SOS Mandarin

Our mandarin classes are continuing … it’s great fun but boy does it ever involve a lot of memorization. I think G and I need to go twice a week. The other thing we need is a regular weekly meeting with someone(s) who can correct and guide us at the sametime. With thanks to willariah for providing this at the Windsor Arms. If anyone is keen to put up with G and I for an hour/week and help us along, we’d be grateful!

Over the Windsor Arms weekend, we saw quite a few films.

The Last King of Scotland
Last King of Scotland, directed by Scot, Kevin MacDonald, tells the story of Ugandan dictator-supreme, Idi Amin from the time his coup put him in power to the famous “Raid on Entebee”. The events are a convenient backdrop for the fictional story of a young Scottish physican, Nicholas Garrigan, who has a knack for biting off the hand that feeds him by sleeping with the wives of his benefactors. Thanks to a cow, Garrigan (played by an excellent James McAvoy) ends up as Amin’s personal physican and his ‘closest advisor’. There are many stories in this film: the story of  how  a psychopath became the leader of a nation; the sad story of British colonialism; the story of how vile and cruel and sick people can be to each other; and the story of youthful idealism dashed. But, of course, THE main story here is really Forest Whittaker who is Idi Amin in all his bipolar madness. This is a very, very good movie with scenes near the end which are exceptionally difficult to watch.
Garrigan has it perfectly summed up he says to Amin: “You’re a child, that’s what’s so frightening about you”. It is, sadly, a comment we could apply to so many of our ‘leaders’. My rating 8 out of 10.


An Inconvenient Truth
Finally saw it. Now, perhaps it’s because I’ve always been an environmentalist but I thought three things watching this  film: 1) everyone needs to see it, if only to hear the hard facts on the reality we are facing; 2) was this a film on environmentalism or a bio-op-political ad for Al Gore?; and 2) (some) people have said this film ‘changed their lives’ (like, huh? … excuse me). It’s a good documentary with a vital, urgent message yes but I could have done without the Al-Gore-back-to-the-farm-sentimental-upbringing bits thank you very much. My rating 6 out of 10.


I hope Kim Bassinger had “kleenex and throat lozenges” written in her contract before signing for this, um, thriller. Kim spends her screen time crying and screaming in this film (though still manages to look pretty while being thrown around and tossed to the floor – conveniently on the mat in the attic everytime) while The Transporter star, Jason Statham, plays his usual character transported to Los Angeles (no wonder he is pissed). The story (and I’ll use the term very loosely) concerns the original idea of cops gone bad. Added to the mix are boy toy hunk Chris Evans stumbling around crashing things for added enjoyment and a way over the top lawyer who keeps losing his Porsche. Everyone walks around for the 90 minutes talking into, yes, cellulars or walkie-talkies and even William H. Macy (who must have been out of rent money for the month) appears to save the day. Awful on many levels and the very embodiment of everything  that is bad with Hollywood film-making these days but, you know, worth the ride anyway. My rating 5 out of 10.


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5 Responses to SOS Mandarin

  1. Fatcat723 says:

    Good luck with class and Happy Valentine’s Day. Thanks for the reviews. I depend on them for my choice of movies now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I can count to 10 in Mandarin. So I can take the first 10 to 20 seconds of the hour.

  3. bennykan says:

    Mandarin…fun! Learning a new language is always fun. Perhaps I should restart learning French too.

  4. Ken02 says:

    Hi BrentLooks like you and G need major help in your Mandarin classes. You are in luck my friend. I took Mandarin for two years, and I think I could help you guys. If you need help just ask me anytime, and I will try my best to help and guide you and G in anyway. Good luck and talk to you soon. Your friend Ken.

  5. whonose says:

    I loved Last King of Scotland, since there was no real good guy among the proceedings…

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