Month: September 2013

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Year: 2002
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair, and Peter Jackson (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

It’s been a while since I have taken the time to sit down and watch all of these movies.  In truth it is difficult to find the time to watch them even when life wasn’t so busy but these days it’s nearly impossible. When I was in college I would watch them often or have them playing in the background while I worked on school.  Today is different, with all the responsibilities that come with adulthood and kids it’s just so difficult to find the time. If anybody has noticed the drop off in published reviews of late you need only to consider the movies we have reached in the collection. These movies add up to more than 12 hours collectively and we have had to settle for watching the series in pieces.  It’s a long process but it’s been nothing short of exciting.  I’m happy to know that these movies can still excite me.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder and I am learning again just how much I enjoy all of these films.

When reviewing the first film of this series I regarded this one as the slowest of the bunch and the retarding point of the collective story.  I feel differently now.  After making it through this film in its entirety I found that not only was I engaged all throughout, but I didn’t think any part of it was slow.  I think I let myself forget a lot about these films beyond the incredible battle scenes.  When they came out on video and I watched them often I really just focused on the battles that I found so entertaining.  Somewhere in my memory the richness of the story was lost and I was really happy to reconnect with it.

I think the biggest talking point for this film has to be the role Andy Serkis played.  The creature Gollum made a couple of appearances in the first film but wasn’t really a big time character until this film.  Andy Serkis, the motion capture suit man, was nothing short of amazing.  If I remember correctly Peter Jackson unsuccessfully lobbied to get Serkis a Academy nomination for the part.  I am with him though because Serkis deserved it.  The scenes in which we see conversations between Gollum and Smeagol can be chilling.  That has a lot to do with how well the character was written in the base source, but Serkis brought the character to life. The effects that put him on screen were incredible but equally as incredible were the voices Serkis used for the two personalities of the character. I remember seeing one of the scenes from the film as it was being shot and couldn’t get over Serkis.  It was the scene when Faramir threatens to have him killed if Frodo doesn’t admit the truth.  Seeing Serkis in the motion capture suit moving as Gollum and speaking in that voice left an impression on me.  Serkis has a rare talent that he doesn’t have the opportunity to utilize enough, but when he does he does it perfectly.

The battle at Helm’s Deep in the climax of the film is hands down one of the greatest battle scenes I have seen in any movie.  The climax to the story in the third film was better and more exceptional but this one still edges it out in my opinion.  Maybe it’s the dark or the rain but the situation seemed so much more dire. I like the foes better too.  While all the weapons of Mordor were dispatched in the final showdown this one had the baddest of all those enemies and a great number of them.  When the Uruk-hai start climbing over the walls I feared for the men in the battle.  It’s like a never ending horde of NFL lineman size monsters that will chop you in half or possibly even take a bite out of you. What hope could any of these men have against such an aggressive and intimidating foe? After countless views even until today I still find myself glued to the screen during this battle and won’t look away even though I know exactly what is going to happen next.

There are a few random thoughts that come to me every time I watch this movie.  First being the leader of the Elf force that comes to the aid of Rhohan at Helm’s Deep.  This guy was in the first and second film and despite watching these movies many times I still had to check the listing on IMDB to even know what his name was.  Have I missed something every time I watch these movies? Do they ever say this guys name in any of the films? Also, could anybody in Rhohan really be surprised that a guy named “Wormtongue” was an agent of Saruman? How exactly does a guy that looks like that with a name so poorly created get into a position to manipulate a king? Maybe there is more back story to him in the books but it has always needled at me when watching the films.  For Tolkien to be so creative with these books and come up with so many unique names I really just feel like he gave up when it came to naming this guy.

I’m going to stop here because I went on forever in our review of the last film. As of now I have only had time to watch the first hour of the final film and again find myself sucked in and surprised by how much I am enjoying it again.  In time I hope to have the reviews of all these films published and be back on track with the journey through our movie collection. Finding time to watch our movies isn’t always easy these days but we try to at least get through one a week.  These films have taken us a few weeks to get through and we aren’t even done yet!

AMBER’S REVIEW

For me, this was the most boring of the three movies. It was the retarding parts of the trilogy and I just felt like not too much happened. And when it did happen it seemed to move in slow motion.

frodo_poster

Same gold. Same deer-in-headlights Frodo. There is a feature in photoshop called “glow.” We designers hate glow. Glow, Starburst, Comic Sans….they all make us what to throw something across the room when we see it and this poster usues more glow and fading than I can even deal with. I like this poster about as much as I like this installment. Thank goodness they kept the typography the same. That is about the only thing that I like about this poster.

NEXT MOVIE: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Year: 2001
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Written By: J.R.R. Tolkien (novel) Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, and Peter Jackson (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I will never forget the first time I saw this movie.  It was probably one of the most awesome experiences I have ever had as a film viewer and I didn’t even see it on the big screen.  In fact this film had been available on video for some time before I rented it.  I had somehow made it eighteen years in life without having read the books. I also managed to work in both a theater and video store without having seen this or even paying it any attention despite how big it was.  I was young then and my choices in film had a lot to do with either who starred in the film or who had directed it.  I didn’t know Peter Jackson and there was no name in the cast that jumped out at me.  Had I even known of the books I might have felt differently but I specifically remember feeling I was above this silly movie about wizards and trolls that was based off some old book.

I had recently graduated high school when I rented this movie one day in the late summer of 2002, and I can’t express enough how much I had no idea what the movie was about.  I took it over to a friends house one day to watch it while we got high.  Shameless I know, but I was eighteen and times were different.  Amber was with me (yes, we are high school sweethearts), she was only my girlfriend then and the friend whose house we went to is one we are still close to today.  I specifically remember telling him, “I don’t know if this is going to be any good, if it sucks we can just watch something else.” Now maybe it was the weed, maybe it was the special effects, or maybe it was just that the movie was THAT damn good but I remember seeing it for the first time as practically magical.  I was interested in the movie immediately but once the wizard fight began between Gandalf and Saruman I specifically remember my jaw dropping and I don’t know that my mouth closed for the next two and a half hours. I do not know how I managed to make it so long and be so into movies and not know anything about this film before that day.  I had a good friend I worked with in the projection booth at the theater and I remember he would prattle on and on about this movie.  We usually had great conversations about films but for whatever reason when he talked about this one I would simply nod my head and work while he talked about it. Whatever the reason I am thankful for my ignorance on that day.  Not knowing what was going to happen next made this movie so incredible.  I was on the edge of my seat for the entire film and exhilarated by the experience.

I may have had a special experience watching this movie but I am not special in feeling that connection to it.  This trilogy was one of the greatest undertakings in film history and it was very successful.  It no doubt means something to millions of people and has influenced countless viewers. The book this movie is based on was published in 1954 and already had a huge fan base before gaining a new audience through the film. To this day I have still never read the books despite how much I love the story, and it’s specifically because I love these movies so much. Books are always better.  There is just nothing a film can do to literally put you inside of the story with the thoughts and feelings of the characters.  The greatest movies find ways to convey that feeling to you, to a lesser extent, but it cannot be matched. I ruined Game of Thrones on HBO by reading the book series and I would hate to do the same to these films.  As I understand it, as far as film adaptations go, the Special Extended Cut for these movies is about as good as they get.  I hope so but will never risk finding out for sure, these movies mean too much to me.

I have always felt this movie was a glowing example of the possibilities offered by the future of film making. It was released so soon after the turn of the century when seemingly everything in the world was changing rapidly and this film was above and beyond practically everything that came before it.  It was a classic and well loved story brought to the screen with some of the greatest production work and special effects any of us had ever seen.  In some ways I don’t think it would be out of the question to put this trilogy next to Star Wars in what it did for the movie industry.  Animation used with motion capture suits was new at the time and the great lengths the production crew went through to design costumes, sets, and props were really exceptional.  The locations chosen to film in also went a long way in making the movie feel so real.  I know it has become a common dream vacation spot but for most every day people at the time New Zealand was a place many knew nothing about.  It sports incredible landscapes that really brought to world of Middle Earth to life in a way that probably couldn’t have been done anywhere else.

As great as everything looked in this movie, and as great and exciting as the story already was there is still no end to what can be said about the cast that brought the characters to life.  Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, and Dominic Monaghan were all great as the hobbits and became more and more likable as the series progressed.  Hobbits can seem pretty lame at just a glance because they’re just these little people who keep to themselves.  I  have always maintained that the hobbits are the most awesome of all the people of Middle Earth though.  The Dwarves are always bitching, the Elves are all high and mighty, the Men have a displaced sense of pride and arrogance while the Hobbits are simply happy go lucky little people who are content to eat,smoke, and drink their lives away happily.  These four Hobbits we see are the ones who get thrust into action and prove their people are more than meets the eye.  I don’t know that there was anything more uplifting in these films than seeing these Hobbits rise to action every time shit hit the fan.  These are seemingly little and defenseless people but every time the action gets going they are right there in the middle of it and throwing caution to the wind with acts of bravery that are nothing short of inspiring.

While the Hobbits might be the most unlikely badasses of all time there is no mistaking Ian McKellen as Gandalf for anything but the baddest of all badasses.  He has such a wise and grandfatherly quality to him until he throws down.  Whether he is dropping bridges with the banging of his staff or he is wielding a sword that suddenly came out of no where he is straight up the biggest badass in this movie. His battle with the demon before seemingly falling to his death is one of the most awesome scenes I have ever seen. When he stands his ground and screams “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!” you can practically feel his intensity straight through the screen.  It convinced me right there and then that Ian McKellen was and is one of the most awesome actors out there. I knew before seeing this movie that Gandalf didn’t die because I had waited so long to see it I had already seen him in previews for the next film, but the weight of that scene was still impossible to miss. So much changes when Gandalf decides to send them on without him and nothing is lost in the power of the scene by knowing that it’s coming.

I knew absolutely nothing about Viggo Mortensen prior to his role in this series and I would argue that without this series his career offers very little.  I think he was great in A History of Violence and he has made a couple other noteworthy movies but without playing Aragorn none of that would have ever happened. This was probably the best it will ever get for him but there is nothing wrong with that.  These movies will live on forever in popularity and he was absolutely incredible in all three of them.  The same can be said for Orlando Bloom although his efforts to make more of himself didn’t come with any lack of opportunity.  He got more roles thrown his way than any of the other actors yet still manages to be unsuccessful outside this franchise.  You can say that he had something going with Pirates of the Carribean, but I won’t. I attribute the success of that franchise to the child audience that loves pirates and it did nothing to prevent him from being typecast into that type of sword weilding character.  In truth I cannot stand Orlando Bloom but I never see Orlando Bloom in this movie, only Legolas, and Legolas was awesome. I like John Rhys-Davies and have since seeing him in Raiders of the Lost Ark as a child but I never really cared for him in this role.  He plays the Gimli the Dwarf, and as I mentioned in my review of The Hobbit, Dwarves blow.  They might bring their A-game to battle but otherwise all I hear them doing is bitching about everything under the sun.  

My favorite character in the film, after Gandalf of course, is that of Boromir.  Boromir was a man, altogether different from the kind of man that Aragorn was because Aragorn was a Dunedain.  Borormir could help but fall victim to the problems that plague regular men, being greed and arrogance.  He faltered a bit at the end and spend most of the journey under the suspicious eye of Gandalf and others but he was a man without fear.  He lost it altogether when he tried to take the ring from Frodo but the ring had managed somehow to poison his mind.  All that meant nothing when he joined the climactic battle and fought as bravely as any man in the entire series.  All these guys had great moments in battle but Boromir put his life on the line to single handedly take on a never ending assault from Uruk-hai warriors. He wasn’t just fighting off orcs to protect the Hobbits, he was fighting the biggest meanest enemies in the world and doing it despite taking arrows to the chest and stomach.  Boromir’s final fight to the death has always been one of my favorite scenes of the movie because it captures what so much of what this movie is about, being bravery and heroism. This all makes Boromir an awesome character, but I think what made him so great in the movie was the fact that he was played by Sean Bean.  Bean is a great actor but is really at his best in this kind of role.  He was exceptional as Eddard Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones

I have gone on forever about this movie that…well goes on forever but there are still a few to cover.  It would be unfair to discuss this movie without mentioning some of the great performances in smaller roles.  Christopher Lee is like a machine when it comes to acting, continuing to act into his 80s without slowing down at all. He was a perfect fit for the villainous wizard Saruman and it is probably the role I will most remember him for when his career is finally at an end.  I have never thought Liv Tyler was a very good actress but she just looks the part so well for this movie.  She actually has really elvish features and the role didn’t call for her to really do too much acting.  Cate Blanchette on the other hand is a terrific actress and brought skills as well as beauty to her part.  She has a very graceful and angelic look.  Hugo Weaving was a rising star around the time this movie came out because he was part of The Matrix franchise.  When this movie hit the screen The Matrix had not yet destroyed its popularity with those horrible sequels.  I have liked Weaving in nearly everything I have seen him in and I think he was great as the most powerful Elf in this movie.

This is a great coming of age film that I watched during a time when I was coming of age.  It had a significant influence on me during a time when significant influences had the greatest impact.  From this film and series I learned about honor, bravery, and perseverance.  I consider the lessons I learned from these movies to be invaluable and I try to keep them close to heart at all times. I think this is the type of movie that touched many people in a similar way and will continue to do so for years to come.

This movie kicked off an incredible adventure that gave viewers three years worth of excitement.  I think this movie is far and away the best complete film of the series.  I think there is plenty to enjoy from both of the sequels but the intensity isn’t there throughout as it is in this one.  The second film has an incredibly long retarding point in the middle as it takes them forever to reach Helm’s Deep.  The third movie might have been the greatest but it just took so long to reach that epic battle in the end, and then the movie drags on forever afterwards.  This movie might have left us all hanging at a critical juncture but when all these films are put together I think it stands above the others.

These are incredible films that were popular all over the world. The adventure all started with this one and I think it started everything off perfectly.  I think this is an awesome movie and even though it demands so much time to watch it I think it is worth every minute of that time.  If you haven’t seen these movies then you have missed out and have a lot to look forward to. If you somehow missed these movies then I would suggest watching the special extended cuts.  They add about three hours to the series collectively but that extra time makes the story so much better and more complete.

AMBER’S REVIEW

The first time we ever watched this I was in a fun, teenager state of mind and I was absolutely blown away. I never even wanted to watch the movie originally. I thought it looked uninteresting to me from the trailers. One day at a friends house we all got completely sucked in and watched the entire thing. It was also one of those first movies that really took cinematography to a whole new level. Remember this movie was before Avatar. I think I still really like this movie, because as much as I dreaded watching it for the blog (only because it is a never ending movie) I found myself getting re-sucked into it. It is a good movie about perseverance for the good of people you don’t even know.

lord_of_the_rings_the_fellowship_of_the_ring_ver4_xlg

NOOOOOOOOO! Group shot. Let’s see how many characters we can fit on the poster! I will say this is the best job I have seen at putting this many people on a poster, but I do not like it. The fade is seriously abrupt at the end of the photography where the title starts. And also, Frodo is like a deer in headlights on this poster. And it just makes me mad. More at Tolkien, because the real hero has and always will be Sam. Not a fan of the poster, but I do however like the typography of the title. It is recognizable and you know what movie this is just by seeing it. That’s what makes the title so strong. Otherwise, boo. They broke my poster code so I can’t give this one my praise.

NEXT MOVIE: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

Clay Morrow that Sneaky Snook

You’ll have to excuse the title of this post.  I got up early this morning to watch last night’s episode before my kids got up and it was followed by Jake and the Neverland Pirates once they were awake.  The phrase just popped in my head and stuck.  How about it though right? Clay hasn’t been the greatest characters over the years but I am a big fan of Ron Pearlman and what he brings to the show.  I am really glad we have reason to think he has escaped death again.  I didn’t figure it out when the prisoners handed him a shiv instead of killing him so I was shocked when he suddenly stabbed the leader of the white prisoners to death in the brawl. I think it’s awesome because Clay has found a way to survive without becoming a rat in order to do so.  The development of him siding with Pope’s people was a great idea and I like where it is going.

It’s a shame Tig is dead but the writing was on the wall.  It was going to happen sooner or later and if it means we lose Kim Coates but keep Ron Pearlman I’m ok with it.  I liked Kim Coates and what he brought to the show but he isn’t a really good actor.  I have a brother who only watched the show once and it was the episode when Tig’s daughter was killed.  He is always quick to point out how bad the acting was in the scene when she is burned alive and how it reflects on the show.  It frustrates me every time because I don’t have a leg to stand on and can’t offer a good counter argument to the point.  Tig has always been cool on the show but when the call for real acting came Kim Coates didn’t bring it.

I do have one question about the previews for next week.  Did I see the Darby from the earlier seasons of the show? He was the character who was leader of the Nords and sided with the Nazis in season 2.  If I remember correctly he was betrayed by the Nazis and left for dead in a burning building at some point during that season.  Did anybody else see him and am I remembering it correctly?

I would also like to add how cool it is to see CCH Pounder on the show playing the DA.  I was a huge fan of The Shield and like that Kurt Sutter brings so many of the actors from that show into this one.  So far we have seen nearly every one of the main characters from The Shield short of the big dog Michael Chiklis.  My wife and I have had a running joke about CCH Pounder since her days on The Shield so it’s cool to see her in something and have a reason to dust it off for fresh use.  The joke is just about her name.  I’m sure that she goes by C-C-H Pounder but we have always jokingly referred to her as “Ka-CH” Pounder.  It’s stupid but it’s always given us a small laugh.  Nevertheless she is a great actress and I look forward to what she will bring to this show.

I’m going to list characters from The Shield I remember popping up on SOA.  I’m going specifically from memory so if I am forgetting anyone then leave me a comment about who they are and I’ll update the list. I don’t have the time to look up all the names and characters they played so this list will look crude.

Lem-played a Samcro member that rivaled Tig
Ronnie-played an assistant to the RICO prosecutor
Shane-Walt Goggins appeared as one of Nero’s cross dressing girls last year in a classic scene using the hilarious name Venus Van Damme. A direct reference to his alias on The Shield, Cletus Van Damme.
Wagenbach-played the ATF agent that stalked Tara in season 1
Wyms-now playing the Charming DA
Aceveda-played Danny Trejo’s number 2
Margos-The character was played by Kurt Sutter, the creator of SOA, who of course plays Otto on the show
rape suspect-Mayor Hale once played a perp who got interrogated and arrested by Wagonbach for statutory rape
Juan Lozano (that guy who did that thing to Aceveda)-played one of Nero’s old associates last season

Thanks to a comment from a reader there is a new name to add to the list:
The leader of the Mayans, Alvarez played Navaro Quintero who was the older brother of season 2 baddie Armadillo.

There is also the 1-9ers to consider.  I have noticed no direct cross over characters but the gang itself was one made up for The Shield and was a regular gang to contend with throughout the series.

There are several other smaller characters from both shows that have crossed over and I can’t remember specifically.  I know the local business man Clay had under his thumb in earlier seasons made an appearance on The Shield once as a guy working with Vic’s old partner played by Carl Weathers.  There are several more I know so if you remember anyone I am forgetting then leave a comment and let me know.  Missing in action for sure are Vic, Danni, and Julien from The Shield.  With the rate of appearances it is only a matter of time.  It may be wishful thinking but I would really like to see Michael Chiklis as the biggest meanest bad guy the show has ever seen in the final season or something.

UPDATE: Obviously I was mistaken about Tig and just wanted to note that.  I misinterpreted the scenes from next week when it showed the Sons jacket burning.  That was for the big guy killed by the Irish and I thought it was Tig’s jacket.  I’m glad Tig hasn’t been killed because I like his character, despite Kim Coates acting ability when scenes focus on him.

How Will Breaking Bad End?

The days are winding down and before we know it the final hour of the show will be upon us.  I have spent many years with this show now and have never been able to guess what would happen next.  The quality of TV series coming out over the last 10 years has been tremendous but there has always been a level of predictability with many of them.  That’s not the case in this show and I think that is what makes this show so great.  I have never been able to guess what was coming next and the show has never failed to blow my mind.  I expect no less from the final episode and would not even begin to presume to know what might happen.

I think that Walt will use the poison he collected at his ramshackled house to end his own life after he accomplishes what he sets out to, but do not know and wouldn’t bet on it. I can’t even begin to assume what he is planning to do either.  Is he going after Jack and his crew? I know that is the most likely possibility but what does he gain by doing so? Yeah he gets revenge on Hank’s killer and he gets his money back but what good is his money if his son doesn’t want it? Is he so angry about Hank’s murder that he is willing to go out in a hail of bullets to avenge him? I don’t know but somehow that doesn’t seem good enough to me.  I just can’t begin to even think about what Walt is planning but I know it will be awesome.  If you feel bold enough to predict his next move then by all means leave a comment and let me know.

I don’t think Walt’s next move is the biggest question though because one way or another I think there is only one end to whatever he is planning to do.  I am more interested in what will happen with Todd.  Todd is such an interesting character and I like how he is positioning himself to take over the meth empire with Lydia. Although I doubt that she is going to be as enthused about his plans as he might be.  I can’t even pretend to be interested in what Jesse does because I have flat out had enough of that guy. I was sick of him last year when he quit and completely over him this year once he started throwing his money away. Yeah it’s blood money and Jesse has a conscience I get it but who the hell is this guy kidding?  He is no saint and while there is clearly a line he won’t cross it’s a thin line if you ask me.  We have seen Jesse at his best and at his worst and I have just never felt he, at his best, somehow exonerated himself from everything he did at his worst. Jesse screwed Walt in the end despite everything Walt has done for him, and I am on Walt’s side. I have a sneaking suspicion that Jesse some how makes it out of all of this alive, but who knows.  We have seen the guy lose everything so it just seems fitting that his penance is living with all that he has lost.  Despite his “moral conscience” there is still plenty of blood on Jesse’s hands.

Walt may be the true devil, he may be the end all be all bad guy in this show, but I for one have always liked that about him.  As viewers I think there is part of us that “broke bad” in order to fall in love with this show because the main character is in fact as bad as they can get.  I think that is part of the thrill. We fell in love with Walt as a good guy doing what he had to for his family but we stuck with him when it went way beyond that. Did anybody stop watching when Walt poisoned that kid? When he ordered the death of Gale? When he killed the chicken man and then all of his people locked up in prison? Really, you can go on forever with these examples but what does it say about us that we stayed true? Walt is an evil character, yet we still find ourselves pulling for him. Call it a guilty pleasure, call it an infatuation with what’s bad, call it what you will. I’m not going to fret about it, I’m going to trust in the best show I’ve ever seen and pull for this bad guy till the very end. Somewhere inside all of us we wonder what we would do if we were in Walt’s position and that is part of what makes it so much fun too.  I do not know what will happen next but I have every faith that it will be awesome.  This has consistently been the best show on TV and none of us should have any doubt about what’s coming.

Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Premier

I’ve been looking forward to this show’s return since the end of an incredible season last year.  So much so that I got up at 4:30 this morning to watch it before coming into work.  I saw plenty that I liked but at the same time don’t know how I feel about others.  I think this show is one of the best out there right now because it has steadily gotten better with each season.  I hope that is a trend that continues this year.

What I saw in the first episode was a lot of what has made the show so great over the last few seasons.  Great set ups in an ongoing and congruent story that offers plenty of shockers all throughout.  I think the continuing investigation into the club by a new threat offers plenty of possibilities.  The retired U.S. Marshal played by Donal Logue is a really nasty character and I’m nervous every time he is one on one with Tara because he obviously isn’t opposed to rape.  I really hope that never happens but with such a scary character there is no telling what will happen.  The guy is really pissed off, has a lot of reach, and seems capable of anything.  He has his weaknesses with drugs though and we will eventually see that come into play somehow. Also, on a side note, kudos to FX for finally finding a niche for Donal Logue. I am a fan and was a little disappointed that his last run with the studio didn’t make it.

I really don’t like the image of the club in this first episode.  Jax only has three other guys with him and they seem to be operating as babysitters in a few scenes.  Something about these guys watching Jax’s kids just doesn’t sit right with me and I hope it doesn’t become a regular thing.  Jax is clearly still in a bind over Tig because Pope’s successor also wants his head. I think this is the only reason Juice will be allowed back into the club because Jax really needs that fourth guy to stay eligible. The scene when Tig kills the Iranian shows us that he’s definitely not alright and his behavior might eventually become a liability for Jax.  I like Chibs but don’t like that he is second in command now.  I hope Bobby comes back because more often than not I find myself wondering what the hell Chibs just said.  Bobby is a badass and I hate that he is on the outs with Jax. It looks to me like he is trying to set up his own MC in an open location but I think this eventual drama will end with Jax and Bobby having to unite their two clubs over some mutual threat, possibly this retired U.S. Marshal. Clay still has plenty of juice as a character and I am interested in where this is going.  I like that he intended to keep his mouth shut but really liked the scene when he changed his mind, can’t really blame the guy can you? It was a scary window through that door.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Marshal had specifically arranged for the men standing outside the door to be there to scare Clay.  That many black prisoners meant certain death was waiting once he walked through that door and Clay obviously isn’t ready for it. Tara, as always, is all in on being a badass but her actions won’t bode well for her efforts to make bond.  We might be in for a lot of prison Tara this season and I am really interested in how she will get out of this problem.  I imagine the Marshal’s drug problem will ultimately be used to discredit him and destroy his case.

My biggest problem with the show last night was the school shooting.  It was a rough thing to see and a rough topic to cover given the rate at which these things happen.  To start this kind of story line so soon after the Sandy Hooks shooting (within a year is too soon) just seemed wrong.  I can see where this is going and I understand the story line but still feel it was too much too soon.  The kid pulled a machine gun out of his book bag before walking into what is obviously a private school where plenty of the victims will have powerful parents.  When the public outcry gets really nasty the question of where the weapon came from will be topic number one and will put a lot of heat on the local criminal organization known to run guns. That’s my bet on where it’s going, but I don’t like it.  It’s just a topic that hits too close to home for too many people and I imagine there will be plenty of uproar over it.

Nevertheless I think the show was great overall and look forward to where everything is going in season 6. I didn’t get to see the preview for the upcoming season after the episode this morning because I was pressed for time. Right now the not knowing what to expect makes it all the more exciting.  If you’ve made it this far you must be a big fan of the show so don’t hesitate to leave a comment with your own thoughts on last night’s episode. I haven’t seen the news today but expect last night’s episode will be in it.  I’d be specifically interested to know how other fans feel about the school shooting story line and where it is going.

Look Who’s Talking

Year: 1989
Directed By: Amy Heckerling
Written By: Amy Heckerlng

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie does not belong in this collection of films.  It is here for one and only one reason; we had babies of our own.  I would have never in a million years purchased this film but I caught it on TV one day when our first born was just a toddler.  Suddenly this really stupid movie seemed like the funniest thing I had ever seen.  To me, that made it worth owning.  Sometimes perspective is everything and makes all the difference in the world.

So much for perspective, I have now finished watching this movie again for the first time in a few years and all I can say is I was really caught up in the moment when I decided to buy it.  I think it just hit me at the right time and I thought much too highly of it when I saw it on a shelf somewhere.  The truth is I have always enjoyed going to the store and buying movies to add to our collection.  The problem over the last few years is that I own nearly everything I ever loved and new movies are often out of the price range I find acceptable for DVDs these days. I miss finding new additions that I could snatch up and add to the shelf so sometimes I find myself reaching and buying movies that aren’t worth a damn.  This is one of those cases I’m afraid, I said it even before watching it again; this movie flat out does not belong.

Do I even bother spending the time to write about this movie? It has its moments here and there that are funny if you have experience with babies and small children but otherwise it is a complete waste of time.  John Travolta’s career had fallen straight into the crapper and if nothing else this franchise did do something to keep him going until he got his role in Pulp Fiction and got his star power back. He made three of them after all and they seemed to get progressively worse capping off with the most ridiculous excuse for a sequel ever in which the dogs were doing the talking. Despite all that if it kept him afloat long enough to recapture some stardom it at least matters for something.

I was too young to really get into Cheers when it was the hottest thing on TV so Kirstie Alley has never meant much to me.  To be perfectly honest she did nothing in this film to win my favor either.  I think she has a really whiny voice, and a whiny personality to go along with it.  My wife is a big fan and pulled for her on Dancing with the Stars but I have never seen the appeal. I feel it’s necessary to mention Bruce Willis in this review because he is a big name attached to the film.  As the voice of Mikey he certainly made that sperm/baby/toddler sound pretty cool but I don’t think this film was ever listed on his resumé.

I am a fan of Amy Heckerling and think she is a talented filmmaker.  Despite my opinion about this film I still think she did many good things with it.  She wrote really clever dialogue for the baby and toddler to think and I think she captured what so many of us know to be true early in parenthood.  I specifically like her intro to the film with the egg making its way into place and the scene in which sperm Willis manages to beat out all of his competition to inseminate the egg.  I will always be a fan of Heckerling though because she made one of my favorite high school films, Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

I think I have said too much about this film already and I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to see it.  If you are a parent then there is plenty here to laugh at should you catch it on TV one day but overall I don’t think this movie is worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I remember watching this movie when I was little. My mom had a collection of movies that I would watch when I visited her and it included this one. She had a thing for both Travolta and Alley. I used to laugh and laugh. It’s also one of those movies that you watch as a kid and don’t fully understand the opening scene. Once you are an adult, you realize what it is and it becomes so much more…you know I don’t even know the words for the feeling. Maybe awkward? In any case I still love this movie and that’s probably because I have kids of my own now. Never been a big lover of Travolta, but I like his greaser-esque role in this movie.

look-whos-talking-movie-poster-1989-1020210701

This poster came out in 89, so I think it is actually doing a pretty good job of being clean and to the point. It also hits the target market: parents. If you don’t have kids then you probably don’t understand why the kid is chewing on the letters of the title. Until you have kids, you don’t understand the innate need they all have to put every last thing they grab into their mouths. And who can really blame them, what with all the bones forcing their way through gummy tissue. This poster hits the target market, keeps the typography and imaging clean and simple, and overall I think it does quite an incredible job. Especially for this caliber movie and time period. Kudos designer.

NEXT MOVIE: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2003)

The Long Kiss Goodnight

Year: 1996
Directed By: Renny Harlin
Written By: Shane Black

RYAN’S REVIEW

Such an interesting time it was when the pairing of Renny Harlin and Shane Black was a formula for success.  This movie came out at the end of an era when mindless action movies could have an R-rating and still have the potential to turn a significant profit.  I miss those days because even though most of these movies were really stupid I still enjoyed most of them.  I was 12 when this movie came out, and at that age the bigger the explosions and the bigger the lead female’s breast the better. This movie has all that but gets a boost from the fact that Samuel L Motherfucking Jackson is in it. Any movie, no matter the premise or context, is better when Samuel L Jackson is in it, period.  The film has a lot of over the top action and unlikely scenarios but those are to be expected from movies by both Harlin and Black. This film, being a collaboration between the two, may exaggerate that quality a bit. While everything might all be a bit too much in this film there is still plenty to like about it.  In fact, Harlin and Jackson both are on record mentioning it as one of their favorite movies that they worked on.

I watched this movie recently when I was on vacation with my brother.  It was interesting because we both grew up with it being a household favorite.  The two of us watching it together found little else in the film but things to make fun of. There is plenty to laugh off as ridiculous in this movie. For example, the scene in which Samantha starts cutting vegetables. The music alone makes it goofy as hell when the tone goes from suspenseful to lighthearted back to suspenseful in a matter of minutes. As a viewer it’s hard to tell if the scene is supposed to be horrifying or humorous. In good company there can be different perspectives on the table though and now that I am watching the movie on my own I’m seeing it differently.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a film to be taken seriously, but still there can be plenty to like here if you are in the right mood for it.

Samuel L Jackson is a gem who has made many roles his own.  I am generally under the theory that by and large he is and always will be Jules from Inglewood.  That’s OK though, because Jules was one of the greatest characters of all time.  He has played the character time and time again with different names and situations but he will always be Jules. There is a little bit of Jules in Mitch from this movie, and if nothing else it is Mitch who makes this movie worth wild.  He has so many great scenes in this film.  Here is a good example of what he brought to the film:

That’s just a taste of the comedic quality Jackson brought to the movie.  He is hands down one of my favorite actors of all time and while I don’t watch everything he does I do love him in everything I see him in.  I’ll be honest; this film collection may have Snakes on a Plane lurking in the “S” section specifically because Samuel L Jackson is awesome. I think the fact that he has mentioned this movie as one of his favorites when he has made almost 150 movies says something important and if nothing else it makes this movie worth your time to see it.

I have always liked Geena Davis, but in truth that is probably only because she was in her prime while I was going through puberty. Still, despite movies like this, she turned in a few impressive performances in her time. I think it was a bit of a stretch for Renny Harlin to try to make an action star out of his wife but she made a better effort than Angelina Jolie ever did. Despite how much of an apocalyptic failure Cutthroat Island was I always liked it but I think this collaboration between Harlin and Davis was much better. She looked pretty good in the pirate get-up but she had the right attitude for Samantha Caine and Charlie Baltimore both despite being such an exaggerated character.  

Some films have a timeless quality that enables them to live on forever and relate to every generation that comes along.  This is not one of those movies.  The Long Kiss Goodnight is the kind of movie that you just had to be there to really enjoy.  It’s hard to look back now and appreciate this movie but if you were there, living life in the mid 90s and loving these kinds of actions movies, then you get it.  This movie was a product of its time, just as I am, and having that in common I like this movie even though it may be pretty silly when that wasn’t at all what it was going for.  If you remember the good old days when bad guys and good guys alike both used the fuck word with an aggressive frequency and enjoyed them as I did then this one is worth your time.  If nothing else it is worth seeing just because Samuel L Jackson was awesome in it.

NEXT MOVIE: Look Who’s Talking (1989) This is an embarrassment I know, read our next review to see easy it is to get caught up in the moment and make stupid decisions.