Blog Archives

The Crazy Jumping Man of Mars

So I finally got around to watching John Carter. This was supposed to be a HUGE summer blockbuster in 2012 and instead was a critical and financial failure. That said, a few friends insisted that the movie wasn’t that terrible and that I ought to give it a try. 

The movie felt like a mixture of Flash Gordon, Stargate, and prequel-era Star Wars (with a dash of Fringe‘s Observers thrown in). Sort of. Also, our hero leaps around Mars like a flea. A better description would be a flea in a bouncy castle. 

My favorite character is this lizard-dog called Woola that’s just freakin adorable. It sort of has Jabba the Hutt’s face had Jabba been a baby. I know I just used “Jabba the Hutt” and “adorable” in close proximity. It will never happen again.

Anyways, effects-wise, the movie looks really good. Story-wise (and yes, I know this was based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel) it’s a little predictable. At the same time, since I know Star Wars and Flash Gordon  and all the adventure serials spawned from the Burroughs novels, I can’t help but wonder what is echoing what?

During one scene, the green Martian Tharks are in some kind of arena to punish Carter and some other Tharks who helped him. The whole scene reminds me of the big arena climax on Geonosis in Attack of the Clones. I half expected a barrage of lightsabers to appear at one point. Did this scene occur in one of Burroughs’ novels? If so, did Lucas base that whole scene after Burroughs or did the moviemakers look to Clones? Chicken or Egg? 

That’s my deep thought for this film which I did mostly enjoy. I don’t think I’ll ever watch it again, but I’m glad I finally got around to it.

Afterthought: Both Ciaran Hinds and James Purefoy are in this movie. Anytime they were near each other, I kept thinking about how Julius Caesar and Mark Antony were going to get the band back together.  I see it as a sign to re-watch Rome

 

 

 

Baby, it’s warm outside

Dear makers of cheesy holiday films:

I’ve watched a lot of your made-for-tv films this season. Something has been bothering me. It’s not the acting or the totally predictable plotlines. It’s not the constant reuse of plot devices such as “small town saves itself from ruin” or “troubled family comes together” or even “rivals fall in love.” Nope. This is the issue that’s been getting under my skin of late:

Green grass on the ground! Green leaves in the trees! Leaves in the trees at all, actually! 

I know these films are probably shot during the summer months, but come on! This is not Edward Scissorhands!  I felt the need to bring this to your attention after watching the cheerful and very corny All She Wants for Christmas. I won’t go into the plot other than to say it uses the “small town comes together” story route.

The film takes place in Forest City, USA. We are never told the actual state but there are references made to Pigeon Forge, TN and to Athens, GA, so I’m going to assume somewhere in the South.  No one has a southern accent, though. Being from the South myself, I appreciate it when folks just don’t try to mimic one. I’m sure my colleagues in the North and from across the pond have the same appreciation about portrayals of their dialects as well.

Anyways, the setting is between late November and Christmas day. The grass in this movie is really green. The trees are full and leafy. BUT…people are wearing coats and hats and the like.  I know it’s a little warmer in these here parts, but if I look out my window I can see that the grass is brown and all of our deciduous trees are fairly naked.

At one point in the movie, the lead female character actually mentions that it just doesn’t even snow there anymore. By the end of the movie, it’s snowing on that nice June-looking set. It looks so wrong. Did your fellow filmmakers insert that line about no snow as a way to point out the elephant in the room? I wonder…

Anyways, that’s my new beef with these films. Usually the springtime surroundings aren’t quite so noticeable, but in All She Wants…it’s just there. That’s my rant to you for today. Future-going, maybe you should film in a different month or least try to shoot away from pretty parks and trees.

Your devoted viewer, Andrea.

PS: Happy Winter Solstice!

Sap: No longer limited to Christmas trees.

 Halloween’s body isn’t even cold yet, but that hasn’t stopped the retailers and networks from reminding you that December 25 is practically upon us. In fact, why not start celebrating now? Poor Mr. Turkey. He never gets his moment to shine.

I had half hoped that last year’s cheesy holiday movie addiction was a temporary thing. I thought my short-lived summer holiday movie relapse was perhaps a wee setback. Nope. All it took was a Hallmark Channel announcement of marathon movies to get my inner elf leaping and fa-la-la-ing away. I won’t decorate until after the turkey is in my belly and the crazy people go shopping. I won’t put Christmas with the Rat Pack into heavy music rotation until December. But movies?

Movie are fair game, and I’m going to watch them all!!! Mwa-hahahahahahaha….. I’ve already made a significant dent. Here’s a few to watch and/or avoid. Or you can be like me and just watch them all. 

Once Upon a Christmas: Kathy Ireland shows off her KMart collection whilst playing Santa’s “nice” daughter Kristin. Kristin goes to the mortal world to save one family from being on the naughty list. In doing so, she falls in love, saves said family and also saves Christmas from being ruined by her naughty sister, Rudolpha.  This was followed-up by Twice Upon a Christmas which unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch as I had to run errands. I’ll be sure to catch it again. From what I gleaned from the first few minutes, Kristin has lost her memory. Suspense!!!! [Honestly, Once was a ridiculous waste of my time. If you want silly, go for this movie. Otherwise, avoid.]

All I Want for Christmas: Gail O’Grady (why isn’t she in more things??) plays a widowed mother whose well-meaning son enters and wins a toy contest for Chistmas. What does he tell the contest sponsors he wants this year? Answer: a husband for his mom. Yeah.  While all the bigwigs and tv folks play The Bachelor with Ms. O’Grady, love turns out to be closer to home. Maybe even next door.  [Predictable? Of course! Sappy? Si. Kind of sweet and worth watching at least once? Go for it.]

Snow Bride: This movie premiered this past Saturday night. A tabloid reporter chases down the story of a possible engagement for some politician’s son and through a series of mistaken identities and spontaneous traditional family/town events, oh you know the drill…. [The whole “snow bride” part of the story was a stretch and really silly. However, despite the cheese, I kept watching. I had to see it through. Yes the sap flowed, but Patricia Richardson from Home Improvement was in this as well as the most wonderful Tom Lenk (sporting a rather perplexing yet fetching stache).  The heartwarming and humor far outweighed the cheese and sap. Therefore, this one goes on the approved to view list.]

More to come folks….more to come. Consider yourselves warned.

 

“They’ve just formed Blazing Sword!”

Last weekend, I saw Pacific Rim. Wow. I loved it. Something about ginormous robot types (called jaegers) pummeling even more ginormous alien monsters… Now that’s good cinema. Don’t get me wrong. There is not one ounce of character development in this movie. Characters met at the beginning of the movie are more or less the same if they live to see the ending credits. You can’t have it all, people!

Anyways, one of the things I really liked about Pacific Rim was that this might be the closest I ever come to seeing a live-action version of Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Hands down, Voltron was my favorite cartoon when I was a kid. Commander Keith was the no-nonsense leader of the team. The Princess was pretty and in constant danger of being kidnapped by the evil Prince Lotor who was more conceited and far less evil than his father King Zarkon. And the sexually ambiguous Pidge talked to mice.

Every episode, the king’s witch, Hagar, would send down a Robeast (aka giant alien monster) which would attack and wreak general havoc on the goodly peoples of Planet Arus. I’m sorry. If my planet was being attacked on a regular basis, I’d have give serious consideration to relocation. Just saying.   

So…the Robeast would attack, and then the Voltron team would assemble their individual lion robots into Voltron!! (Which rocked!) The two would fight on the planet and fight in space. Usually, the robeast would gain the upper hand at some point. Then and only then would Voltron use its secret weapon: Blazing Sword. Ah yes. Best part ever. From that point on, the Robeast has no chance. It’s over.

So, during a massive fight in Pacific Rim there was a scene where the jaeger is out of ammo and is about to lose a fight. What to do…. One character mentions they have one weapon left which just happens to be a sword. Right there in the theater, I elbowed my good friend Sabrina and hissed in her ear, “they’ve just formed Blazing Sword!!!!” I might have shouted it. I’m not sure.

Back several years ago. Might have been 2007 or so, I heard many a tale of a live-action Voltron movie. I was eager to learn more. Sadly, nothing has come to pass. I found a report from a year ago saying that the movie was still in development. Maybe if Pacific Rim does really well, the studios will see that yes, there is an audience for this movie! Maybe.

Anyhoo, if the Voltron movie never gets made, at least I’ll have that one scene from Pacific Rim. I can hold on to that for a while.

Technology Corner

You probably aren’t aware, but up until very recently, my entertainment system has been running old school. You’d think with my obsession with films that I would have a 55″ mega flat screen and the latest in Blu-ray goodness. Um no. I tend to use appliances (and clothes and cars and shoes) until they can no longer be repaired. I will use an item up until the point it has died, and even then I will try to salvage it somehow. I think I’ve inherited that from my grandmother. She’ll save three green beans and call them leftovers.

Over the past few years, I’ve gotten a lot of teasing from some folks over my ye olde 23″ television. This would be the giant boxy tube tv that had to have a converter box affixed to it a few years back when everything went digital. That’s right. I don’t have cable or satellite either. I have noticed lately that one of the speakers in my tv crackles and hisses and sometimes just plays hooky when it’s supposed to be doing speaker things.

About five months ago, I upgraded my Playstation 2 to the PS3 model. You know…just in time for the PS4 announcement. *sigh* Anyways, I’ve had some difficulties reading text on my wee tv screen when playing my PS3 games such as  Mass Effect 2. Something had to be done. So….a new tv was procured. A fancy flat-screen that’s 32″ and quite nice. Alas, herein lies the problem.

The tv is a bit too nice. My dvd player (with VHS side as well) won’t hook up to it. Everything is HDMI. Crazy new technology!! I now run my movies via the PS3, so that problem is solved. However, it took me 4 hours to set all this up. Four hours and 2 trips to Wallyworld. But it’s done.

I’m all upgraded for now. I have to admit, movies look good on a bigger screen, and I can actually read the text in my video games! Monumental stuff, folks.  I have just one final worry…

I still own the VHS box set of the original Star Wars trilogy. This would be the set that came out in the early/mid-90s with the Leonard Maltin interviews prior to the whole “Special Edition” versions. This is the last known edition of the films as they were—before the changes. We are talking original Ewok song! We are talking about a friendly old man as ghostie Anakin instead of Hayden Christiansen.  HAN SHOOTS FIRST!!!!!.

I need to really research how I can hook up my spare (yes, I keep a spare) VCR to my newfangled set. Ideas, anyone? Is there some sort of converter cable out there? Old school on one end and new style on the other? There’s got to be a Tosche Station somewhere nearby.

Think, think, think…

Happy Birthday to Meh

It has been a whole year (and a week) since I started this project. One year!!! Happy Birthday to my little blog!!!!

When I first posted my plan for this blog, I had no idea I would still be working on it a year later. Not that I planned to write a couple posts and ditch the project, but I just couldn’t see that far out. Now, 51 posts later, here we are.

I’d like to thank my followers and any stray readers that come across my little island of movie rants.  I’d like to thank all those B-movies out there. Thank you to Syfy, Hallmark, and ye olde made for television movies. Keep making those movies, folks.

If I had cake, I’d share it. Not sure how to do that via the interwebs, but you get the picture. Just go out and get a cupcake or something. Sneak it into a film and enjoy it there.  Do not send me your receipt. You will not be reimbursed.

Looking ahead, I have two pieces I’m working on at present. So stay tuned…

Thanks again for reading!

 

 

Seasonal Mirth

Summer is here and I’m in a funk. Instead of hanging out at the local movie theater to see the latest and greatest (and I do plan to do that. I did see the new Star Trek movie, and I highly endorse it)…and instead of grilling all manner of meat and veg whilst enjoying a cold beer or two…

Confession time. I’ve been doing something else. I’ve been secretly watching cheesy Christmas movies again. It’s not even that time of year!! I’m so embarrassed. 

Last week I watched A Christmas Kiss in which a girl and a guy in a falling elevator (it rights itself, don’t worry) kiss and then while she later recognizes him, he does not reciprocate. This is mainly due to the fact that her makeup artist roommate had painted her face all up prior to the drama. Mystery elevator man turns out to be a wealthy philanthropist (aren’t they all?) who is planning the annual charity event for his family’s um…charity. Our girl is an interior decorator who works for an evil harpy who happens to be dating mystery elevator man. Is he with the right woman? Will the charity event be as Christmasy as it can be? [Side note: This movie was sooooo cheesy and sugary. Acting was pretty crummy in places and the story was predictable. I watched every second.]

The other movie I recently watched was Christmas in Boston starring Marla Sokoloff who you might remember from Full House but most likely from The Practice. Sokoloff plays a newspaper reporter who is covering a local toy expo. The thing is…her long time pen pal whom she’s never met is also at the expo. They decide to finally meet up. The other thing is…both Sokoloff and her pen pal have exchanged pictures not of themselves but of their respective besties. What does one do in a TV movie? One asks loyal friend to pretend to be him/her and meet the other person. Confused yet? I was just a little. But it’s really cute and festive in all its seasonal mirth. Yes, I saw that I used that phrase and you know what? I’m keeping it. Seasonal mirth, I’ll say it again.

And so what if I watched the end of a movie (never caught the title) where two orphan children were given some Christmas happiness and found a new home and family? So what if I cried a little bit?  It’s all good!

I actually have a couple more holiday-themed movies lined up to watch whenever I find a couple of hours to kill. I think Hulu might have Charlie Brown and Rudolph all year. I can watch those too!!! I’m a little bit worried. I might need help.

“I didn’t know he was in this!”

You know what I love? Wait. Don’t answer that. There is a really long list that is always in flux.  Let me start over.  Ahem…

Do you know what I love when I watch an older movie (by older, I mean it has been around for longer than 5 years)? I love seeing a now-popular actor/actress who at the time of said movie only played a small or supporting role. It’s like seeing them before they were them!

Case in point: Cellular. Though this movie came out in 2004, I had yet to see it until this past weekend. What can I say? I just kept putting it off. Anyways, there I was watching Chris Evans (yum) driving all over town trying to stay on the phone with and save a kidnapped Kim Basinger (where is she these days?). And who was the bad guy in the movie? Jason Statham.

I had no idea he was in this film. None at all. He tends to play sort of an antihero role in his films for the most part. He’s the bad boy you just love cause you know he’s not all that bad. Well in this film, he’s a total baddie. His character also had little to no personality. Really, he just looked threatening and used a passable American accent. Kudos for the accent work, btw!

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe everyone else who saw Cellular back almost 10 years ago already knew who Statham was. By 2004, he had a number of movie hits already under his belt. Whatever. I enjoyed the surprise casting (well surprise for me apparently).

How about you, fearless readers? Have you ever “discovered” a familiar face in a movie from several years back? If so, who/what?

In-Flight Entertainment

I have returned from my vacation! Miss me? While  I’ve been traversing the globe, I’ve had a few good ideas for posts. One such idea came to me while I was trapped on a plane for a 10-hour transatlantic flight. But first, let me back up a bit.

The last time I flew from the US to Europe was two years ago. I flew Delta, and it was one of the older model planes. This meant that there were a series of monitors placed throughout the Economy cabin and we the passengers would watch whatever it was that was presented to us.  We all had to watch the same thing.  While an in-flight movie or TV show is most excellent, there was no choice in the matter. So in 2010, for my flight over the pond, these were the entertainments provided (per my journal notes):

  1. The King’s Speech (Oscar-winning and very good but alas edited for language which ruined one of the funniest sequences in the whole movie.)
  2. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (meh)
  3. The Karate Kid (The new version with Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s kid. Luckily, I think I slept through most of this)
  4. One episode of The Office
  5. One episode of Glee (by this point, I wondered if we had all died and this was perhaps Hell.)

On the flight back home, which is a longer flight btw, we were horribly punished by way of in-flight entertainment:

  1. Little Fockers (Noooooo!!!!)
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (eh…it was okay, but honestly I can’t remember much about it)
  3. Secretariat (This one was pretty good. High point of the flight home)
  4. One episode of The Big Bang Theory (a show I happen to enjoy)

Did you notice how there was less entertainment for the longer flight?  I sure did.  Anyways travel ahead to two years later (present day) and I’m on the plane again headed over the water. To my joy and surprise, Delta had upgraded their planes and now every passenger was given a personal screen with an array of film, television, and game choices!! Huzzah!

Choice! A fine thing unless you are watching the Matrix films in which the notion of choice becomes a HUGE philosophical cluster. But we aren’t at present, so let’s continue.

On my flight over this time, I mainly planned to sleep. That was a stupid plan because I’ve never been able to relax and sleep on planes. Also, while the airline offers seats with more leg-room, really they should be focusing on the fact that their seat cushions (while supposedly useful as floatation devices) are about as comfortable as a wooden church pew. A severe case of flatt-butt makes it difficult to snuggle into the plane seat. I digress….

Here are the shows/movies I watched on the way over when I wasn’t attempting some mode of sleep:

  1. An episode of Top Gear in which they went over the history of the Bond car. Richard Hammond hosted and it was really fun.
  2. The Girl (The HBO movie about Tippi Hedron and Alfred Hitchcock while they made The Birds and Marnie. I love Hitchcock’s movies, and found this behind the scenes story to be pretty good. Toby Jones was really creepy as Hitch. This was also really fun to watch since the airplane cabin was dark)
  3. Most of Wreck It Ralph (I was fortunate to have a very pleasant passenger in the window seat next to me, so we actually conversed with each other during our meals and between movie choices. For that reason, by the time I started this film, there wasn’t enough time left in the flight to finish it. So far so good though…)

On the flight home, I had an idea. I decided to watch two very different type of movies to see which would be the best kind to watch on a flight. After all, this was a tiny screen (smaller than the iPad). Would an action film not play out as well? Or, seeing as the flight back was longer and seemed so, would a drama increase the tedium? As a result, the following were watched:

  1. The Avengers I had seen this in the theater, so this was the first time watching since. (Sadly, my view screen was selective in any settings actions. I had to watch half the movie with only one ear bud in since I couldn’t get the volume down from 11 to a kinder, gentler, NORMAL volume. At some point though, the volume went to normal or else my eardrum just gave up) Overall, I’d say that while I enjoyed the movie greatly, I would have preferred to see it on a much larger screen as most of the action is just lost due to the size of the viewing area.
  2. Anna Karenina (the Keira Knightley version). I’ve never been a big fan of this story, but this adaptation totally sucked me in. For two hours I forgot I was on the plane. So maybe a smaller movie plays better with the limited space.
  3. Brave (This is the Pixar one that came out last year.) I had never seen it before. Animated films play out well on the view screen too. However, I wasn’t overly crazy about this one. Maybe it’s me. It was funny, sweet, exciting, and yet felt a little predictable. I felt it could have been a wee bit more than what it was.
  4. Hitchcock (the Anthony Hopkins version). I thought I’d bookend my flights with yet another movie about Hitch and his moviemaking. This one follows the great director as he worked to get Psycho made. I have the film on my Netflix queue right now because about halfway though the movie, everyone’s view screens froze up, and the flight attendants had to reset the system. If I wanted to finish the movie, I would have had to fast-forward through it, but the system didn’t fast-forward very quickly. A huge flaw, if you ask me.

******************

Thoughts

Hooray for choice even though it comes in the form of a tiny screen! While action films might not work out as well, many other film and TV type options did. Boo for flawed touch screen technology, however. While I mainly had volume problems, the lady across the aisle from me couldn’t get her screen to even work. She had to sit and stare out the window for most of the flight. Lesson learned? Always pack a backup entertainment device be it iPad, book, or crossword.

 

Intermission

Believe it or not, but….I haven’t watched a movie in well over a week. Crazy, right?  I think so. I’ve been busy playing catch-up on Sanctuary (just finishing up Season 3), playing Batman: Arkham Asylum for the PS3 (it’s on loan, so I’m trying to get through it quickly), and prepping for my upcoming vacation.  On top of work and other life activities, movie-watching took a much needed break.

I have a review I’m working on for you. I recently watched Blood of Beasts which um..was a little bloody and there was a beast so they have that in their favor. When I finish the review, it shall be posted. No need to fear missing out on that one. I have more than a few things to say.

Anyways, the point I’m trying to make (and am doing a terrible job at doing so) is that in a couple weeks, I’ll be more than ready for some serious movie-watching, heckling, and reviewing. I hope you will tune in and laugh with me (or at me–whichever). 

Until then, enjoy the intermission music.