Schindler Lifts

This is the sign in the lift at Huber’s Butchery and Bistro. (In Singapore, where elevators are almost universally called ‘lifts’ because that’s normal in British English.)

It’s a laugh-inducing shock when you see a sign saying “Schindler Lifts” for the first time, since what immediately springs to mind is Schindler’s List, the 1993 Steven Spielberg movie about a German who saved the lives of over 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust.

You brain goes: “Hey! That’s almost a famous movie title! Did they do that on purpose? Are they making a joke about the Holoc—Aw, it’s probably just a normal family name in Europe and totally a coincidence.” Which it is. But then you take out your smartphone and take a photo anyway.

Then you realize that hundreds of people on the internet have already done exactly the same thing.

And then you think, so what? It’s all been done. That doesn’t mean nothing is worth doing.

Randall has the right idea in this webcomic.

There will always be happy opportunities to share things with people who don’t know what you know, especially if you spend time around small children. Practically everything is new to them! That’s one of the joys of teaching.

Zootopia (2016)

I do not know how, but Disney made a fantastic cartoon mystery about gender, race and law enforcement. Oh, wait, I do know. They made it about animals instead of people, they did an amazing job of fantasy world-building, they got all the plot points in place, and they somehow made the theme explicit without—in my opinion—letting it get sickeningly didactic.

Premise: In a world where anthropomorphic mammals live together in harmony regardless of whether they are predators or prey, a bunny from a carrot-farming family becomes the first bunny police officer in the big city. Her victory turns to ashes when she’s merely made a meter-maid and tricked by a fox who’s as sly as a—well, as a fox. Meanwhile, fourteen mammals have disappeared in the city and no one knows why.

Zootopia is another full-on American movie about freedom of choice, but in this case the “be anything you want” message is tempered with uncannily realistic reminders that nobody—and no melting-pot, not even one with a utopian reputation—is perfect and that people will surprise you in both good and bad ways.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/zootopia/id1084138493

SPOILERS BELOW, including a detailed plot summary in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.

Continue reading Zootopia (2016)

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

It was beautiful and moderately entertaining, but Kung Fu Panda 3 wasn’t great. I think the scenery and stylization was the strongest aspect of the project.

The premise is that an evil former friend of the old turtle character is stealing the life force of all China’s kung fu masters, both living and dead. Po the panda, as the famous Dragon Warrior, is the only one who can stop him. However, first he must figure out the answer to the surprisingly difficult question, Who am I?

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/kung-fu-panda-3/id1071972907

SPOILERS BELOW.

Continue reading Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

Death Race: Inferno (2013)

The other two Death Race movies had satisfying plots. This movie had what could have been a satisfying plot, but somehow it fell short. It just wasn’t really particularly clear what was happening or why, so it was hard to care about the characters and events. Moreover, the dialog was amazingly boring. Take away the drama, and it’s just cars and blood and death. Yuck.

The premise is that the moneymaking prison death race management company gets forcibly bought out by a first class jerk, who tells star driver Frankenstein that he in fact cannot win his freedom from prison by winning a fifth race as promised and that instead he is obliged to travel the world to compete and lose to attract fans across the globe.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/death-race-3-inferno/id576172893

SPOILERS BELOW.

Continue reading Death Race: Inferno (2013)

Accepted (2006)

I had never seen Accepted until yesterday, but even without seeing it, I knew how it was going to go. It’s basically Camp Nowhere (1994) with older kids. And yet, it’s not: it’s a critique of traditional higher education in America. And it’s got Justin “I’m a Mac” Long in it, who’s in Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005) as well as Live Free or Die Hard (2007), which I didn’t like.

The premise is that a guy who didn’t get into college rents an abandoned mental hospital and invents a college, which then attracts other ‘rejects’ by means of its all-too-functional fake website. South Harmon Institute of Technology (SHIT) turns out to be the best thing that happened to any of them: they’re finally ‘accepted’.

The two key words—‘shit’, with its endless potential for humor, and ‘accepted’, which conveys a wistful longing for belonging—together perfectly encapsulate the movie’s spirit. The producers are Tom Shadyac and  Michael Bostick, those responsible for the enjoyable Jim Carrey comedies Liar Liar (1997) and Bruce  Almighty (2003).

https://itunes.apple.com/mn/movie/accepted-2006/id860430263

SPOILERS BELOW.

Continue reading Accepted (2006)

Point Break (2015)

Point Break (2015) is not a movie, it’s an ode to extreme sports with a plot carelessly grafted on. That being said, parts of it were utterly beautiful. Specifically, the mountainy parts. Perhaps it’s a pity that I didn’t watch it in 3D!

More about this mess of a movie below, with “SPOILERS”, not that there’s really a plot.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/point-break-2015/id1062487135

Continue reading Point Break (2015)

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow is Groundhog Day but with hostile aliens.

I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I love Tom Cruise’s humorous approach and his dedication to the role; the special features talked a lot about how much effort was required to operate in the exosuit and how central the suit was to the portrayal of the main character, whose gradual transformation Cruise made believable. On the other hand, I found the war very real and very threatening.

This review has interesting things to say.

The repetition of certain shots and/or scenes is deftly handled and serves the story without ever becoming cumbersome, gimmicky or overused – which is really a feat in and of itself.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/live-die-repeat-edge-of-tomorrow/id878682651

More on what I liked and disliked about the movie, including spoilers, below.

Continue reading Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

I raided LaserFlair.

On Tuesday last week, I noticed that the LaserFlair at West Coast Plaza had signs up advertising some kind of sale. I bought 15 new DVDs for S$7 or S$10 each. It looked like they were about to clear out their rental DVDs, too, so I resolved to return.

I returned on Thursday. I asked the cashier if the shop would be selling the rental discs. She said yes. I asked if that meant I could buy some right then. She said yes. I asked her how much they were selling them for. She said S$5.

I bought 60.

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

This post is part of a series of posts on books and movies about the legend of Robin Hood. It discusses the 2006 movie Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/robin-hood-men-in-tights/id269854508

See also:

Continue reading Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

Robin Hood (2006)

This post is part of a series of posts on books and movies about the legend of Robin Hood. It discusses the 2006 television show.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/robin-hood-series-1/id275354656

See also:

Continue reading Robin Hood (2006)