Friday, October 2, 2020

film review: Save Yourselves!


Directed & written by Alex H. Fischer & Eleanor Wilson

ChinoKino score: B-

Review by Allan Tong

A tongue-in-cheek comedy about social media, Save Yourselves! is a fun, likable film centering on a  Brooklyn couple named Jack (John Reynolds) and Su (Sunita Mani). Like countless millennials, they are addicted to their devices. Phones, laptops, you name it. However, they fear that all this connectedness disconnects them from the real world. So, they jump on a friend's offer to stay at his isolated cabin in the woods so they can unplug and go e-cold turkey for a few days. What could go wrong?

An alien invasion, for one. Because Jack and Su have disconnected, they have no idea that a swarm of aliens, which look like oversized puffballs, have seized planet Earth. All hell is breaking loose around the globe while our couple live the unwired life. Eventually, they encounter one of these puffballs and notice weird things happening around the cabin, like empty whisky bottles (apparently aliens like to party). Jack and Su break down and finally check their massive backlog of voice-mails and texts to learn that Earth is doomed.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

film review: The Glorias


Directed by Julie Taymor

Written by Julie Taymor and Sarah Ruhl, based on My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

ChinoKino score: B-

Review by Allan Tong

Feminist pioneer, Gloria Steinem, receives the overdue biopic treatment at the hands of one of the most imaginative directors around, Julie Taymor. Taymor takes an unconventional approach, bouncing between Steinem travels as a university students through impoverished India to her pivotal role in launching the feminist movement and to her struggles against sexism as a young journalist in 1960s New York. The effect, unfortunately, is uneven. It's like a cinematic triptych where we view various Glorias juxtaposed and in parallel which is both dazzling, but confusing.

Young Gloria grows up in Depression-era Ohio where young Gloria is haunted by her mother who plunges into melancholy. Her mother was a journalist, but had to hide behind a man's byline. Glorias learns that it's a man's world and women take a back seat. Gloria's father (played by a scene-stealing Timothy Hutton) is lovable sort of schemer, always looking for ways to turn a quick buck, but ultimately he looks out for his little girl. 

Flashforward about a dozen years, and Gloria is traveling on her own through India, paid by a fellowship. She sets out to listen to the plight of lower-caste women. She hears of young girls being raped and abused in a society that ignores their plight. Her consciousness, born in her mother's house, matures here.