Archive for September, 2011

Want to watch your dreams?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Before and after

It sounds crazy, but it just might happen! Berkeley University has come up with a technology that can create images of what the brain sees. Using ‘functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)’ they can read the reactions to the brain. Read the full story here, or watch their findings here:

I’ve always dreamed of watching my dreams, and soon enough I could watch that Inception-worthy concept! While it’s nowhere near that capacity, it’s marvels of science such as this one that gets the imagination flowing.

Who knows, maybe we can record our imagination to explain movie concepts! It would’ve certainly shortened J.R.R. Tolkien’s books if he could just show them to you.

More importantly though it could help people with speaking problems, and those unable to physically move to speak.

Imagine all the money people could save on psychiatrists! Or better yet, recording an embarassing dream and bringing it out on your friend’s wedding night (you’d be a terrible friend, but it should be a great video).

Of course it all leads into the negative sides of this technology. Dreams are sacred videos of the deepest recesses of our mind. Unholy thoughts are kept well hidden from public knowledge (says someone who used to love Will Smith’s ‘Getting Jiggy With It’).

Could it be something similar to Total Recall, perhaps? If they can learn how the mind visualises, they can play it backwards. That’d be dangerous if used in certain ways.

What if your loved one caught a glimpse of what you were dreaming? That person you swore has nothing to do with who you really love could then become a non-existent enemy. But look on the bright side ladies -- At least men’ll know what you’re thinking now.

Or is that a good thing?

What do you reckon is the best or worth to come from this possible technology?


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When re-releases go wrong (again)

Monday, September 19th, 2011

But....why?

A funny thing happens when film classics get modifications: No one’s happy.

Purists will preach that nothing could have made the film better.

Those who were willing to embrace the change, hoping for the best, were mostly left with nothing more than a couple of tweaks, and a mass of fanatics ready to point the finger and laugh at any positivity.

If you haven’t noticed any kerfuffle about the Blu-Ray edition of the Star Wars yet, here’s what’s happening.

Back in 1997 when films were still on VHS, the team at Lucasfilm figured with all the money made from the Star Wars saga it would be possible to enhance the film with digital technology not available when then films were first being made.

But....whyyy?

And as mentioned before, there were the purists, who thought nothing but anger towards the idea, and those who were ready to give it a shot, and were left disappointed.

Jokes like “Who shot first?” referring to the scene in Star Wars IV where Han Solo and Greedo are having their little chat in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Originally Han Solo shot Greedo first, but after the changes were made, Greedo turns out to shoot at Han first and misses, giving Han a chance to shoot back.

This changed the context of the scene completely, and obviously made die-hard fans the loudest expressing their negativity towards the change.

George Lucas was even seen wearing a ‘Han shot first’ shirt to confirm that even after the changes were made, it was a nod to not mess with what the fans love.

Well, at least it was assumed that he learned his lesson. The second re-release in 2004 has Han now leaning to avoid the shot before retaliating.

Why? We do not know. Okay, so you might say: “Who cares? What’s done is done. Don’t watch the updated one.”

But given in a sea of re-releases, when old footage can be enhanced and made clearer without modifying storyline (I can’t see the re-release of Ghostbusters going wrong, can you?), it’s unfair to the people who just want to own their favourite movie on Blu-Ray.

The worst part of the new set of changes to the six films? The horiffically cringe-worthy cry of Darth Vader’s “Nooooooo!” added to the pivotal moment in Return of the Jedi when Darth Vader decides to help Luke out by picking up and throwing the Emperor.

Usually it’s the other way around with changes, where the past comes to haunt them. Instead, people are crazing the crackle of celluloid than the crispness of high definition.

….“It’s a trap!”

Hah! Love it. I just hope that’s still in the film.

For a laugh: Check out this digital enhancement to George.

Oh, and a deleted scene of lightsaber-fighting kittens.


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Don’t be afraid of foreign films

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

'OSS 117: Le Caire Nid d'Espions'

Every once and a while we see a film that really captures our attention, and makes us want to yell on top of the mountaintops, educating the masses on something they’re missing out on.

It becomes a little more difficult if the category is under ‘foreign’ or ‘international’, because people only read:

‘Subtitles’

Convincing your friend that there is another echelon of entertainment beyond your nation is a hard sell. Again, mentioning the reading part.

Take for example a French secret agent named Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, codename ‘OSS 117′. Based off of France’s version of a James Bond character (and created four years before Ian Fleming), OSS 117 went from novel from the ’40s to parodical portrayal of spy films. But it is only through the film OSS 117: Le Caire Nid d’Espions (OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies) that I found a comedy I wanted everyone to see, but got the ol’ eye roll.

Another French film titled Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Sticks), was one of the biggest hits in all of France. It had such an effect, that there were talks of Will Smith bringing an American version of it over to English-speaking audiences. But like most remakes, I’m sure the jokes wouldn’t translate well. Given the storyline made jokes about the people of Northern France, the comedy is still there to be seen, understood, and laughed with.

Amelie was another great flick (another French film, yes, but it was one of my majors in university, d’accord?), but also made its way to international shores with great acclaim.

I won’t go into the importance of international influences on cinema (unless you want me to), but as you might’ve come across at some point, trying to convince another to watch ANYTHING can be difficult.

So here’s what you do:
1. Find out the title in English (or an equivalent).
2. Invite them over, and set everything up.
3. Don’t mention it’s from another country.
4. Once the film rolls, your friends will feel either too rude to get up and leave, or too intimidated to look stupid in front of you.

Ever been faced with problems convincing friends to watch films? Any particular films you thought were amazing or hilarious, but fell flat on its face amongst friends (oh, I’ve been there many times before)?


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That’s not how it should’ve ended

Monday, September 12th, 2011

"Aaand scene...and scene..and scene."

Ever get that feeling when a movie ends that you could’ve made a better ending?

It’s normal to have criticism after watching a blockbuster, indie, or any other sort of film, but there’s also watching a movie and expecting one ending, then getting another.

While it’s wonderful news to still be able to be surprised, it may not all be great.

Take for example Captain America. I won’t spoil you with the story of it due to the fact that I keep a reasonable amount of time reserved from movie release date time to not spoil any storyline. But in this case, I will refer to the video that ‘How It Should Have Ended’ made (somewhat spoiler alert!):

Doesn’t this remind you of how some films could’ve ended a lot better had the ending been closed off in a more sensible/believable manner?

I could go on and on about Stephen King films, but they’re adaptations of the book, so I’d be going after the source of the problem.

Personally most of the Indiana Jones films relied on one or two myerious forces, but for Indiana Jones & Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, aliens swirling around and killing the bad girl’s head.

The film Australia could’ve ended halfway. You know, before the second film started. Thinking about too many endings, when did you think the third Lord of the Rings film end?

What films come to mind that ended too abruptly, or made no sense, or even just plain upset you?


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Ready, Eddie?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Go on, raise the eyebrow.

The year was 1987. A suave charmer of a man walks on stage with a shiny blue suit, gloves and his trademark smile. Eddie Murphy spent an hour an a half making the Felt Forum at Madison Square Garden keel over with laughter. This was ‘Raw‘ – the first time I saw Eddie Murphy (on video).

Come next February, you’ll be seeing that same man walk on stage to host the 84th annual Oscar Awards. This has caused quite a stirring to the public, considering there’s a whole lot more to consider than Eddie’s best.

His early career on television and film showed Eddie Murphy at his prime. He never missed a beat, and if he did, could get away with being a charming and witty fellow. Little Buckwheat was awesome, the fifth Beatle was a classic, and Mr Robinson had to be one of my all-time favourites.

Sure, there were moments where he stepped a little out of line, but he held such a good image to the people that it was ignored. Richard Pryor was in some bad flicks, but that never changed the man.

But how could we say anything to defend the man for some of the choices made? The first Nutty Professor was enjoyable. Bowfinger was average, but Eddie wasn’t in a fat suit again. But then Eddie went into a fat suit again.

The Shrek series seems to be the only thing that has kept his head barely above water, and somewhat contain that same sass we fell in love with.

With that said, I’m looking forward to seeing him come on stage, but there’s just that gut feeling that they’re going to push him out on stage in a fat suit.

And that would hurt me more than Norbit ever could (and did).

Doogs’ Top 5 Eddie Murphy moments

1. Delirious
2. Raw
3. Beverly Hills Cop
4. Saturday Night Live – Best of Eddie Murphy
5. Coming to America


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The fountain of youth isn’t squeaky clean

Monday, September 5th, 2011

"I just want a little nibble..."

It may be that I’m trying to keep up to date with TV shows and am currently neck-deep (is that even a saying?) in True Blood, but there’s a little bit of news that has just caught my attention.

Stanford University, known for its upper-class persona and upper-lipped stiffness, has gone mythical. Not one to shy away from being pioneers of science breakthroughs, researchers have apparently found a way to slow the aging process in the brain (read the story here).

Though most of these experiments aren’t for human testing, hence the mice being used as test subjects, but apparently injecting an older mouse with young mice blood causes what is written as the “rejuvenation effect”, making more neurons, encouraging more activity across synapses, and less inflammation.

The opposite happens in reverse. While this sounds completely out of a film (which I bet the idea was originated from), I’m also shocked it hasn’t been tried before.

This is all too much considering the last week I’ve been spending playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and the concept ofaltering the human body. Not to mention that woman who injected horse blood into her several times. Could anyone be seeing this going all horribly wrong?

Kids! Don’t bite your older siblings!


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