Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
End of the Line (2007)
My Greatest Fear Realized
OK I want to warn again, this review contains spoilers even though you'll know what I'm talking about in the first 15 minutes of the movie.
For a long time I've always said I'm not particularly scared of dying or hell or any of that stuff. What has kept me up at night is 'shit, what if the religious far right is... well right?' What if a doctor who spent his life helping people is condemned to hell only because he didn't accept the lord Jesus as his savior? What if the imam who preaches tolerance and acceptance really is being led astray by Satan himself? Isn't that a chilling thought? This movie, in addition to being a truly solid psychological thriller, horror and (I hate to lump it in there, but...) slasher flick it also raises some very very taboo subjects. Think about that word taboo. Taboo used to be an album cover with a decomposing body on a cross. Now it's the norm in pop culture to poke fun at, belittle and generally consider religious belief a waste of time. This movie has swung the other way, proclaiming that 'yes those people who shoot at doctors who perform abortions were probably right all along!' My favorite scene in the movie is when one of the characters makes it out. One of the cultists, elated at doing God's work, tells the character to look at the sky. He does and the look on his face is just withering. Of course a lot of the movie is just in the subtext, and it's easy to write off the antagonists as simply crazy cult people. But I challenge you to look deeper into this movie. I put this movie up there with The Mist in terms of the unsettling feeling it left me with. Also watch the character of Patrick. His performance of crazy guy is really, really unsettling.
The point of this movie, I think, was to use the angle we've all seen before. Typical slasher/survivor flick. You want to hate the cultists, their characters are everything we've come to expect from the religious people in movies who go on a rampage. But in the end, they were doing everyone a favor and you have to rethink the entire movie. Keep in mind also that the budget for the movie was probably equal to my annual income. Sure we would have all loved to have seen the sky in the end, seen the vast hordes of demons erupt from the bodies of the slain. Let your imagination do that for you, and now imagine that throughout this entire ordeal you've managed to hide, run and fight your way through the night to end up one of the last people alive on Earth. Then watch the end of the movie.
War of the Worlds (2005)
Good Movie, Misses the Point
I was very, very excited when I heard Steven Spielberg was making a movie out of H.G. Well's War of the Worlds. The story was the first science fiction I ever read and it still sticks in my mind as one of the finest, most ahead of it's time pieces of literature. Imagine, writing about alien invasion at a time when most every other author was making a living selling cheap cowboy stories or writing plays. Even much of Jules Verne's work, a master of sci-fi himself, was comparatively terrestrial. We take aliens in fiction for granted today but back then I wonder what people made of it.
I wanted to like the movie, I really really did. The old 1953 version had it's moments, but it wasn't really War of the Worlds. The 53 version told the story of global impact of a Martian invasion, Wells told the story of how it affected one man. In that Spielberg got it right. It was a very personal story, and kudos to Tom Cruise for his portrayal of a man caught up in a world gone mad. The scene with him and the ash made everyone in the theater cringe. The way he ran from scene to scene reminded me of that footage I've seen of deer fleeing forest fires. Animals driven mad. The Martians themselves, although never named, were superb. The fighting machines were actually very close to the original descriptions. The heat ray was a neat twist... ohh neutron beams.
But where the movie fails for me isn't in the bloopers or plot holes, but rather the story itself. The Narrator in the original story is not a father, has a wife that he loves but is not a noble figure. He was simply an observer, a regular person who witnessed the most horrific event in human history and somehow managed to survive and relay his story. The movie, for me, wasn't about the Martians. It was about how this man goes from being a dead-beat dad to an good father. Which is fine, it was a story well told. But it wasn't the story I wanted to see in a $200 mil sci-fi movie. Frankly I wanted to see the battles between the army and the Martians (favorite part from the book was the iron clad Thunderchild), I wanted to see the main character absolutely on the brink of collapse, ready to just throw himself suicidally at the Martians' feet, and gosh darn it I did NOT want to see that at the end of the movie, even though millions of people had died... the main character's ENTIRE family was spared. Granted at the end of the book, the Narrator found his wife and cousin but that was within the realm of credibility, his wife managed to get on the last ship out of England.
In short this was a good movie, but it wasn't War of the Worlds. Books can be brought to the screen and remain true to the story they tell, but only if the directors want it to. This was Hollywood making one story about survival and horror and the perseverance of the human spirit and turning it into a story of personal redemption and Dakota Fanning screaming like that girl from Poltergeist. Like I said that would have been a good story, and I woulda watched it with Spielberg at the helm. But it wasn't the story I wanted to see.
Better for me than others. Spoilers within
I really enjoyed this movie, the concept and the message. It's easier for me to like because of my background in World of Darkness roleplaying games. This movie smacks of Wraith: The Oblivion.
The basic premise of the movie is a previously unknown frequency of radio waves is discovered. The radio waves are actually the resonance of the dead, the angry dead or something else. Because of this, the dead are able to take notice of us for the first time, where they may not have noticed us before. They 'infect' other frequencies and slowly wear away the walls between our world and theirs.
Put the acting aside, put the script aside and pay attention to the plot. This is one of the darkest movies of the last few years because of the premise. Alas they tried to make it into a monster movie instead of making it more like The Mist, they made it more of a "lets stop the bad things" instead of a "how normal people deal with this situation." But still I liked it a lot.
The West Wing (1999)
One of the Finer Pieces of Television
I'm sorry but I had to bump the other guy off the screen.
Look the West Wing is a solid show. It is humorous (what other show has character's accidentally sleeping with call girls and presidents riding their bikes into tree?), very dramatic and well acted (Season 2 finale will make you cry) and chock full of action (Season 1 finale...).
I've talked to Republicans who love this show simply because it realisticly portrays government. Look at the goofs and trivia: sugar packets and limo doors. Barely a mention of something they get wrong concerning the working of the government.
This show will get you excited about politics, or at the very least television. Say whatcha want about Season 4+, I'm eagerly waiting for the next to air on CBS.