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I just happened to catch this on PBS, and was quickly drawn into the story. Initially I was intrigued by the physics (I wish I could say I understood everything discussed), but soon was rewarded with the additional aspects of familial and human relations that was explored in the film as well.
As a history buff, I was envious of the position of Mark Everett as he went on a journey to discover his father's past. As a son, I couldn't be any less envious of the relationship he had with his father. However, seeing Everett's progression and evolution of emotions and views in regards to his father, and his family as a whole, was quite entertaining and emotionally rewarding.
Maybe it's just my eclectic interests, or maybe the more universal aspects of the human experience, but I found the film enjoyable. I would definitely recommend it, and wouldn't mind watching it again. The soundtrack certainly doesn't hurt either.
Second only to Conan
I've casually watched Craig Ferguson's show since he took over the time slot. He started off mildly amusing, but I persisted if for no other reason than to hear his authentic accent. He's continued to improve and tighten the mechanics of the show up. Only Conan O'Brien's show is consistently better than Ferguson's.
Instead of a tired and predictable opening monologue like Leno and Letterman, Ferguson's segment feels more like a stand-up routine. He continues to make the show entertaining throughout even if the guests are sub-par. That's the only thing holding his show back at this point. Bigger and better personalities would further separate Ferguson from the lower echelon of late night hosts like Leno, Letterman, Kimmel, and the abominable Carson Daly.
Ferguson has won me over, and I'm watching more consistently now. I wish more people would.
More than a story about a band.
As a preface, I must admit that I am biased in not only my understanding of the film, but my preconceived notions before entering the theater. I am a Metallica fan, and as such, am fiercely loyal. That loyalty was certainly not tested, and likely not needed in relation to this film.
I have watched many hours of footage relative to Metallica and even the recording of St. Anger, the album recorded during the filming of this movie, yet this movie was presented in a significantly more interesting manner. Berlinger and Sinofsky paint a compelling image on the canvas that is Metallica's world. In fact, this movie redefines the world of Metallica from being a huge corporate entity to being actual living, feeling, and breathing human beings. Interactions between Ulrich, Hetfield, and Hammett are captured in their apparently most brazen forms contrary to the many years of moderate public relation efforts of the band to promote a more cohesive and powerful unit.
That isn't to say that Metallica is neither cohesive or powerful. In fact, this movie shows the band's progression to these plateaus. Friendships are reborn and better cultivated, past animosities addressed, fears illuminated, and ultimately a certain level of peace and unity achieved by the members of the band, and all right before the viewer's eyes. Berlinger and Sinofsky masterfully meld and edit the many hours of footage into a compelling and direct package. Particularly impressive is the montage of shots displaying the debauchery and lasciviousness existent in the rock world while audio of Hetfield singing rough cuts of a song entitled, "Temptation," which ultimately did not make the album, is played. Further items of great significance are the words of former Metallica members Jason Newsted and Dave Mustaine as well as the bass player tryouts and subsequent addition of Robert Trujillo.
If you are a Metallica fan then you cannot go wrong in viewing this film, and I heartily recommend it. If you are merely a casual fan, or have no particular interest in the band, then I even more strongly urge you to watch this piece. You are sure to gain a glimpse into not only the workings of a rock juggernaut, but a stunning view into the minds and and worlds of three distinctly different yet extraordinarily compelling people. Truly the best film I have seen in quite some time.
Heat Vision and Jack (1999)
Jack Black is the man, and Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller rock. This show was awesome. I really wish they would have made a few more episodes, though I doubt sincerely that it would have done well in the ratings. If no other reason, than this show is great because it featured a clip of Doctor Who, and played Metallica. These are a few of my favorite things. When the dog bites.... ahem, well, you get the idea. Funny, silly, and stupid. Can't ask for much more.
Gods and Generals (2003)
Too good a film for the common man
If you are only interested in seeing historical depictions of military action for the blood, guts, suffering, and death, then Gods and Generals is certainly not for you. However, if you wish to gain a greater understanding of the men who lead, then Gods and Generals is an exemplary film to watch.
I was surprised and impressed to see that the movie was not painted with a Union bias. In fact, the greater part of the film focuses upon General Jackson and to a lesser extent General Lee and their motivation and character, although Colonel Chamberlain of the Union forces is also similarly portrayed.
The film does show large scale combat, but does so in a tasteful and thoughtful manner. Blood and gore is kept to a minimum while at the same time done in a manner that does not betray the true brutality and violent nature of war. We need not be inundated with graphic displays to know that war is horrible, and Gods and Generals demonstrates this point clearly.
I was once again amazed at the acting prowess of Stephen Lang as he portrayed General Jackson with the dignity and honor he deserves. It is hard to believe that Lang also played Ike Clanton in Tombstone. He is surely one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood today. Duvall and Daniels too are to be given praise for their fine portrayals of Lee and Chamberlain respectively.
I have but two complaints. One, that although the filmmakers made an honorable attempt to show that the majority of southerners were fighting the war in an effort to defend their way of life and perceived independence, they could have shown more of the ultimate origin of the war being the topic of states sovereignty as opposed to federal might. I found it interesting, however, that it was the Union officer Chamberlain who points out that war often makes things clearer, and that slavery, a subset of states sovereignty, actually was a root cause of the war. That said, it is important to note from a historical perspective that it was in fact the north that supplied the south with the slaves at a hefty profit, and then expected the south to free said slaves without any reparations or compensation from their northern brethren.
Two, the film needed to be longer. There is just entirely too much to cover in but one film, even a three hour film. The filmmakers did a marvelous job given their time constraints, and it is important to note that Gods and Generals is just but one portion of a three part trilogy discussing the American Civil War.
All in all, I highly recommend this film to anyone wishing to glean a greater understanding as to the motivating factors contributing to war in general and the American Civil War specifically. If you know you have a short attention span and a dulled intellectual interest then stay away from Gods and Generals. You might do something foolish like learn something.