Submarine (2009)

132 submarine-poster

(no real spoilers this time)

Submarine is a brilliant movie about growing up that really tries to put you into the mindset of an adolescent, thereby showing how our culture tries to shape you into something you don’t want to be. Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is a 15-year-old boy who struggles with love and the unhappy marriage of his parents. The movie follows his point of view and director Richard Ayoade uses every trick in the book to make the movie interesting and also to show how Oliver’s mind works. The directorial style is what really makes the movie work because the tricks rarely feel like showing off, but are effective and clever, always leaving you waiting what will come next. The acting is great, especially in the main role, the songs by Alex Turner fit perfectly and even the production design adds to make the movie special, mainly by using a somewhat obvious, but still successful color scheme of reds and blues.

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Taking It to the Street

As I came into one of my classes today, the students all gathered around me, waving red pamphlets and telling me we have to go outside! I didn’t know what was going on until I realized there was a demonstration going on, right outside the building, visible from the classroom window. My students tried to convince me that they were really interested in that demonstration and wanted to go there, which I doubted since they obviously preferred this to a lesson. Eventually we went outside to see what it was all about.

You can read the full post here.

Paul (2010)

Paul is a funny movie, no, not on the same level as the Edgar Wright movies with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (especially Shaun of the Dead, my favorite of theirs), but still entertaining and with lots of ideas. It knows its characters very well and respects their geek culture without being too geeky itself. The basic concept is funny and the execution, apart from some scenes that didn’t work for me or felt out of place, is well done, too. It’s an enjoyable film, even if it’s not as brilliant as their other movies.

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Knowing (2009)

(spoilers ahead)

Knowing is a hokey sci-fi-thriller but a very entertaining one. Its concept and often the execution are very over the top, but for some reason the movie still works. One reasons is Nicolas Cage, I think, who is quite good here. But whenever the movie drags a little with its somewhat clunky story, there is a set piece of a disaster that looks amazing and is very intense, especially the two-minute take of a plane crash. It’s disaster porn, sure, but it’s effective. The research scene of Cage finding out what the numbers mean that his son found is also compelling. I’m sure this movie has a smaller impact on a second viewing, but for what it is, it’s quite good and could have been much worse.

You can read the full post here.

Go Play: Escaping, Assassinating, Warring

Go Play: Escaping, Assassinating, Warring

I realized I look at so many different things here, movies, music, books, comics, etc., I should include something else. Sure, I could also narrow my focus, but I’m not good at that, I want the big picture, all of it. So, today I want to look at video games. Why? Well, just like all the others, they are an essential part of our cultural canon, especially (but not exclusively) for younger people.  More than all the others, they engage you actively in an activity, thereby shaping your ideas and values in a different way than other mediums. I’m not saying they have a bigger impact, but it is a more unique impact than just consumer media. Anyway, I think video games have a different way of portraying and transporting cultural ideas. So, I thought I face them now. Here’s my plan: I look at the list of upcoming games (from Wikipedia, all the quotes are from there), pick some games and see what’s there to see.

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Student Looks at Teacher

Here she comes. Damn, I hoped she was late today. Why can’t she be late? It’s not like we can’t wait a bit longer to start the lesson. It’s not like anyone cares. Including her. That’s why she is so late so often, right? She probably has better things to do than teaching us. And we certainly have better things to do as well. Oh, look at her, she didn’t prepare anything again and just checks the textbook to see what she can do today. She didn’t prepare at all! And she never does. Why should we care about any of this shit if she obviously doesn’t? Such a waste of time. And I can’t look at my phone because she’ll confiscate it right away because she has the power. It’s so stupid.

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Gone Girl (2014)

(spoilers ahead, obviously)

Is there anything I can still write about Gone Girl that hasn’t been analyzed, discussed, praised and trashed already? This is certainly one of the most talked about movies in a while and I’m not sure I can really add anything to the dissection of its alleged misogyny, Ben Affleck’s penis, its attitude about marriage, its product placement or what it has in common with Eyes Wide Shut. I think the movie deserves all the buzz as I really, really enjoyed every aspect of it. It cemented my love for David Fincher because it certainly is another astonishingly directed movie that always knows what it’s doing. It’s a great, thought-provoking, surprising movie and I’m not asking for more. Still, though, I want to tackle some of the issues featured in the movie, because one of the reasons it is so good, is that it forces you to think about them.

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Looking for Easy Answers in the Marysville Pilchuck High School Shooting

I’m always fascinated (not in a positive way) by school shootings, not so much because of gun control issues (that’s a given, I guess), but because I can’t help but wonder how terrible living in our culture one must feel to decide to kill others. Especially young people. You can’t explain it away with psychological disorders or video games because it happens too often and the perpetrators are too different to allow simple categorization. All of them have one thing in common (and this includes people who have been doing this decades ago), they live in this society, in this culture. The 14-year-old boy who started shooting in the school cafeteria in Washington on Friday is no different. He is different from other shooters and I wonder if that’s a reason that this shooting is not as publicized in the media as others.

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Poster of a Girl – 2012 Edition: Uma Thurman 2:0, Halle Berry 1:1 [2012 Week]

e7a18-1414164421758In a close battle between an album or movie posters from 2012, posters won. Why? Because posters are slightly more fun, even if it meant browsing through lots of posters from that year (take a look yourself). I don’t write about all of them, obviously, but just a selection of the good, the bad and the most photoshopped.

Read more here.