In dimmest day I watched Dark Knight who fought the evil in daylight

Firstly I would like to offer my condolences to the people of Colorado. Much has been said about the suspect and what happened that night has already been well-publicised. I will close by saying that those poor guys and girls happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and bad things happen to people when they least expect. I can only hope that the town finds the strength to move on from this tragedy.

As you can tell from the title, me and a mate went down to the silver screen today to watch the much anticipated Dark Knight Rises. Just like back then, the popular culture crowd whipped out their spectacles with pen and paper ready to analyse how deep this film is before the Winter break ends. I remember going out for dinner and a couple next to me kept babbling on about it’s great, hidden messages. It’s like the word Nolan is a subliminal word. Upon hearing it causes everyone on the net to write essays. Maybe it is a secret CIA project that actually worked unlike their psychic recruitment project or their Castro Assassination Project #549. Brilliant piece of work that was. Place an explosive in a shiny shell and hope it’s shiny enough that it’ll catch the attention of a certain bearded Cuban dictator.

Now I won’t deny that Nolan does include meaning from his film. My main interest in watching this was whether it could finally be THE threequel done right. But I was a little disdainful about how my quiet dinner was anything but. Despite all the hype, I felt letdown by this film as you will find out in my review. And an actual warning, always assume there maybe spoilers.
Dark Knight Rises picks up after a 8 year timeskip from the last film. We learn that Gotham is a changed place. The city is no longer reknowned from being Crime Central. The crims are safely behind bars because of better police presence and the frequently-mentioned Dent Act. It seems that for the citizens, the good times are rolling and the bad times are over. But we and Commissioner Gordon know that part of this legacy is based on a lie. Harvey Dent is held up as a shining, white beacon when in reality in the last film, he went insane and almost killed Gordon.  8 years ago, Batman agreed to take a hit so that Dent could still be held up as a White Knight and a symbol of hope.

Meanwhile at the mansion, Bruce Wayne has become a shut in. His business is failing because of a bad investment deal and while he’s retired from his vigilante persona, he hasn’t made any public appearances nor taken an active role in his company. But because this is a Superhero Film and not Bruce the Loser, he has to come out of retirement soon. And come out he does when Gotham is threatened by a mysterious, masked man named Bane.  Him and his band of brothers take over the city, blow shit up and for added fun release angry criminals back onto the streets….wait haven’t we heard this before?

 

Oh yeah that’s right. It’s almost the exact same story from Dark Knight the 1st and Dark Knight the 2nd. We are introduced to Batman’s new foe who places the entire city at his mercy and unleashes anarchy. Re-using the plot is not necessarily a bad thing unless it quickly gets boring. Unfortunately it did bore me with it’s 3 hour long dark and deep jerk-off. And with a story like that, I can’t help but compare it to what came before.  Part of the beauty of complete chaos being unleashed relies on the person who unleashed it. The Joker already did a great job. He jeered, he mocked both the Bat and the Cops and finally there was his now infamous, cruel experiment. The city was being trampled and Joker had his hand on the steering wheel. It was great.

 

Compared to the 2nd, Bane was menacing but was too restrained. There were no memorable moments where he makes chide comments followed by another character talking about his back story and then another. Another problem was that a lot of the great chaos took place within the montage. It then transitions to scenes of the main characters shivering in the cold but managing to walk on the streets at night in spite of the ‘revolution and anarchy’. When it came to universe building, it just didn’t convince me enough that this became Hell on Earth. And what’s with the show trials? Irony? They are gangsters with guns in their hands not a government who has to pretend that what they are doing is legal.
I suppose then that I should consider the film on it’s own merits. But I can’t bring myself to praise it too much, it goes without saying that the action scenes were decent but stupid. I’m still trying to get my head over some of the more stupid contrivances like an entire army of cops walking 10 lines abreast into the sewers. Or how they marched like Spartans onto a gang armed with assault rifles.  Maybe I’ll chalk that down to Cillian Murphy’s new Stupidness Drug which he has been polluting the water supply with.

Here’s what I did like; Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. Anne Hathaway does a brilliant job at portraying a dangerous seductress but a keen-witted woman whose allegiance swings from good to bad depending on what serves her best. Sometimes, she’s with the baddies and sometime she’s Batman’s best ally. I guess it helped that I am something of a BatxCat man.

 

In closing, the Dark Knight Rises was decent but I cannot say that this was the one that broke the threequel curse. And neither can I say that it lived up to the hype.

 

Other Comments: Critics have been trying to link the film to the Occupy Movement. Variety suggests that Bane is “far more akin to an Occupy Wall Street type if you’re looking to cast him politically”.  Which seems retarded. While there are studies linking crime with poverty, the Criminal Merchs do not act like anyone from the Occupy X Movement. If they were, remember that infamous cop who sprayed the Occupiers? He would have been and I quote ‘hunted down like a rat’.  The Occupiers hold picket signs not AK-47 and FAMAS.

But on the legal theory spectrum, it’s definitely in the ‘crime as punishment’ side. If Nolan intended to explore the disaffected, we would have explored how money or the lack of money resulted in the growth of the criminal class. But instead the faceless criminals are referred to as ‘important clogs in organised crime’ and implied they had to be in there. Bane’s Reign of Terror merely reinforced that the redshirts deserved to be locked up. The comparisons begin and end with the storming of the stock exchange. By the end of the film and after the plot twist, any comparisons look like a batshit insane conspiracy theory which would be more suitable for serving a FAR-right cause.

Final results

It’s a strange feeling when you intended to blog anime but start with writing about television instead. I guess the saying goes about episodic being easier rings true to some degree. Or it could be my procrastination. But onto the recap.

I realise I should have done a better job at explaining Master Chef. I’ve decided that my theme for my initial start will be ‘write what I would like to read and get very good at it’. But in writing what I would like to read, I wrote only what I would be able to understand. It’s like picking up a diary dropped on the street. You may get curious but when you start reading the first paragraph but you’ll chuck it away because you don’t know what the fuck it’s talking about.

To give you the short explanation, Master Chef is a reality tv series about cooking. It’s like an culinary American Idol. The contestants apply, impress a panel and one by one they are eliminated through a series of cooking challenges until there’s one winner. What impresses me about this series is that this ain’t pre-determined. In Amazing Race, if there happened to be a pair of two 20 something blokes you best start shitting yourself. In the end, physical strength did matter and being young and looking like you hit the gym daily almost guaranteed you would finish with gold. With Master Chef, we start off with amateur cooks more or less on a level playing field. And then they are put through challenging cook offs ranging from reasonable to fucking insane.

These rookies have been taken from their home and thrown into first-grade. Every week, they are forced to cook their best and at the end they are given advice on how to improve. Sometimes they have a chance to cook up a expert chef’s dish. One more suitable for a acclaimed restaurant then home dining. And you can see the improvement as they go from lamb and veg to a popular Aussie ice-cream; deconstructed and injected with roids.
Enough damn babbling then, onto the recount.

1st Round the three contestants had to serve up a entree, a hot entree. But being reality tv, there has to be a twist. They have to serve an entree for 300 of their fans who have high expectations of their favourite cook. No pressure. But there’s some good news. It’s notable that the challenges have a more realistic time table. They have an hour of cooking followed by 30 minutes of service where they plate up their food they prepared. An hour to make it edible, half an hour to make it presentable. And if they needed anymore help they can also call in their old mate; i.e. the eliminated contestants to help them out. What interest me was their choices. The Asian Mum Audra chose two Asian ex-contestants. Andy chose two young blokes. And Julia picked two young white females. Kinda like the old high school days. Yeah, there were people of different colours but the Lebs congregated with the Lebs, the Vietnamese congregated with the Vietnamese and so on.

With the challenge set, they picked their food and began cooking. Asian expert Audra decided to serve a combination of a salad and prawn with eggnest. The male contestant Andy decided to go with a Tuna dish with squid ink sauce. Finally our blonde desert queen Julia cooked venison. The Judges as usual walked around giving ‘tips’ that did more to pressure the 3 then actually help them.  At the end of this challenge, came the serving. And that was frantic. Audra seem to have a lot of problems since she had the prawn, the salad and the eggnest. She managed to get by but was eliminated because her dish wasn’t hot. I’m sure there were a few who changed channels after this decision but I’ll accept it. At least this is better then that one time when a contestant failed to serve up a pie and ended up winning the contest. With Audra now out, Andy and Julia move onto the next round. Seems a little pointless then to have 3 finalists since Audra only participated in one round.
Round 2 was a Invention Test where the two remaining contestants had to cook a main dish. The only catch is that it had to be the best ‘Australian Dish’ and celebrate Australian-ness. Both contestants went for rather plain ideas. Julia decided to cook lamb chop and Andy cooked fish again, a lot of fish, a Modern Fisherman’s Basket to be precise. But I won’t criticise the bloke too much for that. Abalone is fucking hard to cook. Having eaten so much shitty abalone I know that it isn’t easy so thumbs up for making it perfect. Andy managed to blow out the score with this round. Scoring 9s and Perfect Tens.
The final round was the traditional Pressure Test. Every year, for the final round of the grand finale the contestants would be given a dessert to re-create or at least put something on the dish that kinda resembles the dessert. And it’s no neapolitan ice-cream, it’s a dessert that has to look so fancy and hard to make that it should be in an art gallery not on a plate. For those who don’t know and I feel sorry for you, the Gaytime is a very popular Aussie ice-cream. It’s a mix of vanilla with honeycomb surrounded by a chocolate layer mixed with a generous serve of biscuits. This variant is a ice-cream sandwich with chocolate balls in the middle, kept in place with a caramel cone with a beautiful serve of caramel mousse to top it off. A little sprinking of biscuits on the side, just to make it pretty and more mouth-watering. If you manage to make it, do send a photo.

Thankfully, the rules of the game are less wanker. They can worry about preparing first and making it fancy later. This year, the contestants had to replicate the afore-mentioned modern Gaytime. Good point for Julia is that she is very good at desserts and Andy has never made a honeycomb or a mousse. This is going to be easy.

]But right off the bat, Andy did well. He managed to make the caramel ice-cream and even create the fancy cone that holds the dish together. If you didn’t know he was an amateur, you would assume that he was bullshitting and that he had trained under the world’s greatest pastry chefs. The only part he had difficulty with was the caramel. Julia had her fair share of problems having screwed up her mousse. But in spite of her expertise, Andy manage to win the final challenge and was crowned Master Chef of 2012.

Now I’m still in a stink about the result. I personally wonder how Andy managed to win when it’s obvious he screwed up his caramel. The judges even found it to be bitter. But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. His desserts were presented beautifully.

And that’s how Master Chef Australia ended. No matter the bullshit, it’s likely I’ll watch it again next year.

Other Comments: Have to start writing these re-caps and posting them as soon as possible.

The Finale for Master Chef

Tonight’s the finale of Master Chef Australia. After weeks of cooking, cooking and more cooking we have reached the last episode. Thanks in no amount to the curse of real life, I never got to start watching the show until only 12 contestants were left. I’m thankful that until the 2nd or 3rd there was no wild card where previously eliminated contestants were brought back. But at the same time, the show could have done without it’s more ridiculous challenges. Imagine a kitchen the size of a small room, pack 4 people in it (with equipment) and ask them to cook for 400 hungry Italians.

My favourite contestant was Wade and he’s just recently been eliminated. He’s the stoic baldy of the group. While I would have like him to be still standing, unfortunately it was not to be.

So here are the final 3 cooking off tonight

Andy: 23 Year old Electrician. Notable for being the only bloke still in it. Has a good record going into the finale having cooked the best dish for 3 consecutive weeks. It’s hard to describe his cooking cause he’s not a meat guy only. Not to mention I didn’t really pay too much attention to him until he was the only guy left.

Julia: 24 year old legal secretary. This year’s dessert queen. Has a chance of winning if she stays calm and cooks up beautifully. I can remember her not being very comfortable with meat dishes.

Audra: Mid-age Asian Mum. Cooks Asian dishes full of flavour. The judges at this point will be wanting more and definitely she has the capability to cook complex dishes with different techniques and flavours.

Verdict: If we judge sports by who has the best form then Andy would win tonight. But I remember a couple of years ago when the Dragons who had finished at 1st place in the NRL comp never got to the Grand Finals after a bumbled Finals series. Nonetheless I place my bets on Andy.

A New Nation has been founded…2 weeks late

After a good week was spent watching the footy, now is a time to be above all decent. I don’t know how many a

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s before I give up blogging when time ends, will be written on playing and watching all these anime. But just like my life games will be played if fun and writing offers another way of procrastinating.

First? Why call it the Nation? Have Wars plagued us before/now not because of nationalism and patriotism? Finish this question shall be. The Mother’s land is my pride. This website is not for patriotism/stormfront-ism or many other political -ism. The veritable model I had intended were others. Titanic as they were, perhaps it is best if I try to do my own thing. It will be difficult to be a wannabe and one man can’t reasonably simulate the political workings of a nation-state. Too much RP crap and details.

So what is or what will be Mai Nation?

I intend it to be an anime blog but if I am in the mood I shall write about other topics. The number 1 being popular entertainment.

Now to the obligatory introduction, mano a mano. I’m Yalanjini but please call me Yalan. I must have lost my mind when I was trying to think of a good username. I’m an average anime fan and bored store clerk. Maybe doing something other then waiting at the desk will make this shift more fucking bearable?

So when I was a young kid, I grew up on anime. Living in the suburbs but not knowing many friends was not a exciting young time. So you turned to anime and the one thing that would put me on the same level as them (don’t take a swing at level) was Pokemon. In a city filled with kids obsessing what Mr Hazem did on Friday night, they also found it worth their time to enjoy Pokemon. Come to think, if some smart guy at CSIRO builds a time machine I got to go back and tell my child self to start watching it earlier. I was always kinda a fucked up kid and footy with it’s Slammin Sams, big hits and head bashes is like a weekly dose of violence short of going for a late night pub-run. People still find it funny how I can go from watching Footy to something like Ore no Imouto.

So yeah, I grew up on cartoons. Looney Tunes was a favourite. Disney’s Mickey Mouse was one to watch…until the cable got cancelled. My Momma believed I needed to spend more time on my homework. Thanks. But there was great shows on free to air, 7-8 as well. My fondest memories of 2000 was this; while everyone was getting excited over Cathy Freeman, the tourist bucks and that for two weeks our country was actually relevant; I was watching Digimon Marathons.

After our great sea change, there was no more cable subscription. Unfortunately, I was deprived of Bugs Bunny’s weekly antics but at least there was still free to air. And I kept up my anime watching habits. It became a morning ritual. 30 minutes of escape before I went back to the drudge that was school. It became such a thing that I could be a prick about it. On the morning of September 11 the thing that pissed me off the most was the lack of Dragon Ball Z on TV.

Around my 6th year, we finally got enough money for some reasonably good cable. Better download speeds meant more anime. And it was like opening up a whole new world. Most of what I had watched as a kid were what I now know was aimed at the shounen demographics. Kids like what I used to be. Big battles, big fights, explosions and punches. And I was as zealous about shounen as a young Muslim who just came out of Taliban Summer Camp. Well what I found was a world of ecchi, Love Hina and shitstorms. And in the back of my mind, I denounced anyone who liked Haruhi. Although, I eventually found myself getting into these kinds of non-shounen, questionable anime after watching K-On. I guess what that smart German guy said about the abyss staring back is true.

We stayed around the place and I’m still here today doing my thing. Watching anime, doing shifts, listening to J-Rock and going for a walk on the beach.