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Peel the Onion | Book review of 'The dance of folly: or how theatrics have tarnished the rule of law'

This book by the distinguished Hong Kong jurist, Henry Litton, provides a penetrating analysis of a series of high profile cases. Throughout the book, Litton highlights repeated failures to stop the initiation of improperly based judicial review applications - many of which are publicly funded by legal aid. Some may disagree with the central case made. But where they do, most will still find themselves thinking deeply about what is argued in this highly readable work.

Peel the Onion | The Batman Review: A retro-futurist throwback that feels like an Arkham game on emo steroids (Part II)

In a recent cover story for GQ, Robert Pattinson talked about his preparation for the role and how he realized that Batman was not just a superhero but "the world's greatest detective."

Peel the Onion | The Batman Review: A retro-futurist throwback that feels like an Arkham game on emo steroids (Part I)

Exhaustion for Gotham City and its bat-themed caped crusader must exist. Haven't we reached superhero saturation yet? How many Batman movies must society endure until we run out of time to stop climate change?

Peel the Onion | Don't Look Up: Netflix Review

'Don't Look Up' is more disaster than disaster movie. It unconsciously invents a unique brand of non-comedy because, well, stupidity in the face of the apocalypse isn't funny. More unfunny are the didactic principles of director Adam McKay's supposed satire, which doggedly pits America's rabid late-stage capitalism and systemic incompetence as the ONLY thing that would and could save us while pointing and laughing at how collectively stupid society is.

Peel the Onion | In Defense of Cowboy Bebop: A Netflix Review

I was warming to Netflix's live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop, the late-90s neo-noir "space western" anime classic when it got royally canned after a spate of horrendous reviews. Poorly received by critics and original space cowboy fans alike, Netflix dropped the axe in December, a measly 21 days after its November 19 premiere.

Peel the Onion | The Beatles: Get Back A Must Watch for Artists and Creatives (Part II)

All band members look uncomfortable and bewildered as each second of their workday is spied upon. In the flux of blossoming into a competitive songwriter within the group yet still outside the Lennon-McCartney partnership, George Harrison's frustration boils over, and he finally quits. More profound Beatles scholarship will attest to Harrison's marital problems at the time as one reason for his abrupt departure.

Peel the Onion | The Beatles: Get Back A Must Watch for Artists and Creatives (Part I)

We all need a maxim to live by, so here's one. Never trust anyone who doesn't like The Beatles. Also, toast. Do you like toast? They're the same—universally accepted brilliance. Coincidence then that the only thing The Beatles seem to eat in "Get Back," Peter Jackson's reconstruction of a documentary film from 1969, is toast.

Peel the Onion | 'The Battle at Lake Changjin' Film Review (Part II)

The plot follows the brothers from river-village life to PVA infantrymen. There's much bonding and merriment among the ranks of disparate soldiers, who recall family life, finding humanity in their collective plight. The fact that every soldier ever goes through the gamut of human emotion in a war is enough to lure us in, regardless of storytelling origin.

Peel the Onion | 'The Battle at Lake Changjin' Film Review (Part I)

The new Chinese war epic 'The Battle at Lake Changjin' — 'Changjin Lake' in Chinese — is now the most commercially successful film of 2021.

Peel the Onion | Squid Game Netflix Review: Predatory Capitalism Laid Bare (Part II)

Written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, Squid Game is a profoundly resonant work that deals with the human psychology of inequality and economic exploitation in capitalist South Korea. The mini-series picks up the threads of the moral convulsions of big-budget dystopian survival dramas like 2000's Japanese movie Battle Royale and The Hunger Games movie franchise. But as razor-sharp modern K-content, it more thematically works as a running accompaniment to 2019's Oscar-winning Parasite, which offered a glimpse into South Korea's raging class divisions.

Peel the Onion | Squid Game Netflix Review: Predatory Capitalism Laid Bare (Part I)

If anything encapsulates the theorem of pop culture as shoo-in for modern political discourse, Squid Game is it. That it happens to be the most-watched Netflix series ever solidifies its status as cultural phenomena nonpareil. 2.1 billion hours of the show have been viewed since its September release. That's roughly 239,700 years of continuous streaming.

Peel the Onion | Duds, Gems, and Masterworks: A Selection of Films from Ridley Scott (Part III)

As a testament to Scott's diversity and mastery over the medium, 2000's Gladiator almost single-handedly revived the swordplay genre from a decades-long Hollywood stupor. Because of this "genre reset," Gladiator today may be seen as a cliche, overshadowing its technical brilliance and brazen entertainment value. A star-making vehicle for relative new Hollywood acolyte Russel Crowe who plays Maximus Decimus Meridius, a fictitious character based on several characters, including Avidius Cassius, a general in Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius' armies.

Peel the Onion | Duds, Gems, and Masterworks: A Selection of Films from Ridley Scott (Part II)

In this epic Rashomon-like retelling of a rape incident from multiple perspectives, Scott poses the question of #metoo and feminism in an age of barbarity and hypocrisy. A rare release by today's standards with a harrowing central scene and a gut-wrenching final duel, one imagines that only someone like Scott could get the budget to do this, and his world-building and set design are flawless and immersive.

Peel the Onion | Duds, Gems, and Masterworks: A Selection of Films from Ridley Scott (Part I)

Only a handful of movie directors can lay claim to the "greatest living director" badge. At 84, Sir Ridley Scott is one of them. Since 1977, he has established himself as a meticulous master technician whose films have left us scenes, characters, and stories that have enriched the world of cinema as much as they have burrowed into our collective consciousness.

Peel the Onion | 'The Last Duel' Review (Part II)

Thankfully, there's no actual narration. But Scott highlights each perspective by presenting different interpretations of the same event— which, when aligned with a character's psychology, alter the objective details in question. In Le Gris's chapter, we see the rape of Marguerite from his perspective; she was playfully resisting him in the way all of Le Gris's seductions go down. She intentionally slipped her shoes off at the bottom of the stairwell; her gasps for air when trapped were guilty whines of encouragement.
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