Reflections on 2010

As we sit back and await the new year, I been reflecting about 2010 and what the year has meant to me. First off, the year was an emotional roller coaster because my great uncle died on January 12th and both my sister and granfather ended up in the hospital for a few weeks. Also adding insult to injury, my beagle (Taz) died a week after my birthday. Despite this, the year has not been all bad, I started this blog for a class on animation history, my sister graduated from high school, I had a really good internship, and I participated in my first ever Black Friday shopping ever.

So in a sense, the year was not to bad, though it could have been better. I thank God everyday for living and giving me the opportunity to learn and do new things. This is especially true when I started this blog. Orginally, this blog was set up for a class on animation history, though it felt more like an animation appreciation class. This was the first time I had ever created a blog for a class and I did not know where this would take me or if I would continue with the blog once the class was done. 

As you could tell, I decided to continue this blog, but at a more leisurely pace, with a few updates a month and a topic that I have found interesting like Akira Kurosawa and Harley Quinn. This blog is really an extension of myself and my whims. I write or post something that I find interesting and if you like it that’s great, but if not, no problem, I will try something else. Basically, I write this blog to entertain and amuse people. Hopefully, I have done that. 

Before, the ball drops tonight, here are the stories or events that I think shaped 2010 (in no particular order).

1. Snowmageden.

2. Lebron James going to Miami.

3. Republicans winning the House of Representatives.

4. Brett Favre’s streak ends.

5. The Saints win their first Super Bowl.

6. Airport Security.

7. Wikileaks.

8. Economic woes.

9. Cam Newton winning the Heisman Trophy.

10. Trap miners from Chile rescued.

11. Gulf Oil Spill.

12. Tea Party Movement.

13. Europe’s Financial Crisis. 

14. San Francisco Giants win the World Series.

15. President Bush releases his book about his presidency.  

ETA: Have a Happy New Year Everyone!

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Chaos at its best: a closer look at Kurosawa’s Ran

When people think of Akira Kurosawa or his films, they think about epic samurai battles and larger than life characters. One of Kurosawa’s best known epic films, Ran, takes place in medieval Japan and depicts the violent and tragic end of the Ichimonji clan. Ran, itself, is based both on a Japaneselegend about Mori Motonari (a daimyo) and William Shakespeare’s King Lear.  Kurosawa does not simply follow King Lear’s plot, but instead adds to it byelaborating on Lear’s (Hidetora) past and the addition of the powerful character of Lady Kaede (played wonderfully by Mieko Harada). Ultimately, it isKurosawa’s chaotic and violent battle scenes that help bring Shakespeare’stragic vision of King Lear to life by showing how revenge and bloodshed lead tothe end of Lord Hidetora (King Lear) and his family.

ETA: One of Kurosawa’s best films and has one of his best female characters, Lady Kaeda.

A tale of friendship: examining Kurosawa’s Dersu Uzala

One of the best films on friendship was Akira Kurosawa’sDersu Uzala, which is based off of Vladimir Arsenyev’s book, Dersu the Trapper, which tells the true story of Arsenyev’s travels and friendship with Dersu Uzala (a Nanai/Goldi hunter) in the Ussuri basin in Siberia from 1902-1907.      

The greatest kidnapping movie?

 

Kidnappings are a scary thing in today’s society because of the fear and pain they provoke.  Remember the film Taken? How about Ransom? Both of these films put us over the edge because of the intense emotion and adrenaline that both the fathers (played by Liam Neeson in Taken and Mel Gibson in Ransom) exhibit throughout both films. While, Taken and Ransom are both good films, Akira Kurosawa’s, High and Low (a.k.a. Heaven and Hell), maybe the greatest kidnapping film of all time.

The film that helped inspire Star Wars

That’s right everyone, George Lucas, the man behind Star Wars, was actually inspired by an Akira Kurosawa film. Do you know which Kurosawa film it was? It was The Hidden Fortress (1958).