The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Category: Movies (Page 1 of 2)

Robin Hood… again? Seriously???

 

If you search IMDB (Internet Movie Database) for Robin Hood, you will be accosted by a list that goes on and on and on.  This will include the various cartoons, parodies, comedies and musicals that are out there.

Most recently to don the tight is now Russell Crowe.  Joining such names as Douglas Fairbanks, Groucho Marx, Errol Flynn, Patrick Steward and Daffy Duck (Mel Blanc.)

The question I have, though, is WHY?

Do we really need another Robin Hood movie?  I have asked this many times and the question still stands.  With all the talent out there yet to be discovered, are we really that desperate for ideas that we are once again re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-rehashing something like Robin Hood to grace the screen to go of and once again rescue our favorite professional “Damsel in Distress” from the evil sheriff?

This story is so tired and worn out, I have to think that the only people that are really going to be busting the doors down to see it will either be SCA nerds who’s sole intent is to take it apart or women (and I am sure a few guys) going to see the latest flick with Russell Crowe.

This is a movie that I will not see… I have no interest in it at all.  In fact, I can say with pretty good certainty that it was Kevin Costner that killed Robin Hood for me.  It was, in my humble opinion, like watching a very slow moving train wreck.  Even Cary Elwes opted out of this movie when he was approached, before Costner, for the part of Hood.

To be honest… I cannot recall the last, serious, Robin Hood movie that I really enjoyed.  I know that Mel Brooks’ “Men In Tights” adaptation was great and topped off only by Cary Elwes as Hood (remember, he was offered the REAL roll, but turned it down and later accepted the parody roll.) and Patrick Stewart’s last minute appearance as King Richard.  I also have to mention the unforgettable role of  Roger Rees as the Sheriff of Nottingham.  He was classic.

So… I should correct myself.  The last version of Robin Hood that thrilled me was Mel Brooks’.  There is something inherently sad about that.

I doubt that any of the modern versions would be able to tell the story in the same way as the greats did…  Like Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks.   These were people that did not need the special effects to accomplish anything.  They simple told a story and captured our hearts with that alone.

 

Crank??? Really?

A while  back the wife and I watched a movie called  Crank.  This was not really something that I was looking forward to, but to make the wife happy, I relented.  I knew she had a thing for Jason Statham, and I really think that this is the only reason she wanted to see it.

Well… in the end of that movie, for those of you who did not see it, you see the Hero of the movie fall from a helocopter and plunge about a thousands feet to the street in the middle of the town.  The last scene is him hitting the ground and then one last blink before it fades to black.

First off, lets JUST look at the physics behind this.  Any person, no matter how tough or strong, that falls from that high, is going to be nothing more that a puddle of bloody goo when it hits the street.  The only cleanup you are going to need to worry about is that which requires a mop and a shop-vac.

Now there is a new movie coming out called “Crank: High Voltage”.  Staring Jason as the same “Chev Chelios” character.  Only this time, it appears that some folks come acros his body, revive him and, so the previews appear to be saying, harvest his organs.

OK…  First off…  are we supposed to believe that there is any way that a human body could survive a fall from that height… and, not only that, be in good enough condition to be harvested for anything more than compost.

In the previews that we see in the theaters we not only see that he is alive, but almost unscathed.  But this time he is trying to keep himself alive after the people that are harvesting his “parts” have taken his heart and replaced it with a artificial one, which happens to look like a K-Mart brand Jarvik heart.

The plot, this time, is that he has a dying battery for his artificial heart and he must run around town, through various weak plots and exploits, to locate his own heart and get it to a doctor so that he can have it placed back in his own body.  All the while he needs to keep recharging his battery.

My only thought as I sat in the theaters and watched this proview was that it is sad that this is the best that Hollywood can come up with for entertainment.  I cannot even see that this would be a big draw for the most die-hard Statham fan.  This appears to be one of those movies that the writers were either playing rock, paper, scissors or based the story on a poorly played game of craps.

Strangely enough, Naty has admitted that she will not be watching this movie.  Even thought Jason is in it, she has desided that this one is just a little too dumb even to watch just for him.

Battlestar Galactica – The End… Maybe

So… a couple weeks ago Battlestar Galactica ended.

I really liked this show, a lot.  But like Babylon 5, years before, the writers were smart, and instead of creating an open ended storyline that would keep going until it was little more than an excuse to keep a franchise running (… can anyone say “Enterprise”?), they made a series that would have a clearly defined beginning, with interesting people who all had back-stories, and ran with it, keeping us guessing the entire five years. Then, like clockwork, it had a clearly (or not so much, depending on who you ask.) defined end.

If you are one of those people that has not seen the whole series yet, you may want to stop reading now, I plan on talking about the last show and some of the other things that I saw through the series that made me stop and go “Hmmm”, as Arsenio Hall might have said. So consider this your “Spoiler Warning.”

First…  I liked the feel of the Galactica from the onset.  It looked like a Battleship, had the feel of a battleship, and even had that appearance that you might expect from a ship that was made for battle in an airless environment.

As an example, take a moment the next time you watch BSG, and look at the layout of the ship, then watch a movie like “Hunt for Red October” or “Red Tide”, and notice that the Galactica resebles a submarine in many aspects.  This is also, more than likely, how any near-future ship that we send into space will look.

Then there is the story line.  While this BSG series used most of the same issues and plots of the original series from the 70s, it did it the way I think the original writers wanted the stories to flow.  For those of us who recall, the original series was kinda campy and hard to take too seriously.  But there was good reason for that, from my point of view, that was that it was competing against the legacy of movies like Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  There was just too much serious Sci-Fi out there at the time, so they had to “lighten it up” a bit.

This series, the new BSG, was dark.  Yes, It had it’s ups and downs, but overall, like one of the guys in the little show right before the series finale said… how happy can you make a show, when your race is in jeopardy of destruction?  There were no “cutesy” or “warm and fuzzy” moments in it, and no thought provoking epilogue from Captain/Admiral Adama at the end of the show.  If you recall the original series, you will remember what I am talking about.

The storyline that the new BSG carried with it is one that I think we will all carry with us.  Watching Rosalyn grow as a character and then watch her as the cancer ate her alive but she still fought through it all, then, once they were all safe on the new “Earth”, she finally lets go and dies with Adama by her side, his last act being that of placing his ring on her finger.  Seeing Cara Thrace seem to die, then come back… only to discover, in the last episode, that she probably was never really there to begin with.  Then to learn that the colonists may have been the seeds of what you and I are today in some form of modernized Panspermia.

BSG was one of those programs that, now that it is over, has left a hole in me.  Not just in the sense that now there is some open slot in my Television viewing schedule, but in the sense that it leaves so many questions open to interpretation.  There things that you sit and try and think out, now, that probably will never be answered.  I hope, though, that Ron Moore and his team leave it that way.

Let BSG be one of those things that all of us, the fans, will sit around for years and wonder about.  Let it fuel our conversations as we sit in Starbucks (pun intended) and drink our latte’s, and talk nerd talk about these shows.

That is what keeps the characters alive.

Gone but…………

Not forgotten……………………..

When is the moment you realize that you will never forget those who have gone from your life. You can’t really pinpoint it or plan for it, it just happens. Whether it’s sitting watching a movie, seeing an old t.v. show, reading a book, a news clip, a blog. What brings those memories flooding back….. Is it something that happened recently, something you saw or heard, a moment replicated to almost the exact way it happened when you lost someone. And when you react, is your initial reaction, to what you just read or saw, to the story or a moment in your own past, or both, one coming right after the other. Which also begs the question, which memories are the most important ones, the milestones or major events, or the little ones, or funny ones, or frustrating ones, or ones you should have laughed at, at the time, but instead felt anger or frustration.

For me, it was something I hadn’t really prepared for, to understand you will have to see the movie Marley and Me. If there is book written I usually read the book before I go see the movie, in this case though, I didn’t, so other than seeing the previews and having read the cover of the book several years ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. And I have to admit during the movie I was starting to become disappointed, as the movie seemed to shift more and more from the main character Marley, a rather rowdy, but lovable Labrador retriever. While not having read the book I am sure something was lost in translation to the big screen, from the lesson’s learned by the writer, as Marley and Me was a true story, not a fictional account. You can’t really blame the producers of the movie either, after all they need to appeal to wide audience, and based on the packed theatre on a Saturday with kids and parents and grandparents I would say they did what they needed to do. Some of you at this point maybe wondering what the point of this thing is, don’t worry I haven’t lost my mind completely yet, it is coming, but like some things you have to wait for it.

I don’t know if words can describe it adequately, but here goes……. As the movie progresses, it dawns on you that the movie is leading up to what some would consider an inevitable conclusion. Marley’s heart wrenching passing, as the family that loved him looks on helpless. Not wanting to be caught of guard, I could see what was happening and prepared myself, even though it did bring up thoughts of several of my own Marley’s passing. So when, it happened I was prepared for it and steeled myself for it, while at the same time, wanting to make what was happening easier for the family, knowing that besides the family on screen, this scene had played itself out in real life with Marley’s family. So, it was not that scene, that got me…..In the beginning of the movie something happens that for those of us looking on, is funny, but to those actually experiencing was I am sure frustrating. Without giving it away, they remind us of that incident at the end of the movie, while the family is saying goodbye to Marley, and that is what got me. It was an involuntary reaction and caught me completely of guard. One of those rare moments at least for me, when emotions come out, without being stopped or self managed. A grown man, sitting in the theatre with tears in his eyes, wondering why he was reacting this way, when moments before, the scene that should have had most people crying there eyes out, had not brought up anything other than memories of having been lucky to have known, my own Marley’s. Sandy(and no, not that one), Ming, Scotch and Smudge, Dudley, Irish, Jake and Saunchin. Each unique in their own way, each teaching you something, each touching you in ways you never imagined, each with their own personality, each so much a part of your life, and each leaving it way too soon, But leaving you better for having known and loved them. Each moment whether it’s a fond memory, a funny, although sometimes not at the moment occurrence, is important and can and will come back to you at unexpected times and in unexpected places……….

…Not without my cat!

Tonight I watched the movie “Alien”, this will make the… oh, I stopped counting so long ago it is not even worth mentioning.  Let me just say that I have the script memorized and will speak the lines before they are spoken on the idiot box.

To be fair, I do like this movie.  If I am willing to watch it that many times, then that much must be obvious, right?  Right.

But there is an important thing that has always stood out to me, that is:  Why in the hell did she not just leave the darned cat on the ship and take Parker and Lambert and get the hell off (the ship, that is… this was not a porn flick)?

Don’t take this wrong… I love cats!  I think that they are great and I would be truly saddened if something happened to mine.  But get real for a moment.  If my house is burning down and Sally and Critter decide at that particular moment that they want to play hide and seek… I am sorry… looks like broiled kitty is on the menu!

… Wait… we are talking about a movie.  What do you mean, “Get Real!”

Think about it…  someone writing this script had to sit down and think, “What can we do to slow her down?  Let’s create a bond with her and a… uh… Turtle! no, too docile.  Canary! no… it would have a heart attack the moment someone screamed and we would go through two or three every scene.  Ah… a dog!  No… they like almost everyone and would end up wanting to play with the Alien or end up chasing it out an airlock.  Hey… A CAT!!!  They are aloof, like to hide, make an interesting hissing sound when upset.  Perfect.  Now lets make this Rippley chick have a greater bond for the cat than her crew!”

So someone thought up the idea that an officer, pardon me… a warrant officer (apologies to my brother Scott.) would put the life of a cat before the life of her crew.

If this had been me?  Let the cat out of the little glass box and run free.  Cat’s can figure things out pretty well, and who knows?  It might find it’s way to the shuttle on it own.  If not, then Jonesy would become one with the universe.  He would become “Star Stuff”, in the words of my Hero… Carl Sagan.  The kittie would cease to be.

Heck… it might have even made and interesting story line to have Rippley take the cat out of the box and throw it at the alien.  A clawing, spitting, overall pissed off cat would have kept the alien busy for a couple minutes while Rippley got away.

But…  I am not dumb.  I rewinded the movie.  I plotted where the story would have gone from the moment they decided to abandon the ship and leave, had she left the frikken cat.  The movie would only have gone on for about another ten minutes.  This would not have been a good alternate ending and likely would have never made the director’s cut of the special edition DVD box set.

Maybe this is a good reason why I am not a producer!

Searching for Guy Fawkes.

I am not a radical.

I am not a revolutionary.

I am not a promoter of violence or chaos.

But there is a question I would like to ask, in general, to you, the readers.

Is there ever, in your opinion, a right time or reason to do something that might be considered the wrong thing?

There is a movie called “V for Vendetta” that is set in what I would call a “dystopian” future, in the UK.  A future where the UK has become a closed society and imposes strict rules on what you can read, listen to, say and do.  All TV is controlled and monitored by the government.  In short, it is a very Orwellian story.

The main character is a radical, who, while the story make him out to be a modern hero for that time, is performing acts of domestic terrorism in the city where the story is set.  All this in order to embolden the people, the citizenry, to stand up and take back their country and their freedoms.

So the question stands.  Is there a time when you can justify something that is obviously an act of terrorism, or the actions of what is basically a domestic terrorist, when the popular movement supports that person or group?

Watching this movie, I walk away with an odd feeling from it.  I do enjoy the movie, it is a powerful movie with a positive statement.  “V”, the main character in this movie said; “People should not fear their government, their government should fear the people.”  This statement alone is one that I think we have all forgotten, and this movie demonstrates that act carried, in my opinion, too far.

It is a movies that carries with it a mixed message.  Expressing the need for people to stand up and take their place in the path that their country takes.  It also carries a dangerous message, especially in these “Post 9/11″ years, when even the slightest act of sedition is enough to put you on the government’s watch list.

I watch the movie and I do see many similarities between the society that they show and the way we are becoming.  No… our government is not getting THAT oppressive yet, but the interpretation of the people, willing to sit back and watch as the government tells them how to live, work and love.  That I can see us doing, because face it… many of us Americans are becoming lazy and complacent.

If you have not seen the movie, then I would like to ask that you give it a whirl.  I hope that you will not only watch it for the entertainment factor, but also to take the time and examine it from a historic point of view.  I would like to know what others take from the movie and if that is anything along the lines of what I took from it.

Is there another Guy Fawkes out there, waiting in the wings, waiting for a cause to undertake?

[poll id=”3”]

Review: The Andromeda Strain

To be fair, I went into this movie expecting a poorly made remake of a movie about a book.  That is to say that while the original movie was good, they had to make some changes in order to make the movie a little more politically correct for it’s time.

This movie had me worried.  Making a movie based on a really good book is dangerous enough, but making a movie about a REALLY good book is like pissing on a spark plug, just to see what will happen.  I sit here to tell you that I was not too displeased with the results.

One of the first things that started me having high hopes for this was when I saw that Ridley Scott was involved in it.  Pretty much anything that has his name on it turns out pretty good.  OK…  I will pretend that “G.I. Jane” was just that he woke up with a headache when he took that on. 

The movie was well done, and except for about the last third, it stayed pretty close to the book.  Obviously they updated things to make more sense in this day and time.  The last third of the movie took on a little too much of that whole, “Kirk and Spock, shoot around the sun, time travel, paradox.” feel for me.  Face it, the whole time travel thing thing has been beat to death, stomped on, thrown in the oven, rebaked and served to us with some other name.  Like so much day old bread put in a new bag.

My main complaints are actually with the graphics and CGI work in the movie.  You would think that since this is a A&E production, they might be able to afford someone like, say, Industrial Lights and Magic.  If you want an example of the problems I am talking about, look for this one.  Towards the begining, when the team is dropped of in Piedmont, as the Helo takes off, you will see that the overlay is all wrong and the perspective is wrong for the placement of the people in comparison to where the Helo is.

Sorry… I know I nit pick, but if I did not, then who would?

If you happen to see this on again, watch it.  It really is not too bad and this is coming from a guy who, for the most part, really does not like movie adaptations of good books.

 

Movie Review: Iron Man

I will rarely go to the movies anymore, usually when I post these reviews, it is based on a movie that I have waited to make the transition from the BIG screen, the the little screen.

It is not because I do not like to go to the theater, but it is more about the cost.

I know there are those out there that can beat me on this, but I can recall when I was young, going to the movies and spending about $3.50 to get in during the regular showing.  Nowadays you practically have to go down and apply for a small personal loan if you want to see a non-matinée movie and want to get a couple sodas and popcorn.  You will need some collateral if you plan on getting one of their pizzas or pretzels.

So my wife and I went to the theater and saw this movie.

I will tell you something.  This movie was really good.  In fact, I would say that it was the first time I had been to the movies in a long time, where I did not leave feeling like I wasted two plus hours of my life, and a handful of money… like I felt when I saw the last three Star Wars movies.

It had a good story, good characters and Robert Downey has made a pretty good come back with this movie.

If you are a fan of the comics, which I was years and years ago, then you will certainly like this one.  The story is updated for the modern time, and the topics are written to use current story lines.

Go see this movie!!!

Favorite line:  “This is the Fun-V, your in the Hum-V!”

Movie Review: SunShine

Last year I saw a couple previews for the movie SunShine, but it never made it to my local theatre. Before I knew it, it was in the DVD rental list on my Netflix account.

I ordered it, and then when it arrived, I watched it expecting it to be a poorly made movie. I mean, why else would it have gone to video so soon after hitting the theatres? That is something that usually only happens to either, a. Really bad movies. b. Movies that make you really think about something or c. Movies that touch on a subject that no one wanted to accept.

So I watched it and I really liked it. The effects were great, the story, while a little improbable, was good. The characters were believable, and the end was very well done.

Granted… there are some of the concepts of the movie that were a little out there. But I will discuss those at the end.

Without giving away the movie to the people that might want to see it, the easiest way I can describe it is that it is about sacrifice. People taking a dangerous journey with the intent of using an experimental device to reignite the sun. Add to this that this is not the first attempt. They are traveling in the wake of a previous attempt, that failed. So the odds are already against them.

This movie is good in the sense that there is a lot to the story that speaks to humans in general. We usually do not give up or give in. We are bound and determined to go up against insurmountable odds to achieve something that may or may not work.

This movie is motivational, with a little horror, and a grand theme. If I were to make comparisons… it is like Red Planet, with a pinch of Event Horizon and a little bit of Core.

My only arguements:

1. The concept that by collecting all the remaining fissionable material on Earth, and taking it to the sun in an attempt to restart it, is like a flea crawling up and elephant’s rear with rape in mind.

2. I am not sure that there is much of anything that we can create that could survive a direct entry into the sun’s coronasphere and live long enough to detonate therein.

Those things aside, this is a great movie to watch!

Review: The Astronaut Farmer

This last weekend my wife and I watched The Astronaut Farmer.

This is truly an outstanding movie. Not for the reality or the graphics, but for the story itself.

Obviously the chances of a person being able to build an orbital craft in their back yard (Or barn, as in the movie) are slim to none on the best of days, and even if Sept 11th had not happened.  I have no doubt that even if a person DID get the ship built, there would be almost no chance of them getting the high-grade fuel that would be required to get them into orbit.  They would have to figure out a way to refine and prepare the fuel themselves.

All that aside, what makes this movie great is that it’s message is to not stop dreaming or pursuing that dream . That you should keep working towards your them, even if others laugh at you for them or call you nuts.   Now I am not telling you to go out and try and start your own space program… unless your name is Bill Gates, Dick Ruttan or Sir Richard Branson… in which case you can do whatever you like and not many people will give you a second look.

No… what I think that this movie conveys is that we all had (or still have) a dream of what we want to do.  We should never give up trying to attain that dream or wish.  Granted, there are certain things that we will not be, especially once you get past a certain age.  I know for a fact that I will never see space, or be a doctor.  These were both dreams of mine at some point in life, but I got distracted and ended up taking other paths.  But that does not mean I cannot help others with their dreams and then, through that, live vicariously through their accomplishments.

We should all embrace our dreams, or the dreams and aspirations of others.  As I am sure you will understand, there are exceptions to this… I would not want to willingly feed the aspirations of someone whose dream was to kill or to in any other way harm others…  unless that wish was to, say, cause all the members of Al-Quida to suddenly develop some new form of spastic priapism.

If you have not seen this movie, please do.  There is a powerful message there, and I think that we all can gain from it.

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