I'm thinking really hard about buying a couple of books which I mind find interesting:
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance (Robert Pirsig)
The God Delusion (R. Dawkins)
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (R. Dawkins)
Anyone had some experience with these titles? I'm especially interested in thoughts about the second one, since if it's just some random hatred-driven rant about how religion is crap (which, after reading up about it, appears to might be), then I could give up on checking it out.
Any other particular titles regarding religion/cosmology/philosophy that you recommend?
I'm not interested in hockey, but there's one think that bothers me, now that I've stumbled upon an article regarding the World Championships, which are taking place at the moment.
Do the USA and Canada send the very best players to compete in major international tournaments (aka Basketball's Dream Team), or do they just send some mediocre guys who may or may not win the title? What about the very best players from other nations, like Russia and Sweden?
I have this friend of mine who plays NL10 SH and wants to move out from Stars. I haven't played anywhere else except PS for some time, so I'm not familiar with recent possibilities.
He 4-tables. Bonus/rakeback greatly appreciated. Please help.
Since I started watching movies on a mass scale around three years ago I became an anime fan. I don't watch any series, but from time to time I look up a film that looks interesting or has good notes at IMDb. I'd like to share my opinions on the ones I've watched and I'll be more than happy to hear some recommendations from you, guys.
OK, so off we go.
Let's start with Studio Ghibli. To me they are the best animation studio in the world, excelling even above the worldwide-known Pixar and Disney. My favourite director is (of course ) Hayao Miyazaki. Since present, I've seen the following anime he has made:
1. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away) - 8/10. Actually I don't remember much of it, because it's been over 2 years now since I've watched it, but I'm sure any anime lover has to look it up.
2. Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbour Totoro) - 8/10. Lighthearted, funny story. Good especially for younger audiences (but enjoyable to anyone).
3. Mononoke-hime (Princess Mononoke) - 8/10. Don't remember much of it either.
4. Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind) - 7/10. Liked it. No masterpiece, though.
5. Majo no takkyûbin (Kiki's Delivery Service) - 7/10. Same as above.
6. Kurenai no buta (Porco Rosso) - 5/10. The worst I've so far seen from Miyazaki. Didn't enjoy the story, got bored quickly.
7. Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta (Castle in the Sky) - 6/10. A tad better than Porco Rosso, but no fireworks as well.
8. Hauru no ugoku shiro (Howl's Moving Castle) - 8+/10. The best Miyazaki film IMO. A great story, superb animation, lovable characters and lots of fresh, good ideas.
Other Studio Ghibli movies:
1. Mimi wo sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart) - 7/10. Somewhat romantic story, OK if you like innocent romance.
2. Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) - 8+/10. A gem. Beautiful, heart wrenching story. A must see.
Other movies in random order:
1. Toki o kakeru shôjo (The Girl who Leapt through Time) - 7/10.
2. The Animatrix - 8/10. Why didn't the Wachowski brothers produced just the original Matrix movie and this very well-done piece of animation as an addition? The best part of it is the 'New Renaissance' section.
3. Mind Game - 7/10.
4. Memorîzu (Memories) - 7/10. It's divided into three separate stories. 1st is best IMO (8/10), then come the other two, which I'd give a note of 6 or 7. Therefore the final note is 7.
5. Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem - 6/10. Remember the Daft Punk videoclips with blue people that made up a story? This is more of their music with a full-length storyline.
6. Evangerion shin gekijôban: Jo (Evangelion New Theatrical Version: Beginning) - 6/10. Didn't excite me as much as I hoped. Probably would have liked it better had I watched the series first. To make things clear, you don't have to know anything about Evangelion to watch this movie. This is allegedly the first few episodes connected into a single feature film. Supposedly there is a sequel out already and there are two other parts in the making (it is said that there will be a alternate ending than the one from the series).
7. Dead Leaves - 7/10. This is one weird piece of anime. Pretty funny and bizarre.
8. Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen) - 8+/10. Another weep-inducing Japanese production. This time about Hiroshima. And based on a true story.
9. Kumo no mukô, yakusoku no basho (The Place Promised in Our Early Days) - 7/10.
10. Byôsoku 5 senchimêtoru (5 Centimeters per Second) - 8+/10. Same director as No. 9. EXCELLENT animation, I think the best I've ever seen. I warn that the story is very sentimental and romantic, so this movie might not apply to everyone.
I'll end by reminding you that I'm looking forward to some anime recommendations (please don't waste your time on recommending series, I won't watch them anyway ).
I am a movie fan, thus I couldn't have missed this year's Oscars (didn't watch it live, because of the time difference, though).
I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised that The Social Network didn't win the Best Picture. Despite all the positive reviews on the film, I found it not as good as most of the other nominees this year. I loved Inception and greatly enjoyed True Grit and Black Swan. As for the winner, The King's Speech, I feel that the prize is deserved, mainly due to very good acting by all three main characters (applause for Colin Firth - a truly great, Oscar worthy, performance) and a fresh, well written script (who would have thought that a history of a stammering king can be so interesting?).
Natalie Portman played her role very well in the Black Swan and I couldn't see anyone else being the winner, although I'd like to honor Michelle Williams for her role in Blue Valentine. She was also very good.
Supporting roles: The Fighter took both and, for me, the Academy made the right decision. Both performances are powerful, convincing and realistic.
There was absolutely no doubt that Toy Story 3 will take the Best Animated Picture award (how could it not - it was nominated for the Best Picture). As for Best Foreign Language film, I haven't seen the winner yet, so I can't elaborate on this one.
It is said that the biggest loser of this year's Academy Awards is True Grit. Ten chances and no win. I wouldn't say this is a big surprise. Although the movie itself is very good in almost every aspect, it is brilliant almost nowhere. The competition was simply better. I wish the Coen brothers more luck next time. They are extremely talented and nearly all of their films are hits, so I'm looking forward to Gambit, which is due to release in 2012.
All in all, I think the year 2010 abounded in several good films and was better for movie fans than the previous one. Hopefully 2011 can top that.
P.S. I saw Blue Valentine yesterday and Ryan Gosling really should have been nominated instead of Jesse Eisenberg or James Franco (haven't watched Biutiful). In this movie he proves that he is a great actor, even though he's still relatively young. I'm sure we'll hear about him in the future.