One of the worst things about being in China is that I never get to see new films when they open–always months and months later, when everyone’s already seen them, talked about them, and then filed them away or posted tons of spoilers in forums for unsuspecting victims. Thank God in a couple more weeks I’ll be back in the good ol’ U.S. of A and never have to suffer that again.
I watched Match Point recently, and it was quite a surprise, as it’s not the kind of film I’d expect Woody Allen to make. The film is skillfully directed and taunt in all the right moments, and I for one, am glad he stayed behind he camera this time around; there’s something very unpleasant about watching him playing the same neurotic character for decades. I’m starting to get a bit tired of Scarlett Johanson as she’s not the type of actress with a lot of range, so when you miscast her, it’s painfully obvious. She’s certainly got her charm though, as demonstrated in Lost In Translation–one of my favorite films.
Got around to watch Aeon Flux recently as well. Everything that was cool about the animated series was gone–that eccentric charm in the visual style, the music, the directing..etc. I respect Charlize Theron as an actress, but she just doesn’t look anything like the main character. Of course, no one really looks like that in real life, but the feel is completely off. Aeon’s agile and slender physique is such a big part of visual style–Theron looked positively hulking in comparison–that’s something no amount of training could remedy. I don’t think the film’s as bad as the reviews say it is, but it’s certainly not good enough to become a cult favorite either. I could imagine Peter Chung shaking his head as he sat through the film for the first time.
While watching the bonus material about how the actors trained to do their own stunts, I thought about how that trend was set in the first place. Although action stars had regularly done their own stunts from time to time–particularly the ones who are known for their martial arts skills, it was really The Matrix that brought it to the forefront. It was one thing to watch martial arts action stars like Jacky Chan, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Segal..etc do their thing on the screen, as we expect it from them, but to watch guys like Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishburn do their own stunts was something the audience wasn’t used to seeing, and it created the current trend of having actors do their own stunts, because it simply looked better and more authentic on the screen. Now everyone in Hollywood proudly talks about how they trained for months to prepare for a role, and how they insisted on doing their own stunts because they’re hardcore like that.
How many of you have heard about Forbidden Archeology? Some pretty bold claims are made, with supposedly undisputed evidences that date human existence to far older than current scientific theory suggests, including objects that are far too advanced for any hominids in prehistoric times. The conspiracy theory is intriguing too, but what conspiracy theory isn’t? I didn’t find anything on the internet that disputed the evidences–most just chalk them up to “unexplained mysteries.”
Here’s something for you photographers out there. Read and find out which level of photographer you are. I don’t agree with all of it, but it’s a fun read.
My computer is now officially behind the times. I tried to play the demo for Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter today on the lowest settings, and it still grinded to a halt during the opening scene on the chopper, and then stayed that way and refused to go any further. I was surprised because I’ve had no problems with other recent demos. My machine really isn’t that ancient–it’s a P4 2.8 Ghz, 2 GB RAM, with plenty of hard drive space, and a GeForce FX5200 video card. The video card is the bottleneck for sure, and it’s probably about time I upgraded. I was going to do it when Half-Life 2 came out, but it ran fine on my system so I kept on using my rig as is.
More wacky news from China relayed from Elena’s daily newspaper reading sessions:
A young woman goes to the doctor for a checkup, and the doctor discovered twenty-six small needles embedded in the girl’s body. The girl has no idea how they got there, and her parents offered their guess. They think it might’ve been the girl’s grandparents (when they were still alive), and that they had done it when she was just a baby. The grandparents were probably disappointed in having a girl (since China allows only one child, everyone wants a son to continue the family name), and tried to kill her by sticking needles into her, hoping they would puncture organs or cause other complications. They probably figured since you can’t see the needles and had no reasons to search for them, no one would suspect foul play and just attribute the death to natural causes. The doctor said it’s been too long and would be extremely dangerous to try to remove the needles, as they are completely embedded in various parts of the body.
Here’s one I heard on the radio while riding in a taxi:
A traffic police angered a female taxi driver when he tried to give her a ticket. She went psycho on him and slapped him 20 times, but he did not defend himself. A crowd of around fifty people gathered and watched in disbelief as the traffic cop just stood there doing his impression of a punching bag. He was sent to the hospital with a swollen face and complained of a headache.
My guess is that she’s probably his girlfriend or ex and he probably cheated on her, then had the balls to give her a ticket.