Month: May 2016

Saving Private Ryan

Year: 1998
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Robert Rodat


I saw this movie several times in the theater, but there was one distinct experience watching it that I will never forget. It’s a story that matters little when discussing such a fine film but it mattered a lot to me. As for the movie, it’s a great war movie made by one of the greatest directors of all time and starring one of the best actors of his generation.

I think I had already watched this movie three times when I got a phone call during dinner one night. There was a big Pro Wrestling event in town and two of the stars were currently watching this movie at the local theater that I just happened to spend most of my time in. My brother and I bolted from the table mid dinner for the chance to encounter Diamond Dallas Page and The Giant, or some may know him as The Big Show or some other name I am unfamiliar with. They were just watching this movie and my brother and I were just eager fans waiting to flank them when they were out in the world.

We made it to the theater maybe half way through the film and took a seat on the back row. We were sitting maybe two or three rows back from men we perceived to be legends. In truth I was a fan of neither of these guys but that hardly mattered as we were sitting a merely 10 feet from them in the theater.

They were larger than life men and The Giant had stretch out one leg across the front row with his arm covering two seats next to him, literally blanketing an area usually occupied by several people. His head was so enormous and he had a huge mane of hair. The Giant was a loud viewer who screamed at the screen profanely even calling the Corporal a pussy in the climax when he is too afraid to aid his friend.A few seats over sat Diamond Dallas Page who seemed to glow in the darkness of the theater. I distinctly remember how bright of a man that dude was in all his tanning bed bleach blonde glory. He sat for the majority of the movie with his head in his hands and he cried openly during the movie while his friend screamed at the screen.

There were about 5 other people in the theater all sitting on the front row as if it were assigned to them. The precious wrestlers could not be disturbed during the movie in which one screamed at the screen and the other cried the whole time. The two could not have been more different but my brother and I were just so caught up in the moment.

I have always wished I could go back to that moment, knowing out ultimate goal was fruitless, and have yelled at The Giant. When he was screaming obscenities at the screen. How great it would have been to be the little smartass behind him and yell something like “hey! we’re trying to watch a movie here!” or something like that. What I would give to know how that scenario would have played out.

With about 5 minutes left in the film they got up and quickly left as if to avoid being rushed by the five people at the front of the theater. I followed them out hoping to get an autograph. I remember following Diamond Dallas Page to the front and standing a mere two feet from him as he talked to the manager. The Giant wasn’t looming about anywhere but I’ll never forget how DDP did not even acknowledge me. Even when he was done talking he turned away without so much as a glance in my direction. My brother managed to get a low five from The Giant as he exited the theater, but I got nothing but unacknowledgement.

I did not get an autograph that night but the memory of a lifetime none the less. As I said before I wasn’t really a fan of either of these guys so them being rude just strengthened my resolve. Also, the were both wearing fanny packs, so lame.

As to this movie itself what is there for me to say other than it is great? It begins with one of the most emotionally captivating and exciting battle scene of all time. It finishes with a nearly equal battle where the stakes are so much higher. I may connect this movie with a silly memory but there is so much more to it than that.

Truthfully, after recounting such a long remembered story, I have no interest in delving into this movie review wise. My apologies but the best you will get from me right now is that this movie was great. It’s a fantastic WWII pic and it would be worth your time to see it. This movie has one of the best battle scenes you will ever see and after that it only gets better.

NEXT MOVIE: Saw (2004)



I think it’s a bold endeavor to have made this comic into a show and I am at the very least interested in seeing what comes of it.

This story is as weird as they come featuring a preacher, a vampire, demons, angels, God, the Christian Illuminati and Arseface. I think this has potential to be an interesting show but mostly expect it to be the new thing that pushes the line for what qualifies as OK for network television.

I read the entire series of this comic and felt that while it completely strayed for a while it came full circle and eventually closed on an interesting note. I enjoyed the comic but at times felt it was really reaching. I have called this the Marilyn Manson of comics because it exists just to shock you.

Think you really understand sickness and debauchery? Read Preacher and realize how little you actually imagined on your own. If it’s sick and twisted you can pretty much expect it made an appearance in this cult classic comic. I consider myself a well traveled person at this point, both literally and literarily.  Yet this publication still managed to shock me with perversion and overindulgence.

It’s a tough thing to make this story into a television show or movie because it is so weird. It has literally been a working title under someone for almost eight years or more. There is a reason for that and if this show doesn’t make it the writing will have been on the wall, the producers simply chose to ignore it.

This is a show that should offer more than enough shocks but at the very least it has the potential to offer an interesting story, for a while. The story of Preacher is a good one but I think the writers got more interested in telling something weird than they did good over time. I think the show will be more of the same.

I think you better get ready to be grossed out or blown away both by what is on the show and then by what they got away with. There is once a part in the comic when a guy decides to have sex with an armadillo because it is something new, as in it’s something he has yet to have his way with.

I can honestly say that as a normally perverted man of age there is nothing quite as perverse as what I came across in the Preacher comics, and I fully expect the show to carry on in similar fashion. There is no other reason to make this show than to exploit its obscenity.

Obscenity sells though and I expect this show to offer us some interesting and exciting new material that pushes the line.

The Running Man

Year: 1987
Directed By: Paul Michael Glaser
Written By: Richard Bachman (Stephen King) and Steven E. de Souza (screenplay)


I’ve never realized before but this movie is set in 2017. So I first have to question how could they be so wrong? Not only are we not executing our prisoners on network television in 2016 but the world seems to be more PC than ever. At the very least we could be collaring our prisoners with exploding devices to prevent escape. My second question would have to be for myself, and why it’s been so long since I last saw this movie.

It’s been probably as many as 15 years since I have seen this movie. I added it to the collection a few years ago around the time The Hunger Games was coming out. I distinctly remember joking on a regular basis that I wasn’t seeing the movie because “I had seen The Running Man.” While I did eventually see that movie and found it to be OK I still think it was simply a rip off of this movie, and a version with kids can never match up to the one with Schwarzenegger.

This movie is campy and cheesy but I loved it when I was a kid and I love it now. It kind of takes me back a little to those days when I was 15 and still thought Pro Wrestling was cool. This movie is like Pro Wrestling only with killing, and a mob mentality on the outside that rivals the French Revolution. Both the thematic element of the show as well as the reaction by the public are stolen ideas by the Hunger Games books.

One of my favorite parts of the movie is when the elderly lady puts her money on Schwarzenegger getting the next kill despite him being the should be victim and not a stalker. She says “He’s a mean motherfucker!” and coming from that sweet looking old lady that line is just golden. This movie also features an awesome fight scene between Schwarzenegger and his old buddy Jesse “the Body” Ventura. Two men who would both eventually go into politics with great success. Ventura serving as GoverBody in Minnesota and Schwarzenegger serving as the Governator of California. The latter actually used this movie as an inside joke during his campaign, labeling his campaign bus “The Running Man.” I would love to go back to 1987 and catch people coming out of the theater to see there impressions on this possibility in the future.

The Running Man book was written by Richard Bachman, a pseudonym created by Stephen King so he could publish more books. King literally wrote too many books for his publisher and had to create a new author he could publish under the guise of. It was a big deal and a very secret pseudonym for some time. Eventually hardcore fans started figuring it out and Richard Bachman suddenly “died.” However, when the rights to this story were bought it was unknown King was the actual author. I am a big fan of King but have never read this particular book so can’t offer any insight into how it compares.

There is probably a really interesting story in this movie involving Richard Dawson and his part in the film. Unfortunately I don’t know the story and know little of the man who was a popular game show host long before I was born. A real game show host playing an evil game show host in a movie has to have interesting real life comparisons behind the scenes.

This is far from a perfect action movie but it was memorable if nothing else. It has a cheesy screenplay from a guy who specialized in these types of films and it’s based on a story from a legitimate Wordslinger. I have to give it a thumbs up if for no other reason than somebody modified the idea and made millions on it with Jennifer Lawrence. There are better movies out there more worthy of your time but should you spend yours with this one it wouldn’t be completely wasted.

NEXT MOVIE: Saving Private Ryan (1998)


The Rules of Attraction

Year: 2002
Directed By: Roger Avary
Written By: Bret Easton Ellis (novel) Roger Avary (screenplay)


I own this movie because it was a critical piece of evidence for an important argument I carried on for years with a good friend of mine. I think the movie is interesting and well made but I can’t say I really like it. In fact, having sat down to watch it for this review I could not even make it past the opening act. The date raping took all the interest out of me and I no longer cared to see the movie at all. Something about a virgin girl waking up to being the unknowing participant in a sex tape made me sick to my stomach. Even if there was a time in yesteryear when such a thing didn’t bother me and I owned this movie despite that, times have changed and that is no longer the case. The father in me will not watch any more of this crap, but I will explain how and why this movie is an important part of our collection.

I discovered Quentin Tarantino during my formative years and really took his movies to heart. I was a rebellious teen and the bad boy in me loved nothing more than the crime laden films of Tarantino. It was near the turn of the century that I became such a fan, and at the time spoilers on the internet were just growing legs. Tarantino’s last movie had been in 1997 but on the net I spent years following the production of his next movie, Kill Bill, which was delayed and pushed back multiple times.  It was 2003 before the movie finally came out and after six years of eager anticipation I could not have been more let down with the overkill film based on a plot thread from his most famous movie ever.

Kill Bill was nothing more than shock value thrust upon the movie going audience. It was a weak story at best having emerged from Uma Thurman’s pilot “Fox Force Five” in Pulp FictionTo make things even worse and specifically annoying was that everyone called this Part One garbage great. Was everybody completely insane? That movie was complete and utter garbage. Uma Thurmond is not Bruce Lee, and seeing her in that yellow jumpsuit as a “tribute” to him specifically made me sick. I tried to hold out hope for the second film to make it all worth wild but found Part Two to be even worse than the first one.

Now, to how this relates to this movie. One of my dearest and most misguided friends loved Kill Bill. So much so that we spent the better part of six years arguing about it. He maintained that it was excellent and Tarantino was still as talented as he had always been while I pointed to Kill Bill, and later Death Proof, as an example that he was washed up. He was supposed to be such a great writer but all he had come up with in six years was embellishing one line from his most famous film into an entire movie?

When I came across this movie it all seemed to make sense. The director of this film is Roger Avary, who was Tarantino’s writing partner on his most famous films in the 90s. I pointed to his absence in Kill Bill as a significant reason for why it sucked so much. Whatever gift Tarantino had, it was lost without the partnership he shared with Avary. When I saw this movie I found the direction and writing so captivating that I felt it proved my point and made me the one that was right in the argument. Based on nothing else than this movie I could obviously see that Avary had skills as a filmmaker, when matched up against the crap that Tarantino had just produced it seemed like an obvious truth.

So I bought this movie at a discount store because I was so certain of myself. It did nothing to change the mind of my stubborn and misguided friend who would continue to argue with me till the bitter end. Our argument hinged on Tarantino’s next film which took even longer to come out than Kill Bill did. Inglourious Basterds took quite a while to make and it went through various production problems that made me certain it would prove me right as well.

Well I pride myself on being wise enough to know when I’m wrong. After seeing Inglourious Basterds for the first time I called my idiot friend the minute I stepped out of the theater and proclaimed I was wrong. Tarantino was not only not washed up, but in fact still as great as I had denied. Inglourious Basterds was an absolutely outstanding movie and I had specifically wanted to hate it. For me with my preconceived notions to have no other choice than to admit its greatness I don’t know how anyone could ever deny it.

I did find it frustrating during my teaching days that some students were under the impression that the U.S. killed Hitler because they had seen this movie but I’m not going to let some idiot kids ruin something that was great. Those kids shouldn’t have been allowed to watch the film in the first place but that is beside the point. From beginning to end Basterds was captivating and powerful. I had been wrong in the argument but I happily accepted that because the product was worth it.

I no longer know how Roger Avary fit in with the collaborations with Tarantino and how he influenced his success but I still think this movie proves he is a talented filmmaker worthy of note. While I turned my nose up at the movie this time around that had everything to do with content and nothing to do with the quality of the film.

I’m not recommending this movie to anybody because I couldn’t even stand to watch it myself this time around. I would like to encourage any reader who has seen it to share some thoughts about it. If you can convince me to give it a second chance I will try to keep my fatherly objections in check and give it another go.

NEXT MOVIE: The Running Man (1987)


The Royal Tenenbaums

Year: 2001
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Written By: Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson


This one takes me back to a long time ago when life was so much simpler. A time when a good time was a an hour down the road at my brother’s apartment and life’s greatest concern was getting school work done on time. It was at my brother’s apartment where I first saw this film and I fell in love with it immediately. I was in college myself at the time and this movie just spoke to me at that time and place in life.

I think Wes Anderson is an awesome filmmaker with a very unique style that sets him apart. I am a bigger fan of the movie he followed this one up with, The Life Aquatic, but this was a great movie in and of itself. This movie tells an interesting story about a family that used to be a big deal but tragedy befell them all as time moved on. They are all estranged until they find themselves being drawn together for the first time in almost 20 years. Their conflicting and contrasting personalities make for a great black comedy.

The cast of this movie is quite remarkable. I don’t know the whole back story behind the connection between Wes Anderson and the Wilson brothers. I know they went to college together and have a friendship beyond their careers but there is certainly more to the story than that. He must be a quite likable director because many actors and actresses continue to work with him regularly. Some even go out of their way for him actually. I read that during the shooting of this movie some of the other actors like Anjelica Huston and Bill Murray would specifically work to shield Anderson from Gene Hackman who notoriously can be difficult to work with. I read that Murray would actually show up on set during his days off just for this purpose.

Whether he was hard to work with or not I have always been a big fan of Hackman and like him in this movie specifically. He is perfect as Royal Tenenbaum and I think it was a role that capped off a great career. It hurts my heart to consider that after more than a decade of not acting we have definitely seen the last of him. At 86 years old he is still with us though, and hopefully enjoying his retirement. The last time I heard anything about Hackman he had been in a road rage incident in which he beat up somebody giving him guff, and that was only a few years ago. The man, even in his 80’s, is too badass for the general public to cross. I could be wrong about the story I’m remembering but I like it the way I remember it.

Beyond Hackman the cast is nothing short of fantastic. It’s always fun to see Ben Stiller and the Wilson brothers together but I think specific props go to Gwyneth Paltrow who played such an interesting character in this one. I think the role that Bill Murray plays is his weakest of all the roles he has played in Wes Anderson films. Murray is great as always but his character is just underused and not his best. I think Danny Glover is fantastic as Herny Sherman. While still very active as an actor Glover just doesn’t get the roles he used to and that’s a shame.

I don’t feel like I’ve said enough about this movie but this movie is all Wes Anderson and I have written my thoughts on him before. For more insight into my thoughts on the director see some of our reviews of his other films. We have reviewed The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limitedand Moonrise KingdomWe also have The Grand Budapest Hotel in the collection but it was a late addition we have yet to get around to reviewing.

So in the spirit of not being redundant I’m going to close out this review simply by letting you know that this movie is worth your time. If you are a fan of Wes Anderson then you should have already seen it but if you aren’t then you should check it out and see what you’ve been missing.

I am sure there is plenty of backstory to this movie that is interesting and note worthy. Unfortunately I have never taken the time to read about it. Anybody who does know more about the Anderson/Wilson relationship and how it transitions into the movie feel free to leave a comment and enlighten us.

NEXT MOVIE: The Rules of Attraction (2002)



Cloud Atlas

Year: 2012
Directed By: Tom Tykwer, and Andy and “Lana” Wachowski
Written By: David Mitchell (Novel) Tom Tykwer, Andy and “Lana” Wachowski


First Attempt (5/2/13)

My brother, who twisted my arm into watching this movie, described it as “ambitious.” After seeing it I could not think of a better way to describe it.  In fact I think this represents how movies will be made in the future.  One day we will look back at this film and it will be seen as a landmark accomplishment.  In the movie, “Moby Dick” is specifically referenced.  It is said that in its time the author died starving but at the present every serious literary student owned a copy of it.  I think this movie is the Moby Dick of films.  It was not a financial success and largely misunderstood by its audience.  One day however, we will look back at this film and marvel at it.  One day this film will stand out as ahead of its time and be proclaimed as a classic.  I had lost faith in the Wachowskis after the completion of their Matrix trilogy but this film has proved to me that I was wrong about them.  They are brilliant filmmakers with an ability I admire and I will never lose faith in again.

Reviewing this movie has been a long time coming because I wanted to understand the story completely before doing so.  There are six story lines within the movie and I have figured out how the first three and the final three piece together but not how those two halves connect.  I bought the book the movie was adapted from but have yet to read it.  I find this film so impressive I wanted to write my review before the book has an opportunity to destroy my impressions of it.  Under almost every circumstance in which I have read a book after seeing the film the book has destroyed my perception of the film.  The only exception being The Godfather, but even with that film the book is much better.  I hope the book offers some sort of clarity on how the story pieces together in its entirety and after reading it I will update this review with what I am able to find out.

This movie blew me away in a way that no other movie has blown me away before because it brought to light a realization that I find so profound.  This story in its entirety is simply the only thing that is left after the fall of mankind and after our time on Earth comes to an end.  The idea hit me so hard because under those circumstances what does anything any of us do really matter?  We have so much history documented throughout our existence but after the fall of society if nothing survives then nothing is remembered.  In the beginning of the film Tom Hanks, in the character of Zachry, is telling a story that doesn’t make much sense at first.  He is a much older version of Zachry in that scene and it isn’t until the end that we see where he is and who he is talking to.  He is on another planet, telling his grandchildren the only story he knows from Earth.  It is the story this film tells and this story has very little bearing on our actual existence.  It is simply the only story he knows from his homeland and the only story that has survived from the entire history of this planet.  That is a lot to swallow because it is such a real possibility for the future. I don’t know how everybody else sees it but I see the possibility of humanity crumbling in the eventual future as very real. If that happens what is it that lives on in memory? There is such a real possibility that nothing any of us have ever done makes any difference in the future of existence.  As the slave owning father tells his son-in-law in the end of the film, his notion to stand up to slavery will never amount to being “more than a single drop in a limitless ocean.” To which his son-in-law replies, “What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?” That brought the whole thing full circle for me and I had a moment of clarity that was as clear as any I have ever had.  That’s all we are, drops in a limitless ocean.  The significance of our personal lives are more important than anything else, but they only matter to us as individuals.  Our individual worlds of existence are separate from one another but ultimately part of something so large we can never wrap our heads around it.

Second Attempt (12/26/15)

I think this movie is so innovative in its use of actors. In fact I’ve said several times that I thought this was such an incredible opportunity for an actor to showcase their talents that it was very possible this was only a hint of what was to come in the future. In this film the actors portray not one but many roles that allow them to show a much wider range of skill. Not only do they play multiple roles but they play incredibly diverse characters in turn. They play a variety of different ages, classes, and in many cases even races of people. It is an interesting idea usually only reserved for silliness like we see in several Eddie Murphy movies. Here the effort is made not to be funny but to be serious and it is an exceptional opportunity to appreciate the actors on hand. The actors in this movie show a tremendous amount of talent and a diversity that garners our respect. I’m always discouraged by the reality that so many actors and actresses succeed based on looks over talent. When actors are required perform on this level such a thing will never happen. It’s no easy thing what the actors in this film accomplish and the strength in their talent is showcased perfectly.

This movie can be a difficult one to follow simply because it is so complex. There are six different storylines that are seemingly alien of one another taking place across a wide spectrum of time and location. It can be easy to get lost in the vastness of how everything pieces together but after giving this film several viewings and much consideration I think I can dumb down how it all fits together.

There are six storyline within this film:

1. The free thinking lawyer, the two faced doctor, and the stowaway slave on a journey across the world.

2. Robert Frobisher, Rufus Sixsmith, and the creation of Cloud Atlas with Vyvyan Arys.

3. Reporter Luisa Rey’s chance encounter with an aged Sixsmith and her battle with destiny and the truth.

4. Timothy Cavendish and his desperate and oddly comedic struggle that inspires Somni-451.

5. Somni-451 and her realization of existence. In custody she testifies about living a life that changed the world.

6. Zachry and the true-true. A haunted man in a world that has moved on and is at the end of its run.

These six storylines weave together to make a story that is as incredible as it is complex. I have put a lot of thought into them since seeing the movie for the first time. Once I started doodling a web like design in which I wrote out these storylines and started drawing lines to connect them all to one another. I was just passing the time but the bad thing was I left it sitting on my desk. A week or so later I had to clear out of the house for an overnight ladies only party Amber was hosting. While I was gone, hanging with my brother watching this movie incidentally, my wife and her friends found my doodle. While totally reasonable in truth, the Beautiful Mind-looking series of words and lines I had drawn out about this movie made me look like a totally insane person. My wife and her friends had quite a time speculating on both what it was and exactly what was going on in my head. It’s been a year or more since that happened and some of them still bring it up to me when I see them today. Now, I will attempt to explain how these stories fit together without the aide of a spiderweb looking doodle that may or may not make me appear to be insane. Keep in mind this is a rough effort and I am undoubtedly missing plenty…

1. The free thinking lawyer Adam Ewing is on a mission at the behest of his slave owning father-in-law Haskell Moore. He suffers from a rare illness in which he enlists the help of the sketchy teeth harvesting doctor, Dr. Henry Goose, he first meets on the beach. Adam does his business and begins to make his journey back home with his new doctor acquaintance of secret sinister motives. Along the way he happens upon a stow away slave that he befriends and bounds his life to. His story is one of the finest in the movie and quite interesting. It fits into the grand scheme of things by way of the journal Adam keeps. Robert Frobisher later finds the unfinished journal in the home of Vyvyan Arys and mentions reading it in his letters to Sixsmith. Letters which in turn are read on by Luisa Rey a lifetime later.

2. Robert Frobisher is the talented but delinquent musician who captures the heart of the promising young student Rufus Sixsmith. When we meet the young couple Frobisher is rushing out the window while men of authority aggressively knock on the door of Sixsmith’s apartment demanding entrance. It seems their homosexual relationship is frowned upon and a letter is being drafted to Sixsmith’s father. Frobisher runs off to work on his masterpiece with the once great composer Vyvyan Ayers. Sixsmith and Frobisher correspond regularly writing letters to one another that are saved by Sixsmith and later fall into the hands of the young reporter Luisa Rey. While staying with Arys, Frobisher creates the catalyst for the entire film. A sextet called Cloud Atlas that will go largely unknown in modern times but live on with significance in the future.

3. Luisa Rey is a reporter who has a chance encounter with an aged and considerably older Rufus Sixsmith in a stalled elevator. While they are stuck in the elevator Sixsmith realizes Rey is exactly who he has been looking for as an outlet for a dark secret he is in possession of. Sixsmith’s efforts to unveil the secret he holds gets him killed by the powers that be. Rey, who is simply minutes too late, enters into a dangerous search for the truth that Sixsmith died for. She comes across the letters Sixsmith has always kept between himself and the late Robert Frobisher. Reading through them she learns about the Cloud Atlas and in passing learns about Adam Ewing’s journey across the Pacific. The truth she is trying to uncover about the shady dealings of a nuclear power plant is obviously what leads to the world of Somni-451 and the downfall of society that leads to the civilization of Zachary and the need for humanity to find new dwellings off planet.

4. The story of Timothy Cavendish is one of my favorite in the film. It is an unusual story packed full of humor and curious circumstances. The unsuccessful but savvy publisher has sat down to write his life story. Which largely involve his personal differences with his brother that lead to him being imprisoned in a retirement community. He hilariously assumes he is signing himself into a hotel while drunk and is in fact signing over his rights as a person to the facility. His efforts to free himself and the escape that follows is nothing short of hilarious. His story is eventually made into a movie and secretly watching a small clip of it inspires and changes the life of Somni-451 forever.

5. Somni-451 is a slave of the future. A genetically engineered servant that lives for no other purpose than to serve the consumer. Her path starts by chance when she catches the closest thing she has to a friend breaking the rules and living a little. One of her fellow servant slaves, Yoona-939, has a curious nature that influences and changes Somni’s existence forever. She shows Somni a clip of the Timothy Cavendish movie and together they share the secret until Yoona’s boldness gets her killed. Somni is rescued by resistance fighter Hae-Joo Chang who uses her as a focal point for the resistance. He shows her the truth of her existence and it is a truth that she cannot live with. As a genetically engineered slave she is part of a recycling process that simply kills and feeds the servants to one another in a cycle that is inhumane for beings capable of thought. As the servant slaves are led to “Exaltation” i.e. extermination/recycling they use their voices to harmonize the Cloud Atlas sextet. I have no idea why the Cloud Sextet is involved but it is some connecting factor I have failed to figure out. Once Somni is captured and interviewed she is executed by the government, but she “Obi-Wan Kenobis” death and becomes more powerful than anyone could have ever imagined. She become a martyr and rises to the status of a God in the future after the fall.

6. Now to Zachry and the true true. Although I can’t remember it specifically right now I found the time period given to be a very fascinating aspect of his story. Zachry’s society exist in a time that as listed as a certain number of seasons since “The Fall” or something like that. While I can’t remember off the top of my head what it said, it is merely the suggestion that time as we understand it no longer exists in this future. There are two types of civilization in this future. One where Zachry and other dwellers live in a village that would form a peaceful society were it not for the harrying cannibals that come calling now and again. The second sort of civilization lives with all the left over technology from a strong hold where society as we understand it has survived to a certain degree. Zachry’s people live a rudimentary life and marvel at the occasional visitors from the advanced culture of the past. The advanced civilization is represented by Meronym who seeks the help of Zachry in searching for a lost beacon of salvation. The world is dying and locating this beacon is the last chances to find a habitable planet and preserve what is left of the human race. In Zachry’s society they worship Somni-451 as a God and follow her teachings in their every day life. Meronym knows the truth of Somni-451, that she was simply a slave that was martyred, but Zachry is really reluctant to believe when she tries to explain it to him. As far as Zachry is concerned the true true lies in the teachings of the great Somni.

Now excuse me if any of this is not entirely correct. I’ve written this without a full viewing under my belt. This review has become something on the shelf that I started long ago and waited to finish up. Last night my brother and I found ourselves watching this movie yet again at the end of a heavy drinking session and I must admit I only made it through about half of this beautiful but enormously long film. The moon was on the far side of the sky when I, deep in my cups, decided to jump back into this review. One of the reasons this review has taken so long is simply because I refuse to do any actual research on it and have insisted on figuring it all out on my own with no additional input. So, aside from cross checking the names of specific characters on IMDB, I have pulled all this from memory and there are holes in it because I lacked a full viewing before jumping in. Bottom line, don’t hassle me over little things because I’m admitting this synopsis is full of tiny errors but the big picture is all on the table. Connecting the dots and outlining the big picture to this magnificent movie is my main goal with this review.

The movie begins with Zachry, ancient and scarred, telling a story dramatically to an unseen audience. The movie closes with that same scene, and it’s revealed that the story is being told to a large gathering of children. The product of Zachry and Meronym’s eventual union and a suggestion of success with the relocation of the human race. Zachry has overcome all of his demons to survive the end of Earth and serve as a future version of Noah for the human race. As he raises his growing family he regales them with the story of the Earth as he knows it. Making this story of Cloud Atlas and all that created it seemingly the only history that survives the doom. Certainly Meronym’s people might have more records of the past but the movie gives the impression to me that this was what was left and this is what survived. This is the story the future of mankind grows up with on this new planet it inhabits.

Such an idea struck me as so reasonable and so profound. What do the lives of any of us ever matter when such a thing is not only possible but certainly probable? To put it in the words of Haskell Moore we amount to little more than a drop of water against an endless ocean of possibility. The response to that line in the movie is equally profound because why we all may only amount to a drop we are the individual drops that create the ocean. We are all part of the greater story of life regardless where we stand in it. It’s an idea that has bound me to this movie that I would have loved regardless because it is interesting, funny, exciting, and profound all on it’s own. It’s such a deep movie, both provocative and inspiring in the idea it can prompt in our imaginations.

A movie such as this is on a platform all by itself. Revered by some but given no consideration at all by most. It’s a movie that makes you think and while I have known so many exceptions I find that the averaged audience is opposed to thinking. Too many simply want to be dazzled and mesmerized by the images on screen and never gain anything more out of the experience of watching. Some movies are simply made to hypnotize us for a short time with excitement and nothing more. There are still movies like this one though and they are not for everybody. I find this to be such a compelling movie but it has few precious other fans out there. I have gotten swept up in finishing up this review today but find it disappointing I haven’t had the time to do it the right way. With a full viewing and more specific information this review could have been much more but I will settle for this. It’s grown to a length that I would be shocked to find out there is even a single person that makes it this far. Like the movie this has turned into a creation of enormous length, such is necessary and not even enough with a film like this.

Final Thoughts (5/15/16)

I don’t know what stopped me from publishing this back in December. Maybe I was a little intimidated by this film. I love this movie but it is so unlike any other and so deep. It has provoked plenty of criticism in popular culture yet here I am claiming it is great. Not only am I claiming this to be a great movie but more than great, something for the future to build on. I am not the type of person that conceives my personal feelings from what others are thinking or even what everybody may think. If everybody else says yes but I think the answer is no I am digging in.

I’m digging in on this movie and saying the haters out there just didn’t get it. I get it, and I get a lot out of it. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter to me what anybody else thinks because in this little droplet of the ocean it’s all gravy. I think this movie is worth your time to see. I think this movie is worth plenty of your time in fact. I think with considerable attention this movie has the opportunity to teach you something, to inspire, to open the third eye and make you see. It is truly a rare film that can do such a thing and films like this should be treasured.

This is the Moby Dick of films, and I hope you give it a chance. There is so much more that should be said about this film but I have said enough for now. It’s time to finally drop this post.

Jurassic World

Year: 2015
Directed By: Colin Trevorrow
Written By: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, and Derek Conolly


When I first watched this movie I felt for the first time that this franchise had finally produced a sequel that felt right. The Lost World was great and Jurassic Park III was good though underwhelming but neither had same kind of feel to it that the first one had. There is clearly the possibility that the feeling is the result of the fact that this is more or less the same movie as the first one, or the third one. How many kids can get lost on a dinosaur island anyway? Nevertheless I found this to be a good sequel and a great effort to advance the franchise.

I loved the scene in which the water dinosaur, whateverosaurus, eats the great white shark. I saw that as symbolism and a bold statement from the movie. It literally ate Jaws and made claim to the summer blockbuster of 2015. This movie of course was the biggest movie of the 2015 summer, and it actually went on to become one of the highest grossing films of all time, before adjusting for inflation.

This day in age, you simply can’t go wrong casting Chris Pratt. The guy is just so unbelievably likable. So much so that he was rumored to be the guy taking on the Indiana Jones helm. That’s not going to happen now as Harrison Ford is prepping for another go as the character himself. Still, the name dropping shows how well received Pratt currently is as an actor. He’s perfect for this movie as the cool dinosaur guy because he is the ultimate cool guy in Hollywood right now.

I really think the rest of the cast is well put together too. I am a big fan of Ron Howard‘s daughter Bryce Dallas Howard, I like Vincent D’Onofrio a lot since seeing his incredible rendition of the Kingpin in Netflix’s Daredevil, and I think Irrfan Khan is terrific as the park owner. The cast in this movie is great and I like it but I think Jeff Goldblum proved with The Lost World that nobody watches these movies for the stars. Nope, the real stars in this these movies are the dinosaurs.

This films version of the T-Rex/Spinosaurus/whatever is bigger and badder is the genetically modified Indominous Rex. It’s a snazzy and scary dinosaur and all but where can they really go from here? I think they need to get more inventive with their storytelling and get away from the same old same old. In the end the dinosaurs even come together to destroy this abomination to their own existence but isn’t that what always happens? Also with every movie comes some new and terrifying thing to be done with Raptors. I thought it was cool when they were just scary dinosaurs. Why do they need to be able to communicate, and then be the tamed dinosaurs to be used as weapons? It’s just not practical, we don’t deploy any vicious creature today, why would we do so with dinosaurs? Lions can be trained to do all sorts of crazy stuff but we aren’t sending them after the terrorist are we? Although now that I think about it that seems so awesome.

This is a cool movie but I don’t want to call it great. I liked it enough when I first watched it to immediately punch the Amazon button to add it to the collection. I did that more for my love of the franchise than for love of the movie though. At the end of the day I’m still that little kid who watched the premier of the original at the Uptown theater in D.C. Yet there is a reason this movie made so much money, it is exciting. If you haven’t seen it then you wouldn’t be wasting your time by checking it out.



Year: 2016
Directed By: Tom Miller
Written By: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick


This movie was amazing for so many reasons. For being so clever, and being so vulgar. For proving how successful inventive marketing can be. For being a testament to perseverance by a man determined to prove something to the world. This movie goes against every rule we understand about the genre and it worked like a charm.

This is a movie clever enough to make fun of itself and its genre. From the very beginning as mock credits roll across the screen this movie sets a tone unlike any other we have ever seen. Before anything has even happened this movie immediately manages to be unique and funny. As the movie gets going it doesn’t just earn its R rating but it pushes the limit of R rating. This movie took things to a new level with its rating and it relished in all the opportunity that it presented.

This movie had such interesting marketing methods ranging from using emojis on billboards to Deadpool himself hitch hiking to Comic Con. For months the marketing for this movie was aggressive and the images were, well, weird. Deadpool provocatively laying on a bearskin rug in front of a fire. Deadpool using the toilet in a stall and reading a magazine about himself. Deadpool making a heart with his hands (the movie was  Valentine’s Day release). The emoji thing with the death head skull and a poo followed by an L. These things were so clever and really put the name of the title character on the front lines.

Ryan Reynolds was specifically embarrassed by the first rendition he portrayed of this character and he made it his personal mission to rectify that. He should have been embarrassed, we all were. Truthfully, Wolverine X-Men Origins was an overall embarrassment for everyone involved but Reynolds may have gotten the worst of it. Deadpool has a lot of serious fans and they were real pissed by the abomination Reynolds portrayed on screen under that name. Reynolds had hoped to get a solo film for the character but the response was so poor the studio decided against it. Reynolds persevered for years before secretly shooting test footage of the character and leaking it onto the internet. The response was so great that it effectively twisted the studios’ arm into green lighting the project. A couple of years later and we have this awesome film to enjoy. Thank you Ryan Reynolds for never giving up and congratulations on all your success with the project.

Ryan Reynolds’ sense of humor makes him a perfect actor to portray Deadpool who has his own unusual sense of humor and style. The mercenary type of comic character never really did it for me so I had never read any Deadpool comics before. I was aware that as a character he was self-aware and knew he was in a comic, occasionally addressing his audience directly. I thought that was interesting and the character looked cool but knew little else beyond that. I think Reynolds determination to do right by the fans after the Wolverine debacle drove the character to being so true to the comics and well received.

I love how R rated this movie is, but I do not think it is appropriate for children. When Amber and I saw this movie in the theater there were two young girls sitting behind us and that was not cool. Those little innocent kids didn’t deserve to have their minds polluted by this debauchery and no others should. As adults we should be able to have something without assholes ruining it by creating controversy. Damnit people, be responsible parents and don’t take your young children to see something that we should be able to enjoy in all our maturity as adults, without the guilt of spoiling innocence. I just don’t feel right laughing at all the sex jokes while there are two little girls my daughter’s age sitting in earshot, and it made me mad at whoever was so irresponsible to bring them to the film.

This movie changes the scope of what comic book films are able to do and I think that is awesome. It sets a precedent for success at a level that didn’t need the teenage audience. It made a ton of money with a limited market audience and more importantly it made an incredible amount of profit. I look forward to what else we might see in the future. Not since Blade have we had a comic book film about a Marvel character so satisfyingly violent and profane. This doesn’t mean we should expect anything like this from Marvel Studios. Disney will keep with its own way of doing things, which is fine, but the door is wide open now for other properties owned by Warner Brothers, Fox, and others. I would specifically love to see an R rated Batman film because the general movie going audience is so misguided about the character. Batman is not family friendly, he’s dark and he’s a violent vigilante that often has the police chasing him. We need to see a real Batman movie and despite the disaster BVS has turned out to be I still think Ben Affleck is the guy to give us the dark and R rated Batman.

In the aftermath of Deadpool’s success we are verified to see an R rated Wolverine film coming in the near future. Hugh Jackman’s final performance as the character is coming and they are pulling out all the stops this time. I was really disappointed that Jackman didn’t make an appearance in this movie but I will hold out hope for a Deadpool cameo in the final Wolverine film. The references to Jackman throughout this movie are really funny but after doing all that they owe us an actual on screen pairing of the two characters. It’s widely rumored that the final Wolverine movie will be based off of the Old Man Logan comic. I have read that comic and it is awesome but they shouldn’t base the third Wolverine movie on it. It should be an original story. Due to property rights to characters the Old Man Logan comic would leave far too many holes and come out all convoluted.

Wolverine 3 should bring back Liev Schrieber as Sabertooth, throw in a little Deadpool, and just go nuts with the opportunities of an R rated movie. They should make it a true Wolverine movie only better. I think roles for guys like Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart would be really cool. This is all wishful thinking so it doesn’t matter. Casting announcements are coming out now and beyond its R rating there is little known that isn’t a rumor.

Deadpool currently still has a box office presence but it is closing out as the second highest grossing R rated movie of all time. Second only to the Passion of the Christ by a mere $10 million. I wish so much they would re-release the movie for just one week so it could take that record. I have always found box office statistics fascinating and specifically love when a movie I enjoy so much can break records. This was the movie the studio was so reluctant to do and all its success is awesome but that number one all time record would have been the cherry on top.

As Deadpool promised in the end credits scene; there will be more to come in this franchise. I look forward to it and can’t wait to see how it turns out with what will undoubtedly be a larger budget. I think this is a great movie and would recommend it to any adult out there with a cool bone in their body. If you’re cool, you need to see this movie.

I do not think this movie is appropriate for children. Please please please spare your little ones the adult content of this movie. This is too much, like anything Trey Parker and Matt Stone do. It’s awesome, but don’t allow your kids to see it, it’s for us and they should have to wait till their old enough.


Year: 2015
Directed By: Peyton Reed
Written By: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, and Paul Rudd (though it’s all complicated)



Here’s a movie that couldn’t have been more unexpectedly awesome. In fact this is the film I point to when I tell people that it’s a good thing Disney owns so much of the industry. This is a movie that by all rights should be awful. For any practical thinking person the idea of a super hero that shrinks can’t come across as anything other than lame. Yet here they manage to not only make that movie good, but they made it really cool and exceptionally exciting. This is an incredibly delightful movie that is a lot of fun to watch.

I am not a Paul Rudd fan. I have enjoyed many of the movies he is in but have always refused to give him credit for doing anything more than serving as adequate back up to other actors. Nevertheless I find that I am so impressed with him in this movie. I specifically thought it was a horrible idea when he was cast. I was wrong and am not only willing but happy to admit that. Paul Rudd is great in this part being both funny and badass. The latter I never imagined he was capable of being. Rudd is as surprising and awesome as everything else in this movie turned out to be.

The success of this film is quite surprising given how long it lingered in production and how many rewrites it sustained along the way. I don’t remember the specifics and don’t care to look them up at the moment but I remember for a long time Edgar Wright was attached to direct the film until he had a falling out with the studio and the movie got a rewrite and new director. I remember this film being in production for what seemed like a really long time. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continued to grow this suddenly became an intricate part of the greater scheme of things. Ant-Man immediately fit into the MCU, even sneaking an Avenger into the film to surprise us all and set him up for greater things to come.

I think the fact that this movie is so cool is a true testament to the capabilities of Marvel Studios. As a part of the larger organization of Disney there are opportunities that have never been possible before and we see them in this film. I have often described this movie as “full on Disney,” a movie where they shows us the full force of their power like they are unveiling their own personal Death Star. Do you notice anything familiar when the Yellowjacket fires his cannons? The sound is the same you will hear when an AT-AT fires it’s cannons in Star Wars. The simple sound effect has never been available for wider use but now that Lucasfilm, like Marvel, is part of Disney these things are available with little red tape. With all the properties now owned by Disney there are such interesting capabilities for the future. The MCU is the greatest example yet of the power of these capabilities but it’s merely scratching the surface of what is possible in the future.

Like any good comedy this movie has an exceptionally deep cast, and they were all on point in this movie. You have great big name players like Michael Douglas, Corey Stroll, and Evangeline Lilly but so often in this one the background characters steal the show. I think Michael Pena is hilarious in this movie and I have never been a big fan of the guy (back in the day he turned on Vic Mackey and the Strike Team, I’m still not over it). I am and always have been a big fan of Bobby Cannavale. Despite the type of role he plays in this movie I think he shines in several scenes and even manages to be badass in a smaller way. Anthony Mackie is great in his cameo, which was quite a surprise. I had no idea he was in this movie but I think that it was awesome how effortless it was to include the character of Falcon into the film.

I’ve never followed Ant-Man as a comic book fan but I’m familiar enough with the character to like that this movie has both Hank Pym and Scott Lang. Plus it is a perfect opportunity to have a guy like Michael Douglas get involved in the party at Marvel. Douglas looked like he found some life in his acting career with this role and I’m just happy to see him out there again. Evangeline Lilly will eventually become a hero in her own right as the Wasp when this particular franchise returns for a sequel. I thought she was good in this movie but there was too much unnecessary dramatics with her father.

Corey Stroll is the final gem to discuss in this movie. He has been an up and comer over the last few years and his performance here makes it easy to understand why. The guy can pull off sinister real well. I liked him both as the spiteful former apprentice Darren Cross and as the wicked and intimidating  YellowJacket. Don’t really know anything about that character from the comics but it’s a shame we have most likely seen the last of Stroll as a villain in the MCU. One of the biggest criticisms of the MCU is that they kill off the bad guys too much. They have The Raft now, as seen in Civil War. It’s time to see some of these villains start getting locked up in there.

As is plainly obvious already I did not expect this movie to be good and can’t help but marvel (pun intended) at how blown away I was by it. Rudd has managed to keep it up with a great part in Captain America Civil War and I look forward to seeing more of him in the future. The Ant-Man and The Wasp will be the next installment to this franchise coming in 2018. Until then this one offers enjoyment throughout multiple viewings and it is without a doubt worth you time to see.