** "Offbeat hilarious!" ** "RA tingles & laughs" ** "True to the characters! " ** "The fiction is great. Keep it up!" **

Friday, August 21, 2015

Review Hannibal 310 See How Magnificent You Are

A review written with the book Red Dragon by Thomas Harris in the hand, ethical knowledge in the head and an illegal internet source giving the eyeful.


You would, after being swallowed whole, and digested by Team Hannibal, think you got a clue what they like. Wrong, It it pitchdark in their intestines and although they drink cocktails with Debussy music in the background, I fear I am going mental. What was the case? After postponing to write review 309, I managed to finish it and went straight into watching 310 and within another day 311. Try say anything sane after that.

Episode 309 I found not evenly balanced, only the Dolarhyde scenes were up there. Episode 310 to me as outsider was finally from beginning to end entertaining and the minor storylines were understandable. And to compare it, episode 311 was even more jawdropping. But back to 310.

While I was about to watch episode 310 I had to re-read the Dolarhyde chapters in the book. How easily little facts are overlooked. Still after two readings and this book covered in marking stickers, I was surprised and amazed what Team Hannibal wired into the show.

Online I read dislikes on the borrowing from other movies, but also joys of recognition. To me, the result of hussling bits from the Red Dragon book, was not as bad as how The Hobbit book was turned into three movies. I see what was done with the Hannibal script and while I missed clues, explanations and introductions in the previous Red Dragon episodes, this episode was insanely well balanced, even more in 311. What was showed, was going back and forth. What I liked was that one thing unfolds into another. Plus that background matters just as much as the drama.  This episode came up to steam, even in the mood. The storyline of Team Sassy Science was kept to a minimum.

'Only you would understand.'

Dolarhyde finally meets Hannibal in this episode. But is it in his mind or for real? Is it a fan fantasy of 'D' - as he is called by Reba McClane later on - having a meaningful conversation, even getting recognized in motives and even getting counselled by Hannibal? Before that we see him making preparations of relaying phonewires in a switchboard, wearing a SureTalkTelecom shirt, as if he was a phone comp guy.

In another scene D takes Reba to the Zoo where he arranged a meeting with a tiger for her. The blind Reba touches the tiger while D is observing her. In the show Reba touches the softness of the tiger's ear and 'mouth of the beast' with the sharp tooth. In the book, it was the private parts region. D has never seen that in real life before. Sorry, my sensors say I should watch my language. Then Reba makes the cocktails at D's home and as they get more comfortable on the bench to very comfortable in grandmother's bedroom, I was thinking I was watching an American soft porn sequence from the seventies. That could be not far off of the intention in the book which was published in 1981. In the heat of the moment, Reba transforms into a 'woman clothed in sun'. The sequence ends with a tear in the eye of the love depraved man, described as shy by Hannibal.

In the night, Reba is sleeping and D is awake as if he has realised the effects of a change. He picks up her hand and caresses it over his most dehumanising part of his face, his cleft palate. In doing so, he allows her to touch his face, something she had asked for in the previous episode. That moment was a mixture of acceptance and control, because she, being blind and asleep, could not sense the control over the conditions of the acceptance of her request.
The morning-after, D finds out that the bed is empty. He searches the house, first going to the attic where he did his flexing and then finds Reba downstairs already dressed. She wants to go home.

D also has his bad side. Hannibal analyses the murder on the Jacobi family with Will Graham. Also the Mah-jongg sign of the Red Dragon and the William Drake references get explained. Cue the interior of the Brooklyn museum. Funny thing, in the book and on the website it is mentioned when the museum is closed on a particular weekday for the public, yet researchers are allowed. So in this episode this was mentioned by a museum worker to Dolarhyde. A classic buildup, seventies-style, followed. D slams the museum worker to sniff, stroke and eat the William Drake painting. Meanwhile Will Graham has arrived at the museum, also for this painting. They clash, of course, but D escapes, for sure.

'This is not an unfair review.'

Watching Hannibal causes unwanted side effects. For instance, when I tried to get the hang of Dolarhyde's motives, my question on a RA FB fanpage 'Why he didn't have another go AND film it himself?' almost breached their rules. Yet I was only doing a 'Bryan Fuller', doing everything to please the sensors. To him spitters are quitters.

Quote of the week
Hannibal: So what are you becoming?
Dolarhyde: 'The. Great. Red. Dragooooon!'

Eyeful: romantic moments between D and Reba
Heartfelt: D caressing his cleft palate with Reba's hand
Best: the scene where Dolarhyde meets Hannibal and how it is visually portrayed.
Worst; there is no worst, only Wurst and deep throating.
OHHH: 'Actually I think of them as unfair reviews.' I hope D approves my review.
The devil is in the details clever: SureTalkTelecom shirt worn by D, counsel room, double D
Art: either a flash of a Hieronimus Bosch or a Pieter Breughel painting. 'Hannibal says: 'Before Dante one did not spoke of the gates of hell, but of the mouth of hell. My year of damnation began when I was swallowed by the beast.' Beautiful background music by Debussy.
Disturbing: not in this episode. D throws Will Graham against the wall and knocks a museum worker
Hot: go to the zoo with D and find out if you are a woman clothed with sun
Hope: Dolarhyde and Reba make love tapes for each other
Verdict: watch this on a Chinon Pacific movie projector

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hannibal Review Ep 309 Ride With Me... For My Pleasure

A review written with the book Red Dragon by Thomas Harris in the hand, ethical knowledge in the head and an illegal internet source giving the eyeful.

As RA follower I am new to the Hannibal series and being no fan of the horror genre, this is the second episode of the Red Dragon story I was so lucky to watch early on. Trust me, I am smiling.
It is no fastfood-formulaic show like Crimescene. It is not about solving a crime within the episode. Team Hannibal serves this show as if it was an exquisite dish for insiders.
I feel like I am on the plate, undergoing the rite of passage of being eaten as an Ortolan, refrase Hannibal Hermitage garden bird. As one of the tiny birds - captured alive, force-fed, then drowned in Armagnac, refrase Armitage - I felt roasted whole and eaten that way, bones and all, while the diners - Team Hannibal - draped their sardonic smiling heads with a linen napkin to preserve the precious aromas and, some believe, to hide from God. (Paraphrasing quote from The Wine Spectator).

The tableaus morte - definately not vivant - I do not intend to be a part of. Dishing Hannibal's character with some girl who he talks into committing a murderous act left a bad taste in my mouth. The female newsreporter had peppered moralities for Will Graham on the murder site which brought much needed balance back into this episode. Cat-and-mouse play in dialogues can come across as clever, but also tiresome. The third and following storylines were not always helpful getting to know the show, so for me it was hard to follow the who's and what's.

Then the main story for the episodes that I am following is the Red Dragon storyline. So happy to conclude with my narrow focus on RA's scenes, that those scenes were the most dramatic. What a great subtle expressions and verbal nuances were given in the Francis Dolarhyde and Reba McClane scenes!

This episode was about getting closer to Francis Dolarhyde. To get to know him more. Does he accept a touch? No, but a blind woman softens him to accept a prum, coffee and pie. Dolarhyde does not want you to know. Do not ask too many questions. Do not mention speach impairment. And why did he have to interact with people? News bites on him in the Tattle Crime, are they telling the truth on the mass-murderer or are they shallow assumptions from profilers? Hannibal speaks of the Tooth Fairy like he is a naïve, incompetent pupil.

Link to this issue Tattle Crime

Similar to watching this show I read the book Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, which was the basis for this show. This book, the Red Dragon episodes and the spoiler vids of upcoming episodes spark more personal thoughts on the background of Dolarhyde than this frame of review allows me to. While I was writing this post I found it mentally hard to write these personal thoughts in. To compare every Dolarhyde scene with the scenes in the episodes would feel like hard work too. It is more like I kinda know Dolarhyde. I compare him to the lonesome, eccentric characters I witnessed in my life. But does that mean they automatically are psychopaths? No not in the least. The animal killings in Dolarhyde's youth in the book and other minor valued, yet disturbing offences, do definetely point to psychopath. 'Revenge is a dish best served cold' is written on Dolarhyde's toothbrush.

Biting poster at busstop where Dolarhyde picks up Reba McClane.

Quote of the week:
Trust me, I'm smiling.

Eyeful: kinda hard, because it was Dolarhyde in dark environments, yet tense and s-speaking
Prop: newspaper Tattle Crime, red plume, red pie, knifes left and center
Don't get: why it is not the Red Dragon show
Disturbing: this episode asked less vomiting of its viewers
Flashbacks: Will Graham on the phone with his wife as if he sits on the bed with her
Clever: Reba McClane waiting at a busstop while Dolarhyde picks her up with a van and we see the poster in the busstop, implying she is up to no good destiny.
Best scene: the ink-licking scene plus the whole sequence of scenes with Dolarhyde and Reba McClane, but best one is the kitchen table talk scene with the physical hesitations of Dolarhyde.
Hope: Dolarhyde likes Reba
Verdict: fingerlicking hesitating

Images: Hannibal, Tattle Crime, poster via Bryan Fuller

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Review Hannibal 308 Give Red Dragon A Hug

A review written with the book Red Dragon by Thomas Harris in the hand, ethical knowledge in the head and an illegal internet source giving the eyeful.

The screen brings violence back where it belongs - in the home, according to Alfred Hitchcock, late filmmaker of horror movies. As a volunteer in theatre, witnessing a lot of onstage domestic quarrels - scarsely brutal violence - and as random TV and film watcher - too much violence, I say it is better to vent anger elsewhere or otherwise, like physical in acting or sports, or mental in storytelling, by analysing and exposing the mechanism of violence.

As nature would have it there are souls out there who take violent acts as an example of how to be more violent. Hannibal and Will Graham, the two murderous leads even impose others. Newbie Francis Dolarhyde is a fan of Hannibal. Reading the book, which was first published in 1981, I wondered where it all went wrong. The book drops news bits through dialogue and discription. The TV series does it with visual eyefuls and in different order. Yet the characters are what they are.
Of Hannibal it says he is a intelligent, evoking psychopath who is locked up for life, yet stabs eyes out in an unforseen moment. Will Graham is a similar soul and both have conversations on thought provoking murder investigations. Francis Dolarhyde is described as a curious loner, who has a facial disformation - a cleft lip - and childhood traumas. Now Francis Dolarhyde also collects newspaper clippings of  'Tooth Fairy' in a scrapbook....

The TV series presents Dolarhyde in moving images. Moving in two meanings. Emotionally touching, because his face is badly misformed and he is by himself. Moving, not speaking. He works on his body. Flexing to gain strength. Gets himself a tattoo and scary dentures. Makes impaired vocal noises with dentures in. He distroys the mirror, because he can not bare to face his image. Apparently he either wants to change his current state of existing or he has given in to his urges. He sits reading a newspaper, crawing his hands. The images only paint the mood of these moments. Whatever he does, it is extraordinary. It all looks so heartbreaking. Best to run from him we learn when Will Graham enters the brutal murder scene of the 'Tooth Fairy'.

Most clues were given in images. Aesthetic, clever visuals which could be explained best by someone who knows their history of film finesses. The moon references caught my attention. Hitchcock-style cinematography repeats of hidden themes. Three times the camera zoomed out forming one thing into the next, such a flashlight into a big white round - moon. A visual gem for a Fannibal. Later on it was said that Dolarhyde murders on full moon nights. A real breathtaking gem was when Will Graham was at the murder site and the camera panned round him to get the background - forming two wings of red dreads - in place. New meaning to the 'Great Becoming of the Red Dragon'. The best scene was not when Dolarhyde was flexing in his attic. No the best scene was the projector fight scene. It went from Dolarhyde watching film on his projector. He then gets mental and fights the material, getting film around his head, then stands still, beaming light from his eyes and mouth. Becoming the projector!?

Hold on, I have seen this one before. 

Yep got it.

The crux of the matter is that Dolarhyde is played by a handsome actor - he disagrees - who was damaged by prosthetics professionals. So the acting tragedy must be underneath the broken image. The internal story was so heartbreakingly on display, that next clipping of Tooth Fairy will thus be 'Fannibals are Armitaged.'

Dolarhyde searching for his contact lenses.


Quote of the week
More like a dog-like croon of the single vowel between O and U

Eyeful: Dolarhyde flexing. I know RA looks gorgeous! Still to see him like that after his comments on a clip of him sporting Speedos in a infamous Canadian chat show, I never thought he would repeat it - albeit in a better dressed shorts.
Prop: scary dentures
Don't get: why he is so messed up
Disturbing: the abundance of blood in the murder scene with explicit details.
Wanted to see more of: Dolarhyde's nakedness in frosty moonlight
Flashbacks: Hannibal having comfortable chats in cell vs. Italy
Clever: references in visuals: three moons, Graham in red dreads as wings of Red Dragon, overlay of images on crime scene when flashlight shines on it and in shadow, showing the corpses and the police markings as visual remnants of the crime scene
Best scene: the projector fight scene. I have seen similar image before. Other inside jokes from the horror genre were spotted so I was told, but then I am not into that, although I liked Twin Peaks.
Hope: Dolarhyde finds love. Poor him, pre-internet days in this Hannibal universe.
Verdict: empathy, not sympathy for Dolarhyde

Images: Hannibal promotional pictures, screencaps, monster