The Lighthouse

Robert Eggers is at it again with a very ambiguous and dark story. This time, about two lighthouse workers forced to cope with the confined space and each other. Willem Dafoe plays Thomas Wake, an experienced sailor-turned lighthouse keeper who is extremely protective to the point of obsessed with the light. Robert Pattinson plays Ephraim Winslow, a former timber worker new to the job, the climate, the isolation, basically everything that comes with the job of being a lighthouse keeper.

Both characters have a very mysterious past that I’m still unclear as to what to make of it. I’m all for leaving certain part of stories or characters open to interpretation, but “The Lighthouse” felt more like an unclear time lapse over which character can act the craziest or have the craziest hallucinations and the audience is asked to figure out why without much context.

The overall cinematography of the film was lacking. The black and white film, while I understand was meant to make the characters appear morally grey, also had certain shot compositions unnecessarily tight-even the outdoor shots. Certain shots were also out of focus, and I’m certain it wasn’t to add to the intrigue because there was nothing in those elements that helped the story. If it were meant to, the cinematographer failed to guide the audience in that direction. The whole “Don’t tell me, show me” mantra of filmmaking was left with much to be desired.

The acting overall was few and far between. With not much dialogue the first 15 minutes of the film, when Pattinson’s character did start speaking, I couldn’t tell if he was supposed to be Irish, British, or turn-of-the-century American. Needless to say, he doesn’t even hold a candle to Willem Dafoe.

Though Dafoe’s performance was much more impressive, I struggled to figure out how much of what was coming out of his mouth was truly how his character was, from delusions of his own, or just intentionally trying to make Pattinson’s character crazy.

There was plenty of allegory and metaphor to this film that unless you’re up to date with your British folklore and Greek mythology, you’re going to miss a lot of it.

While “The Lighthouse” is ambitious, I believe the director is still inexperienced in telling the kind of story the audience is expecting (or at least hoping) to see.


It was just over ten years ago that I (and the rest of the world) were wowed over Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of the character of the Joker immortalized forever by Heath Ledger. The punctuation of that performance sealed in the acting pantheon with Ledger winning a posthumous Oscar. Since then the character of the Joker has been portrayed on both television and film since, by Cameron Monaghan and Jared Leto respectively, with varying results and levels of acceptance & dismissal by critics and fanboys alike. But this is the first time that a movie has been done with a singular comic book villain serving as the darkest of antiheroes in a standalone origin story.

The true origin of the character known to all as the Joker (more…)

이야기 꾼 (“Storyteller” Podcast) on iTunes, Spotify, and More!!

The 이야기 꾼 (“Storyteller” Podcast) is officially up on iTunes, Google Podcast, Spotify, and more!

Make sure you rate, subscribe, and share with anyone interested in storytelling and screenwriting.


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Toy Story 4

MV5BMTYzMDM4NzkxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzM1Mzg2NzM@._V1_24 years after Pixar’s inaugural film and introduction into our lives, the “Toy Story” franchise has come to its conclusion with “Toy Story 4.” All of our favorites from the original film are back with a few new amazing characters. We pick up essentially shortly after we left “Toy Story 3,” when Andy gave his toys to a little girl named Bonnie. Like Andy, Bonnie is a very imaginative little girl who loves and takes good care of all of her toys.

The story starts with Bonnie being nervous about her Kindergarten orientation. (more…)

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Now that I’ve had my wedding and am officially on summer vacation, I can focus on more important things. Things like nerding out the way I used to. Catch up on some reading, playing video games, lounge by the pool; you know, “summer vacation stuff.” But I would be remiss if I didn’t start out my summer by watching and reviewing a movie combining my two favorite childhood (and adulthood) properties.

So light the bat signal and warm up your sashimi pizza because it’s gonna be a good one. (more…)


I’m getting married in exactly one month! After dating my fiancé for over seven years, two career changes, and moving cross-country twice, we are finally gonna tie the knot. Now we’re trying to figure out where to go on our honeymoon. We have some ideas and we’re hoping that my readers can help us out.

Click on the link if you’d like to contribute towards our honeymoon. HoneyFund

With tremendous gratitude,

Gabriel & Katie


Developing a curiosity for something – even understanding how you develop curiosity for something – is (within itself) a paradox. At least to me it is. If your mind were a blank slate and you had no prior knowledge or familiarity towards a particular place, person, idea, concept, theory, art form, whatever, how and why is it that certain things spark our interest and other things don’t?   I mean there had to have been some kind of pre-requisite, some sort of subconscious or repressed experience or memory, right? I mean, how does that work? Why does it work? What is the governor on this?

For example, why have I always loved martial arts? I know “how” it happened. I saw The Karate Kid when I was five and the rest is history. But why? I want to say it’s because “it’s in the blood,” family history, genetics, etc. But it’s not that. My dad worked in business, my mom is a scientist, my grandfathers were a farmer and sailor, respectively and my grandmothers were homemakers. So it’s not that either.

But that’s just one thing. One specific thing. And over the years I have developed an obsession with martial arts supplemented by an array of personal experience as a student, a competitor, a spectator, and add to that copious amounts of esoteric knowledge ranging from country of origin to being able to identify which martial art is being used by a practitioner on sight alone.

In the world of the Internet, smartphones, Netflix, and the overall instant gratification existence that everyone in a first-world country resides in, I have begun to realize and experience conflicting downsides to this world. Maybe not the downsides that  you would think. Sure we spend too much time online and as a result we are losing our abilities to socialize in person, our attention spans have been rubbed down to the nub, and as an English teacher, I am realizing that grammar and writing skills are also on life support.

But for me the most frustrating thing is not how nearly everyone and everything is trying to get my attention. The most frustrating thing is that nearly everyone and everything succeeds at it. As a result, when I do have free time, I become extremely anxious. I am captivated by everything. As long as it teaches me something, I want to learn it. At least one thing.

I am very fortunate to have friends from a multitude of cultural backgrounds involved in an array of professions and lifestyles. All of which, peak my curiosity. The vet tech, the digital editor, the marketing executive, the astrophysicist, the nurse, the immigration lawyer, the SLP. I have – and will continue to – pick their brains about their expertise. Let me learn something that I can take with me into a conversation with a stranger or into recalling some prior knowledge that might save my life one day and I don’t even know it yet.

Reading is something that I’ve also always enjoyed doing. Words on  page are a collection of secrets, ideas, hopes, fantasies, and fears. I want to know it all. But it’s not a “know-it-all” kind of attitude I want to bestow upon people. It’s not a “know-it-all” persona I want to be perceived as. I just want to appear smart. Better yet, I want to be smart. I feel like I’ve just been pretending to appear smart for most of my life.

Whenever I am asked to do something, I try to get it done as fast as I possibly can. It’s not because I don’t care even though sometimes the half-ass result that comes from my speeding through things is evident. It’s because there’s always something else that I am doing or thinking about and I don’t want to lose it. I don’t want to lose perspective on this idea or thought that I have that may result in my next great story.

Here’s how my brain works; I’ve got the perfect metaphor for you. Remember the game “Telephone?” When someone would whisper a sentence into one person’s ear in a room full of people. Then that one person whispers it to the person next to them and so on until it goes all around the room. When it gets to the last person and they say out loud what they thought they heard it’s something completely different. THAT’S how my brain works… all the time. And maybe, just maybe one of the “people” (we’ll call them synapsis in my brain) interpreted or thought they heard a great idea, but then immediately after it says what it thought it heard, it’s gone. So then I have to track down that person (or synapse) to coax them out of saying what they said whether it was the original message or not. THAT’S my brain.

I would love some help or advice on this. I already write everything down. I’m writing this down. Besides it’s also part of my personal statement on my resumé. How do I organize my ideas (and my mind) into something I can work with and not something that’s constantly playing defense against me?

I just want to absorb as much as I can, comprehend what I am absorbing, and put it to creative work in the best possible way based on my sensibilities every time. Is that too much to ask?