Monday, 28 June 2010

Review - The Karate Kid.

Hi there.
This here is my first film review. Some folks were kind enough to send me to a premiere of the new reboot of The Karate Kid so I am going to stick my two cents about it on here for you to read. Incidentally, instead of furnishing you with the actor names for all characters mentioned, check them out yourself on the film's IMDb page.

So... yeah. It's pretty good! To be honest, I have never seen the original, but I'm familiar enough with the legacy it has to know the storyline and some of the iconic moments. One of these (the using chopsticks to catch a fly scene) is mined for a great visual gag early in the film. The storyline loosely follows that of the original with some key differences. Daniel-san has become Xiao Dre, this film is set in China rather than LA, the age of the 'kid' and his rivals is several years younger (resulting in some surprisingly shocking child-on-child violence) and most importantly, in a move that has caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth on forums across the internet, the film isn't about Karate, but Kung Fu. To be fair, this is acknowledged in the film, and the title remains out of a sense of nostalgia and to illustrate the fact that most people don't know the difference, including Dre's mother.

I wasn't too sure about Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith (the producers of this movie) to start with, but without noticing, I warmed to him. He's not one of the truly great child actors, but he did enough to make me believe he wasn't only chosen due to nepotism. All the other performers did a solid job. Jackie Chan is forever reliable, here playing Mr Han, the Miyagi-equilvalent ass-kicking handyman who saves Dre from the bullies he manages to enrage by talking to pretty fellow student Mei Ying, resulting in a stand-out sequence where Mr Han takes on 6 children in spectacular fashion. He then goes on to coach Dre to the point where he is able to enter a Kung Fu tournament, the two of them inevitably bonding along the way. As with the original, Dre is taught the fundamentals of the martial art using a series of seemingly-mundane actions (picking up a dropped jacket and hanging it on a peg) and then an obligatory training montage. This pulls out enough new ideas though to stay fresh. Chan's comic timing is as precise as his movements and Smith seems to have inherited his father's skill in goofy charm.

One strength this reboot has is the fact that due to the film being set in China, many characters use faltering English, which leads to some incredible economy of language. One such moment is the upsettingly bleak farewell given to Dre from Mei Ying when she is told by her father not to consort with him anymore. This, despite the faintly silly plot, gives the film an air of authenticity that only rarely spills over into sickly sentiment.

Obviously, the film culminates with the tournament and enough about the film is different to ensure you won't know whether the script will follow the original to the letter or not. I'm not going to spoil it here, obviously.

Anyway, I'd recommend seeing this. It won't change your life, but it might make your day.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Pew Pew Pew!

I'm not sure where you stand on graffiti. I think that it can either be a wonderful art form or senseless vandalism for the sake of letting people know that 'gary woz ere'.
One of the main arguments against it is the 'defacement of property' angle and yeah, that's fair enough. You might not like a sprawling mural depicting anti-capitalism if it was sprayed on the side of your bungalow. However, this is not a criticism that can be levelled at 'light graffiti'. However, the capacity to make impressive works of art is still there. It's by no means a new idea. People have been doing it for a while. It was the basis of a pretty sweet Music Video back in 2003, for example. But people are still finding new ways to dazzle us with its possibilities.

Case in point, the work of Freddie Wong who has used the technique to make this short film: Light Warfare. As you can probably tell from the screenshot below, it's pretty spectacular.

Watch to the end for a link to a 'behind the scenes' video as well. Sweet!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Planet Plate.

Afternoon. In honour of the official start of the World Cup, have a football themed phuzzle game. It's called Soccer Balls and the link to real football is nice 'n' tenuous.

Basically, kick the football at the ref. Pass it between team-mates where neccessary. It's good fun and won't tax the grey matter too much but it is oddly compelling. Mainly because the refs get so angry that their heads pop off and bounce about. Anyway, enjoy!

Soccer Balls.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

It's All Happening Now.

Hello, remember a while ago when I plinked about Thomas Truax's Album Launch Campaign? Well it worked! The album has been released and I have the warm glow of satisfaction that comes with making a tangible difference, albeit a small one. It's really good by the way, I advise you to get hold of it if you haven't already.

Anyway, now it's time for phase two. Here's the plan as laid out by the man himself:

"We're going to upload 'It's All Happening Now' to Youtube on TUESDAY,and we're hoping you'll watch it! We're also going to try and get all our friends, supporters, dogs, kittens, goldfish and, of course, zombies to go on youtube to watch it and comment on it and try to boost it into a 'most viewed' category on that day. With a little luck and some concentrated effort, we hope it will take flight and find a larger audience. Aside from my own selfish agenda, Keith and all the talented people he brought in for the project really deserve to get noticed. Loads of time and energy went into making this little film, and it was all done for love...(and, of course, BRAIIINNNNS!!!)"

If you're wondering about the 'brains' comment, it relates to the presence of zombies in the video. A while back, when it was being made there was an open casting call for people to be in the video dressed as a zombie and as much as I'd like to tell you I was there, I wasn't able to make it.

However, it's still a truly excellent video for a truly excellent song. Check it out, click on 'like', help me to help him. Again!

Thank you.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Caught By The Fuzz.

If you're reading this blog, you almost certainly know me. If you know me, then presumably you know that I am pretty great and that you could stand to be more like me. It just makes sense.

But how?

Well, here's a good start. Beard Beanies. Yup, it's a beanie, with a beard attached. Check it out:

That guy is automatically rendered 400% cooler and more attractive. Be like him by being like me.

Beard Beanies!