Thursday, 13 December 2007

The Emperor - GG

The Emperor and the Assassin (SBS Wed midnight) is an earlier (1998) Chinese epic in the spirit of Hero or House of the Golden Flower. Directed by Kaige Chen whose other key credit is Farewell My Concubine, not only mines the great and rich history of tribal China, but perhaps “tells the world that China should not be ignored, and indeed feared. The narrative is gripping, the performances large and the action scenes filled with more extras than can be imagined.”

And with that rather meagre offering in this week’s bottle green newspaper, now is a good time to walk away from 2007. Many thanks for your readership, I hope you have found the posts interesting. I have covered as many weekly GG spots as time and quality has allowed; added a goodly number of movie reviews (of sorts); some personal reflections; blow by blow accounts of the hapless Eastern Rovers; and a few gags as well. I will ponder the off season for a new gimmick and speak to you all in the new year. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

3rd Annual GG Awards - Winners

Thank you one and all for your nominations for the 2007 GG Awards.

The nominations for the 2007 GG TV Award are :

* American Dad

* Chasers War on Everything

* Extras, series 2

* Family Guy

* Futurama

* The Mighty Boosh

* Sad Love Story – a Korean mini-series, “I howled all the way through it”

* Sopranos – final season "The last couple of seasons were patchier, than those that preceded, but there was quality still. The final season this year reminded us in the closing that this has been one of the best dramas ever produced for the small screen."

* Sopranos – final season (yes, it was nominated twice, must have been good! – Ed.)

The nominations for the 2007 GG Movie Award :

# The Sea Inside (Spanish drama), honorable mention : Black Sheep, NZ horror comedy

# Hot Fuzz, British comedy, from makers of Shaun of the Dead

# Blood Diamond, “it will challenge your thinking about the diamond trade”

# The Lives of Others, German, winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Film

Independently witnessed, said monkeys (one’s children will do anything for their father’s attention) pulled one nomination from a bag-like-barrel for the winners for the 2007 GG Awards. And the winners are …

2007 GG TV Award : Futurama

2007 GG Movie Award : The Sea Inside

Ghost Dog - Jarmusch

You will need to have gained some semblance of my thematic response to the Jarmusch films I watched in succession last year, for this post to make the most sense.
I recently watched Jarmusch’s 1999 film, Ghost Dog : The Way of the Samurai and was intrigued at how it fitted into the Jarmusch canon … and how it differed.
Only with the benefit of some hindsight do I wonder if most (or all) of Jarmusch’s films are meditations on death, or life. Certainly Ghost Dog, and its predecessor, Dead Man, most obviously are.
Ghost Dog is Forest Whitaker as a hit man who follows the code of the samurai, that is, one who meditates on death, daily, amongst a great many other things we learn from extracts of his book, Hagakure : The Way of the Samurai. He is at heart a peaceful and thoughtful soul whose code of behaviour is one of respect toward his master and humility toward others.
Certainly the film fits Jarmusch’s broad pattern of a man on a journey, in this case, dispensing death with an array of high tech gadgets and pistols, as he steps inevitably toward his own death.
His French speaking, ice-cream selling Haitian friend, Raymond (Isaac De Bankole), is the “comic relief” that is very reminiscent of Roberto Benigni’s Italian babbling taxi driver in Night On Earth. It is Jarmusch’s own preference (and sense of humour?) to use the same actors and music in many of his films creating a sometimes surreal overlap that makes you wonder if he doesn’t see all his films as just one big one. De Bankole was the Parisian taxi driver in Night on Earth.
RZA (in Coffee & Cigarettes) supplies the music in Ghost Dog; Gary Farmer has a walk-on, walk-off role in Ghost Dog which reprises his character, Indian guide Nobody, from Dead Man (never mind the different city, different era … that’s just detail) in which he utters his famous line, “Stupid white man;” along with the stylistic closing and opening of chapters via a black out, in this case with the next extract from Hagakure as an interlude.
Ghost Dog is by far the most “mainstream” of Jarmusch’s films. It is almost a revenge/action type film and the meditative silences are not as long (and drawn out) as some of his other films. Personally, I still rate Dead Man as my favourite of his however this would easily come in second.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

3rd Annual GG Awards - Reminder

Nomination entries for the 3rd Annual GG Awards close tomorrow (Friday 7/12) so if you have not contributed, now is your chance to do so !

We require nominations for :

2007 GG Movie Award

2007 GG TV Award

Please email them directly to myself, here

Thankyou to those faithful readers who have done so already. {Formal Neil, we are waiting for you!}

Winners will be posted next week along with the final GG for 2007.

American Psycho - GG

A modern take on the Western condition or a gratuitous hack and slash film ? American Psycho (10 Sat midnight) stars Christian Bale as the mentally flawed, physically perfect Patrick Bateman, driven to destroy those around him. Based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel of the same name, the “Wall Street excesses of the 1980s were just the beginning and the legion of wealthy young traders were interchangeable designer drones, with anti-hero Bateman distinguished only by his capacity for brutal depravity.”