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Lindsey in Warsaw

I saw Lindsey Stirling live in Torwar arena in Warsaw.

I’ve been to other shows before. I saw U2 on the stadium in Chorzów at their 360 Tour. I saw eight hours long concert of four more or less progressive bands, culminating on a recorded on DVD show by the band Arena. I saw The Legendary Pink Dots twice and Pendragon thrice, including a 30th Anniversary show in Śląski Theathre, also recorded on DVD. Finally, I saw Roger Waters and his The Wall on National Stadium in Warsaw. So, what could a modest, 28-years old violin-playing Mormon girl give me?

I mean, besides THE BEST SHOW I’VE EVER BEEN TO IN MY ENTIRE LIFE?
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Harry S. Plinkett

Harry S. Plinkett

Have you seen Harry S. Plinkett reviewing the Star Wars prequels trilogy?

All three movies are reviewed in excrutiating detail in three videos (70, 90 and 110 minutes long, respectively) and the reviews are devastating. Plinkett shows how Lucas himself destroyed the whole amazing mythology he gave birth to decades earlier, thus proving that he apparently never truly understood it. But what I love the most in them is how thoroughly Plinkett dissects Lucas’ movies and gives an analysis of what is awesome in the original Star Wars trilogy, and, by extension, what sucks in the prequels. He gives numerous examples of what went wrong and why, and believe me, there’s many more reasons they suck than Jar Jar Binks, Jake Lloyd and horrible dialogue – Plinkett doesn’t even spend that much time on these, probably because everyone else in the world already did. No, he notices myriads of stuff more subtle and better hidden that those evident ones, things that we never noticed – but our brains did.

Especially funny parts of the reviews include Plinkett proving the blandness of characters of Episode I using a clever experiment that included characters from the original trilogy and some of reviewer’s friends, listing things Anakin did well and wrong when courting Padme, and comparing the trilogy as an attempt to create a character story around Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader with another famous character story in film, “Citizen Kane”. But the most valuable point he makes is how ironically the rise and fall of Anakin (as well as the rise and fall of William Randolph Hearst, the real-life prototype of Charles Foster Kane character from Welles’ film) mirrors the change that occured in George Lucas himself, “going from an idealistic young filmmaker wanting to rebel against the system to becoming the system” – the same point is also made in the 2010 documentary “The People vs. George Lucas”, which I also saw recently (and recommend).

Before you go and see them, be warned though! The videos are quite disturbing in places – the first 20 seconds of first review set the tone of his type of humour, and if you have problems with them, you may not like the rest. The Plinkett persona (actually a character created by Internet reviewer Mike Stoklasa) is presented as a borderline senile psychopath who kidnaps and murders women (prostitutes mostly), butchers animals and does many other, horrific things. This is done so well that sometime during watching “The Phantom Menace” review I actually thought that maybe he really is a psycho, and I’m just indulging his sick mind by watching his videos on YouTube. I turned them off at that point and refused to continue until I saw the outtakes of the reviews, in which I saw that it was all staged – I saw the make up, the actors, and the props. Now I can watch his reviews (and he made some more, aside from the Star Wars prequels, including “Avatar”).

And in the end Harry S. Plinkett – the same psychotic sadist – makes a beautiful and very true point, that “in the end all the computers in the world can’t generate the most basic thing that a movie needs – an emotional connection with the audience.”

Highly recommended! (if only for people with hard stomachs and distance to what they see)

http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/

"Pina"

"Pina"

I saw “Avatar” and “Megamind” and the fourth “Pirates…” and each time I said: “OK, so this 3D thing is kinda neat and everything, now, can I please see a good movie using it?”

Now I finally did.

Aside from “Pina” being, well, perfect, it is the first picture I saw where the third dimension feels really necessary. Watching all those more or less CGI sets and objects in aforementioned movies (and many others) I couldn’t resist thinking that the depth only adds to the feel of their falsehood. “Pina” shows me that using 3D cameras only really makes sense if they’re pointed at a theater stage. Why? When you sit in an actual theater (not cinema) and watch a play, you actually watch in 3D, obviously, right? You yourself can choose which part of the stage you want to focus on, and everything is equally shown. If you would watch a play on a regular, 2D screen, big chunk of that would be taken from you, since you’d be shown only what the cameraman or editor picked to show or focus on at that moment. And here’s where 3D picture works – it brings back that theater feel to the silver screen. Now you can again choose what to look at! I’d love to see some famous plays, musicals or operas shot in 3D and projected on a cinema screen…

“Pina” gives you even more, as it creatively marries two media – it gives you the benefit of a theater, as you watch actors on stages (even if not all are actual theater stages, as we often see dancers in different buildings, along with streets or parks), but also brings into equations elements of film language, such as editing (obviously not possible in theater) or camera wandering around actors on the stage (whereas in real theater you, as a spectator, are always pinned to your seat).

That’s about form, and as for the content – I haven’t seen a movie I’d call a High Art in a cinema for a long time now. For some reason, while watching it, I felt an urge to watch Wim Wenders movies (“Paris, Texas” and “Buena Vista Social Club”, especially), and it wasn’t until I left the cinema and learned that it was actually Wenders who made this movie! I didn’t know that.

Also, it made me want to dance.

Duke Nukem Forever

Come Get Some!

“I don’t know whether the humour is worse, or it’s just not as fresh as it was in Duke Nukem 3D”, said my friend about Duke Nukem Forever. “I think it’s the same,” I replied, “but we are fiftees years older.”

In 1996 Duke Nukem 3D blew our minds. It was completely new experience of interacting with the game world – you could tip a stripper, pee in a urinal, sing on karaoke, play pool… You even had a chance to demolish a whole building, trample shrinked enemies or smash frozen ones into pieces by a well placed kick! Plus, it was full of pop culture references (“Aliens”, “Predator”, “Terminator”, “Doom”…) and finally –  there was the Hero: huge, muscular blonde guy, delivering macho one-liners with a voice in which you could hear those gallons of beer he drank and hundreds of cigars he smoke.

He was The Duke. He was obnoxious and foul-mouthed, and – just like the scantily-clad ladies in the game – we loved him.

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Thomosexual

Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke

Dear diary,

I fell in love with Radiohead. Does that make me Thomosexual?

It happened last year after my friend, Cracked, told me about ten easter eggs hidden in famous albums. Two of them were on Radiohead’s works, so I decided to give them a listen, starting with 1997’s “OK Computer”. Before I knew, I bought it and was listening to it repeatedly, intertwined with decade later’s “In Rainbows”!

But when I wrote on the Wall that I like them more than Porcupine Tree, some people said I’m just saying that because they’re new (for me, at least) and that it’s just an infatuation that will pass. How can they know? And why one of them, my friend and a huge Porcupine Tree fan, recommended me “Kid A”, an album released in 2000 and quoted by several sources to be one of the best of the “noughties” (i.e. the 2000s)? Yeah, good job, Lipton, way to undermine your favourite band! Because now over half a year has passed and still Radiohead works better for me than the Porcs. Dear diary, how can it be only an infatuation?

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“Black Swan”

"Black Swan" poster

"Black Swan"

So, “Black Swan”, right?

I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. I hate horror movies. I’m so easily scared by them (or any movie, actually), and yet time and time again I go and watch some scary flick. There was spanish “El Orfanado”, there was “The Happening” (to all who want to say “‘Happening’ was scary?” I have an unpolite retort prepared, so better not), I even have some movies based on King’s novels and stories (“1408”, “Needful Things” or “The Mist”) and I keep convincing myself that one (sunny and bright) day I’ll watch them, but who are we kidding? I won’t gather the courage to do that… until one day I will and put them on, and then curse myself from behind the cushion throughout the whole movie. And, of course, promise myself I’ll never watch any horror. Until the next time.

My fiancee says I’m a masochist. She may be right. Continue Reading »

10. Mike Oldfield, “Secrets / Far Above The Clouds” (from “Tubular Bells III”, 1999)

An epic ending to the third installment of Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” series. The second album, released in 1992, was nothing special – just a song-by-song remake of the first that, save for a few moments, only made me compare it to the original, which always shone in that comparison.
Fortunately, with the third album Oldfield took a different approach and created something new and much better than part II (although, of course, far from the first). And it ends epically with those two pieces that should be listened to together.

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