Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ten Best Films of 2011

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky)
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)
The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
This Is Not a Film (Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb)
Le Havre (Aki Kaurismäki)
Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn)
The Kid with a Bike (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
Hugo (Martin Scorsese)
J. Edgar (Clint Eastwood)

This list is also available in an annotated and illustrated format on sister site Ten Best Films. Original Tativille reviews for each of the ten selections can be viewed by clicking on the films' titles. As always, enjoy, and I look forward to your own recommendations for a cinematically rich 2012.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Film: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) & A Dangerous Method

David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), from Steven Zaillian's adaptation of Stieg Larsson's international best-seller, richly repays the sort of old-fashioned auteurist criticism that this site performs as a matter of art-centered principle, offering as it does a compendium and synthesis of the filmmaker's guiding aesthetic and thematic concerns, from the director's breakthrough blockbuster Se7en (1995) through to last year's critical mega-hit The Social Network (2010). Indeed, the presence of a number of Fincher's established authorial signatures within The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo suggests Fincher's adherence to the Hollywood studio model upon which auteurism was originally built in 1950s Paris, with the director laboriously transforming his material in the image of his highly individuated world view. It also helps for the auteurist true-believer that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is poised to become neither a break-out hit nor a mass critical darling. Instead, Fincher's latest looks as if it will occupy, judging by the popular consensus, a relatively minor position in the filmmaker's corpus moving forward - which of course will provide the perfect position for future rediscovery and upward reconsideration.

Structurally, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo corresponds most closely with the director's 2007 masterpiece Zodiac, as it centers on a journalist's (Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist) private-sector investigation of an unsolved set of serial homicides decades earlier. As in ZodiacThe Social Network, and Se7en, the obsessive pursuit of the truth is channeled through a thorough exploration of the facts and material record of the objects of investigation, with the director's latest relying on both digitized period photos and transcriptions of corporate activities to disclose the answer to the decades-old mystery. Whereas the latter archival objects of study again call to mind The Social Network's Citizen Kane (1941) inter-text, the former presents another inscription of Fincher's formal interest in replacing the indexical artifact with a malleable digital counterpart - a strategy that finds like expression in his exterior recreations of Stockholm (cf. San Francisco in Zodiac) and in his digital addition of falling snow (comparable in type to the breath special-effect in The Social Network). Fincher once again reveals his deep, defining interest in the digital technology of his moment.

Throughout the first half of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's substantial (and perhaps somewhat over-long, given especially the false endings) 158-minute running time, Fincher pursues a parallel structure, alternating between Craig's journalist male lead and Rooney Mara's Tattoo namesake Lisbeth Salander, again in a fashion that corresponds to Zodiac and The Social Network's shifting subject-hoods - albeit in a manner that moves noticeably closer to the Don Siegel feature that provided the de facto critical object of the 2007 opus. Fincher's brilliant anti-social heroine - perhaps something of surrogate for the director in both senses - is sexually abused and assaulted. This compels a violent act of retribution, which could have been committed by Kevin Spacey's Se7en serial murderer. With Lisabeth consequently agreeing to join Mikael's investigation, after the latter notes that he is seeking a woman-killer, the pair pursue a murder who, again like Spacey's earlier villain, is operating according to an Old Testament-based code. On the negative side of the ledger, the identity of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's serial killer is more or less evident from his first appearance on screen. The strength of Fincher's latest certainly does not rest in its widely known source material.

As The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo unfolds, Lisabeth increasingly becomes Fincher's object of interest, not only narratively, but also visually, with Mara's inked and pierced yet fragile body becoming the focal point of his mise-en-scène. While Fincher clearly finds substantial, fetishistic interest in his young actress's physique, he does allow her increased agency as she initiates an immensely erotic on-screen sexual encounter with Craig's hero. Their relationship, however, will not survive through to the film's concluding elegiac set-piece, which accordingly insures the film's thematic debt to the director's more peripheral study of romantic longing, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo successfully combines the romanticism of the latter with the serial-killer narratives that activate Se7en and Zodiac. This again is work of authorial summary.

Not surprisingly therefore is the reemergence of Fincher's comparably modest, though distinctive revision of classical decoupage, with shallow-depth shot/reverse-shot takes alternating slightly off-rhythm in the pattern utilized in The Social Network. The garish overhead neon's of his prior work, however, are muted somewhat as Sweden's deep cobalt skies and warm interior lighting come to serve as the alternative graphic dominants. (Visually and thematically Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer [2010] offers a close antecedent for Fincher's film.) On the level of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's soundtrack - both also collaborated on The Social Network - the effect once again is fundamentally classical, with the scoring rarely stopping over the course of Fincher's protracted narrative. As such, the director's music video training is also in evidence, as it is likewise, and far more conspicuously, in the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's opening credits, which feature Karen O. and Reznor's exceedingly cool cover of Led Zepplin's "Immigrant Song." Fincher's anticipatory music video indeed sets the tone no less successfully than The Social Network's opening breakneck exchange between Jesse Eisenberg and Tattoo's Mara. The director's latest female lead silently holds the screen as fully as her Social Network co-star.

David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method (2011), from Christopher Hampton's adaptation of his own 2002 play The Talking Cure, opens with Keira Knightley's Sabina Spielrein screaming and convulsing violently in the rear of a horse drawn carriage as Howard Shore's instrumental score crescendos on the soundtrack. While the combination of the film's historical and material settings and Shore's elegant, classical work offers a patina of respectability - that of the period art-house feature - both in the opening passage and throughout, Knightley's grotesqueries provide the first in a line of dissonant, destabilizing elements that will serve to complete A Dangerous Method's operative dialectic of tastes. The latter aspects also present a vehicle for the uncanny within a film that persists in being off, whether again it is the gap between generic form and Knightley's early convulsions or even more, the overtly artificial use of rear-projection (cf. Eastern Promises, 2007) that places the film equally in the contexts of Old Hollywood - in terms of his pacing Cronenberg is even more classical than Fincher - and the arch theatrical modernism of Manoel de Oliveira. The Portuguese master likewise offers a model for Cronenberg's consistently static set-ups, while the like-minded Jacques Rivette's Duchess of Langeais (2007) suggests a source not only for A Dangerous Method's letter-writing set-piece, but also for the aforementioned subtle violence that Cronenberg performs on the middle-brow period picture. In this latter sense, A Dangerous Method returns to M. Butterfly (1993) territory - another Cronenberg film adapted from a legit source, by the playwright.

As Sabina takes on the role of Carl Jung's (Michael Fassbender) research assistant, following her successful treatment at Jung's hands using the talking cure that provided Hampton's play with its title, the married Protestant Sigmund Freud acolyte begins to explore his feelings for the Russian-Jewish psychology student after she expresses her desire for her mentor. Jung is emboldened by the entreaties of his libertine patient and fellow Freudian Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel) to follow his reciprocated passions. (Cassel's mental instability, it should be noted, registers psyognomically in his off-set eyes, whereas Knightley's emerges in her crooked teeth and protruding lower jaw; both are visual obsessions of Cronenberg as he explores the scientific rhetoric that surrounds his early twentieth-century subjects.) Sabina and Jung thus commence with a torrid and sexy on-screen affair that taps into her sado-masochistic fantasies, while allowing for what Sabina describes as the disappearance of her identity. In both of these regards, Cronenberg entertains a more fundamentally feminine attitude towards sex, which the film sets up in opposition to Freud's (Viggo Mortensen) comparatively masculine, and deeply self-centered perspective. As in the director's avowedly anti-Freudian Spider (2002), the ideas and even the personality of the rigid Austrian thinker become targets for the Canadian director in the suprisingly comedic A Dangerous Method.

Cronenberg's latest, which in its directness reinforces the director's attitude toward psychoanalysis, operates dialogically, both as a series of intellectual debates on the schisms between Freudian and Jungian thought, and also in their respective conceptualizations and applications, with Jung ultimately positioned against not only his mentor, but also his lover. Cronenberg moreover draws up his factions not only along intellectual and emotional lines, but also according to ethnic and even religious divisions, with Jung's supressive Swiss Protestant mysticism opposed to Freud's anti-faith, anti-superstition Judaism - a position that Cronenberg likewise holds, albeit with with Sabina as his closest, more open surrogate. Indeed, A Dangerous Method serves no less as an exploration of the director's Jewish identity on the Eve of the First World War, with the film's ethnic context lending A Dangerous Method added significance vis-à-vis the filmmaker's broader corpus. At the same time, A Dangerous Method's historical setting equally confirms its currency for a year where warnings of apocalypse drove a number of its higher-profile offerings, from Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011) to Jeff Nichols's Take Shelter (2011). Cronenberg's latest is better than both.

This review was co-written by Michael J. Anderson and Lisa K. Broad.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The African Bull Dog ( KENYA )

Sustainable by all means.

Mombasa (Kenya) is the location where this unique prototype was conceived. Details are outlined from their Facebook page.


30th January 2011

The vehicle

The african bull dog is a Kenyan Built Off Road 4X4 Vehicle and MPV; This car is built for every day use, it can be used in farms as a produce cart, or even as an ambulance at Marsabit desert to provide emergency care to the forgotten communities and as a truck to ferry drugs to those remote places that you have never heard of!; With ample backing, the African Bulldog can do for Kenya what the Citroen 2CV did for France and the V.W Beetle for Germany!

Company Overview

Heino Autoworx is a Leading 4x4 vehicle workshop based in Mombasa at the Mtwapa Creek, Kenya. We have been involved in the maintenance of 4x4 vehicles and S.U.Vs for years and we decided to push the boundaries.


The African Bull Dog is the brain child of Engineer Heino, he has a vast experience in the automotive and boat industry. The crew has been working tirelessly to ensure that we meet our target and we build a vehicle that meets the standards of the 4X4s we work on on a daily basis.


4X4 Extreme Efficient Performance!


This is an African Phenomenon for 2011. Below are the stats straight from the makers mouth describing this awesome beast.

"Bailey Cars took the Bold and Brave step of building a current day Prototype car in 2009. Its taken 2 years of intense design and manufacture to produce this master piece of south African engineering.

The car has had many firsts for South Africa such as full carbon Tub, full CFD body design and building a car to the A.C.O Le Mans 24 hours regulations

The car is available to customers who would like to compete in sports car racing throughout the world in events such as ALMS, Le Mans series, Asian Le Mans Series and even the South African Le Mans Series and RSA GT challenge.


· Carbon composite monocoque chassis

· Monocoque certified to all ACO and FIA structural and crash standards

· Adjustable pedal box and steering column

· Safety equipment includes 6-point lightweight seat belt harness

· Plumbed in fire extinguisher system


· 460hp maximum as regulated by ACO
· The engine must be made in a minimum of 1000 units in 12 consecutive months and must come, either from a grand touring car, Or from a large production car.
· Choice of homologated BMW, Lexus, Toyota or Nissan 5000 cm3 8 cylinders maximum. maximum
· Or 3200 cm3 forced induction engine with max 6 cylinders
· Diesel not allowed in LMP


· Double wishbone layout all round

· Pushrod rocker type with damper and coil over spring all round

· Third-spring option for front and rear suspension

· Frictionless bearing seals all round

· Same upright all round

· Angular-contact wheel bearings all round

· Chromoly steel-fabricated TIG-welded wishbones

· Quick adjustable ride height, camber, and toe

· electrically power assisted rack-and-pinion

Fuel System

· 90-litre bladder type fuel cell

· Dual Low-pressure fuel lifts pump plus dual high-pressure pumps


· Ricardo sequential-shift gearbox

· Six forward speeds plus reverse with torque input capacity in excess of 500 Nm

· Adjustable gear ratios

· Paddle shift as standard

· Gear oil cooling system


· All body panels of lightweight infused epoxy glass composite construction

Brake System

· AP Racing six-piston aluminum calipers all round

· 380 mm diameter ventilated discs front and rear

· Full carbon brake set up as option

Wheels and Tyres

· Wheel dimensions 11”wide x 18” diameter front

· 13” wide x 18” diameter rear

· 3 piece wheels

· Centre lock and anti loosen to FIA standards

Cooling System

· 1 water radiators

· 8-litre dry sump oil tank

· Twin engine all cooler

· Twin Electric oil scavenge pump

· 1 intercooler

· Driver air-conditioning system

Electrical System

· Military-spec chassis wiring loom

· FIA-regulation emergency power cut-off switch

· External start jump plug

· Digital dash display and with full data logging

· Xenon headlamps


· Minimum weight as specified by ACO 900kg excluding driver and fuel

Bailey - Beautifully Engineered Cars

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The Big Dig is the most expensive highway in the world. The “Big Dig” in Boston, Mass is one of the most challenging and complex heavy construction.The Big Dig constructors is only a recent example of how the subsurface conditions and complex geology in the Boston area. Boston's Big Dig was an idea estimated to cost $2.8 billion in 1985 and substantially soared to $14.8 billion, making it the most expensive highway project ever undertaken in history.

2. The Most Expensive Big Dig Highway In The World - USA
Big Dig in USA is known to be the most expensive Highway in the world. This expensive highway project has been estimated to $ 2.8 billion in the year 1985 and in the year 2006 to 14.2 billion. Pan American Highway is the longest highway in the world. This highway stretches for around 25,000 kilometres and is known as the world’s “longest motorable road”

3. The Most Expensive Longest National Highway In The World - Australia
Australia’s Highway 1 connects Australia`s state capitals with total length around 14,500 km or 9,000 miles. The highway is recorded as the longest national highway in the world and it is longer than Trans-Siberian Highway (around 11,000 km) and the Trans-Canada Highway ( around 8,030 km.

4. The Most Expensive Interstate Highway In The World - United StateThis is the most expensive transport project on the planet. It cost 114 billion $ and it was finished in 1992. It was named after the president Dwight D Eisenhower (its official name is ‘The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defence Highways’).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!
I hope you all have a safe and blessed Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!!

Thank you for all your support this year (all of you that take your time to read this blog).  We leave for Vienna in less than two weeks and I promise to pick up the blogging once we get settled.  

In the meantime, Merry Merry!!  

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