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Sunday, April 27, 2008


What Stars Do Best

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Thankfully for screenplay writers Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, the Stardust film adaptation unravels to be an exquisitely fluent fairy tale that even offers a decent dose of elegantly presented "sinisterism" to coat stable, inventive tale mechanics with. Neil Gaiman's book looks and feels quite integral on canvas, - I can say safely, as I never read the text variant - utilizing both fresh, and timeless faces of mass entertainment like Michelle Pfeiffer and the DeNiro Thing. Ever wondered what could happen if a dying King would decide to throw his Sacred Relic Necklace to a Dark Sky with the intention that whichever of his Sons would find it first shall be his successor? Surely, the Sacred Relic Necklace would - quite literally - hit a star on the head, thus the poor planetary entity in question would certainly fall down on Earth. Seven princes do embark on their respective quests to obtain the Necklace, having no clue that the precious item casually knocked some planetary entity down, while two other interests do form their agendas solely on this Star, the Star that have fallen. Turns out such an occurrence is a superb method to sew a ratrace on, one nice matrix of intersecting quests that offers us all the classic formations of interests tales usually deliver, each having a different concept of what to do either with a Fallen Star who happens to wear the Relic of a King, or with the Relic itself, which though is worn by a Fallen Star.

The movie introduces three focal groups of interests plus - well - the Star. Charlie Cox gives you Tristan Thorn, a friendly lad who desperately tries to impress his beloved Victoria, but finds not much luck doing it with Humphrey present in the magical village of Wall they all live in. Humphrey is the local Mr. Popular - imagine what Mr.Unpopular could be like - who represents true charm and masculine appeals to the young ladies of the settlement, so Tristan needs to exhibit humongous ambitions if to conquer the considerable charisma (hah!) of his nemesis.

He spends most of his money he earned last month as shopboy on a bottle of quality champagne that hastily gets consumed with Victoria and Tristan present in the vicinity. All this happens by the time the King of Stormhold decides it is time to leave this plane of existence behind, throwing his Necklace away that knocks the Star down. The sons are after the Relic in the next minute.

Victoria and Tristan do witness the fall of the Star, thus the young man states that he will bring this very precious thing to her loved one to prove his intense feelings to her. Now the buildup already offered two focal interests, yet one is to remain and to be accounted on. Meet the Witches, led by Michelle Pfeiffer who looks and acts quite classy in a highly demanding cartoon-role, also her partners as the Witch Siblings deserve massive credit for their stable, sinister character portrayals that exhibit both the focal traits of sinister seriousness and the aforementioned cartoon-playfulness. Look at the girls!

- Hmmm. This recipe STINKS!
- Got to keep to CERTAIN standards!

The Witches have seen better days, specifically back in the times when they gained an immense amount of magic power via sacrificing a Fallen Star that fell to the Earth 400 years before. Since then the girls have struggled with Uncle Time - uhm - big time, thus the re-occurrence of such a rare event as the falling of a Star catches their interest immensely. They decide which one of them should make a run for the precious thing as they do not possess enough mana to rejuvenate all three of them - thus Miss Pfeiffer becomes the Chosen One, and this is a turn of events that will not likely disappoint you immensely, as Pfeiffer looks blatantly authentic as sinister witch, definitely a trademark element of the buildup.

Let us elaborate on the Sons for a bit. Stardust is packed with actually quite stable, sometimes even brilliant moments of sober, cunning humor, an example of this welcomed aspect I liked very much is how the long-dead Sons of the King that have failed to capture the Throne ended and still do up in a Ghost-Existence. Seems the King had a whole collection of descendants, and they definitely had a hard time of co-existing, by the time the movie starts out you have six or seven of them revealed in the Ghost-Existence we mentioned, sitting around with their astral bodies, giving you an absolutely clear history of how exactly they died. Causes are hardly natural here. Mark Strong gives you Septimus, seemingly the most tenacious of the living Siblings, the quest for the Necklace is mainly presented from HIS point of view - not surprisingly, as he acts according to quite radical measures to make sure that no other Son than himself will obtain the Relic.

Claire Danes gives us Yvaine, the Fallen Star. She and Tristan will meet in the early section of the narrative, thus all the elements are set in motion to deliver you a fairy tale experience foam which remains absolutely clueless of the concept of pauses and stops, it rather chooses to sew a nice, smooth narrative of a ratrace to introduce memorable settings and scenes between-or to rely on the focal characters.

Stardust primarily seems as a quite stable adventure effort that has no problem whatsoever recognizing portions of itself that could be utilized to spice the focal appeals of the experience with highly acceptable elements of surprise, inputs to voice the language of firm, actually quite proper and quite black humor, mainly. As hinted, the movie introduces totally memorable sequences to squeeze honest laughs out of even the sourest of viewers. This is not something I write down at every corners as I myself am immensely serious about humor and consider only the best of it as acceptable or worth to introduce. I got the feeling that the creative team behind Stardust feels the same way about this special mental entity and have proven they have a very good sense of it.

The movie has the fortunate quality that it introduces a quite original story arc with elements that are extremely easy to understand and relate to, though exhibiting the capacity to imbue whole series of special appeals to each interests and characters it operates with. These elements might be minor, yet highly effective subtleties as the Ghost Siblings whom have "no other function" than to pour pure, proper fun on the buildup, or these seemingly just-supportive traits easily could turn up as immensely significant later on, like the Shining Yvaine exhibits when she feels intense joy.

Boss Monster

A little side-role of Robert DeNiro is of note here, he gives you a defendable performance as Captain Shakespeare, but nothing particular is demanded, nor offered: DeNiro delivers you his charming side, and delivers it steadily. At the end of the day Stardust weights in as a highly recommendable piece of entertainment, exhibiting no deficits concerning inventive fiction and fluent qualities that give proper place for proper surprises and oftentimes, brilliant humor. At the Final Showdown, Stardust offers a row of very memorable peek moments of narrative value that would be immensely wrong to regard as not massively significant from a storytelling-point of view. Mild spoiler in this section from now on, pleas skip if you did not yet see the movie. I do refer to the scene where The Witch seemingly undergoes a honest internal change via desperation, just to come back Superevil, dominating the canvas effectively twice as powerful as she did previously - mind you, that wasn't too bad at all, either.

Fortunately, the general stance towards Stardust proved to be positive from the audience, thus there might be potential/danger - you decide - of a sequel, regardless how this installment reaches an absolutely satisfying conclusion. I tend to think this is all good, clean, and wrapped up nicely, protagonists probably should not be tinkered with, let alone resurrected. Either way, as a fairy tale taking the liberty to rely both on inventive story mechanics and black humor, Stardust is easily among the most integral outputs this kind of entertainment produced so far.

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Friday, April 25, 2008


Videogame Deconstruction of Flesh
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French director Xavier Gens gives you Frontieres or Frontiéres - the poster does not seem to include the accent, yet I won't bother to look superclosely with this degree of effect craving revealed on it - a film that held considerate promise just to end up as an average clone submitting to the recent, unfortunate deformations horror have been subjected to via such weightless efforts as the latest Saw movies or the Hostel series - new (de)generation popcorn horror have emerged clearly, though I do admit that both franchise had their great moments in their early sections, respectively. Now these recent methods to fuel similar installments seem to solidify desperately, this time around influencing a French creative team to deliver their very unique clone. Haha. A unique clone. Oximoron of the month, and worts blaming of horror to date in 2008, Ladies and Gents.

A bubblegenre seems to emerge indeed, a genre to introduce small parties, minicommunities to end up at various hideouts/bases where other, highly idiotic small parties are operating. Do not expect wonders, as rules are extremely easy to grasp on for here. Here is the focal idea:

human = meat
baddie = cleaver
human - > screams
baddie - > laughs

This is a very important formula, I would urge you to dig the simple, yet hopefully inherent meaning in it. Once the viewer accepts that these movies handle human as meat, all of a sudden you realize that the main attraction pretty much narrows down to this act of depriving human of all beyond it's physical buildup, the nature that can be abused so easily, so evidently, so cheaply.

Now the buildup is this: you have French thieves, they run away from some political struggle that lit Paris on fire. Riots, water cannons, police. Actually the film feels and looks quite intense at the beginning. Discouragement is to rise ruthlessly, as there is but 15 minutes to remain prior the small party's arrival to a motel, maintained by nazis whom spent their lives watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as they surely follow a strict, twisted family structure to operate by, a model reminiscent from the classic movie we referred to. Events quickly ensue to points where collision between visitors and proprietors is imminent, thus making place for a rhythmic buildup that is super-akin to the ones we had chance to witness in Frontiere's inspirators.

Gen's effort delivers the usual baddie archetypes: The Fat Duder with Bigass Cleaver and Shotgun, the average Nazi Human War Tank with the name Goetz, mildly but evidently frustrated dude who built some muscles on himself to look less laughable, making an attraction of himself that is TRULY worth laughing at, and surely we have The Boss Monster: the Father. Authentic Real Deal Nazi, he probably co-written the song SS Deathstar Supergalactic with Hanzel und Gretyl. Here, sorry, Hier Sind Grandpa:

- Hmmmmm. Das Ist Meine SPEZIALITAET!

At least this figure - disfigure? - is quite well presented and operated, not something you can tell of the majority of the characters. To be honest, I immensely disliked the protagonist thieves, - it is never exactly revealed that they are thieves yet the official materials do inform us of this - they constantly behave in a senselessly intense manner, talk ridiculous shit at each other like adolescent idiots confronting alcohol for the very first time, even worse: the related melodrama the director tries to sew around them is excessively shallow to the point you would keenly mute the soundtrack off just to defend the ambitious music that gets humiliated by the powerless image sequences that actually attempt to show true emotion and tragedy. What a laugh, and what a bitter of it!

The Big Fat Duder with Shotgun is among the BEST elements Frontieres has to offer.

Actors are incredibly average, even worse: poor main protagonist girl got the instruction that she has to nod her head in an exquisitely awkward fashion to simulate a probable, ongoing nervous breakdown as she is forced to walk through this hell, I guess. Xavier Gens fails massively at creating characters you do care for, his only invention worth noting concerns a hommage to the decent horror movie Descent: we have the chance to witness a brief stuck-in-cave scene similar to the atmosphere the aforementioned inspiratior builds upon, Gens actually utilizes this concept in a nice manner by introducing mutated siblings the Motel keepers have bred and got rid of, thus now they populate the cave system.

This is an interesting part, yet not thoroughly elaborated, I am almost entirely sure it is a direction that Gens choose not to completely exploit, being afraid of possible accusations that his inspiration was Descent. Hey, Xavier - your inspiration was Descent, no?

Say: Cheese and Onions! This is the Biggest Role of Your Life!

Surely, main attraction remains the

Good Old Suffering

let's see what your writer and director Gens can come up with. Here is a comprehensive list, naturally contains spoilers, please read only if you do not mind these focal moments being unraveled.

1. Cutting of the achilles tendon with bigass pliers is included. OK, 4 out of 10.

2. Boiling one of the irritative young characters in hot gas. Hah, that was GREAT fun, I admit. Let's give it an 8 out of 10.

3. Match between boiled, dying irritative young character and Shotgun. Shotgun wins by TKO, but no blood. Bah! Also, why the head? Bah, bah! 3 out of 10.

4. Putting baddie dude on the hacksaw table, to commence integrity test. Not convincingly presented. Ambition noted, ambition wasted. 2 out of 10.

5. Blowing head apart with Shotgun, full impact. Surely, All Time Classic. A SHAME this is DYNAMITE that destructs the head here. Get a dummy and re-test, Xavier! 2 out of 10.

6. Storage room filled by bagged corpses. Scene in which you are sure that one of the corpses will open the eyes up is included and presented by the moment you anticipate. Still somewhat OK though, thanks to the horrible eyes. 5 out of 10.

Hm, actually, I need to think what I left out, and this seems to me as a considerate sign that the other kills or scares were even less creative than these. Scares are scarcely included anyway, Frontieres tends to boil down to the exhibition of sadistic behavior which is quite a bit more boring than staggering to watch after a while, and this particular "while" kicks in by the time you realize that the human = meat equation already is rampant and has nothing more to offer than

Video Game Deconsruction of Flesh

and related screams to induce laughable melodrama which is absolutely the hardest to tolerate in this here effort of improbable shallowness and zero gravitational pull. You know what? Actually I was hoping that the pigs would get a hold of the sobbing young average idiot and eat him up alive in one of the flat scenes the film tries to sell out as one of it's definite peek moment. This though never happened. Pigs vs Sobbing Average Idiot could have been a nice 7 out of 10, nevertheless, as this kind of thread-on-horror assumes that terrorizing your everyday idiotic small parties with an opposing everyday idiotic small party will deliver you true excitement and canvas shock. Why not let the Pigs have their revenge, then?

Now it is a time where we need to get afraid considerably, indeed: the fact that French releases an effort that copies this cheap horror directions is something we should definitely not be delighted let alone happy about. To clarify this further: I have absolutely nothing against this kind of videogame-survival-horror movie entertainment, yet I truly hope they will not compromise the more serious and more weighty appeals that the genre has true potential and secret desire to reveal.

- Will. You. Merry. Me?
- I ALWAYS loved your timing.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008


Long Space-Time No See

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Russian director Andrei Tarkovski delivers Solyaris by the year 1972, a robust motion picture based on Stanislaw Lem's written output of essential fiction significance - also a work it is which often gets accounted as The Soviet Union's ruthless, rigorous answer to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: a Space Odyssey.

This latter seems to be a slightly redundant conception though. Both movies are true gems and speak blatantly different languages, mind you I, herein: they do so in the metaphoric sense. Even. I tend to think that there is no need to suspect a well-developed degree of a Cold War situation in the era's sci-fi related movie creation as these two sober directors have settled the suggested debate quite sanely/factually with seemingly no hard feelings involved along the hinted way. Records state that Kubrick liked Tarkovski's work considerably. Tarkovski, on the other hand: found Odyssey to be too cold and too inhumane. Well, he either might have had fail to realize that Odyssey's calm intentions are to coat the intaker unto an experience which is too cold and too inhumane indeed, or he might just gave an extra joke for us with this curious comment that precisely suggests, even summarily describes Kubrick's work for what it truly seems and feels to be. A thorough stare to Infinity to let us wonder if Infinity inspects us back at all.

Question arises immediately: if Tarkovski would choose to approach Space-Time Rampant, would he indeed approach it solely on humane registers? The answer is: absolutely. Stanislaw Lem's novel and this here corresponding movie variant of Extra Crispy XXL Monster Proportions! does not scrutinize the Void. Does not choose to face the Unknown deprived of all hope or filled by cautious desire to receive a signal beyond vast perspectives and majestic, yet gigantic patterns - opposed to what the masterfully accomplished agendas of 2001: a Space Odyssey are. Solyaris instead chooses to voice the language of the Unknown and the Strange, cunningly inspecting, presenting how human reacts to massively alien and immensely puzzling vibes and occurrences. Let us see what Planet Solaris has in store for us, as this is a place that has plenty of questions, and plenty of statements to offer.

Solyaris revolves around the fate of an expedition, while this particular expedition revolves around Solyaris. Made sense? Mankind established a space station to inspect the surface of the Planet in question, that which seems to be composed of some quite intriguing substance that exhibits fluid qualities with a keen readyness to suggest organic-like patterns from time to time, forming shapes and regions that are eventually do hint a huge cerebral network to coat the entire surface in. The crew that was firstly sent to the surface experienced either quite radical or quite permanent subject matters to form or to keep massively memorable accounts of, as the Report of Former Crew Member and Expedition Survivor Henri Berton - Vladislav Dvorzhetsky - informs us.

We join in by the time when Berton shows his rehearsal for his close friends, recorded quite some time ago. An official Statement he makes and we witness, a statement conducted by the Government. Berton talks intense, intense stuff, yet consensus is forming slowly yet surely among the Officials that he must have lost it during the mission. Berton claims to see the Solyaris's surface to re-arrange itself to form figures, accounts a fluid fog made of a moist, dense substance, he claims that even a garden emerged in front of his eyes, forming itself clumsily yet fervently from the same substance the Planet seems to be composed of. He even describes a huge infant whose body behaved pretty much as a loose, fluid substance as well. A series of further, unavoidable questions and an unfortunate incapacity to present evidence of flawless convince power lead to a shared consideration that Berton either must have hallucinated or been affected by forces: Unknown. And this particular Unknown is your ticket to Solyaris.

Berton is a strong man - Berton WAS a strong man. Now he keeps the dignity yet it is superhard for him to digest how unconvinced the Government was if his statement had the elements of truth to rely on. Fortunately, doubt is integral enough - integral doubt is an ideal candidate for an oxymoron, no? - to fuel the Government's curiosity and willingness to attempt to resolve the matter for good. The expedition still has three crew members on the station, waiting for instructions - so the decision makers conclude that a final inspection should be made to determine the fate of both the station and even this new branch of science called Solaristics, specifically invented and devoted to the study of the Planet.

Donatas Banionis is your primal protagonist, giving you Kris Kelvin, a Knower of Soul, Spirit and Mind. Well, at least these are the assumptions. And the hopes, too. Kelvin is present when Berton shows his report and he is on his way to the Solyaris station in a short while so he could form a mature, well researched suggestion for the Government, made up of his superfresh findings.

- WHAT are you doing here?
- Uhm, I am TRULY not into this Philosophy stuff, sorry.

Solyaris is a quite special place to encounter. The Planet has the effective capacity to interact with the innermost depths of human psyche, materializing All It Finds - interesting. Or desired. Or feared. Lem probably was in a cheerful mood when he was inventing his quality fiction, thus the Planet has the evident tendency to offer staggering surprises - and does this by materializing the "proper cures" for the most gruesome sorrows and scars it finds in the souls it seeks to interact with. Human psyche thus Solyaris figures: losing of a Loved One is not good, not good at all. So the Planet has immense of a fun period materializing former key companions of the humans Solyaris recognizes in its vicinity. Shortly after his arrival, Kelvin encounters his long dead wife. You can imagine how baffled he ends up as - mind you that the other two scientists that are still on the station are aware of the Planet's games and pastimes already, so they just "simply" live through the intense, yet fearfully realistic experience Solyaris entertains them with, respectively. Each and every one of them have their Visitor, their Loved Companions. And this is where it gets even more interesting.

Opinion Onion Minigame!

Can You Spot The Difference Between the Pictures Below?

Solyaris constructs the species according to the effective memories of the rememberer. The way Kelvin remembers his wife by: the way Solyaris construct and offers Hari - this is her name, you see - for him. Lem elegantly offers fiction excellence on this, giving the capacity for the constructed species to evolve on their own once they have been created.

A "startout-psyche" they possess, maybe it is more proper to regard it as a "raw psyche", a "psyche known-just-surficially", as the inner reality the species possess consist of nothing more or less or not a tad more precise or coarser than of the sum total of the elements and vibes they are remembered by as their long dead, human being originators. These startout-psyches are as rich and as majestic as they were able to show and share for the other psyche which REMEMBERS them, and vice versa: YOUR visitor will possess the kind and quality of a startout-psyche YOU conceptualized her/him to possess. Blatantly brilliant, chilling idea. Oh, and surely, they Haunt you. Or they Love you. Depends how you remembered and remember them.

Their Likeness to the Real Thing is beyond Likeness, yet even their Reality is beyond the Real Thing as they ARE what you BELIEVED them to be.

So it's actually quite frightening, as Lem offers you simulacrums, yet Lem's simulacrum is the Realer Than Real Deal, as the replica recognizes and worships the rules you set in motion for it via conceptualizing all the inner values and emotional vibes you suspected them to be operating with.

Lem and Tarkovski solidify this haunting concept further on via the autonomy the simulacrums possess, as they have the capacity, they have the intellect to figure out that they are but the sum total of the conceptions their rememberers remember them by. A point should arrive - a point at which the simulacrum should recognize its compromised autonomy. A start-out autonomy that is bound by the concepts you threw the simulacrum between by THINKING of the replica the way as you DID - so the copy either is to realize her/his "dreamlike" quality and grow tired of it, or might simply ask: why not dream a reality for myself similarly as my remember dreams hers/his of my current state?

And All of a Sudden: a New Being Dreams on, a New Human is Born.

Solyaris eventually offers an elegant, supportive moral dilemma as well, one which welcomely remains free of any judgmental connotation, a rare treasure to come by when moral sentences are to be passed on a subject. Notice how Lem and Tarkovski ask us almost causally though if we have an immediate responsibility when we commit the mere act of perceiving others. Is it safe, sane or recommended to solidify the cautious concepts we invent about someone? You decide.

The Endsequence of the movie is quite a baffler, and seems to resonate with the conclusion we approached at quite harmonically. Thus question arise if there are any significant qualities present to make "proper" or "needed" distinctions between what is believed to be "real" and what is offered and maintained by Solyaris and its species as: "realer-than-real." The Endsequence is evidently one of the most effective goosebump-unleasher we ever witnessed in a motion picture buildup.

Solyaris has the fortunate tendency to shoot away exquisitely delicious notions to left you think massively, and offers these precious moments in a very elegant, casual manner. One of my personal favorite is the notion that: Man does NOT seek the Unknown, he is blatantly afraid of it, actually. He would instead prefer to widen his OWN image, he hopes to find a Mirror in the Infinite Voids of Space-Time, and does not even have the means, the concepts, the capacities to deal with something which is immensely different than him or is evidently beyond him. A quite provocative thought in my opinion, pointing at a blatantly legit and curious (frightening, Mr. Lovecraft?) road that is yet to be explored. Lem offers an elegant wink at cosmic horror indeed, depicting its chilling, void nature via masterful insight and precision.

Be aware that this here aforementioned side-content - CHECK THIS exquisite repetition flaw: - is but a side-content indeed, Lem and Tarkovski do offer a whole precious package of these extremely pleasant thought provokers, thus my final recommendation is evidently this: give Solyaris the second viewing. And the third.

Now what remains is simply THIS: how the DOG with the BROWN FUR does FIT into the picture??

Product Description:

The Original Solaris Soundtrack.


a Priceless Geek Item.


a Priceless Geek Item is an Item a Geek Kills For.

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Monday, April 14, 2008


Catch Her If You Can

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Dutch director Paul Verhoeven has an immense body of work to his credit, a career massively characterized by a strong attraction to sci-fi and female flesh, not necessarily the worst combination one could build a filmography on.

Though Verhoeven has a significant early period encompassed via the eight films he created prior to his international breakthrough delivery RoboCop by 1987, this here mentioned title is the one to focus broad attention on Verhoeven, and establish him as primal sci-fi and flesh-related storyteller in the consecutive years. Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers. Remember Sharon Stone offering you a glimpse of what you would never consider as something to steal a glimpse at? Well, I admit I always found that particular scene an effect craver and choose instead to scrutinize Stone's legs. I am not too keen to look at what I am anticipated to. Also, funny how that little 1992 gesture have founded Stone's career, no?

Just to thread a little bit further along this path: if you want to see an enigmatically bad, cite that I, herein: baaaad movie, be sure to check out Basic Instinct 2, in which Sharon Stone is ... khm... still .. khm... 34 years old or at least struggles to be, has her amazingly dim male sidekick so Sharon can even speak to someone in Femme Fatale register, and she even acts highly seductively. If you think all this sounds quite little to fill in a feature film length then I would say that you are grasping at a defendable concept quite promisingly.

Back to Verhoeven though, who of course has nothing to do with Basic Instinct 2. Exquisite streaks of little, pleasant visual and fictional vibes this director offered and implemented in his works to date, giving us moments we have no chance nor reason to forget, instead we regard them as timeless classics. Like: "See you at the Party, Richter!"

Verhoeven now gives you a World War II drama, based on true events, and offers all this via the utilization of both stable conspiracy mechanics and Carice van Houten, a Dutch actress who is not just blatantly beautiful but is a great practitioner of her craft, as well. Now it is time to see how Zwartboek works. Here is how: Holland, Nazi Occupation. Jewish beauty Rachel Stein has to be one of the enemy to blow pepper under the hideous nose of the rampant Nazi ideology.

Verhoeven's latest delivery weights in and feels out as an extremely integral TV show. This is not a blame factor of course, as TV is getting better and better to the point where you can say that certain TV attractions are way more polished and stable than certain feature films are. Such qualities that are welcomely reminiscent in Zwartboek to an integral TV-effort are the massively dialog based structure and it's tendency to present events in sober, calm interiors. Zwartboek does contain outer environments and presents them via superb convince power, yet the majority of the essential happenings do unfold and take place on personal, or even on intimate registers, all these to occur in private, not rarely: in intimate surroundings, too.

Rachel Stein - Carice Van Houten - has to infiltrate the local Nazi establishment to strengthen the Dutch Resistance which she gets affiliated with. Meet Nazi Commander Ludwing Müntze, offered for you by Sebastian Koch. Müntze is the one Rachel will try to seduce and let me tell you this: the female has to put in amazingly little effort to twist Nazi Commander Ludwing Müntze around her fingers. So Rachel soon finds herself in the position of being able to intercept vital information from the Nazi Outpost to deliver it for the Dutch Resistance.

Let us notice a particular aspect of the story: Müntze. Müntze might be a Nazi, yet he is not a "proper Nazi" in the sense that he does not possess the inner conviction towards the legitimacy of Nazi ideology, or at least it seems that he does not. Müntze is kind of a victim of the circumstances, even tries to avoid violence - hah! - if it is possible, Müntze is kind of: Müntze.

You are left to form a cautious suspicion in the early portion of Zwartboek that Rachel and Müntze will go for Za Luv Thing for real, yet if your suspicion is a defendable one should deliver the corresponding question as one to be answered by the film. A strangely improbable, thus evidently unavoidable kind of love such a relation could give birth to: the love between a Jewish beauty and a Nazi. Well, there is a trick though, a quite nice one, too: the Jewish beauty is Existent and must conceal her Origins. The Nazi is: Non-Existent, but has to FAKE he IS Existent. Lethally ironic, or simply, solidly sad? You decide.

Improbable or even forbidden in the Eyes of the Third Reich such a love might be, Zwartboek precisely accounts and utilizes the one particular humane aspect that seems to be present and focally dominant in all human beings, I truly do not care if Black, Jew, White, or Bruce Lee: sovereignty. An ideology might present you any race whatsoever as a Hive Entity and claim any attitude to be possessed by this formation - yet no ideology is able to legitly claim potential to correctly describe and/or properly judge the Individual, as the Individual reigns in a position which is characterized by the maximum level of sovereignty a society or the mind can conceive. No option or proper tool of passing proper and final judgment over human Individual is given to any other human. An Individual is free to claim this false right to oneself: but one necessarily gives this right to ALL OTHER at the same time. Bloodshed is to commence by colliding realities, realities made of a zillion building blocks, all believed to be true. All of a sudden such Individual arrives to the conclusion that one is forced to form massive hate or even act upon the hate which is inevitably forged as the result of the arrogance one exhibited when claimed the Right and Potential to judge Properly, to judge Permanently.

Thus you can invent and certainly, even practice hate towards all or anything you wish to hate, and you will be able to find elements and circumstances to justify your hate. No matter what sick reality one invents for oneself, creation is nice 'nuff to offer place for it. In the long run I think we have to admit that hate towards anyone is a waste of precious time that could have been put to invent much more useful inner programs, approaches and thoughts fruity for all. If this sounds idealistic: that is why I told you, and this is why I laugh my ass off of haters.

Rachel and Müntze are both aware that they are but helpless role-players in a play in which the ornaments and basic elements of the set is created and formed by the Nazi ideology. Müntze is capable to recognize Rachel for what she ultimately is, though. One of the most brilliant scenes in Zwartboek in my opinion is when Rachel pulls Müntze's hands to her breasts and asks:

"Are these Jewish?"

The Resistance had it's better moments by the way: they accidentally expose their plans of attacking the Outpost,- what else would you call it when you drive a truck into a dead end, crash, and big ass, smuggled machine guns are dropping from the truck to the boots of the surrounding Nazi Troopers? A supersafe method to find yourself seeing this:

Zwartboek develops throughout a nicely structured conspiracyfoam in which different agendas of the different focal characters are guaranteed to surprise you on a couple of occasions. Verhoeven's latest delivery remains a stable installment to depict a strong World War II atmosphere to give you a highly defendable espionage experience, though the only aspect to stand out tremendously from the buildup is Carice van Houten's character both as real life person and the figure she depicts. She is a survivor, also a survivor who had quite enough of escaping she is. The great performance by Houten that dominates the film massively gives you a motion picture experience which remains strong and authentic to soak into even in spite of the monstrous length the film intimidates you with.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Shepherd - Border Patrol

I'ms ALWAYS Cans Kicks Ye Downs!
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There was a time which by Belgian Action-and Martial Arts Icon Jean-Claude Van Damme was among the hottest things, though, similarly to the Modern Talking phenomena, you naturally had the chance to make a secret of, or even ruthlessly deny that YES, you are among the Primal Enjoyers of Modern Talking and of Jean-Claude Van Damme's roughly annual movie deliveries.

That was a significant cinema period of the '90s in my opinion, looking forward what theme and setting Van Damme comes up with next, though you could be sure that his character will massively be the same, essentially a character-cliché which though you WANTED to see in a Van Damme movie: the good looking Lone Wolf Mofo who is always aware of and ready to deliver the flawless oneliner to remain intact in all aspect and in all situations a real man can conceive or must face. And:

Who Kicks down Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere. With: Ease.

If and when: needed. And need always have risen in a Van Damme movie, as we had chance to witness. Jean-Claude made a zillion outputs with this particular basic premise, and guess what: he continues to do so, and I would have around 0 - me means: ZIRO - problem with that, granted his latest action movies would be as decent efforts as I hoped them to be. Following his semi-convincing mediocre action movie - cite that I, herein: a semi-convincing mediocre action movie at best - Until Death by the year 2007, Van Damme delivers The Shepherd, and steadily claims the two onions without exhibiting even a slight aspiration for a third. Let us see what we have now, and what we are up to soon.

Unfortunately, this movie sucks considerably. Amazingly 'nuff, Van Damme gives you a Badass Duder who works as a Border Patrol Commander or what not, and he gets transferred to the USA / Mexican Border where ex-Navy Seals are trying to smuggle drugs to North America. You know you are in Mexico because Van Damme's new boss is a highly temperamental Tacco Sista'. She always knows how to disarm inferior men both verbally and physically if needed. No wonder, as there are but two types of men for her: inferior and highly inferior. (Of course later Van Damme will seduce the Tacco Sista'.)

It will shock you to the core when I am to inform you that prior to the highly uninteresting seduction process of the immensely irritative female sidekick - who always knows how to disarm men, did I mention that? - Van Damme finds out WHO and HOW exactly smuggles the drug, gains confirmation that he himself has a rather personal involvement to claim both Justice or/and Revenge, thus he finds and follows the usual motivational package to deliver you the usual action-attractions that are at the verge of begging for your apology for robbing you out of good old 70 minutes. Amazingly, Jean-Claude kicks down many bad guys and even shoots from his shotgun! which he finds in the film! Staggering stuff, folks!

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I's NEEDS more sleeping pills!

Van Damme got famous with the VHS Wave via his 1988 classic Blood Sport, and made the highly defendable clone movies afterwards - while the formula never changed during the years, Van Damme have changed a LOT in the long run. A long run to arrive to 2008, a year posing a growing challenge to authentically sell out the good looking Lone Wolf Mofo who kicks down Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere. More precisely: it is not yet a problem to Van Damme to sell THAT out. Now it is a problem for you to eat that in, you see. Man, I hope Jean-Claude Van Damme won't be the Second Most Frightening Man on Earth, following of course Chuck Norris at the Throne the Texas Ranger reigns so proudly and deservedly at.

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Time is a bitch, even a biatch. Currently Van Damme looks like someone who is realizing all this the hard way, yet at least he is not afraid to show or to admit, which are traits that I highly admire. Van Damme feels out as more and more flat and pointless with these massively repetitive efforts and corresponding genre he is so desperately, and maybe: sorrowfully? sticks for.

Van Damme is closing on on 50 now and seems to me that he had rough 'nuff of a time in the past 15 years, I guess mainly worshipping the classic Consensus Secret Ideal. Yes. That he will face consecutive decades without the aging process claiming the toll on his body. Now would be a superb time to deliver a movie to emphasize his solid acting abilities opposed to these kick-arounds, so let us anticipate his next installment called JCVD. I wonder what those letter might mean.

Truly not much is left to say. Van Damme currently makes the exact films that earned him his popularity and reputation, while the formula itself have it's intense ups and downs. This here effort The Shepherd - Border Patrol is probably the worst Van Damme film I endured so far. I tend to think that Jean-Claude was massively unsatisfied with the result as well, thus I do look forward in the most fervent and enthusiastic manner to see what goods JCVD will deliver, as the work in question has a solid promise and immense of a chance of taking a massive detour from the usual Van Damme recipe, instead will present - hopefully - The Man behind The Van Damme. I do look forward to it, and remain an evident fan of Jean-Claude. What else could I do? Blood Sport is among the films I know word by word. And this is NOT because I had the lines written down.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

2001: a Space Odyssey

There Is Space For All

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Now that Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick probably have the occasion to collaborate again in a dimension we do not necessarily have access to yet, - say NO to Illegal Alien Telepathic Broadcasts by the way! - this moment seems pleasant of a time to review the 1968 sci-fi output these two giants of heavyweight entertainment presented grateful consensus with. Probably one of the most serious fictions ever arranged as a motion picture buildup, 2001: a Space Odyssey is a work intended to guide viewers unto massive thinking processes opposed giving out strict, deliberate aspirations of delivering integral statements and corresponding answers. Odyssey is a thorough stare to Infinity to let us wonder if Infinity inspects us back at all.

and Kubrick even stated that if someone understands their work perfectly, then they have failed miserably as storytellers. As a statement of monstrous ambitions and proportions, Odyssey succeeds blatantly at capturing and presenting the unconceivable "vastness" Mere Space greets humanity or even existence with, yet surely this latter definition of "vast" is an unavoidable understatement, since we have NO CAPACITY to understand

True Infinity

We have but cautious models and superfragile approaches yet surely Space-Time reigns beyond our capacity to understand it completely. Clarke and Kubrick have realized this handicap of ours back in 1968, and choose to offer a buildup with evident interest regarding the matter we do start to cautiously touch upon. As of today, I do think that there is nothing more wrong or more arrogant a human being could state than to claim to possess the proper approach let alone complete understanding for, and of the Infinity this here casual Universe entertains us with. The consecutive one Biggest Ignorance is to claim that the Universe ends. Haha! And then there is: nothing, yes? Show me nothing, I so do beg for you. Third Biggest Ignorance is: not to Worship Pizza. You can not really do much more about the Universe Issue than noticing and admitting that all human conceptions prove to be useless, worthless and out of place - but NOT out of space - by the moment human tries to precisely model it's unavoidable basic nature, which is: Infinity.

Space owns us. Space gives us: Space. And all of a sudden: we are hopelessly lost in freedom. Freedom is our prison. Sad, no? Welcome to the Ultimate Paradox, this here Enigmatic Burden you could call human existence if you prefer, thus let us see what signals and games these two brilliant minds of Clark's and Kubrick's have incorporated and offered for us in a work that recognizes Mere Space for what it is: Mere Unknown. I think we shall even say: the Not-Knowable. Stoic, dark, majestic. Oh, and surely:

There Is Space For All.

When Space-Time is about to be revealed, neither Clarke, Kubrick, Ligeti or Strauss know or allow jokes to be told or even hinted at. The director offers you an exquisite soundtrack support to escalate the blatant effectiveness the image sequences do possess on their own. The senselessly - thus, highly sanely - powerful, brief space-symphony Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Strauss is a re-occurring theme to accompany the visual output while György Ligeti's musical language offers you a massively thorough experience of how exquisitely special and improbable moods music can summon. Odyssey is more of a testament and semi-passive observation process on mere existence itself than a film with an urge to fill the playtime in with event-oriented narrative vibes, thus the core story buildup develops with the majestic ease and calmness a huge spaceship would soar unto unknown parts.

Kubrick gives you The Dawn of Man, in case you doubt that, he even states all this via a text to compromise the marvelous opening scene. As you would have had the chance to take the profoundly powerful still images Kubrick shows about this "Just-Earth" for some casual quiz affair about geography. A massively relevant segment in the film's body, The Dawn of Man accounts a prehistoric period characterized by stripped, intimidating, enormous spatial perspectives and a general "grouchy mood" of the very Planet, a mood by which this organic habitat would have not exactly decided yet whether to evolve unto a place to greet it's few species warmly or to choose torpor instead, tolerating NO observers present on it's surface whatsoever.

Big words should be kept carefully so they do not lose their proper meaning via overuse, yet one can not escape the persistent need of admitting that even a superbrief sequence of this vision lefts you completely baffled. The prehistoric ape-like humanoids to offer the main narrative force in the segment are realized via similarly stupendous convince power: their general behavior, temper and intelligence level is thoroughly depicted and/or hinted at, no approach is given or allowed to doubt the authenticity, the mere weight of the depicted fiction. Funny thing is: when fiction DOES kick in, the buildup grows to epic proportions without you noticing the transformation - you can't help but take part in it instead.

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One day some bigass monolith is appearing at the vicinity of the apes. You see, these Highly Mysterious Artifacts of Unknown Origins usually have some funny tendencies to exhibit. Like: they: TELL you. Like. Things. The leader of the pack gains an insight shortly after the Monolith's manifestation, thus Man recognizes the possibility, the option to use and to rely on Tools. Even recognizes that Tools can be used as Weapons. The ape leader smashing apart the skeleton he sits next to with a bone club he just invented is a segment to give you a permanent retina stigma, and there is but one, and only ONE type of retina stigma that we are looking for: the permanent. Add Thus Spoke Zarathustra to it and you necessarily left speechless. Good thing me just writes here. I suppose we shall safely say that the very first sequence of Odyssey weights in as primal candidate for a maximum Onion rating, yet fear not: I dare say that Kubrick commits


in the very next sequence in which you have the chance to take a free stroll via some casual Space-Time-Ideal with Strauss's ENTIRE, I mean: ENTIRE! Blue Danube Waltz to support this here pleasant, but senselessly lengthy scene. Let me tell you: this sequence is still acceptable, yet Kubrick evidently gets lost either in Strauss's music or in his very own, very personal Space-Time Ideal. Believe this NOT though, as I just lied: he gets lost in both of them. It is not to say that the scene would have no beauty to it. It is more like that it has sooooo much stomped-and-trampled-out beauty to it than you can't help but wonder what an index finger is useful for. Sure, that may sounded a bit harsh. But this is the thing, folks, let's face it. Once you combine Strauss's great romantic music piece to support a Space-Time vision as long as these exquisitely comfy and friendly melodies do keep going, then:

1. You will need to cast immensely brilliant magic spells as a movie director if you do not want to be accused of effect craving. 2. Either your images or the music will grow tired. Strauss wons though, as you can still appreciate his music nicely and clearly while you drift away to sleep, thus no longer having relation to Kubrick's input.

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Having no particular aspiration to account the cautious, yet undoubtedly elegant Monolith-story arc thoroughly as it might spoil your opportunity of finding links and possible connections yourself, let us say that these strange artifacts seem to be scattered around our known galaxy and they always do have a primal impact on humanity once they are discovered and tinkered with. The Monoliths are of supreme importance in the narrative, yet their significance grows evident throughout their relatively wide interpretation field one could approach them from. A Gift from God? A Curse from God? A Gift from Aliens? A Curse from Aliens? But subtle symbolism to represent Man's urge to Seek, to Evolve? Do not sweep neither of these approaches immediately away if I might recommend so and choose your interpretation yourself.

The original story by Clarke which was published a couple of months after the movie's debut emphasizes the Alien interpretation - yet the connection between the film and the text is a flexible one, and it is such by clear and strict intentions from the authors. The final sequence of Odyssey with the Psychedelic Megatrip could be safely interpreted as a radical inner transformation, a spiritual process in which man is pulled through blind infinity just to face and overcome his suspected, his conceptualized boundaries, those that were might be boundaries only due to the ideas, routines, ways of thinking, seeing and experiencing that man thought to be True, Proper, Legit and Believable via his senses and current inner capacity. By the final scene I tend to think that

Blind Existence, Rampant

is collapsing on your protagonist, who fortunately chooses NOT TO BE CRUSHED by this experience - which is an All Time Option by the way and also is the quite correct route to psychosis - rather he takes part in the Ultimate Transformation his current form of development level allows him to adept for. Surely, I do not claim that this is the correct and final interpretation, yet it might be more fruity or more interesting to approach the matter via this way compared to the Alien or God thesis, those that seem to be more easily accessible, yet, without a doubt: similarly defendable motives and explanations. They tend to avoid curios prospects though, in my opinion.

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- Is There Anybody: OUT THERE!?
- You BET!

Now for HAL. The HAL 9000 Supercomputer Unit is one of the primal protagonists of Odyssey, a quite inventive fiction delicacy Clarke presents you with. The unit mimics human emotions so efficiency of communication with humans is increased, yet this particular segment of the story arc relies on top level suspense buildup techniques that the authors deliver with timeless elegance. HAL reports a malfunction in one of the shuttle's unit, thus a routine check is imminent by the crew. They find that there seems to be nothing wrong with the accessory in question, so they start to wonder if HAL itself exhibits signs of malfunction, giving out dangerous misdiagnoses.

They are of course aware though that accusing HAL of malfunctioning could lead to unpredictable results IF the Supercomputer is INDEED gone crazy. So they lock themselves in at a safe cabin and discuss matters privately, their focal point to negotiate is whether they should disconnect the unit. Only they just imagined. HAL reads their lips and thus becomes aware of the danger it has to face - and, all of a sudden: what seemed to be but mimics of humane emotions from HAL - quickly become frightfully alike to the Real Deal. Let us notice the wide interpretation field which is similarly included and offered even in this aspect of the story, a segment that is quite capable to sell itself out on it's own, absolutely independent from the core buildup. We have a wide array of possible assumptions, each is highly defendable and do lead to interesting answers. HAL might have misdiagnosed indeed and simply grew fearful of the possible consequences of it's mistake. Or, it might have concluded that human error will be inevitable during the mission, thus it chose to erase the possibility: HAL faked the error so it could lead the crew to incriminate itself in a short while.

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One of the absolute peek moments of Odyssey is HAL's reaction when it's disconnection seems to be imminent and quite unavoidable. A bizarrely beautiful period, as mere machine, artificial semi-consciousness tries to exhibit humane emotions in hopes to find resonance it can generate a harmonic vibe with. It seeks the emotional solution via the language of pure mathematics, shooting off the options, the equations, one after the other. Brilliant, brilliant fiction stuff. Fiction stuff to give you the Good Old Shivers which is a rather rare friend to greet in science-fiction.

Odyssey remains an amazingly stable and excessively strong visual output even if we do inspect the techno mood it does deliver. An immense amount of work was devoted consulting with scientists and engineers of the era to establish a vision with the legit edge to it, thus these sober governing factors all remain intact to this day and do save the movie steadily from having to acknowledge a dated techno feel to it. Calm, fluent, serious, cleverly playful and elegantly majestic: 2001: a Space Odyssey is a true cultural mark in Space-Time, reigning at the highest peeks of serious science-fiction entertainment.

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- I'd NEED to take a leak but I might as well just DO IT with THIS suite on!

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Left, Rite

Aloha! Hope you like Za N3w 1337 h4ck3d l4yout! I found an extremely useful site which gave instructions on how to turn the default Scribe Blogger Template by Todd Dominey unto a Three Column B*gass - very effective censorship is at work here - Monstha! Nice, wider place for all elements. I am absolutely new to HTML, so I have no information yet on how to arrange Post Titles to the center. Sorry for the funny Onion look, I already seek the solution. If you do know how to do this, comment, yes? Happy browsing, Ladies and Gents!

Persistent huh?

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Southland Tales

Apocalypse Rifts

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Southland Tales is a rather complex fictional output which is extremely easy to dismiss as a massively confusing piece, granted one refuses to give it the multiple viewings it undoubtedly demands. This is not an easy fictionfoam to swim trough without dangers of drowning, thus the piece possesses more to it than what you possibly might get away with via the one sit through some films do aim at. Writer and director Richard Kelly is considered to be a cultic face of entertainment by many, while others regard him as balloon phenomena, weighting in significantly lower than True, Decent Cultdome - oximoron there - would require, though his trademark effort Donnie Darko with the schizophrenic (?) dude/rabbit in it reigns in cultic position nevertheless.

After seeing both Southland Tales and Donnie Darko it seems safe to say that Kelly has evident fixation to Time Travel and All Stuffs Related, - though, according to Beelzebub: Time Travel Has No Future - yet
it would be an evident mistake to fail to spot and appreciate the quite nice supportive fictional elements Kelly invented to support his 2006 effort. Take part in Apocalypse, as the world does not end with a whimper, but it does end with a bang.

Your focal characters are portrayed by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Sean William Scott, figures functionalized in a carefully sketched out alternative history. Nuclear Warfare has gone rampant, yet Kelly focuses his attention solely on the political aftermath rather than biological or basic societal consequences. In fact, Kelly disregards these latter aspects pretty much completely and concentrates on primal political agendas and movements to establish themselves in a massively traumatized period. According to the author, the output is intended to communicate on sarcastic registers, yet fortunately Kelly takes and presents his ideas soberly enough to imbue even a serious quality to the buildup. This is the main "problem" you could stumble upon if choose to, as well.

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Southland Tales is an idea-foam of fictional inventions, consisting of defendable ideas, ranging from acceptable to even brilliant ones, yet Kelly sews his narrative assuming you to be involved 100%, which I can't help but admit that I find: highly acceptable. It is almost sure you will be lost at some point, but the movie exhibits a rare, yet classic charm to it, the charm which does not stop bugging and telling you that the film needs another viewing. And funny thing is: Southland Tales becomes better of a movie when you see it for the second time. The basic buildup is coherent and simple on it's own merits: you have your different political interests with the extremely hardcore new movements present in it, like the NeoMarxists. Motto: Destroy Capitalism! Dethrone God! I would even propose a Third Goal: Redefine Ambition!

Naturally, you want to present an alternative history in a period that forces the different interests to function via their maximum capacity conceivable, what else that could be if not the Election Year. By the Election Year: everyone pays and everyone blackmails. Those who do not: are to lose. The Governing forces are the Republicans, now having blatant interests and relations with and on armed forces, they even enjoy an almost complete control over the Internet, giving them surveillance capabilities akin to George Orwell's 1984 vision. Nana Mae Frost, - Miranda Richardson - the primal coordinator force of the Republicans is a quite funny character: she is the Mistress of Puppets, controlling even his husband who hopes to be the next President. This Mistress spends most of her time watching a multitude of media streams, an effective reality show she can interfere in via any moment she pleases. The NeoMarxists are not happy about that, and this is the part where Dwayne Johnson and Sean William Scott do come in.

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These focal characters are weapons in the hands of the NeoMarxists, as neither of them have any relevant memories of their past lives yet both have the potential to compromise the chances of the Republicans if exposed to the media via incrimination. Boxer Santaros - Dwaye Johnson - is a celebrity with strong ties to the Republicans, as his wife is the daughter of the Presidential Candidate of the Governing Forces. The NeoMarxists have a definite Ace on their hands if to possess footage of Boxer making it out with a porn star, while they have a plan arranged for Police Officer Roland Taverner - Sean William Scott - as well. They want him to fake a double murder as a racist cop, documented by none other than Boxer Santaros himself.

Let us complicate the matters slightly. Surely, the NeoMarxists have their mole at the Republicans, yet the mole has no idea whatsoever that the Government uses him as a mole, as well - he is a living broadcaster giving information to both parties without knowledge of his exposition to the Republicans. This is what a "Useful Idiot" is called in espionage circles. By definition, it is:

Someone who works for an Intelligence Agency and does not know it

Add a "party-in-a-party" to this mix, as there is the Baron, inventor of Fluid Karma and primal supporter of the Republicans. Fluid Karma is a new energy conductor that operates mechanical devices and vehicles remotely, generating fuel effectively from the ripples of the Ocean. It is not entirely sure if the Baron has his support for the Republicans indeed or has plans to gain the Good Old Dr. Octopus Type World Domination at the end of the day, though. Complex enough already?

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Not quite, not quite. That little element we hinted at, namely how Boxer and Taverner have no recollection of their past lives is of primal importance in the buildup, also it leads to a quite smartly developed conspiracy foam in the end to left you wondering considerably of what exactly have you been subjected to in the previous two hours. Suffice it to say that the fictional buildup of Southland Tales is massively rich and does concern Interdimensional! and Religious! issues as well, taking you to a final interpretation field which has some quite memorable qualities and a tender message to it, no doubt.

Best thing about Southland Tales is that it does not refuse to make one big yet one massively serious joke about itself from time to time. At these hilarious peek moments the film claims and takes the liberty to slow down massively and present little vibrations that are immensely beautiful. My personal favorite is the Megazeppelin sketch in witch Boxer dances with his female partners to an enigmatically simple and enigmatically beautiful background music. Also Kelly's ability to refuse to get lost hopelessly in a masterful atmosphere is of note here: he literally blasts away this superb buildup with a gunshot, though he devotes enough time to account the special vibe prior to it's killing, a killing which bizarrely weights in similarly significant at the end.

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Role of singer Justin "I Sung The Same Song 5000 Times Before And Now Me Has A New Variation On One Of Them" Timberlake is of note here. He portrays an Iraq Veteran, even better: he does that quite convincingly. As primal narrator he does an acceptable though not particularly great job, here is why: after a while you can't help but notice how Justin struggles to "steal" pathos and the gunslinga' badassness to his voice, an act that grows somewhat tiresome after a while - thank God the narrative method is not overused, so it remains tolerable. The Timberlake Thing wears some beard in the movie by the way, he looks totally different and gives you a highly defendable performance as an actor. Even a small, great video clip is included with him, singing: "I Got Soul But I Am Not a Soldier." Earing out the message there? Quite OK, in my opinion.

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Dwayne Johnson gives you the stable performance you have reasons to anticipate from him, Sean William Scott is quite integral as well, while various supportive characters - including a great, brief Christopher Lambert - are depicted on solid comic book registers. You can even find a comic variant of the story if you are determined. At the end of the day, Southland Tales is a tale of rich and even successfully scaled fictional proportions, yet you definitely need that multiple viewing which it demands, and, without a doubt: deserves.

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- We have the TORTILLA PARLOR Under Control!

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