Tag Archives: Austrailia

An Idiot Abroad Series 2: The Bucket List

Let me start off my saying this series did do me head in. I’ve learned after a second trip with Karl Pilkington around the world, that you can do a load of amazing things in less than a year (proper funding needed, of course). But if a major programming station is footing the bill and your friends find you some wild experiences, go with it. Karl may think he hasn’t changed, but you can tell right from the get go, he’s a lovable guy who’s just like me. (Back to that later.)

In Series 2, we follow Karl’s choices off a huge generated list of “kick the bucket” like wishful experiences before you die. And even though he may choose things like Whale Watching and Desert Island, we know that isn’t all

Karl and some good ole Americana.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have in store for him. He may eventually get to “swim with the dolphins,” but he has to travel Thailand and be dressed up as a ladyboy before he even steps foot in the water in Australia. I laughed right along with Ricky Gervais in part two of the most expensive prank ever.

Go skimp Karl, or go home.

But I was a bit more proud of Karl this time for sticking up for what he wanted to do. He refused the bungee jump, as I would have. But, along with the bucket list things he did, he got expenses paid trips to Japan and Thailand. Ever since I discovered the wonder that is Thai cinema, I have been dying to go over there. Please Sky 1, pick me up as a travel host and transport me over there! But Karl pulled it all of in stride. If someone that stubborn can make it in Japan or Thailand and still do amazing things, sign me up.

I loved the little breaks Karl took during his work over in other countries. That is to say that the English speaking countries weren’t as fun because he wasn’t dictating the conversation or speaking for the locals in a hilarious way. He went to a cheap Ugandan flea market before seeing the gorillas. And he took his time there as well. Whenever there was an opportunity to jump in and dance someplace, Karl took it

The face of a scared man.

immediately. He may seem daft and apelike, but that man can light up a room with his goofy dancing.

And what’s to make it better than that Karl ends the show on a touching note. He has his revelation on Mt. Fuji, but Gervais and Merchant just knock it down. I, over the course of this show, have come to love and respect Karl Pilkington. I find his insights to be funny and all of his scenario situations are exemplary and logic (to a point). When I travel over to the UK someday, I’m not gonna wanna go running and looking for Clive Owen or Emma Watson. I’m going to find the nearest info booth and look at the worker and say, “Right, where do I find Karl Pilkington?” No joke, I want to sit down with this man and become his friend.

Only one of those is true… Karl.

Why would I say that about a dull, homely man like Karl? Because I am a dull, homely man like Karl. I don’t enjoy traveling or big crowds. I don’t like trying new foods or doing anything I know I will fail at no matter what. And I want to meet a man who can inspire me to do it by saying, “Look, we’re about the same right? If I can do it, so can you.” And I believe meeting Karl Pilkington, of all people, can make that happen. You hear me, UK? When this whole college thing is done, I’m comin’.

So I think it says loads about what I thought of the show and the content of what Karl Pilkington is as a person to say I want to meet him first and foremost. The show is entertaining and eye opening, funny, and extremely witty coming from a person

Don’t all British mind like a bit of drag?

everyone calls a div. To say I wouldn’t mind being Karl Pilkington is no stretch of the goal I could reach for. I even hear his voice in me head now. What a mental thing that is. Well, add that to me bucket list, meeting Karl Pilkington. Cause this show and the series as a whole (including Karl) deserve a 10 out of 10.

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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

If you want to enjoy one of the best visual experiences of your life, look no further than Ga’Hoole. A movie all about owls and the legends that bind them, this film is an amazing visual journey combined with some of the best digital animation I’ve ever witnessed. This is the only children’s movie I’ve ever wanted to see in 3-D. This movie destroyed my life and my preconceived notions on how to experience a movie, and reconstructed it entirely. I have to say, most of the plot was lost on me at parts because I was just enjoying what I was witnessing. I’m sure with Zack Snyder on board as the director of the film that the plot was adequate, but where he shines is his shot design.

So let me try to piece together what I gathered from this movie. Soren (Jim Sturgess) is a barn owl (they gave them a different name…) with a happy

This is what it's all about.

family. His older brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) and younger sister Eglantine (Adrienne DeFaria) and parents, Noctus (Hugo Weaving) and Marella (Essie Davis). I gotta hand it to Hugo Weaving for taking such a small part with the dramatic chops his voice holds, i.e. V for Vendetta. The younger owls all being fledgelings, they are still learning how to fly. They sit around all happily and whatnot in their hole in the tree and listen to stories told about the Legends of the Guardians. Fun.

Ahhhh, the Guardians...

And then things go from fine to horrifically wrong. Soren and Kludd do some showboating and find themselves in a cage match with a Tazmanian Devil (to tell you the truth, couldn’t tell what it was at the time). These two get picked off by some mean mugging owls and are taken away to some canyon base way out in the middle of wherever on Earth this movie is supposed to take place. (I guessed Austrailia due to the accents…) Upon discovering themselves in a bad situations. Kludd and Soren are put in a bad situation. They must fight for Metal Beak (Joel Edgerton) and his mate Nyra (Helen Mirren). Soren says hell no and Kludd allows himself to be roped in.

Soren, on his way down to the slave camp, encounters an elf owl named Gylfie. The two stick together and fake out their captors by pretending to be

This is the scene that blows minds.

moonshined (or moon lighted, whatever it is). Finding the help of one of their captors to be quite helpful, the two escape the canyon and head to find the tree that houses all the Guardians. On the way they meet Twilight (Anthony La Paglia) and Digger (David Wenham). This kooky pair is a minstrel and a whacked out digger (hence the name) that find solace in each other somehow. It turns out later that Twilight is a big badass fighter that can destroy about 500 bats.

A picturesque world in some faroff place... (Austrailia?)

Upon reaching the sea, in one of the most amazing visual scenes I’ve ever witnessed, they come upon the tree and recruit the owls in order to bring down some evil Mother’effers. With talons bared and metal steel forged for claws, these owls really tear into one another. Some betrayal and some harrowing experiences turn Soren and his friends into the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, and a bunch of other words and phrases they used I didn’t understand.

I have to comment on the cast of this movie. There are a lot of voices that I really couldn’t match with faces when I watched this. Looking back now, Zack Snyder and the casting director must have put some deep thought into a bunch of Austrailians and people who can do the accent for this movie. Hugo

Who knew Hedwig ruled the Guardians?

Weaving and his small part as the loving father. Word. He was born in Nigeria. That’s way out there but not a stretch with all the English accents he’s done. He has quite an interesting voice. Jim Sturgess? He was key as Soren. English, but he made me forget how much I hated Across the Universe. Here’s one out of left field. Ryan Kwanten, star of Dead Silence, was Kludd. His voice was so under the radar for me that I had no idea he was from Austrailia. Bravo right there.

Can this get any more spectacular?

Helen Mirren, the always popular and go to English actress for all things Mirren. DAVID WENHAM AS DIGGER. I could not pick that up at all. Who knew Faramir of Lord of the Rings could pull off such a silly and dorky voice like that. Should’ve remembered his character from Van Helsing… Abbie Cornish as the barn owl love interest towards the end of the film? Word. Another Zack Snyder influenced girl right there from my favorite, Suckerpunch. Even Leigh Whannell, director of the Saw series and star of Saw 1 was in this movie to lend his Austrailian accent. And let’s talk about the powerhouses! Geoffrey Rush as the crazy old Ezylryb, and he was eccentric and wonderful as Barbossa himself. Sam Neill, that dinosaur hunting bastard. What an expansive cast!

So, combine that amazing talent with the LITERALLY MOST RIDICULOUS COMPUTER GRAPHICS AND VISUAL EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. Let’s roll back time for a bit and return to 2011 in which I could see this movie in theaters, front row, 3-D. This is just one of those missed experiences that most kick themselves for. Soren rolling through the rain, the beautifully coreographed airborne fighting scenes. It’s as if King Leonidas and his Spartans could fly and were doing so in amazing HD slow motion. Get at me about that idea Snyder. It’s an idea worth pondering.

Who will win in the end?

I’m not sure about the plot. Zoned that out a bit. But who knows, I’m sure the book(s) were wonderful. And that probably attributed for a great, formulaic children’s movie. Simple and easy to follow. Journey, battle, heroes. It kept me interested and I’m sure, no matter the age, it would speak to all of our inner children. So check it out, even if you don’t feel like being childish. Watch it because it will blow your eyes out with its amazing look. That’s all you need to know. A definite 10 out of 10 for visual, 6.2 out of 10 for plot, all around 8.5 out of dat 10.  

And here’s that dope trailer.


Sucker Punch: Everything You Want From Zack Snyder

There is only one word that can completely encompass what this movie truly is.

Incredible.

Sucker Punch. Yes.

Plain and simply incredible. When I went with a crew to watch this movie, some didn’t know what to expect. Others were excited. Even few others, me and my roommate/best friend Ian were just about ready to cause some mayhem up in that theater because of pure joy. This movie, as of this year, is my favorite movie of 2011. Heck, best of the past two years, let’s just throw 2010 in there. I thought, hey, The Fighter will clinch my favorite and do okay at the Oscars. Granted. Now… If only Sucker Punch had come out in 2010. It would have blown The Fighter out of the water. This movie was some ridiculous shit. Hands down.

You really will be unprepared.

Let me try to explain this without giving anything away. Not much to give away though, it’s really all just about the experience. Baby Doll (Emily Browning) is a supposed mental patient accused of killing her sister and almost murdering her father. She became deranged after her mother’s death and couldn’t take it any longer. Her father takes her to a mental asylum in Vermont and she is held there until she’ll be lobotomized in a week.

Parallel to this runs Baby Doll’s inner fantasy of being taken to a bordello in which the girls dance for their clients. Baby Doll, being that unattainable virgin, is being withheld for the high roller (Jon Hamm) that is set to come in five days. Baby Doll plans on escaping before that day and enlists the help of four other girls at the bordello. Sweet Pea (Abby Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), and Amber (Jamie Chung). With their help, Baby Doll further escapes from reality into her mind as she dances to obtain the four items she needs to stage an escape. And that’s basically it.

Let me just start off by saying that Emily Browning was amazing in this movie. She’s beautiful, talented, and really come into her own in her early twenties.

Emily Browning. New Favorite Actress.

I’ve seen all her movies since 2000, major and minor roles (Ghost Ship, Darkness Falls, Lemony Snicket’s, The Uninvited, now Sucker Punch) and enjoyed every one of them. As she’s grown up, she has taken on a wide array of movies, from horror to children’s to action and the occasional drama. If I had to pick a favorite actress that I’m going to watch from now on, I’m going to place my bid on Emily Browning.

And that’s not to demean the rest of the girls in this film. I really enjoyed the Abby Cornish/Jena Malone combo. Acting as sisters who followed one another to the bordello, these two really did feel like sisters. I’ve found Jena Malone great since Donnie Darko with her alternative look and quirky acting, and now I’ve got a new actress to look out for. Abby Cornish, a new up and

Sweet Pea & Rocket

comer from Australia, was quite the actress, and I didn’t even know she was from there! In other movies she’s done (Bright Star, Elizabeth: The Golden Age) she stuck to her roots and did more period pieces. But I find now that she’s broken more into action and other forms of drama, I feel we’ll be seeing a lot more of Abby Cornish.

Blondie & Amber. They're okay.

And then there’s Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung. Let me put it this way. Vanessa Hudgens is attractive. She may be talented in the way of singing and Disney Channel acting. But the part as a supporting cast member in Sucker Punch was about the only thing she could play. She was more for show than for play if you catch my drift. Jamie Chung on the other hand was a bit better. Playing as the fragile transporter bordello girl in this movie was not a stretch for a girl I’ve only seen in Sorority Row (not bad, I must say, even though most critics wouldn’t agree. It was brutal, at least.) Oh, AND SHE WAS IN DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION. Enough said.

Who I have to give it up to in this movie is Oscar Isaac. That man can act. As Blue, the bordello boss and mental asylum orderly, he switched between roles flawlessly at the end and kept up that “don’t mess with me, I have a short fuse” type of acting style. Although he may seem not that strong or menacing, he pulled it off with his voice and actions throughout the entire film. The first thing I’d seen him in was Pu-239 (great film) and I remember him distinctly in

Oscar Isaacs, Prince John. Better in Sucker Punch

Robin Hood as Prince John, quite the effeminate, yet brutal character. I guess if I had to compare him in acting to anyone, I would say Joaquin Phoenix (like in Gladiator).

Now, let’s talk about the special effects. I’ve heard people liken this movie to a two hour Final Fantasy cutscene. Yes. I agree. But about 1,000 times better. This movie was insane when it came to special effects. No need to see this in 3-D, this movie was just as badass in 2-D. This movie has everything (probably why they called it Fantasy, Sci-fi, Suspense, Thriller, Action… etc.) There are zombie WWI German soldiers, Orcs, Dragons, killer robots, you name it, this movie has got it. And it’s not cliche. It gives an authentic feeling to the old classics that every man in the world has imagined battling. And then it does it. Zack Snyder directive attention to the details of the small things, example, the texture of bullets and shell casings, the way glass looks when it is rained on, the inner workings of a functioning robot. All present and accounted for, slowed down, and shown in detail. That’s what I call devotion to the art of art direction.

All in all, this movie is hands down the best movie I’ve seen in a year. But what else do you expect from Zack Snyder. Let’s recap, shall we? 300, Watchmen, Guardians of Ga’hoole, Sucker Punch. That beginning of a laundry list of badass movies is what I like to call ridiculous. Zack Snyder is fastly becoming one of my favorite directors. 11 out of 10. Yes. 11.

Oh, and the SOUNDTRACK. Check it out, it’s quite amazing.