Sunday, March 22, 2020

Corona, Corona and more Corona

The world is getting too much crazy with Corona Virus also now known as COVID-19 (also known as Wuhan Virus, where it started and China Virus, but I will stick with COVID-19. After China, the most affected ones are Italy and Iran. In fact Italy has completely closed down its country meaning no coming in and out and it is the most restrictive movement of people in a democracy since World War II. Iran has the most deaths and the numbers are rising faster, although it is not clear if the numbers of deaths and infections are being under reported or not, just like in China, which we would never know. Spain has also joined the club, imposing a near complete lock down of its country. Saudi Arabia has banned international flights, United Arab Emirates has also followed suit and borders are being closed right and left in order to desperately contain the Virus which is sparing no country.
The United States have imposed a 30 days ban on all flights and to and from Europe and declared a National Emergency as the cases are rising faster. Apart from the Fear of Corona Virus, the economic collapse of the world trade is also continuing with the Stock Market nose diving everywhere and people are hurting who are daily wagers and who work in retail business like stores, restaurants, etc. Companies have started to tell their employees to work from home if they have that option. And during all this panic, people are fighting over hand sanitizers and toilet paper, in fact many videos have surfaced about how people are literally being physical with people who have supplies of toilet papers in their carts. But as panic grips people, there is no shortage of goods or toilet paper, it is just that people don’t want to spend extra 10 to 15 cents more on toilet paper that is readily available in less well known stores and it is only the well known ones that are showcased on the media that is being seen by people as having shortage of it. Anyway due to this Virus, the world has already entered into an unofficial recession and the longer it lasts the longer it will devastate economies world wide with the wider effects being felt by poorer countries. A vaccine although a top priority right now is almost a year away if by any chance we get a vaccine before that time frame. People are now hoping that the approaching summer season with halt the spread of the Virus and hopefully things will start to return to normal but how normal it will be remains to be seen as this Virus is not sparing anyone rich or poor.

On the lighter side-Movies-Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938-B&W)- Peter Lorre, Mary Maguire

The Japanese Detective goes undercover to discover a gang of Killers. Entertaining but dated movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Midway (2019)-Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson

The story of the battle of Midway in World War II with exciting war sequences. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Frozen II (2019-Animated)-Voices of Kisten Bell, Idina Menzel

Sequel to the first movie, in which the gang tries to find the source of Elsa’s power. I did not find this particular sequel as enjoyable as the first one. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)-Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning

The Sequel to Block buster Maleficent sees Aurora tying the knot among the tumultuous events of both the human kingdom and forest kingdom. Good movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Black and Blue (2019)-Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Frank Grillo

A black cop tries to repair ties with her neighborhood after she witnessess cops gunned down a black drug dealer. Action packed and good acting but uneven. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-A Beautiful day in the Neighborhood (2019)-Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper

Based on true story about the friendship between Mr. Rogers and a Journalist. Great acting by Tom Hanks as usual. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Jojo Rabbit (2019)-Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie

A young boy who hopes to join Hitler’s Army discovers that this mother is hiding a Jewish girl in his house. Quirky and eccentric movie. Recommended with caution

Sunday, March 15, 2020

On the lighter side-Movies-Knives out (2019)-Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas

A detective tries to solve a mysterious death of a rich man among his family members. Curious and fast paced but thoroughly enjoyable. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Once Upon a time…in Hollywood (2019)-Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt

A famed actor who has seen better days and his stunt man try to make it to success in 1969 Los Angeles. Enjoyable movie and great acting. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Hustlers (2019)-Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez

A group of strippers working to make ends meet devise a scheme to cheat their clients. Enjoyable movie but definitely not for kids. Recommended

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Elections 2020 in the United States

As an independent observer watching the ritual that the U.S. goes thru every four years to elect a new President, this year is no different except that an interesting array of Presidential hopefuls in the Democrat party are vying for the highest office in the Land. On the Republican side, there was short lived Challenger to the incumbent President but he dropped out early so the President is unchallenged for the reelection bid. But the Democrats who are falling over each other to promise the People of the United States the moon to get elected (like every politicians do around the world), this year is an interesting line up. There is a Self described socialist and then there are super liberals that they think only the west and east coast exists and they don’t have to worry about the Middle America and the South.  From all these candidates, they are promising like Medicare for all, open borders, Jail reform, environmental initiatives and what not. The most contentious is the Medicare for all (more on this later in another post), and they are providing rosy pictures of how much the Americans and the United States will save based on their own calculations and inspiring or energizing their supporters without giving us how their calculations will make sense in the time of major debt explosions, meaning how will they pay if something unexpected happens.
Numbers are being thrown at like these candidates will wave a magic wand and Dollars will appear out of nowhere. Also people tend to forget that all these fanciful ideas need to a Congressional approval and as every American knows, Congress is as united as your family and your in-laws ( in most cases). In fact, these candidates just want to get rid of the current President in any which way they can and in order to do that they are promising things that may not be able to be fulfill. Another thing that is not being advertised is that in the current Democratic front runners, there are two Jewish candidates and openly gay candidate plus two females. How will the candidate overcome this to be voted by Middle and Rural America is anybody’s guess. Plus one of the candidates has a fanciful slogan to him called a Democratic Socialist. How this will again resonate with the Heartland of America is up in the air. Again with all the ideas being thrown around, including raising taxes on everybody to pay for ideas like Medicare for all, elimination of Student debt, Free college education and increased expenditures without having a vague plan from where it is going to be paid. As anybody knows that we don’t know about the future so all these plans may well end up in the garbage since it assumes a ten year period coverage and with the Corona Virus spreading, the growth of the economy may not support these fanciful ideas apart from resistance from the American public and court challenges. The United States is a Democracy and every citizen has a say in what does happen in their country, it is not a Autocrat or Monarchy where one person can order and things start happening. Apart from this, the politician promises are limited in what they can achieve and all these fanciful ideas need money and support and if majority of the citizens are against it for whatever reason then you will get another four years of chaos in Washington.

On the lighter side-Movies-Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)-Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg

 The continuing adventure in Zombieland as our motley group of friends’ fight of evolving band of zombies that are faster and more intelligent and also find survivors who are literally in denial of the zombies surrounding them. Entertaining movie with comedy and horror mix. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The Lighthouse (2019- B&W)-Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson

Two lighthouse keepers try to survive in a isolated island lighthouse. Intriguing horror/ drama movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Downton Abbey (2019)-Matthew Goode, Alice McCarthy

The wealthy Crawley family saga continues as they prepare for a royal visit. Although I have not seen the show but this movie was interesting to watch. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-The White Storm 2: Drug Lords (2019-HK)-Andy Lau, Louis Koo

A rich businessman tries to take down a drug lord whom he used to work with in this action packed thriller. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Gemini Man (2019)-Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen

A hit-man faces his younger self in this action packed but not that great movie. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019-Animated) Voices of Jason Sudekis, Josh Gad

The flightless birds and the pigs join forces to fend of a common enemy. Not as great as the first one but still entertaining. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Phantom of Chinatown (1940-B&W)- Keye Luke, Lotus Long

The Detective Mr. Wong investigates a murder of an archaeologist who is murdered while lecturing to a group of people of his findings. A short murder mystery but since I have seen Charlie Chan movie and this one was rather tame and not up to my standard. Recommended with caution

Sunday, March 1, 2020

On the lighter side-Movies-Ad Astra (2019)-Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones

An astronaut travels the Universe to locate his father whose experiment now threatens the Universe. Interesting, but slow moving movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Freaks (2019)-Emile Hirsh, Bruce Dern, Grace Park

A girl discovers a dangerous world when she ventures outside the house in which she is locked up by her paranoid father. Action and drama and science fiction mix in this original movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Abominable (2019-Animated)-Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai

Three teenagers try to evade evil people in order to return Yeti ( the big mysterious creature supposedly in the higher up in the mountain range of Himalaya) to his parents. Cute little comedy animation movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Rambo: Last Blood (2019)-Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega

Starts slow but picks up later to culminate in a great finale in the Last (supposedly) episode series in the Rambo Character series. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-The courier (2019)-Olga Kurylenko, Gary Oldman

A courier delivery person finds out one of the packages she is going to deliver has a bomb. All around action movie. Recommended with caution

On the lighter side-Movies-Ready or not (2019)-Samara Weaving, Adam Brody

A bride is forced to fight for her life after her in laws subject her to a deadly game on her wedding night. Enjoyable and fun movie. Recommended 

On the lighter side-Movies-IT: Chapter Two (2019)-Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy

The boys have grown but as they want to forget their childhood trauma about the scary clown Pennywise, it comes back to haunt them once again and they have to battle it out once more. Enjoyable and scary movie. Recommended

On the lighter side-Movies-Scary Stories to tell in the dark (2019)-Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza

Scary stories turn into reality in this not to scary movie. Now the movies which were supposed to be R rated are turning out to be PG-13 for a wider audience and that makes the scares less scary and are toned down to earn more money instead of going all out with scares. Recommended with caution.

On the lighter side-Movies-47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)-Sophie Nelisse

Sequel to the first movie as four teenage girls try to explore an unwater cave not knowing that it is also the home to deadly sharks.  Suspenceful but real stupid decisions derail this movie. Not Recommended