Archive for September, 2008

The Magnificent Seven

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2008 by Mystery Man


A Mexican village is periodically raided by bandits led by Calvera (Eli Wallach). As he and his men ride away from their latest visit, Calvera promises to return.

Desperate, the village leaders travel to a border town to buy guns to defend themselves. They approach a veteran gunslinger, Chris (Yul Brynner). He tells them guns alone will not do them any good; they are farmers, not fighters. They ask him to lead them, but Chris rejects them, telling them a single man is not enough. They keep at him though, and he eventually gives in. He recruits men, though the pay is a pittance.

First to answer the call is the hotheaded, inexperienced Chico (Horst Buchholz), but he is rejected. Harry Luck (Brad Dexter), an old friend of Chris, joins because he believes Chris is looking for treasure. Vin (Steve McQueen) signs on after going broke from gambling. Other recruits include Bernardo O’Reilly (Charles Bronson), Britt (James Coburn), fast and deadly with his switchblade, and Lee (Robert Vaughn), who is on the run and needs someplace to lie low until things cool down. Chico trails the group as they ride south, and is eventually allowed to join them.

Even with seven, the group knows they will be vastly outnumbered by the bandits. However, their expectation is that once the bandits know they will have to fight, they will decide to move on to some other unprotected village, rather than bother with an all-out battle. Upon reaching the village, the group begins training the residents. As they work together, the gunmen and villagers begin to bond such as when the gunfighters decide to share their food with the villagers upon realizing they are going without while their protectors feast. Chico finds a woman he is attracted to, Petra (Rosenda Monteros), and Bernardo befriends the children of the village.

Calvera comes back and is disappointed to find the villagers have hired gunmen. After a brief exchange, the bandits are chased away. Later, Chico spies on the outlaws and returns with the news that Calvera and his men will not simply be moving on, as had been expected. They are planning to return in full force, as the outlaws are broke and starving, and need the crops from the village to survive.

The seven debate whether they should leave. Not having expected a full-scale war, some of the seven as well as some of the villagers are in favor of the group’s departure. However, Chris adamantly insists that they will stay. They decide to make a surprise raid on the bandit camp but find it empty. Returning, they are ambushed by Calvera’s men, who have been let into the village by those villagers fearful of the impending fight. The seven’s lives are spared, as Calvera is certain that by now, the Americans have lost any further desire to fight for this village, and he fears revenge if they are killed; they are disarmed and escorted out of the village.

Despite the odds against them, and despite their betrayal by the villagers, all of Chris’ group except Harry decide to return and finish the job the next morning. During the ensuing battle, Harry returns to rescue Chris, and is mortally wounded. Bernardo is killed protecting children he had befriended; Lee and Britt are also slain. Seeing the gunmen’s bravery, the villagers are inspired to overcome their own fear, and they grab whatever they can as weapons and join the battle. The bandits are routed. Calvera is shot by Chris; puzzled, he asks why a man like Chris came back, but dies without an answer.

As the three survivors leave, Chico decides to stay with Petra. Chris and Vin ride away, pausing briefly at the graves of their fallen comrades. Chris observes, “Only the farmers won. We lost. We always lose.”


I’m not usually a fan of remakes. This is a remake of a Japanese film, The Seven Samurai. However, in the ’60s, people still had original ideas, and this is a total remake, not a reboot.

The acting in this film is dwarfed only by the gunfights. It’s the perfect Western.

The film’s score, composed by Elmer Bernstein, is memorable. Of course, I’m a little biased due to the fact that I played an arrangement of it in high school band.

Calvert, the villain, reminds me of Tony Shaloub’s character in Men in Black. Not in terms of personality, but in terms of his mannerisms.

I always am fascinated when I see established actors in their younger days. James Coburn and Charles Bronson’s youthful looks astounded me as I watched this film.

Each of the seven have their own set of issues that the audience can relate to, which makes them human, and Yul Brynner is more than a capable leader of this rag tag mob of hired guns.

They just don’t make movies like this anymore. Anyone want to make a bet on how long it’ll be before someone decides they want to reboot this. You know it’s bound to happen!

4 out of 5 stars

Spider Man

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2008 by Mystery Man


Peter Parker, his best friend Harry Osborn, and secret crush Mary Jane Watson visit a genetics laboratory at Columbia University with their high school class. While taking photos in the laboratory, Peter is bitten on the hand by a genetically engineered “super spider”. Feeling unwell, he passes out shortly after arriving home. Meanwhile, scientist Norman Osborn, Harry’s father, is attempting to preserve his company’s military contract, knowing that its loss will mean the end of his business. He experiments on himself with his company’s new, but unstable, performance-enhancing chemical vapor which increases his speed, strength, and stamina. However, it also causes him to become insane and he kills his assistant, Mendel Stromm. The next morning, Peter wakes to find that his previously impaired vision has improved and that his body has metamorphosized into a more muscular physique. At school, he finds himself producing webbing and having the quick reflexes to avoid being injured in a fight with bully Flash Thompson. Peter escapes from the school and realizes that he has acquired spider-like abilities from the spider bite. He quickly learns to scale walls, long jump across building rooftops and swing via webs from his wrists.

Lying to his aunt and uncle about where he is going, Peter decides to enter a wrestling tournament to get money to buy a car and impress Mary Jane. During an argument, Uncle Ben advises Peter, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Peter lashes out at his uncle and leaves for the tournament. Peter wins, but is cheated out of the contest money. In retaliation he allows a thief to escape with the promoter’s gate money. Afterward, Peter finds his uncle has been carjacked and killed. Peter tracks down the carjacker only to find out it was the same thief he allowed to escape earlier. After Peter disarms him, the carjacker tries to get away but falls out of a window and is killed.

Upon graduating school, Peter decides to use his abilities to fight injustice, and dons a new costume and the persona of Spider-Man. Peter is hired as a freelance photographer when he arrives in newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson’s office with the only clear images of Spider-Man.

Norman, upon finding out that Oscorp’s board members plan to sell the company, attacks them at the World Unity Fair. Although he successfully murders them, Spider-Man arrives and drives him off. Jameson quickly dubs Norman the “Green Goblin”. The Goblin offers Spider-Man a place at his side, but Spider-Man refuses, knowing that it is the right thing to do. At the Osborn and Parkers’ Thanksgiving dinner, Norman, unknown to Peter, figures out Spider-Man’s true identity; the Green Goblin subsequently attacks Aunt May. While Aunt May recovers in the hospital, Mary Jane admits she has a crush on Spider-Man, who rescued her on numerous occasions, and asks Peter whether he ever asked about her. Peter reflects on his own feelings, during which Harry enters. Feeling betrayed by his girlfriend and best friend, Harry tells his father whom Peter loves the most, unintentionally revealing Spider-Man’s biggest weakness.

The Goblin holds Mary Jane and a tram car full of children hostage on top the Queensboro Bridge where Spider-Man arrives. The Goblin forces Spider-Man to choose who he wants to save, and drops Mary Jane and the children. Spider-Man manages to save both Mary Jane and the tram car, while the Goblin is pelted by civilians showing loyalty to Spider-Man. The Goblin then grabs Spider-Man and throws him into an abandoned building where he begins to beat him [similar to how The Joker’s black goon beats up Batman in the 1989 film]. The tables turn as the Goblin boasts of how he will later kill Mary Jane, and an enraged Spider-Man dominates over him, forcing the Goblin into being unmasked. Norman begs for forgiveness, but his Goblin persona attempts to remote-control his glider to impale Spider-Man. The superhero evades the attack, causing the glider to impale Norman instead, and he dies asking Peter not to reveal his secret to Harry. At Norman’s funeral, Harry swears vengeance toward Spider-Man, who he believes is responsible for killing his father, and asserts that Peter is all he has left. Mary Jane confesses to Peter that she’s in love with him, but Peter, feeling that he must protect her from the unwanted attentions of Spider-Man’s enemies, hides his true feelings. As Peter leaves the funeral, he recalls Uncle Ben’s words about responsibility, and accepts his new life as Spider-Man.


When it was first announced that Tobey Maguire would be cast as Spider Man, I joined in with most other people and was skeptical. I had recently watched him in Pleasantville. After watching the finished product, I was pleasantly surprised.

Kirsten Dunst was brilliantly cast as Mary Jane Watson, although, I think they could have done a bit more with her character. She does look even hotter with red hair, though.

It’s not often that someone looks like they were plucked out of the funny pages, but J.K. Simmons is a dead on ringer for J. Jonah Jameson.

I understand that this is the first in the series, but they spent the first hour developing the origin an backstory of Spiderman and the Green goblin, then rushed all the action and plot into the last 30 min. To me, it seems as if they could have come to some sort of better balance.

My other qualm is with the differences from the comic. Yes, I’m a purist when ti comes to movies like this. They shouldn’t change just to make an extra buck. Fact of the matter is, if you make it they will come. If you make it and its good more people will come.

In the comics, Harry is a nerdy kid who fears his father. In the movie, he’s a spoiled rich kid, who has flunked out of private school.

Also, Goblin’s demise is taken from an issue from the 70s, I believe, but don’t quote me. They pretty much have it dead on, but if I remember right, Mary Jane gets transported to another dimension and Goblin is impaled by his own glider (which they did happen). The whole Spider Man carrying Norman back to his mansion and Harry seeing him and vowing revenge is not in the books to my knowledge.

I love that they chose to go with the lighter side of things. Not every superhero is dark. As a matter of fact, only Batman is a brooding and emo. Spider Man actually has fun with his crime fighting. I think they captured that for the most part with this film.

5 out of 5 stars

Clerks 2

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2008 by Mystery Man



Randal Graves accidentally leaves the coffee pot warmer on overnight, burning down the Quick Stop convenience store where he and Dante Hicks have worked for over a decade. Approximately one year later, they are working at a Mooby’s fast food restaurant. Dante is planning to leave his minimum wage lifestyle in favor of a family life in Florida with his domineering fiancée Emma Bunting (Jennifer Schwalbach Smith), whose father will even provide them with a house to live in and a commercial car wash to run. Jay and Silent Bob are now drug-free (to reflect Jason Mewes’ new-found sobriety) after having been busted and put on probation, which means that they must now undergo drug testing. However, they still deal cannabis and are otherwise still up to their usual antics, following Dante and Randal from the Quick Stop to Mooby’s. Dante is also close to their boss, laid back free spirit Becky Scott (Rosario Dawson), with whom he had a one night stand on a food preparation table in the back of Mooby’s several weeks prior to the start of the movie’s events.

Thanks to some snide remarks from an old high school nemesis turned internet millionaire, Lance Dowds (Jason Lee), Randal (Jeff Anderson) realizes he is not as happy with his position in life as he had thought. Not only that, but he is scared, both at the prospect of never amounting to anything, and at the idea of losing Dante. He quietly shrugs off this mid-life crisis, but not without causing some trouble of his own in the store. 19-year-old Elias (Trevor Fehrman), a The Lord of the Rings/Transformers geek and isolated Christian virgin, works at Mooby’s with Dante and Randal, and is frequently subjected to Randal’s brand of social abuse. Randal is shocked at how gullible Elias is when Elias explains to him that he has never slept with his girlfriend because a troll called “Pillowpants” dwells inside her vagina and will bite off his penis if they have sex before “the troll is peed out” when she turns 21.

After Dante confesses he is worried about dancing at his wedding, Becky takes Dante onto the roof to teach him some moves and asks Jay and Silent Bob to supply the music. They initially play “Welcome Home” by King Diamond before being scolded and replacing that with The Jackson 5. At this point an elaborately choreographed dance routine to the song is performed by dozens of extras. As the song, “ABC,” plays, Dante realizes that he is in love with Becky, and at the end of the song, he admits this to her. Becky then reveals to Dante that she is pregnant with his child. She tells him that she will keep the baby, but will not ruin his upcoming marriage by telling Emma, leaving Dante free to pursue his own life in Florida. Anticipating Dante’s move there, Randal throws Dante a going away party, which includes “Kinky Kelly and the Sexy Stud”, an “interspecies erotica” performance (a donkey show), complete with a fog machine. Dante, having been sent away by Randal to maintain the surprise, arrives back at the restaurant, mistakes the fog for another fire, and calls the fire department. When he discovers that it is not a fire, he watches the show with Randal, Jay, Bob and an increasingly intoxicated and aroused Elias. They are soon horrified to find that Kinky Kelly is not a woman, but the featured donkey. The “Sexy Stud” turns out to be a leather clad, overweight man, whom Randal originally thought was the donkey’s wrangler. Everyone is disgusted (but intrigued) at this show except Elias, who unzips his pants, whimpers “I’m sorry Jesus” and then masturbates openly while crying.

Becky arrives, and although she is initially shocked at the presence of the performance in her restaurant, she and Dante share a close moment, in which he tells her that he thinks she has feelings for him, and that he feels the same way about her. They kiss, only to be discovered by Emma, who arrives with a cake she baked for Dante. The situation escalates when Jay mistakenly congratulates Emma for her pregnancy; when Jay realizes what is going on, he encourages Emma to assault Dante (which she does) before asking her out. Emma leaves the restaurant in disgust.

The fire and police departments arrive at the restaurant, responding to the emergency phone call that Dante made but never cancelled and are shocked at what they see. Dante, Randal, Elias, Jay, Silent Bob, and The Sexy Stud are taken to jail while the police decide if charges will be filed; the Sexy Stud calmly recites the New Jersey penal code, reassuring them all that there is no law against watching an act of bestiality, and that he is the only one who will face any recourse– a small fine. An enraged Dante announces the end of his and Randal’s friendship, leaving Randal hurt and devastated. Randal confesses his fear of losing his best friend, and suggests that the duo buy the Quick Stop and RST Video store for themselves. Jay and Silent Bob agree to lend them the money (a deleted scene reveals that the pair received thousands of dollars in royalties after the events of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), on the condition that they be allowed to loiter in front of the Quick Stop as they did years ago. Jay tacks on a second condition– that Randall and Dante must blow each other, then they have to go ass to mouth– that Silent Bob quickly nixes. Dante and Randall take the money from Jay and Silent Bob and buy the Quick Stop and RST Video. Dante proposes to Becky, who accepts, and helps Dante and Randall repair and remodel the stores.

Dante and Randal repair the Quick Stop. Elias applies for Randall’s old job at RST Video. Randal is hesitant to hire him, but Dante eventually convinces him to give Elias the position. Then, while a visibly pregnant Becky and Elias look on, Dante and Randal reveal an “I assure you, we’re re-open!” sign (a reference to the original Clerks) on the front of the Quick Stop. Jay and Silent Bob, the latter playing the song Goodbye Horsesyet again as Jay puts on his chapstick and assumingly does his whole dance all over again (a spoof of Buffalo Bill’s dance in The Silence of the Lambs). Finally, Dante and Randal are behind the Quick Stop counter. Randal says to Dante “You’re not even supposed to be here today” in a nod to the first film, to which Dante repiles “Can you feel it? Today is the first day of the rest of our lives”. The movie ends with a reverse zoom of Dante and Randal, passing the Milk Maid (Smith’s mother) from the first film, as the scene fades from color to the black and white of the original film. The song Misery by Soul Asylum starts to play, and Dante and Randal look out with affection on the Quick Shop before returning to work, bringing the The View Askewiverse full circle.


This is supposedly the final chapter in the View Askew universe. Of course, that was also said about Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. However, this one feels a little more final. The growth Kevin Smith has shown from the first Clerks to this one and all those in between is evident.

I remember reading that a well known film critic actually got up and walked out of the theater when this came out. I really don’t see why, unless he’s just too uptight and conservative. There’s nothing excessively gross or over the top. As a matter of fact, this may be the tamest of the View Askew films.

Dante and Randall have maintained the chemistry they had all those years ago. Cameos by Ben Affleck, Jason Lee (did you think we’d have a Kevin Smith movie without them?), Wanda Sykes, and others as customers really stand out.

Elias has some of the best parts of the film. The pillow pants sequence between him and Randall is cinematic comedy genius.

Rosario Dawson is gorgeous as always.

The ending is fitting. It all comes back full circle, complete with the shoe polish sign, selling cigarettes to the same guy that was the first customer in the original Clerks, milk maids, and the black and white. The only thing missing was a Silent Bob story, but he did have a few lines.

5 out of 5 stars


Posted in Movie Reviews, Pixar with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2008 by Mystery Man

Before I begin this review, I think its best we take a moment to remember two of the stars that have recently passed. George Carlin lent his voice to Filmore and Paul Newman lent his voice to the Hudson Hornet, Doc Hudson . They will be missed!


The last race of the Piston Cup stock car racing season ends in a three-way tie between retiring veteran Strip “The King” Weathers, perennial runner-up and dirty fighter Chick Hicks, and rookie Lightning McQueen. A tiebreaker race is scheduled for one week later at the Los Angeles International Speedway. McQueen, eager to start practice in California as soon as possible in order to become Cup champion and gain the sponsorship of Dinoco Oil, pushes his driver Mack to travel all night long. Mack is too exhausted to notice when McQueen, asleep, falls out the back of the truck. McQueen awakes in traffic and speeds off to try to find Mack, but ends up in the run-down town of Radiator Springs, inadvertently tearing up its main street. McQueen is arrested and tried the next day by the town’s judge and doctor, Doc Hudson, who at first wants McQueen out of town as fast as possible, but at the insistence of Sally Carerra, the town’s lawyer, assigns him community service to repave the road.

McQueen finds that the job of pulling the asphalt-laying machine requires a slow pace despite attempts to complete it faster. As the days pass, McQueen becomes friends with many of the townsfolk, and learns that Radiator Springs was once a popular waypoint along U.S. Route 66, but effectively disappeared from the map when a nearby interstate was built and bypassed the town, causing many of the businesses and residents to leave. McQueen also discovers that Doc is actually the “Hudson Hornet”, a three-time Piston Cup champion forced to retire after a racing accident, who chose to disappear quietly in Radiator Springs. McQueen, encouraged by his new friends, successfully completes the road and spends an extra day in town, cruising with Sally and partaking of businesses from the remaining shops to get a new paint job and tires. However, that night, Mack, followed by the media, finally catches up to McQueen, who reluctantly leaves Radiator Springs in order to make the race on time.

As McQueen prepares to race, his thoughts keep returning to his new friends, and distracts him from performing well. However, he is surprised to discover that Doc, outfitted in his “Hudson Hornet” colors, and others from Radiator Springs are serving as his pit crew. Encouraged by their presence and their incredible pit stop speed, as well as using tricks he learned from them while in Radiator Springs to overcome Chick Hicks’ dirty tactics, McQueen is able to gain the lead. On the last lap of the race, Hicks purposely runs into The King to try to catch up to McQueen, sending The King into a accident. McQueen stops inches short of winning the Cup to drive back and push The King across the finish line, preventing what happened to Doc from happening to The King, and allowing Hicks to take the Cup. After the race, Hicks is shunned for his tactics despite his victory, while McQueen is praised by The King and his wife as well as the press and crowd for his sportsmanship. McQueen returns to Radiator Springs and announces that he will set up his off-season headquarters there, helping to revitalize the town and its business, much to the pleasure of his new friends.


As with all other Pixar films, this is top notch animation. This is especially obvious near the beginning when Mac and Lightning are traveling across the country. It really looks like they spent the time to capture the scenery. They did a good job of capturing the breathtaking beauty of the American countryside.

Mater is the funniest element of this film. I don’t know if this would work as well without him. His funniest moment involves tractor tipping (a twist on cow tipping).

There are some touching moments and a bit of romance. This film has it all.

Watching this today, I was thinking, this is a world where 98% of the people are vehicles. The other 2% are planes, blimps, etc. So, what would be a NASCAR race to us, seems to me would be nothing more than a track meet, but I could be wrong.

I’m not a racing fan in the least, but if they were more like this, maybe I’d actually watch them.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars


Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2008 by Mystery Man




Clooney plays Dodge Connolly, captain of a struggling professional American Football team during the 1920s, the Duluth Bulldogs. Dodge is determined to save both his team and pro football in general when the players lose their sponsor and the league is on the brink of collapse. He convinces a college football star, Carter “the Bullet” Rutherford, to join the Bulldogs, hoping to capitalize on Carter’s fame as a decorated hero of the First World War (like Alvin York, he singlehandedly captured a large group of German soldiers).

In addition to his legendary tales of combat heroism, Carter has dashing good looks and unparalleled speed and skill on the field. As a result of his presence, both the Bulldogs and pro football in general begin to prosper.

Zellweger provides a romantic interest as Chicago newspaper reporter Lexie Littleton, who becomes the object of the affections of both Dodge and Carter. One knows but the other doesn’t that Lexie has been assigned to find proof that Carter’s war heroics are bogus. Indeed, Carter confesses that the surrender of the Germans was a lucky accident and in no way heroic.

Meanwhile, Dodge’s attempts to legitimize pro football start to backfire, as rules are formalized, taking away much of the improvisational antics that made the game fun for many of its players.

With his own playing career near an end, Dodge gets to play in one last big game. This time it will be against Carter, who has changed sides to the Chicago team. Their rivalry for Lexie’s affection spills over onto the football field for one last day


Normally, I’m a big fan of sports films, especially those that deal with football and are comedies. This one didn’t quite stack up, though. I’m not sure if I expected more or what, but it just wasn’t what I expected.

The film was marketed as a screwball comedy.  While this is a comedy, there aren’t many funny moments.

The plot is a bit weak. I believe it could have been written more soundly, thusly resulting in a better movie. That being said, for George Clooney’s first foray into directing, this is a god job. Only time will tell how good this is. I truly hope this isn’t his best work, because quite frankly, it wasn’t that special.

Not to end this review on a negative note. Renee Zelweger seems to fit best in these movies set in the ’20s. Even in her anorexic (allegedly) state. Women at that time were quite thin. Putting that aside, she just fits in these period films.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars


Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , on September 27, 2008 by Mystery Man


The film is set in a dystopian near future, in Detroit, Michigan. Violent crime is out of control, and the city is in financial ruin. The city government contracts the megacorporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) to fund and operate the police department, in effect privatizing it. OCP is not interested in rebuilding “Old Detroit” but rather replacing it with a modern utopia called “Delta City”. Before this construction project can begin, OCP wishes to end crime in the city, but knows it can’t rely on an already overwhelmed police department.

OCP Senior President Dick Jones (Ronny Cox) presents the new law enforcement droid ED-209, which he believes will end crime in Old Detroit, at an executive meeting. The demonstration quickly goes awry when ED-209 fails to recognize that the OCP volunteer dropped his weapon, as commanded by the droid. The unarmed executive unsuccessfully tries to flee and is gunned down. Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer) uses this opportunity to propose his alternative project, the RoboCop program, directly to the head of OCP (Daniel O’Herlihy) who accepts, earning Morton the wrath of Jones.

Detroit police officer Alex J. Murphy (Peter Weller), recently assigned to the Metro West precinct, is mortally wounded in action by a gang of criminals led by the notorious Clarence J. Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) and pronounced dead in the hospital. Murphy’s brain and face are rebuilt into a robot body, and he is dubbed RoboCop. RoboCop patrols the city and upholds the law and is extremely effective at stopping crime. Morton’s overwhelmingly successful project propels him to an OCP vice presidency, but Dick Jones warns him that his humiliation won’t go unanswered. Boddicker, who has been secretly working with Jones, later kills Bob Morton on Jones’ orders.

RoboCop starts to experience memories from his previous life and starts hunting Boddicker and his gang. Boddicker is arrested in a cocaine factory by RoboCop. In desperation, Boddicker inadvertently implicates Dick Jones. While trying to arrest Jones, RoboCop is stopped by a directive in his program, Directive Four, prohibiting him from arresting any senior OCP executive. RoboCop is severely damaged by an ED-209 unit and a police SWAT team but escapes with the help of his former partner, Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen).

Jones frees Boddicker and tasks him with the destruction of RoboCop, promising to make him a crime lord when OCP starts the construction of Delta City. Boddicker’s gang members, rounded up by RoboCop, are released when the police force goes on strike. Supplied with military weapons by Jones, they follow RoboCop to the same abandoned steel mill in which Murphy had been killed by the gang. In a final showdown, RoboCop and Lewis kill Boddicker and the gang. The battle leaves RoboCop damaged and Lewis wounded.

RoboCop proceeds to the OCP headquarters and reveals Jones’ criminal activities to the head of OCP. Jones tries to take the OCP head hostage. But as he starts making demands, he is fired, which refutes his protection under Directive Four. RoboCop immediately shoots Jones, forcing him through a window to fall to his death. When the head of OCP asks RoboCop for his name, he replies, “Murphy”, before leaving the boardroom.


Back in the 80s, movies weren’t so scrutinized. Thusly, they were of higher quality. Robocop is no exception. While the effects aren’t on par with today’s standards, you can’t watch this and not be impressed.

I remember this being the first R rated movie I ever saw that wasn’t a horror movie. Today I look at it with different, more mature eyes. and still love it.

Though I do love it, there are some flaws. This could be because they spend so much on the origin part of the story. As far as I know, they didn’t know there were going to be two sequels, so there was no need to spend half the movie on it. Also, they could have spent a little more time developing the human aspect of Officer Murphy and a little more in depth with Clarence Boddicker. Those are just my opinions, though.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Forrest Gump

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2008 by Mystery Man


The film begins with a feather falling to the feet of Forrest Gump who is sitting at a bus stop in Savannah, Georgia. Forrest picks up the feather and puts it in the book Curious George, then tells the story of his life to a woman seated next to him. The listeners at the bus stop change regularly throughout his narration, each showing a different attitude ranging from disbelief and indifference to rapt veneration.

On his first day of school, he meets a girl named Jenny, whose life is followed in parallel to Forrest’s at times. One day after school, he is being threatened by a group of bullies because of his leg braces. Jenny tells him to run, and he does so, losing his leg braces in the process. Having discarded his leg braces, his ability to run at lightning speed gets him into college on a football scholarship. He excels at football so much that he becomes an All-American, and meets John F. Kennedy.

After his college graduation, he enlists in the army and is sent to Vietnam. In Boot Camp, Forrest makes fast friends with a man named Bubba (Mykelti Williamson), who convinces Forrest to go into the shrimping business with him when the war is over. After finishing Boot Camp, Bubba and Forrest are assigned to the same platoon and upon arrival in Vietnam, Forrest meets his commanding officer, Lieutenant Dan Taylor (Gary Sinise). Lieutenant Dan came from a military family, and had lost an ancestor in every American war. Later while on patrol, Forrest’s platoon is attacked. Though Forrest rescues many of the men, including Lt Dan, whose legs were severely injured and are later amputated, Bubba is killed in action. Forrest is awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism, and meets Lyndon B. Johnson at his award ceremony.

While Forrest is in recovery for a bullet shot to his buttocks, he discovers his uncanny ability for ping-pong, eventually gaining popularity and rising to celebrity status, later playing ping-pong in China. After meeting Abbie Hoffman at an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. Forrest reunites with Jenny, who has been living a hippie counterculture lifestyle. He also encounters Lt. Dan, who has become a bitter alcoholic having felt that it was his destiny to die on the battlefield in Vietnam. Forrest celebrates New Years Eve with Dan, who is initially hostile and uses Forrest as a means of obtaining alcohol. When Forrest tells of his plan to buy a shrimping boat, Dan mocks Forrest and sarcastically states that he will become first mate of the ship. However, Dan later finds empathy with the fact that Forrest has been discriminated against in the past because of his low IQ.

Forrest endorses a company that makes ping-pong paddles, earning himself $25,000, which he uses to buy a shrimping boat, fulfilling his promise to Bubba. Lieutenant Dan returns and fulfills his earlier promise and becomes first mate of the ship. Though initially Forrest has little success, after finding his boat the only surviving boat in the area after Hurricane Carmen, he begins to pull in huge amounts of shrimp and uses it to buy an entire fleet of shrimp boats. Lt. Dan invests the money in “some kind of fruit company” and Forrest is financially secure for the rest of his life. Forrest names his company Bubba Gump, which inspired an actual shrimp restaurant. Returning home, Forrest finds out that his mother has cancer and later dies.

One day, Jenny returns to visit Forrest and he proposes marriage to her. She declines, though feels obliged to prove her love to him by sleeping with him. She leaves early the next morning. On a whim, Forrest elects to go for a run. Seemingly capriciously, he decides to keep running across the country several times, over some three and a half years, becoming famous. During his run, Forrest unwittingly inspires two separate entrepreneurs to create Smiley Face/”Have a Nice Day” t-shirts and “Shit Happens” bumper stickers.

In present-day, Forrest reveals that he is waiting at the bus stop because he received a letter from Jenny who, having seen him run on television, asks him to visit her. Once he is reunited with Jenny, Forrest discovers she has a young son, of whom Forrest is the father. Jenny tells Forrest she is suffering from a virus (probably AIDS, though this is never definitively stated). Together the three move back to Greenbow, Alabama. Jenny and Forrest finally marry, with Lieutenant Dan arriving for the wedding, walking on two legs with the use of prosthetic limbs. However, Jenny dies soon afterward.

The film ends with father and son waiting for the school bus on little Forrest’s first day of school. Opening the book his son is taking to school, the white feather from the beginning of the movie is seen to fall from within the pages. As the bus pulls away, the white feather is caught on a breeze and drifts skyward.


This film was nominated for countless awards and won quite a few of them, including the Oscar for best picture and best leading man. It’s not very hard to see why. This movie has it all, comedy, tear jerking moments, romance, and a twist. The only thing missing was stuff blowing up!

I’m not sure how much was left out from the novel or what was added, nor do I know what differences are, but I do know thios is a good movie!

“My momma always said life is like a box of chocolates.”

5 out of 5 stars

The Love Guru

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2008 by Mystery Man



Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco), the star player of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is suffering from stress because his wife, Prudence Roanoke (Meagan Good), has left him for Jacques “Le Coq” Grandé (Justin Timberlake). The stress causes his hand to shake, which affects his hockey performance. Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba) enlists the support of Guru Maurice Pitka (Mike Myers) to help Darren with his stress so that the team can hopefully break their losing streak. In addition to getting a considerable payment, Pitka would be invited to Oprah Winfrey’s show, which he hopes would help him become the #1 guru, a place currently held by Deepak Chopra. Pitka succeeds, but feels no need anymore to become #1, more important is his love for Bullard. However, in connection with a vow Guru Tugginmypudha gave him a chastity belt. He returns to him to have it removed. Tugginmypudha agrees that it can be removed now, and explains how to do that; to Pitka’s surprise no key is needed.


This is Mike Myers at some of his funniest! I totally loved the entire movie. The scene with him as a little boy is a little disturbing, though. They could have used the little boy whose body they used rather than superimposing Myers’ head on him.

This is not one of those movies for everyone. If you don’t like crude humor, then don’t bother watching, becuse there’s no shortness of it.

Jessica Alba is a bit underused in my opinion. If you’re going to use someone that hot, then use her. Justin Timberlake and Megan Good are also underused.

Just when I was about to bash Myers for his ego, I realized that Steve Colbert has some supremely funny moments as one of the hockey announcers.

Mike Myers fans will love this, but as with many other movies, the uptight, stuffy crowd will hate it. Those people need to get the stick out of their #%#@@%!!!!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars


Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2008 by Mystery Man


The film opens with an old man looking at the ocean from a New Jersey boardwalk, outside a skee ball arcade. He is then set upon by three teenagers that beat him into a coma with hockey sticks.

Two fallen angels— Bartleby (Ben Affleck), a watcher, and Loki (Matt Damon), formerly the Angel of Death— were banished from Heaven by God after Bartleby convinced Loki to stop killing humans. Forced to live out their lives in a place worse than Hell, Wisconsin, the two see their salvation when a church in Red Bank, New Jersey, celebrates its centennial anniversary with a plenary indulgence. By passing through the doors of the church, their sins would be forgiven, and upon death they would regain access to Heaven. However, by doing this, Bartleby and Loki will overrule the word of God (Alanis Morissette in a cameo role). Since the fundamental basis of existence is that God cannot be wrong, to do so would destroy existence itself.

In order to stop this from happening, the angel Metatron (Alan Rickman), the Seraph who acts as the Voice of God, appears to abortion clinic worker Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) and gives her the task of preventing Bartleby and Loki’s return. Though reluctant at first, she changes her tune after she too is attacked by the same three teenagers and saved by Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), two prophets whom Metatron said would appear. In addition to them, she is aided by Rufus (Chris Rock), the thirteenth apostle who was left out of the Bible because he was black, and Serendipity (Salma Hayek), a muse with writer’s block turned stripper. Along the way to New Jersey, Bethany finds out that she is the Last Scion, the last living descendant of Mary and Joseph, and thus the last living relative of Jesus Christ.

On the way to New Jersey, Loki decides to kill the entire board of a company whose mascot is a golden calf named Mooby for idolatry and various personal sins. They are hoping to get back on God’s “good side” before their return. The duo leave only one board member alive because she was “pretty much a good person,” but Bartleby has to stop Loki killing her for not saying “God bless you” when he had sneezed. The demon Azrael (Jason Lee), a former muse, convinces them to be more subtle in their attempt to reach New Jersey, claiming that both the forces of Heaven and Hell are attempting to kill them (since God won’t let them succeed and undo creation, and Satan won’t let them succeed for fear they’ll make him look bad), and that Loki’s killing sprees are not helping. The two sides meet on a train unaware of the identity of the other, where a drunk Bethany reveals the consequences of proving God wrong to Bartleby. When their identities are revealed, Bartleby and Loki are thrown off the train by Silent Bob.

Bethany’s revelation drives Bartleby insane. When Loki discovers what their success would result in he becomes reluctant to continue, but Bartleby rants on the unfairness of God’s rule and decides existence would be better off destroyed. Loki comments that Bartleby’s rant reminds him of Satan. Elsewhere, Metatron reappears and the group ponders over who could have orchestrated the duo’s plan. Admitting that God cannot be contacted, Metatron explains God had gone to Earth in human form to play skee ball and they have been unable to contact Him/Her; apparently, someone knew enough to incapacitate Him/Her and leave Him/Her alive but unable to return to Heaven of His/Her own will. During this time Rufus and Metatron also tell Bethany of her lineage and how previously, Jesus similarly took until age thirty to come to terms with his.

When Bartleby and Loki reach the church, Bartleby goes on a killing spree as a ploy to lure police to the scene, intent on letting them kill him after he enters the church. Watching from a nearby bar, Azrael explains to Bethany that he is the mastermind behind their return to Heaven, wanting to destroy existence rather than spend eternity in Hell. He is dispatched when Silent Bob hits him with a golf club blessed by the Cardinal of the church. They reach the church before Bartleby and Loki (who has cut off his wings and become mortal), can enter. Bartleby kills Loki and then fights Rufus, Serendipity and Bob. When all hope seems lost, Jay mentions John Doe Jersey, a comatose patient in a hospital across the street who was beat up outside a skee ball arcade, and who is being kept on life support because of pro-life protesters. Realizing that this is God trapped in mortal form, Bethany and Bob race to the hospital as Jay foolishly shoots off Bartleby’s wings with a submachine gun, turning him human.

At the hospital, Bethany removes the life support from God’s human form. God manifests at the church and neutralizes Bartleby, then brings back to life all the people that had been killed. Silent Bob shows up with Bethany’s corpse, injured in the manifestation of energy when God had been freed. God heals Bethany, and at the same time conceives a heir inside her, to carry on Sion’s line. All the heavenly beings return to heaven through the Church doors, leaving Jay to crudely hit on Bethany.


As you can guess with a film based in Catholic dogma, there was some controversy surrounding this film. In a disclaimer at the beginning of the film, Kevin Smith specifically states that this is a satire and should not be taken seriously. Guess some people are just don’t read.

This is not my favorite film in the View Askew universe, but I do like it. There are plenty of funny moments, and the usual references to other Kevin Smith movies as well as Star Wars. It is obvious while watching this, that Smith has grown as a director, because this is a long way from Clerks and Mallrats.

 There is not much I have to say about this film. If you’re easily offended by religous satire, then this isn’t for you. However, if you’re not offened by such things, then you should enjoy this movie.

4 out of 5 stars

Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2008 by Mystery Man


To increase his and the East India Trading Company’s power in the Caribbean, Lord Cutler Beckett executes anyone, including women and children, suspected of or remotely associated with piracy. Beckett, who now possesses Davy Jones’s heart, orders Jones to destroy all pirate ships. Condemned prisoners defiantly sing a song to summon the nine pirate lords comprising the (fourth) Brethren Court to convene at Shipwreck Cove and take action against Beckett. However, Captain Jack Sparrow, pirate lord of the Caribbean, never appointed his successor, and therefore must attend. Captain Barbossa leads Will, Elizabeth, Tia Dalma and Black Pearlcrewmen to rescue Jack. Sao Feng, pirate lord of the South China Sea and residing in Singapore, possesses a map to World’s End, the gateway to Davy Jones’ Locker, where Jack is eternally imprisoned. Elizabeth and Barbossa bargain with Feng for the map and a ship, but Feng is furious that Will already attempted to steal it. The British Royal Navy, led by Mercer, acting under orders from Beckett, make a surprise attack on Feng’s bathhouse. During the ensuing chaos, Will strikes a bargain with Feng for the Black Pearlin exchange for Sparrow, who Feng wants to turn over to Beckett, presumably for immunity from Davy Jones’ attacks on pirates. Will wants the Black Pearl to rescue his father from The Flying Dutchman.

The crew journey through a frozen sea and sail over an enormous waterfall into the Locker. Sparrow, trapped aboard the Pearl, constantly hallucinates about an entire crew comprising himself, each representing a different facet of his character. When the Pearlis mysteriously carried to an ocean shore by crab-like creatures (presumably sent by Tia Dalma), Jack is reunited with his old shipmates. He is initially reluctant to rejoin a crew which includes the four people who once attempted to kill him, with one (Elizabeth) succeeding. As the Black Pearlcrew seek an escape route, dead souls are seen floating by underwater. Tia Dalma reveals that Davy Jones was appointed by Calypso, Goddess of the Sea and his lover, to ferry the dead to the next world. In return, Jones was allowed to step upon land for one day every ten years to be with his love; but when she failed to meet him, the scorned captain abandoned his duty and transformed into a monster. Elizabeth sees her father, Governor Weatherby Swann’s soul pass by in a boat, murdered by Cutler Beckett after Swann became suspicious about the heart. Swann reveals that whoever stabs Jones’ heart becomes the Flying Dutchman’s immortal captain. A distraught Elizabeth vows revenge.

The Black Pearlremains trapped in the Locker until Sparrow deciphers a clue on the map, realizing the ship must be capsized to return to the living world. The ship is overturned at sunset and upturns back into the living world as the sun rises; a green flash marks their return. The crew stop at a small island to restock supplies, they find the carcass of the Kraken (the beast having been killed by Jones on Beckett’s orders), where Jack realises just how serious the threat to piracy’s existence truly is. Further in, they are ambushed by Sao Feng, who reveals his secret agreement with Will. However, he betrays Will, having made another deal with Cutler Beckett to hand over the crew and keep the Black Pearl. The Endeavorarrives, and Sparrow is taken aboard, although he refuses to divulge to Beckett where the Brethren Court will convene: instead, Jack manufactures a deal to lead Beckett to where the pirates will convene and lure them out for Beckett to destroy, in exchange for Beckett protecting him from Jones. When Feng is double-crossed by Beckett, Feng bargains with Barbossa to release the Pearlin exchange for Elizabeth, who he believes is Calypso trapped in human form. Feng attacks the Endeavor, allowing Jack to escape. Aboard his warship, the Empress, Feng tells Elizabeth that the first Brethren Court trapped Calypso into human form so men could rule the seas. Davy Jones attacks Feng’s ship. The mortally wounded Feng appoints Elizabeth as the new captain and the Pirate Lord of the South China Sea. She and the crew are then imprisoned in the Flying Dutchman’s brig. Also aboard is Admiral James Norrington, who frees Elizabeth and her crew after regretting his prior actions. They escape to their ship, although Norrington is killed by Will’s deranged father, “Bootstrap” Bill after discovering Norrington aiding Elizabeth and her crew’s escape.

Will leaves a trail of floating corpses for Beckett’s ship to follow. Jack catches Will and gives him his magical compass so Beckett can find Shipwreck Cove. Jack then tosses him overboard, but Will is rescued by Beckett’s ship, and it is revealed that Davy Jones masterminded Calypso’s imprisonment by the first pirate lords. At Shipwreck Island, the nine pirate lords introduce themselves and present the nine pieces of eight. When they are told the reason of the meeting, they disagree over freeing Calypso. Barbossa calls upon Captain Teague Sparrow, Keeper of the Pirata Codex, and Jack’s father, to confirm that only a Pirate King can declare war. Elizabeth, newly ordained Pirate Lord of the South China Sea, is elected Pirate King after Sparrow’s vote for her breaks a stalemate (each pirate lord only voted for themselves). She orders the pirates to go to war against Beckett. During a parley with Beckett and Jones, Elizabeth and Barbossa swap Sparrow for Will.

Barbossa tricks the other pirate lords into yielding their “pieces of eight” rank insignias, which he needs to free Calypso, who is bound in human form as Tia Dalma. As Barbossa releases her in a ritual, Will discloses that it was Davy Jones, her lover, who betrayed her to the Brethren Court. Her fury unleashes a violent maelstrom just as the Navy’s massive fleet appears on the horizon. During the battle, Sparrow escapes the Flying Dutchman’s brig and steals the Dead Man’s Chest. Meanwhile, Davy Jones kills Mercer and obtains the key to the chest, which Jack then steals from Jones during a duel. The Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchmanface off near the center of the massive maelstrom. Will proposes to Elizabeth, and Captain Barbossa marries them in the midst of battle. Will boards the Flying Dutchman to retrieve the chest, but is mortally wounded by Davy Jones. As Bootstrap Bill attacks Jones, Sparrow, who wanted the heart for his own immortality, places his broken sabre in Will’s hand and helps him stab Jones’ heart, killing Jones. Jack and Elizabeth escape the Flying Dutchman as the crew carve out the dead Will’s heart and places it into the Dead Man’s Chest; the ship disappears into the whirlpool. Beckett, never intending to honor his agreement with Jack, moves to attack the Black Pearl. The Flying Dutchman suddenly resurfaces from the depths, with Will as the captain and the crewmen now human. Will and Jack take the Dutchman and the Pearl along either side of the Endeavour and fire a single full broadside each, destroying it and killing Beckett. The armada retreats in disarray.

Although Will has been saved and the Dutchman crew has regained their humanity, he is bound to sail the sea as the Dutchman’scaptain. Will and Elizabeth have one day together where they consummate their marriage on an island. Will departs at sunset, but first gives Elizabeth the Dead Man’s Chest for safekeeping. Shortly after, Barbossa again commandeers the Black Pearl, stranding Jack and Gibbs in Tortuga. Having anticipated Barbossa’s deception, however, Sparrow has already removed the map’s middle that leads to the Fountain of Youth.

In a post-credits scene set ten years later, Elizabeth and her and Will’s nine-year old son stand atop a seacliff; a green flash fills the sky. The Flying Dutchman appears on the horizon with Will Turner aboard, sailing towards his family. In the DVD commentary, the screenwriters state that because Elizabeth remained faithful to Will for the interim 10 years, and he fulfilled his duty to ferry souls to the next world, he is freed from the Flying Dutchman. Though the “Pirates Secrets Revealed” leaflet insert in the DVD release says that Will is bound forever to the Flying Dutchman and may only step on land once every ten years, this may only be a misconception on Disney’s part.


As with the other movies in the Pirates trilogy, this film has many moments that remind me of the old action movies of the 60s and 70s. While it is just shy of 3 hours, it is an enjoyable three hours. As with every movie, there are some down moment,s but not so much in this one.

Keith Richards makes a memorable cameo as Jack’s father and the keeper of the pirate code, Capt. Teague Sparrow.

The climactic battle is split in two part. The first is a lot more memorable due to the rain. Something about rain adds more of a dramatic flair to a sword fight and ship battle. Not to mention the whirlpool and Tia Dalma/Calypso’s growth spurt.

Johnny Depp really gets to show off his acting chops in this one. Some crictics found the many versions of Jack ridiculous. They’re just stuck up elitists that don’t think summer blockbuster movies are worth being taken serious. Those were some of the best acted scenes in the film.

The second part of the final battle, is a bit anticlimactic in comparison, but it bring back Will and the Flying Dutchmen and rids us of Lord Beckett.

All in all, this i a really good movie. My complaints are with the length and that at times it felt as if there were too many stories thrust in there.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

College Road Trip

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2008 by Mystery Man



The film is about Melanie Porter (Raven-Symone) who is an extremely smart 17-year-old college-bound girl who is getting ready to graduate from high school but really wants to go to Georgetown University. However, her over-protective father, Chief James Porter (Martin Lawrence) isn’t ready for her to leave home and study so far away from home. Porter has other plans for Melanie; he wants her to go to Northwestern University which is 28 minutes away from their home. Porter also receives problems from his wife (Kym Whistley) disagreements, the family pig Albert, who continuously annoys him, and his youngest son Trey, who spends much time with the pig. Melanie gets invited by a scout, who saw her mock trial performance, to an interview for Georgetown. Melanie gets invited by her two best friends Nancy (Brenda Song) and Katie (Margo Harshman) to join them on their college road trip to Philadelphia. Melanie is all set to go with her friends until her father surprises her with his own college road trip to Washington, D.C. On their journey, Porter still sees his seventeen-year-old daughter as a young child, while Melanie tries to get him to treat her like a woman.

On their way, Melanie reluctantly visits Northwestern to take a tour. Porter secretly fixes the tour as everyone turns out to be actors, some screaming at Melanie they lost an eye at Georgetown. Melanie almost falls for it until on of the actors says to her “Yeah, the chief’s a pretty smart guy”, since he never met Porter. Melanie is now more upset at her father.

Their car soon breaks down on the side of the road, in which they find Trey in the trunk with Albert, with a supply of oxygen, who Porter says will soon send him meet back to his wife.

They stop at a hotel (thanks to Albert’s navigating) but end up causing trouble due to Albert eating coffe beans and becoming hyperactive and ruining a wedding. They later met an an extremely happy father and daughter duo, Doug (Donny Osmond) and Wendy (Molly Ephraim), who are on their own college road trip. The two offer Melanie and James a ride since James’ car broke down.

Melanie and her father become quickly annoyed, due to their consant singing, unusual greeting. They soon bond on the trip when Melanie remembers their song together on a tour bus, and tried to work out their differences. It is almost broken when she goes to a sorority house her friends and she has been anticipating, in which Porter intrudes, but they end up forgiving each other at the airport. After dropping off Trey, they must bungee jump down.

When they reach their destination, Melanie and James have learned a great deal about one another and from one another. In the ending James copes with letting go and the closing scene is when the whole family have a Thanksgiving dinner and Melanie introduces her friend Tracy (who is a guy, played by Benjamin Patterson). James learns to cope with this fact, but Doug’s daughter announces her engagement to Scooter (Lucas Grabeel) which causes Doug to freak out and attack him.

Deleted scenes include an alternate opening where James foils a bank robbery and a phone conversation where Michelle Porter hears Melanie’s and James’s complaints while trying to sell a house. The couple think she is talking to another buyer and decide to buy the house themselves.


It seemed like it was just yesterday that Raven was little Olivia on The Cosby Show an Martin had his own show on Fox. Now look at them, starring together in a hilarious Disney comedy!

This movie brings back memories of my trips to colleges, altough none of those were anywhere nearas eventful as these.

Martin Lawrence is very believable as an overprotective father than no one headed to college would want to have.

Raven proves she’s a very talented actress, as if we didn’t know.

It’s not exactly clear where the family got the pig, but he’s involved in some of the funniest parts of the film. The little brother is destined for big things in the future.

THe plot is flawless and the film is hilarious. What more do I need to say?

5 out of 5 stars

Nim’s Island

Posted in Action/Adventure, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on September 21, 2008 by Mystery Man



Nim (Abigail Breslin) is an 11-year-old girl, whose mother has died. Her father said she was swallowed by a Blue Whale after it was scared by a ship called the Buccaneers. She lives with her father Jack Rusoe (Gerard Butler), a marine biologist, on an island in the South Pacific. She has some local animals for company: Selkie the Sea lion, Fred the Bearded Dragon, Chica the Turtle, and Galileo the Pelican. Jack goes by boat on a scientific mission of two days to find protozoa Nim (a new species of plankton); he wants to take her along, but she convinces him that she can manage on her own on the island; they will be able to communicate by satellite phone.

Nim, who is fond of Alex Rover adventure books written by Alexandra Rover (Jodie Foster), receives an email addressed to her father with an inquiry about his field of knowledge. The sender "Alex Rover" seems to be the explorer, but is actually Alexandra, a neurotic San Franciscan who constantly sees her character Alex Rover (also Gerard Butler). An email conversation follows, where Nim first poses as her father’s assistant and then goes to the volcano on the island to see whats inside it and is hurt in the process.

Jack suffers a shipwreck, which makes it impossible for Nim and Jack to communicate. Also, he does not return on the planned date. Throughout the movie, Galileo brings Jack things he needs to fix his ship. Nim explains the situation to "Alex". Although she suffers from agoraphobia and therefore never leaves the house or even opens the door, she travels to the island to rescue Nim.

The island is visited by tourists, taken by Nim to be pirates. Without exposing herself, she scares them away by shooting animals at them. One of the tourists, a spoiled rich boy named Edmund, follows her and sees her. He is confused by her presence, and believes her to be another tourist. But when he tells the others, he isn’t believed and punished severely by his parents for leaving them. The tourists leave. Alex arrives by helicopter at the tourists’ boat and tells about her rescue mission. The tourists do not believe that a girl is on the island, but Edmund tells her what he had seen. Encouraged, Alex goes to the island and is saved by Nim from drowning. At first Nim doesn’t want her to stay, but eventually allows her. Later Jack arrives on a raft still holding the plankton and he and Alexandra fall in love.


I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie. I’ve heard various things praising it and bashing it. I’m not one to put much stock in what a critic says. I’m more likely to take a real person’s word over them any day.

This was a pretty good movie when all was said and done. It falls into the Home Alone trap a bit, though, but at the same time, it works. Most likely because it’s not in a house.

I found Jodie Foster’s chracter a bit strange, mostly becuse she was talking toi her alter-ego Alex Rover, and they didn’t really explain why. Nothing wrong with it, just kind of out there in left field.

You really have to feel bad for the father, though. It seemed that just as soon as something seemed to be going right for him, there would be something to go wrong. Poor guy.

Abigai Breslin reminds me of Kirsten Dunst. Hopefully she’ll follow in her footsteps and become as good an actress. Time will tell.

This was just a nice little film. Nothing fancy about it, but at the same time, nothing really memorable.

3 out of 5 stars

The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2008 by Mystery Man



The beginning of the film features the narrator giving a detailed speech introducing many facts and legends about American Old West outlaw Jesse James (Brad Pitt), some of which are fictitious. This film tries to debunk as many of the myths commonly attributed to James as possible, and focuses its attention on the flaws of hero worship and celebrity in the 19th century. Aside from Jesse, the film also tells the story of Robert Ford (Casey Affleck), a seemingly insecure young man who has grown up idolizing Jesse James and is often seen as a coward by those around him. Bob seeks out his hero in the middle of a forest in Blue Cut, Missouri where the James gang is staging a train robbery. Bob makes petty attempts to join the gang with the help of his brother Charley Ford (Sam Rockwell), who has been a recruit for a while now. Jesse allows Bob to take part in the train robbery to try to prove himself, but Jesse’s brother Frank James (Sam Shepard) sees right through him, saying that Bob hasn’t the ingredient to become a member in their gang. The robbery is a success, but ends up being the last robbery committed by the James brothers. Afterward, Frank decides to retire from crime and settle east in Baltimore, leaving his brother to lead the gang by himself. Jesse does not mind Bob’s presence at first, and begins to have Bob tag along where ever he goes. Gradually, Bob forms a complex love/hate relationship with Jesse, still admiring him to the point of obsession, but also becoming resentful and somewhat fearful due to Jesse’s bullying nature. Jesse begins to acknowledge Bob’s awkwardness and unusual fanaticism, and sends him away as a result.

The gang members have gone their separate ways after their last train robbery. From this point on, Bob still wants to get involved in the gang as he starts to familiarize himself with the other recruits, who often stay at the farmhouse of Martha Bolton (Alison Elliott), the elder sister of the Ford siblings. Jesse’s cousin Wood Hite (Jeremy Renner) also stays there, and often uses Jesse’s status to justify his bossiness towards Bob, with which Bob finds a great disliking to. Wood apparently has a love interest in Martha, but Dick Liddil (Paul Schneider) frequently gets in a his way. Dick, who is perhaps the most highly educated member in the gang, has a reputation for being a womanizer. During Dick and Wood’s stay in the latter’s home in Kentucky, Dick creates a grudge against Wood by defiling his stepmother Sarah Hite (Kailin See). Dick escapes back to the farmhouse for refuge.

In exchange for a partnership, one day Dick reveals to Bob that he is in cahoots with Jim Cummins, an elusive gang member conspiring to capture Jesse for a bounty. Jim Cummins’ character is never actually seen on screen but he is referenced to multiple times throughout the film to add to the effect of Jesse’s paranoia. Jesse likes to take to calling in on his old gang, stopping by their homes from one to another, so he decides to pay a visit to Ed Miller (Garret Dillahunt), another former gang member who is seen as thick-headed and shy and very poor with words. Information about Jim Cummins’ plot accidentally slips out of Ed’s mouth. Thus, Jesse lures Ed deep into the woods and kills him for acting so agitatedly during their conversation earlier, and quickly goes on a hunt for Jim. Jesse brings Dick along for the hunt, and the two head to Jim Cummins’ farm. At the farm, they meet Albert Ford, the young cousin of Robert and Charley Ford. Although Albert knows nothing about Jim’s whereabouts, Jesse violently beats the child, further revealing his aggressive and troubled mind-set. Dick stops Jesse in an attempt to prevent further harm to the boy. Jesse weeps, confused about his actions, and rides away on his horse to regather himself.

As Wood returns from Kentucky to the Bolton farmhouse, he encounters Dick, and the two get into a heated gun battle in the middle of the upstairs bedroom. The presence of Wood awakens the Fords. Charley jumps out of a window to dodge the gunfire, and Robert cowers away in his bed. Wood and Dick continue shooting at each other. Dick quickly runs out of ammunition, and is immobilized by a shot to the leg. But when Wood is just about to put a bullet in his head, Bob remembers his agreement with Dick earlier about their partnership. Bob draws his pistol and shoots Wood from behind, killing him, before Wood can pull the trigger. They attempt to bury Wood’s body in a ditch and form a plan to conceal this event from Jesse. Jesse then re-emerges one night to pays a visit to the Fords. As Jesse eats dinner with them, Bob behaves rather anxiously in his presence, and Jesse notices this immediately. Jesse then tells Bob a brief story about another man he had killed for betraying him, and explains how Bob slightly reminds him of that man. Bob, now humiliated, throws a fit and miserably leaves the room, while Jesse and Charley plan a trip to St. Joseph, Missouri, where Jesse currently resides with his family. At St. Joseph, Jesse learns of Wood’s disappearance.

Bob’s respect for Jesse begins to diminish, and his hatred towards his hero grows further and further, as he realizes the nickle books about Jesse he had read during his childhood have little resemblance to the Jesse he now knows. Consequently, Bob tries to get back at Jesse by talking Dick into turning himself in to the police. By doing this, Bob proves his allegiance with the James Gang. Dick then gives a full confession for his participation in Wood Hite’s murder and agrees to take all the blame for it. And in order to save themselves, Liddil discloses everything he knows about the James Gang’s robberies. While Dick remains in the custody of the police, Bob strikes up a deal with Governor Crittenden (James Carville), and the Fords are to capture or assassinate Jesse James in ten days or less for a bounty of $10,000. Meanwhile, on the way back from St. Joseph, a wearisome Jesse talks to Charley about his desire to commit suicide. Charley then successfully convinces Jesse to take Bob in under his wing.

By now, Robert and Charley Ford are the only active members in the gang other than Jesse. He keeps a close eye on the brothers, prohibiting them from going anywhere without him. The brothers move in with Jesse to his home in St. Joseph, where they stay with Jesse’s wife Zee (Mary-Louise Parker) and their two children. One night in the living room, Jesse invites the Fords to take part in the robbery of the Platte City bank. He re-enacts the way he’ll cut the cashier’s throat, and demonstrates this by holding a knife to Bob’s neck. Jesse then gives a violent monologue about the way he’ll execute the cashier and pulls away leaving Bob shaken and visibly in tears. Even though Jesse treats this jokingly at first, he stops his laughter abruptly just as to embarrass Bob even further. Jesse walks out of the room while the Fords look at each other in concern, overwhelmed with the fear of being killed by him. It has become evident that Jesse has succumbed to delusion–his behavior becoming more erratic and unpredictable with every passing day. From time to time, Jesse even “prophesizes” Bob’s betrayal. Jesse is never out of reach from his guns, and has proven this on more than one occasion. Even when he appears to be asleep, he can be awaken at the slightest sounds. Given these circumstances, Bob decides killing him would be the safest solution. But even as Jesse appears inhuman in the way he acts, he speaks to Bob about how his behavior is almost becoming a problem for himself, and that he often feels helpless and suicidal. As a way to apologize for his actions, Jesse gives Bob a brand new pistol.

On the day of the assassination, both Ford boys wrestle with the task they have been given, especially Charley, who has long considered Jesse as one of his closest friends. Jesse comes home after a walk with his son, and heads to the kitchen for breakfast, throwing the newspaper onto the living room couch. Moments later, while everybody else is preparing to eat, Robert walks pass the living room towards the kitchen when he suddenly notices the paper on the couch with the headline “The Arrest and Confession of Dick Liddil”. Without a second thought, Bob slips the portion of the newspaper under a shawl on the couch, obscuring it from vision, then sits himself down at the kitchen table after strapping on his gun. Immediately, Jesse gets up and grabs the paper from the couch, and has no trouble finding the missing pages mysteriously hidden under the shawl. He sits himself back down again to stir his coffee while he reads, inevitably learning of Dick’s confession for murdering Wood Hite. Jesse glares at the Ford brothers, growing increasingly suspicious of them for never reporting this matter to him. By now, it seems Jesse has no doubt in his mind that they are there to betray him. The three head into the living room individually in preparation for the trip to Platte City. Bob is the first to get up, and he retreats to the living room rocking chair, panic-stricken. Charley follows Bob into the living room to strap on his gun. Jesse walks into the room last, but instead of scolding the Fords, he looks out of the window, withdrawn, and hollow. The Fords prepare for the worst, but it appears Jesse is withholding his wrath due to the presence of his wife and children. After some silent contemplation, seemingly knowing his time has come and accepting it, Jesse takes off his gun belt and lays it on the couch, as a final gesture to try to prove to himself that he truly trusts them, and that whatever is about to happen to him is only a figment of his imagination. For the first time in his life, Bob sees Jesse gunless. Jesse turns around, and blankly stares at the dusty picture of a horse above the mantle, then in a fluid motion climbs up a chair to dust it, even though the picture is easily reachable standing. Unfortunately for Jesse, what he hopes to be his imagination is about to become a reality, as Robert Ford takes advantage of this opportunity to makes his move. Jesse watches in the reflection of the picture as Bob draws his gun and shoots him in the back of the head–the force of the bullet causing Jesse’s head to smash into the picture. The sound of Jesse’s body plummeting to the floor radiates throughout the whole house. Zee rushes to the living room, and mournfully wails at the sight of her husband’s lifeless body. The Fords escape the house to wire the governor about the news.

After the assassination, Robert Ford becomes a celebrity and ends up in a theater show, re-enacting the assassination night after night with his brother playing James, now taking all of the credit for being the sole assassin of Jesse James. Charley’s cheerfulness that so well identified his humanity is not noticeable in his voice anymore. It seems to everybody else, even Charley, that Bob shows no remorse for killing Jesse, who would always deny the allegations of cowardice. In contrast, Charley becomes tormented by what he’s done, questioning why he did what he did, and wrote letters to Mrs. Zee James begging her forgiveness–none of which he mailed. Overwhelmed with despair, Charley eventually kills himself alone in his apartment. Something begins to strike Bob. Instead of Jesse James being remembered as a criminal and a murderer, he is now idealized as a Robin Hood-like hero. Ford on the other hand is openly shunned by the public and is branded a cowardly traitor. At times of anger, Bob dreams of visiting the families of Jesse James’ victims, in hopes of reminding himself that what he did was not in vain, but for the benefit of the people. In a constant struggle to liberate himself from his guilt, Bob gives in to alcoholism, frequenting local taverns only to make a fool of himself. He later becomes romantically involved with a beautiful singer named Dorothy Evans (Zooey Deschanel), who would have long conversations with Bob in hopes of providing comfort to him. In the later years of his life, Bob moves to Colorado to set up a saloon in the little mining town of Creede, still unsure about his own destiny. In the final scene of the film, he is sought out by a man named Edward O’Kelley, while the narrator gives the memorable epilogue, which almost sounds like an obituary Bob had written for himself:

He was ashamed of his persiflage, his boasting, his pretensions of courage and ruthlessness; he was sorry about his cold-bloodedness, his dispassion, his inability to express what he now believed was the case–that he truly regretted killing Jesse, that he missed the man as much as anybody, and wished his murder hadn’t been necessary. Even as he circulated his saloon, he knew that the smiles disappeared when he passed by. He received so many menacing letters that he could read them without any reaction except curiosity. He kept to his apartment all day, flipping over playing cards, looking at his destiny in every King and Jack. Edward O’Kelley came up from Bachelor at one P.M. on the 8th. He had no grand scheme; no strategy; no agreement with higher authorities; nothing beyond a vague longing for glory, and a generalized wish for revenge against Robert Ford. Edward O’Kelley would be ordered to serve a life sentence in the Colorado Penitentiary for second degree murder. Over seven thousand signatures would eventually be gathered on a petition asking for O’Kelley’s release, and in 1902, Governor James B. Orman would pardon the man. There would be no eulogies for Bob; no photographs of his body would be sold in sundries stores; no people would crowd the streets in the rain to see his funeral cortege; no biographies would be written about him; no children named after him; no one would ever pay twenty-five cents to stand in the rooms he grew up in. The shotgun would ignite, and Ella Mae would scream, but Robert Ford would only lay on the floor and look at the ceiling, the light going out of his eyes, before he could find the right words.


This was not what I expected. When I decided to watch this film, I was expecting a Western, not a drama. Although I was disappointed in the direction they chose to go, I admit that I did like this film.

There are quite a few places that seem to drag on forever, especially at the beginning, but once it gets going, the movie is very enjoyable.

My other complaint is the ending. After the assassination happens, the film shifts to Robert Ford, and with good reason, but it feels like they want to start a whole new movie when all they have to do is just say the basic stuff about what happened. There really was no reason to drag out the film for another good 30 min or so. Also, the last line of the film has the narrator saying something about Robert Ford’s last words, then the end credits start rolling. WTF?!?

 The acting in this film is superb. I would never have penned Brad Pitt as Jesse James, but then I wouldn’t have chosen him as Achilles, either. Casey Affleck may be an even better actor than his brother. There is no doubt in my mind why this film was nominated for so many awards.

A little more dramatic picture than I care to watch, but still a good film.

4 out of 5 stars