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My interests include large format photography (4x5 & 8x10, film ONLY!!), meteorology, storm chasing, amateur astronomy, astrophotography, hiking, backpacking, camping, kayaking & canoeing, mountain biking, skiing, hang gliding, animals & protecting the environment, growing bonsai trees, crafting wire trees, charcoal drawing, reading, watching movies, surfing the internet, and last but not least, continuing my education until the day I die.
I'm a collector at heart and have more collecting hobbies than I care to admit, with new ones popping up all the time. I currently collect lithographs/prints, replica weapons (mostly sci-fi), vintage camera's and lenses, vintage Orange Crush memorabilia, first edition books, coins/precious metals, Sideshow statues and figurines, comics (mostly golden age and silver age), original comic art, vintage denim, vintage Belstaff and Barbour jackets, unopened boxes of original series Wacky Packages, video games, railroad and silver certificates, etc.. The list goes on and on.
So to sum this up, I am basically a professional photographer that loves the outdoors and is absolutely obsessed with collecting.
The problem with sites like IMDB
Honestly, why anyone would come to a site like IMDB for reviews anymore is utterly beyond my understanding. A significant percentage of people literally have no clue how to properly critique something like a film. Those people just throw out 1's and 10's like they were no big deal. Anyone who thinks any of the Star Wars film made to date a truly a 1 have never seen a film by Asylum or similar movie companies. Those are film that are truly deserving of a score as low as a 1. Haters and fanboys, and many in between, have utterly ruined online ratings for movies, games, music, etc.
So do yourself a HUGE favor and don't come to sites like IMDB if you want legitimate reviews written by people that actually have the ability to stand back from a movie and give a legitimate critique over all of the aspects of filmmaking. A great film is a combination of great characters, great acting, having a great script, and having a great score to top it off. And with films like Star Wars, special effects also plays a key role. Again, just look at the special effects from films like Transmorphers by Asylum if you really want to see what a 1 in that rating gets you. Coming on sites like IMDB and seeing films like this score a 1 is just laughable in every aspect possible. Those are people who are so blinded by not getting a product they wanted that they score everything in the film a 1 when clearly that isn't the case. Anyone who gives Star Wars a 1 in the special effects or score categories are exactly the kind of people you want to be ignoring when it comes to rating films. Do yourself a huge favor and find a couple quality reviewers who have similar opinions to your own and leave the drivel on sites like IMDB for the the same people that write that drivel.
As for the Last Jedi, it could have been better and it could have been much worse. This film should score between a 5 and 7, at least from anyone that has any skills at all at critiquing. Again, scoring this film a 1, or a 10 for that matter, is just laughable at best. If I were in charge of IMDB, I would have the system automatically delete such drivel.
The Defenders (2017)
Really best suited for the die hard super hero fans!
I don't think most people realize, even to this day, just what an amazing feat Marvel pulled off when they released Avengers, and more recently Civil War. Pulling off successful ensemble team up's are a LOT harder than most people think and it was Marvel's choice to go with many individual films first before going with the team up films that made them so successful. It really allowed the team up films to jump right into the stories without any big character introductions or long exposition scenes to set up relationships or what was going on. Even the main antagonist for Avengers (Loki) was a character we already knew from Thor. Basically, Marvel really set things up perfectly with its motion pictures and in so doing really created the perfect blueprint for super hero films in general.
So with all that being said, one would think that Marvel should have had the same success with The Defenders since each character has already had its own individual series before Defenders, but unfortunately Defenders had one thing going against it that wasn't present with the motion pictures, that being that the characters and the series in general were very unique and stylistically very different from one another, in just about every way possible. Even the cinematography style of the shows differed quite dramatically. So bringing these 4 charatcers and styles together into a single show was going to be very challenging, even more so than the ensemble films IMO.
And for some strange reason, Marvel didn't take advantage of the advantages that having individual shows can give you like they did with Avengers and Civil War. Again, with Avengers we already knew most of the main players including the main antagonist and that really allowed Avengers to jump right into the main story and that gave the film just a stellar pace as again there was really no need for introductions or long exposition scenes explaining what was going on. The different pieces just came together perfectly. Yet with Defenders, Marvel largely keeps these characters separate from one another for a significant portion of the series. It isn't even really until half way through that the team really comes together. That causes a couple of problems. First and most importantly, the initial episodes have to jump back and forth between all of the various characters and the show really doesn't even feel like a team up show at this point. And 2nd, it makes the blending of the various styles of the shows that much more difficult since the first 4 episodes basically stick with the styles of the individual shows depending on what character your watching at any given time instead of creating a new style for this ensemble,
What you ultimately wind up with is a series that really struggles in its first half of the season. Die hard super hero fans or huge fans of the individual series might not have too much a problem with this aspect of the show, but for the general population or for those that aren't die hard super hero fans....well, the first half of the Defenders will definitely be viewed by most as the weakest first half of all the shows released to date. Hopefully it doesn't stop too many people from finishing the show as once the team actually comes together, its a VASTLY more successful show. While the uniqueness of the individual shows makes it more difficult to make an ensemble, the uniqueness of the actual characters themselves makes for a very interesting team once it actually comes together.
All in all, Defenders is still a good show and many Marvel/super hero fans in general will still wind up enjoying it. Unfortunately, its just not as good as it could have been as the first half of the show really struggles to find its feet and most importantly to mesh the various characters and styles into an individual show. Once it does tho, The Defenders shines just like everything else Marvel seems to touch these days. Its just a shame that it takes almost half the series to really reach that point.
"Nothing will make sense to your American ears and you will question everything we do, but in the end you will understand"
That quote is one of the things Alejendro (Benicio Del Toro's character) says to Kate Macer (Emily Blunt's character) at the beginning of the film and it really sums up this film perfectly as the viewer is basically in the same position as Kate in regards to understanding what is going on in this film and as a result, you really do question everything that is going on and you really don't understand everything until the end. Honestly, this is one of the best drug related movies I have seen in a very long time!!
I don't want to give any spoilers away as to do so would be a crime to the people that haven't seen this film yet. Its got an absolutely fantastic script and the directing and cinematography are both absolutely off the hook brilliant. One of the things that stood out the most for me was just how amazing the control of tension was in this film. There is a scene in the beginning where the team crosses over to Juarez Mexico to pick up a high level drug detainee and brings him back across to the US. It was roughly 10-15 minutes of the movie and the tension in that scene just builds and builds throughout the entire scene. It was just a masterfully crafted sequence of the film, in every single aspect of film making, and the film only gets better and better from there.
The cinematography in general was just absolutely brilliant throughout the entire film. The car scene I just mentioned in the beginning, the amazing aerial photography shot on the border and in the city of Juarez, and in particular the use of satellite imagery, drone imagery, and the use of night vision photography towards the end of the film. They even use security camera footage. Its just a masterful blending of a whole slew of different photographic tools and styles and it really helps give the film a sense of realism and really helps put you in the shoes of Kate and the team. I'm a professional photographer so I tend to focus on cinematography more than your average film goer, but this cinematography is so well done that I think most movie goers that appreciate a beautifully shot film will be talking about just how amazing this aspect of this film was when the credits start rolling.
And the casting is just top notch. Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio Del Toro all give top notch performances. Benicio Del Toro's performance is definitely the best of the 3, but that's mostly because his character was the most interesting of the 3. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue behind his character and you don't find out the real story behind Alejando until the end of the film and Del Toro does a brilliant job with the role. You can see Kate trying to figure out just who Alejendro is from the very beginning of the film and were only given small bits of information on his character as the film goes on. One of my favorite aspects of Josh Brolin's character, Matt Graver, was just how much he enjoys sticking it to the bad guys. He is a man that truly loves what he is doing and you see him smiling in many scenes where most people wouldn't be. And Emily Blunt definitely holds her own. All 3 play off each other really well and the result is one of the best acted films I have seen in awhile.
If there was one weakness in regards to the casting it was with Kate's partner Reggie. Its not that he did a bad job, its just everyone else did such an amazing job that his character just doesn't hold up and feels kinda boring. Fortunately, even when he is there, the focus is usually on one of the other team members so his performance really doesn't hurt the film at all. Again, his performance just wasn't up to par with the rest of the performances in the film.
All in all, Sicario is just a brilliant film. It has a fantastic script, great casting, top notch performances, and some of the best cinematography I have seen in some time. It has action, tension, intrigue, and it has some great twists and a great ending. Ultimately, this film was a very different take on the whole "war on drugs" genre of films.
Definitely a solid 9/10 for me!!
The Dark Tower (2017)
Yet another weak Stephen King film!!
This film reminds me of the situation surrounding the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The film was turned down by one studio after another as none of the studios wanted to commit to making 3 films. One of the studios actually agreed to make it, but only if the script was condensed into a single film. Thankfully the people that had the rights and were pitching the films understood that the idea of translating the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in a single film was a laughable proposition and the end result would have been a terrible film that would ultimately do no justice to the source material. They were willing to bring it down to 2 films instead of 3, but the studio wound up turning them down.
The final studio they approached was New Line and because all of the other studios had turned them down, they pitched it to New Line as a 2 film series as opposed to a trilogy. Amazingly, New Line agreed to take on the project but only if it was made as a trilogy. Clearly someone at New Line smartly recognized that Lord of the Rings was an amazing project and the only way to do it right was to make it a trilogy. And anyone who has read the Lord of the Rings trilogy understands first hand that there is just way too much material to be condensed into a single film or even 2 films. And as we all know, the films wound up being a HUGE success and made New Line billions. At last look the Trilogy had made more than 6 billion world wide.
Like Lord of the Rings, The Dark Tower series is just way too big to be condensed into a single film. Any film studio that was legitimately serious about doing the Dark Tower series justice would understand that right out of the gate. The Lord of the Rings was 3 books and the running time for the extended versions of the films was 682 minutes or just over 11 hours long. .The Dark Tower series is 8 books and many of them are BIG books. Anyone who thinks that amount of material can be condensed into a single film is living in la la land. I knew going in that this was going to be a cheap attempt at making money off of Stephen Kings name and the popularity of The Dark Tower series and that's exactly what it was. The Dark Tower series is one of my all time favorite book series, as is Lord of the Rings, and this film is literally a bad joke compared to the source material. How they got Matthew McConaughey to sign on to this film when he has had such an amazing run the last 4-5 years is simply beyond my understanding. I will never understand how such an amazing writer has had so many terrible films made from his books.
Bottom line - this was a terrible film, one that does no justice to the source material at all. If your a fan of the Dark Tower books, do yourself a HUGE favor and skip this film. Its like a bad joke of the Dark Tower universe. Everyone involved with this film should be ashamed of being a part of it. The only reason I saw it is because I have a nephew than basically begged me to take him to see it and I have to admit, part of me was curious to see just how bad it really was and in that regard it didn't disappoint. It was just as bad as I expected it to be. This is Hollywood garbage, nothing more and nothing less. Do yourself a favor and put your money elsewhere.
The Last Ship: Solace (2015)
An amazing show and this is definitely one of the standout episodes!!
I openly admit, I have been a big fan of this show since its pilot, which did an amazing job at introducing many of the main characters and setting up the main premise of the show. I honestly couldn't care less if its 100% accurate in its portrayal of life on a Navy vessel as this is a TV show and being entertaining will always trump being 100% realistic. I think the show did a great job at balancing the realism with the need to keep things entertaining and easy enough to follow. One of my favorite aspects of this show has been the pacing. They could have easily stretched out the actual acquisition of the cure for at least a couple seasons, but this show moved at a breakneck pace in that regard and that has really helped keep the plot and stories for each episode varied and entertaining.
"Solace" is not only one of my single favorite episodes for this series to date, its also one of the best hours of TV out of any show that I have seen in some time. The pacing and overall tension for this episode are fantastic. The first 10 minutes sets up the episode as it explains where the missing lab from Norfolk has gone. It was moved offshore on a hospital ship called Solace. It doesn't take long for the crew to find the ship and from that point forward, the tension just increases more and more as each minute passes and once the action gets going, it really doesn't let up. This episode has some of the best action I have seen on TV since the early seasons of 24. Were also introduced to 2 new characters, Lt. Ravit Bivas & Wolf Taylor, and both are extremely likable and extremely capable and deadly. One scene with Wolf & Miller, in which they engage a handful of bad guys by rotating around each other as they move down a hallway, thus keeping continuous fire on the group, was one of best action scenes of the series to date. It ended with Wolf pulling off some serious hand to hand skills and killing 3 guys with extreme precision and without hesitation. That scene alone basically sets Wolf up as the new bad*s of the show and his relationship with Miller is really enjoyable. Again, its easily one of the best action scenes of the entire series.
Another aspect of this show that I like is how they have showed the various technology and weaponry that is used on a US destroyer. This was one of the best aspects of the pilot and its another great aspect of this episode. In particular, the use of the starboard "Mark 38" is a great sequence. The Mark 38 mod 2 is just an awesome piece of weaponry. Its basically a very large 25mm machine gun that is remotely controlled by a control system in the ship. Its capable of single shot, semi-automatic and full automatic modes. We only witness the single shot capability in this episode, but that is more than enough to demonstrate just how deadly this gun really is. Its likely the show cut back a bit on the gore factor as even tho the scene that shows a bad guys getting taken out by it is pretty brutal, it would likely be significantly worse in real life. Regardless, the scene more than adequately shows the power of this gun. For those interested in following the development of weapons, there is now a Mod 3 version of the Mark 38 that is currently being tested that raises the bar on this gun to even higher levels.
If there is one downside to this episode its that you really don't know any of the bad guys that get taken out in the episode, although the ending of the episode sets up the next episode as the one that will introduce you to the bad guys that will take center stage for the rest of the season. All in all its a small flaw in what is otherwise an absolutely amazing episode. This is as good as action gets on regular TV and I really have to give a thumbs up to the score/music of this episode as well, which really helped increase the tension as the episode progressed. In particular, there is a guitar riff that starts playing as soon as the crew of the Nathan James realize that there are hostile forces operating on Solace. It winds p being brilliant background music that really helps ramp up the tension once you reach that point in the episode.
For those that like to pick apart shows like this for being unrealistic in regards to its military practices or having characters with inaccurate accents, this will likely be an episode that evokes more criticism than praise. For those like myself that don't need a show to be 100% realistic in regards to its military aspects and couldn't care less if an accent here or there is a bit off, this will likely be one of the best hours of TV that you have seen in some time. This is an action oriented episode, one that is meant to give you a taste of just how ruthless the "chosen" (the bad guys for the rest of the season) really are and just how capable the crew of the Nathan James really is when push comes to shove. I have re-watched this episode 3 times and it was just as entertaining the 3rd time as it was the first time I watched it. This is just an amazing episode from start to finish. If your a fan of this show I have no doubt you will absolutely love this episode. I know I did!
Wonder Woman (2017)
Without Question the Best film in the DCEU to Date, BY FAR!!
Like many people, I went into Wonder Woman hoping for the best, but having serious doubts due to DC's previous entries in the DCEU. In my opinion, there were many reasons why DC's DCEU films were coming out mediocre at best, but the one that stood out the most for me was the fact that the films were simply trying to be WAY too serious. There was absolutely no lightheartedness or humor and IMO, those kinds of scenes are extremely important as they really help to break up the action scenes and more serious scenes. Even scenes between Lois Lane and Superman were so serious, one would think each scene was the last time each of them would ever see each other again. It was like DC was taking the exact opposite approach Marvel was taking just so they could say they weren't following in Marvel's footsteps, even tho Marvel really handed DC (or any other comic company for that matter) the perfect blueprint for super hero films.
I did have a bit more hope with Wonder Woman, and even for Justice League, based on the previews as both previews showed lighthearted moments and even a little bit of humor. And it winds up, at least in Wonder Woman's case, those previews were definitely a good indication of the kind of film it was going to be as Wonder Woman has those elements that were so lacking in the previous DCEU films and it winds up being the best DCEU film to date as a result. The pacing is one of the best aspects of this film. The beginning basically focuses on the origin of Diana and the events that ultimately lead to her decision to leave Themyscira. This part of the film is handled extremely well as it gives you all the information you need, gives you a great glimpse of Themyscira and it shows just how deadly and talented the Amazons really are as warriors. And this part of the film doesn't drag at all. Its really a brilliant opening for the film.
The thing I was most impressed with is actually Gal Gadot's performance. She did an absolutely amazing job with this part. If I had to rank all of the super hero's from both the MCU and DCEU, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman would rank #3 for me, only behind Robert Downy Jr's Iron Man and Chris Evans Captain America. Going into this film, I really didn't know that Gal Gadot had this level of acting ability in her. Not only was she up to the task physically, but she also brought an emotional element to Diana that really raised this film to a completely different level. In particular, her facial expressions in many scenes really were brilliant. While this film had a great script, was directed amazingly well, had fantastic supporting characters, and had fantastic cinematography and well choreographed action scenes, it was ultimately Gal Gadot's performance as Wonder Woman that really made this film so amazing. There is a child like wonder to Diana as she learns of the outside world and its in these scenes that Gal really shines. For example, there is a scene where Diana sees snow for the first time and she has a child like amazement at its beauty. These kinds of scenes between characters are desperately needed to help break up the more serious scenes and action scenes and it was these kinds of scenes that were so lacking in DC's previous DCEU entries.If you were to reedit this film and got rid of all these kinds of scenes, so it was more like the previous DC films in regards to its level of seriousness, this film wouldn't have been anywhere near as good as it wound up being. Hopefully DC recognizes this now and this approach is used in all of DC's upcoming DCEU films.
Its pretty amazing that it took as long as it did to finally get a solo Wonder Woman film up on the screen, but it winds up that it was well worth the wait. Not only is Wonder Woman the best DCEU film to date, but one of the best all around super hero films made to date. Gal Gadot is absolutely perfect as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. She has the beauty, the physicality, and most importantly the heart that makes Wonder Woman who she is. I honestly cant give this film a higher recommendation, both for comic book fans and just movie fans alike. Just a brilliant job by everyone involved and it finally gives DC a much needed success with the DCEU. I now anxiously look forward to any DCEU film that has Wonder Woman in it.
I have to say, I have really been taken by surprise by this series. I really enjoyed the first episode but, it was the 2nd episode, Cabal, that really got me hooked. First and foremost I absolutely love the extended running time. At 1:30 minutes, without commercials, its literally double the average running time for drama's and ultimately it gives the show the ability to be far more character driven. I honestly don't think I have ever seen a series before that had this kind of running time and ultimately I think it speaks to the kind of show its trying to be.
Zen is really a throwback to old school TV. No funky cinematography, no shaky cameras, no funky camera angles, no high tech police gadgetry etc. In fact, I don't think I even remember seeing a single computer. Cell phones are about as high tech as this show has gotten thus far. The locations are simply stunning and that is no surprise given that it takes place in Rome. I openly admit that was initially one of the things that I was most excited about as I absolutely love Rome. Its hands down one of my favorite cities in the world and its a perfect setting for this series, especially with the approach that they have taken.
Of course if your going to have a show in Rome then fashion simply must play a role and the show certainly doesn't disappoint in this regard. The wardrobe choices are impeccable especially in regards to Rufus Sewell's suits. He looks outstanding in practically every scene. Then you have Caterina Murino and she looks absolutely fabulous as well. Her outfits are classy and while there is definitely a very sexy edge to her look, its not overtly sexy. She just looks stunning and they look absolutely dynamite together.
As for the stories, thus far its definitely been one of the weaker aspects of the show but they have still been entertaining and in regards to story, the 2nd episode was definitely an improvement over the first episode. I love the whole Cabal storyline and hopefully it will be a reoccurring theme with this show. It fits perfectly with the shows setting in Rome and while these types of detective shows always have different stories with each episode, there is usually a main storyline that takes place alongside the solving of individual cases. I think The Cabal would be a great choice in this regard.
Overall I have really enjoyed the first 2 episodes and cant wait for more. This show is just such a breath of fresh air compared to the usual detective riff raff that is practically everywhere you look. Hopefully Zen can pull in enough viewers as it would be a real shame to see this show end prematurely.
Definitely a solid 9 out of 10 thus far.
First and foremost the budget on this film was only 15k. Its simply amazing as this film has 10 times the tension and 10 times the story that most monster movies have. Yes there is less action than some may like but its simply not that kind of movie. Its simply unrealistic to think that main characters would continuously wind up right in these amazing action sequences, think Cloverfield, yet still be around to have the actual story unfold with them in it. Of course, in low budget films you cant have those amazing action sequences that your used to seeing in the much higher budget versions of these types of films. You have to make up for it in other areas and this film does a remarkable job at doing just that and ultimately what you get is a FAR FAR more realistic viewpoint and what you would expect if something like this were to really happen.
The acting was top notch. In fact, I will go as far as saying that these were the best performances I have seen yet in these "super low budget" types of films. Both actors seemed like season veterans when it came to facial expressions and showing emotion. Most importantly their performances felt real and that ultimately makes the film seen more real. There is no excessive gore or violence, no excessive screaming, no excessive dialog, no excessive exposition, no excessive special effects, etc.. Just a great story with fantastic pace and tension and even better performances.
If you are a fan of monster movies then you simply must give this one a look. I think most will be pleasantly surprised.
Street Kings (2008)
Easily one of the best cop films of the decade!
I am one of the first people to admit how small a range Keanu Reeves has in regards to acting skill. However, as The Matrix proved, even actors with the skill level of Reeves can get a part that winds up being perfect for their style or range of acting. Street Kings is such a movie and its easily Keanu's best performance since The Matrix. In fact one could argue that in regards to acting, that this performance is actually much better than his performance in The Matrix. In other words one could make the argument that this is Keanu's best work yet.
Street Kings excels on pretty much every level. It has an outstanding cast, it has a great story and its has about as perfect a pace as a crime drama dealing with this subject matter can have. It opens up fast and strong and it never drags. Why this film didn't receive more praise from the critics is beyond me. It's probably because the critics are biased when it comes to Keanu. They don't like him, never have and never will, regardless of how great a particular movie or a particular performance by Keanu really is.
This film is basically a superior version of Dark Blue. If you enjoy crime drama's, especially ones that have intelligent stories and involve some serious gun play, then you should absolutely give Street Kings a look. The casting is just outstanding and everyone gives a worthy performance especially Hugh Laurie, Forest Whitaker and Keanu Reeves. It would be nice to see Hugh Laurie in more roles like this as he really was just brilliant.
The bottom line - Street Kings is easily one of the best crime drama of the last 10 years and one of the most underrated films I have seen in a very long time. Yes, it really is that good!
Transmorphers: Fall of Man (2009)
Another Asylum Film.....Nothing New For This Company!
If you are unfamiliar with Asylum then welcome to the world of the C film. As you can imagine its a step down from B films and if you happened to think that there couldn't possibly be anything worse than B films, Well you were wrong. It will all become painfully clear after you watch one of these films. Its important to note that Asylum don't create their own material at least not in the sense that most studios do. Asylum basically make rip off's of popular Hollywood films and try and capitalize on that popularity by releasing the film very close to the Hollywood films release date. Most of the press refers to them as "Mockbusters". For example Transmorphers is, as you can imagine, based off of the Transformer movies and both of the Transmorpher films came out right around the same time as their Hollywood counterparts. Just look up a complete list of Asylum films and you should easily be able to figure out which Hollywood film each Asylum title is based off of. Asylum films are low budget and are released straight to video.
As for this film, it is a sequel to the first transmorphers and in all honesty is equally as bad as the original was. It stars Bruce Boxleitner,who has done a number of Asylum films, and his performance is as bad as one would expect from these types of films. Its almost as if Bruce knows this film is going to be terrible so he doesn't even bother trying to give a worthy performance. He is there for the paycheck. As bad as the acting is it is trumped by the absolutely horrid special effects and this is something that really boggles my mind as we have now gotten to the point where high quality special effects can be done on a 2000-3000 dollar computer. I am betting I could do better special effects on the Mac I am using right now.
The bottom line is I have seen a bunch of Asylum films, more out of curiosity than for entertainment value and each time I watch one of these films I am left absolutely speechless. The one question that I ask every single time is how does this studio stay in business. I understand that these are low budget films thus they don't need to make a lot of money to break even or even to make a profit however I am absolutely shocked that there are people out there that are willing to continually buy these films. You know the famous saying, "fool me one shame on you, fool me twice shame on me", well that has never been more true than in regards to supporting this company by buying their films. I can see some people getting duped once after all I am betting some people actually mistake them for their Hollywood counterparts however to go back and buy another and another is just absolutely mind boggling. This is in all honesty the very bottom rung for motion picture entertainment. Even Uwe Boll's movies are like Oscar winning films compared to these films and his films are rated some of the worst movies ever to be made.
Save your time and money and pass on anything that has the Asylum logo on it. I guarantee you will wish you had by the time credits start rolling, that is if you can even make it that far.
The Guitar (2008)
An entertaining film with a disturbing message!!
This is basically a film about Melody, a woman who finds out she has an inoperable tumor in her throat. Her whole life basically collapses as she finds out she has only a couple months to live, her boyfriend dumps her and she gets fired from her job and this all happens in a single day. My biggest problem with this film lies in the fact that it basically winds up being a film more about consumerism than a film about a woman confronting the final months of her unsatisfied life.
Once she finds out she is dying Melody leaves her crappy apartment and rents a really large and beautiful penthouse. The rest of the film basically takes place in this penthouse as she basically locks herself in and spends the next 2 months charging up her credit cards by buying things for herself and her penthouse. She starts out by buying the most expensive bed that she can find and from there moves on to expensive furniture, clothes, lamps, vases, food and pretty much everything in between. Her final purchase ends up being a guitar and a huge amp setup with which to play it on.
Its just incredibly sad and extremely bothersome that this woman's spends her final 2 months basically being a consumer. The really sad part about this is I actually think there are a lot of people out there that would do the exact same thing. Society has become so consumeristic in nature that I really think that what this woman did would be some people's dying wish. Out of all of the things someone could devote their final months of life to, shopping has to be the absolute saddest choice possible. She could have traveled the world, learned to scuba dive, taken a safari, seen the Sistine chapel, sailed the Caribbean, hiked a glacier in Alaska, taken a cruise to the antarctic, or done whatever other things she wanted to do but never got the chance. To choose to lock yourself up in a Penthouse and shop till you drop is just an incredibly sad way to spend your final months and again it really speaks to the role that consumerism plays in society these days. Some people care more about buying items than truly experiencing life.
Its not a bad film, in fact I rather enjoyed it. I was just really bothered by the message that this film puts out there. Then again as I said before there are probably a lot of people out there that would do just this sort of thing if something like this happened to them so maybe it makes this film even that much more realistic. She did learn how to play the guitar, which was something she was interested in as a child, so she did fulfill at least one of her dreams. Its still wasn't enough to make it any less sad.
I am not sure if this film was purposely making some kind of statement regarding consumerism or not. I would like to hear from the writer and director regarding their thoughts on this matter. Either way its definitely the prevailing message in this film. I despise the level of consumerism we see these days so maybe I am a bit biased however I really cant think of too many people who would not find this woman's decision on how to liver her final months incredibly sad and pathetic. Our lives are short enough even when we aren't diagnosed with a terminal disease early in life and there are just too many things to do, too many places to see and too many experiences to have to waste our final months shopping.
King Kong (2005)
Peter Jackson and his 3 Hour Movies....
The 1 hour 30 Minute running time standard these days for films obviously has its positive and negative sides. Sitiing in a movie theater for long periods of time can become tedious and is not appealing to a lot of people. On the other hand movies tend to suffer in terms of character development the shorter the running times get.
Peter Jackson has boldly thrown this standard running time out the window in his last 4 movies. Here is the breakdown on the running times for his last 4 movies.
Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - 178 Minutes or 2 Hours 58 Minutes (208) Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers - 179 Minutes or 2 Hrs 59 minutes (223) Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King - 201 Minutes or 3 Hours 21 Minutes (251) King Kong - 187 Minutes or 3 Hours 7 Minutes
This is a HUGE departure from the standard running times of motion pictures these days and while you can argue that the subject matter and size of the Lord of the Rings story obviously contributed greatly to the long running times of the Lord of the Rings trilogy the same cannot be said for King Kong. King Kong was a normal size script before Fran and Peter got their hands on it. The two previous King Kong Films are testament to that.
Then we have Peters ambitious extended versions of the Lord of the Rings whose running times are as follows:
Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring Extended -208 Minutes or 3 Hours 28 Minutes Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers Extended - 223 Minutes or 3 Hours 43 Minutes Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King - 251 Minutes or 4 Hours 11 Minutes Total Running time of Extended Trilogy - 11 Hours 22 Minutes
As a huge fan of not only The Lord of the Rings and King Kong as well as a huge fan of Peter Jackson, I have followed these films from their inception dates and still follow them today. It is fair to say that Peter Jackson has taken A lot of criticism from people for the running times of these films. Even here on IMDb every fifth or so post is about running time or unneeded scenes or scenes that drag on and I remember the same thing when each of the LOTR movies was released. More people complained about running time and unneeded scenes than anything else.
Well I for one love what Peter Jackson has done and I love the filmmaker he has matured into. He has thrown out the sometimes ridiculous running time standard and in turn has brought us 4 amazing movies in a row that are some of the richest in terms of character development to have come out in recent times. I think Peters background with independent film has a lot to do with his style of film making as he was basically raised outside the Hollywood machine. He also has his hand on the pulse of the industry and realizes that the home theater is basically the 2nd Box Office and is much more user friendly to long running films Which is obviously why the Extended LOTR versions were released for exactly that.
Its a refreshing breath of air to see filmmakers that are in 100% control of their films and do whatever they feel is necessary to bring the very best picture to the screen including making them 3 hours long. I for one hail Peter for his work that he has done and look forward to his future releases which I guarantee wont be 1 Hour 30 Minutes long :)
Definitely the best movie of 2004 - Oscars in the bag
I have seen this movie a number of times now and it really is an amazing piece of work. I don't think I have ever been able to personally relate to a movie on the level that I did with Eternal Sunshine. Obviously people who have been through bad break-ups will get more out of this movie than those who have not. I find it surprising that the young crowd is rating this so high because of that fact. I guess that is just more testimony to how great of a film this really is.
As for the people who think that this is going to drop in the ratings after it hits DVD, I have to disagree. I think it will only solidify its ranking as one of the best films in this genre ever produced. I just got done reading the trivia section on this movie and read that Nicholas Cage was originally going to be cast as Joel. What an excellent decision to go with Jim Carrey. I have been a fan of his since the Ace Ventura movies and he has really matured into one of Hollywood's best leading men. His acting ability really runs the gamut of all genres. I was also glad to see Kate Winslet in this role as I think she is an under appreciated actress. All in all the casting could'nt have been better. As for the script, well this is easily one of the most original stories I have seen in all my years of watching movies. I guarantee right now that this wins best screenplay at the Oscars and Jim carrey will without a doubt get a nod for best actor. While Kate Winslets performance was great, I don't think she will get a nomination for best actress. So there you have it - Best screenplay & Best Actor for Eternal Sunshine!!!
Last but not least, why is there so much debate going on about the top 250 in here. Its not like people are signing up with 400 different email accounts to raise this movie up in the standings. this is a legitimate poll for movies. The fact that it is on this site, probably one of the most popular movie sites, if not the most popular movie site on the net should tell you that these are legitimate scores coming from people who love movies. This is not some poll on the side of the screen on some misc website. This is IMDb and I trust the numbers here more than I do anywhere else. Just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean its not correct. 50% of the people who rated this movie gave it a 10 for gods sake. If that doesn't tell you something I don't know what does.
"My Experiences, though I would wish them on nobody else, have helped make me what I am and what I still hope to be"