Hi, I shall use this blog to broadcast my opinions on anything entertainment, be it games movies music. Haters welcome, always up for discusions

Friday, 30 March 2012

Princess Mononoke


http://thisdistractedglobe.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/Princess%20Mononoke%20pic4.jpgA few years ago I would have tossed this film into a collection of movies I like to call the rubbish pile. Recently, however, I have forced myself, with great difficulty, to open my mind and look at the entire picture. Instead of focusing on one or two aspects of the movie I do not like and formulating a biased opinion based on my hasty and clouded notions, I can now decipher both the good and bad points of a given flick. Upon watching Princess Mononoke, I must say I first thought it would be very difficult to look past the animation style and see it for what it was- a dynamic film directed be the highly acclaimed Hayao Miyazaki. After about ten minutes of dwelling on the follies (and there are, in my opinion, many) of the "anime" style of art, I became enthralled with the quickly unfolding plot and the subsequently dire fate bestowed upon Ashitaka, the protagonist of the film. After Ashitaka leaves his village to search for a treatment to remedy his affliction, I no longer cared that this was an animated feature; I was on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. I no longer disliked that every character had abnormally large eyes (though not over-sized to the point of utter absurdity) or that the English overdubbing was a little choppy. In fact, I even began to enjoy the accomplished yet subtle computer generated effects interspersed throughout. By the last half hour I was hooked to the screen, eagerly awaiting the conclusion I wanted so badly to end the bitter conflict of the plot. By the end, I realized that this movie carried a powerful moral with it: man's continuous tampering with nature brings about as much savagery as it does progress, as much suffering as it does good, and that a sound compromise must be struck between nature and civilization. I do not harbor any negative feelings towards those who rated this movie poorly, as I used to be one of those people. All I have to say to them is this: look at a both the visual and symbolic attributes of a movie before rating it harshly. If, after observing all these features and idiosyncrasies, you still wholeheartedly hate the film, then by all means give it a one. After all, what would the world be like if we were all did not criticize or question our surroundings?

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Game of Thrones


Do not believe any of those negative reviews. I honestly cannot understand why some reviewers have given this such a low rating. I think some people love the sound of their own voice and think their opinion is worth something and will be disagreeable simply for the sake of it.

Having said that, this show is stunning. I have never read the books and now I want to. There is so much crap on TV that is renewed year after year (CSI, House etc.) which uses cheap gags, pointless and sometimes ridiculous plots, unbelievable and many times one dimensional characters and yet all the truly great shows get cancelled.

There is enough brain-dead television. But once in a while a show comes along that transports you to another world and makes you believe in the magic of television again. Game of Thrones is one such show.

It is complex, multi-layered, surreal, vibrant, imaginative and it draws your eye in to the surprising level of detail, from the sweeping vistas, to the narrow dungeons, from the beautiful castles and magnificent trees, to the contrasting landscapes. It is worth watching just for the scenery alone.

Yes the acting seems a little cold and even wooden at times, but this is perfectly in keeping with the medieval look and feel of the show. Yes it is dark and gloomy, but again in keeping with the narrative.

The scripting is intelligent and well delivered by competent acting, led by Sean Bean perfectly cast as Lord Edard. Although Sean Bean is better known for brooding bad guys, he strikes the perfect balance between father, husband and Lord and soldier. He is well supported by other well known actors and many new to the scene.

After watching and sometimes enjoying Camelot, this show makes that one look more like "Merlin" by comparison. And where Camelot lacks in depth and scripting, Game of Thrones strikes the perfect balance between brooding medieval angst and wonderful fantasy story telling.

Even if you have never watched a fantasy show before, you should not miss this.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Incredibles


This film completely, utterly flabbergasted me with its brilliance. I've been a big fan of Pixar (along with a few hundred-million others), and I was aware that 'Incredibles' was going to be a departure from their usual fare, but WOW - this simply blew all expectations of what a 3D animated movie can be beyond the stratosphere, in my humble estimation. There simply can be no going back from this! I honestly think most people cannot comprehend just how special this film is. I cannot understand how anybody could see this movie and be anything less than astonished, much less be negatively critical of it. 'Incredibles' literally has it all, and in my opinion is virtually flawless - damn it, it IS flawless! How does one really define greatness in cinema? Quality of direction, scriptwriting, performance, production design, editing, photography, scoring - on all counts 'Incredibles' triumphs, with deceptively effortless ease. I say deceptively because nothing this relentlessly magical is achieved without unfaltering attention to detail and supreme craftsmanship. Brad Bird simply has to be acknowledged as a visionary and creative genius. I come from a graphic arts and visual design background and throughout the entire two hours of this movie I found myself quite literally unable to believe what I was seeing. It is all so breathtakingly realised. It is aesthetically beautiful and completely fearless in its execution. This is so much more than an animated movie. It is so much more than a comedy-drama. It is so much more than an adventure film. It is so much more than a comic book exploding into incandescent life before our very eyes. 'Incredibles' is nothing less than a milestone in cinema, and a totally transcendent experience. This IS what all movies should aspire to be!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Machinist

Christian Bale is Trevor Reznik, a machinist in an anonymous factory somewhere in America. He is obviously scarred by some past incident but what is it? He finds mysterious notes on his refrigerator, saying 'who are you?' He sees colleagues that don't exist. He seems to have lost it completely.

A Spanish production, but with Brad Anderson at the helm as director and an almost exclusively American cast, this is basically an American film. I must admit, I kept shelving this one, due to reasons I cannot really recall now I've finally watched it, but it probably had something to do with Christian Bale's insane weight loss and all the surrounding publicity. I assumed the film was all about Bale's loss of weight and not much more. A method boy in a film solely hyped for an actor's dedication to play the part, but the film blew me away, as simple as that. Christian Bale gives a solo turn here almost unseen before. No matter how many pounds he lost, it's a remarkable performance.

Director Brad Anderson succeeds brilliantly in conceiving an atmosphere that is so compelling, as one other user on the IMDb stated, 'You just HAVE to know what the hell is going on here.' I think that's the key factor in what makes this film so incredibly compelling. The whole setting is an anonymous industrial town somewhere in the US, that could be Pennsylvania, Michigan or upstate New York (actually, it was shot near Barcelona), but it doesn't really matter where the story is located. It's the atmosphere of estrangement that does it. And Christian Bale gives such an intense performance you really want to know his cause and background. Where on earth does he come from? We know he works in a greasy factory, but why is he skin-over-bone? Why hasn't he slept in over a year? Brad Anderson creates an atmosphere so broody and sleazy, it's like a netherworld, an urban nightmare. In a certain way it reminded me of the strange urban landscape in "Eraserhead" by David Lynch.http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2009/364/2/8/the_machinist_1_by_rubyjune.jpg

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Shutter Island


Finally, a horror/thriller that actually, genuinely scares the crap out of you. Not because it has fancy villains in masks or sadistic buckets of gore throughout. No, it scares you because it messes with your mind. Most will hate this movie, they don't like their brains being tampered with. I loved it. It's what we needed after all those gory R-rated and sometimes lame-duck PG-13 horror crap-fests.

The horror/thriller genre has been raped lately, with gore and scantily clad- women replacing the noir and terror that Alfred Hitchcock perfected in the '50s and '60's. Here director Martin Scorsese delivers in full blast, crafting a thriller in his own unique vision. The atmosphere throughout the movie is tense and unsettling. Slow as it may be, but it is crucial to the movie and it's genuinely gripping. Your attention WILL not be lost. The scenery is beautiful and finely done with no excessive lighting, grain or darkness. The editing by Thelma Schoonmaker is fluid and pitch-perfect, and never makes the film lose focus. The movie is based on a book by Dennis Lehane and is packed with twists and turns that will leave you breathless and uneasy. The movie cranks the breathlessness and uneasiness up to the power of 5. The music is also perfectly suited with the scenes. There is sometimes no music during suspenseful moments, and sometimes the music makes the scene even more disturbing and memorable. Alfred Hitchcock's noirish thriller style is back with a vengeance, here to teach today's moviegoers the REAL meaning of suspense and horror.

All the actors in the movie are in top-form. Once again, you can't go wrong with a Leonardo DiCaprio/Martin Scorsese collaboration. As the protagonist, we the audience are thrust into his shoes and we are about as confused and scared as his character is, we feel what he feels. It becomes a psychological trip that poses many, many questions about oneself, that to discuss them here would spoil the entire movie. There are some flashbacks in the movie, but all of them are important clues to DiCaprio's character. DiCaprio gives a stunning performance, once again tempting the Academy to give him another Best Actor nomination. DiCaprio gives a vivid portrayal of a vulnerable, haunted and ultimately terrified man. Apart from DiCaprio there's really not much I can say about the supporting cast, because they are all also terrific. Ben Kingsley; Mark Ruffalo; Michelle Williams; Max Von Sydow; Jackie Earle Haley; Emily Mortimer; Patricia Clarkson; Ted Levine; Elias Koteas; John Carroll Lynch. All of them.

In short, this is a psychological and frightening masterpiece that will make you scared, will make you think, and will make you seek psychological help. This is one of the best films of the year. See it, go in with an open mind and prepare to be blown away.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Monsters Inc


The best way to describe this movie in one word is; fun! "Monsters, Inc." is a movie you can easily fall in love with. It has some great fun character, some awesome moments and some well placed comical moments. "Monsters, Inc." is entertainment at its bests.

The voice cast is amazing. John Goodman and Billy Crystal form a great leading duo. Steve Buscemi is a great villain and James Coburn has a great voice that fits his character perfectly. John Ratzenberger as always is very entertaining this time in a role as banished Yeti.

The story itself is pretty simple but thats what makes it easy to follow and so much fun to watch. The movie not only knows how to entertaining but also knows how and when to emote. The combination of fun and emotional things is perfectly balanced and placed within the movie.

There is some great dialog but the true power of "Monsters, Inc." are the wonderful characters. Not is there only a wild variety of strange and weird characters but also some characters that are good for some serious laughs and Boo is simply adorable and a pretty fair representation of a kid in real life. Well done Pixar!

Pure entertainment for the entire family!


Friday, 2 March 2012

District 9


District 9 is a story about aliens who make contact with Earth and the relationships with humans and society. The creatures were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa's District 9. Control over the aliens has been contracted out to Multi-National United (MNU), a private company uninterested in the aliens' welfare. Their sole interest, alien technology and weapons. Weapon research would mean huge profits for the company. Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is placed in charge of the filed operation to evict, remove, and place the aliens in a new holding facility. Conflict and tension threaten the operation as agents move in.

Don't be fooled. This isn't your typical alien sci-fi action movie. What got me was the believability. If there were aliens out there that were able to make contact with Earth, it seems it could have gone something like this. The way the perspective switches from mock documentary style to standard third person certainly contributes to it. "Real" news footage and interviewers tell the story in retrospect, as the events of the movie have already occurred when they are being interviewed. I think it all added to the realism of the experience.

Usually in these type of films, it's mostly mindless action and the story is lost. Not the case here. There's so much more to it. It's also about betrayal, loyalty, trust, relationships, and sacrifice. It can actually be pretty deep and thought provoking with many themes floating around. The film's really about the story which is really a fresh, gritty, original concept, which is good to see nowadays.

While the creatures can be most readily described as monsters, though they are like us. Family and friendship are still important ideals in their world. The film explores a fine line between human emotions and monsters. With all the selfishness, hatred, and greed within us, maybe we are the real monsters or at least that's how it can be perceived.

Neill Blomkamp does a tremendous job with the direction and realism of the film. Sharlto Copley blew me away. I was shocked to see this was his first acting role. The action sequences were well done as well. District 9 is a very unique sci-fi film, one that shouldn't be missed. Mind you, this isn't a film for everyone. It's violent, and many parts can be cringe worthy. Be warned but be ready for one of the best films of the year thus far.