visualgui

Ricky Gervais: Humanity

In the encore of his Netflix special, Gervais shared that he and his brother have one rule: “If you think of something funny, you gotta say it. Win, lose, or draw.” This philosophy worked out well for him. He joked about letting kids die, getting raped by satin, rubbing nuts on people with allergy, becoming old, watching his testicles floating, and tweeting back to his haters. Gervais packed so many great contents into one hour. You’ll either laugh or be offended the whole way through. I am the former.

Moonlight

One word to describe Barry Jenkins’s epic film has to be resilience. It takes resilience for a gay black boy who lived with a poor, single, drug-addicted mother to become a tough-yet-sweet young man. It’s an aesthetically delightful watch.

The Handmaiden

Holy fuck! Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is a mind-fucking thriller. So violent yet so erotic. So bizarre yet so beautiful. So twisted yet so sensual. I have never seen lesbian sex this vigorous. The film is two and a half hours, yet not a second is wasted.

Gad Elmaleh: American Dream

French-comedian Gad Elmaleh provides his hilarious perspective as an outsider on American’s culture, slang, and grammar. His materials are not too heavy but not too cheesy either. The jokes are just right. He’s good.

Ugly Delicious

Couldn’t fall asleep last night so I dived right into the “Shrimp & Crawfish” episode of Dave Chang’s Ugly Delicious on Netflix. I started with this particular episode because I wanted to learn the Viet-Cajun cuisine in Houston.

When Chang visited New Orleans he was turned off by the traditionalist. Even a crawfish joint ran by a Vietnamese-America family refused to change the recipe. The chef just cooked the crawfish the way he was taught many years ago. It’s a missed opportunity.

When Chang visited Crawfish & Noodles in Houston, chef Trọng Nguyễn brought Vietnamese rich flavors into the crawfish. Chang doesn’t reject the tradition, but he is also into experimentation and creating new creative fusion. He is an open-minded chef and individual.

The most striking moment of this episode is the conversation he had with a Vietnamese-American shrimper. The man referred to himself as the Vietnamese redneck. He and his family were given an opportunity to pursue the American dream, yet he criticized the other half of the country for taking handouts instead of working hard like them. It’s quite patronizing coming from an immigrant himself.

Chang, on the other hand, simply wanted to give new immigrants an opportunity like we had a couple of decades ago. WhatI appreciate about Ugly Delicious isn’t just the mouthwatering food, but also the political, racial, and cultural perspectives, and most importantly, the openness and acceptance. I am looking forward to watch the rest of the episodes.

The Assassin

The plot of Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Assassin is hard to follow, but it doesn’t matter. The experience is slow and splendid. The cinematography is stunning and Mr. Hou makes damn sure that you are not missing a frame of it. As for the title character, Shu Qi’s cold beauty and virtuosity in martial art make her irresistible. A visual masterpiece.

Lincoln

Finally got a chance to watch Steven Spielberg’s breathtaking Lincoln. It’s a political masterpiece that makes me wonder how the fuck we got here. In 1864, Lincoln fought hard to end slavery. In 2018, Trump is fucking up our democracy. Lincoln was intelligent and well-read. Trump is neither. Lincoln, gave me hope in one of his eloquent conversations:

All we’ve done is show the world that democracy isn’t chaos. That there is a great, invisible strength in a people’s union. Say we’ve shown that a people can endure awful sacrifice and yet cohere. Mightn’t that save at least the idea of democracy to aspire to? Eventually to become worthy of?

Democracy is still strong.

Marlon Wayans: Woke-ish

I didn’t think I would enjoy Marlon Wayans’s latest Netflix special because my impression of him has always been clownish. At forty-five, Marlon is still energetic, charismatic, and goofy as fuck. Surprisingly, his materials are quite good. If you can get past his silliness, you might like his spin on the N-word, hip-hop music, police, Trump, and dirty sex. His conversation with his gay daughter is passionate and honest.

Bande de Filles (Girlhood)

Céline Sciamma’s Bande de Filles is a gripping, wrenching film that explores the life of a young French girl growing up in an abusive, broken home. Marieme (Karidja Touré) whose low grades could not get her into high school joined a girl squad—led by the fine-looking Lady (Assa Sylla). Marieme’s life changed in a significant, surprising way. It’s an oldie but goodie and now available on Netflix.

Chris Rock: Tamborine

Chris Rock is back. He is older, wiser, bitterer, funnier, and blacker. He started off his new Netflix’s special with police brutality, a bit on gun, and briefly on American politics. If Bush gave us Obama, Trump might give us Jesus. His harsher contents are on being a Black parent and getting a divorce. To prepare his kids for White America, everything that is white in his house has to be sharp, heavy, or hot. His advice on relationship is to have sex and to travel places. You need to be coming and going. To make marriage work, you need to keep on fucking. It’s been a long time since Rock did a special and he doesn’t disappoint.