Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dunia Fantasi

Last Sunday Lastri and I went to Dunia Fantasi (Dufan). As we had predicted, there were not many people, although it was Sunday, because on fast month most people would prefer to stay at home. It was an extremely hot day and although I had a baseball hat on, after 1h I was so dizzy.

I brought Little Mickey with me. He looked happy.

The last time I went to Dufan was in 1989 and I didn't take any ride because the queues were all very long! We only walked around and ate ice cream. All the food sold here were VERY expensive.

The Bianglala (Ferris Wheel) was the most boring ride. I took a picture of Ancol beach from there.

I think the Bima vs Nembuwarna statue near the Star Wars was wonderful.

And as I said, it wasn't crowded, we managed to go into Istana Boneka (Doll Castle) 3 times. This place was full with traditional costumed dolls from Indonesia and many parts of the world. The music was nice and would change according to the area you were passing through.

Touching Evil (TV)

Cast : (L-R) Shaun Dingwall, Michael Feast, Nicola Walker, Adam Kotz, Robson Green

I like very much Wire in The Blood series and was browsing through Robson Green's other works at internet and saw a review which said Touching Evil was better. About 10 days ago the DVD finally arrived and last night I finished the last episode. There were 8 episodes in all.

Series 1 was particularly good. Green played D.I. Dave Creegan who worked for the OSC (Organised & Serial Crime) . He was just recovered after being shot in the head. His disorder personality helped a lot in tracking serial murderers who were as unstable as he was. What I really liked about series 1, was that the cause of Professor Hinks's death in episode 1, revealed in episode 3, which made a continuity.

Series 2 was also very good. Again, I liked the continuity here, from Emily's death in episode 1, Creegan's guilty feeling, his relationship with D.C. Mark Rivers, Rivers' guilt, until the revenge from Emily's father in the last episode.

In my opinion, the crimes in series 3 were over the top, although they were still enjoyable to watch. Series 3 is very similar to Wire In The Blood. I hoped the last series was also of 3 episodes and not only 2. I began to like the characters and was sorry to see Rivers go (and in that way).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Becoming Jane & Infamous

I watched Becoming Jane last night. It was a sweet love story, with beautiful sceneries and costumes. Anne Hathaway who played Jane Austen is very pretty. However, to cast her and Anne Maxwell Martin as sisters is not right, in my opinion, because these two don't look like each other. I thought at first that there would be all elements from her novels, but it wasn't. This movie is more like Pride & Prejudice, with characters remind us of Lizzy Bennett, Jane Bennett, Mr & Mrs Bennett, Mr Darcy/Wickham, Lady Catherine, and Mr Collins. The characters' problem is also similar to the opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice:"It is a truth universally acknowledge, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." only that the hero here wasn't rich and depended on his uncle. Meanwhile, Jane's mother wanted her to marry a rich man and thought her mad when she refused such offer. The love almost won and Jane and her prince planned an elopement, but in the end reason took over and Jane realized that she couldn't be egoist and must think of others. Jane and her sister Cassandra never married, and perhaps she was happy enough, as she wrote in her novel Emma: "A single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as any body else."

I also watched Infamous, and I liked this better than Becoming Jane. Doug McGrath (Emma - 1996) wrote & directed the movie. I hadn't known what it was about, only interested in the cast, and I was surprised to know it's about Truman Capote.
However, if 'Capote' was very boring and I only could manage to watch half of 'In Cold Blood', 'Infamous' was worth watching. Douglas McGrath's version of Emma has some changes, but still captures well the book's spirit. The first half of Infamous is like that, when Capote tries to get his way to blend in the little city where the murder has happened, it was light and entertaining, and I found myself giggled at times. The 2nd part is rather dark and the tone slows down. He interviews the killers here, with flashbacks. During the interview Capote developes a unique relationship with Percy Smith. So many big names in the cast, but mostly you will see Toby Jones, Sandra Bullock and Daniel Craig; and all three were great.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunshine & Die Hard 4.0

This newest Danny Boyle film was not what I had expected and I like better down-to-earth themes like Shallow Grave or Trainspotting. I guess the director wanted to move forward after working on a movie like 28 Days Later.
Sunshine is of futuristic genre, that the sun, the earth's energy source, is dying; so 8 scientists, in a mission called Icarus II, are sent to drop a bomb to reignite the dying part of the sun. Seven years previously, Icarus I was failed.
The special effects and soundtracks are great. The story is very depressing, and throughout the movie as they were approaching the sun, my room was getting hotter and hotter. It's like watching a couple of people trapped in a spaceship, which reminded me at once of Natali Vicenzo's Cube.

Another movie I saw this week-end was Die Hard 4.0 which was great. It was fast paced with lots of car crashes and explotions. This is the first work of Len Wiseman I've ever seen and it's very impressing. I think most of young directors nowadays make their movies fast paced, like in video games.
Die Hard 4.0 is about computer hackers who sabotage the systems in the U.S., anything using computers: transportation, stock market, etc. The brain behind the plan then commanded that all traces must be erased, but John McClane (Bruce Willis) saved one of them, a computer nerd named Mat Farrell (Justin Long); and together they will save the U.S. of A. I didn't see what happened to Trey in the end, I must watch this again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Odor of Sanctity

I'd never heard of Frank Yerby before and bought the book after reading a list of recommended historical fictions at Amazon.

At a glance, the language seemed difficult and I wondered if the author was not an English native. Later I found that he was an African American from Georgia who left America in 1955 in protest of some racial discrimination. He lived in Spain since until his death in 1991. He did his researches very well.

The Odor of Sanctity, A Novel of Medieval Moorish Spain (1965) is one of the best novels I have ever read. As soon as I could get used to his language, the story became very engaging. I wouldn't mind reading more works from Mr. Yerby.

Set in the 9th century of Spain, in span of about 30 years, the story centers around 'Alaric Teudisson', or 'Aizun ibn al Qutiyya' as the Moors called him, and his journey as the people around him believing he was a saint. Alaric had a beautiful face like an angel, his voice rang like a bell, his body was surrounded by light, and his touch healed the sick and raised the dead; but he himself thought he was an ordinary man because he couldn’t ran away from his carnal sins, he didn't have any faith, and that it was by love that he could ease the sick of the soul, and that the people believed what they wanted to believe.

It was his mother who first discovered that his son had ‘an odor of sanctity’ because he claimed he had had a nightmare when he mother rushed to his room after hearing his cry, and he told her how Santa Fredegunda had visited him, while in fact the odor was the trace of a female slave’s cheap perfume who had fled the room after his refusal.

Alaric’s life was miserable. His only brother died, his mother was murdered, his sister was kidnapped, his wife committed adultery with their slave, and his girlfriend killed herself with their unborn baby. On the peak of his grief, he tried to kill himself but could be saved, and as a result on his chest a cross was branded, the sign which confirmed that he was really a saint, for those who saw it.

The story is fast paced and very rich. What I really like, is how people at that time could live in peace despite the differences of their faiths (Jews, Moslems, Christians), although in the end it was ruined because of some people's arrogances.

Alaric is an ideal character, a wise man who accepts people no matter who they are, no matter what their religion is, and no matter the colour of their skin is. I quote a passage from the book where this fair-haired, blue-eyed man had a discussion with a black-skinned woman, when she asked him if he despised her because of her ugliness, and he answered: “What boots is that ‘tis not the same as the pale fairness of my race, my tribe? ‘Tis beauty, still. Take in your hand a violet, and a rose. The violet’s swart, the rose is fair. Wouldst say then that only roses are pleasing to the sight and toss all violets out to wither on the ground?”

The world will be a better place if we all can live in harmony and accept others as they are. Why should we judge other religions? Hasn't it been written: 'For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.' (Micah 4:5)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Invasion (2007)

I like Jeremy Northam and was so glad that his latest movie, The Invasion, came to Indonesia. As far as I know, this is his 2nd movie since 2001. [The first was Cypher.] I saw the trailer on TV Monday morning and there he was, wearing a suit and said something like, 'When you wake up in the morning, everything will be the same.' Today I went to Mega Mall to watch the movie, prepared for the worst, as I had read some bad reviews. I think this movie has been getting more bad reviews than good ones.

The story is simple. (Warning: SPOILERS!) A spaceship blew up in space and the pieces, which landed on earth, mostly in America, where the movie is set. Those who touch any piece get infected with aliens and later they spread the contamination among themselves by vomiting onto one's face (Yucks!!!). Our heroin, a psychiatrist named Dr. Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) is trying to safe her only son, Oliver, when everybody else has been infected, including herself. The alien/virus will take hold as soon as one falls asleep, so she only has to stay awake and never shows any emotion, for emotion and sweat will betray herself, that she is still clean. Is the virus curable? Yes, of course, because this is a movie and the key is Oliver, who happens to be immune.

It's been months I hadn't gone to cinema and when I saw The Invasion, I thought the picture transfer was great. Kidman's & Craig's eyes were very blue. This was the first time I saw Daniel Craig on big screen and I understood then why my friend was so crazy about his blue eyes. Too bad there was no close-ups on Northam (I know his eyes are brown, still close-ups would be nice).

The Invasion was not so bad. It was worth the money ticket. Not the best movie I've seen this year, but I've seen worse. I don't like the first scene, though, which shows Carol looking for drugs, and why this must be showed first.

I wonder: if at first the alien can get into a human if one touches the spaceship's wreck (how could they infect the spaceship anyway?), why among humans, with vomit? And why Carol shot everyone in the heart - why not on the leg? Did Tucker die? I also don't believe that if we are all turned into aliens, there will be no war anymore. Tucker and Ben seemed not to tell the truth when they persuaded Carol to join. I have seen many Northam movies so I can tell if he plays a baddie. I also wonder how old is Oliver and why his dear mom gives him drugs when he has a nightmare, and if this is common in America even though the mom is a psychiatrist.

I haven't seen the original Invasion of The Body Snatchers movie.