“Yeah, well we’ll see about that when I will be running this place!” shouted Gruber back.

“Good one, man, good one. You know, I’ve been coming to this place for years now, always bringing fresh meat for labor, but not once have I seen somebody coming onboard for the trip home.” Dino started to walk away again and with his back facing Gruber concluded “you might be a cocky son of a bitch son, but no match to the sewer rats that run this place…”

“yeah, well we will see about that…” muttered Gruber to himself…

Older Works – The Righteous Fart – 02

“Hey, Jessup! Come down here you worthles piece of garbage!” shouted the man from the doorway as he entered the establishment. The room he entered was covered in darkness. As he walked across the place he could still sense the night before. The people who were there, where they stood, who they stood with. Spend enough time in a place and you don’t need to ask questions anymore. Your senses will tell you everything you want to know. He kept walking until he reached the windows. There, he pushed a button and the shutters started to roll up revealing one mesmerizing view. You could see the heart of the machine that kept everything alive, such as. All the cogs and wheels turning. All the grease and the dirt. All the flames and all the darkness. Everything in one glorious, infernal, view. He pulled up a chair, sat down next to the windows ledge. Afterwards, he took down his bowler hat, placed it on the ledge, stroke down his beard and has rolled up the sleeves of his shirt. He took out his pocket watch and looked at it. It was an image that pleased him. The small, clean, see trough, elegant machine in his hand while in the background there was one big, dirty, beast of a machine. The contrasts between the two were powerfull. The image pleased him. The time that watch told him however, did not.

“It is 7:20 Jessup. Now, tell me again, at what time were you suposed to be here?”

“Come on, Solomon, nobody is here at six in the morning…”

“Come closer, I couldnt hear you…” said the man as he stood up. He was of average height, somewhat wider than most, but next to Jessup, he was a giant. Even if Jessup had a couple of inches on Solomon, Solomon comanded obedience with a single glance. And if that were not enough, he was always ready to back up the glance with a couple of powerfull punches. Sometimes out of necessity, mosty for pleasure.

“Yes, you are right Jessup. Nobody is here at six in the morning. Thats because you are nobody. And you are here at six because I have told you to be here at six. Or you wish to take some medical leave?”

“N-no Solomon… I will be here at six”

“Good. Now go on. Bring me a cup of coffee. And clean this place up. They really did a number last night.”

“Yes, Solomon, right away…”

“And bring the latest reports. We did get the latest, right? Want to know what comes over here in the coming days.”

Older Works – Urban Fables

The hole in the wall

First shot: the room. Small, bombed out, windowless room. Music in the background from the PC speakers. One can se one wormed out couch, one messed up coffee table, some other platform in the corner with some sort of PC on it. Somebody is laying on the couch.

Seconds shot: The coffee table. Ashtray filled with cigarette buds, some empty beer cans, other generic trash laying around. The somebody’s leg on the couch in the background.

Third shot: The PC. Old, dirty piece of junk. CRT display. The keyboard is more an ashtray than a keyboard. Some booze around, only the cheapest, and some plastic cups.

Fourth shot: Guy laying on the couch (showed in profile), careless, absorbed by the music.

a shout from a distance

Jules

ANDYYYYYYYY!!!!

Andy (the guy on the couch) looks around surprised.

ANDY

what the fuck…

again, from a distance

Jules

ANDYYYYYYYY!!!!

ANDY

YEAH! What?!

JULES

Can you come here my friend? I need your help…

Andy reluctantly gets off the couch

ANDY

… fuck me…..

New shot: narrow corridor, small door at the end. Jules is on the other side of the door. Andy is standing by, annoyed.

ANDY

Yeah, I’m here… What do you want?

JULES

Great, my friend! Say, do you have any paper?

ANDY

Paper?

JULES

Yeah, like toilet paper, or… or paper towels… Maybe kleenex. Yeah, kleenex

will do. Do you have some my friend?

(in the mental box – ANDY: this “my friend” verbal tic of Jules is really annoying. Everybody hates it. But he thinks its cool for some reason. Than again, he never was the smartest guy around. Or any kind of smart, for that matter…)

ANDY

NO, I do not have an paper. What is this anyways?

I thought you’ve been gone for hours…

JULES

Yeah, well, I needed to take a dump, and I there’s

no toilet paper in here and I didn’t see that…

ANDY

Idiot. And what, you have been sitting inside there for hours?

JULES

I fell asleep…

ANDY

(baffled)

You ARE an idiot!

JULES

Ah, man! Come on! Help me out! My friend?

ANDY

Sorry, pal. Can’t help ya out.

(looks at his watch)

Anyways, I’ve got to split. Smell ya later.

JULES

(desperate)

My friend! Come on! Don’t be lame! You can’t just leave me in shit!

What am I supposed to do now?

ANDY

(easily amused)

You can take a nap!

END SCENE

SCENE

Shot: Andy standing in the tram station, waiting for the next tram. He checks his watch, while nodding his head to the beats of the music blasting from his ear buds. A girl walks up to him.

KRISTA

Yo Andy!

(no reaction)

KRISTA

Earth to Andy! Hello! Batman at eleven a clock!

ANDY

Huh? Oh, sorry Krista, didn’t noticed you there.

KRISTA

You don’t say…

ANDY

So, what’s new?

KRISTA

Mercury is in retrograde.

ANDY

Come again?

KRISTA

Its something that one of my room mates said from the dorm.

Imagine, they have synced they’re periods, so now,

once a month, the three besties are one beastly pain in the ass.

Guess in which week are we right now?

ANDY

Wow. Synchronized periods? How do you even do that?

KRISTA

I don’t know. I did asked one of them. She said,

“Mercury is in retrograde” and then winked. So, there you go.

ANDY

Well, isn’t she all mysterious…

KRISTA

Yeah… Say, this reminds me. Is the hole in the

wall free these days? I really don’t want to be in

my dorm room while Mercury is in whatever.

ANDY

(smirking)

Huh, retrograde? I guess its free. Not like we

do reservations over there. But better buy a

couple rolls of toilet paper for Jules

on your way if you want to crash there.

KRISTA

How so? What did he do this time?

ANDY

He took a dump in the toilet without checking if

there is toilet paper, which of course there wasn’t,

and he choose to solve this problem by sleeping it off.

KRISTA

(baffled)

Your kidding, right?

ANDY

Nope. Scouts honor. But why do you ask “what

did he do THIS time”? Was there another time?

KRISTA

Oh, yeah…

ANDY

Hmmm, do tell!

KRISTA

Couple of weeks ago, there was this lecture. For some

reason Jules has picked up this philosophy course.

He is failing but he can’t drop it either. Anyways,

during this lecture, the professor went on and on

about how misleading religion really is. And of

course, he had to brought up Nietzsche

and his famous quote of “God is dead”.

ANDY

Ok…

KRISTA

Well, one kid in the audience, some born again

Christian, did not take it so well, because right

after the quote he said out loud to the professor

the God had disproved that argument, seventeen

years later by saying “Nietzsche is dead”.

ANDY

Well, who would have thought… A cheeky born again Christian.

KRISTA

I know, right? Well, the two started to really hit of,

and about a half an hour in the debate, Jules

intervenes with an argument meant to help

out the professor by discrediting the kid.

ANDY

Jules intervened in a philosophical debate?

Whit an argument? This must be good.

KRISTA

He said that the kids arguments are invalid since he

isn’t really a follower of God. How can he be a follower

of God if, and I quote, “he doesn’t have a twitter account?”.

Moment of silence, cricket sounds in the background

ANDY

And they say that population control is an abomination…

KRISTA

yeah…

ANDY

I am curious though…. Who has won

the debate? The kid or the professor?

KRISTA

The kid, eventually.

ANDY

Yeah? How so?

KRISTA

He brought his older sister to the next lecture.

Tall, blonde, great wrack, matching behind, all

packed in a summer dress. Now, the professor is singing

in church every Sunday, right next to the blonde bomb shell.

ANDY

Huh…What a hypocrite. Big time university professor loses

his conviction at the slightest chance of tail. Makes you wonder

about all that money spent on your education. Still, that kid

is going places.

KRISTA

I wouldn’t be so sure.

ANDY

Why do you say that?

KRISTA

He only has ONE sister.

END SCENE

Older Works – The Righteous Fart – 01

It was raining. The fact that it was dawn too was not helping. Toby just looked at his watch, growled something silently, then rolled over. Now, facing the wall, all curled up like a fetus, he was lying still, with the eyes closed, listening. For 5 more minutes he cancelled out the world in his mind. There was nothing else there but rain. Finally, he opened up his pod. He stood up. The desire to stretch out was suddenly overcome by the cold that was outside. It was a hard thing living outside on the streets. His sleeping pod kept him safe from cold or rain, but only while he was inside of it. Once stepped out, it was a different story. Toby popped open a canned shower, spread whatever was left inside of that recipient on his body and quickly dressed back up. The empty can have rolled in a corner, forgotten in an instant. Toby then proceeded to wrap up his pod in a neat package, which fitted easily on his

back. It looked like a turtle’s shell. Because of this, many people called Toby ‘turtle Toby’ or more simply, the turtle. But Toby did not mind this at all. That pod was his most prized possession. And his only one as well. Inside of it was the only place where he felt safe. All he needed was to find small place that is out of sight. Somewhere, like behind a large container or under an overpass. He would set up his pod, snuck in, and everything was all right. Like a caterpillar in a cocoon. Except, there was never a butterfly emerging from this cocoon. It was always just the caterpillar. And like so many mornings before, the turtle put on his shell and started walking the long, narrow corridor that led towards a bleak day. Because such was the life in the place called The righteous fart.

Terminal

Terminal is a new movie starring Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, David Fletcher, Max Irons and Mike Myers. By any standards, this is an impressive cast list, especially if you consider that Mike Myers has been absent from in front of the cameras for about a decade or so. The movies trailer was flashy and stylish, a very good teaser, promising something interesting without giving away anything really, besides the cast list and a general vibe or attitude. But besides the trailer, there wasn’t much marketing behind this movie, but suddenly we wake up to the fact that it has been released and I am guessing that the studio was banking on the start power of the cast to do their magic and lure the audience into the theaters. To be perfectly honest, for the longest time, I did not know where to put this movie. It has a lot going for it. It also has massive flaws. And it also reminded me of something else, but I could not name it. The name was on the tip of my tongue and it drove me crazy, but I just could not name it. But more on that later.

But let us start with the negatives first, which aren’t many, in fact there is only one big issue with this film, but it is enough. And that would be the script. It has a solid first act, that sets up the characters and does the overall world building really fast, and it has a killer third act with a very satisfying ending. So you got you’re A and your Z covered. The problem lies what in-between them, the entire 2nd act, which basically is a collection of witty dialogues spinning in a circle and going nowhere. On one hand, you have the waitress Margot Robbie and a terminally ill English professor Simon Pegg talking about death in a coffee shop at the train station. On the other hand, you have David Fletcher and Max Irons, two hitmen for hire, running around town, following instructions from a certain Mr. Franklyn, and keep bumping into Margot Robbie’s character, who, we learn, is not just a waitress. Also, you have Mike Myers popping up every now and then as the train station care taker. So, there you go, two unrelated story lines, unfolding in parallel, linked only by Robbie’s character, and both of them are a drag. Because nothing really happens. Yes, the dialogue is witty. Yes, the set pieces look amazing. But there is no development for any of the characters, or for the overall story. Because there isn’t any story at all. Not until the final reveal in the 3rd act, when the script comes into focus. Basically, the entire 2nd act is a filler, something to kill time with. Like a misdirect in a magicians act, which is kind of on the nose, given how many times the “lost art of mystery” is referenced in the conversations. Let me be clear, there is no mystery here to be had, just a script that doesn’t know what to do with its run time. Now, remember that I said at the beginning that this movie kept reminding me of something but I did not know what? It took me about a week to figure it out. It reminds me of a TV series pilot. Quick world building, awesome base concept, good twist at the end, style over substance. These are all hallmarks of a good TV series pilot. And given that the average runtime of such a pilot is about 45 minutes, the script at hand has just enough material for that. But the movies runtime is of 90 minutes. So yes, this is a TV pilot stretched out to become a movie and you can feel it.

Now, about the good parts. As I mentioned before, the world building is really great. You get this noir feel to it, but the rain is replaced by neon. Also, the set pieces look gorgeous. The movie was shot in Budapest, so the filmmakers had access to some rather unique and interesting locations to do the movie, and the cinematographer, Christopher Ross, took full advantage of that. On a side note, it is interesting to notice that Ross’s body of work consist mostly of TV and shorts, which proves further my point concerning the TV pilot. He also worked on Malice In Wonderland, which would make a great companion movie to this one in a double feature, although, who would want to do that I have no idea. The casts performance is also good. I don’t know how the producers managed to get these actors to sign on to this movie, given the poor script and all, but one can tell that they did not showed up just for a paycheck. Simon Pegg and Mike Myers are having a blast and Margot Robbie finally has the opportunity to showcase what Harley Quinn really should have been in Suicide Squad. And then you have the entire 3rd act, where the twists and turns are revealed. Some of them I saw coming from a mile away but some caught me completely off guard. But all in all, the ending is a good one. It also amused me the way this movie kept borrowing from ideas from older movies. You have your Sin City like world, both in feel and aesthetics, you have a story line that mixes In Bruge with Guy Ritchie’s Revolver, another story line that channels Pulp Fiction. I would name two more movies, but that might go into spoiler territory. You take all these movie elements, put it in the same blender that the BBC uses for its TV series and movies, and you get the Terminal.

Overall, this movie has some pretty good elements which are being wasted by being combined with a misused script. Pity really. I, for one, am glad that I saw it, but most will be not.

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