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Category: Movies (page 1 of 3)

Star Wars – The Force Awakens

It’s strange to experience movies like Star Wars in both our connected age today and as a father/adult with very little time for being a fan. After watching the movie several weeks after its release, I am now in the process of consuming more podcasts and written analysis about the movie than all the 7 movies are long1. In that context, it’s also challenging to say anything that is really feels new. On that note, the following review contains spoilers.

Famously, George Lucas drew his inspiration from many movies and particularly those adventures shown in the 1930s. A reoccurring critique of this Star Wars is that it appears to just take elements from the original Star Wars and not much else. To me it is like saying a bottle of water came from Fiji and if you pour it into another bottle it now came from the previous bottle. The question should more be was the new Star Wars successful in channeling the spirit of the originals? Arguably, not doing so for the prequels is what caused them to feel empty2.

Star Wars Episode VII is as much a reboot of the Star Wars universe as J.J. Abram’s Star Trek was to its heritage. In both we revisit the original characters and places, or archetypes of these originals. Star Wars starts on a desert plant, much like Episode IV did. It features a loner protagonist with budding Jedi powers that goes on a journey towards combating evil and finding meaning. The movie entangles its protagonists in a mild romantic relationship—is that the PC way of describing Luke & Leia’s relationship in the originals?—and will undoubtedly remain very subdued in its expression. It features an antagonist wearing a black mask and another one that looks like pure evil (the bad guys always travel in pairs). The parallels are purposefully endless and, to the cynical fan, result in a quite familiar (read= possibly boring) storyline.

But this movie was not written for the fan of the original. It was created for the child in all of us, or a child period. The best way to enjoy this movie is to be in the moment, watch the amazing manifestation of a universe, the planets and characters within it. When you see the first adventure unfolding — a robot looking for its master, a young protagonist falling into the story by seeming accident, old friends rejoining the search, you can’t but buy into this journey. But even so, it made a terrible error in movie logic towards the end (don’t read this paragraph if you don’t want to be spoiled). It woke up C3P0 without any explanation to the viewer. But that’s minor in the xx of the movie and can be explained in future sequels.

As a final note, there is another way that the movie is different from its predecessors. Star Wars falls under the science fiction genre, but is technically a fantasy story, similar to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. The reason is that Sci Fi is aspirational, it presents a vision as something that may someday happen. That includes societal changes, such as our attitude towards race and gender. The prequels did not push the boundaries in that regard, rather it could be argued that it very much maintained the status quo, featuring certain forms of racism and perhaps genderism as quite normal 3. A New Hope changed this part, by introducing a strong female lead and a prominent black protagonist as well.

To close with a rating, even though this depends entirely on perspective. Did it repay its existential debt to previous installations of Star Wars? Was it well-directed and well-told stand-alone movie? How well it fit within the Disney marketing mantle? In that order, it would rate it as: 1. Somewhat; 2. It worked as a stand-alone film (with minor faults); and 3. Looking at the marketing around it and the record-breaking box-office results, absolutely. I’m excited by the thought of this movie and all the ones that are too follow. This is the new Marvel universe and what the Star Trek movies could have been (let’s wait until movie 3 comes out this year and the tv-show starting in 2016). It will depend entirely on execution, but Disney seems to have this in spades. Very much looking forward to future installments.

  1. Some of these include the Slashfilmcast episodes 346 and 347, The Next Picture Show podcast episodes 9 & 10, John Gruber’s The Talk Show episode 141, and the Incomparable Podcast (too many episodes to count). 
  2. I can see why George Lucas chose to start from a blank canvas for episodes I – III. They were prequels, so they had to bring some originality. And, as a creator, I’m sure that it’s not enjoyable to just repeat the same thing. But the original spark that episodes IV, V, VI had was gone. 
  3. I heard a podcast lecture about Star Wars as a fantasy many years ago. You can read a write-up about the article here

In Movies: Chef

Chef was a movie that I love and hate. There were old or timeless aspects to the scenes and story, that definitely worked for me. The Cuban sandwiches were mouthwatering! The sights of old New Orleans were nostalgia-inducing. The concept of a food truck was more than romantic. And the story of a father rediscovering the relationship to his son and wife was timeless.

The social media aspect, while a premise for the story, did not work for me at all. I suppose it’s a kind of media fatigue, knowing that everything has a moment of hype, only to be forgotten when the next one comes along. In other words, I wanted a Cuban sandwich to just consist of tasteful ingredients, while the social marketing felt artificial and wrong in the mix. Of course, we would all be happy if such a thing happens to us: anonymous food truck travels the land, is made famous through social media, and everyone is happy.

While conflicted, I would still recommend this movie for the food alone. Trailer below.

In Movies: Rust and Bone

Rust and Bone is a movie, directed by Jacques Audiard, that I saw in 2012 and wanted to add to my favourites for that year, however I just ended up taking some offline notes that I just rediscovered. It’s a slice-of-life story, maybe, considering that it affects normal people, but with some pretty extraordinary events. If I were to summarise the theme, I would say that it’s about the balance between dark and light and how we are all seeking it in our own ways. Here is the very visual trailer:

I decided to write the rest of my review in the form of a synopsis, which is significantly spoiler-ridden and probably also not entirely accurate. Please be warned.

Synopsis of Rust and Bone, seen on June 17th 2012 (collated from notes taken that day, which I’m basically rewriting as a story):

After yet another forceful exchange of words and thrown objects, our protagonist (played by Matthias Schoenaerts) leaves his wife, taking his son with him. They move in with his sister, a kind woman that has a simple life and cares for his child as he looks for a job. Being of a physical disposition, he finds a gig as a bouncer in a nightclub. One night, he meets a beautiful woman (played by Marion Cotillard) and leaves her his number.

The woman happens to be an orca trainer. But one day, a dramatic accident results in her losing her leg. The period after is surreal, dark, and drug-ridden. She finds the bouncer’s number and decides to give him a call. He comes over and, perhaps because they are both broken in their own ways, they start forming a friendship, platonic at first, becoming physical over time.

The man, unable to hold a steady job, finds a gig as a fighter. After a while his friend comes along to watch and she gets involved with negotiating his fee. She becomes his manager.,

Pulled by the darkness that perhaps she too occupies, he falls into a life of crime. It has consequences on his home life — his relationship with his son worsens and he gets his sister fired from her supermarket job. Unable to face the consequences, he runs away.

Months later, his son comes to visit him where he is staying. He still feels unable to connect with him, but then something happens. His son gets into an accident and is in critical condition at the hospital. The man realises what he risks losing if he continues down this path.

He confesses his love to the former orca trainer. Frustratingly, I do not remember what she says. Since it’s a French movie, it could go either way…

In Movies: Wolf Children

wolf-child-complete_zpsad74b5c2It has been some time that I have seen a good contemporary anime. As a matter of fact, the last one that probably classifies is one of Mamoru Hosoda’s previous movies, The Girl who leapt through time (Amazon link). That movie blew me away through the relationships and humanity of the characters. This movie hit similar notes.

As the title “Wolf Children” (Amazon link) suggests, I hope I don’t give away the premise that this story is about raising wolf… children. Essentially, our female protagonist meets and falls in love with a man that is half wolf. They move in together and have children. But then a drama happens and she is left to raise her little girl and boy all by themselves.

The movie portrays what a challenge it is to raise little children as a single mother, with the added complexity of them turning into wolves at a whim’s notice. It leads the mother out of the city into a small community, where she gives her children a choice: what do you want to be, a human or a wolf?

We get to see that journey throughout the film, her’s in trying to do what’s best out of love and dedication, and theirs in making their own personal choices and its consequences.

Some things that stood out:

  • The drama of losing the father was built up well and tear-inducing
  • You see the development of each of the child and how their interests and personalities evolve into directions in part based on past experiences
  • There was some 3D and digital animation used in this movie, but only to portray events taking place in nature, such as running through the snow or forrest.
  • It was a unique story, very different from Hosoda’s last two films, and makes me wonder about the creator’s research process.

In Movies: Scriptnotes talks Superhero Movies

Superheros are mainstream now, so like many of you, I have witnessed this pretty amazing blending of visual storytelling, innovation in the effects area, and allround blockbuster-money-exploding movie releases. The Scriptnotes podcast, in light of the recent “forecast” for when what 30 superhero movies will be released until 2020 (MarvelDC), is pretty insightful in explaining what “pillars” made all of this possible.

They begin with Brian Singer’s X-men, released in 2000, which was perhaps the first non-cheesy looking mainstream (!) comic book movie. He brought these characters on screen, focussing less on costumes and more on characters we care about.

Secondly, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, released in 2005, which again brought a realistic, but hard-to-replicate gritty tone to the superhero scene. To me, this Batman is like the Indiana Jones of adventure films—an impossible character (in a good way) in a well-written adventure. If X-men was characters, I think writing is the key contribution here.

Third, Joss Whedon’ and Kevin Feige’s the Avengers, which really brought together the universe of these characters, much more so than X-men did. Craig Mazin says on Feige:

He’s like, you know, you have to go all the way back to like, I don’t know, Thalberg, and guys like that to find these really powerful, very smart guys that actually made like a good creator-like impact on the movie business. He may be our generation’s, I don’t know, whatever you want to call it, Zanuck or Thalberg. One of those guys.

… which I thought was really powerful stuff!

It’s hard to argue with John August and Craig Mazin, these two “pillars” of movie podcasting and scriptwriting, so I won’t. Like Lost or Battlestar Gallactica lead audiences into watching science fiction, something amazing has happened for comics as well. It’s nice to hear an analysis of what these contributing factors were and perhaps a discussion point for another time.

On Writing: Transformations through music

1Q84 had this element where a classic piece of music was seen as transformational in transporting the protagonist from one world to the next. The second moon can be seen as a manifestation and cat-town as a sub-plot, where stories become reality.

Café de Flore also has this transformative music, which is the title of the movie as well. The song appears as a classic which the kid with down-syndrome is obsessed with in 1960-70 Paris. In the present day, it appears as a remix, the moment when the male protagonist falls in love and after which he obsessively listens to it over and over.

In Greg Bear’s Songs of Earth and Power, another favourite of mine, the plot centers around constructing a special song to bind two worlds together. It’s been many years that I read this story, but I still remember buying an album by Gustav Mahler to transport me into the book while reading it.

I suppose, it’s possible to make the same connection in the movie High Fidelity, in which music plays a strong role, perhaps connecting the main character, played by John Cusack, to his memories to various ex-girlfriends. It’s based on a book by Nick Hornby, who originally set the story in London (it was moved to Chicago for the movie) and I remember an interview with him in which he said that he had to choose different songs to fit this new context.

In all these stories, music acts as a link between memories or worlds. I suppose any tool can achieve that and I believe that music is much more apparent medium in a audio-visual format, and less so in a book. The book has to paint the story with words, and as such makes it more pronounced through the imagery that the song evokes, as well as the scenes around the playing of it. The movie doesn’t refer to it specifically, but having it play so often in the two versions, leaves a mark in the observer’s brain. Often the observer is the writer herself and it’s perhaps good to remember that writing and listening to music are very compatible activities, perhaps thus transferring that link more easily onto the page.

In Movies: Café de Flore

It’s not a light movie by any means, instead dealing with the drama of love and relationships—two terms that aren’t always synonymous—told through the lenses of two different generations.

In Café de Flore (Amazon link), which is also the title of a song playing in different versions across the two intermingling timeframes, we see a mother, played by Vanessa Paradis, taking care of her child with Down Syndrome, who himself grows up and falls in love. In another time, we see the aftermath of a happy relationship with children being torn apart by love between soulmates.

It’s an incredibly powerful flow of emotions that the viewer is exposed to and I remember leaving the cinema quite overwhelmed by it. Directed by Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée, who also directed the  movies C.R.A.Z.Y. and  The Dallas Buyers Club,  it sits firmly as a movie that I recommend watching.

In Movies: I did not like ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past,’ but…

It was interesting how it rebooted not only by just starting over, but by reintegrating with what actually worked with the original series. That specifically being the original cast, which featured strongly in this movie and hopefully in the next one as well.

Brian Singer messed up the orginal X-Men 3, by introducing too many charaters and lowering the stakes through too much noise. That’s at least what I remember from a movie, I’ll never see again. He went back to simple in the first movie, focussing on the origins of Professor Xavier and Magneto. I liked that one very much.

The second one, while bringing some of the most complex antagonists to the silver screen (non-spoiler: those big red robots), again watered down individual character development through making it too fast-paced, too global, too time-spanning. We don’t get to know the main antagonist, Bolivar Trask, and we are only anecdotally introduced to arguably the main protagonist, Mistique. The other protagonists, Professor X and Wolverine, were over-used and, frankly, a little boring.


I’m curious about the next one, only because I enjoyed this series from watching the cartoons as a kid. Brian Singer does good work, albeit the kind that requires you to shut one half of your brain off. But it’s entertaining and to me more interesting than the Avengers’ side of it.

As a side-note, I’d love for Sam Raimi to reboot the original Spider-man trilogy, also messed up in part 3 and not at all helped by the current reboots.

In Movies: Barbecue (French)

I’m in the process of writing a ‘report’ on my travels through France, but that is lagging incredibly. In the mean time, here’s a movie that perfectly represents French people (for better or worse), but also manages to present a fairly authentic picture of adult friendship, the dwindling and (re)kindling of love, and a midlife crisis or two. I don’t watch many such movies these days—most of them make me fall asleep—but this one kept me glued to the screen, laughing.


火 “The Insidious Rise of the Blockbuster Video Game”

Related to the last link. Here’s an insight from the Atlantic:

The best movie blockbusters are those that stay focused on the story at their core: Indy’s quest for the Ark, a young Kirk’s pursuit of Nero, the inexorable battle between Batman and the Joker. They keep their size in check, in a way. By the same token, the best video game blockbusters are those that allow for excursion and choice but always connect those tangents back to the main story, and further, those games that push you gently but firmly along a path from origin to climax.

Of course, it never ends up being that way anymore…

In Movies: Guardians of the Galaxy

It all started with a mixtape and then it went on into space.

That my friends, is the perfect start of a movie. Someone else called it the new Starwars and I think they are completely right.

Listen to the awesome 80 70’s themed soundtrack here:

In Movies: Ultra-Minimalist Movie Posters by Minke

I love the idea of these, a pure abstraction that reduces a message to the essence. Find the collection here, design by Minke, found via


In Movies: Godzilla is Forrest Gump

1st of all, great movie. It was tremedously exciting throughout, it kind of had a point and kind of had a theme (more on that later), and the visuals were awesome. The movie in many ways felt like a call-back to the original movie or movies, it could’ve easily worked in black and white, that’s how contrast-rich some of those scenes were shot.



Godzilla Classic

Godzilla is and was always related to the fear of nuclear energy. One of the characters in the movie says this about the theme: “The arrogance of Man is thinking that under our control…” This is a more evolved way of thinking that simply fearing the effects of nuclear technology. It suggests that we don’t really have a clue what we are doing and that it’s better not to anger the gods(zilla). The movie is also very much advocating for staying in balance with nature or that nature has a way of rebalancing the scales if they are tipped to far.

I finally want to say something about the story and I don’t think it’s that much of a spoiler (but if that bothers you, stop reading!). There is one protagonist in the movie (perhaps 2 if you count a surprising one), and he … is in every critical scene. That’s why this movie is so Forrest Gump-like. Forrest Gump was everywhere significant in 1970+ history.

Ford Brody started out as a child in Japan, when an unatural event first occurred and killed someone close to him. 15 years later, a father and a marine himself in San Francisco, he’s called to help his father who’s arrested in Japan. That’s when he experiences the second event. He’s flown to Hawaii, where the third event happens. Then, he becomes part of a critical mission, where he’s in the midst of the action from start to finish. Him surviving all of these events was more unrealistic to me than the monster in this movie.

That aside, I really had a blast watching this movie.


In Movies: Babies (documentary)

I watched this one a few weeks ago, but made some notes because it’s well worth seeing particularly if you’re a new parent. The documentary, directed by French director Thomas Balmès, showcases the birth and initial development of four newborns on four different continents. It shows the differences in how children are integrated into the lives of their parents. It shows how they discover and interact with different elements of their surroundings, such as technology, animals, food.

What was particularly telling was the differences in the level of safety and hygiene, and I wonder how this affects the trajectory of their development. You could see that the Mongolian and Namibian kids were bolder and perhaps more integrated into their surroundings, while it felt like the Japanese and American kids were more protected and as a result more isolated. I would speculate that there are many pros and cons in both methods. The pro for the free approach being that kids develop a kind of confidence quicker, the con being that the lack of safety and hygiene results in a shorter lifespan. And the very opposite for the Western approach.

These kinds of stories force a new parent to be confronted in what kind of parent they want to be. I can’t say yet what the case will be for me, but I hope it will be a mixture of both.

In Movies: Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mum)

There is something to be said for brevity and exactness in your words, and then there is something to be said for flair. This movie has a lot of flair, a story that is told with emotion as much as it is with words. It deals with the uncomfortable, but entirely natural topic of self-discovery, wherein the physical self plays as much a part as the metaphysical, the connection between the self and the world.

I thought it was a beautiful and unique movie, both in terms of the topic and the presentation. Unique, because of the theatrical elements, the creative acting, the main actor. Beautiful, because the story felt entirely human, full of errors, full of dreams, and the kind of ending that feels like just the beginning.

I write in this abstract way, because I really don’t want to spoil it. However, if you have seen it dear reader, I’d be happy to have a deeper conversation about it.

In Movies: Best Pictures’ Final Shots

While I can’t speak to the artistic wholeness of every movie that won Best Picture, some of these definitely a have  memorable conclusion. An interesting one is “The Departed,” but the one that struck me the most was the last moment of “Silence of the Lambs.” A strange moment after a thriller, either meaning life goes on or trauma. I don’t remember the movie enough to know which it is.

The ‘Best Picture’ Show: A Final Image Montage on Vimeo from The Final Image Films on Vimeo.

In Movies: The Grand Budapest Hotel

the-grand-budapest-hotelI’ve had an interesting discussion last night and this morning after watching this film. The topic was why I like his movies and why my girlfriend doesn’t. And both perspectives are fair.

So here’s why I like his movies, though I hesitate somewhat to combine them all into one basket. Wes Andersen clearly had a before and after period and I believe that the intersection lies around the Darjeeling Limited, which … is not his best movie. The before period, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums was great, creative story telling with vibrant, active, and unpredictable characters. The after period, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest hotel focusses more on the whole, i.e. the world within which the characters live. And these worlds are elaborately painted to the point of, not perfection, but the kind of perfection a painting can achieve, i.e. not photo-realistic, not “perfect.”

The criticism is hidden within the above paragraph. Something is lost when he presents the characters to us. My memory of The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom is somewhat reduced, so I’ll only focus on the latest movie for now. In it, the focus clearly lies on Zero, the lobby boy, and everyone around him feels more like a loosely defined character, in many cases a stereotype or caricature of the dandy, the bully, the cute girl, etc. There is a lack of depth there, which, if you are looking for it, diminishes the experience.

What I liked are the same things I remember liking about The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom. The literary structure (it feels like a play more than a movie), and the visual presentation of fantastical elements. Wes Anderson animates various things, elevators rising into the mountains, people running, fingers falling off… Even though I agree that the characters lack depth, I still felt drawn into this world and enjoyed the experience throughout.

The movie was also humorous. Monsieur Gustave H.’s insistence on good form, Zero’s passion, yet complete acceptance of his mentor’s wisdom, his relationship with the lovely girl with the Mexican birthmark on her cheek. It just worked for me and even though I think the director / script writer sacrificed some depth, I felt very connected to at least its protagonist, Zero.

As such, a solid entry into Wes Anderson’s repertoire, and even though there is no beating my two favourite movies of his, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, this comes in at a good third or fourth place (next to Moonrise Kingdom).

In Movies: Behind the Candelabra

Just some brief observations. I thought it was a well-shot movie and that of all people, not Michael Douglas, who was brilliant as Liberace, who should get an Oscar-nomination, but Rob Lowe, depicted below. I mean, “I recommend The California Diet…” It’s just a brilliant moment and after he’s put into the script, he actually transforms the movie from a drama into a comedy.

Rob Lowe 3

But seriously, it was an uncomfortable movie to watch, starting with the darkened bar where “Scott” meets “Bob,” who then introduces him to “Lee” (aka Liberace). Liberace, who leads pretty much the most decadent life imaginable, and has placed elements (people) around him, that either protect him or charm him. I won’t spoil it, but you see a pattern in Liberace’s behaviour that’s both fascinating and dreadful.

This movie makes it to the list, simply based on the brilliant acting and for being a convincing period piece. It should be watched at least once. Thank you Steven Soderberg for directing it!

In Movies: Casse-tête chinois / The Chinese Puzzle

It’s been a while that I wrote on this blog. I’m in the process of writing a story, which is keeping me busy. Of course, I’m still watching movies, tv-shows, and eating good food, so more reviews will trickle in…

La Casse-Tête Chinois, which followed Les Poupées Russes,  and L’Auberge Espagnole, is a journey from being an international student in Barcelona, to the frustration of early adulthood (Les poupées was a very frustrating movie), to ‘the liberation’ of letting go of all the stress you built up in your thirties and becoming the man or woman you wanted to be.

The movie or movies are built up as a narrative of someone telling the story of their life and those connected to him. It could easily be a weblog that’s being written, instead it’s a series of books that our protagonist is working on during the story taking place in each respective movie.

La Casse-Tête Chinois is the conclusion to this trilogy. It’s not a happy, nor an unhappy ending, but the completion of a stage in life. If you want to describe living as being most exciting in your early twenties and getting progressively more stable and less dynamic, then you are probably describing the movies quite well. The last movie is less dynamic but incredibly satisfying over the mess that was Les Poupées Russes, which was just a depressing movie.

Overall probably my favourite trilogy ever, even though there are other contenders in other genres that I’ll write about at some point.

In Movies: L’attaque / The Attack

I know that amongst The Hobbit, Pacific Rim, and Thor 2, The Attack is perhaps not really the right fit. Nevertheless, it is added to this list of ‘favouritEs’ because of the way that it tells the story and profoundly affected my thoughts. Throughout the movie, there was only one moment where I detected a jump in the story that felt like a short-cut, a phone call that didn’t make sense. The rest was the story of a man thoroughly impacted by the violent passing of his wife, labeled a terrorist by his resident country, Israel, and a martyr by his country of origin, Palestine. This movie was entirely spoken in Hebrew and Arabic, so in all likelihood will not be seen by the masses, many of which will also avoid it because of its subject matter. To the latter, I say that it is presented mostly in a human way, rather than through the lens of a bloody massacre. We see the aftermath mostly and there was only one scene where I turned away, even though even there it was shown in a mostly tasteful way.

It’s a very difficult story to tell, because of the contrarian emotions felt by both sides. It appears to paint the Palestinian sentiment in a more favourable light, however the only sign we see of the violence that Israel inflicted on Palestine is in the way Palestinians react to the tragedy and a dust-covered piece of ruble, called ‘Ground Zero.’ Perhaps, I am not up to date on my history of that part of the world, and Ground Zero should mean more than it did to me.

We are introduced to familiar, human situations on both sides. Jewish and Palestinian friends and family sharing their pain over a meal, all seen through the eyes of the protagonist, who is forced to see his personal tragedy through the eyes of the victims, that of the perpetrators, and that of opinionated bystanders. On the Israeli side, we see the reactions in the aftermath, most of which are angry and hurt, directed at the protagonist and his terrorist deceased wife. On the Palestinian side, we see her elevated to martyrdom, posters of her hanging on every street. We also see friends and colleagues remaining loyal to him, even through 17 Israelis died, some of which he attempted to save on the operating table. And we see his family pushing him out in order to escape prosecution from the Israelis, as they suspect he is being followed as their only lead to understanding this crime.

The worst part is to hear her, his beloved wife, being referred to as a tool of war, or a weapon. As someone that helped her country, but otherwise was not important. Equally so, the unbearable idea that his acceptance into Israeli society as a prominent surgeon, was in fact a betrayal to all the Palestinians living in poverty and suppression, and that this betrayal may have been the cause of it all.

There are books and movies that I am grateful to have been exposed to. They increased my appreciation of the complexities of a situation; they painted it in a nuanced way, the way that most things really are. The White Band (Das Weisse Band) showed the roots of evil that lead to the rise of Hitler. The Road to Freedom showed the harshness of South African life in the early 20th century that lead to the new wave that was Nelson Mandela (I will miss him). The Attack shows, to a degree, that there is a price to pay for the mess that surrounds that area of the world, a price paid by not only both sides, but by bystanders as well. It shows us perhaps that in the end, perhaps not taking a side is the worst crime of all.

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