Thursday, May 9, 2019

Long Day's Journey Into Night and additional comments on Avengers: Endgame

Past, Present, and … What the Hell?

                   Review (plus some other remarks) by Ken Burke
                                 Long Day’s Journey Into Night 
                                    (Bi Gan, 2018)   Not Rated
“Executive Summary” (no spoilers): Let’s get the reasons why you might not want to see Long Day’s Journey Into Night out of the way before you spend any further time with this review: (1) Despite the title, this has nothing to do with the Eugene O’Neill play; (2) It’s from China with subtitles, so unless you’re fluent in Mandarin you’ll need to read a lot over the course of over 2 hours if you see it; (3) the first half has lots of flashbacks so there’s quite a bit to keep straight between past/present timeframes with the chief clues being the main male actor looks older in present scenes while the main female actor often wears the same green dress in past scenes; (4) despite some great cinematography throughout, along with a stunning display of camera/actors/ locations choreography in the second half where it’s all done in 1 continuous shot (in 3-D for this part of the film in theaters showing it in this manner), it’s not clear too often whether what we’re seeing is viable action within the story or visualized dreams/memories (accurate or not) from the mind’s eye of that main male, so when it’s all over you’ll probably need to ponder quite a bit as to what you saw, how valid your assumptions are, what you’re supposed to conclude from what’s been presented about the storyline.  If you’re still with me after all that, you may find this film as fascinating as most critics have, or, then again, like me you may go in with heightened-expectations that don’t feel fully realized after the fact (which isn’t to say I’m right while the lauders are misguided, it’s just a unique cinematic experience likely to generate very different responses [I’ll also say I’m completely unfamiliar with this director’s previous work, so all the praise cited by those supportive critics for how he’s further enhancing his earlier insights don’t mean much to me]).  As for the plot, the last half easily falls into spoiler territory so don’t go too far into my comments below unless you’re OK with that (maybe necessary if you really want to know more because this Long Day’s … not going to be available in very many locations).  As for the basic plot, it’s about a man obsessed with finding a former lover, exploring various strategies to track her down.  Does he succeed?  Even if you read what’s below, I can’t promise a clear answer.  Still interested?  If so, welcome aboard; if not, I’ve also got extensive Avengers: Endgame stuff which might be more what you’re looking for.  Either way, thanks much for exploring Film Reviews from Two Guys in the Dark. 

Here’s the trailer:  (Use the full screen button in the image’s lower right to enlarge it; activate that same button on the full screen’s lower right or your “esc” keyboard key to return to normal size.)

If you can abide plot spoilers read on, but as this blog’s intended for those who’ve seen the film—or want to save some bucks—to help any of you who want to learn more details yet avoid important plot-reveals I’ll identify any give-away sentences/sentence-clusters like this: 
⇒The first and last words will be noted with arrows and red.⇐ OK, now continue on if you prefer.

What Happens: (As discussed below, it’s not always clear “what happens” in terms of the obscure plot of this film, but I’ll recount it as best I can based on what I [think I] saw, minus anything I might have missed in the subtitles while scribbling my [now as I desperately try to read them] notes in the darkness of the theater).  Luo Hongwu (Huang Jue), a small-time-gangster who’s been running a casino for several years, comes back to his hometown of Kaili (in the somewhat-poor-province of Guizhou, southwest China) because of his father's death; his stepmother’s inherited the family restaurant but she gives Luo the clock the old man often sat staring at; when he pries the back open, Luo finds a photo of his lover from many years ago, Wan Qiwen (Tang Wei)—he also dreamed of her in dark opening shots.  As best I followed this narrative (not sure how accurate I was, although reading other reviews since then has provided much more about tone than specific plot details so maybe other critics weren’t making a lot of sense of this film either), during the times Luo carried on his affair with Wan she was the girlfriend of his good buddy, Wildcat (Lee Hong-Chi), so they carried on whenever Wildcat was away, although she (at other times?) also had involvement with a gangster (?—Sorry for all these hesitations, but with so many flashbacks to Luo’s earlier life it was hard to fully know what was going on at all times), Zuo Hongyuan (Chen Yongzhong), another situation for our clandestine lovers to avoid before she disappeared from Luo’s life completely (Wildcat’s gone too, died in 2000—for some reason I didn’t catch—in a mineshaft).  With a phone number on that old photo in the clock, Luo traces Wan to a women’s prison where he speaks with someone (Bi Yanmin) who knew Wan when, with a group of other teenage girls, they broke into a home intent on theft, but when the owners returned unexpectedly they all ran off to nearby woods with only 1 item each—Wan’s was a romance novel she read to the rest of them in their hideaway.  Through the woman’s advice (she sent Wan’s photo to the Kaili restaurant because [somehow] she knew that’s where it was taken), Luo goes to a seedy-hotel where we find another seedy-gangster (seemed like it to me), played by Tuan Chun, who’s Wan’s ex-husband; he sends Luo to a rundown area (actually a dilapidated former prison in Kaili, real hometown of director Bi) where Wan’s supposed to be a karaoke singer.  While he’s waiting for the show to begin, he goes to kill some time in a local movie theater where he puts on the special glasses needed for a 3-D show.

 At this point (if you’re in a moviehouse prepared for 3-D), we’re supposed to put on our 3-D glasses to watch the rest of this film (running at least 51 min., maybe more, after the title jumps out at us) which occurs in a marvelously-complex-single-shot as we, the camera, and Luo travel through a series of odd, unbroken adventures (seemingly Luo’s dream; maybe he’s still dozing back at his theater instead of watching whatever he went to see) where we first see him in an old mine shaft (he later says he woke up in an empty theater [almost sounds like the one where I watched this film in Berkeley, CA], somehow wandered into this tunnel) where he meets a kid (Luo Feiyang) who claims to live there, will show Luo how to get out if this much older guy can beat him at ping pong.  Apparently, the kid’s not all that good so he loses quickly, then the 2 of them hop on his motor scooter which is soon zooming down a dirt road (we no longer seem to be in the mine shaft although everything’s now under the cover of nighttime darkness) until the kid (whom Luo calls Wildcat, because the little guy has no name yet; clearly, this is supposed to have reference to Luo’s childhood friend, but it’s my understanding the previous Wildcat was an adult when he died) drops Luo off at a zip-line location (after young Wildcat first gives Luo his ping pong paddle, says it has magical properties) where he takes a slow journey (camera behind, always in that same continuous shot) as Luo descends to the karaoke area, enters another cave, meets the woman he thinks is Wan but she says no, her name’s Kaizhen.  She’s running a small pool hall where a couple of young punks are shooting pool until Kaizhen tells them it’s time to leave.  They get belligerent, hassle Kaizhen, Luo roughs them up, they leave but close the gate to this cave on their way out tossing the key out of reach so Luo and Kaizhen shoot pool for awhile then the roof seems to be off the tunnel again as they look out on the performance plaza below until Luo spins the paddle, allowing them to fly down there.  However, they separate (Kaizhen's a bit airsick) as Luo’s distracted by Red-hair Woman (Sylvia Chang) who lights a torch; Luo follows her to another closed gate where her lover (Xie Lixun) and his truck are stuck on the other side.  They argue (apparently, she’s already burned down their house) until Luo pulls a gun on them, forces her to give Luo her watch, unlock the gate, leave with her guy in the truck. Luo wanders to Kaizhen’s dressing room, gives her the watch, she gives him a sparkler which he lights, then they wander in these ruins, kiss in an abandoned home which spins around (as in an old legend) until the camera wanders off on its own without them, going back to her dressing room where the sparkler’s still burning as this comes to a quiet finish.⇐

So What? After my previous multi-hour/multi-page indulgence on the massively-successful (more farther below on that) mainstream-movie-extravaganza Avengers: Endgame (Anthony and Joe Russo; review in our May 1, 2019 posting)—although I did offer Short Takes on the much-more-independent Little Woods (Nia DaCosta), which may seem like it’s hiding in the woods given the few theaters you can find it in—I was back to a one-opportunity-weekend (partly due to more live theatre; if you ever get a chance to see Other Desert Cities [Jon Robin Baitz, 2011], an impactful-family-drama set in Palm Springs CA, make use of the option as it’s quite good, multi-award-nominated) so, of the available options, I went back to esoterica-land with Long Day’s Journey Into Night (which has nothing to do with Eugene O’Neill'd play of the same name [you can’t copyright a title, just the content of the work using the title], written in 1941-’42, finally published/performed on Broadway in 1956 after his death [upon his request, given the autobiographical aspects of it, about a New England family in deterioration with the mother a morphine addict, the father a miser, the younger son with tuberculosis, all of them alcoholics], similar to Bi’s film only in the deluge of personal difficulties faced by all the main characters in each narrative); however, a more literal translation from the original Mandarin for this film’s title, Di qui zui hou de ye wan, seems to be Last Evenings on Earth (that title taken—also apparently with no content connection to this film—from a short story by Roberto Bolaño).  My viewing choice was based on this Long Day’s Journey … (the more I think about it, the more I want to revisit either the 1962 [Sidney Lumet] or 1987 [Jonathan Miller] filmed adaptations of O’Neill’s play) being described as noir-ish (even neo-noir-ish, as some early scenes reminded me of Blade Runner [Ridley Scott; 1982—and other releases] with the darkness, rain, and neon lights), intriguing, and featuring that extended-single-shot, one of the most extensive examples of cinematic-choreography this side of Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov, 2002)—although that one managed to extend its single-shot for the film’s entire running time (99 min.) while moving through St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum while Long Day’s … experience is a “mere” 51 minutes or so (I’ve seen estimates of up to 55 min., but I didn’t time it).  So, off I went with my agreeable-cinephile-wife, Nina, and one of our usual screening companions (the other one was busy; even though he wasn’t there I can still hear him mumbling about “What in the world was going on for the last 2 hours?”) to encounter something not as fabulous as the Collective Critics at Large (CCAL) would have you believe (a majestic group of 93% positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, an extraordinary 88% average score at Metacritic [highest from them for anything both of us have reviewed of 2019 releases]) but still interesting enough to me for pondering during and after (not so much for Nina, although she managed to get dinner menus planned for the next week).

 In a relatively early scene we get a voiceover commentary from Luo: “The difference between film and memory is that films are always false.  But memories mix truth and lies.  They appear and vanish before our eyes.”*  Bi’s film focuses on how the ambiguous aspects of memories become the “always false” identity of cinema (which can be argued to be in this manner because fictional stories on our screens are fully creations of script words, performer actions, image capture/creation, soundtrack additions while even documentaries attempting the “truth” of cinema vérité [including extreme experiments such as Empire {Andy Warhol and John Palmer, 1964}, just a static shot of the Empire State Building at night, running about 8 hrs. when projected at 16 fps {shot at 24 fps on ½ hr. film magazines} where we can see the main subject but no context of the city surrounding it] are “false” compared to the reality we inhabit) because in this concept of whatever the title of Long Day’s Journey Into Night might mean to the director, what we see in the theater (public now or home later) can be argued as not even conforming to standard practices of cinematic narration because these scenes (especially in that roughly final hour, but possibly throughout the preceding time as well) are often the result of Luo’s memories about his earlier life with Wan which may be in the form of standard filmic-flashbacks or may be dreams/misremembered-memories serving as emotional reality for the character but may not truly help us understand the events of his life, especially in a scenario where the director admits he’s taken his character names from actual names of popular singers so for an audience more in the know of his references there may easily be additional levels of connotation beyond what’s literally in the script.  Given this intentional ambiguity between what sense we as viewers are trying to make of what’s presented to us, never knowing for sure what we’re supposed to understand about what’s within the narrative (actualities of Luo’s life not fully explained vs. night dreams/faulty memories/daydream projections where we just share what he sees in his mind’s eye) we might find reason to ruminate on it at length, praising its cinematic complexity as does Jonathan Romney in a Film Comment review or we might just call out this ambiguity for the confusion it presents as does G. Allen Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Think of this review of the new Chinese art house film ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ as my Mueller report. ¶An excerpt: After investigating, probing and questioning this frustrating but undeniably fascinating work, we cannot say we didn’t see a good movie. If we had confidence after a thorough viewing of the film that ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ is clearly a bad film, we would so state. However, we are unable to reach that judgment. A good film may have occurred.”  (Mr. Barr?)

*When I read this (English subtitles of the Mandarin dialogue, which is surely another consideration for gauging your interest in finding this film somehow, most likely in some video format), I quickly thought of something similar from the French classic, The Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir, 1939)—still #3 on my All-Time Top 10 list, even decades after I first compiled it (topped only by the combination of 2 even-more-lofty-triumphs of Citizen Kane [Orson Welles, 1941)Persona [Ingmar Bergman, 1966])—where failed-musician/ moocher Octave (Renoir) tells his long-time-friend-and-confidant/aristocrat-wife Christine (Nora Gregor), as she’s just found out about her husband’s ongoing affair beginning before they were married: “That’s also part of the times.  Today everyone lies.  Pharmaceutical fliers, governments, the radio, the movies, the newspapers.  Why shouldn’t simple people like us lie as well?” (You can see this in context if you go here, then fast-forward to 1:15.06, although the transfer quality of this video is atrocious in all respects except subtitles clarity; here’s another version of the entire filmvarious releases run different lengths; I recommend getting one from the Criterion Collection [1:46.0]if you’d just like to get a sense of this marvelous film where at least you can see the images a bit better although the framing’s still too tight nor are there subtitles if you need help with French dialogue).  This video (a 49:22 discussion of The Rules … ) may give you some encouragement to find a pristine copy of it, even though all this talk’s illustrated only with stills (some stay on-screen intolerably long) rather than actual scenes making it difficult to fully appreciate all this homage, but you can find YouTube clips (7:43) that at least give a sense of … the Game’s cinematic beauty, why film historians become enthralled with it.

Bottom Line Final Comments: What’s not up for speculation about Bi’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night is how difficult it might be for many to find it, even if interested in doing so.*  After a month in release it’s now in a whopping 17 domestic (U.S.-Canada) theaters (2 are in my area: 1 in San Francisco, 1 in Berkeley with the later where I saw it, being the only place offering the option of watching that masterful-final-shot in 3-D [raising the ticket price by $2.50 even though you get 3-D for only about 51 of the 140 minutesalthough various sites say 110 min., but that wasn’t my experienceso it seems some form of a discount for the glasses ought to be an option]); with the paltry $244,892 gross at this point you can bet it’s not likely to be held over in any of the venues it’s currently playing (our large auditorium was nearly empty) although if you consult the Playdates chart in the official site (in Related Links below) you’ll find a few dozen other upcoming options going into early summer 2019, so those of you from Houston to Toronto to Vancouver (B.C.) to Anchorage will have a chance (scheduled only for a week at a time at best in each place) to take this … Journey … if you like.  Back to Nina for a minute, she’s a medical marijuana user (she approved me sharing this info) who says she finds my (overly-lengthy, sidewinding-content, I admit) reviews to be more accessible when she’s had a few puffs, so I’ll speculate viewing this conception of Long Day’s … might benefit from such enhancement as well (but not alcohol; don’t doze off or you'll miss too much), given the events flow in a manner not unlike the sensation of disjointed memories or strings of unlikely encounters fitting easily into a dream, harder to justify when waking. 

*So you might ask, why should I spend this much review space on something I’m not all that “gaga” about as well as being quite difficult to find to decide anything about it for yourself.  My answer is this blog is intended, among other goals, to serve as an alternative for those who choose to use it in this manner, featuring extensive details (along with footnote-sidebars, such as the one this time giving me an opportunity to call attention to The Rules of the Game) for those who’d rather read about a given cinematic offering than actually watch it, either for time, money, or accessibility concerns.  That’s not how most reviews are written, but Two Guys in the Dark’s not like many other film review sites.  We also reserve the right to wander down the road of extraneous explorations, which is where we’ll go meandering one more time about Avengers: Endgame, a little farther below.

 With that cluster of ideas in mind (and somewhat in preparation for my upcoming additional probe into equally-esoteric-time-travel-aspects of Avengers: Endgame) I’ll close out these thoughts about Long Day’s … cinematic worth (a film probably too trippy if you prefer coherence in your fictional diversions, although blessed with exceptional cinematography, intriguing characters, and a truly outstanding technical achievement in the final scene/shot demonstrating what filmmaking’s now capable of using lightweight video cameras flowing through space with astounding dexterity) using my usual end-of-review-tactic of a Musical Metaphor to culminate what’s come before, this time John Lennon’s “I’m Only Sleeping” (from The Beatles 1966 U.K. Revolver album; in the U.S. it’s on Capitol Records 1966 squeeze-out-more-product Yesterday and Today album) at because it seems to speak well to Luo’s state of mind as we find it transferred to screen: “Please, don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me Leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping […] Please don’t spoil my day, I’m miles away And after all, I’m only sleeping.”  But, from Wan’s perspective, as she's ready to push Luo away despite his determination to reconnect, I’ll also slip in Joan Baez’s "Diamonds & Rust" (from her 1975 album of that name), obviously written about her past with Bob Dylan but just as applicable to Wan saying to Luo: “We both know what memories [distorted as they may be] can bring […] It’s all come back too clearly Yes, I loved you dearly And if you’re offering me diamonds and rust I’ve already paid.”  Sure, we see Luo and Wan seemingly in romantic ecstasy in the last part of that ongoing-traveling-shot where they’re cozy, but don’t forget "that was just a dream" (REM’s “Losing My Religion” from their 1991 Out of Time album, a song in tune [so to speak] with the themes, images, attitudes of Bi’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night), not necessarily a lovers’ resolution.  Yet at best, for them and us, may we just dream on.
(a sort of) Short Takes (but not short nor truly an additional review)
(please note that spoilers also appear here)
 In respectful-recognition of Avengers: Endgame (Anthony and Joe Russo; review in our May 1, 2019 posting) climbing to #2 on the All-Time Worldwide list of highest-grossing-movies ($2.189 billion and counting)—barely surpassing Titanic (James Cameron, 1997; $2.188 billion) for now, even closing in on Avatar (Cameron, 2009; $2.788 billion), despite those previous-champs being in release for 41 and 34 weeks respectively while  … Endgame’s only been out for 2 weeks (its current $619.7 million domestic gross is also #9 right now on that All-Time list compared to #1, $936.7 million for Star Wars: The Force Awakens [J.J. Abrams, 2015; review in our December 31, 2015 posting], yet it’s a mere #35 All-Time domestically when adjusted for inflation, compared to that list's #1, Gone with the Wind [Victor Fleming, 1939] at $1.823 billion)—I’ll grant some extra space again this week to … Endgame, especially after I looked over an increasing flow of reviews, checked my own scribbled notes, realized I had to correct a misstatement early in my review of this movie about Captain Marvel (she did journey with some of the remaining Avengers to confront Thanos after his massive-universal-annihilation; when events shift to 5 years later is when she tells the others she can’t continue with their attempts to comfort Earth’s morose survivors because other planets also need her help).*  What I want to address concerning … Endgame this time, however, are some of my ongoing-concerns about how various time-travel-events creating alternative-timelines/alternate-universes continue to haunt viewers of this movie (at least based on the massive amounts of postings/videos you can explore regarding this topic).  While you can find an enormous collection of investigations into how we understand what happens in the present due to actions from those who've traveled into the past, regarding such situations in … Endgame  (here come the spoilers if you haven’t seen it yet) I’ll recommend this investigative video (10:05) about follow-up-explanations of supposed plot-holes in this impressive movie along with this one (8:17) about Captain America’s possible-alternative-timeline, created by his choice of a long life with Peggy Carter (dismissing my premise in my review last week that Steve Rogers co-existed with himself during those intervening decades—the original 1945 version still frozen in Arctic ice while this 2023 time-traveling-version simply lived a quiet existence with Peggy, not revealing himself until [presumably] she dies, after which he returns to 2023 as an elderly man—with other interpretations assuming the years with Peggy occur in another timeline, after which he comes back to the “prime” one established by these 22 MCU movies), as well as another video (8:28) discussing the various-alternate-universes created in … Endgame as the Infinity Stones are borrowed in 2012 and 2014.⇐

*In that original posting (noted above, since corrected in our Archive regarding my mistaken Captain Marvel statements along with the one I'm about to discuss) I also goofed up something about Little Woods (Nia DaCosta)which my alert wife, Nina, noticed (see, that medical pot really does sharpen up her observational skills, while mine continue to deteriorate [pleasantly, though] due to a steady diet of whiskey [technically, Jack Daniel’s and Seagram’s 7 can’t be called bourbon because they’re not brewed in Kentucky] and rum), in that while the Ollie character (Tessa Thompson) does come from a different father than her sister, Deb (Lily James), it’s because she’s adopted so she doesn’t have the same mother either, despite being the daughter who ultimately takes the best care of adoptive-Mom when she’s deathly-sick, even making illegal trips into nearby Canada to get pain-relief-drugs, a tactic resulting in her imprisonment which she’s just finishing parole from when this film begins.  As always, I thank Nina (and anyone else who corrects me in these Two Guys reviews now and in the future) for factual mistakes I inadvertently make due to my scribbling in the dark, not always able to focus on seeing what’s on the screen during my previous week’s movie-indulgences.

 I must admit, after looking further over the avalanche of various reviews/explorations of the concept of time-travel in … Endgame, I guess my initial understanding of what went on needs adjustment, even though I still find some confusion in what’s presented in this continuation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (but, as I said last week, given the other fantastic assumptions we’re supposed to swallow concerning the various Avengers [as well as counterparts like Superman in the DC universe] any seeming-time-travel-anomalies need to be understood as comic-book-originated-fiction not requiring a great amount of verification to just enjoy the machinations of the cinematic Fantasy genre working itself out in a slam-bang-movie-experience).  So, I’ll accept after each “borrowing” of an Infinity Stone in … Endgame we have the creation of an alternative-timeline/parallel-universe in which significant events in these other existences might have happened within the same time-frame in which events continued to occur in the “prime” MCU timeline (of those 21 previous movies)—up until the 2023 “present” situation of the collection of the 6 Infinity Stones by various Avengers to the final battle with Thanos to the return of the Stones to their original spatiotemporal locations—after which (I again presume) when Captain America returns each Stone to its previous placement, all 6 of those alternative timelines/parallel universes would cease to exist (thereby wiping out anything that occurred during the span in which various changes to what we previously knew might have happened in those parallel realities, including toward the very beginning of that alternative flow of activity in 2014 we had 2014 Thanos, Gamora, and Nebula transported to the foundational 2023 MCU timeline, demonstrating how a past or future version of a person can exist in an alternative-timeline, even in parallel with the older/future-version of that character—as with Captain American, Nebula, and others as we see in different scenes of … Endgame [again, consult our review, cited just above]).* However, I still wonder if the death of 2014 Thanos (from, I guess, a different timeline created as 2023 Nebula and James Rhodes/War Machine acquired the Power Stone), evaporated in 2023 when Iron Man triumphed over him, prevents any version of him being able to create the chaos he caused in Avengers: Infinity War (Russos, 2018: review in our May 3, 2018  posting), or, if that still happened in the foundational MCU timeline, do all the Infinity Stones just stay destroyed by Thanos’ post-annihilation-action at the beginning of … Endgame or do they somehow survive if (possibly?) Thanos’ eradication-action never happened?  (And, again, if the Stones were forever destroyed, how would Dr. Strange be able to access the full range of his marvelous powers?  I give up here, so please clear any of this up for me if you can).⇐

*Within the flow of … Endgame, Bruce Banner explains how you can’t go into the past, make changes in the timeline, thereby creating changes in the future (which, to us, is now understood as the present), negating what we’ve come to know from a good number of time-travel-stories like what we see in Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985), but what doesn’t get fully clarified over the course of the ... Future trilogy—as it finally is done in … Endgame and its many Internet justifications—is that it’s only the “prime” timeline that doesn’t get changed even as an alternative-timeline's created so what we’ve experienced stays the same but shifts occur in a parallel-universe we’ll likely never know about.  Therefore, when Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) explains to Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) how they need to correct events created in the horrible parallel-timeline spawned by Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) in Back to the Future II (Zemeckis, 1989) he doesn’t note a parallel-timeline was already created in the original … Future when George McFly (Crispin Glover) became more assertive in 1955, ultimately improving everything for his family in 1985 from their largely-miserable situations seen at the start of that story.

 OK, that’s more than enough Avengers: Endgame chatter for now (as well as, hopefully, into the future, unless at some point I need to commend this movie once again, for surpassing Avatar as the all-time [actual-dollar-amount] box-office-champion), but, if you wish to get yet another summary of what happens within this monumental-movie (big spoilers included, of course) here’s one from filmmaker/pop-culture-expert Kevin Smith (1:13.45; assuming you can tolerate his active NC-17 language, especially constant uses of the f-word) where he’s just recapping it rather than formally reviewing, but you might find his summary to be a bit more gleefully-invested than my more-restrained-account (in last week's review, noted above).  But, given all of the time-travel-related-to-borderline-metaphysical-situations contained in this movie (as well as my enormous flow of supposedly-brief-commentary on a past-review-subject here) it seems only fair I leave you (finally, thanking all we can attempt to call on as sacred) with a last Musical Metaphor, also from The Beatles’ 1966 Revolver album (which I was glad to re-indulge in while driving all around my area last Saturday doing various errands), John Lennon’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” at which gives us a taste of the unknown aspects of what might reside in parallel universes, unresolved pasts, unknown futures as various members of the Avengers (and we, their audience) are encouraged to not be disturbed by the travails of their past struggles with Thanos but, instead to “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream […] Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void It is shining, it is shining […] That ignorance and hate may mourn the dead It is believing, it is believing […] Or play the game ‘Existence’ to the end Of the beginning.”  There may never be full agreement on what we supposed to understand about the (fully fictional) depictions of time-travel/alternative-timelines/alternate-universes in … Endgame (just like we’ll probably never know what was dream, what was waking-reality in Long Day’s Journey Into Night), but the action’s marvelous, the suppositions about alternate-realities flow well despite how valid they may be from challenges by those more versed in physics than screenwriters and fanboys.
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Here’s more information about Long Day’s Journey into Night: (31:04 interview with director Bi Gan and actor Huang Jue [audio levels are a bit low most of the time] largely focused on the lengthy 3-D shot that closes the film, generating a lot of commentary in the process)

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By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile. Ken

P.S.  Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.  But wherever the rest of my body may be my heart’s always with my longtime-companion, lover, and wife, Nina Kindblad, so here’s our favorite shared song—Neil Young’s "Harvest Moon"
—from the performance we saw at the Desert Trip concerts in Indio, CA on October 15, 2016 (as a full moon was rising over the stadium) because “I’m still in love with you,” my dearest, a never-changing-reality even as the moon waxes and wanes over the months/years to come.


Finally, for the data-oriented among you, Google stats say over the past month (which they seem to measure from right now back 30 days) the total unique hits at this site were 29,503 (as always, we thank all of you for your support with our hopes you’ll continue to be regular readers); below is a snapshot of where and by what means those responses have come from within the previous week:

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