28 February 2011

U-571 (2000)

Chief Klough: You're the skipper now. And the skipper always knows what to do whether he does or not.

Ok, I would like to put a few things at the beginning of this review.

1. I know that it was the British who found the original Enigma coding machine.  Cause, ya know, of the credit that the film makers gave at the end of the movie.

2. When doing research on this movie, I discovered I have a bone to pick with the director, Jonathan Mostow.  Apparently, in April of 2000 Mostow is quoted as saying that the movie 'Das Boot' is based on a lie.  Errrr......Clearly Mostow does not realize that the movie 'Das Boot' is based on the book 'Das Boot' which was written by a German war correspondent who spent time on a U-Boat.  *Sigh*  Really?

Moving on...

This is not meant to be a movie telling a specific story or piece of history.  Its meant to be exactly what it is.  A taut, well paced action movie.  With a heck of a cast (Paxton!  Jovi! Keitel! Mcconaughey!), it delivers.

Basically, you've got a US sub that is disguised as a German re-supply boat so they can take over a damaged U-Boat to crack the German Enigma code.  Needless to say, all does not go according to plan.  The US sub is torpedoed by the real German resupply boat, and the survivors gather on the U-571.  The remainder of the movie is taken up by the survivors trying to evade a German destroyer that has come to investigate.  Through some inventive planning, the crew is able to escape the destroyer,but the U-571 is lost.

I give it 4/5 depth charges.

23 February 2011

Knight And Day (2010)

Roy Miller - 'Nobody follow us or I kill myself and then her!'

And that quote right there pretty much sums up the tone of the movie, 'Knight And Day'.  Starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, this is the story of Tom Cruise (Roy Miller) constantly drugging Cameron Diaz (June Havens) so that he may rescue her from the situations he constantly puts her in.

Ok, that's not REALLY the story, but this plot device is used enough that one might think that is the real story.  Miller plays a spy who enlists the help of Havens to keep a perpetual energy battery out of the hands of very bad people.  With decent action sequences and fairly decent dialog, this movie plays out exactly like its meant to... as a summer popcorn movie.

I've heard this movie described as pizza with extra Tom Cruise (ie cheesey), but I think that is somewhat inaccurate.  This is not meant to be a serious action movie.  If anything its a spoof.  All of the familiar plot devices and situations from any other action movies are there.  Mr. Cruise spends most of the movie trying to be either Ethan Hunt (Mission Impossible) or Martin Riggs (Lethal Weapon).  Its not a bad film, and a good one to have on as background noise.  The instant you start trying to look at it any deeper than that, then it does start to fall apart.

I give it 3/5 couches.

Yes, I did rate this movie using couches.  Only fitting given the male lead in the movie.

21 February 2011

Game of Thrones Spoilers and such (and a mini rant)...

So of all places, MTV had a list of 10 most anticipated scenes for HBO's Game of Thrones.  Its been a while since I've read the book, but I would say that their list hits all the high points of Game of Thrones.

Ones in particular I'm looking forward to...

#9: Viserys Targaryen Receives His Crown - I remember this from the book, it was early in the book if I recall.  Its brutal and effective, and sets the tone for the book.

#6: Bran Stark Falls at Winterfell - Without getting all spoilery, this is a VERY key scene in the book.  Which if I recall is not resolved until a book or two later.  As its been a while, so I could be wrong.

#1: Execution of Ned Stark - Ya, this one deserves to be number one.  In a short time, this character was a favorite, but when he met his demise, oh man.  This scene set the tone even more than number 9.

Now, since I refuse to subscribe to HBO just to watch this, I'll have to wait until it is on DVD.  Which gives me plenty of time to re-read the book, and discover all the other scenes that I can't wait to see.

Normally, I'd hop on a high horse, and start demanding that HBO start making 'The Wheel of Time' into a series, but I guess they are happy filming a book series that has no end in sight.

Ya, I went there.  Hear that Mr. Martin?  I'd like to read a new 'Song of Ice and Fire' book... soon.

Top 10 Anticipated Game of Thrones TV Moments (Spoilers!) » MTV Geek

20 February 2011

The Untouchables (1987)

Malone: You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.

The Untouchables is a story of Chicago.  Its a story of right vs. wrong.  Its a story of criminals and cops.

Kevin Costner plays Eliot Ness, a Federal Agent tasked with bringing down Al Capone, brought to cinematic life by Mr. Robert De Niro.  Rounding out the cast is Sean Connery as Malone, and a young Andy Garcia.

A dark time in our country's history, when the sale and distribution of alcohol was made illegal, men such as Al Capone cane to prominence distributing said illegal substances.  Well, since the US government couldn't have this, they send Eliot Ness to Chicago to clean things up.

In a town thick with crooked cops, Ness teams with Malone, and a young police cadet to bring down Capone.  Try as they might, they can't pin the big crimes on Capone.  Then (as history tells us) they are able to slap Capone in jail on tax evasion of all things.  Nothing glamorous, but it gets the job done.  Capone even spends time on Alcatraz.

Whoops, got all history lessoney on ya'll there...

This is easily one of my favorite films ever.  Its well shot, directed, written and casted.  Its simple, not flashy and tells the story without a lot of fat.  I read somewhere that Brian De Palma (director of this fine film) is talking about making a prequel, which will detail the rise of Capone.  I'm not quite sold on this yet, but if does as fine of a job with that project as he did with The Untouchables, then that too will be a film to see.

Yes, there are historical inaccuracies in this movie.  But it still tells the story well.  And with many films based on history, it just compelled me to seek out the truth of how it all really went down.  I see movies such as this as gateways to the truth.

If you like gangster films, or tight, well paced action films, then The Untouchables is the movie for you.

18 February 2011

Scale Modeling at its best!

So I cam across this when perusing the interwebs.  At left, you see a 1:16 scale model of Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Check out the link below for more pics and the story behind the model.  Lots of talent went into this, and I hope the guy keeps making more.

Scale-Model Stadium Freezes a Moment of Baseball’s Past | Playbook

16 February 2011

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)

Travis Dane: 'Assumption is the mother of all F*CK UPS!'

Ahh, truer words have never been spoken.  I try to live my life by these wise words.  Of course, when you are trying to take control of a top secret satallite so you can blow up Washington DC for the highest bidder, you damn well better make sure that Chief Lt. Casey Ryback is no where to be found.  But as luck would have it, Lt. Chief Ryback is going home with his niece (hello young Katherine Higel!) to pay his last respects to his brother.

Oh, you noticed what I did there with the ranks of Mr. Ryback?  Well, in Under Seige, he was a Chief.  Here he seems to be a Lieutenant, but that's only clear at the very end of the movie.  I'm just gonna call him Mr. Ryback, and hope he doesn't kick my ass.

Anyway, shortly after the train is taken over (once again Mr. Ryback is in the kitchen when all this goes down), Mr. Ryback becomes the one man killing machine that we knew and loved from Under Seige.

From his beeper bomb, to a mad dash with a truck to catch up to the train, no obstacle is to big for our hero to overcome.  Back to the beeper bomb...

Seriously, he takes some random, everyday items one finds in the bar of a train, packs them into two martini shakers, attaches a beeper, sends a message and 'BOOM'!  No more bad guys.    Seriously, Ryback and MacGuyver should meet.  I'd watch that movie.  Or run for cover, not sure yet.

There is a bit of continuity however. The Admiral from the first movie, and Tommy Lee Jones's first boss make appearances to utter lines along the um, line of 'Yay Ryback!  He'll f*ck those terrorist's shit up!', but in more professional verbiage.

In conclusion, this is a rare case where the sequel lives up to the previous film.  Full of crazy one liners, crazier action sequences and did I mention Katherine Higel?  Oh, and a young Morris Chestnut, who can now be seen on TVs 'V'.

In more conclusion, watch this film.  Its fun, its fresh aged well, and will proved 100 minutes of breath taking action.  And lessons on what happens to an eyeball that's pierced with a soldering iron. Here's a hint.... its not pretty.

13 February 2011

The Expendables (2010)

So I finally got around to watching the most ass kickingest movie of the last (lets see, carry the one, divide by awesome) oh, 5, 10 years.

And it was AWESOME!

Really straight forward plot.  Bunch of mercenaries led by Stallone, get a job handed to them by Willis, because the Governator didn't want it.  Mass chaos and destruction ensues.

There really was nothing special about the movie.  Outside of the cast, this was your basic blow the hell out of everything movie.  But just the shear weight of awesome this movie carries...seriously, it bends the shelf of my rack its on, and its the only DVD on that shelf.

In the end though, this movie is exactly what it advertises.  An over the top action fest featuring all most of your favorite action stars.  A must see for all action movie aficionados.

11 February 2011

10 Longest Running TV shows...

10 Longest Running TV Shows

Not too exciting of a list, except for the notable exception of Doctor Who.  The usual are up here (Dallas, Bonanza, Gunsmoke)  Either way, its somewhat interesting.

Any body have any thoughts as to why Doctor Who might not be included?

10 February 2011

Peter Davison Doctor Who - The Five Doctors (1983)

A new entry in my quest to immerse myself in the world of Doctor Who, and I chose to watch 'The Five Doctors'.  This is a tale that brings together (in theory) the First through Fifth Doctor.  In reality, we have Doctors 1-3 and 5.  But mostly we see 1-3.  So really, it should have been called The Three Doctors.

Now on the interwebs I have seen some wildly varied thoughts on this episode.  I'm gonna have to say that I kinda liked it.  Now, weather or not choosing this as my second foray into Whodom was wise choice I don't know.  One of the things that bugged me was the severe shortage of Tom Baker.  After 'Robot', I really took to him.

One thing I really liked about it was it gave me exposure to other Doctor's.  Seeing the 1st-3rd in once place too helped me decide which (if any) of their series I would watch.  I also like the over the top 80s... cheese of it.  After watching it, I think I will go back, and watch some of the 1st and 3rd Doctors.  So while the story was a bit lacking, I enjoyed seeing early Doctors, along with their companions and enemies.  For the record, Cybermen were a little badass, Daleks, not so much.  But, as with all things that may change the deeper I get into the universe of Doctor Who.

07 February 2011

I saw a vision of the future last night...

I have a feeling that once my son is old enough, I will be seeing events like this one for many years.

05 February 2011

Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993)

Ramada Rodham Hayman: I had to come.  It was a sequel.

Between the quote from Ramada and the 'Just Deux It' on the poster to your left, you can kinda figure out where this movie is going.  I think early drafts of the script went something like this:

Continuity - Not needed
Spoofs - Many
Random Martin Sheen cameo - Double Check

Of course, all those items appear in the movie, so maybe there was only one draft.  Which is ok by me.  This is one of the greatest sequels that have (almost) nothing to do with its predecessor.

I also tend to forget that Ryan Stiles is in this movie.  I keep forgetting that he rode Drew Carey's coat tails to the top with 'The Drew Carey Show' and 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?".  But he does great in this film.

Also known as the bloodiest movie ever, (really, there's a body count meter at one point), this is a tour de force, spoofing everything from Rambo 3 to Wall Street.  That Martin Sheen cameo?  Ya, at one point Martin and Charlie pass each other on a boat... kinda reminded me of Apocalypse Now.  Anyway, they apparently loved each other in Wall Street.

Ok, this will just turn into another quote fest should I try to review it any further.  Its a great movie.  Great for laughs, great for background noise.  Hell, great for drinking game fodder should you choose.

And you know what got me hooked on this movie, all those years ago when I first saw it?  Charlie Sheen shooting a chicken from a bow and arrow.  That's right.  A chicken.  From a bow and arrow.  Now you know you MUST see it, if only for that.

04 February 2011

Capitan America Poster!

I am far from the only person on the Interwebs to post this.  But its a teaser for Capitan America.  And its bad ass and then some.  Nerdy squeeing to commence.  I for one can't wait for July.  But July 4th release would have been just *that* much cooler.

03 February 2011

Podcast Portfolio #1 - Simply Syndicated

I listen to podcasts.  A lot. And for the most part, they come from this wonderful international network of podcasts known as: Simply Syndicated - 21st Century Media

They have a podcast that covers just about any subject you can think of.  Shall we list them?

Make It So: A Star Trek Podcast - Commonly referred to as the gateway podcast, this is the podcast that got me hooked into the offerings of Simply Syndicated.  The title says it all.

Books You Should Read - Hosted by Kennedy Gordon, this podcast delves into all topics literary

The Definitive Word - Its not definitive, but its always fun.

Movies You Should See - As the title tells us, this is a podcast where the hosts expound upon movies they feel we should see

In addition, there are also a number of 'Federation' shows; shows that are not produced by the core members of Simply Syndicated.

Masters of None - Hard to describe, but always fun to listen to.  Three former radio DJs bring their skills to the Internet.

Starbase 66 - Your guide to speculative fiction.  Star Trek, Star Wars, comics and everything inside, outside, above and below those guidelines.

Nerd Hurdles - Another sci-fi/fantasy podcast, the hosts discuss various topics that one might find hard to swallow due to their inherent nerdiness.  Tangents ensue.

This is just a sampling of what the network offers.  From time to time, I will be highlighting a specific podcast, giving each the attention it deserves.

02 February 2011

45 - Have a beer I've never tried in each of ten breweries

So last Sunday, Leanda and I had a day out.  We traveled to Manchester, CT and had lunch at John Harvard's Brew House.

John Harvard's Brew House
That's the link.  But it doesn't list the Manchester location; nor does it list the beer I had.  Weird yes.  But I was there.

Any who, while I wanted to try the barley wine, I was the driver for our day out, and did not want something so heavy and high in alcohol cruising through my system.  Instead, I chose the Snow Flurries White Ale.  Somewhat of a cloudy golden color, this ale was delicious.  Smooth, balanced and possessing an interesting aroma, it went well with the fish and chips I dined on.

Then Leanda ruined it when she said it tasted like Coors Light....

*Sigh*  Onto the next brewery.  Any suggestions?