Week 48 in Croatia

On Saturday November 29th in Split, around 30.000 people gathered to protest “against darkness, against oppression”, reported N1. In the same week when the Croatian Bureau of Statistics reported that “according to the flash estimate the quarterly gross domestic product for the third quarter of 2014 decreased in the real terms by 0.5% as compared to the same quarter of 2013.” That’s 12 quarters in a row, mind you.

In the same week the European Commission reported that “the contracting economy and high budget deficits have put the public debt-to-GDP ratio on a rapidly increasing trend, where fiscal consolidation is difficult in a recessionary environment. Slow wage adjustment contributes to accelerating employment destruction and increasing and high unemployment. High youth and long-term unemployment, as well as low activity rates further damage growth prospects, enforce negative feedback loops, and strain the social fabric.”

Now, I’m not big on numbers and I understand economy only so much, but doesn’t it seem amazing that almost 30.000 people gathered to protest against the situation in the Croatian Football Federation? I’m not going to judge, nor shall I endeavour to make an analysis of the sedated population, for I am a member of that population, but shit, aren’t out priorities screwed up?

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Ultimate Shōjo Experience! with pictures

What is it that makes Skip Beat! the ultimate shōjo experience?

  1. Hot, tortured male protagonist;
  2. Adamant, gutsy female lead; only slightly clueless;
  3. Opportunity to act on mutual attraction without changing the underlying friendly relationship necessary to continue the story = catharsis without main conflict resolution
  4. Love triangle, sometimes square, occasionally pentagon; plenty of jealousy;
  5. Secret past, part of which is shared by protagonists;
  6. Female lead kicking ass of bitchy female characters we love to hate;
  7. Various impediments of psychological and social sort standing between protagonists;
  8. Familial relationship between characters;
  9. No character is beyond redemption (most often through interaction with female protagonist).
  10. Multiple bishies

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Writing about Skip Beat! is a really arduous task, having in mind that it’s an ongoing manga (since 2002). Nonetheless, I feel that my previous mention did not do it credit.

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In short, Mogami Kyōko is in love with Fuwa Shō and she is prepared to devote all of her being to his happiness and comfort. However, once she learns he is an exploitative asshole, Kyōko decides to lock up her feelings and exert vengeance upon Shō.Through sheer stubbornness and monomaniacal focus, Kyōko enters the world of show business. Why? Because she is determined to dethrone Shō, who is no.1 pop idol in Japan.

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Tsuruga Ren, as a more mature and experienced man is juxtaposed to Shō. And even though Kyōko is largely concentrated on her vengeance, caring very little about her acting career or anything else, in time this changes. Ren comes to the forefront, first as a role-model, and then as something more. Kyōko starts to see past her obsession, past Shō and towards a future of self-realization, instead of a future realized through someone else.cain_heel_by_carly4015-d66uqjtKyōko and Ren are both actors, members of LME agency – something Nakamura Yoshiki uses to torture you with, employing endless role-play routines in which you do not get what you want, but somehow you manage to get close enough.

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Delayed gratification? I dunno. I’m pretty much prepared to believe anything Tom Hiddleston says. If me wait. Me going to get cookie.

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 I keep wondering just how much of this Guilty Pleasure business is related to latent masochism? To illustrate, it took 12 years for Kyōko and Ren to kiss (although, technically, it was not a kiss between Kyōko and Ren). The greatest problem of them all is that Nakamura-sensei can keep on doing this shit until all the fans of Skip Beat! shrivel up and die of a serious case of unmet expectations. But I have learnt my lesson.

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I’m aware that, led by cookie-logic, I might sit and wait, telling myself: “If me wait. Me going to get Tom Hiddleston” which is highly unlikely and would be very inappropriate. Yet, when Skip Beat! is concerned, I’m ready to accept cookie-logic and let it guide me.

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What is your ultimate shōjo experience? 

A/N: Ok, so maybe I’ve exaggerated with all the pics. I pulled them from carly4015.deviantart.comkir-tat.deviantart.com, and fanpop search. When I exaggerate, i EXAGGERATE, so here’s some more.

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Nightmare on Oven Street

I half-moved into a sort-of-new apartment on Saturday. But that’s not the topic of this post. I’m afraid of my new oven. I think it’s smarter than me, and I do not like the fact it looks like something extra terrestrial.

I’ve baked a thousand of muffins, but this is the first time I’m not apprehensive of how they’re going to taste, but rather of the oven’s  intention to take over the world, its HQ my new abode.

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Pink Floyd – The Endless River

When it comes to music, my appreciation for Pink Floyd is unparalleled. I experience their music on a primordial level – instinct and reflex. Yet at the same time the mind is restless, in a dreamlike state; old and new worlds coexist, dreary truths of our past coalesce with unruined future.

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Three things passed through my mind after having heard the new album for the first time:

  1. whale song
  2. elevator music
  3. was this song (Anisina) on the Lethal Weapon soundtrack?

Having listened to The Endless River a few more times I somewhat moved past those impressions. Somewhat. I scarcely ever have a feeling about an album, I normally enjoy music on a level of a single song. Except with Floyd. The Endless River lacks that unifying experience, and it lacks poetry.

All in all, it’s unispirational, bland and at times seems to be endless – and not in a good way.

Oh, look. I’ve written another non-review!

My compulsion to write about Interstellar is as strong as my disinterest for it. I cannot explain it. I normally don’t judge things I have not experienced. I think that is irresponsible. Still, here it goes. From the moment I saw the trailer for Interstellar I hated it. I just hate it with the entirety of my being. It’s prejudiced and pathetic to have such powerful feelings about something you haven’t given a real chance. But it’s there.

Where does it come from? It comes from an impression there’s an overwhelming perception of Christopher Nolan as an artisté (yes, artisté not artist) who hides his enormous artistic sensibilities behind blockbusters such as Batman and Inception.

That’s a load of crap. I’ve seen every single movie he’s made after Memento (not Interstellar, obviously) and I think most of them are pretentious and suffer from illusions of grandeur. I liked Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises not so much. I absolutely loved Inception. Memento is one of my favourite movies.

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I do not think he’s a genius writer/director who’s shaken the industry to its core with his treatment of abstract ideas. I think he’s a guy who takes great actors, a lot of special effects and spins them around some emotion or idea in a visually impressive way. It takes mad skillz to do that, undoubtedly, but it does not make him a genius.

I’ve stumbled upon a great article about the “Christopher Nolan Disease” which Sady Doyle defines as:

“…a saddening affliction, most common among blockbuster film directors named Christopher Nolan, in which vast, immersive, awe-inspiring worlds are created solely in order to tell the same damn story over and over again.”

Maybe I’m wrong and misguided, maybe most people think he’s overrated. There is a lot of criticism of his status as “one of the most influential directors of the new millennium” in the very article that calls him just that. I do however feel the need to point out the nascent nature of the new millennium.

I do know that I hate Interstellar and I felt a need to share that.

Constantine (2014)

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John Constantine is Exorcist, Demonologist and Petty Dabbler in the Dark Arts, a hero-against-his-own-will in the making who is on the path to becoming humanity’s only hope in the wake of the gathering forces of darkness.

The first episode, Non Est Asylum, did not leave much of an impression on me. However, having seen episode two and three, I must say I am thoroughly hooked. There is a sort of darkness in this show that makes the demon-fighting actually seem like a serious thing – not something you should mess with.

The ominous feeling, almost desolate, is interspersed with Constantine’s dry wit, awesome accent and the fact that he is not a pretty-boy. He’s been through shit. There are lines on his face and he has no time to dabble in fitness as well as in the dark arts. He’s a dude, through and through. It’s not like fighting evil is an invigorating and rejuvenating job.

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Being a fan of Supernatural (season 3 through 6) I couldn’t help but compare the two, especially during episode three, The Devil’s Vinyl. Here we have a Robert Johnson @ the crossroads situation, very reminiscent of an episode of Supernatural (Crossroad Blues, I think). From time to time, Supernatural tries, and fails to be serious. The episodes in which we are forced to see the truly dark side of the demonic and contemplate the ambiguities and fine lines of good and bad are a monumental drag. With Constantine, it works. You get chills, the heebie-jeebies, you name it.  And it’s still funny, in a desperate we-are-all-gonna-die way.

I sure as hell hope Constantine will not fall into the trap of becoming a parody of itself but will rather continue on its dark path.

Beyond Redemption

If there ever was a sorry excuse for a movie, A Dame to Kill for is IT. It is excruciatingly boring, insultingly slow and badly written.

Bad, bad movie.

This movie is simply beyond redemption. I shudder in its general direction.  I dislike Eva Green, and my opinion is that the only reason for casting someone who has her acting talent is the willingness to take off her clothes. (Ok, she was good in Dark Shadows, only because overacting was one of the prerequisites in that movie). But I digress.

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I’ve loved Josh Brolin since the Goonies, Joseph Gordon Levitt since 3rd Rock From the Sun. Mickey Rourke is one of my all time favourites, and I am also a fan of Chris Meloni. But I simply cannot fathom how this movie could have been saved.

Is there anybody out there who liked this?

Gone Girl Could Have Been Great If Only…

… someone participating in the making of this movie had some sort of understanding of passage of time.

… Rosamund Pike did not pick up the book the movie was based on and read some 10 or 20 pages of it explaining who, what, when, where, and why.

… the pace of the movie didn’t vary so much – from very interesting and dynamic to „oh-come-on-get-over-it-already“.

… the holes in the plot did not have a tendency to reach Grand Canyon-size (I’m told it is rather big, this canyon, which is Grand and also Canyon).

… that Volvo Ben Affleck drives in the movie wasn’t so noticeable.

… the last 10 minutes of the movie were in fact a reflection of 135 minutes which preceded it.

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Don’t get me wrong, this is a decent move. Rosamund Pike shows that she is so much more than a pretty, blonde, angel in the house. She is by far the best thing in Gone Girl, and my perception of her is forever changed.

The dialogue is snappy, intelligent and funny, and the chemistry between the characters is plausible. Tyler Perry as the archetypal defense lawyer, Kim Dickens as the reasonable detective, and Carrie Coon as Affleck’s twin sister were all good choices.

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It’s just… I have a problem with decent movies. It’s the saddest sort which excels at nothing, not even mediocrity.

More on the Gone Girl over at Anatomy of Reading and Other Demented Stuff