Tag Archives: movies

Blade Runner or Lame Runner?

Of all the sci-fi movies ever made, just a few stand out as true masterpieces. One of them, IMHO, is Blade Runner, released in 1982 (depicting the year 2019 – next year!).

And you may already know about there being a sequel, which was released last year – Blade Runner 2049. Well, I finally got round to watching it the other day on a plane.

So what can I say? It’s a goodie, for sure. But it ain’t no masterpiece. I’d put it on a par with, say… Passengers. I’ll give it 6.5 out of 10. The original was a straight 10/10 – up there with the other best-ever sci-fi movies, like Solaris, Stalker, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. But the sequel (as is often the case), was a bit of a let-down.

Herewith, my brief pros and cons of Blade Runner 2:

First, the pros:

+1: As already mentioned, overall it’s still a good film: original, well written, well directed.

+2: The Russian word Целина (Tselina) is written correctly on the greenhouses at Sapper Morten’s farm (This is a reference to Khrushchev’s ‘Virgin Lands’ campaign (Osvoyeniye Tseliny) in the Soviet Union where citizens were moved to undesirable and sparsely populated land to start farms and grow food).

Next, the cons:

-1: For me, the biggest and most unforgivable con is how Wallace and his replicant, Luv, are portrayed; i.e., as (very bad) baddies. In the first film, there are no baddies at all; replicants kill, but that’s what they’re designed to do by their makers – humans – and they kill only for understandable reasons: to survive or out of desperation, after all they get themselves into some awful situations. In the new film these two are maniacal sadist types completely lacking in moral compass, but, like, with zero explanation as to why. Grrr.

-2: Luv on her own. She’s Wallace’s right-hand replicant. His ‘first angel’, she can enter his room without knocking; however, she’s also engaged in direct sales, at one point explaining to a client how a product can be customized (the first scene at the Wallace Corporation). Nonsense. What, did they want to save on the number of actors needed for the film? I really don’t remember any such bizarre half-baked scripting in the first film.

-3: Assorted other puzzling bits. In particular:

– There’s dialogue at one point in a home for the elderly between Deckard and Gaff. And suddenly they switch to Hungarian. WHY? So everyone would look it up on the internet to see what it means (btw: nyugdíjas means pensioner in Hungarian). Yes, it’s cityspeak, but why the sudden switch? What’s it mean – if anything? Again, unfathomable. Could it mean Deckard is also a replicant and he was ‘retired’? No, he’s in the ruins of Las Vegas with a dog and a cistern of whisky. So, where’s the Hungarian connection? And how come no one else is in Vegas, attracted by this endless stock of vintage Scotch?

– There’s a character called Dr. Ana Stelline. Turns out Anastellin is a drug that suppresses tumor growth. Again, WHY? What’s the deep significance of this? (Maybe you know? > the comments).

-3.1: The scene featuring the child trafficker’s ledger. Why does the camera give us this sequence: back, hand, palm, ashtray – which is turned round to reveal a pic of a horse. Of course he then remembers everything, but that would have been obvious without the mysterious camerawork. Once again: WHY?

Btw, there are some good subtleties too. For example, in the ‘children’s home’ they shave the boys’ heads while leaving the girls’ hair to grow long. So – K’s recollections are of a girl, specifically of the girl who planted the recollections. Good, subtle, cool.

-3.2: Another unexplainable: a wooden toy horse costs a ton of money. However, in the very first scene of the film we see dead trees on farmland. Why didn’t the farmers saw up the trees into pieces and become millionaires?

-4: How does a replicant get into the chief of police’s office? Through the wall like Terminator? And how does she get into the police station’s evidence vault, which would have been guarded well, with dogs, video surveillance, and so on. Teleportation? So why doesn’t anyone else do teleportation? And why don’t they show the teleportation? How K got in there is shown. How the lunatic replicant got there – a mystery.

-5: How Roy Batty got into the bedroom of Tyrell is clear. How Luv moves through well-guarded walls – another puzzler.

-6: At the very end, how does K find out that Deckard is being driven in one of three cars. Telepathy? He destroys the other two (which didn’t fire back). The third, with Deckard, is only partly wrecked.

-7: Why doesn’t the super-astute K check his own DNA in the archive where he checked Rachel’s DNA? How could he not think of that one?! How to read others’ memories – he’s got that licked. A modicum of common sense – a complete lack of, all of a sudden.

Despite the cons far outweighing the cons, this is a film to be watched. But just once ).

A Great Big Conference in China.

I have just attended a Very Interesting Conference, namely the World Internet Conference 2015 in China. You can find out more about the conference in the news (if you’re interested), but I have my own story to tell.

The event took place in the historic town of Wuzhen, which was closed and cordoned off in its entirety so it could receive high-ranking guests, including presidents, prime ministers and China’s Chairman Xi in person. I fell asleep on my way from Shanghai to Wuzhen, so I don’t know exactly how many security cordons we crossed. The roads in Wuzhen were empty, the clouds had been dispersed (or they may have dispersed of their own accord, I’m not sure). The weather was bright, bordering on frosty, and the heat-loving locals were wrapped up in coats and scarfs.

The first day of the conference was a killer.

The action started at 8.00 in the morning and finished at 11:30 at night. “I almost died” (c). However, I did meet some very interesting people :) and made an important business announcement.

On the second day, I managed to find some time to wander around this remarkable place as a tourist. It was very interesting. On the Web Wuzhen is dubbed ‘The Chinese Venice’. Yes, the principle is the same as Venice, with canals, bridges and boats, but all with a Chinese flavor and much smaller in scale. You can stroll around the whole of the old town in just 2 or 3 hours, and that’s taking plenty of time for pictures.

wuzhen-1

Read on: A movie on the way back…

Mission Impossible 5 – in KLondon!

I’ve been known to have a pop at the quality of Hollywood blockbuster movies released in recent years. But there’s a new film that bucks the trend, which I recommend everyone sees at the soonest! (But then I would say that)…

This impossibly incredible film I’m talking about is Mission Impossible 5.

So what’s so great about it that it gets a whole EK blogpost dedicated to it? Can’t you guess?…

…Yep, a scene in the movie was shot in one of our offices – our UK one in central London! Specifically, an interrogation scene in the ‘CIA’s London post’ was filmed in the building our office is in in Paddington, some of it on our floor.

Left to right: Alec Baldwin plays Hunley and Simon Pegg plays Benji in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.Left to right: Alec Baldwin plays Hunley and Simon Pegg plays Benji in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions

What struck me as curious at first was that we didn’t solicit any filming – in fact we didn’t do anything.

All that happened was the director liked the look of our office building. Apparently they looked all over central London for a suitable backdrop for a particular scene, and eventually settled for our new office. Can’t say I blame them: our EU business operations headquarters look impressively spanking and swanky. They’re also very conveniently located: right next to Paddington Station – with a connection to the airport via the Heathrow Express that takes just half an hour. It’s just a shame all the KL logos – plus even all the Ferrari kit and paraphernalia – had to be taken down.

Witnesses gave the following account of glimpses of the proceedings:

The shooting took place on October 11-12, 2014. Though it was a weekend, all the people invited to the filming were at their desks. Everything started at 6.30am and finished at 6pm. For all that time they were shooting and reshooting a scene that lasted only 20 seconds in the final film. That’s show business!

In all 400 folks took part in the making of that 20-second footage, including Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and… our KLers! Here they are, the beauts:

TAURUS

As you’ll have guessed, they were extras milling about in the background. I can’t wait to see the actual scene and find out who made it into the final cut. If you’ve seen it – let me know in the comments! I promise a nice surprise for the first to do so :).

Btw, the fee we received from the production company was donated to a foundation for the protection of kiddies from cybercrime.

And this (and this) is what our office looks like on a regular workday when Hollywood A-listers aren’t paying a visit.

The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Many of you will know that the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42. But no one – NO ONE! – including Douglas Adams, the one who came up with the Ultimate Question and its answer, knows why it’s 42, and not 17, 41 or 43. I didn’t know earlier either. Now I do. And you won’t believe it…

Now, I didn’t go looking for the answer to this eternal question. It was the other way round – the answer found me: In a hot river on the island of Iturup!

So, the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is this: ’42’. That’s the temperature of the water in this magical river.

The ultimate question

Read on: what a place!…