by Ross PhilipsIn today’s cinema the truly epic battle scene has been replaced by computer generated images. Although the capabilities of CGI to create realistic and sophisticated battle animations have grown incredibly over the last ten years, it’s just not the same as seeing real armies and actual destruction. The most truly epic and beautiful battle scene ever captured on film is not in the Lord of the Rings. It is the attack on Hidetora’s castle, in Ran, Akira Kurosawa’s samurai inspired adaptation of King Lear. In this scene, Lord Hidetora Ichimonji, brilliantly portrayed by Tatsuya Nakadai, is betrayed by his son, Taro, to whom he has bequeathed his crown. Instead of using fast paced editing, sound effects, and handy-cams in order to immerse us in a first person perspective of the battle, Kurosawa uses long takes with the camera watching from high above as thousands of samurai warriors storm the castle. He shows scenes of incredible carnage, piles of bodies strewn with arrows, a man holding his severed arm, another man who has been shot through the eye with an arrow; however, instead of the sounds of battle, Kurosawa plays only the dramatic orchestral score. This allows the audience to reflect on what is being shown. Kurosawa often cuts away from these images of carnage to show the sun shining through the clouds, creating a visual metaphor of the heavens above juxtaposed with hell on earth. It is as if the camera is the eye of God watching from above.The scene ends with Hidetora sitting motionless as arrows fly around his head and his castle burns around him. All of his bodyguards and his concubines have been killed. The troops outside wait for the castle to finish burning down expecting that Hidetora will commit suicide rather than dishonor himself in defeat, but to their amazement Hidetora emerges from the smoke. He slowly walks down the steps towards the samurai army. Instead of attacking him the soldiers move to create a path for him to walk through. Despite his now pitiful state they are unwilling to attack the man who was once their tyrannical leader. As Hidetora walks through the gates of the exterior wall, Kurosawa frames the burning castle behind him. What makes this scene truly amazing is that there is no CGI. Kurosawa built a castle solely for the purpose of burning it down in order to film this one scene. For this reason, each shot in the scene had to be filmed in one take. Kurosawa manages to pull it off flawlessly. When it was released in 1985, Ran the most expensive ever made in Japan; however, this scene set a benchmark of excellence not only for Japan, but also for cinema around the world.
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Australian LNG operator Santos said on Friday it has completed the sale of its non-core Asian assets to London-based Ophir Energy.To remind, the deal was announced in May this year.The deal includes Santos’ interests in the Sampang PSC and Madura Offshore PSC in Indonesia, and Vietnam Block 12W PSC.Completion for certain exploration assets in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Vietnam remains subject to customary consents and regulatory approvals expected in the coming months, Santos said in its statement.Santos has received cash proceeds of $144 million at completion, which represents the sale price of $221 million after standard adjustments including net free cash flows generated by the assets and received by Santos from the transaction effective date of 1 January 2018 through to completion.Strong free cash flows have reduced Santos’ net debt to about $2.2 billion as at 31 August 2018, Santos said.This amount will be further reduced by the Asia sale proceeds received in September and leaves Santos “well placed” to reach its $2 billion net debt target by October, more than a year ahead of schedule, it said.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error As ownership of those billboards came and went, so did the owner of the franchise. Maybe it’s proof again that in a moment’s notice, fame can be fleeting, and teams need to invent quickly or risk looking like a RadioShack commercial.The Lakers roster in 2009 was NBA championship caliber. The team won back-to-back titles in ’09 and ’10, numbers 15 and 16 in franchise history.Fair and square, it was a Lakers town, even if those Dodger billboards spewed otherwise.We’ve flashed forward to 2014, If you’re looking for billboards as a way to gauge as to what’s really happening here, the Dodgers seem to have sent a mixed message.When they aren’t talking to you like a yoga instructor — “Live … Breathe … Blue” — they’re insisting you must demand their new TV channel, or you’re the reason why you’re not seeing the team win.If this is a town that needs to be told who turns the lights on every night, there’s a decent black hole to fill about now.Dodgers Nation, who’s speaking on your behalf? And how far will an MLB record-setting $233 million payroll get you?The Angels may continue to cling to that Los Angeles thing at the front of their name. But that’s kind of like saying “Oscar winner Adrien Brody.” True, he did actually win a best actor award — way back in 2003, the year after the Angels last won a World Series, for his role in “The Pianist.” But if you asked Angels fans, they’d be more apt to ID him as the player named Danny Hemmerling in the 1994 Disney movie “Angels in the Outfield.”Ya Gotta Believe! (as the movie poster read).Angels Nation doesn’t have much to believe in these days. They just saw their hitting coach break his leg trying to catch a ceremonial first pitch on opening day. Then the team got hammered three straight by Seattle Mariners.This moment presented by your network of Orange County Urgent Care facilities.The Lakers must still be preoccupied in going around town to see if any more of those Dwight Howard “STAY” billboard are still up. As the franchise circles the drain with the Family Buss trying to plot a strategy based on landing a high draft pick as well as another new head coach, all built around a 35-year-old future Hall of Famer who may never walk straight again, these are hardly “Showtime” times at Staples Center.The Clippers might have some lawyers drawing up a rent-to-own agreement with the city’s fan loyalty program, but it’s all pending. Get past the first round of the NBA playoffs. Get past the second round. Get to the finals, finally. As long as Donald T. Sterling has his hands in any of it, it’s a tougher sell.Now that the Kings have established a track record of a Stanley Cup championship and Western Conference finalist the past two seasons, the puck stops here for closer examination. All of the key players, coaches and broadcasters are in the same groove. But do they have enough drive and determination to will another deep playoff run and capture the city’s Zamboni brigade?USC, which laid claim to SoCal dominance in a previous decade, hasn’t found its bearing on the football field since Pete Carroll left, NCAA sanctions came down, and Las Vegas Bowls were the rewards of an unfurled season. Trying to regain its footing under Steve Sarkisian now that Lane Kiffin has been banished to Alabama, the Trojans’ shiny shield has lost some gloss, especially now that more money is trying to be collected from alums to make improvements to the Coliseum.Then there’s UCLA, with much more momentum building because of a football foundation created by Jim Mora back calling the shots, Brett Hundley back calling the signals and Myles Jack back calling for more minutes on the field. There’s talk of a national championship contender coming for a program that still has to navigate its way to a Pac-12 title first, and then figure out which SEC team to prepare for in a new four-team playoff system. Then do it again and again. And again.But today, in the now, it all circles back to these here Dodgers.According to the sabermetric number-crunchers who believe in the Baseball Prospectus, the Dodgers have a league-best 19.1 percent chance to win the World Series. It may not seem like much, but it’s far ahead of the No. 2 team (Tampa Bay, at 10.3 percent).According to the Vegas smarties, the Dodgers are 8-to-1 favorites to win everything.They’ll be the ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” team featured for the first two weeks of the season — a respite to fans who still can’t get the SportsNet L.A. channel.“As a rule of thumb, they pick the ‘Sunday Night’ teams as the ones that are the most interesting to watch, and the Dodgers are definitely there,” said ESPN reporter Buster Olney, part of the broadcast again this weekend. “They’ve got all the talent, they’ve got their share of personalities, the fact their payroll has grown so much tells you how much they’ve invested.“This isn’t the team that was once there declining under the McCourt ownership. The feeling about being around this team is like when I was covering the Yankees. You understood the George Steinbrenner edict that if you don’t win, then you suck. The Yankees would win a World Series and have a staff meeting the next day because he thought they’d get too soft.“It reminds me of when I talked to Magic Johnson after he first became part of the ownership team, and he said, ‘I’m in it to win, and if that means being part of the courting process to get free agents at 12:01 a.m., that’s what we’ll do.’ “I thought that may have been a bit naive on his part, but that’s what they’ve actually done. They don’t care if things they’re doing might not be the most efficient way to win a World Series, they’ll do it anyway.”Would it be naive to suggest this is the Dodgers’ town ripe for the taking? Actions so far have spoken louder than words on a billboard.The Dodgers can be the town crier again, or just leave everyone crying over their Dodger Dogs. “This Is My Town,” they boldly stated. And everyone who thought they were someone wanted to be part of it.Up on Sunset and Vine, with the giant white letters on the blue background, it was rapper Snoop Dogg or rocker Nikki Sixx. Poison frontman Bret Michaels or hip hop group the Black Eyed Peas. Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. A cavalcade of Kardashians.No horsing around with this thing — even Zenyatta got one.The Dodgers players who were eventually featured on them may not have carried the same star quality. James Loney, Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake and Hiroki Kuroda?Right, there was Joe Torre and Manny Ramirez, too. But looking back on it, that campaign didn’t provide a lot of champagne. It’s a moment in L.A. sports that can morph into something supposedly magnificent again.But the nagging question seems to be: Do the Dodgers have it in them to claim ownership of L.A without having actually gone out and done it yet on the field?So far, they’ve paid plenty for the bragging rights.Flash back to five years ago, there were all kinds of Dodger-branded billboards no one was dodging.