I’m a movie guy. For me, cinema is the ultimate archive of humanity’s last gasp…an archive and a mirror, reflecting back to us our best and worst qualities, impulses, desires and proclivities. On a personal level, the films I’ve seen throughout my life are like mileposts, each movie has a connected memory attached to it; the small story of how I came to watch it, what ways it affected me and where I was at that point in time (physically and mentally). For the next 365 days, I am committing myself to see – at least – one film a day, which I will not only review but also diarize my associated thoughts. Why do I choose the movies that I do? How did I feel when I made the selection? Was some sort of anxiety gnawing at my chest? Did I just ingest a poisonous tuna melt from the unreliable diner down my block?

Here are the rules – there are no rules, journalistic or otherwise. The genre/era of film is of no consequence…only the reason why I picked it. It can be something I see in the theatre, but more likely it’ll be a streaming deal. I don’t have cable…so probably a flick off YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or iTunes.

It’s a grand experiment, to be sure. At the end, I hope to gain some insight into how our daily lives influence the reasons we watch the movies we do, and in turn, how the movies we watch influence our daily lives. I think I’ll call it…shit what do I call it? Daily Movie? Nah…too mundane. My Movie Year? Nope…too…somethingLiving With Movies? Sounds like I’ve got a disease.  Hmmm…how about, 365: A Cinematic Sojourn? Now, that has a bit of class – and alliteration. I think I’ll go with that…for the time being anyway.

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24 June 2017
9:45pm

Stayed in most of the day, aside from a couple trips down to my bodega for coffee. Around the corner by the dumpsters, there’s a stoop I like to sit on while enjoying my java but lately the staff from the Middle Eastern restaurant next door have taken up permanent residence there. I hope they wash their hands before serving touching/serving any food. What do I care? I don’t have the scratch to eat there, anyway. Life is death by a thousand cuts. I’ve eaten dinner – had some leftover onion rings in the fridge from a couple of nights ago. Onion rings, unlike revenge, are not a dish best served cold. Flipped through the new releases on Netflix. It’s a feast or famine service…that should be their slogan – Netflix, feast or famine. Slim pickings, but a flick called Lens seems semi-intriguing. I’m a bit depressed, and it’s a movie about a web-addict/voyeur who is coerced into watching someone commit suicide online. Sounds like a real pick-me-up. I’m in. Ok…here we go – I’ll see you on the other side.

Review: Lens (2015)

Well it’s an Indian movie. Not usually a big fan, especially all that corny big budget Bollywood drivel, where scenes in the rain are supposed to be a metaphor for anal sex, or some such thing. This flick was written, directed and starred some guy called Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan, a pudgy little guy with a starter-Selleck mustache.

It began promisingly enough. We enter in on main character Aravind (Radhakrishnan) in the middle of a Skype stroke session with an online acquaintance of his, He’s married, but bored. Recently promoted, he has a nice apartment and is moving up in the world, but perhaps his voyeuristic fetish might be starting to get a bit out of control. His wife is sick of it. It’s having a negative impact on his life. He wakes up the next day to find his better half gone. He’s happy to have the morning to himself. Sitting down to his computer, he sees he’s got a new Facebook invitation from a woman who instantly invites him online for a Skype sesh. Unfortunately for Aravind it turns out to be a scary looking cue-ball named Yohan (Anand Sami) who beseeches our portly protagonist to watch him do away with himself. Aravind cuts the conversation short and calls his pal in a worried state. Can he get in trouble somehow? His friend chastises him for his pervy proclivities, but says not to worry. But soon he’ll have a lot to worry about, when Yohan, in a blackmailing gambit to force him to watch his suicide, texts Aravind a hacked video of his previous night’s chicken choking fiesta. If Aravind won’t bear witness, he’ll post the footage to YouTube, thus wrecking his career and marriage. From there the movie escalates quickly…but eventually devolves into a preachy PSA on the evils of internet porn and I’m assuming masturbation. Why does Yohan want Aravind to witness his suicide? It’s a long story, which is dragged out in seemingly real time.

There are moments of genuine suspense, but it’s all a bit parboiled. Long story short, Aravind’s pervy ways have unwittingly wrecked Yohan’s life and in turn Yohan will exact his revenge. Mid-way through the film we discover that Aravind’s wife is being held hostage. So, his friend – along with the local police – race against time to find Yohan before he kills her.

Spolier: Yohan winds up in a bathtub of his own blood and brains and Aravind loses everything due to his vouyeurism.

Final verdict: While it wasn’t as bad as the usual Bollywood balderdash, it was creaky in its mechanics. It started off as a thriller, then became a mundane morality tale. It’s a pity too, because there was potential there if only Radhakrishnan had not succumbed to his own Indian-ness. Also, if you’re going to make a film where online sex is the theme, rather than beating around it…you’ve got to actually show the bush! Otherwise, it’s just tinker toys baby.

How I feel: Fattish. The onion rings feel like they’ve taken up permanent residence in my upper intestines, much like those bastards from the Middle Eastern restaurant have taken up permanent residence at my favorite coffee stoop. The flick was a forgettable trifle…I am deeply unaffected.

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Lives in Manhattan around the corner from a diner which serves poisonous tuna melts and adequate java. My dissections, commentaries, and occasional rantings have been published by a wide range of online sites, pulpy outposts, and fugitive rags.

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