At long last I’ve decided to not extend my domain registration for this particular blog. I barely write anything these days anymore because – sad, but true – I’ve mostly lost interest in the things I used to geek out about in the past.
On the best of days I can’t decide whether to throw up, be bored to death, scream in a fit of rage or call in an air strike when Adobe, Maxon and the rest of the unglorious lot declare that they’ve finally found a cure for all the ills in the world with their software only to ridicule themselves with bugs, questionable licensing and generally being a major annoyance.
I’ve come to the conclusion that life is more enjoyable when I don’t get worked up on those things and I don’t spend my time on commenting on something that won’t change. It’s all FUBAR’d, anyway. Therefore I’m looking for greener pastures and spending what time I may have left on this planet with more pleasurable things, though of course running a rather diaper-centric health blog is probably just as obscure as some of the stuff I did in the past, but at least I’m enjoying it in a weird and wonderful fashion.
That doesn’t mean this blog will disappear entirely, but henceforth you will only find it in its free flavor at myleniumblog.wordpress.com for the rare occasions I might care to jot down some more comprehensive thoughts. On the bright side, I plan on being much more active on Facebook and Twitter, where I’ve been mostly just reading other people’s stuff. These are dark times and it’s time to step out of the shadows and contribute my part to the fight against evil, regardless which guise it chooses to take…
Ah, I vividly remember when back then everyone went batty over the news that Richard Hatch would be featured in the new Battlestar Galactica series and at the same time I barely knew what the fuss was all about. As a child of the Eastern block I only saw the original Galactica series and movies in some early morning reruns and that stuff never caught on with me. Hence my knowledge of Mr. Hatch‘s involvement was limited nor did I get much out of the cheesy acting and was slightly worried about his appearance on BSG.
As it turned out, I couldn’t have been more wrong and his role as Tom Zarek was up there with the others. in fact it’s regrettable that we didn’t get to see more of the power-hungry, always plotting and scheming wannabe-president of the twelve colonies. For long periods he isn’t even mentioned only to reappear with full force. Of course he gets his due for his unscrupulous mutiny and is then executed rather ingloriously. Yummy stuff! ;-)
Beyond those memorable moments my knowledge of Richard Hatch‘s TV and movie career is pretty much zero and looking at his IMDB page, I’m not convinced I would ever have watched most of the stuff he had roles in. It seems one of those cases where his early career as a young beau got in the way of being taken as a serious actor later on. So as much as I might want to say something more in light of his passing (at the age of 71), I just can’t think of much. May he rest in peace, after all.
As far as coincidences go, this one is slightly creepy, I must admit. There I was, writing a rant about a certain book, including some remarks about its not so great movie adaptation and two days later the sad news of John Hurt‘s passing hits us. funny enough, if you had asked me his name and in which movies he actually had parts, beyond 1984 I would have struggled to come up with anything, but of course he also played the commander in Alien and his regal-looking face popped up in a lot of other movies, if mostly only for short appearances. Sifting through his filmography is a stunning revelation and then I go “Yes, of course, that guy!” from King Ralph to his Big-Brother-ish impression on V for Vendetta. See the connection? Weird! ;-)
Usually I try to avoid politics here on this little blog, but this time I really can’t hold on to myself because it just upsets me. Yepp, those 1984 novel analogies. It happens to be one of my all time favorite books, so I think I have to say a thing or two about the matter.
Back then when I was about 15 or 16 and got my hands on it for the first time (the original English version, no less) after having read Animal Farm several times, I literally sucked it in and must have read it about ten times over in a row. I will not claim that my knowledge of this Orwell masterpiece is intimate or current, as I haven’t read it in a while, but here’s what get’s me: People get all worked up comparing it to some current going-ons with the Trump administration over that “alternate facts” statement by Mrs. Kellyanne Conway comparing it to the book’s euphemistic, reversed meaning use of some words. Pardon me, but that’s nonsense.
Like it or not, you will not find any valid answers to the current political situation in there, as much as you may want to learn and dissect the finer points of Newspeak. You’re only helping someone to make more money. There is nothing in there that will help you understand Mr. Trump or the machinations of his administration by looking for wisdom in a book from 70 years ago. Using platitudes ripped out of context may be fashionable on the news, but it’s not going to further your understanding of the situation nor do I personally think it’s in any way adequate or even appropriate. Orwell himself would probably feel insulted by this abuse of his creation.
This only goes to show as widely known and influential the book may be, it’s also one of the most misunderstood ones of our time. Why some allegory to the events of the time and common themes like dictatorship, censorship and oppression of freedom can’t be overlooked, it first and foremost remains a story of love, betrayal and individual tragedy, with a meticulously crafted scenery and language framework built around it. If you ignore that, then you will rob yourself of the experience and end up disappointed. It’s one of the things I really hate about the 1984 movie version, BTW – it totally gets this wrong and loses itself in trying to be a mirror of how communist states were seen in the times of the Cold War.
So for what it’s worth, if you’re trying to put a sting into that doubleplusungood man that Mr. Trump is you have to think of other ways than analysing his (and his cohorts’) duplicitous use of language. Otherwise have a pleasant read…
Yes, I admit, yesterday evening I wasted two hours of my life watching a bad movie. With a good chunk of movies from recent years now trickling through onto free TV, I can at least catch up a little bit on things I missed, not being able to go to the cinema that much nor having the money to buy DVDs by the bucket. As it is, of course I always had a preference for somewhat odd sci-fi movies and The Giver seemed a natural fit.
First off, let me be honest – I didn’t expect miracles. Even reading reviews of the original book it was clear that this would be a wild mish-mash ripped off other books/ movies. The population kept docile with drugs (THX 1138, Equilibrium), the sterile “survivor” environment (The Island, Aeon Flux) people being assigned life allowance and a position in society (Logan’s Run, In Time) or even the forced ignoring of past history (Fahrenheit 451, Planet of the Apes, again Equilibrium) were well-known tropes, yet mixed up, shaken and stirred there would have been the potential for something at least mildly entertaining, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be despite having Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges in it even.
Where to begin? There’s just so much bad stuff. Perhaps we should start with the acting of the aforementioned two actors – plain and obvious paycheck jobs with neither one making a great effort. To boot, both look awful. If I was Meryl, I’d sue someone for that weird hairdo and man, did she look old in that one. The rest of the cast didn’t fare much better. Of course playing an emotionless robot goes against the very nature of most actors, but man, they could at least have tried harder to make this convincing. This is even true for the interactions between the group of friends. In addition, most people appeared more than slightly mis-cast in the “too pretty to be true sense”, further eroding any potential to add some interest, even if you consider the effect forced “selection” would have on a society. Weeding out “ugly” people strangely enough has a certain appeal, though, once you think about it… *lol*
The many flaws with this film don’t end there, of course owing a lot to the weak story in the first place. Plot holes abound quickly and after a while there’s simply too many to ever get out of this mess. The biggest one, and it really is as big as a volcano crater, is the ominous tower and the border of emotions. I could live with the idea of some electromagnetic field that influences your brain activity, but then clearly you would not place the antenna somewhere miles away in the wilderness? Just makes no sense. In fact even our main protagonist getting there after days travelling through deserts and cold ranges without food and a toddler on his arm makes zero sense, as much as you may try to suspend disbelief. The resolution at the end is just downright moronic and ridiculous.
Finally, if you want to be stylish, then you better go through with it and even in this department the production fails miserably. The general idea seems to have been “Let’s make everything white and grey and hire some design students on the cheap.” and it shows. Instead of being lavish, innovative and grounded in a reality, everything looks like those “what if” things that you see a lot on 3D related or concept art sites. That’s all fine and dandy for your personal projects, but barely enough to hold a movie together. This is even detrimental to the idea of using varying degrees of saturation to illustrate the emotional awareness. It’s too obvious that nobody involved seemed to have much of an idea of what works in black & white and what not.
They also could have made it more consistent by putting in some work and isolating colors, so not every shot is just one tone and shade. Dare I say lazy job on the color correction/ grading? Of course I could say the same for the overall FX work. On a 25 million budget you shouldn’t expect too much, naturally, but a lot of that stuff looked worse than the effects on television series 20 years ago. From the iffy drone jets to the simplistic radial “emotion wave” near the end I can’t even begin to describe. Oh my.
Overall this is a major dud. It’s really no surprise that this bombed massively at the box office even if you ignore the fact that it probably wasn’t the best book material to begin with (and which outside the US likely nobody ever heard of before). So be smart and avoid this movie unless you really have nothing better to do. I ended up regretting it and having Peter Jackson et al talking my ear of about The Hobbit‘s production would have been more enjoyable. Yes, it’s another of those weird hobbies of mine – I keep re-watching those lengthy making-ofs on movies. It’s strangely soothing and interesting even after the third time…
Doing my random rounds on ze web I stumbled across this neat little plug-in. Free stuff is always something you can never have enough of, so it’s certainly worth giving it a shot. I’m not sure if I ever had much practical use for this sort of thing, but I like that this isn’t just another squeeze & stretch aspect ratio conversion thing and they actually re-synthesize the image with some sort of seam-carving algorithm. Even the fish eye effect this can produce is kind of nice, though arguably it will only ever fully wow you on a large 4k monitor or something like that.
It’s been a while since we actually had something that you could call winter in these parts, so this year it’s actually nice to be able to go out and get to see some snow and ice. The last few days had the added benefit of an inversion high pressure zone weather situation, meaning it got quite foggy, but due to the low temperatures at about -5 C everything got sugar-coated with frost crystals. I quite like that, living perhaps not in the most close to nature rural area. It gives a whole new quality to the trees and makes it almost look like a fairytale forest. Anyway, this morning on my way to my physical therapy I had the good sense to take out my camera and snapped a few shots before this beauty fades.
Look familiar? Yepp, it’s similar to a shot I posted back in 2009 (also below). Imagine that! How time flies. In addition to the consistent view the other big similarity probably is that even 7 years later I’m still stuck with a crappy cheap camera. Ah, how I crave for someone to have a look at my Amazon wishlist and send me some vouchers… ;-)