luni, 30 septembrie 2019

Out of Africa, based on the work of Karen Blixen - 10 out of 10

Out of Africa, based on the work of Karen Blixen
10 out of 10

Arguably, this is the Hollywood mega production, the blockbuster at its it used to be.

Evidently, ultra liberals and future, perhaps contemporaneous generations, would dismiss the winner of seven Academy Awards, including for Best Picture and Director, and condemn the stereotype of the white man or woman, who dominates the natives in Africa and the exaggerated concern of the narrative with the same white characters, when if it is About or Out of
Africa, it should be about Africans.
For another angle on this, you can find a note on Out of Africa, but also in adaptation mode, for the BBC, in theatrical form, at

Meryl Streep is outstanding, as always, in the role of Karen, the heroine of the film, albeit her choice or the director's of accent might have cost her an Oscar...she has three and deserves more.
Klaus Maria Brandauer, an actor with astonishing performances in Mephisto and Colonel, two memorable, exceptional movies, plays with a talent recognized with an Oscar nomination, the husband, Bror.

Robert Redford has a sacred name today, but if we read about his earlier career, we find some disturbing facts and in this feature, he is not at ease, hence he has not even been nominated, in a film that has had a nomination for almost every category possible...there is no relevant Supporting Role in it, thus there is no nod there.

The turmoil, adventure, love story, exploits of the Danish baroness as she settles in Africa to become a plantation owner are mesmerizing...again, for older audiences, the young ones might simply reject it all, especially if they embrace the new rigid, strict politically correct codes which impose on past eras, the norms of today.
Also, we need to emphasize that the baroness is a heroic figure, transplanted from Northern Europe to a very different environment where she has to cope with traumas, disease, the prospect of ruin, perhaps even financial failure in fact, not just as a possibility, the shenanigans of her spouse, who infects her with a terrible venereal disease and more.

She is kind, valiant, gritty, generous, delicate, but also strong, determined, in short, a Wonder Woman.

'Das Ewig Weibliche'

The plantation owner is so wonderful and caring with the Natives who work for her that she gains not only their respect, but their affection.
To put this from the angle of the new rebels...she should have been all these things, but not benefit from the privileged status of the white race, the supremacy they enjoyed, the colonial background.

Nonetheless, if we do not take an exaggerated view on the matter of whites in Africa, no elsewhere for the purpose, this film is a masterpieces

duminică, 29 septembrie 2019

The Duelists, based on a story by Joseph Conrad - 9.5. out of 10

The Duelists, based on a story by Joseph Conrad
9.5. out of 10

When I first saw this splendid motion picture, some thirty or more years ago, I was overwhelmed by its beauty, the rather incredible story of strange honor and, as far as I can remember, the eroticism of a few scenes - in the communist days, censors were hostile not only towards subversive political messages, but also flaunting nudity and thus we could rarely see intimacy on the big screen...alas, towards the last years of the Ceausescu regime, we couldn't see much of any film, never mind with anything interesting in it.

The cast is phenomenal in this film, especially Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel, Albert Finney, Edward Fox and Cristina Raines.
The story is absorbing and rather absurd, all at the same time.

For we are invited to watch two adults - granted, one is much more sensible than the other, although he still plays along, observing preposterous rules of conduct - as they fight duels over...


Having said that, this is not an absurd, modern day naive and lame conflict between Batman and Superman, two comics characters that keep coming at each other.
The Duelists is a meditation on honor, what has meaning, valor, determination, perhaps even the manner in which fashions is amusing to see the proud officers display some weird, thin, pony tails...a few of them for each, hanging on the sides of their heads.

Keith Carradine plays Armand d'Hubert, one of The Duelists, the reasonable, decent, smart, brave, in short, the one we identify with, while Harvey Keitel is Gabriel Feraud, compulsive, dishonest, stubborn, insecure, probably- no, scratch that and put surely - psychotic character.
The latter would lie about the initial flimsy reason for the first duel and pretend that his opponent had insulted his majesty, Emperor Napoleon.

In the first part, they are both fighting in the Napoleonic wars and meet in various places, from Lubeck to the Russian front, but towards the end, the decent officer would join the royalist corps, stating that the restored monarchy has to rely on fighters who have learned the trade from the emperor's campaigns.
Wherever they meet, mad Feraud would insist on a new duel and they fight quite a few.

D'Hubert is hoping at different stages that his nemesis would not see him or that a different in rank would exclude any dueling.
A soldier would not be allowed to fight a duel with a colonel.

Nevertheless, they each have the same promotions and end up as generals.
In one of the memorable scenes, during the humbling, gruesome defeat from Russia, when much of the Napoleonic army is decimated by the cold, hunger and disease, Feraud provokes yet again his enemy to a duel.

I mean, give me a break is what anyone would think!
We are all about to die anyway, we don't need to murder each other.

Pride and honor though force d'Hubert to accept the challenge.
They move away from the troops, but they face an isolated Cossack...or if he wasn't a Cossack, he was with the other army anyway.

The Duelists shoot and kill this laughing fool - well, perhaps he wasn't a fool, just a brave one whose faith would rather have him die in battle than fifty years later in his bed - and a couple of his companions, after which the others run.
You would think that this moment in which they saved each other's lives - and d'Hubert would do that again for the crazy Feraud, some time later - would create a bond and they would at least stop dueling after this nadir.

You would be wrong.

vineri, 27 septembrie 2019

Ramen Shop, directed by Eric Khoo - 8.6 out of 10

Ramen Shop, directed by Eric Khoo
8.6 out of 10

Although Ramen Shop is a serene, gentle, food orientated motion picture, it does have the story of a gruesome act inserted in the middle, explaining to a great extent the drama, cold shoulder given to the hero of this feature by his grandmother.

The ghastly tale is about the Japanese occupation during World War II and the horrible things they did, one of which has a woman at the center, who is holding her baby and the infant is crying, up to the moment when a soldier comes to the scene, takes him or her – I am not sure the gender was mentioned and if it was, I do not remember it – and throws the child into the air, only to stab him or her with the sword!

Other than this horrendous episode, this film may remind people of Eat, Pray, Love or some other feel good movie, for the characters are amiable, decent people, even if the grandmother is as hostile to her grandson as to stonewall and reject him on the first encounter.
Takumi Saitoh plays the main character, Masato, a young Japanese man who travels to Singapore to find more about his parents past, since they are deceased now, they are no longer able to provide any information and he would meet with relatives far from home.

Ramen Shop, the title, refers to the cuisine that is perhaps the main theme of the motion picture, but this is not just one of those culinary journeys that you may find on the Travel channel or other venues, it has deeper implications for the hero says:

-          ‘I would like to learn about some of the dishes, to cook them and honor the memory of my parents with them’ …words to that effect, Insha’Allah

In other words, as Masato learns how to cook one or another delicious meal, he would be able to perform rituals of commemorating his late parents, perhaps by cooking those dishes and offering them to others.

One of those helping him in this endeavor is Uncle Wee, who is a specialist of ‘pork ribs soup’, which seems to require a lot of preparation and was one of the favorites, apparently a marvelous treat.
Singapore is well placed to combine culinary traditions from various places- Mei Lian is explaining to the young Japanese man, avid to learn about the different flavors, menus that come from India, China and other corners of the world.

Uncle Wee and the family visit the grandmother and they take along their guest, Masato, and mention that he is the son of her late daughter and this is unfortunately met with more than coldness.
In the past, the mother of the hero had infuriated her parent because she has had a relationship with a Japanese man, the would be father of the protagonist and thus a breakdown came about.

Indeed, Masato would return to the residence of his grandmother, after being initially rejected and call her to the door to ask why she had allowed her daughter to die in torment.
Gradually, the old lady and her new found relative might get together – let us avoid spoilers here – after she is watching the photo placed by her daughter under the door, many years before…

Paste Magazine was inspired in saying: ‘Like the best “food porn” movies, Ramen Shop is an expression of authentic passion’.

However, Variety is a bit more glacial: ‘a film about cultural and culinary fusion, Singaporean auteur Eric Khoo’s “Ramen Teh” is cinematically more comfort food than haute cuisine.’

joi, 26 septembrie 2019

The Ground Beneath My Feet aka Der Boden Unter den Fusen - Nine out of 10

The Ground Beneath My Feet aka Der Boden Unter den Fusen
Nine out of 10

On some levels, Der Boden may remind one of Up In the Air, with George Clooney and Vera Farmiga, for in both films the protagonists have to optimize profits for companies and thus reduce the payroll, fire people and consequently become seriously affected by this emotional – at least in the chronical stages – business, although the main characters in both films are charming, intriguing, strong if also troubled.

Valerie Pachner is absolutely extraordinary in the role of Lola Wegenstein, a personage with a complicated history – she has been an orphan and has had to suffer traumas in her childhood, being sent to a foster home and having an elder sister that is in her care now – a very strong appearance, hiding psychological issues, needing affection – again, think about the childhood – bracing herself to cope with a very demanding job – at one point, when she is unconscious, she repeats ‘48’ and the doctor asks about it:

-          It is in our jargon…in our  business it means going for 48 hours without a break…words to that effect

Lola has a sister, Conny, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia – the undersigned has had the opportunity to interact with someone with this condition and realized how unpredictable, strange and ultimately more than upsetting the dialogue can be…at one point, in an public place, it seemed as if this cinephile would be accused of some terrible and purely imagined things.
The heroine takes care of her sister, but not in the way the latter wants, for she keeps talking about moving out from the institution where she is supervised and where she imagines that the others are stealing from her, she is in danger and she absolutely would not spend another minute, forcing her sibling to invent explanations, an imminent move, which means that she has to sell this place and get another…

The main character is in a sometimes tumultuous relationship with Elise, who is her boss and this complicates matters – the old adage that ‘one should not mix business with pleasure’, at least in that sense, may have some merit, although I have learned from our greatest philosopher, Constantin Noica, that proverbs are not really the ‘great source of wisdom’ they are purported to be…just like in you cannot have the cake and eat it…

The sex scenes are jubilant, intense, provoking, even though they are very short and there is little nudity on show, confirming the theory exposed in a documentary called American Cinema, where one of the classics of the big screen maintained that when they show in modern movies bodies, coitus and all, the effect is counterproductive and the old films, where eroticism is suggested, rather than exposed have a much bigger impact.
Lola Wegenstein is often insecure and sometimes unstable, overwhelmed by the infernal schedule and the heavy demands of the job, for just as she keeps a straight face when she talks about job losses – explaining for instance to an employee that when they decide who must go, they do not do that on a personal basis, in response to the call made by the woman, who spoke of the child who is dependent on her, a single mother – she is tormented by her tasks.

Unaware of her sexual orientation, abusive and chauvinist, a client wants to have drinks with her at the bar, after they have lunch with another partner in the company, the consultant explains that they will maintain 85% of their workforce, people from her firm would come on sight to deal with issues, only she seems not to be one of those on the list, to the regret of the man who says:

-          ‘Some men would just put their hand under the table, between your legs…I will not…I am just saying I want to do that!’

Indeed, what a fucking gentleman…
At one point, one of Lola’s colleagues makes her sign a sheet with wrong figures and that causes a confrontation with Elise, who speaks about the fact that others have started to talk about ‘burn out’, which she says is ‘like leprosy ‘in the business of consulting…after this incident, the heroine follows the man who cheated and placed her in a terrible position so that he gets the advantage, the promotion, into the men’s room, where she stands while he urinates and then challenges over what he did.

The man arrogantly shows his penis and says that this is the advantage he has, confirming one of the themes of the film, the idea that men are still taking advantage of the old privileges, the ascendancy they still have over women, in today’s world, which still has to change so much…when they organize teams, Elise says something to the effect that we will include three men, because they give the clients a feeling of solidity…

Lola comes near a breaking point, she seems to imagine a call from her sister, while she is in a very exciting, heated intimacy with her boss, in a hotel room, and she thinks she hears Conny on the phone, mentioning that she is naked and she can see her, making the agitated, frightened woman to run only in a bathrobe, into the elevator, out of the hotel on the street to find the patient who must have escaped supervision…
When she calls the establishment, they say that this never happened, patients are not allowed to have mobile phones and the sister is asleep…

Valerie Pachner, with her phenomenal performance, makes this motion picture a remarkable one.

miercuri, 25 septembrie 2019

Midsommar, written and directed by Ari Aster - 8.8 out of 10

Midsommar, written and directed by Ari Aster
8.8 out of 10

How on earth did I know that the elder people would jump off that cliff and hence I anticipated the peculiarness of this feature?

There are, as always, a few ways to approach this film and its content…either following the positive paradigm – ‘be a merit finder, not a fault finder’ or ‘there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’ Shakespeare – or indulging in criticism of the various shortcomings of the motion picture, which may not abound, but believe me, you can find them.
First off, it seems rather odd and rather ineffective to prolong the plunge into the substance of the film, which lies with the Swedish cult and its outlandish, cruel, autarchic, primeval rituals, with a long, even tedious segment in America, where the group of young people have an awkward dynamic and finally – it looked like it would never happen – decide to travel to this strange place in Europe…

Dani, her somewhat unhappy with their bond boyfriend, Christian, and his friends, Josh, Mark and Pelle decide to take a trip to the place where Pelle was born, in Sweden and spend time in the community there, after some back and forth, hesitations caused by the fact that the men would not want Dani to come along, but she does.
The natives seem friendly enough, when they arrive, and their attire appears innocent enough, with white dresses with traditional motives, a temple with naïve paintings on the wall, instead of the icons we see in other places of worship on the old continent, and some really bizarre decorations and art forms, with one showing the sexual organs of a woman and some peculiar operation that takes place there…

It is a slow introduction to what becomes a horror film and the question asked at the start may have an easy answer, for all viewers might have expected some horrible thing to happen – especially if they had looked up the genre of the film, which I did not – after this segment where we see that the Swedish members of this cult seem friendly, but they have some outlandish answers to almost all the questions asked.
Pelle is the one introducing the guests – and we would later learn that he had been actually on a mission and he brought the Americans to the camp with a definite, nefarious purpose -and explaining some of the traditions, the habits they have in the group, where spring is the period up to 18, followed by summer, until the person reaches 36, then we have autumn, finished at 54 and finally winter, between the ages of 54 and 72…what happens after that?

It is the end!

And that is the start of the gruesome, ghastly part of the film, where we have  the ceremony in which and elder couple, presumably out of winter and ready for the next stage, climb on top of two cliffs, watched from below by the whole assembly of children, women and men and then they jump to a terrifying death in the case of the woman and to an agonizing crash, in which one leg is severed and the man is conscious, up to the moment when his kind friends come with something like a huge hammer and bash his head in…the special effects are good and we are shown in quite a few scenes remarkable imagery of skulls crushing, brains coming out, entrails and other resplendent pictures.
We could pause here and state that reading Influence by Robert Cialdini or other psychological classics would help understand some of what is going on in the film, for we have had in real life tragedies that resemble Midsommar, one mass suicide that took place in Guyana for instance, is explained in the book using the Principles of Conformity and Reciprocity…people tend to imitate what others do, especially when they are in situations that are extreme, there is also the Principle of Respect for Authority and here they look at the elders to see what they have to do…

From the moment when the older couple dies and it is explained that they wanted it, they all do the same when their time comes and the guests are first horrified – or are they really? – but then try to use this Communicating Across Cultures bulshit, wherein they start accepting that this is a different thinking, ‘they also feel that taking old people to homes and leave them there to vegetate is inhumane…’ and finding excuses for something which absolutely monstrous and unacceptable…
Furthermore, Josh had known that he wants to have a thesis on what is going on here, taking notes throughout, but then the undecided Christian wants to do about the same and a dispute ensues between the two, when they should have been on the same side and both – actually all – needed to face the cruelty, abjectness of the event wherein a large group of people condone suicide, which arguably could be seen as premeditated murder, for the man and woman might have had no option but to surrender to the will of the mad ‘friends and relatives’.

Just like other fanatics, The Manson Family, the Reverend Moon and other mad religious leaders, the cult in Midsommar have a series of awful traditions, which include inbreeding, to produce a descendant that has some special capabilities, having sex with partners assigned based on astrology, coitus in the presence of a dancing group of women, old and apparently young, that dance when intercourse take place, come to the man involved in the act and push his behind, sing some outré, rather unstimulating, hoarse chants and the list is much longer.
Worst of all, they kill human beings – and the poor bear that had been kept in a small cage, for animal or human rights have not reached this remote place in the north – and they call it sacrifice, but then Australopithecus may have used some similar term…

My Super Ex-Girlfriend by Don Payne - Seven out of 10

My Super Ex-Girlfriend by Don Payne
Seven out of 10

The good moments are few and far between.

You may enjoy though the scene wherein Jenny Johnson aka G-Girl aka Uma Thurman breaks the bed of her lover.
This is charming Matt Saunders aka Luke Wilson.

Perhaps the most laudable aspect of this comedy is that it takes the idea of the superhero, superheroine in this case, lightly.
Faced with avalanche of Avengers, Spider Men, X and other Super Men, the public may enjoy one feature where we are not in awe at the exploits of the main character.

Yes, G-Girl saves people in trouble.
She even releases poor Matt from the Statue of Liberty, where he was hanging and just about to die.

The Super Girl takes the trouble to change the trajectory of a missile, just when it was ready to hit a crowded city.
Only this last endeavor comes after Matt insists that she does something to prevent a massacre and she is rather infuriated she has to work all the time and find solutions…

Otherwise, there is not much here that we can admire, but this is mostly because we have been inundated with so many heroes, sequels, prequels and spin offs of comic book characters that it is more than enough.
If we are to select among them though, Super Ex- Girlfriend has more merits that most of the other motion pictures in the genre.

marți, 24 septembrie 2019

The House, written by Brendan O’Brien and Andrew Jay Cohen - Six out of 10

The House, written by Brendan O’Brien and Andrew Jay Cohen
Six out of 10

Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler can be exhilarating and hilarious, when they have the right material and proper conditions.

Alas, this is not the case for The House.
The comedy has such a low Metascore that it seems it is not just a fussy critic or a few that did not get the jokes.

The Guardian is spot on when it says:

“The exuberant comic talents of Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler are largely wasted in this uninspired addition to the frat movie canon, which resembles reheated leftovers of the Hangover, albeit with a curious detour into some heavy bloodletting.”

Time Out London also states – ‘there’s nothing here that works’.

There are some surprises though, when Scott Johansen aka Will Ferrell and Kate Johansen aka Amy Poehler decide to open an illegal casino in…

The House

The shock comes when the two ‘casino owners’, together with their accomplice, partner in crime Frank aka Jason Mantzoukas, have to make a show of strength in front of a cheating customer.
As Scott pretends to get tough with a sharp object, he accidentally cuts the finger off his victim.

It is gory!

But, it is supposed to be (also?) hilarious.
Evidently, it is not.

Blood is pouring over the face of the man who has just wanted to show off and pretend to be tough.
His shirt is soaked and then he goes into the ‘gambling room’, in front of all the clients.

The result is that all those who have debts, pay immediately for they are now afraid of…

The Butcher
It is the new nickname of the alleged violent crime boss.

He models his looks on the Robert De Niro’s character in Casino, Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein, with those designer sunglasses.
However, people ask him if they are women’s glasses.

luni, 23 septembrie 2019

Between Two Ferns The Movie, story by Zach Galifianakis and Scott Aukerman - 7 out of 10

Between Two Ferns The Movie, story by Zach Galifianakis and Scott Aukerman
7 out of 10

This comedy has received some mixed reviews, although the rather unimpressive Metascore of 58 shows that critics have been rather unhappy with the efforts of the filmmakers.

There are some odd moments and if we take this as a prank, a practical joke, on quite a few levels it might have worked.
I mean, I thought that the celebrities that are interviewed have really been more than annoyed with the 'talk show host'.

Indeed, even if we get a different picture after we see the credits and interaction during filming is presented, it may still be a complicated situation.
In the sense that some of the stars may still feel that the material is outre and doubtful, but there are other things at play and took a small part without too much concern.

The premise of Two Ferns is such that it is not going to the Oscars, of it is getting attention from any serious cinematic festival...I guess.
Matthew McConaughey seems to be really irate, while playing himself and facing a barrage of silly, then offensive and finally abusive questions from the host, Zack or ZG as he is called at one point.

It seems ludicrous, not amusing, when all the set is flooded, with a pipe directed at the guest, who takes a full jet of water straight on.
Bire Larson, Keanu Reeves, Paul Rudd, Jon Hamm, David Letterman and others are supposedly offended with various questions that are supposed to be creative, original...after all, there are a myriad of shows out there, they need to distinguish themselves with something

In a cut throat competition for the attention of the public, where the are so many options, series, channels, pay per view and otherwise, what did they find?

For Brie Larson...
'When did you have your first what age?'

For Paul Rudd, provocation on the issue of his Jewish origins and the fact that he has tried to hide them...if I remember well.
Anyway, Paul Rudd says a joke, apparently off scripture, but included at the end...

'What happens when a Jew walks with an erection into a wall...
He breaks his nose...'

Whatever the intention was, to use satire, mock the frenetic assault on celebrities, the tabloids' attempts to infringe on the privacy of stars, in such a sophisticated manner as to make it difficult to detect, it seems to have least to a great extent.

Or maybe, perhaps more likely, I just didn't get it and it is my fault

duminică, 22 septembrie 2019

Stand by Me, based on a novel by Stephen King - 9.6 out of 10

Stand by Me, based on a novel by Stephen King
9.6 out of 10

This marvelous film has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, two Golden Globes, for best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Director for Rob Reiner.

It is also very popular with critics and audiences, being among the Top Rated Movies.
Indeed, the quest to find the body of a missing boy is at times miraculous in its sincerity, compelling character s, beautiful scenery, some amusing scenes, mingled with a few scary ones.
A complete, near perfect movie.

All the child actors are superb:
Will Wheaton as Gordie Lachance, River Phoenix as Chris Chambers,  Corey Feldman as Teddy Duchamp and Jerry O'Connell as Vern Tessio.
They all have well defined personages, with some impressive, sometimes terrifying stories...for instance,  Teddy Duchamp is abused by his abominable father.

The lunatic parent has in one instance taken his son and almost burned his ear out of existence...the result is a gruesome sight on the side of the poor boys head.
Nevertheless, he is, just like the other three, a valiant, gritty, dermined, brave and fabulous boy.

The group has to face the train, as they are caught on a piece of rail tracks from where they have to run back in a flash, for the alternative is to jump a long distance into the river and that would probably mean death or invalidity for the rest of their last lives.
In a garage, there is a dog with a fierce reputation, thought to be trained to get the balls of any intruder and this is part of the drama of the film.
The humor is present in the chase and also in the 'barforada', an event where men and a boy compete for the top prize, given to the one who eats more pie.

The participating boy has a revenge to take and thus he uses castor oil and a raw egg to provoke a massive vomiting fit, which results in a crowd of people all throwing up over each other.
Ace Merrill aka Kiefer Sutherland is the leader of the thugs and he is a villainous one all right.

When he is competing with another car, he is so deranged as to drive full speed ahead into a coming truck, which was just obeying the rules, all in its lane, but had to maneuver out of the road, into the field, discharging the logs it carried, to avoid the lunatic that would not budge, waiting to be killed with his buddies.
This psychopath is ready to use his bigger power over the group of boys who are considerably younger than him and severely handicapped in a possible fight...

Unless of course, one of them has a gun...

Stand by Me is an outstanding, complex, generous motion picture in that it offers so many feel good moments, without becoming a sirupy, corny soap opera...the ending is just one proof of that.

Duplex by Larry Doyle - 8 out of 10

Duplex by Larry Doyle
8 out of 10

Although a sometimes charming comedy, Duplex is not much more than just the average feature that we seem to see on our screens these days.

Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore and Elileen Essell are a pleasure to watch, but their efforts do not bring extasy.
Alex Rose aka Ben Stiller and Nancy Kendricks aka Drew Barrymore are looking for an apartment in New York, to fit their needs and desires.

The duplex they find seems to be nec plus ultra.
It has an old lady occupying the upper floor, but as the real estate agent underlined- when he was bent on selling the place, for later he would change his position with 180 degrees- she has the age when she can expire at any moment.

An she is so sweet...
Actually, this is where she catch is.

She becomes the equivalent of the boy in Home Alone.
At that age, he is surely vulnerable, we think.

In practice, the woman becomes a nightmare for Alex, who is a writer and tries to explain to her...

'Look, this is my office...I work at home and hence, between 9 and 6 it is like I am at the office...I am unavailable '

Words to that effect.
To a large extent, I sympathize with the old lady, not because I am kind, humane or whatever, but just on account of her parrot.

I have a green and red macaw, Puccini, and a blue and gold one, Balzac.
Alas, the bird the old woman had was not in great shape.

There is a sort of humorous scene involving the macaw to some extent, albeit of dubious quality.
The writer tries to work on the sink of the old woman, for the help she had used so far resulted in huge expenses for the landlords, which is now the unhappy couple.

As it always happens in these circumstances, the waste and muck accumulated in the sink, falls down on the face of the one fixing the problem...Alex.

As Nancy is watching this from close, she vomits.
Mrs. Connelly says:

'My bird likes regurgitated food anyway...'

As you have probably seen on The Discovery or other channels, parent birds feed their young ones with what they catch and then regurgitate.

Duplex is comical at times, but often it can be annoying, as in the instance when the laptop of the writer falls in the fireplace and as if that was not enough, it lands under the wheels of a passing truck...

I mean come on!