Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Two Documentaries: Horror Europa & How the Devil Got his Horns... A Diabolical Tale

In order to counterbalance the saccharine feeling of the holidays, I watched two BBC4 documentaries with topics far from Christmassy.

The first one is "Horror Europa", written and presented by Mark Gatiss, a Doctor Who writer who also plays Mycroft in Sherlock and Tycho Nestoris in Game of Thrones. Gatiss, a fan of horror movies, travels around Europe from Belgium, France, Slovakia, Germany, Italy and Spain to Canada, visiting locations from important films of the genre and speaking to some of their directors. I am not particularly fond of horror but the documentary is very interesting and informative about how political and historical events affected and morphed the state of horror filmmaking. It's definetely not lighthearted but also not very gory.

The second one is "How the Devil Got his Horns... A Diabolical Tale" and is written and presented by Alastair Sooke. Sooke, similar to Gatiss, visits many locations, mostly in Italy, showing how the depiction of Devil in art has changed over the years, from a blue angel with a bunch of goats in front of him to the horrific monster who wreaks havoc in hell. Slightly disturbing, but nonetheless enlightening.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

A Year: 2014

As the year is coming to its inevitable end, I thought of doing something not original: write down some of the most important things that happened in 2014. Unfortunately, the only ones I could think of were doom and gloom. Wars in Syria, Gaza and Ukraine, aeroplanes falling, economic and political crisis, Ebola, riots and injustice in Ferguson. A general global misery. 

Then I remembered that last month we landed a probe on a comet for the very first time. By we, I mean the European Space Agency and the Rosetta spacecraft. The Philae lander landed on the comet named 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko with the purpose of collecting data which will hopefully help in learning more about the formation of our solar system. This month, NASA successfully launched the Orion spacecraft for its first flight test for a future manned expedition to Mars. Therefore, there were some good things also happening this year and speaking of great achievements in science, I finally got my diploma in Physics.

In June, people started throwing buckets of cold water onto themselves for charity and the World Cup began in Brazil. The Greek team played decently and a shockingly bad Brazil played a historic match with Germany.

In October, Kim Jung Un hurt his leg and the podcast Serial grabbed everyone's attention.

The technological highlights of 2014 include curved screens, drones transporting packages, the hacking of a cloud and wearable technology. We decided it was time we started wearing our devices, not just carry them. With the craze seeming to continue in 2015, many companies released smartwatches. The most successful attempt seems to be Motorola's Moto 360, an elegant round device that actually looks like a wristwatch. Motorola, no longer owned by Google but Lenovo, released the successors to last year's Moto G (previously) and Moto X and manufactured the enormous Nexus 6 for Google.

Apple, following the trend, presented its biggest phone ever with many "gates" surrounding it (bendgate, hairgate, dyegate). They also gave us something that was expected for a long time, a disappointment called the Apple Watch and something that nobody was expecting and wanted for that reason, the new U2 album free of charge. People were furious about the latter, Hulk-style.

Also Samsung, ... I am kidding.

Superheroes were everywhere this year, both in movies and television. Captain America and the Guardians of the Galaxy, Quicksilver in the Pentagon, Baymax and The Flash were the MVP. Another kind of superheroes were the True Detective's cops solving a murder mystery with philosophical undertones, Adventure Time's Finn who in the same day, lost his hand and met his real father (he turned out to be kind of a jerk) and the lost brothers in Over the Garden Wall trying to find their way back home accompanied by a frog and a bluebird that once was a girl.

True Detective art by Waleria.

Let's just hope that 2015 kicks 2014's butt and remember: We are Groot.