Twits and Such for 2008-04-30

  • Gladiator is shaping up to be a good movie (if slightly depressing) #
  • everyone thanks for the thumbs up, I can now officially confirm that Gladiator was good. I liked Crowe in Yuma more though #
  • Came home on the last train, a dude in a suit was walking around covered in his own barf. Rinse and repeat… #
  • @lizwebpage haha, forgot to factor that in. What is it with these Aussie men? #
  • @sukosaki well, nobody including the dude would know the answer that. He was flickin chunks of dried puke off of himself though #
  • @yorudan but still an unforgettable year #
  • @spacevalkyrie he’s grown quite a bit as an actor since Gladiator. I remember seeing him in an unremarkable old Meg Ryan vehicle (when she #

Twits and Such for 2008-04-29

  • Golden week part 1: Return of the Zombie Code Monkey #
  • @KristenAmazing it’s definitely more stable for me, but Twinkle’s still purty #
  • @engtech I’m flattered… #
  • Almost bought a fonera router #
  • Cats fighting outside #
  • They were all out of Foneras on amazon and I need to check if there’s an access point near the office otherwise I got a cheap wifi account #
  • @MunkyMunch I’m in Japan #
  • @commadelimited LOL I’m talking real cats #

Blood Diamond

Blood Diamond is a story about an Anglo (as in Anglo-African) diamond mercenary in Sierra Leone and his quest for a fabled diamond discovered by Solomon Vandy, a humble fisherman whose family was torn apart and conscripted into forced labor in the diamond mines for the Revolutionary United Front. It’s a struggle of wills between Leonardo who only wants the diamond and Solomon who only wants to be reunited with his family and son (taken into the rebel ranks as a child killer).

The combat scenes of this film are breathtakingly dynamic yet strangely serene. Leonardo has a masterful turn as a disillusioned ex-soldier whose seen the underbelly of humanity. An African yet a perpetual stranger on the continent who has given up on trying to understand the travails of the continent and simply accepts Africa and loves it for what it is.

Jennifer Connelly is the journalist trying to make a difference in 3000 words or less who struggles to put things in black or white when confronted by a character like Leonardo. The love between Jennifer and Leonardo is restrained and unfulfilled.

It is a by all means a great movie but falls into the various traps that a film striving to be great fall into. Like all films that use a war-torn African country as a back drop, the plot gets drowned in the complexity of the reality presented by Africa and its many internal conflicts. You cannot distill that into a backdrop without it overpowering what is at heart a very simple plot.

Certain elements are also forced like the rebels getting high while listening to rap music and watching bling bling music videos. In fact, let’s list it out all the themes and undercurrents:

  1. Multi-national diamond cartel greed
  2. Anglo-Africans and their place in African society
  3. Western journalists and their quest to change the world
  4. How the luxuries of Western countries destroy developing nations
  5. African civil wars and brutality
  6. White/Black unity and brotherhood
  7. The importance of family
So, that’s quite a full plate to combine with two movies, Leonardo pursuing the diamond and Solomon pursuing his family.
Another aspect of the film that made me pause was Leonardo speaking Afrikaans or whatever it is Anglo-Africans from Rhodesia speak. I have no point of reference as to what constitutes an authentic accent. I kind of get the feeling he’s doing a good job being Leonardo but I’ll never have a definitive take on that.
It’s a decent script with extremely talented actors and in the end that’s why it’ll never be great film. Each of the actors can carry the film in flashes of brilliant acting but you really can’t expect them to hold a sprawling story together.
There’s a good reason why films like “No Country for Old Men” are instant classics. They blur the lines of good and bad, shock you with impending violence that seem random and brutal but tied together in a grand scheme that slowly sets in as the film unfolds. More importantly, there is no judgment, no right, no wrong. Just you.
In that sense Blood Diamond shoots too straight. The lines are too clearly delineated, you aren’t left with much to mull over.
Blood Diamond

Twits and Such for 2008-04-27

  • @voiceofra I use ssh to upload them directly into the Touch #
  • Feeling jetlagged though I haven’t left the country. That vacation will come in handy #
  • Went through the iPhone tutorial, most of it barely registered … #
  • Catching up with the real world #
  • @quanza haha. Struggling coder. The iPhone can hit Japan early as Autumn if 3G coming in June but it would cause an uproar among suppliers #
  • @quanza Plus we don’t even know which carrier. Struggling DoCoMo in need of a draw or upstart SoftBank. I guess AU is safely out the race. #
  • Watching a Lost episode. Movie week starting Monday #
  • @jdcoffman Gladiator, Blood Diamonds, followed by Hitchcock classics #
  • @JamesConnors I’m still finishing season 2 of Lost #
  • life hack: the art of procrastinating in the name of self-improvement #

Twits and Such for 2008-04-26

  • iPhone books app went downhill just now, had to revert with SSH #
  • @Hortos I use the on a jailbroken touch and get books from #

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

This is one of the movies I’ve been putting off due to the title. I know it’s crazy but I just couldn’t bring myself to think that a movie with a title like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” had anything to offer. A timid tiger and shy dragon doesn’t really appeal to my tastes. If they’d have named it “Death by a Thousand Flaming Swords” or something, I’d watch it in a New York minute.

Luckily, I planned to watch it some day. It was one of those exceptional films that you knew would be a great viewing experience from the opening from some uneventful dialogue. The film is more an intersection of two films, a story of two women warriors. One is young and brash while the other is world weary.

Chow Yun-Fat is a famed warrior who entrusts Michelle Yeoh, his comrade in arms, with his sword to be kept at a friend’s house so that he may give up the warrior life (and secretly wishes to finally consummate the love he has for Michelle). Zhang Ziyi is a governor’s daughter secretly schooled in the ways of a warrior from a woman warrior posing as her servant that rebelled from Chow’s master, killing him when she was not allowed to further her studies.

All would have been well until Zhang steals Chow’s retired sword, the Green Destiny. Chow is fascinated by Zhang’s talent and wants to teach her properly while Zhang’s rebellious nature prevents her from obeying anyone.

The notable thing about this movie is the sense of restraint that carries the film through while the fighting sequences are dynamic yet elegant. Chow’s higher mastery of the art leaves him composed and effortless at most times.

There is a great contrast between Chow and Michelle’s restrained love for each other cloaked under friendship while Zhang and her desert pirate lover fall for each other in a fit of passion with ups and downs.

The true masters of the art of fighting are mellow and compassionate while the young and promising are burned by their own fire. Melancholy ending was both sad and beautiful. I’m actually glad that I waited this long to see this movie so that I could truly appreciate it.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Twits and Such for 2008-04-23

  • Test Twinkle #
  • @mijntje Twinkle’s a native iPhone app, checkout @twinkleking for details #
  • All I need right now is sleep, gotta get home early tonight #

Twits and Such for 2008-04-22

  • Is anyone else’s Google Reader feed count acting wonky? The AJAX is kinda AWOL. #
  • tired from all this overtime #
  • @lmastis I wish Republicans would skip a turn so we can just choose between Obama or Clinton #
  • I was going to praise the new Twinkle to high heaven but I can’t post anything with it and it crashed twice already #
  • @lmastis had all kinds of twitter crashes getting it out, that was my fifth try LOL ah well I wanted to say it anyway cheers! #
  • @Skicks I read on Twinkle and post from MobileTwitter… #
  • @Technie actually I meant the jailbreak app I hardly use it on the road since we mainly use email on the phones in Japan #