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Malmkrog, The Calming, and Gunda



Of all the pleasures that go missing when a film festival goes virtual, true post-movie discussion might be the most, well, missed. Because even if one were to toggle from the end credits running in one tab to a Zoom call waiting in the next, it wouldn’t quite replicate the experience of stepping out of a dark auditorium and into the light of the lobby, ready to talk about what the hell we all just experienced. This critic, for example, has very fond memories of just one year ago, when an early morning screening at the start of the New York Film Festival bled straight into a café conversation with peers and colleagues about the towering, august-years opus that had just world-premiered across the street. (And that’s to say nothing of the moderated onstage dialogue between Martin Scorsese and his cast of venerated gangster alums, further greasing the wheels of debate on that magnificent movie.)

Perhaps the programmers at this year’s NYFF recognized how starved we’d all be for some good old-fashioned exchange of ideas. That could be one rationale behind making room in the lineup for Malmkrog (Grade: C+), the talkiest movie of this year or possibly any other. This characteristically demanding drama from Romanian filmmaker Cristi Puiu is almost nothing but gab: a three-and-a-half-hour block of philosophical discourse between wealthy intellectuals, restricted by nothing but their own patience, lung capacity, and tolerance for soapboxing. For a certain portion of the audience, this may impart a vicarious thrill: Who among us has had the recent opportunity to chew the fat at length with the like-minded over food and drink on a chilly evening? Others may find themselves cured of any nostalgia for rhetorical circle jerk.


Photo: Shellac

Set around the turn of the 20th century, within the parlor and dining hall of a vast Transylvanian manor, Malmkrog pulls up a chair to studiously listen in on a series of unbroken Christmas Eve debates between Eastern European aristocrats. The language is florid and eloquent, which doesn’t quite dispel the sense that those speaking are running through the syllabus of a philosophy 101 class; the topics include such well-trod territory as colonialism, the morality of war, and the existence of God and evil. No one makes their case quickly. The film, in turn, makes a very slow case that these ideas are not so productively explored by pointing a camera at actors reciting pages upon pages of raw musings, no matter how artfully that camera has been positioned.

Puiu adapted the film from a philosophy text by Russian writer and thinker Vladimir Solovyov, approaching the material like a creative challenge. Was it possible, he purportedly asked, to make something dramatically compelling out of a collection of dense, highbrow conversations? Malmkrog suggests the answer may be a resounding “Nyet.” Puiu does attempt to provide some distinctive characteristics for his tireless gasbags: The host (Frédéric Schulz-Richard) is an antagonistic blowhard, his most frequent sparring partner a naïve and devout Christian (Marina Palii), their most odious holiday guest a kind of proto-Ben Shapiro (Ugo Broussot) pitching his white supremacy as sensible straight talk. But the focus is on the words spilling constantly from their maws; a mouthpiece with a hint of personality is still a mouthpiece.

Around the edges of these protracted verbal showdowns, a more interesting movie occasionally threatens to emerge. Puiu, who effectively launched his own career and the Romanian New Wave into the international eye with the health-care odyssey The Death Of Mr. Lazarescu, keeps subtly tugging our attention (and sympathies) away from the chatterboxes at center, the eye drifting to the servants wandering the background of the frame and gently interrupting with a beverage or hors d’oeuvre. A revolution—a violent reckoning even—threatens to burst the bubble of privilege occupied by these cloistered nobles. Yet the director is perhaps too committed to the maddening challenge of his experiment to deviate far from it; surrealist flourishes and ominous hints of a coming comeuppance never prevent a reversion to stultifying blather. One is left to admire the literal and figurative wallpaper—to be blessedly distracted by the mise en scène and Puiu’s attempts to constantly vary how he’s filming a tedious tête-à-tête. He has a special gift for framing doors within doors, for instance. You may wish you could exit through one.

The Calming

The Calming
Photo: Huanxi Media

Puiu has orchestrated a marathon gabfest before. He’s also tested his audience’s tolerance in the opposite direction; his nearly-as-long Aurora kept dialogue to an extreme minimum. The same can mostly be said of The Calming (Grade: B-), the second feature by Chinese actor-turned-director Song Fang, which might serve as a chaser for the endless verbal diarrhea of Malmkrog—or maybe just leave a viewer longing for the happy medium. There aren’t too may exchanges in this meditative wisp of a movie, in which a young filmmaker (Qi Xi) floats from Japan to China to Hong Kong, traveling with her latest project but also attempting, perhaps, to outrun her depression over the recent collapse of a romance. This international tour includes pit stops to her parents house, where her father grapples with an increasingly serious illness.

Song’s first film, Memories Look At Me, was explicitly autobiographical, and it’s tempting to suspect a personal dimension to the sightseeing sort-of narrative she unfolds here, as her potential surrogate experiences a fugue state of unarticulated heartache. Operating in the general orbit of Ozu, Song luxuriates in melancholy dislocation—this is a film that understands, if nothing else, how a breakup can leave you both more attuned to the beauty of the world you’re gusting through and rather unmoored from it. (It’s a state of mind conducive to creative observation but not necessarily to creation itself, the film implies.) This viewer found it easy to get onto the movie’s gentle wavelength, tougher to commit its sparse incident to memory. Which it to say, The Calming ultimately might have benefitted from an animating tension—from something beyond its sustained mood of lovely but unvaried serenity. If this a breakup movie, it’s the kind that leaves you in the position of a concerned friend, ready to see the dumped pull themselves out of their existential funk, even just for a self-destructive rebound. The title is accurate to a fault.


Photo: Neon

There’s no dialogue at all in Gunda (Grade: B+), and no human beings in sight either. Yet Victor Kossakovsky’s portrait of a farm in Norway, and the new family of pigs living there, is much more urgent—and, in its own nonfiction and chiefly observational way, much more dramatic—than anything in Malmkrog or The Calming. Decades of anthropomorphizing nature documentaries have conditioned viewers to look for “characters” and “narratives” in the life patterns of fauna. And one might think they’ve identified a plucky underdog hero early into this film, when the birth of a litter of hungry piglets leaves behind one runt, dug out of the hay it was buried beneath while its fellow newborn siblings swarmed to the teat. But any Pavlovian awws dry up quick once the sow crushes her smallest offspring under a carelessly dropped hoof, prompting squealing from baby and audience alike.

Gunda does not fuck around. As adorable and brutal as a farm, it suggests Babe by way of the Sensory Ethnography Lab. Kossakovsky, who shoots in a crisp and immersive black-and-white, thrusts us into the chaotic scuffle of this corner of the animal kingdom; he doesn’t humanize the critters—including chickens that move and loom almost prehistorically, and cows that stare into the camera like the stars of a stark, poetic music video—but he does find a kind of personality in their primal behavior. For a time, the film seems to offer only a close look at the bottom rung of the food chain, and that’s plenty gripping enough. But a kind of related narrative arc does gradually take shape from Kossakovsky’s remarkable footage, and it’s the harsh truth that there’s nothing actually natural about the lives of farm animals. No words or ventriloquized human voices are necessary to feel the gut punch of Gunda’s final shot.


How Las Vegas became the world’s casino capital





These days, it’s impossible to think of Las Vegas without the image of the lights on the strip and glamorous casinos coming to mind. But the Vegas we know of 2020 wasn’t always that way; and it took a long, long time to get its reputation for being the world’s casino capital. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and get to the root of how Las Vegas became the city that never sleeps.

A historical journey

It’s hard to believe these days, but the Las Vegas region was once an abundant marshland stock full of rich vegetation. That is, until the marsh receded, and the waters disappeared, transforming the landscape into a desert, with the trapped water underground sprouting life and forming an oasis.

It was during the 19th century that the explorer Antonio Armijo from Mexico foraged the way from New Mexico to California on the first commercial caravan. It was a member of the group, Rafael Rivera who rode west to find water and venture through the desert, setting his eyes upon Las Vegas Springs. Las Vegas was therefore named ‘the meadows’ after the grasses found growing there.

Years went on and both Mormon and Mexican settlers began to filter through. In 1890 it was decided by railroad developers that Las Vegas would serve as a spot along the San Pedro, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles railroad route as well as connecting to major cities along the Pacific Coast. From there on, Vegas boomed with stores, boarding houses and saloons popping up around the area. This was the beginning of the Las Vegas as we know it — with railroad workers and ranchers enjoying the gambling and drinking through illegal speakeasies and bootleg casinos operating despite the ban on gambling in Nevada in 1910.

In 1931 gambling once again became legal in the state, with new casinos and showgirl venues opening up along Fremont Street to entertain the thousands of workers who flocked the city during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The first hotel, El Rancho Vegas, opened up in 1941 along Highway 91. Its success inspired others to open up their own hotels along the highway which would one day become the strip. Tourists began to flock to the city over the next few decades to enjoy the casino scene and see incredible artists like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra perform.

The birth of the mega resort

It was in 1966 the businessman Howard Hughes purchased the Desert Inn hotel; this was followed by over a dozen more hotel purchases, pushing out the mobster-owned hotels that had previously dominated Las Vegas. The concept of the mega hotel came about in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened the Mirage as the first hotel resort in the city. By 1994, Las Vegas was the home of more than 86,000 hotel and motel rooms with 13 of the 20 largest mega resort hotels in the world. It was during this era that the Strip became populated with more hotels and casinos, with developments inspired by the iconic cities and countries of the globe including Egypt, Paris, New York and Rome.

Las Vegas in the 21st century

The Las Vegas of today is well and truly established as a home for entertainment and casinos — which remain the biggest source of income for the city. However, there’s no doubt that Vegas faces more competition than ever before from the virtual world, with more people than ever before opting to play at an online casino, rather than play in the old fashioned way, but Vegas will always have the advantage. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime trip that an online casino can’t replicate, but do the online equivalents help to increase interest in Vegas?

The bright lights of Vegas is attracting billions of dollars in investment as many try and get a slice of the revenue that the sector has to offer. During 2019 over 42.52 million people came to visit Las Vegas from all around the world. Domestically, it was shown to be the second most popular destination for U.S. traveller’s dream spots after New York.

These days, Las Vegas continues to thrive and be a source of entertainment for millions of visitors from around the world looking to experience what the city has to offer. With new generations becoming interested in casino games — and some incredible musical residencies continuing to be announced — Las Vegas surely will continue to be one best places to go for a unforgettable dream destination for many.

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Land-Based Casinos




What can people find at some of the biggest land-based casinos in Canada? From Niagara Falls to Toronto, there is something for everyone at casinos in Canada, including table games, slots, roulette, blackjack, and other games. There are also many poker and blackjack tournaments held throughout the year and it is easy to find jackpots or slots with free spins at the casinos. Many casinos also have hotels, bars, and numerous restaurants which are perfect for players seeking some comfort. A relaxing casino experience for all ages can be found in many different places in Canada. Choose one from below.

Choosing a casino depends on your tastes and location within Canada. Do you want to experience the grandeur and splendour of nature while placing a bet? Then head to Niagara Falls. Do you want to see a show? Choose a casino with a show that will be perfect for you. If you are looking for pure relaxation, then check out some of the casinos with spas and world-class dining. Entertainment is also a large part of the casino experience in Canada. Musicians, bands, comedians, and other types of entertainment continue to be found at all of the biggest casinos.

Some Big Casinos Near Nature

Casino Niagara is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and the world. People from all around the globe come to experience the best of both worlds at Casino Niagara. Players have access to beauty and scenery while spending time at one of the biggest casinos in Canada. The casino has two floors with over 1200 slot machines, poker, and other table games. There are also many different restaurants and even a comedy club. The sports bar and casino was refurbished back in 2017, meaning that it has not lost any of its charm and shine.

ST Eugene Golf Resort: Casino of the Rockies is a golf and nature lovers’ paradise. The location could not be any more splendid. People can find the casino between the Rockies and Purcell Mountains. Furthermore, the casino has an interesting history after it was converted from an Indian Residential School. It was then opened in the early 2000s. St Eugene has table games, electronic roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. There is also a golf course, restaurant, bar, spa, and hotel that is highly rated in Canada. Overall games are limited so most people come for golfing and betting fun.

Caesars Windsor is famously located on the riverbank in Windsor, Ontario. Visitors from both Canada and the States frequent the casino and hotel. Players can see the Detroit and Michigan skyline from the area. There are two floors of slots, table games, and plenty of poker tables. Blackjack, baccarat, and roulette are also available at the casino. It has beautiful restaurants, a gym, bars, slots, and live sports. Check out the Titan 360™, a 10-foot tall slot machine with 5800 pounds of wins at the click of a button. It’s the largest slot machine in the world and great fun.

  • Enjoy the size of Casino de Montreal and Hard Rock Casino
  • Enjoy the big and beautiful Casino Niagara or ST Eugene Golf Resort
  • Enjoy High Culture at Elements Casino Brantford

River Rock Casino Resort – In Transit

Are you passing through Vancouver Airport and have a long transit? Hire a cab and spend some time enjoying slot machines at River Rock Casino Resort. There are slots galore and the different themes make it an enjoyable visit for all. There is even a Dungeons and Dragons slot for gamers. A fourteen-table game room can be found at the casino and international poker tournaments are held regularly. Other features include a VIP area, spa, live music, 24-hour food and drink, as well as other entertainment. Richmond is also worth a quick visit, especially for some delicious seafood.

Casino de Montreal – The Big Gun

Casino de Montreal is 526,488 square feet of casino excitement. The casino has around 20 thousand visitors each day and is one of the biggest casinos on the globe. If you are still unconvinced about the size of the place, then imagine five floors of slots and table games. 3,000 machines and 111 table games make the casino seem even more mammoth. Casino de Montreal games can be played in a smoke-free environment and many players comment on the user-friendly games and helpful staff. Complimentary drinks and top-rated gourmet food is all part of the experience at Casino de Montreal.

Hard Rock Casino – Another Big One

Hard Rock Casino is another large casino located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The casino is over 80,000 square feet, making it a big one in Canada. Hard Rock has gaming tables, slots, baccarat and a poker room. The casino includes 70 casino tables and 1,000 slots. Private rooms and high roller areas are also available. However, the Hard Rock name is known for excellent food and this is what people love about this casino. Many players comment on the quality of the food here. It even has a 1,000 seat theatre, making it great for dining and a show.

Elements Casino Brantford – Enjoy High Culture

Elements Casino Brantford is a historical gem for culture in Ontario. It is a charity casino that was established last century. It includes the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which is a high society entertainment venue in Ontario. The centre is well known to performing arts enthusiasts in Ontario and Canada. Players come to see a show, enjoy some gourmet food and a game. The casino also has plenty of slots, table games, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, three card poker, roulette, and other games. There is also a 14-table Texas Hold ‘Em poker room. Enjoy all the excitement.

River Cree Resort and Casino – Sports Lovers

River Cree Resort and Casino is a sport and gaming venue located in Edmonton that should not be overlooked. It has 39 tables of various money limits and over 1,000 slots. There are also a few different places to dine while enjoying a bet and other things to experience. There is a fitness centre, spa and a 200 room resort. However, the most interesting feature of this casino is the two hockey rinks, which are often used by the Edmonton Oilers for practice. It is possible to watch the team practice and go for a meal and some gaming fun.

For the ones who fancy playing online we recomend visiting!

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Top 8 Online Games That Kids Can Play Without Much Parental Supervision




The gaming industry has been quite widespread since its inception. With the advent of globalisation and technology, this industry is reaching new heights. Kids these days are more inclined to the internet than they are to books. 

The internet has more information about everything than anywhere else and is very easily accessible. This further makes some parental control necessary. Most parents are worried about their kids playing violent video games that can further affect their mental health. 

Nevertheless, you cannot stop a kid from finding ways to log in to the internet, nor can you keep them away from playing video games. You can always supervise them on their media consumption. But that also gets tiresome after a point. This is when it gets necessary for you to introduce them to games that are not only kid-friendly but are also of their liking. 

If you are in a similar situation, looking for a way out, this article will surely help. Further mentioned are a few games that you can let your kid play while you concentrate on your work and well-being.  

1. Gummy Drop

Finding games that you can let your kids play without supervision is quite a task. With games like Gummy Drop, you do not have to worry one bit. With beautiful graphics and interesting gameplay, it does not take long for your kid to get hooked to the game. 

With new cities and interesting content being added almost every day, this 3 puzzle game is a good choice for your kids to play. It also connects to your Facebook account, letting you play with your other friends. It is also a nice way for your kids to improve their general knowledge and problem-solving skills. 

2. Skribbl

If you were a fan of Pictionary when you were growing up, you should definitely introduce your kids to this game. While the rules of Pictionary remain the same, this game improves on the visual aspect. With all of their friends in the same server, your kid can easily get hooked to this game. 

Easy and fun to play – once the server is set up, each player will get a word that they have to draw on the screen. The motive of the game is to help the other players guess your word. Each round chooses players at random. While it is advised that you use a tablet and a stylus to play this, you can always sketch with your finger. 

3. Ludo Supreme

A classic in every sense of the word, online ludo needs no introduction. There are some new features that are added in the game version of this app. It lets you connect to your Paytm account and earn real money while playing the game. 

Along with such amazing features, you can also play it for fun with your family or friends. It has other versions as well that come in different languages, especially in India, given the diverse nature of the country. You can download the LUDO for your android phones

4. Houseparty

There is no doubt that Houseparty has been one of the most popular downloads this pandemic. This is a networking app that lets you add as many as seven friends and play different games face-to-face via video calls. 

The novel approach of phone gaming made this a very widely chosen app. While playing games with your friends is always fun, this app lets you see and talk to them as well. Some of the most played games in this app include Heads Up!, Chips and Guac, Trivia and Quick Draw. With such amazing features and games, this is a worthwhile download for your kid. 

5. Monopoly

Monopoly is a very interesting game, which you can get your kids. Along with being fun, it can be played by any age group and is always stimulating your brain. This board game is an all-time classic that is now available on mobile platforms. 

The good thing about it being on the phone is that now your kids can play it with their friends as well, and all from the convenience of your home. 

6. Rocket League

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to play soccer but with cars, this game is exactly that. You get to pick a car at the beginning of the game in an oversized field with an oversized ball. Then start the five-minute matches where you have to score goals against them. 

To make it even more fun, this game allows the player to add up to three friends on the same server. It also has options where you can choose between casual play and ranked online play. Nevertheless, in both gameplays, you can earn new cosmetic looks for the car and get a chance to score more goals. 

7. UNO

Another all-time classic, UNO has been a very celebrated game all these years. The original company of UNO came out with the online version that is available on both iOS and Android devices. Since they are the copyright holders, you already know, the gameplay cannot get any better than this. 

Nevertheless, since it is a multiplayer game, you can play it both against your friends or strangers. It’s fun aesthetics, and new rules make it more interesting. It now has different modes of play and tournaments as well. You can also partner up and play 2v2 to win together. With servers available all around the world, you can connect to anyone you know. 

8. Guess The Word

Very obvious from the name itself, this game is known to be one of the most popular downloads in this list. It not only helps your kids spend some unsupervised time with themselves but also ensures that they learn new things in the process. 

The game contains different levels which get harder as your kid progresses, further making it more interesting and attractive. If you have some free time on your hands, you can also jump in and play with your kids.

Final Thoughts

So, these are the 8 games that kids of all ages can play without any tension. Above all, parents don’t have to panic or keep an eye on them all the time. 

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