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Sour Little Ditty

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 9 gets ugly! The JGL train hit a coin yesterday with Uncertainty, and now it goes flying off the tracks, Fugitive style, with this latest film.

Let me get this out of the way right quick. I really did not like Sweet Jane! Like, I vehemently hated it! And, from the moment it ended, I knew I would derive no pleasure from writing the review in the style I usually do, so, if you'll indulge me, I'm going to mix things up a little bit. Instead of verbally abusing this small indie from 98 like a regular person, I'm going to do it in limerick form. This will probably suck!


So, there's this film.
The title, Sweet Jane.
Of my existence,
This is the bane!

Concerning two people,
One big and one tiny,
They are all messed up,
With AIDS and needles so shiny!

A standard plot,
This one tells,
With nary a glimpse,
Of original spells.

There's nothing of interest,
And empathy's lost.
You don't like these characters.
A terrible cost!

At a sluggish snails pace,
This one merrily moves.
That an hour can feel like five,
Sweet Jane handily proves!

Samantha Mathis plays Jane,
all distressed and hard-assed!
Her other performances,
have this one, surpassed!

On that annoying note of angst,
the whole thing, she stays.
Never wavering or course changing,
It leaves you in a craze!

And now the man,
Jo-Go himself,
Looking so small,
He might be an elf.

As a young one, he's lost,
But the performance ain't bad.
It's a lack of experience,
That brings it down a tad!

The actor's aren't good,
But Mathis stands out.
She's simply horrific,
Of that, there's no doubt!

So now the director,
Who's also the writer.
Name of Joe Gayton,
Which sounds to me, like the name of a street fighter!

His script is juvenile,
With dumb and lacking syntax.
The attitude of the project,
Feels decidedly ho-hum and lax!

Plots holes aplenty,
With no explanation.
From weird start to finish,
There is no salvation!

Sweet Jane sure ain't sweet!
It's is more often sour.
There's nothing to like;
It's really quite dour.

This is a film
I'd like to lock in jar!
That's all I can say.
I give it one star!



A New Look into the Whirlpool

A New Look into the Whirlpool
Galaxy M51 was discovered by Charles Messier in 1773, but its outstanding spiral structure was first perceived by William Parsons (Earl of Rosse) in 1845, using his huge reflecting telescope, the Leviathan of Parsonstown. A large telescope is needed to see its intricate shape, but even small amateur telescopes reveal that this galaxy is not isolated, but has a small companion, the dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 5195.

Now it is clear that these two stellar systems are colliding and that the outstanding spiral shape of M51 is due, mainly, to the tidal forces unleashed during this process. Just by chance, we see the disk of M51 face on from Earth, what allows studying it in detail. At a distance of 23 millions of light-years, the apparent dimensions of M51 mean that that galaxy has to be quite similar to our own, yet somewhat smaller.

M51 and its companion are performing a cosmic dance that, during the last 500 million years has made NGC 5195 pass twice through the disk of M51. Now, the small galaxy is located slightly behind the disc of the Whirlpool, and moving away from us.




M51 and NGC 5195 – Click for 1600×1583 image


More: here

Decisions! Decisions!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 8 of my Joseph Gordon-Levitt marathon finally hits a snag. Is it possible that he could be involved in a bad film that doesn't involve the phrase, "Yo Joe", where he is the lead? Believe it!

They say that a decision is everything. One small decision can shake the very fabric of the world, turn it on it's head, and change the lives of everyone involved. The film Uncertainty deals with the unpredictable nature of decisions, and the various outcomes that could come from the different ones presented to you. It's a lucrative topic that can provide a wonderful amount of content and substance that will make a great film. So, why does this suck? A clever gimmick can carry a film (see Brick). But, you also need a good script and story to help out, and Uncertainty has neither, instead relying specifically on the setup to keep the audience interested. It's a lazy attempt at the dual plot thing perfected by Memento. 


Motion Blur!


Uncertainty begins with a couple, Bobby and Kate, standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, contemplating how they are going to spend their day. To decide, they toss a coin, and, from there, the movie plays out both options simultaneously. One options sees them going into Brooklyn and hail a cab. While in the cab, they find a phone that had been dropped by a random person. Being the good samaritan's that they are, Bobby and Kate pick up the phone, with the intention of returning it to whoever it belonged to. Unfortunately, the phone belongs to some none too savory people, and soon, Bobby and Kate are on the run from hitmen, and other people who would love nothing more then to kill them and acquire the phone. The second story could not be more different. It sees Bobby and Kate going to see Kate's family (which is a potentially more terrifying premise than being chased by hitmen, depending on who you ask), so that Kate can muster up the courage to tell her mother some big news.

Basically, it's two movies, and one of them is significantly better than the other. The plot revolving around the phone is fairly interesting, and pretty tense, in some moments. The other story about the family just slogs on forever, and goes nowhere. The two stories are told simultaneously, cutting back and forth between each other, so the pacing of this movie is all over the place. It is taut and fast paced one moment, and then slow and boring the next. This last for the whole movie, making the one hour, forty-five minute runtime seem sooooooo much longer. And don't even get me started on the plot holes, of which there are many, and the ending, which is infuriating. Nothing happens in the family plot line, and there are so many unexplained elements in the phone plot line. This is weak storytelling and weak writing, and, when the total cop out of an ending comes along, you'll be glad it's over!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt manages to salvage some of the film, but this is easily one of the weakest performances to come out of him. I blame the script, which doesn't give him anything of substance to work with, and he does do a fairly decent job with it, but, Mysterious Skin or The Lookout, this is not!

Lynn Collins is Kate. Like Gordon-Levitt, she's alright, but it is still a relatively weak performance. Granted, she hasn't built up the impressive resume that JGL has, but this is a much better performance that whatever the hell she was doing in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But, the script gives her even less to do than it does Gordon-Levitt, so we connect with her even less. 

Other performances are inconsequential, so you won't hear anything about them from me. The acting from the two leads is better then the script would allow, but, it is not up to the quality that we expect from the stars. 

Quiet! Contemplating!

Writers/Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel have the workings and the idea of a potentially great movie. The have come up with a really clever way to distinguish the two plots from each other. They use primary colors, yellow being the primary color for the phone plot, and green being the primary one for the family. But, that is as far as their good contributions go. Their writing is uninspired, the dialogue forced. Their direction is stilted, bringing nothing in the way of style or originality to their shooting. They are clearly lost by the complex story they have come up with, and as such, bumble along for the whole thing. These two have shown themselves to be competent directors (see Bee Season). They do not bring any of that here. Quite disappointing, if you ask me. 

Look, Uncertainty is not terrible. The performances by JGL and Collins are adequate, but, and this is more aimed at JGL than Collins, they are not up to the level that we expect. There is some stuff to hold your interest, but, if you decide to skip this one, you won't hear any gripes from me. Choose wisely! The decision you make will shake the foundations of your life!



LAMBcast #32: Dream a Little Dream of Me

Thursday, July 29, 2010

In which Dylan, Nick, Rachel, Tom, and I go in depth about that tricky little flick, Inception. We talk about the ending, for, I don't know, a good 20 minutes, among other things. This long as hell conversation is followed up by a few games of Last Lamb Standing, one which I handily won, and then some heated Trailer Talk. Enjoy!

Apologies

No JGL post today, I was too worn out from thoroughly embarrassing myself hosting LAMBcast #33, which recorded last night. Not to worry, we'll be back up tomorrow with another review. I'm almost at the end of my list, and I'm loving what people are sending me. Keep it coming.

According to the Movies #6

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

If the movies say it, it must be true!

In keeping with the whole, Joseph Gordon-Levitt thing going on here, this weeks lesson comes courtesy of, not one, but two of his movies. In the films Manic, and (500) Days of Summer, JGL acts opposite one, Zooey Deschanel. In both movies, they are romantically linked. Both romances are two of the most honest and sweet in all of cinema. In Manic, the find peace in each other's arms. In (500) Days of Summer, they engage in 500 day long relationship, the likes of which I could only dream of.





The Lesson: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel BELONG together!



Addendum: Bear in mind that this may just be me trying to live out some sort of fantasy of mine. I am madly in love with both JGL and ZD, so, I might not be thinking like a rational human being right now. Just something to think about.

The Dark Side

Day 7 of my serenading of JGL will grab you like a doll, throw you into the air, beat you into the ground, and leave you sobbing like a baby!

There's something to be said about indie movies. I'm not talking about the indie movies that have huge stars and warrant all kinds of Oscar buzz. Little Miss Sunshine and The Kids Are All Right are not the kind of indie films I'm talking about. I'm talking about the indie movies with little to no budget, stars no one even knew existed, that barely get noticed at all once they finish the festival circuit. Now, why do these films deserve your veneration? They are the films where the best talent is seen, where the truly ballsy things emerge. Small, unnoticed indie films are the places where storytelling boundaries are pushed, incredibly risky choices are made, and, surprise, they usually turn out all the better. If you want a good example of what I'm spewing, look no further then Mysterious Skin. This 2004 festival darling is one the most difficult movies to sit through. It is so unrelenting in its portrayal of teens coping with sexual abuse, among other things, that it makes you want to curl up into a little ball and wish the movie away. But, it's not going away, because, even though it deals with incredibly dark subject matter, Mysterious Skin is amazing, featuring pitch-perfect performances, seriously strong writing, and stylish direction. It is a difficult thing to stomach, but it is incredibly satisfying when you do. 

The Lost Boys





Mysterious Skin tells two stories, each one focusing on an individual character. Brian is a timid, quiet, quite possibly asexual teenager who is convinced he was kidnapped by aliens as a child. Neil is gay prostitute, whose carefree attitude towards sex is the direct result of something that happened to him as a child. See, Brian and Neil are linked, even though they don't know it. When they were young, their baseball coach sexually abused them. Neil actually enjoyed it, and bases his life on that night. Brian experiences psychological amnesia about the whole event, and develops the whole alien story as a subconscious excuse. As the film progresses, Brian seeks clarification as to what actually happened to him that night, eventually leading him to Neil, who is doing everything he can to move away from the town he grew up in. 

As a setup, Mysterious Skin will make your skin (ha) crawl. It is so specific in its depiction of how these kids got to be the way they are, that I imagine some people won't even be able to make it through the first thirty minutes. The plot moves forward slowly and methodically, taking its time to delve into each boy's plight. It's a terribly heartbreaking story, and yet you feel strangely elated when it's over. I don't know. I can't explain it. Maybe I'm just twisted, but, regardless, this is a very well told story that is sure to elicit some sort of emotion, whether it be sadness, horror, or empathy. 

I don't even know where to begin with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is astounding as Neil. I don't think this is Gordon-Levitt's best performance, but it is easily his bravest. I mean, you have to be pretty courageous to do some of the stuff he does in this film, all the underage sex notwithstanding. JGL really taps into what makes Neil tick, getting at those often hard to find layers, and, in the end, reveals a stronger character then I think even the writers thought existed. JGL consistently ups the ante with every performance, and he's not about to stop here. 

Brady Corbet plays Brian, and he is also amazing, easily standing out from Gordon-Levitt's performance. His story is probably the sadder one, since he has no idea what happened to him, but we do. It's heart wrenching seeing him bumble around, looking for clues as to his supposed abduction. This character could have easily been played for laughs, but Corbet doesn't treat the role like that at all. He's quiet, confused, but determined to get some closure. It's a subdued performance, but one that will stick with you. 

The supporting players are all uniformly excellent as well, including Michelle Trachtenberg as Neil's "soul mate", Wendy, Jeff Licon as Neil's flamboyantly gay friend, Eric, Elizabeth Shue as Neil's mother, Mary Lynn Rajskub as Avalyn, a women who feeds Brian's abduction theories, and Bill Sage as the coach responsible for the whole mess. 

Gordon-Levitt steals the show, but the other members of the cast are more than capable of holding their own. 

This scene is something special!

Writer/Director Gregg Araki adapted the script from the novel of the same name by Scott Heim. I haven't read the novel, but, if it is anywhere near as disturbing as the film, I'm not sure I want to. Araki does not hold back in the slightest; this is a truly taxing movie to experience. There's one scene in particular, and you'll know it when you see it, that will make even the hardest of hard clench up in horror, and you'll know it when you see it. He pulls no punches, and makes sure that every dark element of the film is as fully realized as possible. 

Now, just because this film will leave you wanting to sit under your shower head and weep doesn't mean it's all depression and sadness. There are some pretty funny moments, and some sweet scenes. The final scene in particular is something to be admired. As Neil and Brian finally come to grips with what happened to them, we see their bond grow over the course of five, maybe ten, minutes, and it is, quite simply, beautiful. It's a devastating scene, but you don't feel like all is lost in the end. You feel hopeful, because you know what these kids went through, and now they know it too. So, you both know that they will get through it together. 

But, all this depression should not deter you from seeing this film, because the fact remains that Mysterious Skin is a brilliant movie. Extremely powerful, brutally honest, and exceedingly well made, this is a film that you will hate while watching, but, once it's over, you feel like you've experienced something more then the usual movie can provide. It's tough, but it's good!



Nowhere To Be Found

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 6 of my never ending tongue bathing of Joseph Gordon-Levitt is total cop out!

Before I get into what the point of this article is, I just want to lay down some law, if you don't mind. Hold on a sec.

Microphone on!

Volume cranked!

Ok!

YES! I KNOW THAT THERE IS THIS GUY IN THE FILM INDUSTRY NAMED SEBASTIAN GUTIERREZ, WHICH JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE MY NAME! NO! I AM NOT RELATED TO HIM AT ALL, BUT I AM AWARE OF HIS EXISTENCE! YES! I AWARE OF HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE MULTIPLEX, CHIEFLY HIS PENNING OF THAT WEIRDLY ENGROSSING FILM ABOUT PYTHONS ON A 747! THERE! NOW YOU KNOW! STOP E-MAILING ME!


Although, I must say. It is kinda cool that he and I share the same name. This means that when I break into the business (fingers crossed), he and I will have to compete for who will be called Sebastian Gutierrez, and who will be called the other Sebastian Gutierrez! Place your bets.


Ok, on to the point of this article.

So, the movie Women in Trouble. Written and directed by me Sebastian Gutierrez, starring Carla Gugino, Sarah Clarke, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Josh Brolin, Simon Baker, and a few others. It concerns a bunch of women, all of the porn star, hooker, philandering wife, demographic, who are all interconnected over 24 hours in someway or other. It's like Crash or Babel, except only women.

Ok, so, why doesn't this get a review from me? Because, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who received some of the top billing on this film, is nowhere to be seen. I'm only doing films that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in, and he is not in this movie. Well, that's technically no true. He is in a six minute segment where he interviews two of the characters, but that is post credits. Doesn't count. Most people don't sit through credits.

So, in order to give this post some meaning, I give to you the six minute scene that Gordon-Levitt was in. He is flat out hysterical in it, only showing, yet again, how much he puts into his work, even when that character in question is small as hell.



Ok, I will review this movie, but after I've satisfied myself on JGL.

Trailer Trash: TRON: Legacy

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's time to root through some trailers! What sort of wonderful things will be alluded to today?

I'm going to take a quick break from relentlessly groveling at Joseph Gordon-Levitt's feet to talk about the latest trailer for what is now, with Inception in the past, my most anticipated movie of the year!

TRON: Legacy is the sequel to the 1982 cult favorite. In this new one, Kevin Flynn is apparently trapped in the computer simulation, and it is up to his son, Sam, to insert himself into TRON and save him. It sounds like a good enough plot for a sequel, especially since the first didn't really have all that great of a plot to begin with.

Jeff Bridges returns to his iconic role as Flynn, though, if this trailer is anything to go on, he will be playing the villain as well as the hero. Thanks to some special effects wizardry, Bridges can now look twenty years younger, letting him play two characters, Flynn, and the villainous Clu 2.0. Garret Hedlund is Sam, and Olivia Wilde is his ally, Quorra. Michael Sheen and James Frain show up in the mix as well. Damn impressive looking cast, if I do say so myself.

This trailer is pretty much sex! It's visually stunning, has some great music, courtesy of Daft Punk, and delves far deeper into the plot than the previous ones. It's not quite as cool as the initial teaser that saw two nameless foes duke it out on Light Cycles, but it's more then enough to whet my appetite as I wait feverishly for December 17th. This is one sick trailer for one sick looking movie! I'm excited as hell!

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Day 5 of JGL fever is gonna mess you up!

You know a movie is indie when you look at the first few frames and all you want to do is throw up from motion sickness. If you haven't figured out my opinion on the matter, I'll just lay it out for you. I believe that style, when used effectively, can salvage lack of substance, somewhat. A movie may have nothing in the story or acting department, but it can cover for it with a certain sense of slickness. Look at Wanted. That's what I believe, but I also believe that it can work in the opposite direction. Too much style can squander substance, especially when the substance in question is very well crafted. Manic is such a film. This 2001 indie boasts strong writing and incredibly powerful performances, but, the cinema verité look that the director chose to go with distracts from those things so much that you sometimes don't even notice them. It single handedly brings this film down from a YAY, to an eh.

You couldn't get more screwed up than this if you tried!


Manic begins with a kid, Lyle, being committed to a mental hospital for teenagers. Basically, every bad thing you could possibly imagine happening to kids, rape, violence, etcetera and so forth, has happened to the kids in this hospital. Lyle himself is in there because he went psycho on a kid with a baseball bat when he made fun of the fact that Lyle was beaten by his father. 

Yeesh!

Anyway, as Lyle slowly acclimates to his new environment, he starts to build relationships with the various people around him. He immediately conjures up friendships with Kenny, a twelve year old sex offender, and Chad, a bipolar anarchistic young man, instantly picks fights with the wanna be thug Mike, and is quickly attracted to Tracey, a quiet and sad victim of sexual abuse. The one constant in his life, apart from his new peers, is Dr. David Monroe, who is trying so very hard to stay sane as he attempts to help better these kids. As these relationships being to take root, Lyle begins to plot an escape from the hospital. 

This is an extremely tough film to comprehend and sit through. I don't normally admit stuff like this, but I am psychologically disturbed after having watched this movie. The story and script are absolutely brutal in their depictions of how damaged and messed up these kids are. There are instances where I actually covered my eyes, it was too intense. There's one scene in particular involving Kenny that is sure to cause some people to turn the movie off. There is not one light moment in this entire film, save for a quick segment near the end, where Lyle and Tracey finally admit to each other how they feel, and find some temporary solace from their pain. It's a beautiful scene. This movie will make your skin crawl, it's so realistic!

When this movie was released in 2003, most people knew Joseph Gordon-Levitt as "that alien kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun." As Lyle, Gordon-Levitt does away completely with the child actor facade and becomes a full on adult. It's devastating to watch as this guy unwillingly comes to grips with all the things that pain him in his life, and heartbreaking as he sees his peers and friends sink deeper into their respective holes. It's a raw and powerful performance from JGL, the first of many to come from the guy. 

Zooey Deschanel is Tracey. She doesn't say much, but, she doesn't need to. Deschanel's eyes do all the talking for her. They are so friggin' gorgeous that they could blow a hole in your chest; they are the bluest thing in the whole movie. As good as Gordon-Levitt is, I think Deschanel steals the show. She is simply mesmerizing to watch, even when she does something as simple as read a book. 

The last two performances I want to call out are given by Don Cheadle and Michael Bacall. Cheadle is great as Monroe, always balancing his own insecurities with the confidence and maturity that he knows his kids need to see. And Bacall, as Chad, is simply astounding. His character arc is one of the best in the movie, and Bacall absolutely nails it. I mean, he also co-wrote the script, so, he probably had a good sense of the character to begin with, but, even so. 

Performances are all uniformly excellent. They are all genuine, which is the best possible thing that you could ask for with a film like this. Now, if only we could notice them. 

I can't look away!

So, if I can't speak any higher of the performances and writing, why does this film get an INDIFFERENCE instead of a SATISFACTION or an ECSTACY? Well, director Jordan Melamed was clearly worried that his film wouldn't appear indie enough, so he decide to shoot the whole thing digitally, and not spend money on a single tripod. He is seemingly so desperate for this film to look like a documentary, that he goes way overboard with the handheld thing. He gets in so close to his actor's faces that we can almost see their pores. He shakes the camera around so much that nausea is sure to be an inevitability for some people. It's clear the movie was made for next to nothing, but, I can't help but ask, "Why"? The script and acting are already more authentic than most anything else that's available, so why bother with the whole camera thing. It makes a great movie into just an alright one, and I know that seems really harsh, but, believe me, it is incredibly distracting and takes away so much from the finished product. 

I'd be lying if I said that the shooting style was the only thing wrong with the film; it's not a perfect movie. There are some scenes, like when Lyle and Chad start a moshpit in the rec room, that go on forever. They could have just shown us half of the chaos they created, and be done with it, but Noooooo! They have to show us every single second of it, which would be fine, but, the energy of the scene peaks at the halfway point, and you're just watching the same thing for the rest of it. That happens about two more times throughout the film. It's wasn't, specifically, a bad choice. It was just unnecessary. Small things like that show how aggressively indie this movie is trying to be. I'm getting the sense that Melamed didn't have enough faith in his actors or the script to deliver what was needed, so he felt the need to compensate. He didn't need to. Everything was rock solid the way it was. 

But, if you can get past the awful camera work, there is one hell of a movie in it for you, provided you can sit through it. Seriously! I have only ever turned off one movie due to difficulty of subject matter in my entire life. That film was Oldboy (I know! I'll sack up and watch it eventually)I was almost tempted to add Manic to that list. This is one of the most savagely honest and brutally authentic movies I've ever seen. It's just that damn camera. It's brings this movie down so far! 

WITHOUT THE CAMERA

WITH THE DAMN CAMERA






Selected readings 7/25/10

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Interesting reading and news items.

Please leave some comments that indicate which articles you find most interesting or that identify topics you would like to read about, and I will try to include more articles of a similar nature in the future

These items are also bookmarked at my Diigo account.


The Muon Guys: On the Hunt for New Physics
The experiment will search for a phenomenon so incredibly rare that, according to the Standard Model of physics, humans could never build a machine sensitive enough to actually see it. Which is exactly why scientists want to build this experiment. Mu2e is on the hunt for new physics. [Symmetry Magazine, 6/1/10]

SLAC’s new X-ray laser peels and cores atoms
The first published scientific results from the world’s most powerful hard X-ray laser, located at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, show its unique ability to control the behaviors of individual electrons within simple atoms and molecules by stripping them away, one by one—in some cases creating hollow atoms. [Symmetry Breaking, 7/2/10]

Antiaging protein also boosts learning and memory
Aging and wisdom are supposed to go together, but it turns out that a molecule that prevents one may actually play a role in the other. Researchers have discovered a new role for the famous antiaging protein SIRT1. It not only fends off aging, but also aids in learning and memory, a new study published online July 11 in Nature shows. [Science News, 7/12/10]

Galaxies weigh in on neutrinos
Neutrinos are infamously lightweight particles that are near impossible to detect, let alone place on a scale. Yet our most basic model for understanding the symmetries of matter and particles rests on an accurate measure of the neutrino masses. Over the past decade, observational cosmology has taken a leading position in providing an upper bound on these masses. Now, in a paper appearing in Physical Review Letters, Shaun Thomas, Filipe Abdalla, and Ofer Lahav at University College London in the UK predict that the total neutrino mass, summed over the three neutrino families, is smaller than 0.28 eV—the tightest upper bound yet. Their prediction is based on a new mapping of the distribution of density of surrounding galaxies. [Physics, 7/12/10]

Neutrino quick-change artist caught in the act
Physicists have for the first time found direct evidence that a neutrino, a ghostly elementary particle that barely interacts with matter, morphs from one type into another. The finding provides additional support for the notion that neutrinos have mass, a property that requires an explanation beyond the realm of the standard model of particle physics. [Science News, 6/1/10]

Magic quantum wand does not vanish hard math
They conclude that NP-complete problems are just as hard on an adiabatic quantum computer as on a classical computer. And, since earlier work showed the equivalence between different variants of quantum computers, that pretty much shuts down the possibility of any quantum computer helping with NP-complete problems. [Nobel Intent, 6/3/10]

An unpaleontological lament for lost molecules and shattered cells and the cruelty of time
These were almost certainly colonial organisms that took advantage of the higher concentration of oxygen to build denser mats on top of the sea floor. They probably weren't true multi-cellular organisms; they were a step up from a colony of bacteria that you might see growing on a petri dish, but with additional molecular features that permitted greater coordination and the development of more elaborate spatial patterning. [Pharyngula, 7/15/10]

Cosmology forum: Is dark energy really a mystery?
The Universe is expanding. And the expansion seems to be speeding up. To account for that acceleration, a mysterious factor, 'dark energy', is often invoked. A contrary opinion — that this factor isn't at all mysterious — is here given voice, along with counter-arguments against that view. [Nature, 7/14/10]

How to read a genome-wide association study
As any avid follower of genomics or medical genetics knows, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been the dominant tool used by complex disease genetics researchers in the last five years. There’s a very active debate in the field about whether GWAS have revolutionized our understanding of disease genetics or whether they were a waste of money for little tangible gain. [Genomes Unzipped, 7/18/10]

Brain's bubble wrap may be lots more
They have long been dismissed as the brain’s Bubble Wrap, packing material to protect precious cells that do the real work of the mind. But glial cells — the name literally means “glue’’ — are now being radically recast as neuroscientists explore the role they play in disease and challenge longstanding notions about how the brain works. [Boston Globe, 5/31/10]

Collider gets yet more exotic 'to-do' list
As if the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) didn't have enough to look for. It is already charged with hunting for the fabled Higgs boson, extra dimensions and supersymmetry, but physicists are now adding even more elaborate phenom­ena to its shopping list — including vanishing dimensions that could explain the accelerating expansion of the Universe. Some argue that signs of new and exotic physics could show up in the LHC far sooner than expected. [Nature News, 7/20/10]

Shock and Age
The accumulation of misfolded protein marks the accrual of years as the body ages. Could heat shock proteins be used to reduce the effects of aging and diminish the risk of disease by untangling improperly folded proteins? [The Scientist, 6/1/10]

Quantum mechanics flummoxes physicists again
Weihs and colleagues aimed a source of single photons (which, like electrons, exhibit wave–particle duality) at a mask containing various open and closed combinations of three slits. The authors fired photons repeatedly through the mask, while building a probability distribution of photons arriving on a detector beyond it. From the probabilities of each combination, they could calculate a crucial interference term, which would highlight any three-path interference. [Nature News, 7/22/10]


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Gangsta Kids With Latchkey Parents

Day 4 of the JGL craze is... interesting. This is a film that he barely features in, but, since I saw it, I figured I might as well review it.

There's always at least one of those people. You know who I'm talking about. A privileged white kid who is so oppressed by all the misfortune in their life (ha) that they adopt a gangsta lifestyle, and go around acting like total assholes all the time. You know, the kids who wear the mint condition Laker caps at ridiculous angles, rock the BluBlocker sunglasses like they're going out of style, sag their pants so low they might as well not be wearing them, and talk with such vulgar, misogynistic syntax that all you want to do is punch them in the face? Yeah, you know those guys. Well, if you have an aversion to people like that, stay far the fuck away from Havoc, because that's all you're gonna get! This, supposed, deconstruction of the teen, thug lifestyle has a few good things going for it, but all of them get lost in a juvenile script, ridiculous performances, and a mindset so immature that you feel dumber for having watched it.

Crank dat!






Havoc concerns a bunch of conceited, hopelessly naive, extremely rich, white teenagers from upper class Los Angeles. For some reason, they aren't happy with the ridiculously nice houses they live in, or the pristine clothes in their wardrobe, or the beamers in their driveways. So, to combat these grievous injustices, they spend their afternoons hanging out in parking lots and back alleys, smoking weed, talking shit, and acting the way they think real life ganstas and thugs act. Totally ill-concieved, if you ask me! Anyway, the main focus is on Allison Lang, a smart, sassy, supremely hot girl who is intoxicated by this lifestyle, and, shocker, longs for the real thing. So, she goes looking for it, and, what do you know, she finds it, and, big surprise, discovers that it's a lot more dangerous than she or her "crew" could ever imagined. 

Ugh!

Look, it's a standard plot, but it falls victim to one of the most prevalent and easy to spot traps in the biz, that being, everyone in this movie acts like a total imbecile! Seriously! Allison goes back downtown to roll with the crack dealers around five times in this movie. Four of those times, she gets a gun pointed at her, or gets arrested, or almost gets raped. Well, what did you expect girl? The movie really goes out of control in the end, forcing us to believe that these kids would act in such unapologetically stupid ways. If more time had been taken to make the characters behave like somewhat smart people, I would probably be able to understand why everything that happened, happened. But, there wasn't, so I don't.

Back in 2005, Anne Hathaway was a Disney princess, which probably explains why this went direct to DVD, because she is far from the royal mindset in this one! As Allison, Hathaway struts around seductively, drops more f-bombs than a stand up comedian, and shows plenty of skin. That sound like a Disney princess to you? I didn't think so. Hathaway is not bad here, but she is forced into this role that doesn't call for any of her talent. There's no range with the character, no arc. She starts the film as a faux-thug, and ends as someone who realizes how dumb she was being the whole time. Ok, maybe that is an arc, but it's a really cliched one, and it's presented in such a tired way. Hathaway does salvage this though through some witty line reading and a whole lot of sass. If there's anything good to be said about the performance, it's this; it introduced her to more adult roles. Without this movie, we wouldn't have gotten The Devil Wears Prada, or Rachel Getting Married, or the upcoming Love and Other Drugs. I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in a world where those movies don't exist.

Bijou Phillips is Emily, Allison's best friend, who follows her like a loyal puppy. She's probably the smartest of the bunch, because she actually says, at one point, "Let's go home." Phillips has never impressed me, and that holds true here. I don't know. Nothing really stood out. She's just there. She's to passive to be recognized in this crowd of crazy douches.

Freddy Rodriguez plays Hector, the man who welcomes Allison and Co. into his life, treating them like family and some such. He has the best dialogue in the whole thing, because he is the only one in the whole movie who has the guts to walk up to these people, slap them in the face and say, "What the fuck!" Rodriguez does a pretty decent job, but, this role isn't much of a challenge for him. He played, more or less, the same character in Harsh Times, a tough, smarter then he looks, street wise man.

That about does it for major performances. Other supporting roles are just a bunch of white, privileged teens, trying to be gangsta, and bunch of Latino guys who actually are. Two performances I want to call out come courtesy of Matt O'Leary and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who were both in Brick together the same year. O'Leary is Eric, the only white kid not obsessed with rap music and sagging jeans in the whole movie. He spends most of the movie behind a video camera, documenting his peers, and, when he is on screen filming, the moments of genuine realism start to show through, but more on that later. O'Leary is great. And then there's Gordon-Levitt. Gordon-Levitt is a guy who always takes his roles very seriously, and if you're looking for an example to prove that case, look no further then Havoc. As Sam, JGL is flat out ridiculous, but, you can't help but admire his determination. It's not necessarily a good performance, but, damn is it an entertaining one.

-insert random thug jargon here-

Director Barbara Kopple is not as hopeless as you would think, given what you've read so far. The movie looks pretty slick, and she does a decent job with her actors, especially in the scenes where the gangsta mentality is dropped. No, the real problem here is the script. Now, I am aware that this how these people talk, but, come on. Could you cut down on the swear words, just a little bit? Seriously, practically every other word here is "fuck" or "shit" or "bitch" or some other words that I am too timid to write here. The characters just feel fake when they talk like this, which I guess was sort of the point, but, that doesn't detract from how distracting it is. This is made doubly apparent by the fact that whenever the kids drop their charade, usually when they are talking to Eric through his camera, the flames of a truly great character start to flicker. 

But, you know what. Great characters is not what Havoc is interested in. It is interested is showing how these kids come to learn that their precious little lives aren't as bad as they make them out to be. It is not interested in how it gets to that message, just that it gets there. There is nothing of substance in this whole movie, save a few instances of genuine emotion. The film is not terrible. It coasts on some decent acting, a slick sense of style, Anne Hathaway topless, and JGL's ridiculous performance! Other then that? There's nothing to recommend... G!



This Advice Is Free, I Give, and Honest

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 3 of my JGL extravaganza focuses on a film of a different nature then what he has been churning out as of late.

So, I don't know if you've heard, but there was this guy named Shakespeare. Kind of a big deal back in his day. Wrote a few plays; they were very well received; you know how it is. Anyway, the guy's legacy is pretty far reaching. You'll be hard pressed to walk into a video store and not find a film version of one of his plays or a reimagining of them. In 1999 we got, not necessarily the most original adaptation of a Shakespeare, but, for my money, one of the best. Very well written, and smartly acted, 10 Things I Hate About You is a funny, sweet film that, while not a masterpiece, is still worth your time.

YOU!!


10 Things I Hate About You is based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Set in Seattle, 10 Things takes place in one of the most unrealistic high schools ever, where the guidance counselor spends her free time writing erotica, the english teacher constantly insults his students and raps Shakespeare, white rastas are commonplace, and no one is interested in dating Julia Stiles. When new kid Cameron shows up on campus, he is instantly smitten by one Bianca. Only problem is that she is strictly forbidden from dating due to her ridiculously overbearing dad. Her dad eventually relents, and tells Bianca that she can only date when her sister, Kat, gets a beau. Now, Kat is a man hating hardcore feminist, so the chances of her getting a date are next to nil. So, Cameron hatches a devious plan. He pays off the rebellious bad boy in the school, Patrick Verona, to go out with Kat so that he, Cameron, can date Bianca. No one expects that Patrick could fall for Kat, and she for him. 

It's a fairly standard setup, but, it is based on a classic play of olde, so, lackluster plot progression is instantly forgiven. The characters are all well written and performed, and, 'gasp', feel like real people, which is rarity in romantic comedies, and is practically unheard of in romantic comedies set in high school. It's still refreshing to see, 11 years after the fact. 

10 Things I Hate About You is basically the film that was responsible for Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles. Ledger plays Patrick as an anarchist in training. He lounges around school, lights up in class, and drills holes in french books. Ledger shows us just a taste of the genius that brewing beneath his rough exterior in this. He's very sweet, consistently funny, and full of emotion. We constantly root for him, despite the fact that he acts like a total dick for a good portion of the film. Julia Stiles is another revelation. It was a breath of fresh air, seeing a female lead in rom-com who wasn't a superficial, man hungry whore. Stiles is wonderfully spunky, sarcastic, and hard assed, but, capable of turning the other cheek and being sweet and lovable when it is called for. You want her and Patrick to work out, and, when you genuinely want the relationship in a rom-com to work out, you know something is being done right. 

The film wasn't responsible for making Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but it helped the mainstream crowd take notice. I can guarantee that were some people out there who were all like, "That guy in the hamster wheel hallway fight in Inception. What else has he been in? He was Cameron in 10 Things I Hate About You? No way!" As the instigator of all this craziness, Gordon-Levitt is a far cry from most other roles that he is known for, but, in no way does that diminish the quality of the performance. He is very funny, extremely vulnerable, and delightfully optimistic. His is the role we can connect with most. I goes without saying that I found him to be the most enjoyable part of the movie. It's a shame though. Makes you wish he didn't get all serious on our asses after this. Oh well. It's not like I'm complaining. 

Other performances include Larisa Oleynik, tearing it up as Bianca, David Krumholtz before he got mathematical on us as Michael, Cameron's partner in crime, and Andrew Keegan as Joey, the resident jock douchebag who all the girls inexplicably adore. 

Performances here might not have been considered all that back in 1999 (this was before I developed taste, so I have no idea), but compared to most of the stuff that passes for performances in rom-coms these days, they are practically Oscar worthy! 

Before all the moroseness set in!

What the hell happened to director Gil Junger. Oh, right! He made Black Knight as a follow up to this, and everyone lost interest. It's a shame, because when your freshmen effort is this good (damn, JGL does seem to work with first time directors a lot), you deserve to have a spot in the limelight. Junger does a great job handling all the high school stereotypes being thrown in the pot here, breathing new life into them so that they seem new all over again. Writers Karen McCullah Lutz and Kristen Smith also deserve praise for their biting and smart script. Jokes fly fast furious, the dialogue oozes wit, and everything that the characters are saying sounds like something they would actually, you know, say. It's a well written script that still holds up more then a decade later.


There are some minor things holding 10 Things I Hate About You back from an ECSTACY(yes, I know I spelled that incorrectly). As with all films of this genre, the rules of reality are bent to service the plot. We're meant to believe that Cameron would defend Bianca's honor having never talked to her? Some of the characters are one note and only really there to fill the stereotype. Keegan's Joey stands out in my mind. He's really only there so we can hate him. I mean, we have a really easy time doing that, but, it would've been nice if there was something more to him, that's all. 

But, when it comes down to it, 10 Things I Hate About You is a great film. 11 years after the fact, it is still better than 99% of all romantic comedies clogging the theaters. Certainly one of the strongest adaptations of the Bard's work, 10 Things rides high on seriously strong performances and clever and witty writing. Soundtrack ain't bad either. Regarding 10 Things I Hate About You: "O, what a rouge and peasant slave am I!"



It Comes From the Sea

Friday, July 23, 2010

Yes, I did see Salt tonight, and I will post something about it, but, for now, I don't want anything to distract from JGL. So, you'll have to wait. :)

A Quick Detour

I'll get back to blasting through his filmography in a bit, but take a look at this. This is on the front of JGL's website hitRECord.org. It's a site where people are meant to come together and collaborate in making art. JGL doesn't want to just work with the Hollywood crowd; he wants to work with everyone. It's really cool. Here is a short film that he himself made with the help of a whole bunch of people. Just watch this for me, real fast.



Isn't that brilliant? There's more where that came from. Head over to his site to see what he and a whole bunch of other people have come up with.

Power Is Everything

Day 2 of the my JGL extravaganza focuses on another small, unnoticed film of his. This one came out in 2007, and ranked third on my list of best of the year. It's also one of his best performances, and that is definitely saying something.

Quick. You have ten seconds. Name as many movies as you possibly can that involve a bank robbery. Go ahead. Do it.
...
As you no doubt have just figured out, the list is pretty friggin' long! Bank robberies are one popular topic in film, so, you have to wonder, how does one make a heist film stand out among to pack? Well, for starters, one watches and observes everything that The Lookout does. This 2007 crime-thriller is a perfect example of how to make that tried and true concept fresh and exciting. Bolstered by incredibly strong performances and smart writing, The Lookout is one caper that deserves a spot on your shelf.

Ozymandias and Cobra Commander=A Match Made In Hell!


The Lookout concerns one Chris Pratt, a sad and guilt ridden young adult, struggling to cope with a life that was suddenly thrust on him. Four years perviously, Chris was a high school senior hotshot, a star hockey player, came from a privileged family, and was beloved by everyone around him. That all changed one night, when he and four friends are in a devastating car accident, which Chris himself unintentionally caused. Two of the friends are killed, and Chris is left severely brain damaged, prone to amnesia and likely to say whatever comes into his head, regardless of how rude it is. He now spends his days in a rehabilitation class instead of in the rink of a professional hockey stadium, and spends his nights cleaning the small bank on the edge of town instead of enjoying the lavish life of sports star. His family does their best to help him, but they don't understand what he is going through. The only source of light in Chris' life is Louis, his roommate, who, like Chris, is coping with a disability! Life is suddenly on the verge of changing, however, when Chris meets Gary Spargo, a dashing man, who convinces Chris that he can do much better than his current situation. Soon, Gary seduces Chris into playing a part in a little job. The job in question? Robbing the very same bank where Chris works. 

Think Memento mixed with any heist film, really, and you'll have a pretty good idea about what The Lookout is. It's not the most original of plots, and it is pretty predictable in the end, but how it gets there is really smart. Instead of focusing on the actual robbery for most of the film like most, The Lookout focuses solely on Pratt and his inner demons. The heist really only comes into play in the third act. The rest is spent getting to know Chris and sympathize with him so that we can understand where he is coming from when he makes the decision to help Gary. The way the plot unfolds feels very organic, and not once are we forced to accept some weird coincidence or occurrence that was thrown in for story's sake. It's damn impressive!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues his streak of fantastic performances as Chris. This role is a lot angrier than most others that Gordon-Levitt has played. He has, almost always, played damaged men, but Chris Pratt is in a different league from the other ones. Not only is he physically damaged, but mentally, and psychologically damaged as well. Gordon-Levitt does a marvelous job juggling all this baggage, easily making Chris into a character we can empathize with. He brings such wonderful heart and sadness to the role, that, at some points, you feel his pain as if it were your own. There are some scenes here that are positively spine chilling, he is so good in them! JGL consistently impresses, but he takes it to a new level in this one. 

That's not to say that the supporting players are lost at sea, bereft by the powerful wind that is JGL's talent. No, no. They all show themselves to be fully capable here. Jeff Daniels is a delight as the sarcastic, but sweet Louis. I've always had an admiration for actors who play blind. I don't know why. i guess it's because they have the pesky job of convincing the audience that they actually can't see what is in front of their faces. Anyway, that sentiment holds true for Daniels. He is sometimes reduced to comic relief, but he counterbalances this with a good deal of seriousness and gravitas. Matthew Goode is damn convincing as Gary. His is a villain who could very easily find yourself liking, because Goode is so good at selling his sermon! All his talk about "getting your old life back", and "whoever has the money, has the power"... Hell, I was convinced. It's nice to see Goode in his early days before he blew up New York or romanced Colin Firth. And Isla Fisher proves that she's not just a pretty face with good comic timing as Luvlee (now that's a name). As the girl who is instrumental in reeling Chris into Gary's world, Fisher shows us that she is more then capable of handling dramatic stuff. Makes you wish she'd believe it herself, instead of staring in that Sex and the City knockoff, whatever that was called. 

The acting here is unanimously superb. JGL is clearly leading the pack, but, all the other performers can at least keep up with him. That rarely ever happens when we are dealing with the man, so, I think some congratulations are in order. Golf claps!

No. Seriously! She's really good!

The Lookout marks writer/director Scott Frank's first time behind the camera. Before this, he had already made a name for himself, having penned such films as Out of Sight and Minority Report. He shows that he is a forced to be reckoned with when he is given control of the camera and actors as well with this. Not only has he crafted a clever and emotionally devastating story, but he shows himself to be a damn fine character director. Most first time directors are fine with letting the performances slip a little bit, deciding instead to focus on a gimmick or some trick that they came up with to sell their movie. Frank didn't do that. The story he created was to small for something like that. He needed strong performances, and he sure as hell got them. He also does fine job with the cinematography and creating a feeling of depression in the world. This is a very gray movie, but it does a great job highlighting the turmoil that is ravaging Chris' brain. As a freshmen effort, The Lookout is about as a good a movie as Frank could have hoped to make. He has not sat in the chair since helming this film. I wish he would already. God knows what he has cooking up there. 

The Lookout came and went, largely unnoticed, back in 2007. It's a shame, because this a really excellent movie. It is nail bitingly tense one minute, and devastatingly heartbreaking the next. It stabs at you like few films do, but leaves you feeling something more then just entertained in the end. You feel elated. You feel stronger. You feel hopeful. How many movies can you name where you genuinely felt hopeful in the end? Top notch performances from everyone involved and some truly spectacular direction only add to it. Seriously! If you don't actively seek this one out, you're doing yourself a disservice. 



Lycee de la Peur

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm kicking off my Joseph Gordon-Levitt Blog-a-thon today with a seminal piece of his. This is one of the films that really put him on the map and made all the indie critics wake up and take notice.

High school is a scary place. We've all been through it, and we all know how ridiculous it can be sometimes. Brick is a film set in high school that fully embraces how absurd it all is with a truly inspired idea. Brick takes the tone, plot, and dialogue of hardboiled detective stories from the film noir days, and mixes them into the world of lockers, teenage angst, after hours partying, and all that other stuff that made up your high school career. It's also damn good, wonderfully witty, devilishly twisted, with some superb performances to boot.

And you thought your teenage years were bad.

Brick centers around the lonely, probably depressed, Brendan, a teenager who has become completely detached from reality ever since his longtime girlfriend, Emily, broke it off. One day though, Brendan receives a cryptic call from Emily, in which she sounds terrified, babbling about the Brick and the Pin and other things that aren't quite explained just yet. Two days later, he finds her corpse in a storm drain. He immediately takes it upon himself to solve her murder and uncover what she was talking about. Of course, he uncovers much more then he bargained for, as his investigations leads him into the company of various sinister players, and soon, the case is spinning out of control. 

Just by reading that, you know that this is a different sort of teenage drama. The plot could easily be confused with any involving sleuths, dames, criminals, and men on the edge, but that's what's so ingenious about Brick. It takes all those elements, and applies them to teenagers. It's a smart story, and one that will hold your interest until the credits roll in the end. 

Brendan is played, of course, by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It's probably not the hardest role he's taken, as it's just a regular teenager mixed with, more or less, a gimmick, but, he doesn't treat it that way. He is marvelous as this detached teen. He stays wonderfully true to the films style and tone, is always interesting, and does a great job of handling some of the more ridiculous aspects of the script. Look, we all know teens never talk in this manner, but, Gordon-Levitt's performance will make you believe that they do for a few short hours. He's wonderful. 

Since Brendan is the focus of the film, the other, supporting players, are not given as much to do, but, they still do it very well. Nora Zehetner plays the popular girl, Laura. She's a complicated character, and you never really know where she's coming from, even if you immediately know where she's going to end up. As this femme fatale, Zehetner has a blast toying with Brendan and is a delight to watch. Matt O'Leary plays The Brain, aka, the sidekick. He always there for Brendan to bounce ideas off of, and is always willing to help him out in his investigations. It's a small, and largely forgettable role, but O'Leary makes the most of it. Lukas Haas plays the leader of underground drug ring in the school. I won't give you his name, for fear of giving something away. Haas does a fine job playing this enigmatic criminal, and, he's actually kinda funny. It's pretty hysterical seeing this teenager saunter around in a black cloak, wielding a cane, spewing cryptic dialogue. Regardless, he does a good job. Other performances include Noah Fleiss as the conflicted muscle Tug, Noah Segan as the distraught stoner Dode, and Emile de Ravin as the dead girl, Emily. 

The performances in this movie could have easily been thrown into the realm of camp and parody, but, all the performers here are more then capable of bringing a realism to their roles. But, the real star here is Gordon-Levitt. He has the most screen time, and commands it. It's really thanks to him that the film works. 

Dark. Ominous. Tones

Director/Writer Rian Johnson is a clear lover of films like Chinatown, The Maltese Falcon, Vertigo, and pretty much every other movie in the film noir genre. But, he's not a fanboy. He doesn't mimic the style, he creates an homage to it. He lets his actors play around with the space, does a great job framing everything, and satisfactorily creates a sinister atmosphere. That being said, he is probably the weakest link of the movie, and, I hate to say it, is the reason it's not true masterpiece. The whole hardboiled dialogue, cop on the edge mentality, while ingenious, starts to grate on you and, by the end, feels more like gimmick. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets punched out, like, ten times, and, after awhile, it starts to get old. He is also hamstrung by the conventions of the genre. If you are, at all familiar with how films of this sort work, you'll easily be able to call out the twists and character transformations. The main "villain" is instantly recognizable from the moment the character walks on screen. 

That being said, for a freshmen effort, Johnson is still mighty capable as a director and a writer. As I said, he's not a fanboy, so all his noir style choices are not just blatant ripoffs of older movies. He's a very good character director; all the actors here are clearly comfortable with the material, and all do a great job navigating it. Even though his plot is a little undeveloped in places, it is still mightily intriguing and devilishly clever; I was glued to the screen throughout the entire thing.

Brick is pretty damn good! It's not a masterpiece of indie cinema, but it's up there. If I was judging it on Joseph Gordon-Levitt alone, this film is a solid ten out of ten. But, this is the director's first film, and he is clearly still trying to master the ropes. Even so, this a solid piece of detective fiction that you should actively seek out, if only for Gordon-Levitt, because he is spectacular in it!



According to the Movies #5

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

If the movies say it, it must be true!

This weeks lesson is actually two lessons. Both come to you courtesy of Roland Emmerich and the end of the world. 2012 is a film that goes under the assumption that the Mayans were right all along about the apocalypse, and uses this setup as an excuse to cause untold amounts of destruction at easily recognizable landmarks. Anyway, the first lesson is actually given to us by a character in the film. See, right before the mayhem begins, the government assures everyone that everything is fine, that there is nothing to worry about, and, well, take a look. You can stop watching after the first minute. It's just relentless disaster porn!



Lesson #1: When they tell you not to panic, that's when you run!

The second lesson is given to us in the very end of the film. Throughout the whole movie, the characters travel all over the place, foolishly throwing themselves in front of every major disaster as they search for salvation. They do eventually find it, and, once the powers of nature have had their fun destroying pretty much everything, the survivors being to look for a place to begin anew. Where do they go? Africa. Why? Because it wasn't even touched! Yes, amid all the earthquakes, volcanoes, and ridiculously large tsunamis that were relentlessly pummeling the world, Africa got away scott free!



Lesson #2: In the event that the world comes to an end thanks to earthquakes, volcanoes, and ridiculously large tsunamis, don't go globe trotting, throwing yourself in the path of every disaster as you look for safety. Head to Africa! Africa won't even be touched!

A JGL Blog-a-thon!

Over the next few days, I'm going to be going on a quest! Now that the rest of the world is finally aware of how much of a mad crazy brilliant artist Joseph Gordon-Levitt is thanks to Inception, I'm going to be blasting through his filmography. Well, not the whole filmography, but all the ones that are available to me. So, over the next few days, I'm going to posting write-ups on the likes of Brick, 10 Things I Hate About You, Uncertainty, Mysterious Skin, Manic, The Lookout, Havoc, Shadowboxer, Women in Trouble, and, of course, (500) Days of Summer, which I actually didn't post a full review about, although I don't really know how much else I can say on that film. I'll end with a write-up on the man in general. Maybe, y'all don't really understand why I have such an unconditional love for this guy. As with all blog-a-thons, I'm opening the doors to you all, so, if you want to contribute, please do. Reviews of films JGL has been in (this includes Inception). A review of his whole body of work. A write up of why all child actors should follow his lead. A post of why you desperately want to sleep with him. Whatever you want. Send it my way. You'll be satisfactorily represented!
 

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