Stories that have grabbed my attention over the last day or so.
Curing Religious Feelings
It’s all about the brain. One day we should be able to use fMRI tools (or their descendants) to identify psychopaths before they hurt someone and offer to cure them. Can we also use neuroscientific tools to help cure religious fundamentalists? I’m not sure they would willingly submit to be cured and we can’t ethically force them. Would you stop believing in imaginary gods and monsters if you could?
An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness.
Kathleen Taylor, who describes herself as a “science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics,” made the suggestion during a presentation on brain research at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday. In response to a question about the future of neuroscience, Taylor said that “One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated,” The Times of London notes. (source)
Women Are Horny After All
I didn’t need journalist Daniel Bergner to write a book to tell me that my wife has a massive sex drive. She reminds me every day! He’s written the book anyway – “What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire”. According to the research he did for the book, many popular ideas about women’s sexuality is wrong, wrong, wrong. For example, they aren’t made for monogamy any more than men are. And women become physically aroused to a much wider array of visual stimuli than men, even though they deny it. Read the interview. (source)
Nazis On Meth!
No, that’s not the title of the sequel to Iron Sky, it’s the story about meth was invented by a German in 1938 and then distributed by the millions to Nazi soldiers. Makes me wonder what impact that might have had on their early successes – and their eventual downfall? We know Der Fuhrer didn’t partake of alcohol or cigarettes, but did he use meth?
…the Wehrmacht, Germany’s World War II army, distributed millions of the tablets to soldiers on the front, who soon dubbed the stimulant “Panzerschokolade” (“tank chocolate”). British newspapers reported that German soldiers were using a “miracle pill.” (source)
We saw The Great Gatsby in 3D last night. It wasn’t the complete disaster I expected from the bad reviews and the stories about its troubled production, but I didn’t like it. I’m generally not a fan of Baz Luhrmann. I loved Strictly Ballroom, but all of his films since Romeo + Juliet have been too over-the-top for my tastes. I don’t mind CG effects if they are required – sure, go ahead and use them in The Avengers if you must. I just think character-driven stories don’t need them. We also saw Joe Wright recent adaptation of Anna Karenina a few months ago and I’m sure it also used CG, but it was used much more carefully, enhancing the story rather than over-powering it. That’s my two cents, anyway. Chrissy, on the other hand, loved it.
Who Is The New Doctor Going To Be?
The BBC has announced Matt Smith is retiring at the end of the year. Who will be the new Doctor (no, not John Hurt). My tip is Ben Whishaw
(he was Q in the latest Bond film), although he might be too big now. Cumberbatch is definitely too big – and he turned it down four years ago anyhow. It will probably be someone totally unknown. If I could choose, it would be Stephen Merchant.
Yeah the last season has been pretty dreary. It’s had a few cool moment (John Hurt) but nowhere near as cool as the first season of Eleven or the first couple of seasons of Ten.
How does the CEO of Evernote use Evernote?
Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, shares how he organises his personal install of Evernote.
As of the time of this answer, I have about 9,000 notes in my Evernote account divided among 45 notebooks. However, the majority of these notes are in my single, default notebook. (source)
A little disappointing to those of us who obsess over getting the right combination of Notebooks & Tags. At least he has more notes than I do (6617).
If you became, not only a superhero, but a world famous superhero whose identity was public knowledge….
And if your superpowers came not from a burst of interstellar radiation or gamma rays or a spider bite or anything else you had nothing to do with, but instead came out of your own genius and willpower….
Would you become a complete dickhead?
If you’re Tony Stark the answer is – YES.
That’s basically what IRON MAN 2 is about. The guy is, without a doubt, a dickhead.
We’ve already seen this in the last (please, Darwin, make it the last) SPIDEY film, with Peter going all jerko with the help of the symbiote – but in IRON MAN 2, Stark doesn’t need any help. He’s just an egomaniac dickhead.
Cuz I’m pretty sure I’d be a complete dickhead if I had a suit like that, too.
Okay, let’s cut to the chase. What did I like, what didn’t I like?
The film is less about fight sequences and CGI effect (thank Darwin, ZERO 3D), and more about characters. Favreau made a smart decision casting RDJ. He sells it 100%.
Robert Downey Jr – I’ve always been a huge fan and IRON MAN 2 is the perfect film for him. We all know RDJ has a history of substance abuse. Well now Tony Stark has serious problems, too. (By the way, I reminisced during the film about those long-gone days when Downey’s addictions got the better of him and his AIR AMERICA co-star, Mel Gibson, was the SANE one who swept him into rehab….).
Sam Rockwell – perfect casting as one of Stark enemies, HAMMER. He invents a range of killer androids called…. wait for it… the HAMMEROIDS (and he’s a real pain in the ass).
Jon Favreau – again the director plays Stark’s driver Happy Hogan, but fortunately this time he gives himself more action and screen time and he’s awesome.
Mickey Fucking Rourke – just cuz he’s Mickey Fucking Rourke. Nuff said. Sean Penn STOLE his Oscar.
Garry Shandling – cuz he’s Garry Fucking Shandling.
The Suitcase Armour – yeah you know why. It makes ZERO sense, but it’s just awesome.
Cap’s unfinished shield that Stark somehow gets hold of and uses as a prop.
Sam Jackson’s additional screen time.
AC/DC playing the intro AND the outro music. Yeah baby.
Sam Rockwell’s little James Brown dance.
Iron Man gets his triangle arc reactor.
John Slattery (aka MAD MEN’s Roger Sterling) as Howard Stark. Nice casting.
The teaser scene nearly nobody stayed around for after the final credits. It’s AWESOME (even though most of the people in the cinema who DID stay around for it with me were going “whaa?”, like they had NO IDEA what they were looking at. Pity the fools.)
Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard as Rhodey – why??
Rhodey just jumps into the Mark 2 suit and knows how to fly it and work the weapons? WTF? And how the hell does he power it? Does he have a hidden arc reactor in HIS chest cavity??
The whole “Tony Stark Has Holographic Computer Screens About 100 Years Beyond STNG”. Why??? It isn’t necessary and just breaks my suspension of disbelief.
Scarlett Johansson – meh
Larry Ellison’s cameo. Okay, I laughed, cuz we all know Downey’s portrayal of Stark has to be based on Larry (dickhead), and if it had just been a cameo I would have let it go, but all of the blatant Oracle branding in the film was awful. Audi I can live with. But Oracle??? Yuk.
Paul Bettany’s voice replacing Jude Law’s as Jarvis. Threw me. Thanks to Valeria in the comments for smacking me upside the head on this one. I could have *sworn* Jude Law did the original voice. WTF?
More tech-related stuff like how quickly Stark, Natasha and Ivan can hack into the most secure systems in the world in 3 seconds. Again, why do bullshit like that when it isn’t necessary?!? You know a lot of your audience are going to be geeks and that kind of shit just pisses me off. The screenwriters couldn’t think up something believable? Was that too hard?
Tony invents a new element… in three days. WTF? Please shoot me.
Well… the film isn’t perfect, but it was still a fun couple of hours and I’m looking fowards to taking my kids and Chrissy on the weekend for another look.
The best thing about it is the exploration of themes such as
“Would having these powers make you into a dickhead?”
“What’s Mickey Rourke hiding under that long god-awful hair he’s had for the last four films?”
Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen review from Cameron Reilly on Vimeo.
Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen is prety good as far as blockbusters go if you can look past the silliness and you dont get a headache from the Michael Bay cut-cut-cut bot fighting scenes.
It starts 2 years after the last film.
Sam Witwiky is about to go off to college. He’s still dating Mikaela (the hot as usual Megan Fox). Blunty told me she isn’t that hot in real life and so I didn’t talk to him for the rest of the morning.
As he’s packing to leave home for college, Sam pulls out the jacket he wore in the first film out of the closet and a piece of the AllSpark falls off of it. Apparently it got caught in his jacket when the AllSpark was destroyed. His mum didn’t wash the jacket? In TWO YEARS??? What kind of mother is that? My mother would have found that shit, washed it and the washing machine would have come alive and eaten her up like cookie monster eating cookies.
Anyway, the bit of the AllSpark falls on teh floor and all manner of kitchen implements come alive and start trying to kill Sam. Lucky he’s got a simpering Bumblebee living in his garage who exists soley to save Sam’s ass, like some big yellow slave. Sam even talks him like a cross between his house boy and a starved dog.
MEANWHILE, back on the ranch…. Optimus and the other autobots are running around with some soldiers trying to kill a bunch of Decepticons who are hiding. Two years and they cant find a bunch of Decepticons? WTF?
And other piece of the AllSpark which was left over from the first film is being protected in some military base. Without any autobots protecting it! WTF? The most powerful piece of tech in the UNIVERSE and it’s being protected by a handful of dopey soliders? RIIIIGHT.
So, of course, some Decepticons break in, steal it, and use it to bring Megatron back to life. He flies up into space to meet his master. Megatron has a master? I thought he was the big boss of the bad guys?
Noooo. Turns out he’s Darth Vader to an Emperor guy (who even refers to Megatron as “my apprentice”) who we find out is called THE FALLEN.
APPARENTLY… this guy, Teh Fallen, was on earth 12,000 years ago, building a machine would would suck the sun dry to use as energy. He was a Prime autobot who turned bad. He was defeated by the other Primes but, for some reason, not killed. He’s been recovering…. for 12,000 years. Waiting for his revenge.
And apparently he can’t get back into the game until all of the Primes are killed – the last being Optimus.
So Megatron hunts Optimus down and kills him. Yep – KILLS HIM.
Oh somewhere in here, Sam started having crazy visions of alien symbols, spazzing out in his astronomy class. His professor is played by Rainn Wilson from the US version of The Office.
It turns out that the AllSpark uploaded everything it knew about the history of the Transformers into Sam’s brain. That’s right – the entire history of a billion year old civilization was uploaded into this guys brain. And he didn’t have any side effects for TWO YEARS.
Oh yeah and Sam gets orally raped by a decepticon disguised as a hot chick at college. Hot chick is played by Aussie Home & Away star Isabel Lucas. I didn’t know she was an Aussie though, of course, because I don’t watch shitty Aussie TV. I found out from IMDB.
So apparently 12,000 years ago, during the big fight between the Primes and The Fallen, there was this other superduper energy source called “The Matrix” (riiight) that was supposed to power the sun-eating machine. Some of the Primes sacrificed themselves to bury it somewhere seeekret. Sam has to find it to bring Optimus back to life.
It turns out it’s buried somewhere in Egypt. Shades of Indiana Jones! A bunch of lame secret messages leads to the Petra in Jordan. I fully expected to hear Shia le Bouf say “Hey this is the place from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade!”
The find the Matrix, have a big fight with the Decepticons, finally stick the Matrix into Optimus, he wakes up, gets all pimped out, and kicks everyone’s ass, including Megatron and Teh Fallen.
End of movie.
The cameos from Deep Roy (as an Egyptian military guy at a border crossing), Rainn Wilson and, of course, the return of John The Fucking Man Turturro half way through the film.
Oh and you know that scene in the trailer of Megan Fox bending over the bike? Yah. That bit. That’s pretty good too.
In the end, what makes the film work for me is the humour. It’s the laughs. The big problems with the film, again, are that the scenes with the boys fighting are hard to follow and likely to give you a headache. It’s like someone threw up on the screen, just crap everywhere. I can’t tell who is who, all I know is that the bad guys are chrome and the good guys have colour. That’s it.
The VMAX cinema at Chermside is very nice, all leather seats, mmmm.
Today I got to see WATCHMEN at a screening! Thanks to Brady who came along to keep me company in the absence of a ‘special other’ and did the first part of the review with me.
WATCHMEN MOVIE REVIEW PART 1
WATCHMEN MOVIE REVIEW PART 2