Sunday, May 29, 2005

18. The One When Things Really Get Weird...

Liverpool are crowned European champions after a miraculous comeback from being 3 nil down at halftime and being comprehensively made to look as hapless as baby penquins floating in a pot of boiling water by a classy Milan side. Surviving a sure-fire goal with a stupendous double-save by Dudek (of all people) in the closing moments of the match, Liverpool went on to prevail in a penalty shoot-out against a surprisingly nervy Milan.

When you think of European champions, somehow Djimi Traore, Igor Biscan and Josemi don't spring to mind. I mean, Djimi Traore for crying out loud, if there's a name to strike fear in the hearts of goalkeepers and fellow defenders anywhere, while at the same time have opposing strikers rub their hands together in glee, than Traore surely would be it. Yet stranger things have happened. Like once, erm, ah...let's see...ok, it doesn't get stranger than that. This surely takes the cake, the frosting and candles along with it. Maybe Revenge of the Sith being an actually decent film pretty much comes close. And I can count that time when a buddy of mine did a Superman stunt off the top of my speeding car (he only flew like for 3 seconds before he touched down on earth with all the grace of an elephant landing on thin ice after falling off a ten-storey building) as another rather peculiar incident. But nothing tops what went on in Istanbul on that fateful night. The gods must have been of a Scouser-like disposition eh.

Speaking of strange things, it's been a pretty good week for that. Like Carrie winning out on American Idol. Strange not because she won, but strange because I was hoping beyond hope that Bo could actually sneak a result. I guess the US presidential election results have thought me nothing. It only strengthens the sneaking suspicion I have that the large majority of Americans are flag-waving, God-fearing, Country-and-Western-loving, Iraq-bombing, simple-minded folk who really do love their Oprah and are fashionable enough to actually colour-coordinate the distinction between their two major political parties (blue state, red state...seems all rather off-kilter to me). Ok, that's over generalising things. But you get what I mean.

Strange things too are afoot in movie-movie land. Kingdom of Heaven's disappointing box-office performance is however not one of them. I think we've seen one sword-and-sandals pic too many. How much can one watch the same scenes of CGI armies hacking bits out of one another? I think if you've seen one siege scene, you've seen it all, and it's already reached it's absolute pinnacle with the Minas Tirith siege in Return of the King (am hoping that the battle scenes in the Narnia adaptation will offer something new, and from the look of the trailer, it looks promising). But if there's one thing that Kingdom has going for it, is it's underlying message. Although rather forced and slightly contrived, you have to give props to Ridley Scott and gang for having the balls to come out and say something about tolerance, especially in these testing times surrounding the Middle East. It seems rather out of place for characters of those medieval times to be displaying the sort of 21st century nuance and broad-mindedness, but hey, it's Hollywood, anything goes eh. I think what the filmmakers set out to do, and were only partly successful in a sense, was to come out and say: Hey, what's up with all the hate? Aren't we all a part of the same Abrahamic faith? Why can't we just all get along? Ahhh, a message for simpler times, perhaps a little too idealistic and naive. If only the movie was a little more honest in going about it than it would've been great rather than halfway decent.

On the subject of strange times in movie land, this year looks that way in the sense that there might actually be a glut of good films coming out for once. It's looking promising so far, promising enough to come up with an absolutely geeky list of the top ten flicks I'm most looking forward to:

1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - What a mouthful. But trust me, when it comes out in December, it'll be the buzz words on everyone's lips. Narnia looks set to emulate Lord of the Rings as the next big fantasy franchise. It's no coincidence that CS Lewis and Tolkien were best buddies. Perhaps they swapped notes while they were writing their own fantasy epics?
2. King Kong - It's directed by Peter Jackson. It's about that famously oversized ape with penchant for blonds and an altogether unhealthy obsession with climbing tall buildings. And yeah, there'll be dinosaurs aplenty in this one. Can hardly wait.
3. War of the Worlds - Spielberg. Dakota Fanning. Magic. Tom Cruise, not so good. But then again, giant ray guns, aliens, end of the world. Good. Good. Me must watch. Yes.
4. Batman Begins - Christian Bale looks set to be the kick-ass Batman that we all long suffering fans deserve. No more George Clooney with rubber nipples on suit. No more Val Kilmer with pouty lips. Most importantly, no Joel Schumacher with his gay fetishes and his looney campiness.
5. Howl's Moving Castle - Miyazaki's latest. His studio makes the best animated films in the world (Grave of the Fireflies and Princess Mononoke are still my all-time fav animated films), and this looks set to carry on with the trend.
6. The Corpse's Bride - Tim Burton revisits the same nightmarish landscape as his earlier claymation masterpiece A Nightmare Before Christmas. And Johnny Depp's in it. You just know that this will rock, in a quirky sorta way.
7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Ok, so it's Harry Potter, and the three films so far have been largely disappointing (to someone like me at least who's never read the books). But there's a dragon in this one, and to me, anything that involves a fire-breathing lizard in it is at least worth a watch.
8. The Fantastic Four - Jessica Alba in tights. Superheroes. Dr Doom. Cool superpowers. Did I mention Jessica Alba in tights? Yes? Ah ok. You get the picture.
9. Wallace And Gromit - The Curse of The Were Rabbit - Ah, the dastardly duo are back. Should be hilarious.
10. Sin City - This adaptation of Frank Miller's gritty graphic novel looks absolutely brilliant. And there's Jessica Alba in it too. Ah, bliss. This film should be to the guys what Steel Magnolias is to girls, meaning it's a kick-ass flick solely catered for the boys which makes no sense whatsoever to the opposite sex.

Noteworthy mentions -
The Island - After the promising The Rock, it went all downhill for the king of quick cuts, shaky camera shots and inane dialogue otherwise known as Michael Bay. He should fry in hell forever for that piece of shit that was Pearl Harbour, but he deserves one last chance at least.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith - Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie try to blow each other to kingdom come. Should be good watching.
Land of the Dead - Ah, another zombie fest from the legendary Romero. Anything with zombies in it is good in my books.
Deuce Bigalow- European Gigolo - Deuce amongst mutant women in Europe. Now this I gotta see.
Nightwatch - The trailer looks way awesome. Worth a look.
The Brothers Grimm - Hopefully, a dark grim fairytale. Enough to warrant attention.

Ah ok, enough already.


Betty said...

Hey Joe, so Carrie won. So our Bo lost. :~( So when are you gonna pay up the bet you lost? ;D

joe said...

Yeah bummer...actually kinda expected it...shhh, don't remind her k, haha

Betty said...

Haha!! Confirmed I sure remind her wan! Just tell me when you free!