Friday, October 29, 2021

Two Paragraph Review: Dune (2021)

Dune is good. It's so good in fact that it would be a viable short film without any plot, dialogue, or any other verbal information. Bare scenes and the accompanying music would do it justice. As a whole package, Dune is probably the best science fiction film in the last 10 years, at least on this grand scale. Sure, its director Denis Villeneuve himself made a better cerebral sci-fi film, which is Arrival. However, when it comes to these immense films, Dune did nothing that no other movie manage to do since the time of The Lord of the Rings. It's an instant pop-phenomena, and its quality makes it that.

Of course, it's not a flawless film. In its essence, the plot is forgettable and rehashed many times over, while the details are the stuff that sticks. Yet, battle costumes are not that, especially for Sardukar forces. Also, similar to Blade Runner 2049, it is sometimes (less often than the cyberpunk film) trying too hard to be serious and ends up just kind of dull. That's especially present in the last 30 minutes of the film and the anticlimactic ending it pulls off. However, even with those flaws, Dune is a thing that you have to behold and held there tightly.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Not all answers are found in Google | 用心感受世界 - Excellently produced and directed short drama film


Creating a drama in short form, especially one that touches upon current events is not easy. However, this is precisely what Ananth Tharmalingam, the producer of Not all answers are found in Google | 用心感受世界 managed to do. By bringing together  Remax Guys, Yan Scientifics, Director Triden V Balasingam, veteran writer John Mahenthiran, and a great cast and crew, he succeeded in producing a very touching and thoughtful exploration of what it means to be human in a global world stricken by a terrible situation no one experienced in over a century.

The movie follows an elderly man (Li Jian Feng) and his granddaughter Sera(Evalynn Li) as they spend time in Canada. He is bound to leave for China, his home, very soon, as his daughter is bound to get back soon. However, at that moment, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic breaks out and all travel is canceled. From there, a plot develops into a very poignant exploration of two souls, connected through the family but distant because they belong to different generations. One remembers the environment and nature as the main elements of life, while Sera's generation is one immersed in technology and the modern world.

The film, although short, offers many touching moments of nostalgia and quiet regret, which are showcased beautifully through the musical score and overall atmosphere. Director Triden V Balasingam hit the absolute jackpot by bringing composer Nathaniel Wolkstein to the movie's team. This element is one of the strongest in the entire film. That is especially true for the very ending where the young actress Evalynn Li playing Sara delivers an incredibly moving dialogue that will undoubtedly bring out a tear or two for many viewers. Here as well, the production values are clear for all to see - and hear - as the soundtrack follows the plot diligently and faithfully, ending it on an emotional high note.

In this short film, Award winning Canadian director Triden V Balasingam's formula blended ideally with all of the other elements that the production process brought together. Ananth Tharmalingam is perfectly suited for not only short projects but also much bigger feature-length films. Seeing what he accomplishes in the future will surely involve new and excellent films, no matter what genre or format they end up taking. Watch the whole short film Not all answers are found in Google | 用心感受世界 right here:

Friday, October 1, 2021

Lunch Room - Web Series about the Comedy (and Horror) of a Modern Workforce

We all know it: working in some places is not just bad for you professionally, but can also become a black whirlpool of cosmic horror that slowly sucks in your whole soul. While this is a terrible situation to be in, in art, it can be a wonderful source of inspiration for both comedy and subtle drama. Lunch Room is an upcoming web series that takes this concept and builds it into a very entertaining show, which also hits close to home for anyone stuck at a dead-end job.

The series follows a group of workers as they spend time in the lunch room of a low-end supermarket called OzSupermart (which comes with a logo that may or may not look like a gaping vagina, as one of the cast notices in the pilot episode). Here, the staff of the same market converge for all manner of reasons and try to get through their grueling days.

Right off the bat, the series takes that chaotic movement of a big cast often talking one over another, and runs with it. Lunch Room is all about the dullness of being a retail worker, which is intertwined with countless strands of interpersonal contact and relationships. In the space where all spend time to have lunch, relax or go on endless angry tirades, these things come together in a now-classic comedy setup.

In many ways, Lunch Room is the direct continuation of modern masterpieces like Clerks, Office Space, and The Office (more the UK version than the US one). It also features a cast that is very diverse in many different ways, which provides that eclectic mix of so many different people all being trapped in this quiet hellscape of modern low-wage employment. At the same time, the cast does a really excellent job of improving together and bouncing stuff around during dialogues. That really shines through when massive conflicts occur where everyone is shouting at everyone else, giving the entire show an appealing change of pace from the otherwise very mellow atmosphere of slackers slacking off.

Funny, witty, and yet so true for so many workers across the world right now, Lunch Room has all of the makings of a future comedy hit. In short form, it delivers the essence of the workplace comedy-drama genre and does a cool update on its themes and topics, ideally suited for the third decade of the 21st century. Watch the full pilot episode right here.