Movie Review: 21

For me, it started with a glaring continuity error.

Let’s back up for a minute here. The most important thing a movie needs to do is keep your disbelief suspended. It’s what lets you watch James Bond movies and think of a car with missles under the engine as integral to the plot (Die Another Day is another matter). Three hours of The Lord of the rings would scarcely work if you couldn’t for that time believe the story.

So it’s an inauspicious start when there’s a simple and glaring continuity error. Not very long into the film, we see Kevin Spacey’s too-clever-by-half MIT lecturer deal out the first round of a Blackjack game. Cards are dealt face up to the the four players, and that’s part of the key to 21‘s premise, that you can beat the system by counting which cards have been dealt and so concluding which cards are left.

The camera then switches to a shot of our nominal protagonist, Ben (Jim Sturgess). He’s making excuses for not joining the team. You know it’s a weak excuse because the premise of the movie, what you’ve seen in the trailer, is that he’s going to go to Vegas-Baby-Vegas. The shot switches back to Spacey, and bam – continuity. There are now 6 cards on the table, face down.

If you’re not looking for it, you might not see it (though after reading this, you certainly will be). I wanted to see the cards out of curiosity at the hands dealt, expecting the first lesson in card counting to come then. But the sudden jolt of continuity threw me back into the fact that I’m in a theatre, and the elementary rules you expect to be followed have just been thrown out. It’s the same as why programmers can’t stand to watch movies about “hackers” – knowing what you know, the pretensions to reality are implausible.

And here, it’s something as simple as cards being upside down. It throws you off the dialogue, and makes you walk back through the plot you’ve seen already, thinking about whether you’ve missed any other goofs.

The second most important thing for a movie is to not be entirely predictable, and on that count, 21 fails utterly, and miserably. Continue reading “Movie Review: 21

Elsewhere

Elsewhere on the internet, I am actually updating more often then here. You just probably haven’t seen it yet.

Tumblr initially started as a mini-blog engine, kinda like an insta-blog that put no emphasis on lengthy posts. I used it mostly as a dumping ground for quotes I found funny and videos I wanted to watch but was at work and so couldn’t.

What I discovered recently however is that they’ve added functionality to pick up twitter, del.icio.us, and other random RSS feeds, and that’s very useful, because I do actually do stuff elsewhere on the net. It just doesn’t tend to get noticed much :) Tumblr allows me to collect all this random stuff very nicely and turn it into a random stream. I’m personally much in love with this as it’s zero-fuss and just works.

Not Goddamn Happy, Jan

Today… today was just about the worst day I’ve had at work, ever. It’s the kind of day where you genuinely think of throwing in the towel, and wonder what it will achieve. Getting out while the going is good is no longer an option because the going is no longer good.

Mondays are never the best of days, but today was a particularly malicious one. When you start off the day with your work being questioned and undermined despite your best efforts, you’re not much inclined to respond kindly, and so it was bright and early.

The rest of the day then preceeded in terms best espoused by Murphy’s Law. You may not believe, but it will goddamn get you, and it will all come at the wrong time, and it will come in a clusterfuck.

And then I get a call, at 7:30, me on my way home hoping to wind down, asking if it would be reasonable for me to work Hong Kong hours. Of fucking course it’s not reasonable, but if I say No point-blank, that’s not exactly going to make me popular, is it?

My phone will now remain off outside of work hours. I’ve had enough.

Movie Review: The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner: poignant tale of two Afghani kids, one Pashtun, one Hazara. Growing up in Afghanistan before the Russians invade, and then torn apart by the invasion. Based off the book of the same name by Khaled Hosseini, though I’ve yet to read it. Reasonably hard hitting story that manages to have a few light-hearted moments in it, with some excellent acting. ★★★★

ADSL2+

I think the speed peaked somewhere around 700kbytes/s before I ran out of file.

This is awesome. And I’m not even that close to the exchange.

No Net

I’ve been without the net for over 3 and a half days now, at home. And somewhat inevitably, it’s just when you don’t have something…

It’s at the point where even dad has complained that it’s not there. Mum, sure, she sends plenty of emails, she’s even on Facebook. Dad on the other hand barely spends time on there, and yet even he’s noticed. When you consider that 8 years ago, we didn’t have the net at all, and 5 years ago we were all too happy to be on 256kbps “broadband” (yeesh, really? who on earth would call that “broad” by any reasonable measure?), the change has been pretty drastic. I could go days without touching my mobile, but without the net, I feel unplugged, disconnected from the stream of the world.

It’s not even as though I do anything drastically important on the net. Between blogs, emails, facebook and news sites, all the net really is to me is a service to find out what’s going on in the world – mostly a world that doesn’t affect me at all. Events which matter to the blogotubes are given undue importance in my view of what is going on, and that can’t be healthy for connecting with local events. But none the less, to be returned to scheduled programming and nothing else is a shock to the system.