By The Anarchist Kitten
Roland Emmerich has given movie fans several amazing apocalyptic films in the past, such as Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. He offers another look at the end of the world in his newest film, 2012. However, far from being anywhere near the caliber of his previous films, 2012 is so amusing in its badness that it's actually almost funny if you go in ready to laugh; a more delightfully bad movie hasn't been released in all of 2009.
If you extract the basic characters out of every Emmerich disaster film, you will soon realize that 2012 is no progression. It follows the exact same formula. The world is ending, and a dad (Cusack) who is estranged from his kids has to reconcile with his ex-wife (Amanda Peet) and her new boyfriend (Tom McCarthy); a scientist with some U.S. agency or another (Ejiofor) is part of the team seeking to find any kind of solution to the problem, under the supervision of some high-level bureaucrat (Oliver Platt). All you need to do is throw in the exact same plot and characters into a studio set, come up with a new disaster, and you have another hit apocalyptic movie under the Emmerich brand name.
An Oscar-caliber cast and dazzling visual effects can't save this formulaic disaster flick's hide from a script flooded with generic dialogues and outrageous plot points. Watching 2012 is like starting your day with a chocolate bar and a glass of coke; nutrients and flavor are sacrificed for a temporary and nauseating sugar rush.
The audience seems to be fascinated with apocalyptic motion pictures. The world has been threatened and/or exterminated in a variety of horrific ways such as alien invasion (Independence Day), zombie onslaught (Dawn of the Dead), weather gone awry (The Day After Tomorrow), meteor strike (Deep Impact), rampant plague (I Am Legend) and from Mr. Shyamalan's unique mind, even aggressive vegetation (The Happening). 2012 doesn't break new ground in the tired genre and is in fact weaker than any of the aforementioned films, relying on a clever and widely known and researched concept instead of a solid story.
However, 2012 is admittedly a fun ride at times, albeit a dumb and nauseating one. Powerful earthquakes rip apart entire cities; massive tidal waves barrel down on fleeing citizens; long-dormant volcanoes suddenly fill the sky with fire and ash. The expensive effects are impressive, such as when a tidal wave crashes on Washington, D.C., or Cusack's car swerves through a crumbling Los Angeles. The filmmakers here spared no expense, and it is apparent. If you're looking for flashy, shiny eye candy, this is your movie. If you're looking for characters that make sense and a plot more believable than a Dan Brown book, skip this one.
Dennou Coil Review
by Le Chupacabra
Normally a synopsis would go here. I couldn't be bothered to write one. And you know what? Just go watch the damn anime. It's awesome.
"Oh, so you must be a noob!" proclaims the hyperactive Fumie to our slightly hapless heroine.
Now, to answer Lancer's question: I couldn't catch what the Japanese word for 'noob' was. What I did end up with instead was a feverish admiration for a show that genuinely surprised, particularly by virtue of its own existence.
Dennou Coil's off-beat world feels remarkably fresh yet familiar, especially when you have kids spouting off totally intelligible, sensible stuff about augmented reality, cyber-pets and other delicious technobabble. What… you've never heard of a cyber-pet before? Get out of my generation.
What feels like the guise of a modern-day bilsdungroman turns out to be really a thin veil for a children's story that's aimed more so at adults than anyone else. No, I'm not talking about your parents, although they'd appreciate some of the more timeless aspects. This is a show that especially finds segue with the children of the mid- to late-80's; kids who grew up with games and gadgets, cellphones and email.
People blame all these newfangled innovations for a decline in creativity but there's none of that in Dennou Coil. Quirky characters that confuse, amuse and frighten in equal measure play off each other constantly. The personalities, while a bit formulaic, are still rather resonant and you feel something that can easily be described as fondness for them. Particularly when there are scenes of budding, innocent romance, you can't help but be touched. It's truly lovely.
You'll never be able to get over the "Satchii" - a, well, thing that serves as a loveable virus scanner of sorts in this little town dominated by augmented reality. Despite their infantile countenance, they're a little trigger happy and pack an unnecessarily powerful punch making you clench your buttocks whenever they show up. More buttock-clenching is abound since Dennou Coil can be surprisingly eerie. The horror situations strongly remind one of hearing stories as a toddler and despite the time that's passed since those days, you'll end up looking behind you at least once, since those chills you'll fill are shockingly genuine.
The Ghibli-esque art style doesn't seem particularly conducive to all this scary talk but as far as evoking nostalgia is concerned, the muted, warm colours work brilliantly. This kind of quality is not surprising given that the director animated films such as Porco Rosso and Only Yesterday.
Dennou Coil is a paradigm of understated brilliance. Even after watching and admiring it for all that it is, it tends to fade away. But that doesn't mean it disappears. It merely finds itself nestled comfortably within memories of a time when tables were mountains to be conquered and sleeping with the lights off was a trial of courage.
Jimi Hendrix:The Voodoo Chile
It has been nearly 40 years, that's four decades next year, since James Marshall Hendrix's star was extinguished in 1970. He was 27 years old, only 10 years older than I am right now. And yet, in this short span of time, his unparalleled genius and unbridled passion made him the most prolific, most popular, and certainly the most influential guitarist of all time.
Jimi Hendrix began at the age of 15 when he acquired his first acoustic guitar for $5 from an acquaintance of his father. It was love at first sight for him and his guitar and he was found practicing at all hours of the day. Between watching others play, listening to records, taking tips from more experienced players, and practicing on his own, he developed at a rapid pace.
After receiving his first electric guitar as a gift from his father, he really began to shine and he created the acrobatic stage moves that became a major part to his act and the blues/R&B tradition in general. It was during this time that he developed his signature moves of playing the guitar with his teeth and behind his back.
At 23, Hendrix had already toured with R&B combos like Little Richard, the Isley Brothers and so much more. In Greenwich Village, fueled by both LSD and Bob Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde' album, a penniless Jimi was attempting to re-create himself as a solo act when he met Chas Chandler, former bassist of The Animals.
Chandler, who was launching himself as a manager, recognized Jimi's raw talent and saw him as his ticket to the big bucks. He persuaded young Jimi to follow him to London in exchange for an introduction with Eric Claptop, one of Jimi's heroes….
Jimi Hendrix set foot on british soil in 1966 with only a change of clothes, his pink plastic hair curlers and his precious guitar.
Once in London, Chandler immediately set out to turn Jimi into a star. On the way from the airport, they stopped by the house of Zoot Money, a bandleader where Jimi attempted to play his Stratocaster through Money's stereo, and when that failed, he grabbed an acoustic guitar and began to wail. Andy Summers, who later went on to help form the Police, lived in the basement and heard the commotion. When he came upstairs to join the informal party, he found himself mesmerized by how Jimi's huge hands seemed at one with the instrument, he became the first of Britain's guitar players to be awed by Jimi's phenomenal skill.
Jimi came to London completely unknown. A week later, he was a SUPERSTAR!
Chandlers and his partner put in ads in the paper for musicians wanted for Jimi's band. Noel Redding answered and was hired because of his frizzy hair, which reminded Jimi of Bob Dylan (another musician he idolized), and his attitude towards music. Soon after, Billy Cox a fellow American, and jazz drummer Mitch Mitchell joined. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was formed.
After releasing their first album on May 12, 1967 the band toured the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. It was not until Paul McCartney recommended the group to the organizers of the Monterey International Pop Festival that they gained fame in the United States.
After completing this festival, Hendrix headlined the 1969 Woodstock Festival and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. Often times he enjoyed raw overdriven amplifiers with high gain and treble. He was one of the musicians that were known to popularize the 'wah-wah' pedal with which he delivered an exaggerated pitch in his solos. There were so many sides to his playing. Was he a bluesman? Listen to 'Voodoo Chile' and you'll hear some of the eeriest blues you can find. Was he a rock musician? He used volume as a tool. That's rock.
Over the course of his lifetime, Hendrix won many of the most prestigious rock music awards available. Some of the posthumous awards he has won include being inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. He received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1995 and Rolling Stone named him the top guitarist on the list of 100 greatest guitarists of all-time in 2003.
Jimi Hendrix died early on September 18, 1970 in London, mere weeks before another rock legend, Janis Joplin. He had choked on his own vomit after he OD'd on prescription pills and red wine.
It is now 39 years after his death and he has joined the ranks of the very men he idolized. He worshipped great musicians like Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Eric Claptop, Muddy Waters and Elmore James. He was greatly influenced by guitarists Curtis Mayfield and Steve Cropper and he once said he wanted to do with his guitar what Little Richard did with his voice. Now, his contribution to not only rock but also blues and R&B has made him a god amongst our generation and generations yet to come.
''If I don't meet you no more in this world,
I'll meet you in the next one and don't be late.''
Jimi Hendrix, Voodoo Chile Slight Return
By Musarrat Rahman