The Constant Gardener

The Constant Gardener is a 2005 political thriller film directed by Fernando Meirelles. The screenplay by Jeffrey Caine is based on the John le Carré novel of the same name. The film follows Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes), a British diplomat … Continue reading

The Constant Gardener is a 2005 political thriller film directed by Fernando Meirelles. The screenplay by Jeffrey Caine is based on the John le Carré novel of the same name. The film follows Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes), a British diplomat in Kenya, as he tries to solve the murder of his wife Tessa (Rachel Weisz), an Amnesty activist, alternating with many flashbacks telling the story of their love.

The film also stars Hubert Koundé, Danny Huston, Bill Nighy and Donald Sumpter. It was filmed on location in Loiyangalani and theslums of Kibera, a section of Nairobi, Kenya. Circumstances in the area affected the cast and crew to the extent that they set up theConstant Gardener Trust in order to provide basic education for these villages. The plot was vaguely based on a real-life case in Kano, Nigeria. The DVD versions were released in the United States on 1 January 2006 and in the United Kingdom on 13 March 2006. Justin’s gentle but diligent attention to his plants is a recurring background theme, from which image the film’s title is derived

Star Wars

Published on Sep 5, 2014 Rare 1977 Alec Guinness Interview on Star Wars on Parkinson Talk Show Published on May 14, 2014 In this interview made in 1999 Bill Moyers discusses with George Lucas how Joseph Campbell and his concept … Continue reading

Published on Sep 5, 2014
Rare 1977 Alec Guinness Interview on Star Wars on Parkinson Talk Show

Published on May 14, 2014
In this interview made in 1999 Bill Moyers discusses with George Lucas how Joseph Campbell and his concept of the Monomyth also known as the Hero’s Journey and other concepts from Mythology and Religion shaped the Star Wars saga.

The original Star Wars is a mixture of 1950’s popular culture: the Wizard of Oz, Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress, Flash Gordon serials, and Westerns. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg took these influences and molded them into a fantasy epic to great success. Yet, what’s the essence of the success of the Star Wars franchise? What are the main motifs of the Original Trilogy that make the history compelling?

George Lucas, the creator of the franchise, is not of much helping explaining even the genesis of the story, let alone its cultural impact and significance. Lucas goes back and forth between claiming he had a grandiose vision of the whole thing from the beginning, to admitting he made Star Wars up as he went along. The Phantom Menace is more a reflection of Lucas inner demons than an extension of the original theme: Anakin and Darth Vader are self-insertion. Lucas trough his professional career searched for a balance between the light side of legacy and the dark side of merchandising and ended selling his soul to the White Slavers.

Lucas is the driving force behind the Star Wars mythology but A New Hope is great despite of him. He was a contributor among many.

I was coming out of my teens when I saw A New Hope for the first time. It was a successful movie but the big merchandising impetus really came with The Empire Strikes Back some years later. A New Hope was meant to be a B summer movie and George Lucas commercial drive is what propelled Star Wars into a Merchandising Empire.
Whatever makes A New Hope special cannot be found solely on the movie itself but in the social and historical moment when it appeared. Star Wars drove the cultural wave of oriental mysticism and martial arts just when they were taking the West by storm.
The new reboot by Disney just rips off the original story arc from A New Hope instead of breaking new ground: playing safe with their multibillion dollar investment.

The Force Awakens, a big budget Disney TV movie for Star Wars fans and a safe retragetting of Star Wars to new customers: children, girls in particular. The Force Awakens forces the plot and breaks consistency with the ending of Return of the Jedi by bringing the story line back to the beginning of A New Hope, and at the same time, pretending to be a continuation of the story by just relabeling things. The new elements are the perfect woman, and disregard of plot coherence in favor of continous action and simplicity. Why old fans find the new version acceptable is baffling. Maybe just old boys clinging to lost youth.

Poetry


A Mary Sue or Gary Stu or Marty Stu is an idealized fictional character, a young or low-rank person who saves the day through unrealistic abilities. Often this character is recognized as an author insert and/or wish-fulfillment.[1]

The term “Mary Sue” comes from the name of a character created by Paula Smith in 1973 for her parody story “A Trekkie’s Tale”[2]:15 published in her fanzine Menagerie #2.[3]The story starred Lieutenant Mary Sue (“the youngest Lieutenant in the fleet — only fifteen and a half years old”), and satirized unrealistic Star Trek fan fiction.[4] Such characters were generally female adolescents who had romantic liaisons with established canonical adult characters, or in some cases were the younger relatives or protégées of those characters. By 1976 Menagerie’s editors stated that they disliked such characters, saying:

Mary Sue stories—the adventures of the youngest and smartest ever person to graduate from the academy and ever get a commission at such a tender age. Usually characterized by unprecedented skill in everything from art to zoology, including karate and arm-wrestling. This character can also be found burrowing her way into the good graces/heart/mind of one of the Big Three [Kirk, Spock, and McCoy], if not all three at once. She saves the day by her wit and ability, and, if we are lucky, has the good grace to die at the end, being grieved by the entire ship.[5]

 


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (1939) is a short story by James Thurber. The most famous of Thurber’s stories,[1] it first appeared in The New Yorker on March 18, 1939, and was first collected in his book My World … Continue reading

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (1939) is a short story by James Thurber. The most famous of Thurber’s stories,[1] it first appeared in The New Yorker on March 18, 1939, and was first collected in his book My World and Welcome to It (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1942).[2] It has since been reprinted in James Thurber: Writings and Drawings (The Library of America, 1996, ISBN 1-883011-22-1), is available on-line on the New Yorker website,[3] and is one of the most frequently anthologized short stories inAmerican literature.[4] The story is considered one of Thurber’s “acknowledged masterpieces”.[5] It was made into a 1947 movie of the same name, with Danny Kaye in the title role, though the movie is very different from the original story. It was also adapted into a2013 film, which is again very different from the original.

The name Walter Mitty and the derivative word “Mittyesque”[6] have entered the English language, denoting an ineffectual person who spends more time in heroic daydreams than paying attention to the real world, or more seriously, one who intentionally attempts to mislead or convince others that he is something that he is not.

The story had an influence on other humorists, notably Mad founder Harvey Kurtzman (who borrowed the story’s sound effects), playwright George Axelrod (who employed Mitty-like fantasies in The Seven Year Itch) and animation director Chuck Jones (who created a Mitty-like child character for Warner Bros. cartoons).

When referencing actor Errol Flynn, Warner Brothers studio head Jack L. Warner noted in his autobiography, My First Hundred Years in Hollywood, “To the Walter Mittys of the world he [Flynn] was all the heroes in one magnificent, sexy, animal package”.

Major Tom is a fictional astronaut created by David Bowie, heard in his songs “Space Oddity“, “Ashes to Ashes“, and “Hallo Spaceboy” (particularly in the remix by the Pet Shop Boys). Bowie’s own interpretation of the character evolved throughout his career. 1969’s “Space Oddity” depicts an astronaut who casually slips the bonds of the world to journey beyond the stars. In the 1980 song “Ashes to Ashes,” Bowie reinterprets Major Tom as an oblique autobiographical symbol for himself. Major Tom is described as a “junkie, strung out in heavens high, hitting an all-time low”. This lyric was interpreted as a play on the title of Bowie’s 1977 album Low, which charted his withdrawal following his drug abuse in the United States. A short time later, there is another reversal of Major Tom’s original withdrawal, turning ‘outwards’ or towards space.[1]

In 1983, Peter Schilling continued the story of Major Tom in his hit single “Major Tom (Coming Home)“. Other artists who have subsequently made substantial contributions to the Major Tom story include K.I.A. and The Tea Party, among others. Due to some similarities in Elton John‘s “Rocket Man”, there is a possible connection between the Rocket Man and Major Tom, a connection notably made by Bowie himself, who while singing Space Oddity in concert would sometimes call out, “Oh, Rocket Man!”

In the 2013 film “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” produced and starred by Ben Stiller, the phrase “ground control to Major Tom” is a recurrent reference to Mitty’s episodes of daydreaming. The song (Space Oddity) motivates Mitty to go find the elusive photojournalist Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn), as he daydreams of his crush Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig) singing the song to him in a remote karaoke bar in Greenland, Mitty runs to catch a helicopter piloted by a very drunk and emotionally unstable man, he then begins a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

Gravity

Check out this eye-popping behind-the-scenes making of Alfonso Cuarón’s space spectacle Gravity. It’s almost unbelievable how all this CG and motion capture transformed into that nail-bitingly realistic film. WARNING there are some major spoilers for the ending.

Check out this eye-popping behind-the-scenes making of Alfonso Cuarón’s space spectacle Gravity. It’s almost unbelievable how all this CG and motion capture transformed into that nail-bitingly realistic film. WARNING there are some major spoilers for the ending.