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The Green Hornet (2011)
I watched The Green Hornet when I was kid and loved the theme play by the great Al Hirt, and was amazed by Bruce Lee's Kato....This movie was not entirely bad but it was made by people who don't get it, and probably did not care either. They just wanted to make a quick buck while making another piece of top forty pap for the masses.
What was amazing about Bruce Lee's Kato? Well he really did all those amazing stunts without wires or CGI and the America loved being amazed by a human being really doing this. With wires and CGI Kato loses anything remotely amazing or awe inspiring. All this Kato achieved was pedestrian action that had nothing cool or unique about it. So what he could make a good cup of coffee.
The one scene where Britt and Kato where fighting in Britt's mansion reminded me of the Pink Panther and his butler..perhaps that's what Rogen was channeling. But it was laughable and not a good way.
The original Green Hornet was popular because of Bruce Lee so much in fact it was referred to as The Kato Show in Japan. They took the most important key element of the show and turned him into a caricature with true cinematic impotence.
Star Trek (2009)
My brother old school Trekkies...it is indeed very Good!
Yes it is sad there is no Shatner....however you are not given any time to contemplate his absence because this movie waste no time in putting the story into Warp Drive.....There is many things that this movie takes the time to acknowledge about what us "Trekkies" already know that you have to say, "thank you" to the writers and that maverick director...but shortly the rug is pulled out from underneath the "Star Trek" universe....very clever and original......
I actually was trying to resist liking this movie...being an old school Trekkie......The movie won me over in about 15 minutes..... Yes this young cat playing Captain Kirk.....tried to make the role his own...and I admire his effort....but...perhaps because of what I know of the character, and the natural, association with the Shatner....it was inevitable that the audacious and cavalier personality of Shatner played to my heart strings.
But for you newbies to Star Trek, and skeptics....well...I think you're going to enjoy the future....It has been awhile since I wanted to go out and see a movie again the very next day...
Summer is off to a good start.....
Hearts in Atlantis (2001)
Heart of Hopkins
Hearts in Atlantis Another great Anthony Hopkins performance in "Hearts in Atlantis" based upon best selling author Stephen King 's short story "Lowmen in Yellow Coats" from the book of short stories "Hearts in Atlantis".
In a wonderfully acted and directed piece "Hearts in Atlantis" tells the story of Robert Garfield, (David Morse), as he reflects back on his youth.
After receiving an old and tattered baseball glove in the mail, with a letter notifying Robert of the passing of a childhood friend, Robert departs to attend his friend's funeral and also to face the ghosts of his youth.
At the funeral Robert learns of the passing of his childhood sweetheart, Carol Gerber, (Mika Boorem). This hits Robert unexpected, and particularly heart breaking.
Robert then returns to the house of his youth, now abandoned and condemned, where he begins to vividly recall his youth and in particular, his coming of age, when a enigmatic boarder named Ted Brautigan, (Anthony Hopkins) arrives.
Bobby's mother is suspicious of Ted, however Bobby is intrigued by Ted's wise and disarming, demeanor. Part of Bobby's interest, in Ted, is his father died when Bobby was younger and, as result has not had a father figure around.
Bobby's mother, Elizabeth, (Hope Davis) neglects Bobby's emotional and material needs in order to fulfill her selfish obsessions. This will have tragic consequences for Elizabeth, as she will experience a cruel epiphany of her own design.
Though the story centers around Bobby, it's Ted who captivates us as we learn there is more to him then just a mysterious stranger.
Anthony Hopkins demonstrates why he's one of the finest actors around when he relates, to Bobby, the tale of the legendary Bronco Nagurski, of the Chicago Bears. Hopkins weaves a hypnotic magical tale that captures young Bobby's imagination, not so much as Hopkins enraptures the audience.
I have heard it said that Hopkins could read the phone book and make it sound like a thespian masterpiece. I could not agree more with that sentiment.
Bobby's childhood friends of John "Sully" Sullivan, (Will Rothhaar) and Carol Gerber are rich and deeply connected with Bobby's maturing emotions. Stephen King is the undisputed master, in many aspects of writing, but in my opinion, especially childhood relationships.
Ted retains young Bobby's assistance in reading, Ted, the daily newspaper, and alarmingly as a lookout for Lowmen. At first Bobby is concerned that Ted has a shady criminal past, but Ted allays his suspicions with his avuncular manner. Yet Bobby's fear becomes genuine worry for Ted because he does not want to loose this special man who has become his friend, adviser, and guide of insight.
Ted's description of the Lowmen hints at something sinister and pervasive that creates real dread for Bobby and Ted.
I cannot begin to say enough about how Anthony Hopkins made this a deeply satisfying movie experience. His performance alone would be enough for me to recommend this movie. And yes all the performances were grand and deeply enjoyable. And combined with Hopkins acting, and Kings writing, for a time, my Heart was in Atlantis.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Gritty Hands on Bond.
As most here, I was totally blown away by "Casino Royale"....and "Casino Royale" is to Bond movies what "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is to Indiana Jones....So I did kind of go in with lowered expectations....But I have to say I did enjoy the movie. Yes I did miss some of the sophisticated suave Bond stylings....yet this almost brutal..unapologetic Bond I found entertaining, distracting....and successful escapism. With that being said....I hope they don't stay with this formula...as I don't think the franchise would have ever attained the success, it has enjoyed, if it had employed this kind of dark and gritty sort of Bond...However it does make for an entertaining time at the movies...
Dungeons & Dragons (2000)
Did you see the size of that Dwarf?
Did you see the size of that Dwarf? This much anticipated movie of 2000, titled as the very popular role-playing game, should do much to further the question of "What were they thinking?" A great deal of the movie is spend in grandiose costume and CG sets with the actors, primarily one Jeremy Irons, as Profion an evil wizard, over acting in the most laughable manner. Which is odd because Jeremy Irons has never really done anything remotely laughable.
Irons had company in the theatre of the absurd acting style and that was with back up villain played by Bruce Payne as, Damodar in blue lipstick and shaved pate, delivering lines like a macho Tim-Frankenfurter-Curry.
And that is what is at odds with some of the primary components of this movie. I'm sure they did not want the villains to be completely laughable because they would have wanted them to generate enough fear or dread from the audience so they would be concerned for the welfare of the goods guys.
Then you have the good guys, Justin Whalin as Ridley and Marlon Wayans as Snails, who are suppose to have the kind of lighted hearted swashbuckling, devil-may-care, attitude which has been a foregone cliché' in the forms of Han Solo and Indiana Jones. However in D&D the lead character, Ridley, was more like a generic Starbuck from the TV series Battlestar Galactica. Marlon Wayans as the reluctant Snails had lines that were suppose to be comic relief but were flat and lackluster.
I do want to say that I am a huge fan of the Sword and Sorcery genre. I have read many of the great books from Robert Jordan, "The Wheel of Time" series, Terry Brooks the "Shannara" series, and as well as the first three Dragon Lance novels by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman. I really enjoyed those books. So don't get me wrong I do love the genre and I know what it takes to make a good Sword and Sorcery story, yet I was expecting more out of this movie.
The character of the Empress Savina, played by Thora Birch was so visually reminiscent of Queen Amidala from the Phantom Menace that I could not help but be reminded of Amidala every time Birch was on the screen in those over the top costumes.
The story to D&D is real predictable. You know the standard, "OH my God the Princess, Empress-whatever- is in trouble and the evil mean guy is going to ruin everything for her and that will be terrible because she is so nice and concerned about her people-and she's a hot looking unit to boot- so we have to get some reluctant swashbucklers to go through a whole bunch of cool exciting stuff and find a magical thing that will make everything better just in the nick of time before evil mean guy can make the Princess or I mean the Empress lose everything and cry her pretty Hollywood mascara saturated eyes out.
There is a scene in this movie where the character Ridley has to navigate a maze to obtain an important component in finding the magical "thing" to help the Princess err I mean the Empress. This was like a cross from "Return of the Jedi" and all The "Indiana Jones" flicks combined. I couldn't believe there wasn't one original pitfall in the whole thing.
You know I always thought Dragons were supposed to be formidable and intelligent. At least in all the books I read they were. Remember George Lucas's early eighties production of "Dragon Slayer"? That dragon for its time was awesome and fearsome. The Dragons in this movie were so blatantly computer generated that there wasn't anything remotely sentient or frightening about them. I don't know if they want people to think that in the world of Dungeons and Dragons the Dragons look cool as unapologetically CG creations? The grand finale battle scenes were disturbing in that I kept thinking, "What are those X-wing fighters flying around out there?" You see there were so many dragons flying around and spraying fire out causing other dragons to go crashing to earth like jets or X-wing fighters in a dogfight. It was very distracting, as it had no look of realism. It just didn't feel like a movie that took place in the time of Dungeons and Dragons.
By the way did you see the size of that Dwarf?
Preposterous Action and Orgy of Glorified Violence.
A slick looking hyper-adrenaline-rush contrived-flick with an absurdity quotient 15 points off the credibility scale, may entertain some whom may still believe that Mad Max was a real person, and that Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, and Wrestlmania are real.
Yesh there are fine performances by McAvoy and Mr. Freeman, Jolie looks fine and sultry in a smoky come hither-I'm gonna beat your ass then apply my considerable lippage to yours-kinda way.
But the general premise of a "Fraternity" of Assassins and there naturally gifted enhanced physical abilities wears wispy thin in the opening sequence, where an Assassin can manage to pump up his heart rate and adrenaline so he can run and propel himself through significantly sturdy Office Building plate glass window-with out having to blink or close his eyes-then able to still have enough momentum to streak-in mid air-across almost to another building while shooting pistols and automatic weapons accurately, before losing a few feet of elevation and crash through another plate glass Office building.
The movie attempts to get clever with the plot and doesn't work with any believability at the end, and actually caused me to groan out loud.
Of course this movie has a steady stream of well crafted action sequences that will surely keep most entertained; well those who secretly wish they could be an Assassin with Angelina Jolie as their personal trainer.
The movie manages to directly insult it's audience towards the end, and I was like, "I am no such thing", well that's not exactly what I was thinking but you get the drift.
There is also a laughable attempt at visual allegory towards the end, hinting at the "oh what a tangled web we weave..etc, etc, blah, blah." I don't mind suspending my disbelief on a movie where there is some attempt to explain the unbelievable premise, such as "Ironman" "The Incredible Hulk" etc. but this flick I just couldn't hang with.
The Happening (2008)
It was Happening for me.
I enjoyed this movie knowing I would be in the minority, as I tend to be a bit more discerning in my taste in both books and movies.
It is of course understandable why the masses-who have been raised on the top forty pap of todays commercially engineered fare, where demographics are used to gauge and tweak the final product in order to harvest the highest take at the box office-would dislike this movie.
MNS I consider to be a modern day artist with a great creative imagination. It takes courage to try and produce an original and creative story that would perplex your average run-of-the-mill, garden variety movie goer, who is easier entertained by comic book plot machinations, where the hero and the villain are drawn out for them, requiring nothing of the movie goers own mental participation.
Today our planet, is being inundated with man's scrapping of the planets skin to get at the earthy pustules of fuel, cyclones kill thousands, earthquakes kill more, record tornados, rivers cresting and flooding the mid-west,brain eating lake amoebas, bird flu, mrsa, Ebola, acid rain, flesh eating virus, and man pours millions of tons of contaminates into the air, dumps billions of tons of sewage into the rivers, streams, lakes, and the sea. Last year it snowed in down town Bagdad when it hasn't happened in distant memory, and on the same day a tornado touched down in Vancouer Washington where they have never had tornado's.......so why couldn't the earth evolve a self defense mechanism? Or maybe it has.....and we're beginning to reap the evil we have sown.
It so easy to want to see a movie where the villains are laser toting aliens from outer space, or drug crazed murderers, sporting the latest shades, and cool glocks. Or the glamorized conflicted hero who eventually destroy their Nemesis with violence. These movies of course most be decorated up with the latest special effects, explosions, car chases, and/or erotic couplings to further spike the response of the numbed cerebral cortex's of the programmed movie masses so they fork over their money like zombies.
No one wants to consider that the collective defense of the planet's flora could ever evolve a way to save itself from the planets real enemy.....us. Movie goers do not want to think of themselves as the evil enemy of Mother Earth....because then how could the movie have a happy ending?
This movie also requires the viewer to fill in some of the blanks, MNS doesn't spell it out for you, yet he puts in all the hints, the evidence for you to follow....This is a good satisfying movie, but it is not for everyone. It requires the movie goer to think in the bigger scope of our imagination, where on this bluish orb teeming with life, hurtling through the cold vacuum of eternity, that maybe we really are the earth's terminal illness....and the planet is reacting, with spasms, fevers, and anti bodies..........
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Finally a Romantic Movie for Guys
So often us guys have to endure going to romantic comedies, or date flicks so we can entice the lovely objects of our affection to continue to spend "quality" time with us. And more often then not it comes at an expense that goes beyond the mere dollar value of the excursion. That expense is having to tolerate some rather dubious plots, dialog and an ending you could see coming a mile away on your way to the movie theatre.
Now for a guy a long comes "The Incredible Hulk", and it so lovely a date movie for guys. It has a beautiful intelligent girl, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) who stands by her man. And no matter how angry and destructive he gets, no matter how unfashionable and tattered his clothes get, she stands by her man; Hulk that is, (Eddie Norton), and though he now only has a rain drenched cave for him to sleep in Betty stays by Hulk's side and even snuggles with him; and together they hold the cold, wet, and lonely dark night at bay.
They wake to face hostile world together.
I sincerely enjoyed this movie, and I am probably the only one who also enjoyed Ang Lee's thoughtful "Hulk". I think that is all right to enjoy both, though they are different interpretations, they both were quite satisfying to me....now if I could only find me a Betty Ross, and I wouldn't have to watch my temper, worry about my ragged clothes, or the dark lair I live in.
10,000 BC (2008)
So real, so accurate, so incredible, so technical, so sucky
I really wanted to like this movie. I went in with an open mind and sat there ready to be entertained. It did not take long for me to begin groaning, and not from butt cramps mind you, but from absurdity.
So let me explain, Okay I thought the opening narrative should have been nixed and perhaps some hieroglyphic style text on some lost cave wall, explaining the legend of the blue eye, but that's just me.
Where I really lost hope was with the Bob Marley tribe of Mammoth Hunters. The dreadlocks threw me for a loop, and I know that maybe, and I emphasis maybe because of antiquated hygiene their hair might turn out that way, but then how did they get their teeth so perfectly artificially white? Then the one gals perfectly waxed eye brows looked very nice, so nice in fact I wondered who in the tribe has the salon? The CGI mammoths and "spear tooths" were okay at best. The beginning hunt scene of the mammoths was so like ah...........well imagine if you were in Alaska and you decided to hunt a grizzly bear and you stabbed Mr. grizzly bear with say ah.......let me see.......why yes you decided to hunt Mr. grizzly bear with a fondue fork and you successfully slay the beast...not sure if you're getting my drift here but alas, alas the most wonderfully delightful tasty absurdity is saved for the very last, and I shan't spoil such a morsel for you.
There were other points of sheer Tom Foolery with the dialog being so modern, I almost expected the lead Bob Morley dude to say, "Let's go bust a cap in their asses".
Anyone remember that movie "Quest for Fire"? Well there was no English nor was there subtitles and that movie came across so much more real, sincere in its execution.
Oh well the good thing is they will probably make a sequel to this called, "9,999 BC", I can hardly wait.......Mmm
Holy Freaking Jumping Violent Catfish
Yeah I know this is Rambo, not Shakspeare, not anything but what it is, and it is what it is, John Rambo. An outcast, ostracized Vietnam Vet. How many of you know any real Vietnam Vets out there? I know a few, my uncle was a Green Beret who served in Nam, he came back alive, but wasn't exactly the Avon Lady, if get my drift.
This movie gave me my bang for my buck. I have also been a Stallone fan, even through the lean times. He's an easy target for ridicule, but he's always delivered the goods.
When I see a movie I know what I'm getting into, like when I saw "Remains of the Day", "Atonement", "Map of the World". or if it's "The Princess Bride", "Lonesome Dove" or the "LotR" trilogy, I know going in. And Stallone has hit another Home run, that's right two Home runs in a row now, "Rocky Balboa" and "Rambo".
Do not go see this movie if you're a cynic, peacock, or self ordained movie snob. Do us, and yourself a favor do not see this. Okay? But if you love "On the edge of your seat action", "Hold your breath tension", "Adrenline pumping" "Old School Nineteen Eightes shoot up action", that pulls no punches; then do your self a favor and put your pedal to the medal, and get on down to the theatre at Warp Factor 9 and treat yourself to an awesome-fun, pure escapism, mindless, popcorn munching great time.
Oh by the way, Stallone YOU ROCK!