Drowning in Cloudburst

We are a clacking cacophony of a bag filled with pearls,
we are inveterate asymmetries of fantastic worlds,
we are an unpredictable future that slowly unfurls,
we are boys in a long-forgotten playground chasing girls,
we are the unremarkable window stains left by whorls.

Hither all greys, thither all colour:
this universe has been one of squalor,
with wits unlike swords ever duller
and, somewhere, one last disused muller.

We are but made of stardust that each night swirls
through dimly lit streets in small towns, curls
up to young souls and away all the innocence it hurls.

Woolgathering

You bleed the night sky bright,
swallow the moon-covering cumuli
like cotton candy on a hot summer’s day.
How wasted your wings must be,
carrying the burden of our specters;
how sleepy your mind must be,
lending all your wishes to us.
You quench the rain with sunlight,
dismantle the shadow-casting nimbi
like a toy after a prurient afternoon.

Manhattan

To walk through intimate places, deserted of familiar faces,
is to remember all the years of drinking and laughing with peers.
Who am I if not the one walking beside you,
what if not eyes tinged in your smile each day anew,
if not sighs permeated with your optimism so refined?
Who am I if not the one repaying you in kind,
what if not a hand in yours suffused with immutable peace of mind,
if not a soul filled with blue skies imbued in morning dew?
To meander following traces, memories of warm embraces,
is to regret teasing how one day we’d move on without any tears.
I am become Void, the emptiness of our hearts.

Concerning Murk

Hold me firmer, halt my mind churning, murmur
the story of how we nurtured our love.
How we went from great fervour to a soul merger,
with the inevitable always lurking, growing
each time we jerked around and shirked
arguments about increasingly irking quirks.
We’re squirming, twisting and turning,
cursed to serve our own thirst only.
We’re performers, transformers oscillating
in between mourning, smirking, playing with dirks.
Sometimes I yearn for the past,
your face in turn is always stern.
If only we could learn to leave,
discern a less burking future –
if nothing else it’s what we’ve earned.

The Lego Movie

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The Lego Movie is the first CGI-animated film set in the beloved, blocky world inhabited by little yellow figurines and tells the story of how The Special, Emmet (Chris Pratt), came to free all the Lego worlds from the tyranny of President Business (Will Ferrell).

Emmet is a rule-abiding citizen who listens to the one popular song, ‘Everything is Awesome’, and hasn’t had an original thought in his life (bar a double-decker couch, which everyone agrees is the worst idea ever). Emmet doesn’t have any friends since, although being a perfectly nice guy, he lacks any personality. He leads a lonely, ordinary life until he runs into Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) who thinks, due to a misunderstanding, that he is The Special mentioned in the prophecy of Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman). He will have to fight against and take down the evil President Business and his sidekick Good Cop/Bad Cop (Liam Neeson).

When you think The Lego Movie, your first thought might not necessarily be excitement. Sure, the toy will probably bring back fond childhood memories, but the idea of using the little yellow figures and their world for the setting of a film appears ludicrous – even if stranger concepts have made it to the silver screen. The Lego Movie however not only succeeds, it outdoes pretty much every other animated film in the process.

The film is aware of what it is at all times, and the writers have clearly taken great pleasure in not only the self-deprecating humour but also grabbed the chance to parody everything from Hello Kitty to Abraham Lincoln to Star Wars. The voice actors read like a who’s who of celebrities who have knack for not taking themselves too seriously: the Green Lantern is voiced by Jonah Hill and Superman by Channing Tatum. Nick Offerman voices Craggy, while Cobie Smulders does Wonder Woman. For some jokes, the producers went all out: C-3PO is voiced by the original actor, Anthony Daniels, as is Lando, which sees Billy Dee Williams reprise his iconic role. Shaquille O’Neal meanwhile simply voices himself.

None of this distracts from the brilliance of The Lego Movie‘s main cast: Chris Pratt, the friendly, moustached receptionist from Her excels. Morgan Freeman channels his inner god from Bruce Almighty as a Gandalf-like wizard and Elizabeth Banks tones the Effie Trinket craziness down several notches to star as lovable wannabe rebel Wyldstyle. Her boyfriend, Bruce Wayne’s alter ego, is voiced brilliantly, since very reminiscent of Christian Bale, by Will Arnett. Alison Brie is fantastically annoying as Uni-Kitty. Will Ferrell delivers a very strong performance as President Business, especially following the twist at the end. The true star of the film however is Liam Neeson, who switches between Good Cop and Bad Cop with such ease and funny excellence, it makes you sad that he so often wastes his talent on largely plotless action thrillers.

The jokes, nods and references to other films are almost too many and delivered so quick wittedly that it can be hard to keep track of all of them – a fact which proves The Lego Movie to be one that recommends itself for several viewings. Whether it’s Batman declaring that “I only work in black. And sometimes, very, very dark gray.” or Abraham Lincoln leaving the assembly because ” A house divided against itself… would be way better than here.” , it’s quote upon quote of brilliant writing. There’s even a great Night Valian moment when President Business is announcing on his broadcast to “take extra care to follow the instructions or you’ll be put to sleep, and don’t forget Taco Tuesday’s coming next week.”

The Verdict

The Lego Movie is a film for children aged 5 to 99, and will entertain you with jokes, lovable characters, truly gorgeous animation and a twist at the end that will break your heart (in a good way). Do yourself a favour and rush to the cinema as soon as you can to indulge in what will quite possibly remain the best animation of the season – it’s certainly put the bar almost unattainably high for others.

Heles & Heles: Déi vum Februar

Besser spéit ewéi ni, an no enger hellewull technescher Schwieregkeeten an aneren Excusen, geet ët an onser zweeter Episod ënnert anerem ëm déi aarm Leit vun der CSV, déi elo just nach Deputéiert sinn, an ëm Netflix, déi probéieren d’Telé vun der Zukunft ze ginn.

Den Intro ass wéi d’leschte Kéier och schon vum Kevin MacLeod.


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Fiat Lux

Fast forward, northward, shoreward to an altered altar:
the menacing welcome, the threat of a reckoning
has haunted me throughout a battle continuously uphill.
Yet now here I stand, silent and still,
ready to steer my soul into a new constellation,
knowing with this jump my beginning will be lost like Thracian.
But I will remember this blinding irradiation:
the moment I finally synced with this universe’s creations,
the day I scarred the face of god
and burnt all the lands from Jerusalem to Riyadh.

Dallas Buyers Club

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Dallas Buyers Club tells the extraodinary and true tale of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a Texan hustler who lives fast and appears to be doomed to die young when one of his countless, condomless escapades results in an infection with HIV. Woodroof isn’t a nice or relatable man by a long shot: he cons people out of money and uses it to pay for alcohol, cocaine and girls. He is also, largely due to the reality of his sociocultural circumstances, a massive homophobe.

When he is diagnosed with AIDS and told that he only has thirty days left to live, he first goes through the familiar stages of denial and anger. It is the third stage, bargaining, that becomes the most intriguing, and the driving force for the rest of Woodroof’s life. He soon learns that the FDA hasn’t approved many of the drugs available to HIV patients abroad and that, in fact, the drugs given to him at the hospital have only made his situation more dire. Being the hustler that he is, he makes a business deal with a doctor in Mexico to smuggle back pills and sell them to other patients. Because selling non-approved drugs is illegal, he creates the Dallas Buyers Club with the help of his transgender business partner Rayon (Jared Leto). This cunning trick allows them to sell montly memberships and provide the drugs for free. Of course, neither the FDA nor big pharma nor the hospital doctors are too happy about this and keep throwing stones in their way.

McConaughey delivers what will surely turn out to be a career-defining performance as a scaringly emaciated yet emotionally ablaze character who goes from homophobic rodeo cowboy to business yuppie. Indeed, more than his business acumen, Woodroof’s transformation from homophobe to humanitarian makes for an intriguing plot. This metamorphosis culminates when Ron and Rayon run into one of his old acquaintances at the supermarket: when his friend refuses to “shake a faggot’s hand”, Ron wrestles him down and forces him to do just that. To the film’s credit, it however refrains from pretending that Ron’s change of heart is anything but a selfish one: it wouldn’t have ever occurred hadn’t his suffering overlapped with theirs.

Jared Leto’s performance as Rayon is compelling and crushingly authentic. But – and it’s a big but – you also can’t help but wonder whether there wasn’t any transgender actor who could have done a better job. It’s impressive that the make-up budget was a mere $250, but for a film in which its characters fight so hard against social stigma it’s incredibly sad that the director Jean-Marc Vallée and his producers fell short of using such a perfect opportunity to fight a stigma themselves. This matter, sadly, distracts greatly from Leto’s acting, but perhaps it’s asking too much of Hollywood (although it really isn’t).

There is a subtle but important juxtaposition between Leto and McConaughey’s characters: the former is driven by a desperation to not die, while the latter is driven by his rage to live. Rayon hides the fear behind flamboyance, Ron makes no attempt to hide his anger at the disease, the FDA and the hospital staff – but in the end, they both are the same: they want to live. Indeed, neither McConaughey nor Leto ever play people who are ill, they play people who have an insatiable hunger for life. The sadness lies in the audience’s knowledge that their wish won’t be granted.

The rest of the cast is, unfortunately, almost entirely forgettable because the script doesn’t give them much character depth. Denis O’Hare does his best to portray a nemesis as a doctor who believes he is helping patients but has become corrupted by the lies of big pharma. Jennifer Garner’s character might have been meant as the audience’s point-of-view as she goes from critical doctor to supporting Ron’s quest to import non-approved drugs, but she disappears almost entirely under McConaughey’s tour-de-force every time she is on screen.

The Verdict

Dallas Buyers Club might not make you cry (although Rayon’s death will definitely bring you very close to tears), but you won’t walk out with a smile on your face either. As life-affirming as it is, and despite some comical moments (notably when Ron dresses up as a priest to smuggle drugs across the Mexican-American border) it is, and throughout the film always stays, a tragedy. Vallée’s direction is remarkably held-back and almost plain, allowing McConaughey to dominate the screen and carry the film with the performance of a life-time.