Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
(Directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen, Cate Blanchett)
Quick review: Commies. I hate those guys.
Quick *spoiler* review: E.T., phone Jones. (click and drag to highlight.)
Again I have ventured forth to the theater, and again, I enjoyed getting out. I give this one three and a half out of five stars.
(I'd rate Raiders as a 5, Temple of Doom at 2.5, and Last Crusade as 4, maybe 4.5.)
The premise of the film (the "Crystal Skull" part, not the "nearing-retirement Indy" part) was pretty unusual, but if you're willing to dismiss the silliness and just enjoy it as popcorn fodder, you won't be disappointed with how it goes, though I thought the end and epilogue were a bit weak and/or contrived.
Karen Allen's return serves to remind us that Indy's other romantic interests pale in comparison to Marion Ravenwood.
Shia LaBeouf didn't completely suck. Color me moderately surprised.
20 years from now, Indiana Jones and the Adventure of the Golden Bedpan would probably get me out to the theater.
Urgh: A Music War (1981)
(Directed by Derek Burbidge)
Some "music war." If only there had been some casualties. I was hoping for an airstrike.
"Codswallop" might be too polite a term for this collection of mostly awful tripe.
The "film" consists of live New Wave and Punk performances by various — and I use this term in its broadest possible sense — "artists."
This isn't film, it's the early-80s equivalent of a modern concert-goer with a cell-phone video camera posting a low-res video to YouTube.
You have a better chance of making a good film if a random person in the street bumps into you, says "here, hold this camera," and proceeds to do a song and dance number. In fact, a much better chance.
The first number, The Police performing "Driven to Tears," is pretty good. It goes pretty steadily downhill from there, with one or two bumps, until the two closing numbers, "Roxanne" and "So Lonely," also by The Police.
The half-star rating is solely for the presence of The Police... but even they aren't good enough to salvage this train wreck and pull the rating higher.
(Directed by Jon Favreau, starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard)
Wait... terrorists and their enablers, and not the US military, are the bad guys? I can't imagine why anyone would like this.
(Hollywood lefties, are you taking notes?)
So, yesterday I did something I haven't been able to do in over a year: I went and sat in a theater to watch a movie.
It's been a long time since I've seen a movie that I wished hadn't ended so soon. I could have sat through two more hours.
If all of Downey's past problems had happened for the sole purpose of bringing him to the point of making this movie, then they were worth it. He's absolutely superb in the role.
Paltrow is gorgeous, in a smokin' hot librarian sort of way.
Be sure to sit all the way through the credits.
I'm glad I went, and though there are few things as pathetic as going to the movies alone, I'll continue doing so, as long as there's decent fare... which, given the tidal wave of sheer crap coming out of the movie studios these days, it might be another two years before I'm willing to sit in a theater again. I hope not, though — it's good to get out of the house.
Film legend and past NRA president Charlton Heston has died.
Though he was best known for his iconic roles in such films as Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments and Planet of the Apes, the lesser-known El Cid, in which he plays the part of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar during the Reconquista, has always vied for the honor of being my favorite Heston film.
I can't imagine Hollywood these days making an epic-scale movie about a hero fighting the Muslims. Pity. If you haven't seen El Cid, rent it. Heston is great, and Sophia Loren provides some tasty eye-candy.
One day back in the early '80s, while I was home on a break from college, our family got dressed up "spiffy casual" and drove down to L.A. to see a show. We'd done so many times previously, and this particular time we were off to see "Nicholas Nickleby."
I remember nothing about the play itself... but I remember that the Hestons were sitting in front of us, and I remember that Mr. Heston was very gracious to those few people who dared to approach him.
He was a legend, while pretty much all we have these days are over-hyped "stars." They don't make many like Heston any more.
(Directed by Zack Snyder, starring Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham and Dominic West)
Official tagline: Prepare for glory!
Better tagline: Putting the 'graphic' in 'graphic novel.'
Yips (or would that be orgle-orgles?) go to Robert at Llamabutchers for this one.
1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.
The entirety of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
2. Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theater.
Each of the Star Wars trilogy. Many times each.
3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.
Tom Hanks. Seems like a decent likeable guy.
4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.
Sean Penn. I would pay money to not see him, in anything, ever.
5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. At least, I used to know all the lyrics... it's been a while since I've seen it.
7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with.
Man of La Mancha. I don't know it all, and I sing rather less well than Peter O'Toole's voice double did. But it's an absolutely terrific musical.
To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go,
To right the unrightable wrong,
To love pure and chaste from afar,
To try when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star.
This is my quest, to follow that star,
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far.
To fight for the right, without question or pause.
To be willing to march into Hell for a Heavenly cause.
And I know if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
When I'm laid to my rest.
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable star.
I don't know how anyone with a backbone can listen to that song and not get a lump in his throat.
Go ahead, call me quixotic. It is a label I would bear proudly.
8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.
Master & Commander - The Far Side Of The World. Most highly rated.
9. Name a movie that you own.
Many many many, so let's go for obscurity here: Crazy Moon.
10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
Not terribly many. The last was Red Dawn.
I'd like to see drive-ins make a comeback, but let's face it: cars aren't as comfortable as they used to be, and bratty teenagers are noisier and more disruptive now than they ever used to be.
12. Ever made out in a movie?
In a movie? No. At a movie? Well, ya, of course... but not lately.
13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven't yet gotten around to it.
Yojimbo. I've seen a lot of Kurosawa's films (own a number on DVD, even) but I've never gotten around to seeing this one.
14. Ever walked out of a movie?
Not that I can remember. It would have to have been a truly awful movie, and I try to steer clear of anything with even a hint of stink.
15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
The cemetery scene at the end of Saving Private Ryan. It just kills me.
Butter and salt.
17. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)?
Once, maybe twice a year. It's got to be something I'm reasonably sure I'll like, and it has to be the kind of visual spectacle that warrants schlepping to the theater... which, for me, is pretty rare.
18. What's the last movie you saw in the theater?
Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest. That definitely warranted a trip to the theater.
19. What's your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
Science fiction, comedy, mystery.
20. What's the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
The first movie I remember seeing in a theater was The Sound of Music. I even remember the theater — thirty years later, I saw Independence Day in the same theater in San Jose. It must have been a re-release, though, because I was only three years old when it was first released, and I'm pretty sure I was older than that when I saw it; I remember it too well, and I haven't seen the whole thing again since then.
I believe I saw my very first movie at a drive-in. When I was six years old when the folks bundled us kids into the back of the '67 Ford Galaxie station wagon so they could go see Planet of the Apes. It was another 10 years before I saw the whole movie again... and I remembered a goodly portion of it.
21. What movie do you wish you had never seen?
Star Trek - The Motion Picture. It was utterly awful, though it did have the sole redeeming virtue of enabling the subsequent making of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the best of all the Trek movies.
22. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?
Nacho Libre. Went to see it with my sister-in-law, niece and nephew. Though unusual, it turned out to be pretty good family fare.
23. What is the scariest movie you've seen?
Alien. It still completely creeps me out.
24. What is the funniest movie you've seen?
The former makes me a connoisseur of comedy.
The latter makes me a bad, bad man.
(Directed by Kevin Costner, starring Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening)
People looking to criticize Costner's acting or directing will have to find a different movie to justify their criticism. This one is good.
Not that there aren't plenty of bad movies from which to choose.
[By the way, Open Range has one of the best western gunfights ever set to film, and it's playing all this month on AMC. Be sure to see it.]
(Directed by Robert Schwentke, starring Jodie Foster, Sean Bean and Peter Sarsgaard)
The absence of evidence that you are sane is not proof that you're crazy... but it's understandable if people take it that way.
(Directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt)
Lesson learned: never travel without a solar-powered satellite phone in your pocket.
(Directed by Ericson Core, starring Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks and Kevin Conway)
Think "Rudy turns pro."
Good football/underdog/inspirational/true-story movie, excellent family fare.
(Directed by Todd Phillips, starring Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn)
The world needed a definitive "old people acting like college students" movie.
This ain't it.
Back to School, on the other hand, is.
Wilson, Ferrell and Vaughn couldn't have carried Rodney Dangerfield's jock.
Today is St. Crispin's Day.
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd. . . .
Go see the Greatest Speech Ever, and more, at the Llamabutchers.
Part 1 of ABC's docudrama The Path to 9/11 airs tonight and, as Tigerhawk points out (h/t: Prof R) due to the Democrats' incessant blathering in every available media outlet about the unfairness of it all, it'll likely have a significantly larger audience than it would have, had the community of Clinton defenders simply pretended the miniseries didn't exist.
No one I know of is claiming that the miniseries is completely accurate, any more than The Longest Day was a 100% completely faithful account of the D-Day landings — but that movie is still a good way to learn about the Normandy invasion.
Perhaps this can be an object lesson for the Left on the difference between "reality" and "reality-based."
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
(Directed by Gore Verbinski, starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley, with Billy Nighy as Davy Jones)
Wow. That's put me right off seafood.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back near the litterbox...
Coming sooner than you think.
Another* Mycah the Cat production.
The terrifying motion picture from the terrifying No. 1 best seller.
Don't go near the litterbox.
Big Night (1996)
(Directed by Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci, starring Tony Shalhoub, Stanley Tucci, Ian Holm, Minnie Driver and Isabella Rossellini)
Timpano? Wow. I have got to find a good Italian restaurant.
I'm planning to go see United 93 as soon as I can. I have no doubt that I'll be a wreck afterwards — I already find my heart leaping into my throat when, in the TV ads, I see the passengers rushing into the aisle to begin their charge.
Some people say they're "over it." Others say it's too soon for a film about the attacks of 9/11.
Well, I'm not "over it," I'll never be "over it." The majority of America isn't "over it." And a film of this sort is long overdue.
I am reminded of the 1942 film Wake Island, released less than a year after the valiant but doomed struggle of a Marine battalion, abandoned to their fate because of the inability of the Navy to reinforce or withdraw them. (The cold calculus of war dictated that a battalion of Marines was not worth the risk of losing two aircraft carriers in the weeks following Pearl Harbor; strategically, it was the right choice, but I'm glad it wasn't me that had to make that awful decision.)
In 1942, no one had the complete story of what had happened at the end, only radio reports. The garrison and the island were lost. The film was made anyway — indeed, work on it began before the battle was over — and can rightfully be called a masterpiece of wartime filmmaking.
60+ years later, the story of Flight 93 is much the same as that of Wake Island. We have the cell phone calls, we have the cockpit voice recordings, and from them we can make a good guess what happened on the flight. But we know the result: free Americans stood and fought, and though they lost their lives, they prevented a much greater tragedy. Their efforts and sacrifice must not be forgotten.
In a different time, a film memorializing them would have been in progress before the end of the year. In that different time, Hollywood was on our side.
(via Tanker at Mostly Cajun.)
(Reviews and more from Hot Air.)
Phantom of the Opera (2004)
(Directed by Joel Schumacher, starring Gerard Butler as The Phantom, Emmy Rossum as Christine, Patrick Wilson as Raoul)
I really identified with the Phantom. Almost completely.
Except for being French.
And all the singing and strangling, of course.
Suppose you're a young but solidly established — indeed, award-winning — star in Hollywood who, as many actors are wont to do, would like to direct movies yourself. You have a few TV projects under your belt, but the silver screen is where you'd like to go next. What would you pick for your first film project?
An edgy thriller? A schmaltzy romance? A crime drama? When Tom Hanks directed his first film, we can all be glad it was none of the those, but rather a tribute to the spirit of a time when no dream seemed unattainable.
1996's That Thing You Do! will not go down in history as a great film, but it deserves to be remembered as a good one — a simple tale told in a straightforward and engaging way, about people just like people we all know, getting a shot at greatness.
In short: an early-60s going-nowhere garage band makes a change, which leads to their song becoming a hit locally, and then nationally. The film follows The Oneders from their humble beginnings in Erie, PA to their peak of success as The Wonders and thence to their ultimate destiny as a group and as individuals.
This isn't High Art, folks — just the telling of a story. The characters make mistakes big and small, achieve successes big and small, and are variously cruel and kind. You know — just like real people.
Unlike much of real life, however, this movie is almost entirely suitable for family viewing. Very little bad language — none "blue" that I can recall — and no sex or drugs, despite the rock-and-roll.
There's drama, albeit not terribly heavy. This isn't a film that requires deep thought; you might be disappointed to find that the most profound point of the movie is that sometimes people use other people for their own ends. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much like real life.
There's a fair amount of humor as well (much of it inspired by the bands poor initial choice of a name) but it goes by so quickly that it seems to have been included in the movie in order to set a general light-hearted tone rather than to inspire laughs... but I laughed often enough to want to see it over and over.
This is a movie that is simply made to be enjoyed for itself, and I certainly did.
Some notes:* Tom Hanks, fresh from Forrest Gump and Apollo 13, is the big name on the playbill, but he's not the lead. The part of Mr. White, the agent, could have been filled by many people. Hanks works so well in the role because when the character has anything to say, you have to pay attention to him — his interjections are often important to understanding where the movie is going.
* The cast rehearsed as a band for weeks before performing on film, though most (if not all) of their performances were dubbed. Nonetheless, the members of the band clearly loved what they were doing. I suppose it could have been good acting, but I don't think anyone is that good an actor. Seeing the band onstage in their suits, singing and playing their hearts out, the one emotion that came through clearly to me was Joy.
* I don't imagine the big record labels are much different today than they were in 1964, in the way they treat people.
* Liv Tyler's role as Faye could have been played up a bit more, but she made good use of the part. There was one point at which Faye becomes ill, and I expected there to be a hard choice to be made along the lines of "if you stick by your girlfriend and get sick yourself, you risk your career." The setup was there, but the script took a different direction. Tyler, however, did a rather good job for an 18-year-old. Oh, and yeah — she's totally cute in the part.
* Charlize Theron made one of her first appearances in this film. Brief, and ultimately forgettable.
* The four main cast members have all been working steadily since TTYD, but I don't think I've ever seen any of their other films. Sahara, which co-stars Steve Zahn (guitarist Lenny), is in my NetFlix queue.
* One of the main reasons I wanted to see this film was for the music. I enjoy early-60s music, and got quite a good dose of it in the movie. That none (or very little) of it is authentic product of the 1960s is of little consequence to me. Good is good.
* I wonder if the cast might have thought they were being set up to be a retro version of The Monkees?
* The DVD is nearly devoid of extra features, though it does include music videos for the title song and a second Wonders song, Dance With Me Tonight. Both are quite enjoyable.
* The title song, had it been written and performed by an actual 1964 band, could indeed have propelled that band to stardom. It's catchy, memorable, and tight — not a wasted note. Funnily enough, the song did indeed propel a band to a certain degree of stardom, more about which later.
I enjoyed That Thing You Do! quite a bit, and though it is not going to go down in film history as a classic, Tom Hanks nevertheless deserves credit for directing this little gem. I highly recommend this movie as an addition to your rental queue or even to your DVD library.
[Updated and revised.]
One thing those of you who have read my occasional TV, DVD, movie or music reviews might have noticed is that I don't do in-depth reviews of anything after viewing or listening just once. Usually, that's because I don't partake in entertainment in order to write a review. I simply try to enjoy it.
Add to that the fact that I rarely actually go to the movies, and I don't buy, willy-nilly, every CD that comes out, nor do I watch the "popular" TV shows. Most of them are utter dreck. (Well, I do watch NCIS and CSI and its variants. Good stuff, but I don't ever expect to write reviews of them.)
Nonetheless, there is quality entertainment to be had. One aspect of quality, per se, is the ability to stand the test of time. Perhaps that's why the CDs I occasionally buy were usually released a few years before I buy them.
Sometimes, however, the label "instant classic" really does apply. Something need not be twenty or more years old to have demonstrated qualities that will let it hold its own in the future. By way of example, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which is now just two years old, is one such film. I recommended it here, and received some very good feedback. It is, I think, a film that will be eminently watchable for generations to come.
So if you see an in-depth review of mine, it will probably not be something that aired on TV last night, it probably won't be something you can still go see in the theaters, and it probably will not be something currently on the Billboard top-100 list. Probably not.
Furthermore, I don't intend to review too many things I would not recommend. My time is too valuable to me to waste becoming familiar enough with something I don't like, just to write a full review. If there's something don't like, I'll say so and move along.
Rather, I intend my reviews to be justifications for my recommendations. (Again, refer to M&C.) If I recommend something, you can be sure I either already own it, or it's in my shopping basket — putting my money where my mouth is, you might say.
Via the Llama Butchers (Rob, in particular) we have the latest "list of things I've read, heard, eaten, done, or seen."
This time around, it's Sci-Fi movies.
Actually, with a list like this, it'll be easier to cross off the ones I haven't seen. I've bolded the ones I own on video.
* The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! — one of my all-time favorites; vastly underrated. "Laugh while you can, monkey-boy."
* Aliens — Best action/adventure sci-fi film ever. "We'd better get back, 'cause it'll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night... mostly."
* Back to the Future
* Blade Runner — My brain hurts after I watch this... but it's not a bad sort of hurt. "It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?"
* Bride of Frankenstein
Brother From Another Planet
A Clockwork Orange
* Close Encounters of the Third Kind
* Contact — "I... had an experience."
* Destination Moon
* The Day The Earth Stood Still
Escape From New York
* ET: The Extraterrestrial
Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (serial)
* The Fly (1985 version)
* Forbidden Planet
Ghost in the Shell
* Gojira/Godzilla — "Ogata, humans are weak animals." Weak, yes, but they make excellent kindling.
* The Incredibles
* Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 version)
* Jurassic Park
* Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior
* The Matrix — "What is real? How do you define real?"
* Metropolis — ". . . ." (Hey, what do you expect? It's a silent movie.)
On the Beach
* Planet of the Apes (1968 version)
Solaris (1972 version)
* Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
* Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
* Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The Stepford Wives
* Terminator 2: Judgement Day
* The Thing From Another World
* Things to Come — "Is it this? Or that? All the universe? Or nothingness?"
* Tron — "End of line."
* 12 Monkeys
28 Days Later
* 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
* 2001: A Space Odyssey
* La Voyage Dans la Lune
* War of the Worlds (1953 version) — "I'd say that 'gizmo' is a machine from another planet."
I don't often go to the theater to see movies anymore, mainly because most of them are unadulterated crap, but occasionally I do decide well in advance that I ought to enjoy certain films on the silver screen, rather than waiting for the DVD or cable. Master and Commander, e.g., was one such. Having enjoyed Firefly on the air and via DVD, Serenity is definitely in the "must see on the big screen" category.
Even better was the prospect of getting to see it early, as a potential blogger reviewer. Sadly, however, the preview here in the Raleigh area is tonight, at 7:30... and here I am, working the swing shift, chained to my desk. My work schedule was apparently not taken into account when the time and place for the preview were set.
I'll just have to wait, like everyone else. But I will not be denied my dose of Serenity.
At least you can rest assured that the Internet won't come apart at the seams on my watch tonight.
Nehring reviews the movie Constantine:
When you see dogs sniffing one another, they’re actually checking to make sure the other dog doesn’t have the stench of this film on it. This thing is truly awful. It is a grand, brilliant gem of vile stupidity.
And those are among the nicer words he has to say about the movie.
It seems like it's not often, these days, that a "war movie" can be made without its characters devolving into introspective weepiness, riddled with self-doubt and prone to questioning the point of the conflict. Either that, or the protagonist is an abominable sort of character.
Master And Commander – The Far Side Of The World has no such problems.
Being something of an enthusiast for the whole "Age of Sail" genre — I grew up reading my Dad's Hornblower books — I made a point of seeing M&C in the theaters when it came out in late 2003. I was prepared to be disappointed, but I need not have worried. I was hugely impressed, and as soon as the DVD was available, I snapped up a copy. It may be that a better film about war at sea has been made, but if so, I've not seen it – and I've seen most of them.
Based on the Aubrey/Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian, and taking its name from the first and tenth books in the series, the movie is a blend of elements of the entire series, rather than just one of the novels put to film. Those familiar with the novels will recognize the general plot outline as being from "The Far Side of the World," with incidents and dialogue (including a fair amount of humor) taken in pieces from the full range of books and blended into a seamless whole.
Over at Llama Butchers yesterday, Robert had the temerity to criticize the casting of Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey, calling him "broody and moody." I beg to differ. By curious coincidence, I had watched the DVD the night before, and suggested in the comments that
Crowe didn't play Aubrey as originally written (for starters, Aubrey was severely obese....) But more to the point, I can watch the movie over and over, and I never think "that's Russell Crowe" – he completely subordinates himself to the role.
Having watched it again last night, I'll stand by that.
Some further observations:
• The movie is rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, related images, and brief language. The language is in fact very brief. There are plenty of "damns" to go around, but only one very quick interjection of anything harsher; the use is apt, given the context. If someone had stolen two years of my work and burnt my ship, I'd swear, too.
• Master and Commander won two Oscars and was nominated for eight others. [Every one of those eight was won by Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.] The award for cinematography was well-deserved – this film is simply beautiful.
• This is a man's film, about manliness and duty among men at war. There are no women in the featured cast. A few women appear on screen for a few seconds early on, but they are quickly passed and the film continues.
• The role of Dr. Maturin in the film is primarily that of Aubrey's conscience; unexplained in the film is that Maturin is more than Aubrey's best friend, a physician, and a naturalist – he is also an intelligence agent. The character, being a naval neophyte, also occasionally serves a useful purpose when nautical matters need to be explained for the benefit of the viewer, who might not be likely to know what the "weather gage" (for example) might be.
• There is a lot of violence, of course – it's war on the high seas. Blood, a bit. Lots more gritting-of-teeth than actual gore. Mostly, it's violent action without a lot of organs and limbs flying about.
• There is some death, of course; this is a war movie. It's handled very poignantly, however, without the characters getting overly maudlin. Sometimes death cannot be avoided, and may be necessary. After the death of a sailor in an accident that could have been avoided if Aubrey had not been doing his duty as he saw fit, the following exchange takes place:
Aubrey: This is a ship of war, and I will grind whatever grist the mill requires in order to fulfill my duty.
Maturin: Whatever the cost?
Aubrey: Whatever the cost.
• One thing I found particularly impressive was the portrayal of the midshipmen. The film does a astoundingly good job of presenting teenage boys as something other than trash-mouth self-centered whining snivelling little turds. This film should be mandatory viewing for all teenage boys.
• Max Pirkis, as the 12 or 13 year old Midshipman Lord Blakeney, is especially noteworthy. Despite suffering a grievous injury early in the film, his character soldiers on, and in the climactic battle is simply remarkable, demonstrating leadership, initiative and resolve far above the capacity of most people many years older. That Pirkis won two acting awards for his performance is entirely appropriate. That neither of those awards was an Oscar is a shame.
• The musical score is perfect. 'Nuff said.
Master and Commander is destined in years to come to be looked back at as a classic. If you haven't seen it, rent it. If you have seen it and don't own it, buy it.
I thought I had found this at Absinthe & Cookies, but now I don't see it there.... Oh, well. From FoxNews:
Lions Save African Girl From Abductors
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A 12-year-old girl who was abducted and beaten by men trying to force her into a marriage was found being guarded by three lions who apparently had chased off her captors, a policeman said Tuesday.
My first thought on seeing the story was "Aslan lives!"
That this thought occurred to me is almost certainly the result of having seen one of the previews shown before the movie I saw last week. Said preview was, of course, for the upcoming The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
It looks absolutely, stunningly, incredibly good.
Granted, previews are supposed to put the best possible face on the movie they advertise, but if the highlights are anything whatsoever to go by, LW&W has the potential to make the Lord of the Rings trilogy look like a crap sandwich... and I say this as a guy who thinks LOTR is one of the finest things ever recorded on film.
I rarely go out to the movies anymore, despite the fact that I actually like going to movies. More specifically, I like going movies that interest me for one reason or another, which might explain why I so rarely go. For instance, Revenge of the Sith was the first movie I've gone to see since last October.
It surely won't be another eight or nine months before I go to the next. LW&W is due to hit theaters in early December.
I finally broke down last week and saw Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. There's no need for me to review it, as such — plenty of folks already have done so.
I will say that I thought the script was pretty thin — like butter scraped over too much bread, so to speak — but given that script, the movie came out all right. It was better then I expected, though it lacked the one thing that would have redeemed all of Lucas' previous errors: the very public, very graphic dismemberment of Jar-Jar Binks.
Mee-sa still sooOOoo bloody annoyed.
I'm sure I'll have further reflections and commentary later.
The two major cable channels that show "classics", American Movie Classics (AMC) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) are showing military-themed movies this weekend. Apart from that general topic, the film selections couldn't be more different.
I don't have a list of all the films the two channels have already shown this weekend, but the guide on the digital cable can tell me what's coming up for the rest of today and tomorrow.
Looking at the list of movies below, I get a distinct impression about the attitudes of the two stations as to what constitutes an appropriate film for a Memorial Day marathon.
Coming up on AMC:
Missing in Action 2: The Beginning — awful.
Braddock: Missing in Action III — if the second was awful, how good could the third one be?
G.I. Jane (two showings total) — this is not now, nor will it ever be, a "classic."
MASH (four, count 'em, four showings total, including twice in a row tonight) — the most vastly overrated "war" movie ever made. As a pure comedy, it's so-so.
Battle at Bloody Beach — never heard of it, but it stars Audie Murphy. Maybe I'll DVR it.
Strategic Air Command — OK, this is a classic.
The Green Berets — this, too.
Hamburger Hill (two showings total) — a film memorable only for the quote "Please pass the %$#@&! potatoes."
Apocalypse Now (Redux) (two showings total) — I haven't seen the director's cut. No opinion.
Upcoming on TCM:
Hell is for Heroes
They Were Expendable
Blood on the Sun
Run Silent, Run Deep
Tell it to the Marines
Take the High Ground!
A Guy Named Joe
So Proudly We Hail!
The Story of G.I. Joe
Is Paris Burning?
A Bridge Too Far
God Is My Co-Pilot
Behind The Rising Sun
I own half of this second group of movies on DVD or VHS. Though some are better and some worse, all are genuine classics.
Which roster of movies would you rather own?
Hey, John — us tall people have to sit somewhere. Maybe the theater chains should force you short folks to sit up front.
And shooting babies is just wrong. Stupid parents, though... sign me up.
Compared to TA:WP, the cuss-fest South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut was a Disney-esque stroll through flowery fields.
I still laughed myself silly at both of them.
Yes, that makes me a bad, bad man.
Yes, yes. I'm ronery too. But you don't see me dealing with terrorist scumbags.
On the other hand, if I had a nuke or two, I might "deal with them" in my own particular way.
When creating their special effects, Parker & Stone should have experimented on the non-puppet Michael Moore before shooting that particular scene.
Is there anything so sad as a missed opportunity?
Freedom isn't free. I know that.
But I'm pretty sure that $1.05 is a lowball price, too.
I am not old enough to see this movie.
You can stop terrorist marionettes by using a bunch of fancy armament.
But it'd be simpler to cut their strings.
America? Yes. Yes, indeed.
All previous snarkiness notwithstanding, I enjoyed the movie. It is unquestionably the best movie I've gone to see this year.
OK, OK, so it's the only movie I've gone out to see this year. I don't get out much.
Note to Angelina: the Hathaway Man look is really only meant for, y'know, men.
The next time I'm in trouble and need armed and dangerous assistance, I hope it's not Angelina Jolie who comes to help, whether she has an arial armada at her disposal, or not.
Update: Emily Procter, with or without the armada, would be just fine.
The real Sky Captains:
and the real World of Tomorrow:
I wanted to buy a gallon of sepia at the home improvement center, but they were out. Seems Sky Captain had used it all. Every bit of it.
Gwyneth Paltrow or not, backseat driving is still backseat driving. Even in a P-40 Warhawk.
Especially in a P-40 Warhawk.
Is there some new law on the books in Hollywood that says a man may perform high-risk deeds of derring-do only if a woman bails him out at the last minute?
Sir Laurence Olivier? OK, I guess... but I could have played that part. For less money, too, I bet.
What is it with evil scientists and giant robots, anyway?
John of Castle Argghhh! has spotted the latest meme to surface: "which of the top 100 grossing movies of all time have you seen?"
I rarely go to the movie theater anymore. I like seeing a good movie on the big screen; I just don't like being wedged into a theater with a couple hundred boorish teenagers.
I'll distinguish between films I've seen on the big screen, in bold, and those I've seen on cable/pay-per-view/DVD, in bold italics. See the extended entry for the list.
1. Titanic (1997) $600,779,824
2. Star Wars (1977) $460,935,665
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) $434,949,459
4. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) $431,065,444
5. Spider-Man (2002) $403,706,375
6. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, (2003) $377,019,252
7. Passion of the Christ, The (2004) $370,025,697
8. Jurassic Park (1993) $356,784,000
9. Shrek 2 (2004) $356,211,000
10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) $340,478,898
11. Finding Nemo (2003) $339,714,367
12. Forrest Gump (1994) $329,691,196
13. Lion King, The (1994) $328,423,001
14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) $317,557,891
15. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) $313,837,577
16. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) $310,675,583
17. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) $309,125,409
18. Independence Day (1996) $306,124,059
19. Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) $305,411,224
20. Sixth Sense, The (1999) $293,501,675
21. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) $290,158,751
22. Home Alone (1990) $285,761,243
23. Matrix Reloaded, The (2003) $281,492,479
24. Shrek (2001) $267,652,016
25. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) $261,970,615
26. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) $260,031,035
27. Jaws (1975) $260,000,000
28. Monsters, Inc. (2001) $255,870,172
29. Batman (1989) $251,188,924
30. Men in Black (1997) $250,147,615
31. Toy Story 2 (1999) $245,823,397
32. Bruce Almighty (2003) $242,589,580
33. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) $242,374,454
34. Twister (1996) $241,700,000
35. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) $241,437,427
36. Ghost Busters (1984) $238,600,000
37. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) $234,760,500
38. Cast Away (2000) $233,630,478
39. Lost World: Jurassic Park, The (1997) $229,074,524
40. Signs (2002) $227,965,690
41. Rush Hour 2 (2001) $226,138,454
42. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) $219,200,000
43. Ghost (1990) $217,631,306
44. Aladdin (1992) $217,350,219
45. Saving Private Ryan (1998) $216,119,491
46. Mission: Impossible II (2000) $215,397,307
47. X2 (2003) $214,948,780
48. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) $213,079,163
49. Back to the Future (1985) $210,609,762
50. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) $205,399,422
51. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) $204,843,350
52. Exorcist, The (1973) $204,565,000
53. Mummy Returns, The (2001) $202,007,640
54. Armageddon (1998) $201,573,391
55. Gone with the Wind (1939) $198,655,278
56. Pearl Harbor (2001) $198,539,855
57. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) $197,171,806
58. Toy Story (1995) $191,800,000
59. Men in Black II (2002) $190,418,803
60. Gladiator (2000) $187,670,866
61. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) $184,925,485
62. Dances with Wolves (1990) $184,208,848
63. Batman Forever (1995) $184,031,112
64. Fugitive, The (1993) $183,875,760
65. Ocean's Eleven (2001) $183,405,771
66. What Women Want (2000) $182,805,123
67. Perfect Storm, The (2000) $182,618,434
68. Liar Liar (1997) $181,395,380
69. Grease (1978) $181,360,000
70. Jurassic Park III (2001) $181,166,115
71. Mission: Impossible (1996) $180,965,237
72. Planet of the Apes (2001) $180,011,740
73. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) $179,870,271
74. Pretty Woman (1990) $178,406,268
75. Tootsie (1982) $177,200,000
76. Top Gun (1986) $176,781,728
77. There's Something About Mary (1998) $176,483,808
78. Ice Age (2002) $176,387,405
79. Crocodile Dundee (1986) $174,635,000
80. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) $173,585,516
81. Elf (2003) $173,381,405
82. Air Force One (1997) $172,888,056
83. Rain Man (1988) $172,825,435
84. Apollo 13 (1995) $172,071,312
85. Matrix, The (1999) $171,383,253
86. Beauty and the Beast (1991) $171,301,428
87. Tarzan (1999) $171,085,177
88. Beautiful Mind, A (2001) $170,708,996
89. Chicago (2002) $170,684,505
90. Three Men and a Baby (1987) $167,780,960
91. Meet the Parents (2000) $166,225,040
92. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) $165,500,000
93. Hannibal (2001) $165,091,464
94. Catch Me If You Can (2002) $164,435,221
95. Big Daddy (1999) $163,479,795
96. Sound of Music, The (1965) $163,214,286
97. Batman Returns (1992) $162,831,698
98. Bug's Life, A (1998) $162,792,677
99. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) $161,963,000
100. Waterboy, The (1998) $161,487,252
After watching the gutsy and inspiring film Battle of Britain, I got to wondering if there might be any such film about France. They really need an inspiring film to redeem their (deservedly) tattered reputation.
Battle of France? No such creature. But there was, to my surprise, a movie named Battle of Paris, an inspiring tale of valiant French arms fighting a desperate battle against the Nazi onslaught.
Well, no, not quite...
Actually, it's a musical from 1929, alternately titled "The Gay Lady."
There's a double meaning in there, somewhere.