Upcoming Hollywood Movies – An Addiction Among the Youth

Computer Games and Hollywood Movies

It is amazing how much computer games influence our society. It’s often said that art mimics life. This is true in many regards, but sometimes life mimics art. Consider many of the science fiction type movies that have a common theme, and a common foundation of the computer game phenomena. Computer games have obviously only been around since such electronic devices have been available. It’s still a rather new industry, and just think, 30 years ago people didn’t have personal computers, therefore they didn’t play games on those computers. See my point?

The other day, I went to see the movie “Battleship” and the movie had some great special effects, and some of the futuristic technology war game computational radar screens, which looked very much like the electronic version of the family game “Battleship” and so you see computer games in Hollywood movies also have quite a bit in common along the lines of their foundation. Screenplay writers often weave into their storyline such gaming technologies, albeit taken to the next level. It is my contention that we should expect this trend to continue are off into the future, if not motivate humans to create that future.

Some say that computer games are a conspiracy theory to get young kids interested in fighting wars electronically, controlling mechanical weapons and combat equipment far away. It stands to reason that in the future these skills will be needed, and those kids that played video games all of their lives will most likely be the ones at the controls of our future fighter planes, stealth bombers, and unmanned ground vehicles. Today your kids might be playing the video game, tomorrow they might be working for the Department of Defense defending this great nation.

Without getting into the heart of that debate over the morality of such issues, you can see that the Hollywood script writers do indeed believe that this will be our potential eventuality in the future, and they are duly writing those scenarios into the movies we are watching today. We all know that the science fiction of today will become the science fact of tomorrow. Perhaps a lot of that is occurring in the entertainment world, as it is being introduced to our society and civilization in this way.

Now then, I would like you to stop and think for a moment how many Hollywood movies that you’ve seen in the last few years that have a computer gaming theme. I think when you do that, you will see exactly what I’m talking about. In fact, if you want to help jog your memory, go onto Google or Yahoo and search “Hollywood science fiction movies with computer games,” and you’ll be surprised how many movies pop up, and when you watch some of those trailers you will see just what I’m talking about. Please consider all this and think on it.

From American Expatriate in China To Hollywood Movie Deal – With Alan Paul, Author of Big In China

Moving to China with a job waiting for you around the corner is one of the more familiar routes to take as a newly arrived expatriate, but what happens when you leave home with not so much of a salary guarantee but a sense of adventure? And what kind of willpower does it take to start a cross-cultural blues band that tours China, and later honored as 2008’s Best Band in Beijing?

Author Alan Paul heeded the call of a lifetime when his spouse was appointed China bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, an event that sent his New Jersey family of five packing and heading for China’s capital. The freelance journalist seized the overseas opportunity to play music with local Chinese musicians, write an award-winning column for the online Wall Street Journal, all the while raising his three children to be culturally aware global citizens.

When Paul returned home to pen one of the best, if not the most entertaining memoirs of expatriate life in China in recent memory, he didn’t just leave a lasting impression on his readers. Hollywood director Ivan Reitman of Ghostbusters fame picked up on Paul’s story and purchased the rights to the memoir, currently in movie pre-production. With regards to the movie, Paul explained, “I want China to be captured, as accurately as possible, and the experience of living as a Westerner in China, and the experience of living abroad… and that it’s all true to the complicated realities of life.” In an interview with AsianTalks, Paul recounts not just three years of magical thinking, but also plenty of doing that involved reaching across the aisle and befriending his Chinese counterparts. Here’s our conversation with a man of action.

AT: Alan, since you’ve published, you’ve also become something of an American expatriate ambassador to China. Do you feel you have played a bridge role?

(Laughs) Well thanks! There’s maybe a bridge role in two different respects. One is just for the expat world to the non-expat world. I think I helped demystify the whole concept of living abroad, and I think there’s obviously plenty of us who have had similar experiences. I feel that first through the column, and more so through the book and the subsequent publicity from the book, I was able to demystify that concept of who we are and what that whole experience is like.

And I think to a certain extent I was able to do the same thing for China. My column was translated into Chinese and I’m now completing some rewrites for the Chinese translation of the book, which I’m really excited about. I do think that with the column being translated, and now hopefully with my book next, I was able to break down some barriers of Chinese perceptions, misperceptions, and confusion about Americans.

AT: So your street runs both ways. You’re not just interpreting China for an American audience, you’re actually doing the reverse as well.

Yes I am! I certainly was doing that throughout with my column, and I’m really, really excited about the book coming out in Chinese to continue and further that. The Wall Street Journal has a great Chinese-language website, which has a large and growing readership, and obviously people in China who are reading the Journal are a select group. I mean it’s a large group, but obviously it’s educated people who are interested in Western things, and in many cases work with Westerners, or even with American or other Western companies, and didn’t always understand, you know, what made us tick, so to speak. So (via the column) they sort of understood Western life. There had been a lot of mystery – and a lot of confusion – about what we were really thinking, and what we were doing, and how we felt about China, so I provided some insight into that. I’ve always taken that role seriously, and try to do justice to it, going both ways.

AT: One of the highlights of your book is about reaching across the aisle to your Chinese counterparts. How did you take that proactive step? Do you have any advice for expats in your situation looking to make Chinese friends?

Well, I think in terms of advice, it really depends where you are in life, and where you are living, if you have kids. I think if you are a single person it’s a lot easier because you’re in control of your life and you can go out and do things, and maybe live in a more Chinese area and what not.

If you have kids, and you’re committed to them adapting, you have to make maybe more of an adjustment towards just helping them, so we lived the lifestyle a little bit differently, or definitely a bit differently than we would have if we hadn’t had kids. And so if you are in that kind of setting like you are starting out in the expat bubble, I think the first step towards not remaining in it, is to really, when you arrive somewhere, doesn’t have to be China, or wherever you are, to seek out friends in a social circle of people who are not living in that bubble.

I found that one of the interesting things about expat life to me is that it’s a lot like college, and so when you arrive an expat, you are like a freshman in college! Who you associate with has a huge impact, and I think it’s the same in college. So if you’re talking specifically about China, and some of the stuff has really gotten easier, and it had gotten easier by the time I left, compared to when I arrived, and it just continues to be more so, but you know there are certain people who would just always be complaining, because the Internet connection was slow, or it took a long time to get something fixed, and you know, I would sort of be more of the attitude like, “Hey you’re in China. You have Internet. That’s pretty cool.”

AT: So armed with a positive attitude about life in China, you began making inroads into involving yourself more in Chinese life. Could you tell us about the circumstances that brought you together with your Chinese band members, some of your closest friends? And what bonded you together across cultures?

It all happened when I met Woodie (Wu), because I had this broken guitar. At that point I had been in Beijing for a year, and I hadn’t made that key relationship that started opening it up, but I had been open to meeting other people, I was already quite close with my Chinese teacher, and I was getting out and about into Chinese life as much as I could, so that when I met the right person who turned out to be my good friend, I was sort of ready. I was open to it. So I think that’s really the key: it’s to be open to it, and not to limit yourself, because sometimes people put limits on themselves that don’t have to be there.

In terms of what brought us together, humor can have a lot of cultural barriers, and part of my humor is, it’s more subtle, and just kind of laughing at the absurdities of situations. And I don’t think my band members always totally got that. But I think the more time I spent with them the more they understood that, and you know, the more we would engage in just this normal kind of goofy humor, and even pranks that any group of friends or bands would do, like putting a ‘Kick Me’ sticker on someone’s back. (Laughs) That type of broad, silly stuff we did do. Things like that.

AT: Your Chinese band members are obviously some of your closest friends, but now with the book, and your column, you now have a global Chinese audience who’s learning about Americans through your life experience. What have they said about your book, and your story?

I think what a lot of people responded to in the book wasn’t necessarily what I anticipated that people would. And it was a lot about family, and my dedication to my family, to my children and my wife, and also to my father, who was a character in the book, and gets ill. That struck a chord with a lot of Chinese readers.

Traditionally for the Chinese the family is very front and center, in life there, and that’s been under attack a bit for various reasons. But I think there’s still a very heartfelt love of family. So a lot of people responded to my reaction to my father being ill. I mean, that was really important for me to have in there, but I didn’t necessarily expect that to have quite as much resonance as it did.

Africa – Destination Point For Shooting Notable Hollywood Movies

“Mister Johnson”, a novel by Joyce Cary was converted to a film. The movie was partly shot in Nigeria and was released in 1991. It was directed by Bruce Beresford and starred Mister Johnson (Maynard Eziashi), Harry Rudbeck (Pierce Brosnan of the James Bond 007 fame- Die Another Day (2002 amongst others), Waziri (Femi Fatobi), Brimah (late Chief Hebert Ogunde), Ajali (Sola Adeyemi).

Hollywood movies shot in African countries are carried out to recreate events that occurred at one time or the other (in a country, its people, or life of an individual) or simply because certain Natural sceneries are considered ideal as the setting for original / adapted works.

“The Ghost and the Darkness” (1996), starring Valkimer, Michael Douglas, was based on a true story in1898 with regards to Man eating lions which killed the men laying the Railway tracks. It was shot in South Africa. “King Solomon’s Mines” (1950) starring Deborah Kern and Stewart Granger was shot in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo and the U.S.A. “Congo” (1995) directed by Frank Marshall was shot in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda.

“A Far Off Place” (1993) was shot in Namibia and Zimbabwe, “Sheena” (1984) was filmed in Kenya, “Black Hawk Down” was shot on location in Sidi Moussa, Morocco. “Blood Diamonds” (2006) directed by Edward Zwick, starring Leonardo Di Carprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, was shot in South Africa and Mozambique. “Tomb Raider” was filmed in Kenya, “Out of Africa” starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford was filmed in Kenya and was based on a true story.

“The Last King of Scotland” (2006) directed by Kevin MacDonald, starring Forest Whitaker, was filmed on location in the U.K and Uganda. “Hotel Rwanda”, was a true life story about Paul Rusesabagina, a Hotel Manger who hid Tutsi refugees from the Hutu militia during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It was filmed in Johannesburg, (South Africa), and Kigali (Rwanda).

Unfortunately the movie “Tears of the Sun” (2003), starring Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci, was not filmed in Nigeria as most thought since it projected a Nigerian story line. It was shot in Hawaii with Non- Nigerians playing the native roles in the movie.

The Northern African countries have been known to host the shooting of popular movies. Jesus of Nazareth, Lawrence of Arabia, Othello, and The Gladiator were shot in Morocco. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, and The English Patient were shot in Tunisa.

The movie “Phat Girlz” (2006) had a spicy, romantic, Nigerian undertone to it with the presence of Dr Tunde Jonathan from Nigeria, played by Jimmy Jean-Louis. The movie was filmed on location in L.A / California U.S.A and at no time was any scene filmed in Nigeria. The average Nigerian might be puzzled over the consistent preference for a few selected African countries, with Nigeria excluded from the filming location list, despite being endowed with abundant Human and Natural resources.

Good image, International exposure of great Tourism spots, creative stories spun around us, safe and conducive environment to shoot in, willingness to extend hands of fellowship brokering into good partnership deals, support from relevant Government bodies, can stimulate the interest of Hollywood film makers(and those from other movie bodies) to come to Nigeria to shoot movies.

Let’s consider the hit film “Slumdog Millionaire” which was directed by Danny Boyle, produced by Christian Colson, and filmed in India. It portrayed the Indian version of the Game show “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” (Ironically we have the Nigerian version actively sponsored by Telecoms giant MTN). In the movie, the Show plays host to a poor young man from the slums of Mumbai, who relies on his experiences to answer the questions correctly, exceeds people’s expectations, arises the suspicion of the game show host and law enforcement officials in the process based on his outstanding performance, with the juicy package within his reach.

To say the least, the movie was shot in India, woven around an Indian plot and played by Indian thespians. The movie won an enviable number of Oscars, and has opened greater doors for Indian thespians (adults and children alike) with its Industry inclusive. I hope that our local Industry will not fold their arms and adopt a lackadaisical attitude, and watch as other movie bodies harness the products of a symbiotic relationship with the trail blazers of movie productions.

So long…[email protected]