Archive for April, 2010
Just taking a quick break from work to bring you another picture passion. I’m supposed to try to keep this blog in some sequential order, but at the moment things are a little all over the place – I hope you don’t mind being a little patient 😉
Anyways, excuses aside, this installment of Picture Passion has a fair few artworks – I hope you enjoy the wonderful paintings and photos. I’ve linked to their deviantart galleries, so make sure to check ’em out! Otherwise enjoy the randomness, and please give the page time to load.
Don’t forget this week’s Link List!
Anyways, this week we have a theme – so expect a lot of scrolling with this installment – comix!
I just love these, they always make me giggle. I’m sure i could find more, but then we’d be scrolling for the rest of our lives. So, for now, enjoy this small selection.
Have fun 😉
I was rooting around and found out some older reviews that I’d forgotten about writing, so i thought that this Sunday i’d indulge you anime fans and make up for slacking on the review section and put up 3!
*over dramatic gasp*
Genre: Anime: surreal/fantasy/sci-fi(ish)
Running Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Certificate: 15 for ‘mild sexualised violence’ – of which there wasn’t much and it was certainly mild.
DT’s Rating: 9/10
For me, Anime is a strange creature in many respects. Being created (to my knowledge) by the people who brought you ‘spirited away’, and supported by great reviews in ‘Neo Magazine’, I had great hopes for Paprika, but with anime films – frankly- one can never really be sure if they’ll understand the damn thing, much less enjoy it. But I feel that comes form a Western point of view, I’m still – in many ways- under the subconscious assumption that a cartoon film will be all action and almost childish entertainment, So, when greeted by a film like Ghost in The Shell, beautifully animated but more puzzling than the Matrix, one floats a little between enjoyment and puzzlement. Anime films (I’ve seen so far) are slow and intelligent. There is none of this Western rush – it’s almost artsy. Now, when it comes to ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘Vampire Hunter D:Bloodlust’ this slowness and care exemplifies the emotion, and weaves a brilliant story. In a film where one struggles a little to see the point, it translates as dull and a little vexing. But, regardless of type, Anime films certainly big it up on the creativity and imagination and, coupled with beautiful animation, it makes them pretty special.
Paprika is a film that has imagination (and, thankfully, entertainment) in bunches.
Now that’s not to say that it’s not an intelligent film. It certainly is intelligent, but because it is set in a dreamscape, where reality and dreams merge and converge, you seem to be able to follow the flow of the film without the lack of answers (at first) irritating you. This flow is a great wave of colour and serial charm. Of childish enjoyment and sinister nightmare. The characters are all brilliantly drawn and you empathize with them all, and the character of Paprika – the imaginary heroine that inhabits the dreams – is brilliant. She’s bubbly, brave, sweet, kind and headstrong when she wants to be; giving a tongue lashing to those who deserve it, and moving through the crazy dream land with such fluid enjoyment and belonging that you as an audience seem to be able to relax into the world in ease. She’s your guide.
Frankly, there’s a lot of other reviews on Paprika that give a better summary of the plot than I can,. As well as a description of the dream world that supports the film. In short: there has been an invention that allows a trained professional to view and manipulate their patient’s dreams in order to psychoanalyse them. However when these little devices are stolen all hell breaks loose, and t begins increasingly difficult to discern where the dreams end and reality begins.
Bold, bright, colourful and very entertaining, I’d definitely recommend it. I really enjoyed it on many levels, and I’m sure you will too.
Battle Angel Alita
aka GUNNM (銃夢) – ‘gun dream’
Genre: grungy sci-fi/action
Running Time: (of what I watched) – an hour
Find it at: Veoh TV (online)
Rating: 15(probably) female nudity [+sex refernce] – big ol bloody violence
I was recommended this as a guide for good ol’ 80s style anime shading, and I actually enjoyed the anime itself. The setting is a massive, grungy scrapyard, where it seems that almost everyone are cyborgs of some nature or another. Hovering above them, dumping down all this garbage is the (apparently utopian) city of Zalem (although we never get to see what it’s actually like.) It seems that most people down below are desperate to get to zalem- one way or another.
Enter Ido – A cybernetic Doctor and ex-Zalem dweller, now performing repairs on all the cyborgs down here: in fact he’s the best cybernetics doctor the world has to offer. Without giving away too much, he’s more than he seems (that produces some cool results).
Ido searches the scrapyard for spare parts to get for his clinic. While looking he finds a whole female human head and shoulders [cyborg]- still alive [see bottom pic]! He takes her home and rebuilds her, giving her the name: Gully.
Gradually Gully discovers that she has impressive powers, and that her memory (long gone, of course) can only truly start to be unlocked by fighting. So: she registers herself as a bounty hunter- and lots of action ensues.
This could so easily be one of those sci-fi action beat-em-ups. But it has another layer in it. It seems that this Scrapyard world is full of deception and deceit and twists at ever corner. As well as this, underpinning it all is a river of hope, loss, expectation with respects to Zalem, and -as we watch- we see Gully develop as a person, and fall in love.
The result is both touching and tragic.
The animation is great (albeit it pretty gory at times), and the characters are well drawn. My only problem is that they haven’t seemed to make more of this anime film- because it ends pretty open-endedly. However, at only an hour it’s immensely watchable and carries itself and the plot along briskly.
Definately worth a watch, i think :3
DT’s Rating: 9/10
Known for its Space Western theme, Trigun is about a man named “Vash the Stampede” and the two Bernardelli Insurance Society employees who follow him around in order to minimize the damages inevitably caused by his appearance. Most of the damage attributed to Vash is actually caused by bounty hunters in pursuit of the “60,000,000,000$$” (sixty billion “double dollars”) bounty on Vash’s head for the destruction of the city of July. However, he cannot remember the incident clearly due to his amnesia. Throughout his travels, Vash tries to save lives using non-lethal force. He is occasionally joined by a priest, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, who, like Vash, is a superb gunfighter.
As the series progresses, more is gradually learned about Vash’s mysterious history and the history of human civilization on the planet Gunsmoke. The series often employs comic relief and is mostly light-hearted in tone, although the tone shifts toward darker and more dramatic situations as it draws to a conclusion. It also involves moral conflict pertaining to the morality of killing other living things, even when arguably justified (i.e. self-defense/defending others).
A little while back I finally treated myself to the boxset of the anime Trigun, which I had watched about 3/4 of but never finished. I throughly enjoyed watching it again, all the way to the end (crikey i’d missed some good stuff! haha). generally I’m more into swords than guns, but trigun changed this opinion. I first went to it because I’d heard it was funny and a sci-fi (and sci-fi rocks). Really it’s more of a sci-fi western, effortlessly mixing the genres and grounding it almost in a period of past history, while maintaining the technology of the sci-fi future and the innovative ideas of steampunk and fantasy. It’s hard to describe, but extremely engaging.
The characters are excellent (and the quality of the english dub emphasises this rather than detracts from it). Vash is especially always engaging, extremely funny and very emotional. His various sidekicks and his enemies are all very well written, each with their own backstories. For such a funny and action packed anime it is amazingly deep – throwing up questions about human nature, morality and even a kind of religion and family value, while never detracting from just generally being fun.
The art is excellent (though the anime was obviously done on a tight budget, making it a characteristic anime in animation style). You have to understand a few anime conventions (or at least enjoy them) because most of the humour is visual and way over-the-top at times, which some people might not find to their tastes.
Trigun never cheapens itself by finding easy answers to the intelligent questions it presents. The love interests – for example – are surprisingly maturely done and don’t just go for the obvious attraction-to-boyfriend-and-girlfriend stage most films and cartoons take. Vash’s refusal to take life is presented realistically also showing the difficulties of trying to live in such an idealistic manner, and how it can crumble when argued against other more ‘realistic’ lifestyle options in battle. Even grief is handled touchingly and maturely and I dare anyone not to cry when a certain character dies.
In short, for how goofy it can be, it’s a very mature and extremely entertaining anime that never takes the easy way out of any issues it raises. I throughly recommend it. 9/10
Name: You Don’t Mess With the Zohan (2008)
Directors/Writers: Dennis Dugan / Adam Sandler,Robert Smigel,Judd Apatow
Actors of note: Adam Sandler,John Turturro,Emmanuelle Chriqui,Nick Swardson,Lainie Kazan,Rob Schneider
DT’s Rating: 6/10
As is usually the case in our family back at home, my mum had been raiding the supermarket for cheap DVD films to entertain us. Usually these finds are very hit and miss – sometimes you get great films you would never have really bought or come across normally like ‘the Bucket List’ or ‘Evan Almighty’, and other times you get some horrifyingly dismal excuses for films that make you cringe, like the first hulk film, ‘Domino’ or ‘About Schmidt’.
‘You Don’t Mess With the Zohan’ [Ydmwtz] falls somewhere in between.
Rating a film simply on a scale of 10 can be difficult. Considering how disposed I am to dishing out 8’s and 9’s for everything I really enjoy, you might at first thing that a 6 is an indication of a comparatively bad film. But that’s not necessarily true. The key word here is ‘comparatively’.
For example, compared to some brilliant films like ‘fight club’, ‘the green mile’, ‘dogma’, ‘the 5th element’, ‘the 6th sense’ etc, of course Ydmwtz is awful. Comparatively.
BUT, to be honest, this isn’t the kind of film you pick up, expecting a quality experience of filmmaking, or even much of a story. You pick it up, wanting a light laugh with dinner or at a sleepover or with lunch on a weekend (hell, no one watches the ‘scary movie’ franchise for its quality, but that doesn’t stop them being hilarious). If, you approach it like this, with your expectations loose and happy, then actually Ydmwtz delivers suprisingly well, because it doesn’t pretend to be anything else that an easy giggle.
The plot is this: Zohan is a kindhearted and freakishly talented Israeli counter terrorist, but he grows tired of all the fighting and longs to follow his dream of being a hairdresser. In a fight with his nemesis – the Palestinian terrorist ‘Phantom’ – he fake his own death and travels to New York (naming himself ‘scrappy coco’ and posing as ‘half australian, half mount Everest’) to find his fortune. However it’s not as easy as it looks, and after many unsuccessful attempts he lands a job sweeping hair in Palestinian’s salon, in the israeli-and-palestinian ethnic street. Soon his talent for cutting hair and ‘sexual services’ to the old ladies of the area get the business booming. However it seems he can’t run from his past,a nd soon he has to protect both the Israelis and the Palestines of the street…
The film is one of the silliest I’ve seen in ages – complete unadulterated fun that doesn’t even come close to taking itself seriously. It was interesting and endearing to me on many levels: it was crude, but without being threatening or repulsive – more childish, and even toyed with and then avoided the more obvious jokes. The humor was often bizarre, especially with the running obsession with houmous and the crazy antics of Zohan’s body which were reminiscent of Goldmember rollerskating (in the ‘austin powers: goldmember’ film). Finally I found it funny and pretty unqiue how the film effortlessly and unashamed sidestepped the usual fodder of stereotype-comedy and made their own ‘new’ group to poke fun at taht is rarely touched in cinema. Focusing on the Israli and Palestine group, creating and playing with streotypes, and yet being completely harmless in how it did it – being fun without racist, silly without underlying prejudice, and laughing with everyone rather than at them – and it didn’t seem forced. Furthermore the film attempted to make a serious commentary about the futility of the fighting between both factions, but in the silliest way possible. And, in an odd way, it worked.
In short, the film was surprisingly unique and enjoyable. The humor is silly and dumb, but never tries to be anything else, and has a adolescent energy and humor that makes even the crudest of jokes innocently funny rather than creepily uncomfortable (as i’ve noticed can happen with a lot of the immature style comedies at the minute. i’m looking at you 40year-old virgin and superbad :p)
It doesn’t come close to being as good as some of Sandler’s other films like ’50 first dates’ or ‘happy guillmore’, but, while I’ve given it 6/10, i’d still recommend it for anyone looking for a bit of light film fun.
Zohan: [Zohan approaches apprehensive-looking young kid sitting in Barber chair] Young man! Look what I have found here, a nice balloon. Do you want it?
[hands kid balloon]
Zohan: You know, you shouldn’t jump around when this nice woman is holding a sharp pair of scissors. If you move she could slip and slice your jugular man, on accident. There is no way to stitch the jugular. All of your blood will be on the floor in four minutes. I have seen this. I have done this. You don’t want this.
[kid bursts into a flood of tears, Zohan nerve pinches him and the kid slumps unconscious in his seat]
Zohan: Well then, at least it is good time to shave his neck…
Gail: Usually he’s harder than trigonometry.
Dalia: Zohan! He has a bomb… and puppies!
James: Imma blow up this whole block, Imma blow you up, Imma blow up these puppies! And we all gone’ go to hell together, cause I hate these puppies!
The Phantom: Okay, okay, okay! What you want, huh?
Salim: I want muchentuchen restaurant chain.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: But if I tell, you no have chain anyway.
The Phantom: So, you not give any incentive.
Salim: Okay. I want 50 percent of muchentuchen chain. We call it “Phantom & Salim Muchentuchen”.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: Twenty-five percent.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: I want yogurt shop attached to store, like food court.
The Phantom: Okay.
Salim: I get profits from store.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: Some profits.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: I get free yogurt when I come to store.
The Phantom: Okay. Within reason.
Salim: And… I want some of your wives.
The Phantom: How many wives you want?
The Phantom: No.
Salim: I sleep with one wife.
The Phantom: No.
Salim: She give one pee-pee touch.
The Phantom: Okay.
Another big gallery of random pictures that’ll hopefully raise a smile.Many thanks to the wonderful site Izissmile.com
As ever, there’s a few gifs, so you might need to wait a tick for it to load. Click the pics to enbiggen or see them individually (which is useful for the gifs if your computer’s slow)
P.S – I’m experimenting with the ‘description’ function. Hover over the pics for my occasional random ramblings if you want.
P.P.S – don’t forget to check out the newest Link List!