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Man of the Year
Friday, 16th March, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 21:44:28

The Second movie I saw last week was Man of the Year, with Robin Williams. I had high hopes for this movie, being a fan of fake news shows like CNNN, Chasers War on Everything, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. The trailer had me buying a ticket for this film after about 30 seconds.

The movie portrays a late night fake news presenter deciding to run for president and winning. Although, within the first part of the movie we find that there are problems with the voting machines (Laura Linney’s character works at the company that makes them). This makes the movie into a multi-political message movie. Not only is it making the statement that the politicians in the U.S are rubbish and someone like John Steward should run, but also highlights the issues within the voting machines. The film kinda from the perspective of the latter topic picks up where the HBO special “Hacking Democracy” left off. If anyone has not seen that documentary I really recommend it to you. Beyond that I will leave the political message of the film, and the discussion of it to you and any friends you watch the film with.

The film I found was very much like a childs drawing of an ocean. It was basically one big long wavy line. The movie had lots of highs, but equally kept falling into the lows. This is in part to some muddled writing and directing with them not seemingly being able to make up their mind as to whether to make a joke, make a political statement, or to develop the characters more. So in the end, the sum total is that it doesn’t really do any of these three things all that well, but does make for an entertaining movie, especially if you have friends around that can pass you food or drink to keep you entertained during the lows. Robin Williams and Christopher Walken are both great, although neither at their best really.

Basically, I think that the movie Dave with Kevin Kline was a better comedy that expressed the same basic message. And Hacking Democracy obviously covers the electoral problems in the United States in a far better fashion (the technology/flaw in software that is uncovered late in the film left me, a computer science grad student, and my similarly educated friends very disappointed, to the point of being insulted). Its worth a watch, but maybe wait for it to be on TV, or not a new release rental.

From the Christian perspective this film does have plenty of jokes in it that some people will find offensive. Christians are also the butt of a few jokes if I recall correctly. However, this is purely because some plenty of Christians in America do put their neck out there on issues they possibly shouldn’t and then in not leading by example then draw such fire for appearing hypocritical. A Christian should be evident in their works, not because of a badge they try to wear in the political arena. Granted some people who do this really aren’t Christians. But anyways, this comment has got way off track :)
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Rocky Balboa
Friday, 16th March, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 21:18:55

I didn’t have time to go to a movie this week, and I was a bit sick. But as hadn’t written up last weeks 2 movies here we go.

The first movie I saw last week was Rocky Balboa. Now, this movie, as a concept, strikes me as odd. Pretty much for the same reason as anyone else. In some ways one expects the title to actually be something like Rocky: Stallone’s Grab For Cash. So needless to say going in I was somewhat skeptical.

Now as background, I have not seen all of the Rocky movies. Only 3 of them (1, 3 and 5 I think). And the bulk of those were a decade or longer ago. The only one I own in my DVD collection is the first one which I enjoy from time to time. So while I am no Rocky die hard fan, I am a fan in on a small scale. That said, this film, with its pie in the sky premise, sucked me right in and took me on a ride that I totally enjoyed.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a great movie by film judging standards. But it is a good film for entertainment value, which is often really all one needs. It really is just good, clean, fun, with plenty of touching moments as the persona of Rocky gushes on everyone around him. If you haven’t seen the other Rocky movies, but feel that you want to see this one, you are guided through some of his memories as we go. And also, Rocky’s son (played by Milo Ventimiglia from Heroes) has never seen his father in a boxing ring, so he is also lead through that process along with the viewers.

I hearily recommend it to movie nights on couches with friends everywhere.
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The Good Shepherd
Monday, 5th March, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 22:21:07

Since I started to review movies on GHASOH I have not yet reviewed a Matt Damon movie. Much too many of my friends amusement, I am a big Matt Damon fan. Good Will Hunting is among my favourite films, and I love the Bourne series. So I was more then happy to go and see The Good Shepherd, with it having Matt Damon in the lead role. And for my fellow Matt Damon fans out there I can recommend that you see it. The role is quite unlike anything else I have seen him play.

Edward Wilson, the character Damon plays, is a founding member spy of the CIA. But he isn’t wearing his Bourne persona here. He is more the puppeteer then marionette. The character he portrays is cold and rarely shows emotion. In fact the only real time he seems to show any warmth or kindness it is to his sweetheart form early on in the movie, but once he enters the service, and that relationship is ended he never really shows that again. Throughout the bulk of the film he really is not all that appealing as a person. We don’t see the Damon smile that he wore throughout the films like Good Will Hunting, Oceans 11 and 12 or parts of Rounders. His transformation was a complete one.

That said one of my main irks of the film is actually relating to the character Edward. The film covers a time period of about 30 years. Starting with Edward in his late teens/early 20s and finishing with Edward being in his 50s. The character barely aged in that time. His glasses changed every few years, but that is about it. Whereas Edwards wife played by Angelina Jolie (who can’t really play a 20 year old, sorry, not convincing in anyway), aged well through out the film, and by the end, with gray hair and plenty of makeup she really did appear to be in her 50s. The fact you spend 99% of the film with the Edward character, seeing him work in highly stressful work through WW2 and the cold war up to the Bay of Pigs incident, he really should have aged quite noticeably, if not from stress alone.

As a brief final note on the Actors, Joe Pesci was awesome. It’s just a shame that he was only in the film for one scene. His performance was a real highlight.

The film really doesn’t move one a great deal. Some of the sadder events in the film were somewhat predictable, and not overly troublesome. So there isn’t to get from those. However the film is a whole is though provoking in relation to the CIA and its role, and how it has changed since its inception. While I am no expert on such matters and so I don’t really know how close the Edward character is to CIA founder, James Jesus Angleton, which he is based on, it certainly gets the thoughts going. It is this that the writer and director are aiming for. Who has power in our world, and how do they use it? What kind of people are they?

Overall, while not a great movie, it was quite well worth watching. It is likewise not the most exciting or happiest film of the year, with the subject matter being that of a somewhat cold and almost emotionless man.
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The Last King of Scotland
Friday, 2nd March, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 12:48:59
The Last King of Scotland is the best movie I have seen this year. The movie, while not 100% accurate, portrays some of the inner workings of the brutal reign of Idi Amin.

The film follows a young doctor who all but flees Scotland and his parents to Uganda. Garrigan (played by James McAvoy) starts at an Aid Station, but soon enough changes career to become Amins personal physician, and advisor. Throughout the vast bulk of the film Garrigan oozes ignorance and naivety about what is going on in the country and it is this that the film studies.

Idi Amin is played amazingly well, indeed oscar winningly well, by Forest Whitaker. While I am no expert on who Amin was, my 10 min of internet research about him after I got home from the movie confirmed to me how well Whitaker portrayed him in the film. At times very whimsical, while others extremely brutal. The range of emotions displayed not only in his face but body language was amazing, and the movie is well worth seeing just for his performance.

My only complaint about the movie is one that occurs with most movies portraying historical characters. There were plenty of things that were not correct and were there for entertainment value. The main one of these is that of the character of Garrigan barely resemble the real character in history. In the film he is a doctor, newly graduated from university. In reality, he was an Engineer, who was much older, and had been in the country 10 years prior to Amin coming to power. This was a disappointment to me after so much of the rest of the film was not that far removed from the historical events.

Despite the nature of the events that take place (hundreds of thousands of people murdered) there is not a great deal of violent content in the film as it focuses so much on the personal relationships. There is some violence, and some sex, but not a great deal. There is only one scene that could be classed as being gore, and its fairly brief, and takes place in a morgue.
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Hannibal Rising
Friday, 16th February, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 19:18:29


The second movie I caught this week was the most recent installment in the Hannibal Lector series: Hannibal Rising. Looking around the net one seems to see a lot of reviews of negative reviews of this movie. Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 17% across 110 catalogued reviews. Box Office Mojo rates it a little higher with 60% rating it a B or above, with B- overall. Now while I don’t think this movie was amazing, or a must buy on DVD, it isn’t as bad as many people seem to say Being partly due to them having Silence of the Lambs on a pedestal in their minds the whole time while watching the film.

The Film starts with Hannibal when he is about 9 or 10, living with his parents. World War 2 impacts his life dramatically when his parents are killed, and his sister is viciously eaten by starving soldiers. Eight years later we find him in an orphanage, from which he shortly escapes and flees to France. From there he hunts down the men who murdered his sister while studying medicine.

Many people who critic this movie complain it is over simplistic, or that the Hannibal in Silence of the Lambs would be bored with his younger self. Unlike his interest in helping Clarice find Buffalo Bill. But it is truly the obvious differences between the younger and older Lector that I actually enjoyed the most. In the story we find Lector discovering that he enjoyed the thrill of the hunt and kill while taking out the revenge for his sister. A character Steve Buscemi plays in another film states that “most murders are crimes of necessity”. Early in the movie Lector finds that he is talented at violence, but avoids killing a bully in his sleep when the opportunity presented itself. Yet in defending his Aunt and in fulfilling his promise to his sister Lector finds himself a murderer. The effects of this, and indeed the trauma of his sister’s death leave him not caring in the least for the crimes. He is totally apathetic about his crimes, or the possible consequences. It is here that the Hannibal of the earlier movies is born.

Along the journey that Hannibal takes, in his transformation, he is not quite as calculated as the character played by Anthony Hopkins. Plenty of reviewers have picked up on this. But again this is something that I liked about the film. Hannibal is an 18-19 year old. He makes mistakes during his early crimes. I think this only adds to the film. Further I think that the fact the entire movie is about Hannibal (unlike Silence or Red Dragon. The better of the previous three movies), we don’t get the same aspect of him solving other crimes. I think generally that they do make for more watch-able films as a result. But, I am glad for the extra insight into his history, even if the film isn’t quite as strong; it is certainly far better then the second film: Hannibal.

From a Christian perspective the movie portrays revenge, murder and cannibalism. Although these topics are shunned by the entire cast with the exception of Hannibal. Even those he is tracking down for committing cannibalism loath the concept. The film is obviously not one for everyone, or one that you would recommend widely. If you have seen Silence of the Lambs and enjoyed it then you will probably enjoy this also, it is not really any more or less shocking.
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Smokin Aces
Friday, 16th February, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 18:25:00


The first movie I saw this week was a much anticipated movie for me: Smokin' Aces. I am a big fan of this style of movie. It is kinda a middle point between the likes of Natural Born Killers and Snatch. Going in this is what I expected, and is really why I was so excited to see it. However, the movie shows that while it smacks of Tarantino and Guy Richie, Joe Carnahan it is nearly as good as either of them.

The movie is set in Nevada, the land of casinos. The movie is about a hit put on a Sinatra inspired vegas showman. The showman with large mob ties is the target for not only the FBI (trying to take him into custody) but 4 or 5 hit teams. Needless to say with them all trying to get to the one guy they end up doing more then stepping on each others toes. Their variations in method produce some interesting humour moments, with one team opting for the Doom-esque chainsaw for their weapon of choice, while others opt for the simple needle in the neck job; with the remainder of the hit men opting for everything in between.

The depth of the differences between the characters really does suit the movie. So really Carnahan has all the pieces he needs: decent special effects, location, interesting characters. Where did he go wrong? He seemingly couldn’t decide what to do with the movie. He has a twist at the end of the movie to try and be clever. But it was already somewhat predictable before that, because he was waving it under our nose at every opportunity. With the twist, and the way some characters react to it, he tries to ad more substance to the movie then everything that went before it (guns and explosions fest). So when you leave the cinema you are left with the thoughts of “why did the movie end like that? Its like the last 5 min are from a different film.” Sorta like, somehow taking the last 3 min of Usual Suspects and Armageddon splicing them together and then putting them in vegas.

Now that I have said that, Carnahan has posted on his blog saying that the movie had an allegorical message in it about WMD and Iraq. He writes that hysteria, mania and ultimately misinformation lead to horrible violence. Now with that information on board, one can see that message in the movie. But again it doesn’t really fit the ending. Unless he is trying his hand at prophesy.

As a note from a Christian angle, this movie has very graphical violence, and strong language throughout. As to the message of the movie, Carnahan’s own description is pretty tight on any moral that could be taken from the movie. With the possible exception that sometimes the person who is in the right (righteous) will get persecuted for the actions they take. This is not a reference at all to the bulk of the movie, but a scene that involves Ryan Reynolds who does a superb job in this movie.
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Stranger than Fiction
Saturday, 10th February, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 15:53:05


This week I went to see Stranger than Fiction. It came out in the U.S last year, and was a delayed release here in Australia. It is a bit of a shame having to wait 2 months for it to appear on a screen, especially after hearing positive things about a film. Such are the ways of the movie industry, not pushing through titles that quickly that they don’t expect to make large returns on.

But all that said, the wait was well worth it. The performances of the main 4 characters (Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Dustin Hoffman) were all superb. I am big fans off all 3 of them, so no real surprise that I enjoyed their performances.

The movie wasn’t exactly what I expected going in. Having Will Ferrell I had expected more humour then actually resulted in the film. But that isn’t a bad thing as such, as the love story was a much stronger element that was enjoyable. Likewise the eccentric characters that Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman play also add depth.

The movie is very enjoyable, and I will certainly be picking up the DVD in the future, but as far as films go it wasn’t a masterpiece. It briefly played with the topics of fate and free will, but doesn’t really dig into these aspects of the plot to the point of any real thought provoking films such as The Butterfly Effect. That said it will hold a privileged place on my shelf with the likes of Love Actually and Notting Hill. So if you are fans of those films are sure to check this one out.
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Babel
Wednesday, 31st January, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 23:11:01

Last night a mate and I went to see the movie Babel. I really didn’t know what to expect from this movie, having friends saying that it was both really good, and that it was waste of space. I found that I quite liked the film, although found that it really is something you probably have to be in the right mood for. The movie which it is most similar to for comparison is Crash (by Paul Haggis). That said, where Crash was a commentary on racial and social issues within L.A, Babel is not so focused on a single area, or even a single set of issues. So while some of the performances perhaps aren’t as strong as those in Crash, the movie has a lot more depth to it.

Babel (in a spliced up story line) looks at 4 different sets of people around the world, although they are all linked which we learn as the movie progresses. There is an American couple (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett) on holiday in Morocco. The children of the characters played by Brad and Cate, along with their Mexican nanny and family back in L.A and in Mexico. A Moroccan family who have a goat farm. And a Japanese girl (deaf mute), along with her friends and father living in Tokyo. The 4 stories are interweaved in the film, although they actually take place in a somewhat linear fashion one with only minor overlapping as the events in the movie unfold.

The movie portrays the shock and brutal effect of violence (even in this case of it being largely accidental) on people. The confusion sexually of several young people and in the instance of the Japanese girl the effects of peer pressure in that issue, and also that of Drugs and Alcohol. Several characters in the movie often do the most stupid thing they could possibly do in the world in a given situation, and one see’s the effects of these. Sometimes these actions are the result of a misunderstanding across the language barrier, or based off a perceived (or real) racial bias from another person. Generally as all these different interactions occur, and the characters struggle with their various issues in their situations, the movie has a very real and organic feel to it. Nothing is all that outlandish or unbelievable. This is a great asset to the film.

My one kinda nark with the movie is generally in its message. In one sense the message of the movie is that stuff happens in life, you can’t control it, and you have to go with the punches. Sometimes things turn out okay, sometimes not, but often there is a lot of pain and heartache along the way. The movie really does leave you with a sense of “what is there to hope for in this life other then pain?” Now as a Christian I know a good answer to that question. But the movie obviously doesn’t present that, so you are left with a general feeling of melancholy. That in itself doesn’t make it a bad movie in my opinion, but it does mean that to watch it one needs to be in the right mood. It certainly provokes thoughts along the way.
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Deja Vu
Saturday, 27th January, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 19:33:00


Well it’s been 5 days since I saw Déjà vu; and it’s basically taken that long to decide on what to actually say about this film. The film, in my opinion is not that great, but it’s also not that bad either. If you find yourself about to watch it by no means run away from it, as you will be entertained. But at the same time don’t expect a movie with a great message to take home, or a time good travel movie. The movie really delivers neither. Its message is mixed, to the point of probably not really having one, beyond a general discussion about fate or free will. But the result from this is unclear really, and the time travel parts of the movie which put these topics into practice have more holes then a colander.

The movie isn’t without merit beyond the fact it is entertaining to a decent level. The movie does poke fun at itself (and its genre) at several points. I think that some of the action/car chase sequences really do go so far past what would occur in reality (even with added sci-fi gadgets) that the director must have just decided “stuff it, let’s just make fun of this”. Which I really have no complaint about; those moments were highlights for sure. Denzel does a great acting job, and some of the camera work is fantastic. Tony Scott, as always, has produced a very nice looking film, with stunning effects.

One comment I will say from the Christian perspective, or perhaps at least commentary upon Christian perspectives, is that if you look around at some Christian review sites (which is probably more aptly titled “Christian review sites that have a political bias”) that have looked at this movie they totally over analyze parts of this film. They are harsh on the fact the bomber is a former service men, and the race of several “good guys” vs “bad guys”. Trying to imply that in the movie African Americans are the goodies and Caucasian and Jewish people are the baddies. To me this really isn’t evident in the film, and really is looking for a problem where one doesn’t exist. To me it only shows off a cultural and racial bias within the reviewers. So if you read such things on this film I would suggest you take it with a large cup of salt, and possibly pay close attention to other such comments they make in other films.
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Apocalypto
Wednesday, 17th January, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 22:13:47


Last night I went to see Mel Gibson’s latest directorial outing in Apocalypto. Now while I am more then happy to see people trying ideas and pushing the boundaries to avoid trolling out the same junk all the time, this movie was simply disappointing. It tried to side step the predictable average plots with boring characters trap by being so different. Being a period piece in a language that doesn’t exist anymore, involving a very interesting race of people, but basically wound up being disappointing.

While the movie is visually appealing, and some of the characters are interesting, the story line is simply not too believable (such a big city being all of 2 days away and these great hunters didn’t know it was there??). It turns into a predict-fest for the later half of the movie.

The movie basically does a lot of things pretty well. The Cinematography was above par (even the sometimes humorous camera placements); the actors were all pretty good. The make up and sets all looked great. What special effects that were present were seamless. It’s such a shame with all these ducks in a row that the writing of the main story was the thing that was lacking and really spoiled the movie.

Braveheart was an amazing movie. Passion of the Christ was pretty good (I understand its some people’s cup of tea and not others). Hopefully if he tries another period piece he will go back to the quality of his former works.

From the Christian perspective there is an interesting religious divide in the movie between the tribe and the Aztec people who capture them. The Hunter tribe isn’t too focused on deities, possibly just a single one, or perhaps more pantheistic, I would need to watch again to catch all of it. But what they do believe is that all men do wrong, and that it ruins their world around them. That there is nothing in the world they can get to satisfy their desire. That there is a hole in their heart that nothing in this world can fill. The phrasing I am sure Augustine would have approved of. So in turn they look after the world around them, and while there is a leader figure, they are generally all equals.

On the flip side, the people from the City (Aztec’s) try to subdue the gods with human sacrifice, and appear to be very materialistic and have a very strong class structure. Massive temples, jewellery, slaves all abound. Virtually the direct opposite of the hunter tribe. If there is any intended message in the movie it probably relates to this comparison, and also back to the discussions about man’s place in the world, both in relation to each other and to the world itself.
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Blood Diamond
Wednesday, 10th January, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 18:24:03



Last night I managed to pull myself away from the cricket on the TV to go to the movies and catch Blood Diamond. Now going into this movie I had heard some mixed things. So, beyond the obvious political message to be presented in the movie, I did not really know what to expect. In many ways this is the best state of mind to go into a movie. If the movie is very good, then you aren’t disappointed; but if it is good, you really enjoy it for all its worth. Blood Diamond falls into the second category for me. It was a really good movie.

Now for those of you who remember the Constant Gardner last year, it was another "African" movie that held a political message. And while Rachel Weisz (as always) was good, and overall it was only just better then par. Blood Diamond on the other hand waves at par as it flies right past it. The movie delivers its simple message about the effect of the diamond trade on several African nations, and the lives of the millions of people that live within them, quite powerfully. It highlights the usage of child soldiers within such conflicts, and the effect that that has on the families of the children.

Now the message of the film aside, the movie itself is very well done. The one complaint people might have is that it is rather long (considering the simple message). But it is well paced throughout. And on looking over the film, there is nothing that really feels like it could or should be cut. The characters are quite rich, and really do add to the depth of the movie, without being too much of a distraction from the core message.

Leonardo DiCaprio does a great job, and despite complaints in some other reviews I thought it was pretty good. It was certainly consistent throughout. To follow up the movie Departed with this really shows what talented actor he has become. Although, while I think he deserves an award come that time, having two such good performances might just result in simply splitting the votes, and then missing out altogether. Jennifer Connelly also did a great job, although not a great deal worth of comments about her spring to mind. Djimon Hounsou also did an amazing job during the movie. And was truly a very likable character really was great to watch up on the screen. He was great in Gladiator; hopefully we will see more of him after such a major role in this movie (I know he has been in other stuff since then, but not a great deal I liked or even saw).

From a Christian perspective there are two things really. One, the message of the movie should be one that Christians pay attention to. As Christians it is our duty to speak up as much as possible when we hear of such atrocities that happen around the world. Those of us in nice rich western countries need to pay attention, and when things like this happen we need to speak up to our political leaders to try and get things done. We need to be socially aware not only of on goings in our own countries, but globally.

The second thing is that this movie is very powerful in the images it presents. It is really not a movie for children, or those who are sensitive. There is imagery of children being beaten, and having limbs cut off and being forced to kill people. Rape is spoken about numerous times. Some characters swear also. But this really is the point. This is what has gone on and does go on. To try and make a movie without all of these things would be to hide the truth. If you don’t like these images, then I would imagine the reality of it you would also not like. All the more reason to take the message of the movie on board.
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The Holiday
Wednesday, 3rd January, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 16:36:03


Just a quickie review for this one. Caught it last night while out with the wife (our 1st Anniversary) and some newly wed friends of ours. Going into this movie I was really not expecting a great deal. I am not a big fan of American romantic comedy type movies. I much prefer their british counterpart. Further, I am still a bit dirty on Jude Law from the trash that was the movie Closer. Kate Winslet hasn't done anything I have enjoyed in near on a decade. Jack Black while funny in his normal type of movies, I couldn't see what he would really do here. And Cameron Diaz has never done a great deal for me.

But the movie was great. It is probably the best romantic comedy movie out of the U.S in years. The characters were all really well written and developed through the movie. The script was very character driven, resulting an a very enjoyable, although longish movie.

The four loading actors all did a great job, only to then be eclipsed by the supporting actor Eli Wallach in the role of Arthur Abbott. Behind Wallach, Jude Law and Kate Winslet were both fantastic, and have probably both regained my respect. Diaz and Black were also very good. Diaz funnier then her normal roles, and Black smarter then his normal roles. Both quite watchable.

So all in all a quite good movie. From the Christian perspective the only real issue the extramarital sex which is depicted within the story (although not shown, no nudity etc in the film). However, the message of the movie, if indeed there truly is one to be found, is that the relationships that several of the characters are in at the start of the movie (affairs) are extremely unhealthy, and definitely not fulfilling. And that as the story progresses they find the opposite within a monogamous relationship with someone who is likewise committed to them.
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American Dreamz
Monday, 1st January, 2007 Posted by Beren @ 04:54:59


Find it here on Amazon

Today was a great day. After waking rather late, I played cricket with friends for a few hours, came home had dinner with the wife. Had a nap on my beanbag for an hour and a half, and then threw on the American Dreamz DVD. And it really fitted with the day very well: quite light and relaxed, some good moments of humour and generally not really requiring a great deal of brain activity. A great start to the new year.

Now before I delve into my thoughts more on the movie, I will just a brief comment for context on this review. I am not a fan in the least of the Idol series (which is satired in the film) and I really enjoy satirical works. I am also a Hugh Grant fan. So I am probably the ideal audience for the film.

The movie itself is obviously no master piece. But it really isn't aiming for that. It is aiming more towards the amusing comedy which is taking the micky out of the entertainment industry, while also getting political taking aim at the Bush Administration. With such large targets to aim at the film obviously delivers plenty of humour throughout, but it does fall short having me in stitches. My favourite moments involve the events and characters surrounding Omar (the failed terrorist who is sent to live in America with relatives), and Dennis Quaid who plays President Joseph Staton (*cough*Stalin-joke-here*cough*).

While I am glad I didn't pay to see this in the cinema, I am happy to have it in my DVD collection and will watch it again. If you rent it on a rainy day you won't be disappointed. Generally, I think we need a lot more films like this which really highlight the obviously hollowness of the entertainment industry, and the falibility of our political leaders. A lot of people are about as socially aware as a door knob on the impact of the entertainment industry on peoples everyday lives. And while this film is a virtual tongue in cheek kind of self examination, I certainly can't see any harm in getting more of this. In terms of the political aspects, I likewise can't see any harm in more films on this topic. Although, it might be of more use to not attack the current president as such, but the process as a whole. While I am no huge love or hate for GWB, I don't think he is that much of a problem. In my opinion the electoral process and party system that needs reform.

From a Christian point of view there really isn't a great deal worth mentioning. There are obviously a few veiled quips in terms of GWB's faith. And while I could see some Christians blowing it out of proportion I don't see any value in that. If you are in the political Arena, and you state that you are a Christian (or of any other faith) you are bound to draw attention on such matters, especially if you say or do something which appears contrary to that.
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Lone Wolf and Cub: The Assassin's Road
Saturday, 30th December, 2006 Posted by Beren @ 20:48:26
A book by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima


Find it here on Amazon

Now for this to be the first book I will review on GHASOF is a little odd. I Have only recently really got into graphic novels, and have never really liked much I had seen over the years in the Japanese variety of these. But as the case has it, I was lent the first two books in this series, and finished this one (the first in the series of 30 odd volumes) last night.

So keep that in mind as you read my short comments here that this is not the kind of book I normally enjoy. So if this is up your ally you can probably add a few extra cool points to it then what I would rate it.

Now I thought the book was actually pretty good. I was not really expecting to enjoy the book a great deal, but I was pleasantly surprised. The story itself really does lack a lot on the depth side of things, but from what I can gather, this is merely setting the scene for the next 25+ volumes.

The story follows a Ronin (Lone wolf) and his son (Cub) as they wonder across a somewhat segmented middle ages Japan. As he wanders he deals out a kind of rogue justice to those he meets. Although this usually comes at a high cost, but at various times he does stick up for the oppressed who can't afford his talents.

The artwork, which while only in black and white, was really quite good. I certainly enjoyed it far more then the (coloured) artwork present in Frank Millers "Ronin" which I also recently read.

So while I was not crazily impressed by the story, I am going to read the second volume. If it contains a storyline with more depth (compared to what kinda amounts to 9 fight scenes, each with a small lead in story) it may well be a series I then follow for a while. So it is a book I recommend to anyone who is after something a little bit different from their normal fare. It certainly isn't "too Japanesey" like one feels with a lot of manga.

In terms of Christian/non-Christian content there is really not that much overall substance to the work, which I believe is then rectified in the subsequent volumes. There is obliviously frequent violence being a book about a Ronin, but its somewhat muted, and doesn't really have anything considered as gore. a Now while there is a few swear words (although some of those felt rather odd, and were possible due to poor translation), a few moments of nudity, there was nothing terribly obscene. Likewise there was an occasional reference to spiritual things, but it was only cursory, and is something to probably watch for in the other volumes.
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