Posted in book review

‘The Way Mothers Are,’ written by Miriam Schlein, illustrated by Joe Lasker – book review

Nietzsche’s theory of Immanence is about intellectual kind of love of God, Agape, through an elevated perspective of God’s existence manifested in things great and small. That said, this vintage book about unconditional motherly love, first published in 1963, is a charming adaptation of immanence translated in simplicity of language in speaking “charity,” which also means love, as it is derived from “Caritas,” meaning “dear” in Latin. It is a kind of love that Mother Teresa expressed to all, discriminating none to prove superior level of love. And it is this love that Mother Cat has for her son.

The story of the Tabby Cat Mother and Son reads like a poem. Also, the book has adoring illustrations delineated with admiring details on the backgrounds: the wallpapers of rooms, the feline version of Mount Rushmore’s Great Faces, and the carved decorations of charming furnishings – all heartwarming elements that are so fitting to this book about love. The son asks why his mother loves him even when he is a little urchin to his younger sister and is naughty all day. The mother tells him full of affection that she loves him because he is her son and cares for him for who he is, not what he does. The son cat tries to reason his mother’s love for more innocent questions rather than nagging but then finds that the reason she loves him even in his least desirable behavior is lovely. The epiphany of true love also reminds me of Marilyn Monroe’s saying that if one cannot love her in her worst self, that person does not deserve her love. It is not a blatant egoism of a Tinseltown celebrity, but the truth about unconditional love, which is not synonymous with Eros on the heat of passion.

It is a story for all ages whose inner children refuse to grow beyond the evolutionary scale of time. Mark Twain, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and Walt Disney had never outgrown their childhood whose childlikeness became all the more radiant and illustrious with their boundless imaginations conjured in the alchemy of the arts. On a personal note, When I saw a tweet about this book, the forever child in me urged the grown-up me to get it because of the adorable illustrations of the Tabbies reminding me of my tabby cat Toro. I wonder if Toro’s mother might have looked like the Mother Cat because the son cat takes a solid resemblance to Toro. So I read the book to Toro, and he seemed to like it, starting to close his eyes on my desk and then purring softly. And I understand Mother Cat’s love for her son because that is how I feel for my little Toro, whom I adopted when he was nine weeks old. Now he is 11 months old, and although he is a sweetheart, his occasional Zoomies and forceful nibbling surprise me. Still, Toro is my cat. And I say to him every day thus: “I love you, Toro. Never forget that.” I know how the mother cat felt for her dear son.

Posted in Film Review

“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” (2021) – film review

“The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” (2021) is the newest in the Conjuring Universe Series, a new artifact to the Museum of The Haunted All and Sundry. The legendary Ed and Lorraine Warren are as inseparable as a couple in love and benevolent as rescuers of souls afflicted with the forces of evil as ever. But the mysteriously noble and spiritually convincing atmospheric elements are barely there, albeit the mix still has the thematic Catholic flavor. They said that when fact becomes legend, publish legend. So the story of the movie may be based on an actual event that has become American folklore, a modern legend, and it is the legend that the movie published.

As with the tradition of the Conjuring World, the movie evolves from the actual event of the supernatural phenomenon beyond the reasonable explanation on what the eyes only can see. First, an insidious ambiance surrounding a family house that seems strangely alienated adumbrates a sinister force lurking behind the bathroom door, over the shower curtains, and finally inside your head. Then comes a Catholic priest, thanks to the rite of exorcism popularized by The Exorcist and the Warrens’ association with the religion as their spiritual base. But he is usually not too much of significant help, if not a trouble, so it is always the Warrens’ job to ghost-bust with a style of a medieval magician who used to reconcile esoteric paganism with Christian faith. In this installation, Lorraine proves to be a mighty Christian mystic and a white witch in crossing over the space and reading memories of the dead, all for the fighting the devil’s deputy in a tunnel that promised to capture as many human souls as possible to fill up Hell’s Circles.

The essential thematic elements of good v. evil, love v. hatred, violence v. peace are unfailingly ubiquitous in this installment. Still, more violence and hatred make up the scenes than the others, making the movie more aligned with screaming scary movies than classified as supernatural horror. Perhaps the application of Catholic elements as a credible supplementary spell on the movie’s ambiance might have slightly fared well with the director’s intention (or the producer James Wan, the original creative director) to make the film elevated to a canon of classic supernatural movies. But it doesn’t give much of the movie’s intended effect when the Warrens can do what priests can do. Besides, the characters other than the Warrens themselves are not convincingly real, sympathetic, or natural. Instead, they are either surreal or theatrical to the point of playing a masque in Elizabethan time, so to speak, which would have been excellent.

I watched the movie with high hope when it first started showing on HBO Max last Friday night. But my expectation was already turning ominous when I had trouble viewing it at first for some unknown technical reason. Once I got into the third world of Conjuring Universe, I knew it wouldn’t be what I had expected. The real Warrens have become the ghosts themselves, and I wonder what they would have thought about the movie. Judging from their celebrity status in the society of paranormal investigators, I think they would probably have been thrilled about their being the creative subject of the movie. Then maybe, it’s time for me to leave the Conjuring Universe in search of a new world of the supernatural without celebrity.

Posted in Film Review

‘The Fugitive’ (1993 Film) – film review

The Fugitive (1993) is an adventure and a drama cleverly put together by the elements of popular entertainment and thought-provoking thematic subject of human nature in dealing with the malice of fortune. It consists of elegant scripts, solid storyline, and outstanding performance of the already cracking cast with Harrison Ford as the Fugitive and Tommy Lee Jones as Senior Deputy U.S. Marshall. Brilliantly, veteran actors do not vie for the best shot of cameras to claim the title of Hollywood aristocracy. Still, they only do their very best to portray their roles as possessed by their fictional characters.

Ford plays the role of a renowned cardiologist with the brain and the heart to care for patients in need. Then one day, the doctor finds himself on the run for the crime he didn’t commit, and above all, for the love of his wife. He has to find who killed his beloved wife, and the Marshall played by Jones has to catch him alive because, well, it’s his job. So much so that when the doctor confronts the Marshall face to face within an arm’s reach and tells the latter that he didn’t kill his wife, the henchman of law says, “I don’t care!” But the marshal isn’t all grim-faced reaper of death hell-bent on capturing the Fugitive, which makes him hard to dislike. Both the Fugitive and the marshal are alike as the mythological Teumessian Fox that never gets caught and the Laelaps Dog that never fails to catch, whether they like it or not.

Harrison Ford is one of the greatest American actors whom I think belongs to the last 20th century’s Hollywood nobility of actors, including still alive Clint Eastwood. He has the face of a romantic adventurer, an intelligent doctor, an ambitious corporate man, and a no-nonsense prosecutor. From the galaxy far away to the offices in cities, Ford is a protean actor who can pull out the characters as if conjuring them from his grimoire without trying too hard or with overtly effusive sex appeal. The emotions wanting to outburst are nuanced in the power of his voice carried in the elliptical words. He is an action adventurer who seems so natural living in our real-world yet so ideal on-screen, making us wonder whether life imitates art and vice versa.

The Fugitive is worth watching again if you want to watch something smart and thrilling to forget about the momentary existential dilemma or frustrations. The movie is at present for free to view if you are an amazon prime member. It is a one-of-kind American movie that has become a classic of our own time, and I wish there would be more movies such as this.