Sonntag, 13. Oktober 2013

Childhood rides - Поездки детства – Autofahrten als Kind

A beautiful, slightly nostalgic entry in Boulet’s graphic blog, with an animation that doesn’t distract, but contributes to the athmosphere. Reminds me of many a travel by car with my parents and my brother.
Это вернёт Вас в детство, даже если оно не проходило в Франции.
Es gab bei uns keine Mautstellen damals und wir hatten keinen Toyota, aber sonst war es fast genauso, wie in diesem Eintrag in Boulets graphischem Blog. Ich liebe Nachtfahrten noch heute.

Mittwoch, 9. Oktober 2013


Last Saturday, inspired by several glowing reviews, we went to see “Gravity”. If you haven’t watched it yet, you probably at least have heard about it – George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are astronauts; when a shower of debris from a blown-up satellite destroys their station and space shuttle, they have to find a way to get back to Earth. By some reviews it has been billed as a ”new Science Fiction Classic”. So, does it measure up?
A nitpick first - can a film be Science Fiction just because it is set in space, even if what is shown is the contemporary workday environment of space missions? OK, there's a Chinese space station, but there don't seem to be any technologies that don't exist or aren't applied in space missions today, and the problem of space debris is already an acute problem, even if up to now no serious accidents have happened. But we can let that slide.
One important feature the reviews mention is that it’s a film where 3D is done right and used for more than gimmickry. I must admit that I cannot say anything about this, as due to my bad left eye I don’t have spatial vision and 3D glasses don’t work for me. But I can say that the film offers quite impressive views even in 2D.
The film offers lots of motion action, mostly trying to move towards an object and get a hold on it in order not to drift off into space, dodging space debris, and trying to get technology to work before debris, gravity, or lack of oxygen kill our protagonists. The film does that well, with the right tempo, but the film is not an end-to-end roller coaster – there are quieter scenes that concentrate on the background and fears of Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) and her interactions with co-astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney). There was not a boring moment. So, the film is good entertainment. On the other hand, most of the thrill of the film comes from the motion and the suspense – will they make it back to Earth? Now that I know the outcome, the suspense is gone, and for me, there’s not much in the film that would reward a second or third viewing. Yes, there are some nice vistas of space, and a few emotional scenes well played by Bullock, but it’s not a film I’d want to watch over and over again, so “new SF Classic” it is not. But if you haven’t watched it yet, I can recommend going for the ride.

Donnerstag, 3. Oktober 2013

Don't take Umbrage...

at another webcomic link:

"In der Dämmerung werfen sogar Zwerge lange Schatten."
"Schlemihl hatte keinen."

Mittwoch, 27. Februar 2013


Again it took me a long time to catch up - here, it's with Daniel Craig as 007. I best like the way Sean Connery defined the role, and Pierce Brosnan came closest to that image of James Bond. So, when I first read about the "new, gritty" James Bond that appeared in "Casino Royale", I didn't like it a bit, and subsequently didn't watch any of the Craig Bond movies.
I guess I have to thank Adele for singing the title song - it really is a little gem, and it has stuck in my ear. It even made me want to watch the film, and finally I did. I was pleasantly surprised. "Skyfall" has the mixture of lots of action and a dose of humour that make a good Bond movie. Craig doesn't have Connery's roguish or Brosnan's boyish charm, but his quiet, deadpan manner is not a bad substitute. While Connery ambled through his adventures like they were an interesting, amusing game, and Brosnan seemed to be able to draw on an internal innocence that made any damages to the soul temporary, Craig doesn't let you forget for a minute that his business is an unpleasant one that leaves the soul scarred. Not that he's moaning or complaining, but his stoic poise betrays that there is suffering that the stoicity needs to mask.
I liked the humorous touches - Bond swaying to the rhythm of the original Bond theme, Moneypenny, the "circle of life" remark... I also liked the ambiguity of the ending - after all, the result of Bond's actions in the grand finale were the same two deaths that Silver had wanted (not counting the collateral henchmen damage), only they happened on Bond's and M's terms, not on Silver's. It's a difference that matters. But it's a far cry from earlier Bonds saving the world.
Still, if that's the new grittiness, it's OK with me. Now the other Craig 007 films are firmly on my viewing list.

Montag, 7. Januar 2013

The Gun Apocalypse

I'd wondered for some time what American gun nuts need all those assault rifles for. I think this guy has hit on a reasonable answer. It's a good fit with the popularity of Zombie Apocalypse scenarios.