Meewella | Fragments

The Life of P

Month: July 2009

Films You May Not Be Planning To See

With the mainstream film landscape now set, here are some films (in no particular order) that you may not be planning to see but should probably consider. Some of these may already be out depending on where you are. They won’t all be for everyone, of course, but at least give the trailers a whirl. And if you think I’ve missed anything, definitely let me know!


Moon – Intelligent science fiction in the 2001 vein, about a mining technician stationed alone on the moon. Sam Rockwell’s performance looks superb.

(500) Days of Summer – a offbeat romantic comedy for people who don’t like romantic comedies (i.e. without the formulaic cliché)

Thirst – Korean director Park Chan-wook (of Oldboy fame) turns his hand to vampires. A devoted small town priest volunteers for a medical experiment that goes wrong, turning him into a vampire and struggling to maintain his the remnants of his humanity. This ain’t no Twilight probably doesn’t cover it.

Brothers – Now, the story may seem somewhat familiar: when her is husband killed at war, a wife is comforted by his brother and a relationship develops until the husband is found alive and returns. But with powerful-looking performances from Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire, this could be worth a look.

An Education

An Education – a 1960s coming-of-age story in which an intelligent young girl headed for Oxford meets a charming, older playboy.

Shrink – Kevin Spacey leads in this independent drama as a top shrink for Hollywood celebrities, unable to cope with his own personal tragedy and increasingly questioning his ability to help his patients.

Surrogates – Coupled with Moon, intelligent sci-fi could be making a return with this futuristic world where humans interact solely through surrogate robots, while living in isolation. Bruce Willis’ character is forced to venture outside to investigate murders of these surrogates. Whether this goes too far down the I, Robot glitz-over-brains route remains to be seen.

District 9 – Director Neil Blomkamp was initially intended to helm the Halo film until plans fell through. Instead we have an intriguing view of extraterrestrial refugees in South Africa.

Downloading Nancy – I’m not really backing this until I’ve seen it, but this daring film is inevitably tainted by the fact the Sundance crowd hated it. An emotionally scarred wife, married to a cruelly cold husband, uses S&M and self-harm as an escape, while cultivating a relationship with an internet boyfriend. Her husband is oblivious until she goes missing.


Departures – Despite winning a best foreign language film Oscar, this Japanese film has only received a limited release worldwide. An out-of-work cellist is only able to find work, by accident, in the funeral industry, but is unable to admit this to his wife.

Sin Nombre – both a romance and a chase film, Sayra is a Honduran teenager dreaming of a better life in the States. On a freight train taking her there, her journey is entwined with a young recruit in the ruthless (and real-life) Mara Salvatrucha gang.

Daybreakers – With vampires having hunted humans nearly to extinction, both species now face a struggle to survive. Vampires are clearly all the rage at the moment, and this film could easily go either way: a lukewarm Equilibrium is the danger.

Alice in Wonderland – okay, so Tim Burton is now undoubtedly mainstream, but as an unabashed fan of Alice, I can’t wait to see his vision of Wonderland so I’m including it anyway.


Kennington Fête

A month-long hiatus due largely to my recent move into Kennington and the ensuing interlude sans internet. It should finally be sorted by the end of the week and I will be connected once more with the world. Kennington has been remarkably easy to settle into.  Partly, one suspects, because I live in the centre and there’s simply not a great deal of it. For anything beyond grocery shopping one hops on the bus/tube up to Oxford Street in a matter of minutes. The closest pub is the inimitable Dog House, though bizarrely I haven’t actually been since I moved. The politicians’ favourite Kennington Tandoori performs take-away duties. Sal is about minute away, and the Clapham gang only a little further. And best of all, the journey to and from work has around half an hour sliced off. All in all an ideal location, even if my hatred of estate agents remains as forceful as ever.

Kennington Fête: Guitarist

Marching back from the station, slightly stressed in the evening, Cleaver Square often proves to be the calming antidote one needs, being the only place outside of Cambridge where one routinely stumbles past people playing a recreational game of bowls. And, as Anna and I discovered the week after we arrived, it’s where Kennington holds its annual village fête. Yes, in the middle of London. It was a charming affair with all the expected games and trimmings crammed in, coupled excellent food courtesy of the local restaurants.

The biggest news in the last month on which people have been asking my opinion is Google’s announcement of its new operating system, Chrome OS. I will admit to be intrigued, perplexed, and curious as to whether I will ever use it. I am first intrigued by the prospect of a new OS being built from the ground up at this stage, with the potential to be utterly different from its competitors, particularly with its web-based intentions. Yet cursory investigation swiftly reveals Chrome really just runs atop an existing Linux kernel, so quite how much is new below the surface is questionable. I am perplexed by the name choice given firstly that Google already has an OS in the form of Android for phones and its not a wide leap to their target market of netbooks, and secondly that the Chrome web browser from which it takes its name has made no discernible inroads into the browser market at all so is hardly an impressive brand (most people who tried it out were Firefox users who quickly returned for the customisation if offers). Finally I suspect it will be years before it’s ready for my use. The netbook approach seems an ideal fit but the jump to desktops is a sizeable one. A web based application system is fine for basic use but I’m unlikely to switch until (virtually) all the software I currently use is available. Given its Linux roots it’s entirely possible that this could happen if the Google brand encourages Linux support from more software vendors, but that would become an endorsement of Linux in all its guises rather than Chrome specifically. The alternative is web-based versions of all software which may well be the future, but we’re not there yet. If being without internet access for the past few weeks has taught me anything at all, I’m exceedingly glad all my software and data are local so that I can still do everything but surf.

And to fill the procrastination void created by my absence: Web Side Story.

"Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has."

(CC) BY-NC 2004-2023 Priyan Meewella

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