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I’ll warn you now… A certain and extremely popular movie’s story-line will be spoiled if you continue to read this post. However, along the same line-of-thinking you’ll likely need to watch the film to make sense out of this post, altogether. Oh… And, maybe have some awareness around the Bible, Dante (Inferno) and God, in general.

There is the movie Toy Story brought to you by those hearty and ferocious cinemeisters (I made that up!) Pixar. But, there are also two sequels (that did very little for Tim Allen’s acting career). But, as well-received, and, and lofty, I’ll add, as the original effort was, and remains, the third film in the Toy Story series is the most dogmatic to date. In fact, it’s the story of mankind’s relationship with God, and our collective position relative to the way beings, human, and otherwise, relate to the almighty couldn’t be more clear (to me any way). It could be argued, and I will, that the script may as well have been written by John Calvin himself.

God, cast as God (or, Andy):

God, or the God, in this movie is referred to as “Andy” to throw off the less focused. The film begins as God (heretofore: “Andy”) is preparing to move on to a new universe (rather like Babylon 5 and the “Old Ones”), leaving behind the realm he has long ruled. Andy’s current universe is populated with toys that he has loved and cherished throughout a period of his existence (consider my prior post: How Long Is Seven Days?), and before he can leave he apparently has to decide what to do with them. Although why God has to do anything, other than be satisfied with what he’s both wrought, and set into motion, is not made clear. To wit… He has four choices: he can take them with him to his new domain; he can hand them over to a different god [small caps because there is, in my current view, only the one almighty] (so okay, maybe the script isn’t as Calvinist as I laid-claim to above); he can consign them to a purgatory also known ominously as “the attic”; or he can send them to …Hell. He chooses the third option for all the toys except his favorite, Woody, with whom he is well-pleased. So, we also have Paradise Lost, in play (well past the Adam and Eve part, mind you).

Woody, the Arbiter (in form, if not name):

Woody is a sanctimonious prick who spends his entire life reminding all his colleagues of Andy’s greatness and infallibility – and, generally bossing people around like a fifth grade hall-monitor. When Andy decides to send the rest of the toys to purgatory (heretofore: “the Attic”), Woody supports Him totally – and, we can reasonably assume that had Andy decided, instead, to send them straight to Hell, Woody would be quoting Romans 3:10 /1 as justification, and telling them to suck it up because the ‘potter can do whatever he wants with his clay’ […].

All that said, and thusly, nonetheless, when, by mistake, the mother of Andy (work with me, here, because this obviously deviates from any context of the Bible) sets the toys on a path towards Hell, Woody sets-out to save them.

But why?

Is it because he’s concerned for his people (all Moses-like), or because the (or, a) law as established by his Lord has been interfered with? I think it’s probably the latter, because Woody is a dick (just like almost every power-hungry fifth grade hall monitor you ever met).

The Other Toys, cast as “the Fallen”:

When the toys realise that they’re destined for Hell they (understandably) become rebellious and elect to reject Andy and go off to find other gods (just a reminder, this would be children) to, in effect, serve. Woody remonstrates with them, telling them they should remain faithful, and that it was all a mistake; but under the leadership of the female temptress Jesse (naturally a Barbie Doll with Eve-like qualities, and who shall realize redemption), the others won’t listen to him. As far as they’re concerned whether their deity has abandoned them to Hell or Purgatory makes little difference; the issue is that they’ve been abandoned, while Woody has not. So, the rage is thusly, tinged with jealousy, as well.

The plot gets really interesting when they arrive en masse at a kind of Paradise for toys; a place where they will be played with all day long (which after all, is what they were designed for), Woody is still in the throes of righteous indignation, and insisting that they return to Andy’s house, and get themselves up into Attic-that-is-Purgatory, where they belong, while he waltzes off to whatever earned and exciting new place Andy is making for. However, the other Toys choose to ignore him, looking forward to a new life of hedonism… So, there is the Pinnochio element here, as well.

And this, of course, proves to be their downfall. The loss of grace, or the perception thereof, as it were, is so devastating, eh.

Lotso Bear

The paradise they think they have discovered, and will ultimately lose, is in fact ruled by an atheist! This dark angel is an evil, strawberry-smelling bear who has rejected all gods and has set himself up as a mortal god on earth. He’s a pink furry Joseph Stalin (I’ll need to revisit the film, but I coulda sworn he was referred to as “Uncle” at one point. How apropos.).

In any event, the message is clear: if you reject the god that owns you, you have only yourself to blame if you end up being tortured in a totalitarian gulag.

The film could have ended here, but audiences may have been left with a view of God as cold and unconcerned with his universe, so the story carries on with rescue and redemption promised and gamely [sic] afoot. All the while, Woody continues his righteous quest to be reunited with his Master, but then he gets distracted by feelings of compassion for his friends. Foolishly, it would seem, he tries to help them, not realising that by attempting to interfere with destiny he’s only going to make things worse.

Woody’s fateful efforts lead the toys to the very precipice of Hell (oh, the inferno!), which they only escape by means of a ludicrous plot device (that also serves to remind us that this is a children’s first movie). The atheist Lotso, of course, who has by now been exposed and proved his evil atheist character beyond a doubt, is not so fortunate, and is consigned to an eternal punishment direct from the mind of Dante.

And as it should be, once the atheist villain has been disposed of, the film can end nicely with the redemption of not only foolish Woody and the ungrateful toys but also Andy, who is finally shown indulging his merciful side.

And you, that collective you, can make your way from the cinema, or possibly the comfort of your home state-of-the-art theaters, comforted in the understanding that God is great after all, possibly fair – and, made relevant today by his easy interpretation on the silver screen.

…at least to Pixar, anyway. According to Wikipedia.org, The film is currently the highest-grossing film of 2010 in the United States and Canada. /2

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

_________________

1/ As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one“.

2/ The film is also the highest-grossing film of 2010 worldwide. In July, it surpassed Finding Nemo to become Pixar‘s highest ever grossing film at the North American box office. In early August 2010, the film became Pixar‘s highest-grossing film worldwide, and surpassed Shrek 2 as the highest-grossing animated film of all-time worldwide. In late August 2010, Toy Story 3 became the first ever Pixar film and animated film in history to make $1 billion worldwide. It is currently the 5th highest-grossing film worldwide of all time.

A story, and an epic one at that, within a story, to be sure.

I’m certain we, that collective we, liked (and, still enjoy) the movie Pulp Fiction (1994) for a broad-range of reasons – all cause celebre.

I appreciated Quentin Tarantino allowing us a vehicle that kick-started the career of Samuel L. Jackson (“Jules Winnfield”) and also re-started the acting careers of John Travolta (“Vincent Vega”) and Bruce Willis (“Butch Coolidge”). I value the ironic humor with it’s numerous pop culture references and extensive use of homage (look for an example below for extra points). But, for me, the best part was the eclectic dialogue. And, supreme amongst all that witty prose was the Samuel L. Jackson character Jules’ liberal use and interpretation of Bible verse as a preamble to his murderous violence. Notably this passage:

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”

Jules ritually recites what he describes as a biblical passage: Ezekiel 25:17, before he executes someone. We hear the passage three times – in the introductory sequence in which Jules and Vincent reclaim Marsellus’s mysterious light emanating (and never explained) briefcase from the doomed Brett; that same recitation a second time, at the beginning of “The Bonnie Situation”, which overlaps the end of the earlier sequence; and in the epilogue at the diner.

That being true scripture is Urban Myth and Legend. In fact only a select few words and/or phrases used in his speil are generated from the true scripture. For the sake of clarification, the following is the accurate scripture as presented in the bible (this is not me saying the Bible is accurate):

“I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.” – Ezekiel 25:17

So… My point is that I like creative and nimble prose. I also enjoy senseless contrived cinematic violence. And, as luck, or providence, if you will, would have it, the Bible is chock-full of ass kicking – and, is often a great cinematic source.

As a result of this, a sporting handful of ebullient buddies and I rallied our own witts and have come up with the following cocktail (many of those were also involved, as were Fat Tires and Modelo Especial’s) of bon mots that liberally leveraged Bible verse to promote violent contextual imagery….

Examples:

Exodus 2:11

“One day, after Moses had flowered into Manhood, he went amongst the people, where his own people gathered, and there, watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating down upon a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way, and then that way, and upon seeing no one of merit, Moses killed the Egyptian, thusly raining vengeance upon him, and hid him in the sand”. – Optimistic Gentlemen

Sure, Moses was a great leader, an emancipator of his people – and, a prophet. Most people don’t know that he also was the Biblical equivalent of Splinter Cell‘s Sam Fisher, a well-honed killing machine, able to slay from the shadows bereft of pity or remorse. Martin Luther King may have had a dream, but Moses had a body count.

Picture the movie scene: An Egyptian soldier is wailing on a hapless Hebrew when Moses, clothed head-to-toe in black, drops down from the ceiling. Moving with cat-like grace, he sneaks up behind the soldier and, taking his head in his hands, snaps the man’s neck with one savage twist. As the lifeless body slumps to the ground, Moses lights up a cigar. “Well,” he muses dryly, “looks like someone bit off more than he could Jew”.

[…pause…]

…I refuse to even pretend to be apologetic for that. And, I’ll stand firm in my belief that my Jewish brothers Marc Lewyn and David Taylor-Klaus, Prudent and Optimistic Gentlemen, to be sure, would slap their thighs with me.

II Kings 2:23

“…From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road under the yoke of his God, he came upon some youths come from town and jeering him. ‘Go on up, you baldhead’, they said upon him. ‘Go on up, you balhead’, they said unto him again, and repeatedly. He turned around, and upon them in turn, looking upon them with disdain, and in reply called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the nearby woods and mauled forty-two and six of the youths”.

You’ve  been there. I did not say I’ve been there. But, we’ll assume you’re walking along, minding your own business, when a gang of cocky, young bastards start hurling abuse at you. Most of us would just keep walking, or maybe, yell some insults back – or, flip them the bird (example of homage: multiple people have died from Chuck Norris giving them the finger). Elisha (commonly regarded as the Luke Skywalker to the Prophet Elijah’s Obi-Wan Kenobi), however, decides to take it one step further. Invoking the name of God, he summons mother#@*&ing bears to come and claw the @#%& out of them.

You can always count on an ill-timed digression in-and-amongst my blog posts. And, we’ll pause here without exception, and offer this for consideration:

Christians are constantly asking for prayer in schools to help get today’s kids in line. However, we beg to differ in terms of potential tactical options. We clearly need bears in our schools. Public schools, private schools, probably even home schools. If every teacher had the power to summon a pair of child-maiming grizzly avengers, you can bet that schoolchildren nowadays would be the most well-behaved, polite children, ever. It’s a simple choice: listen to the biology lesson, or get first-hand knowledge of the digestive system of Ursus horribilis a-la God himself.

It should be pointed out, as we meander our way back to Elisha (he is such a bad-ass that he struts around with a girls name along the lines of Johnny Cash’s Don’t Call Me Sue), that even after his death, Elisha continued to kick major butt. II Kings 13:20-21 tells us (loose interpretation, here, mind you) that when a dead body was thrown into his tomb and touched Elisha’s bones, it sprang back to life (we’re not clear how the corpse manages this, but we can’t explain the mysterious briefcase in Pulp Fiction either). It’s unknown whether Elisha had this power in life, as well as death, but we like to think he did, and that he had the habit of killing his victims with bears, resurrecting them, and then promptly re-summoning the bears to kill them, again. He’d just repeat the whole thing over and over until he got bored. That’s what we call sending your enemies to endless hell. Never mind purgatory. Pure bear-chomping, endless, hell. This is a terrific foundation for both a action-oriented gore-movie and video-game spin-off.

Ezekial 23:19

“…yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the dyas of her wayward you and away from the eyes of her God, when she was a lowly prostitute of high reputation in Egypt (naturally). There, she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of  donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses”.

NOTE: We’re giving Kent most of the credit for that one.

And, I’ll warn you now… I’m departing from my typical gentile self and indulging in some striking rude and graphic language, here. Just run with me around this one. But, you’ll also have to participate and utilize some creative word-smithing for full effect.

To wit…

Contrary to what you may think, the Bible has never shied away from talking about sex. In fact, the entire Song of Solomon is clearly dedicated to describing a couple enthusiastically honoring God, complete with lines like: “I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers”. This verse, in, or out, of context, is particularly explicit, though, possibly informing us that Egyptians are hung like farmyard animals, and can ejaculate in quantities to rival the annual flooding of the Nile.

All this imagery is crucial from a socio-historical perspective. It’s relevant to intellectualista’s and movie-buff’s alike because there is perspective of the human dynamic. Keep in mind, the Egyptians were the Jews’ former slave masters and are the bad guys in this particular story (okay and most Biblically-oriented stories). So, you know their reputation for supreme endowment was well earned when the worst their enemies could say was, “Go on! Go back to those big-cocked bastards! We hope you’re pleased with their enormous [insert creative college inspired descriptor].”

It should be noted that those swaggering old Egyptians didn’t exactly run from their reputation. Egyptian ruins are littered with statues like Min, the god of huge dong-having (in the spirit of the original intent of this blog post, this just might remind you of a certain 1980’s teen favorite movie). They even invented the phallic obelisk to advertise it (picture the Washington Monument, that just happens to be an obelisk). That was their statement to the world: “Gaze upon our [insert creative college inspired descriptor] tower and despair.”

I’ll reckon that this carefully interpreted passage creates a problem, certainly a challenge, for many new Bible readers. I’m also going to take some serious heat from my Christian brothers. Oh, really? However, once you’ve read this, it is impossible to go back and read the above referenced story-oriented Bible verse depiction of Moses killing the Egyptian guy the same way. This is verily the stuff of Pulp Fiction. When it speaks of the Egyptian beating the Hebrew slave, you have no choice but to imagine Moses turkey slapping the man (look it up). If anything, however, it makes Moses’ deadly intervention all the more justified.

I have a call into Quentin. I’m thinking Tim Roth, or even Samuel L. Jackson, playing the role of Moses. I’m as yet unclear if we go space opera like Star Wars, Post-Modern or Black Comedy. Neo Noir is certainly a possibility.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Biblically-Oriented Chuck Norris FUN FACTS:

1. Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn’t stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

2. A blind man once stepped on Chuck Norris’ shoe. Chuck replied, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Chuck Norris!” The mere mention of his name cured this mans blindness. Sadly the first, last, and only thing this man ever saw, was a fatal roundhouse delivered by Chuck Norris.

3. When his martial arts prowess fails to resolve a situation, Chuck Norris plays dead. When playing dead doesn’t work, he plays zombie.

Husky throated Patricia Neal took her last breath on Martha’s Vineyard.

But, long before she did that she managed to live life akin to a Greek tragedy. This included a series of strokes beginning at age thirty nine and the loss of a seven year old daughter to measles. However, she also inspired many with her courage and keen sense of community.

But, she also had the female lead, opposite Gary Cooper, in the 1949 film version of Ayn Rand’s novel “The Fountainhead,” and was the original Mother on the Waltons.

As many readers of this blog are well aware, Ayn Rand shaped my early life both in business and outside of it. And, I spent many an hour between college classes at Radford University and varsity sports watching The Waltons. So, that help reinforce some of my views as well. In fact, many of my fellows within the Prudent Society of Optimistic Gentlemen share that same foundation.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

I thought I was really busy. However, while pondering some notes on my Macbook at the kitchen counter I felt a gentle tug on my elbow.

It was my little Emma Jo.

She was still mussy from a good nights sleep. Her face, turned up to me, hopeful, as she made the simple request: “Daddy will you watch Enchanted with me?”

Being me a good number of thoughts ran swiftly through my head. But, God was with me, as usual, and the right words popped out with: “of course, my Love”. “anything”.

Images and memories can be created in the span of a heartbeat. The picture of Emma Jo below is how I’ll likely see her for the rest of my days.

For almost two hours of absolute bliss, I sat downstairs in the basement theatre with Emma Jo snuggled up against me watching what might be one of the best movies ever crafted for Daughters and Daddies. I’ve seen it a dozen times, and will look forward to many, many, many more efforts.

I know a lot of Dads read this Blog. And, I’ll add hope that, regardless of their age, you’ll invite them to watch Enchanted and love the life that only Princesses can be part of.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Mr Miyagi taught Daniel-san that fighting is for wimps.

However, Miyagi also taught Daniel-san that when bullies bring the fight to you, fight back as publicly and honorably as possible. Sometimes, bullies need to be taught a lesson. When you’re trying to lead, but others shout you down, the time for political correctness or playing it safe is over. In situations of coercion, your power as a leader (business leader, thought leader, etc) is never more necessary.

Read into this what you will. Perhaps what you must. But, I know it’s striking a cord – like a tap on an exposed nerve. Now. Don’t deny it. Don’t you dare! You’re already thinking of an example of a time you should have made a stand.

Me? It’s Colorado.

That damn Kobayashi Maru. And, the mirror; always a mirror, eh.

Have faith in your integrity, I say. Do it!

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

“I don’t know what’s scarier, the fact that zombies could rise (are there Bibilical implications?), or the fact there are actually people out there that can’t wait for it to happen, so they can just start loading up with guns, get on their motorcycles…”, and raise even more hell.

For the record, I like Zombie movies.

Well… Maybe it’s that fact that I like to think about Zombie movies, and what I might do if faced with a mindless horde of flesh devouring meat bags. Rifle or machete?

I’ll submit we can also compare the interest in surviving a zombie apocalypse to people preparing for a Soviet invasion of America in the 1980s after the film Red Dawn was released.

Does this mean people don’t have enough opportunity for true adventure in their lives? I have. So, I’ll not allow myself to get bogged down in anything particularly meaningful with this particular post. Instead, I’m relishing the news that, one of my favorite books World War Z (Seriously… But, I’m not comparing it to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged or Edmund Morris’s The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, mind you) is in film production!

NOTE: Consider marking your calendars now. Do it! The movie is set for a 2010 release date.

So, I’ll draw from other reviews, here, and add some of my own thoughts. Go read the book. You can order it here. It’s fun and epic. Do it!

An Oral History of the Zombie WarIn any event, World War Z, written in 2006, is the “sequel” to author Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide, which offered “complete protection from the living dead”.

Never mind The Zombie Survival Guide is a one-joke, tongue-in-cheek book in which that one joke got tired in short order. It’s, at best, a read (if at all) as a companion piece to World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. I like the title with it’s sub text for best effects. I’ll leave it that, if you want to be the Boy Scout equivalent of the Zombie survivalist, and be prepared, this is the book for you.

World War Z is one of those fictional books that pretends to be non-fiction. It’s fun, for me anyway, to ponder what aliens scavenging the remains of our dead culture civilization will make of all this one day! In summary, in the event you don’t want to read this agonizingly long post, it tells the story of a zombie plague that nearly wiped out mankind when governments and armies are initially unable to control the global infestation, and the aftermath ten years later.

Those ten years after the war ended, a reporter, author Max Brooks, on assignment for a global news paper, interviews various people across the globe about their experiences during World War Z.

You might, but let’s not get lost, just yet in the point, want to know that, Brad Pitt and Leonardo diCaprio almost broke their banks dueling over the rights to film the story and play the role of the reporter (although I should add here, that Max Brooks did an awesome job voicing his own work in the audio-book).

A critic once remarked of George Romero’s seminal 1968 zombie flick Night of the Living Dead that it is a science fiction movie pretending to be a horror movie.

The same goes for World War Z. It is more science fiction than horror because I think Brooks is less interested in chills than in recounting how this future world, with it’s various governments, societies filled with a post-holocaust mind-set, fail to cope with a virus that turns the recently dead into mindless cannibalistic creatures – that in turn infect the living. But, the devil is in the details,eh. And, a gruesome attention to detail and social, economic and geographic relevance is one of many elements of this book that make it compelling as well as chilling.

Interestingly, providing you care about such polarizing change process, it is only geographically isolated, authoritarian societies such as Israel, North Korea and Cuba that copes best with controlling the outbreak. For example, in a stunning reversal of fortune, Cuba and Israel becomes the world’s economic leaders because their population and infrastructure remain largely unaffected during the outbreak (because Castro’s secret police early on threw the zombies into prison camps!). The Cuban coastline is, ironically, besieged with North American refugees seeking salvation. Open democratic societies have a much tougher time halting the spread of the disease and coping with the zombie hordes within their own borders. Brooks holds no punches in sharing his views of government lapse. He especially has it in for incompetent government bureaucracies (which keep the public uninformed of the rising threat in an effort to prevent any large-scale panic) and huge multinational corporations that cynically produce a zombie “inoculation” that doesn’t work. However, he balances much of this out with an embedded message of hope. For example, the trailing storyline where Cuba embraces many refugees, blending them into it’s new culture while embracing skill sets and innovation.

Brooks outlines the glaring fact that our governments will have a tough time coping with a large-scale zombie infestation.  So, don’t let yourself be fooled into somnolence believing, not for a minute, that any of this is possibility covered by Civil Defense planning.

This is galvanizing stuff. It reminded me of Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising. The zombie invasion alters the Earth’s geopolitical map. Pakistan and Iran nukes one another; China becomes a democracy following a civil war; and Russia becomes a scary theocracy. World War Z is pretty darned serious. So, I’m genuinely curious how the movie will be handled.

In my view, much of this works quite well except for one or two odd moments. In one rather daft segment a blind Japanese pensioner becomes an adept zombie-slayer. On the other hand, in another South Africa the government repurposes an old Apartheid-era plan that was meant to be a last possible resort to deal with a full-scale uprising by its native Black population. This is brilliant perspective, in my opinion. The plan ends up saving the world, thanks, ironically, to Nelson Mandela (not named but clearly represented) – the “Great Reconciler” – who insisted upon it being used even though it was dreamt up by a racist apartheid apparatchik!

The good and gripping outweighs the bad and camp by far. There are several action pieces that makes me really look forward to seeing them sequenced in a movie. For example, one is in an “interview” in which a US soldier tells of the epic “Battle of Yonkers”. The battle was supposed to be a showpiece by the U.S. military to illustrate that it is indeed ready to simply blow away the zombie threat utilizing existing military doctrine. But, the soldiers are trained for conventional warfare against, well, the living (my own training realized itself as I read the book and I had found myself thinking set-piece battle operations would be futile against a mindless horde of creatures that knew naught fear, hunger nor exhaustion – and, attrition amongst their ranks was never an issue). Being engulfed by hordes of the undead that can only be killed by headshots wasn’t exactly something NATO planners considered a possibility during the Cold War.  Soon they are overrun by the living dead despite their massive firepower. So, the battle is, instead, a demoralizing setback that almost unhinges the American defense grid.

Another great action scene is one in which a lone female pilot ejects from her malfunctioning, state-of-the-art aircraft, and parachutes into hostile zombie territory (the Louisiana bayou, no less), and must fight her way to a safe zone. In retrospect, this is likely my favorite part of the book. And, it will be interesting to see how it’s done in the movie. My friend Wayne thinks Drew Barrymore should play the role of the female pilot. why not, says I.

Other “interviews” or segments include a soldier telling of the extreme disciplinary measures taken by the Russian military when soldiers refuse to leave doomed civilians to their fate; a Japanese computer geek escaping his infested apartment block using sheets tied together like in a, er, movie; divers having to clear the ocean bottom of “live” zombies; and so on. Although the garish scenes invoked on the beaches of a Japanese ship yard may yet invoke the most epic footage for a movie. Ponder thousands of refugees clawing their way onto overcrowded and capsizing ships and surrounded by a literal “sea” of zombies.

Sure, some of it is your typical post-apocalypse stuff that will be familiar to anyone who has seen 28 Weeks LaterI Am Legend or even The Happening, but Brooks lends an unexpected emotional resonance to the material at hand by taking it all very seriously. so, let’s be clear… This isn’t Shaun of the Dead. Which is probably how Brad Pitt’s production company (who obtained rights to the novel by finally outbidding Leonardo diCaprio’s company).

By the way… Marc Forster is set to direct the movie. Forster is a very “serious” film-maker (The Kite Runner, Monster’s Ball, Stranger Than Fiction) who is sometimes criticized for his ham-fisted approach by film critics. But, for me, he has proven himself capable of directing larger scale action blockbusters. For example, the recent Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. I will add, here, that hopefully Forster has been reading some reviews, and will drop some of his annoying tricks, mostly from the Bourne movies, such as jerky cam movements, incoherent editing and the like (and, his his attempts at being “deep,” which in Quantum resulted in a laughably pretentious action scene set in an opera house.). I think the book and it’s own theme can carry that through ably enough for any director.

I’ll add that J. Michael Straczynski, best known for Babylon 5, has written a script for World War Z. There are two ways for a film-maker to present the material at hand: a fake documentary approach which echoes the mockumentary “interviews” in Brooks’ book; or a straight-forward narrative in which several of the characters in the book are condensed into one or two central figures. Wisely enough Straczynski tells me that he’s opted for the latter adaption. After all, did we really need yet another zombie movie filmed in the style of Quarantine?

Somethiing that I find interesting is that Straczynski convinced Forster (with buy-in from Brooks – although I’ve not confirmed that element) to liken the planned movie to ‘Seventies conspiracy thrillers such as All the President’s Men. Straczynski in turn has compared the movie to The Bourne Identity, and remarked that World War Z will have a large international scope while keeping the film as political as the book was (I think this is absolutely critical to help underscore Brooks’ efforts to draw attention to government policies and hijinx).

Still, whatever the end product may be: World War Z is a worth-while read that even those tired of zombies would want to check out. It really does make for terrific dinner party banter. The whole zombie plague destroying mankind thing may be a cliché, but Brooks still manages to make something worthwhile out of the premise. It’s different and “fresh” because he does such a fantastic job outlining current real world government and societal policies against eventual and likely realities.

A final note: Fans of “End Times” literature should check it out before the film hits the big screen.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Back in 1977 Grandad said to me: “You can be a leader or a follower. Leaders know whom to follow at critical points in their lives. But, don’t ever be the wrong leader of followers”.

That requires some careful thought, and much more perspective.

Over the summer of 1988, while teaching me how to first listen and then sell (while also teaching me how to sail in Santa Monica Bay) David Sugarman, my “Jewish mentor” advised me, in that brilliant sepulchural baritone of his: “don’t bother buying a stock you might ever want to sell.”

“Trust in human nature”, he added.

These, strategies (they might be foundational philosophy /1) if you will, then required careful thought, research, informed decision-making and maturity to pull off over a lifetime.

Through the Spring of 1999 I remember the DOW breaking 10,000 for the first time with it’s delicious opportunity to revisit and contemplate David’s words.

Under pressure of very awkward and highly suspect circumstances, the market began it’s dark and ugly descent towards 6000 last year, and I decided to hold firm to Grandad and David’s, always great and evident, wisdom.

Every where I went, the only talk you could hear was about how low the DOW might go. It reminded me of the whole OJ Simpson ordeal. It’s all anyone seemed to want to focus on.

I could easily draw a correlation between the two topics. However, as a Prudent Gentlemen, I don’t see the point as it reduces the advantage, and lessons the potential effects and opportunities now relative to Laws of Natural Selection.

I will, however, offer an example, with the hopes loyal readers of this Blog harken and, perhaps remember when the next test rears itself.

I first listened to, and then observed, a local and hapless friend defy common sense and guidance, as he sold off all of his investments, leveraging both a dirth of intelligence while timing his decision to match, perfectly, mind you, the very bottom of the market. He was firm in his convictions and determined to panic. The chap was convinced the market was going to “crater (a clever and dramatic, albeit meaningless terms financially)”. I had told him there were many reasons – most of them built-in, while others were easily psychological (although both cleverly manipulated) that the market would not go below 6000. You can read more about that here (but, there is more elsewhere), and on this very Blog. Do it!

In any event, he bought into the frantic mooing to be found permeating the internet, and stampeded with so many others, failing to see the buying opportunities, and sold into a crashing market designed to fatten the wallets of the happy minority.

That fellow was a follower. And, he might have actually been a leader of followers (he was a bad example of something, or maybe a good example of a bad thing), to make his plight all the worse.

Today he’ll wring his hands and tell you that his wealth managers “screwed” him, as they misled “everyone (typically this is what thirteen year olds say in the absence of empiric evidence)” regarding their research abilities and understanding of market trends. I’ll wager they had been telling him to sit tight. The storm always abates, and the market always comes back.

Just like the current market will.

Because you can trust human nature (make sure you read that aforementioned post). And, try it from the view of a Heterodox. Consider it a Kobayashi Maru, and literally, an opportunity to Kill that Bear./2

This is an obvious point, but the only people that “lost” money in the stock market are those that panicked and sold into a down market. Conversely, there is new wealth, big money, being created, on paper, by people that have been buying stocks up for the past six months.

I have, and with good reason, cause to make another stand, right here, and say we’ll break back up, and through 12500, by the end of the First Quarter of 2010.

Do some leading research. Maybe you begin with why are the banks really hoarding all that cash?

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

1/ There is some agreement, therefore, that philosophy is based on method, and is rational, systematic and critical, or characterized by logical argument.

Intrinsic Character: Philosophy can be distinguished from empirical science and religion. The Penguin Encyclopedia says that philosophy differs from science in that its questions cannot be answered empirically, i.e. by observation or experiment, and from religion, in that its purpose is entirely intellectual, and allows no place for faith or revelation.

2/ From the Movie: “The Edge”.

what’s all this about?

I can’t explain what that damn tree means - or, if it might stand for something.

However, here I do discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman.

brian cork by John Campbell

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"Perhaps victory can be realized best when the heart changes."

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about this particular Theme:

I'll warn you now that Tarski is theme of this blog created by Benedict Eastaugh and Chris Sternal-Johnson. It is named for the logician Alfred Tarski. I'll recommend his papers ‘The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages’ and ‘On the Concept of Logical Consequence’, both of which can be found in the collection Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics.