Sunday, September 11, 2011

Making Pie Charts is Kind of Like Studying for Stats, Right?

*** This is just for fun.

Reasons I Might Not Do So Well At University This Year
Initial Data (Frequency) and Relative Frequency:

Look at me, being all mathematical and whatnot! See? I actually have absorbed something from the past 2 classes. Not that this is really what this kind of thing is used for, but still...

Right, now I'm off to watch the TrueBlood finale! That's enough Stats for today.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Man Monday: Is Cillian Murphy Attractive? (And Other Whatnot on Perceptions of Beauty)

***Random Post. Take from it what little you will... It's just a couple of fleeting thoughts.

The other day I referred to Irish actor, Cillian Murphy as handsome, and someone around me said that that was weird because he is creepy looking. Thus, we once again come to the roadblock that is the subjectivity of beauty.

How are we supposed to judge what makes a man or woman attractive? In the "old days" it was mostly from a biological standpoint, as the strongest man was the bread-winner, and thus the most attractive, or with the most chiseled features. Today, we still have a lot of the more burly men being deemed the most attractive, but there is also a lot of exception made for other "beta" males and skinnier, yet still strong men.
Women in the past were deemed attractive if they had curvaceous bodies that were suitable for bearing children. Today, however, we are more inclined to think a skinny woman with little hips is more attractive than a larger one. Perceptions change in time, and now our biological guidelines are blurred and allow for anyone to be attractive, depending on the person doing the looking.

Given that these exceptions allow for there to be controversy regarding pretty much every person, let's look at Cillian who seems to have a lot more people think he is "creepy" than attractive.
On a simply biological standpoint, he is a bit on the thin side, so maybe that is what turns some people off, but his features on the other hand? Absolutely gorgeous. Literally, he could have made it on any one of my feature lists up to date.
Cheekbones? Angular and sharp.
Eyes? Gorgeous, swimming-pool blue, with a strong brow.
Lips? Soft and fluffy looking.

When you separate each of these stunning features by itself, they are all incredible, yet together is makes for something that a lot of people don't like? I really don't understand. I mean, my mother says she always watches him in movies expecting him to be bad, even when his character is not, simply because of his roles in the past. Being pigeonholed as an attractive person by past roles? That seems a bit weird.

Maybe I am just ranting and maybe not as many people don't like the way he looks as I think, but when it comes down to it, I still think that this man is unique looking, and gorgeous, because of those unique features, which together make for a delightful looking gentleman.

Thus, for today's Man Monday, I salute you, Cillian Murphy! May you love the way you look, despite those who may not like it.
I think I just love a lot of people, and like to spread beautiful thoughts and beautiful pictures of beautiful people. That is, beautiful to me, as like I said, subjectivity is abound and all that nonsense.
But what do you think about the whole thing?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Less Recommended: Not "Classics" but Still Worth Putting on Your List

*** Once again, this will be biased to my personal taste, but I do like a mixed variety of things, so I'm sure something will spark your interest.

Have you ever looked at those "lists" that people make of movies that everyone should see, that are all typically filled with the same "classic" films?
You know, The Godfather, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Singin' In the Rain (which I absolutely adore!), etc etc
Well, for the most part those kinds of lists are right because those movies are (usually) great, but if we just stick to the cliche, standard classic films, we might miss a whole lot of other hidden gems.

Thus, I have made a short list of 6 films, that I call the "Less Recommended". Maybe I'll come up with some more later, but for now, here are a few films that some people might recommend to you, (as they are pretty good) though are recommended far far less than any of the aforementioned "Classics". Actually, most of them are pretty new films, so maybe they have just gotten lost in the throng of all the other new films being pumped out these days?
I've also included what you might call the genre or niche of the film, and some other typically recommended films of the same variety.

Historical Biopic: The Last Station (2009)
Usually, when looking for a good historical biopic you will stumble upon the likes of Rasputin with Alan Rickman, or Gandhi with Ben Kingsley. For me, however, I took a look at The Last Station, chronicalling the last year of Leo Tolstoy's life, and his relationship with wife Sofya. Expertly acted in the lead roles by both Dame Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, the cast is also filled out with Paul Giamatti and James McAvoy, showing us his real actor-ing side which came to life in the likes of The Last Kind of Scotland, and other films. To go with these great performances is some crisp cinematography, and an interesting look at the man who wrote so passionately, and the changing beliefs of his followers. For the most part, however, this movie belongs to Dame Helen, as she is an absolute beast in her role. It honestly made me look back at the 2009 Academy Awards, and not so much as "Why?" Sandra Bullock won Best Actress (because I really do like her), but "How?". I'm pretty sure I would have voted for Helen Mirren that year.

Ensemble Action/Heist/Gangsters: RocknRolla (2008)
I find a lot of people often recommend the film Snatch to people, which is an absolutely hilarious, dark, and witty ensemble heist and British gangster film, but once you have your fill of that movie, you might want to take a gander at RocknRolla. Both films were directed by Guy Ritchie, and have a very similar feel and pace to them. This one features a nice, big cast of characters just like the other, including acting work by Tom Hardy, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, and Gerard Butler. I always say, "You know it's going to be a mediocre to bad movie if Gerard Butler has an American accent" but thankfully for this one, he doesn't, and it works well. He's just being an actor rather than some burly... Thing. Plus there is one pretty cooky dance section with Butler and Newton that always makes me laugh, and when it comes down to it, Guy Ritchie really is a pretty great director.

High-Schoolers, Fighting to Have a Voice: The Trotsky (2009)
Usually the high school films most people see with teenagers wanting to have a voice or find themselves/a cause, etc etc are The Breakfast Club, or maybe Charlie Bartlett. I however just watched The Trotsky, and really really enjoyed it. It is obviously a bit outlandish and cheesy like most comedies set in high school, but with all those political and historical references, plus the dry humor of Jay Baruchel's character, is because really funny and quirky compared to most. Now, I'm going to be honest and say that it wasn't the best film ever, but it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be and really enjoyed it. I think a lot of people might overlook it because of the historical undersetting of the main character Leon thinking he is the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky, but it really isn't that deep and you really don't have to know much about it to enjoy it. Though liking certain little historical/political jokes is definitely a good thing.

Journalist/Police, Trying to Uncover the Gritty Truth: Red Riding: In The Year of Our Lord 1974 (2009)
One might usually think of The Silence of the Lambs or Se7en when coming up with a film about people trying to solve a series of gruesome crimes, and if this is something that you like, you may want to also check out the Red Riding Trilogy. The 1974 installment is only the first of three movies, but if it's anything to go by, the rest are probably very good and very dark as well. The movie, as I mentioned before is kind of gritty and deals with some disheartening subject matter, but is very suspenseful and well done. Oh, and did I mention that the first installment stars the beloved and talented Andrew Garfield? But in a far harder, more aggressive role than you might suspect to find him in (I mean, the boy has an Irish accent and sideburns!). Also joining Garfield in the cast is the ubiquitous baddie, Sean Bean, and proper actress Rebecca Hall, actress-ing her butt off as per usual. There is also a bizarre cameo by Irish up-and-comer Robert Sheehan, who is also a very you fellow, which makes me think we should watch for him in the future.

Political Comedy: In the Loop (2009)
I actually don't think I've ever ventured into the territory of political comedy before, so I don't really know what one might typically recommend, but in all actuality, this film is hilarious. It's faced paced, with incredible British humor, and some of the best insluts and phrases I've heard in a long time. No wonder it was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards, though if I'm honest, those who are easily offended by crass and vulgar language might want to stay away from this one. Aside from that, however, it is very quick-witted and shows how ridiculous political systems can be sometimes. Plus, Peter Capaldi has one of the best voices for cursing I think I have ever heard, and his portrayal of Malcom Tucker in both this and "The Thick of It" (from which this movie was adapted) is just unlike anything I've ever seen before.

Sci-Fi: Moon (2009)
There have been some phenomenal Sci-Fi movies over the years including Blade Runner, Star Wars, Alien, and others, but one that most people seem to not really know about is Moon. I know I have mentioned this film before, but in all honesty, watching the movie can be totally justified, simply by the profundity of Sam Rockwell's lead performance in it. Some people consider it to be one of the biggest oversights by The Academy in recent years, as he went without recognition for his incredible, multi-faceted (photo spoiler! There's two of him...), essentially one-man performance. I honestly believe that if this had not been a Science Fiction movie, he would have gotten an Oscar nominated, by The Academy rarely honors its Sci-Fi films, unless it is for visual effects (or Sigourney Weaver in Alien). Aside from this impeccable acting job on the part of Mr. Rockwell, the film is also supported by some unusual visual effects, using miniature models of crafts mining on the Moon, rather than simply using CGI, to make it look more interesting. Furthermore, the film features the cold voice of Kevin Spacey as GERTY the computer, which is essentially a perfect vocal casting. I would really like to watch this again, as it had some interesting themes and plot confusions in it, and I would really highly recommend it for people to take a gander at one day.

With that, I come to the end of my list! Did you see any of those? What did you think of them?
Are there any other not often talked about Gems that you have seen lately?