London Spring 2011

London

Royal Courts of Justice

A friend of mine had this theory that “London was the anti-Barcelona”. The reasoning behind this being that when you picture the Spanish character, you expect a chaotic, exuberant city, while when you picture the British character, you would expect a very structured and ordered city – but in practice the two realities are reversed. The long week-end I spent in London certainly confirmed this theory, it seems that having large parts of the underground out of order during week-end is usual nowadays, but the manifestations in the centre meant that busses were not going either, and the rare subways station with active lines were swamped with people.

Still we had a nice lazy week-end, even though we ended up walking more than we had planned, one noteworthy place we visited was the Geffrye Museum which had a really nice temporary exhibition called At Home in Japan, which reproduced quite well the housing in modern Japan.

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DVD Cover of John Carpenter's Dark Star

Dark Star

DVD Cover of John Carpenter's Dark Star

As some might have noticed, I tend to watch movies late, often years after their release. A friend of mine lent me Dark Star by John Carpenter a few months ago, and the DVD was gathering dust since – as the movie was shot two years after my birth, I supposed it could wait a few more months, as I as have been sick, I had some time to watch it.

Watching this movie was a fascinating experience: on one hand, it is a classic, and you can see many ideas that would be exploited efficiently in other science-fiction movies, the discussion with the sapient bombs is really a good idea. On the other hand, the movie is very dated: it is clunky and slow, everything is over-explained, and the cheesy special effects don’t help either. I would be tempted to say that somebody should just make a tightened version of this movie, but I realise this has already been done: in some way, both 2001 and alien are cut down versions of this movie.

In conclusion, a movie that is interesting in the academic sense, but not something I recommend if you are looking for a modern, functional science-fiction movie.

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The Adjustment Bureau Poster

The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau Poster

I had not heard anything about the movie the Adjustment Bureau before going to see, it was presented as a science-fiction movie with not to much science-fiction in it and some romance so this seemed like a good compromise. I was surprised by the general tone of the movie, very lighthearted, which is not something you expect from movie based on a Phillip K. Dick short story (Adjustment Team), the science-fiction aspect is indeed very subdued, and very few special effects, which I was thankful for.

Some website describe the movie as a copy of Inception, which I find a strange idea. The story is quite different: a young politician (Matt Damon) is overseen by a mysterious man (Anthony Mackie) whose seems to manipulate his fate, and in particular, prevent him from meeting again the woman of his life (Emily Blunt). The plot is less complex than Inception, with no recursion, no flashback. One thing I was wondering about while waiting in the hallway was whenever the red cocktail dress the girl wears on the poster was some kind of symbol, it seems the girl in the red dress never really exist (see Matrix and Battlestar Galactica). Strangely enough, the thing that does not seem to exist is the dress, the heroine never seems to wear it.

Beyond the Dick novel, this is a movie about New York – most of the movie takes place in that city. The camera plays with the cityscape, and some of the shot of the building are really gorgeous. The political campaign is a lot about neighbourhoods and the hero is guest of the Daily Show. The end result for me was a very pleasant film, but given its lack of weight, I will probably forget it soon, except the bit about the hats…

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