Archive for August, 2008

Beowulf

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

The epic tale of Beowulf brought to the big screen.

PLOT:

Set in Denmark, the film opens with King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) celebrating the construction of his new mead hall, Heorot. The noise of the celebration echoes into Grendel’s (Crispin Glover) cave and torments him. In a mad fury, Grendel breaks into the hall and kills many people. After being challenged by Hrothgar, Grendel runs off into the night. Back at his lair, Grendel is admonished by his unseen mother for attacking the humans and possibly inviting retribution. She calms down after Grendel tells her that he did not harm Hrothgar.

Meanwhile, Hrothgar closes Heorot and proclaims that he will give half of his kingdom in gold to any man who can defeat Grendel. Beowulf (Ray Winstone) and his men arrive by ship from Geatland and convince Hrothgar to reopen Heorot. Beowulf’s credibility is challenged by Unferth (John Malkovich), the King’s most trusted advisor. Beowulf proceeds to tell a tale to convince the people of Heorot that he is capable of killing Grendel. Hrothgar offers Beowulf his Golden drinking horn, a trophy taken after a battle with the dragon Fáfnir, in the event that Grendel is destroyed.

Later Hrothgar and Queen Wealtheow (Robin Wright Penn) argue. Hrothgar states that he needs an heir. Wealtheow refuses to comply due to Hrothgar’s earlier involvement with Grendel’s mother (thus conceiving Grendel).

That evening, Beowulf asks his men to sing loudly. Grendel is agitated once again and attacks the hall in a blind fury. While fighting Grendel, Beowulf discovers an external eardrum and begins to attack it. This disorients Grendel who then tries to escape. Beowulf traps him with chains and later slams the door on his arm breaking it off. Beowulf is proclaimed a hero and Grendel’s arm is nailed above the door of Heorot.

After Grendel returns to the cave to die, Grendel’s mother cries out in grief over the loss of her son. Determined to avenge his death, she flies to Heorot in a murderous rage. She initially appears to Beowulf in a dream disguised as Wealtheow. When Beowulf wakes from the dream he finds that all of his men are dead except for Wiglaf, who (stricken with grief at the deaths of some of the other men in Beowulf’s band) had elected to forego the festivities and tend to the ship. Beowulf confronts Hrothgar, whose evasive answers imply that he knows more of Grendel’s past than he will state openly, tells Beowulf how he can find Grendel’s mother. Unferth, who has by this time converted to Christianity, appears before Beowulf and apologizes to him for his previous behavior, offering him the use of his ancestral sword Hrunting, which Beowulf accepts.

Beowulf and Wiglaf find the cave. Beowulf enters it alone, eventually confronting Grendel’s mother (Angelina Jolie). She appears to him as a beautiful nude woman with golden liquid dripping from her skin. She promises him fame and power if he gives her a son. She also demands the Horn of Hrothgar with the promise that as long as it is in her safekeeping, Heorot will be safe. As she entices Beowulf, she melts Hrunting with her bare hands. Beowulf gives in to her temptations.

Beowulf returns to Heorot with Grendel’s severed head and tells a disbelieving Hrothgar that he killed Grendel’s mother. Hrothgar states that his curse has been lifted (implying that it has passed to Beowulf) and then publicly proclaims Beowulf heir to his kingdom — and its queen. Hrothgar then proceeds to throw himself from the balcony and falls to his death. Stunned, Beowulf is duly crowned king and marries Wealtheow.

Many years pass. King Beowulf is now old and disillusioned, a shadow of his former glorious self. One day, Unferth’s servant, Cain, finds the Horn of Hrothgar upon a stretch of moors. Unferth proceeds to present it to the king. Beowulf is furious to see it and realises Grendel’s mother has reneged on their bargain. That evening Beowulf dreams of a man in gold threatening both the old Queen Wealtheow and Beowulf’s young mistress, Ursula. The next day, a fierce dragon attacks a village outside Heorot. The dragon slays Unferth’s wife and children before his eyes, and leaves a message with Unferth for Beowulf. Unferth, badly burned and mad with rage from seeing his family burned alive, gives Beowulf the dragon’s simple message: ‘The sins of the father!’

Beowulf, intending to break the cycle of the female demon’s curse, rides with Wiglaf to the cave of Grendel’s mother to kill the dragon and end the madness. Beowulf tells Wiglaf that he has instructed the heralds to proclaim Wiglaf king should Beowulf fall in the coming battle. Beowulf also tries to confess his past sins to Wiglaf, but his old friend refuses to listen and provides encouragement for the King. Beowulf enters the cave alone and attempts to mollify Grendel’s mother by returning the Dragon Horn to her. To his dismay, the demon tells him it is too late. The demon then sends the dragon to attack Heorot. The dragon overcomes a desperate attempt by Beowulf’s army to hold-off and kill it. The dragon fails to drown Beowulf by diving into the sea. The dragon proceeds to the castle and attempts to attack Queen Wealtheow and Ursula. Beowulf kills it by a daring maneuver, remembering advice on dragon-slaying given to him by Hrothgar. Beowulf, while dangling from the dragon on a chain, is unable to reach the dragon’s heart with his sword. Beowulf severs his own arm in order to be able to reach the dragon’s heart. As Beowulf is feeling through the dragon’s chest to reach its heart, the dragon jostles the sword from Beowulf’s hand. Beowulf rips the heart from the dragon with his bare hand. Wealtheow and Ursula survive.

Beowulf and the dragon fall to the shores far below. The dragon reverts to the golden man of Beowulf’s dream, whom Beowulf realizes is his son. Beowulf then dies in Wiglaf’s arms. The latter, still refusing to believe his friend is anything but a hero, finally listens to Beowulf’s confession.

Wiglaf later prepares a traditional Viking funeral for Beowulf. As he watches the burning boat loaded with Beowulf’s treasure that serves as a funeral pyre, he sees Grendel’s mother kissing the corpse amidst the flames shortly before the boat sinks. The Dragon Horn washes ashore at Wiglaf’s feet. As he picks it up, Grendel’s mother emerges from the sea, beckoning him. The movie’s ending is ambiguous about what Wiglaf will do next. (Hrothgar became king after killing a dragon that was terrorizing the people, and fathered Grendel; Beowulf became king after killing Grendel, and fathered and later slew a golden dragon; Wiglaf is now king and had a hand in slaying the golden dragon).

REVIEW:

I liked this film the first time I saw, but after watching it again tonight, I loved it! The animation is amazing, especially when you see that the characters are dead on ringers for the actors voicing them. The scenery is breathtaking!

When I saw this in theaters, it was in 3-D. Not seeing it in 3-D takes a little away from it, but not too much, you can tell the aprts that were amde specifically for 3-D, though.

There are people that raised a fuss about the differences from the epic poem. I noticed the differences, but you can’t include everything in a movie, and certain things had to be changed to make a more interesting film. At the same time, I think they could have left a couple of things from the poem in, such as the battle with Grendel’s mother, but that’s just me.

5 out of 5 stars

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The Onion Movie

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , on August 31, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

A collection of skits written by the writers of the Onion news.

PLOT:

We watch the Onion News, America’s Finest News Source, with Dana Dobbs, Senior Correspondent Kip Kendall, and award-winning anchor Norm Archer. In addition to watching the news, we see the program’s commercials, some commentary on the film as it proceeds, and we watch some terrorists in training. Behind the scenes, Onion News’s corporate owner, Global Tetrahedron, seeks synergy by promoting its other products within Norm’s news broadcast. Norm doesn’t like it, especially when a toy penguin (think Energizer Bunny) waddles across his desk promoting a Global Tetrahedron film starring Steven Seagal. But Norm may end up needing Steven’s help.

REVIEW:

I had never even heard of this movie until I happened to see a trailer on one of the DVDs I watched last week. It seemed like it would’ve been hilarious. Well, in parts, it lived up to the hype, but for the most part it was just not that great.

It wants to have a plot, but just when it seems like it’s about to go forward with it, then it goes back to skits that with a couple of exceptions aren’t even funny.

The highlight of this film is Steven Segal as Cockpuncher.

I don’t want to make this sound like this is the worst movie ever, because for all its faults, there are a lot of movies out there that make this look like Citizen Kane!

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

TMNT

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

It ain’t easy being green!

PLOT:

The film opens 3,000 years in the past, during which time a powerful warlord and his four generals discover a portal to a parallel universe, on the other side of which is said to be a great power. Upon opening the portal, the warlord was granted immortality but his four generals were turned to stone and his army was wiped out. The portal also released 13 horrible immortal beasts that were to plague mankind until the next opening of the portal.

Present day sees that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have grown apart. After the defeat of Shredder, Master Splinter sent Leo away to Central America for training. The rest of the Turtles have settled into lives in New York; Donny works as an IT specialist and has become the de facto leader. Mikey moonlights as a clown for birthday parties. Raph appears to the others to do nothing except sleep all day, but it is revealed that he has continued fighting crime at night while disguised as the vigilante “Nightwatcher”. April O’Neil has seemingly given up journalism in favor of archaeology. She runs a company that locates rare relics and acquires them for collectors. She works and lives with boyfriend Casey Jones.

While on a business trip, April finds herself in Central America where she runs into Leonardo. She tries to convince “Leo” to return to New York, but he is hesitant to do so out of fear that he hasn’t completed his training yet. April tells him how the other Turtles have drifted apart and leaves Leo to ponder his next move. April returns to New York with a stone statue for her client Max Winters, the wealthy CEO of a financial empire. Leo stows away on board the plane and returns as well. April and Casey deliver the statue to Winters at his corporate office, after they leave he brings all four statues out and reanimates them. The statues are the four Stone Generals of the myth, and Winters is the warlord made immortal by the portal. Winters is then visited by Karai and the Foot Clan, whom he hires to scour the city searching for the 13 beasts from the legend. The beasts will be drawn to New York by the reopening of the portal, scheduled to happen in days.

Leo returns to the sewer home of the Turtles and faces Splinter. Splinter wants him to reunite his brothers as a family, and forbids the Turtles from fighting until they are all a cohesive team again. While training, the Turtles encounter one of the thirteen beasts battling with the Foot Clan. Seeing the Foot losing control, the Turtles defy Leo and Splinter’s orders and engage the beast as well. The beast easily defeats the Turtles, but before they can be finished off the four Stone Generals arrive and capture the beast, spiriting it away in a disguised garbage truck. Leo and Raph have an argument, and Raph leaves to go out as Nightwatcher. Later on, as Nightwatcher, Raph encounters Casey on a rooftop and takes Casey on as his sidekick. Together they encounter the Stone Generals again, and are pursued by one until the police interrupt the fight. Raph is knocked unconscious by a dart fired by the Generals, and Casey takes him to his apartment and calls the other Turtles to come and help. While checking Raph over they discover a throwing star from one of the Generals, and Casey tells April that they battled the statues she delivered to Winters. April recites the warlord myth for the Turtles and they deduce that Winters is attempting to reopen the portal and complete his bid to control the world. After coming to, Raph declares he is quitting the Turtles.

Leo, Donny, and Mikey return to their sewer home to plan their next move. Donny discovers the reopening of the portal will be directly over Winters Tower, and they plan how they can stop Winters. Splinter calls Leo asideand tells him that his team is not complete, and that he knows what he must do. The Stone Generals meet without Winters and figure out that Winters is planning to betray them. They decide to substitute a different beast for the 13th beast, to prevent Winters from sending the beasts back and ending their curse (and their immortality). While out looking for Raph, Leo encounters Nightwatcher. Leo tells him to step down and stop acting as a vigilante, but instead the two end up fighting. Leo wins, knocking Nightwatcher’s helmet off and revealing Raph. Raph unloads all his anger at Leo, challenging him to duel as ninjas. Raph defeats Leo, snapping Leo’s swords off and pinning him down. Raph, horrified at having beaten his own brother, suddenly stops and runs away. The Stone Generals, meanwhile, capture Leo and decide to use him to trick Winters.

Raphreturns to Master Splinter in an agitated state and hands Splinter Leo’s broken swords. He tells Splinter that Leo was captured, and decides to lead the team to rescue Leo. Splinter and the Turtles get April and Casey to join them, and they decide to confront Winters. After defeating Karaiand the Foot, the Turtles encounter Winters insidehis tower. They are too late, and the Stone Generals have betrayed Winters and attempted to kill him. Winters revives, and explains to April and the Turtles that he wants to return the beasts and end his immortality. The Stone Generals confront them all and offer the Turtles and Foot a deal – betray Winters and join them and be spared their wrath. They all refuse, and the Foot with April and Casey go off to find the real 13th monster as the Turtles, Splinter, and Winters engage the Stone Generals in combat. The Turtles repel the Generals and send them into the now open portal, but the Generals return. Finally April, Casey, and Karaicrash the Turtles party van into the tower withthe last monster behind them. The monster loses its footing and slams into the generals, sending them all into the portal with it. The portal explodes and closes, leaving Winters once again mortal. Winters begins to laugh as he slowly and peacefully dies, transforming into glittery particles of air.

As the Turtles regroup, Karai and the Foot tell them to enjoy the victory while it lasts, as they will soon have business with an old enemy (implying the return of The Shredder). With that, the Foot leave and the Turtles return home. Raph retires his Nightwatcher persona, and adds his helmet to Splinter’s trophy case. The movie ends with the Turtles once again patrolling New York and fighting crime.

REVIEW:

Along withTransformers, Go Bots, G.I. Joe, and He-Man, I grew up with the turtles, so you can imagine I expected a lot from this movie. I was not disappointed.

I like that they didn’t try to reboot the franchise or go back and tell the origin (except for a slight mention during Laurence Fishbourne’s beginning oration). I love the plot. It was good to not see Shredder as the villain, but if there is a sequel, he needs to come back.

I may be a little biased since Donatello is my favorite, but it seemed as if this was all about Leonardo and Raphael. Everyone else took a back seat to them. Sarah Michelle Gellar seems a bit wasted as April, though.

Old school turtle fans will not be disappointed with this movie, unless they’re expecting to see the turtles eating some kind of funky toppings on their pizza and April as a reporter. Non turtle fans will enjoy the breathtaking animation.

4 out of 5 stars

Hamlet 2

Posted in Comedy, Independent, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , on August 31, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

A sequel to Shakespeare’s classic tragedy? Not quite!

PLOT:

A failed actor-turned-worse-high-school-drama teacher, Dana Marschz, rallies his Tucson, Arizona, students as he conceives and stages a politically incorrect musical sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet in order to save the school’s drama department in a midst of budget cuts.

REVIEW:

I had the choice of seeing either this or Death Race. Not quite sure I chose the right one. Not saying I didn’t want to see it, I just think that this film didn’t live up to the trailers.

They say this is a comedy. It did have quite a few funny moments, but there were spread apart. At times it felt like it was trying too hard to be funny.

Now, having said all that. I did enjoy it. The musical numbers are a highlight of the movie. After watching Adventures in Babysitting last week, I wondered what happened to Elizabeth Shue, and lo and behold she pops up in here as herself. It was good to see her.

The kids in the class weren’t too bad. Kinda felt bad for the girl that kept getting hit in the head, though.

All in all, it’s a good movie and worth watching.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Benny Goodman Story

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on August 28, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

A biopic about jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman.

PLOT:

Poor though they are, Dave and Dora Goodman are determined to secure a good education for their sons. In 1919, Prof. Schepp offers music classes to Chicago’s tenement dwellers at Hull House, and although young Benny Goodman dislikes the instrument at first, he becomes an excellent clarinetist by the time he is fourteen. Benny practices his Mozart passages, but when an opportunity to play in a ragtime band arises, he joins the musicians’ union and begins his performance career. During a break, Benny listens with awe to the New Orleans jazz band of Edward “Kid” Ory, who advises him to play the way he feels and invites him to sit in. Later, Benny, still two years away from high school graduation, joins the Ben Pollack band and plays at dances throughout the country. On his first visit back home, Benny is dismayed to learn that his father, who always supported his musical aspirations, has been killed in an accident on the way to the train station. The Pollack band secures a job in the speakeasy of Benny’s former neighbor, Little Jake Primo, who is now a gangster. There he meets wealthy John Hammond, a jazz lover and music critic, and John’s sister Alice, who prefers classical to “hot” music and is uncomfortable in Benny’s presence. Pollack’s band flops in New York, and Benny, full of ideas but worried that there is no audience for his kind of music, is forced to perform with more traditional dance bands in order to earn a meager living. Still impressed with Benny’s talent, Hammond invites him to perform a Mozart clarinet concerto before an audience of blue bloods in the Hammond mansion. Alice is pleasantly surprised by Benny’s performance and remarks that although he seems calm and quiet, “all this emotion comes pouring out” when he plays. Benny forms a band and begins to perform on an NBC Saturday night radio program. Admired jazz musician Fletcher Henderson hears the program from his home base in Harlem and is so impressed that he begins to contribute musical arrangements to the band. After the show is canceled, Benny’s orchestra goes on tour, but before he leaves, he and Alice declare their strong but confusing feelings for each other. The tour is a failure until the orchestra reaches Palomar, California, where, the group, having won a large following of young fans on the West Coast, is a tremendous success. Benny sees Alice in the audience and plays “Memories of You” for her, and after the show, the two kiss. Benny forms a quartet that includes Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa, and by the time Benny, his orchestra and his quartet return to Chicago, they are making headlines in Variety . Alice attends the orchestra’s New York debut, where a surging crowd dances in the aisles, and later that day, she is relieved to learn that her father approves of the romance. Benny’s mother, however, informs her son that his love for Alice is “like a knife in my heart.” Worried, Alice visits Mrs. Goodman, who declares that “you don’t mix caviar with bagels.” Benny is booked into Carnegie Hall, but he wonders why Alice is not planning to attend and worries that “a hall full of longhairs” will disapprove of the orchestra’s music. Finally realizing how much Benny loves Alice, Mrs. Goodman secretly invites her to attend the concert, which will feature the orchestra and guest performers Harry James, Ziggy Elman and Martha Tilton. Travel delays nearly cause Alice to miss Benny’s triumphant performance, but she arrives in time for a standing ovation and an encore performance of “Memories of You.”

REVIEW:

This was Steve Allen’s big screen debut and a major role for Donna Reed. Benny Goodman played all of the clarinet parts except for the 16 yr old Benny, which was played by Allen.

I’m a fan of movies in technicolor and an avid jazz lover, so this movie is right up my alley. While this biopic is not on the same level as “The Glen Miller Story” which was released a year early or any of the biopics that are released today, it is rather enjoyable.

There is a plot for a little while, but then about halfway through it becomes a glorified concert film. On top of that, it ends rather abruptly, especially if you don’t have a prior knowledge of Goodman’s history. These are my complaints, not major things, but they could have been done better.

4 out of 5 stars

The Wizard of Oz

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

Join Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Toto as they follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Merry Old Land of Oz in search of courage, a heart, a brain, and a way home. We’re not in Kansas anymore!

PLOT:

Orphan Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) a 14-year-old girl, lives a simple life in rural Kansas with Aunt Em (Clara Blandick), Uncle Henry (Charley Grapewin) and three colorful farm hands, simple-minded Hunk (Ray Bolger), blustery-but-timid Zeke (Bert Lahr), and would-be engineer Hickory (Jack Haley). One day, stern neighbor Miss Elvira Gulch (Margaret Hamilton) is bitten by Dorothy’s dog, Toto. Dorothy senses that Miss Gulch will try to do something dreadful, but her aunt and uncle, as well as the farmhands, are too busy with their work to listen. Dorothy yearns for a better place in the song “Over the Rainbow”. Miss Gulch shows up with a court order and takes Toto away to be destroyed. Toto escapes and returns to Dorothy, who is momentarily elated, but then realizes that Miss Gulch will soon return to retrieve Toto. Fearing for his life, Dorothy decides to take Toto and run away. On their journey, Dorothy encounters Professor Marvel (Frank Morgan), a fake but kind and lovable fortune teller who, out of concern for Dorothy, tricks her into believing Aunt Em is ill so Dorothy will return home, as a storm is approaching. Dorothy rushes back to the farm just ahead of a sudden tornado. She tries to get into the storm cellar under the house, but it is locked and nobody inside can hear her pleas for help over the noise. She takes shelter inside the house and is knocked unconscious by a loose window frame.

A confused Dorothy awakens what seems like a few minutes later to discover the house has been caught up in the twister. Through the bedroom window, she sees several people fly by, including Miss Gulch, who seemingly transforms into a frightening witch. Moments later, the twister drops the house, Dorothy and Toto back onto solid ground. Opening the door and stepping into full three-strip Technicolor, Dorothy finds herself in a village and parkland of unearthly beauty. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke), arrives magically. She informs Dorothy that she is in Munchkinland and that she has killed the ruby-slippered Wicked Witch of the East by “dropping a house” on her.

Encouraged by Glinda, the timid Munchkins come out of hiding to celebrate the demise of the witch, while singing “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” and proclaiming Dorothy as their national heroine. The witch’s sister, the Wicked Witch of the West (also played by Margaret Hamilton), makes a startling appearance in a blaze of fire and smoke to claim the powerful ruby slippers. Glinda magically transfers the slippers from the dead witch onto Dorothy’s feet and reminds the witch of the west that her power is ineffectual in Munchkinland. The witch vows revenge on Dorothy before leaving the same way she arrived. Glinda advises Dorothy, who is anxious to return home, to seek the help of the mysterious Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City in her quest to return home to Kansas; Glinda explains that she can find Emerald City by following the yellow brick road. She also advises Dorothy that she must never remove the slippers or she will be at the mercy of the Wicked Witch of the West. After a farewell kiss, Glinda too disappears, leaving Dorothy and Toto to find their own way to Emerald City.

On her way Dorothy befriends a Scarecrow with no brain (also played by Ray Bolger), a Tin Man with no heart (also played by Jack Haley), and a Cowardly Lion (also played by Bert Lahr). The three decide to accompany Dorothy to the Wizard in hopes of obtaining their desires. Along the way, they behave in various ways which demonstrate that they already have the qualities they think they lack: the Scarecrow has several good ideas, the Tin Man is kind and sympathetic, and the Lion is ready to face danger even though he is terrified. The group confronts a forest of angry apple trees, a poisonous field of poppies, and a warning from the witch to the others that they are not to help Dorothy. Undaunted, the group reaches Emerald City. They are greeted kindly, but the Wicked Witch appears on a broomstick over the city, while skywriting the message “Surrender Dorothy.” The group talks to the Wizard of Oz – a disembodied and imposing head with a booming voice – who says that he will consider granting their wishes if they can bring him the broomstick of the Wicked Witch.

On their way to the witch’s castle, they are attacked by flying monkeys, who carry Dorothy and Toto away and deliver her to the witch, who then demands that Dorothy hand over the ruby slippers. After the witch threatens to kill Toto, Dorothy agrees to give her the shoes; but their removal is prevented by a shower of sparks. The witch says that the shoes cannot be removed unless Dorothy first dies. While the witch is distracted, Toto takes the opportunity to escape. The witch then locks Dorothy in the chamber and leaves to consider how to kill Dorothy without damaging the shoes’ magic. Toto finds Dorothy’s friends and leads them to the castle. Once inside they free Dorothy and attempt an escape. The witch and her Winkie soldiers corner the group on a parapet, where the witch sets the Scarecrow on fire. To douse the flames, Dorothy throws water on them, while accidentally splashing water on the horrified witch, causing her to melt. To the group’s surprise, the soldiers are delighted. Their captain (played by silent film actor Mitchell Lewis, who played the Sheik in the silent Ben-Hur) gives Dorothy the broomstick in gratitude. Upon their return to Emerald City, Toto inadvertently exposes the great and powerful wizard as a fraud; they find an ordinary man hiding behind a curtain operating a bunch of buttons and levers. They are outraged at the deception, but the wizard solves their problems through common sense and a little double talk, rather than magic, by explaining that they already had what they had been searching for all along and only need things such as medals and diplomas to confirm that someone else recognizes it. The wizard explains that he too was born in Kansas and his presence in Oz was the result of an escaped hot air balloon. He promises to take Dorothy home in the same balloon, leaving the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Lion in charge of Emerald City. Just before takeoff, Toto jumps out of the balloon’s basket; Dorothy jumps out to catch him and the wizard, unable to control the balloon, leaves without her. She is resigned to spend the rest of her life in Oz until Glinda appears and tells her that she has always had the power to return home. Glinda explains that she did not tell Dorothy at first because she needed to find something out for herself. When asked what she has learned, Dorothy replies: “The next time I go looking for my heart’s desire, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; if it’s not there, then I never really lost it to begin with.” Dorothy says a tearful goodbye to the friends she has met in Oz, and then follows Glinda’s instructions to “tap your heels together while repeating the words, ‘There’s no place like home’.” Back in sepia tone she awakens in her bedroom in Kansas surrounded by family and friends and tells them of her journey. Everyone laughs and tells her it was all a dream, except Uncle Henry, who says sympathetically “Of course we believe you, Dorothy”. Toto appears and jumps onto the bed. A happy Dorothy, still convinced the journey was real, hugs Toto and says, “There’s no place like home.” No mention is made in the film of the ultimate fate of Miss Gulch who, it is implied, does not return to get Toto.

REVIEW:

This is one of cinema’s all time classics. It had been awhile since I watched the entire film all the way, though, and today I remembered  that I loved it!

Of course, there the whole technicolor aspect, which I love, but the sepia tones at the beginning and end make colored part of the movie stand out that much more!

Nobody gives a bad performance, but back in those days, you had to actually have talent to be in the movies and not just a pretty face, so it’s no surprise.

From what I hear, the movie differs greatly from the book, but in a manner similar to Disney films, the lighter tone doesn’t hurt it at all, it may even have helped it!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Shoot ‘Em Up

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on August 25, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

The title says it all. If you looking for some deep, thought provoking, cinematic, film, it won’t happen.

PLOT:

The film follows “Mr. Smith” (Clive Owen), a drifter with what appears to be an extensive military background and a fondness for carrots who wants nothing more than to be left alone. Smith finds himself embroiled in a complex political conspiracy once he aids a pregnant woman who is being chased by a hitman. After the woman is killed, he takes the baby and goes on the run with a lactating prostitute, played by Monica Bellucci. The unlikely family is trailed by the intelligent and ruthless Hertz (Paul Giamatti) and his army of thugs. A myriad of elaborate gunfights ensue, between which Smith pieces together the real story: a United States Senator who strongly supports gun control had been breeding babies for their bone marrow to treat his cancer, and a prominent gun baron has contracted Hertz to kill the babies.

REVIEW:

This is one of those films that you either love or hate. I love it!

Clive Owen’s character is an angrier, but more comedic version of his character in Sin City.

Monica Belucci is gorgeous as always.

Paul Giamatti steals the show as an intellectual and sadistic villain. Not the kid of role you’d expect from him, but he thoroughly delivers!

This movie made me want to start back eating carrots. Who says movies encourage bad habits? lol

5 out of 5 stars