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Thankfully NOT the comic book... some minor spoilers
I read Wanted quite a while back having heard about it and seeing that I'm a comic book fan and collector I bought it and looked forward to a good read. Wow. It was the worst piece of junk ever laid to paper. Thank God they didn't faithfully adapt the book. The first half of the story was excellent, I loved Wesley Gibson's character, and then it started to quickly slid downhill with the introduction of ridiculous characters made of crap (literally), there's another idiotic character whose name I can't repeat here, a booger picking moron and costumed super hero battles in alternate universes. It was like the first half of the book was written by one person, and then the second half was written by another person who hadn't read the first part and just jumped in with whatever plot they felt like writing. Basically, Wanted the graphic novel was about an assassin brotherhood, but these assassins in the comic rape, pillage, and wantonly kill anyone they want. Period. Yawn.
Thankfully they changed the second half of the movie from the comic, nixed the super hero battles, moronic crap filled characters, booger picking anti-heros and costumes and went for something more realistic... if you called curved bullet and bullets smashing into one another realistic. But I can live with that, it's like a ultra-violent urban fantasy and it's absolutely fantastic. I ADORED this movie and I can't wait to see it again. Some people criticized the second act as the Fraternity (as the assassins call themselves) brings Wesley up to speed, but I enjoyed every minute. Yes, even the torture porn, as one reviewer called it, was cool. Third act, awesome. Never lets up. They even semi-kept the twist from the comic, but made it better. And yes, Wesley gets the last word even if it's not quite like the original story it's still funny.
To help gauge this review, I am not between the ages of 16-25 and I am female. I would not take my two young kids (10 and 13) to see this movie. It's a great adult fantasy.
I was channel surfing just the other day and because of a lack of decent programming due to the writer's strike I was having a difficult time finding something to watch. Then I came across MI-5 on BBC America. I had heard about this excellent series and I just happen to be a '24' fan, and also a fan of spy thriller in general in both books and movies, so I checked it out.
I just happened to catch not only a season ender but a season premier! Lucky me! It was "Smoke and Mirrors" and "Friendly Fire" (I don't have the entire title of that second). WOW, even though these two eps were my introduction to MI-5 I was instantly sucked in and was SO glad that I immediately got to watch Friendly Fire after Smoke and Mirrors. The long time fans of MI-5 must have been going nuts wondering what happened to Tom Quinn and his boss Harry.
The dialogue in this series is just stellar. I have to mention that since there were more than a few excellent zingers exchanged between Harry and the head of the JIC--I forgot his name, remember, I'm brand new to the series, so I'm still learning. The chemistry of the main cast has to be mentioned as well. It was that which pulled me in. I love Tom Quinn (good looking guy! =) ), and I'm looking forward to knowing the rest of the cast better.
I recommend MI-5 to anyone who likes good, well written drama mixed with believable action, character motivation and story, as well as those fans missing their "24" fix this season. As for me, I'm very happy to add MI-5 to my list of must-see shows. I'm going to hop on over to Netflix and see if previous season disks are available for rent. I think this rainy weekend is going to be good for a MI-5 marathon.
Excellent acting makes this series work....
It would be easy for Supernatural to come off as hokey or ridiculous, and I wasn't even sold on the entire premise in the beginning, but I kept watching because the subject was interesting and I wanted to see where the writers were going to take us.
I'm glad I kept watching. What makes this a stand out is the actors Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. They take what the writer's churn out and turn it into two very believable snapshots in the lives of two bothers living a life of unspeakable horror and loss. Mother killed by demons. Father sacrifices himself to a demon for the sake of his son, Dean. Dean in turn sacrifices himself for his brother Sam and has 1 year to live before becoming a demon, the very thing he hates and hunts. Still, even with what could become a complete downer of a show, they manage to inject a sense of humor and adventure. And their roles as brothers are very believable.
Every week I turn in eagerly for what I feel is arguably the best hour of genre TV each week. The writing is always top-notch even when the story itself is uneven, and even then, Ackles and Padalecki pull it off.
I'm surprised this show is not more of a hit.
Knight Rider: Knight Rider (2008)
How did this script get a greenlight?
I was looking forward to the remake of Knight Rider. I remember liking it as a kid. I remember the cool car and David Hasselhof as the ultra suave Michael Knight. I'd been reading here about the two hour pilot, and although it had received some poor reviews, I wasn't daunted. I'm pretty lenient when it comes to TV and movies. As long as it's free and I'm mildly entertained I'm fine.
I'm very unhappy to report that Knight Rider 2008 is beyond awful. Although the lead Justin Bruening is major eye candy, he has zero charisma. I mean, I can go with a bad plot if there's a decent looking guy to oogle, but if I have to concentrate on some guys cut biceps to block out a downright horrid silly **stupid** plot, there's something tremendously broken. Did anyone buy, for even a second, Deanna Russo as a Stanford prof? What was the purpose of Carrie the lesbian FBI agent? Why show Mike in bed with two women?
I'm utterly puzzled how such a amateurishly written screenplay could have received a green light. Who could of possibly said "Yeah, this is great, let's do it!" Uh... third graders? The plot was so thin, so ridiculous and frivolous that it had to be filled in by countless shots of the car driving through scenic desert. The only thing I can figure is... well, I can't figure out any reason why this screenplay made it through. And I'm not complaining about the change in car, the Ford Mustang was fine by me. The voice of Val Kilmer for KITT is fine. My gripe is that this could have been an awesome remake and they blew it.
Bottom line, there is no excuse for how horrible this remake was. None.
Burn Notice (2007)
This show rocks
By the end of the first show, the 1-1/2 hour premier, I was hooked. Donovan (remember him from The Pretender?) is charismatic and believable as the spy left out in the cold. I was pleasantly surprised to see Gabrielle Anwar. She starred in a friend's indie film and I wondered what happened to her. And Bruce Campbell.. well who doesn't like him? He adds good depth as Michael Western's grizzled friend. Great cast and sharp writing with Miami serving as a superb backdrop. This series has a load of potential so I'm hoping people will jump on board and start watching. I'm tempted to give it 10/10 as I didn't see anything that I didn't like. I'm looking forward to the new episode tomorrow (Thursday). This show is better than most movies coming out this summer. Great blend of action and humor.
One of my favorite books and the movie did it justice
I loved "Point of Impact" by Stephen Hunter. It's one of the few books that I've read multiple times (along with books by Vince Flynn and Tom Clancy). I love a good conspiracy, and even better is a hero who does the right thing without getting hung up on what is politically correct. Usually, movies from books get it wrong. I gad a hard time getting behind the Bourne Identity even though people were raving about it. That was a head scratcher for me. But I saw it a second time and I warmed up to it. The book is still loads better.
I thought "Shooter" (Point of Impact) got it right, and this is from someone who's read the book 4 times. In fact, the movie is actually better in some ways than the book. And dare I say it, this movie is better than either of the Bourne movies which I have come to like very much. Maybe I have a different perspective since I'm familiar with all the books these respective movies were written from? Maybe knowing the books as well as I do clues me in a bit more? I think the key to "Shooter", now that I've seen the movie twice, is that you've GOT to pay attention to every scene. From the opening scene of the burning village you need to pay attention. I think the majority of reviewers missed some subtle things. The problem with a story like this is that if the conspiracy is too blatant, the hero is blamed for being a bonehead and not 'getting' the obvious, but if the hints are too subtle, the story is blamed for being preposterous because it's easy to miss important dialog. It's a balancing act that I think Antoine Fuqua, Mark Wahlburg and the writer (forgot his name, sorry) pulled off very well **if you pay attention**.
This is just one more opinion, and we all know what opinion are like right? If someone is reading this who has not seen the movie, please don't go in expecting Rambo or Commando. Listen/watch each scene carefully and you'll see that the conspiracy is brilliant. Johnson (Glover's character) and company, make certain someone takes the blame quickly so that law enforcement will stop looking for the real culprits. It happens all the time, which is why we see innocent people sent to jail. There was a 60 Minutes show about just this topic.
I'm not kidding when I gave this movie a '10' out of '10'.
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Why do smart spy thrillers only come along rarely? Why can't more be written and produced? There were no sly asides in this movie, no silly one-liners or the hero doing ridiculous things. We have a great movie, well filmed, well written with talented actors that make you believe this is real. There was a good balance of excitment and mystery. And when it's exciting, the movie really puts you in the middle of whatever is happening be it a fight or chase. Usually, car chases do nothing for me, they're over done and unexciting. The car chase in Bourne Supremacy was masterful. I was cringing in my seat flinching at each hit. The movie completely worked for me. This is definitely one that requires a second viewing just to get the pieces that I missed the first time around. I'd say a 9/10 only because I thought one fight scene (a rolled up magazine?! Great!) was too shaky and would have benefited from a steadier camera.
Van Helsing (2004)
More to it than you think.... SPOILERS ...
Let me say up front that I loved this movie. I haven't had as much fun at a movie theatre in years. This movie is pure story telling spectacle at its finest. Total entertainment. This, to me, is the purpose of a movie: go get lost for two hours and forget about everything else, forget about the world and get lost in a fantasy. Van Helsing did that for me. There were tons of CG but it fit the story and never detracted from it. However, I believe there's more to this movie, an added layer, that will pass over most viewers' heads.
SPOILERS AHEAD.... although they'll make you want to go back and watch the movie again...
There has been complaints/criticisms/mutterings about Van Helsing's identity. Given the clues in the movie it's very clever what Stephen Sommers has done.
The reason Van Helsing cannot remember his family and the reason he was found on the steps of the Vatican is because Van Helsing is an angel cast down from Heaven.
I kid you not.
Gabriel is one of the highest-ranking angels in Christian, Judaism and Mohammedan religious lore. He is the angel of vengeance, death, and resurrection. Gabriel is said to sit on the left-hand side of God (remember in the movie the Left Hand of God killed Dracula during the first go-round). Now here is the important part: Gabriel is also identified as a man-God-angel and in Babylonian legend he fell into disgrace for not obeying a command exactly as given, and for that was cast down from heaven.
I think what Sommers was getting at is that the last command Gabriel disobeyed was one relating to his battle with Dracula. For that he was cast out of heaven with no memories of who (or what) he is.
Dracula recognized him as the man whom almost killed him, yet, if Gabriel was that man, he would be dead from old age. So my theories make sense. Gabriel can't age; he's not human-at least not entirely. I have to wonder if that explains his werewolf at the climatic scene, how he was bigger, more powerful then the others and able to resist Dracula's commands. A battle of Titans! The devil vs. heaven. Although Van Helsing may be mostly mortal at this point, he still retains a spark of what he once was: The Angel of Death and Vengeance. He is doing what he was created to do and is perhaps more effective on Earth than in Heaven.
If you see the movie with this knowledge, it gives the movie an added layer above the spectacle and FX. Watch for the clues, such as Dracula mentioning how human heartbeats increase when he is close and how Van Helsing's does not. Listen carefully to the message of the picture behind the wood panel. Note that Van Helsing can see Anna Valerious ascend to heaven, and that Carl (the monk played by David Wenham) can not. Very cool. Maybe there are more clues that I missed.
I'm going to see it again and get as many people rounded up as possible to see it with me.
I remember this movie in the theater. I wanted to see it but don't remember why I didn't get to it. Now I wish I would have. At first I didn't know that to think. In some ways it reminded me of the Matrix, the priest-like black cassock and Bale's slicked back black hair. Then as the movie progressed, it completely sucked me in. I enjoyed that there was none of the usual (and for some reason popular) wire-fu. And seriously, I've never seen gun-fu and totally dug it. Cool premise. I rented it and ended up buying it for my collection. It's worth it for Kurt Wimmer's commentary. I'm a screenwriter and may be going into production on a low-budget thriller, so I especially appreciated his comments on budget. Ha! Won't have any black floors! Very very awesome movie. Fabulous actors. This convinced me that Christian Bale is going to make a perfect batman.
Good but too rushed.
Part I was excellent, part II seemed very rushed especially towards the end. I know a little bit about Attila the Hun and after the battle of Chelon (sp?) he went on to conquer many more towns before retreating. It is not known if he retreated due to the Pope's entreaty or because he wanted to winter his troops in his own homeland. In part II he's suddenly back at his palace getting married. It was an abrupt switch and had me confused. Otherwise I thought the acting was excellent. Powers Booth was wonderful. I'm surprised he hasn't done any voice acting, what a great, deep voice. Until this show, I've never seen Gerard Butler and the man certainly has charisma. Although I enjoyed the eye candy, I had to wonder if Attila was *really* this good looking. ;)