Archive for August, 2008


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.


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).


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

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.


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.


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


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


It ain’t easy being green!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.”


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!


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.


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.


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.


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

Adventures in Babysitting

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on August 25, 2008 by Mystery Man


What happens when the parents are away should stay a secret!


Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue), a high school senior, agrees to babysit Sara Anderson (Maia Brewton) after her boyfriend Mike Toddwell (Bradley Whitford) cancels their anniversary date. Sara’s older brother Brad (Keith Coogan), who has a crush on Chris, decides to stay home and hang around. When Chris’ friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller) calls from a Chicago bus station, having made a failed attempt to run away from her family, Chris reluctantly takes Sara, Brad, and Brad’s sex-obsessed best friend Daryl Coopersmith (Anthony Rapp) from their safe suburban surroundings into the city to rescue her. A flat tire on the highway with no spare and Chris’ realization that she has failed to bring her purse launches the group into a series of unlikely predicaments, including detainment by a car theft ring (from which Daryl steals a Playboymagazine filled with incriminating notes), pursuit by the criminals, a blues club where they’re forced (by Albert Collins) to sing of their ordeal before leaving, a gang fight on a train which leaves Brad slightly injured (as well as a moment at a hospital where the others are briefly led to believe Brad is dead), and a final incident with their pursuers on the Smurfit-Stone Building in Chicago.


This is one of those quintessential 80s movies. I really don’t have any complaints about it, other than it is never really shown if Chris does indeed look like the Playboy centerfold. no saying they should have shown the entire spread or anything, but a face shot, maybe even have that centerfold appear in the film (if she was real, and not made for the movie). Other than that, I really have no qualms with this movie.

5 out of 5 stars

The Mambo Kings

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2008 by Mystery Man


In the name of the mambo, the rumba, and the cha-cha-cha!


In the early 1950s, two Cuban brothers, musicians César and Nestor Castillo, must flee Havana after getting into a violent dispute with the mobster owners of a club where they performed.

Eventually ending up in New York, the brothers (Banderas and Assante) work at menial jobs while attempting to revive their musical careers. At a nightclub where Cesar briefly crashes the act of mambo star Tito Puente, they make new friends and connections, as well as meeting cigarette girl Lanna Lake (Cathy Moriarty), who falls quickly into a love affair with Cesar.

Nestor, in the meantime, remains oblivious to other women while continually composing his ode to his lost Cuban love, Maria. He writes version after version of the same ballad, “Beautiful Maria of My Soul,” until by chance one day he encounters Dolores (Maruschka Detmers), a shy but attentive young woman who wishes to become a school teacher. When she becomes pregnant, they decide to get married.

Fate intervenes one night at a club, where the Castillo brothers have a part-time job. Nestor’s love ballad captures the interest of one of the customers, who turns out to be the Cuban bandleader and American television star Desi Arnaz (played by his son, Desi Arnaz, Jr.). After a pleasant evening in Nestor’s and Dolores’ modest home, Arnaz generously invites the struggling Castillos to sing and act on an episode of his smash TV series, I Love Lucy.

Cleverly intercutting footage of Banderas and Assante into an actual I Love Lucy episode (where the brothers’ characters appear to actually be interacting in a scene with Lucille Ball), the film depicts the rise to prominence of Cesar and Nestor as overnight stars.

Fame doesn’t last, however. Nestor is not as ambitious as his brother and desires nothing more than to own his own small club. He is in love with Dolores but lacks the passion he felt for his beloved Maria back home. Cesar, meantime, suppresses his true feelings, that a woman like Dolores would actually be perfect for him.

There are tragic consequences one snowy night when the Castillo brothers’ car veers off the road and into a tree. Cesar is in the back seat and barely hurt, but Nestor, driving the car, is killed. The life of Cesar, shattered, is never the same.


I’ll be honest with you, take the music away from this movie, and it’s quite dry.  The music brings the quality level of the movie up big time, as well as enhancing the film.

This movie may best be known as the film that introduced America to Antonio Banderas. This was his first English speaking role.

Beautiful Maria of My Soul is a beautiful song, but they kind of overdue it a little bit, especially if you’ve seen the movie a few times. It’s one of those songs you love, then you’ll get tired of, then you;’ll love again, hate, etc.

The late Roscoe Lee Brown gives a command performance as Fernando Perez. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t say if he needed more screen time, but for an actor of his caliber, I would say they could have done a bit more with him.

Speaking of lack fo screentime, the whole Cuban club scene at the beginning could have been expanded upon, agian, that may be something that was covered in the book, and omitted for the film.

I was amazed with how much Desi Arnaz, Jr. resembles his father. A little bigger, but in the face he’s dead on. No wonder they cast him as his father. The intercutting of Desi, Nestor, and Cesar with the I Love Lucy footage was nothing short of spectacular. Especially since, at the time of its release, that wasn’t something you saw very often, especially on such a classic show as I Love Lucy!

“We do-nut…speak English!”

Classic line!

All in all, this is an above average film with a spectacular soundtrack. If you’re a music lover, especially of Latin music, then you’ll love it!

4 out of 5 stars


Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2008 by Mystery Man



The film is not an adaptation of the television series, but more of an homage. It is about a witch named Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) who wants to give up magic and have a normal life, despite her magic-loving father’s (Michael Caine) warnings that she cannot live without it. She meets a failing movie star named Jack Wyatt (Ferrell) who wants to find an unknown actress to play a witch — and his wife — in a TV show, a modern adaptation of the classic TV show Bewitched, a ploy whereby the egocentric actor can eclipse his co-star and claim the spotlight entirely. Part of this is perpetrated by his agent (Jason Schwartzman), who is just as obnoxious as Jack.

When she becomes more popular than he is and unintentionally takes the spotlight away, the pompous, self-centered Jack decides to downplay her role and make the show focus on Darrin (thus garnering the audience’s attention). Isabel becomes angry when she finds out (since he told her during her auditions that he “needed her”) and furiously tells him that he is a jerk. The harsh words, strangely enough, appeal to Jack who never had anyone speak their mind to him before, especially his ex-wife (who he claimed preferred to just lock him out of the house). He begins to give her bigger roles and the two begin to fall in love. Isabel feels guilty for hiding her powers from Jack however, and shows him her powers. He becomes upset that she might be using magic to manipulate his emotions and make him pregnant and leaves her. Devastated, Isabel decides to return home, where Jack is told by Uncle Arthur (Steve Carell) she must stay for 100 years once she returns. Jack realizes that he loves Isabel for real after all and tries to find her before she returns home. To his surprise, he finds her at the studio, which she considers her “home”. Jack proposes to her and she accepts. Before she accepts, it is revealed that she did not have to remain at her home for 100 years before she could, once again, return.

Meanwhile the “spirits” of the old Bewitched television show work their own magic on Isabel and Jack by ensuring that the couple ends up in a happy union of witch to mortal like on the original series. The home in which Isabel and Jack finally settle in together is numbered “1164” as a nod to the house from the original TV series (at 1164 Morning Glory Circle); their new neighbors are also a nod to their TV counterparts.


I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of Bewitched, but from what I can tell, this movie pays them a great tribute. Instead of tyring to remake or reboot the series like so many directors seem to want to do, they paid homage to it, while creating an independent story.

The first time I saw this, I didn’t care for it too much. However, after watching some episodes of the series a couple weeks ago, I’ve gained a new found understanding and appreciation for some of the references and like this movie alot more.

There’s not much I don’t like about the film. I would have liked to have seen a scene where Endora reveals that she’s a witch. That’s just a personal suggestion, though.

The movie moves along at a pretty rapid pace, and is pretty funny. I have to give kudos to Steve Carrell for his portrayal of Uncle Arthur, who was portrayed by the late Paul Lynde. If I wasn’t looking at the screen, I would have thought it was Lynde himself.

This is one of those movies that is rare nowadays. You can actually have fun watching this! *GASP* Unheard of in this day and age, huh?

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Why Do Fools Fall in Love

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2008 by Mystery Man


3 women want royalties for 1 man’s song. Problem is, no one knows who was married to him (and entitled to the royalties) at the time of his death.


Lymon was thirteen years old when the teenage group Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers erupted from radios and jukeboxes with their 1956 hit, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” and appeared in the movie Rock, Rock, Rock (1956).

After Mr. Rock and Roll(1957), Lymon started a solo singing career, but it all fell apart. Lymon’s career was over by the time he was eighteen years old, and he died of a heroin overdose eight years later.

Jumping from the 1950s to the 1980s, the film traces the rise and fall of Lymon (Larenz Tate) in a series of flashbacks as courtroom claims on Lymon’s royalties are outlined by three women: Zola Taylor (Halle Berry) of the Platters R&B group; Elizabeth Waters (Vivica A. Fox), who became a prostitute to cover the costs of Lymon’s recovery from addiction; and schoolteacher Emira Eagle (Lela Rochon).

Little Richard also makes a courtroom appearance, while Miguel A. Nunez Jr. portrays Little Richard in scenes set in the 1940s.

The film ends with Elizabeth winning Frankie’s estate, however later the ruling is overturned by the Court and Emira gets Frankie’s estate.


I really liked the direction of this film. It’s such a tragic story when all is said and done and this could have been some dark, depressing film, but instead it celebrates the life of Frankie Lymon and brushes on the negative parts. I love the use of humor as well.

This is another of those movies that would be nothing without the music. I love it all, except for the last song that is play during the end credits. There was absolutely no need to remake why Do Fools Fall in Love, especially for this movie. It’s not even a good remake.

I love the fact that they showed some original footage of Frankie at the end. It was a fitting tribute.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Charlie Bartlett

Posted in Comedy, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2008 by Mystery Man


High schools just want someone to listen to them. Perhaps if someone doesn’t, then they’ll resort to finding ways of escaping their problems through underground prescription drugs.


Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin), a precocious teenage boy, has just been expelled from yet another private school, this time for using a laminating press to make fake IDs for his classmates. He returns home with his mother Marilyn (Hope Davis), despite her best attempts to pay off the dean.

The film then shifts to Western Summit High School’s principal, Nathaniel Gardner (Robert Downey Jr.), who is having difficulties in his relationship with his teenage daughter Susan (Kat Dennings). After she refuses to talk to him, he pours himself a bourbon and checks his phone messages; one from the superintendent and one from his ex-wife. Afterwards, he sits outside and drives his remote-controlled boat around the pool.

The following day marks Charlie’s first day in public school. On his bus ride, he meets an array of misfits and nobodies, including a very large mentally handicapped student named Len (Dylan Taylor) who offers Charlie a sticky lollipop from his shirt pocket.

Upon his arrival at Western Summit High School, Charlie is immediately mocked and ridiculed by most of his peers for his blazer, tie and briefcase (Charlie later informs a student that “I believe its an attache case.”). The school bullies Murphy (Tyler Hilton) and Jordan (Jonathan Malen) then dunk his head in the toilet before being caught by Principal Gardner.

At lunch, Charlie is rejected by most of the students with the exception of Len. Later, he auditions for the school play at the encouragement of Susan Gardner, where he performs a monologue about a girl getting her first period. After school, he is beaten up again by Murphy, while Jordan films the incident.

Upon seeing Charlie’s black eye, Marilyn decides to keep him home the following day and send him to a therapist. At the therapist’s office, Charlie says that he doesn’t fit in because he’s “abnormal”. Ultimately, the therapist prescribes Ritalin after Charlie tells him he has trouble focusing.

Charlie then takes the patch off his blazer, and is welcomed back at school by Susan and shoved by Murphy. It is announced that security cameras will be installed in the student lounge, and after a brief outrage by students, Charlie goes out and pulls the fire alarm, which Susan notices and somewhat admires.

On his first day of Ritalin, Charlie does vast amounts of homework at the dinner table, which his mother doesn’t particularly approve of. His behavior becomes increasingly frenzied over a short period of time; by the fourth day, he is outside in only his underwear while screaming at the top of his lungs.

On the bus the next morning Charlie asks Len if he’d like to make $50 after school. After school, as Murphy is walking the train tracks home, Charlie’s limo pulls up next to him. Len pulls Murphy into the car and Charlie gives a list of reasons why Murphy is such an angry person. He then tells Murphy that he wants to be friends, as well as business partners by selling 90 pills of Ritalin at $10 apiece. Murphy accepts.

At home, Susan asks her dad for a 1 am curfew, and leaves for the dance. At the dance, Murphy tells Charlie that he’s sold all the pills. It becomes apparent that the entire student body is high on Ritalin.

Charlie is soon confronted by a shy, nervous boy named Kip (Mark Rendall). In the bathroom, Kip describes his symptoms to Charlie and asks him if he can get depression medication. After some research, Charlie goes to his therapist claiming he is experiencing symptoms of depression, and is prescribed Xanax and Zoloft.

More students begin to hear of Charlie’s unconventional therapy methods, and he is soon running a tidy business in which he sits in one stall and the “patient” sits in another. Charlie then prescribes medication, which Murphy doles out and collects money for. However, Principal Gardner becomes increasingly suspicious of the long line outside the boys’ bathroom.

One day, while hanging out with Murphy and Jordan and watching the video of himself being beaten up, Charlie gets an idea. Telling Murphy and Jordan that they should somehow “make it up” to their victims, Charlie helps them produce a DVD entitled “Western Summit High School’s Greatest After School Fights”, which showcases Murphy beating up a number of students. In addition to selling the film in the student lounge, they also compensate each of Murphy and Jordan’s victims with $20. When Charlie is called to the principal’s office, he is given three days suspension despite his assertion that he does not understand what he has done wrong.

While on his suspension, Charlie spots Susan downtown and invites her back to his house, where he plays piano for her. Susan also gets to meet Marilyn for the first time as she prances into the room singing. Susan then asks about Charlie’s father, and he makes up a long story about his father being hit by an ice cream truck.

Upon his return to school, Charlie is confronted by Principal Gardner, who tells him that he knows Charlie is seeing his daughter. That day, Susan also goes to her first “session” with Charlie. They talk about her father and her mother’s affair, and Susan tells Charlie about her father’s alcoholism and bizarre behavior, including his remote-control boat hobby. Ultimately, the session ends with a kiss between the two.

Back out at the student lounge, Murphy throws his leather jacket over the security camera and announces that Charlie is throwing a party at a Drive-In themed club. The party turns out to be a success, and Charlie is called upon by football team captain Dustin Lauderbach (Jake Epstein) for advice. He tells Charlie that he wants to go to Paris and study painting which Charlie encourages. Murphy also confides to Charlie at the party, telling him that he has a crush on Dustin’s girlfriend, Whitney Drummond (Megan Park), and that he used to be in school plays but quit because he kept getting beaten up by “people like him”.

Susan then comes up to Charlie asking him to “step into her office”, which is on a balcony inside of an old painted up car behind a curtain. They cuddle up together and Charlie finally confides in her about his own family problems, including his father’s incarceration. Ultimately, they have sex in the car. While Susan is smoking a cigarette, Charlie jumps out of the car in his boxers and proclaims to the crowd below that he is no longer a virgin, to which they all cheer loudly.

However, the next scene cuts to Kip, who is at home writing a suicide letter. He then takes the last of the pills Charlie has prescribed him.

The next morning, Charlie comes downstairs to find his mother and Principal Gardner, who tells him that Kip has overdosed and is recovering at home. He also says that Charlie is lucky Kip did not tell his parents where he got the drugs. He gives Charlie a chance to admit what he has been doing in the bathroom. Charlie replies that he is only helping the students; many of whom have nobody else willing to listen to their problems.

Later that day, Charlie goes to visit Kip, who appreciates that Charlie came by but says that he still has problems and that there’s nothing that can be said to make him feel any better. Charlie attempts to cheer him up by reminding him how fortunate he is, and sticks around to play video games with him. He then finds out that Kip has secretly written a play entitled “Hell Comes With Your Own Locker”, which he encourages him to submit.

However, Principal Gardner takes offense to the play’s title and promptly shuts it down. Kip and Charlie argue that the play is valuable because it has truth to it, and Charlie convinces the drama club to get on board with them.

In the student lounge, Charlie stands on the pool table, announcing that he will no longer be providing medication, but he will still be holding his bathroom sessions as usual, free of charge. Murphy then sarcastically says, “I’m one of those people not speaking to you”.

As he makes his way up to his office, the line in front of his door is longer than ever. His first patient, Whitney, reveals that she has slept with most of the football team because she does not like saying “no”, and tells Charlie that all she wants is for a guy to take her to dinner and a movie. Knowing of Murphy’s crush on Whitney, Charlie says he knows of someone who would gladly take her on a date. The next scene cuts to Murphy clad in a polo shirt as he picks Whitney up for their date.

At school, the student body begins to protest the security cameras after their petition is disregarded by the administration. As the day continues, more and more students join the protest. While Charlie agrees with the reasons behind the protest, he also sides with Gardner on a few points. To avoid getting everyone at the protest suspended for 3 days, Charlie tells everyone to come back later that night.

After school, we see Charlie walking up Susan’s driveway carrying a pharmacy bag. Susan greets him with a kiss, which an intoxicated Principal Gardner sees. He then runs outside demanding to see what’s in the bag, but Susan refuses to tell him, asking him not to make her choose between him and Charlie. The argument quickly turns physical, and Charlie ends up punching Principal Gardner. Susan then throws the bag at her father, which turns out to contain a box of nicotine gum.

At the protest that night, Charlie makes a speech to the student body, telling them that they do not need him and should stop listening to him. At this point, the police show up and arrest him for assaulting Principal Gardner. The students revolt even further by smashing the security cameras and trashing their own lounge. As the superintendent watches the mayhem, he tells Principal Gardner that he is fired.

The next day in jail, Charlie is told that his mother has arrived to bail him out. She is unsure of how to punish Charlie, who tells her that the normal amount of time for a grounding is 24 hours. Because he has received a misdemeanor, however, Marilyn decides he should be grounded for 30.

Soon after, at the opening of the play, Charlie asks Susan how her father is doing and she says that he’s locked himself in his study and that he probably doesn’t want to be around a group of people who hate him.

Charlie then goes to Susan’s house to talk to Principal Gardner. After there is no answer at the door, he lets himself in and finds Gardner outside with a bottle of bourbon in one hand and a revolver in the other. He scares Charlie into sitting down after firing a shot into the pool, and then tells him how angry he is with him for turning the entire student body against him. Charlie expresses a desire to help, but says he can’t because he’s just a kid. This slightly pleases Gardner as he turns around with the gun and raises it to the air near his head. Charlie tries to stop him but falls off the deck and hits his head on the diving board before falling into the pool. Gardner dives after him and pulls him up into the shallow end, telling him to “never ever attack a drunken guy with a gun”. Before they go to the play together, he tells Charlie that there are far worse things in life than having a parent in prison for tax evasion.

The play is a stage cut in half with parents commenting on their children’s actions, and on the other side Susan being peer-pressured by Jordan. We then see that the peer-pressure is over singing. Susan sings and notices her dad and they exchange smiles.

We then see clips of Charlie and Marilyn visiting his dad in prison and of Gardner back to teaching history. The last scene finds Charlie at a psychiatric institute interviewing for a summer internship. As Charlie is sitting in the office, the interviewer tells him he has a hell of a day in front of him. In a witty fashion, Charlie asks, “Would you like to talk about it?”


What high school kid do you know of that doesn’t want to be popular? I, for one, didn’t want to be the most popular kid in the school, but I did want to be known. I can relate to Charlie.

No, I wasn’t giving out advice and prescription drugs in the boys’ bathroom, but I was a very friendly guy who juts wanted to be accepted.

This movie was pretty good. It went up and down for me. There are moments that are pretty funny, and other that are a bit overly dramatic.

I was reading some comments and reviews about this movie and some people called it this generations Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Anton Yelchin reminds me of Matthew Broderick. I look forward to seeing him in bigger and better roles and hope this isn’t it for him.

Robert Downey, Jr. is on his game as usual. One must wonder if he was drawing on his personal demons for this role.

It’s definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

4 out of 5 stars

I ♥ Huckabees

Posted in Comedy, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2008 by Mystery Man


An indie comedy that will truly make you think. Also known as also known as I Love Huckabees, and written as I ♥ Huckabees.


Albert Markovski (Schwartzman) is a young man who heads the local chapter of an environmental group, the “Open Spaces Coalition.” One of their current projects is an attempt to stop the building of a new Huckabees store, a chain of “big-box” department stores akin to Wal-Mart or Target (Mike Huckabee was the governor of Arkansas, Wal-Mart’s home state, at the time of the film’s release). Confusing matters, Albert is a friend and rival of Brad Stand (Law), a shallow power executive at Huckabees. Brad infiltrates Open Spaces and charismatically displaces Albert as the leader. Dawn Campbell (Watts) is Brad’s live-in girlfriend and the face and voice of Huckabees; she appears in all of the store’s commercials.

After seeing the same conspicuous stranger three times, Albert contacts two existential detectives, Bernard and Vivian Jaffe (Hoffman and Tomlin). The detectives offer Albert their optimistic brand of existentialism—they name it universal interconnectivity(this has some tenets of romantic or even transcendentalist philosophies)—and spy on him, ostensibly to help him solve the coincidence. Bernard and Vivian introduce Albert to Tommy Corn (Wahlberg), an obsessively anti-petroleum firefighter. Tommy is assigned to Albert as his Other.

Tommy grows dissatisfied with the Jaffes, feeling that they are not helping him. Seeking out other possibilities, Tommy ends up abandoning and undermining the Jaffes by introducing Albert to Caterine Vauban (Huppert), a former student of the Jaffes’ who espouses a seemingly opposing nihilistic/absurdist philosophy. She teaches them to disconnect their inner beings from their daily lives and their problems, to synthesize a non-thinking state of “pure being.” Being lifted from their troubles, they wish to keep that feeling forever, yet she tells them that it is inevitable to be drawn back to the human drama, and to understand that the core truth of that drama is misery and meaninglessness.

Meanwhile, in Brad’s further attempts to undercut Albert, he and Dawn also meet and are influenced by Bernard and Vivian. However, his plan backfires when the detectives probe Dawn and him, causing Dawn to reject her superficial iconic status as a beautiful model and him to realize that his whole ascent in the corporate ladder is meaningless, as he has lived his whole life just trying to please others and not himself.

All the storylines collide when Albert accidentally sets Brad’s house on fire. Tommy comes to put the fire out and in the process, saves and falls in love with Dawn, who was inside the house at the time. Brad despairs at the destruction of his house, the symbol of his material success. Albert attains a sort of enlightenment when he synthesizes the two opposing outlooks of the Jaffes and Vauban to realize the cosmic truth of everything. By way of sympathy for Brad, who is now just as dejected and hopeless as Albert was at the beginning of the movie, Albert understands that he and Brad are no different, that everything really is inextricably connected, but that these connections necessarily arise from the often senselessly painful reality of human existence.


This is not my normal type of movie. For some reason I had a desire to watch it today. not sure what to day about it. It has that definite indie flick feel. Makes you do some thinking, part of which is due to the existentialism stuff that can make your head hurt if you’re not careful.

I enjoyed parts of it, but, like I said before, this isn’t my type of movi so don’t expect me to pick this out on a regular basis. Still, it is worth a decent rating.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars