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Saturday, 27 March 2010

Jumping Jack Flash

I'm very surprised to see how quickly my first few weeks at University have been. I handed in two my assignments on Tuesday morning, even though I wasn't sure if they were done correctly or not. This whole referencing/sourcing system has me pretty confused. Another average week at University. Towards the end of this week will be the start of the long Easter break so I've got a whole week off from Uni (along with every other Uni, I think). That's 11 days off from University for me. Fun!

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Last Sunday was Masa's 18th birthday. We spent the evening at Crown Casino having an all you can eat dinner at Sante. The food was great, as you'd expect from Crown of course, and the dinner was then proceeded by some gambling. We played a bit of poker and had a go on the pokie machines as well. I lost my money. :(

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http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/69/21269-004-B71907D4.jpg

Recently I've been looking back at music's past and have grown to take a nice liking towards "The Rolling Stones". I think the only reason why I'd consider listening to "The Rolling Stones" is because Martin Scorsese uses the band so well in his movies. So it should come as no surprise that tonight's (or today's depending on when you're reading this) blog post is titled after one of their songs. Anyone else want to make any other suggestions of what "blasts from the past" I should check out?

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Speaking of suggestions, I'd like to also get some recommendations for novels and books. I've never considered reading to be an enjoyable past time but lately I've been enjoying it more than I thought I would. I think I have Haruki Murakami to thank for that. I'm halfway through "Dance, Dance, Dance" and am enjoying the surreal nature of the novel. If anyone else can recommend novels of similar nature that are not written by Murakami, I'd be very happy to try and check them out.

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I got my Year 12 Visual Communication folios from my teacher back on Friday morning! Unfortunately, I couldn't get my final mounted mock ups as well (other than my hat) but I was glad to have my folios back still. Actually, I'm still missing one folio. My teacher can't seem to find it but she said she'd pass it on to a friend of mine once she finds it. It's great looking back at the work I produced thinking, "Wow, I can't believe I did this!" I'd like to visit the Top Design show for this year, just to see what everyone last year was doing and who was the cream of the crop, haha.

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http://www.thatvideogameblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/modern-warfare-21.jpg

What the hell Activision? Why would you make your loyal Modern Warfare 2 customers pay for your new maps? The "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package" download will include five new maps for online multiplayer but to get this, you've gotta pay for the download which is kind of outrageous, I think. I'm sure Activision already have enough money from the millions of Modern Warfare 2 copies that they've sold, so why bother releasing a few new maps and include a price tag on it? Exploiting the dollar, it would seem.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

http://z.about.com/d/movies/1/0/Q/2/5/collateralpubl.jpg

I've rented "Collateral" in the past but that isn't to say that I watched it. In fact, I've rented Michael Mann's, "Miami Vice", in the past as well but hadn't seen that either. I just didn't have enough time for it. I also never caught this movie on television either. Anyways, I saw this for the first time on Monday during my film screening and enjoyed it quite a bit. Right up until the end where things got a bit too Terminator-like for me. The cinematography in the film was really good and the use of handheld digital cameras made the film look a lot more dynamic (we were studying cinematography this week). People make fun of Tom Cruise a lot, sure, but I really enjoyed seeing him play a character that's different to others he's portrayed. In fact, I even liked him in "Tropic Thunder".



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http://jonwren.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/the-wrestler-one-sheet-2.jpg

I need to add this to my DVD collection. "The Wrestler" is a wonderful movie with very strong performances. I don't know Mickey Rourke enough to say that this is his best role ever but I will say that his character, Randy "The Ram" Robinson, was fantastically played. My former interests in professional wrestling lead me to see this film and it's one I can see myself watching every now and again. I liked the some of the shots employed in the film as well. It seemed a great emphasis of the characters' backs were used and I really liked how it was used in relation to the narrative. It's a great film, honest.



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"Blade Runner", was an interesting movie to say the least. I wasn't sure what to make of it to be honest. I liked it but wasn't sure why I liked it. I guess this had something to do with the fact that I was incredibly tired and wasn't paying too much attention to the film. I kept falling in out of sleep during the film and the eventually paused the film to take an hour long nap. When I woke up, I finished the film and wasn't entirely sure what to make of it. I liked the setting of the film and the stylised elements of noir found in the film but the conclusion left me a little confused. Like I said, this COULD be attributed to my exhausted state.


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I remember seeing this film as a child but vaguely remember it. My father had "Leon (The Professional)" on VHS and rented it once. The only thing I remembered from the film were the yellow walls of the apartments and Leon himself. Anyways, this film marked Natalie Portman's first film appearance and it's a great one because it really shows how much of a talented actor she was at that age (and shows you a sign of things to come from her career). The relationship between Mathilda and Leon (Jean Reno) is really interesting, as are the characters of the film. Gary Oldman is one of my favourite actors and his turn as a corrupt official is so exuberant and very fun to watch. I'm definitely getting this on DVD as well.


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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

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I haven't read the Scott Pilgrim series of comics but the amount of build up over these last odd months for Edgar Wright's "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" has been rather high. Test screenings of the film have been immensely popular and have had a lot of the film community divert their awareness towards this project. The official teaser trailer was finally released this week and it really does live up to the talk, I feel. It looks like it's going to be a pretty awesome homage to video games and is looking to also be one rollercoaster ride of a movie. It really does impress me and has a great look and feel about it. Hopefully more footage in a proper, theatrical trailer will be released sometime soon. By the way, anyone who has seen "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" has to agree with me that the first 20 second like like that aforementioned film!


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http://radioloveless.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/hogwarts.jpg

Rumours were running rampant this week when news that a major set from the Harry Potter film franchise were caught in a blaze and burnt down. These rumours were verified to be only partially true, when it was revealed that only a part of Hogwarts' courtyard was burnt down. The mainstays of the series, such as The Great Hall, Dumbledore's Office and the dormitories are still intact and were not affected by the blaze whatsoever.

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evanamerica.jpg picture by hieuyy

While last week's post was purely speculation as to WHO would play Captain America in Marvel's, "The First Avenger: Captain America", this week it was confirmed that Chris Evans will indeed be playing the patriotic American superhero. I'm okay with this decision but am not entirely happy with it. I'm just glad that he got the role over Channing Tatum, let's just say that. One thing I don't like about this casting decision is the fact that Chris Evans looks a bit too young to be playing Captain America but considering that the film is partly about the character's humble beginnings (assuming this is the case of course, don't take my word for it), I don't think it should be too much of a problem. We'll just have to wait and see once they actually begin filming.

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Oh this story makes me laugh. I honestly didn't think a company like Disney would sink this low to cop a perve, hahaha. The New York Post reported this week Disney will be only casting women with natural breasts for their upcoming "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" project. Women auditioning for the film would have to be asked to jog on the spot to prove that their breasts are natural and not augmented. The statement on the casting call allegedly requests for:

"Beautiful female fit models. Must be 5ft 7in-5ft 8in, size 4 or 6, no bigger or smaller. Age 18-25. Must have a lean dancer body. Must have real breasts. Do not submit if you have implants."
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Finally to end tonight's post, a picture that I found last night that had me laughing hard. This is one of my favourite things to look at now. Thank you Internet.

http://www.joeydevilla.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/one_does_not_simply_rock_into_mordor.jpg

End post.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Argument

Oh what an average and boring week at University this week. Nothing happened and there's nothing even remotely interesting to talk about, University wise, this week honestly. I think this just means I'm now getting assimilated into the University. Pretty soon it won't just be a new thing to me and will start to become mundane, haha. I just finished my first assignment. I had to write critical 1000 word analysis essay on "genre" for my Professional Writing subject. Regulated fun...the best kind.

I don't really like listening to music in the morning mostly because I've gotta carry around my Mixstyle headphones. I like my headphones, sure, but they're too much for me to carry around. Takes too much space in my bag and is sometimes annoying when I take it off. It rips the hair off my neck, haha. I need regular earphones for the sake of travelling.

http://www.exorcising-ghosts.co.uk/images/HM-Dance(UK)Paper.jpg

To combat this though, I've acquired a copy of Haruki Murakami's novel, "Dance Dance Dance". I've been wanting to read this book for a while and, if Hendrik is reading this, thanks again for lending it to me! Now I can look forward to reading this to and from Uni. I had this overwhelming feeling to re-read "Norwegian Wood" the other day but I'm gona save that for later in the year. I want to re-read it in time for the Japanese film (well whenever it releases on DVD here anyway). I hear the film is to be released sometime in December. Long, long wait.

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Oh hey look, Amanda Seyfried just took took part in a photoshoot with Esquire magazine. A really hot one! Check out the photos HERE if anyone is actually interested. I know I would be, haha. :D
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

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This was James Dean's last film. I think he only starred in three films but the legacy he left behind was really impressive and has obviously made him an icon in Hollywood and acting today. I was really surprised to find that The themes and issues raised in "Rebel Without A Cause" are still relevant amongst teenagers today. After studying several elements of the film in the lecture, it made my understanding of the film and enjoyability of the film much greater. A good film that's kind of important in American cinema.


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http://infolab.stanford.edu/~prasanna/dmc/musical/high_fidelity.jpg

I saw a small cut of "High Fidelity" in my Screen Analysis tutorial and decided to check it out myself. The film looked interesting enough and as I was watching it, I found that I could relate a lot to this film. I didn't identify myself with any of the characters or anything but I did find myself identifying with what they said and things they talked about. It's also interesting to note that this film is heavy handed with awesome music choices (music is really important in this movie). I might check out the soundtrack a little later tonight. Having said that, the film is pretty enjoyable (at least from a guy's perspective it is) and I couldn't help but think of and compare "(500) Days of Summer" to this.


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I also saw a short cut of "The Big Lebowski" in Screen Analysis and decided to investigate further. I've never seen the film in it's entirety and have seen bits and pieces of it but when i watched it the other day, I really enjoyed it. You can't go wrong with Jeff Bridges who was a perfect cast to play "The Dude". Quite a funny movie too with genuine laugh out loud moments for me. As absurd as the film's narrative may be, it's one that's really unique and kind of a trademark of the Coen Brothers.


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I'm a fan of Ridley Scott. I loved his films "Alien", "Gladiator", "American Gangster" and can't wait for "Robin Hood" later this year. Having said that, I decided to go back into his catalogue of films and watch "Black Hawk Down". I've kind of seen the film before but only as a youngster (bad parenting, obviously) so I couldn't really recollect everything I had previously seen. I saw it again and really liked it. I don't know what I thought of it back then but this time around I really enjoyed it. The movie is very well shot and has great cinematography and doesn't try to make the movie as some patriotic American flag raising symbol of pride (which is what I don't look for in war movies). Being that the film is a historical account, it has to play to the facts as closely as possible as they could (even though things had to be change in favour of the film of course). My favourite quote from that movie was from Eric Bana's character. It goes:
"Y'know what I think? Don't really matter what I think. Once that first bullet goes past your head, politics and all that shit just goes right out the window."

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I saw a lot this week didn't I? Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass have collaborated before on "The Bourne Supremacy" and "The Bourne Ultimatum" so when I was watching "Green Zone", I couldn't help but think this was what happened to Jason Bourne before he got his amnesia, haha. It looked decent and it was just that, decent. It's entertaining and somewhat compelling for the most part but I think the main problem with this film is that it's not really relevant anymore. The film is set during Bush's time as president and has a strong anti-"war on terror" agenda which deterred my viewing experience. It's not a bad film, just alright and watchable.

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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

tatumamerica.jpg picture by hieuyy

Earlier this week, Channing Tatum was considered for the role of "Captain America". Sure, Tatum's got the build for Captain America and look but I personally would not want him in that role. Captain America is more than a hero, he's an icon of American patriotism. He's the embodiment of American ideals and American values. If I wanted a Captain America, I'd want someone who can actually act as well, haha.

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Now it's being reported that Chris Evans has been offered the role of the First Avenger. The last comic book character he portrayed was Johnny Storm in "Fantastic Four" and his upcoming film, "The Losers" is also a comic book adaptation. He also voiced Casey in "TMNT", but I dunno if the Ninja Turtles originally began in comics or not. Chris Evans as Captain America is okay and I can kinda live with that but I still prefer someone more masculine for the role.

weavingskull.jpg picture by hieuyy

More "Captain America" news but I promise this will be the last one. Hugo Weaving has been confirmed for the role of Red Skull, the main villain of the film. I absolutely love this casting. Hugo Weaving is a great Australian actor and his evil portrayal of Agent Smith in "The Matrix" trilogy are probably the best part about those films. Plus his narration of anything is awesome (as evident in "The Lord of the Rings" and in the trailer for "Legend of the Guardians").

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Once the "Harry Potter" series dies out, what are Warner Bros going to do to make a boatload of money? Considering that Warner Bros pretty bought and own DC comic book characters for the screen, to fill in the void of "Harry Potter", they plan to look at the library of DC comic book characters and milk off of that. Is this even film news or did I already see this coming anyway. Fox have done that with Marvel characters for so long now. They never really had a tentpole franchise.

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predators_xlg

Ah yes, the full "Predators" movie trailer is here! It's not a sequel to the second or first "Predator" movie but is a completely different movie entirely, a sort of reboot of the franchise with a completely different story. The synopsis of the film reads like this:

Royce, a mercenary who reluctantly leads a group of elite warriors who come to realize they’ve been brought together on an alien planet… as prey. With the exception of a disgraced physician, they are all cold-blooded killers mercenaries, Yakuza, convicts, death squad members human “predators” that are now being systemically hunted and eliminated by a new breed of alien Predators.


This is going to be kick-ass.

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Now I dunno if this is going to seem funny to anyone but I got a good chuckle out of them and thought that they were majorly awesome. So with the said, I shall end tonight's post with the following finds of the week.


The Bounty Hunter Movie Poster (Boba Fett Edition)
I like Gerard Butler but even King Leonaidas himself has got nothing on the Fett. I'd totally see this movie, haha.

Batman Fighting a Shark with a Lightsaber
Why would Batman have a lightsaber and need to use it to fight off a shark? His leg looks anatomically incorrect as well.

End post.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Down From The Sky

Let's get this weekly post done with and out of the way! I think "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" is going to completely ruin my University studies. I've been way too addicted to it and would rather prefer hours of gaming and shooting people than studying homework (of course any distraction from homework is more than welcome in anyone's books). The homework so far hasn't been too demanding but I juts can't be bothered doing it sometimes. Hell, I can't even be bothered going to two of my lectures for Literature and Professional Writing. I only find my Screen Analysis and Japanese lectures to be somewhat worthwhile and engaging.

I had a bit of a two hour break on Monday morning but spent the first hour with this guy I've sort of made friends with and the latter half watching the live feed of the 82nd Academy Awards. Lucky for me too cause the awards had just started. On my two hour break on Tuesday, I spent much of my break conversing with a girl I kinda made friends with in my Japanese workshop. The rest of that break was spent in the library figuring out how to configure my laptop for Internet use at La Trobe. I will now no longer have to be bored during my breaks.

Oh and speaking of Japanese, my Japanese reading and writing workshop tutor/teacher is a pretty funky person. She came into class this week wearing aqua blue tinted glasses (massive ones like the kind indie kids tend to sport) and wore a pink backpack which was unusual for a tutor/teacher I thought. Unusually cool of course, haha.
Something pleasant happened during this week at Uni. I bumped into a friend from high school who is now studying at La Trobe. It was really unexpected bumping into him like that but I was glad I did though. It was nice catching up with him (I hadn't seen him since graduation last year). It was funny too cause he pointed out that the two of us could've done our entire course/degree (which is more appropriate to say? I can never tell) and never knew the other person was there.

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Two people asked me questions in my post last week. Below are my answers to your questions, first starting with Elaine's question.

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I don't love Tim Burton but I do have a bit of an appreciation for his work. I would like to go see Alice in Wonderland though I don't know if I'm definitely going to see it in cinemas. So it's a maybe for me. It looks wonderful though, artistically and stylistically anyway.

The next two questions were from an Anonymous reader.
I caught the "Remember Me" trailer before the "Dear John" screening and actually thought that it looked very intriguing... right up until the point that they had to introduce a romantic story. I thought the first few seconds of the trailer were promising until the bad boy goes on to meet a girl and fall in love with her. I do admit that this does look like Robert Pattinson actually breaking away from his "Twilight" persona and actually doing something a little more serious (though I'm not naive and know that he has done serious roles in the past) but as it stands, I'm not really interested in seeing it. The trailer had me on a hook for a bit but then slowly let me slip away from it.

As for the answer to your second question; I'm not entirely sure what my all time favourite song is. I honestly can't narrow it down to one but I can name several. I remember putting a list of songs that I really liked because they held some sort of worthwhile memory or got me into the band/singer. You can find that same list right HERE. Actually now that I think about it, "Every You, Every Me" by Placebo or "My Curse" from Killswitch Engage come very close to being number one, haha. But yeah, that list there is basically songs I consider to have some form of importance in my life.

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Speaking of music, I was introduced to a new band this past week by a good friend of mine. Ladies and gentlemen, my flavour of the month: Blood Red Shoes. They're an alternative British two person band, much like The White Stripes. I quite like their tracks, especially their song "You Bring Me Down". Go check 'em out!


Their music video for "You Bring Me Down" reminds me a lot of the film, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".

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After many years of delay and development, fanboys outside of Japan were able to get their hands on the latest installment in Square-Enix's Final Fantasy franchise. "Final Fantasy XIII" hit stores on March 9th but I've yet to get my hands on them. I haven't had that much hype going into the thirteenth installment in the roman numeral franchise and haven't been all too impressed with some of the things coming out from it. There are certain things about FFXIII that I do like (after having seen much footage leading up to it's impending release) but I'll have to reserve judgement until I get to play it myself. I plan to play it as soon as I'm done finishing "Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots". Three of my friends have the game. Two of them have gone on to say that it's a really impressive and awesome game while the other is much like me and isn't impressed, not yet anyway.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

http://www.traileraddict.com/content/warner-bros-pictures/kissbang.jpg

Holy friggin' crap, yes! I love "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and it was great having to re-watch it at La Trobe's cinema! It's a favourite of mine as you may already tell and it was nice having to see it again. I do feel that it's an often underappreciated film but it's one that has had a great following on home video after it's disappointing run in theaters. It was good to talk about it afterwards in the lecture and tutorials as well because, up until that screening on Monday, I only knew of one other person who had watched the film. So yeah, that was good re-watching it and sharing that experience with other people. It was nice to learn a thing or two about the film as well, haha!



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The little film that could. I think that this is the lowest grossing picture to ever win a Best Picture. Had "Avatar" won, it would've made it the most expensive and highest grossing Best Picture. I had previously seen "The Hurt Locker" at home and thought it was a wonderful movie and had to go check it out in cinemas to get a more enhanced viewing experience. Despite having seen the film already, the chills still got to me. I definitely recommend this (and if my recommendation doesn't count, let the film's six Academy Award wins speak for themselves).



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http://au.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/38/MPW-19355

This was my first time seeing "Forrest Gump" and I have to say that I absolutely loved it. For a two hour film, it really didn't feel like it. The direction is spot on and knows when to be funny, when to be serious and when to be emotional. I think that this is the film that "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" wished it was (though Benjamin Button was more serious than anything). Funnily enough, "Forrest Gump" won the Best Picture at the Academy Awards for the films that came out in 1994. I saw two Oscar winning pictures this week! It should also be noted that 1994 seemed like a really good year for movies! "Pulp Fiction", "Forrest Gump" and "The Lion King" all came out that year and are now considered classics in their own right.


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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS



Well I'm sure most of you know that the 82nd Academy Awards took place this past week. I won't go into who won or anything but I wanted to just provide my own thoughts about the results and things that happened throughout the night.

I was kind of surprised to find that "Inglourious Basterds" lost to "The Hurt Locker" in the Best Original Screenplay category. I loved everything that happened in "Basterds" and loved that it was an ode to cinema a little moreso than the war experiences of EODs (as intriguing as that film was). Tarantino looked visibly disappointed.

Main Image
Christoph Waltz proclaims his Oscar win as an uber bingo!

Someone made a good point that 10, 20 maybe 50 years from now, we probably won't remember "The Hurt Locker" and would remember "Avatar" more. I kind of disagree with this statement mostly because “The Hurt Locker” is considered essential viewing (at least to me) when you talk about war films. As it stands, it probably would be mentioned in the same breath as "Platoon" or "Apocalypse Now" years from now but realistically, it wasn't groundbreaking or shook up cinema the way "Avatar" did. "Avatar" in itself was a great movie but, at least to me, it felt like it transcended film (it pretty much became a spectacle).

It is also interesting to note that Kathryn Bigelow is the first female director to win a Best Director award (which is great of course). This actually makes me wonder why it took this long for a female to get an award for Best Director. I mean surely there must be some GOOD female directors out there, right?

I also find it funny that "The Hurt Locker" won a lot of the technical awards over "Avatar”. Wouldn’t "Avatar" have had to make sounds from scratch, seeing as how it's a fake world? Much more work and effort put into that, I imagine.


Oh hey look Amanda Seyfried at the Oscars! :D

Everything else that happened during Oscar night was pretty much expected (regarding awards anyway). Christoph Waltz, Mo'Nique and Jeff Bridges were locks in my book for their respective categories. For a full list of who won, head on over HERE.

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Three trailers came out this past week that may interest regular readers of my blog. The following trailers are for "Iron Man 2", "Robin Hood" and "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse". "Iron Man 2" and "Robin Hood" look fantastic ("Iron Man 2" looks amazingly fun to watch). "Eclipse" made me cringe. Check out the three movie trailers below.







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Toy Story 3 International Movie Poster

I know I posted up what was supposed to be the final "Toy Story 3" poster, and I was half right, but the following is the final international poster for "Toy Story 3". I think the one last week was just for use in the United States. I like this poster mostly because it's using the original characters from "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2".
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I thought I'd end tonight's post with something a bit different. Below is my personal favourite shot from "The Hurt Locker". It may look insignifigant but to me it says so much. It's accompanied by a great quote from the film that sums up the entire film. Once again, it's a great film and people should give it a try and check it out.

hl.jpg picture by hieuyy

"You love playing with that. You love playing with all your stuffed animals. You love your Mommy, your Daddy. You love your pajamas. You love everything, don't ya? Yeah. But you know what, buddy? As you get older... some of the things you love might not seem so special anymore. Like your Jack-in-a-Box. Maybe you'll realize it's just a piece of tin and a stuffed animal. And then you forget the few things you really love. And by the time you get to my age, maybe it's only one or two things. With me, I think it's one." - Staff Sergeant William James

End post.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Dear John Review

http://www.whynotcoconut.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/dear-john-movie-poster_a.jpg

Nicholas Sparks'
novels have been fodder for Hollywood studios for some few years now.
Six of his films have been adapted onto film (including one coming out in a month's time, "The Last Song" starring Miley Cyrus) and some of them have been of relatively moderate success. This latest adapation of Sparks' works stars two of Hollywood's fastest rising stars, Channing Tatum ("G.I. Joe") and Amanda Seyfried ("Mamma Mia!", "Jennifer's Body") and is directed by Lasse Halstrom who directed "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?", a film I studied in high school that I really enjoyed.

Tatum stars as the titular character, John Taree, a soldier in the US army who, while on service leave, meets and falls in love with Seyfried's character, Savannah. After helping Savannah retrieve her bag of possessions, the two bond, become intimate and eventually fall in love after two weeks. As Spring draws to a close, Savannah has to go back to college while John has to go back and serve his country overseas. During their time apart, they write each other letters but something terribly tragic happens to John and his unit which prompts him to stay overseas much longer than he originally anticipated. This, in effect, puts a strain on their relationship and tests their relationship's limits.

Channing Tatum (left) and Amanda Seyfried star in Screen Gems' romantic drama DEAR JOHN. Photo By: Scott Garfield. ©2010 Dear John, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.
:)


This was a really convoluted film. It was just all over the place and couldn't really settle down. I'm quite disappointed with the direction because I thought this was a film that Halstrom would have no trouble navigating around. A good example of this is the long sequence where both John and Savannah were writing each other. Nothing was really happening during that sequence other than the fact that you had both actors narrating each other's letters. I found it to be quite boring because it didn't really move the story forward and didn't really add any character development or momentum.

It is also convoluted in the fact that the film tried to do way too much. I think this is the problem with adapting books onto film as screenwriters and/or directors have to decide what to keep and what to throw away so that the film still respects the book. There are two subplots in the film that, I thought, were much better and interesting than the main plot of the film. The first subplot showed the relationship between John and his father (which I thought was wonderfully handled) and the second subplot involved a father and his mentally handicapped son. As I said, both were much more interesting than the main plot but it also brings the overall narrative down because it feels as though they added way too much. I understand that the film-makers feel they must respect the book but they have to keep in mind that some material doesn't translate well on film.

Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried star in Screen Gems' DEAR JOHN. Photo By: Scott Garfield. ©2009 Dear John, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.
Epic teeth grinding.

Having said that, I did think that the acting brought out in each story was done well. It's not bad but it's not good either. Channing Tatum, an actor who hasn't impressed me at all, was actually surprisingly passable and okay in this film. This subtler performance from Tatum is much better but it's only a small step up from his last starring film, "G.I. Joe". One thing that annoyed me with Tatum though was the fact that he would always grind his teeth together. It was really, really annoying. Amanda Seyfried turns in a decent performance also but, at least to me, I didn't feel the chemistry between the two which is why I thought the two other subplots were far better. The romance wasn't as developed as I imagined it would've been (I came in expecting something grandiose like "The Notebook") so there was nothing really that made me feel interested in their relationship. I think this is largely due to the fact that most of the film, they aren't together on screen and are only writing and narrating each other's letters.

Also, and I know a lot of people would agree with me on this as well, but two weeks for them to fall in madly in love seems almost improbable. One has to really embrace or accept Hollywood's version of love in order to accept this movie. I had a problem with this concept which deterred my viewing experience a little bit.

Amanda Seyfried stars in Screen Gems' romantic drama DEAR JOHN. Photo By: Scott Garfield. ©2010 Dear John, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.
Only reason why I'd see this film. :D

I should also mention that the movie is long and moves really slowly. Things began promisingly enough and then started losing it's way, during the middle when they were both away, and then slowly found it's way back afterwards. There was one point in the film where I thought everything would end (and had it ended there, it would've been so much better) but it kept going and ended in a disappointing letdown. Should I blame Sparks for writing it this way?

At the end of the day, Dear John is just another forgettable film that could've had a lot going for it. Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried and the supporting cast turn in decent performances but slow pacing and a misplaced sense of direction lead "Dear John" down.

"Dear John" gets a 2/5.
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P.S. I saw this film on the Xtremescreen at Hoyts. Honestly, why was this film on Xtreemescreen? It's a few dollars extra to watch it on Xtremescreen but it's not a movie that needs or requires a massive screen and bigger sound. Save that for sometihng more grandiose. Well, at least I get to see Amanda Seyfried with higher resolution. =\

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Distress and Coma

Just a quick notification to readers but I'll be posting regularly every week from either Saturday or Sunday. Just basically think of it as a weekly wrap up so now I guess you can read this without having to expect when my next post will be. So yeah, just expect them on weekends now.

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This past week I begun my Creative Arts course at La Trobe University. Goddamn was it radically different to high school, haha. Below is a list of likes and dislikes I've compiled in regards to my first week at La Trobe.

+ Train rides in the morning are great because the trains are always empty and full of seats.
+ I look forward to going to actually going to school on Mondays now because my Screen Analysis classes are all on that one day.
+ Met a guy who's in almost all my classes so that's pretty good.
+ I have Thursdays and Fridays off from Uni.
+ Quite easy to navigate (my classes are all within a certain area)
+ Japanese classes are actually really good. Learning Japanese at high school turned me away from continuing it but re-learning it at Uni is much better, I think.

- Not looking forward to a lot of English based classes (Literature and Professional Writing)
- Unlike Uni students in the city, if you have a two hour gap between classes, you're practically stuck at La Trobe with nothing to do.

The positives outweigh the negatives but I wonder how much of this would change as the year progresses. To combat my two hour gap that I have on Wedensday, I plan on bringing my laptop to either browse around on the Internet or just watch a movie or for a bit. I have been meaning to actually catch up on television shows like "True Blood" as well so I may as well use that time for that. Or I could do homework, I dunno. All in all, a very good first week at University (one that I had not expected).

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I haven't been really getting up to much this week because University has been all the rage for me this week. The only thing I think worth mentioning is the fact that I hung out with some of my high school mates last night. We caught up over pool, food and beer. So pretty much your typical guys night out. We were considering to have a CoD session but the LAN joint we went to was full. Unfortunate.

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http://jesusheartsmusic.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/alicia-keys-retirement.jpg

Oh by the way, has anyone had a listen to Alicia Keys' latest album? I'd really like to get some thoughts on the album because I've been meaning to check it out.
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WHAT I'VE BEEN WATCHING

http://www.twenty2wo.com/uploaded_images/BeKindRewind-785162.jpg

I think it's expected that I'll have one new film to put down every week now because of my Screen Analysis class. We watched this on Monday and I thought it was a pretty decent movie. You can definitely see Michel Gondry's direction coming out from the film, especially in some of the sweded movie moments. It's a pretty funny film but it's nowhere near as memorable as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". I think the only reason why that film is much better than this one is because of it's rather ingenious script. I did enjoy "Be Kind, Rewind", don't get me wrong but it's not something I think I'd be up to watching again anytime soon. I like Mos Def though. Like his music and his acting, haha.


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http://i.clevver.com/fullphoto/224979/500/950/dear-john-movie-poster-1.jpg

Oh boy, what did I put myself through. I went to see this with Thy and Minny on Thursday but only on due to the fact that Amanda Seyfried was starring in the film. I have no interest in Channing Tatum because his acting has been rather bad in my opinion. I can say, though, that I was pleasantly surprised that he was actually decent in this film. He wasn't fantastic though, but he was bearable enough. I thought the film was just okay but if you want a full written review for this film I'll probably post that up sometime during the day or tomorrow.


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TIDBITS OF FILM NEWS

Not much to discuss this week. Well, I mean there is a lot of film news to cover but I've just chosen select ones that may (or may not) evoke interest within readers.

toy-story-3-final-poster

WOAH! Group photo with the "Toy Story 3" characters! I think this is the final poster for the film as well. I love this poster so much, hahaha. Oh let this film release already!

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http://api.ning.com/files/F0ldMjgE*0aUzyH84oHX9FGA*141xLdm99LX5rE4CQe996vpLB8IndU8qFAswaZIGCVqr2LTW1UzfOuJZ5Zi0KiFY9EPevHi/1979_alien_0142.jpg

It seems that Ridley Scott's "Alien" prequel will be filmed in 3D. Scott was the original director of "Alien" and made one hell of a film with that. 3D doesn't seem so gimmicky once a director actually plans to film something in 3D and properly utilise the technology the way that James Cameron utilised it for "Avatar". Still, the problem I have is Ridley Scott returning to helm "Alien" (and as a prequel/reboot no less). I like him (will be checking out "Robin Hood" later this year), but I don't know if he should try to outdo himself when he's already made a fantastic film. It's like George Lucas returning to do the prequels to "Star Wars".

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http://screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/zack-snyder-reading-watchmen.jpg

I am a bit of a Zack Snyder fan. The man directed the remake of "Dawn of the Dead" in 2004, immortalised Gerard Butler as "King Leonidas" in the film "300" and did a pretty good job of filming the unfilmable comic, "Watchmen" last year. I do think he's a bit pretentious (the trailer for "Watchmen" dubbed him a "visionary" which is a big stretch there) but I guess with the success he's had, he has a bit of a right to. The common thread amongst the three aforementioned films, however, is that they're strictly for adults.

Zack Snyder’s LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS stills

Having said that, I was surprised to find that Snyder was attached to a children's film titled, "Legend of the Guardians". It's adapted from a series of novels, "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" (a much better title that the studio should have stuck with) and the trailer that was released for the film this week actually looks pretty good. The CG looks really beautiful and having Hugo Weaving narrate over anything is awesome. It's nice to know that a few outstanding Australian actors have lended their voices to project, much like how "Happy Feet" was able to do this (the animation studio behind "Happy Feet" made this too). Check out the trailer below.


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Running out of humourous content to post. Can't find any good ones to end today's post with so I'll just use this one. Hopefully it'll get a laugh outta people. I got a good chuckle out of it.

tumblr_kx67ktd6KR1qa703go1_500.jpg picture by hieuyy

End post.