Dropped In to Cheer (About the Oscars of All Things)

It's been awhile again since I last posted. BUT, I really wanted to stop on by to the first place where I really got into fandom and media to happily cheer on the spectacular results from this year's Academy Awards. I preface this by saying that I had long stopped caring and/or watching the Oscars. But I felt compelled to tune in since for the first time South Korea had a film in competition, not just for Best International Film but for Best Picture. That film is Parasite, directed by Bong Joon Ho starring one of my favorite actors, Song Kang Ho. For anyone who hasn't seen Parasite, I highly recommend it. If you've seen any other Bong films (Snowpiercer, The Host), this movie has his distinctive genre-mixing style. But as an overall film, it feels more mature, nuanced, and brimming with suspense. It is by far his best work. The film won the Palme D'or at Cannes. It got nominated for 6 Oscars and won 4, including Best Original Screenplay, Best International Film, Best Director, and most surprisingly, Best Picture.

Parasite now has the distinction of being the first film not in the English language to win Best Picture. As a Korean American, I am overjoyed and proud. Not just because a fellow Korean broke so many records and achieved so many firsts, but because a fellow Korean was able to demonstrate through his film that art can bring people together. As cheesy as that may sound, Parasite had gained huge international praise that went beyond "watch people of [insert a culture here] doing their [insert culture here] things." The themes of Parasite are all very human experiences and packs an emotional punch no matter where you grew up.

But as much as this was an excellent film, I still did not imagine it would win for Best Picture. I had long given up on the Oscars being anything other than a political game that always played "safe" and with options like 1917 and Irishman in front of them, I was convinced that at best Parasite would take home Best International. But as the evening went on, it became one delight after another until the final award announcement had me and my mother practically screaming in shock and delight. (As a side note, Bong's translator, Sharon Choi, was a CHAMPION that evening. She deserved her own award.) Likely the Oscars will return to its usual politics-laden results with whoever spent the most money getting the biggest awards.

But maybe not.

Maybe this will start a trend where actual good films will get recognition. Hell, we might get more non English speaking actors be nominated and win. If anything else, I do believe Parasite's win has opened the gates for more non-English language films to be potentially nominated for categories beyond that of Best International Film.

For now, I will simply be happy and cheer Bong Joon Ho and his talented cast and crew for creating a wonderful film and gaining all the recognition they deserve.

TV Review: Good Omens (Miniseries)

It's been way too long, LJ! I've been overwhelmingly busy since I moved back to NY and started working full time at a job that gives me health insurance and also doing a part time private practice. But I managed to carve out enough time between work and sleep to watch Amazon's limited miniseries adaptation of Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett's Good Omens. It only took close to 30 years, several pre-production tries that failed to launch, one radio play adaptation, and a blessing from the gone but never forgotten Mr. Pratchett to Mr. Gaiman, to get this book finally on our small screens. I had been sort of following the casting news and the pre-production news with a lot of trepidation, mainly because I could not believe we were going to get an onscreen adaptation after so many aborted attempts. But it finally happened! We got 6 glorious hours of this book coming to life with a great cast and half the original source (Neil Gaiman) as the showrunner. The results were a good mix of fantastic with less-fantastic but something that captured the spirit of the book so well that I loved it to bits in all its imperfect glory.

Because the miniseries stayed so close to the book in terms of plot, I've split this review into two sections. The first will be non-spoilery for anyone who has read the book and has taken at least a cursory look at the cast list. The second bit will have spoilers for the show itself because I quote a lot and talk about new bits (yes, new material!!) that was added for the show only. So depending on what your preferences are, click accordingly. Also, the whole review is really, REALLY long so I apologize in advance.

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Quick Drop In To Say...

Helllloooo LJ World (world, world, world.../echo)!

It's been awhile again. But I couldn't not mark the Good Omens miniseries adaptation.

There were things they may have gotten a bit wonky but what they did nail (the most important of all) was in finding the perfect actors to play Aziraphale and Crowley. Many thanks to Michael Sheen and David Tennant who made this reader's dreams come true. In particular, Michael Sheen who with his performance made me laugh at myself that I ever felt the role had to played by Mark Gatiss and no one else. Also! Surprise Mark Gatiss in this miniseries!

I'll likely write a longer review for it but for now, I'm SO pleased the miniseries went well.

Film Not!Review: Black Panther (2018)

The 18th Marvel film has been labeled a "gamechanger" by many a critic due to its rather bold representation of racial, national politics and a notable predominant black cast. And I'm sure I'm not the only one to say this when I note that really the standout, most affecting character is the film's antagonist, Erik "Killmonger" Stevens.

I don't have time to give a super lenghty review of the movie as a whole (it's really good, though. See it! So much fun action, humor, and heart) but I did want to take a moment to discuss Killmonger's two scenes that stood out as the most memorable (to me at least).

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Casual Cat

Film Review: It (2017)

Well, I THOUGHT my first real entry back to LJ was going to be a review of The Defenders. But I recently saw the latest adaptation of Stephen King's It and was hit by a surprising amount of feelings about it. Mild spoilers below the cut.

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A Year Gone By

*waves hello*

I realize an entire year and some has gone by since I last posted to LJ. So much has happened since then! I had fully intended to remain active on LJ but then I got hit with a year of such busy-ness that I was barely able to sleep and eat properly. When I did have time, I spent most of it watching media (and there was a LOT of media...). But in the end all the work was worth it because 1) I finally graduated properly from my Ph.D program and 2) got licensed in my field so I can practice independently and 3) got an actual paying job so I can earn actual money. Still, I"ve missed interacting on LJ terribly.

In a nice full circle way, my last entry was about leaving NY for the time being and now my first entry back is about me moving back to NY as that's where said job will be. While I doubt I'll be any less busy, here's hoping I'll get to watch and post more about stuff I've been watching.

Be back soon!

TV Review: Preacher (Part 2)

We are two episodes away from the conclusion of season 1 of AMC's Preacher and luckily they got renewed for a season 2.

I'd reviewed this show after watching the pilot but now that we're rounding the last lap for season 1, I feel like I should do an updated review since my opinion of this show changed quite a bit.

My brief updated review is that this show got a lot better and held the audience up to a viewing standard that I haven't really experienced since Hannibal to a certain degree.

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All in all, this show has managed to catapault itself from something I was tentatively watching to something I'm looking forward to every Sunday. Here's hoping they finish season 1 strong!

Play Review: Incognito

One thing I've been trying to do before I exit NY is to catch some plays. This one was recommended to me by a friend who knows my love of psychology, science, and angst.

Incognito by Nick Payne (playwright of Constellations) threads three major story lines together about how the human brain and its mysteries both limit us but also connect us in ways we cannot ever predict. The play consists of four actors who play roughly 20 roles between them with each story told in fragments, layered on top of one another, so you skip from story to story with actors changing out of character in what feels like 10 minute chunks. The results are a mixed bag but it doesn't detract from some of the powerful ideas Payne has about what makes us who we are and how we are with others.

The production I saw starred Charlie Cox (yes, Daredevil!), Heather Lind, Morgan Spector, and Geneva Carr.

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