Buddy, the amazing talking dog

Posted by batman on Mar 7th, 2010
2010
Mar 7

buddy-crop.jpgBuddy, the charismatic brindle Boxer brought to the small screen by Toyota South Africa and its marketing partner of nearly half a centurys’ standing, Draftfcb Johannesburg, has featured in a few television commercials. These commercials are amongst the few that I really don’t mind watching – over and over and over again.

Sophistication in a Toyota Corolla

Buddy is introduced to the South African public as a sophisticated, aristocratic beast of pedigree who disassocates himself with any lower form of life.

What a chop

In this commercial the canine star is off to a dry Karoo farm for the Toyota Hilux. Buddy abandons any attempts to behave with sophistication and grace. Instead, he has fun on the farm mocking the sheep he encounters and making bad jokes, while recognising the Hilux’s toughness. This is my favourite “Buddy” commercial – “what a chop”!

Game Park with the Wild Dogs

In this commercial he is on a game drive, once again pulling up his nose at the “lesser” elements of the animal kingdom.

Automark Used Cars – I don’t do tricks

Here Buddy is strolling through a used car lot, quite adamant that he “doesn’t do tricks!!!”.

If you have any other links to share of really classic commercials that have been made, please post a link – I would love to hear about them. (Please note – this is NOT an invitation for you to market your own product – regardless of how good you think it is, or of how important you think your miracle pharmaceutical product might be – I will not approve/moderate your post)

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Quantum of Solace

Posted by batman on Nov 22nd, 2008
2008
Nov 22

Quantum of Solace.jpgThe movie

Quantum of Solace begins where Casino Royale left off, with Bond delivering Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) to M (Judi Dench) for interrogation about the mysterious organization that blackmailed Vesper Lynd into betraying Bond, resulting in her death. A mole inside MI6 effects Mr. White’s escape, and the rest of the film follows 007’s attempts to find a thread that will reveal Mr. White’s organization. This leads to another villain, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), who is engineering a coup in Bolivia for reasons that will benefit the organization.

Betrayed by Vesper Lynd, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M interrogate Mr. White who reveals the organisation which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined.

Forensic intelligence links an Mi6 traitor to a bank account in Haiti where a case of mistaken identity introduces Bond to the beautiful but feisty Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a woman who has her own vendetta. Camille leads Bond straight to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a ruthless business man and major force within the mysterious organisation.

Quantum of Solace.jpgOn a mission that leads him to Austria, Italy and South America, Bond discovers that Greene, conspiring to take total control of one of the world’s most important natural resources, is forging a deal with the exiled General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio). Using his associates in the organisation, and manipulating his powerful contacts within the CIA and the British government, Greene promises to overthrow the existing regime in a Latin American country, giving the General control of the country in exchange for a seemingly barren piece of land.

The film suffers from a few gaffs so obvious it’s hard to understand how they survived into the final cut. One pretty (and of course disposable) female agent shows up wearing a raincoat that reveals no visible signs of any kind of clothing underneath; she literally looks like a set-up for a bad sight gag that never appears. (On the plus side, her demise deliberately evokes a similar image in Goldfinger, although this time the beautiful body is covered in “black gold” – i.e., oil.) There is also an unbelievably bad moment where Bond disposes of the body of a friend by callously tossing him in a trash dumpster and insisting that the dead man wouldn’t have cared.

Kurylenko, as the new Bond girl, is properly exotic, and her revenge sub-plot dovetails nicely with Bond’s mission. However, her back story is a bit of a stretch: she’s half Russian and half Bolivian, the screenplays way of retaining the exotic European feel of the Bond world while tying her into the South American plot. Alas, try as she might, she cannot hope to compete with Vesper Lynd, but then – who could?

Almalric’s Mr. Greene follows in the footsteps of Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre, offering up another effectively evil Euro-villain – this one more laid back than most, with more than a faint wiff of sleaze underlying the charm. (For some reason, he reminds one vaguely of Roman Polanski, for whatever that’s worth.)



My opinionQuantum of Solace.jpg

To be quite frank – I was disappointed. I missed seeing the exploding chairs in Q-Branch, or the umbrellas’ with laser beams, or the parachute neatly concealed in a pen. The Aston Martin DBS is without doubt one of 007’s greatest cars, but it’s a bit of a letdown to see it destroyed within the first three minutes of the movie. Thereafter we have to be satisfied with rundown Bolivian buses and rusty Volkswagen Beetles. 007 also needs ‘gadgets & gizmos’ – that’s just kind of a given – and in this installment it fails to deliver. Admittedly in the past they have taken it a bit far (even for 007) for instance kite-surfing on a tidal wave, but still – surely there can be a bit of a balance?

I liked Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, but now I’m not so sure. I like a James Bond who can still have a crooked smile, a sense of humour, and a twinkle in his eye. I liked the bit about – “she’s seasick”, but 007 moments like that were unfortunately very few and far between.

In this version it’s as if they were trying to squeeze in three hours of Transformers into two hours. It’s all too fast, too noisy, too much. There’s just not enough time for sensible dialogue, or even for much of a plot for that matter. Three-quarters (I think) of the movie I found myself wondering – “why is he going there”, or “who is that guy that he has just eliminated”, or even – “who is the REAL villain”? If I hadn’t have read a bit about the plot prior to viewing the movie, reading about Quantum (the modern day version of SMERSH), about Mr White, and about the secret organisation – I doubt whether I would have got it from the movie.

At the end of the day this James Bond was just too impersonal, too cold and single-minded (yes, even for 007) – it might literally have been yet another installment in the Jason Bourne series (Bourne Ultimatum, Supremacy, etc..)

I will see the movie again, because primarily I am a die-hard fan of 007, but more so in an attempt to try and get what I feel I’ve missed out the first time round.

Bring back the “old” James Bond – in the casino’s, looking elegant and dashing, with some “slightly far fetched gadgets” – I miss him…

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The Dark Knight

Posted by batman567 on Jul 31st, 2008
2008
Jul 31

The Joker - played by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight


The much-anticipated Batman: The Dark Knight lives up to the hype – and what is being lauded as an Oscar-winning performance by the late Heath Ledger.

The movie takes one on a dark journey into the minds of the Batman and his nemesis, The Joker, exposing the underbelly of a violent society mired in chaos. As the second of the Batman films directed by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight continues the dark mood. Stellar performances by Michael Caine, as the butler Alfred, and Heath Ledger, as the Joker, add a level of depth to the film. Bale has certainly made the role his. Ledger’s portrayal is a stand-out performance.

Brace yourself, the movie’s long – over two hours – but despite some gratuitous scenes, the cast does hold this one together quite admirably. The Dark Knight returns to that style and Nolan makes a very decent fist of giving us a Batman with a realistic gloss, a Batman who could almost exist in the real world. This suits the figure of Batman himself, because he’s not really a superhero in the way Superman, say, is a superhero. Alone of the great comic-book heroes, Batman has no supernatural powers; his martial skills are painfully and laboriously acquired and then enhanced by some majorly futuristic technology. Batman - played by Christian Bale in The Dark Knight

Batman Begins and now The Dark Knight have some fun with using Morgan Freeman as the Q figure to Batman’s Bond. Freeman’s Lucius Fox makes the ultra-hard-but-light suit and the extra-super-Batmobile-cum-Batbike; he deals with the Batcomputer’s super-surveillance program and so on. This sort of techno-gumf can be fun. It adds something that we don’t usually get in comic-book-hero movies, where we just have the mysteries of getting superpowers from radioactive spiders and the like, or start feeling weak from kryptonite poisoning. It makes Nolan’s Batman feel a bit more as though he lives in the real world and not in some mythical parallel universe.

What helps that sense of realism, too, is the picture of politicians and policemen fighting a desperate battle against crime in a vast urban conurbation. Even the Joker, a real pantomime villain if ever there was one (only the Penguin beats him at that), is transformed here into a convincing psychopath. The characterisation is helped considerably by the fact that he’s played by a real actor, Heath Ledger — and there’s talk of a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal. Ledger’s Joker isn’t funny in the way Jack Nicholson’s was: he is simply very scary.

There are now six Batman films and I must say that The Dark Knight is the best out of all of them. The title is good because that is what Batman actually is. It has been 3 years for the adventure to continue from Batman Begins but that entire wait was worth it. Gotham city is very Gothic looking and is very haunting and visionary. The whole movie is charged with pulse-pounding suspense, ingenious special effects and riveting performances from a first-rate cast especially from Heath Ledger who gave an Oscar nomination performance for best supporting-actor. It is a shame that he can’t see his terrific work on-screen. The cinematography is excellent which is made so dark & sinister that really did suit the mood for the film.


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What’s the deal with Severus Snape?

Posted by batman on Apr 15th, 2008
2008
Apr 15

Professor Severus Snape - Harry PotterI’ve read all seven of the Harry Potter books – twice! And loved them! But I still don’t “get” what the deal with Severus Snape is. OK – I get that he loved Lily Potter, and was pretty cut up when Voldemort killed her having received the information of the prophecy from Snape. But is that it – is that really all there is to it?

What makes Harry name his son after Severus, referring to him as the “bravest man he knew”? Yes, he lived a dual life, being Dumbledores right-hand man, but also Voldemorts. But is that the “bravery” he refers to – pretending to be a Death Eater?

I guess I was just expecting something infinitely more concrete, more sinister perhaps, something that one would discover with a shock. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t prove, really prove beyond all doubt – why Dumbledore had such an absolute trust in him.

Perhaps there’s someone out there that can help me understand what i’m missing?

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Die oom, die boom en die bakkie

Posted by batman on Apr 2nd, 2008
2008
Apr 2

Click here to watch Die oom, die boom en die bakkie – English Translation: The old man, the tree and the bakkie.

A Uniquely South African method of tree-felling.

Enjoy!

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