Month: November 2013

Dutch

Year: 1991
Directed By: Peter Faiman
Written By: John Hughes

RYAN’S REVIEW

Earlier this month I wrote about the absence of Thanksgiving in the face of Christmas consumerism and promised we would covered a Thanksgiving themed film.  This is the film I was speaking of but I’ll admit it’s a bit of a stretch.  The only real connection this film actually has to the holiday is that it takes place on the way to Thanksgiving dinner.  In truth, up until the end it tends to feel more like a Christmas film because of the snowy setting the main characters travel through.  They are on the way to Thanksgiving though and we do see them eat turkey so I think it still counts.

I remember watching this movie when I was a kid and it was first coming on HBO in the early 90s.  For years afterwards I had wanted to see it again but had forgotten all about it until coming across it again a couple of months ago. It’s a funny movie but at times it does get a bit too real and turns from funny to awkwardly dramatic. Still, there is value to be had in any film made by John Hughes and this one has his stamp all over it.

When I first revisited this movie the first thing that came to mind was the obvious resemblance that Ethan Embry playing the part of Doyle had to the film’s writer John Hughes. Let me know if you see it.

                     

It’s there right? It gives me the impression that John Hughes actually was this kid Doyle at one point in his life.  I don’t know this because admittedly I do not know much about the life of the late John Hughes other than the films I have seen from him.  There does seem to be a pervasive correlation among many of his films which makes me think he probably took plenty of chapters from his own life when delving into his writing for films.  A long road trip as we see in the first Vacation or in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (next year’s Thanksgiving film) for example. An adult and child duo surviving the hard way when they are down on their luck like in Curly Sue. There is also the theme of unique family situations and how they get along during the holidays as we see in many of his films. He may have correlating themes in many of his films but that is hardly a problem when they were all so great.  John Hughes was a great writer and filmmaker who left a significant stamp on the industry and our culture in this country. He was a significant loss a few years ago but we will always have his many movies to carry on his memory into the future.

Ed O’Neill may go into full hobo mode a couple of times in this film but I don’t think the film would have been of any count without him.  He never really got off the ground with a significant film career but he has always been a big player when it came to acting on television.  I was never a fan of Married with Children because it was just too much toilet humor for me but it was still a big hit by and large with TV watching fans.  After airing for ten years the show made its mark and did plenty to entertain many people despite what I thought about it. He is now starring on another hit TV show that is arguably already more famous than Married with Children ever was.  I am not the biggest fan of Modern Family but it is a funny show and I specifically like him on it.  O’Neill has a real natural quality about him that makes him very likable. I think he was a perfect fit for the “working class” man he portrays in this movie and I think he is really funny in the part. I think if someone else would have been cast in the part of Dutch the movie may have been more successful when it came out but I don’t think the movie would have been better.  Ed O’Neill makes this movie worth watching.  Everything from him carrying Doyle out of his school against his will to continually getting beat up by this child and right up until the end when he pulls the air gun on Doyle at the Thanksgiving dinner is hilarious.  This movie was both a critical and financial flop but it has gained a small amount of popularity over the years and I think that has a lot to do with Ed O’Neill’s performance and how he carries the film.

It’s funny but it wasn’t until I looked this movie up on IMDB that I realized Ethan Embry was the kid who played Doyle.  I have seen Embry in a number of films over the years but had no idea he was Doyle because he looks so different as an adult. The character he plays in this film is a bit too much as far as douche bag kids go but he comes a long way by the end of the movie.  Shooter McGavin is present in this film playing the adult douche bag type of character that he plays so well.  It’s nice to see Dutch get the last laugh on this guy at the end of the movie.  I actually like Christopher McDonald but he finds himself in this type of role all too often and it seems too easy for him to pull off.

This is a funny movie but things get to be a bit too dramatic near the end as things continue to get worse for Dutch and Doyle.  When I was a little kid I specifically remember having this phobia about being lost on the road.  I once rode through Washington DC with my grandmother and nearly panicked when she got lost in downtown thinking we would never find our way home and we had neither food nor water. My parents used to love telling that story as one of those adorable things kids will say anecdotes.  Yet I remember really being afraid and when I look back now I think it was because of this movie that I got scared. I know for a fact I had seen this movie more than once long before that incident took place. Having seen what Dutch and Doyle went through when they were on the road and had run out of both money and luck put a specific type of scare in me. It was the irrational type of fear only a small child can feel but having pinpointed where it came from years later is really interesting. I think the fact that this movie made me paranoid about something like that as a kid says something about how dramatic the tone gets near the end.  I always think it is a mistake for a comedy to get dramatic. It really just sticks a fork in a completely opposite emotion and makes it really difficult to get back in the right frame of mind for laughing.  It makes sense in the story for Dutch and Doyle to be turned away from a restaurant because they look homeless or for them to have to stay in a homeless shelter because they have been robbed.  It makes for a better story but it does nothing for the comedic tone of the film.

As I said earlier this film was both a critical and financial flop.  So much so that Married with Children actually made multiple references to it over the years and made fun of it for being a failure.  You have to appreciate Ed O’Neill for being a good sport and being able to take shots at himself.  I actually happen to think there is a lot to like about this film and really enjoy it.  I understand why it didn’t succeed though and think it was for the very reasons I have discussed already.  Ed O’Neill didn’t have the street credit so to speak to fill the theaters and the film takes too much of a dramatic tone at times.  What I haven’t discussed is the nature of Doyle’s situation and how it relates.  While I have seen plenty of comedies succeed while covering the complications of divorce I feel like it is a really difficult thing to do.  It worked in films like Mrs. Doubtfire and It’s Complicated but having grown up as a child of divorce I tend to find these films difficult to watch.  Some people may like them but I don’t think there is anything funny about divorce or the lives the survivors have to live afterwards.  Doyle is very much a troubled kid and it’s the direct result of his upbringing.  It’s nice to see the light come on for him and to see his life appear to get much better, but it can be a painful reminder of reality at the same time and reality never has such a happy ending.

Despite its dramatic elements I still really enjoy this movie.  I think Ed O’Neill is so funny and has so many memorable scenes I freely overlook the type of things that would otherwise turn me off of a film. Nobody makes a holiday classic quite like John Hughes and while this hardly qualifies as a holiday classic we do see a turkey by the end of it and I insist that makes it count. Thanksgiving may get overlooked sooner and sooner every year but when the day finally comes it’s still here and it’s still as great as it always was.  It’s a wonderful time to spend with family and friends and to break bread together.  There really wasn’t any reason for us to do a film for this holiday either because this holiday isn’t for movies.  It’s not a date movies are released to theaters on and it’s not a good time slot to play films for TV ratings. That’s because this holiday is about family, food, and FOOTBALL.  As the big movie fan I am I am here on Thanksgiving telling you not to watch a movie today but to tune into the NFL and watch Megatron or the Cowboys or this year’s hopeless Super Bowl champs tonight.  Spend time with loved ones and enjoy the day while it is here, in the blink of an eye it’ll be back to business as usual and we’ll all be Christmas shopping.

The Lost Boys

Year: 1987
Directed By: Joel Schumacher
Written By: Janice Fischer, James Jeremias, and Jeffrey Boam

RYAN’S REVIEW

In this age of vampire rage it’s almost too much to even bear seeing any vampire movie again, but this is the vampire movie.  This movie made vampires cool twenty years before it became the trendy thing to do. Screw all the Twilights and True Bloods, Jack Bauer was the vampire in this movie.  By today’s standards this film is far and away ahead of its time.  It both exploited the comic book world and made vampires cool which are both so big in our current culture. This movie gets a bit too goofy at times but it’s cool enough to compensate for all that.  The music and the style of the time are captured in the film making it a portrait of the era in the late 80s. The tone of this movie is all over the place because it tried to fuse comedy and horror together but it’s a fun movie and sometimes that it all that matters when it comes to evaluating a film.

In 1987 there was every reason to believe the young cast in this movie all had bright futures ahead of them.  Arguably some of them did but none really reached the potential people saw in them during the late 80s. The most successful is without a doubt Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland.  That’s his actual name by the way.  If I remember right his dad, Donald Sutherland, chose to name his son after six of his best friends so Kiefer’s legal name is actually that long.  I am a big fan of Kiefer because he played one of the greatest characters ever, Jack Bauer.  However, there was a reason Kiefer landed on a TV drama at a time when it was considered an act of desperation in a film star’s career. Kiefer has had some memorable roles over the years but his career was spinning out of control in the years preceding his part as Jack Bauer. Yet faced with adversity he took that role and made it something special. Kiefer is one of the big reasons 24 was such a success and I for one look forward to the return of the series next year. As it goes with his role here there is an interesting factoid that I was unaware of till just now.  His character David doesn’t die.  All of the other vampires explode or disintegrate when they are killed but he does not when impaled on the deer antlers.  Apparently his character was meant to survive and play a part in a sequel that was never made. In true 80’s fashion is was to be titled The Lost Girls; go figure right? It’s too bad the sequel wasn’t picked up.  Although it probably would have been a disaster anyway I would have liked to see what more they could have done with the David character.  Kiefer made for a cool vampire and it would have been cool to see more of him.

It’s Jason Patric I have in mind when I think that people probably expected big things from the young cast of this movie.  He must have come across as the type of young actor who had a promising future in front of him but it never happened. I don’t know why but I know his track record doesn’t do anything to impress. Unless you were really taken with Speed 2, when for some reason it’s a problem that a boat can’t slow down with the enormity of the ocean to cruise through.  Jason Patric fit the part in this movie well but his character’s name is said relentlessly to the point of being annoying.  There aren’t enough drugs in the world to account for the annoying amount of uncalled for laughter coming from these hipster vamps, and peppered all throughout their “lol-ing” is the name “Michael” said over and over, and over and over again. It’s not Jason Patric’s fault, but it’s an annoying part of the film I always think of when he comes up in conversation.

When I was a kid I was quite taken with Jami Gertz in the role of Star.  That wild hair and hippy style really did it for me back then.  I was always a bit confused about the little kid who was with her in the movie.  Was he her brother or son? I never knew before but having read a bit about the movie I found out that the vampires just snatched this kid up at random to be her companion. At one point in the movie you can see his image on a milk carton as a missing child. Dianne Wiest plays the other female lead in this movie and I think she really brings the film down.  I have never really seen her play more than the aloof and naive mother and I’m just not a big fan of that role.  It’s a necessary role in some films and I suppose she does it as well as anybody.  She plays a similar part in both Edward Scissorhands and in one of my personal favorites, The Birdcage. 

I feel compelled to mention Corey Haim and Corey Feldman here but I can’t figure out why.  These two had their moment in the sun around the time this movie came out and they have held onto this franchise hardheartedly as it continued long after their significance passed.  Feldman is one of those great child actors that just didn’t take his success to the next level as he grew up.  I know he is still out there doing things now but I’m not sure what.  He has continued his role of Edgar Frog in a couple of long since sequels, Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst. I haven’t seen either one of those films but if any reader has feel free to share some thoughts on them. I know Corey Haim was supposed to be in at least one of those two but wasn’t able to after his untimely death a few years ago. Haim struggled with drug addiction for most of his adult life and it went the way these things often do with him dying at the young age of 38. These two guys became a pair in the 80s but like so many things from that decade they just didn’t transition with the times.  Of the two I have always liked Feldman better because the guy was just such a great character in so many films that I love.  I thought his character in this movie was a bit too campy and ridiculous but I’m thinking more of The Goonies when it comes to what endears me to him as a child actor. Speaking of guys who didn’t fully make it out of the 80s I’d like to point out the vampire version of Bill S Preston Esquire is in this film.  Alex Winter plays the vampire that says the least and gets staked first.  I mention him specifically because I have heard talk of a third adventure for Bill and Ted coming to the big screen.  I have my doubts that it will ever actually happen but during this day and age, when anything that can be perceived to have vaguely significant name recognition is made, anything is possible.

Joel Schumacher was the director that destroyed the Batman franchise.  An unforgivable act and even though this movie came out long before he was put behind the camera for the third Batman film it’s something that still needs to be considered.  In truth he did nothing in this film to offer any saving grace if you ask me.  It’s a cool movie but the whole tone is so up and down. I think it is an odd idea to make a film that qualifies for both the horror and comedy genres. It happens more often than not but I see these two genres being counteractive to one another and think it’s just a ridiculous idea.  It has to be one or the other and can’t simply be a combination of both.  A film can be set in the horror genre and intended only to be funny, like the perfectly done Shaun of the Dead, but that isn’t what they did in this film. I think there are several specific scenes in this movie that show they were actually trying to be scary and I feel like the comedy wasn’t the purpose of the film, just part of it.  I have never found this movie to be either funny or scary but liked it despite that.  I watched it at a young age and thought it was a really cool movie. I liked the idea of a vampire being something more than a monster and more about the opportunity to be forever young and party for an eternity. This idea may have been introduced before this movie for all I know but it was the first I had seen of it.  This film has survived as a cult classic and I think that is by and large due to the idea of vampires who “sleep all day, party all night.”

I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m sick of vampires.  I’ve been happy to see most of this unreasonable cult phenomenon shift focus toward zombies but it is only a matter of time before that begins to get annoying too.  I think plenty of people would suggest we have already reached that point and I couldn’t argue that we haven’t. While there has been a shift toward zombies lately it hasn’t really slowed down the vampires enough.  There seems to still be a significant market for the livelier of the undead but I think enough is enough. I think it went way too far a long time ago.  I can stomach True Blood to an extent, mainly because of Anna Paquin’s fondness for nude scenes, but I draw a line when it came to Twilight. To start with, it’s a series that comes from teen reading and that’s lame enough.  I did see the first film because I was unaware of what it was when I rented it. Needless to say I thought it was beyond ridiculous.  Someone answer me this, why would an eternal creature want to spend its days going through high school over and over again? High school was totally lame no matter what crowd you were in and the idea of a vampire trying to blend in there is just stupid.  Not only that, but when did it become OK for vampires to go about during the day? They are creatures of the night; it’s like one of the most important principles of vampires.  It was just all so stupid, but who am I to argue with what made someone a millionaire.  I have plenty of other thoughts and criticisms when it comes to Tweenlight but I’ll hold back in the event of diehard fans hating on what I have said.

If you can stomach more of what has become the unbearable norm these days then take a trip back to the 80s and check out this movie. It may have an odd tone to it but I think it’s a cool take on vampires, and one that was done long before they became too overdone in our society.  This is a fun movie and I think it is worth your time to see it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie almost always reminds me of my step-dad. My mom didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to watch this movie but he helped talk her into it. I remember having nightmares about maggots in my food for weeks. Still, it scared the crap out of me when I was younger, and may have been one of the very first vampire movies or stories even that I was introduced to.

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Are ready for another MONTAGE? This one could be really interesting if they hadn’t needed to put every single character in the movie on this poster. I think the use of a black and white posterized looking image on the stark red of the background was really great idea considering their lives are revolved around blood. I actually like the typography. I think it’s iconic, at least for me for this time period. Not an entirely missed poster, but dammit WHY must they always include everyone on the poster?

NEXT MOVIE: Love Actually (2003)

Boardwalk Empire Season 4

At the end of season 3 of this show I wrote a little about what I thought might be expected from this season and somebody put me in my place.  I am very familiar with the history of the mob but learned really quickly that I hadn’t put enough thought into what I said and somebody out there knew much more than I did.  If you’d like to know what I’m talking about read the comments for this post. I could not have been more wrong and the guy who left the comment couldn’t have been more spot on.  He accurately predicted the FBI playing a role in this season and I am thoroughly impressed with his superior knowledge on the topic.

This season of Boardwalk Empire has been great but I think it fails in comparison to last year.  Last year was such all out chaos and it’s just hard to top. After the most recent episode I feel to an extent the show is repeating itself this season.  Chalky going after Dr. Narcisse but failing to kill him reminds me so much of last year.  It was after the botched hit on Gyp Rosetti that he went to Joe the Boss for backup and regrouped to face Nucky again.  That is exactly what Narcisse did when Chalky failed to kill him and it does feel a bit redundant.  My favorite moment from this whole season, so far, came when Nucky looked at Narcisse and said “I’ve been meaning to ask you this for a while, who the fuck do you think you are?” That was a great line and I can’t wait to see how Nucky resolves the brewing conflict with Narcisse.  I thought Bobby Cannavale was incredible in the part of bad guy Gyp Rosetti in season 3 but I can’t stand Dr. Narcisse in this season.  Something about him just really gets under my skin and I look for his inevitable death to be very satisfying. I really like the idea of a gangster from Harlem on the show but Narcisse just doesn’t do it for me.  He isn’t based on any real figure in history and I just think they could have done better with the part. I have done little research to verify that Narcisse isn’t based on any real life historical figure; I am aware I can be wrong and if so by all means let me know.

I am loving everything going on in Chicago this season. The Nick Van Alden/George Mueller character has become one of my favorite parts of the show this year and I feel like we are seeing Michael Shannon come alive in the role.  It’s been so interesting to see this character go from where he was when the show started to being a rising mobster in the Chicago syndicate.  I like the geeked out Capone we are seeing and how his drug use is affecting his character. I was also thrilled to see Richard Harrow finally approach Nucky and ask for a job.  I feel this was the guy’s destiny all along and see him eventually taking over the role of Eddie Kessler for Nucky.  I’m holding out hope that he goes back to being a hit man again but can easily see him being the new Eddie for Nucky that also kills people occasionally.  Harrow is a man aware of who he is, and he would be the same kind of selfless servant to Nucky that Eddie was.  It’s just a matter of Nucky realizing who he has in Harrow.

I started this post after last week’s episode and then let it sit for a week so it hasn’t flowed the way I wanted it to because I came back when my thoughts weren’t fresh.  Still I needed to get some of my thoughts about the show out there and I’m settling to publish a post that’s probably not as good as it should have been.  This week I have started watching the show from the beginning again on HBOGO.  I’m about half way through the first season so far and it’s been really fun to revisit.  This is a great show, as most HBO shows are, and I look forward to the coming weeks as everything wraps up.

Lord of War

Year: 2005
Directed By: Andrew Niccol
Written By: Andrew Niccol

RYAN’S REVIEW

I initially bought this movie for a project I was doing in college.  I had seen it before and had a specific scene in mind that I wanted to use for the project.  While I bought it for the project, I really just used that as an excuse for the purchase.  I liked this movie and really only needed a half assed excuse in order to add it into our collection which was much smaller at the time.  It’s a movie that tells a really interesting story and it gets you more invested on the pretext of being based on a true story.  This is a fictional film “inspired” by true events and that makes all the difference.  There never was any real Yuri Orlov or an overzealous Interpol agent determined to catch him.  It makes for a great story of cat and mouse but it isn’t based in any factual truth.  The character Nicolas Cage portrays is a combination of many different arms dealers and organized criminals throughout the time the film takes place.  The conflicts seen in the film are ones that actually took place but all characters and events we see are fictional.  Nevertheless there is enough of a base truth in this film to give us an idea of reality, or at least something we can learn from.

Whether the movie is actually based in fact or not it still brings awareness to a truth that plenty of people know little about. Everyday there are stories about atrocities that take place in rural parts of the world but we never consider the upper level dealings that lead to these horrible acts.  This movie makes somewhat of a protagonist with the character of Yuri Orlov but in truth the men that he represents are evil men who profit from cruelty and death.  It’s easy for some of us to forget about how fortunate we are when we see a film like this and get a glimpse of what it looks like in some other places around the world. In this film we see conditions in places like Liberia and Sierra Leone where children carry weapons and people fear for their lives at all times.  The President of Liberia and his son are fictionalized for this film but they are based on Charles Taylor and his son who were very real.  These men are intimidating in this film because they are capable of anything and there is nobody to stand up to their own style of authority and justice.  If only half of their portrayal in this film is accurate it is still a scary reality that took place years ago.  Currently Charles Taylor is spending the rest of his life in jail and that is where he belongs.  However, in this film I specifically like that he and his son ride around with women dressed as Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. It can be hard to grasp the idea that while we are going about our own lives there are evil men out there living like kings and doing whatever they please despite the havoc it creates for others.

This movie touches on several historical and political issues yet ironically I used the film in a college project for neither reason.  At one point in college I took a summer class on History of Pirates in the Caribbean. Let me repeat and clarify.  I literally took a college credited class at a popular North Carolina university on the history of pirates.  A complete BS class but it came with a writing credit and was great because I could apply it to required hours for any of the three required regions of study in a history major which were US, European, and Third World.  It was a vaguely interesting class but I can’t be honest enough in the fact that this class only existed because of how popular that ridiculous Disney film starring Johnny Depp was.  If I’m being honest then I also must add that I only took the class because I was being exceptionally lazy at that point in my college career. This class seemed like an interesting idea but offered very little in real education. The project I used this film for was on a presentation about modern day pirates.  I showed the scene in which Yuri quickly changes the name of the ship he is on as Interpol approaches to demonstrate how illegal activity at sea can take place or something like that. College seems like 100 years ago now.

Since I was a kid in love with action movies I have been a fan of Nicolas Cage.  I have to say that as a 13 year old boy Con Air seemed like one of the coolest movies ever made.  Today I can recognize that one for what it is but I still like Cage because he is capable of so much.  I have never understood his decision making when it comes to choosing roles, which these days seems something like “take every single thing that is offered.” Cage will literally make the most ridiculous movie in the world then turn around and deliver an Academy Award worthy performance.  I don’t think this was his greatest role but he is a great actor that brings something to the table no matter what’s on the menu. Throughout the rest of the movie collection we will have plenty of opportunities to discuss how great Nicolas Cage can be (also see Adaptation) but at the end of the day you just never know when he is going to do this:

When I think of Ethan Hawke I always think of that second string veteran wide receiver in the NFL.  If that guy is in the game you know he is going to do his job and do it right, but you won’t expect anything spectacular from him.  If he was spectacular he would be starting.  I see Hawke as an actor who can act but I don’t think he really has the talent to do anything exceptional. He is a serviceable actor though and he does well enough in this movie. I think Jared Leto generally only gets called when Jake Gyllenhaal has a scheduling conflict.  I have never really been much of a fan but like Hawke, he does well enough in this movie.  I think the best performances came from the men portraying the President of Liberia and his son, Eamonn Walker and Sammi Rotibi.  I don’t know that it was their performance as actors or if they just had the best parts to play but they did a great job in this film.  Iam Holm was exceptional in his role as Nicolas Cage’s rival and competitor. Holm is a good actor but he is slowing down as age catches up with him.  Once his role of Bilbo Baggins is over in a couple of years we probably won’t see much more of him.

This movie couldn’t have come at a better time in the collection because it had been a long time since I’d seen it.  I like this movie and enjoyed watching it again but I don’t think it’s good enough to warrant multiple views.  I like the narration over the film and how that enhances the idea that it actually happened.  While the story is fictional there are probably many things from the film that actually happened to various people, albeit exaggerated as all things in film are.  I have a pet peeve when it comes to films “based on a true story” because there is really no such thing.  I once had to watch Hotel Rwanda in college for a class project and was shocked to find out how much history was distorted in that film.  The way I see it, if you can’t trust a film like Hotel Rwanda to be accurate then there is little room to trust any film claiming to be based on real events.  The key word is “based” because it implies that what goes on in the film actually happened but doesn’t necessarily mean it actually happened that way.  You specifically can’t trust that phrase because sometimes a movie is tagged that way just for effect.  Good examples of this are Fargo and The Strangers.  Both of those films are listed as being based on real events but never happened at all.  The Strangers specifically seems scarier when the idea that it really happened is introduced but it never did.  The writer simply created the stories based off his own ideas about the Manson Family murders of Sharon Tate and her friends.  It didn’t happen anything like what we saw in the movie but the movie wasn’t even based on those murders so it doesn’t matter.  My whole point here is that as a viewer you should never trust that what you are seeing is something that actually happened.  They are movies and movies are about telling a story that will make the studio money. They will tell which ever story is more likely to bring people into the movie theater and pay to see the film.  Despite all this I think this was a good movie and would recommend it if it came up in a conversation. I think it’s worth your time, just take it with a grain of salt and don’t believe it to be something that actually happened.  It should be noted that none of the men Cage’s character represents got arrested and received a get out of jail free card because they had done dirty work for the president.

AMBER’S REVIEW

lord_of_war_ver2I don’t know why I didn’t really like this film. I usually love Nicholas Cage. I think he is a very talented actor. For some reason this movie just didn’t resonate with me. I found it hard to get into and even more holding my attention. Ryan seemed to really like it, and maybe I should give this one another shot sometime, but for now I am standing on the fact that it’s just not my favorite.

This could be my favorite poster to date. I love everything about it. If you didn’t already know, you now know that this movie is about weapons and the trading and selling of them. The designer of this poster decided to build Nicholas Cage in bullets. ALL bullets.

The time and effort that went into this is amazing. I can’t even imagine having the patience to place and color all of them. Even better is the way they take the essential (required text) information and put it around the poster as a border in a very light gray. I wouldn’t dare cover up the bottom of this either, it took too much time! I think that’s a great resolve. My only complaint here is the Lord of War typography, and that may not have even been done by this designer. I feel like Trajan is way over done for movie titles and the little “of” in the middle is way overdone.

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Here is a closeup of the face, Just in case you don’t believe me. 😉

This poster is going into my favorites. I just love the artistry and design behind. The concept and use of design rule-breaking. Kudos designer!

NEXT MOVIE: The Lost Boys (1987)

Sons of Anarchy

I just can’t say enough about how continually blown away I am by this show.  It maintains such an incredible pace storytelling by weaving together so many different story lines.  Kurt Sutter has really built a world in TV that never fails to impress and keep us interested.  Last night was another great episode to another great season.  Tara turning to Jax and simply saying in rage “look at what you’ve done to me!” was a great line.  It’s right up there with Walt telling Hank that if he doesn’t know who he is talking to maybe he should tread lightly on Breaking Bad.  It was just an original phrase that really drove the point home.  It’s not about him cheating, it’s not about the things he has done, or the danger he has put her in.  It’s about the person he has turned her into and she can’t live with who she has become.  That makes their rift so much deeper because she isn’t angry about something that can simply be fixed, and it’s obviously way too late for that anyway if she is willing to go back to the DA.  I love that when she tries to flip on Jax and turn him over to the law that she can’t even accomplish that because he is three steps ahead.  It reminds me of Vic Mackey and I think this show has finally reached a point where it’s just as good if not arguably better than The Shield.  

I want to take an opportunity to simply mention how much I think Jimmy Smits has brought to the show.  When he was first cast I didn’t think it was a great idea and I stayed on the fence about him for some time.  Even after he had proved to be a great character I stayed on the fence but at this point I don’t even know why I ever had doubts.  He has been an incredible addition and I have really come to like the character a lot and how he fits in with Jax’s power structure.

There is something else I would like to say in regards to Walton Goggins playing Venus Van Dam.  I wrote a bit critically about the episode that centered completely around the character because I thought it was a bit much.  Not because of the cross dressing aspect at all but simply because I didn’t think it fit into the story all that well.  I don’t see the men of this club being the type of people open minded enough to be so willing in helping a transgender person and I had doubts that this was going to be something widely accepted by the target audience for the show.  So for the record, I don’t think there was anything wrong with a transgender being on the show, or Walton Goggins playing the part.  I wanted to say that just because I see SO many negative things being searched when people come to our blog to read what I wrote.  I understand people who are uncomfortable with it, but I don’t think such an enormous amount of hate is necessary.  I think Walton Goggins was great in the part, and I think that he is such a badass he can play this type of part and not be criticized for it.  I thought it showed his diversity as an actor and his character as a person because I think it was originally intended as a joke on him.  He took that and made it something serious and compelling. I think it might have gone on a bit more than necessary but I think it was awesome despite that.  As a fan of Kurt Sutter, Walton Goggins, and the shows they have done together I think it was really smart and I appreciate what they did.

What Happened to Thanksgiving?

For years I have seen this trend of jumping right into Christmas season sooner and sooner.  I don’t like it, it’s consumerism at its worse and I find it despicable.  We have a holiday being passed over here and nobody seems to care.  We have a holiday that bears historical significance and has meaning that should still be important today.  Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have and coming together as a family.  While historically accurate or not it’s about diverse cultures overcoming differences and learning to work together.  This is a great holiday but there isn’t money to be made from it.  Is the money made by Christmas all that matters anymore? Is there a reason that on November 1st we are already seeing Christmas paraphernalia and hearing that redundant and annoying music?  Do we need to hear Christmas music for a full 60 days? My kid’s Halloween candy isn’t even a day old and we are moving right into Christmas! What about Thanksgiving? Why am I seeing big red bows when I should be seeing turkeys? Where are the cornucopias and the Pilgrims? Are the Native Americans too busy hating on the Redskins to care that we no longer give any attention to the holiday we share with them? I know that Christmas is a favorite holiday for many but as far as I am concerned it has lost all meaning in the face of consumerism. Forget about Thanksgiving, check out the deals on “pre-Black Friday” sales, and then lets trample people to death as we bull rush these “deals” on actual Black Friday.  That Friday is black because it’s the death of a holiday that meant something. It’s all about a Christmas holiday that used to mean something but is all about making money these days.  It sullies Christmas altogether and it’s specifically why I have come to despise the holiday.

Well in my household we aren’t skipping over Thanksgiving.  Granted we aren’t going to do a themed month again like we did for Halloween but I do have one movie specifically earmarked for Thanksgiving.  As the forgotten holiday approaches we will watch, review, and publish the post for the movie.  Until then check out one of these two reviews in preparation for what once had more meaning in this country.  See our reviews for Apocalypto or Last of the Mohicans (in truth for no other reason than the fact that they feature Native Americans).  There are movies that center around this holiday but not many I feel garner our effort to seek out and review.  That’s OK because I happen to really be looking forward to the one I have in mind.

In closing I simply want to encourage everyone to embrace Thanksgiving this year and be thankful for something before the greed and desire of Christmas takes hold of all of us.  There is a page on Wikipedia that lists Thanksgiving themed movies and it doesn’t offer much.  The movie I have in mind is on the list but if anyone knows one they think is worth our time please don’t hesitate to share.  I would like to sit back and appreciate the coming holiday before draining my bank account so I can partake in the next holiday that has become nothing more than a reason to get that money out of my pocket and into the greedy hands of retailers.

Hell on Wheels

 

I have been watching this show since it first aired a few years ago and I have loved every minute of it.  I recently got sick and spent my time out of work watching the first two seasons of the show again.  I was really concerned when season 3 was moved to a Saturday night slot because this seemed to indicate that AMC had given up on the show.  I can’t think of any other series that airs on that day of the week.  If the Friday night slot is a death sentence for most shows then Saturday seemed to suggest it was already eight feet deep.  When the show finally aired I didn’t think this was the case.  There seemed to be far too much money put into production of the show for it to be on its way out.  I think my wife said it best when she explained to me that AMC probably knew what they were doing when they moved the show to Saturday and knew how to reach their target audience.  AMC is one of the best networks for TV dramas and I am inclined to think that whatever the reason was for the move it was a decision made for a purpose.

Season 3 has now come and gone but there has been no word on season 4.  I am getting frustrated by this because after watching the first two seasons again and seeing the third I now think this might be one of the best shows on TV.  Breaking Bad is over; it was at the top of the ladder as far as TV dramas go and while it is open for plenty of argument about who fills that void now I think Hell on Wheels has to at least be in the conversation.  This show is incredible and has consistently gotten better.  The season 2 finale was one of the greatest episodes I have seen of anything.  It’s right up there with the season 2 finale of The Walking Dead when a horde of zombies attacked Herschel’s farm.

The Swede is a fantastic bad guy, and I think the scene in which he prances through the town relishing in the chaos he has created is one of the most incredible scenes I have ever seen.  Anson Mount is more into his character playing Cullen Bohannon than possibly anybody else on TV.  There are a lot of great actors in TV shows on several different networks but Mount is Cullen Bohannon and he is such a badass.  I am a big fan of Common as an actor but I don’t feel like he has ever really fit into this show that well.  I like his character and I like him but I just don’t think he looks the part well enough.  His head is too cleanly shaven all of the time when I think his character in reality wouldn’t get it so right.  Of course that’s going too far nit picking over little details but when a show is this damn good it’s hard to find flaws.  Colm Meaney is a great actor and he is incredible on this show.  As Durant he has never failed to surprise or impress me with his portrayal. There are several other great characters on this show and as they showed up at the end of season 2 they aren’t afraid to kill any of them off.

There is one flaw I think this show has and it’s annoying but easy to overlook at the same time.  They have really put Cullen Bohannon too close to death too many times just for him to narrowly escape right before dying.  In season 3 I had about had it when he and Elam are about to be burned alive by Native Americans but got cut down at the last moment.  Aside from that, and the fact that I think Elam could have been cast better, I think the show is flawless.  I’m not talking about the historical accuracy because I’m not interested in that when it comes to TV shows.  As far as entertainment and how it measures up to others I think it is one of the best shows on TV.  It has incredible writing, great production, and an awesome cast.  I don’t know what AMC is doing by dragging their feet to renew the show for a fourth season but I sincerely hope it is not because they are considering pulling the plug.

NBC seemed really close to pulling the plug on Community last year before bringing it back when fans really spoke up for the show.  I think that needs to happen here.  Fans need to voice their support for this show to get it back.  I love a lot of television shows. Amber and I watch many on a regular basis.  I don’t think I am going out on a limb by saying this one might be the best (and yes I am considering The Walking Dead when I say this).  If you haven’t seen this show you can see the first two seasons streaming on Netflix and I strongly suggest you check it out.  I’m not at all a western fan but I am a fan of what is awesome and this show fits the bill.  Please bring it back AMC, too many things were left unsaid and I think we all need to see that railroad reach the west coast. We need to know if Elam killed that bear or if they killed each other (Eva knowing his spirit passed is not good enough).  We need to see what the Swede is going to do in the Mormon settlement.  We need to know how Cullen is going to return with a new wife and how this will affect his relationship with Ruth.  We need to know if that kid will ever get vengeance on the Swede for killing his family.  There is too much left open for this show to end so if you are reading this then sound off support for this shows return.  It would be such a waste for it to be cancelled.  If AMC kept The Killing going for another season I don’t know how they can cancel this and look themselves in the mirror every day.