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Two years ago, “Jurassic World” came out and made a staggering $652 million at the domestic box office, even though it was a messy and unimaginative piece of thunder-lizard junk: a movie so impersonal it felt genetically engineered. It was a depressing reminder of what blockbuster movie culture can get away with if the monsters are big enough and the franchise strikes enough reptile-brained chords of recognition. On that scale, “Kong: Skull Island” would seem to have a lot going for it commercially, even if it was just another shoddy and cynical reboot of a reboot — which is what a lot of people are probably expecting it to be.
The surprise is that “Skull Island” isn’t just 10 times as good as “Jurassic World”; it’s a rousing and smartly crafted primordial-beastie spectacular. The entire film takes place on Kong’s jungle island home (he doesn’t scale any skyscrapers — in New York or Dubai), and you could say that it’s more action-based and less ambitious than either of the “King Kong” remakes: the snarky, overblown, justly reviled 1976 knockoff or Peter Jackson’s good but still not good enough 2005 retread.
Yet in its jungle-stranded B-movie way, “Kong: Skull Island” may come closer in spirit to the wide-eyed amazement of the original than either of those remakes. That’s because it’s more casually willing to be its own thing. The 1933 version of “King Kong” is still definitive — the most awe-inspiring and emotionally transporting giant-monster movie ever made. Part of the problem with both remakes is that they were straining to live up to what could never be equaled. “Skull Island” is more modest, but by staying on Skull Island and updating the place, it takes you somewhere you haven’t been. The movie updates Kong, too — he’s a true savage and nobody’s sweetheart, and though he’s been brought to life by motion capture, it takes a while before his outsize “humanity” kicks in. But when it does, it feels earned, and you’re grateful to the movie for not milking it.
“Skull Island” is set in 1973, just as Watergate is heating up and the Vietnam War is winding down, and that means that John Goodman, as an irascible Bermuda Triangle conspiracy theorist named Bill Randa, gets to step out of a cab near Capitol Hill and say, “Mark my words, there’ll never be a more screwed-up time in Washington!” The line comes off as an overly Trumped-up nudge in the ribs, but the period setting, which seems arbitrary at first, actually works for the film in a topical way.
Randa, with his nose for bizarre events that are covered up by the establishment, has gotten wind of rumblings about something hidden away on an uncharted South Pacific island. He convinces a senator (Richard Jenkins) to bankroll a field mission there, an exploration on which he’ll be backed by a pair of troubleshooters: Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), a U.S. military commander who is smarting from the humiliation of America in Vietnam, and James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), a renegade British mercenary tracker. Coming along to document the proceedings is Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), a free-spirited “antiwar photographer.”
The crew approaches Skull Island, an archipelago of giant jutting mossy rocks, in a handful of choppers, which get tipped and tossed by an electrical storm. But they really find out what it’s like to be batted around when they’re smacked, out of nowhere, by a gorilla hand the size of a tank. They respond by bombing the island (to the well-chosen strains of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”), goosed along by Jackson’s gung-ho officer, who rasps, “Kill this son-of-a-bitch!” It’s a shock to hear anyone refer to Kong that way, and if this were 1973, the antiwar commentary would be clear as day. In 2017, though, it feels less didactic and more prescient. Jackson’s seething, vengeful, kill-or-be-killed ethos is the real enemy in “Skull Island” — the film faces his squinty glare off against Kong’s — and given our post-Vietnam track record in Iraq, and whatever military master plans are now being drawn up in the White House, it’s galvanizing to see an action movie full of guns and hardware that comes down on the side of not blowing s—- up.
A “King Kong” movie should, first and foremost, be a fairy tale of primeval wonder, and this one is. The director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, takes much of his inspiration from the original Skull Island sequence of the 1933 “King Kong,” with its storybook dinosaurs, and you may also detect the influence of “The Mysterious Island,” the 1961 Ray Harryhausen classic that featured an eye-popping array of giant creatures. In “Skull Island,” the island is brimming with oversize species, from a sad-eyed water buffalo to a giant stick-bug to swarms of blue-blooded pterodactyls to a towering spider that hovers over a forest to the octopus whose tentacles Kong battles and makes a snack of. The creatures keep the rather elemental story popping; we never know what we’re going to see next.
The other thing that keeps the movie popping is John C. Reilly, who shows up as Hank Marlow, a World War II soldier who’s been stranded on the island since 1944. He’s been living with the native tribe there (they suggest Buddhist monks with faces painted like designer chocolates), and he’s a bit of a Rip Van Winkle in his bomber jacket and long curly gray beard, but if that makes the character sound like a deadly cliché, rest assured that Reilly’s performance is terrifically dry and sly. He plays this man who should have lost his mind long ago as a stubborn paragon of flaked-out common sense. It’s Hank who can help guide the crew to the north side of the island, where they’ve got just two days to rendezvous with a rescue team. But to do that, they’ll have to fight off the worst creatures of all: the gnashing corrosive exoskeletal thingies, all speed and tongue — think raptors, but uglier and meaner.
In many ways, “Kong: Skull Island” is a “Jurassic Park” movie — and if viewed that way, it’s the best since the first. The characters may be a touch minimal, but that doesn’t mean they’re boring; the actors fill them in. Hiddleston, while top-billed, never takes over the movie, but he’s crisp and hearty (though that accent of his is too posh). Goodman has become a more forceful presence by playing down his goofy humor, Jackson scores as a humanized bad guy, and Brie Larson takes a generic role and infuses it with vibrance. She’s the one actor on hand who really looks like she’s from the ’70s (she has that desert-flower earthiness), and the movie offers its coolest updating of the “Kong” mystique by connecting her to the big guy in a way that winks at the girl-in-the-ape-fist “romance” of old, minus the coercion (or the tearing off of dress tops). The connection between Mason and Kong seems all the more touching for being so understated. Kong emerges as just the hero we want him to be: noble but raging — a primate god who will rear up and destroy, but only when threatened.
As a Marvel-style sequence at the end of the closing credits makes clear, “Skull Island” has been planned, in league with the powerful and evocative 2014 “Godzilla,” as the second film in Legendary’s MonsterVerse, the elaborately linked series of creature-feature reboots from Warner Bros. (The teaser hints at a new “Mothra” and “Ghidorah.”) That might be enough to bring out the anti-franchise cynic in you. But if the upcoming films prove to be as winning as this one, then audiences eager to get their old giant movie monster on should have nothing to fear.
Seblak is one of the most well-known food in Bandung, made from crackers (kerupuk), noodle, or macaroni as the main ingredient. From the history, many people said that Bandung is not the origin of seblak, because this food is famous in 2000s. They said that the origin of Seblak may come from Sumpiuh, Banyumas, because of the similarity with Krupuk Godog (boiled crackers) that has been popular since 1940s.
The way to cook the ingredients is by soak them into the hot water/boiled water. For your information, kerupuk is a famous snack in parts of Southeast Asia, but closely associated to Indonesia. I think this kinda weird-but-special food because almost all kerupuk in Indonesia was fried, not soaked in hot water. As the result, kerupuk that cooked as seblak has soft texture.
Another important ingredients is chili. Almost entire of Indonesian like to eat spicy food, so seblak is also being well-known because of its spiciness. For some occasions, you can find some products that show levels of spiciness of food. Some Indonesians think that the spicier food they eat makes them pride of themself without thinking too much about the possible consequences, such as diarrhea. Just be careful, right!
Beside the main ingredients and seasoning, you can add some mustards, eggs, even bones into seblak. Then, just pour all ingredients and seasoning and serve it. (That’s not kind of Indonesian food if it was not flavoured with some seasoning, such as garlic, onions, salt, kencur, etc. For your information, the foods in Indonesia has weaker flavour than Indian cuisine, so many foods from Indonesia are suitable for some foreigners or tourists that come to Indonesia. Do you want some proof? Just remember the poll from CNN that show Rendang (steamed beef from Padang, Indonesia) as the most delicious food in the world and followed with other Indonesian cuisines.)
So, if you want to eat seblak, just come to Bandung, because many street vendors or shops sell it with affordable price and many interesting variations.
Nasi goreng translates as ‘fried rice’ in the Indonesian language. Those not familiar with the Dutch kitchen may be surprised to learn that it is an immensely popular dish in Holland.
Its popularity is a direct result of the Netherlands’ colonial past. The Netherlands once had a vast empire of colonies and settlements in Africa, Asia, North America and the Caribbean. And because of the Dutch love for aromatics such as cinnamon, mace, ginger and nutmeg, East India, with its wealth of spices, was considered the jewel in Holland’s colonial crown. Over the years, the influence of the Indonesian kitchen has grown and it has become part and parcel of Dutch food culture. Nowadays the Dutch consider Indonesian food to be near-native.
Nasi goreng is one of the most widely integrated Indonesian dishes in the Netherlands. Almost every Dutch family has its own version, and ready-made microwaveable versions are available from every Dutch supermarket for the cooking averse. In fact, nasi goreng is so popular in the Netherlands that it is widely known as simply ‘nasi’. The dish is traditionally made with leftovers such as day-old rice (freshly cooked rice inevitably creates a claggy mess), as well as odds and ends of vegetables, and sometimes bits of pork (such as bacon or ham) and fresh eggs. Vegetarian versions are made with tempeh or tofu. It is always enjoyed as a main meal, one of the main differences from other types of fried rice, which are usually served as a side dish. In the Netherlands, nasi goreng is usually served with a runny fried egg, various pickles such as gherkins and pearl onions, sweet and sour cucumber salad, ketjap manis (sweetened soy sauce) and sambal (chili paste).
Particular to the Netherlands is a snack known as the nasischijf, a disk of compacted and breaded nasi goreng, which is deep fried and then consumed blisteringly hot and crisp. The nasischijf is based on that other perennial Dutch favorite, the kroket. It’s widely available at fast food outlets known as snackbars and in the frozen section of most supermarkets in the Netherlands. It is particularly popular with students and the late-night crowd.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) is on of those hobbies I’ve never even considered. I can’t image stepping into a ring or the dreaded octagon to exchange punches with some of the animals that love this hobby. Watching this sport on tv gives makes me instantly tense. I simply can’t imaging actually participating.
Considering some other hobbies out there, MMA is a relatively cheap sport to get into. For a couple hundred bucks you can get all the mma gear you need to get started safely in this increasingly popular sport. If you’re a glutton for punishment just get yourself a pair of mma gloves and get in the ring. My guess is you’ll want to think twice about that little stunt unless you’re on the cast of Jackass.
MMA does happen to have a lot of benefits associated with it. The most obvious of those is self defense. Lets face it. If you even trained a couple times a week you’d have no problem dealing with a situation at the grocery store when somebody is getting out of hand. You’ll be able to defend your girl the next time some clown gets out of line at the bar or your favorite sporting event after they’ve had one to many.
Another benefit of MMA is the physical fitness aspect. Training in MMA will improve your cardiovascular system as well as tone up those muscles. It’s also pretty likely you’ll find a few muscles you never knew you had as well. Not only will your muscles become stronger you’ll learn the techniques to actually use your strength effectively. Another physical aspect of your body that will change is your flexibility. Some of the moves required to fight will tax every fiber of your body. You’ll also need some flexibility to get out of those nasty submission holds. The last benefit is your quickness. Being stronger and more flexibiltly will greatly increase your speed / quickness. Not only will your body be faster so will your mind.
One other cool thing about MMA is that you won’t just learn karate or judo or tae kwon do. If you’re going to excel in MMA you’re going to need some stellar wrestling skills, a man sized punch, as well as some submission techniques to keep your opponent guessing.
It’s a simple question. Why am I taking pictures? What’s so special about photography compared to other visual art forms?
I’m not writing this to give you an answer, but I’m sharing why I love what photography does for me and why I think it’s such a great hobby to integrate into my life, which also resulted to me starting a photography blog site.
Why Photography Means A Lot To Me
As I share my personal reasons to these questions and I’d like to encourage you to add yours in the commenting section as well. Feel free to add a link to your blog or gallery for everyone to enjoy as well.
I’m sure everybody has a GREAT story to tell.
Photography Fills a Need
I believe we all picked up a camera at a very young age, no matter how simple or basic that camera may have been. My first camera was a Canon Snappy 50 given to me by my mom when I was 8. I believe it was because of the 84 Olympics ads that I saw in the magazines that kept advertising this camera. It’s unusually long frame and that little orange tab to make the flash fire were icing on the cake for an 8-yo! I wanted the star-spangled version but that was unavailable in Asia back then.
Anyway, my mom was a shutter bug, not in a technical or artistic sense, however.
Like most moms, she snaps everything and records every little embarrassing memorable moment my sister and I go through. It was like a diary for her, and she ended up having suitcases of photo prints sorted in plastic bags and Dymo labels (remember those? Damn I’m dating myself too much here!).
Fast forward to my grade school and high school years, my camera adventures circled around taking photos of friends, skateboarding antics, and martial art events. In college, the acquisition of a proper SLR opened the floodgate of gear lust and more serious phases of photography.
Now that I’m a father, my camera’s job circled back to what my mom used to do, documenting my son’s adventures. My son’s daily photo diary started four years ago and I’m still doing it now. I wished I was able to start the daily photo project earlier, but at least I took enough pictures of him since birth that my collection can still be considered ‘complete’.
Photography also fills a lot of less personal needs for me. From taking pictures for my businesses, earning opportunities through paid photography services, or even starting my online blogging journey. I wouldn’t have experienced those things if it wasn’t because of photography.
Many feel that photography isn’t an art nor should it deserve as much attention as paintings because it’s relatively easy to get into photography. While I do agree to a certain extent, there are several factors the naysayers fail to realize as well.
Anyone with an image-capturing device can get started with photography, that makes it fun and personal for everyone. Yes, you don’t need talent to take pictures, but unless your goal was to make photography your art medium, there’s nothing wrong with just snapping pictures with no concern on technicalities nor aesthetics.
I don’t think there’ll be many people out there walking into an art store buying a set of paint brushes and start painting out of convenience or impulse. I’ve yet to see a major headline news moment being drawn or painted either, it’s just not an immediate way to communicate compared to photography. Ever wondered why it’s easier to find a camera for sale than a set of art brush?
I appreciate a good sketch or painting as much as anyone, but for a guy like me who has no talent in painting or drawing, there’s a big, invisible wall preventing me from connecting to any paint artist.
A photograph, on the other hand, allows me to imagine as if I’m seeing the place through the eyes of the photographer (I hate that cliché, but there’s no better phrase).
With digital photography, the immediate feedback connects us even faster. Camera phones, remote uploads, social media sharing all allows us to see the world as it happens – yes, even if there’s no skill involved!
Now how is that a bad thing?
The Gadgets are Fun
As with any hobby, the success, growth and longevity depends greatly with its marketability.
The technology revolving around photography is highly addictive and the way brands play into people’s minds produced both amusing conflicts and inspirational camaraderie. The simple fact that most of the products aren’t that different but they are marketed in such a way that only subjective comparisons can be made these days allows photography to be an endless source of debate, which by itself is entertaining and attention grabbing already.
Film cameras in the past get to enjoy a life cycle of about 2-3 years per model. Now in the digital world, even the highest models only get 18 months of life before being supplanted by a new model. Entry level cameras won’t even last a year before they’re due for replacement.
New technologies bring out new needs for additional accessories and gadgets, and for most of us gear heads, we’re more than willing to help out the economy and feed that gear lust of ours.
Immortalizes the Things You Care About
The biggest reason, I believe, is just the ability of capturing a moment as it happens with just a single click of a button. Sure, skilled and experience photographers may capture the scene in a more artistic manner compared to the casual snapper, but the key point is, you captured what you want to remember right then and there!
Our brain and its stored memory are amazing, you can piece together fragments of an event and relive the entire day with ease. If it’s a group event, all of you can recall every single detail collectively with just one photograph. The emotions a photograph can throw back at you can be overwhelming at times regardless of technical execution.
The ability of photography to connect to our past, associate us in an event, and preserve memories without words or interpretation makes it an influential hobby for all of us.
What’s your story? How did you get started with photography? Where has it taken you and what else will you do with it? Share it below for the world to see.
Additionally, Baluran is habitat to 155 types of birds, among which are the rare fire kite (Hirundo rustica), the red forest fowl (Gallus gallus), kangkareng (Anthracoceros convecus), hornbills (Buceros rhinoceros), tuwuk or asian tuwur (Eudynamys scolopacea), peacocks (Pavo muticus), and herons (Leptoptilos javanicus).
YOU may recognise Germaine Yeap Liew Li as that nerdy girl who kicked the butts of several Muay Thai coaches in a documented prank that went viral in recent months. Or the woman who took down a pair of snatch thieves in a popular crime awareness video two years ago.