I have been lucky enough to have purchased both of these titans of animated film on dvd, I bought them because of their visual style. Both films where shot digitally then rotoscoped, which is a form of drawing over footage, this process gives both films a very unique visual impact. The films are critically acclaimed, not just because of their aesthetic qualities but also because of the narratives that are present. To start with A Scanner Darkly, directed by Richard Linklater based upon the novel by Philip K Dick its characters are brought to life through household names. Such as Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson, and Robert Downey Jr all give superb performances. This film is primarily about paranoia sustained by the consumption of this mysterious Substance D, through the opening credits your introduced to a character suffering from the imaginary itches. Its clever how your taken on a journey through an example of what could happen in contemporary drug policing. Its scary in many different ways because its not that far from being possible, its grounded in a very realistic portrayal of the drug fuelled, hyper active, perspective of a regular user. Thus when the protagonists have moments of pure unregulated conspiracy and doubts then you feel that it is warranted. As the boundaries between right and wrong vanish you as a viewer, an audience member are left pondering what will happen. One of my favourite elements of this film is the suit the main character wears, is mad, it shields the identity of the wearer completely through merging as many different faces as possible. Its almost like a scrambler constantly shifting from one individual to the next, all in all this is a great film with great moments of dialogue. Enjoy your journey towards the blue flower fields!

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The other film Waltz with Bashir is darker, equally beautiful, but darker. As a film thats about an individual attempting to revisit his imperfect memory of massacres and atrocities in Beirut Lebanon 1982. This film documents the decision of Isreali forces to allow Christian Phalangist militia to enter Palestinian refugee camps, a decision that resulted in the slaughter of innocent civilians. Between seven hundred and sixty two towards three thousand five hundred Palestinian, Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese, Algerian, and Pakistani people lost their lives.  The Israeli Ari Folman’s film could be criticised as too Israeli centric and casts the victims as faceless bodies, they are not named and are not really characters. However this criticism is the only one which has any validity, as the films effort to visualise how the narrator presided over mass murder is important. The film is staggered between conversations and surreal flashbacks that tell the story of what happened, in my opinion this is a very genuine attempt at acknowledging a major atrocity. Furthermore the film deserves its famous status because it does not hold back in projecting and portraying its opinion and stance. Which subject to the odd discrepancy and grumble about a lack of presence from the historical victims, this film is a ‘tour de force’ of anti-conflict and ant-war creativity. If only more individuals who have born witness to the futility and absolute waste which is war, would come forward and attempt to vocalise thoughts on such horrific embarrassing moments in human history. Then the global community would remember to lament the loss of life that is a constant for some citizens in some parts of this world. Also one last thought, I would bet that the director now feels much better after completing and releasing this project. One could easily imagine this individual experiencing catharsis through the making of this film, a film which actually raises lots of questions surrounding war and how the media has shown and covered huge losses of life.

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Originally posted on Theological Vacillation:

I am in the process of writing a dissertation on the power of sports.  A timely topic considering that each season seems to bring a new story from sports that easily transcends the fun and playfulness that sports is intended to be.  When I first started researching for this project, the NCAA was finalizing their investigation into Penn State University and inflicting harsh penalties on a state sponsored institution that was involved in an unfathomable scandal that involved child rape and molestation.  All along this time, there have been countless stories from Major League Baseball regarding players who used steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.  There has been a major labor dispute in the National Hockey League which finally has been resolved, following a major work stoppage and costing millions of dollars in lost revenues for local businesses.  And these are just a few of the major national headlines …

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The human genome contains a staggering twenty two thousand separate genes which where first sequenced in 2000. Our genetic structure is comprised of over 3 Billion base pairs of genes that line up and come together forming the 22,000 genes that make up our being. Thats just 2% of the entire human genome which is in contrast to the other 98% which has been considered inactive and useless. Well recent research from The ENCODE project ( The Encyclopaedia of DNA Elements) has in the words of Time magazine been revealed as a ‘buzzing universe of bio chemical activity’. Scientists believe that this will allow us to understand the genetic basis of human disease this discovery has completely opened up gene based research to new possibilities. For example the non gene portion of the human genome is comprised of a highly active live wire that hosts 4 million constantly active switches or cross talking DNA. This has as mentioned before huge repercussions in the search for knowledge of the roots of disease I find this fascinating it could possibly provide a way of reverse engineering disease In the future medicine will be matched to the patient genetically, your ailment will be matched much more closely and with a greater accuracy and speed to the correct treatment. Just imagine the implications of this combined with the ideas floating around in the world of Nano technology such as the delivery of drugs to specific cells in the treatment of cancer and various types of tumours.DNA strang blue

The first day I have been at home in the United Kingdom since visiting Milan for the first time for New Years Eve has been spectacular. My mama has recorded both Africa the new natural world series and Ripper Street i have had my induction in both programmes today. Firstly Africa is actually mind blowing it showed a giraffe fight and the recently discovered, worlds largest, underground lake. Divers have gone one hundred metres and still have no idea how deep it is, in volume it can encompass four Boeing Seven Four Seven jets back to back.  Oh, and on top of that its located below the Kalahari desert and occupied primarily by completely blind catfish that are only found in that underground lake.

The programme is bewitching in its unbelievable content and imagery it makes you want to visit Africa one of the most impressive elements of episode one. Was the imagery of Rhinos socialising at a water hole shot with a brand new night time camera it shows a completely softer side to one of the most endangered animals on the planet. Ripper Street in contrast is a huge jump back onto the streets of Jack the Rippers London and focuses around the police force that works the streets of a violent decadent world. Its characters are extremely believable and the storyline is deep with subplots the separate narratives interweave and instantly grab your attention its a must watch that reinvents the crime drama. A BBC created time traveling wonder that encompasses some very evil forces that need defeating.

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