Saturday, August 08, 2009

Burn baby, burn!

Some things just jump at you.

The first I'd heard of it was just the name. Just that it was a great piece of science fiction that might be developed into a film by Mel Gibson – given that this was just after Braveheart (1995) and the fact that I was on my way to becoming a science fiction nut must have been why it stuck.

Another reason might have been that, even though I read a lot, I'd never read a full-length science fiction novel. I had watched, and continue to watch, a lot of such films but had never read a book. Yet another reason might have been that Ray Bradbury, one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time, had written it.

But, I digress...

I had totally forgotten about the book until our lecturer Kit Leee (three 'E's not two – now known as Antares) asked us to write a book review that was not really a book review.

Sitting in a taxi, on my way to college I noticed its code number, used to identify it to the station, comprised of 4-5-1 . 'What a strange coincidence!' I though. And that's how I wound up with the subject of my non-review;

The 50th Anniversary Edition cover art for Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 (1953), the book about a fireman who lit fires. A book that takes us to a future which holds reading or owning books illegal. Where books are burnt because they 'confuse ' us.

Herein followeth the review:

Taking its title from the temperature at which book paper auto-ignites Fahrenheit 451 is supposedly the story of Guy Montag – fireman no. 451. A fireman who burns for a living. A 'fireman' who is good at what he does.

He burns books because they make society 'unhealthy' – because the books make 'no sense ' and speak of things other than 'reality'. He is good because he does what he does without question.

He enjoys the sound – the searing death rattle of the pages as they're consumed by the orange beast. And the glow of the flame, as it shifts colours from red to blue to black/grey and orange transforming the pages to ash that scatter and dissolve in the wind, thrills him.

But then along comes Clarisse, and out go Montag's automated responses to books. The animal instinct which closed on, and ripped the books apart before he set fire to them, starts to turn the pages with the gentlest of touch, reading from them, soaking up their knowledge and emotion, reaching awareness from within.

Fahrenheit 451 is often heralded as the classic bestseller about censorship but at a cursory glance the word 'censorship' does not have the full impact, that perhaps it should.

I mean, what does somebody withholding a few books mean, right?

But as far as things go in the 'normal' world, it's not quite as simple. It's not just the books, but what they stand for (as Beatty, the fire chief whose words are laced with phrases by old poets and philosophers, so that he may more easily identify elements in society who may be in possession of the 'contraband', so hastily admits).


The liberty, the hope, the knowledge, the insights, the joy, the pain, all this and more which the books have on offer. The sheer emotional and intellectual gratification that is feeling, trust, love; hidden and unbidden. What it means to think, what it means to have ideas, what it means to reach out, what it means to stand out, what it means to stand out. What it means to be an 'individual' a person with thoughts, views and personal feelings of how things should be. A person with morals, a person with their sense of morals. THAT is what's really at stake.

In Bradbury's fictitious society, where all that people are expected of is to expect 'fun', where school kids run down their schoolmates, without so much as an after thought, no one knows what hope means. No one has a sense of meaning. This begs the question, how, if they do not understand what hope means, can they have fun?

It's disturbing that this book Bradbury wrote in 1953, mirrors some attributes we see in our society today. Kids hack down other kids because we, the society at large, have no time to nurture them, to impart upon them the value of life, of hope.

I hope and pray that we will never sink to the depths that society has sunk to in Fahrenheit 451. Yes it 's worse in the book than in real life. But only just. And only just by a hair's breath. There are warning signs that we're headed that way though.

And we need to be aware of what's going on around us. Aware of what those who 'guide' us sanction in our names , labelling their wants as ours, their needs as our needs – in order to do this, they control the information we consume in a way that favours them.

In the end Ray Bradbury's book is not just about burning books. It's about burning the ideals that unfold through those books. It's about burning the emotions and the hope that it may instill in humanity.

Burning so that others can control. Burning so we may not question. Why not question? Because we do not have the knowledge. Why do we not have knowledge? Because those 'above', governing us for our 'well-being', us want to 'protect' us from 'confusion', and 'rivalry', from hope and individuality. Read, seek, think, learn – the book cries out to us, and for us to 'know what you want and most of all know how to think'.

Fahrenheit 451 may have been written in 1953 but it's more relevant now than it ever was – do yourselvesf a favour and read one of the best science fiction stories ever written.

[Disclaimer: This post is mostly a re-edited self plagiarism of a “book review” for 'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury – originally written as a college assignment (Advertising Creativity – Lecturer Kit Leee) in 2001 (23rd April)]

Thank you Teech for the inspiration!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I take it back.

Seriously.

It was going to be Moffat in charge after all. I should never had doubted things.

I should have known better – because, unlike with Davies, who was terrific in bringing the series back and started off things extremely well, Moffat's always been consistently stellar with what he's brought to the series.

So Matt Smith, who I initially felt was VERY WRONG (because of this) for the part... might actually work.

What am I prattling on about you ask?

I speak of Doctor Who. More specifically – the 11th incarnation of the Doctor.

The BBC series began, initially, in 1963 and went on uninterrupted till 1989. After which there was a 1996 television movie – at the time it didn't garner enough interest for a comeback.

Then in 2005 the series was relaunched thanks to Russell T. Davies and Co. and it was then that I was first introduced to “the longest-running science fiction television show in the world”. By then there had been eight doctors.

Teasers and trailers for the 2005 series

This made my first doctor the Ninth Doctor – he was BRILLIANT! I was an instant fan and still consider Christopher Eccleston's take to be my quintessential doctor.

But, alas, after just one series, the Doctor would regenerate. David Tennant took over as the 10th Doctor and, while I was hugely disappointed to see Eccleston leave, I have to admit that Tennant wasn't half bad – just a hair short of 'BRILLIANT!' just basic 'Brilliant' or maybe a touch above basic...

Moving on.

We now have the 11th Doctor (or will in 2010) and while I was initially skeptical, because of Smith's age and his look... I'm back on the fence on this one... The new look (full|800 x 600) does seem to do the trick... and Moffat IS in charge.

So now I'm maybe more of a believer that this will work rather than on the fence...

[Note to reader(s): My apologies for there being no pictures/visuals in this post. At time of hitting "Publish" issues with blogger prevented me from correctly posting any pictures with this entry. Please check back later for a more 'complete' look.]

Monday, May 04, 2009

Money for nothing?

[Suggested background music 'Walk of Life' (1985) by Dire Straits]

I can identify, with absolute clarity and as if it were yesterday, the moment I discovered my passion for music.

It was the early 1980s. I was watching television in my sitting room. TVM's 'Spotlight' came on. We did not have remote controls at the time so, having decided to go to sleep, I was making my way to the TV to switch it off when 'Walk of Life' came on and I was hooked – I must have been nine or 10 years old at the time. None of the songs that followed were as entertaining but I was officially 'into music'.

The week after I would wait patiently for the program to come on again. Another Dire Straits song, 'Sultans of Swing' (1979), airs half way through the program – add one (me) to the ranks of loyal Dire Straits followers/fans.

These were the 'pre-Internet' days so I couldn't exactly get all the gossip on the band – to this day I have never really fallen into the habit of keeping track of the personal lives of my favourite artists. And this also meant that I couldn't find/order entire catalogues of my favourite artists on line – I hadn't even heard about computers, much less a credit/debit card!

Dire Straits

What I did do was badger grandma for 10 Rufiya so I could have someone take me down to 'Soundtrack' ('Sound Track'!?!?!), the then local record/tape distributor of repute, and buy a 'The Best of Dire Straits' – in climate proof packaging no less!

To grandma's great annoyance, although she never really said as much, I would proceed to play the tape over and over again – my only source of 'my music' when 'Spotlight' wasn't on.

I would, of course, be introduced to other great bands through the program;

'Pride (In the Name of Love)' (1984) would introduce me to U2
'The One I Love' (1987) introduced me to R. E. M
and more...

U2

AND, later on, while actually producing 'Spotlight' for TVM (somewhere 1989 – 2000) I would develop a major addiction to electronic rock and hardcore techno due to the likes of Orbital, The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers (helped along by the initial introduction to the genre by a friend who is deeply missed...).

My catalogue of favourites continue to grow – add Massive Attack, Fatboy Slim, Bob DylanDave Matthews Band, and more to the mix

Cover art – Massive Attack's Mezzanine (1998)

But... nothing takes me back to that moment of what started it all more than Knopfler on the guitar.

Note to Knopfler: 'somewhere your fingerprints remain concrete' – indeed.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Parlez-Vous Italiano? No.

If I have one major regret it would be my lack of skills in the language department. I'd be considered an average Dhivehi speaker, at best, and have no foreign language skills.

Understanding Hindi because I, as most Maldivians, have been exposed to Hindi/Indian films from a very young age does not count and neither does having a very basic understanding of Singhala (Sinhalese?!?!) and Bahasa Malaysia.

Okay, I am better than average at English, BUT that's mostly due to the fact that it was almost our first language – I mean except for Dhivehi and Islam we were taught everything in English so I really didn't have an excuse to suck at it (although a lot of our recent graduates strive to prove me wrong). Plus, while I was growing up there weren't really any Dhivehi stories for all demographics – none as diverse, in genre and subject matter, as those in English anyway.

Movie poster for 'Les quatre cents coups'

So here I am, three decades in... finding out to my utter frustration, that I like foreign films and authors better than their local/English equivalent... well actually I've known for quite a while now that I appreciate foreign films... well before I reached the three decade mark but... [moving on]

Films the likes of Malèna (2000) [Italian], Cinema Paradiso (1988) [Italian], Les quatre cents coups (1959) [French], Nueve reinas (2000) [Spanish], 36 Quai des Orfèvres (2004) [French]... are just the tip of the iceberg and would easily put any of their Hollywood counterparts to shame.

Then there are the more recent discoveries; Haruki Murakami and Gabriel García Márquez. Though I've so far read very little, a handful of Murakami and just the one García Márquez, these authors are so far off the typical 'reservation' that it makes no sense that I like them – but I do, immensely!

García Márquez's 'Memories Of My Melancholy Whores' 
(2004; English translation 2005)

I read English translations of the books and switch on the subtitles for the films and experience everything 'second hand' (I abhor switching the audio to English – the voice overs almost always lack the feeling and the emotion of the original performers). Yet they're ever so gratifying and I'm left to wonder if it could have been more so – and what was lost in translation...

For those of you who can enjoy such stories in their original form, I envy you... and hope that you're partaking in some of those exquisite pleasures...

And for the rest of us, who are well past their prime to learn that many languages, we'll happily take what we can get... because they are that good.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Domo arigato, Kunio Kato.

Animators are a curious bunch... I might not be too justified in saying that but... work with me here.

I've actually been lucky enough to know an animator. Just the one – that I would classify as a true animator. Others, like most of you, I've experienced through YouTube and the occasional special feature on DVDs/Blu-rays. But, disclaimer aside...


Character design/sketch

Animators are a curious bunch. Often uncompromising. Even more so, I'm told and can imagine, than most prima donna Hollywood directors – but in a non Michael Bay way. They either don't compromise on the technical quality of their work OR the quality of their storyline... and some won't compromise on either... This makes them either;
a) Technical geniuses,
b) Masterful storytellers
OR

Having had the privileged to work with, and observe, a real animator at work I imagine several factors help fit animators into one of these boxes. Many who rely on the skill to make a decent enough living will willingly shuttle between the first two choices depending on their project requirements, time, technology they have to work with, etc. – this is no mean feat. AND they, the real animators (extrapolating here from just the one that I know – but I imagine, cos of the YouTube videos and the special features, others would probably work along the same lines), will nearly always deliver a finished product that is, not withstanding CRAZY, unreasonable project requirements, always top notch.

Often times than not, animators control everything on their projects, performing multiples roles that, in normal circumstances, would be left up to a whole crew – from character design to lighting, to cinematography and the actual animating.

They truly suffer for their art – more so than in any other media related profession I'm sure...

Which, long winded as it is, brings me to my point. The one animator that I know and who I call a dear friend, Yamin Rasheed – the creator/producer of 'The Maakana Show', was called up recently by someone we both know and respect(ed) and accused of being a sell out.

A scene from 'The Maakana Show'

Now, neither I nor Yamin will pretend 'The Maakana Show' to be a great masterpiece of animation. Far from it – it is almost entirely entertainment, with just a little bit of social commentary and satire thrown in. It does not strive to be great. Rather, it strives to be relevant to the time it is based in – our social condition that is the here and now! And I believe, several short coming aside, that the show does indeed achieve this – maybe, right now, not to the best of its potential but give them time... if not in 'The Maakana Show' maybe in the next Cellmin production.

Passionate people such as these affect our lives through their work and to question their work in a petty, baseless, self serving manner is something that we should avoid at ANY cost. And I wouldn't just limit that thought to animators alone – this, I feel, is true of ALL art.

OK – what's the relationship between Yamin and the title of the post AND which box does he fit into you ask?

A scene from 'La maison en petits cubes'

Kunio Kato is the 2009 Oscar winner for Animated Short Feature – his film entitled 'La maison en petits cubes' is phenomenal and I'd say he's definitely in box (c).

Yamin is a Technical genius when it comes to animation. His work on, 'Abu' (a 15 minute short feature we both worked on during our time at TVM, around 1999) speaks to his need to tell entertaining and affecting stories... so right now he's in box (a)... but heading toward box (c)...

In short, the title is my way of saying 'thank you' to ALL the animators that I've come to appreciate, each for their unique talents – from everyone working at Disney/PIXAR to Matt Groening and everyone in between.

Be sure to catch 'La maison en petits cubes' – it's probably on YouTube.

And 'The Maakana Show' is on VTV every Friday, 10:00 at night.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The night is darkest just before the dawn...

Adaptations are a tricky business. Just ask Alan Moore or Uwe Boll – though, admittedly, not for the same reasons.

Promotional Art for Frank Miller's 'Batman Year One' Trade Paperback

At the best of times your source material has a rabid following who will, once you've announced your intentions, scrutinize your every move – down to the the colour of underpants your hero may, or may not, wear under, or over, their costumes.

And at the worst of times... well... you should click on the Alan Moore link (above) before you go on to the rest of what I've got to say...

Most times our worst fears are realised (see Uwe Boll for the worst case scenario) but sometimes... sometimes the  improbable does actually happen...

The planets align and everything in the universe works in harmony and in sync with the efforts of a select few individuals who have the patience and the tenacity to get it just right – in the manner most suited to the medium in which they operate and wield almost magical powers over.

Such are the Batman films by Christopher Nolan (collaborating in no small part with David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan).

Promotional Art for 'Batman Begins'

I've already pissed and moaned about 'The Dark Knight' (2008) not getting more Oscar nominations, at the least, for best adapted screenplay.

My short, unvarnished, opinion; it should not only have been nominated but should  have won.

The adaptation of Batman ['Batman Begins' (2005) and 'The Dark Knight'], by Nolan and Co. is spot on. They jettison what really would not work in a film adaptation and even when they keep stuff, they adapt it to propel the story forward;

Rā's al Ghūl is no longer an ageless alchemist who is forever resurrected via Lazarus Pits – rather he is a succession of  individuals who take over the mantle, with more or less the same objectives as their predecessor, thereby sustaining the myth that is Rā's through the centuries.

The money stored in the warehouse is burnt – in the comics by Batman, but in the film, because this story requires it and rings true to its almost organic development, by the Joker.

 A comparison – Comic [Batman: The Long Halloween]
vs. Film [The Dark Knight]

There are several more such instances, and not all of them big – some so seemingly insignificant that one might wonder why the effort was made to put them there. Yet even those little extras contribute and enrich our experience of the film.

Then there are the new bits – still ringing true to the core of the character. The Tumbler and the Bat-pod would irrefutably be the most 'iconic' changes. They're very different to what we see in the comics BUT they're raw, utilitarian beasts with a focus on function; to get the job done efficiently –  sacrifices have been made in the design, much like that of the Bat-suit, but even then it's an exercise in the maintaining of efficiency and efficacy.

And how about the symbolism that is alluded to in Batman Begins (and the comics) of being 'more than just a man', of being 'incorruptible'?

Turns out that this Batman is so hardcore he's not only incorruptible by evil – he won't be corrupted, technically one might say, by  good either (go see the films if you haven't already – it's seriously more than comic book, bubblegum pop – seriously!).

Artist Jim Lee's rendition of Batman

If this is not classic Batman, the core of the character brought forth, then you sir/madam don't get Batman.

Remember, his unrelenting cause is justice and justice is not always black and white and neither is it, at times, immediate or fair.

Jim Gordon illustrates this best when, in The Dark Knight, he says of Batman;

'… he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.'

[Goosebumps!]

That might not work in the real world but it sure as heck works in film – and it works brilliantly in the capable hands of Chris Nolan.

Promotional Art for 'The Dark Knight'

After the Debacle (yes with a CAPITAL, italicised and bold 'D') that was Batman and Robin (1997) [Shudder.] I had all but given up hope. And when Nolan took over I was hoping just for a more than decent 'reboot' – something that would bring back a semblance of... dignity to the farce the Batman films had become. And maybe, just maybe, hoping, against all odds, that it might be a bit more...

Boy did he pick that ball up and run with it. Heck, he kicked it out the ballpark – out the stratosphere even!

In the words of Mr. Broodypants (Batman) in The Dark Knight;

'… sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded...'

HELL YEA!

Messrs Nolan, Goyer and Nolan – thank you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Baraka

[also berakhah] in Judaism, a blessing usually recited
during a ceremony, OR
[also barakah] in Arabic, Islam and Arab-influenced
languages such as Swahili, Urdu, 
Persian, Turkish, meaning
spiritual wisdom and blessing transmitted from God;
or in a Sufi context, "breath of life."

Baraka, means 'Blessing' a spiritual power believed to be
possessed by certain 
persons, objects, tombs, in Arabic,
Swahili, Urdu, Persian and Turkish.

A few months ago I became the proud owner of a Baraka (1992) Blu-ray. I first watched it as part of a college assignment focusing, as I recall, on non-verbal films.

It was enthralling, to say the least. And this was a viewing in standard definition on a 21 inch monitor accompanied by a loud, somewhat agitated, group of college students with a healthy dose of ADD – oh not to worry... I count myself along with the ADD crowd.

Five minutes into the film everyone quieted down – most of us were either trying to figure out where the 'no talking' was headed OR it could have been that the almost serene imagery and music started to resonate with their brain waves... or maybe a bit of both.

Cover art – Baraka [Blu-ray]

In the next 91 minutes we, through no conscious will of our own, found ourselves soothed and calmed to the point where some of us experienced something totally alien – a silence that is never seen (heard?!?! unheard?!?! witnessed?!?! experienced!)... experienced in a college much less a tight screening room packed with students!

Beautiful, peaceful, serene images washed over us – even in the moments where the motion lapse technique was used to show 'herds', repetitions and juxtapositions we were not jarred out of our trance like state... not even when we where shown the 'cruelty' that man, and war, unleash upon nature did we flinch – the 'no blood and gore' philosophy helped... every 'point' that the film made... it made peacefully... serenely... beautifully...

And then we were done... and were faced with the horror of writing about a film with no dialogue... YIKES!

Fast forward five years to two months ago – there I was, holding nostalgia at bay... surely this wouldn't stand up to the first experience ... would it?

In a small-ish room with no natural light, I saw nature unfold and unleashed before me in glorious High Definition...

And I kid you not my friends it DID surpass my first viewing.

A scene from the film

Whether it was the new transfer OR the five year gap that erodes the memory of the first viewings (I saw it multiple times in standard definition that semester in college) I cannot tell...

Oh who am I kidding... it's the HD and the larger TV (36 inches now) AAand the lack of a fidgety, ADD-ish college crowd... and the HD... did I say that already?!?! Well it bears repeating...

Baraka looks AMAZING in High Definition - AM. Ay. ZING!

Filmed at 152 locations in 24 countries which includes several natural wonders of the world (sadly no Maldives) this is a MUST for any film fan AND any human with a cranial space.

I can't wait for Ron Fricke and Co. to unveil Samsara, the sequel to Baraka which is planned to be released around 2009/2010.

What the heck is right with Murakami?

According to my calculations I shouldn't be a fan of Haruki Murakami;

Murakami giving a lecture at MIT in 2005

His characters are WAYYyy off center. His plots are insane. He throws in HUGE doses of fantasy; sometimes mingling them with actual events. And all of this he writes as if it were normal, matter-of-fact, everyday occurrences – as if he does not want to call attention to the plotting and the characters BUT hellooo!!! Everything is downright wacky Mr. Murakami!

For those of you (like me) into off center storytelling, especially in small doses, Murakami's short stories should be up your alley... they're not just weird for the sake of being weird... well not all the time anyway...

Cover art for 'after the quake' - most international editions of
the author's works are also known for their amazing covers

You might want to ease into it though, with a collection like 'after the quake' (1999; English Translation in 2002 by Jay Rubin) – oh and I've found that most his stories are better enjoyed when your reading whims are not too... urgent... you don't want to rush through this stuff... the insanity within is always sublime.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What does John Grisham have against his 'heroes/protagonists'?

Spoiler Alert – for anyone who has not read 'The Associate'

Just finished reading John Grisham's latest legal thriller, 'The Associate' (2009), and am fully convinced that Grisham has it in for all his central characters.

I mean after dragging his central character through hell that's the 'payoff' he gets?!?!? REALLY?!?!

OK I do realise I'm not giving away anything specific BUT saying that he (Kyle McAvoy –  the hero) kinda (mostly) gets the short end of the stick at the end kinda feels like I MIGHT be killing the experience for anyone who's reading this, before they've read the book.

Promotional/Cover art - 'The Associate'

BUT for anyone who's familiar with Grisham's work this should come as no surprise! He writes these 'everyday' heroes who are brilliant, self made and morally sound, puts them in a situation that's going to test every fibre of their being (and spirit) and then short changes them when it comes to the part where they should get rewarded and live happily ever after!

Cases in point?!?!?! Hmmm... let me think...

'The Firm' (1991) – sure Mitch 'gets away' but he's constantly looking over his shoulder isn't he?
'The Chamber' (1994) – his client is put to death but we did all see this coming... so it's a little bit all right... but still this fits in nicely with the point I am trying to make here so...
'The Rainmaker' (1995) – Rudy loses his interest in law... but arguably is better off as a person so... this one's iffy but still...
'The Partner' (1997)  – The money?!?!?! EXACTLY!!!!
hmmm... there should be more but my un-photographic memory fails me!

Oh sure... most do get a 'nice' ending BUT they're too 'everyday' for my tastes... for once [OK he's done it once in 'The Runaway Jury' (1996) so maybe more than once... maybe more than 30 percent of the time] I'd like to see them somewhat vindicated.

BUT having gone on a semi-rant there for a bit... 'The Associate' is a bordeline great read – not his best by a long shot but still better than most of the stuff I seem to be coming across these days...

Promotional/Poster art - 'The Firm' (1993)

Hmmm... I might go and read 'The Firm' again – loved it... and hold it responsible for making me a fan of Grisham AND the legal thriller genre in general.

AND, the film is not half bad either – one of the few times where a film has a better ending than the book! Not saying one's better than the other – BOTH good in different ways!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Summer of Trek?

After watching the Super Bowl trailer for some of the "2009 summer movies" I'd have to say, based on 30 seconds of flash cuts mind you, that "Star Trek" might be the one to beat.


Trailer for the rebooted/reimagine "Star Trek" - courtesy of Trailer Addict

Why?

Because, I thought it had a decent enough story, even in the 30 seconds, compared to the other trailers AND it's being put together by a team that has a cult following... granted that the cult following is mainly based around their TV work (Just in case you've been living under a rock and haven't heard, I'm talking about team Abrams/Orci/Kurtzman who brought us "Alias", "Fringe" and "Mission: Impossible III" just to name a few)!



Most "Star Trek" fans have been itching to see this (I assume) since this was originally scheduled for December 2008 and has been delayed a tad... AND also since it is set to change (for the best/worse) established Trek lore in ways that... well we'll have to wait and see won't we?


Trailer for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" - courtesy of Trailer Addict

Apparently "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" was the highest rated amongst the Super Bowl trailers. I must say, that I wasn't that impressed with the first (the Michael Bay version not the animated) Transformers movie - it was all right, wasn't blown away. And I'm not all that impressed with the trailer for Revenge of the Fallen either.

Interestingly though, both Transformer movies were also written by Orci and Kurtzman!

And is it just me or does the trailer for "G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra" look a tad like a trailer for a bad video game inspired movie?!!?!?


Trailer for "UP" - courtesy of Trailer Addict

Aaand, although the "Monster vs. Aliens" trailer was rated above "Up" I'd have to say that the latter seems to be a better bet in terms of striking the right humour chord...

BUT who am I kidding... judging a movie by a 30 to 45 second trailer is probably worse than judging a book by its cover... So we'll have to see how good/bad the movies are when they're out.

What's the point of this post you ask... I dunno... I kinda lost my train of thought there...

For those who will be near a decent cinema during the summer - have fun at the movies!

I'll be swimming in the beautiful lagoons of the Maldives banging my head against a coral reef!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Comments on The 81st Academy Awards Nominations

Kudos to the Academy for Recognising "Slumdog Millionaire" for the cinematic gem that it is;


Promotional art for Slumdog Millionaire

In particular, the nominations for;

Danny Boyle - Achievement in directing,
Anthony Dod Mantle - Achievement in cinematography,
A.R. Rahman - Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
and
A.R. Rahman (Music) & Gulzar (Lyric) - Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

Kudos ALSO for recognising the cinematic vision of David Fincher and Co. for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button";


Promotional art for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

In particular, the nominations for;

David Fincher - Achievement in directing,
Eric Roth and Robin Swicord - Adapted screenplay
and
Brad Pitt - Performance by an actor in a leading role

And for "The Dark Knight" there were categories that, try as they might, the Academy could NOT have gotten away with had they ignored them;


Promotional art for The Dark Knight

In particular, the nominations for;

Wally Pfister - Achievement in cinematography (if only for making IMAX cool again)
and
Heath Ledger - Performance by an actor in a supporting role (if only for making Jack Nicholson's performance merely a memory and defining the true cinematic Joker)

However...

All the nominations combined do NOT make up for that fact that Christopher Nolan SHOULD have been nominated for the cinematic marvel (no irony intended) that is "The Dark Knight"!

Christopher Nolan - overcame the bat nipples but not the Academy!

Nominations for The Dark Knight should have included (at the least);

Christopher Nolan - Achievement in directing
and
Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer - Adapted screenplay

Heck I'd even say that a nomination was even due for;

Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard - Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

I am truly torn... Fincher and Co., along with Boyle and Co., are masters at what they do...

BUT the Academy should quit whatever the heck they're smoking and ALSO recognise that Nolan is the MAIN reason why The Dark Knight was nominated for all the technical awards...

Too late now...

Note to the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: You tried to look like you tried... BUT you failed... miserably!

We WON'T be won over by a sympathy nomination, for Nolan, in the years to follow for a none comic book related nomination - at least I won't!

Unless it's a really good film... which knowing Nolan it probably will be... DAMN!

God gave us free will...

So why are DJs trying to pull the strings?!?!?


Image from Getty Images

Shouldn't we each be responsible individually as long as we're not infringing on others?

I mean... We were told about the "free will" provision... and each given a rulebook weren't we?

If we're not each held to account individually then, since they're pulling the strings and keeping us in line, do they take all the responsibility (I don't mind NOT taking all the credit as long as I'm not stuck with the responsibility/aftermath either)? Hmmm... But the way of the DJs suggest - not so!

This is a lose - lose situation for most... if not all!

AND... not really in line with the whole "Humans have free will" line of thought... or is that a crock of bull?

heh heh heh... Sorry if I made your head hurt... woke up this morning with a migraine... so think of this as my version of Karma! ;o)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WHY IS NO ONE (REALLY) SAFEGAURDING THE CONSTITUTION?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

[Disclaimer: This is a RANT. For saner entries please scroll down, browse 'What was said before' OR move on to some other blogs.]
Who is really looking out for the public interest and protecting
the constitution?!?!?

Nobody seems to be interested in putting out the, proverbial, fire!

The judiciary are (obviously?) over-stepping their bounds in a 'hunger for power'... the executive, apparently, pays no heed to the 176 page "guideline" to governing the Maldivian people  (I say this because they seem to treat it as such - especially as it were a crappy set of guidelines)... the legislature seem too busy because they're, mostly, acting out their their weekly soap opera!

Oh and yea... it seems that being the Forth Estate (media), in the Maldives, is a spectator sport!

Apparently in a democracy the people get the government that they deserve - boy we must have s@#$*@#d up BIG TIME in a past life!

That's it... that's all I gotta say on the subject... F$#@!!! OK that was it! SERIOUSLY! Now you can move along to more eloquent blogs and blog entries.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Peace on earth and goodwill toward man"

The title is a quote from the movie "Sneakers" (1992) starring Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, David Strathairn, Dan Aykroyd, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix and Ben Kingsley (among others)

The selective quote is (mainly) from "Whislter" (David Strathairn).

The situation is this - The FBI (or similar govt. organisation) is negotiating with a team of "security consultants". The FBI is asking each "consultant" what they want before the team of "consultants" will agree to hand over a device that the FBI need desperately.

And thus goes the conversation;

Whistler: I want peace on earth and goodwill toward man. 
Bernard Abbott: Oh, this is ridiculous. 
Martin Bishop: He's serious. 
Whistler: I want peace on earth and goodwill toward men. 
Bernard Abbott: We are the United States Government! We don't do that sort of thing. 
Martin Bishop: You're just gonna have to try. 
Bernard Abbott: All right, I'll see what I can do. 
Whistler: Thank you very much. That's all I ask.

P.S. Bernard Abbott is played by James Earl Jones and Martin Bishop by Redford.

I found this piece of dialogue to be HILARIOUS when I first watched this movie... But if every one of us thought like Whistler we'd surely be in a better place - wouldn't we? Idealism... hmmmm...

Oh and by the way - STILL find it hilarious BUT it has more meaning to me now...

Why now? Not sure. BUT I remember, during early January 2009, being in Sri Lanka and seeing some residents of Colombo running around on the streets waving Sri Lankan flags and celebrating amid exploding fire crackers...


Painting from RICHARD CARDONA PAINTING, PRINTS, & DRAWINGS.
Mainly cos I got stuck deciding on an image to go with the post... Lennon kinda seemed appropriate... but do feel free to suggest other/alternate images/art/etc.


They were (rightly?) celebrating the Sri Lankan Army's success in the war against the LTTE... But somewhere in there I couldn't help but think "Why are they celebrating the loss of human lives?". In all honesty, they must have just been celebrating a victory - but that victory caused a hell of a lot of lives, Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Buddhists, Men, Women, Children... human beings...

If we HAVE to choose a side... maybe we should choose humanity... the sanctity of human life - forget race/religion/[insert other denomination(s) here]...

Think this might solve all the conflicts? If the "buck" stopped at loss of human lives? Idealism again...

I should stop that... shouldn't I?