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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Am Legend (2007)

The other day I saw I Am Legend for the first time, and I was disappointed. I thought Will Smith’s character was truly going to become a legend. And I guess he did, somewhat.


I thought he was going to truly become an awesome hero, but when you watch the film, you can see that he lets himself, and all of us, down. There’s a scene in which he goes a little crazy, and puts himself into a precarious situation. Then he becomes injured, and his dog pal defends him. His dog becomes infected by the mutant virus, and has to be put down. Then Will Smith becomes suicidal, and needs to be saved by a woman who accidentally leads the mutants back to his house. Then he realizes he cured the mutation disease, but the mutants are about to destroy it. So he suicide bombs them to save the cure, the lady who saved him, and her young companion.

You trace all this chaos back to one moment, and it’s the moment when Will Smith went a little crazy. There was no reason he had to die. It was very stupid. I thought maybe if they justified it, and there was some sort of difficulty that he faced that caused him to become overwhelmed and make a heroic sacrifice, then maybe his death would’ve been acceptable. You could argue that the psychological difficulty was enough for that. But I expected truly legendary behavior, and what I got was a guy who was succumbing to the psychological effects of prolonged isolation. I guess it’s more down to earth.

What really stuck out as lame was the fact that he himself had engineered that isolation, and it turns out that there was a colony of survivors just a state or two away. He was so dead-set on the idea that he was the only one left alive, and he refused to leave Ground Zero. But I think if he really was as brilliant as his character was supposed to be, then he would have done the research and investigation that would have lead him to the colony, where he could’ve conducted his experiments and research with a greater and swifter degree of success. This would then have entailed his survival, as he would not be living alone in a town full of monsters. Also it’s lame that the woman who saved him lead the monsters to him.

What’s weird, though, is that in a preview for the film a long time ago, I remember him standing next to a monster, and looking pretty much whipped. I’m wondering if there is an alternate ending in which he didn’t succeed… Hope not!

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Commercials = Movie Spoilers

If you wait long enough to see a movie, chances are a commercial or two will spoil some of the surprises that were previously advertised. Some of us have cable packages that enable us to watch films fairly soon after they come out, for a nominal fee. For those hard-core individuals who’re really into saving money, you can just wait until the film comes out on HBO, Cinemax, or even basic cable.

Especially in these harsh economic times, cutting costs wherever possible is a good idea. When the new Indiana Jones film came out, I didn’t go see it right away. In fact, I haven’t seen it at all yet. I was curious to see the reason they included a younger actor as a sort of sidekick. I’d heard a couple rumors and hints through various interviews that he could possibly continue the Indiana Jones saga all by himself, without Harrison Ford. I wondered why.


Yesterday I saw an ad that made it very clear that he was Indiana Jones’s son. I guess it makes sense that DVD sellers would want to hype up the film again, and in order to exceed previous hype levels they have to throw in another tidbit or two. It’s just too bad that waiting to see a movie can lessen its intended impact.

I’m sure I’ll still enjoy it. After all, Indiana Jones is tops.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Full Screen vs. Wide Screen

When I was a kid I hated wide screen movies. I couldn't wrap my head around them. Why were those black bars blocking the sky and ground? It was limiting. I chose full screen.

When I got older I finally realized that full screen is truly the limited format, as it chops off the left and right to fit a rectangular film into a square TV. The top and bottom are the same whether you choose wide screen or full screen, but with wide screen you can see further left and right.

So now I love wide screen. I also think it's neat how some flat screen TVs are being made in the wide screen shape.

Here's a Mad TV video detailing the benefits of wide screen:

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Live Action Dragon Ball Z Film

I don't have many details on this film. I'm sure it would be pretty easy to look them up. The main reason I decided to mention it is because I recently saw a couple of pictures that blew my mind.

They were mind-blowing because I had pretty much forgotten about the film, and seeing a picture with proof of production made me wonder -- will the film be good? It looks like the special effects will be.

So it seems like the son from "War of the Worlds" (Tom Cruise's character's son) is a young Goku. They did a great job with his hair. In one image I saw, he's holding an orb of energy. At first I thought he was creating a ball of pure power, but then I got the impression it was a Dragon Ball. Neat. It's real. The movie is real!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Predator (1987)

What a terrific film. The direction is amazing, and the music is incredible. Alan Silvestri did such a great job with building the emotional heights through music. Some parts remind me of "Back to The Future," which he also did the music for.

Wikipedia says Silvestri "was coming off the huge success of Back to the Future in 1985. Predator was his first major action movie and the score is full of his now familiar genre characteristics: heavy horn blasts, staccato string rhythms, and undulating timpani rolls that highlight the action and suspense." Awesome!!!

I really like the scene that comes after the huge buildup of suspense, where all the soldiers know something's really weird, but don't quite know how -- or who -- or what. And then one of them finally sees the Predator, camouflaged, who just killed his best friend. And the guy goes nuts, opens fire, exhausts his weapon, and picks up his buddy's minigun. Mowing down the forest, shouting his head off. And then Arnold and crew show up and join in. Just firing a wall of bullets into the forest. That's a pretty powerful scene. Then again, maybe some people would think it's corny, or macho. What's wrong with macho?!

I finally saw the scene where the Native American guy laughs, and I realized that must have been where the Predator captured the laugh audio, for when he laughs at the end, just before nuking the forest. It all makes sense now! I see the light!!

Suffice it to say, I really enjoy this film.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

James Bond In The Sixties

Lately the Spike channel has been playing James Bond films weekday mornings, so I've been watching a few. It's interesting to compare the culture of our hero from back then with that of today.

In a couple of films (at least) Sean Connery seemed to behave toward women as objects that he could use to aid him in his mission or relax with. Of course this seems pretty standard for any Bond, but I think modern Bond treats women as (near-?)equals to a greater degree than Sixties Bond.

This morning, Diamonds Are Forever was on, and the female lead talked down to Bond and treated him like a child. I thought maybe that was feminine power reasserting itself after a few films of being trod upon.

It was interesting to see another woman's behavior toward Bond versus toward another man. This woman's at a casino, and some guy invites her to stick around, or leave with him, or whatever, and she takes his face in her hands and consoles him that "He's a nice guy, really," but that he's just not right for her. She's about to leave, when she hears Bond placing a bet of something like ten thousand dollars.

Interest piqued, she walks over and insinuates herself into his gambling, taking his dice and throwing them on his behalf. She doesn't do too well. A few minutes later, after he's won $50,000, he gives her $5,000 for her trouble. Then her eyes light up and she remarks that although he's weird, he's a really great guy. He takes her back to his hotel room, and she says it's great. Then thugs throw her out a window (into a pool). Bond then spent some time with the authoritative female lead.

So Bond won the other woman not with looks, charm, charisma, or heroics, but with money. I guess everybody's got their own idea of who the perfect "somebody" is...

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Seven Days TV Pilot

On TV it was 2 hours. For every hour of scheduled programming, usually there are 20 minutes of commercials. So the two episode pilot was 80 minutes long. And boy was it awesome! Good enough to be considered among the ranks of movies.

At the end of the credits, the info said 1998. Something that struck me as interesting about the series is that there are various references made to terrorist threats, a few of which coincided with 9/11. The series ran for 3 seasons, and was canceled in May of 2001. Four months later was 9/11.

What are these references, you ask? Well, in a few different episodes, they mention Osama bin Laden as being dangerous. I'd never even heard of him until after 9/11. And in the pilot episode, a (Russian) terrorist flies a plane into the White House.

Ok, all that aside, the first two episodes were amazing. They featured a fantastic introduction to the series and the scifi. For those who aren't familiar with the premise of the show, it's all about time travel. Something goes wrong for America, and the main character pilots a metal sphere built with alien technology back in time 7 days. Then, with his knowledge of the future, he prevents the bad stuff from happening again. It's awesome.

What was really freaky was the very first scene of the very first episode. You see the craft, in space, with the door floating nearby, and the chrononaut floating outside, frozen, dead. So the question becomes, will our hero suffer the same fate?

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Rush Hour 3 (2007)

What a thrill! I hadn't really been planning on or even looking forward to seeing this, but I just watched it, and it was a lot of fun! There was action, suspense, romance, and comedy. A total entertainment package!

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker make a great team. They're hilarious together. And I can't believe Jackie Chan is 54! It's amazing.

There were a couple of women who had supporting roles in the movie, as damsels in distress. For some reason, they both disappeared at the end... One was sent off in one direction, and we never got closure with her. The other...I guess was left behind, too. Weird! But the ending was still a hoot.

One thing I really enjoyed was the luxurious suite Jackie Chan's character was able to get. Chan and Rock had just been traveling through some sewers, in France I believe, and they emerged topside and immediately went to a hotel. They asked for everything they needed: 2 rooms, 2 showers, 2 beds, a case of deodorant... the usual (haha). It was fun seeing them get access to everything they needed without any trouble. It's like living vicariously through a rich person. In these trying economic times, vicarious living is the way to go. Onwards to the cinema!

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Premonition (2007)

I hate it.

What a lame film.

Why is it lame? Two reasons: 1) Organization. 2) Its apparent message.

SPOILER ALERT. Read on only if you're fine with learning major details about the film and how it ends.

Organization: In the beginning, Sandra Bullock's husband dies, and she consoles her two daughters, both of which are in perfect health.

Then time travel ensues, and she ends up changing things. She now accidentally makes it so that one daughter mistakenly runs through a glass door, cutting up her face. And this happens before the husband dies. Didn't happen in the first timeline.

So, great! If she can change things, then she can save her husband.

Bullock's time hops enable her to see what happened before. Each time she gets a glimpse of the future, she learns what actions she'd previously taken to get her there.

So any sane, rational, and modestly intelligent person would use that knowledge to their benefit. How? In the past. Bullock would hop to the future, find out what went wrong, and then hop back to the past. This happens in the film.

And there in the past, we expect her to use her knowledge of the future to change things for the better.

But she doesn't. For 2 excruciating hours, we watch as Bullock takes the exact same actions that led to disaster.

Then, at the end of the film, she has a chance to redeem herself, and save her husband. But she for some reason denies the opportunity, and instead ensures his death.

If you remove the part about how she changed history to mess up her daughter's face by mistake, then the film seems to be about how fate is set in stone. This is the apparent message I was talking about earlier.

But the fact that she changes history right away would seem to say, "Hey, there's hope after all!" If you get that impression, as I did, the rest of the movie is a huge letdown.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Paycheck (2003)

I first thought this movie wasn't that great, but I watched it again today and got a lot of enjoyment out of it.

One thing I didn't really like was some apparent hypocrisy.

The whole film is about how Ben Affleck, the hero, had used a machine to see into his future and change it for the better.

The majority of the movie is spent watching him alter his destiny time and again.

Then, halfway through, he discovers that the machine would have been used by the government, and would have predicted disasters that would ultimately be caused by the government's efforts to prevent them.

Then, the bad guy yells at Affleck, "You can't change your fate!"

It's so stupid! He already has... He saved the day, he saved himself, even when the machine clearly showed him as getting shot.

So... what's the lesson? If Affleck used the machine, and instead of ensuring what he saw, he changed it, then why is the machine bad? What is the difference between him and the government? Why would the government achieve different results, using the same machine? Why would they be limited to only ensuring a bad future, when he proved the machine can be used to avoid negative consequences?

Here's a stupid theory: Maybe he's so brilliant he's the only one who can figure out how to rewrite the future.

In spite of this nit-picking, I really did enjoy the film. In any form of movie entertainment, there must usually be some disregard for reality. So putting one more thing aside isn't that big a deal.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Why T3's John Connor Is Wrong

In the first Terminator, John Connor is described as being a hero who brought mankind back from the brink of annihilation.

In Terminator 2, a young John Connor shows that even in his youth, he's still got the mindset of humankind's savior. The "Never Say Die" attitude. The will to win.

In Terminator 3, John Connor was significantly weaker than we'd all come to expect. I don't know if it was the actor playing John Connor, or the director. I'll guess it was the director's fault, because he chose the actor, and guided him.

Maybe the director wanted to take the Terminator series in a new direction. I say that direction was a perversion of everything that makes Terminator cool.

First off, John Connor in T2 didn't take crap from anybody. But in T3, he sees a gas station worker dialing the police, and says, "I think we better leave," with a look on his face of legitimate concern and fear. What???!!! No way. I don't buy it!

And then at the end, nuclear war happens, and the music and movie try to convince us that it's a beautiful thing. BULL!!

I enjoyed the action, seeing Arnold back as a cyborg, and time travel and all. I even enjoyed seeing that psychiatrist guy run away in the graveyard. But I wasn't thrilled with John Connor, and I wasn't impressed by the mentality of the film, a mentality that classified a nuclear holocaust as a good thing. Good because it's inevitable? Just because something happens, or must happen, doesn't make it good.

And here's a big reason why T3's John Connor fails.

In Terminator, John Connor was successful in the future in two endeavors: saving humanity, and sending Kyle Reese to protect Sarah Connor in the past.

In T2, John Connor was successful in two endeavors: helping Sarah Connor escape the Pescadero Mental Institution and the T-1000, and blowing up Cyberdyne.

In T3, all "John Connor" did was hide out in a bunker with some chick who'd established that she'd rather shoot first and ask questions later. JC is supposed to be smart, and ends up betrothed to a tough dummy.

(Evidence: She grabbed his gun and fired away as soon as she met him. Either she knew it was a paint ball gun before she shot him, or learned it was so when he didn't die. I say she didn't know, and didn't care. And that's disgusting.)

Sure, it wasn't his fault that Judgment Day was inevitable. That was the writer's and director's choice.

But look at it this way: To set John Connor up in a universe where his only possible triumph is to just barely survive -- that's lame!

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Indiana Jones 4: Judgment Day

I saw an "extended" preview on Fox last night. Just a regular trailer, but with all the secrecy of the film, and the quick, short trailers I was used to, this longer one was great.

Especially since we've got DVR. I slowed it down and noticed a few things.

I knew Karen Allen was in it, but I didn't know how much. I saw her in a car/boat that went off a cliff, and then maybe in the same vehicle going over a waterfall. In that vehicle also were Indy himself, Shia LaBeouf, another guy, and I believe Indy's friend who visited him at the school where he teaches in the first and third films.

Indy's friend looked like he had long hair! But maybe it wasn't him. It has been 18 years, after all, and he already seemed a tad bit old. But maybe...

In a previous ad, I'd seen a crate marked with "Roswell." I'd read that originally the film was meant to be about outer space and stuff. But Spielberg and Ford said no.

However, in the ad last night, it looked like we were seeing the same place where the crate had been filed away from the end of Raiders. That gigantic warehouse? Well, in the ad, two massive doors open. It looks like a hangar. And on the two doors is the number 51. Area 51, Baby!

In the ad, they said an evil empire wanted the newest weapon. If it's not Nazis, then who?

Harrison Ford still looks great. Long live Indiana Jones.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Smallville Episodes Are Like Movies

One or two seasons ago, when "Smallville" tried to play up the superhero universe idea and introduced a bunch of random superheroes to the show, it seemed like it was getting pretty corny. But then, they strayed from that path, and even reduced some of the dialogue. The direction took an entirely new route, and focused on visual spectacle, and implicit dramatic meaning in the action. The show regained it's lost glory, and soared to new heights.

I just watched the latest episode (I believe) in which Clark visits a parallel world where he never existed, where Lana Lang is married, and where Lex Luthor is President. The Luthors discovered Kara's ship and indoctrinated her into the Luthor lifestyle. She now serves Lex, who is being controlled by Brainiac, and who ultimately nukes the world during the course of the episode.

Clark then goes back in time to the day Krypton exploded, and travels to Krypton in order to prevent Brainiac from killing Clark's infant self.

Then Krypton exploded.

It was wild! Just like a movie. It seemed to last as long, because it held your attention throughout the episode. Clark even got to meet a human named Clark Kent who took his place in the Kent household (where Clark's father was still alive).

I enjoyed when Clark met the alternate reality Lois Lane. Since she didn't have any preconceptions to get in the way, she decided Clark was worthy in a romantic sense. So that proves there's hope.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

I watched all 3 Omen films recently on AMC, and I was somewhat disappointed by the third one. It could have been so much cooler, but it seemed kind of lame.

In the 2nd one, the Antichrist is a teen in military school just finding out that he's the son of the Devil. There's an awe and mystery about his powers, abilities, and the effect he'll have on mankind. He causes local havoc.

In "Final Conflict," the Antichrist is all grown up, and no longer allows the audience to be mystified by what he's all about. He comes right out and says that his only weakness is a set of daggers.

[Spoiler Alert]

In the 1st film, it was explained that the Antichrist must be killed by an entire set of daggers. Yet at the end of "Final Conflict," a single wound from a single dagger kills him. I don't buy that.

I would have liked to see him rise to power while solving all kinds of major world problems, and then begin to enact some of the prophecy, perhaps by installing chips or marks on everybody's right hand or forehead. Then everybody would suddenly realize that the Book of Revelations is coming true, and actions would be taken by humanity to stop him. This would be, I think, a terrific and interesting exploration of what could potentially happen in real life, if you believe in that sort of thing. It would also be neat to see how the Antichrist defended himself from major harm, and was finally defeated by Jesus.

Instead most of these ideas were barely touched upon, and a large portion of Final Conflict's action seemed "small-time."

Still, it did strike me as interesting that the Antichrist wanted to be President, and in preparation for that held interviews in which he began popularizing the concept of allowing our youth a greater hand in world affairs and in politics. He said adults treat the youth as inexperienced an naive, but young people should be allowed have their say. Of course that would serve him, because one of the ideas in the film was that older people were wise enough to recognize that something was wrong with him, and young people could not.

This seems to mirror what is apparently happening with Barack Obama, where he seeks out the youth vote.

Also, Damien (the Antichrist) was being compared with JFK by journalists in the movie. So is Obama.

But this is probably just coincidence.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Challenges Of DVR: Too Little Space

In the future, the hard drives for Digital Video Recorders will hopefully be so huge that there are no problems with space.

But right now, one somewhat odd problem is that sometimes not enough TV is being watched. When you've got Ultimate Power in the DVR box, you say, "That movie looks good. That show looks good. I'll record them digitally, and watch them later."

Eventually you fill the tiny box with various programs, some HD and some not, and then realize that you're so close to 100% capacity that if you don't plunk yourself down for a 4 hour Boob Tube Marathon, you might miss out on some of the films and shows you took the time to save! They'd be deleted automatically to make room for new recordings and automatic series recordings.

So the new rule become, "You must watch at least 1 hour of television a day."

So much for the old school mentality that would rather opt to limit TV time.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Wow, I can't believe this film comes all the way from 1966! Man...

I love it. It was on a Spanish channel the other night, and then on AMC, so I watched a little in Spanish, and a lot in English.

It's interesting to see how different things were when the American infrastructure that we have today was just barely in its infancy in some southern and western areas. It's wild to think that guys made their way using their wits and their weapons.

I also liked the prospect of quick riches, and the music was great!

The Good Guy, the Bad Guy, and the Ugly Guy all seemed easy to identify with. Given their circumstances and immediate situations, it was clear why they acted the way they did.

I wonder what happened after the movie ended...

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Death Wish II (1982)

I had watched all 5 a couple of months ago, but last night I saw the end of the first one and all of the second. I noticed a few things...

I think in the first one, after his wife and daughter were messed with, Paul Kersey just went around killing every thug he saw. He'd lure them out and exterminate them.

But in the second one, he was highly focused on killing only the guys who did him wrong (by killing his housekeeper and daughter).

Now that I think about it, it's almost like Death Wish II was an alternate version of the first. "What would it have been like had he just gone after the main bad guys...?"

I don't remember if he got the exact ones who wronged his family in the first film. If he didn't, it makes sense to have a sequel in which he's all about direct revenge.

Laurence Fishburne (a.k.a. Laurence Fishburne III) was one of the thugs, and stuck out from the rest. Morpheus!

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (2007)

This was on last night. I watched most of it. It was wild. I've seen the show before. The info for the program called it "surreal." I guess I've never thought about that aspect of the show. I just took it as natural.

That's probably because Aqua Teen Hunger Force isn't the weirdest show that's on during it's normal content block. On Cartoon Network's Adult Swim (at night), there are usually some pretty bizarre things to watch. ATHF is pretty cool compared to some of the sick stuff that's on.

What I like about it is it seems to represent success in a weird sort of way. What I mean is, we live in a country where you can build up so much success that you no longer have to play by the rules. Rich people can be eccentric, right? So oddball characters having adventures sometimes reminds me of how lucky we all are that we can afford non-functional things. Like if we lived in a Totalitarian society, we'd wear gray and be told what to eat, how much to exercise, what to do for work, and how to sit and stare at the wall during break. But since we've got freedom and live in a land of abundance, we can feel free to judge or take in off-the-wall humor. That to me is a pretty valuable thing.

The movie, I thought, was pretty entertaining. One of my favorite parts was how the overweight balding guy got strapped into a fitness machine which basically did the workout for him. He soon became more muscular than any human should become. He couldn't move, there was so much muscle mass! So I'll be he'll lie around for awhile, wait for the huge muscles to atrophy, and then get up and walk around when he's still buff enough to win Mr. Universe. No-effort reverse workout!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

The Mechanic (1972)

I watched most of this a while ago. I was looking for a film similar to one of the "Death Wish" series, and since "The Mechanic" had Charles Bronson in it and a somewhat similar plot, I thought, "Why not?"

It was very interesting. Like a door through time. Some of the dialogue was a tad confusing, because we don't use some of those expressions or slang terms anymore. But for the most part it was clear and easy to understand.

I thought it was neat how they took their time describing the idea of a paid assassin (or "mechanic"). It was like the issue was so sinister and unheard of that someone not in the know had to persist for weeks just to get an inkling.

When the action finally started up, it was pretty neat. I thought the ending was incredible. So all in all, it wasn't quite like a "Death Wish" movie, and was a bit more relaxed, but was definitely enjoyable.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

300 (2006)

I finally watched "300," and boy was it good. Although, I have to admit there were a couple things I found ...disappointing.

First off, waiting so long to watch such a huge movie probably isn't a good idea from an enjoyment perspective. It is economically sound (i.e., why pay to see a film when you can watch it for free on TV a year later), but there was some definite loss of suspense. The film was heavily marketed, and so I was familiar with the catchphrase, "This -- Is -- SPARTA!!" Plus, I'd seen the "South Park" spoof version, and a bunch of fan-made goofball videos online that feature the main character's trademark facial expressions.

So when the movie finally got to the "This IS SPARTA!!" moment, I struggled to suppress the memories I had accrued of the moment's outline, in an effort to preserve the tension and suspense.

Another thing I felt mildly let down about was the action. I felt that the film was going to be heavily, heavily action oriented. The ads seemed to all say that "300" was going to be full of action sequences, guys killing each other left and right. And that did happen at times. But largely, the film was story-based, about how the king grew up, the days leading to conflict, how he fought to hold his ground in the face of overwhelming odds, and how people he and his wife thought they could trust turned out to be enemies in disguise. I did enjoy the story, but I realize now that for most of the film I was waiting for some crazy jaw-dropping action sequence to live up to the bluster of the marketing. I guess the action scenes did, but it was kind of subdued... It was like, "Sure, the guy's head fell off, but that's not why we're here. We're here... for the story."

It reminds me of "Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco." I had seen a trailer or theatrical preview in which the dog voiced by Michael J. Fox grabbed a hot dog from a vendor. That scene enticed me into watching the film, and I was disappointed to see that the specific hot dog scene wasn't included. I hate it when ads make something seem like one thing and it turns out to be different. It's like they lie from time to time.

Anyway, "300" really was great, but struck me as subtly different from the months-old ad campaign. But I guess that doesn't matter anymore, does it?

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Monday, March 10, 2008

More On The Sonic Movie

A while back, I had posted about a potential Sonic The Hedgehog Movie. Really, it was pure speculation on my part. I thought the video game franchise was strong enough to merit a major motion picture. If it looked good, and seemed to lean toward big kid and adult entertainment, I think I'd watch it! But alas, it is nothing more than a happy dream... or is it?

The other day, I suddenly came across a piece of internet art that made me seriously wonder.

Sure, it seems goofy, and I know what the "milkshake" line is about, but I thought the whole thing might be a goof based on a real, future event. So I went to IMDB to check Daniel Day-Lewis' future projects.

Alas, there was no mention of a Sonic film... But I still think the YTMND was wild, and I definitely still think a Sonic movie has potential, especially if it's not a cartoon.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Grindhouse (2007)

I just watched the two films, "Planet Terror" and "Death Proof." Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the fake trailers and whatever other extras were included in the theatrical viewing. Still, it was a decent experience. I say decent because that is what I consider the average of the two films to be. Really, "Death Proof" wasn't that great (in my opinion), while "Planet Terror" rocked! "Planet Terror" comes after "Death Proof," but I'd watched it first, which is why I was disappointed after...while watching "Death Proof."

"Planet Terror" features zombies, action, violence, gore, intense situations, some drama, and some coolness. It was amazing. Over-the-top at some parts, but planned out so well that it works perfectly. Edge-of-your seat entertainment. It totally lives up to the Grindhouse ad campaign.

But "Death Proof..." There was too much talking. It was really boring at some parts. Then some crazy action. Then a lot more talk. BORING! Then more action. Then a dissatisfying ending. I'll explain why, but it will contain spoilers...

[SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ unless you want to...]

Kurt Russell is a great guy. A hero in many films. In "Death Proof," he's a whacko. A killer. First half of the film, he kills. Second half, he toys with some women who are obviously tougher than he thinks. Then they terrorize him, and beat him to death. It was really lame to see Kurt Russell, who is usually morally upright and triumphant, get taken down. But it makes sense. If you do bad, bad will be done unto you. Still, the boring talking scenes seemed like they were leading up to something. The more bored you get, the more tense you get, anticipating some huge payoff. And what's the payoff? And abrupt ending where a well-known action hero dies in a crude way. Lame. Lame I say!

But "Planet Terror" was awesome. If you like gore and action, it's for you!

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Monday, February 25, 2008

T2: EXTREME DVD Is Mind-blowing!

I can't tell you how incredible it is! When I started watching it just a few days ago, I thought, "I love the 'Connor Chronicles,' so watching this movie again will be great! But what precisely makes it "Extreme"...?"

Here's what makes it Extreme:

It's in widescreen format, so you see everything top-to bottom that you saw before, plus more on the left and right. That expands the whole world of the movie, because you get to experience parts that were previously hidden.

There are a bunch of scenes that are slightly extended or subtly different, and yet the music and dialogue flows as if the movie was meant to be like that.

There are a ton of deleted scenes built into the film that you've probably never seen before! These are scenes that have a tremendous impact on your movie experience, and on the world of Terminator 2. Some even tie in with the "Connor Chronicles!" This element is the Number One reason why T2: Extreme DVD will blow your mind.

The sound is crisp, and the graphics are smooth.

It's awesome!

So if you're a fan of Terminator, and especially if you've only ever seen the "normal" version of T2, you've gotta see the Extreme DVD!

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Friday, February 22, 2008

I Watched Knight Rider (2008)

I liked it. I liked the car, the technology, Val Kilmer's cool voice, and the appearance of David Hasselhoff at the end. The special effects were great, too. And the bad guys held their own. The scientist was OK. But there was a lot I didn't like. The female lead, who was supposed to be a professor of a subject relating to the new, complex field of nanotechnology, did not seem that intelligent. You get a different vibe from someone who studies science and is very smart than you get from your average person. And the female lead seemed very normal. Maybe it was casting, or maybe it was direction. Maybe still, she didn't think to come up with a few personality quirks to highlight how incredibly brilliant she's supposed to be (given that she's the daughter of the guy who built KITT!).

There was a cop lady who seemed rude to me. I didn't like her hairstyle. She seemed full of herself. You'd think they'd try to make as many aspects of a show appealing as they could. If they want to create conflict or something interesting, that's fine. But her attitude and appearance just seemed negative for no good reason at all.

The lead, the new driver of KITT seemed ambivalent, like I read about why Jason Bourne is so cool. Apparently today's generation is similarly ambivalent. But I was really looking forward to someone with charisma and incredible energy. Like, "Yes, with this car anything is possible!" Instead it was like, "One man can make a difference? Nah,... no thanks... um, uh... noo..... oh gee ok." Fine for the film, but I think it might have hurt the series. But of course, the main character could develop charisma as time goes on.

Val Kilmer rules! If he was part of the show, I think I'd watch it. But why would he do TV? Maybe for a change of pace... He's calm, cool, and collected. Everything you'd expect from a genius who lives inside the best car in the world. Clean interior, fresh air, crisp sound.

The commercials in between parts of the show were a bit much. It was like, "Do you like this movie? Buy a FORD! Buy from FORD! FOORRD!"

All in all, I think the film did a good job, and was smooth and polished in some areas, though not all. I guess since it technically was just a show, and some shows take a while to find their groove, I should cut it some slack. Definitely worth a watch!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

DVR And Wireless Transfer Of Movies

I'd like to take a break from discussing movies and instead focus on where I see DVR technology leading us in the next few years.

Right now, some of us have souped-up cable boxes that not only receive HD programming, but also can record it -- digitally! This new technology still has kinks in some areas, and one limitation is the amount you can store. Between 30 and 40 hours seems standard at some basic level. But it's great that we can record shows to watch later, on our own time. And we can skip the commercials!

What's next? Bigger hard drives. Slowly the amount you can record and save for later, without watching and deleting, will increase until it reaches the point where every movie ever made can be stored on your DVR box.

Well, that's great, but what if I want to watch something I recorded, but in another room? Transfer technology will be developed. First there will probably be a small box with a card that you can insert. You have one of these boxes hooked up to your DVR box (or built-in), and another hooked up to your non-DVR TV. (Sure, maybe DVR will come standard with all TVs soon, but maybe not.) You insert the card in the box near the DVR, download a movie, and take the card to your other TV, insert it, upload the movie, and watch it.

The next step - wireless transfer. Beam a movie from one DVR box to a non-DVR TV, to your iPod, to your computer, to your phone, to your LCD walls. The future's looking pretty bright!

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Apocalypto (2006)

I must admit, this is not what I thought it would be. It was still great, incredible, and amazing. But I had expected supernatural stuff like aliens, the Mayan calendar, and 2012. It was far more down to earth. In fact, it was so down to earth, it was great on a totally different level.

[Spoilers Below]
You follow along in the footsteps of a Mayan tribesman who hunts and gathers with his brothers in the jungle. A crushed Mayan village wanders by, our hero gets momentarily "infected" with fear, and you might think, "So, fear is it. Fear infected them all, and caused their end. Hope that doesn't happen with us." Suddenly, other Mayan guys show up and start wreaking havoc. So then you might think the really society killer is war. Don't go to war or everybody will get wiped out. But then it turns out that the battle was really part of a slave trade brought forth by a semi-advanced Mayan city, complete with pyramids and human sacrifices. But there's also drought and disease. So then you might think, ok the end is near because of global warming and disease.

Then there's some really cool action as our hero must fight to keep himself and his family alive.

Then -- AT THE END (don't read this if you want to watch the movie with curiosity)

The white man arrives on ships. It truly is the end of the world.

I think I read somewhere that the white guys were appalled by the barbaric practices of the Mayan people, and so exterminated them. If that's the case, then it's the city folks' fault, because the jungle Mayans were pretty cool. Not savage, living in harmony with nature.

But this all got me thinking. At the end of the movie, global warming, disease, and war are all happening at once, and then a technologically advanced visitor from out of town arrives. Could Mel be foreshadowing a visit with aliens that coincides with the turmoil foreshadowed in the Book of Revelations?

Another idea I had was that it makes perfect sense why doomsday scenarios usually say, "There will be storms, disease, plague, hunger, thirst, drought, your cattle will die, everyone gets sick, etc. etc." It makes sense to me that the only way to wipe us out is through a confluence of events. The crap has to hit the fan in as many different ways as possible, simultaneously, in order to provide a sufficiently difficult situation as to destroy humanity.

Good movie!

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Indiana Jones 4 Trailer: Looks Great!

I remember seeing Indy use his whip to swing from one place to another in "Raiders." Then in "Temple of Doom," he used it at the end to pull his love interest closer. Then in "Last Crusade," River Phoenix (Young Indy) used it to scare a lion, and ended up explaining the scar that Harrison Ford has on his chin.

When I first saw "Raiders," I got the impression that Indiana Jones whip-swung all the time. But then in the other movies he didn't so much. By the looks of the trailer for "Indiana Jones 4", he'll be bringing that technique back!

It looks phenomenal!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Knight Rider (2008)

They filmed the movie, and got Will Arnett to do the voice of KITT, now a black 550 hp Ford Shelby GT500KR Mustang.

Ford is so gung-ho, they want ads up the wazoo relating Knight Rider and Ford vehicles. So cool, right? Anybody voicing KITT will probably get a piece of that.

But guess what? Will Arnett has been voicing commercials for GMC Trucks for years! And GMC was none to thrilled to hear that their voice was crossing over to the dark side. So he's all, "Bail?" And they're all like, "Bail."

Enter Val Kilmer, the new voice of KITT. I've read that the crew is now rushing to get his dialogue done. I guess they're a bit behind. Two weeks left to broadcast! I like Will Arnett. But I think Val Kilmer is great. It will be neat hearing him in a new film.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

American Psycho (2000)

I don't usually watch movies this dark, but this one was on last night, and I'm a fan of Christian Bale. I thought, "Why not?"

This is a pretty intense film. Bale plays a rich Wall Street guy in the '80's. He and his rich buddies have their own unique perspectives on life, having graduated from Ivy League institutions and landed high-paying jobs that justify $500 lunch hours. Bale is apparently a sociopath who enjoys the idea of killing. Eventually he crosses over and kills a coworker, one he was jealous of. Then he kills again and again, does some drugs and hires some hookers.

I enjoyed the glimpse at high society, and the '80's throwback. The setting for many of the scenes was clean and upper-class, quiet and laid-back, smooth and classy. It was neat to experience.

Some very dark humor was thrown in at various points. I don't know if this was intentional, but I found it funny when Bale was running naked down a hallway with a chainsaw. It just struck me as ridiculously absurd, and I believe many absurd things are naturally funny.

Aside from those qualities, there is much overt violence, and sex, and drugs. If you don't want to see someone killed right in front of you, this is probably a film you should skip. But if you can tolerate some "pretty sick" stuff, this film has many layers that are worth contemplating on an intellectual level. At the very least, it is very different from your typical crowd-pleaser.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Brewster's Millions (1985)

I haven't seen this recently, but it popped into my head, and I love it! This is one of my favorite films, because Richard Pryor and John Candy are great, and because I love the idea of having tons of money to burn!

Pryor inherits $30 million, and must spend it all in 30 days. If he can do this, and have nothing leftover by the end of the month, not even a new shirt, he'll then inherit the full estate of $300 million. But he can't tell anyone about it! So Pryor (Brewster) goes into "business" for himself, become super generous, and lives out all the dreams he's ever had that can be bought and paid for. Things are zany and wild, and loads of fun. It's a million-dollar comedy!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Heath Ledger Died From Accidental Medical Overdose

Saw on Yahoo that they'd finally figured out what Heath Ledger Died of.

His death apparently wasn't caused by Ambien, but rather by a combination of "oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine," which is, "the painkiller OxyContin, the anti-anxiety drugs Valium and Xanax, and the sleep aids Restoril and Unisom. Hydrocodone is a prescription painkiller."

Ledger's father said, "While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy. Heath's accidental death serves as a caution to the hidden dangers of combining prescription medication, even at low dosage."

So what does this mean? It means that doctors prescribed drugs that in combination killed him. Did they prescribe new drugs knowing he was already taking others? Or did he see more than one doctor? My thinking is that if one doctor knew he was taking the other pills, and then prescribed new ones that when added to the mix caused his death, then that doctor is culpable. He could be sued.

Sometimes I see yet another ad for "Take our pills" on TV, and I just feel bad. It's a well-made, bright, crafty, "uplifting" spot that brainwashes the audience into believing that all it takes to make life better is a new pill. "Believe me," says the ad, "You need this. All of you." Just sick. I know how some people feel about Tom Cruise, but with regards to avoiding prescription medication, I think he's got the right idea.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Van Wilder (2002)

I wasn't going to watch this, probably ever, as the ads for it were just a huge turnoff. It seemed lame. But it was on Comedy Central the other day, and I happened to see a particularly clean and hilarious moment involving an overzealous martial arts demonstrator. It was so funny that my attitude changed, and I decided to give the movie a shot.

Thankfully, watching it on Comedy Central during the day (and not 1am Saturday and Sunday mornings during the "Secret Stash" of unedited programming) meant that I was prevented from having to sit through some of the really extreme gross-out stuff.

I enjoyed the basic storyline, centering around a 7-year college student who "has nothing to show for," other than a ton of friends who would do anything for him, and social skills to rival those of Senator John 'Bluto' Blutarsky of "Animal House." What I found funny was how the main character in "Wilder" had a father played by Tim Matheson, who was also in "Animal House." Seeing Matheson's reactions to all the shenanigans in "Wilder," and comparing everything with what went on in "Animal House," it's easy to see how even the coolest party guy of one generation can completely reject the celebratory efforts of the next.

There's a completely wild moment near the end of the film in which someone's life gets ruined. The movie tries to build the person up as being "very bad," but I still felt sorry for him. Tara Reid was the revenger, and her actions seemed a bit extreme.

So if you can find this movie edited on TV, it may be for you. Or you could always go get the unrated version instead!

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Friday, February 1, 2008

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

What an awesome film. I love the mystery, the style, and the direction. You never see more than you need to, and the pace moves along nicely. It’s neat to follow the feelings of the earth people, as they realize a visitor has come blazing down at 4,000 miles per hour, and possesses unknown powers and designs on humanity. The “let’s hunt him down” radio talk seems like that’s just what a fraction of reporters thinks. I got the vibe that most people were curious, mystified, and uneasy.

I really enjoy this film, and am thrilled that December 12, 2008 will produce the opening of a remake starring Keanu Reeves (as the alien) and Jennifer Connelly! Can’t wait…

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Fugitive (1993)

This movie has always been a favorite of mine. When I originally saw the ads for it, I was amazed. I loved the scene where Harrison Ford jumped off the bus just before it was hit by a train. It’s such a good scene, “The Simpsons” spoofed it!

The music really makes the film. But of course, the major players (Tommy Lee Jones, Harrison Ford) are perfect for the cat and mouse plot. The plot itself is great.

One part that really got to me was when Harrison Ford is being questioned soon after his wife’s murder. He is obviously distraught, but the Chicago Police guys don’t seem to care. They’ve already labeled him as their prime suspect, so when he can’t satisfactorily describe the real villain, they just hammer away at him with question after annoying question. It’s almost sickening to see one of those two at the end, when he still fully believes that Harrison Ford is the bad guy. It takes a real pro like Tommy Lee Jones to see the higher truth.

In spite of all the adversity, Ford never gives up. Neither does Jones. I love that!

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Commando (1985)

What a cool action movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger does a great job at brining justice to the bad guys. It’s neat when the hero has some kind of advantage, because that makes him or her seem that much more believable in victory, and a hero winning is always a good thing. Arnold’s character is a retired soldier revealed to have been one of the best in the military. So when a bunch of not-so-super soldiers go to work toward fulfilling a plan to get control over Arnold, he just decimates the whole crew.

Arnold just wants to live a normal, happy life with his daughter, played by Alyssa Milano. The bad guys kidnap her in the hopes that they can use her, and threaten to kill her, as a way to motivate Arnold to assassinate some guy. I love Arnold’s opening move. The bad guys show up, take out the security guards placed there to protect Arnold and Alyssa, and somehow kidnap the daughter. Arnold goes and grabs a gun, when this cocky, relaxed bad guy says something like, “Hey, man, cool out, if you want to see your daughter again, you’d better listen what I have to say, right?” Arnold says, “Wrong.” And blows the guy away! It’s that kind of belligerent toughness that makes him so appealing. Even when surrounded by guys with guns a few minutes later, what does he do? Grabs the first rifle he can reach out of the guy’s hands and smacks another guy in the face with the butt of it. Unbelievable. And entertaining!

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Dark Knight (2008) and Heath Ledger

I read somewhere that "The Dark Knight" is Heath Ledger's final role. He was found dead in his apartment with prescription medication. I think one of the bottles was of sleeping pills.

I read that playing the dark and scary version of the Joker gave Ledger nightmares. Someone said of Ledger that he has a knack for portraying dark, edgy characters. Ledger said he needed two Ambien just to get to sleep, and even then only slept for about an hour.

I've heard (on "The Simpsons," but it sounds fair) that people are known to sleepwalk and do odd things while on Ambien.

My guess is that Ledger simply took too much sleep medication, because he wanted to get to sleep so badly.

In the context of his death, "The Dark Knight" will probably seem different than otherwise. Maybe it will even be created/finished differently from this point on. I heard another man died in connection with this movie, I think it was a cameraman during a car stunt. It's really sad that there are two deaths connected with this film. And it was especially troubling to read that Heath Ledger, a guy admired and envied by so many, and in the prime of his life, had died.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The China Syndrome (1979)

I just watched this, and I think it's pretty good. It's definitely got a gripping storyline.

Jane Fonda plays an anchorwoman who suffers through the '70's male chauvinism depicted in Will Ferrel's "Anchorman." While she takes her work as a broadcast journalist very seriously, none of her bosses do. She wants to do hard news, but they won't let her. Enter a nuclear controversy story.

Michael Douglas is her trusty cameraman. Together they go for a run-of-the-mill story at the local nuclear power plant. They happen to be there when a mistake is made by the head guy there, played by Jack Lemmon. Everybody almost dies, but throughout the film the people answering "was there danger?" play it way, way down, including Lemmon. The error Lemmon experienced opens his eyes to an even bigger problem looming with the plant, that spirals to the point where he's the only one who knows the town (and part of the country) is doomed unless they shut the plant down. A lot of money's at stake though, and people are willing to kill to prevent a shutdown. So the action picks up to a major degree near the end, especially when Lemmon can't get his coworker buddy Wilford Brimley to take his concerns seriously without a gun.

I noticed a few undertones of "Women vs. Men" and "Modern Extremism vs. The Establishment." It felt a little preachy. In spite of that, I found the film enjoyable.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Note (2007) (TV)

I watched this yesterday, and it's pretty good for a touching made-for-TV movie. A plane crashes, and in the seconds before death, one passenger writes a note to his son or daughter. A writer with an ailing column finds the note, and writes about her quest to track down the intended recipient. The story is about love, death, and forgiveness.

One thing I didn't really like was how tacky it seemed for the writer, a woman, to not think twice about using the note and the relatives of the crash victims as tools to resuscitate her column. But the movie never really overtly covered the possibility that what she was doing was wrong. In fact, she at one point asked how a competing journalist, a TV news guy, could be so bold as to shove a microphone in someone's face right after they lost a loved one. Her point seemed to be that it is inappropriate to exploit others for your own professional gain, and yet it feels like that's exactly what she did.

But if you can look past that, and you're in the mood for an emotional mystery, this movie could be worth watching.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

High Plains Drifter (1973)

I just watched this for the first time yesterday, and I already feel safe in calling it one of my favorite movies. It's awesome!

Clint Eastwood shows up in the Old West at a town called Lago. He is harassed by the 3 gunfighters hired to protect the town (a fact only made clear later), and so he shoots them. The town then tries to come to terms with being completely unprepared to handle the return of 3 other thugs, who are due to get out of jail at any moment.

I honestly don't want to say any more, because I don't want to spoil the movie! This really is the kind of film that needs watching more than telling. I think you'll like it, especially if you're a fan of action and mystery.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987)

Lately AMC has been running the "Death Wish" movies in sequence, and I've been trying to keep up. Tonight was the fourth installment. Charles Bronson is great!

The basic premise of most of the films is that a female close to Bronson is abused or killed due to "Creep" activity. So Bronson sets out to eliminate the problem, through the use of lethal force.

In a world where red tape and lawyers conspire to give every bad guy "just one more chance," and the bad guys (probably) stay bad, it's honestly refreshing to be confronted with the "Death Wish" mode of vigilante justice. When you look at bad guys one way, you think, "They might change..." But when you look at them another way, you think the thoughts Bronson's character is probably all too familiar with: "They're no good, and they're going to stay that way. They need to be eliminated."

So in "Death Wish 4" Bronson wages a war on drugs. He infiltrates two major groups and plays them off one another, to the point where they destroy themselves. Then he needs to take down a mystery player. It's pretty entertaining once you reconcile yourself to the "Death Wish" brand of justice.

I liked one part at the very beginning, when he's in a parking garage, about to take out a punk, and the guy says, "Who are you?" Bronson replies, "Death," and kills the guy, who lands on the ground face down. Bronson turns the guy over and sees -- himself!! And then he wakes up. It was wild.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Terminator

I love "The Terminator." Taking it out of context of the series, and focusing on when it was made and its peers of the time, it seems like it's a typical 80's horror movie. Like Jason and Michael Myers, the Terminator doesn't have a soul. "It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead." So it's cliché, right?

Wrong! Time travel, the savior of the world, Christ undertones, this movie has so much more! There's layer after layer, subtleties, mysteries, and everything you could want in an action film. It's no wonder there was a 2nd, a 3rd, a theme park ride, comic books, a TV show, and now a 4th in the works!

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Friday, January 11, 2008

More Back To The Future Theories

There's a pretty deep post about time travel and "Back To The Future" on Random Waves of Insight.

It talks about how BTTF is like Timecop in that at the end of the movie, the woman is greeted by a man different from the one she used to know. There's also more in there about a scenario in which Doc does die. It's crazy to think about how something that bad could happen, especially given the incredibly upbeat context of the 3 BTTF films. Thankfully, everything evens out in the end...

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Quiet Earth (1985)

Filmed in New Zealand, this movie deals with an end of the world scenario. If you read on, you will encounter spoilers.

I watched this today. A guy wakes up in New Zealand, and finds out he's the last man on earth. Or is he? He gets lonely, goes crazy for a while, and then starts getting his act together. All of a sudden, a woman shows up. They look for more people. Well, she does, and he pretends to. Meanwhile, he does research. He's a scientist, and he was part of the project that was likely responsible for killing everybody. Everybody except the two of them, anyway. The governments of the world got together to work on a network of some sort that surrounds the earth, and could potentially provide energy to planes through unconventional means. The project went sour and killed everybody who was alive. As it turns out, the man and woman were both dead at the exact moment the effect took place, and so they came back to life, completely unharmed. Later, they meet up with a Maori tribesman who also survived, and a love triangle develops. In the end, the scientist blows up his science lab, hoping to prevent another death effect, which he had calculated to be forthcoming.

Parts I didn't like: The scientist goes nuts, puts on a dress, brings a shotgun to a church, and shoots Jesus. It wasn't that funny, and it wasn't that dramatic. I also didn't enjoy the periods of male full frontal nudity. But thankfully they weren't too long. There was a moment in the film where action evolved out of stupidity, which I found annoying. It like, "Let's spice this film up, but give the characters a flimsy excuse." And there were a couple of other scenes that seemed unrealistic. But apart from that, the film was pretty interesting.

One solitary instance where the film seemed to align itself with pop culture was when the Maori guy was in a jeep chasing the scientist, who was in a truck. The woman tells the Maori something along the lines of, "I wouldn't stay with you if you were the last man on earth."

Then the guy slips on some shades and says, "I'm working on it."

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Monday, January 7, 2008

The Wraith (1986)

I really like this film. It's 80's, sci-fi, with cool cars, and an early Charlie Sheen. Awesome!

A bunch of teenagers live in a town where the only adults are apparently all police officers. Just a few, but one stands out: Randy Quaid. The major havoc is wrought by Nick Cassavetes and his gang, who are all about cars, racing, and winning through any means necessary.

Charlie Sheen shows up as the return of a guy the gang killed. Sheen saves the girl and the town from certain doom, using advanced alien technology. He basically drives a super car against the gang members in races one by one, each time blowing up both cars in the race, and each time reconstructing his own vehicle. It's so wild. I wish there was more detail, more of an explanation, but the mystery just adds so much. My theory is that after he died originally, Sheen somehow tapped into some sort of advanced existence that has ties with technology, light speed, and the moon.

It's light, enjoyable, and action-packed. A great escape!

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Screwed (2000)

This is a funny film, if you enjoy goofy humor that sometimes goes for a gross factor. Norm is hilarious. He gets mugged by a couple of 10-year-olds. DeVito is great as a disgusting morgue worker. His hands are all covered with blood and human waste, and then he absentmindedly touches his face, smearing the stuff on his chin! That was the sickest part of the movie, but I thought it was funny for how nasty and absurd it was. The rest of the jokes are pretty neat. Chappelle is funny too.

I first saw this film before Sarah Silverman got her own show. It's interesting how Chappelle and Silverman both had shows on Comedy Central which involved similar gross out humor. I'd say "Screwed" has some elements of that, but in a modestly tasteful manner? Maybe... Most of it wasn't gross at all, though.

Norm plays a butler who thinks he's getting fired by his ungrateful boss, so he and Chappelle steal her beloved dog and hold it ransom. Things get crazy, and then the media thinks Norm the butler was kidnapped. Norm and Chappelle play along and try to get the boss, an old woman, a pie baron, to pay $5,000,000. But things just keep getting crazier.

It's neat how Norm and Chappelle come up with one simple idea, kidnap the dog, and the media explodes the story in a highly distorted manner, causing all kinds of characters to get involved. The end is far from the beginning, plot-wise.

The cast is great: Norm MacDonald, Dave Chappelle, Elaine Stritch, Danny DeVito, Daniel Benzali, Sherman Hemsley, and Sarah Silverman. Part of the appeal for me was hoping the two guys would succeed in the end and get rich. Sure they're breaking the law, but it's just a movie. And their enthusiasm is contagious!

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

What a great sequel. It kept all the same quality stuff from the first movie, with a few key changes.

Kevin is older, wiser, and more self-assured. He seems to be a con-man in the making, except that his heart is mostly pure. It was great to see him overtly triumphant in the eyes of his family this time.

I liked how when Kevin's parents slept in at the very beginning, they did what he did in the first movie, which is to stand in front of the camera, look right at it, and scream! That was funny.

Daniel Stern is hilarious. I noticed him add in a dance move when he was "supposed" to be slipping on slime. And I caught him singing/screaming warm-up notes when he was jolted with electricity. My favorite part of this movie that involves him is when he turns into a skeleton for a few seconds while getting zapped. That made me laugh!

In "Home Alone," Kevin saved his house, and helped an old man. In "Home Alone 2," Kevin saved a toy store, helped a children's hospital, helped an old man (the toy store owner), and helped an old woman (the pigeon lady). He's unstoppable!

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