Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Blog

Alright. So this is clearly not working. I haven’t updated this in months. But that’s ok. I’m starting a new blog. One that I hope to update more, perhaps. Every day, perhaps. The blog is called Still A Teen, and is meant to be a somewhat photographic chronicle of my twentieth year. Starting from my nineteeth birthday on the 22nd of August, 2009, the blog will be updated once a day as a record of my final year as a teenager, accompanied by photos that I will take on my new camera that I am getting for my birthday.

I won’t start photographing/writing until my birthday, but the blog has already been set up with an introductory post as well as an About Me section. I promise that the new blog will be more successful and regular than the first (i.e. this one), so please bookmark it, follow it– whatever it is you do on the internet. Follow me on Twitter to receive updates about the blog, and the various mundane details of my life.

Remember! The 22nd of August. I hope to see you then.

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RocknRolla

I went to see RocknRolla yesterday with fairly low expectations, which were partly fulfilled and partly exceeded. Though on the whole, I found the movie unsatisfying, it was stylish and pleasing to the eye; and had just enough humourous moments to keep me from nodding off altogether.

The biggest problem with the film is its beginning, which was overly loaded with exposition and took about as long to get started as a bomby car in a horror movie. Probably the entire first half hour of the film was devoted to tediously introducing the various characters one by one, without much of interest occurring at all.

The second problem was the plot, which, though conceivably attractive in synopsis, didn’t really go anywhere. Too much seemed to be going on, but not in a good way (if I may put it that simply). There were many threads to the storyline, all interacting, but because this was poorly executed, the result was lacklustre and at times confusing. The plot centres around a deal between a shady London mobster and a Roman Abramovich clone (down to the football stadium); and the involvement of other criminals, junkies and miscellaneous ne’er-do-wells with the deal and the criminal underworld, united by a McGuffin in the form of the Russian businessman’s “lucky painting”.

Though this may sound good in concept, it was poorly translated to a film of just under two hours (but one which seemed a lot longer). Though a great fan of multi-thread storylines which demand the complete attention of the viewer (i.e. Pulp Fiction, 21 Grams), this particular one could not pique my interest and thus, for me, failed with respect to its plot. This could perhaps be excused if the characters were interesting or developed in some creative fashion, but unfortunately, this aspect of the film was also lacking. Though the film featured a large and varied cast of characters, they remained through its duration rather one-dimensional and uncompelling. In addition, the dialogue was often unconvincing or pretentious.

One redeeming feature of the film was its visual appeal, being gritty and stylized. At least this aspect of directing was carried out well, with a variety of colourful settings, decent cinematography and stylish costumes. Another positive was the humour throughout the film, which was, admittedly, quite funny and well-done (less amusing was the raucous laughter of the person of indeterminate gender about rows in front of me). Particularly funny was the slow-dance scene and the seemingly invincible Russian thugs.

However, for a film primarily about violent gangsters and with an MA rating (in Australia, R in America), there seemed to be a conspicuously low level of violence and mostly concentrated in the latter half of the film, as if inserted as an afterthought. Perhaps it was my fault for expecting more action in the film, but I felt that a touch more excitement would engaged the viewers more, given the lack of engaging characters and compelling storyline. This grievance of mine is perhaps best summarised by critic David Stratton, who says:

“Scenes of violence are downplayed in ROCKNROLLA, which may disappoint Ritchie fans. The trouble is that nothing all that interesting replaces them”

One particularly (for me) cringeworthy aspect of the film was the awful Russian accents of some of the actors, which detracted from the appeal of their characters. In addition, the subtitling of the Russian dialogue sometimes seemed quite bizarre, as in one scene where one character said “I don’t like her” in Russian, but the subtitles read “Hand me my gloves”.

All in all, RocknRolla was not a terrible film. It was not even a completely boring film, but nonetheless it was less than satisfying. Its undeniable visual appeal did not make up for what was an essentially confusing and flat storyline. It seemed as though the director brainstormed as many interesting ideas for a film of the gangster genre as possible and then failed in putting them into a successful and coherent whole. Perhaps one main reason for my largely negative response to it was its first half, which actually had me wishing for the film’s conclusion. However, the second half was more interesting, and the humour and wit were well-done. Despite a good deal of “cool”, some quite enjoyable scenes and a decent soundtrack, my overall impression of the film was lukewarm. 3 stars.

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More Metablogging

I thought I’d write another post about blogging, check how that Blogging Manifesto of mine was coming along (had I stuck to my ideology? or did i abandon it, swayed by worldly pleasures?). So far I’ve delivered about one of each of the following: CD review, book review, gig review and movie reviews. (A mixed bag, one of everything, to start off with). The only real technology I’ve utilised is Youtube (to give a preview of a movie) and uploading photos; but I think the real advantage of blogging that has jumped out at me is the ability to share, to publish my views.

While writing the review for Turing’s Delirium (a book that I had read some time back), I searched up some other reviews (one from the Sydney Morning Herald and another from the New York Times) just to remind myself of what happened in the book and what sort of issues were raised (no plagarism, I swear!). It struck me that a very good aspect of the internet and blogging was that a person like me could share my opinions on books and films and that people might happen to read it; whereas there would be no way in hell that would be accepted as a piece of literary criticism in one of the major aforementioned newspapers.

Ditto the photos that I uploaded of two gigs: a smaller one (a gypsy rock band in a Brunswick St bar) and a larger one (an internationally-recognized band playing in a large concert venue). Whereas in the past it would be easy to find press photos of famous bands, promotional shots, live photos taken by professionals with massive lenses standing a matter of feet from the bands; it would not be considered worthwhile to publish, say, the photography of a person standing in Row S, taking pictures with a mid-range still camera. But now, and with almost no cost, my amateur photography is available to see, irrelevant to most; but perhaps interesting to friends– or at least an interesting personal perspective.

So I’ve done that so far. Still on the list is exploring Melbourne’s fascinating niches (using Flickr or something with geotagging), recording improvisations or jam sessions, political opinions (although I’ll save those for bit… don’t want to put people off too soon!) and some short stories and fiction. So though I haven’t really utilised all the cutting-edge technology or even that which I discussed in the first post, I’ve come to see the value for blogging as a medium of personal expression and publishing.

And finally, it struck me as rather M.C. Escher-esque that I started this blog with a post about blogging, at which point my mother wrote a post about blogging about blogging on her blog; which was then blogged about in another blog (hence the Escher picture at the top of this post). So (correct me if I’m wrong), that would be a blog about a blog about a blog about blogging. Convoluted, no?

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