Meet the Spartans is a gruesome slapstick of 300. Though there were some funny scenes, I still will not recommend to friends such trite flick. Period.
The flick forced me to remove Alaska from the list of countries am planning to visit. Not because of fear of having to fight with bloodthirsty vampires but because of the extreme “snowing.”
For nearly two hours, I felt the cold Alaska weather and would like to debate the 30 days as too long a time to survive such horrible situation. Just like in all horror flicks, only a handful townfolks will survive, of course led by a somehow handsome lead actor. This lead actor, played by Josh Harnett who looked even more worried every second than handsome, should have a love interest by the name of Stella, his estranged wife. As expected, the bizarre situation will lead these at odds couple rekindle the love while jointly transporting the survivors to a so called safe place.
Unlike some horror movies though, 30 days of night have vampires speaking in a strange dialect. And the only way of killing them is axing their heads and of course, the power of direct sunlight. Gunshots all the more will ignite them.
Despite everything, 30 days of night is a gasp! The black confetti effect though is, in some way, funny.
The flick left me wonder. Is there indeed an Alaskan town where the sun does not rise for 30 days in a year and more so is plagued by vampires? Have to google that asap.
** 31 may 2008
A number of times I have spoken harsh words to him. And a number of times he would unconditionally forgive me of my trespasses, that was what I thought. Again, to prompt me of thinking first before speaking: the shortest way to a man’s heart is humiliation.
Sleuth was a two-man show featuring the engaging performances of Michael Craine and Jude Law. I particularly enjoyed the film’s first half, which was until the alleged death of hairdresser Milo.
The flick revolved around the husband and lover’s poison-tipped war of words and wit until one submitted to the trap. Each character tried to revive his hurt male ego over superbly amusing and cruel dialogues, fitted to tear and bite each player.
At the end, Sleuth gave viewers a lesson. The sweetest revenge- especially for a wealthy old man left by his wife to live with a pretty younger man- is degrading his masculinity.
Overly submitting to the game will, however, lead to a more inflicting circumstance – death. And that I have to avoid.
** 16 may 2008 post
I don’t know Iron Man and never heard of him, not until today. Husband accompanied me to a Filbar store and oriented me about Iron Man. I was not impressed.
We headed to cinema 6. With no popcorn and soda to pamper my short existence inside the dark room, I was left with a very minimal choice of gluing my sight on the big screen.
I like Iron Man now. I am equally impressed with the lead star, Robert Downey Jr as the billionaire Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man.
The plot is so simple, though. Weapon mogul Tony was kidnapped in Afghanistan. From his captivity, he found out that the weapons his company develops to protect America are being used against his own country. Upon escaping, Tony donned his shop, much so to the disappointment of his old business partner, sorry I forgot the name. He polished his earlier suit and personally hunt down his captors.
Action movies are spiced up with budding affairs as well. Personal assistant Pepper, lovingly portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow, is Iron Man’s love interest. And what marvel film would be complete without a cameo from Stan Lee.
Again, I like Iron Man. It seems that Robert Downeyy Jr has a new fan in me.
I always enjoy watching Russell Crowe. His 3:10 to Yuma is no exception. An old western revival of the 1957 film of the same title, 3:10 to Yuma also stars equally good actor Christian Bale.
Civil war veteran and poor crippled Dan Evans, convincingly portrayed by Bale, volunteers to transport murderer Ben Wade (Crowe) to court via the 3:10pm train from Arizona to Yuma for a $200 compensation. Such a risk that Evans belittles the evil gang’s hot pursuit to save their leader Ben Wade, powerfully played by Russel Crowe.
Though Evans successfully carries out his mission, have Wade board the train, he is shot to death by Charlie Prince, Wade’s loyal second-in-command. Evans’ determination though, has earned him his son’s admiration who openly considers the later’s feeble uprightness with contempt.
Having been to Yuma twice and had escaped on both times, it is a suprise that Wade after being freed finally from his captor still boards the train and surrenders his weapon. His change of heart though is never abrupt. It’s a valuable result of Evans’ determination to earn both his children’s respect and money for his family’s future. Evans personal quest for redemption, without realizing it, even wins Wade’s aloof admiration.
Aside from the superb casting and their excellent performances, the production design, make up and costume all the more make an impression on me. With Evans’ lean, haggard face, Bale truly appears to be needing that $200 payment. He utterly embodies the frailties of a deprived Eastern-bred rancher. Notorious outlaw Wade, on the other hand, covers his bad boy persona with his roguish smile and charm. Obviously better fed than Evans’, he easily impresses Evans’ son William and effortlessly captures any woman’s affection with his charisma.
The character of Evans as a morally upright head of the family is perfectly developed. I am deeply touched by his humility, least being bothered on cutting the meat from handcuffed wade’s plate, an ultimate case in point.
Mangold’s remarkable direction, first heard of him on Girl Interrupted, is so compelling that almost all actors on the film do justice to their respective characters. Ben Foster’s unnerving prince character is a standout I indeed find him soulless and certainly deserving of a supporting Oscars nomination.
The film teaches me that Russell Crowe is indeed a fine actor. Christian Bale and Ben Foster are exceptional performers as well.
** 21 april 2008
88 minutes is a film with such an engaging start, despite the not so good acting of the flat-chested victim. At the end though, it fails to impress me.
University professor Dr. Jack Gramm, ordinarily played by Al Pacino, moonlights as a forensic psychiatrist for the FBI. From his convincing set of testimonies, suspected serial killer Jon Forster is nailed for the crime and awaits his turn on the death row. Nearing the execution date, a copycat killer has come to light and phones our moonlighting hero that he has 88 minutes to live.
With such tight time, Jack is forced to apply his expert know-how on crime psychology to pin down the caller. Despite the critical sense of urgency, Jack manages to have a dramatic car scene and one pesky apartment talk with his student. To add, this 108-minute flick dimly establishes funny sounding name Guy Laforge as one of the suspects.
Aside from underwritten characters and bland performances, some too obvious misleading acts, in fact, spoil the film’s supposedly thrilling mood. And contrary to the seemingly dawdling stride of Jack, the copycat serial killer manages to swiftly hop from one location to another and kill, kidnap, and hurt people in such a short amount of time. Such monotonous music arrangement plus the unexciting direction and poor lighting amass to make 88 minutes a boring picture.
If the film tries to make an impression, it is Neal Mcdonaugh’s convincing acting as a naïve and wrongly accused murderer. His acting is too compelling that I truly sympathize for him, making me believe that indeed he is innocent, only to be revealed in the end that he indeed is a notorious psychopath.
Certainly a striking sight to behold is the fictional Northwest Washington University. The building structure as well as the classrooms are truly impressive I for one would like to attend school in such modish setting. Truly awed, I researched and found out that most of the university scenes in the film were shot at the University of British Columbia near Vancouver. Such stunning university.
Taken as a whole, I enjoy the flick because of the free holy kettle popcorn and a cup of fruity something drink. Seldom that I watch a film with everything at no cost!
** april 16, 2008 post
Adapted from the historical novel written by British author Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl is the story of 16th-century aristocrat Mary Boleyn.
Competently characterized by Scarlett Johansson, Mary earned the “Other Boleyn Girl” title after her scheming sister Anne advanced her mistress status to be the king’s second wife. The book and movie had a number of differences, much so with the accounted story of Mary Boleyn.
Despite the alteration, I like the film simply because it rekindles my interest in history. Mary was portrayed to be the gentle and honest younger Boleyn sister while Anne, played by Natalie Portman, is the more ambitious and deceitful one. Both became King Henry VIII’s (Eric Bana) mistress but it was Anne who ascended as queen and the king’s second wife. Fiery Anne’s rise, however, was too abrupt and caused her neck to be placed underneath the executioner’s blade. Affectionate Mary, on the other hand, enjoyed a farm life in the comforts of her second husband and adopted Anne’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth.
My Western Civilization history book secures a proud position on my night table and is now atop other romance novels I haven’t read for months. Based on my recent readings, here are some of the historical facts as conflicting with the film’s writing –
> Only Henry Carey’s birth was shown on the film, undermining Catherine being the oldest daughter. No contemporary evidence exists to support the argument that Henry, though bore a resemblance to Henry VIII, was the king’s biological son.
> Mary made no attempt to visit Queen Anne during her imprisonment in the tower of London. she moreover never went to Henry VIII to beg for her sister’s life.
> Anne, just like her sister Mary, spent her childhood and learned the ways of the court in France. It was never a punishment for secretly marrying Henry Percy.
> Mary, as many firm documentary evidence imply, is the eldest of the three Boleyn children.
> Mary’s marriage to William Stafford earned her parents’ fury and led Anne to push her from the court.
> Mary did not care for Elizabeth after Anne’s execution.
> Henry Percy was not the heir of the Duke of Northumberland, but the Earl.
> Anne fell in love with Henry Percy and their engagement was called off on the orders of the king. They were never secretly married as shown in the film.
> Anne’s failure to produce a male heir and Henry’s wanting to marry Jane Seymour forced the king to charge her with adultery and witchcraft.
** 14 April 2008 post
I love Juno.
It all started with a chair.
I love Juno because –
I like Juno’s face. And her wit as well. At sixteen, she boldly confronts her unplanned pregnancy from a one-time sexual encounter with her best friend Bleeker. Not ready yet to play a teenage mom, her initial plan is “to procure a hasty abortion.” Guilt or fear may have pushed her to later opt for adoption and instead consult the Pennysaver ad section “for a woman with a bum ovary or a couple of nice lesbos.” After thorough scrutiny with the aid of her cool girl friend Leah, and supportive dad Mac, Juno finally faces the Lorings, an affluent suburban couple, and agreed to a closed adoption.
I love Juno because –
The film is indeed a delight. Penned by former stripper Diablo Cody, Juno is one of the year’s snappiest movies, a true documentation of a Western teenage life. Cody, who grabbed the Oscars by the way, flawlessly illustrates a carefree high school student who listens to cool ‘70s band and watches obscure foreign horror flicks. Stylized slang, sharp comments, and literate dialogue make the movie even more amusing, plus the enviable cast list of course.
“Thank you for Smoking” Jason Reitman does a wonderful direction, creating a truly geek Bleeker and no-nonsense stepmom Bren. Deadpan confrontation to poignant scenes are noticeably done in good taste. And without a doubt, lead star Ellen Page effortlessly displays her comedic chops and razor—sharp timing despite her distinctly charming face.
I anticipated that Juno will prefer to keep the baby and be a mother, seeing her slowly maturing as the film progresses. However, Juno’s baby boy, at the end, becomes Vanessa Loring’s first born.
I love Juno because –
The film is full of wit and of love. Disliking Bleeker at first for his bore-to-death character, I nonetheless feel his love for Juno- at the very end of the film- from his unreserved cuddle. All the more, I could feel Juno’s wanting to own the baby from the tears she shed.
The music is superbly arranged. I hastily downloaded Juno’s soundtrack on Limewire come Monday. I repetitively listen to it now.
** 14 April 2008 post
The “from the director of Independence Day” banner convinced me to see 10,000 bc. I was neither dismayed nor overwhelmed with the flick. I was charmed by Evolet’s beauty.
10,000 bc was the odyssey of D’leh’s pursue to get Evolet back. His lady-love was kidnapped by harsh warlords and this notorious gang was heading towards the end of the world. Embarking on into unknown lands with only three companions, D’leh ended up forming an army to save not only Evolet but a whole civilization.
Along D’leh’s journey came a number of obstacles purposely arranged to shape the leader in him. In the age of prophesies and gods, his group survived the threatening stature of prehistoric predators and mighty mammoths. He had befriended a spear-tooth animal advancing him to gain many tribes’ respect. He had easily defeated a tyrannical human leader. And together with his new formed battalion, he saved the slaves forced to build great pyramids that almost reach the sky.
Again, the movie neither saddened nor delighted me. Solely Evolet’s exquisiteness enthralled my being.
** 6 April 2008 post
We watched Rambo a day after Valentine’s. Nearing the end of the flick, there was a mailbox scene. And etched at the side of the mailbox was the words R. Rambo.
Needless to say, John Rambo and Rocky Balboa are two different individuals. They were played by one actor though, Sylvester Stallone. and my statement was an honest dim-witted mistake.
Anyhow, Stallone’s fourth Rambo installment was brutally harsh. I haven’t seen the other three yet. But despite the distressing violence, lessons were imparted.
I was totally unaware of Burma’s depressing condition. The movie oriented me of the disturbing war zone state of Burma for over 50 years now. Karen people’s everyday ordeal (mostly farmers and peasants) is to endure the tyrannical rule of the sadistic Burmese military.
Second, let me quote Rambo, “know what you are, what you’re made of. War is in your blood. When you’re pushed, killing’s as easy as breathing.” In reality, we try to escape our past by living its strict opposite. But then, sometimes we push ourselves too hard that when our souls weaken, we tend to give in to that old tendency again. True enough, from a secluded existence in Thailand as a snake hunter, Vietnam veteran John Rambo willingly joined some paid mercenaries to rescue a group of missionaries who failed to return from their task. And this meant killing once more.
Lastly, undeniably an action flick, the closing scene however was gracefully ended. Going back to Arizona was a decision Rambo seemingly didn’t entertain. Although complicated as it may be, he managed to return home.
Not all action films are about blood and killings. Sensible filmmakers consider quiet scenes as the best episode to epitomize the actor’s unquestionable bravery. The supposedly significant mailbox explained everything. And it was where I falter.
** 21 feb 2008 post