Tag Archives: Movies

Lone Survivor is intense!

Posted on January 10, 2014 by

Saw the movie Lone Survivor tonight. I can only describe it in one word – Intense.

The movie is based on a true story, and the SEAL team in this movie took a hell of a beating and the ending paid a nice tribute to the actual members of the team. Classy.

Having done 11 years of military service, most of it in the Military police, but also including some infantry time and some reserve artillery time, and having worked in some nasty places, I have the utmost respect for the guys who do the combat missions – anywhere.

I can honestly say I am glad I never went to Afghanistan, and particularly happy not in a combat role. It made me extremely happy to have spent most of my career as a REMF.

Rating? 3 1/2 stars out of 4. Action scenes were intense, the score was very good and relevant, the day-to-day issues faced by troops in the field were very real. Definitely worth spending the money to see on the big screen.

Image from www.imdb.com

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Indeed!

Posted on December 18, 2012 by

So I went to see “The Hobbit” in 3D High Frame Rate (HFR – 48-frames-per-second) tonight. I’ll save you some reading by saying the following:

If you are a Tolkien / Middle Earth fan in general – and I am – you will love it.

Now, for the details. I’ll try to hold back somewhat on spoilers, although anyone who has read the book (and really, who hasn’t?!?) will already know how it goes and allowing yourself to be upset by a few spoilers is kind of like watching ‘Titanic’ and being upset if someone tells you ahead of time the ship is going to sink. But I digress…

The Story

Some parts of the movie were particularly close to the book and it’s intent (the first meeting/party/supper with the dwarves at Bag End for example), but if you read the Hobbit and expected it to stay true to the original, you will be surprised. Peter Jackson took a lot more creative license taken with this than with Lord of the Rings (LOTR):

1. Frodo/Elijah Wood has a cameo and is at Bag End with Bilbo at the start of the movie, when they basically replay the intro to the Party from The Fellowship of the Rings? I found that odd.

2. Peter Jackson added characters that were either not part of “The Hobbit” (Galadriel, Azog the Pale Orc), or barely mentioned (Radagast the Brown, Saruman). He also added scenes:

  • a meeting between Gandalf, Elrond, Saruman, and Galadriel;
  • a ‘greyhound’ race with wargs chasing giant jack rabbits; and
  • several scenes/battles with Azog, the Pale Orc.

I guess the Goblin King wasn’t enough, he thought they needed two arch-enemies – three if you count the dragon, four if you bring Sauron/Necromancer into the mix? (I suspect Peter Jackson has plans for Azog in round 2 as a way to provide more insight into Sauron’s rise to power.)

3. Bilbo‘s intelligence from the book was downplayed. For instance, a major “Bilbo saves the day” scene – where he used his wits in the book to overcome adversity – was “given” to Gandalf (the Trolls).

4. Bilbo‘s heroics/skills were expanded upon in a battle with Azog – another appearance for one of those “extra characters” Peter Jackson threw into the mix.

5. The story was what I would consider to be much easier to follow for those heathen (er, I mean non-Tolkien) fans/readers who might have been lost during the original Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Special Effects

Although I had expected more of an evolutionary jump, the detail placed into the work was impressive, on par or somewhat better than that used in LOTR.

Also, while 3D is really not a big draw for me with movies – and I learned tonight that 3D at 48-frames-per-second didn’t really change my mind on that – it was definitely interesting to see. It worked well on inside shots (the supper at Bag End was amazing), while I found it a little lacking in the scenic shots.

Truthfully, the 48-frames-per-second rendition reminded me of the “True Motion” feature on the 120 and 240 Hz TVs that we all toyed with at first, then set back to normal and forgot about. That doesn’t mean I’m against it, it just means I need more time to decide.

Conclusion

Overall, I give it an 8 (out of 10)

Well-worth seeing on the big screen, and worth seeing at 48-frames-per-second, if for no other reason than to judge for yourself whether or not you like the new “look & feel” Peter Jackson thinks is the future in movie-making.

The extra characters and scenes do a decent job of aligning “The Hobbit” so that it does an interesting job of introducing the plot that leads into the LOTR trilogy.

Of course, that also explains how they are planning to get 3 feature-length movies out of a single children’s story! 🙂

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Hobo with a Shotgun – Movie Review

Posted on March 28, 2011 by

Because it was filmed in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and Produced by local Rothesay boy (Jason Eisener), we decided to go and see ‘Hobo with a Shotgun‘ tonight.

The movie was hilarious, I haven’t laughed that hard out loud in a LONG time!

It was filmed in a very noir setting, even using old film techniques. And be prepared for lots of silliness that includes a distinct blast from the past. From K Cars to Bricklins, old Canadian money to street violence, topless women beating on a man hanging as a pinata to George Stromboulopolous getting killed by a skate blade… Every cheesy line and every cheesy cliche you have ever seen in a splatter film was used, abused, re-used, re-abused, spewed out as part of another cliche, then recycled into yet another cliche.

It was like watching ‘Warriors’, ‘Escape from New York’, and ‘Mad Max’ meets ‘Dawn of the Dead’, and ‘Texas Chainsaw’ during a viewing of ‘Halloween’ at an intersection while they duke it out with crude, makeshift weapons in an attempt to see who can depict the most gore, pretend human organs, and gallons of fake blood. Classic ‘B’ cult flick stuff. It must have taken the Dartmouth Fire Department months to get the red stains off the streets!!! 😉

However, Melissa was less impressed. She basically had these three statements:

(1) “I think my IQ dropped while I was in there”,
(2) “Whoever thought of this sh*t must have been stoned”, and
(3) “I can’t believe this is the kind of sh*t the government gives them money to make”.

I guess everyone’s a critic. She’s must be leaning toward voting Conservative… 🙂

Anyway, after Melissa’s vivid critiques, I knew I would be forced to absolve her of any responsibility for all the chick flicks she has made me watch to date, and likely quite a few for some time to come… It was worth it though, we can laugh about this one for years! 😉

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Why Tron failed

Posted on December 17, 2010 by

Disney’s $170-million ‘Tron’ reboot fails

I’m not surprised at this article. What made the original Tron a cult classic was the fact it was an original story idea for the time, and that it had cheesy special effects, even for the time.

Today it seems that the movie and TV entertainment industry is pushing special effects for everything as a way of cashing in on mass hysteria. It must be easier for them to throw special effects money at a weak story and market it to death rather than working harder to come up with a good story led by a good director and carried by good acting.

Unfortunately, this reliance has led to an "arms race" of special effects – today it is 3D technology, who knows what it will be next – feedback in the chairs? Maybe the added scent of burnt flesh and destruction in the air???

In general, the overuse of special effects by the entertainment industry has led to a decline in the number of truly good, solid movies. Yes, the occasional “independent” blockbuster arises, but today’s après movie water cooler discussions tend to revolve around explosions and action sequences rather than how compelling the actual message that was being delivered.

In a short-sighted quest to cash in on the quick turnaround and fast buck that society seems ruled by today, the industry has failed to realize that humans have thrived on folktales and myths for many thousands of years. We evolved listening to the chronicles of others, and we know a good one when we hear it. I doubt few modern movies will be remembered with the same respect and reverence as past masterpieces like Citizen Kane, Casablanca, To Kill a Mockingbird, or 12 Angry Men (the original and the remake!).  These movies were based on great stories and were carried by intelligent direction and great acting.

Like everything else that is new, eventually the shine will wear off 3D and it will become the norm. Once that happens, people will still need a good story to keep them interested.

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Che!

Posted on May 27, 2009 by

Picked up my tickets today!

FilmPix is showing, one night only, Steven Soderberg’s movie Che, Part I, a portrayal of Ernesto Che Guevera

Whatever you think about Che, his story is an interesting one! To quote the FilmPix site:

The name still resonates forty years after his death. Perhaps more than any other individual, Che Guevara personifies an era: the sixties, a time when revolution was in the air. His hold over the collective imagination is arguably as powerful as it was when he was alive.

From the Apple movie trailer site:

November 26, 1956; led by Fidel Castro (Demian Bichir), a band of 80 rebels sails to Cuba. Among these young rebels is Argentine physician, Marxist, soldier, Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Benicio Del Toro). Nation-less, strapped for resources and fueled only by determination, the group engages in swift, bloody battle to free the Cuban people from the corrupt dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Che and his soldiers wrestle the nation’s resources and affection from Batista’s grasp. Though considered a hero by some, Che becomes a hugely controversial figure. At the height of his fame and power, he disappears. Entering South America incognito, Che recruits another band of guerilla fighters in the harsh Bolivian jungles.

Here are links to the various movie trailers:

Apple Trailer

YouTube

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