Transformers2: Marketing in Disguise

First of all, as a full disclosure I really liked the first one (against all my efforts not to and just see it for what it is – a thinly veiled uber-Pokemon-like product placement vehicle). I could look past all of this, if the next installment was any good, but it ain’t. There are some very clever graphics but it was all a bit too – well clever. And fast. I could not distinguish one robot from another, and it was hard to follow the action sequences in any enjoyable way, so was all a bit fast food.

Also, the women in the movie were all portrayed as wanton harlots suggestively posing over their motor bikes etc apart from one, who although she was carefully disguised as a wanton harlot, she was actually a killer robot in, well disguise.

Was it all bad? Well no, there were a few good bits that I kinda appreciated retrospectively but this is all the more disappointing as I should have enjoyed them when I was actually in the cinema. Techno fetishist souffle really.

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No Salvation for Terminator

Man this is a loud movie. For some reason, every single event is treated with the same level of decibels from the flicking of a switch to the application of a plaster, to the obvious array of relatively inventive aggressive special effects that are rolled out to agitate our protagonists.

Is it any good? It’s kinda “meh” really. There is no real sense of suspense and it is not as good as say the Spielberg/Cruise remake of “War of the Worlds” which had a real air of sustained threat and menace. This kinda plods. There is some rather tired “robots shoah” posturing and it is all just rather well, obvious and predictable.

Christian Bale is ok, but he annoyed me with his late night radio voice and faux intensity. The guy who plays the human/droid cross is much better but even that wore a little thin after a while. There are tons of holes, like how come the hot chick fell for the robot in the first place and some funny bits like the subtext that San Fransisco (well really Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley) is the only likely cradle of all evil that would spawn such a diabolical thing as thinking machines bent on mankinds destruction. As an aside, why would the robots want to destroy mankind anyway? That is also never truly clear. For me when humans see technology as totally evil I can only say that this is a projection on the part of humankind. The technology is only ever evil in its application, anyway…

Terminator Salvation is better than the “Rise of the Machines” but then again that wouldn’t be hard. -1.

Art in Action

Myself, Lorraine and her brother Dave visited the excellent Art in Action last weekend at Townley Hall in Co.Louth. It is a great day out with live music recitals, lectures on Philosophy, great food and lots and lots of Art on display. Whether ceramics, watercolours etc are your thing you will find something there to amuse and often amaze.

The event is run by the John Scotis School of Philosophy so there is an emphasis on interesting lectures on a variety of subjects from Vedic Maths to the music of Leonard Cohen. If that is all a little cerebral you can relax by the beautiful fountain and take in the sun, munch on a samosa and soak up the atmosphere.

I was very taken with the work of Ghanesh Bhat with his beautiful hand carved sculptures in the style of traditional Indian devotional Art.

To the Theatre James and don’t spare the horses! Part 2

Arthur Millers “All my Sons” is just finishing a run at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. It features a stellar cast, beautiful set design and brings the period after the second world war to light in this very powerful portrayal of the family microcosm in the wake of the war. Miller is often an acquired taste as he pulls no punches in examining the dark underbelly of post war life and nor does he offer any easy solutions to the complex moral questions that run through his work.

This was an arresting, moving and very physical performance which distilled the loss, hopes, resentments and guilt of a generation that experienced first hand the trauma of industrialised war.
As always Miller engages and involves the audience in a way that can make you question how you live your life and the impact of your own small part in the wider world. This is truly the hallmark of great theater or indeed great Art in general. It is not a mere passive object that we casually observe but its resonances can be felt long after the curtain falls.

Miller’s plays can have you reaching for the Jack Daniels before you can say “existential crisis” so if you are expecting light entertainment, then horsemen pass by. However if you wish to see the work of a master craftsman brought to life – then I highly recommend this excellent production.

To the Theatre James and don’t spare the horses!

What a great weekend we had! Beautiful sunny weather, the French Open, the hissing of summer lawns and some theater. First off we saw “A Lady of letters” by Alan Bennett in the Solstice Arts Centre Navan, produced by Tall Tales Theatre Company with incidental music by Alun Smyth.

A “Lady of Letters” features a hugely engaging, funny and touching depiction of Irene Ruddock, an embittered old soul with a propensity for letter-writing, however her compulsion soon goes to extremes. This was a great performance from the enigmatic Clare Barrett who inhabited the part with gusto. The simple set and beguiling music and sound design wove a spell that drew the viewer in, quickly establishing an empathy with the audience. Through the next hour the excellent performace whisked the viewer through Irenes world, and her hilarious and thought provoking world view was beguiling. Recommended.