postThursday, 31 May 2007

Dane Cook Picks Same Movie No.2

Dane was shocked to see people watching Employee of the Month.Dane Cook has a lot of myspace friends but none of them will stop him from making bad movie choices. I guess real friends are better than cyber friends.I have to commend Dane Cook on his script picking ability. For those of you who don’t know who Dane Cook is (i.e. most of the world), he is an American stand-up comic who is currently the new may be the next “it” boy. This means he has a bucket load of offers flying around him and the world will see a whole bunch of Dane Cook movies in a short period of time which will determine whether he will be a regular star or not. Think Sean William Scott after American Pie (1999), he followed that up with a barrage of leading roles: Road Trip (2000), Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), Evolution (2001), American Pie 2 (2001), Stark Raving Mad (2002), Bulletproof Monk (2003), The Rundown (2003).

So now it’s Dane Cook’s turn, it began with Employee of the Month (2006) and will continue with Good Luck Chuck (2007) with Jessica Alba. Here’s the synopsis:

Poor Charlie! He gets with all these foxy ladies, and then they marry the next guy they meet! Why? Because a demented Goth girl put a curse on him when he was 10, naturally! But instead of feeling sorry for himself, Charlie realizes he's a good luck charm and helps out a long line of marriage-hungry women by sleeping with them and sending them on their merry, married way. Then one day he meets Cam, an accident-prone penguin specialist. He doesn't want her to marry some other schmuck - she's super-foxy! How will he break this "good
luck curse?"

Now compare that to the synopsis of the new movie he’s just signed up for Batchelor No. 2:

Written by Jordan B. Cahan, the script focuses on a man named Tank, known for being hired to take girls out on absolutely terrible dates so they will crawl back to the boyfriends they dumped. When his best friend needs his help with the girl who dumped him, Tank struggles with his raging libido and the meaning of friendship.

Mr. Cook obviously isn’t afraid of being type cast or he just really believes in the phrase “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Good luck Dane.

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Attack of the Clones

This very special public service announcement is brought to you by Deon Malan. You have been warned.
They march towards the battleground. Their heads held high with a feeling of pride, as they glance towards the west and the setting sun. These clones are a unique army guided by a strict code of conduct. Clone soldiers for the most look and think alike, and one can always recognize them by their unique coat of arms, their pink shirts. This could be the opening paragraph of a sci-fi novel or the like, but alas it is not.

One might have noticed that I referred to pink shirts a few lines ago, just to clarify, clones call it salmon. For most people salmon is not just a bad t-shirt colour but also a fish, and that is exactly what this pink trend is, fishy. There have been many questionable trends in the last couple of decades, with some recently coming back in to fashion. These include the ever-popular trailer park special mullet, and 80’s style tights. I'll be the first to admit that those tights can look incredibly attractive on a girl, and I do like it. What pisses me off is that people are losing their individualism, and that every second person I come across looks like the fourth last one before them.

Philosophers and scientists have for years argued about the dangers of cloning, yet cloning of another form has occurred. People think that the first cloned being was a sheep, and they are not far off in believing that. There are many cloned sheep moving around us every day, and you don’t have to go far to find them either. Take a walk around your town or city and have a look. If you are not afraid, you should be, because the clones are here.

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postWednesday, 23 May 2007

Prof. Jambo

Everybody loves Prof. Jambo.Do you have problems? Of course you do. But hey Tiger, don’t feel bad cause Prof. Jambo can help you. Take a look at our exclusive look at the amazing Prof. Jambo’s first killer ad.
Thought I'd share this with everyone since Prof. Jambo really helped me (especially with the problem I had with thieves attacking my gun).

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postSaturday, 19 May 2007

Who the Hell is: Ferdinand de Saussure

Ferdinand de Saussure by theendsa.blogspot.comThe scandal behind the father of structuralism revealed. Prepared to be shocked, or maybe not so much.
I wish I had a mustache - Ferdinand de SaussureThe Just: Ferdinand de Saussure should be as well known as Freud but unfortunately he lacked the iconic facial hair and obsession with cocaine. Saussure, the third useful thing to come out of Switzerland (after chocolate and pocket knives), was a linguist and is widely recognized as the father of structuralism (a theoretical movement that seeks to find the underlying structure of everything).

Born on November 26, 1857, to a family with a long tradition in the physical sciences, Saussure was set to continue this tradition but after his first year of university settled into linguistics. In 1880 he received his doctorate and spent the rest of his life working as an academic.

Saussure was terrified of publishing his work until he felt that it was 100% accurate. Thus for an extraordinarily respected scholar he had a rather dismal portfolio. In fact in 1906 he almost never took the position that would lead to his greatest work.

From 1906 till 1911 Saussure taught a course in general linguistics at the University of Geneva. Shortly after this he died from cancer in 1913. Fortunately for Saussure two of his students would turn his final course into a book with the very original title of A Course in General Linguistics. The book became an instant classic and Saussure became a household name (provided a linguist lived in the household).

The Scandal: Nothing, the man couldn’t even publish his own work, with the majority of his writings being published posthumously. Maybe he’s tearing up the afterlife.

Probably Not True: Reportedly started every lecture with the phrase, “It’s hammer time!” Good steal, MC.

Key Concepts: Saussure’s concepts are vital for anyone seriously considering analyzing cultural phenomena, such as Eminem’s homoerotic obsession with Moby.

No 1. It’s a Sign:

For Saussure humans are creatures that use, generate and interpret signs in order to find meaning and just generally function. For example the alphabet is a group of 27 signs, which can be rearranged in different combinations to form further signs called words. But it doesn’t end there; if you draw a stick man you’ve also just drawn a sign. If you take a photograph you’ve just created a sign. In short, “Everything is a sign!” The glass you drink your beer out of, the tissue you just used to blow your nose, the peanut you dropped behind the couch. They are all signs because everything is a sign and Saussure believed in a science of signs where we could figure out how they work and how we interpret them. He called this semiology.

In Short:

· Everything is a sign.
· Semiology is the science of signs.

No 2. Dissecting the Sign:

In his attempts to work out how meaning was generated and communicated Saussure suggested that a sign is made up of two parts, a signifier and a signified. A signifier is a sound, an image or an object (1); for example a signifier for a cat could be the spoken word “cat” (sound), a picture of a cat (image) or an actual cat (object). Now on seeing or hearing a signifier a concept is generated in the human brain this concept is the signified. The signified is not static it can change over time. For example when you are three and you see a cat you may think, “cute, fluffy, plaything” but when you are twelve you may think, “feline, mammal, domestic animal” and if you’ve had a bad experience maybe, “Satan’s minion!”

What has just been illustrated is the changing of signifiers on a personal level but signifiers also change for the whole of society. Take Mark Wahlberg for example. In the early 90’s he was Marky Mark a bad ass model/rapper but now he is Mark Wahlberg respected A-list actor. This is because the concept of Mark Wahlberg generally changed in societies opinion. For all intensive purposes the signifier is the same but the signified has changed. This brings us to the next point the relationship between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary and based on cultural agreement. There is no logical reason why a cat is called a “cat” and not a “maggot”, if there were why are there so many languages in the world that call cats completely different things? So in order to be able to function in a given culture or society we need to share the same sign system.

In Short:

· A sign is made up of two parts, a signifier and a signified.
· A signifier is a sound, an object or an image.
· A signified is a concept generated by the signifier.
· This concept can change over time.
· The connection between the two is arbitrary and based on cultural agreement.

No 3. What the Hell is a Sign System?

You really should’ve worked that out by now especially since we are dealing with a linguist here. That’s right language is a sign system. According to Sassure language is a self contained sign system within which everything obtains its meaning from being part of that system and their relationship to that system.

Whew! That was a mouthful but it basically means that nothing has meaning by itself. We know what a cat is through its relation to other things. E.g. It moves - unlike an apple but so does a dog, but it doesn’t bark like a dog etc… Our minds work in terms of relationships and it is through relationships that we create concepts. Clearly from the above example we mainly define concepts from negative relationships – what the others are not.

These negative relationships are known as binary (fancy talk for two) oppositions and they are the reason we try to see everything in “black and white”. If we see ourselves as “good” and we know that they are unlike ourselves then we see them as “bad”. All of the worst bigotry and hate seeps from this fear of difference that we learn from language.

Language forces us to think in certain ways as well as how we see things. Take for instance the concept of snow. In the English language there is only one word for snow, whereas in the Inuit culture there is over 50 words for different types of snow. Hence, an Inuit looking at a field of snow is bound to see something very different from an English language speaker.

In Short:

· Language is a self-contained sign system.
· Everything in this system obtains its meaning from being part of that system and their relationship to that system.
· We define things through negative relationships – what the others are not.
· The most important of these are binary oppositions.
· Language/Sign Systems structure how we think and how we see things.

Next… Saussure’s ideas about Semiology are taken up and used to study culture by a Frenchman named Roland Barthes.

(1)In fact a signifier can be anything that provokes one of our five senses but to keep things simple this information has been left till the end for you diligent footnote readers.

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postSunday, 13 May 2007

Return of the Pac

It's an article that psychoanalyses Pac-Man... that can't be good… but then again what can? Oh, and you can also play it.

Pac-Man was originally released in Japan in 1979 with mixed reception. In 1980 it was released in America and became an instant social phenomena. This surprised everyone in the industry. In fact the game was completely overlooked at a trade show prior to its release. So what exactly was it about this game that made 1980’s culture latch onto it. Here’s a summary of Arthur Asa Bergers’s analysis:

It’s a Maze:

Space Invaders was set against the infinite background of outer space, whereas Pac-Man is set in an isolated maze. At the time the American economy was in recession and this suggests that people felt trapped with few possibilities.

Childish Violence:

Before the Pac, game violence was dominated by masculine shooting style violence (Space Invaders, Asteroids). But the Pac chose to bite his opponents, clearly real men don’t bite – that’s something kids do – hence, Pac-Man utilized a feminine/childish form of violence.

Berger suggests that this reflected a fear of growing up and mature interpersonal sexuality. And guess what the 80’s are known as the most hedonistic period of recent history.


Berger sees Pac-Man, which he calls “a game in which a dot eats dots”, as a metaphor for capitalist society. The world has become very small and there are no new frontiers to discover. Society is captive in a maze; in this situation we can either work towards the collective good or try to maximize things for ourselves.

Berger believes that Pac-Man reflects a change in the American psyche to a dog-eat-dog mentality. People are focusing upon themselves and “how many dots they can gobble”.

So in conclusion the popularity of Pac-Man came at a time when economic recession was causing many people to feel trapped due to a lack of opportunities, and fortunately Pac-Man was a game that offered a metaphorical escape for two of the most prominent solutions to this problem: 1) Remain a child 2) Go out into the world and crush your opposition.

Note: Arthur Asa Berger is a Professor at San Francisco State University. Clearly not a moron, the preceding summary, however, was written by one. So before complaining to Berger check his argument out for yourself in Making Sense of Media.

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postTuesday, 08 May 2007

The Low Down on Hulk 2

The low down on the differences between Hulk 1 and 2. And check out the cool Edward Norton as the Hulk pic. I made it! What do you mean it’s not good? Go to hell…The pay check for Hulk 2 turned Edward Norton green.It was announced on Friday that Liv Tyler will be playing Betty Ross in The Incredible Hulk, the semi-sequel to 2003’s Hulk. This is yet another announcement that moves the series further away from the disappointing Hulk. So for those of you who haven’t been paying attention, here is a brief comparison of what’s different.

HulkAng Lee
Incredible Hulk - Louis Leterrier

Ang Lee went into the Hulk with an impressive resume of dramatic work (The Ice Storm, Sense and Sensibility) and delivered a film criticised for being too dramatic and lacking action. Leterrier couldn’t be any more different. Coming from an action background (The Transporter Movies, Unleashed), Leterrier has an eye for the visual and his movies have always looked bigger than their budgets.

Screen Writer:
HulkJames Schamus
Incredible HulkZak Penn

Schamus has almost exclusively written movies for Lee and his Hulk screenplay offered a father/son conflict, angry poodles and a cut-and-paste villain. Penn on the other hand is preaching a script with more action, featuring Bruce Banner on the run from the authorities and his darker persona. However, this is the guy who cooked up Elektra.

The Hulk/Bruce Banner:
HulkEric Bana
Incredible Hulk - Edward Norton

Bana was relatively unknown (and generally still is) when he played the Hulk. Some criticised his performance for being to wooden, but many wanted him to return for the sequel. Norton on the other hand is a much bigger name and generally has a good record with script selection. Plus, he will often put his foot down when he thinks a director is taking a project in the wrong direction, which could be helpful here.

Betty Ross:
Hulk - Jennifer Connelly
Incredible HulkLiv Tyler

The casting of Tyler definitely reflects Marvel’s desire to make this into more of a popcorn film. Connelly is better known for her dramatic work and there is a definite melancholy in her performances, which is pretty much the opposite of Tyler.

The Villain:
Hulk - David Banner
Incredible HulkThe Abomination

Nick Nolte played one of the most irrelevant villains in film history in Hulk (which in my opinion was what was wrong with the movie – and of course the poodles). Instead of taking an actual villain from the comics they took bits from here and there (mainly, Zzzax and Absorbing Man) to create Hulk’s father. The sequel will pit Hulk against The Abomination, a giant radiation freak similar to the Hulk, who in the comics was originally from the KGB.

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