Tuesday, 31 August 2010

My Andy Goldsworthy Transcription

I previously blogged about Andy Goldsworthy and his nature art; looking at flora and nature myself for my current art project, I decided to try and create a sculpture in his style and observe the changes it takes over time.

Firstly, I started collecting leaves of different shades of green and of varying sizes before laying them down on the ground. I tried to do it on grass, but due to the size of the leaves, it just wasn't feasable so ground it is...

It was a bit of a struggle to arrange the leaves to begin with but once the basic shape was laid out, you can quite easily mould the whole thing into a circle by pushing at the sides...

I left the sculpture as it was and checked back on it every day to see how it changed- wind, animals, rain and other natural forces had altered the sculpture, before it finally all blew away and returned back to nature.

The idea of letting nature affect/carve/manipulate art is extremely fascinating and I am excited to try more using this theme.

Monday, 30 August 2010

The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus DVD Review

Upon first hearing about this film, I thought it was extremely interesting, not only because of the hype about Heath Ledger's death affecting the film, but also the plot was quite fantastical. After watching this, I was hugely let down.

The cover of the DVD would lead you to believe this movie is some sort of epic fantasy film, similar to the likes of Harry Potter, Stardust or even perhaps the Narnia series; at least that was what I was led to believe, and in parts it is. But don't watch this based on pretty box art or you will be fooled.

The plot revolves around Dr Parnassus (Christopher Plummer), a man who made a bet with the devil, Mr Nick (Tom Waits) for immortality. Upon dealing with the devil yet again to obtain true love, he promises to surrender his only daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) on her sixteenth birthday.

As a betting man, Mr Nick once again makes an offer, that the first person to obtain five souls through the Imaginarium (a mirror that grants the user their desires through imagination upon stepping in) as there are choices within, will win Valentina. With the help of Tony (Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, Jude Law), they must try to "collect" five souls before Mr Nick to save Dr Parnassus' daughter.

I had not read the "blurb" watching this so I pretty much had no idea what this was about, and it was about one hour into the film before all was made clear, by then I had pretty much lost interest and just waited for action, or even signs of action, to take place. Luckily, we were given a peep into the Imaginarium early on in the film and that pretty much held my intrigue throughout the movie. What is it? What does it do? Also early on, the troop picked up Tony aka Heath Ledger, who would prove to be a valued asset in obtaining souls, the actor being one of the reasons I watched this film at all.

Despite the film being extremely slow in pace, the direction was unclear and I had no idea when the climax was... I was waiting and waiting, and it just didn't come. Right at the very end, when the climax was supposed to occur, the moment became so cringe-worthy. You will know if you have watched this as to what I am referring to- the "dance" sequence.

Also the themes within the movie such has Heaven and Hell, temptation, sin and the like should've been better executed. Not only was it too "tame", there was a Dogma style that made it really annoying. It never goes dark/deep enough, nor is it subtle enough, leaving the major themes stuck in limbo.

What I do have to commend in this movie is the Imaginarium itself and the potential that it had. The fantasy worlds that we were able to delve into were diverse and varied. These were the moments I paid most attention and were pretty "sucked up" into this world. The idea of stepping into a mirror that grants desire; multiple conflicting desires and imaginations has so much potential that I feel somewhat robbed after watching it not to have been fulfilled by any of it. Disney Pixar, had they gotten the rights, would've made this into an Oscar winning smash hit animation, or action adventure.

Heath Ledger- Tony
Johnny Depp- Tony
Jude Law- Tony
Colin Farrell- Tony
Lily Cole- Valentina

Also stars Andrew Garfield, Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Verne Troyer and Paloma Faith.

I would say Heath Ledger did a pretty good job as Tony for the parts that he was able to act in. There is a quirky Captain Jack Sparrow feel to the role which when Johnny Depp stepped in for his cameo in the first imaginarium was quick to pick up; he made the role his own despite his short screen time.

Jude Law suffered a bit more in my opinion and was perhaps the worse of all the Tony's. I like him, but he was wrongly miscast, at least for the segment he was given. Colin Farrell did well in the last Imaginarium sequence, perhaps due to the fact there was a darker side to it. All in all, the use of different actors for the different imaginariums worked well given the circumstances, although none of the actors were given enough screen time to shine.

Lily Cole, who plays Valentina, made the role a rather bratty one. I generally like Cole, but in this film, she was just a bit annoying, whiny and dare-I-say chavvy. Perhaps she drew inspiration from St Trinians, where she previously starred. She would've fit right into Skins. It was rather obvious the film was trying to sell her, given she had perhaps the most screen time.

Andrew Garfield made a good impression on me in this film and I wish there was more of him, but I guess I can wait for the new Spiderman, or Never Let Me Go, where he stars alongside Keira Knightley.

It was also a pleasant surprise to see Paloma Faith in the film having a cameo role. I always get her and Marina (from Marina and the diamonds) mixed up facially... but yeah, she was a nice extra; shame she didn't get to sing.

The DVD has a large amount of extra features which include several Heath Ledger ones (Interview, Wardrobe Test); Director's commentary, Deleted Scenes, Feature on the Imaginarium, "Behind the mirror" and a UK premiere featurette.

Such a shame I did not enjoy the film at all, hence giving me little/no pleasure to view these extra features.

Anticlimatic, boring and simply wasted, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus will bring no joy to adults or children, leaving you feeling robbed. Thank God Inception was released, which in a way redeems certain ideas I liked in the movie. There is a good cast, has great potential, but badly executed. Plus, the English chav accent is extremely annoying. I highly recommend not watching this; I watched it so you don't have to. Where can I get my refund?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Heather Kuzmich by Mireya Acierto

Heather Kuzmich was recently shot by Mireya Acierto in a gorgeous setting. Heather looked fabulous and seemed to know what she is doing in the shots. You would not be able to tell that she has aspergers syndrome; her confidence beaming from the images. I do think though that there is a lack of edge that she showed us during ANTM, but I'm just glad she is getting more work!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Rome (July 2010)

Got back from Rome yesterday to drizzly UK, grey and cold... really not nice weather given Rome was super hot and sunny! It was over 30 degrees everyday so to come back to rain was not pleasant...

Despite only spending three full days in Italy's capital city, we managed to visit all the major tourist sites with time to spare...

Day 1- Navona Square, Pantheon

After we got off the flight, we got to our hotel by a rather overly competent Italian taxi driver who shoved nine people into his seven seater van and swerved us to our hotel, near the Vatican City. We then made our way on a short walkie to the centre of Rome, where we visited Navona Square.

Navona Square is a beautiful piazza which houses the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of four rivers) and the Pamphilj palace. It was stunning to see the large amount of artists in the square; one's portrait of Angelina Jolie was really beautiful, like spot on. We bought a pineapple flavoured ice cream (which melted too quickly) and made our way to the Pantheon.

The Pantheon was built as a Roman Temple but has since been used as a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to "St Mary and the Martyrs". It is free to enter and you will be WOWed by the Pantheon Dome. It is amazing how much light gets in through the oculus. It was also really cool in here, so if you want to escape the heat and you are nearby, pop into the Partheon!

Day 2- Bus Tour around Rome (Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Colosseum)

In order to get to the places further from us, we took a "Hop-on, Hop off" bus tour which allowed us to travel to the major sites without too much walking. It only costed 20 Euros per person and you can access it unlimited times during a 24 hour period, so it was quite good.

We got off at the Piazza Venetio, went up the Palatine Hill and made our way to the Colosseum along the forum. We didn't go into the Colosseum; there were too many people in the queue and it was too hot... I'd been inside before and it was stunning, but the gift shop was overpriced (as usual) and a lot of it was out of bounds which was a shame.

Our next stop was the Trevi Fountain, which in my opinion is the most beautiful thing in Rome... It is just so imposing, yet soft and gentle. Of course we threw coins into the fountain... and reading some trivia... apparently around 3000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day, they are somehow scooped out and used for a supermarket for the needy. Interesting...

We made our way to the Spanish Steps but tired and slightly moody family members did not want to walk up the steps in the heat so we took a metro train to the Piazza del Popolo, where we walked around and attempted to get to the Villa Borghese gardens, but didn't manage to see what we had intended due to a lack of a map... oh well.

Tired and hungry, we returned to Piazza Navona for an expensive dinner, but we did get "complimentary" music and the nightlife was really buzzing. Artists and musicians were still hanging around the square, but a new kind of energy was around at night. It was completely different than what it was like in the day time.

Day 3- Vatican City

Staying so close to the Vatican City, we spent the morning there to avoid the queues, enjoying the intricate artworks and carvings found inside. It is mouth dropping the level of craftsmanship that is required for the creation of the paintings and the statues- really stunning. You can quite literally spend hours admiring the artwork.

Unfortunately, we missed out on going to the Sistine Chapel- it would've been quite a long walk (and giant queues) but knowing that, I am sure on a future visit, we can plan more accordingly.

I bought a stamp from the Vatican post office :D

For the rest of the day we went souvenir shopping, ate ice cream and just relaxed.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable trip, and despite it being just three days in length, we managed to visit all (well most) the sites with time to spare. It is definitely worthwhile visiting and I can safely say it is still my favourite city that I've been to.

A word of warning, everything seems quite expensive compared to the UK. Expect food to be around 10 euros per dish with drinks starting at 3 euros a glass. But don't worry, you can always fill yourself up on cheap ice cream.

Guy Walks Across America by Concious Minds

A recent Youtube Sensation created by Conscious Minds is "Guy Walks Across America" where over 2000 stills were meticulously calculated and taken over a period of about a month across America. The result is an amazing stop motion video that is super clever and makes you go WOW!!

Check it out:

Check out the behind the scenes footage:

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Inside Outside Tree by Sou Fujimoto Architects

I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) yesterday to see the architecture exhibition (1:1 Architects build small spaces) in which Sou Fujimoto's "Inside Outside Tree" is featured. Made of Acrylic and joined by cable ties, the big box-like structure is stunning when viewed at different angles. The light that comes in through the window is reflected along the smooth surfaces and going inside gives a totally new perspective as well. It is definitely very sci-fi and looks phenomenal.

You can see the tree-like inspiration from the perspex model below.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Toy Story 3 Film Review

I heard great things about this film and being a child who grew up watching the first film, it only seemed right to see this. Children nowadays didn't know what went on in the first one; they'll have to catch it on VHS or the re-released DVD.

It is now pretty standard to see a short animation before every Disney Pixar film and this one is titled day and night. I thought this was phenomenal. In a space of around five minutes, the simple "blobs" conveyed so much emotion and the dual expressions on their face and "inside their body?" really worked well. I really liked this short and can't wait to watch it again [on Youtube] or on the DVD when it is released.

Andy is going to college and has to get rid of his toys. By mistake, his mother (that cow) throws away his toys that were meant for the attic, but luckily the toys had more common sense than a full grown woman and escapes. Deciding that their fate at a day care centre would be better than being trash, they jump into the donation box and get whisked off to Sunnyside, despite Woody trying to convince them of Andy's true intentions.

At the Day care, the toys get warmly welcomed by Lotso Huggin' bear and Co. but Woody takes none of it and luckily escapes, gets found by Bonnie and is taken to her home. However, all is not as it seems and the day care turns into Hell, where the toys are tortured by the young children.
the help of Woody, who returns to aid their escape, the toys mustUpon trying to revolt, they are put in their place by Lotso and the newly configured Buzz.

With Woody's help (who realises the tyranny that exists at Sunnyside and returns), the toys must figure a way out of this war-zone, where every corridor, window and room is manned by an evil monkey and the minions of Lotso.

I thought the plot was rather solid, but my first dislike of the film came when the toys all come out and everyone was gone. Sold, donated, binned was the only explanation to the disappearing of Bo-Peep (and her sheep, which would've made great lovers to the alien men with three eyes), Etch-a-Sketch, The binoculars, the car, the rest of the army men (three existed)... Thankfully the crazy monkeys in a barrel made a quick appearance in the opening fantasy scene, which I thought was hilarious and perhaps one of the best parts of this film.

That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie with the humour quite subtle and there are points that really did make me laugh. I really liked Mr Potato head as Mr Tortilla head, but the best bits go to Barbie and Ken, new toys that really should've made an appearance from the first film. I was surprised (and happy) to see a Totoro plush; that definitely added to my liking to this film.

Ending wise, I thought it was quite sad, but exaggerated and slightly predictable... but it was bittersweet. I don't quite know what to make of the ending... it really depends if they decide to make a fourth installment. . . (will be explained in the last paragraph).

Tom Hanks resumes his voice for Woody, Tim Allen for Buzz and Joan Cusack for Jessie.

I thought Jessie was uber-annoying in the second film, and it definitely eased, although the beginning part did have a lot of grating on her part.
OH, and can someone clear this up for me. Isn't Jessie supposed to be Woody's love interest? It seems like Buzz is going in for the kill with his Spanish moves... if only Bo-peep was there... :P

Other voices include Michael Keaton (Ken).

~~~3D or NOT~~~

I thought the 3D effects were pretty rubbish for this movie. I stupidly went and saw Toy Story 1 in 3D when it got re-released and I have to honestly say the effects were the same at best. Don't bother seeing this in 3D. The Pom-Bear advert had better effects than the film.


The film overall was enjoyable in terms of humour and themes, and plot wise it is strong. I wish they didn't have to get rid of most of the retro toys in the first film; that was a bit sad, but the new toys they brought in definitely filled the gaps. Is it wrong for me to still find Lotso Huggin' bear really cute? And it smells of strawberries!!! It really does, I checked it out at Toys R Us.
Anyway... it was a good film overall, but not the amazingness everyone says it to be.

~~~Toy Story 4 or not?~~~

There will be great debate as to whether there should be a fourth film or not. The way they ending this one, I definitely do NOT want them to create a fourth. Whilst it will of course generate more money, there is pretty much no way for them to pull it off well.

They can't NOT feature Woody, Buzz and Co. but it would seem wrong to have them have adventures that aren't about returning to Andy, unless it is like a new generation where Bonnie is now the new owner, which would suck. She is cute, but not enough to replace Andy.

However, if they DID plan to end it with this as its last installment, I would've liked them to all die in the fire furnace. Their unity and friendship really touched me there and I thought, WOW what a great way to end... the closure would've been perfect and it would leave you (by you I mean me) satisfied... please don't hate!
So what do you think?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Yuko Nishimura- Relief Artist

When I saw the work of Yuko Nishimura, it immediately reminded me of an artist I had seen before called Mia Liu, who also works in concentric circles and in relief. However, Yuko Nishimura works with paper in a different way, through folding.

The result of which are extremely beautiful and elaborate circular patterns, a bit like crop circles and is almost an illusion to the eye. As it is a relief, looking at it in a different angle will result in a different image due to the way it is folded and the way light hits it.

It is extremely clever and I wish I could see it in real life... but for now, enjoy the images below:

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Delta Goodrem At St Andrews Hospital Fundraiser

Delta Goodrem wore an amazingly stunning blue Swarovski ball gown to the St Andrews Hospital fundraiser, which cost over $15,000. The dress is currently being auctioned for charity. Delta is currently working on her fourth album which is due for release late 2010/early 2011, and will also be helping out the UK X Factor with Brian McFadden, which airs August 21.


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