Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Adventures of Scrooge McDuck

After Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck (which I doesn't own. I have missed out the collection and had to buy the volumes from America), Gramedia published another collection of Scrooge McDuck stories by Don Rosa, entitled 'Komik Petualangan Paman Gober' (The Adventures of Scrooge McDuck). Luckily, this time I succeed in collecting the whole set. *happy*

This set consists of 8 magazines.
Series 1: Guardians of The Lost Library, Nobody's Business, The Son of The Sun
Series 2: His Majesty McDuck, W.H.A.D.A.L.O.T.T.A.J.A.R.G.O.N., Island at The Edge of Time
Series 3: Return to Plain Awful, Return to Xanadu
Series 4: The Treasure of The Avatars, The Lost Chart of Columbus, The Curse of Nostrildamus
Series 5: The Last Lord of Eldorado, The Quest for Kalevala
Series 6 : The Treasury of Croesus, On Stolen Time, The Universal Solvent
Series 7: The Black Knight, The Black Knight Glorps Again, Attack!
Series 8: Last Sled to Dawson, A Little Something Special

I enjoyed each of the stories and hoped that there were more.

Delon: Les femmes de ma vie

Delon: Les femmes de ma vie is one of the most beautiful books I own. First Alain Delon himself is one of most beautiful persons ever, I'm never tired looking at his pictures. This book contains more than 200 pictures (so it's said, I haven't counted them and never will) well reproduced on glossy papers. The size of the book is quite big: 29,7 x 29,8 cm, that I had difficulty finding it a place in my little room.

The description at Amazon says that Alain Delon is one of the authors, and I was curious, I wondered whether he really had had the time. After I got the book, it turned out that he only gave comments on the photographs, with his handwritings. The book is divided into 3 parts: The women in my life, my co-stars, and my friends. Then, little stories about them. Stories of each woman in 'The women in my life' is told in more details (one page each), one page of story for 'my co-stars', one page for 'my friends', and one page for his two dogs. It was a surprise to see the two dogs were included in this 'les femmes de ma vie' book.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

9 (2009)

This is a weird movie set in the future, after the human are all dead, after an apocalyptic war between human and machines. A rag doll with number 9 drawn on his back is the main character. He wakes up and finds the world is in ruin and a very dangerous place to live. He meets other rag dolls and tries to save their life and his from the beast.

The plot just doesn't make sense to me. This is a movie about rag dolls vs machines, lead by 'The Brain', which brought to life by mistake by 9. What should I care about those rag dolls? They are given soul (and life) by a scientist who also created The Brain. How can a human give soul to a doll?

However, the images are wonderful and action scenes are very good. I just don't see the point of the story. When his friends are trapped in The Brain, 9 tries to convince 1 (the rag dolls are named from 1 to 9) that they are not dead yet. After The Brain is defeated and the souls of 9's friends are free, the souls go up high to the sky and dissolve. I think that means dead.

Buster Keaton The Complete Short Films

Having watched works of Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd, and read documentaries about them, I knew that I had to watch works of Buster Keaton. I then saw one of his work, Seven Chances. Seven Chances was not as funny as I had expected, the first part of the movie was slow; but I enjoyed the wonderful stunts. I was not very eager to get this complete short films box-set, as I was not that crazy about Seven Chances; but I bought it anyway. I knew I would enjoy the box-set more than today's comedies.

What I didn't know, is that Buster Keaton worked with Roscoe Arbuckle in his early career. The first movies in the box-set (total 32 movies) are his collaboration with Roscoe Arbuckle and Al St John. These movies are funny and enjoyable, although they often lose focus of the plot. I love how Arbuckle threw his knife up to the air and it landed smoothly on the table. My 8 year-old niece, who loves to cook and helps her mother in our warong, enjoyed watching The Cook very much; how Arbuckle threw what he was cooking in the air and caught it again with the saucepan, and how he threw what the guests ordered and how Keaton caught it smoothly. However I told her not to practice what she had seen there. Luke the dog, who could climb ladder, amazed us.

Apart from The Cook, my personal favourite is One Week; which shows 7 first days in Buster Keaton's character's marriage. The new couple built a portable house, which didn't work well due to a sabotage by the bride's rejected lover. I like the idea of portraying a failure in building a portable house.

Compared to Charlie Chaplin & Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton's stunts are as dangerous and wonderful as Harold Lloyd, if not better. Now I know what people mean by precision when they talk about Buster Keaton. The stunts did need precision indeed. About Charlie Chaplin, although stunts in his movies were not as brave as Keaton & Lloyd, but characterization is stronger.

The box-set from Masters of Cinema contains a nice book of 184 pages with many photographs, full of discussion on Buster Keaton. I am a bit disappointed with the quality of the movies, though. I have bought DVDs from Masters of Cinema before and they are of excellent quality. And if it's a case of old movies, my Chaplin DVDs from BFI and Harold Lloyd from Studio Canal are in much better quality. It's a pity that Keaton's works have not been preserved very well. Was it because he didn't produce his own movies?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Z (1969)

This was on TV last night and it was very captivating. More than 2 hours and I was stuck to the end.

Minutes ago I read that this is based on a true event (yes, the credits did say that any similarities to any living person are deliberate), but the location was in Greece. When I watched it last night I thought it was France. 'Z' in ancient Greek means 'he is alive'.

Supported by a strong cast (incl. Irene Papas,Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jacques Perrin, François Périer, Renato Salvatori), Yves Montand plays 'Z', an activist, who I think fight for peace and is against foreign military bases. After giving a speech, he is hit by a club, held by a passenger on a passing truck, and later dies of brain damage. The authorities, the generals in particular, try to cover up the case, but the examining judge keeps pursuing the truth.

This is a very powerful film and gives a good picture about how powerful a conspiracy can be. Too bad this kind of movie can only be seen on TV5. Our local stations must show this kind of film once in a while. The examining judge is not without threats or offers if he agrees to compromise, but he goes on. I like the scenes where he charges the colonel/generals with first-degree murder. In entering the room, each of the accused says 'this is embarrassing. I prefer to kill myself.' but the judge ignores them and says instead: 'Nom, prenom, occupation?' And in getting out of the room, the judge tells them to use the back door to avoid journalists. They walk through this narrow alley and funnily each of them tries to open a locked door in the alley. I wonder if they are familiar of the alley, or it's just an instinct.

In the end, one honest person is not enough. To get rid of corrupted persons, every body need to cooperate. Every body needs to have a will to be better. The examining judge has done good, but if the justice system does not support him then it's all for nothing. The movie closes with notes that the culprits receive light sentences because almost all the witnesses are dead.

Friday, June 3, 2011


I read reviews of this book by Simon Kernick and it sounded great, so I thought I'd give it a try. I never read books by Simon Kernick before.

The main character is an office worker named Tom Meron, a father of two kids. He receives an odd phone call from his old friend, who never called him for years. As he listens, his friend is being killed by his pursuers, but the last words he tells them are Tom's address. Tom knows that since that moment, his friend's killers will be after him, but what do they want? He doesn't know. He leaves his home, moves his kids, and is trying to locate his wife, who works in a university. Arrives in the university, someone has been murdered there, and Tom is the main suspect.

The plot is quite good, but simple, like in Hollywood action movies. However, the book is not as great as I had imagined. I prefer to read something with more complex woven plot. If Relentless's plot is like in action movies, what I prefer to read is something like in miniseries. I think what disappoints me most is the very reason Tom is phoned at the critical moment. The call has changed his life, and why? because in state of panic, his friend could only think of his address. For me that is not a strong reason.