31 December 2010

The Deer Hunter (1978)

As the first entry on my 20 films off of the AFI 100 Years, 100 Movies, I chose 'The Deer Hunter'.  This has always been on my list of movies to see, but given its length its one I've always put off.  Clocking in at just under 3 hours, this is not a quick venture.

The running time is something I'd like to address first.  The first 50 minutes or so consist of a wedding scene.  Do I understand why the scene was there?  Yes.  It was meant to show the relationships of the characters prior to their departure for service in the Vietnam War.  However, they showed the relationships clearly in the first 20 minuets of the wedding scene, and the shorter hunting sequence, so we can cut about 30 minutes off the running time right there.

From here, we jump right to Vietnam.  This starts the ascent to one of the three peaks of the film.  One thing this film is known for was its depiction of Russian Roulette.  The first sequence has the stars of the film (De Niro, Walken, Savage) as prisoners of the North Vietnam forces where they are forced to play Russian Roulette. You can start to see at this point how the war changed the three friends.  Mike (De Niro) convinces Nick (Walken) to play each other, with three bullets in the gun.  They escape, but when they are being rescued by US forces, Steven (Savage) falls out, and De Niro goes after him.  Nick recovers in Saigon, thinking that his friends are dead, and you can see the huge toll this takes on him mentally.  The last we see of Nick for some time, he is running after disrupting a Russian Roulette game in a shady locale.  Mike yells after him, but Nick does not hear.

From here we return to the home of Mike, Nick and Steve.  Mike seems to be the most... 'normal' of the friends.  Steven is in a VA hospital, having lost his legs.  From a conversation with Steven, Mike learns that Nick is alive and in Saigon.  Mike travels to Saigon, on a mission to bring Nick home.  Mike finds Nick in the same gambling den, playing Russian Roulette, and strung out on heroin.  Nick has no idea who Mike is.  Mike fixes it so he plays Nick in a game of Russian Roulette.  As the game progresses, Nick finally realizes who he is playing.  With one last flash of recognition, Nick pulls the trigger, and the game ends.

The movie ends with Mike fulfilling his promise of bringing Nick home.

I know this was a bit rambling, but I could not review it with out some sort of recap.  I really enjoyed it.  Will I see it again?  Probably not.  Am I glad that I finally watched it?  Yes.

28 December 2010

61* Update

Just a quick update on the adventure that is my list.

On 23 DEC 10, I went up to my Mom's and with my sister went through old stuff in the attic.  As my sister said at one point, it was like Christmas.  Lost of stuff had been wrapped in old paper and plastic, so there was a lot of unwrapping.   While doing this, I found all of the wooden cars that my Dad had made for me when I was young.  Once I get them inside out of my car, I will be taking pics and doing a post on just them.

That's really the big update.  As I write this, I'm watching 'The Deer Hunter' as part of my goal to watch 20 movies off of the AFI 100 years, 100 movies list.

20. Watch 20 films I have not seen from the AFI 100 Years, 100 Movies, 10th Anniversary (0/20)
39. Donate 100,000 grains of free rice on Free Rice (5,960/100,000)
57. Clean out my stuff from my moms attic and do something with it

19 December 2010

2010 - The Movies I Saw

Put simply, if it was released in 2010, and I saw it, its on this list.  The numbered list is a rough ranking, not to be taken too seriously.  Un-numbered is the rest.
  1. Iron Man 2
  2. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
  4. Shutter Island
  5. Robin Hood
  6. Predators
  7. Alice In Wonderland
  8. Repo Men
  9. The Losers
  10. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
From Paris With Love
The Wolfman
The Ghostwriter
Clash of the Titans
Date Night
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Prince of Persia
Jonah Hex
Grown Ups

15 December 2010

Capitan Jack's back... savvy?

Now, I know what you're thinking.  Not another Pirates movie!  I too thought the same.  But then I heard that Ian McShane would be playing Blackbeard.  And that Penelope Cruz is in it.  And the most important part... no Orlando or Keira!!  Now, I enjoyed those two in the last three movies, but their stories are done.

So, then this here trailer is released.  And it is awesome.  It looks like a lot of fun from the first one has returned.

Look like its shaping up to be a good Summer 2011 movie season.

14 December 2010

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

I recently used the phrase 'raging pile of meh' and that only begins to describe the level of disappointed I felt after watching this movie.  Now, I am a big fan of the original movie, and when I heard that Jackie Earle Haley (of Watchmen fame) was playing the clawed one, I look forward to this movie with much anticipation.

Mr. Haley was the best part of this movie.  I almost like him better than the original Freddy, Robert Englund.  Outside of Mr. Haley's performance, the rest of the movie was cookie cutter.  I was hoping for something a bit different, but what we got was just a re-hash.

Please don't continue to make Freddy movies.  Thanks.

I give this 3/5 finger knives.

This movie was so meh, I can't even work up the interest to write a decent review...

12 December 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

I went into this movie fully expecting it to be a raging pile of meh, and I was not disappointed.  Actually, that's not fair.  As long as Michael Cera wasn't speaking the movie was great.  I found that during any scenes where Mr. Cera was speaking, I grew very annoyed with the movie.  He has a VERY limited range, and I understand that's what he's good at, but some emotion from time to time would be GREAT!

Overall, the movie was really enjoyable.  I liked the sight gags (phones that say 'ring', the video game style fights).  Tom Cruise* Brandon Routh was well cast, as was Chris Evans, two of my favorite superhero actors.  The suprise appearance by Frank Castle Thomas Jane was very enjoyable as well.

I've never read the comics, so I can't speak to accuracy of the film.  For the kind of film it was, it had very few things that took me out of the movies.  Even the battles with the Evil Ex's were believable.  As I said in the beginning, I went into this movie expecting it to be a raging pile of meh, but now it takes a place as a Favorite Film of 2010 (there might be a list of these soon).

I give it 13.25/15.75 used video game cartridges.

*Since watching Brandon Routh in 'Chuck' I am fully convinced he is some sort of Tom Cruise clone or love child of Mr. Cruise's.  If they should ever want to do a 'Top Gun' reboot (please don't do that) I vote Mr. Routh to play Maverick.

10 December 2010

Thor Poster

Behold, The Mighty Thor, in all his awesomeness.  Dear May, come soon please.  Thanks.

Movie and TV News # 2

Well, this is a bit on the old side, but worth talking about regardless.  Once again the rumors of Ghostbusters 3 has started to spread around the internet.  A often rumored, on again, off again project of primarily Dan Aykroyd it looks like GB3 is on again.  In the article included below, Mr. Aykroyd has stated that the casting process has been started.  He states that both Sigourney Weaver and Bill Murray have agreed to return to the series.  Interesting.  I guess things have changed since early 2010 when Mr. Murry said he had no real interest in appearing in another movie, or that he would only if they made him a ghost.  So is Mr. Aykroyd saying that Mr. Murray will be in the movie confirmation that Mr. Murray's Dr. Venkmen will be in a spiritual form?  Discuss.

A couple of other points.  Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which came out in 2009 was supposed to be Ghostbusters 3.  Which, as a fan of the game, I enjoyed.  It played well, held true to the movies and was just as fun as watching them.  There were a few points that needed work, but none that took away from the game.

Also, in the link with Mr. Aykroyd's name, the author of that article states that they should proceed with caution when trying to revive a movie series that has been out of the public eye for so long.  Rather predictably the author then pointed to Indy and the Crystal Skull.


There was nothing wrong with IJ4.  Yes, the whole alien bit played a bit false, but its  INDIANA JONES!  So what!  It was a fun movie, and it gave fans like myself a chance to see it on the big screen.  Same thing with when/if they make GB3.  Will hardcore fans partake issue?  Yes.  Will I enjoy the ride no matter what?  Yes.

Dan Aykroyd Confirms Ghostbusters 3 Rumors | Movieline
Billy Murray - Only if they make me a ghost

05 December 2010

Tom Baker Dr. Who - Robot

Disclaimer:  I'm an American who has almost no knowledge of Dr. Who.  For all serious inquireies, please check out the Twitter feed of emma_lou1983, or her blog at The Blue Box Blog.  She appears to eat, sleep, and breathe Dr. Who.  Any inaccurate information is my fault and not hers.

Disclaimer 2:  There may be snarkiness and dry humor throughout.  Exaggerations may appear as well.

For those of you unfamiliar, Dr. Who is a British Sci-Fi television show that has been on the air almost constantly since 1963.  More information can be found here at the Doctor Who Wikipedia.  It is about a Time Lord who travels around in the TARDIS, which is a police call box on the outside, but the size of a small moon on the inside.  Ok, maybe not that big, but it looks roomy.  He helps save the planet from very bad things.  Like Daleks, Cybermen and evil robots bent on destroying humanity.

Which brings us to the episode(s) 'Robot' which is the first of the Tom Baker episodes.  It starts out with the good doctor changing from his previous incarnation to the current....er Tom Baker.  Can't say current, cause then I've skipped about 50.  Anywho... (get it?)  This is one of the parts of the show where I was glad I had some prior knowledge about the show.  Had I jumped straight in, I would have VERY confused as the first scene has the other characters going 'Holy Crap!  He's changing'

I was about to break into a scene by scene analysis, but realized that would get tedious very quickly.  So, instead, I'll just go for some broad high level thoughts.

The story is your basic mad group of scientists want to kill everyone and rule the world.  Not the most original of stories, but it was presented really well.  I could see how the story would end, but it was not completely predictable.

Ya, the effects left something to be desired.  But, this was 1974 so looked at through that prism, the effects were not bad at all.  Yes, there were shots that screamed forced perspective and model work, but there were other effects that blended in nicely.

I'm glad I finally took the plunge and started in on the adventures of Dr. Who.  Its not something I will be watching on a regular basis, but I have added quite a bit of the Tom Baker years to my Netflix and will be watching from time to time.