Thursday, October 31, 2013

Skyfall (2012)

I think Skyfall is one of the best Bond movies ever made, especially from the artistic point of view. I like the fighting scene in the tall building where we could see Bond and his enemy as silhouettes.

Country comes first, that's what good patriots do. In the beginning, we saw M made a critical decision which made Bond (almost) killed. [It's a beautiful scene. Bond was shot and his body fell into the river and Adele began to sing: 'This is the end."] Choosing between her country vs her most competent agent, M sacrificed Bond without hesitation. A crooked agent, who had also experienced this, swore revenge against M. If in other James Bond movies we usually see him fights a mad man who wants to rule the world, this time it's M's personal enemy. Also, in others we see Bond fights alongside beautiful women, in Skyfall, M gets that position. [I don't count Eve because she only has little parts.]

Bond enjoyed his holidays while M thought he had been dead. He returned when he thought his country needed him. To get back to his duty, Bond had to pass some tests. It's sad to see that he could not shoot straight again. Even sadder when this lack of skill made him lose in a sort of William Tell competition and caused a beautiful woman died.

Compared to Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig's first Bond movie, I like Skyfall much better because in this one we don't get a scary torture scene.

I also feel like we get a pre-James Bond movie because female M died here and we get a new male M. If they don't make another James Bond movie again, I can think that after Skyfall, the next sequel could be Dr. No.

Silva's silhouette leaving the burning mansion
This scene reminds me of Doraemon making a diorama for Nobita

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Eight years after the story in The Dark Knight (2008) ended, Batman became Gotham City's enemy, while the late Harvey Dent a.k.a Two-Face became a hero. Bruce Wayne seems to lose a will to live and no one has ever seen Batman since. A new character is introduced here: Blake, a young police officer who still believes in Batman, after seeing his heroic action when he was a kid.

The enemy in this movie is Bane. Before watching this movie, I really didn't see why Bane had been chosen. How dangerous could he be? In "Batman & Robin" (1997), Bane was only Poison Ivy's thug. Bane was strong, but stupid.

In this movie, when Batman and Bane meet for the first fight, Bane beats him and breaks his bones. I felt cheated. Why Batman fought him with empty hands? Where were his gadgets?

Here, Bane wants to destroy Gotham City with a nuclear bomb. We learn later that once a thug, always a thug. Bane is never the brain behind the attack.

The movie is so violent. Like the Joker in the previous movie, Bane and his gang kill people like they are nothing. The rating for this movie in the US is PG-13, which suprised me. Have we tolerated such level of violence for teenagers? But honestly, any movie with Batman in it, I bet little kids must be wanting to watch it. I hope in the future, any superhero movie won't be this dark.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Devil's Star - Jo Nesbø

In this third book (after The Redbreast and Nemesis), Inspector Harry Hole became a pathetic drunkard after the police force refused his case against Inspector Tom Waaler, whom Hole suspected as the real killer of his partner. When Harry Hole was sober, he was a great detective, though.

In this book, a serial killer was haunting Oslo by killing young women. He left behind a mark, a drawing of the devil's star and a diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star. The story reminded me of Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders. The killer wanted to kill B, but to throw off suspicion, he also killed A and C, so that the police would think that it was the work of a serial killer.

Compared to the two previous book, The Devil's Star was better, especially the plot concerning Hole vs Waaler. Waaler was a favourite in the police force - while Harry Hole was the black goat - and when Waaler wanted to crush Hole, he used every advantage an inspector police could use. It was clever how Harry Hole could escape from the trap and return the attack.

In the beginning of The Redbreast, the chapters ended abruptly before moving to new scenes. In Nemesis and The Devil's Star this didn't happen anymore.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Nemesis - Jo Nesbø

Nemesis is the 2nd Jo Nesbø book after The Redbreast. In The Redbreast, Harry Hole's partner was murdered and the police thought they had caught the murderer and solved the case. Case closed. Harry Hole was not satisfied, though. His boss sent him to help the robbery division concerning bank robberies in Oslo, where in the last case, the robber had shot a teller to death. Harry agreed to help if his boss let him work on his partner's murder case again after they caught the robber.

There was also a murder case of Harry's old flame. The police at first decided that it was a suicide and Harry went to investigate on his own without knowing that the real murderer wanted to frame him.

The book seemed boring and slow with predictable plots, but like in The Redbreast, our hero was following wrong trails. The robbery case's conclusion was a surprise - although Beate Lønn, their video evidence expert who never forgot a face - guessed right from the beginning; but the reason for Anna's murder didn't make sense to me.

In the end, Harry had found the real murderer of his partner - but no one believed him.

The Lone Ranger (2013)

I found this movie very entertaining and enjoyable. There was a violent scene concerning eating a heart, but it was not clearly shown, so I think The Lone Ranger can be watched by a whole family. It's by Disney after all.

Not much I remember about The Lone Ranger, except that he wore a mask and was accompanies by an Indian named Tonto. So as I was watching the movies, it was a bit surprise that at first he and Tonto didn't like each other very much and that he wore a mask because he was an outlaw. I had always thought that Tonto was an Apache - all good Indians are from Apache tribe - but in this movie he was a Comanche. Tonto was forced to work together with John Reid (The Lone Ranger's real name) because the white horse (apparently the Indians believe that that white horse was from the other world, a sacred horse) chose him. To Tonto, John Reid was not as brave as his brother Dan, the Rangers' chief. Dan and the Rangers were killed by Butch Cavendish and his gang. John was left alone, half-dead, and rescued by Tonto; thus the name 'The Lone Ranger' - although he was not alone with Tonto on his side.

This version is the genesis of the Lone Ranger, although not faithful to previous versions.

The band's stage is hit by the locomotive
Next appearance by the band, with bandaged members.
The stage is still in front of the locomotive.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret by Carl Barks

This album contains three long stories (about 30 pages):1) The Old Castle's Secret - where Uncle Scrooge and his nephews go to Scotland to find the family's hidden treasure; 2) Darkest Africa - Donald and his nephews in search of a very rare butterfly; and 3) Sheriff of Bullet Valley - Donald as a sheriff, helped by his nephews vs cattle rustlers.

There also eleven 10-page-stories: Wintertime Wager, Watching The Watchman, Wired, Going Ape, Spoil The Rod, Rocketrace to The Moon, Donald of the Coast Patrol, Gladstone Returns, Links Hijinks, Pearls of Wisdom, and Foxy Relations.
Plus 6 one-page gags.

Some of these stories I had read before - some recently, some a long time ago; some were new.

I remember when I first read Sheriff of Bullet Valley, I laughed at the scene where Donald's horse's hooves stopped the rolling log. The horse's expression was priceless.

Another favourite story I hadn't read for a long time was Foxy Relation, where Donald goes fox-hunting to help Uncle Scrooge impress his future business partner. Knowing the effort is useless, Donald's nephew plants a tame fox which will come if his name is called. Donald only remembers that the name is the name of a fish, so he calls every fish's name he can remembers. The fox's name is 'red herring', which means 'false clue' in detective stories. In bahasa Indonesia version, the name was translated to 'ikan asin', means 'salted fish'. So although it's some kind of fish name, it's not really a fish's name. It makes sense, then, if Donald cannot remember the right name.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Redbreast - Jo Nesbo

I had read synopsises of Jo Nesbo's books and couldn't wait to read The Snowman, but one of reviewers mentioned that the books should be read in order. So I picked up The Redbreast first.

I guessed that title had explained the killer and yeah, I was right. People said that the book dedicated many parts to the WW2, but as I read it, no, the proportion was okay. Since this was the first book of Jo Nesbo I read, it took me time to get used to his style. By the end of every chapter, the story ended abruptly; and in the next chapter it was another scene.

The hero, Inspector Harry Hole, tracked an illegal rare weapon, which he thought would be used to commit murders. The culprit was an old man, an ex-soldier from WW2, a Norwegian who fought for the Germans and thought that he was doing service for his country. Yet after the war, these kind of men were labelled traitors and punished by being sent to jail a couple of years.

The reason for the murders was not convincing, at least for me, because he had planned it carefully but look who the first victim of the rifle was. And the 2nd victim? Why waited so long?

There was an unsolved murder of a policewoman until the end of the book, so I am glad that I read The Redbreast first. I hope the murder will be solved in the next book(s).

Anyone can tell me why Harry Hole put his telephone in the fridge? It was not enough only by pulling the jack out?