Dystopian Dreams

Normally I wouldn’t waste my time writing a blog post about a bad, or series of bad, movies, but for some reason, I feel that maybe I should write something about the idea of the dystopia since I have just wasted about nine hours of my life watching the four Hunger Games movies. Anyway, I won’t actually write about what I thought of the films namely because I have already done so on IMDB, and I will include links to the reviews at the bottom of this post, however, I do wish to explore the idea of the dystopia in general, and have a glance to some of the recent series of movies (which have come out of books mind you) that explore this idea. Mind you, a part of me does want to hold off a bit so that I can watch Brazil again, but I suspect I’ll have plenty to write about that particular movie when I get around to it.

Gutemberg and the Power of the Press

It is difficult to pinpoint what the most influential invention that has ever been developed actually is, though Gutenberg’s movable type printing press is certainly up there. No doubt the inventions that have been the most influential tend to be the oldest, such as the domestication of animals, farming, the wheel, and of course the alphabet, and anybody who has played Sid Meyer’s Civilisation will no doubt be familiar with the technology tree, that is that technological developments come about from earlier developments, which in turn come from even earlier ones.

1984 – The Perception of Truth

Well, it has been a while since I have posted anything on this blog (okay, I have already posted a couple of things, but that was because I finally had some time to sit down and go over one of the old posts I had sitting there waiting to be published and have finally gotten around to finishing a second one that was partially written while sitting on a plane between Singapore and Frankfurt), but now that I have returned to Australia and have some more free time (namely because I have discovered that when I am travelling the last thing that I really want to do is write blog posts because they can actually be pretty time consuming) to actually go back to publishing stuff on my blog, and what better way to start it off again than to publish a review of a play that I saw in London. Actually, when I’m in London I tend to make a habit of seeing as many plays as possible, though I have to be honest that the whole ‘West-End experience’ is starting to get a bit dry. In a way, it seems that the plays, and musicals, that appear in the major theatres in Theatreland are pretty much the mainstream, but then again having seen Wicked and Les Miserables three times already I’m not in a huge rush to go and see it again.

The Bureaucratic Nightmare – Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

I had just managed to make my way through this book a second time, namely because I wanted to write a review of it on Goodreads (and Booklikes), and while it was pretty rushed, I had decided that I would leave it at that and move on to my next book (and project). However, as I am prone to do, I read through some of the other reviews of Goodreads (such as this one, this one, and this one) when I realised that I simply couldn’t just leave it at that scrappy piece of work that I wrote up on the train on my way home from work. Okay, while I have covered several points, albeit briefly, I suddenly realised that there is so much more to this book that I had to continue with my exposition on this blog.

The Hateful Eight – A Tarantino Western

Okay, before I continue it would be best that I mention that I am working on the assumption that you have seen this film, which means that there will be spoilers. Anyway I generally don’t write these posts as reviews, namely because I generally do that on IMDB (though I haven’t touched Rotten Tomatoes, and am unlikely to do so since I really don’t have the time to post all of my reviews up there as well, but who knows, I might do so in the future).

Cats – A Rather Extra-ordinary Production

I was going to open by saying that I am quite particular with regards to the musicals that I end up going to see, but when I come to think about it I am generally particular about most things (with the exception of pubs – there are very few pubs, and restaurants, that I wouldn’t visit at least once). I guess I don’t want to waste my time reading a book that is of no interest to me, or spending the money to go and see a play (or a movie) that I suspect that I am not going to like. Mind you, I guess that means that I am not opening myself up to new opportunities, but once again there is the time, and the money, factor (and the theatre is actually quite expensive – at least here in Melbourne).

Harsh Criticism – The Misanthrope

Honestly, I’m not really all that sure whether I appreciated the Bell Shakespeare Company bringing this play into the 20th Century in much the same way that they do with quite a lot of their plays. The thing is that while the idea behind a lot of plays are timeless, somethings seeing a performance set in the original setting is so much better than having to sit through another modern Australian adaptation.

Jupiter Ascending – The evolution of the secular gods

Years ago, when I was in university, I had this desire to not so much review movies, but to critically analyse concepts that I picked up while watching them. I guess it had a lot to do with me studying English Literature and the realisation that I could take the same ideas and apply them to Hollywood movies. Okay, you may be wandering what one could possibly get out of Terminator II, but I have actually written a review and posted it on IMDB. However, that was back in the days before IMDB ever existed, so using my SMUG (Student Machine Users Group) account I created a basic webpage to catalogue my thoughts. Mind you, I doubt that website still exists, and even if it does it is floating somewhere deep in the web, cut off from the rest of the internet. A few years later a friend at church directed me to the website Hollywood Jesus which tries to get Christian meaning from Hollywood movies (while in many cases is not all that hard to do, it does depend on the movie: I doubt you are going to get any Christian meaning out of Debbie Does Dallas).

Shakespeare’s As You Like It – The Original Four Weddings

I have had a rather odd relationship with this particular play. I first read it during university and it really didn’t appeal to me, especially since the lecturer that we had seemed to be obsessed with sex. At the time I really didn’t like the idea of sexualising Shakespeare; until I realised that Shakespeare is actually really, really dirty (though due to the language most of the references simply go over our head). However, it wasn’t until one of my friend’s put on a production of this play that I suddenly understood what was going on, and that my lecturer was only outlining what many of the academics had been saying for quite some time. Still, it is certainly not one of my favourite plays, and many of the elements that appear in As You Like It also appear in his other plays.