Archives for category: Films

Tom Cruise

By James Pavel

I saw the latest Tom Cruise movie in an almost empty theatre last night.

The seats were left vacant and cold and not because the film, Edge of Tomorrow received poor reviews. In fact, the film was a futuristic bullet train of entertainment that unfortunately, very few can attest to.

For some time now, audiences no longer view Tom Cruise as the ultimate movie hero, but instead as a psychotic, religious zealot. For the past five years, he has felt the repercussions of this shattered relationship each time he has starred in a new movie.

My dear, fellow movie goers, it is time we make amends.

You know his career and his voice, but you do not know the man himself. You have likely felt as though you have made eye contact with him four dozen times in your life. You have surely seen him dance in his tighty whities. But you do not know him in any manner beyond the silver screen.

Voracious movie audiences need to finally erase what they claim to know about Tom Cruise the person, and start fresh with the mega movie star that we have now neglected since the turn of the decade.

You need to forgive the actor and forget about his bizarre personal life.

In the realm of butter-paved popcorn and 2 litre drums of pop, the entertainment is all that matters and nobody accelerates the human pulse like Tom Cruise.

Edge of Tomorrow, is likely to be yet another flop for Cruise, an unfathomable statistic 15 years ago. And yet the quality of films he chooses has not wavered. His latest choice pursues the same intellectual avenue as Leonardo Dicaprio’s Inception, and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Looper. All three movies could only exist in the present day because of their blindingly bright concepts and neck-twisting themes that focus on the potential of the mind intertwined with science.

It’s cutting edge cinematography, but audiences can’t be moved to forgive poor Tommy. We loathe Cruise like he slept with our younger sister and never called. We pretend to know him because of the toxic pollution that exists on newsstands with false rumours and outlandish tall tales of his social life.

The man we pretend to know everything about is actually Thomas Cruise Mapother IV and although, he might be two Scientology sermons away from the coo coo house, this shouldn’t matter.

We have become so enamoured with celebrity gossip that we have actually allowed it to cloud the very method that we’ve come to know the name of someone famous in the first place. We do not know who Cruise is because he openly supports one of the most contentious religions in the world, or because he enjoys pouncing up and down on a couch like a Ritalin-needy child.

His name is embedded in the pop culture lexicon because he made Top Gun one of the decade-defining movies of the 80s. His name is synonymous with acting because of his spine-tingling performances in Jerry Maguire, and The Last Samurai. And yet we have held a grudge against him because he might have been a mind-control freak-a-zoid in his relationship with Katie Holmes. We stick our noses up because we don’t agree with his religious beliefs, despite him never actually attempting to persuade any audience member to convert to his preferred union in any role he has chosen.

The person that you do know is the movie/action star, Tom Cruise. He is what should matter. We should judge him by the quality of his craft, and not by the recent US Magazine headline.

Let him back into your life. Let Tom Cruise the movie hero save the world again and again, like he has for the past three decades.

You don’t have to pick up the phone. You don’t need to Facebook him. Just pay to see Tom Cruise’s latest film and gently whisper, “I forgive you.”


By James Pavel

Matthew McConaughey’s acceptance speech for best actor at the 2014 Academy Awards exuded advice, wisdom, and comedy and thrusted a lifetime of charm into a perfectly-executed victory dissertation that will be remembered as one of the finest ever bestowed on the Academy.

I would like to thank blah, blah, blah, blah and blah. That is what 80 per cent of nominees sound like to audiences watching the Oscars across the globe. Nobody knows who your agent is, nor do they care. It’s not that these people don’t matter, it’s just that they don’t matter to us.

Which is likely just one of the reasons McConaughey’s speech was earth-shatteringly brilliant. He didn’t thank a group of people who’s names and duties are exclusive to his knowledge and a handful of others. He didn’t ramble on about how grateful he was to some random production company for giving him the chance to hone his craft.

No, he instead began by discussing his passed-away father, who he pictured looking down below drinking a Miller Light and rejoicing in his son’s victory. It was personal, but still painted a visceral portrait of a proud father that almost everyone can crack a smile over.

He then acknowledged his belief in God, but not in a self-righteous manner, but in the form of a purist, one who is able to ignore the question marks and deceit that revolve around religion and focus only on the tranquility and hope that faith can bring. The quick Hail Mary wasn’t arrogant or obnoxious, but just a man refusing to believe that his incredible fortune has not just been the result of blind chance, but perhaps a greater being.

He praised his family, but not in the over-the-top, awkward slime fest we’ve become accustomed to, but in an almost adorable, “I’m the luckiest guy int the world” method.

Finally, he closed his speech with two references to his two most iconic and glorified roles. He began that ridiculous humming sound courtesy of his coke-addicted, booze-throttling role in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and then gave stoners, hippies and aging hipsters the ode of a life time by uttering the one-liner of the century: “Alright, alright, alright,” via “Dazed and Confused.”


By James Pavel

 Critics have hammered Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest work, The Great Gatsby with negative criticism but it hasn’t stopped the film from bringing in an impressive $51 million in its first weekend.  

 The critical blundering is completely unjustified because even watching DiCaprio do absolutely nothing is grander than watching a normal man attempt amazing feats.

 The film is a glamourous spectacle, with wild, ostentatious parties, elaborate and decorative outfits and slick haircuts that would look just splendid in today’s time-traveling fashion lineup .If you haven’t read the classic novel, “The Great Gatsby,” then you wouldn’t know that it is about a man who has seemingly everything, who has accomplished even the wildest of ambitions, but who does it all for the love and affection of a woman named Daisy.

 It is an electric and dreamy love story, which is likely what critics disliked so vehemently. When a regular gentleman explains their quest for the hand of a lady, it can be energizing and thrilling, but also repetitive and glib. But when Leo falls in love, it is never anything short of enchanting.

 Everything exuded by Leo is with the passion of a thousand poets, a man who is now a master of emotion and sincerity. He appears almost blindingly dashing in each scene, leaving men grateful that he is restrained to mingling only with only supermodels and Hollywood celebs and not us mere mortals.

 The 3-D experience is also stunning, as it provides the most engaging and stimulating visuals since “Avatar.” Gatsby isn’t for the traditional summer audience who are only moved by relentless car chases and meaningless dialogue.

 Gatsby is for those appreciative of love and aware of its ability to possess the soul and force it to conquer anything in order to attain the true and undeniable love of a single man or woman.

 An actor who has played so many historic characters would often grow tiresome or almost unbelieving to an audience because of such a mass assortment of aliases, but not Leo.

 He is as visceral as Gatsby as he is Jack in Titanic. He is as much a tourist on a beach in Thailand as he is a South African excited by blood diamonds. The only element that doesn’t seem real is Leo himself. He is and always will be, the king of the world.


By Séamus Smyth

5. Denzel Washington

Nobody communicates such paramount emotion with only a concentrated stare like Denzel. Washington can play the craziest mofo on the planet (see Training Day,) or a beyond-loyal father in John Q, all with a determination scarcely seen in Hollywood. With every film, Washington demands that the audience steps inside a world of uncensored truth and humility. He can carry any movie because he just doesn’t stop caring, which forces the audience to temporarily mimic his intensity.

4. Matt Damon

Not only one of the most sincere, but easily one of the most intelligent actors of the decade. He managed to overcome the ridicule that bestowed him in the cartoon-comedy Team America, and has continued to remain one of the most respected actors of the era. Damon can be red-faced serious, but also knee-slapping hilarious because unlike Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio, Damon comes across as the dude banging on your backdoor with a case of beer in tow.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio

Nobody believed him when he roared “I’m the King of the world,” as his ascent to the throne was a long and arduous path. But DiCaprio was the poster boy that refused to be type-casted after a career-defining performance in Titanic. He wisely and patiently waited for the premier directors to start buzzing him. And they did. Spielberg enlisted Leo in Catch me if you can, and Martin Scorsese would groom DiCaprio to be a re-engineered Bobby DeNiro for a new generation. His one and only downfall is his persistent, almost obsessive decision to continue to choose movies that he thinks the Academy Awards will favour. It has resulted in Leo sometimes choosing roles that leave the crowd yearning for a mattress.

2. Christian Bale

He is the American psycho. He is the Terminator. And least forgettable of all, he is the Batman. Being able to list these three titles on one’s resume not only equals immediate job offerings, but earns instantaneous credit from any respectable man or woman.  Bale doesn’t just seek out strange and complex characters, he craves them. He willingly lost a dangerous amount of weight, (see The Machinist) to gaining so much muscle that the Directors of Batman actually had to ask him to slim down a bit, which all demonstrates his ruthless dedication to his craft. There is a natural mystery surrounding Bale, a trait that can’t be bought or taught, but just a divine-inserted gene located deep in his DNA.

1. Brad Pitt

What separates Pitt from the wolf pack is his persistent knack to refuse any role that he does not perceive as a challenge. His list of already iconic characters should put him in the same paragraph as Brando and De Niro, expect not even these two can compete with the range that Pitt travels. If he had begun to flop after Seven and Fight Club, Pitt would still be considered an icon, no longer how brief that period was. But he didn’t stall at these two aphotic sagas, in fact, quite the opposite.  Pitt decided to fly back in time for Troy, adopt a harsh, almost indecipherable accent in Snatch, and even hang out with Julia Roberts in Mexico. It’s not cliché, but a matter of fact, that Pitt is getting astonishingly better with age. Babel, Inglorious Bastards, and The Assassination of Jesse James, are all respectable candidates for his best work and all equate to the most polished and decadent selection of films of any actor over the past ten years.

Movie Review

By Séamus Smyth

Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, American Dad and the Cleveland Show, takes his ruthless, arguably obnoxious brand of laughter to the silver screen with Ted.

Mark Wahlberg plays Johnny, a boy with zero friends who one day wishes upon a lucky star that his new teddy bear would magically come to life. Sure enough, Ted is no longer a mute, inanimate object, but instead becomes a living, breathing miracle to the comical shock of Johnny’s parents.

To ensure some form of reality is maintained, Ted becomes a global sensation, appearing on magazines, televisions etc. But amazingly, just like any other one-trick pony, the world forgets about Ted after a few years and he slowly slides into obscurity.

He does not however, slide away from Johnny, as they remain the ultimate dynamic duo or “thunder buddies” as they knight themselves in the early stages of their relationship.

The movie shoots off to the future where Johnny is now a 35-year-old slacker, barely able to get out of bed and keep his way-too-pretty girlfriend content because of his unbreakable loyalty to Ted.

Can Johnny ever pulls his socks up or is he destined to casually stroll through life with his babbling teddy bear? That becomes the ultimate question, but it’s difficult to urge Johnny to change when Wahlberg does such an excellent job of playing a likeable pothead.

His seemingly effortless humour is the highlight of the movie, even trumping Ted, who successfully conveys MacFarlane’s most prestigious traits, but also delivers a half-dozen sour-tasting lines that would be better left in the sewer.

Mila Kunis could make a cameo in a silent film and have people raving about her performance as she seems to be in a permanent state of beautiful bliss that never seems like a farce. The chemistry between her character Lori Collins and Johnny provides genuine smiles in a movie that, like so many comedies these days, has a dramatic story-line running a beating heart through what many thought would be strictly a laugh fest.

Similar to Johnny, the audience is caught between wanting him to make Lori happy because she is an absolute Goddess, but also desperately urging him to throw his priorities out the window and ride shotgun on the couch with his furry soul-mate all day.

The film has been successful because of an abundance of marketing, but more importantly because of the legions of men and women who swear by the smug punch lines of Family Guy. The dance sequences, the incredibly violent scrums that emerge out of nowhere and the offside shots at sensitive subjects are all teleported from MacFarlane’s television gold mines to his first shot at the big time.

Although Ted is far from perfect, it accomplishes enough to make a strong case for MacFarlane’s permanent promotion to the film stage.


By Séamus Smyth

Ron Burgundy from Channel 4 news announced this past week on CONAN that there will be a sequel to the highly successful “Anchorman: The legend of Ron Burgundy” film. As I watched Burgundy storm through a brilliant flute solo, I couldn’t help but ponder five syllables: Der-ek-Zoo-land-der.

Rumours have been circulating for almost a decade regarding a sequel to this outlandish portrayal of male models in the 2001 satirical classic, “Zoolander.”  It featured Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell all performing at their comedic zenith.

While all three characters were simultaneously bizarre and hysterical, Ferrell’s alter-ego Mugatu, was worthy of his own film based on the hilarity that ensued.

Stiller is in danger of landing in Adam Sandler territory by making predictable, stagnant films that appear completely profit-driven. It is time for him to re-apply at the man-scara, polish a new look and re-ignite the Zoolander ensemble for an unforgettable sequel.

Ferrell also seems to have lost a bit of steam over the past few years, as Seth Rogan begins to clip at his heels for the preferred role of overweight man-child. Yet, one skill or role that Rogan has never dared to attempt is something as creatively absurd as Mugatu.

Mugatu was an eccentric, megalomaniac that was a scene-stealer virtually every moment he performed in “Zoolander.”

Now I am not at all bashing the potential for “Anchorman 2” to be one of the funniest sequels of all time. Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and Ferrell are three of the most versatile entertainers in the competitive, comedic league.

But do the three roles of the aforementioned actors have enough issues and idiosyncrasies to battle with the coo-coo birds that were conceived on the Zoolander runway?

“Anchorman 2” will likely either be a raging success or a colossal failure. Meanwhile, die-hard Zoolander fans will be left to wonder how Derek’s “School for Children who can’t read good” has progressed since its inception.

By Séamus Smyth

10. The Departed

It’s a quarter-century dream team of acting and directing composed of Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicolson, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin and the king of the world himself, Leonardo DiCaprio. Yet unlike the American basketball squad, this team delivered the goods. For some reason, Boston seems to be ideal place to stage a mob versus police fiasco (perhaps it’s the accent.) No matter, there isn’t a scene where superb acting is not displayed, whether it is Baldwin’s ostentatious tantrums or Damon’s somehow charming arrogance.

9. The Dark Knight

Christian Bale is predictably brilliant in the lead role as the caped crusader, but it is Heath Ledger’s career-defining performance as the manic Joker that makes this flick a classic. The Joker has for too long been defined by his clown-like demeanour, his cartoonish appearance and unrelenting sense of humour. Ledger is the one who finally revamps the role and promptly scares the shit out of kids who thought they were going to see the Jack Nicholson version. Ledger’s Joker is still hilarious, but it’s a silent snicker that is covered with one’s palms because a rush of guilt surges inside for having laughed at such sadistic remarks. Bale’s version of Batman is so powerful and domineering that it could only take a menacing nemesis at the level that Ledger creates to make Batman vs. Joker seem like a fight worth watching.

8. Blow

The tale that epitomizes the modern-day appeal of Johnny Depp is a drug-glorifying masterpiece with a soul-crunching conscience. Depp’s romance-novel flow of hair, his outrageous wardrobe and rock-star allure helps the youngsters become acutely aware of the intensity of the cocaine explosion in the 1970s. Yet what removes Blow, from the countless other films that make drug dealing seem like a playful gig with little repercussions, is how it shows the devastating effects it has on real-life central character, George Jung. Ray Liotta’s shattered heart along with Penelope Cruz playing an initially irresistible, hot tamale transformed (courtesy of the white powder) into an out-of-control, miserable witch, convert stereotypical supporting roles into heart-piercing cries of empathy.

7. The Prestige

Magic is too often defined by rabbits rising from hats and women being ostensibly sawed in half. The Prestige finally reveals the dark shadow that has always accompanied the theatrics of this enthralling act. After a standard trick goes horribly wrong, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) become consumed by their hatred of one another and stop at absolutely nothing to destroy the other. No movie of the past decade has captured such a fierce rivalry in such a remarkably diverse setting. The conclusion of this film is as jaw-dropping and unforeseen as anything a magician has ever performed.

6. Snatch

Snatch is Guy Ritchie’s English stew where he tosses in all ingredients required to make the most entertaining movie possible. Firstly, accept the urgings from one of the world’s great actors (Brad Pitt) and allow him to star in your next film. Next, recruit some of the funniest, and yes, most stereotypically British actors available for comic relief. Thirdly, insert a sense of danger and grimy circumstances, as he does with the underground boxing, the pikey trailer park and the ruthless character of Brick Top. The movie is quoted for its hilariously clever wit, yet serves as a caution for getting involved in dodgy betting; it also makes the Americans sound arrogant and the English sound fatuous. It demonstrates how nobody wins when greed is involved, except in this case, the audience.

5. Crash

I am sure the idea of tying a multitude of stories together has been attempted before, but never has it been executed with such success as Crash manages to do. It maximizes the potential of a number of average actors, Brendon Fraser, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges to name a few, and has them acting like first-class studs. It also tackles the subject of less glamourous predicaments that many find themselves in, yet often refrain from excessively discussing. Matt Dillon’s role as Officer John Ryan, a disgruntled, morally-skewed policeman is particularly revealing. He blatantly sexually harasses a suspect to the shock of his partner, yet ironically saves her life in an explosive car accident. But when he returns home from another day of soul-searching and soul-squashing, he tends to his ailing father like the guardian angel that looms deep inside of him.

4. SlumDog Millionaire

North Americans discuss, even battle against Third-world poverty, but always from a comfortable, leather seat with enough food to feed a small village. Slumdog Millionaire momentarily sticks the affluent Westerner in a garbage heap called home and illustrates the surreal circumstances that many across the pond are forced to exist in. Inserting the game show is excellent because it ensures the audience does not feel too foreign from the film’s pulse, yet it refuses to submit to any other western stipulation as it remains true to its Indian origins.

3. The Social Network

It’s a generation-defining masterpiece that zooms in on the conception of the world’s biggest meet and greet. Facebook was derived from a site called “hot or not” created by Mark Zuckerberg after a riff with his girlfriend, that allows males to judge female students strictly off their looks. Tragically yet almost predictably, this means that Facebook was formed through the illicit energy of a broken heart. “For wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them,” said Hamlet. The film isn’t just about computers and nerds, but about the endless potential of technology and the absurd monetary possibilities that now exist because of it. Trent Reznor’s signature, venomous sounds accompany Fincher’s work and help show the insidious wolf that exists behind the angelic blue and white mask of Facebook.

2. Vanilla Sky

A love story for the technologically-advanced era, Vanilla Sky fuses dream and reality into a beautiful nightmare. Vanilla Sky will make you fall madly in love with Penelope Cruz, somehow causes you to loathe Cameron Diaz and forces you to empathize with Tom Cruise in a way rarely felt. It’s a film about love, about science, about relationships, but above all, about the fleeting decisions that one makes without ever giving them a second thought. The sounds and songs of this movie juxtaposed with the authenticity of the character’s dialogue create a dichotomy of rarely seen synthesisation.

1. American History X

Tackling the murky, grey waters of racism is almost always told from the perspective of the race that has been singled out – and for good reason. The vantage point of the cultures and races that have been discriminated against demonstrates how skewed and heartless racism is. Yet, American History X ignores this template and dares to focus on how the discriminator, or the white man in this case, see the picture. Yes, the white man’s purges and exploitation of other cultures is well-documented, but what makes them still react this way in today’s day and age? Edward Norton puts on the performance of ten lifetimes as he plays a middle-class, suburban, white man whose father has been murdered in an African-American dominated neighbourhood. He becomes enraged, vengeful and exudes all the sentiments that likely lead to a racist ideology. Of course, this project concludes that it isn’t about black and white; we are in this struggle together and for every bad apple that happens to be black, there is a white one to match it.

Film Review
By Séamus Smyth

A film that is much greater than just the tale of a woman with Gothic ink running down her thigh, along with other variations of mysterious imagery scattered across her tortured body, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” is a pulsating scream of pleasure that swerves the viewer through multiple extremes of emotion.

Daniel Craig asserts himself early on as leading man Mikael Blomkvist who is introduced as a journalist in boiling hot water after losing a major court battle, resulting in a severely bruised writing reputation. Blomkvist had attempted to take out a man known as Wennstrom, a conniving and ruthless businessman, but after Blomkvist’s key sources proven to be unfounded, he is left humiliated.

To the dismay of his editor/lover he quickly begins searching for the darkest rock to climb under, but his sanity is rescued when an affluent Swedish man presents an unsolved mystery that he believes Blomkvist is capable of solving.

Henrik Vanger explains that his Scandinavian family has been missing a dearly-loved family member for over thirty years and he is desperate to find out what happened to her before he is laid to rest. Considering the length of time since the disappearance, Blomkvist is skeptical to put it lightly. Yet when Vanger assures him that if he were to solve the riddle that has menaced his family for decades, he would provide information on Wennstrom that would bury him forever.

Blomkvist bites and immediately begins researching the Vanger family tree who turn out to be an incredibly irritable bunch and worst yet, horribly dysfunctional. Despite the ornery family members, Blomkvist’s interest intensifies as the clues slowly pile up, but it becomes clear that he will need an assistant; enter Rooney Mara playing Lisbeth Salander, aka the girl you don’t want to mess with on your best day.

The girl with the dragon tattoo also has the heart of a lion and the mind of a CIA agent and immediately improves the hunt for the missing girl as she slowly warms to Blomkvist’s purist nature and workhorse attitude. Her hatred of anyone that would dare raise a hand towards an innocent female, including herself, jacks up the intensity of the case and makes Blomkvist a believer in a successful outcome and even perhaps, a secret admirer of the young femme.

The sexual scenes displayed in the first installment of this trilogy range from repulsive and shocking to lustful and surprising. A horrific rape scene that takes place in the first half of the film is excruciating to sit through, but one’s conscience takes a lift once the pedophile posing as a social worker is given a taste of his own poisonous medicine.

It’s a sharp, modern, character-driven story that refuses to go at any pace other than maximum capacity. One’s hair is practically blowing in the wind due to the high velocity of the flick that never really subsides, thanks in part to the brilliant score provided by director David Fincher’s musical henchmen, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The music is edgy, suspenseful and clever, all traits that the film as a whole exudes throughout the furious 158 minutes.

Film Review
By Séamus Smyth

Tackling present issues in film places a director in a vulnerable position because he is attempting to explain to an audience an event that they experienced first-hand; in this case the phenomenon known as Facebook. The rush of reality to script allows the audience to rapidly determine its validity due to the close proximity of motion picture to the time the event took place.

Fortunately, The Social Network was not written as some rags to riches fairytale, but instead was the observations of a sinister fly on the wall of a Harvard dorm room that watched an introverted genius take his hurt feelings and form the greatest meet and greet service ever created.
David Fincher, the director of the modern-classic Fight Club, recruits the sound narration of music guru Trent Reznor and forces the hair to rise off the skin of every Facebook member with the ease of a login button.

The film isn’t about the concept of Facebook. The site isn’t successful because people genuinely wish to reconnect with strangers whom they couldn’t bother to stay in contact with in the first place. It is immensely popular because it is the first online party hosted by self-centered, pseudo-celebrities with the ability to invite or ignore anyone of their choosing. If you’ve failed to come to terms with this transparent delusion, then unfortunately your level of narcissism is higher than the class average of the Facebook graduating class.

Mark Zuckerberg is an effortlessly brilliant Harvard student who after belittling his girlfriend in a head-spinning fury, is dumped like he was a word document sent to the trash bin. Without ever acknowledging his bruised ego, he sets off on a diabolical rampage on all women in the college database. Zuckerberg forms a “hot or not” based site, which allows sex-fiend doormen to determine who is the best looking female student to the shock and humiliation of women around campus. Zuckerberg succeeds in his quest to infuriate all members of the opposite gender, not excluding his ex-crush, by hacking into the Harvard database with ridiculous ease while a few beers deep no less.

Zuckerberg watches his reputation plummet from anonymous geek to renowned villain, but the stage is set for the cool kids to take notice. The Winklevoss twins, two standout athletes that look as though they were molded from the same clay as the Greek Gods, approach Zuckerberg once news spreads that he was the sole person behind the system crashing of one of the most prestigious schools in the country. When they pitch the idea of a social network strictly for members of Harvard, it ignites a light bulb bigger than the sun inside the warped mind of Zuckerberg and so his evolutionary website begins. He refrains from replying to the twins requests to update them on the progress of programming as he instead hijacks their suggestion and takes the Harvard interactive mingling concept to a whole new dimension.

Zuckerberg recruits his naive, yet genuinely good-natured best friend Eduardo Saverin. The partnership is primarily for financial purposes, but both understand that as business partners, capital is a necessary requirement.

The Social Network accelerates to high speed when, fitting enough, the most versatile entertainer of the past 10 years, Justin Timberlake, enters the picture playing arguably the most influential computer-geek of our generation, Sean Parker.

Parker is notorious for creating the music download program, Napster, and although his program is long gone by the time Facebook registers on his monitor, Zuckerberg can’t help but be impressed by the confidence and business suaveness that Parker puts across upon their initial sit-down.
Parker moves in while Saverin is given the cold, dark shoulder and the audience can do nothing but absorb the power that the final 30 minutes of this film delivers. The raw emotion that roars through Saverin when it finally dawns on him that he has been royally screwed out of literally millions of dollars is profoundly and refreshingly human.

The Social Network is a cunning, witty and generation-defining piece of art. It’s a movie that states so much more than what appears on the domain name. No more perplexing theme is the scenario that pits Zuckerberg versus the ken dolls of our time, played by the Winklevoss brothers. It’s the age-old tug-a-war between nerds and jocks, but the script is flipped.

Not only have the geeks been winning since the beginning of the technological era, they’ve shook every jock for their lunch money and once the helpless Zack Morris’ of our era are stark naked, the geek squad blind-fold them and double-check for any intellectual property.
Sure the twins may be smug, spoiled and unapologetically arrogant, but they have no hidden vendetta against the whiz kid Zuckerberg. Yet, upon reflection, it appears Zuckerberg smelt blood the minute the twins confessed their desire to recruit him in the hopes of getting rich and prosperous together.

The geeks run the planet, but they’ve gotten to the point where the roles are irrevocably reversed. From hacking into secure databases, to changing the world in the matter of months with an Internet hunch, Mark Zuckerberg has revamped the entire global communication process.
So how does one determine where Zuckerberg stands amongst past entrepreneurs of technology, from Thomas Edison to Alexander Graham Bell?

The issue with grand comparisons to our forefathers is that they were set on creating instruments and devices that would benefit themselves, but more importantly, the entire community. Yet, in the twisted world of 2010, inventions are spawned through self-interest and if helping others find enjoyment as long as there is a profit, than so be it. Where does Zuckerberg stand in the history books? It doesn’t matter because although he has our full, undivided attention, to quote him;
“ You have my minimal attention.”

Film review

By Séamus Smyth

Woody Allen’s bashful love letter to France’s most toasted City,( Paris of course) is read aloud to the class and not only does he win over the hearts of each boy and girl in attendance, but the City’s cheeks almost turn rosy from the influx of compliments.

The flick stars Owen Wilson as Gil  in one of his most charming performances of his career, who makes the trip abroad with his fiancée, Inez, played by Rachel McAdams, and her right-wing, pompous parents John and Helen.

Gil has recently made the bold move to embark on a full-length novel despite his success as a screen writer.  He immediately falls for the French flavour that he re-discovers with every fresh breath of air. He fantasizes out loud about emigrating from his native California to France, to the frustration of his wife-to-be.

Just when Gil’s liberal ramblings begin to maximize the patience of the conservative parents, the dinner is interrupted by a former professor of Inez’s who appears smitten to run into one of his former students.  She’s equally delighted about the chance encounter although Gil brushes him off as a “pseudo-intellectual.”

While Inez follows Professor Paul from one exhibit to the next, Gil sets off on an adventure of his own as he looks to discover whether or not he has the skills required to pen a successful book. His midnight exploits initially strike him as surreal hallucinations and he comically attempts to explain to Inez where he has been wandering off to in the middle of the night.

A sight for sore eyes is Marion Cotilliard, who plays an old-fashioned dame who only has to take a puff from the cigarette dangling from her wrist to gain Gil’s undivided attention. Her beauty previously escaped me in last year’s blockbuster, “Inception,” mostly because she played a deranged head case.  A famous author, who I will not divulge for spoiler’s sake, is a comedic goldmine as he boasts about the honour in war, his love of drink and his intense sense of competition with other writers.

Along with the creative perspective on the way some of the greatest artists would have interacted, the film succeeds because of Wilson’s natural zaniness.  His ability as a character to never become too demanding of his environment or probe at questions that are better left alone for the audience’s sake creates genuine laughs throughout the evening.

Allen’s recent works have taken accomplished actors back to such natural formulas of acting, that it becomes difficult to remember that you are not just watching the life of a stranger through an enlarged peephole. Melinda & Melinda, You will meet a Tall Dark Stranger, and now Midnight in Paris, are all wonderfully decorated with elegant horns and violins and sophisticated speech.  The films choose to not cater to a certain audience, but allow all to sail quietly under a new script about the lives of others and how they cope with life-altering predicaments.

The visual shots of Paris that accompany the film would make even a Hermit exchange their capital for the mighty Euro dollar to visit the sights and sounds presented. The legendary authors and artists that Gil communicates with when the clock strikes twelve would spike the interest of even those who have somehow eluded the written texts of famous authors until now.

Woody Allen’s film ending is as disappointing as when Gil is chaperoned back to his hotel room as Gil and the audience must now dwell in the present era that we have been chosen to exist in.  Allen again has captured escapism in its purist form.