Archive for June 9th, 2012

Prometheus:’ Tracing Human Origins The Stylish, State-of-the-art Way

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Where do we come from? It’s a question that has perennially haunted scientists, philosophers, researchers, and regular folks even, and the same is addressed in the visually stunning latest Ridley Scott film, “Prometheus.”

Originally written as a prequel for “Aliens” but later on revised to introduce a relatively different storyline, “Prometheus” explores the possibility of us humans meeting our own maker, our “engineer” as it was dubbed in the film, with a team of experts traveling light years away to a place that’s far from heaven but might hold the answer to one of the biggest questions of our existence.

The story is brought to life by magnificent visuals shot entirely in 3D, looking so stylishly crisp in that huge IMAX screen, and a sound design sharp enough that it’s as if the audio is right inside your ears.

What may well make our jaws drop is how the future technology was envisioned in this film: a giant TV screen that looks like it’s embedded on the wall, a surgical chamber that can perform medical procedures with a touch of a button, as well as that 3D life-size hologram that could create the illusion that you’re in the scene that it projects. And oh, we also have to mention the Rubik’s cube-looking device that flashes state-of-the-art scientific presentations through a holographic screen. This whole visual captivity made it hard for us to get our eyes off the screen, even during the gross fest scenes featuring alien creatures that are disgusting enough to make you lose your appetite (you’ve been warned).

The year is 2093, and the team of experts gets on board the majestic vessel Prometheus for an expedition to a distant galaxy in order to test the thesis of the pair of archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) of our makers’ location. The voyage is funded by Weyland Corporation, represented by the skeptic, self-important Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). Their initial discoveries are promising; however, danger ensued as they lurk further into the unfamiliar territory. The quest for a breakthrough turns into a nightmare they have to get out of.

While “Prometheus” takes us on one heck of a thrilling ride, there are knots in the story that are left tangled, contributing to a level of ambiguity. One is that of a character’s death, the mystery of which has not really been delved into. And although the ending is predictable, it nevertheless provides a strong hint for a sequel, which will, hopefully, offer more answers than questions. If a standalone film, however, “Prometheus” doesn’t feel all that complete.

Another plus of this movie lies in the dedicated performances of its cast, most notably of Rapace (“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” Swedish version), who gives an intense, awe-inspiring portrayal of Dr. Shaw. Her character can be an inspiration to women, for them to take charge of their own life, their own decisions, and their own survival. Michael Fassbender (“X-Men: First Class”) is also believable as the android David, whose knowledge stock makes him look a champion of any quiz bee. The actor manages to find the balance of the heartlessness that his character requires while still giving it a tinge of human emotion. Theron (“Snow White And The Hunstman”), meanwhile, is subtly fierce yet has this omnipresent vibe in her every scene.

On a more profound level, “Prometheus” poses the question of how important tracing our origins is to our own existence. “If you never try, you’ll never know,” as a line in a Coldplay song goes. But then again, don’t we live for who and what we really care about?

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Pacquiao ‘primed for fall’

World champion Manny Pacquiao says he’s rejuvenated in body as well as spirit, but challenger Timothy Bradley says the Filipino ring icon is primed for a fall when they meet on Saturday.

“He’s worn out, tired, I can see it in his eyes, the wrinkles,” says Bradley, a 5/1 underdog despite his unbeaten record of 28-0 with 12 knockouts.

“This boy’s not ready for me.”

Pacquiao and Bradley weighed in on Friday before a raucous crowd of about 4 000 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organisation welterweight world title will be on the line.

Pacquiao weighed in at 147 pounds (66.67kg) – the heaviest he’s been at a weigh-in.

In comparison, Pacquiao weighed in at just 144.6 pounds (65.58kg) when he fought Antonio Margarito in a super welterweight title bout fought at a catch-weight of 150 pounds (68.03kg) in 2010.

Bradley tipped the scales at 146 pounds (66.22 kg) and the challenger, who has presented a relaxed front in the build-up to the bout, was all-business at the weigh-in, scowling and moving in on Pacquiao in the photo-op staredown.

When Bradley gave an aggressive jerk of his chin, Pacquiao seemed to struggle to suppress a smile.

“I’m smiling,” Pacquiao said. “I’m happy.”

While Pacquiao is the favourite, he has, indeed, been doubted by pundits who point to his unconvincing majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in November, along with such signs of weakness as debilitating leg cramps in his more recent fights.

“I’m ready for war,” Bradley declared after the weigh-in in front of a pro-Pacquiao crowd. “Don’t matter getting booed. None of these people are going to be in the ring. It’s going to be me and Manny at the end of the night.

“I’m set out to prove everybody wrong.”

Pacquiao – who has won titles in eight weight classes and boasts a record of 54-3 with two drawn and 38 knockouts – has said his preparations for his last Marquez fight were hampered by marital strife, a thing of the past now that he has re-dedicated himself to God and spends his time in Bible study rather than gambling, drinking and womanizing.

“They’re as happy as can be,” trainer Freddie Roach said on Thursday of Pacquiao and his wife, Jinkee. “He’s in a much better place than he was before his last fight.”

While promoter Bob Arum has characterised Pacquiao’s life as “careening off the rails” prior to his spiritual re-awakening, Roach seemed to think things weren’t that bad.

“He just got caught up in the limelight a little bit,” Roach said. “He took a step back and looked at his life and didn’t like it – and he changed.”

Roach said the change has carried over into the gym, but Bradley sounded a sceptical note this week.

“He’s here, he’s there, he’s fornicating and now he’s got his religion in place,” Bradley said. “I don’t have to throw religion in people’s face.”

Whatever the truth of Pacquiao’s spiritual quest and its impact on his physical abilities, Bradley’s trainer, Joel Diaz, said Saturday’s fight will come down to ring skills, pure and simple.

Diaz said that’s what will give his fighter a chance in what Bradley has acknowledged is the biggest bout of his life.

“Manny is a one-dimensional fighter,” Diaz claimed. “He unloads a lot of punches, but he’s reckless.

“He doesn’t focus on his defense. You can counterpunch him all night long. And Timothy’s a brawler who can move his feet and be smart enough to make any changes he needs to in there.”

Roach, not surprisingly, begs to differ.

He says Bradley isn’t a slick counterpuncher and won’t be able to match Pacquiao’s quickness.

“He’s the same fighter he was as an amateur,” Roach said of Bradley. “He makes the same mistakes. We’re going to take advantage of them.

The Frog in the Milk Pail

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A little frog was hopping around the farmyard. He was looking for good things to eat. He found wonderfully juicy flies buzzing around the pig pen. “Gulp! Gulp!” Gone.

Then, he ate some delicious crunchy spiders that hung from webs behind the feed trough. “Gulp! Gulp!” Gone.

He saw a mosquito flying by and reached out with his long sticky tongue and grabbed it. “Slurp,” went his tongue. “Gulp! Gulp!” Gone.

As the little frog ate he explored new places. He saw a cricket hop into the milk shed. The cricket hopped through the door. So, the frog hopped through the door.

The cricket hopped up onto the milk stool. So, the frog hopped up on the milk stool. The cricket hopped up to the table top, and the frog hopped up to the table top. The cricket hopped to the window ledge, and the frog hopped to the window ledge. The cricket hopped out the window. But the frog fell, “SPLASH!” right into the milk pail.

The pail was filled half way with fresh milk. The level of the milk was too low for him to reach the top of the pail. The sides of the pail were high, and he could not climb out. The frog kicked, and he swam in circles until he became tired. He tried to close his eyes just to rest for a few seconds, but he sank to the bottom of the pail where his nostrils filled with milk. He could not breathe.

He used his legs to push off the bottom and kicked with all his might until he came to the surface again. He was so afraid, and he was so tired. He just wanted to rest. But every time, he quit kicking, he sank into the milk again and started to drown.

The frog did not give in to his fear or his tired legs. He kicked and he kicked and he kicked and he kicked.

Then, something strange happened. The milk began to turn thicker around him. At first, this make kicking even harder. The thickened milk tried to suck him to the bottom of the pail. It was harder than even to swim and to kick. But, still the frog would not give up.

Finally, the milk turned thick enough that the frog could stand on top of it instead of sinking in. The milk had been turned into butter through all the kicking and turning and churning of the frog. The frog was able to climb out to safety and to return to his family.

Lesson:

When your life gets really tough.

When you think you’ve had enough

When the world works you to death

Just try to take a big deep breath

Try so hard before you rest

Keep on working, do your best

Don’t give until you’re done.

Don’t give up until you’ve won.

Never Give Up!

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