Category Archives: movies

The Revenant

The Good

I am a mountain man, by Gawd! so I am excited to a mountain man movie no matter what. The opening sequence of the trappers in the wilderness getting their beaver furs packed up for the long journey back was amazing. The intensity of the Indian attack kept me on the edge of my seat and the scenes of the trappers doing the business trapping felt truly authentic. The fur-trade era fort was amazing and felt real.   It was cold, damn cold. Tom Hardy was incredible as the malicious trapper Fitzgerald.  The bear attack . . . THE FREAKIN’ BEAR ATTACK!!

The costumes were spot-on, with one small exception below . . .

The Bad

How did the Indian get into the tree to snipe the trappers? Indians shooting arrows from sniper-rifle range distance? I found myself wondering if these were a lost tribe of ninjas.   The flashback scenes showed a group of soldiers attacking the Pawnee that really looked like Spaniards.   Glass and his son looked like they were the same age.   Glass was in his early 40s when the bear incident occurred, because Leo doesn’t age, he looks like a kid, dressed like a man, dressed like a mountain man.   Which for Hollywood is probably spot on . . .

Our hero grabbed a pistol from the Frenchman and proceeded to fire it four times without reloading. Did he grab a shot pouch that I missed? Luckily grab the right size ball?   And my most fundamental question for a pack of pre-1840s dudes living in the wilderness . . . where were all of their hats?

Looks like Pedersoli (or one of their distributors) did a good bit of business on this movie . . .

The Run-down

There are a lot of classic movie moments in here.   The most obvious is the cutting open the pony to stay warm – calling back to the tauntaun scene in ESB.   Two elements from First Blood – the jumping off the cliff into the tree to break a fall, using gunpowder to cauterize a wound. And finally, the inevitable ending where our protagonist and antagonist square off to settle the scope with hawk, knife and fisticuffs.

Overall, I would say it’s probably worth seeing, but I just don’t see the staying power of a Jeremiah Johnson

The First A-Team Trailer

The moment you all have been waiting for is here.

The first trailer for the new A-Team movie got released today and in a word – it looks AWESOME.

A few happies:

1) Liam Neeson looks to be a great Hannibal (cigar and all)

2) Sharlto Copley from District 9 as Murdock

3) Rampage keep the BA Baracus hair-do

3) The A-Team van!

If this is half as good as the trailer looks, then this will more than make up for GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Potential Update on the A-Team Movie

Daytime just sent me over this info on the ever-in-discussion A-Team movie:

The “A-Team” is certainly gearing up for what one would call an A-list cast (though I’m quite fond of George Peppard, Dirk Benedict and Mr. T). According to Variety, it was confirmed that “Hangover” star Bradley Cooper is in negotiation to play Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck. And now, Variety is stating that none other than Liam Neeson (who just starred in the ridiculously entertaining “Taken”) is in negotiations to play John “Hannibal” Smith. Joe Carnahan is set to direct, with Ridley Scott producing. OK, great. But where’s Mr. T in all of this?

The source is here.

I would have never thought of Liam Neeson as a good Hannibal (of course Faceman would need to be played by a pretty boy, so no surprises there), but after seeing him in Taken, I would certainly like to see his interpretation of the role.

Now of course the big question for me (aside from the concern of Hollywood destroying all of my childhood icons in the name of making a buck, i.e. Transformers, GI Joe, etc.) – is where in time will they set the story?

The A-Team is fundamentally a 1980’s post-Vietnam story, but I am not relying on Hollywood to keep the story in context.

I am sure that the A-Team will have been accused of a “crime they did not commit” – some kind of robbery of a big bank in Iraq or Afghanistan. But to make the story politically correct for modern times (and Hollywood), it’ll turn out that the bank is being run by an evil military contractor – who was really defrauding the government for its own nefarious purposes.

I wonder if they will push the envelope and make the team mercenaries during the conflict – certainly believable in our contractor-based neo-warfare model – or if they will be a real US Army A-Team (Special Forces) that is assigned the infamous task? If they are US troops, then of course Mr. Neeson would have to do something about that accent . . .

Or . . . they could go all UN-style like Streetfighter.

Just kidding . . . seriously. Don’t do it, Hollywood!

Ok – so the Transformers movie wasn’t that bad . . .

Tropic Thunder – Now with More Retards

Tropic Thunder will open this week to a hail of criticism from various members of the press and polite society. Much to my surprise, it had little to do with Robert Downey, Jr.’s black-face performance of a tough Vietnam-era sergeant, but rather dealt with the copious use of the epithet “retard” oft-used by the characters to describe themselves.

Their indignation caused a bit of a row at the opening of the film, attended by advocate, and openly retarded actor, Tom Cruise. The “beautiful people” were met on the red carpet by a group of protesters coming from across the street.

Dozens of people from organizations such as the Special Olympics and the American Association of People with Disabilities protested the movie-industry spoof across the street from the film’s Los Angeles premiere at Mann’s Bruin Theatre on Monday. The protesters held up signs with slogans such as “Call me by my name, not by my label” and chanted phrases like “Ban the movie, ban the word.” More.

One of the film”s writers recently spoke to the controversy, saying:

“Some people have taken this as making fun of handicapped people, but we’re really trying to make fun of the actors who use this material as fodder for acclaim,” co-writer Etan Cohen told MTV. “The last thing you want is for people to think you’re making fun of the victims in this who are having their lives turned into fodder for people to win Oscar.”

Whether we like it or not, I think there are certain offensive words that have crept into our national lexicon – and retard is one of them. It’s become a way to describe things or people, and in the absence of mentally handicapped friends or family, it’s probably something folks say a lot without the hesitation that comes from personal involvement with affected individuals.

Honestly, I didn’t really think much about it until I saw a post on my Facebook page from a high-school friend who is a regional leader of the Special Olympics and has a sister with Down syndrome.

Coming from a family where we have a middle school teacher on staff, our language tends to degrade the deeper we are into the school year. Whereas we would once describe things as being “unfortunate,” as time goes on they become “retarded” or “gay”. There is a certain primal element that goes into the use of some of these words and a sense of empowerment that comes with using a mean word becomes a tribal designation to separate “us” from “them”.

We are this, they are “gay” – or whatever the nom du jour happens to be.

That’s not spoken as a disparagement of gay folks, but I think the language also becomes a short-cut to create a funny reaction in folks and the shock-factor of a lot of jokes is more often based on language that creates offense by stereotyping one group or another and putting them into the awkward position where we can point at them and laugh.

It all comes back to asking why things make us laugh, and I think we either laugh at things because they are really are funny or sometimes we laugh at things because they make us uncomfortable – and somewhere up in the cerebrum similar chemicals are being mixed around and it elicits the same “laugh” response.

And speaking of gay and funny, I remember watching Ellen DeGeneres’ bit a few years back at a relatives’ house (we still don’t have cable). It was really funny, really clever, and above all – really clean.

We were all amazed later on when recounting the show that it was funny without having the normal potty talk or “seven words” to make us laugh.

It’s a rare comedian that can elicit such riotous laughter without working blue.

But I think there is something more to the protests that the disabilities advocates have hit on.

“I just think Ben Stiller and the people involved in this movie just didn’t think it was going to be offensive.”

Andrew J. Imparato, president of the American Association of People with Disabilities

I think he’s right. I don’t think Hollywood thinks a lot about what they put together.

Movies are a business – a big business – and Hollywood writers and producers have put together a John Grisham-novel-esqe algorithm for making money on their product.

There is no motivation to try to challenge perceptions of comedy and what makes us laugh because it’s just too risky. If it’s too high-brow no one will get it, or even another group will come out of the woodwork and be offended by the material because it’s considered snobby.

So we’re back to where we started – watching the latest stars push the envelope of what’s socially acceptable and maybe even highlight the hidden biases within ourselves.

At least now we have explosions and cool special effects.

New Punisher Movie Posters

Some new Punisher: War Zone movie posters were released into the InterWeb.


They look pretty cool – kinda in the “Welcome Back, Frank” style that Steve Dillon/Garth Ennis used to revitalize the series. I really liked that series, as it did away with a lot of the silliness that had become the hallmark of the character – Microchip, The Battle Van, using a mini-gun in downtown New York and not activating the National Guard in the process . . .

It also gives a closer look at the “action collar” thing that has been bugging me from the trailer.


I supposed that its some kinda armour, but I think if you were going that route, you’d probably wear some kind of DEA-mask or helmet as well? Or maybe the slicked back hair has been rated to Level 2, so it’s not a concern?

The director is some German chick, so maybe its a goth/industrial thing?


The film is being described as a reboot of the first series, which is great, since that movie was so bad and didn’t at all set itself up for a good sequel (SARCASM ALERT).

There’s a credit for Microchip in the cast list, so let’s just hope this one doesn’t leave us longing for Dolph Lundgren.

More info on the train wreck that led to this movie here.

How to be Batman

Finally, the career guidance I need. There is a new book coming out in October about what it would take to be Batman.

The book is called Becoming Batman: The Possibility of A Superhero and details what exactly someone would have to do to become Batman (be rich and train for 18 years), how long you could expect your career as Batman could last (2-3 years)

More.

But really, I think the real reason I dug on Batman, is for the simple fact that he is a regular dude.

Well, sort of.

I mean there is the whole multi-billions thing. And of course being a trust-fund baby means that he has plenty of time to goof-off, er . . . workout and become an Olympic-level athlete.

Ok, so despite the

Check comments – http://www.boingboing.net/2008/07/15/science-of-becoming.html


Here is a description from Wikipedia:

Although seemingly unremarkable in appearance, the utility belt is one of Batman’s most important tools in fighting crime. Composed of a kevlar strap and metal buckle, the utility belt houses ten cylinder cartridges, which vertically clip onto the outside of the belt. The buckle itself contains a miniature camera and two-way radio. A secondary compartment behind the length of the belt houses Batman’s supply of collapsible batarangs.

Each of the ten cylinders contains various tools integral to Batman’s war on crime, and are interchangeable with other cylinders depending on Batman’s needs for the mission. Through the years, Batman has modified the contents of his belt to accommodate various needs.

During the events of No Man’s Land, Batman made use of a more simple worksman’s belt with larger pockets due to the necessity of carrying more equipment.

There is also a great description on that site of the various items that have been used and/or carried in the utility belts.

And for those who’ve ever wondered the answer to the most important question – how can he stay out all night and still kick a sufficient amount of ass?

How would Batman get enough rest?
The difficulty for Batman is he’s going to be trying to sleep during the day. He’s going to be really tired, actually, unless he can shift himself over to just being up at night. If he were just a nocturnal guy, he would actually be a lot healthier and have a lot better sleep than if he were doing what he does now, which is getting some light here and there. That’s going to mess up his sleep patterns and duration of sleep.

Well, there you have it.

Terminator Salvation?

I, like many of my movie-going ilk, was really excited to see the 3rd Terminator movie, as the preview made it out to be what I had been waiting for the whole time – a story set in the future showing the few human survivors going at it all laser-Red Dawn-style against the worst that Skynet could throw out.

Unfortunately, after sitting through this uninspired remake of the 2nd movie with a different cast and . . . oh wait . . . this time the Terminator is a girl (wow! – gee that’s never been done before) . . . I realized that the scene in the preview that I thought was going to show the future was just that – a quick scene in the movie showing the future. Ahem.

I wanted to see the 2000s version of the best parts of the first film – showing Reese and the rest of the gang driving around in retrofitted El Caminos and shooting T-800s with the plasma rifle with the 40-watt range (hey, only what ya see, pal).

In either case, Warner Bros has released a teaser trailer for the new movie and it looks like its at least getting closer to the goods.

On the positive side, it is staring Christian Bale, who seems to be reprising a little harder Reign of Fire-type action (leading the numbed herds out the valley) and besides . . . he’s freakin’ Batman.

Check it out.

Random stupid on the new GI JOE Movie

Ok – I know it’s really hip to say how bad things are, everything sucks (remember how cool this made you feel back in high school?), but there are some things that should never be touched.

And one of those – is the mission of GI Joe – A Real American Hero.

Apparently, this is more than liberal, USA-hating Hollywood can stand, and thus, the producers of the new GI Joe movie have made some slight alterations:

Paramount has confirmed that in the movie, the name G.I. Joe will become an acronym for “Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity” — an international, coed task force charged with defeating bad guys. It will no longer stand for government issued, as in issued by the American government.

That’s awesome, because there really is a world standard for who the “bad guys” are. Hmm . . . do we give it an Eastern angle, and support the status quo of the world superpower in that region, or do we base it on natural resources and thus look out for the interests of the Middle East?

I know . . . we can all have a vote and then decide on what’s best – oh, wait . . . most of the world’s countries don’t believe in silly concepts like “God-given rights,” “freewill,” and freedom to worship and express yourself.

No – they’re too busy dragging political dissidents off to gulags, harvesting their organs, or chopping the arms off of their neighboring tribes.

Oh, wait . . . that’s right – we’re supposed to be the “bad guys” now. Bringing all that awful foreign aid to all of the good countries of the world, selfishly being first to provide medical support and supplies in times of disasters, and adopting unwanted children from other countries that just throw them away if they are unlucky enough to be born female instead of male.

The word is that in the current political climate, they’re afraid that a heroic U.S. soldier won’t fly.

I first saw this on AintItCool.com, but here’s the full article on Fox.

Thanks, Hollywood . . . but didn’t you already made this movie?