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    • Movie Review - Ghost in the Shell

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 8 Apr 08

    • I was never a fan of animes in general, but I was a fan of certain animes, like "Dragonball Z". I just liked the sheer cheesiness of it, with ridiculous one-liners and childish moments contrasting with arms being cut off by huge fucking energy attacks. At the same time, I knew where to draw the line, and that means no "Pokemon", which I hated with all my might. Every time I saw Pikachu I imagined his tiny arse being violated by men with hairy buns using condons - made of rubber, which means no shock attacks har har har - with spikes on them and finally someone does the sensible thing and stomps on him leaving a splatter of yellow shit, then proceeding to stomp Ash, Misty and whoever the fuck came up with "Pokemon".

      "Ghost in the Shell" is an anime for adults, and it's a fucking brilliant film start to finish. Any movie that manages to successfully mix clever story, an interesting philosophical question about artificial intelligence, amazing action scenes and nude female bodies in only eighty minutes deserves to be considered a masterpiece, and I haven't even mentioned the up-your-arse-Walt-Disney animation yet.

      The movie's about a female android called Kusanagi who works for "Section Nine", a special forces team. She and her team receive the task of capturing the most dangerous hacker in the world, known as "Puppet Master". But the plot dives much deeper than that, revealing itself to be much more complex. And it also brings a very interesting and pertinent question: can artificial intelligence, like the one seen in the film, be considered worthy of rights? Or is it just a bunch of wires disguised as human beings? Aren't we humans, in a certain way, a mechanism which is put into motion by a battery called life? The Catholic Church would disagree, but I couldn't give half a buttock to what they have to say on any subject whatsoever, so there. It's true the movie has some scenes in which the characters seem to forget the plot and ask each other about the nature of life, but the dialogue is so well-structured and the idea is so well-developed you simply don't care. And it's nice when movies stop focusing on their plots all the time, like in Tarantino's films.

      I have to say the prologue of the film and the beggining credits are simply anthological. The moment where Kusanagi is falling slowly at the city, and with a wave of her hand she's gone completely invisible, is one of those beautiful visual moments that stay seared into my mind. Also, the credits sequence is fantastic, showing her being built step by step as Kenji Kawai's excellent theme song plays in the background. Mamoru Oshii's directing creates some striking visuals, making the most out of the stellar animation, without turning this into style-over-substance. His action scenes are intense and the pacing of the movie is perfect.

      The animation is filled with amazing detail. The color shades are cleverly used to add visual depth to the characters, and their expressions are top-notch. Not to mention Kusanagi's bod... NO! Bad Andre!

      Ah, the hell with it, she's hot. And Mamoru Oshii doesn't waste one single opportunity to show her naked... which incredibly doesn't interfere a bit with the story. It's strangely weird to find a robot hot... but then again it's weirder to find a robot drawn in 2D animation hot. Hey, fuck it. Also, Oshii shows violence without holding back, which is always great unless we're talking about violence for the sake of violence alone (I'm looking at you, Eli Roth).

      The art direction also deserves compliments. The backgrounds are beautiful and the character design is creative. I especially loved the suitcase-that-turns-into-machinegun, which shows up briefly in the beggining of the film.

      The ending has a tense climax and finishes the story nicely. All this in eighty minutes of film. It's remarkable that this film manages to be so rich and so short at the same time, and has a beggining, middle and end without leaving that feeling that something's missing. "Ghost in the Shell" is a fantastic film, which offers entertainment and brains, all beautifully represented by the superb animation. A definite masterpiece.
    • Random Ranting or Why I've Been Off the Internet for Five Days Part Two

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 8 Apr 08
    • Internet services have one goal and one goal only: making you go nuts. They seek the smallest possibility, the smallest irregularity to give you shit. Especially if you live in Brazil. I use the best ISP we have in Rio de Janeiro as far as I know: Virtua, a sub-service of NET. NET is a TV company that offers a hundred or so channels. They also offer Internet connection, called Virtua, up to 4 megs. Their signal is excellent. Their phone services are foul.

      It was Thursday. Suddenly, my connection stopped working. I went to check the modem and the most important green light of all, the one that said "Internet", was off. This at ten at night, conveniently. No phone service that late. "Must be a problem with the signal. Should be okay tomorrow", I thought, knowing in my heart it wasn't gonna be that easy. Murphy's Law always works with me.

      Next day, I wake up to see the modem exactly the same. I call Virtua and they tell me my connection was canceled. Yeah, with no previous warning and at ten at night. I asked why. It had to do with my NET, not Virtua, but if they cancel NET, they cancel Virtua too. They said I hadn't paid a NET bill in fucking FEBRUARY, two months ago. I HAD paid the bill, they were wrong. What amazes me is that they're bringing up something from two months ago. It's like they choose random customers from a list, closing their eyes and seeing where their finger ends up pointing. Then they find something stupid as an excuse to cancel our service, make us lose our minds and call them, at which point they broadcast the call to the whole office, and hundreds of Virtua employees laugh at my useless complaints as a way of relieving their own personal stresses.

      I asked them to uncancel it. They said it was protocol to first remove the previous modem, make a report, then I could call to request a new one to be installed two days after the call. Instead of simply giving me my fucking signal back, they'd make me wait days until after the weekend. The things I screamed at that woman... I did my best to send her into a coma via phone. Didn't work, of course, not with those robot-people who provide Virtua's phone service. She just kept repeating her point, until I had to settle for it. "Well, why don't you sue them?". Hah, suing Virtua? Get in line, I'm far from being the only one, so I decided it'd be faster to do it their way. There isn't any better Internet service in Rio as far as I know and I didn't want to risk one I'd never heard of before.

      So I kept NET canceled and requested the technician to come take the modem back and make the report. I changed my TV service to SKY, which I had always wanted to get, it's much better. The technician came, took the modem away and Sunday I call them and asked for a new modem. The woman who talked to me probably had short-term memory loss, asking me the same things all the time. But she was nice, she even chuckled some times, a display of humanity which is very uncommon in Virtua's phone service (or in any phone service, I guess). Or maybe she kept repeating because she wanted to make sure she wouldn't send the wrong modem to my house, and if that was the case she's a true professional and I thank her. She actually showed concern, calling me later to tell me the exact day and time the technician would come: Tuesday.

      I couldn't be home at Tuesday afternoon, so I asked the maid to tell the technician where to put the modem (in the living room, for I use a wireless router to connect to the web in my bedroom or anywhere in the house) and I left a note to him explaining the situation, leaving my cellphone so he could call me to ask anything. Simple task, uh? "(Insert maid's name here), a man will come: give him this note, these papers and tell him to install THERE". That's it.

      I come home and the modem's not in the living room. I notice there's a small hole in the wall with the connection wire slid through it. I run to my bedroom: the modem's there. Connected to my computer. *moment of intense anger* THE BASTARD TOOK MY COMPUTER OUT OF LOW-ENERGY STATE, CLICKED THROUGH MY COMPUTER WITHOUT CALLING ME FIRST, CREATED A CONNECTION WHEN I TOLD HIM IN THE NOTE I ALREADY HAD IT AND THEN TURNED THE FUCKING THING OFF. AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!

      I had to put the modem back in the living room, pull the wire from the hole to the living room, reconnect everything and then connect to the router. In an unbelievable piece of luck - relatively - it started working perfectly, with no need to reconfigure the router.

      Then I find this, and all is well.
    • Random Ranting or Why I've Been Off the Internet for Five Days Part One

    • Posted by Andre Navarro on 8 Apr 08
    • (Everything is explained in part 2: this one is for thanking some people)

      First of all, thank you immensely for this post, people. After five days pissed off for many reasons, it's wonderful to come back and see that. Being the sentimental person I am (no, really), I was touched. Only five days, but it feels like an eternity. Yes, I'm a complete fucking nerd who needs his daily fix of interwebs.

      Answering some things on that post:

      Z - "Okay, I'm tired of being asked. I don't know where Andre went."

      Z is not married to me. He's sent me flowers, but I made it clear I wasn't interested ("Fuck you Andre" incoming).

      Rootfirember - "Ditto.
      Andre, Where Are You?"

      Read part 2.

      Ariana - "If I were to guess, I'd say Andre is [somewhere], doing [something]."

      Vague, but correct.

      Ariana - "Little bit, Roo. ;) I take it none of you read Andre's proper blog, what with it not being in English and all."

      I, uh... don't post in any other blog but Whitechapel. And I don't have any blogs in Portuguese. *huge interrogation mark over my head* Maybe it's an old attempt at a blog, Ariana, which I don't remember and forgot to erase from the web. Or maybe I finally went nuts. Do you have a link?

      Tedcroland - "I miss his movie reviews already."

      My ego just broke through the roof.

      Z - "I wouldn't worry, Ted, Andre's probably fine."

      I was attacked by a pack of lions in a safari in Africa and all my limbs have been eaten, except one arm with two fingers in what's left of the hand. Just kidding. I was fine, only pissed off.

      Tedcroland - "I figure. I was mostly kidding considering the hilarious ramifications of translating things using Babelfish."

      Oh, yes.

      Octegon - "He'll be so flattered by how much WC has missed him."

      Honestly, I'm almost incapable of breathing. No sarcasm.

      Ben - "Or just wonder why we all have so much free time to waste."

      Yeah, that too.

      JTraub - "In randomly worrying a bit about Andre, I stumbled into the fact he had reviewed a number of movies over at Rotten Tomatoes.

      I mean I assume its him - can't be that many Andrenavarro(s) who would make a point to review Old Boy as a near perfect film."

      Yeah, that was me on RT. And Oldboy isn't a near perfect film, it's just perfect.

      I love you all. To everyone who posted on that blog and to Z for starting it, thank you so much. All my hate for the past five days has gone away. What hate? Read part 2.
    • Tough Love, Kitty

    • Posted by Rootfireember on 8 Apr 08
    • Love Hurts. I found out today that the neck pain was a severe strain/sprain that'll go away somewhere between a few more days, and a few weeks, and there's not much I can really do about it.

      Cause of pain? Cannonball of love by my cat got on Sunday night after work.


      ah well.
    • What annoyed me this morning:

    • Posted by TechnocratJT on 8 Apr 08
    • Ok... I don't get it.

      Ed was doing fine doing Iron Fist, Daredevil, Captain America, and Uncanny.

      Then Fraction cowrites IF with him.

      Then Fraction cowrites UXM with him.

      Now they leave IF.

      So EB can only do 2 solo and one cowriting?

      Geoff Johns writes more than that, AND is a universe "architect" much like Bendis is.

      I just get irritated when these creators set up these really awesome comics, then just take off after a year or so Astonishing X-men Joss Whedon, Warren Ellis (Thunderbolts), and they get dropped into the laps of subparness (Ellis's AXM looks awful).

      Why should I even invest in new comics by "hot writers" when they are going to end up cancelled a year or two later (or done crappily then canceled), anyways?

      This is not from CBR or Newsarama. Its from a discussion in a location one would think is pro-creator and intelligent. Oh well.

      I hate comic fans.

      Oh the same poster also explains latter Criminal "doesn't count."

      I hate comic fans.
    • The Old Photoblag : 24

    • Posted by Ben on 8 Apr 08
    • Apologies for recycling images, but brain juice is not flowing that well today. Large amounts of physically and mentally draining work leave me all wet and floppy like a used condom.

      So many things in this image to rant about. I'll go for.....water bottles. You will learn that bigger is better, and gigantic is best. Working out in the sun for eight hours a day will make you sweat, sweat, sweat. So remember to hydrate kids! If you think that little Nalgene your girlfriend sent you is going to do the job, think again! You're going to need something around a gallon or so of water at the least with the amount of work YOU'RE going to be doing. The man in the white there has one of those water holders that is supposed to sit on a table and be used like a box of wine. We frequently pretended we were in a porno shoot of some kind with it. Ah, water, lover, sustainer of life, turn on. The guy who comes out as a black/red blob on the left used an old culligan 18.9L container. That thing was a bitch to move around, but man was it nice to realize that you could probably take a quick sponge bath if no one was watching.
    • Fight Suckage With Awesomage!

    • Posted by Egon on 7 Apr 08
    • Holy shit, my batty old aunt just discovered the "Fwd" button on her e-mail client. Imagine if I did 17 of my retarded, self-amusement posts over 4 hours. You wouldn't have to because I'd probably get banned before reaching 9 posts.

      Anyways, today fucking sucked. A lot. But rather than emo-blog, I'm going to focus on some stuff that rules.

      New Job: Awesome!

      I literally watched No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood back-to-back on their gPads. (Portable media devices) BetterMovie/BetterActor, respectively. listened to the new Beastie Boys, Mogwai and Neil Young. I did about 8 practice POs. Tomorrow I hit the ground running and make plans for a new database. My nervousness has turned to anxiousness. I'm really fraking eager to get my hands dirty and actually shape a division of a company. I may sound like some kind of corporate lapdog, but I don't see any human rights abuses in the InFlight Entertainment industry and if anything, we're the expanding underdog while my dinosaur of an ex-job takes a dirt nap. And the technology! OH! I think there might be some life left in this industry after all.

      Did I say "fraking" earlier? Frak yeah I did. Battlestar Galactica is back, curbing my Lost withdraws. And then in a month they'll be playing Thursday and Friday nights. The Season Finale should be a crossover, damnit!

      This makes me sound like a girl, but whatever. $200 Macy's gift card. There's a sale on Wednesday. sQuee! I'm going.

      Oh hey, look. Forwarded e-mail #18.