‘A Fish Out of Water’ – Variety

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It’s one thing for your Uncle Boonmee to recall his past lives; when your kindergarten-age child starts doing it, however, it’s cause for active concern. Yet a serene, zen-like aversion to explanation is ultimately the making of “A Fish Out of Water,” a beguiling domestic fable in which real-world family strife is further complicated — but potentially healed — by the suggestion of a more tranquil parallel universe, as the young son of a separating couple embarks on a stubbornly enigmatic quest to locate his “past parents.” A loosely woven brain-teaser with a creepingly intense emotional undertow, this marks a confident, collected first foray into features directing for Taiwanese commercials veteran Lai Kuo-An.

Having premiered in Toronto’s Discovery program before landing a slot in San Sebastian’s New Directors competition, Lai’s elegantly teasing debut can expect to place in various other international showcases for fresh talent in the months to come. Modest international distribution could follow, on the strength of its intriguing premise and light-touch execution, but this is likely to remain a bigger “Fish” in the festival pond than in the arthouse ocean.

Opening somewhere towards the end of the narrative’s second act before looping back to the beginning, “A Fish Out of Water” justifies that recently fashionable structural ploy more than most: In a film where one character apparently has a different perception of space and time to the others, that introductory flash-forward gives them a kind of common temporal destination. Lai’s screenplay is in no great hurry to specify the condition that ails pre-schooler Yi-An (Run-yin Bai) and, by extension, his parents Haoteng (Jen Shuo Cheng) and Yaji (Peggy Tseng), though it appears all involved are at the end of their separate tethers. “I don’t want to see him disappointed every day,” Yaji sighs, a conclusion that spurs the family far from their Taiwan home to the prettily water-faded, wind-tousled Japanese fishing town of Toyama.

Answers, to a point, come when we rewind a year and observe the family’s gradually disrupted daily routine. Yaji and Haoteng are coming sadly but civilly apart, their relationship untenably burdened by the responsibility of caring for Haoteng’s severely incapacitated father (Akio Chen); finally, Yaji takes Yi-An and moves in with her sister. It’s to be expected that such upheaval would have an adverse psychological effect on a young child, though Yi-An’s symptoms of damage are somewhat unusual. When asked to draw a family picture by his teacher, the resulting, cloud-swirled portrait leaves out dad and adds a sister he doesn’t have — “I had one before,” is his curt explanation. He had other parents too, he says, and an idyllic house by the sea in distant Toyama: memories that are too vivid and strangely specific to be dismissed, yet don’t square with any aspect of his upbringing.

Lai has little interest in playing psychologist to his characters, giving the most confounding aspects of Yi-An’s thought process plenty of breathing room as viewers are invited to draw their own conclusions — or, as his parents increasingly decide, to hover between possibilities. These could be false memories, implanted by psychosis, or wishful projections induced by the trauma of his parents’ separation. Perhaps something delicately spiritual or supernatural is at play, with Yi-An unpeeling past incarnations or undergoing some manner of peaceful possession. Either way, the root of the boy’s alternative past proves less important than the impact — first alienating, then oddly unifying — it has on his family in their troubled present.

Lai, who has collaborated with Taiwanese titans Hou Hsiao-hsien and Chen Kuo-fu on non-feature projects, brings some of their airy, poetic humanism to proceedings. Even at its most uncanny, “A Fish Out of Water” is primarily preoccupied with fine-grained domestic details and tensions, observed with bittersweet precision: Such scenes as a doleful make-do attempt at a family birthday party with one parent absent, or a parent-teacher conference in which a Yaji’s most gnawing worries are gently confirmed, would quiver with heartache even in less extraordinary narrative circumstances. Cheng and Tseng, for their part, play even their most tear-stained scenes with restraint; seven-year-old Bai impressively navigates the prickliest aspects of Yi-An’s psychology, maintaining our sympathy without ever resorting to cutesy mugging.

Technical credits are likewise low-key but evocative of deeper feeling beneath the surface. Hsu Chih-chun sharp, fluent lensing is rich in the colors of weather, shifting with the family’s general sense of well-being, and while the wistful piano lines of Ke Jhih-hao’s lovely score threatens sentimentality, a consistent, nervous tremble of metallic percussion keeps it softly at bay.

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Epic Cats Hate Falling in Water 2017 – Try not to laugh – Funny cats falling into water Part 2



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Texas city loses water, 44 dead, but thousands of Harvey survivors rescued

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PORT ARTHUR, Texas (Reuters) – A flood-hit southeast Texas city lost its drinking water supply and police and soldiers rescued thousands still stranded on Thursday after powerful storm Harvey killed 44 people and displaced more than a million on the Gulf Coast.

Some 779,000 Texans have been told to leave their homes and another 980,000 fled voluntarily amid dangers of new flooding from swollen rivers and reservoirs, according to Department of Homeland Security acting secretary Elaine Duke.

The city of Beaumont, about 80 miles (130 km) east of Houston, had its water supplies cut off and was threatened by a rising river that forced the evacuation of its hospital and residents in neighbouring Orange County.

There were explosions at a chemical plant about 25 miles (40 km) east of Houston after it was engulfed by floodwater.

The loss of water and health risks from flooding were among hazards emerging in the aftermath of Harvey, which roared ashore late last Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in half a century. It has since been downgraded to a tropical depression as it heads inland, leaving devastation across more than 300 miles (480 km) in the southeast corner of the state.Jessica Richard, 24, said she waited out the storm in her home in Port Arthur, about 85 miles (135 km) east of Houston, until Thursday morning when water on her street rose to waist-high. She was picked up by a passing truck.

Richard said her nephew had been trapped with several family members overnight in a flooded apartment. “He said there were snakes in the water and spiders crawling up the walls. But they got out,” she said.

At least 44 people were dead or feared dead in six counties including and around Houston, officials said. Another 19 remained missing.

HOUSE-BY-HOUSE SEARCH

In the U.S. energy hub of Houston, firefighters conducted a house-by-house search to rescue stranded survivors and recover bodies as some residents began to return to their homes to assess the damage.

Seventy percent of Harris County, which encompasses Houston, was covered with 18 inches (45 cm) or more of water, county officials said.

In Beaumont, doctors and nurses evacuated some 190 people from a hospital that halted operations after the storm knocked out water service in the city of almost 120,000 people.

Orange County ordered remaining residents to evacuate from low-lying areas after a forecast that the Neches River would crest on Friday, threatening homes.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Texas on Thursday, touring the coastal city of Rockport, where Harvey slammed ashore six days ago.

“The American people are with you. We are here today, we will be here tomorrow and we will be here every day until this city and this state and this region rebuild bigger and better than ever before,” Pence said outside a damaged church.

A group of people carry supplies through flood waters caused by Tropical Storm Harvey in Port Arthur, Texas, U.S. August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Gasoline futures soared more than 13 percent on Thursday as almost a quarter of U.S. refining capacity had been knocked offline, raising fears of fuel shortages.

About 189,000 homes and businesses remained without power and nearly 100,000 homes suffered flood damage, utilities and state officials said.

COSTLY DISASTER

Moody’s Analytics estimated the economic cost from Harvey for southeastern Texas at $51 billion to $75 billion, ranking it among the costliest storms in American history.

The event has drawn comparisons with Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people in New Orleans in 2005. Then-President George W. Bush’s administration was criticized for its haphazard initial response to that storm, and Donald Trump’s administration was taking care to be seen as responding quickly to its first major natural disaster.

Trump was to return to the region on Saturday.

Early Thursday, explosions could be heard at a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, owned by Arkema SA (AKE.PA). Refrigeration systems failed in a truck storing volatile chemicals, which ignited as they warmed, sending smoke plumes 40-feet (12-meters) into the air, according to company and public safety officials.

Public safety officials insisted there was no risk to the public outside a 1.5-mile (2.4-km) safety perimeter, but more fires were expected at the facility, underscoring worries of possible damage at other petrochemical plants and oil refineries that dot the region.

As signs of normal life returned to Houston, the nation’s fourth most populous city, there were also concerns about health risks from bacteria and pollutants in floodwater.

The Houston Astros baseball team, forced to play away from the city due to the floods, will return and play at its home field on Saturday. It has invited shelter residents to attend its double header against the New York Mets, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said on his Twitter feed.

Residents began a massive cleanup, dragging water-logged furniture to the curb, hunting for supplies and repair estimates. The city began limited trash pickup and bus services. Hospitals that had struggled to stay open earlier in the week were phasing in clinical operations.

“We are blessed that the rain has stopped,” said Brenda Stardig of the Houston City Council.

Many in Houston were shocked at what they found when they returned home.

Anita Williams, 52, was lined up at a shelter at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center to register for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Williams went back to her home on Wednesday to survey the damage to her one-story house.

“It’s not my house anymore,” Williams said. “My deep freezer was in my living room.”

Additional reporting by Richard Valdmanis, Marianna Parraga, Gary McWilliams, Ernest Scheyder, Erwin Seba, Ruthy Munoz, Peter Henderson and Andy Sullivan in Houston, Ben Gruber in Crosby, Texas, Emily Flitter in Orange, Texas, David Gaffen and Christine Prentice in New York, Susan Heavey in Washington, Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Andrew Hay

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Best Buy Apologizes After $42 Per-Case Texas Water Photo Goes Viral

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The continuing tragedy of Tropical Storm Harvey will probably grow even worse before anything gets better in southeast Texas, which is all too serious business. However, there are still gaffes to be had along the way. That would include the journalist who hyperbolically tweeted about “looters” after Houstonians broke into a grocery store for survival supplies. And over in nearby Cypress, a water bottle “sale” has ended in utter mortification for Best Buy, which offered up cases with a cringe-inducing $42.96 sign intact. The above photo (tweeted by Ken Klippenstein) began the social media backlash.

Needless to say, this display is about as embarrassing as when Walmart backpedaled over an unfortunate incident involving a “back to school” sign atop a case full of guns. However, Best Buy (which is generally not in the business of selling food, drink, or anything that vaguely resembles survival supplies) was quick to ‘fess up to their “mistake” and offer an explanation:

“This was a big mistake on the part of a few employees at one store on Friday,. As a company we are focused on helping, not hurting affected people. We’re sorry and it won’t happen again … the mistake was made when employees priced a case of water using the single-bottle price for each bottle in the case.”

A 24-pack case of Dasani water can retail for as low as $5 in some grocery stores (depending on region), so a $42 sign doesn’t present a good look. Regardless, Best Buy owned up to the mistake with plenty of humility that seems genuine enough. Perhaps they’ll even show some goodwill toward Harvey victims by making a donation to one of these fine organizations? It couldn’t hurt.

After all, price gouging is not only illegal, but it’s also reportedly occurring (for real) in the wake of Harvey. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says one gas station is guilty of charging “$99 for a case of water.”

(Via Mashable & Fox News)

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Best Buy Apologizes for Price Gouging Water During Hurricane Harvey

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Best Buy

Sorry for Price Gouging Water

During Hurricane Harvey

8/29/2017 5:05 PM PDT

One of the Best Buy stores in Houston offered Hurricane Harvey victims bottled water … for a price, a very high one and now the company’s apologizing.

The store was caught selling 12-packs of Smartwater for $29.98 and 24-packs of Dasani for a whopping $42.96. A photo of the display went viral this week, amid allegations of price gouging in the wake of the Harvey.

Best Buy now admits, “This was a big mistake on the part of a few employees at one store on Friday. As a company we are focused on helping, not hurting affected people. We’re sorry and it won’t happen again.”

A rep for the retail tech giant added … Best Buy doesn’t normally sell water, and that the employees at this specific store were pricing the packs based on single bottle prices.

Gotta say … we think the Geek Squad would not approve.

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UFC’s Derrick Lewis Battling Freezing Water, Ants When Saving Flood Victims

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UFC’s Derrick Lewis

Battling Freezing Water, Ants

… In Flood Victim Rescue

8/29/2017 6:28 AM PDT

EXCLUSIVE

UFC star Derrick Lewis says he’s exhausted and bit up after 2 straight days of rescuing flood victims in Houston … telling TMZ Sports freezing water and swarms of ants are a huge problem. 

We spoke with Lewis after footage surfaced showing “The Black Beast” carrying people who have been stranded due to the torrential rains from Hurricane Harvey. 

“Basically, I’m just looking around and seeing anyone that need help.”

Derrick says he put information on his Facebook page — and if people reach out in need of assistance, he rolls out immediately … “no matter where they at.”

Lewis says he’s seen people in bad shape — and that’s why he’s motivated to keep helping. 

“I believe about 30 minutes ago I just helped an elderly couple and he was covered in ants all over and he was just like trembling in his house.”

“He didn’t even worry about the ants that was all over him. He didn’t even bother to knock them off. You could tell he was in shock … the water is real cold right now.”

Lewis says he’s been bit up by the ants as well. Footage has surfaced showing ants swarming together to stay afloat in the waters. It’s a serious problem for people. 

Still, Lewis says he won’t give up. 

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