Showing posts from January, 2022

Chinese New Year Is Rooted in Myths and Legends

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, falls on Feb. 1 this year, as some of you may know. The festival, which has been observed for around 3,500 years, celebrates the start of a new year in the Chinese calendar. Chinese people and many others of East Asian descent consider it the most important of the traditional festivals. Chinese New Year’s origins are steeped in folklore and myth. According to one popular legend, there was a fearsome horned beast that emerged from the sea every New Year’s Eve to terrorize villages in ancient China. The beast ate people and livestock, and destroyed homes and buildings. The villagers fled to the mountains and hid from the monster during this period. One New Year’s Eve, the residents of a particular village evacuated as per custom. However, they couldn’t persuade an elderly man, a newcomer to the village, to join them. They left without him. When they returned, they were shocked to find the village unharmed. The old

10 Werewolf Movies You Should Watch

I saw  The Company of Wolves recently. It’s a 1984 British anthology film about a young girl who dreams about werewolves. The movie is a little heavy-handed in its symbolism and warning to young women to steer clear of predatory “wolves” in the woods. Its special effects also are dated. However, I still liked it for its dreamlike quality and ominous atmosphere (are European woods really that dark and damp?). The movie did get me thinking about werewolves in general. To be honest, I’ve always felt sorry for the creatures. Let me clarify first that I’m not talking about shape-shifters who can change at will, like Jacob Black’s Quileute tribe in the Twilight flicks. I’m discussing the werewolf as portrayed in movies, who acquires his or her condition through a bite by a (usually unseen) savage animal. In addition to being victims, werewolves have no agency. Their shape-shifting is dictated by the cycles of the moon, and they can’t control themselves once they transform. Because they

When Your Superheroes Get Old … Or Die

I’ve been a fan of superheroes for a long time. So long, in fact, that I’m now witnessing a new phenomenon. The movie superheroes of my time are aging. And some are dying. It’s bad enough that Marvel killed off Iron Man and the Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame (2019). I watched a few episodes of Hawkeye during a trial period when I got the Disney+ streaming service for free. Hawkeye wears a hearing aid and his age is showing. I also watched Logan (2017) recently. A great movie (I highly recommend it), but depressing as hell. In Logan , Patrick Stewart’s Professor X is a nonagenarian with mental deterioration. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is an aging alcoholic—his superhuman ability to heal is slowing down, allowing him to be poisoned by the adamantium in his body. Jackman’s version of Wolverine is the only one I’ve ever known. When I think of Wolverine, Jackman’s face is the one I see. The same goes for Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man. And Scarlet Johansson and the Black Widow. And