Author: atlantis

Introducing the biggest dangers of social media

Introducing the biggest dangers of social media

Not so long ago the phrase ‘social media’ didn’t even exist. Now, for many of us, life has become: Eat. Sleep. Check timelines and see what was going on when we are sleeping.

Facebook alone now has more than 1.5 billion users worldwide. This changing world has brought new opportunities but also pitfalls. Every week there seems to be a news headline about someone who has got into trouble through social media. So what are some of the biggest dangers and how can you avoid them?

Trolling

Trolling is writing malicious comments to upset other people. Robbie knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end. Trolls can find themselves in trouble. In 2012 student Liam Stacey was jailed after making racist remarks on Twitter about footballer Fabrice Muamba. He later apologised but said he paid a huge price after becoming a national hate figure.

Going Viral

When you post content online you can never completely sure what will happen next. While some people dream of going viral – others have discovered they can get that kind of attention for the wrong reasons.

In 2012, Lindsey Stone posted a photo of herself to her personal Facebook page mocking a sign calling for “respect and silence” at a cemetery in Virginia, where over 400,000 US soldiers are buried.

She said it was intended as a joke. Others found it offensive and the image quickly went viral. Stone received angry messages, phone calls and even death threats. She was fired from her job and left to pick up the pieces of her life.

Not Thinking Ahead

Every time you write something on social media it’s got the potential of being around forever. Even if you delete it someone else may have downloaded, recorded or screen-grabbed it. You never know when it might catch up with you.

In 2015, Huw Thomas, a Labour election candidate for Ceredigion, had to apologise for comments he’d made on a forum nine years earlier.

Digital communications expert Craig McGill, who is based in Glasgow, says: “Comments don’t need to be seen by millions to have an impact. People have lost their jobs because a boss spotted something. Some companies now trawl through 10 pages of Google search results when looking at candidates, so that can involve some far-flung material from the past.”

Some would say you are only ever one tweet or comment away from getting sacked.

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Midnight Sun: It’s The Killing meets Spiral, Abba covers Je t’aime

Midnight Sun: It’s The Killing meets Spiral, Abba covers Je t’aime

Dreams çome true at night.

A glamorous Parisian cop investigates a death in remote northern Scandinavia in this intriguing series opener. Plus: Mystery of the Man on the Moor.

Here’s an A-level physics question. A middle-aged Frenchman is tied to the rotor blade of a helicopter, head facing out, away from the axis. Actually, it’s not important that he’s French or middle-aged, but it adds colour. Anyway, the helicopter is started up, and the rotor begins to rotate, accelerating at an angular rate of x rad/sec⁲. Given that the ultimate tensile strength of middle-aged French neck is y MPa, how long before Pierre literally loses his head?

It has been a while since I did physics A-level; some extra data may be required – thickness of neck, mass of head, distance from axis of rotation. And does Coriolis force come into it? A fascinating problem, though, I think you’ll agree. The answer appears to be about about 35 seconds, according to Midnight Sun (Sky Atlantic).

It certainly makes for an arresting/memorable/horrible opening sequence. We – the helicopter, Pierre, his now scattered head – are in the far north of Sweden. What is this smartly dressed, wealthy French chap doing here, and what has he done to deserve this grim demise?

That’s what jaded local prosecutor Rutger (Peter Stormare) has to find out. With help from his timid, dithering sidekick, Anders (Gustaf Hammarsten), and glamorous Parisian cop Kahina (Leïla Bekhti). The investigation, and the series, is a Swedish-French collaboration, The Killing meets Spiral, Abba covers Je t’aime, köttbullar au vin. It’s a promising flavour combination, gory and gothic, even if the meat may be a little underdone for some palates.

Dreams Come True at Night

The Swedes are reassuringly straight-talking, stoic, gloomy and pale; Kahina combines ridiculous north African beauty with comedy shruggy-chic Gallic cool, pffff. Everyone has the requisite personal complications – relationships, families, ghosts, miseries. A little humanness to add to the beastliness.

There’s stuff going on underground in Kiruna as well, rumblings and cracks opening up. Because of the mine. Mother, the locals call her. She produces enough iron ore every day to make six Eiffel Towers. I hope it’s just a mine, and that Midnight Sun isn’t going to go all otherworldly Fortitude nonsense.

And because of the latitude and the fact that it’s midsummer, everyone’s a little mad. Kahina can’t sleep; there’s something of Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia about it. Perhaps the handsome helicopter pilot will help her…

Hello, who’s this, though, naked and chained to a rock? Prometheus? Not quite the right part of the world, it’s probably something to do with Thor. And it’s not an eagle that visits, but wolves, a pack of them. Aaarwwwooo! Shoo! Noo! Oww! The man is missing a foot … well, that’s better than a head I guess, but he’s got wounds all over, cuts, he’s lost loads of blood. He manages to get one word out: järv. Which means not wolf, but wolverine. Intriguing…

Dreams Come True at Night

Mystery of the Man on the Moor (Channel 4) tells another story of a body found in a wild, remote place. Only this time it’s not fiction. There are no wolverines – or wolves – on Saddleworth Moor in the Peak District, but there was strychnine in the body, and that’s not something Oldham CID comes across every day.

You’ll remember it: the man, inappropriately dressed for the outdoors, with no identification, who, after months and months of police work, was found to be David Lytton, former London Underground driver, who had recently spent time in Pakistan. This documentary follows that painstaking investigation. And it’s both totally engrossing and ultimately a bit disappointing.

Engrossing because of the extraordinary nature of the case, the enigma of David and his death. The film has access to his brother, Jeremy, and to his former girlfriend Maureen, who contribute something to who David was and to the human side of the story. But it’s disappointing because in the end I didn’t learn very much that I hadn’t already read.

Dreams Come True at Night

I realise this was the story of the investigation and it wasn’t going to find answers to the fundamental questions the police and the inquest hadn’t. Such as: why had he come to the Pennines? And was it really suicide?

But a documentary, and what you want from it, isn’t always the same as an investigation. There was one area in particular I feel should have been explored further: Pakistan.

We got a tiny tantalising glimpse of David’s life in Lahore, on some footage of his flat the man from the National Crime Agency brought back. That was it, though. The crew didn’t go there, didn’t track down his new girlfriend, or the man who helped David buy a house there.

Maybe, as his brother says: “The fact that it didn’t make sense makes perfect sense.” But I wanted to know what the hell a Jewish Londoner who hated the heat was doing living in Lahore for 10 years. And it would have been a better film if it made more effort to find out.

View for Midnight Sun production notes.

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The garage that Amazon started

The garage that Amazon started

Most people know Amazon.com as the world’s largest online retailer. While this is where the company stands in today’s day and age, it is important to note that its history dates back to when it was founded in 1994. In July 1994 Jeff Bezos officially established the company that would come to be known as Amazon.com, setting up shop in the garage of his rental house on a winding suburban road in Bellevue, Wash., east of Seattle.

The garage has since been converted into a living room, but at last check the home still featured an oversized mailbox at the curb — which, according to legend, was put there to accommodate all the book catalogs that the company was receiving in its early days.

Actually, the company wasn’t originally called Amazon.com. It was first known as Cadabra, a play on the word abracadabra. However, the name was later changed because it was too often misheard as “Cadaver.”

A year after the company’s incorporation, in July 1995, Amazon.com sold its first book, “Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought.”

The garage that Amazon started

Credit Suisse analyst Michael Exstein marked the milestone this week, also noting the recent 52nd anniversary of the first Walmart store opening in Arkansas.

“Walmart and Amazon may be the two companies that have had the greatest impact on American retailing in post-war history,” he writes, as quoted by Barron’s. “They have both altered consumer expectations of cost and convenience, in the process throwing into flux the entrenched competition and changing the retail paradigm.”

Unlike many of its former peers, Amazon survived the dot-com crash, and the company has gone on to dominate the world of e-commerce — stirring up controversy, testing the patience of investors, and extending its reach into many other parts of the technology world, most recently with the unveiling of its Fire Phone.

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Angelina Jolie takes her kids to see the new Tomb Raider

Angelina Jolie takes her kids to see the new Tomb Raider

Angelina Jolie was the 1st to portray badass Lara Croft in ‘Tomb Raider’ back in 2001, & this past weekend the star checked out the movie’s reboot with her sweet kids.

Taking her kids to see the new Tomb Raider movie on March 18, Angelina Jolie, 42, looked incredibly chic in a black wrap coat and stiletto boots. While Alicia Vikander, 29, is playing video game heroine Lara Croft in the film’s reboot, Angelina was actually the first actress to take on the iconic role in 2001. We love that she took her youngsters to see Alicia reprise her character in the new movie! She was photographed going to see Tomb Raider with her 9-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne, and two daughters Shiloh, 11, and Zahara, 13. Click here to see adorable pics of Angelina Jolie’s six kids.

Angelina Jolie takes her kids to see the new Tomb Raider

Although her cinema trip was low-key, Angie looked uber stylish dressed in head-to-toe black. In fact, she projected a sense of off-duty elegance and mystery! The actress rocked a sophisticated wool wrap coat paired with suede knee-high boots and oversized shades. Meanwhile, her and Brad Pitt‘s, 54, kids sported more casual looks, with Zahara and Shiloh both wearing zip-up hoodies, and Knox sporting a printed bomber jacket. The family seemed to be in high spirits too, as they walked to the theater — talk about a fun weekend activity!

Although Angie had already achieved notoriety with her award-winning performances in Gia and Girl, Interrupted, before she took on the role of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider is what arguably established her as a leading Hollywood star. And despite having big shoes to fill, Alicia has already been praised for her portrayal of Lara. “I’ve been dreaming to be apart of a big action adventure film since I was a kid. I’ve wanted to push myself and in this film I really get to do that,” Alicia shared during an interview with the film’s distribution company Warner Bros. “Our story is very much an origin story… this film is about her becoming the hero that we know her to be.”

We can only imagine Alicia would be thrilled to hear Angie took her kids to see her new movie in theaters. After all, Alicia has revealed that Angie is someone she looks up to. “Angelina is a woman I would love to meet… she made an icon out of that character. She’s quite an incredible woman,” she gushed to E! News recently.

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The dangerous downsides of perfectionism

The dangerous downsides of perfectionism

Many of us believe perfectionism is a positive. But researchers are finding that it is nothing short of dangerous, leading to a long list of health problems – and that it’s on the rise.

In one of my earliest memories, I’m drawing. I don’t remember what the picture is supposed to be, but I remember the mistake. My marker slips, an unintentional line appears and my lip trembles. The picture has long since disappeared. But that feeling of deep frustration, even shame, stays with me.

More often than I’d like to admit, something seemingly inconsequential will cause the same feeling to rear its head again. Something as small as accidentally squashing the panettone I was bringing my boyfriend’s family for Christmas can tumble around in my mind for several days, accompanied by occasional voices like “How stupid!” and “You should have known better”.

Falling short of a bigger goal, even when I know achieving it would be near-impossible, can temporarily flatten me. When an agent told me that she knew I was going to write a book someday but that the particular idea I’d pitched her didn’t suit the market, I felt deflated in a gut-punching way that went beyond disappointment. The negative drowned out the positive. “You’re never going to write a book,” my internal voice said. “You’re not good enough.” That voice didn’t care that this directly contradicted what the agent actually said.

That’s the thing about perfectionism. It takes no prisoners. If I’ve struggled with perfectionism, I’m far from alone. The tendency starts young – and it’s becoming more common. Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill’s recent meta-analysis of rates of perfectionism from 1989 to 2016, the first study to compare perfectionism across generations, found significant increases among more recent undergraduates in the US, UK and Canada. In other words, the average college student last year was much more likely to have perfectionistic tendencies than a student in the 1990s or early 2000s.

The dangerous downsides of perfectionism

“As many as two in five kids and adolescents are perfectionists,” says Katie Rasmussen, who researches child development and perfectionism at West Virginia University. “We’re starting to talk about how it’s heading toward an epidemic and public health issue.”

The rise in perfectionism doesn’t mean each generation is becoming more accomplished. It means we’re getting sicker, sadder and even undermining our own potential.

‘My life has been nothing but a failure,’ perfectionist Claude Monet once said. He often destroyed paintings in a temper – including 15 meant to open an exhibition.

Perfectionism, after all, is an ultimately self-defeating way to move through the world. It is built on an excruciating irony: making, and admitting, mistakes is a necessary part of growing and learning and being human. It also makes you better at your career and relationships and life in general. By avoiding mistakes at any cost, a perfectionist can make it harder to reach their own lofty goals.

But the drawback of perfectionism isn’t just that it holds you back from being your most successful, productive self. Perfectionistic tendencies have been linked to a laundry list of clinical issues: depression and anxiety (even in children), self-harm, social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, hoarding, dyspepsia, chronic headaches, and, most damning of all, even early mortality and suicide.

“It’s something that cuts across everything, in terms of psychological problems,” says Sarah Egan, a senior research fellow at the Curtin University in Perth who specialises in perfectionism, eating disorders and anxiety. “There aren’t that many other things that do that.

The dangerous downsides of perfectionism

“There are studies that suggest that the higher the perfectionism is, the more psychological disorders you’re going to suffer.”

Culturally, we often see perfectionism as a positive. Even saying you have perfectionistic tendencies can come off as a coy compliment to yourself; it’s practically a stock answer to the “What’s your worst trait?” question in job interviews. (Past employers, now you know! I wasn’t just being cute).

This is where perfectionism gets complicated – and controversial. Some researchers say there is adaptive, or ‘healthy’ perfectionism (characterised by having high standards, motivation and discipline) versus a maladaptive, or ‘unhealthy’ version (when your best never seems good enough and not meeting goals frustrates you).

In one study of more than 1,000 Chinese students, researchers found that gifted students were more perfectionistic in the adaptive ways. (Maladaptive perfectionists, on the other hand, were more likely to be non-gifted). And while research shows that maladaptive attributes like beating yourself up for mistakes or feeling like you can’t live up to parental expectations make you more vulnerable to depression, some other studies have shown that ‘adaptive’ aspects like striving for achievement have no effect at all or may even protect you.

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Living in Buenos Aires with tango

Living in Buenos Aires with tango

Buenos Aires is a city that brilliantly combines the old and the new, the nostalgic and the contemporary, all against a backdrop of stunning architecture, modern culture and amazing cuisine. Becoming a true porteno (resident of Buenos Aires) does not mean having to tango or milonga like a local, but it does mean embracing the true spirit of this fascinating, cosmopolitan, sexy capital, and never having dinner before 10 pm.

Buenos Aires’ European architecture and heritage attract many tourists and expats, but it is also a truly Latin city, with all the passion and problems that implies. After the economic crash of 2001, it became an attractive, affordable, A-list city for Americans and Europeans looking to make their dollars and euros go farther. Now after a two-year period of furious growth, the economy may be slowing slightly, but is still on pace for a 9% expansion in 2011.

Fear not: the Malbecs and steaks are still affordable, and the fashion and nightlife scene remain one of the best in South America, or anywhere in the world. And if its food and fun are better enjoyed with the favourable exchange rate, its culture is recession-proof. The glorious architecture here ranges from Modernist masterpieces to Art Nouveau and Art Deco showpieces, and the various barrios (neighbourhoods) — from the markets and streetlife of San Telmo to the historical and cultural landmarks of Recoleta — have their own special flavour.

Living in Buenos Aires with tango

Where do you want to live?

Buenos Aires has 48 separate barrios along the Rio de la Plata. The most popular locations are in the east near the river and close to the centre, such as Retiro, Barrio Norte, Puerto Madero and Recoleta. Barrio Norte, which includes parts of Recoleta, Palermo Soho, Palermo Hollywood and Retiro, is attractive to families. Recoleta, because of its central location and attractions like the Recoleta Cemetery, is one of the more expensive downtown neighbourhoods. Puerto Madero has great restaurants, nightlife and shopping.

People are now also looking at moving into industrial neighbourhoods like Barracas in the southeast, where factories have been turned into expensive urban lofts. Young expats from Spain and Italy, large numbers of whom have emigrated to Buenos Aires because of their countries’ current economic crises, are living in the barrios of Belgrano, San Telmo, Palermo Soho and Hollywood.

Living in Buenos Aires with tango

Side trips

Outside the city there are many estancias (countryside ranches) for city dwellers to live the gaucho (cowboy) life, or just enjoy country life in the pampas, the grasslands outside Buenos Aires. San Carlos de Bariloche, the gateway to Patagonia and just a short flight away, is where portenos go to ski in winter or hike and trek in summer. Other summer getaways include the exclusive and cool beach town of Jose Ignacio, or glamourous Punta del Este in neighbouring Uruguay.

Flights from Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires to New York take 11 hours, and it is eight and a half hours to fly to Miami. Within South America, there are frequent flights to Brazil and Colombia.

Living in Buenos Aires with tango

Practical info

Property in Argentina is bought in cash, usually in US dollars. There are no mortgages, although a few property developers offer some financing. Property prices have gone up 15%since last year, but they have not yet reached the pre-crash levels of a decade ago.

In posh Recoleta properties sell for between $350 and $550 per square foot, while in Palermo they cost about $280 to $370 per square foot — compared to $1,215 per square foot in Manhattan. Barracas properties cost about half of what they do in Palermo. Most expat buyers are from the US and Europe, with some Russian, Colombian and Chilean buyers moving in as well.

The recent currency controls put in place by the government have made it harder for Argentines to procure American dollars to buy property, but foreign buyers should find no problems. Expats who move here have to wade through a lot of bureaucracy and red tape (such as transaction fees and obtaining tax ID numbers), but the welcoming nature of the residents and the possibilities to be had in this exuberant city are well worth it.

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Is Fifty Shades Freed is a total disaster?

Is Fifty Shades Freed is a total disaster?

It is often said that the brain is the most important erogenous zone. It’s often said, too, that there’s nothing sexier than a sense of humour. I’m not sure whether either of these assertions has been scientifically proven but, if they have, it could explain why Fifty Shades Freed is about as arousing as staring at a mildewed patch of wallpaper.

This is the third film to be adapted from EL James’ trilogy of zillion-selling “mommy porn” S&M bonkbusters, and its protagonists are two attractive young lovers who can’t keep their hands off each other, so it should be a turn-on, if nothing else. And yet Fifty Shades Freed is so unarousing that it could be used as therapy in a sex addiction clinic. The complete lack of intelligence and fun has got to be a factor.

The film opens with Ana Steele (Dakota Johnson) getting married to Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), Seattle’s most eligible bachelor. Their high-society wedding is dispensed with in a montage. Then their luxury honeymoon in France is dispensed with in a montage. And then, well, everything else drifts by with so little structure or intrigue that it might as well be a montage, too. Ana and her friends buy dresses; Christian buys a house. Ana drives a car; Christian drives a jet ski.

On and on this product placement-heavy conspicuous consumption goes, but there’s hardly any personality to it, and even less plot. Would it be cruel at this stage to mention that the screenwriter, Niall Leonard, also happens to be James’ own husband? Maybe. But, to be fair, his scripting is no more perfunctory than James Foley’s directing. Between them, they seem to have been aiming for the will-sapping vapidity of a Kardashian reality TV show overseen by Tommy “The Room” Wiseau.

Is Fifty Shades Freed is a total disaster?

Still, Fifty Shades Freed isn’t wholly without incident. Every now and then, Ana goes to her office in a publishing firm, thus establishing that she is the only senior fiction editor in America who doesn’t have a single manuscript or proof copy at home. And every now and then she and Christian bicker about having children – the kind of work-life disagreement which would barely fill the Charlotte storyline in an episode of Sex and the City.

And sometimes – oh so rarely – the film-makers remember that Ana is being stalked by her cartoonishly psychotic former boss, Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), at which point the stupidity ramps up, but not the excitement. Hyde’s hazily motivated attacks on Ana are quashed with laughable ease: Christian’s collection of riding crops would be more likely to do her an injury. But it’s still impossible to understand why Jack is treated so nonchalantly by the authorities. Halfway through the film, he tries to abduct Ana from the Greys’ swanky flat.

After her bodyguards have dealt with him – which they do, without breaking a sweat – a police detective reassures her: “Don’t worry about Hyde, we’ve got enough to hold him.” And, somehow, he says it with a straight face. Enough to hold him?! The guy’s just broken into the home of Christian Grey – the wealthiest, most influential man in the city! And he’s held a foot-long knife to Christian Grey’s new bride! Of course you’ve got enough to hold him! You’ve probably got enough to send him straight to the electric chair! But apparently not. A few minutes later, Hyde is granted bail and walks free – and nobody tells Christian. That’s how head-slappingly idiotic Fifty Shades Freed is.

You could argue that none of this vacuousness matters, and that the film exists for its sex scenes. But these tend to be brief, discreet, waist-up interludes. Christian, it seems, is growing out of the whips and chains which obsessed him when the series began. He may be obnoxiously controlling in regards to every other aspect of Ana’s life, but he can’t be bothered with bondage. At their most daring, the newlyweds have sex in a car (a parked car, mind you – safety first), and they have sex on a kitchen table in their Aspen holiday home, during which Christian frets that they might wake up their fellow guests.

And while these tame couplings could, in theory, have been titillating, the film’s pervasive joylessness acts as a cold shower. The ever-frowning Dornan has to take the blame. As usual, Johnson brings some much-needed flirtiness and recognisable human emotion to Ana, but Dornan always sounds as if he’s got a blocked nose, and always looks as if he would rather be at tomorrow’s board meeting. In one scene, Christian is so grumpy with Ana that he gives her a “not-tonight-I’ve-got-a-headache” brush-off, and that’s the only moment when Dornan’s performance has any conviction.

As feeble as it is in almost every respect, Fifty Shades Freed might perhaps have been watchable if Christian had been played by Bridget Jones-era Hugh Grant or by Wall Street-era Michael Douglas – or, for that matter, by any actor with confidence and swagger and a devilish twinkle. Instead, we’re stuck with a leading man who seems to be having a miserable time. Everyone in the audience will have a miserable time, too.

All About Fifty SHades Freed

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Lara Croft is no feminist role model

Lara Croft is no feminist role model

Here’s a quick conundrum for you. Your evil arch-enemy is crossing a canyon on a thin, wobbly metal ladder which has been laid across the gap. How do you stop him reaching the other side? Do you…

(a) shake the ladder, thus ensuring that he plunges to his well-deserved doom? Or do you …

(b) leap onto the ladder yourself, thus ensuring that you’re just as likely to plummet to your doom as he is?

If you answered (a), then congratulations, you are officially cleverer than Lara Croft, the dim-witted and generally inept heroine of Tomb Raider.

When the character made her video-game debut in 1996, she was marketed as a cyber sex symbol. The media focused on her rugby ball-shaped breasts, and a waist so minuscule she could have worn a wristwatch around it. But the game’s designers liked to point out that Lara’s IQ was even more stellar than her physical attributes, and by the time Angelina Jolie played her in two films, in 2001 and 2003, they could just about get away with calling her a feminist role model.

Fourteen years on, you might assume that she would be even more capable, and the casting of Alicia Vikander, a multi-lingual Oscar-winning Swedish actress, was certainly encouraging. But, despite the fact that people keep saying how amazingly gifted Lara is, she is so useless that you end up wondering if they are being sarcastic.

We first see her in an East London gym, where she loses a kick-boxing match. She then goes on a bike race around the city, a race she concludes by crashing into a police car. And when her adventures eventually get underway, she is less like James Bond than Inspector Clouseau. In Hong Kong, she wanders around a harbour, bleating, “Excuse me, do you speak English?” She is saved from three muggers by a shotgun-toting sailor (Daniel Wu), and he immediately cracks a code that had baffled her. Some role model.

Lara Croft is no feminist role model

I appreciate that the Lara in this film is still a trainee tomb raider, so she has an excuse for not being the hyper-confident bad-ass played by Jolie. I also understand that this depiction is true to the game that relaunched the series in 2013. But it isn’t much fun to watch her obeying other people’s instructions, relying on other people to rescue her, and responding to danger with screams and yelps rather than snappy one-liners. Are there really so many proficient big-screen action heroines out there that we now need one who is rubbish at everything?

What’s worse is that Lara’s incompetence is her only distinctive characteristic. Actually, that’s not true. Vikander is absurdly gorgeous, so if you want to watch a muscular young beauty running around in a sweat-soaked camisole, you’ll get your money’s worth from Tomb Raider. But her personality is no more developed than that of Pac-Man or Sonic the Hedgehog.

It was Lara’s father (Dominic West) who trained her in archery and puzzle-solving as a girl, and it is her father’s occult research that inspires her as a woman, but apart from her devotion to daddy’s memory (never mind that he spent most of her childhood disappearing on mysterious expeditions), she doesn’t seem to have any interests or relationships. In the opening London scenes, there is a man in a restaurant kitchen who fancies her, and a woman in the gym who chats to her. Neither of them is ever seen again.

The rest of the film is just as undistinguished as its heroine. Leafing through The Bumper Book of Mystical McGuffins, the screenwriters have stuffed their script with references to “The Devil’s Sea” and “The Chasm of Souls” – which is what you have to do when other screenwriters have already claimed the Egyptian pyramids and the Ark of the Covenant – but the story is drab and predictable. And, yes, it’s all about Lara’s absent father. He vanished seven years earlier after he went in search of an ancient Japanese Empress’s tomb. The Empress, according to legend, had the power to kill anyone she touched, so her own generals buried her on an uncharted island. Now a sinister organisation calling itself The Order of Trinity wants to dig her up and harness her magic, which is why Lara’s dad tried to reach her first.

As well as being worryingly close to the plot of last year’s Tom Cruise debacle, The Mummy, this scenario doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. If, after all, the Empress’s generals could defeat her 2000 years ago, how much use could her powers possibly be in an age of nerve agents and nuclear weapons? The Order of Trinity might have been better off investing in internet start-ups instead.

Still, this bog-standard premise is sufficient to send Lara to a remote, jungly island, where she is captured by a bog-standard villain (Walton Goggins). And this just-about-good-enough quality runs through the film. None of the digitally-assisted stunts will make you gasp, none of the dialogue will make you laugh, none of the twists will shock you, and none of the elaborate subterranean traps will seem as fiendish as they did when Indiana Jones faced them decades ago.

The London scenes deserve credit for their contemporary, untouristy vision of the city, with glass office blocks around the corner from graffitied alleys. But once Lara washes up on the Empress’s island, the cinematographer sticks to a palette of dingy greys, greens and browns, as if he wasn’t sure whether Tomb Raider was meant to be a blockbuster or a camouflage jacket. Vikander’s earnest performance gives Lara more life and emotion than the screenplay does, but the only truly exciting thing about the film is its director’s name, Roar Uthaug.

Unlike Jolie’s Tomb Raider outings, though, this one is not an incomprehensible mess. Nor is it as terrible as Assassin’s Creed, the recent video-game adaptation starring Vikander’s husband, Michael Fassbender. It’s an efficient franchise-starter and a passable Raiders of the Lost Ark rip-off. It’s competent. And while that’s not saying much, it’s more than can be said for its heroine.

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Alicia Vikander Career Milestones

Alicia Vikander Career Milestones

Born: October 3, 1988 in Gothenburg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden
Birth Name: Alicia Amanda Vikander
Height: 5′ 5½” (1,66 m)

Alicia Vikander is a Swedish actress, dancer and producer. She was born and raised in Gothenburg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden, to Maria Fahl-Vikander, an actress of stage and screen, and Svante Vikander, a psychiatrist. She is of Swedish and one quarter Finnish descent. Alicia began acting as a child in minor stage productions at The Göteborg Opera, and trained as a ballet dancer at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm, and the School of American Ballet in New York.

She began her professional acting career by appearing in Swedish short films and television series, and first gained recognition in Northern Europe for her role as Josefin Björn-Tegebrandt in the TV drama Andra Avenyn (2007). Vikander made her feature film debut in Pure (2009), for which she won the Guldbagge Award for Best Actress.

Alicia Vikander Career Milestones - Tomb Raider
Alicia Vikander Career Milestones – Tomb Raider

She attracted widespread recognition in 2012 for portraying Princess Ekaterina “Kitty” Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya in Joe Wright’s film adaptation of Anna Karenina (2012), and Queen Caroline Mathilde in the acclaimed Danish film Yasak Ask (2012), receiving a BAFTA Rising Star Award nomination for her breakthrough. She went on to star in the 2013 Swedish drama film Hotell (2013)and appeared in the Julian Assange biopic Wikileaks (2013) that same year.

In 2014 and 2015, Vikander achieved global recognition and acclaim for her roles as activist Vera Brittain in Testament of Youth (2014), an AI in Ex Machina (2014), for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress, and painter Gerda Wegener in Danimarkali Kiz (2015), for which she received the Academy Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Alicia Vikander Career Milestones - Danish Girl
Alicia Vikander Career Milestones – Danish Girl
Alicia Vikander Career Milestones - Anna Karenina
Alicia Vikander Career Milestones – Anna Karenina
Alicia Vikander Career Milestones - Cade Name U.N.C.L.E.
Alicia Vikander Career Milestones – Cade Name U.N.C.L.E.
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Introducing Bodrum, ancient Halicarnasus in Turkey

Introducing Bodrum, ancient Halicarnasus in Turkey

Although more than a million tourists flock to its beaches, boutique hotels, trendy restaurants and clubs each summer, Bodrum (ancient Halicarnassus) never seems to lose its cool. More than any other Turkish seaside getaway, it has an enigmatic elegance that pervades it, from the town’s crowning castle and glittering marina to its flower-filled cafes and white-plastered backstreets. Even in the most hectic days of high summer, you can still find little corners of serenity in the town.

Urban planners have sought to preserve Bodrum’s essential Aegean character, which was influenced by the Cretans who moved here during the population exchange of the 1920s. Today, laws restrict buildings’ heights, and the whitewashed houses with bright-blue trim evoke a lost era. The evocative castle and the ancient ruins around town also help keep Bodrum a discerning step above the rest.

Introducing Gumusluk Bodrum, ancient Halicarnasus in Turkey

Sights in Bodrum

Bodrum Castle

There are splendid views from the battlements of Bodrum’s magnificent castle, built by the Knights Hospitaller in the early 15th century and dedicated to St Peter. Today it houses the Museum of Underwater Archaeology (Sualtı Arkeoloji Müzesi), arguably the most important museum of its type in the world and a veritable lesson in how to bring ancient exhibits to life. Items are creatively displayed and well lit, and information panels, maps, models, drawings, murals, dioramas and videos all help to animate them.

Based on Rhodes, the Knights Hospitaller built the castle during Tamerlane’s Mongol invasion of Anatolia in 1402, which weakened the Ottomans and gave the order an opportunity to establish a foothold here. They used marble and stones from Mausolus’ famed Mausoleum, which had collapsed in an earthquake, and changed the city’s name from Halicarnassus to Petronium, recalling St Peter. By 1437 they had finished building, although they added new defensive features (moats, walls, cisterns etc) right up until 1522, when Süleyman the Magnificent captured Rhodes. The Knights were forced to cede the castle, and the victorious Muslim sultan promptly turned the chapel into a mosque, complete with new minaret. For centuries, the castle was never tested, but French shelling in WWI toppled the minaret (re-erected in 1997).

Spread around the castle, the attractively lit and informative museum has reconstructions and multimedia displays to complement the antiquities, and takes about two hours to see. It gets very busy and claustrophobic in the museum’s small rooms, so try to arrive early. Look to the ground for green/red mosaic arrows indicating a short/long tour route. You’ll see peacocks strolling, strutting and calling to prospective mates throughout the castle grounds.

Introducing Bodrum, ancient Halicarnasus in Turkey

Mausoleum

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum was the greatest achievement of Carian King Mausolus (r 376–353 BC), who moved his capital from Mylasa (today’s Milas) to Halicarnassus. The only ancient elements to survive are the pre-Mausolean stairways and tomb chambers, the narrow entry to Mausolus’ tomb chamber and a huge green stone that blocked it, the Mausolean drainage system, precinct wall bits and some large fluted marble column drums.

Before his death, the king planned his own tomb, to be designed by Pytheos, the architect of Priene’s Temple of Athena. When he died, his wife (and sister), Artemisia, oversaw the completion of the enormous, white-marble colonnaded tomb topped by a 24-step pyramid and a quadriga, a four-horse chariot carrying Mausolus. In the late 15th century the Knights Hospitaller found the Mausoleum in ruins, perhaps destroyed by an earthquake, and between 1494 and 1522, almost all of it was reused as building blocks for the castle or burned for the lime content to strengthen the walls. Luckily, the more impressive ancient friezes were incorporated into the castle walls, while original statues of Mausolus and Artemisia were sent to the British Museum.

The site has relaxing gardens, with excavations to the west and a covered arcade to the east – the latter contains a copy of the famous frieze now in the British Museum. Four original fragments displayed were discovered more recently. Models, drawings and documents indicate the grand dimensions of the original Mausoleum. A scale model of Mausolus’ Halicarnassus is also on display.

Bodrum Maritime Museum

This small but well-formed museum spread over two floors examines Bodrum’s maritime past through finely crafted scale models of boats and an excellent video on traditional ‘Bodrum-type’ boat building. Much is made of Bodrum’s role as a sponge-diving centre and local writer Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı – the much-loved ’Fisherman of Halicarnassus’.

Conchologists of whatever hue will be in seventh heaven here. A private collection of some 6000 shells representing one third of all mollusc families is on shimmering display upstairs.

Ottoman Shipyard

The restored Ottoman shipyard stands just above the marina. In 1770 Russia destroyed the entire Ottoman fleet at Çeşme; rebuilding it took place in boatyards such as this one. It was fortified against pirate attacks in the 18th and 19th centuries with a watchtower; today it occasionally hosts art exhibitions. Old tombstones, dating from the period when the Latin alphabet was replacing Arabic-based eski yazı (old-style writing) are kept above. Excellent views.

Myndos Gate

These are the restored remains of the only surviving gate from what were originally 7km-long walls probably built by King Mausolus in the 4th century BC. In front of the twin-towered gate are the remains of a moat in which many of Alexander the Great’s soldiers drowned in 334 BC.

Ancient Theatre

On the main road to Turgutreis, ancient Halicarnassus’ theatre was built in the hillside rock in the 4th century BC to seat 5000 spectators but that capacity was increased to 13,000 for gladiatorial contests in the 3rd century AD. It hosts concerts and other events in summer.

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