Archive for January 22nd, 2012

Last night I spent the evening watching two movies:  “Hancock” and “Battle: Los Angeles“.  Both were very good and I highly recommend them.
This is a kind of Superman plus Highlander movie.  Suppose you woke up with no memory and super-powers – and, oh yeah, you don’t age.  What would you do?  How would you cope?  Imagine the loneliness of knowing every person you befriend or love will age and die while you never change.  Would you lose your sensitivity to others weaknesses?  Will Smith has the lead in this movie and he does surprisingly well.  Smith isn’t an actor I’ve gone out of my way to see.  I enjoyed him in the “Men In Black” movies and in “Independence Day“, but other than those, don’t recall seeing much of his work.  Back to the movie…  It also has an interesting twist, which I didn’t see coming and which makes it an “everyman / no-man” movie.
The film was highly recommended by a colleague at work who I discuss movies with.  We’re both comic-book and animated movie fans and he recommended the movie shortly after it came out (2008).  It’s been on TV loads already as it’s several years old, but I’ve never been able to see the whole thing in one sitting or even all the bits, so I thought I knew what it was about (but didn’t).  As I said, highly recommended!
Battle: Los Angeles:
Unlike “Hancock“, this is a movie I have already seen.  I watched it on one of the flights when we went back to Liverpool this past summer (see Vacation, Books and Lots of Movies).  I saw it on one of those 7 inch screens they have on the back of the chair in front of you.  I really enjoyed it then and it was even better on a larger screen.  As previously reviewed, any movie which destroys all (or most) of Los Angeles gets extra points in my book – and this movie does a pretty good job.  The movie stars Aaron Eckhart (“Two-Face” in the latest Batman movie) who plays an almost superhuman, gung-ho Marine sergeant.  It’s definitely an advert for the Marines (very, very militaristic gung-ho), but it also definitely worked for me as entertainment and as a proud veteran (Army not Marines).
There’s this thing about watching “war” movies (and action movies, too).  When you watch them, you’re always left feeling:  NOBODY could have survived that, but the hero / protagonist and his small group of friends always does.  The “funny” thing is in war, that’s what actually does happen.  I don’t mean “a hero” survives.  I mean despite all the odds, some (individuals and groups) do survive, and they are bonded with the other survivors in a way normal folks can rarely be.
Rotten Tomatoes rated it a 31 and stated:  “Overlong and overly burdened with war movie clichés, Battle: Los Angeles will entertain only the most ardent action junkies.”  When the shoe fits, I’ll wear it…  As stated in my original review:  “Highly recommended.  Oo-rah!!

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Every last trifle we touch and consume, right down to the paper on which this magazine is printed or the screen on which it’s displayed, is not only ephemeral but in a real sense irreplaceable.  Every consumer good has a cost not borne out by its price but instead falsely bolstered by a vanishing resource economy.  We squander millions of years’ worth of stored energy, stored life, from our planet to make not only things that are critical to our survival and comfort but also things that simply satisfy our innate primate desire to possess.  It’s this guilt that we attempt to assuage with the hope that our consumerist culture is making life better — for ourselves, of course, but also in some lesser way for those who cannot afford to buy everything we purchase, consume, or own.
When that small appeasement is challenged even slightly, when that thin, taut cord that connects our consumption to the nameless millions who make our lifestyle possible snaps even for a moment, the gulf we find ourselves peering into — a yawning, endless future of emptiness on a squandered planet — becomes too much to bear.
When 17 people take their lives, I ask myself, did I in my desire hurt them?  Even just a little?
And of course the answer, inevitable and immeasurable as the fluttering silence of our sun, is yes.
Just a little.
   —    Joel Johnson
From his article:  “1 Million Workers. 90 Million iPhones. 17 Suicides. Who’s to Blame?
Appearing in:  “Wired Magazine” dtd:  February 2011

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