Oct 26, 2008

Just Seen: Wall-e


And I loved it! Which is really weird, because I don't like cartoons at all! But this has got to be the sweetest thing ever! The robots are so cute! I want one for a pet!
Anyways, apart from the fact it gave me a sugar rush, I also liked how the first 40 minutes or so used almost only gestures and facial expressions of the main characters, and there was no speech or people. In fact, I think that if it had gone a slightly different route and left out the humans altogether, it would have been completely perfect. I also thoroughly enjoyed all the Space Odyssey and other sci-fi classics references (there's a lot of that stuff, just pay attention). This is probably one of the best, if not the best cartoon I've ever seen. 9/10

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Oct 25, 2008

Virginia Schaefer: How to Play Hearts




I SO agree with this... Beautiful!
Source

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Oct 20, 2008

Just Read: The Dexter Series


So I live on Mars. Shoot me. I've never seen a single episode of Dexter - the TV show. The truth is, I don't watch TV. Almost at all. So, when I heard a review of Jeff Lindsay's novel Dexter In The Dark (the third and, so far, latest in the series) on the BBC books podcast, I had no idea what they were on about, but it sounded interesting. So I decided against seeing the show first, picked up the books and read them.
The three novels, namely Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Dearly Devoted Dexter and Dexter In The Dark, were a pretty cool reading experience. Dexter from the title is a forensic blood spatter analyst by day, and a righteous serial killer by night. Childhood trauma has rendered him a psychopath with an inner voice that he refers to as The Dark Passenger. Every once in a while, when the moon is full, the Dark Passenger urges Dexter to kill. However, there are rules, set by his foster dad Harry, who used to be a cop. Dexter is only allowed to kill people who he is absolutely sure have gotten away with murder.
The other notable characters include Dexter's sister Deborah, his girlfriend Rita, and her two children - Astor and Cody. Oh, and Miami, where the books take place. Yes, using a place as one of the protagonists is nothing new, but I like it nevertheless.
In each novel Lindsay manages to come up with brilliant plots, gruesome but innovative murder ideas and a bit of new insight into Dexter's psyche.
The style is playful, with a lot of alliteration, puns and wry remarks, which is a winning combination paired with the narration of the emotionally impaired main protagonist who has almost no understanding of basic human behavioral patterns.
Lindsay does sometimes natter about the Dark Passenger for too long, so although these are pretty short novels, they could have been a bit tighter. Also, you will need to suspend your disbelief at times, as almost every other person in these books is recognized by Dexter as a fellow psychopath (in the novels they can see each other for what they really are, no matter how well they fake being normal). Another thing that bothered me was the unfortunate generalization that anyone who suffers extreme psychological trauma turns into a merciless murderer.
Still, with all their flaws, and though they are fluff (yes, it is slightly weird to label as fluff something in which beheadings are a perennial occurrence), they are very good. They are exciting crime novels with an interesting twist and you can't help noticing that a lot more talent and thought went into them than is usual in this genre.

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Oct 15, 2008

Current Obsession

I've been obsessed with this beautiful song ever since I heard it in The Jane Austen Book Club (not a bad movie either). Feist's dreamy voice, the sweet lyrics and that melody... I can't stop humming it to myself. Unfortunately, it doesn't have an official video, so this will have to do.

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Oct 11, 2008

Just Seen: Apocalypto


First of all, Mel Gibson is a despicable man who needs to seek professional help. His movies seem to have the unique ability to make me feel physically ill. Also, on a side note, he couldn't direct his way out of a paper bag.
Apocalypto is a deeply disturbing film, merciless in its brutality. I suspect it also suffers from racism. I don't really know much about the Mayans, but weren't they supposed to have been quite advanced in astronomy? Advanced enough not to act like savages at the sight of a solar eclipse? Also, does anyone else get the feeling that the whole movie (ending with the historically inaccurate scene of the arrival of the Spanish) has a sort of "they had it coming" tone? Especially when you take into consideration that Mel himself said it was "a universal story of exploring civilizations and what undermines them". Ahem, ahem... They got what they deserved, huh Mel?
What I found the most appalling was that all the inhumanity depicted serves no point whatsoever - except maybe to shock, or satisfy Mr Gibson's obvious appetite for sadism.
The storyline is virtually non-existent: there's fifteen minutes of crass sex jokes and then a two hour chase. And that is it. That was all that good old Mel and a certain Farhad Safinia could come up with in the way of a script. Oh hell, who needs a script anyway, just let a few bare-bottomed savages into the jungle and have them run after each other and occasionally smack each other over the head. Great! Throw in a bit of lewd slapstick for good measure, and spice things up with a pointless prophecy. What more could you ask for!
Visually it is incredibly disappointing. It really takes a genius to come up with such bland shots of the jungle. All those possibilities, and we end up with a film that just looks washed out and faded.
All that's left is a feast of unsavory scenes of futile violence. So, next time Mel Gibson mentions he might want to make a movie, would someone just, please, lock him up somewhere away from all the cameras of this world??
p.s. Oh yeah, the costumes and make up are very good. Way to go! That makes it all better!

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Oct 4, 2008

Just Seen: Fargo


I'm sure I'll earn myself a whole army of enemies by saying this, but Fargo has got to be the single most overrated film I have ever seen.
I approached it with mixed feelings: it was released in 1996, the same year as my favorite movie - The English Patient. Well, I don't know why, but a lot of people don't seem to like the Patient, and I often hear the comment that it shouldn't have won the Oscar for Best Picture, especially as Fargo was also in the running. After I'd heard/read this a sufficient number of times, I decided to finally see Fargo. After all, it does have cult status and is one of those films that I'm embarrassed to admit I've never seen (my top three of those are: 1) Citizen Kane, 2)The Godfather series and 3) Schindler's List).
So, a synopsis would be in order here, methinks. A car salesmen (William H. Macy) hires two criminals (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife so that he would get a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. The kidnapping goes awry and is followed by a series of murders later investigated by police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand).
First of all, I have a problem with this plot. It has garnered almost universal praise and I just can't see why. It's one cliche after another, you can always see what's coming next, and what it all boils down to is, essentially, a bunch of very greedy, evil and, above all, amazingly stupid people killing each other. The characters are the most unlikeable bunch I've seen in a long time, and, when I say unlikeable, I mean bland. They're not even people you love to hate, that's the worst part. They are just uniquely uninteresting stock characters, and typecast at that. I really didn't give a damn about what happened to them for one second. I suppose that Marge is the one you should care for, but the awful script and McDormand's over the top acting ruined that for me as well. I suppose it was meant to be ironic and subtly funny, but the vernacular of the protagonists is so ridiculous that it suspends all credibility, and yet it's not funny enough to make you laugh. The only thing that could possibly get a chuckle out of you is the thought that Frances McDormand won an Oscar for this role (does she even have enough screen time to be considered a lead?)! To think that Kristin Scott Thomas' nuanced performance lost out to this ridiculously overdone charade is a joke. It would've been, I think, more subtle and crafty if McDormand had tattooed "I'm a Midwestern simpleton" on her forehead!
One of the greatest problems with today's movies is that they tend to be overlong. Hardly any last less than two hours. However, Fargo is one of those rare examples which lasts just a bit over an hour and a half and still manages to be boring as hell. I literally felt the seconds of my life ticking irrevocably, frittered away on this silly story.
I'm not going so far as to say it's all bad though. Fargo was beautifully shot and the editing was interesting at times. The sound editing was quite impressive as well. And as much as I appreciate good cinematography and some other technical and artistic aspects of a film, if it doesn't have a point AND doesn't entertain either, long shots of snow-swept landscapes,however beautiful, unfortunately, just aren't enough.

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Oct 3, 2008

Miss Pole Dance Australia

Okay, watching this video, I've realized I need three things:

1)This girl's body,
2) To learn pole dancing (might be slightly harder than she makes it seem),
3) That song (apparently it's by Mz Ann Thropik, an Australian act that's proving impossible to find).

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Oct 2, 2008

'The Quiet World', Jeffrey McDaniel

In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
the government has decided to allot
each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it
to my ear without saying hello.
In the restaurant I point
at chicken noodle soup. I am
adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long
distance lover and proudly say
I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn't respond, I know
she's used up all her words
so I slowly whisper I love you,
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

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