My To Watch List

This is my list of DVDs I own (and that I can find) that I haven’t watched. I will review some, but not all. I won’t bother reviewing films that have already been reviewed millions of times, that’s pointless, my views won’t be any different.

Highlander 2

Inglorious Bastards

La Horde

Hanna

Shallow Grave

Withnail & I Watched

Tyrannosaur (British drama. Nothing to do with dinosaurs.)

Submarine Watched and Reviewed!

Sweeney Todd

Behind Enemy Lines

Thin Red Line

Broken Arrow

The Marine

Man On Fire

Chinatown Watched

Man With A Movie Camera

Courage Under Fire

A Scanner Darkly

12 Rounds

Apocalypto

Red Road

Wasteland

Sin Nombre

Anything For Her Poetry

The Kids Are All Right

Beginners

The Bourne Movies

Windtalkers

MirrorMask

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (bought due to the presence of Tom Waits)

Casablanca

Bicycle Thieves

Regarding CCEA…

Fuck CCEA A2 exams this year.Absurdly hard this year, and not because of Absurdism. Absurdism didn’t come up. That would have been kind.

Spanish listening was about the G8 and politics, something not covered on the course.

English A2-1 was all right, not fantastic. Donne and religious feelings. Easily done, if you pardon the pun, although Rape metaphors are difficult to write about. The second section was a gift, partially because I quite enjoyed reading A Doll’s House (Ibsen), and partially because it was a straight forward question.

English A2-2 was about relevance to the 21st Century Reader, something we covered for one day at the start of the course as it came up last year and we didn’t think it would come up two years in a row due to the amount of complaints CCEA received last year about a similar question. At least the difficulty will bring standardisation for high grades down, the B (stop it with the damn puns, me) may be achievable.

History A2-1 was awful, a question about Soviet Consistency in regards to Aims. Probably the most difficult question that could have came up. The alternative was even worse, the motivation for Soviet Opposition was primarily defensive. It’s quite clearly not, and I’d learnt it as aggressive, so that essay was more or less impossible.

History A2-2 was also dreadful for the source questions. How far do the sources suggest that the Anglo-Irish truce was caused by political pressures placed on Britain, kill me please. The essay was thankfully great, how far is John Redmond responsible for the decline of the IPP between January 1914 to December 1918. He died in March 1918, so obviously not completely. Easily arguable.

At least it’s all over (for now). This isn’t a proper post, merely a rant, and a rather short one at that.

Submarine (UK 2010) Review

I saw Submarine last night.

Overview:

It’s a funny, albeit bizarre, romantic comedy that isn’t terribly romantic. Not a lot of plot going on, it’s more of a character study of Oliver Tate and his world. There are a lot of similarities to The Catcher In The Rye, but the movie deliberately acknowledges this, using symbolism from the book and outright discussing it at one point.
I’d recommend it if it weren’t for this site being predominantley American. It’s a very British movie and, unlike Shaun of the Dead, it wouldn’t translate well culturally. Lots of Briticisms.

Pros:

  • Intensely witty. Most of the comedy isn’t derived from antics or vulgarity, like American Pie, but from wordplay and the self importance of a teenage narration. The social awkwardness of Oliver makes for some hilarious scenes.

LLOYD “[Depression] feels like you’re underwater.”
OLIVER “Is that why you became a marine biologist?”

  • Well shot. It’s very aesthetically pleasing, evoking a sense of the 1980s effortlessly through visuals alone. The visual imagery tells us a lot about Oliver and Jordana’s relationship without explicitly stating anything. The scene in which they ride on a bike through a disused funfair with a firework attached to it (the bike) conveys the excitement and the eventual doom of their relationship.
  • Transition from humor to drama. It never feels unnatural, everything feels like it connects together. The comic moments fit perfectly with the dramatic e.g. SPOILER ALERT! Jordana’s mum having a brain tumor and her supposedly last Christmas dinner. END SPOILER ALERT! This shows Ayoade to be quite a skilful first time director.
  • Characterisation. We get a real sense who each of the main characters are. Oliver is socially awkward, cowardly and bordering on psychopathy; Jordana is directionless, self-destructive and hates romance; Chips is the sort of misogynistic teenage arse who inhabits every classroom… I’ll not spoil the others, but they all have hidden depths.
  • The Soundtrack. This is a case of love it or hate it. The score is by Arctic Monkeys’s Alex Turner and conveys the bittersweet nature of teenage life, but occassionally veers into twee. I personally like it, but I can understand if you hate it.

Cons:

  • The imagery occassionally borders on twee and/or amateurish, for example the “Super 8 footage of memory” and Oliver walking from the shallow end to the deep end of the swimming pool. Of course, this can be interpreted as Oliver’s narration being that of a teenager, but I felt it to be a flaw in an otherwise excellent film.
  • Graham. He just happens to be the weakest character in the film, though the performance is excellent and amusing, the script fails to explain his attractiveness adequately, bar for housewives who buy into VHS Philosophy. He comes off as unrealistic in an otherwise realistic film.
  • The Title Cards, while they worked for comedic parts of the movie and showed the hyperbolic viewpoint of Oliver, undermined some of the drama. This is, admittedly, a minor flaw, it’s a case of a tonal shift that doesn’t work once.

Overall Score:

8/10. A great movie, that could have been a classic if it weren’t for some minor flaws.

Petite bites? Pauvre Nancy

Ask a French guy

Image

A good example of a very bad use of French in an advertisement.

« Petite bite » in slang is « Small penis ». And she look so happy about it!

And Petite should be Petites (the plural form, silent s) if there are many bites.

Please, ask a French Guy (or a French Girl) if you want to use French in an Ad. It will save you from being the laughing-stock of the day on the French social networks.

Pascal pauvre Nancy Forget

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Okay schedule slippage

Some schedule slipping of the major variety there. The good news is that regular updates will start on the Saturday 26th May 2012. At least one post every two weeks.
Not that anyone will read them.

I’m alive.

I don’t have anything of interest to post, however.
I’ve been busy revising and working so I haven’t had time nor cause to update my blog. My existence has somehow became less interesting.
I think, once the exams are over, I’m going to write a book. Or maybe just a short story. I want to do something sci fi, but with some Noir mixed in. They’re genres that can go together well, just look at BladeRunner.
I have an idea or two:
Detective character working with hated government to recover MacGuffian in order to get a prosthetic hand and a passport.
Space colonies.
Brothels.
Maybe a religious struggle.

But nothing concrete yet. Still, I may write it.

Thoughts I

I’m still not sure what I’m going to use this blog for. I think it may just be a vent for my thoughts. I have a lot of those, but, so does everyone.

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Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Death and the Afterlife, concepts so big the warrant capitalisation despite not being proper nouns. I realise that I have to die, I can accept that. Everyone dies, that’s a fact. However, not knowing when I’m going to die is what’s scaring me. I’ve found it hard to sleep at nights knowing full well that I could die in my sleep. I know that I’m only 18, but it’s well within the realms of probability.

Not knowing that I’m dying is my biggest fear. To die in my sleep would not be so terrifying if I knew there was some form of afterlife, but I cannot make a leap of faith and join a religious movement, that is suicide, denying myself the ability to conjure up my own concepts of the world and what it all means (if anything). If someone told me I was going to die at an exact point in time, and this was invariable, I think I would be content in the knowledge that I have time and that my death is set in stone. I would attempt to live my life to the full, knowing when my heart stops. I would not be surprised and perhaps I would have done enough to be content.

You must understand that I’m not overjoyed with the concept of eternal rest. I merely think that a TOD would enable me to be content for a small time, if not permanently. I’m about 99% sure that this world, this fantastic, beautiful Earth, is all we have. Once we die, that is it. No heaven. No hell. No purgatory. We simply stop thinking and partake in an eternal, restful sleep in the perfect dark. We give up nature, people, cities, buildings, stories…

This is not to say I do not wish for there to be an Afterlife. It would be brilliant. To know that I do get to live forever, to know that I do not have to, one day, give up my ideas and my mind and the sun and the snow… It’s an attractive prospect. I sincerely want to believe in it. But I cannot. Not until I come to the conclusion through my own study of the world and not via one tome collected thousands of years ago about magic wine and omnipotent ghosts. An Afterlife would be a sweet dessert, indeed, but it probably does not exist despite our wishes.

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I am not a Nihilist. I believe that our lives do mean something. There may not be a grand purpose, but, our lives are important. We have the ability to mean something to someone. Even if one’s only achievement is to have a lover, they have given meaning to existence. We do not have an inborn purpose, we create our own through our experiences. No one has the same experience as another. There are over 7 Billion people alive today. Billions have lived and died before today. Many will die today. More will be born today. Each and every single one has had a different experience. Each and every single one has had different thoughts, has a different nose, has a different sexuality. We are defined by our experience and by our interpretation of our experience.

I believe that if two, genetically identical, children were born in different parts of the world, they would be different people. Child A is run over by a car when he is six, he survives yet is confined to a wheelchair. He grows up bitter and resentful. However, he puts his efforts into medicine in an attempt to cure his paralysis and succeeds. Child B is not hit. He grows up friendly and cheerful. He does not discover a cure for spinal cord damage, why would he need to?, despite being capable of it. Would this be different if the situations were reversed? Possibly, there are obviously other defining factors, for example, parentage, education and friendship. Yet, my point is made. Experience defines purpose.

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These were just general thoughts I had today. Do not take them as gospel. I do not offer certainties, I offer possibilities, thoughts that may or may not be true. I am not a genius, I am but an ordinary human being. I cannot say that my way is right, no one can say that. The metaphysical is difficult territory, and unfamiliar for me. I never was a great practitioner of a faith. I was raised Catholic, although not a fire-and-brimstone Catholic.

I believed in The Bible’s words until I was 14, at which point I felt they could not be true as they denied me my sexuality. Why would an all loving God that created all create something which he hates? Why would he create me with the express intention of hating me? It was illogical. More than illogical, it relied on me denying that people are fundamentally good, that Gods are good. I could no longer believe in a religion that preached peace and love and tolerance while calling me evil for something out of my control.

I experimented with other religions, but all religious experience denied me self realisation. I must follow a strict path set by another man to find the meaning of things. Yet, why would I? I am an individual. Denying myself my individuality by following another’s path is not a possibility. I must forge my own.

This would not be an easy task. It took 3 years of thought and introspection in a land in which religion is still of the utmost importance. My thoughts turned to meaning, purpose and gods. I thought of people and their intentions. I began to see the reasoning behind the most ignoble acts. I comprehended why a person kills, maims and rapes. I’m not saying that I agreed, I am saying I understood.

I concluded that I am an atheist. I concluded that people are fundamentally good. I do not believe in evil people. There are merely people who commit evil deeds, yes, but I believe they either do it for personal gain or are misguided. There are no people who wake up and unleash a maniacal cackle, pondering whether to burn the orphanage or shoot a kitten.

I’ve written more than I intended, so I’ll end it now. Thank you for reading.

First Post Blues.

So this is my first post. I’m sure everyone has this same dilemma (dillemma? Dill enema?), what do I write about? It seems most write about their lives or post their, err, artistic attempts.
Ah! But therein lies the problem. My life is dull. Dreary. Boring. Muy aburrida. And I have no artistic talent, despite highly valueing creatives (or, perhaps, I value them because of my own talent).
See, I have ideas. For stories. So, I think I may use this as a sort of “rough sketches” jotter. (N.B.: in the barebones character and plot details sense, not in the J. H. Williams sense nor the Miles Davis sense)
So here I am. I exist.

Barely.