Bizarre Noir #5: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.

Welcome to the fifth of seven posts that will review bizarre noir movies! I hope you enjoy the series. For more information or previous entries, check the posts below this one.


Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.

Year of Origin: 1999.

Director: Jim Jarmusch.

Why it's bizarre: Hip-hop listening black assassin who follows code of the samurai.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see a movie that mixes gangster rap with the Italian mob and an African American hit man who follows the code of the samurai? And if you have, have you also wondered what it would be like if Forest Whitaker was said hit man? Then you’re in luck! Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker), after being saved by mafia member Louie (John Tormey), becomes the man’s personal hit man, and Louie becomes Ghost Dog’s ‘retainer’. You see, Ghost Dog lives by the way of the samurai, a very philosophical code for life. However, eight years after their fateful meeting, Louie contracts Ghost Dog to ice Handsome Frank (Richard Portnow), one of their own. Nobody was supposed to be there… except a mafia bosses’ daughter, Louise (Tricia Vessey), was there to witness the entire event. So now the bosses are forced to try to find this mysterious Ghost Dog (as he’s only contacted through carrier pigeon) and get rid of him. Unfortunately, they picked the wrong guy the mess with.

Ghost Dog is not an action movie by any means. It’s more of a drama and/or philosophical movie. Each little section is separated by voice-over narration from Forest Whitaker reciting something either from philosophers or from the code of the samurai. Otherwise, Forest rarely talks. The only people I think he ever talks to are Louie, a young girl, and his best friend—a Haitian ice cream vendor named Raymond who only speaks French. And that latter relationship is the most endearing. They never understand what the other says, but they both get each other completely. And just the look on Raymond’s face at the end is just… well, you’d have to see it. The relationship between Ghost Dog and the girl, Pearline, is great, too. Pearline is really just like a young, female version of Ghost Dog himself.

There’s a lot of symbolism in the movie, from bear references to the cartoon clips that the mafia guys watch to… well… just about anything. The whole movie is very symbolic and very well done. And the link between hit man and samurai is a great connection, with their ways of life and even the way Ghost Dog handles his gun.

As for the acting, let me just say that this was one of the first movies that turned me on to the amazing acting ability of Forest Whitaker. Pearline is your typical child actor, giving a few stiff lines. And while the cheesy repeated lines in different languages between Ghost dog and Raymond could make it a bit hard to watch at times, the two characters were still endearing to each other. (Now, could I have thrown in any more metaphorical innuendo for an erection?).

Really, the only thing that might bring this movie down a small notch would be the very goofball mafia men. They really aren’t your typical mafia guys. They watch cartoons, sing along to rap, argue with a kid throwing toys at them, and any other number of emasculating or embarrassing things. They seemed to be more like mafia wannabes than actual hard-asses.

But as for the action, for the very little there is, it’s pretty cool. The way Ghost Dog goes about killing people is really cool, and sometimes imaginative (talking about the pipe/sink kill here). And Ghost Dog can really be a badass, especially with his cool little machine thing that can start cars and figure out codes. But, as I said, there’s not that much action to really talk in depth about, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Overall, if you go into this expecting more of a slow drama with a lot of symbolism and philosophy, along with some great acting by Forest Whitaker, then you won’t leave disappointed, much like the people who go into the movie thinking “hey, it’s a movie about a hit man. There should be some awesome action!” Think of it more along the lines of a very much more indie version of Leon, and with even less action than that. Oh, and the soundtrack is composed by the Wu Tang Clan’s the RZA. So yeah, anyway, it’s a great movie that I really recommend.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


Bizarre Noir #4: Sin City.

Welcome to the fourth of seven posts that will review bizarre noir movies! I hope you enjoy the series. For more information or previous entries, check the posts below this one.

Sin City.

Year of Origin: 2005.

Director: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller, and Quentin Tarantino (for one scene).

Why it's bizarre: The comic book look and multiple stories.

Sin City is more of an art form than a movie. With a huge cast, Sin City explodes with star power in three (and a half) different stories. The first snip starts with The Man (Josh Hartnett), an assassin-for-hire. After the short scene, it continues on to Hartigan (Bruce Willis), a cop that is trying to save young Nancy from Roark Jr. (Nick Stahl). Then we have the criminal Marv (Mickey Rourke). After Goldie (Jaime King) is murdered by silent assassin Kevin (Elijah Wood), Marv travels around town trying to figure out who killed Goldie and why. Then we have Dwight (Clive Owen), a criminal with a new face, who sets out to get revenge on lady friend Shellie’s (Brittney Murphy) ex-boyfriend, Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro). But he ends up in a tougher situation than originally planned. Then it goes back to Hartigan again, after getting out of jail. He goes to find grown Nancy (Jessica Alba), the only person who had kept him sane and alive through his years in prison. But, unfortunately, a Yellow Bastard (Nick Stahl) has his own secret agenda. And there’s a whole bunch of other people in the movie, too.

As far as noirs go, this movie has it all. It has the shadowy and unique camera shots (in more ways than one). It has the voice-over narration. It has all the mystery and murder and sexuality you could expect. The star-power really shines, as the movie is really well acted for what it is.

The most obvious comment for the movie is its visual style. It is very comic book, and very original for a movie (only to be redone for the later 300, though to a slightly lesser degree). It was stunning to watch the first time, and it’s still fun to watch now. There really isn’t much more to say about it than that.

The only downfall to the movie is that it’s choppy and incoherent. What I mean to say is that, with the exception of Josh Hartnett’s character and story, none of the stories intersect in any meaningful way. And I understand that each segment was based on a different comic, but they could have connected them all together somehow. They even had a good opportunity to change it all up a little bit, assuming that’s not how it was in the comics (I haven’t read them). But Marv’s story and Dwight’s story could have easily been connected plot-wise due to the prostitutes. And Hartigan’s story and Dwight’s story could have easily been connected plot-wise due to the Roarks. But they weren’t… so, really, it was kinda like the ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ movie, where each segment was almost unrelated to the one before it, making it feel slightly disjointed.

But I did love how Josh Hartnett’s character came back into play at the very end. I thought that was brilliant and made up for some of the lack of connection otherwise. So overall, I though it was brilliant in what it attempted (and succeeded) to do. It has its flaws, sure, and it’s one of those movies you have to be in the right mood to watch… but when you’re in that mood, it’s a good one.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


Bizarre Noir #3: Memento.

Welcome to the third of seven posts that will review bizarre noir movies! I hope you enjoy the series. For more information or previous entries, check the posts below this one.


Year of Origin: 2000.

Director: Christopher Nolan.

Why it's bizarre: The chronology of the movie is mixed up (and mostly backwards).

Memento is interesting in all aspects, really… but the strange thing is, I’m sure if the movie was played out in chronological order, it would be boring as hell (or at least infinitely less interesting). It’s about this guy, Leonard (Guy Pearce), who has short-term memory loss (he can’t make new memories). His wife was raped and murdered, and he’s out to find the man who did it to get revenge. Helping him is Teddy (Joe Pantoliano), as well as femme fatale Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss). But the movie’s plot occurs in two fashions: the first is in reverse chronological order, which starts at the end of the movie and goes back toward the beginning; the second is a black-and-white bit that occurs in chronological order, starting at the beginning and working its way forward. By the end of the movie, these two halves meet, and the end of the movie is essentially the middle.

There really isn’t a whole lot to cover on this movie except to say that it is highly original and is really a great work of film by director Christopher Nolan (of Batman Begins and upcoming The Dark Knight fame). The concept of playing the movie out of order, yet still having all the surprises occur at what is basically the beginning (or middle) of the movie is brilliant. I’ve always loved the idea of figuring out things in reverse… it’s a good technique for writers. For instance, you have a broken window. How did the window get broken? A story begins with this distraught character. How did the character get that way? It’s fun stuff. Not to mention that it’s really the epitome of detective work, which can be a staple for noir.

And voice-over narration is another noir classic, and this movie has a lot of it. Most of it is rather funny, such as the scene in which Leonard is running and sees another guy. He thinks “Okay, what am I doing? I’m chasing this guy.” Then the guy shoots at him. “Nope, he’s chasing me.” There are just really clever things they do with it.

The acting was well done all around the board. But the real shout out goes to Stephen Tobolowsky for the role of Sammy Jankis. Even though he’s only actually shown a few times, just the looks in his eyes are packed with both emotion and blankness that is very fitting for the character. On a similar note, I think it’s interesting that Brad Pitt was at one time considered for the role of Leonard, because, to me, Guy Pearce looked like a version of Brad Pitt mixed with Christian Bale in this movie (more Pitt, though). Every time I saw him, I’d think one or the other.

The only downside to the movie is that it is a rather bleak and depressing movie, so repeated viewings are difficult unless you’re either in the right mood or haven’t watched it in a while. This is also due to the fact that if you’ve watch it too much, the effect of the reverse chronology wears off… either that, or it can really become taxing to watch. I’ve seen the movie about five times or so now, but this is over the course of quite a few years, so the movie feels somewhat new to me every time I watch it. And every time I watch it, I always have forgotten about a great twist at the end of the movie, so I’m always surprised when it’s revealed (not the main twist, but that other littler one). So yeah, really, that’s about all I’ve got to say about this movie.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


Bizarre Noir #2: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Welcome to the second of seven posts that will review bizarre noir movies! I hope you enjoy the series. For more information or previous entries, check the posts below this one.


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Year of Origin: 2005.

Director: Shane Black.

Why it's bizarre: It breaks the fourth wall. And it's funny.

Robert Downey Jr. stars as thief Harry Lockhart who, in running from the law, finds himself pretending to try out for a detective movie. They cast him, but want him to get some detective lessons from Gay Perry (Val Kilmer), a gay detective. Then Harry stumbles into his old hometown crush, Harmony (Michelle Monaghan). Meanwhile, Harry and Perry start getting set up for a murder, while Harmony’s sister is supposedly murdered. So now both men are trying to figure out both cases, which are seemingly unrelated, while also trying to stay alive.

Let me start off by saying I love this movie, and it has become one of my favorites. It’s hilarious, suspenseful (at times), and quirky. The first time I saw it, I was completely confused with the ending, unsure of how everything tied together or what had actually gone down because it all moves so fast and you have to remember almost every little detail in the movie (fortunately, RDJ’s narration will sometimes kick in and tell you that something within a scene might be important for later on). But after that first time, I had it all down and can understand it just fine now.

The acting is superb, and the comedy chemistry between RDJ and Val Kilmer is great. And Val has gained quite a bit of weight, making you wonder how exactly he ever fit into that bat suit (though most of us don’t want to remember that anyway). And you really feel for the characters in the movie and what happens to them.

The movie itself never goes where you expect it to. Just when you think you know where the movie is going, it takes a sharp turn and throws you off. And that on top of the witty narration and dialogue make the movie truly memorable. There’s one bit of dialogue that I love that can really exemplify both of these things:

Perry: “Look up ‘idiot’ in the dictionary. You know what you’ll find?”

Harry: “A… picture of me?”

Perry: “No! The definition of the word idiot, which you fucking are!”

And just because I know this dialogue can do nothing but make you curious…

Harry: I peed on the corpse. Can they do, like, an ID from that?
Perry: I'm sorry, you peed on...?
Harry: On the corpse. My question is...
Perry: No, my question. I get to go first. Why in pluperfect hell would you pee on a corpse?

Really, the visuals are good (especially for a movie with this low of a budget), the acting is great, the story is great (though really fast-paced), the dialogue is witty, and the movie is both funny and unpredictable. And there are a lot of references to old noir/detective books and such, if you’re a fan of those. And if you’re a fan of RDJ, noirs, comedies, or are just interested in seeing Val Kilmer play a gay man, you gotta check out Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Royale With Cheese


Bizarre Noir #1: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Welcome to the first entry for A Week Of Bizarre Noir. I hope you enjoy this blog-a-thon. For more information, please check here.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Year of Origin: 1988.

Director: Robert Zemeckis.

Why it's bizarre: Toons!

What is a week of bizarre noir without mentioning one of the greatest—and most entertaining (especially upon repeat viewings)—available? This universe is unlike any other, as it is a mix of both real live people and cartoon characters. Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) is a drunken detective, depressed over the death of his brother (killed by a toon). After he’s hired to take some incriminating pictures of Jessica Rabbit, Roger Rabbit’s wife, playing patty cake with Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye), owner of toon town, Roger makes threatening statements toward Mr. Acme. Soon thereafter, Marvin Acme is found dead, and the police, led by Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd), believe Roger was the murderer. However, Roger, forcing a plea of innocence to Eddie after sneaking into his apartment, begs the detective and toon hater to help him figure out who set him up and why.

This movie really is a classic, and one of my favorites. It has every aspect of a classic noir (except the voice-over narration)—the cinematography of shadows and grit, the smooth jazz-like music, multiple mysteries as of yet unconnected, a drunken detective, a love interest, and a femme fatale. And what young boy didn’t look at Jessica Rabbit with wide-eyed wonderment? The mix between gritty, hardboiled noir and family comedy cartoon is perfect.

Not to mention the animation is seamless. This movie couldn’t have been made today, because they would have mucked it up with crappy CGI that wouldn’t have worked right. This animation is timeless because everything is meant to look the way it does. They’re supposed to be cartoons that look ripped out of their era, not 3D models that look realistic with the real world. And the interaction between real world and cartoon world is perfect, as well. The movie’s mix of live action and animation will never go out of style or look like crappy special effects unlike most movies. And if my word isn’t enough, the movie won three Oscars, two of which were for Best Visual Effects and Best Editing (the other was Best Sound Effects Editing).

The acting is great, too. Bob Hoskins does a great depressed detective, and Christopher Lloyd does a great psychopath. But the movie is really won over by the cartoon cast, specifically Roger and Jessica Rabbit… and the weasels. But mostly Jessica. I mean, look at those… erm… Yeah. And you never know whose side she’s on. As she states, “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.”

So really, if you haven’t seen this movie by now, shame on you. It was released back in 1988. You’ve had at least 20 years now. Go see it (buy, rent, or Netflix; whichever your preference). While the other movies on this list might lose their special appeal after numerous viewings, this one will not. It will always have its charm and magic no matter how many times it is viewed. And that’s what makes it a classic.

Royale With Cheese


A Week Of Bizarre Noir.

It's time for another week-long blog-a-thon which, obviously, will not start on a Sunday... just like last time. This time around, I'm going to be focusing on bizarre noir (I can rhyme!), mostly because my next novel is going to be one, and I get my inspiration from movies of similar genre. And because I'm watching all these movies anyway, I might as well post up a bunch of reviews in a blog-a-thon style.

This time, however, there won't be the history lessons before each review, mostly because they're all the same kind of genre (just done in a unique way). So I'll just be doing that now.

What is noir, you ask? Noir is hard to define, really, but it is usually those movies with the hardboiled detectives, voice-over narration, femme fatales, shadowy cinematography, rainy weather, and bleak settings and outcomes. But that's not where it stops. What constitutes a noir is typically a mystery, but not always; instead, a lot of crime/gangster movies can fall under noir. The one thing all noir have in common is that they are usually bleak in some way. Whether it be due to a sad history for the main character, a grimy setting, or a dark outcome, something about the movie is typically dark and dirty. In fact, noir means black in French.

So what do I mean by bizarre noir? I'm talking about those movies that do something different with the genre. They take the same aspects and ingredients of noir, but add another flavor to it to spice it up a bit and make it quite unique. This extra flavor can be any number of things, really, and some of the more in-your-face (and good) examples will be shown via this blog-a-thon.

So there you go. This thing will officially kick off tomorrow. Hopefully this one will go smoother for me than the last one, as I have 5 of the 7 already written (as opposed to the last one, where I didn't have any). Enjoy!

UPDATE: Now that all of them have been posted, I'll just link to all of them here.

#1 - Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
#2 - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
#3 - Memento.
#4 - Sin City.
#5 - Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.
#6 - Fallen.
#7 - Batman Begins.


The Case Of The Possessed VCR.

So this is a true story I felt like sharing.

A few days ago, I popped an unlabeled VHS tape into my VCR to see what was on it (I wanted to watch a movie, but didn't feel like watching any of my some-odd 250 DVDs). Well, the tape then proceeds to get stuck in said VCR and nothing I do can get it back out. And I mean it's stuck. It'll either be popped up or stuck down (depending on if I pushed it down), and the flap on the VCR was stuck open.

And it was stuck in just the right place where the VCR couldn't read it, but knew something was possibly there. So for the first half of the time I'm messing with it, it'll stay on for a while, try to read the tape, and then turn back off. Then I think I break the thing, so now it'll stay on the whole time, but it'll continually try to fidget with the tape... such as switching back and forth between trying to play the tape and trying to eject it. It was very noisy.

The biggest issue with this is that everything is connected together through my VCR. Without it being on (and set to a certain channel), I couldn't use my DVD Player or my PS2 (which is highly annoying when you're used to at least watching a movie a night, but not having to go downstairs to the only other DVD Player in the house and trying not to have the TV loud enough to wake your parents).

But I digress. So I talk to my dad about helping me try to get the tape out and/or fix it (because I'm rubbish with tools and fixing stuff), but of course he never gets around to it. And the only VCR I could really replace it with is the one in my parents' room, which is equally as important for their TV's functionality as it is mine... so I can't take that one.

So then this morning, I'm finally fed up with the whole thing, and I start taking all the chords and whatnot out so I can just take it to my dad to try and get his help on getting it out. Imagine my surprise when I notice that not only is the VCR flap back down, but there's no tape inside.

The tape was gone.

I checked on my floor where there's a mess of VHS tapes, and I do see an unlabeled one, but I have no idea if it's the same unlabeled one, because I'm prone to having unlabeled VHS tapes.

Long story short, neither one of my parents had anything to do with the removal of the tape, and I know I didn't do it (unless I woke up in the middle of the night and did sleep-repairs). It is truly bizarre, if I say so myself. We still have no idea how the tape got out of the VCR (and onto my floor, if it is, indeed, the same one). Oh, and another weird note is that my TV was unplugged, as well. Though I could have accidentally done that while I was messing with chords trying to get the ones off the VCR... but I doubt it, because I wasn't pulled that hard (the chords go back behind this wooden shelf thing, all tangled with each other, then across, and into a power strip. My room is a regular fire hazard. And very hot).

So yeah... Creepy.

LKMYNTS... Dog Soldiers.

I haven’t done a Little Known Movies You Need To See (or, as the acronym seems to spell, 'lick my nuts') since January, but I felt this could be one, though not in the same way as the others. Dog Soldiers was made by the same guy who did The Descent and Doomsday. However, unlike The Descent, I actually enjoyed this one, much in the same was as Doomsday ('oddly entertaining'). Dog Soldiers is about a group of soldiers sent off to training in the middle of the Scotland Highlands who stumble upon a pack of werewolves. They meet up with a young woman who takes them to a house nearby, and they have to try and last it out until morning.

I’m not saying this movie is brilliant. In fact, I only recommend it if you’re a fan of B-Horror movies (or werewolves, though that’s usually the same territory). It’s been compared a lot to movies such as Jaws, Alien(s), or Predator. Personally, I think that while it may have one or two similarities with those (at a sort of stretch), I think it has a lot more in common with Night of the Living Dead, but with werewolves instead of zombies. I’d go into specifics, but I might spoil the movie.

But the movie is more horror/comedy than anything. The first half of the movie for me was just like one of those movies that is so awful it's good. I mean, I really thought it was bad... but I couldn't help being entertained. But then the last half picks up and is actually pretty good. And just when I thought the movie’s plot was pretty much non-existent and that the movie was more straightforward or linear, there were a couple plot twists that are cool and unexpected.

As for visuals, there’s a lot of gore in the movie, more than I imagined there would be. You actually see people’s guts (even though they look like big sausages). There’s a humorous scene where one guy is trying to put another guy’s guts back into his body so they can get up and run, and the one guy (with his guts hanging out) is like “they’re not gonna fit!” That, to me, was just so absurd a scene that it was bordering hilarious. For other kinds of visuals, the movie isn’t the most spectacular to look at, but it has its moments. For instance, there’s a scene near the end where a character is standing up and you see the werewolves walk up right behind the person, and they’re all just standing there and it looks awesome.

There were some negatives, such as it really seems that the werewolves show up in the middle of the day, and the last werewolf attack happens when the sun is already out… yet there are still werewolves. It just seems like a gap in the lore the movie set up. Also, they couldn’t have been more obvious with the ‘silver knife’ presented in the opening scene. Chekhov’s Gun, anyone? Also, as much as other people say there is, I just did not see any real character development. All the characters stayed exactly the same throughout the movie.

Overall, if you’re looking for a B-Horror werewolf movie that’s entertaining, absurd, funny, and action-packed, I’d recommend Dog Soldiers.

I Am McLovin!



Also known as Indiana Jones Vs. The Martians. The fourth movie in the series picks up almost two decades later, and Russians are after something mysterious that they need Indiana Jones’ (Harrison Ford) help to get. It turns out that these Russians, led by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), are after a crystal skull that was found again by Professor Oxley (John Hurt), which will give the person who returns it to its rightful home some kind of ultimate power. Also along for the ride is old flame Marion (Karen Allen) and her son, Mutt (Shia LaBeouf).

This movie had good points and bad points. Overall, it was really cool. One of the best in the series, I’d say. The acting was done really well from all parties, including Harrison Ford, who didn’t come off as too old for that part at all.

The visuals were nice, as well. The cinematography was excellent, and the special effects were pretty good, too. The play with light and shadows was done pretty well. The action sequences were well choreographed, especially the jungle car chase sequence (including Pirates-esque sword fight), which was awesome. I’d have to say that was probably my favorite scene in the movie.

The bad stuff wasn’t incredibly huge, though. Cate Blanchett’s accent slipped once or twice toward the beginning. And there were a few scenes that were incredibly unbelievable (and I mean this in the bad way). There seriously was some stuff I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief for, because it was so out-there… from the atomic bomb surviving to the cliff-into-water jump after the jungle chase to the whole triple waterfall sequence. I mean, I can buy the aliens, but that stuff was just silly.

But overall, it was a really good movie. It was fun, funny, and action-packed. There really isn’t a whole lot to say about the movie in general. It was fun, although highly predictable, and I would see it again.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. Neil Flynn's (The Janitor from Scrubs) cameo is great... but I so couldn't take him seriously).


R2D2... The One With Summer Movies.

I haven't done one of these in a while, so I thought I could waste a space here by telling everybody my thoughts on the upcoming summer movie season.

-I have a ticket to go see Indiana Jones tomorrow. I could have gone to see it tonight at midnight, but I didn't feel like going then. I'm not super amped about this one, but it should be fun.

-M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening looks crazy. I can't wait for that one. Have you seen the Red Band trailer? It's gonna be a lot more intense/crazy than people who just see the normal trailer will think. Not to mention the movie is supposed to be one of his best since The Sixth Sense. Though I also heard there's no twist ending... which is fine, I suppose.

-The Incredible Hulk. I haven't made up my mind on this one. I actually fell asleep (in the middle of the day) watching the first one. And I know this is a start-over, much like Batman Begins, and it does look fifty times better. Plus, it's Edward Norton, and he's awesome. It'll be a fun one, I think.

-Get Smart looks pretty funny, and you can almost never go wrong with Steve Carrell.

-Wall-E didn't have me incredibly excited until the full-length trailer came out, and now I'm acting like an excited little schoolgirl about it. It just looks so cute and... and stuff.

-Wanted. Awesome.

-Hancock. Even more awesome.

-Hellboy II. A little less awesome, but still exciting.

-Meet Dave. WTF.

-The Dark Knight. The most awesome (and I can't wait to see Heath Ledger's Joker. The poor guy is gonna get judged so much now on that role because of his death).

-Step Brothers. I'm getting pretty tired of Will Ferrell. He needs to make more movies like Stranger Than Fiction.

-The X-Files: I Want To Believe
. Um... don't care.

-The Mummy 3... I'm not sure what to make of this quite yet. Brenden Frasier is always fun to watch, and the first two Mummy movies were great. But this one might suffer from SequeLItus. As in, sequels with Jet Li (especially ones that don't typically have super-martial arts). Lethal Weapon 4, anyone? It seems like it could be good... but on the other hand, it doesn't look to be as dark as the first two. It looks more kid-friendly camp.

-Pineapple Express. An action movie with stoners... made by Judd Apatow. Sounds fun.

-The Sisterhood of the Tra... I'm not even going to bother.

-Star Wars: The Clone Wars. What the hell kind of animation is that? It looks like they made it with Nintendo 64 graphics. The Family Guy Star Wars had better animation. Not to mention that this movie is based on a Cartoon Network miniseries... and it's only being made to issue in a Cartoon Network full series. So a movie based on a TV show to spin off a TV show. Uh huh.

-Tropic Thunder. Robert Downey Jr. as a black guy. I'm there. (Not to mention this movie is probably going to triple in what its views probably would have been due to RDJ's success with Iron Man).

-Bangkok Dangerous. Fletch is so there.

-Babylon A.D. Not sure yet.

-Vicky Cristina Barcelona. On the one hand, it's Woody Allen (who bored me through Match Point). On the other hand, it's Scarlett Johansson making out with Penelope Cruz. I think I'll just skip the movie and download the scene.

And that's it! I think that's my longest edition of R2D2 thus far. w00t.


New Poll!

I've decided to put up a poll over yonder, one to question my current audience.

I currently have two blogs (and contribute to the LAMB). I have this one, of course, as well as a book review blog, The Missing Page.

But because I can't read nearly as many books as I can watch movies in my limited amount of time... I was wondering if I should merge it with R2D2 and do both movie and book reviews all here on this blog.

Personally, I have no issue with it... but it's a question as to whether my (relatively small) audience cares about reading about both books and movies.

So what do y'all think?



I probably won’t have that much to say about this one except that Prince Caspian is only better than the first in action. 1300 years after the events of the first movie, Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), after being forced to run from his castle due to an attempted assassination, summons the Pevensie siblings to help restore peace to Narnia and reclaim his rightful throne. Unfortunately, Narnians, including Aslan, have either been killed off or disappeared… so their mission is rather difficult. That’s about it. Seriously, the plot isn’t the most complicated one in the world.

This movie was darker than the previous, but it still shared the faults of the previous. The acting was mediocre at best (and I personally felt embarrassed any time Peter shouted something like “FOR NARNIA!” or “FOR ASLAN!” or “CHARGE!”). Ben Barnes as Caspian probably did the best acting job. But the best character, hands down, was Reepicheep, a little warrior mouse voiced by Eddie Izzard. He was awesome. But the other issue was that the themes were pretty dark, yet it’s just a PG movie. One of the biggest problems I had with the first movie was that the action was unrealistically clean. If a sword stabs into somebody, it should come out bloodstained, not sparkly clean. The same thing happened in this movie. It’s a war, yet the people barely even get dirty. Add some realism for Christ’s sake.

And speaking of, the religious allegory is still very much present. While the first movie was a resurrection/savior tale, this one was more about having faith and not wavering in your beliefs. It wasn’t strong in the first half of the movie, but it was so obvious in the second half, especially toward the very end, that it’s almost too much. And I have nothing against a religious message. I believe in God. But there’s a point when it can go a bit too far. It’s like “okay, we get your point. We understand the theme. You can stop now. You’re just being cheesy.” There’s a scene toward the end with Lucy that is so horribly acted and so in-your-face with the message that it’s more of something you would see on an after-school PBS religious special.

The special effects are both good and bad. Some of it is overtly fake, while some of it looks pretty cool. And I have to say, I love Harry Potter, but those movies could learn how to do Centaurs from Narnia.

So really, the movie was predictable, sometimes cheesy and too in-your-face with the religious message, and so-so acted. But the action scenes were really cool, regardless of the cleanliness. And it did have some pretty funny moments. The first hour was pretty slow, but then the last half picks up with all the action. But otherwise, the movie was only relatively average. Like the first one, I’ll have seen it once in theater, and that’ll probably be enough.

Stop Saying Okay! Okay.


Thoughts On The (Original) Indiana Jones Trilogy.

As the new movie is coming out soon, Indiana Jones is all over the place. As I don’t own the movies on DVD or the like (as of now), I was fortunate enough to DVR the entire thing from USA Network during their marathon over this past weekend. Well, I just finished watching them for the first time since I was really little, and I believe my opinion is… not warranted… but I’m going to give it anyway. And I’m probably going to get steamrolled for it.

Now, I both can and cannot see why Mr. Jones was and/or is such a big deal. I can see how he might have a cult following, but not a super-huge blockbuster following. Because, honestly, the movies (specifically the first two) were badly made (except for the nifty shadow shots in all three). But before you get on me, please let me clarify.

Starting with Raiders of the Lost Ark, I must say that, at least by today’s standards, the acting is bad, the fights scenes can be good or bad, and the continuity is plain awful. To further explain the latter two bits, there was one scene in particular where Harrison Ford punches at a guy, CLEARLY misses, the guy reacts a bit late, and there’s an over-the-top punching noise. As for the continuity, there’s just too many to pinpoint. However, these things said, I had no problem suspending disbelief, and I thought the movie was really fun. I can totally see what made him an iconic figure, and why people loved the movie. It’s escapist fun.

The second movie, however, is a whole other story. It has similar issues with acting and continuity, but the biggest issues with Temple of Doom are Willie (the main female), the very over-the-top slapstick/physical humor, and the overall difficulty in suspension of disbelief. Willie was pretty annoying, basically screaming or complaining the whole time. And it doesn’t help that, randomly, about halfway in, Indy and Willie suddenly fall in love with each other, even though he couldn’t stand her minutes before. As for the slapstick, it is in the other movies, but I feel it just really didn’t work for this one. And I don’t know much about Indian culture, but while I was watching that dinner scene with the snakes and the monkey brains, etc., even I was like “This is absurd.” And then there were just some things that happen in this movie that I just couldn’t believe, even if it’s meant to be fantasy-like. The coolest thing about the second movie, though? Short Round. That kid was awesome.

So now we’re left with The Last Crusade. Well, really, this one is the best in the series (so far). The only things it had wrong with it were a few continuity errors, but nothing major. There’s slapstick/physical humor in this one, but it works. I think because Sean Connery is usually involved, and that man can pull off anything (“You’re the man now, dawg!”). The stuff at the end with going after the Grail and the three trials is great, and the dude aging super-fast is still creepy, even with the cheesy effects. Not to mention the action was really stepped up in this one. And it starts off with young Indy (R.I.P. River Phoenix) and shows how he came to get his iconic look.

So really, Indiana Jones is cool. He’s human, he has faults, but he’s also a funny badass with a whip. Though, in those respects, he’s also kind of a loser if you really pay attention. He’s only ever been able to keep one item that he’s ever gone after (the golden cross at the beginning of Crusade). The golden skull thing at the beginning of Raiders is stolen. The Ark is taken by the government. The diamond at the beginning of Temple is lost. He drops two of the three stones, and has to give the other one back to the tribe. And then he can’t take the Holy Grail with him at the end of Crusade. Not to mention he can’t seem to keep a woman (one dies, and two are never heard from again, at least until this next one where Karen Allen returns as Marion). But in all seriousness, the Indiana Jones movies (as of right now) are just meant to be escapist fun, and Indy is a great, iconic character played marvelously by Harrison Ford. I just think it’s interesting as to how he grew to the level of popularity that he did. And I’m still stoked for the next one.


DVDs Or Death!

It's that time again, and it's yet another boring week for DVDs.

Mad Money.

Brief Synopsis: Diane Keaton. Queen Latifah. Katie Holmes... As Bank Robbers.

Comments: Um... no thanks.

Viewing Option: Wait for TV (if at all).


Brief Synopsis: Psycho Makes The World Into Killers Via Website.

Comments: It was actually a pretty decent movie, as I saw it in theater. But I don't think it's worth a buy. For everybody else, it'd be a good rent. But for me...

Viewing Option: Wait for TV.

The Great Debaters.

Brief Synopsis: A Heartfelt Movie About A Debate Team.

Comments: It got good reviews, so I might check this out at some point.

Viewing Option: Rent or Wait for TV.

The Indiana Jones Trilogy.

Brief Synopsis: Um... It's Indiana Jones.

Comments: I've just DVR'd the entire trilogy over the weekend and have been watching them (probably to have a discussion on them soon). If you're an uber-fan and don't already own them, these are special editions, so go for it.

Viewing Option: Already Have Them On TV.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe [Blu-Ray].

Brief Synopsis: Blu-Ray Re-Release Of Four Kids Who Go To Another World.

Comments: Yeah... this movie is turning into one of those that continually re-releases multiple versions just to milk it for all it's worth (and it helps that the next movie is coming out soon). So if you're a Blu-Ray freak and don't already own it, go ahead. As for me, I don't own a Blu-Ray player, but I don't have the movie already (it was okay, but not super-awesome).

Viewing Option: Watch on TV or Skip Altogether.


Thoughts On Thrillers, Horror, and Torture Porn.

I’m going to do something here I don’t do very often: just have a discussion. That’s right, no movie reviews or anything like that. I felt like giving my opinion on certain semi-related (especially these days) movie genres: thrillers, horror films, and torture porn. These labels get thrown around a lot, and half the time incorrectly.

For instance, earlier this year, a Spanish film entitled El Orfanato (The Orphanage) was released. They called it horror. The movie is not so much horror as much as it is a supernatural thriller or mystery. Words got thrown in like “terrifying” that could turn people away from such an amazing film if they’re not fans of horror. The label gets thrown around so much that it can, in fact, ruin a movie’s turn out.

The biggest disaster to be caused by the act of mislabeling was M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village back in 2004. It was labeled (and advertised) as this super scary horror movie, so when people went to see it thinking they were going to be scared, the only thing we were left with were countless reviews being thrown around saying it was horrible and completely unscary. It’s all in how you go in to a movie. If it had been marketed as a thriller/drama/romance (which is what it was), it might have gotten slightly better reviews, because people's expectations wouldn’t have been elsewhere, meaning they wouldn’t have been nearly as hateful. Likewise, M. Night’s Lady in the Water was treated the same way, when it was more of a children’s fantasy/fairy tale. I remembered having to continually convince my mother that the movie was not meant to be a horror movie every time a trailer came on TV, and she never believed me.

A more recent example of this was Bug in 2006. With the director of The Exorcist at the helm, it was immediately given descriptions such as “one of the most terrifying and truly scary movies I have ever seen.” And (gasp) it wasn’t. And it was never meant to be. It’s a psychological thriller and drama. There was a moment when I was waiting in line somewhere, and some lady started going off about Bug, and how it wasn’t scary at all and that she had demanded her money back. That’s faulty advertising for you. It's even on the poster (click to enlarge it).

Similarly, movies like the first Saw are labeled as horror or torture porn, and they’re usually neither. Bet let me digress for a moment and explain for those who are unaware of what I’m talking about.

The term torture porn came onto the scene because of Eli Roth’s Hostel, in which the first half of the movie is like Cinemax porno, and the second half is, well, people torturing other people to death (I also briefly go into the term in my discussion of the Japanese movie Audition, which has wrongfully been lumped in this subgenre, as well). Since then, people have been twisting the meaning of the term to fit a whole bunch of other films into this random and new subgenre of horror. The most recent to get slapped with the title has been Untraceable, which really only has the torture side down. What people are saying about the subgenre label is that it implies people get off to the gore and torture like they would to porn.

So back to Saw; not only is there no sex or nudity (we’re talking about the first installment only here), but the gory stuff is actually rather minimal. In fact, I wouldn’t even label it as horror as much as a crime and/or psychological thriller. Yet people continually thrust it in with (the God-awful) Hostel and the like. Why is that?

If Silence of the Lambs were to be made today, it would probably be considered torture porn because of Buffalo Bill, when it is, in fact, a crime thriller. In fact, any movie these days that has some kind of psychotic killer that likes to toy with his victims in any fashion will be considered torture porn, and I don’t think that’s right.

Honestly, the only movies I consider acceptable to fall under that label are Hostel and Hostel: Part II (and maybe Uwe Boll’s House of the Dead, because there’s a lot of sex, nudity, and blood, and it’s torturous to watch). And they’re all really, really horrible movies (and I don’t mean because of the subject matter… I just mean they’re boring, horribly made films). So when you link good movies like the first Saw or any other kind of remotely decent movie to that subgenre, it’s irking.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Advertise the movie how it is, and it might just get a better response. Hopefully M. Night’s coming film, The Happening, really is as awesome as it appears. Also, Eli Roth and Uwe Boll need to stop making movies, because they both really suck at it.

That is all.



I’ve never taken drugs, but if I had, I’m sure the experience would be something a lot like Speed Racer. Even after the controversy over and death of his brother Rex (Scott Porter), Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) wants to be one of the best race car drivers ever. Along with his girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) and his family, Pops (John Goodman), Mom (Susan Sarandon), little brother Spritle (Paulie Litt), Spritle’s pet monkey Chim Chim, and their mechanic Sparky (Kick Gurry), Speed will do whatever it takes. But after Speed wins an important race, super-conglomerate man Royalton (Roger Allam) offers Speed a contract which turns his life upside down, and he must team up with the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox) to put it back in order.

The movie isn’t overly complicated. In fact, there isn’t much to say about it. However, I haven’t had THIS MUCH FUN at a movie in a long time. It was very over-the-top, most of the time cheesy, and almost all the time cartoonish in nature, but it worked. In fact, the climax of the movie is simultaneously one of the most over-dramatic/over-the-top climaxes, yet one of the most awesome things ever.

The movie was random, the editing was fast yet fluid (I feel bad for the editor), and it was just zany fun. The dialogue, as I said, could get pretty cheesy at times, as could the acting, but it’s based on a cheesy cartoon, so it works really well. And I couldn’t picture the parts with any other actors or actresses now. They were all cast very well. The races were awesome, too.

As for the multi-color extravaganza, you get rather used to it pretty quickly, but it does make you feel as if you’re on drugs the entire time. And there are moments that even made me feel kinda dizzy, and I did perfectly fine with Cloverfield. And if I had anything negative to say about it, it would be that the first half of the movie moved a lot slower than the second half. Once the movie reaches the cross-country race, it really picks up and gets really awesome.

Overall, I can’t really say much more about the movie. It set out to do something and it did it. The movie was straight-up fun, funny, corny, action-packed, and (at times) even dramatic. I was gripping my seat come climax scene. The Wachowski’s were definitely on something when they made this movie, but it was worth it. And if I ever get in a position to where I’m not sure if I wanna watch a live action movie or a cartoon, I’ll know what to do. Cool beans.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


Unrelated to Movies: Another Finished Book.

I posted this over at my newer book blog, The Missing Page, but I felt since I shared last time here, I could share here again, as well.

So I started working on this at the end of the last year (I actually stopped writing this one to write the one I linked to above). But then I picked this back up a little over a month ago due to a co-worker's demanding nature that I write more. So I've been working diligently on it every week since. And it's finally finished! And not only is it my longest first draft ever, it's my longest book thus far (according to word count, and not by a super lot, but still the longest)... so that's pretty cool. And now... for the moment maybe a couple people have been waiting for...

Page Count: 350.
Word Count (according to WORD): 73,934.
Chapters: 27 (plus a prologue and an epilogue).

Title: Some Kind Of Real.

Story synopsis (with help from previously mentioned co-worker):

When 12-year-old Alabama Turnkey meets the magic mirror from fairy tale legend, he doesn't know what to make of the fact that the mirror is real and can talk to him, or of the cat-like woman staring back at him. Calico, as she's called, warns Al that his life is in danger and promises to come to his aid. Al thinks he's dreaming until a fight with the Big Bad Wolf, and he soon learns that fairy tales are real and that The Man With No Name, The Wolf, and others are after him and a book known as The Book of Tales. The owner of The Book of Tales would wield awesome power: whatever is written into the book will come to life.

Al is swept into the battle to protect The Book of Tales and is joined by his new friend Calico; his sister, 16-year-old Georgia; Calico's partner, Avalon; and Clover Lane, a girl who makes everyone around her lucky. Together, this mismatched group must travel the world, seeking the guardians of The Book of Tales, in hopes of obtaining the book before it falls into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, even for fairy tales, not everything has a happily ever after.

So yeah, there it is. It's awesome, I tell you. It's young adult fantasy (obviously), which ranks my novels up to 2 adult, 2 young adult. And a random fun fact of information for this book? Georgia wasn't even one of my original characters when I started out. And when I wrote her in, she was just going to be minor. By the end of the book, she had become not only one of my favorite characters, but one of the most important characters. Funny how stuff like that happens.

Short Review: Rocky Balboa.

I haven't done one of these since Hard Candy, but felt this movie couldn't really be reviewed any other way...


Ex-Boxer gets back in the ring to face current champ.

Starring: Sylvester Stallone (who also wrote and directed), Burt Young, Milo Ventimiglia.

My reaction: The story was disjointed. The acting was mostly flat and pretty bad (specifically by Burt Young). The dialogue was even worse. Milo Ventimiglia was vastly underused. I haven't seen any of the other Rocky movies, but if this one was any indication, I might be better off. It wasn't a total waste, but it was pretty close. Even the training montage was bad... and it's insanely hard to screw up a montage.

Feed Me, Seymour!


Twilight Teaser Trailer.

I hate teaser trailers... because they're such a tease! I adored the book (and still need to read the next couple in the series), but the Twilight teaser trailer has finally hit the internet! And It. Is. Awesome.

(And is it just me, or does Robert Pattinson remind anybody else of Timothy Olyphant a couple of times in this teaser?).


DVDs Or Death!

It's that time of the week again, so you know what that means? DVDs Or DEATH! Well... maybe not so much death this week... it's a pretty boring week, really.

I'm Not There.

Brief Synopsis: Bob Dylan. Many Different Actors/Actresses.

Comments: Not overly excited about this one. There really isn't much else to say about it.

Viewing Option: Wait for TV.

P.S. I Love You.

Brief Synopsis: Generic Chick Flick.

Comments: Yet again, not overly excited about this one. Again, there really isn't much else to say about it.

Viewing Option: Wait for TV (or the inevitable rental via my mother).


Brief Synopsis: Bill Paxton Chases Tornadoes. Re-Release.

Comments: Yet another re-release on special edition DVD. I think we already own this one on VHS somewhere...

Viewing Option: See previous.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie.

Brief Synopsis: Bad Movie... Being Made Fun Of In A Great Movie.

Comments: I have a VHS recording of this, but I'd LOVE to own the DVD. It's hilarious and totally worth the buy.

Viewing Option: Buy.

The 4400: The Complete Fourth Season.

Brief Synopsis: Like Heroes... But They Did It First.

Comments: The reason I mention this one is because not many people knew about this show. It was a great show that came on USA every summer (taking a painfully long amount of time waiting between seasons... one season even skipped a year). It's similar to Heroes in that a lot of ordinary people get extraordinary powers. 4400 people throughout time are abducted into the future and injected with a special enzyme that gives them special abilities. They are then placed back all within the same time period... some learn to control their powers, some don't. But they know one thing for sure: There's a catastrophe coming that they are meant to stop, and there are some people out there who don't want them to. Really great underrated show. Unfortunately, it only lasted four seasons before it was canceled... which totally sucks.

Viewing Option: Watch Re-Runs On TV.

Overrated Movies: The Descent.

So I gave it another shot and tried to like it. I really did (tried, not liked it). And while Shea over at Unheralded will highly disagree with this entire post, I gotta say the second viewing didn’t help a whole lot (though it did a little).

One year after a horrible car accident kills her family, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) reunites with her risk-taking friends to go on a spelunking adventure in America. However, one wrong thing after another happens, all escalating to the point where they all get attacked by blind, cave-dwelling monsters (AKA Gollums) that want to do nothing but eat them.

I’ll start off with the good things about this movie, some of which I didn’t come to appreciate until this second viewing (I first saw it in theater when it first came out 3 years ago. I saw it for the second time just a while ago). First, the movie had some really great shots pre-cave (and even some really cool shots within the cave, as well). And once they were in the cave, the way the director played with light and darkness was amazing. Seriously, I did love how the only light ever shown while in the cave was light created by the characters (a similar technique was done in the opening scene of Saw 3, which I enjoyed). There was never any added light. If it didn’t come from the characters, it was pitch black in that spot.

Also, the movie did have some really tense scenes. The pre-Gollums scenes in the cave where it was just woman versus nature were great, specifically the horribly claustrophobic body-sized crawlspace scene. I felt the tension for that one in theater, and I felt it again on the second viewing. Though this time, I did appreciate the Gollums a bit more. They were creepy looking, and they weren’t overly reliant on CGI, which is rare these days.

But now for the bad. I think the biggest problem I have for the movie is the characters. Really, the only character’s name I ever remembered was Juno, but I just re-dubbed her as Asian Leader Bitch. In fact, I basically re-dubbed them all. Besides her, there was The Depressed Main Character, Young Immature Risk-Taker, Hot Yet Rarely Shown, The Other One, and Annoying Know-It-All Panicker With A Thick Upper Lip (I know… that one’s a bit long). There are six main girls (I’m relatively sure… they all kind of blend together), and only half of them really have any sort of personality… though, unfortunately, part of that personality is “annoying.” What I’m getting at is that I didn’t care for any them, which is bad for a horror movie. If you don’t care for the characters, then their deaths are meaningless to me (and most of them were).

Not to mention they were mostly idiots (which is depressing, considering two are major risk-takers and should know better; one is an English teacher, which is insulting to me; and one is about to be a doctor). After they find out that these things only know you’re there if you make a noise, at least one of them decides to make loud noises at all times, especially Annoying Know-It-All Panicker With A Thick Upper Lip. Seriously, if you’re walking around a corner to check if a vicious auditory hunter is on the other side, you do not jump and go “AH!” upon looking. And if a bunch are in the room with you, you do not scream “RUN!” as none of them should attack if they don’t hear you in the first place (I’m talking about you, here, Asian Leader Bitch). And speaking of badly written scripts, there was one bit of dialogue I thought worthy of mentioning that I had a bit of a chuckle at. One of the women is like "I'm telling you, I saw somebody! I could describe what I saw EXACTLY." And another asked her to, so she responded "It was a man!" Yeah... how exact and specific.

And this leads to another issue. Towards the very end of the movie, the Gollums start breaking their own rules. A lot of things can happen in a horror movie that breaks boundaries, but the bad guys should never break their own rules. The Gollums are supposed to be auditory predators, yet they make moves and attacks that should not be possible if all they can do is hear (over half the attacks would have involved them having to see their victims). It was ridiculous.

The gore was pretty good, and there were some gross-out moments (like the broken leg fix). But it did get over-the-top at one critical moment, which would be the blood pool. Even if these creatures killed and ate a bunch of people and/or animals in that cave, there would not be a pool of blood that massive right there… unless they specifically drain blood into a pit for later use, but I seriously doubt it.

So the movie did go up a couple notches for me from my first viewing due to some really cool shots and light/dark effects (among a few other things), but the negatives still far outweigh the positives. And there is a sequel coming out, though I figure it’ll follow in the footsteps of horror sequels past and be worse. I guess I’ll wait and see. I usually love movies produced by Lionsgate (especially horror), but I still don’t think this movie deserves all the praise it received.

Feed Me, Seymour!


Uwe Boll... Root Of All Evil?

So I was thinking about this yesterday, and it suddenly all made sense.

To catch those up who have been living under a cinematic rock for the last 5 years or so, Uwe Boll is a writer/director/producer of some of the worst movies in recent years. He has been compared to the likes of Ed Wood, though some say he's even worse (considering that at least Ed Wood's movies are so bad they're good while Uwe Boll's are, well, not). He typically focuses on video game movies (giving a bad name to the already bad name of video game movies). Uwe Boll is responsible for such travesties as House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne, In the Name of the King, and the upcoming Postal. Every one of his movies has bombed horribly, yet not only does he still receive funding, he continues to get well-known actors.

And not only is he a crappy filmmaker, but his attitude is smug, arrogant, highly annoying. He constantly states that he believes he is the best filmmaker in the world. And when critics hate on him, what does he do? He beats them up. Talk about immature. Again, for those who don't know, he challenged critics to face off against him in a boxing match (only his top 5 worst critics). What he didn't tell them is that he, in fact, is and/or used to be a boxer. So he ended up cleaning the floor with them. To pour salt on the wounds, it is believed that he is going to use footage from the fights in his upcoming film, Postal. However, when filmmakers challenged Boll to a film-related challenge, he decided to ignore them.

So anyway, back to the topic at hand. I believe it is people like Uwe Boll that ruin this world. It is not movies or video games that cause violence, but people such as Mr. Boll that show kids it's okay to beat up people that don't share your opinion... and that it's okay to walk away from the battles that actually matter.

And the cinema-going audience has been complaining for years now that only crap is coming out. Well, if people decided to invest their money (and decent actors) in quality material instead of Uwe Boll, then they might just get that. Cinema-goers would be happy. Or, instead, they could use all the money they would have used to produce a Uwe Boll film to solve world hunger or something. And if people put together all the money that would have been used to pay for tickets to see a Uwe Boll film... well, then, you could go to the dollar menu at McDonalds and have a simple lunch.

So, Uwe Boll, you need to stop making movies. You're causing school violence and world hunger.




It’s the first big blockbuster of the season… and it delivers. I got to see the 8 PM Thursday Night showing, so I'm happy. Anyway, on to the review. Iron Man is about Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a billionaire weapons manufacturer who gets captured by terrorists demanding him to build a new-age missile. But, knowing that he’ll just be killed afterwards anyway, Stark creates a prototype armor suit instead and fights his way back home. After a change of heart (literally), he decides to fight the evil his own company has created. He builds the suit and fights the bad guys. That’s the basic gist of it.

I normally try to list all of the major cast members in the synopsis, but I really couldn’t this time. The reason? This movie was a one-man show. Robert Downey Jr. owned this movie on every level. He was smart, quick-witted, and hilarious (not to mention a badass superhero). Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes, his air force friend, did a nice job. And Jeff Bridges (AKA The Dude) as Obadiah Stane did well, too. There was really only one acting complaint I had… which would be Academy Award Winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

Odd, huh? She just seemed really awkward and out of place in this movie (the title of which most thought would go to Downey Jr.). There were times she tried to be as quick-witted as Downey Jr., but it just didn’t work. Not to mention the climax of the movie in which Tony is whispering commands at her so she can help out, and she’s standing not too far away answering back in shouts (into her cell phone) for all to hear. Learn to whisper, woman.

Another thing, closely related to my previous comment, was the actual climax. One would think that Iron Man would use less weapons with normal humans and more weapons with giant robots. Apparently the movie thought differently. The final battle could have used a lot more action from the Iron Man suit. All it really did was fly around. But besides Gwyneth and the final battle, I have no complaints.

The movie did have some really cool action. The special effects were AMAZING. And, as previously stated, the movie as a whole was hilarious. It wasn’t as dark as Batman Begins, but wasn’t as light (nor as crappy) as Fantastic Four. There was a healthy mix of drama and comedy. And it totally sets it up for a sequel (in more ways than one). For those who haven’t heard yet, stick around until after the credits for a short scene. Really, it was a great movie that I’d love to see again (and again). Good fun.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. I don’t know if it’s just because he shaved his hair off, but The Dude’s head is enormous).