Friday, July 21, 2023

Hulu’s ‘Rye Lane’ a nice, candid, romantic comedy

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: R
Runtime: 1 hour, 22 minutes

Dom and Yas are two 20-somethings in South London who recently left their significant others. Dom is struggling to get over his ex and inadvertently meets Yas at a gallery. The two are different personalities but have a connection. As they learn more about each other’s past relationships, their bond increases. Although Dom and Yas may be discouraged with love, could they be right for one another?

“Rye Lane” stars David Jonsson, Vivian Oprah, Poppy Allen-Quarmby, Benjamin Sarpong-Broni, Karene Peter, and Simon Manyonda.

At an art show, Dom (Jonsson) goes into a unisex bathroom stall to have a cry while scrolling through his ex-girlfriend’s posts. Yas (Oprah) goes into the stall next to him and hears his whimpers. She asks if everything is OK. She leaves without seeing Dom’s face.

In the gallery, Yas notices Dom’s shoes and the two get to talking. Yas takes an interest in Dom and his messes. She says everyone has a mess. Dom, interested in Yas, finds out she just left her boyfriend.

Dom is on his way to meet with his ex-girlfriend, Gia (Peter), who cheated on him with his best friend. He says he wants to clear the air. Dom has been so heart-broken this is the first time in three months he’s left the house.

Yas wants to go with him to this meeting, but Dom says no.

At the meeting, Dom confronts Gia about why she cheated. She says it’s because they were unhappy and had grown apart. This is a cringe-worthy scene and Dom is at a loss for words until unexpectedly, Yas shows up; she quickly fabricates a story of how they met. This visibly upsets Gia.

Dom is so thankful to Yas for stepping in he offers to buy her something to eat.

Their personalities are very different; Yas is an outgoing person, not above complimenting a stranger, whereas Dom is more reserved and describes himself as a grand gesture guy when it comes to relationships.

Yas says Dom should try to “see what happens” more, as that is good for the soul.

When Yas tells Dom her breakup story, she adds that she left an album of hers at her ex-boyfriend’s place. She and Dom go on a mission to get it back. They end up doing karaoke in order to get help to break into her ex’s place.

Yas is hesitant, but Dom is excited to do karaoke, until it starts, and goes badly. At this point Yas steps in and the two bring the house down with a popular song from the 1990s. This is a very sweet scene.

Yas gets upset going for the album and they get caught by her ex who badmouths her to Dom – who won’t hear of it though. Things spiral; it comes out that lies were told. Dom and Yas go their separate ways.

This romantic comedy is a sincere story about not giving up, even if you feel there is no hope in your romantic future. It’s somewhat funny but doesn’t have the fastest moving plot. Jonsson and Oprah had real on-screen chemistry and their characters and relationship issues were relatable. It’s not the strongest romantic comedy, but I still enjoyed it.

I’m giving this one 3 out of 5 stars.

Now streaming on Hulu. <

Friday, July 7, 2023

Author and Illustrator promotes new graphic novel series in Windham

By R.D. Frum

Graphic novel author and illustrator Seny may not exactly be famous yet, but she’s hoping to change that as more readers explore her graphic novel series which combines inspired storytelling with her passion for art. On Saturday, July 1, Seny met readers and discussed her graphic novels at a book-signing event at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop in Windham.

Graphic novelist and illustrator Seny was at
Sherman's Maine Cost Book Shop in Windham
on Saturday, July 1 to promote 'Saigami
Volume 2,' a continuation of her fantasy
manga-inspired series. 
Born and raised in Hungary, Seny now lives in Maine. She was in Windham to promote Saigami Volume 2, a fantasy manga-inspired series that continues from where Saigami Volume One left off. The main characters are thrust into an action-packed turn of events where they must face challenges and endure a series of tests in order to be able to fit into a group with the Saigami people, who command the elements with varied powers.

“Manga and graphic novels have been a passion of mine ever since middle school.” Seny said. “I personally started doing comics and graphic novels because I started writing my own novels as a kid and I found that describing certain things was hard so I thought surely drawing them will be easier,” Seny says.

“This is somewhat true because I find that I really like drawing environments, expression, and all those things rather than just describing them but also, it's a lot more work and it's definitely more time consuming than writing.”

Saigami Volume One took Seny around six months to complete from the moment of the contract signing. Seny joined Saturday AM Publishing at the beginning of 2014 where the story was running in magazine issues biweekly. Seny said Saigami Volume One would’ve taken longer if she hadn’t completed 70 percent of the illustrations already.

Then there was a previous Saigami Volume One version that was self-published and then in 2020 Quarto Publishing gave the series a soft tribute and so it was recreated with name changes and several scene additions. Saigami Volume Two took about eight months to finish with multiple new scenes.

Seny’s inspiration came from wanting to draw something she would have loved to read herself in middle grade. “As I got older and a little bit more refined in taste and storytelling, I rebooted the whole story and while still trying to accommodate something that I wish my younger self could have read, but also making sure that it's a good enough story that can be pitched to publishers and it can be a good story for people to read,” Seny says.

However, writing and illustrating graphic novels does have its obstacles.

“I would say the most challenging part was trying to find a middle ground between what my publisher thought should be done with the story and what my vision is like with the story and the characters,” Seny said. “For me, as someone who was raised in a very conservative environment and later got out from that...I wanted to incorporate that in the story to focus on that and hopefully inspire young readers. My publisher had other ideas, focusing more on just the hype and the action aspects, so there’d be a little bit less depth. Apart from that, the rest is pretty much just an endurance game, because drawing all those pages is a lot of work.”

Seny said that there is not much of a scene for comics back in Hungary.

“I started to pitch for publishers, and I was lucky enough that I got my first publication at the age of 19 while I was there in university,” she said. “But that was also pretty much a reality check for me, that my home, Hungary, is so small that there's no way of making a living for comics there. So that's when I started to try and self-publish online on various platforms.”

Seny created a YouTube channel (@saigmaiproject) to teach others how to draw comics and other various things, and that’s how she was led to the publishing company Saturday AM.

Currently, Seny is focusing on promoting Saigami Volume 2, but she does have a couple ideas for future projects.

“My wife and I are actually working on a story together. It's set in Maine,” Seny says. “So we are very hopeful that can be a series we get to work on, even just as a single graphic novel.”

Seny is also working on adapting a novel series into graphic novel volumes.

“Apart from that, of course, if Sagami has more volumes that is something that would be great, but I also have another series that I would like to work on in the future, which is about women's volleyball, which is very close to me,” she said.

Saigami Volume 2 is now available at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop in Windham. <

‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ a fun ride for summer’s start

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 2 hours, 34 minutes

Your favorite archeologist is back for one last adventure. And this fifth installment is action-packed. After the death of his colleague Basil and following the success of Apollo 11, Jones is forced to retire from Hunter College. He meets Helena Shaw, Basil’s daughter and Jones’ goddaughter, who tells him of the Archimedes Dial that is believed to locate fissures in time, allowing its owner to travel through time. Shaw tells Jones her father was obsessed with its secrets. Jones has half of the dial from a previous expedition and Shaw wants to find the rest of it. She needs Jones’ help – and maybe he needs hers. Prepare for some edge-of-your-seat action.

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” stars Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Shaunette Renee-Wilson, Mads Mikkelsen, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Ethan Isidore and John Rhys-Davies.

It’s 1944 and a young Indiana Jones (Ford) and his colleague Basil Shaw (Jones) are captured by Nazis working for Dr. Jurgen Voller (Mikkelsen). They try to kill Jones and Shaw but are unsuccessful. There is some great action and special effects here.

In 1969, America has just landed on the moon. Jones is a history professor at Hunter College in New York City; he lectures to an unenthusiastic class. Later Jones is thrown a retirement party and in a bar he meets Shaw’s daughter Helena (Waller-Bridge), whose father is now deceased. She is an archeology student looking for Archimedes Dial.

Shaw has a map and tries to talk Jones into going on one last adventure.

“Why are you chasing the thing that drove your father crazy?” Jones says.

“Wouldn’t you?” says Shaw.

Voller is well aware of Jones’ whereabouts and his henchmen are always nearby.

Shaw was untruthful and Jones is captured, but escapes. There is an excellent chase scene through a parade-filled street and narrow subway tunnels.

Jones meets an old friend who helps him follow Shaw, who has the dial, to Tangier. Here Jones prevents her from selling the dial in an auction.

We meet Shaw’s sidekick/friend Teddy (Isidore) who helps her escape when Voller shows up. Shaw needs to find the other half of the dial before the Nazis do. She can’t do it without Jones.

Jones takes the two to his friend Renaldo’s (Banderas) boat who will help them look for the other half of the dial in the Aegean Sea. Voller appears again, and Shaw makes a deal with Voller. She assures Teddy she is still in control.

Voller kidnaps Teddy.

Shaw and Jones find the Tomb of Archimedes and the other half of the dial just in time for Voller to show up; Jones is shot and Voller escapes. But there’s much more to this story.

I enjoyed this fifth installment. Is it as fun as one of the original films? I didn’t think so, but this was a very fun movie on the big screen. It is a long, but moves quickly and is action-packed. It’s mildly funny and I’d even go as far as to say this is one you could watch with the whole family. It even has a little heart. Ford steals the show again as the tough Indiana Jones who won’t be stopped. Waller-Bridge is a great accomplice to Jones in the hunt for this rare artifact. Going in, it helps to see this one with some previous knowledge of the story of Indiana Jones.

A whip and a fedora up.

Now playing only in theaters. <