September 20th, 2009

theatre, muppets

Humane Treatment for Refugees?

Yesterday, I wondered over to the Picturehouse in Greenwich to see District 9.

Trailer for those that haven't seen it:

(Direct link)

On the surface it's a sci-fi film about first contact with aliens, but it uses this as a tool to make a political message about how we treat refugees and the arms trade. A message which comes across loud and clear. The film is mainly about politics rather than science.

As a brief plot summary without giving anything away, a crippled Alien ship appears in the sky above Johannisberg and the Aliens are taken in as refugees. When they don't fit into society they are placed in a camp "District 9" separate from the rest of the population of the city.

Not sure if "like" is the word for this film really. It's certainly very well done, but very uncomforting.

There's quite a bit of humour to lift the story, which does help it from being too depressive, but it's really quite dark humour in places.

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All in all it was a good film. Well worth seeing, but prepare to feel uncomfortable.

What with this and Moon, this year has been a good year for sci-fi films with a bit more to them than just Aliens shooting each other with lazers.
mellotron, music

The Sound of Plagarism

So, the next CD on the pile is, Elastica's self titled debut work of plagarism album. As bands go, Elastica did actually do a go job of taking it's Punk and New Wave influences and making them more approachable to a 90s audience, even if they did occasionally follow their influences a little too closely. An issue that lead them to being taken to court by representatives of the record labels for both Wire and the Stranglers for:

( links so you can compare them yourselves)

So, yes, there are definitely strong similarities between each of the tracks, but in each case I liked the original and Elastica's track is different enough to make it interesting. That said, when you listen to quite a bit of folk, you get used to different arrangements of the same bits of tune occuring in quite different tracks. They're not normally creditted as being written by the performer though in that case. The court cases were settled out of court prior to the records release.

Although, the echos of the late 70s/early 80s punk/new wave is strong, Elastica manage to make it sound contemporary for the 90s and have a lot more punch to their sound then either Wire or the Stranglers could manage. Albums like Pink Flag are excellent, but you need to be in a certain frame of mind to listen to them, this is much more approachable.

The less contraversial highlights of the album would be 2:1 with it's amazingly mechanical sound and Stutter which captures the briefness and sound of the other tracks with it's simple guitar rifts without the acusations of plagarism.