The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Tag: 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.

 

Requiem for Buckaroo Banzai

I love a good movie but I tend to be especially enamored with the little known or low budget movies that are out there.

Of these, one of my all time favorites has to be Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension.

For those of you who are not familiar with this movie, it follows a story by Earl Mac Rauch about Buckaroo Banzai…  a Physicist, Brain Surgeon, Band Leader, etc… and his team as they try to defeat the Red Lectroids.

In all seriousness, this was not a great movie.  It did little in the theaters, at least those that would actually show it and even then, it did not stay in theaters very long.  In fact, I first saw this movie as a rental back in the mid 80s while at the birthday party of my Nephew.  Since that day I was hooked and at this time I have seen the movie more than 250 times.

In fact, I have seen this movie so many times that I have the entire script memorized and will usually recite the lines as they are happening.  My wife will not even watch the movie with me, I am so bad about it.

You know… there is something that is enjoyable about a movie like this.  Yes, it is a dumb movie.  Yes, the dialogue leaves a lot to be desired. No, it won no awards that I am aware of, please correct me if I am wrong.  By there is something about watching a movie whose only redeeming quality is the fantasy quotient that it provides, that ability to make the person watching is just have fun.

The other fun thing about a movie like this is inviting friends over and throwing that in the DVD player for them to see.

Watch out Russ…  ;-D

Something funny happened on the way to work…

So… it sounded like a good way to start a piece that I guess I will call my “Jerry Seinfield” piece.  It is a piece about, really, nothing.  I am sort of without much to comment on at the moment except political fecal matter, and I am really tired of that right at the moment.  I mean, I do have lots to say, but I think that I need to take a break from that for a bit.  Both for your sake and for mine.

How far do you have to go to get to work each day?  It does not matter if you walk, drive, bike, skip or do cartwheels.  Do you have to go a few miles or a few hundred? Or are you one of those lucky fools that works from home?

I am a little bit lucky.  I work about five minutes, driving, from home… yet I still find a way to be a couple minutes late for work at least once a week.  I blame this on bad time management on my part, nothing else.

Several years ago I was offered the oportunity to work from my home.  One of my bosses at the time, a guy named Chuck McVay, asked if I would like to work out of my home.  Thankfully I was smart enough to say no… my reasons were completely honest… I do not have the discipline to do so without being distracted by all the other things going on in my home.  I have my Blog, the TV, three dogs, two cats, a huge DVD collection, large CD collection, XBox…  anyway, I am sure you see the problem here.  At least I am big enough to admit I have a problem with it and not try then get screwed.

But the trip to work is not that bad.  I have several fast food locations to choose from along the way, a Starbucks, a gas station.  Speaking of Starbucks, if you have not already tried their breakfast sandwiches, do so.  They are actually pretty good eats.  Let’s hope that they keep them, since they are having some issues right now and might decide to take that off their menu.

Another thing that stands out to me while driving to work is the other people that I see along the way.  I mean, it is not a long trip, so there is no time to develop that interesting “I need to go faster than you” relationship that we all seem to have with the others that we meet while driving.  But there are some interesting things to be seen.  People putting on make-up, guys shaving, people eating, and the always present people talking on the phone.  That is always fun to watch, as it is just another example of what a joke the VC32123 and 32124 laws were.

The people I get the biggest kick out of watching drive are the ones with the unruly children.  These are the people that you usually can make out from about ten cars back.  The one that is weaving all over the road and the driver is half in the back seat trying to beat the kid with their cell phone or an empty Starbucks cup, having already spilled the contents on the passenger seat or in their lap.  These have to be the most entertaining of them all.  There is nothing that gets you laughing more than seeing a person losing a fight to a child by acting almost the same age as the child they are trying to get to.

If you have not noticed by now, and if you are a regular reader of mine (don’t worry, I do not think there is such a thing.) I tend to try and see the humor of the little funny things that happen through my life.  You never know when you will not have it to laugh at any more, so laugh while you can.

At times like this, I am reminded of a quote from “Buckaroo Banzai: Across the eighth dimension” (one of the greatest movies ever made!!!)

Lord John Worfin:  “Laugh while you can, Monkey-Boy.”

What happens after “Girls Gone Wild”?

I see the commercials all the time, they permeate late night television preceded by that warning that the following commercial contains adult situations.  You are then presented by about a minute of women in various states of nudity.  All blocked out in the appropriate areas but the censor panels.

Trust me… I am a normal male and sometimes I am curious about these movies, and I have seen at least one complete video once, but I cannot justify paying for something like this.  But seeing these commercials does cause me to wonder about a few things.

Before I proceed, let me tell anyone reading this that I am not berating or condemning any of the people that make these videos.  They are all adults and I am relatively certain that none of the people in the videos are caused to participate out of duress.

I understand that there is good money in porn… and in spite of what anyone will tell you, these programs are pornography.  They do not, in my opinion, qualify as art.  That being said, I can also understand that if the girls in these videos are being paid for their performances, use this as a medium to get fast cash, and for their sake, I do hope that they make some money from these shows.

I do have a concern, though, for the people that participate in these movies.  What happens after the initial excitement of making them wears off?  What happens when these ladies suddenly realize what they have just done and that they are now the focal point of fantasies all over the world? because I have to think that these are not just sold in the USA, but elsewhere as well.

I am sure that there are those of the women that participate that really do not care that they are now on display, but I am sure that there are also many more that will suddenly have that moment of clarity where they see what they have done as a mistake.  Whether it is just after the video is shot, or when they happen to see themselves on one of those late night TV ads or when someone at their REAL job or in their school recognises them and figures that if they made a show like that, then they are probably easy “lays”.

There is no doubt that there is a market for these types of movies.  They sell very well, if you read up on the people that put the movies out.  But I do wonder what the long term effect is on those that are in them.

If you happen to stumble upon this article, and you are someone that participated or knows someone that has, in these programs.  Please share your thoughts with me.  I would really like to hear your story.

Thanks.

…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!”

“Where are all da white women at???”

WARNING… PART OF THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS VERBAL MEANDERING WITH INTERMITTANT POINTS OF CLARITY. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. PROCEED WITH CAUTION AND A SENSE OF HUMOR. IF YOU ARE MISSING A SENSE OF HUMOR, PLEASE LEAVE THE SITE IMMEDIATELY.

How many people out there know what movie the title of this article came from? There are many of you who probably think I am just being hateful, or mean, or making a racist comment. Trust me… I am not.

The quote came from what I would have to say is one of the greatest comedy movies, from the greatest comedy mind of our time. Mel Brooks and the movie was, dare I say? (Dare Dare) Blazing Saddles.

I started this article out with that for two reasons… first, because I know that there are probably people out that might not have ever heard that line, and will be drawn in by the sensationalism of it (Hi there, and welcome!), and also because I have just always wanted to use that quote for something.

I miss the days when movies could really take chances and not have to worry about some particular group being offended by something, or having some organization crawl out of the legal swamps and morass to defend some group that has yet to realize that they think they are being victimized.

A good RECENT example is the whole controversy over the character “Jar Jar Binks” in the last episodes of the Star Wars franchise. Yes, I will agree, Jar Jar needs to be killed in the most gruesome way possible for being one of the most irritating characters ever created in the the history of Science Fiction, following a close second would be the entire cast and concept of the movie “The Black Hole”, which ranks right there with “Attack of the killer tomatoes.” But I digress…

Jar Jar was a irritation, not too far removed from severe jock itch if you are Edward Sisor , but the idea that he was offensive to the Jamaican community? That is a bit a of stretch. Yes, he had an accent that would be considered slightly “island” and with a stretch of the imagination, you could say his ears looked slightly “Dreadlockish”. But SciFi is SciFi… we have no idea what is out there and what they look like, or how they sound. If you watch most of the newer SciFi movies and TV shows, then all of Australia and England should be offended, since it appears that most spacefaring races have a distiguished British accent.

But going back for a moment to the 70s, and the movies that were out at that time, you can see that there are some of them that would probably never make it back to the big screen, if they were released, brand new, today.

Take the whole opening sequence to “Blazing Saddles”, for those of you who remember it. The continuously running joke about Cleavon Little, and his become the first black sheriff of the town. How they actors kept teasing you with by saying things like, “The Sheriff, he’s a ni…” then a bell would ring, or something else would sound. And just when you were SURE that they would not say it… John Hillerman’s character drops the “N” word. Please see play the embedded video for the real scene.

I honestly do not think that studios could get away with releasing movies like that today without being called to task for them. Blazing Saddles was not being racist, it was making fun of the fact that there is racism out there and at the process of BEING racist.

If you go back even further, there are other examples that are not as light hearted as Blazing Saddles, and while their message is considered “Racially Insensitive” by today’s standards of not being allowed, in some cases, to acknowledge color or nationality except in a educational way, they were considered appropriate and innocent for their time.

As another example, look at the Disney movie The Song of the South. This was not a malicious movie, is was a fun movie whose message was in no way negative. It simple told a story about the deep south and was set in the past. There are probably very few younger people, born after the mid seventies, that remember this movie. In spite of the way people probably will look at it today, it was a good movie, and some of you may be familiar with the music of it.

If you have never seen The Song of the South, then I would ask that you rent it, if you can find it. I have actually been in two places that will not carry it because they consider it offensive material. Yet it you walk down the isles, you see just about every horror film you can imagine, and one of them had an adult movie section. Granted… these were smaller private rental places, but the point is made.

I think the point I am trying to make with this is that yes, racism is important, and it is something that makes no sense. There are already plenty of ways to keep ourselves divided, why make the color of our skin, or where we were born one of them. But we also need to laugh at ourselves sometimes. There are probably just as many Black idiots as there are White idiots, Red ones, Brown one, etc… Likewise, there are probably just as many of each who are as smart or smarter than you and I. The idea that you can look at a person’s skin color, and decide that they are smart or dumb, worthy or not of respect, etc, tells me that the person making that decision is missing something upstairs.

I think that portraying racism or bigotry in a humorous light makes it that much less of an issue, because if you can laugh at something like this, then you are that much closer to beating it. Simply dwelling on the negative does not fix the problems. Sometimes you need to look at something like this, and laugh. Make a movie about it and let other people laugh.

Can you imagine a world where racism was laughed at the same way we laugh at people when they same that they think the earth is flat, or Elvis is still alive, or that modern technology is based on what they found at Roswell?

Next time you hear a person use the “N” word, as referenced above… start laughing at them… just keep laughing and walk away. Who knows… maybe if they get the hint that the shock value of the word is gone, they will not use it as much. Then people like Mel Brooks can start putting out the movies we know and love!

Until next time!

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!

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