Tag Archive | films

Nick Clegg’s speech to the Lib Dems

As scripted by Quentin Tarantino.

Fat flyers

I’ve just finished listening to this week’s SModcast podcast and it’s already one of my favourites.  SModcast is a podcast featuring Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, and delves into news review, personal anecdotes and absurd speculation.

Although employing enough colourful metaphors to make a nun blush, the show is always funny and imaginative, and you don’t have to be a fan of Kevin Smith’s films to enjoy the podcast.

This week’s is an ’emergency SModcast’ after Smith was asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight for being too fat to fly, although Smith had flown with Southwest regularly.  Smith has a massive following, and as well as his podcast, has used his Twitter feed and blog to air his grievances.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the situation was used in a future film.

So why such publicity?  One of the points raised is the fear of complaining too much on an airplane.  How much is too much?  If you are too stubborn or demand that you be treated with dignity, you risk being hauled off the aircraft in handcuffs under armed guard and charged with an imprisonable offence.

So you shut up, and either write a strongly worded letter or take it on the chin.  Kevin Smith is fortunate enough to have an audience and has used it to hopefully encourage an airline to take notice and start treating their customers with respect.

In an increasingly overweight society, the introduction of new airport body scanners and the ridiculous treatment given to people who don’t fit into aircraft torture chairs, the humiliation of overweight air passengers will become more, not less, common.

Due to my height I’ve already had to endure hours in aircraft seats designed for people 6 inches shorter than me, but now that I’ve got too many kilos under my belt, I may be joining others facing the reproving looks of the stasi stewards and stewardesses quietly judging whether my girth is safe or not.

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about with my irrational terror of flying/exploding/crashing.

Moon

Note – spoiler alert

I missed this film when it came out at the cinemas last year, and I’m glad I’ve caught up with it. Moon stars Sam Rockwell as lone lunar employee Sam Bell, managing a mostly automated strip mining operation for mineral energy source Helium-3. He’s coming to the end of a three year contract and looking forward to the day he returns home to his family.

His loneliness is exacerbated by the fact that he can’t communicate in real time with his family due to an accident when he arrived on the moon, so his contact with home is by prerecorded messages. His only companion is the mining base’s AI computer, Gerty, voiced by Kevin Spacey.

On an external maintenance trip on one of the automated strip mining vehicles , Sam’s truck crashes, leaving him trapped.  He wakes up later in the mining base infirmary, having lost his memory of the accident.

However, when he goes to the crash site to investigate he finds a body in a space suit.  His own, which he revives and returns to the base.  Sam realises he’s a clone and the film changes into one of the most bizarre buddy movies I’ve seen, as both clones investigate their past, and chillingly discover what their future has in store for them.

Moon to some will seem slow and dull, no big flashes and bangs here, but it’s a thoughtful and intelligent film, exploring the differences in personality between the ‘old’ clone and the ‘new’ clone.  I recommend it to any sci-fi film fan.  If you enjoyed Sunshine, you’ll like this.  And anyway, it’s always enjoyable watching Sam Rockwell.

Avatar

I went to see this a few days ago.  It was described to me as ‘Dances with Smurfs’, so my expectations were pretty low.  The special effects are great, but it’s clear that this is an animated movie.  Whether it was intentional or not, the scenes with the blue aliens seemed dreamlike as opposed to the aim for a gritty reality in CG animated films like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

Within the special effects and action scenes, the story clumsily shoehorns two distinct allegories.  The first is a clear representation of colonial brutality fed by greed, with a definite nod at the cruel treatment of North American native peoples.

The second is an eco message; Earth of 2154 has been scarred by war and resource depletion and it’s populace is looking elsewhere in the galaxy.  The main character even comments on how green the planet/moon Pandora is, compared with Earth’s grey and barren landscapes.  The eco message is woven even more deeply; the native people of this story, the Na’vi, have both a spiritual and physical link with their planet’s biosphere and this relationship defines the people, and as we discover later in the movie, the planet’s other species.

What really impressed me about the movie was the 3D.  I was expecting it to be a disappointing experience, but I was pleasantly proved wrong.  The 3D wasn’t a ‘jumping out the screen’ type, but a lot subtler.  This was mostly expressed in a depth of field in close up scenes and increased sense of perspective in the landscapes.  The feeling that clouds of flies or dust motes in the air were just in front of your face was impressive.

The only annoyance was the damn 3D glasses which from time to time was a distraction, as was the occasional blurring of the extreme far sides of the screen.  The glasses needed to be more comfortable, and the ‘lenses’ wider so the field of view wasn’t interrupted by the frames.  I’m told that the IMAX 3D experience is much better.

At the end though, it’s an enjoyable enough colourful and mostly fun action romp – a big popcorn B-movie with a heart.

2010: Looking forward to

I don’t think world peace is coming anytime soon, but for a media monkey like me…

Films

The Road
The A-Team
Invictus
Alice in Wonderland
Iron Man 2
Tron: Legacy

Games

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – Xbox 360
MAG – PS3

Gadgets

Xbox – Project Natal

Real motion gaming without wands.

iSlate/Win 7 tablet

The iSlate’s a rumour, the Win 7 tablet is a reality. What would you want with an e-book if you had a truely portable tablet – especially if it looks like a gadget from Star Trek?

iPhone 4

Rumours again – it’s an iPhone, but with likely a better camera.

Nokia N900

It’s not an iPhone, it has a real keyboard, 5Mp camera – and it runs a Linux-based OS. Okay, technically not a 2010 object of desire as it’s been out since December, but with it’s beefy specification which challenges some netbooks (and is essentially a mini tablet pc) I can see this one getting the geek vote in 2010.

2009: media favourites

A totally subjective list of my most enjoyed media in 2009…

Top five games

The Saboteur – Xbox 360

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – Xbox 360

Battlefield 1943 – PS3 & Xbox 360 (download)

Singstar Queen – PS3

Operation Flashpoint – Xbox 360

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Top five films

Star Trek

Inglourious Basterds

The Hangover

Watchmen

District 9

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Top five TV

Fringe – Sky One

Lie to Me – Sky One

Day of the Triffids – BBC1

The Thick of It – BBC3

Mock the Week – BBC2

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Top 5 podcasts

SMODCAST

The Good Atheist

BBC Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy (The Now Show/News Quiz)

Adam & Joe (Radio 6 Music)

Reasonable Doubts