2 SERIES & 2 FILMS 4 HOT SULTRY SUMMER EVENINGS

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Opening Half

Do not hesitate. There is always some entertaining distraction in a series or in a film. In this case, it is very bleak.

Taboo’s London in 1814 is a dirty, muddy and totally corrupted harbor in the City of London that is nothing but a cesspool, a marsh, a swamp that will never be drained.

Sleep Dealer’s Mexico after the final mile of the building of the wall is turned into a virtual reality barn for cattle working at a distance for businesses in the US without ever setting their feet on American soil. A real dream for Trump.

Then Good Will Hunter is a hunter all right. He is also the game of many hunters and yet he meets a counselor or headshrink and the two are simple cannibalizing each other. Both are Asperger people, though of slightly different orientations, but yes the older one tries to recapture his youth by mimicking that of Will Hunter, the younger man who vampirizes Sean’s life and he drops out of a mathematical career at MIT to run after a woman who has just left for California, just like Sean twenty years earlier had missed one historic baseball game just to meet the woman he was going to marry, and who is dead now. It is sad and sadder than sad.

Finally, to find some renewed energy and taste the salt of the earth you can get with Bosch, Season 4, and if you have not seen the first three do not hesitate and see them all. They are on Amazon Prime.

Love

TOM HARDY — TABOO FIRST SEASON — 2017

1814. A long time after the independence of the USA. And yet the same king, George III with still six years to go and when he will go he will have been king for sixty years and he was entirely responsible for the American Revolution by standing firmly, even more than firmly for the East India Company and the infamous Tea Act of 1773. Remember The Boston Tea Party, just as much as the Alamo.

James Delaney, the son of the boss of an important shipping company, comes back after the death of his father to recuperate his inheritance. He had been believed dead due to a very long absence and the very obscure conditions of his disappearance in Africa. He was the sole crew survivor of a shipwreck. The ship was a slave ship, totally illegal according to English law. The ship was sailing for the East India Company and importing a great number of slaves, men, women, and children, to the plantation of the brother of some official of the boss of the East India company, or something as sordid as that. The slaves were locked up into the hold of the ship and the hatch was nailed down so that no survivor could reveal the cargo of the ship.

The whole plot turns around the possession of a small island or piece of land on the Canadian west coast and Delaney can sell it to the East India Company and it becomes British or to the US government. The whole story is a series of intertwined rivalries, treasons and allegiances for any private interest you can imagine, some on the American side of dependence, most on the British side but all of them for their sole private or corporate interests. Delaney is thus in the very eye of the tornado with his piece of land. He has more or less decided to capture his freedom by giving this land to the Americans but he has to move over there, hence get a ship and he wants to get a lot of gunpowder to take along. But to produce gunpowder is illegal because it is a royal privilege. Then to give it to the Americans is high treason.

The London that is depicted here is absolutely squalid. Dirty, muddy, unhygienic, with all sorts of incredible perverse activities from robbers and thieves, to rats and other pests, to prostitutes of any gender or sex, the most popular on the screen being male transvestites, in the very old British tradition. We also discover the Tower of London and the goal you have there with the torture chambers. But apparently, you always survive in these conditions if you detain some information the powerful want to get out of you. The famous line between life and death has to be walked for a very long time.

Of course, they will succeed, the rebels who want to go to America, the land of freedom. But it will surely be more difficult than you may think. Enjoy then the details.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

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SLEEP DEALER — 2008

A small film about what will happen in Mexico when the wall between Mexico and the United States is finished and effective: no more crossing northbound and crossing southbound is with no return trip guaranteed. You can imagine the economic catastrophe it means for the USA who do not have cheap labor next door, I mean down the street, legal or illegal, documented or not.

But the Internet-of-all-things and Artificial Intelligence can change that in a jiffy. On the Mexican side of the wall, all kinds of poor Mexicans are ready to work for American companies directly from Mexico thanks to virtual reality. They get plugged up on a machine with a certain number of nodes embedded in their arms and back and they are on a construction site in San Diego or some other building site somewhere and a robot over there is doing what you are mimicking him to do on your Mexican side.

To keep that wall up and effective society has to be militarized on both sides with soldiers and machine guns on the Mexican side and with drones on the American side. In one word, Trump’s world. If it was a dystopia ten years ago, today it is no longer a dystopia. It is the real no longer virtual reality.

Then the vengeance for Memo’s father’s death is slightly farfetched and ineffective. When you are on the exploited side of the social wall you will always be fooled and terrorized in a way or another, and if you managed not to be terrorized by the bullies or fooled by the lying politicians, then they will just plainly shoot you down like a quibble in a bowling alley.

Sadly, not that creative.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

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Monstrous Genius

ROBIN WILLIAMS — MATT DAMON — GOOD WILL HUNTING — 1997

A very serious film with Matt Damon playing his own age and Robin Williams playing his favorite role, that of a teacher, slightly mental manipulator, getting into the brain and mind of a young chap and getting his wings burnt, though this time not by the death or sacrifice of the young man. But somewhere it is very sad.

Will Hunting, the young man, is, in fact, a delinquent with a lot of misdemeanors but he is a mathematical genius, in fact, an Asperger case who is able to enter any mathematical problem within seconds and solve it. On the other hand, he can read a book something like twenty pages every thirty seconds. He is thus a prison inmate under some kind of probation or suspension that enables him to have a job — for inmates on parole — and to have a life. That’s how he ends up being a janitor in one top university in the USA and there he comes across the challenges a medaled and decorated math professor gives to students to be checked and solved with a piece of chalk on a blackboard (that is actually green) in the corridor. And Will Hunting does it twice. The professor takes him under his protection and the judge imposes two conditions. Apart from not getting involved in any misdemeanor, Will Hunting has to follow the math program imposed by the professor and he has to see a shrink.

The second condition makes him finally meet (the sixth professional head shrink) Sean Maguire and the worst possible happens. They cannibalize each other. Will transfers himself into the head shrink or counselor whose wife is dead and who is still in love with her. So he finally gets into the car his friends have given him and drives to California where his rich girlfriend has just moved at the end of her university time. On the other side, Sean transfers himself into the young man who has no set home, no haven he can go to, no attachment whatsoever and he decides to do the same and move to China. Will leaves a note in Sean’s mailbox before leaving and the conclusion is pathetic on the side of the older man: he plainly accuses Will to have stolen his life since he is going after his girlfriend instead of the brilliant prospect he could have in this university, just life Sean missed a historic baseball game just to go meet his girlfriend who will become his wife who is now dead.

Something though seems to be missing in the film. An Asperger chap is not only a reciting machine or an analyzing drone. An Asperger is also a person who has a very strong inner fantasizing life that can even be close to illusionary hallucinations. Will Hunting as for that is very superficial. It is a choice of the director but that makes the character rather frivolous. It is true Asperger cases do not like speaking of themselves but they love telling stories that are all either distantly erudite or purely imaginary. And here we have a young man who is very locked up onto himself and who can only get out by being physically or verbally violent.

Good entertainment though.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

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BOSCH — FIRST SEASON — 2015

This series is based on two crimes or two criminals and one victim for the first one and many victims for the second one.

The first one will manage to escape the police and any prosecution because of the twenty or so years that elapsed between the crime and the present possible prosecution, and other small technicalities. The murderer walks free out of custody.

The second one — and main one — is playing with the police, with Bosch himself to little by little make it a personal chase, hunt and to attract Bosch into a place where he will be shot dead because of the gun he is pointing at the detective, though afterward the gun will be revealed as being empty, not loaded, hence harmless.

We actually know the end of both cases from the very start, at least if we know a little bit about American law and American justice. We must also know a little bit about profiling. A serial killer is finding his pleasure in his murders and in his escaping the police and justice, hence direct scrutiny though he enjoys media coverage. That’s the main difference with a mass murderer who wants his actions to be seen and himself to be seen and admired, or hated, it does not really matter which. So a serial killer who starts begging for being recognized and seen and who then enters a systematic and total chase and hunt, a sort of competition with the police or one particular individual in the police, has to be caught because he wants to be caught and he wants to be killed by the police because that’s true sacrifice that justifies his whole quest. He does not enjoy killing anymore but he enjoys the perspective of being killed by the police in his last stand against the world. He is a predator caught in his very last stand against the hunters who have been tracking him.

But this series is a little more complicated at other levels. We are in Los Angeles and this is one city that is crucial in modern times because it is a big microcosm that may explain the macrocosm of the USA.

First, we have the inner functioning of the police department of this city. The top chief of police is appointed by the mayor of Los Angeles, and this one is elected by the people. Hence the Chief of police or the one who wants to be the chief of police has better be on the side of the winning mayoral candidate. That reveals that such top jobs are politically dominated. This is in many ways a mistake but it is the way it works over there. Note it is slightly better than having the chief of police, or sheriff or marshal elected by the people since then it is populism and demagogy first with the majority “group” in the population, be it racial, sexual, economic or whatever.

Second, the inside functioning of this enormous machine is the very negation of any logic and reasonable conception of things. It is ambition everywhere. It is social climbing all the time. And on the other side it is constant menace and endangered defense on the side of the underlings and of course the constant attempt to just do what will satisfy the sharks on top who are constantly after you because in such a situation a “chief” can only work if he has an “enemy” in front of him or her. We are dealing here with a perverted hierarchical two-tier system: you are at the top or you are nothing since just plain under. And that works at all levels of this hierarchy.

Third, though this is more or less secondary, the justice system of the USA appears at this level of state justice, hence local justice and not federal justice, as being thoroughly perverted by some regulations that enables any judge to reject some evidence just on the basis of any technicality either in the nature of the evidence or in the police work that led to getting this evidence to the court. The second absolute dictatorship of this system is the compulsory jury in most criminal cases or even civil cases. Then the prosecutor or the defense counselor have to think twice before any question or act since they have to satisfy the jury and that comes with a fair amount of populism and flattery. That gives to the District Attorney an enormous power though he has to be elected and that requires a lot of ^popular flattery to the people and all juries come from these people and represents them.

You just add to this the particular divorced life of Bosch and the growing pains of a nearly fifteen-year-old daughter and you can imagine the mess of this Bosch in such a cesspool of a professional and family life.

The action then is just nicely dynamic and sufficiently violent to be slightly gut-gripping. Bosch as the son of a single mother who was a prostitute who was killed when he was twelve throwing him into foster care and other juvenile punishing institution with what he calls the “trunk” where rebellious incarcerated children were systematically beaten. That leads to the worst possible vision of humanity. We are dogs and in us, we have two different dogs. One is good, the other is bad. The one you feed in the end is the one who wins. And then Bosch can explain that he and the serial killing psychopath he is chasing since both were incarcerated in the same juvenile institution with the same trunk, they diverged in the end: he, the detective or police officer, chose the good dog; the serial killing psychopath chose the bad dog. That’s primitive thinking and a barbaric social vision. But that’s how Trump sees the world. I just wonder what is the trunk in which such binary, “bipolar” people have been locked up when young to produce such a caricature of life.

But that is in total agreement with the theme song of the series “Can’t Let Go” by the group Caught A Ghost.

Corn sugar and caffeine
I feel my body in two different places
Still playing for both teams
Sometimes it feels I was born with two faces

I feel the smoke climbing up my cheeks
I hear the jokes and I smell the punchlines
I lay broken in my bed for weeks
My room’s too dark and my bed’s on the fault line

I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
Can’t let go

Sing a song about heartbreak
What do you know about the sweet taste of sadness?
I got a name for each one of my headaches
What do you know about the thin line to madness?

I need a new part with new lines
Anything if it’s good for your head
You can donate your heart to science
But it won’t bring you back from the dead

I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
Can’t let go

You’ll find the sweetness
You’ll find the sweetness
Like me
Sweetness
Like me
Like me

Songwriters: Jesse O’Brien Nolan

Can’t Let Go lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Caught A Ghost is an indie electro-soul band based in Los Angeles, California; The band is a new project from Los Angeles singer, songwriter, and producer Jesse Nolan and kindergarten classmate Stephen Edelstein on drums. Their debut album, Human Nature, was released 1 April 2014.

That’s what happens when one is entirely dominated by if not enslaved to one’s own feelings, convictions, unthought and unthinkable deeper motivations that do not listen to any reason or reasonable and sensible elaboration but only to the gut feeling that is the basis of all racism, supremacy and supremacist behavior. Let such a person capture a majority of the electorate and you have a dictator in the making, a white tornado or hurricane building up in the community, in the country.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

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BOSCH — SECOND SEASON — 2016

The old cold-standing case of the murder of Bosch’s mother when he was young and she was a prostitute becomes solved. A phone call, a visit to a dying old woman who was a friend and colleague to Bosch’s mother, a pseudo, a hotel, a room number, then an old register book from this hotel and some discrete inquiry in the narcotics service of LAPD and he finds the real name of the pseudo, and then some leverage and he finds where he is and is supposed to be. The case can be solved, and closed.

The main central case of this season is the killing of a pornography film producer who is, in fact, laundering money with bonds and other manipulations under the radar from Las Vegas where he resides and Hollywood where he more or less works. The money is not clean and when you are dealing with drug money or casino money you have to be careful. He is not and steals from the drug dealer and other illegal financiers. Bad Boy. Dead. At the same time, his wife who is only after her money and would like to get rid of the husband but in a clean way so that she can keep the money is surrounded by a gang of ex-cops and rotten cops for her security. She may have used them too in the field, which means two masterminds for one killing, or more. Dangerous.

The drug dealer wants to get his millions back. The widow wants to get the millions, full stop. But the pornographer was going around with a younger girl and he was getting ready to divorce the marital climber who would have gotten little, and marry the younger one. He deposited a big box full of several million dollars in a bank under his name and her name. As soon as he was killed the young girl gets the box and the millions out in a suitcase, gets some refuge time in an Armenian Catholic church in LA, and finally, disappears.

You can imagine the wife, the band of rotten cops and ex-cops plus the narcotics dealers all meeting outside the bank on the day the wife can finally ask for the bank deposit box to be open so that she can recuperate the money. Quite a few dead people on the ground and a couple who escape too. The wife manages to get out of custody easily since she did not do anything illegal, but she learns about the Armenian church and that is slightly iffy.

She kills the priest who refuses to give her back the money, the little share he actually managed to get from the girl he helped. Then we can let her live the aftermath of it in prison and in court. That might not be that easy to manage to convince her of anything.

On the side, his ex-wife being kidnapped with their daughter by a band of narcotics dealers in Las Vegas, some kind of a hardly professional subset of criminals, Bosch cuts it short fast and takes his ex-wife and their daughter to Los Angeles for a few days. He has some information that could help an FBI case be solved. Since his wife has been approached to spy on him, he proposes her to “steal” the information the FBI might appreciate having, and sure enough, the case is closed and the ex-wife manages to get a recommendation to be reinstated in the FBI. She has to solve the problem she has been developing with her current “boyfriend.” Their affair has come to an end but she is slightly too vain and too proud to admit it. But if she is reinstated in the FBI she will have to do something about it.

On the other side of rottenness, the election for mayor of Los Angeles is going on. The incumbent is a Latino who does not have a chance to win and would prefer dropping out of it. The main challenger is the white deputy District Attorney, an Irishman by name, who is not very competent except in giving orders that become very dangerous when implemented. The deputy chief of police is a black man and his son manages to be shot within his undercover operation to infiltrate the network of rotten cops and ex-cops when the main man in this network finds out he is wired through his watch. Bosch will get the chap and clean up the plate after the out-of-the-bank shooting. But in the meantime, the incumbent Mayor appoints the deputy chief of police in the top job with the understanding that he will resign after a while after having appointed a Latino in the deputy position so that when he resigned this Latino will be able to be appointed chief of police. White supremacy at times has some strange sidelines.

This series is good because of the rather clear unity of a season. It is also interesting because all elements are connected, be they personal or professional or circumstantial. Nothing is outside the main tense and dense atmosphere of the police and the criminals. Some may regret there is little about the rest of the world, but it gives the series a palatable and drinkable cocktail taste that is not a mixture of badly blended elements, like too much lemon juice and a lot of sugar to cover it up.

You will enjoy the title song of course. It hasn’t changed, nor the opening credits with their inverted half frames. We can rest a little before getting to the third season where a few things and a few people are going to change.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

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BOSCH — THIRD SEASON — 2017

The Third season is centered on a team of ex-military people from special forces, decorated and all who became US-military-money embezzlers. They hi-jacked money in Afghanistan and also all kinds of goods, including weapons, that they sold on the black market in the US. A fairly complicated system that gets money and goods out of the way in Afghanistan and then repatriates it illegally on various military transport planes back to the USA for black market exploitation. This case is closed up by Bosch but with a lot of effort from others, effort and pain, wounds and spilled blood. It reveals that military dependency among some over-trained elite special forces is so strong that they can move from the war battlefields to criminal life as if they were one and only one. Yet one of them is the officer, the commanding officer and when the other members of the team feel that commanding officer is cheating them in a way or another, in military terms they would say betray them, then they will not rebel, not kill him. They can’t because of his rank and their military subservient obedience, but they will definitely trap the commanding officer before he kills them, because they know the betrayer is also a killer and that they have to accept to submit to his command, even if it is to die or be executed.

The second case that is solved is the murder of Gunns and this murder leads to the main culprit, the brain of the whole case which has to do with using prostitutes slightly violently which means they are killed by that rough intercourse because the real pleasure of the pervert is to have that intercourse with a dead body they have just killed and is still warm. But the brain of that networks of perverse killers is a filmmaker and he has to decide to get rid of one member of the network because he has become sloppy and also slightly overzealous in his killing spree or sprees. But the filmmaker has been chased by Bosch. So he will manage the whole thing so that Bosch will become a person of interest, if not the main suspect. He overdoes it in a way by inserting in the crime scene an owl which is a direct allusion to the Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch. Too subtle to be true. The filmmaker must have watched Seven too often. This subtlety leads to curiosity and then to pointing out a cultivated brain that cannot be the underlings who have as much culture as an army of snails.

What is surprising is that the Los Angeles PD does not seem to be using profilers that would enable them to narrow their chase and to become one-pointed, which is the only guarantee they will not waste their time on side-cases, on side-tracks, on fake possibilities. And it is true they do waste a lot of time and effort beating about the bush and running around. This also lets the various detectives alone in front of the cases they work on. There is no leading force. And the natural shortcoming of human nature comes back all the time: hostility, competition, jealousy, suspicion, etc. among the various members of the department. And this is all the more effective in ruining the effectiveness of the teams when we take into account the political pressure on the PD, the vanity of those who have rank and want to control and command all those under with just plain authority and no real police work and police thinking. Not to speak of the political dimension of the Attorney General’s office and position who wants to make things easier, with many deals, saving court time and court cost, etc.

Then the personal dimension of police work for the individuals who are in the Police Department, but also for their families, spouses, and children, is often reduced to a side effect of police work that cannot be avoided and that typically comes from fear which is a normal human reaction, so they say at least, from women as wives and from children. This is an obvious sexist position because fear is not really human, and spouses should be supportive instead of being “hostile” when it is not even purely aggressive more or less blackmailing the cop in the family. It is difficult to explain to kids what it means to kill someone, even if he is a criminal. It is difficult to explain to anyone that there must be people who are ready to even sacrifice their own lives for the security of the community.

But it is true the press, and other media, are not helping since they systematically put on the public place things that should be nicely hushed up, not erased or totally banned, but muted down. In the name of the freedom of expression they even at times put many officers and policemen in danger by revealing their identities and the details of their operations. That’s far beyond simply blowing whistles about police brutality, police illegal action, and even police corruption. In fact, they make police work more complicated, more difficult and more dangerous. It is true long that line that the fact the various branches of police work have little communication among one another does not simplify police work since it is quite common to have some police officers confronted to some covert underground and unpublicized police operations leading to one policeman arresting another. Absurd and yet quite common.

This third season keeps some cases and situations unsolved, which is normal since then there can be a fourth season.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

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BOSCH — FOURTH SEASON — 2017

The action is packed, the suspense is intense, Los Angeles is a city of crooked and corrupted powerful people, in this case mostly men. He who has the money reigns unchallenged, except of course by Bosch. A black lawyer is going to court on the following day and for that isolates himself in an apartment at the top of the Angels Flight Railway. When he reaches the top he is shot dead. The case was going to bring up into the light a young black man who was purely tortured in the restroom of some garage or service station. There was a camera behind a mirror and the lawyer managed to get a copy of the film. That was the main piece of evidence he was going to show in court to stigmatize the extreme violence — closer to torture than to violence — of LAPD officers with young black men.

At first, one of the violent cops is framed, including by a member of Bosch’s team who is in connection with Mr. Big Money Investor in Los Angeles, a supporter of the Latino Mayor.

You will get the details about how to reform the police, how to fight against corruption, how to stop and contain violence on both sides and crime on the side of the gangs. In four words: “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!” Bosch’s wife, an FBI undercover agent working as a “gamer” in some legal or illegal gambling games, is killed by two motorcyclists one day after she took part in a game with a Chinese citizen, and the game was interrupted for security reason by the Chinese. She was the victim of some organized Chinese gang but the top man of the gang directly responsible for the crime manages to leave the country just in time, hardly one minute before his plane could be stopped on the tarmac.

The main case though is the assassination of the black lawyer and the corruption that is revealed behind and how the corrupted killer wanted to give the populace a dirty, killing, rotten cop to be cut up into pieces for the mental satisfaction of their death instinct. Unluckily the Chief of police and Bosch’s team are doing their jobs, one by providing the press with some information about the corrupted Bradley Walker and the Mayor, and Walker is trapped by Bosch in some underground railroad he used to go from a fundraising in a downtown hotel to the Angels Flight Railway to commit his crime and kill the lawyer. It sounds though a little bit tight to be possible, but Walker recuperates the murder weapon from where he had hidden it and he reveals that he killed Bosch’s mother because she was a prostitute he probably used and she probably tried to raise her price, in other words, to softly blackmail him.

What’s good about this series is not that every case reveals some corruption and some criminal minds. Nothing new under the sun, or the moonshine. But it is the rhythm, the tempo and the personal dimension Bosch and some others invest in their police life. It sure is not easy to be a cop in modern society.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

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Closing Half

Written by

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, PhD in Germanic Linguistics (University Lille III) and ESP Teaching (University Bordeaux II) has been teaching all types of ESP

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