Category Archives: Cinema

The X-Files 2

What a disappointment. It was no secret that it would have nothing to do with the conspiracy plots of the series but that foreknowledge didn’t help. A weak script and really unoriginal plot, along with what seems to be the complete disregard for how the series ended, add up to a very poor movie from Chris Carter. I wanted to like it — had it not been The X-Files I may have happy enough with it as a by-the-numbers serial killer story — and I can’t say I hated it; just that I was let down. The evolution of the Mulder-Scully relationship is pleasant enough but the film captures none of the essence that the TV show had at its peak. Even the “unusual” aspects of the case are humdrum; there were far more original takes on similar things in the early seasons of the show.

My recommendation: wait until it’s broadcast on television. Don’t bother paying to see it.

Tiny Planet recommends…

Wanted and The Dark Knight. I saw both of these films this week and they were both excellent. Wanted had great pace and originality, while The Dark Knight was close to awe-inspiring. Heath Ledger was very, very good, as were Gary Oldman and Christian Bale. See them as soon as you can.

Movies

I like ’em, believe it or not. Although the selection in recent times has been less than fantastic.

Movies I’ve seen since I moved to Abu Dhabi:

Charlie Wilson’s War. Strong performances by the main actors and a good film overall. Several scenes were cut heavily, to the point where it was obvious where the frames had been spliced together.

I Am Legend. Good if a bit disappointing. Will Smith plays well but the CGI was a bit off at times and the ending was changed completely from the novel (or at least the novel as I remember it). One I’d recommend to see but not buy. And did anybody else see The Omega Man? I should really get a hold of it and do a proper comparison.

In the Name of the King. Uwe Boll takes on Dungeon Siege and produces what you’d expect from Uwe Boll. That said it was enjoyable enough fare, and although Jason Statham is completely miscast as farmer he shows he can be a decent action star. The posters implied that Kristanna Loken was co-star but she only appears in three or four scenes and can’t have 10 minutes on screen. Not that I went because of her.

10,000 BC. Uh, why did I see this again? I suppose it wasn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen but it was still a fecking mishmash. Why the Egyptian priests look like Indian gurus I’m not sure but such is life. I guess they were playing with the Atlantis myth as well.

Doomsday. British-based science fiction/horror. Not the worst thing I’ve ever seen but I wouldn’t recommend it, even if I am a fan of apocalyptic-style movies. Some interesting looking ladies in it though but certain elements of the plotline are just stupid, even if they are justified in the film.

Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr is excellent, the production qualities are excellent and the origin story updated to make it more contemporary. Very, very highly recommended.

Speed Racer. Utter dross but great fun. Colourful and with plenty of things crashing about to keep the kiddies interested. I wouldn’t say the computer imagery was groundbreaking but it was certainly used very well.

Things that piss me off

I recently bought a Dell Inspiron 1720. Last night I was fiddling about with DVDs and was delighted to find all regions played. This morning I tried it again and Windows Media Player insisted my DVD player was set to region 8 and refused to play anything. A check of the device manager showed the drive had gone from “no region specified” to “region 2″ — and that there were only three region changes left of the five it came with. It’s a WMP problem, and is apparently another Vista blunder. Way to go Microsoft.

Al Gore, man of peace

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I’m glad Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have won the Nobel peace prize.

In a statement, Gore said he was “deeply honored,” adding that “the climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity.”

During its announcement, the Nobel committee cited the winners “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”.

Although arguments exist against human activity being the catalyst for the planet’s warming, there is a 90% chance that we’re the cause. It is not too late to make a difference, even if we have to live with some significant climate changes.

That Gore won reflects how seriously the environmental movement is being taken. As Lewis Smith notes:

Ten years ago the idea that the world was warming up, with potentially disastrous consequences, was still hugely contested.

People who installed energy-saving lightbulbs or put on another jumper instead of turning up the thermostat were dismissed as part of the tree-hugging fringe movement.

But the science of climate change has advanced enormously in the past decade and gradually the sceptics have been silenced as their objections were answered.

Sceptics still exist, and many of them have good points to make, but it is they who have been pushed to the fringe of political and scientific debate.

The IPCC has made progress because of its scientific roots. It has amassed and analysed evidence that makes it nigh impossible to ignore the affect our activity is having on the planet. It and Gore have highlighted ways of adapting to and nullifying this impact.

Earlier this week, a judge ruled that Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, was broadly accurate despite nine significant errors. The ruling, which determined if the film could be shown in schools, said “the ‘apocalyptic vision’ presented in the film was politically partisan and not an impartial analysis of the science of climate change”.

Yes, it’s a political film. Yes, it is biased toward one point of view. But it is not wrong just because of this — it’s purpose is to raise awareness and inspire action. Because the judge backed the film’s central message, it can be show provided there are accompanying materials to balance Gore’s view.

Let us all hope it continues to have a positive impact on our attitude toward our planet.

Postscript: Daniel Drezner has noted a curious passage in the press release, which states that Gore “is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted”. Drezner wonders if the sentence would make more sense were the word “worldwide” replaced by “American”.