Give Us A (Point) Break!

Several years ago, Birthmoviesdeath ran an editorial with the provocative title: “Johnny Utah is an (awful) FBI agent.”

Point_break_1991_7_reeves-300x175“Dude…whoa.”

Now, I’m a reasonable guy; Birthmoviesdeath is my go-to for movie stuff, and they have affirmed their appreciation for the glory of the cinematic wonder that is Point Break; and I always take several grains of salt with pieces such as this. But as I got further and further into this article…son, my blood began to boil. Continue reading

I’m King of the (Water)world!

Underwater movies have never been something I dived into over the years; it’s been something I’ve grown to appreciate, slowly and surely so I don’t get the bends.

Underwater is just dark and some weird looking fish (not Esoteric Fish). Then I started reading interviews with James Cameron and I began to appreciate the technology and the science that it takes to get down there. I did see James Cameron’s exhibition at the Maritime Museum and seeing his diagrams and photos of sending a mouse underwater in a diving bell gave me that sense of new horizons.

I watched the documentary on James Cameron’s dive into the Mariana Trench. Just the tension around the planning table where James straight talks the Australian Engineering firm. He tells them that if something goes wrong on the diving sub, he is dead. End of story and the end of a lot of stories.

To see that ship go out and dive down deep into the ocean is an amazing thing to achieve and whilst I don’t want to go down deep myself it gave me an appreciation of the ocean and the environment there.

Last summer I was given the gift of my first snorkelling kit, I went to a beach of Sydney, put my flippers on and double backed into the water. I swam and avoided some rocks, went through the seaweed and saw my first fish. Just swimming around and seemingly oblivious that I was there.

I saw some more fish, this time with colours and stripes and different looks and I felt amazed to see this going on in my hometown.

The underwater world is amazing, there is life there that is inspiring, if you can explore it.

 

James Cameron’s stunning documentaries – Ghosts of the Abyss, Aliens of the Deep and Deepsea Challenge are well worth a look for the extraordinary passion for the ocean on display.

Across a crowded room…

Years ago, when I first heard of a new web-based social media service called Twitter, a friend of mine tried to get me on board, and explained it thus: It’s a conversation.
So simple…yet so impenetrable, at least for me, who has historically a very slow uptake to new media. The only way I could come to understand it was to envision an immense function hall, with countless people attending a party thrown by the Internet. Everyone gathered is talking; all at once; all over the top of one another; most at the top of their lungs.

Imagine my surprise when my friend responded to my illustration by saying: “Well yeah, that’s pretty much it”

I have watched, carefully, since then, and come to understand that such an image could be applied to the entire online experience. Everyone’s talking, and every now and then we hear someone respond to something we say, or we engage with others on something. While, as something of an introvert, the prospect of such fills me with apprehension, I have to acknowledge the wonder of it all – people from all over the world, given equal voice, equal volume, equal time, equal platform. This very column may not quite be the place to discuss how such an endeavour can turn very, very human, but when we’re all of one accord The Conversation is a beautiful thing.

Interesting, given that movies have been aiming for such a dialogue from the beginning.
Oh sure, initially it may just have been giving everyone a common subject to talk about, but those who pioneered, experimented, defined and refined filmmaking have gone on to create not just a dialogue between audience members, but between the audience and the films themselves. Who hasn’t had the experience of entering into a new social group – be it at school, work, church or a friends party where said friend is too caught up to actually hang with you – and felt the awkward pang of being outside the conversation…UNTIL someone says “What did you all think of Game of
Thones?” Our shows and movies become ultimate icebreakers – some of them are so universal that they can put a whole group of strangers at ease with one another (thank you Marvel Studios), while others are so idiosyncratic – so esoteric – that they function like some sort of secret social code. When did you find your kindred spirit at that party? Was it when someone referred to “finding Mr. Darcey”? How about when someone revealed their Scud: The Disposable Assassin t-shirt? Or perhaps you were thinking about leaving when you heard someone say: “Shop smart…shop…S-Mart…YOU GOT IT!?!?”
At its best, cinema causes us to engage with film itself, and examine our beliefs, our assumptions, our notions of right and wrong, good and evil…all the metaphysical stuff. I hold no truck with the view that people’s actions or behaviours are overly influenced by what they see (this does happen to some extent, but it is far from “monkey see, monkey do” mentality), but when approached openly – as a dialogue with a new acquaintance – film, television, literature, comics, music, art…ALL OF IT, can get us asking questions of ourselves, and our efforts to answer may just make us into better people.

I think that’s the best we might be able to hope for.

So come on…join the conversation.

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A Call to Madness…or just a break to the Monotony of Man.

To my fellow grinders of the work week; to the homies I pass in the street; and to the wild, the mild and the meek – my name is Splendiferous Rex, and I’m here to make to think a little deeper about the shallower things in life; to make the question of monotony of the mundane; and to (hopefully) make you smile while you read this on the can.

With introductions aside, I have a question, that I will also answer…because that is the kind of guy I am. What do the first and only Emperor of the United States (and defender of Mexico) and the director of the “Worst Movie Ever Made” have in common?
Both were eccentric (and probably interesting) weirdos who you either loved or hated.
Both showed how the power of personality could influence the world around them.
Both had a terrible experience that made them re-evaluate their situations and strive to strike out on their own and shape the world around them as they wanted it.

Joshua Edward Norton before he acquired the title of “Emperor of the United States and Defender of Mexico” was left destitute after a bad business deal and the ensuing lawsuit he pursued in order to recoup some of his losses. Right after this he issued his first proclamation declaring himself emperor of the United States.

Emperor-Norton-1870s-cI’d be on board with this guy 

Tommy Wiseau – before he directed “The Room” (2003) and after he arrived in America from “parts unknown, Europe” – worked a variety of mercantile jobs before he was in a near fatal crash that made him re-evaluate the circumstances of his life and pursue his dream of acting and directing in Hollywood.

"The Disaster Artist" Premiere - 2017 SXSW Conference and Festivals
I think he was the Monty Python “Dancing Teeth” Guy

Both these tumultuous tribulations were necessary for these men to pursue their higher calling of being the most eccentric wierdos they could possibly be. But this then forces me to ask if the sudden destitution, and near fatal collision, knocked the madness into these men required to undertake their monumental tasks that allowed them to
transcend mortality, OR were these men mad to begin with, but too mild not to be monotonous, only to be awoken by the sudden slap that is the awareness of the fragility of the human condition also known as Existence, OR did the sudden break of monotony in their life awaken the latent strange that lurked like a hibernating beast in the deepest recesses of their mind?

If any of this first is true, that leads me to the heart-breaking conclusion that we as people don’t appreciate the fragility of our collective condition that we call existence and the complicated yet of so beautiful dance of the day to day, that we call life, until they’re jeopardised. Or even worse…

…we are too afraid too fail to be the weirdest and best we that we can be.

The Room is famously among the most widely enjoyed “Terrible” films of all time. For greater insight into the story behind that film, check out “The Disaster Artist”. If you are keen for a whole new Tommy Wiseau experience, take a look at his upcoming project: Spaceworld.

 

 

A Case of the Mondays – It’s My Party

“This is it, the final battle. Nobody’s ever faced odds like these before, and for good reason; any smart man would call this mission suicide, but it has to be done. The fate of the world is riding on our shoulders people, if we don’t succeed here, there won’t be a home to go back to. Are you ready? Great! You two come with me, everyone else stand over on the sidelines while the three of us take on these ridiculous odds. Let’s go!”

Chaaaaaarge!

Chaaaaaarge!

Seems crazy doesn’t it? But time and time again players are confronted with this scenario in role-playing games. The fate of the world hangs in the balance, but they’re forced to tell most of their party to stay behind and take it easy while the player takes a couple of companions on a suicide mission. It’s become such a common part of these games that a lot of players barely even bat an eyelid when this happens – it’s the norm rather than the exception.

We all know the reason; it’s a video game and all of the fights are based around the player having a 3 character party, if they could bring everyone along the game would be completely unbalanced. But RPG’s are a story driven genre, and from a story perspective, the decision to leave everyone behind doesn’t make any sense. So I’m going to ask the question:

Why can’t I take my whole party with me? Continue reading

The Best and Worst of 2012

With the new year kicking off, it’s time to look back at 2012; a year that brought a close to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the Twilight franchise as well as kicking off a new trilogy in the form of The Hobbit. Marvel’s multi-movie continuity experiment payed off with The Avengers taking over $1 billion at the box office, and studios continued to push 3D – re-releasing everything from Titanic to The Phantom Menace in a bid to rake in some extra revenue.

There were a lot of great films this year, but if I was to write about all of them my hands would probably fall off. So I’ve narrowed down the field to a few standouts. Without further ado, let me present my awards for 2012; like the Oscars, but without any of that pesky credibility.

Continue reading

Blizzcon 2011 Impressions

Blizzcon 2011

Every year, more than 20,000 gamers descend on the Anaheim Convention Center to hear the latest news on the Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo franchises from Blizzard. For the last few years, they have been joined by tens of thousands of people from around the world on the Blizzcon livestream; but the viewing experience has always had its share of problems. 2011 was no different, in fact the viewing experience this year was the most problematic that I have experienced. Continue reading