Room 2806 : The Accusation is a four-part Netflix documentary series focusing on the allegations of sexual assault made against French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn (“DSK”) in 2011. While Room 2806 : The Accusation is ostensibly concerned with a particular historical incident, thematically it addresses the wider issue of sexual abuse carried out by men of power and status.(more…)
Agents of Chaos is an American documentary miniseries directed by Alex Gibney and Javier Alberto Botero, revolving around Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.(more…)
Growing up in Singapore in the 60s/70s, we were cautioned against getting involved in politics or even be seen talking about politicians in public. While – like most folks around the world with access to radios, cinemas and TVs – we were besotted with U.S. pop culture, the same cannot be said about U.S. politics.(more…)
BOOK REVIEW | FIRE AND FURY : INSIDE THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE [GOODREADS]BOOK REVIEW | FIRE AND FURY : INSIDE THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE [GOODREADS]
“Fire and Fury” so named as a reference to Trump’s rant against North Korea, is a White House tell-all that is somewhat spoiled by the fact that most nobody reading it would be surprised by its revelations. Though it does confirm the fact that White House is a mess, populated by predatory ego-maniacs out to outdo each other in manner recalling Game of Thrones-like scenarios. Strangely enough, the main character of “Fire and Fury” does not seem to be Trump but Steve Bannon – with the book ending with an ominous characterisation of Bannon’s own Presidential ambitions.
But considering how events seem to have overtaken Bannon with his quick decline in fortunes since the book was written, Wolff seems less prescient and relevant. Still, a rollicking read that does nothing to dispel the common negative connotations about politics.
… still there’s more …
REAL TO REEL : HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON FIVE – NO LONGER STRANGER THAN REAL LIFEREAL TO REEL : HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON FIVE – NO LONGER STRANGER THAN REAL LIFE
The main challenges that faced Netflix’s political drama House of Cards was twofold. One, how to match the ongoing dramatic events happening in the Trump administration and two, how to maintain interest in a narrative that was slowly but surely running out of fresh ideas.
THE BOOB TUBE: SCANDAL – THE CALM BEFORE THE STORMTHE BOOB TUBE: SCANDAL – THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM
To be honest, after the intense drama over Olivia’s kidnapping, it was hard to imagine how the series could ramp up again after that high. But this episode hints at a whole new ball game, with the introduction of Susan Ross the new Vice-President and Huck’s wife reporting B613 to the Attorney-General, there’s a whiff of something dark and sinister on the horizon.
That all said, it was rather annoying to see Olivia sulking throughout the entire episode. Yes, I get that she suffered through an awful ordeal but you would think she would be used to all the nonsense by now. Or maybe not.
After the stress and the pressure of Olivia’s kidnapping, Scandal is brought down to earth with a hard bump with an episode that reflects the recent controversies in Ferguson and New York regarding the killing of unarmed African-American men by the police. Yes, it’s a relatively simple and un-convoluted plot but highly effective. By the end, the viewer will be brought to tears by the emotion of the message. A very strong episode, that does not need too much elaboration.
THE BOOB TUBE: HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON 3 – SHOOT OUT THE LIGHTSTHE BOOB TUBE: HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON 3 – SHOOT OUT THE LIGHTS
Much anticipated as it was, Season 3 of Netflix original series, House of Cards was a massive disappointment.
Having fought his way from Speaker to Vice-President to President, it was expected that our protagonist Frank Underwood would bring his own vicious brand of politics onto the biggest stage of all, with all the ensuing drama that implies. Instead, House of Cards 3 was somewhat hijacked by the writers to make Clare Underwood the protagonist and cast Frank Underwood as the villain in his own story. From the moment, she is appointed Ambassador to the UN (a preposterous wrong move that the series never quite recovers from), the writers rely too much on this crutch to generate the drama and conflict between the Underwoods.
All the usual obstacles to Frank’s ambitious machinations were nicely set up to create the appropriate tension and the guilty pleasures fans take in watching Frank succeed (by all means necessary) have always been the highlight of this series. But in the last three episodes, the series took an awful tangent with Clare totally acting out of character and somewhat upsetting all the expectations. To be honest, it was difficult to fathom Clare’s reasoning behind all her actions when compared to the character revealed in Season 1 & 2. Sure, Clare is fiercely independent and Machiavellian in her own right but what are the writers trying to say with her about-face? That women cannot be understood by men? That women are illogical and emotional and will act without just cause, if they did not feel right about something? All rather sexist, in my view.
And what about the whole Doug Stamper sub-plot? What the hell was that about? Again, a distraction and a confusing plot device that ultimately served no purpose. Worst thing about House of Cards 3 was that it ended with a whimper unlike the previous 2 seasons. After 13 episodes, one can only look back and conclude that the writers have run out of ideas and are stretching out the goodwill of the series for whatever it is worth.
Yes, Scandal fans, if you haven’t seen the latest episode, I’ve just spoilt it if for you! But seriously, this was the solution to the ‘how do we get Olivia back?’ conundrum? Don’t really buy it! Sillier still if you consider that after all the brouhaha to demonstrate how much the enemies of America would want to get hold of Olivia, we are led to believe that a couple of new locks on her apartment door would keep her safe and secure? C’mon, these jokers were willing to pay a billion bucks!?! So, what’s to say some other bright spark would try the same trick? See where I’m going with this – how does the world go back to status quo after this?
Best part is that there was no hint of what the next storyline could even be remotely about after this. Which is rare for Scandal. I mean, how could they possibly top this? Over to you, Shonda…
THE BOOB TUBE: SCANDAL – WHAT ARE YOU PREPARED TO DO?THE BOOB TUBE: SCANDAL – WHAT ARE YOU PREPARED TO DO?
Despite its increasingly implausible plot lines – this episode involved a bidding war over Olivia Pope amongst rogue nations, terrorist groups and crime lords (!) – the folks behind Scandal managed to imbue a sense of pathos that would seem ridiculous when one consider the stakes these characters are up against. Olivia herself does not play much of a role but she does what she can to try to influence proceedings but fails miserably – which is a fairly new situation for her. Olivia’s loved ones try their level best to get her back, short of moving heaven and earth, though the odd murder or two are committed in the endeavour.
But that is exactly what Scandal fans are looking for – over the top scenarios in this epic-scoped soap opera. There are strong moments of human emotion that litter the apocalyptic landscape of Olivia’s pursuit as the key players attempt to stay a step ahead of the other. This is political drama, lest anyone forgets, and by the end of the episode Olivia’s predicament takes on global significance. The ride ain’t over yet.
HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON 2 OFFICIAL TRAILER
Netflix is an on-demand video streaming web service – an online version of the video rental store, one might say. In 2011, the service announced that it was venturing into original programming as well and the first series – House of Cards – a political drama adapted from the UK series of the same name & starring Kevin Spacey, was a resounding success.
Well, here comes Season 2 and based on the official trailer, it looks like the series is upping the ante in delivering shady political shenanigans as the Machiavellian politician Frank Underwood is now a heartbeat away from the Presidency of the USA but obviously has to work hard (and smart) to keep all his dirty secrets under wraps.
Take a look – the entire series drops at Netflix on 14th February next year!