This isn’t some joke. They’ve made a film, called 100 Years, which is being placed in a special time-locked safe that won’t open again until November 18, 2115. Why? Well, because it’s promotion for Louis XIII Cognac, an ultra-luxury liquor that is aged 100 years. Bottles currently on shelves were made in 1915 so they decided a piece of art that speaks to their commitment to quality was something worth doing.
If you don’t possess a time machine take solace in the fact that one of your descendants may be among the lucky one thousand people to sent – somehow – a ticket for the screening in a century’s time.
I was going along Crown street, in the inner Sydney suburb of Surry Hills the other week, when I noticed that the only DVD hire shop that I was aware of in the area, was having a closing down sale. Another one bites the dust, sadly.
The odds are pretty much stacked against movie rental shops now, but I started wondering how long its stakeholders had spent trying to avert the store’s closure before finally deciding to cease trading. I suspect it would have been an uphill battle though, if the experience of former Portland DVD/video shop worker Dennis Perkins, is anything to go by:
I started a weekly blog/newsletter for the store. I intended it to be a place for customers and staff to continue the ongoing movie conversation through movie reviews, debates, and think pieces about the store and movies in general. In theory it was, apart from being a chance for me to exercise my brain and writing skills, a way to bind customers to the store by giving them a sense of ownership in the place. In practice, as the customers drifted away, it became more like a running, increasingly desperate 10-year argument as to why our video store deserved to exist, written by me.
Bridges in movies do not behave as they would in the real world, when blown up or attacked, says structural engineer Alex Weinberg, who contends that audiences are being duped by the way filmmakers depict bridges that have somehow been damaged. And it’s Christopher Nolan, of all people, who appears to be the worst offender in this regard:
Imagine stringing a clothesline between two buildings and putting some shirts out to dry. Now, cut the line in the middle. In our world, the line loses all its capacity and the shirts all fall to the ground. In Christopher Nolan’s world, the clothesline is unharmed and, who knows, may actually be stronger. I consider this the worst suspension bridge destruction scene in motion picture history. The Golden Gate Bridge collapse in The Core is somehow more realistic than this. Nolan, who famously hired astrophysicist Kip Thorne to advise him on black holes for Interstellar, failed to hire a sophomore engineering student to explain regular gravity here on Earth.
And if the people at the Walt Disney Company, which bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, have anything to say about it, the past four decades of Star Wars were merely prologue. They are making more. A lot more. The company intends to put out a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as people will buy tickets. Let me put it another way: If everything works out for Disney, and if you are (like me) old enough to have been conscious for the first Star Wars film, you will probably not live to see the last one. It’s the forever franchise.
I think Wuher, the gruff bartender in the canteen at Mos Eisley, is worthy of a film. In fact, I’m of the opinion that the significance of his role in the saga has been greatly understated so far. Read his profile. I think you’ll agree there’s far more to him than meets the eye.
And on that note… four weeks to go until you know what.
The promise of better things, in this case some especially cheesy pizza, is all that it takes to turn a family’s world upside down, in The Crow’s Egg, trailer, the debut feature of Indian filmmaker M. Manikandan, when two brothers, who go by the nicknames Big Crow’s Egg (J. Vignesh), and Little Crow’s Egg (Ramesh Thilaganathan), find they cannot resist its temptation.
The boys live in a shantytown in Chennai, sharing a one room shack that’s as spacious as a garden shed, with their mother (Iyshwarya Rajesh), and grandmother (Shanthi Mani). Their father (Nivas Adithan) languishes in a nearby jail, for reasons unknown, as his case for release on bail goes nowhere, on account of the ineffective lawyer acting for the family.
The resourceful brothers meanwhile, trying to help their mother make ends meet, pace local train lines by day, picking up loose lumps of coal that have fallen from passing freight trains. Their toils yield little more than pocket money, but another endeavour, seeking out the eggs of nesting crows, which they regard as a delicacy, is contentment enough.
Until, that is, a global pizza restaurant chain opens an outlet nearby. Sadly for the boys though, the asking price of even the smallest offering is well beyond their modest means. The obstacle of course is momentary, as they go into overdrive to raise the required cash. Placing an order however proves to be another matter, and has all sorts of surprising consequences.
The Crow’s Egg is an entertaining, heart warming film, and a slow start is tempered by strong performances and clever writing. Through his characters, and what, on the surface, appears to be a simple story, Manikandan makes blunt points about the injustices of class systems, globalism, rampant political opportunism, and the double edge sword that is social media.
Rob Conery posits that Luke Skywalker actually turned to the dark side of the Force during his climatic light sabre duel with Darth Vader, in The Return of the Jedi, and the story goes that he did so to protect Leia and his other friends. If he did, why didn’t we see the evil yellow glow in his eyes, that the Sith are possessed of? Sorry though, I digress.
Much of this thinking has come about on account of Luke’s absence from the most recent trailer for the film, and also the poster. Some suggest he is the Dark Jedi (a sort of naughty, rather than evil type, of Jedi) armed with the red crossguard light sabre in the trailers, who goes by the name Kylo Ren. Ok, there’s something in that, Jedi going from good to bad tend to take new names.
Personally, having spent much time mediating, Jedi style, on the question, I conclude that Kylo Ren is a random Darth Vadar fan boy, who has ideas well above his station. He wouldn’t be alone either. The galaxy would have decended into chaos following the death of the Emperor, as the rebels had no plans, or clue, for asserting any sort of order, once they toppled his regime.
Further, Luke struck me as being too genuinely happy after the Empire’s defeat, to be a freshly turned Sith. Do Siths even smile, except possibly through gritted teeth? That doesn’t mean he was content though. And why might he? Having witnessed the turmoil that Force-sensitives had unleashed upon the galaxy, he may have come to think all were better off without the Jedi, et al.
It’s true that Gary Kurtz, producer of episodes four and five, envisaged a more open ending to six, but was overruled by George Lucas, who wanted something happier, and more conclusive. That seems reasonable to me, because it was Lucas’ gig after all. Kurtz’s ending might have been better from a storytelling perspective, but not in the context of the greater saga.
Abrams may be taking a cue from Kurtz though. It’s possible that Luke went into self-imposed exile soon after the events of episode six. He hoped, in vain it seems, that the Force would be forgotten. Han Solo’s words, during the most recent trailer, “It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side. The Jedi. They’re real,” seems to reaffirm that. Talk of the Force had become taboo, off limits.
For a time anyway, and not that it appears to helped much either. But then there might not be an episode seven, and a new story to tell, otherwise. Just my take anyway. I may be wrong. Luke Skywalker may be the new Darth Vader after all. Time will tell. Five a bit weeks to go. Whatever happens though, I hope it’s good. Please, don’t pull another Phantom Menace on us.
The entry requirements for many forms of blogging, or self publishing, are relatively low. A computer, a website, and perhaps a camera, a good smartphone camera will suffice, is about all that’s needed. And of course something to write about. It’s little surprise that food is a popular topic in this regard, after all, we have to eat sooner or later, so why not write about it?
Like anything though, to blog is one thing, to excel however, is another. Foodies: The Culinary Jet Set, trailer, a documentary co-directed by Thomas Jackson, Charlotte Landelius, and Henrik Stockare, casts the spotlight on five food bloggers, or foodies, at the top of their game, or on the way up, who travel the globe, to dine at the world’s finest restaurants.
This is a varied group of people. Andy Hayler is a former enterprise software developer, Aiste Miseviciute a former model, Perm Paitayawat is heir to a family company, Steven Plotnicki once owned a record label, while Hong Kong based Katie Keiko, has the least profile of their number, and is having to work her way up from the bottom rung of the ladder.
While some appear to pay for their own meals, so they can write objectively later, many chefs remain indignant, and struggle to understand what integrity seemingly self-anointed food critics really have. Others however embrace their work, and understand that their influence, and the reach of their readership, is something that is not to be trifled with.
“Foodies” poses a number of questions. Does influence trump one’s integrity as a critic? Is the fare produced by fine dining establishments to be considered an artform, rather than a meal? If so, how to assess it? And from an aspiring writer’s perspective, what does it take to succeed? Privilege, profile, or passion and much hard work? All help, but the latter is what matters.
Foodies: The Culinary Jet Set is available on digital from 28 October 2015.
And with just eight weeks, exactly, until the new Star Wars movie opens in Australia…
TIE fighters are the go-to single seat fighter craft of choice for Imperial/First Order/general bad guys forces, through much of the Star Wars saga. Despite their apparent effectiveness and formidability though, they really aren’t all that great a spacecraft, writes Jason Torchinsky.
Even if we assume that the TIE fighter is short-range, relies on a pilot’s spacesuit for life support, and has minimal equipment inside, the little ball that makes up the TIE fighter’s body is way, way too small to be anything other than a short-use travel pod thing, handy for scooting around between Star Destroyers so Storm Troopers in committed relationships can meet for dinner even if they’re stationed on different ships. That’s about all they’re good for.
The thing is though, they must be doing something right, as they’ve been in service for well over thirty years. Maybe there’s another aspect to them, concealed in some hidden space-time dimension. This science fiction, so anything’s possible.
“Only the dead have seen the end of war,” is a phrase Greek philosopher Plato is said to have uttered the better part of two and a half thousand years ago. They are words bluntly contending, that for some, combat is an experience they will always live with, no matter how much time, or distance, they place between themselves and the battlefield.
War does not only scar the belligerents, and the hapless civilians caught up in the middle of it, but also those whose part is considered ancillary, including medics and journalists. Only the Dead, trailer, tells one of these such stories, of Australian reporter Michael Ware, and is based on video footage he recorded while working for Time Magazine, in Iraq between 2003 and 2007.
While US lead coalition forces quickly took control of Iraq, and ousted long time leader Saddam Hussein, when they invaded in 2003, the real struggle commenced once insurgent groups, some of who were backed by al Qaeda, began engaging in guerrilla warfare, using terrifying tactics that included suicide bombings, kidnappings, and beheadings, against the occupying army.
Gradually Ware was able to reach out to members of the insurgent groups, which eventually resulted in Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who was considered one of al Qaeda’s most vicious leaders, handing him video footage of their attacks against the occupying forces. It soon became apparent to Ware that the insurgents were far more organised than was first realised.
Co-directed by US documentary maker Bill Guttentag (“Death on the Job”, “Nanking”), Only the Dead is a gripping, harrowing, first hand account of the war in Iraq. It is also very much a personal story, and audiences are not only witness to some of the conflict’s most disturbing, horrific moments, but also Ware’s own dark, inner, turmoil.