Heroes and Villains: Escaping Reality

Super Hero - Superman WW2 Have you ever wondered what life would have been like if Superheroes and Villains actually existed? For the most part, all we can do is ponder the infinite possibilities, often courtesy of video games, books, television, movies and, most importantly, our very own imagination.

Agan Harahap, a photographer and illustrator from Jakarta, Indonesia, has taken the concept of Superheroes and brought them into a pseudo-reality. By incorporating infamous characters into iconic World War II photographs, Harahap  has managed to blur the lines between fiction and truth. In so doing, he has managed to merge the fantastically impossible with our past physical existence, in order to create  a Superhero adorned alternate reality.

Harahap’s latest collection, aptly titled ‘Super Hero’, consists of memorable political and wartime scenes from the mid-20th century, but with one difference: the inclusion of notable Superheroes (or Villains?). This extraordinary combination is a true juxtaposition in effect.

With respect to the current global economic crisis, Harahap’s work could not come at a more fortuitous time. Coincidentally, the advent of the Superhero, according to Douglas Hyde (2009), was largely spurred on by the Great Depression and the start of World War II. As a result, comic books and superheroes were said to offer an ‘escapist form of entertainment’, where people could “go into a fantasy world where all the ills of the world were righted by these larger-than-life heroes” (Erin Clancy, 2009).

Subsequently, audiences at large are once again returning to the warm embrace of costumed Superheroes, with movies based on comic books generally becoming box office leaders. This trend, the resurgence of the popularity of Superheroes, may be a reflection of the current global economic crises. Clancy would agree citing “the comic book superhero came out of a context in which the political, social and economic realties were a little tough and we can certainly relate to those realities now in our own day” (2009).

Superheroes are back people and they are stronger than ever!

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

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Bruno’s Proposal

Bruno's Proposal This weekend I managed to watch Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest mockumentary, Bruno, as well as Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock’s latest romantic comedy (romcom), The Proposal.

BrunoBruno

First things first; if you did not enjoy watching Borat then do not watch Bruno. Alternatively, if you have not seen Borat and would like to know what kind of a movie Bruno is, then please do go and rent the movie. However, those who, like myself, enjoyed the shamelessness offered by Borat, will, undoubtedly, enjoy Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest ‘candid cinematic work’.

About the movie:

Borat trickster Sacha Baron Cohen returns to the big screen to offer yet another stinging dose of sociopolitical satire in this comedy that finds him assuming the persona of gay fashionmonger Bruno, the self-proclaimed "voice of Austrian youth TV." Originally conceived as part of Cohen’s cult television series Da Ali G Show, the character of Bruno offered a cleverly costumed Cohen the opportunity to highlight the absurdities of the fashion industry by interviewing unsuspecting fashion icons and other haute couture hangers-on (D-Man2010, IMDB.com)

Let me be frank. The movie is crass. To put it into perspective, about 20 minutes into screening Bruno, there were actually several individuals who hastily exited the cinema in a bizarre flurry of popcorn, soda and mild ranting. Strangely, I found the departure of those individuals to be more disturbing than the movie itself. Let me explain.

The film is, superficially, a wholeheartedly sordid affair with copious amounts of nudity filled in with gratuitous use of sexual innuendos and stereotypes, which are often always highly amusing. Consequently, if you are easily offended by nudity, sex, violence or a lack of political correctness, then Bruno may not be the movie for you. However, that is only one aspect of this film.

Although it may not seem so at first, there is in fact a method to Sasha Baron Cohen’s madness. Underneath this films superficial exterior, of a homosexually charged fashion stereotype with an unabashed tendency to offend different races and creeds, lies a rather important and universal notion. Even though the movie is a ‘mockumentary’, the message is certainly quite clear: ignorance is a clear cause of civil unrest. Until the human race can learn acceptance without prejudice, we will never truly know a world without pain and suffering.

Bruno -Official Trailer

Bruno is unfortunately not for the ignorant, homophobic, squeamish, narrow minded, prude or conservative. For everyone else, however, it is definitely an eye opening experience. Whether the experience is good or not, is up to you!

Verdict: 7/10.


The Proposal

The Proposal

The Proposal is your standard romantic comedy, or ‘romcom’ in movie lingo. No more, no less.

As romantic comedies go, The Proposal is a movie filled with all of the usual cliché’s, in which we find ourselves cheering for the underdog while despising the obstacles hindering the progress of ‘true love’. Furthermore, even though we know how the story inevitably ends, we are inexplicably drawn toward finding out exactly how the story unfolds.

About the movie:

When high-powered book editor Margaret faces deportation to her native Canada, the quick-thinking exec declares that she’s actually engaged to her unsuspecting put-upon assistant Andrew, who she’s tormented for years. He agrees to participate in the charade, but with a few conditions of his own. The unlikely couple heads to Alaska to meet his quirky family and the always-in-control city girl finds herself in one comedic fish-out-of-water situation after another. With an impromptu wedding in the works and an immigration official on their tails, Margaret and Andrew reluctantly vow to stick to the plan despite the precarious consequences (D-Man2010, IMDB.com).

The Proposal – Trailer

The movie is good. So if you are looking for a fun, light hearted comedy, which offers genuine moments of laughter, and allows you to leave the cinema with that ‘warm and fuzzy’ happy feeling, then do go and watch The Proposal. You will not regret it.

Verdict: 7/10.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

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