jueves, 15 de diciembre de 2011

Game of Thrones

At a first glance anyone could say that Game of Thrones, the novel written by George R.R. Martin , is one of those  repetitive tales which do not have the originality to charm the readers. Such has been the fate followed by most of the stories focused on the epic-fantasy genre after the release of Tolkien’s Lord of theRings, however if we just give it a try we will see that this time it’s something far more different than what we expected.

Game of Thrones is the first of a seven novel collection which takes us to the world of the seven kingdoms, a land unified long time ago by the great king Targaryen from the cinders of war. In this medieval context we will see how the destinies of different royal families will get entangled into a rather dramatic outcome which will decide the future of the whole realm and will unearth terrible dangers of the past.

The narrative technique used by Martin is quite harsh, but at the same time it makes the whole plot much more credible. He writes about sex between family members without hesitation, we can see how cruel and rude the world of game of thrones is with the different scenes we can find throughout the story, because here, it doesn’t matter wether the characters are villains or tender hearted characters, both of them are treated equally by the fate. The reader will find himself sympathizing with characters that were not meant to be liked due to their lack of moral and troublesome past, and by the other hand those who looked to be the chosen ones just because they had more weight on the plot may lose themselves into the devious tendrils of the hatred or will just die.

The way the stories are narrated is not new, nonetheless it’s not used often nowadays in these types of novels, rather than making the events unfold in a lineal way one after the other, game of thrones shows us in many cases the same thing from different points of view. Each chapter is lead by the name of the character who narrates the world from his eyes, and this leads the reader in many cases to see things that looked really important for a different character, extremely distant and pointless for the one describing the reality. This fact helps to create a global perspective of the plot and allows us to understand the choices all the characters choose, taking us to the position of a god wise entity with the purpose to create our own opinion about the story.

Unlike the standar epic-fantasy novels the world of the seven kingdoms is not what the average reader would expect to be, this means that we won’t find elves, dwarves or powerful sorcerers, instead of that, the arcane world will come along the story slowly creating a more tense atmosphere each time we get deeper into the plot.

Game of Thrones is what the lovers of these genre have been waiting for years, an original novel with a mature treatment of the elements which create this new and amazing world.

lunes, 5 de diciembre de 2011

In Time

This film presenst us an original point of view about a concept which rules all our lives, the time. Leaving the truisms apart, “In Time” gives to the time itself, a new value, a value which may not be fair since it turns it into an unnatural element which tyrannizes the fates of all the characters of the film. The time is not treated as a part of the nature that exists in everything, isntead of that it turns into a kind of currency exchange that measures the lenght of the lives of all the people involved in the story. However, despite having such an interesting focus about the human destinies, the film lacks some reality when it comes to the way the events unfold.

The film takes place in a fictitious city in the year 2116. In this near future the human beings have been able to supress the gen which makes them age, therefore they are immortals. However once they turn 25 they instantly die due to a heart attack, and the only way they have to avoid the death is to get more time for themselves by working. The time has become the global currency in the world and it is shown in the biological watches all the humans have in their forearms. This leads to an uneasy context where all the people live in a cruel system where they have to fight to keep themselves alive at any cost, by working under unfair laws or by stealing other people’s lifetime. William Salas, a man who lives in one of the poorest ghettos of this city will try to find a way to destroy this system in order to free all the people of the world.

The main idea of the film is quite interesting, and it makes the watcher feel nervous while they see how the main characters time runs out, nonetheless that’s the only attractive part the film has. The rest of the features of the story are filled with comercial stereotypes and cliches which turn the film plot into a really predictable joke. William is the typical charming guy who has a phrase for anything that happens, and besides that everything he plans turns out the way he wants, including the part where he meets the pretty woman of the tale. None of the characters end up in the watchers minds by anything they did or the way they looked like, since all of them are really empty when it comes to personality terms.

In few words, “In Time” is the perfect film you could watch if you want to have some fun one of those tiresome Sundays at which there is nothing to do.

lunes, 28 de noviembre de 2011

Manga/comic show 2011

Once again the comic and manga show of Getxo was held in Las Arenas near the underground station, just as it has during it’s last nine editions. Afortunately for me i was able to assist the event during the three days it lasted for. The event gathered lots of shops and little businesses from the comic sector, which displayed their merchandising and products to all the curious faces and fans of such amazing world. Besides the activities offered by the shop stands the show was the perfect place for the most popular manga and comic fans to gather and exchange experiences.

Many of them were disguised as their favaorite characters and performed some of the stances and moves of their alter egos. During the Sunday which was the last day, the show focused on the manga world by allowing a special stand where different groups could gauge their musical skills by challenging each other for the first position. Among all these activities it was possible to find special stands where seveal professionals could use their make up and dyes to change the appearance of the ones who dared to expose themselves to the curious sights of the people walking around. And finally in the bottom of the show it was possible to find little groups of artists showing the people how to draw using different techniques.

The first day was the most intense one. I ventured myself into the swirling mass of people gathered in the square. This year has been the first in few editions having the biggest amount of people due to the fusion of both manga and comic shows into the same space. The stands were distributed into perfect rows, each of them marked with the name of the shop they were representating. There was an infinite offer of products, such as old fashioned video games, disguises, wallpapers, small figures, art works, thousands of different comics, and cultural products from Japan. Despite the small size of the show, it took me more than two hours to roam and see the whole place. As you can see, i took some pictures of the cosplayed people and the customes they strived so much to create. Just as any formal fan of such event would do i bought two T-shirts and a pair of key chains.

Probably and due to the day being Saturday the second day was the less populated one, however it was a relief to walk through the stands without having to push the people every time i wanted to get somewhere. The activities held during the Saturday were the same as the ones of the previous day, so i decided to see the ones i hadn’t have time for the last day. And so i ended up watching the make up section where three young boys were being tunned up with different types of make ups and sticky goos untill they resembled real zombies. After that i payed a brief visit to the speeches that were taking place in a small room, the subjects were as diverse as the people who were there listening to them. They talked about the 15M effect on some of the new comics being introduced those days in the show, and about freelance artists who were trying to make some noise in the artistic world in order to carve their names into the pages of time.

The Sunday was the last day of the show, nonetheless it was surely the most attracting one, despite of not having the same volume of people as the first day. It was due to the parade of cosplayers and their karaoke shows. I solely attended the last day to see their performance. The disguised boys and girls gathered together in the room at which the last day, the comic drawers exposed their speeches. All of them were introduced to the seers by two men who were wearing anime kind cloths as well. One by one all of them displayed different stances whilst they sung their favorite themes in front of the people. Some of them succeeded in their performances offering a great show, while some others just looked hilarious in the best case.

This show is one of the best places for those willing to experience the unique enviroment offered during these three days, at which the comic and manga fans are able to obtain some of the most rare and precious objects they would never find during the rest of the days of the year.

domingo, 20 de noviembre de 2011

The key to the current economic crisis

A serious film which tries to give some answers about the origins of the economic crisis that strikes us today. That is the description “Margin call”, a film which counts with a great cast of actors such as Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Paul Bettany or Zachary Quinto. The whole story is filled with a suffocating atmosphere of tension which highlights the severity of the subject treated in it.

Margin Call takes us to the headquarters of one of the biggest businesses of the United States, located in Brooklyn, New York. The business is obliged to fire most of it’s workers due to thefinancial difficulties it’s going through. One of those workers, Eric, entrustes the investigation he was working on to on to one of his colleagues, Peter, before leaving the business. Peter soon realizes about the huge hole the business has created in it’s own financial system, and he swiftly warns everyone in order to save

their heads from the black future which draws near.

The film introduces us to a small group of charismatic characters with great salaries who dwell the world of the high finances. The characters, who have been interpreted in a really well way, reflect that dangerous plane on which only the strongest people survive. We will get to know the human side of some of these men and women despite the crude world the work in, and with them the values of the human ethics.

The only downside of the film is the fact that the dialogues contain economic terms which may not be understood by some of the seers. Besides that and knowing future the film leads to, the end of the story is yet somehow diffuse.

Margin call may not be one of those great films which touch our inner feelings, but it is indeed an enlightening story with throws some sense to the economic turmoil we are in these days.

martes, 15 de noviembre de 2011

The social networks, the future of the mass medias

I have recently assisted the Third Digital Journalism Congress, event which was held in the Bizkaia Aretoa building in Bilbao, during the days 9, 10 and 11 of November. The main subject of the conference was the way the digital journalism is affecting our lives, and how the social networks are enhancing this effect. Several professionals from different nationalities came to Bilbao in order to share their knowledge about these changes with the attendees. Many were the susbjects connected to the journalism of this new era, and many the ways we, the journalists, could use these new ideas to improve the quality of our work. However and despite the amazing speeches of the speakers, it would be pretty hard to reflect all the information they gave us, so having that in mind, i will speak about the most interesting interventions of the three days.

Álvaro Peláez Avezuela, who works for the Fundeu, was the first speaker of the conference who dealt about the “New language born in the net: new education model and new enviroment”. It was nice to have someone of his age due to the reality the medias and us are exposed to. This fact made of his explanations a great proposal for solving some of the problems the medias are diving in nowadays . His speech highlighted the need of a clear and correct language by us on the net whislt we use some abreviations which are not considered correct by the RAE currently. This would lead us to write information of high quality and at the same it would be possible for us to save space in messages like the ones we use in twitter. In order to achieve this goal it would be neccessary to use our fonetical language combined with signs which represent different ideas or emotions like the ones which are being used on the internet by the bloggers or people who write on the forums.

The next day and after some absorbing ideas exposed by the first speakers it came Linda Castañeda’s turn, Professor of the University of Murcia. She exposed us her investigation called “The marble tower: the impact of the social networks on the university education model”. The concept besides the marble tower is the current university education system, which is an isolated terrain banished from the rest of the world. What professor Linda meant by this somehow poetical figure was that the university is a privileged knowledge source to which not all the people have access. In this place the students are able to develop their proficiency in different matters and become wiser, which leads to an unfair context for the rest of the people. Internet changed it all. With the appearance of the social networks some universities have

started to open their education programs to the open world with tools such as “moodle” or “ekasi” allowing people with no university formation to have access to that information. This fact has already started to change the idea of the marble tower into a tower made of mirrors which isntead of keeping the wisdom for itself reflects it to the world.

The intervention that closed the day was lead by the cooker Fernando Canales, owner of the “Estrella Michelín” award. He was not exactly the kind of person we would have expected to see in an event of this type, nonetheless, he was the only one who spoke to us in a friendly and spontaneous way, making of the last speech a relieving story. He basically told us about his first steps into the culinarian worl in the basque country, untill he realized that the basque culture

was closed to the new trends he was trying to bring to it. Thus he started a TV show where he worked for five years with the sole purpose of catching the eye of the basque people. He worked tirelessly untill he run out of ideas, this made him come up with the idea of using the social networks and the internet to get a new source of inspiration that could bring some changes to his work. He finally came to know his current assistant Iñigo, who taught him about the secrets of the new technologies. After absorbing all the information he gathered from the internet and his trips to New York, Fernando came back to Bilbao, where he started his business know as “Etxanobe”. Etxanobe is therestaurant where he deals with his customers using Ipads which enable them to choose the dishes they prefer, whilst they are able to share their opinions with their friends using the tools the Ipad offers them.

With the experiences the speakers shared with us we all realized about the importance the new technologies and the social networks have these days. They offer us the oportunity to create high quality content with the advantage of doing so from any place in the world in a fast way and without the need of too many tools. Having this in mind we should not understimate the chance that has been given to us.

domingo, 13 de noviembre de 2011

Coronado’s best return ever

We are probably facing what we could deem as José Coronado’s best character performance, yes, we are talking about “No habrá paz para los malvados”, the latest film the spanish actor has starred. The film comes along with a great storyline which has several plot twists which nobody could ever imagine, besides that, the film counts with an enviable cast of professional spanish actors. Although we are talking about a film that has not spent too much money in special effects, it is yet able to keep us down on our seats with it’s perfectly woven story.

This is not the first time Jose Coronado breathes life into a bad mannered policeman, as we could see in the film “La distancia” where he worked on with his spanish companion Miguel Angel Silvestre. Nonetheless, this time Coronado has been able to connect with his new character, inspector Santos Trinidad, a man with a troublesome past, and not a better looking present. Despite what the majority of the people could think about such a dark character, inspector Santos Trinidad shows himself as the perfect hero counterpart, a person with human features, a man with his own problems, a man who doesnt necesarily have to meet the pretty girl at the end of the film after vanquising all the villians, as we are used to see in the american films. The emphasys he puts into the threatening sights he throws to everyone, or the perfectly well actuated drunkenness that enables him to keep going on with his goals in the film, make Coronado deserve the title of the best performed character of his whole professional trajectory.

Enrique Urbizu´s work takes us to the modern Madrid, where Santos Trinidad works tirelessly in the case of a colonbian gang of drug dealers. The inspector meets different characters during his investitagion, characters that will help him and some others who will try to drag him into the hell, but always leaving on the witness the sensation that these people have more intentions besides the ones they show. These basic ingredients, which may not be what the average watcher would like, are able to create an atmosphere full of stress and mistery without the need of unreal martial art fights, flashy explosions or huge weapons.

In simple words, this is the scheme the modern spanish films should follow: a charming plot, charismatic characters and a veritable story tied to the reality.