Mike the Pharaoh

Over the Easter weekend ABC was showing that old time movie favorite, the Ten Commandments with Charleton Heston as Moses. Now, not being big bible movie fans, the wife and I only had it on for back ground noise while we chatted on the sofa. Occasionally we would be drawn into the story but mostly we ignored it. Toward the end of the evening however, I turned to the wife and said, “You know, if I’d been Pharaoh, Moses wouldn’t have had a chance.” I could tell by the look on her face that she desperately did NOT want to ask but just couldn’t help herself. “How’s that?” she asks. I grinned really big. “First time Moses came up and said ‘Let my people go!’ I’d have cut off his head and fed him to the crocodiles. I’m the Pharaoh for cryin’ out loud! You don’t tell me what to do.” The wife just shook her head. “Know what else?” At this point, she has I really don’t want to know written all over her face so I don’t give her a chance to deny me the pleasure of sharing. “If I had been dumb enough to go through all ten plagues, I certainly wouldn’t have let everyone go. At first light, I’d have gathered what was left of my armies, gone down to the Hebrew villages and slaughtered every man, woman and child. Nobody fucks with the Pharaoh’s kid.” My wife just shook her head and replied, “The next time you feel like sharing something like that, don’t.” I couldn’t help grinning.

Evil Dead

After many years of being told that I HAD to see Evil Dead, I finally rented it from Netflix. It’s been in my queue for quite a while but only got to the top because there’s nothing new I want to see right now. I have to say I was quite impressed. For an early 80’s horror flick it was very well done. I was actually cringing in horrific anticipation. It was a total blast. Wether or not I’m going to see any of the others remains to be seen. Either way, it was fun and definitely worth the time!

EDIT:? So I had to add in this extra piece. I’ve looked at the sequels (not seen yet) and I have to say I’m not sure I want to see them. From what I’ve read and the discussions I’ve had with people who’ve seen all the movies, the 2nd and 3rd movies take what was a great horror film and they turn it into more of a comedy/horror film. I really liked the first movie and am hesitant to see the others for fear it will ruin the first. So, for now, I’m not seeing the others…

Napoleon Dynomite

So, Napoleon Dynamite. I’ve been hearing for awhile that this is “the greatest movie ever”, a complete waste of time, and “a turd of a movie”. In other words, depending on who I spoke with I got a different answer. The weird thing was that the people who’s opinions I trust were conflicting with each other. After getting a different response out of at least four people, I realized I had to see this movie for myself. And I did. My response? I’m just not sure.

Over all the movie was amusing though I have to admit I forced myself to watch it all. I’m the type of person that really hates movies that embarrass the main characters. I don’t find it funny and a good part of the movie focused on the embarrassing life of Napoleon. Either way, I watched the whole thing. The question remains: did I like it?

I’m going to tentatively say no. Overall, it was a waste of two hours as there wasn’t really a point to the movie. Sure, we wanted them to win the Presidency and we wanted Napoleon and Debra to hook up but there really wasn’t this driving idea behind the film. I kept wanting Napoleon to stand up and kick some ass or at least get his ass kicked but earn some respect for himself in the process. It was just a sad, amusing movie about a fucked up kid. I didn’t hate it but I really didn’t like it. 2 out of 5 stars.

Peter Jackson’s King Kong

Last night while hanging out with my slumbering son, I got the chance to watch Peter Jackson’s King Kong. My first thought was “3 hours!?! How can King Kong take 3 hours?” Then I remembered it was Peter Jackson and even though the man can’t make a movie less that 2 1/2 hours long they tend to be pretty good. Bearing this in mind, I sat down for the long haul.

So, I don’t remember having ever seen the original King Kong or any derivation there of. I know the basic story, of course, but not the details. What I found in this movie was a rather intricate story that focused more on the events leading up to Kong’s journey to New York City. The climactic scene on top of the Empire State is really a small part of the movie; really just the final cap on the overall story.

The Good:

Jack Black was by far the most surprising part of the movie. Black plays Carl Denham, the movie director whose fault(?) it is that Skull Island is found. What was so surprising was his performance. He was actually very good. I found it surprising not because I didn’t think he could do it; rather that he hasn’t done it before. Either way, he was an superb choice for this role.

Adrien Brody was a pleasent surprise for me. In the past year or so I’ve come to really like him as an actor. The first movie I recall seeing him in was The Village (an underrated movie if you ask me). The movie I really loved him in was The Jacket. A very creepy, thought twisting movie that I really enjoyed. Anyway, seeing him as Jack Drescol was just great. As always, his performance was spot on. No complaints there.

The natives on Skull Island totally creeped me out. They were so well done I felt like turning the lights on. In fact, they were so creepy that they distracted me from the story but I’ll talk more about that later…

Obviously, the main question everyone has is how does Kong look? In my opinion, he was perfect. He looked just like a real gorilla, just really, really big. There are several battle scenes between Kong and 3 T-Rex’s that were just so impressive you couldn’t help but cheer. Watching that particular scene made me regret having not seen the movie on the big screen.

The Bad

The first thing that comes to mind in regards to what I didn’t like was the length of the movie. 3 hours is a very long movie. It’s one of the reasons I opted not to see it in the theatre. Watching a 3 hour movie would be torture. I paused about half way through at home and took a break. Having said that, I understand why it was so long; there was a lot of story to tell. My complaint becomes more relevant though when we look at some of my other complaints. There were several scenes in the movie when I found myself thinking “I get the idea. Move on already.” There’s a “taxi chase scene” in New York City that seemed to go on forever. There are also many instances during the Skull Island portion of the movie where it just seemed to drag on and on. So, the movie could probably have been shortened by 20 to 30 minutes just by a bit more editing.

Earlier, I mentioned the natives in this movie and that they were so well done they were distracting. I know that seems contradictory, so that’s why I’m going to explain. First, the natives were just damn scary. Their appearance, their sounds, their actions; everything about them was just over-the-top scary. The were just so damn interesting I started thinking about the tribes of people and how they ended up they way they are. I found myself wondering how they got there, what there lives were like and why the developed into the type of tribe that they were (blood-thirsty killers). Perhaps the normal person wouldn’t have gone down this path, but my mind took off with it. 15 minutes later I had to stop and “rewind” the DVD to get back to a point were I was still paying attention.  Even thinking about it now, I find my self wanting to know more about the tribe. For instance, they obviously sacrifice their woman to Kong but why do they do that? Do they view his as a god? How did they build the massive wall? Did they build it or are they just there to guard it? The list of quesitons goes on and on. So, the question becomes, did Jackson make his natives too interesting? For me, the answer has to be yes. If I’d been at the theatre for this movie, I would have missed about 15 minutes because of them.

Conclusion

So, if forced to give it a rating, I’d say 4/5 stars. Maybe even 4 1/2. My largest complaint is the length of the movie. Everything else just seemed to flow really well so if you haven’t seen it, you really need to. If you’d like a professional’s opinion, check out Ebert’s review.

Domino

I also watched Domino while in Orlando. Those of you who know me well will all be thinking, “That’s more like his style of movie than Oldboy was!” and you’d be right. This is a very stylized movie that does some things really well. The first was choosing Keira Knightley for the part of Domino Harvey, model turned bad-ass bounty hunter. All in all, Knightley plays this part perfectly. There’s not a single scene where I thought the character was forced. The other thing it did well was choosing actors I like and giving them good roles. Mickey Rourke, bad-ass mother-f***er himself, plays Ed Mosbey, Domino’s boss and mentor. And best surprise of all, Christopher Walken as a sleazy reality tv series producer and Lucy Liu as a hard-ass FBI agent. At this point, you shouldn’t give a damn what the movie’s about. I’ve given you four good reasons to see it already (Keira, Mickey, Christopher and Lucy).

Anyway, the storyline jumps to now and back several times but is done really well so you never really get lost. (Although, if you get lost in movies like Underworld, you may have a problem with this one.) I think one of my favorite parts of the movie was when the arm was finally explained. The first time it shows up you’re like, “What the?!?” Anyway, I’m not going to put any spoilers in this. If you like the actors, then this is definitely something to rent. I had alot of fun with it. 3 out 5 stars.

Oldboy

So, I watched Oldboy this past week while in Orlando. I’m not honestly sure what I thought of the movie. It was certainly interesting enough. It’s a South Korean film about a man named Oh Dae-Su. Dae-Su is imprisoned and tortured for 15 years without ever knowing why. When he is released, again without knowing why, he attempts to seek out his jailer and exact revenge. That’s about the first 30 minutes of the movie. From there you’re on a ride of all sorts of strangeness. Things like eating an octopus alive, to scenes of torture involving a hammer and someone’s teeth. Throw in some flashbacks from Dae-Su’s high school days and you’ve got a hell of a ride. There’s a twist at the end of the movie that I thought of briefly at the beginning but threw out, thinking it was too obvious. Turns out I was right so don’t doubt your instincts. Either way, I was certainly entertained, although since I’m a big wuss I did cover the laptop screen a few times. Anyway, I’m giving it a 3 out of 5. I enjoyed it overall and walked away knowing that I’ll be thinking about this movie for a while. Not a great movie but some of it was disturbing enough to stick with you.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The wife and I are huge Harry Potter fans. At least, we’re fans of the books; the movies not so much. At first, we were very excited about the HP movies. We saw Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets at the theater. With the Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, we waited for them to come out on DVD. With Prisoner of Azkaban, we were happily surprised at how well done the movie was. Yes, it was somewhat different from the book and yes, things were left out, but all in all, we thought it made a better movie because of it. Much better than the first two. When GOF came out, I heard many reviews saying if you liked POA you’ll hate GOF. Turns out they were right. Here’s why.

  1. My first complaint is the overall impression of the movie. The move, by itself, makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever. Ten minutes into the movie, my wife turns and says to me, “If I didn’t know this story really well, I’d have no clue what was going on!” I couldn’t agree more. There was so much that it assumed you knew that if you didn’t, it just didn’t make sense.
  2. At first the movie seems like it’s trying to stay 100% true to the book. Then it turns 180 degrees and puts Barty Jr. at the house with Valdemort, Winky is no where to be found, Dobby never apears and what the hell happened to S.P.E.W. (For those who don’t know, that’s Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare). My point? Pick a side. Either stay true to the book or don’t but don’t do it half-assed both ways.
  3. There are several parts of the movie where things are built up and then just fizz out. First and foremost would be the Quiditch World Cup. I was thinking, “Wow! Look at the stadium! This is going to be awesome! Wait…what? That’s it?” It was this massive setup and then nothing. There were other pieces like this as well. The entire magic scene with Valdemort at the end with Harry’s parents showing up and all and Dumbledore is all “Oh yes! The mumble-mumble-mumble spell! You know those weren’t your parents, right? Great! You’re really neat! See you later!” WHAT?!? That’s one of the biggest parts in the book. You find out all sorts of good stuff there and I get a mumble mumble?
  4. The whole dragon scene was so over the top I was seriously annoyed. I absolutely love that part in the book and consequently was highly anticipating that scene. And again, where’s the dragon going? What do you mean the chain broke? Come on people. The dragon chained up and all would have worked just as well. Hollywood just makes me sick sometimes.

Anyway, I could ramble on and on about all the things I hated about this movie so I’ll go ahead and say I give it 2 out of 5 stars and be done with it.

Dragonslayer

I have very fond memories from my childhood of a wonderful movie called Dragonslayer. In a very brave move, I added the movie to my Netflix queue to see if it really was a good movie. I watched the movie this past week and discovered several things.

  1. The movie is a Disney movie, at least in part. The Disney company was a producer in the making of the movie. I didn’t remember that.
  2. The part of Galen (our hero) was played by none other than a very young Peter MacNicol. For those of you who don’t know who he is, do you remember the quirky lawyer named John Cage with the curly hair on Allie McBeal? Well, that’s him! Very odd.
  3. The best part was that it really is a good movie. I was most surprised about this.

So, it was a good movie. Oh, to be sure, there was plenty of bad acting and it wasmade in 1981 so you can’t totally get away from the slight stench of that decade but all in all it really was a well done movie. The thing that impressed me the most was the special effects. For a movie made in 1981, the dragon looked really good. Especially when it was in flight, you could really see the dragon. There were a few places where it was obviously a construct but overall it looked really good.

Anyway, if you have good memories of Dragonslayer from your youth, you might pick up a copy to view it again. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well it has aged.

Doom (Unrated)

I watched Doom Unrated the other evening and I must admit, I was somewhat surprised. I went into this movie expecting the most god-awful thing I’d ever seen but, as I’ve said, I was surprised. Now, don’t get me wrong. It certainly was a bad movie based on a video game. In most respects it was a movie that should have never been. In other words, it was no Resident Evil. 😀 Fair warning, there are spoilers ahead.

The Rock – Ok, so you either love him or you hate him. So far, I love him. Everything I’ve seen him in, with the exception of the Mummy Returns (bad animation, not really the Rock), I’ve enjoyed. I truly went in expecting this to be a movie that he sucked in. Surprise! The Rock was able to pull off his character of “Sarge” pretty well. Honestly though, it wasn’t that difficult of a character to play. Either way, I really enjoyed how he went from being someone you respected to something else in the blink of an eye.

The “Demons” – This was probably my biggest disappointment with the film. The demons in the game were NOT genetically engineered. They were demons from Hell! Come on people. I know these times are charged with lots of religious non-sense but lets keep our origins true to form. The whole “24th chromosome that chooses who to infect to make monsters that are really people” was pretty lame. I want satanic demons, damn it!

The 1st Person Shooter Thing – was just idiotic. I ended up fast forwarding through that part. If I wanted to watch someone else play Doom, I’d fire up my XBox and have the wife take a go. Seriously, we know it’s based on a game. Enough already!

Okay, I supose after my nitpicking it sounds like a didn’t enjoy the movie even though I really did. It was one of those movies where you REALLY have to work on suspending your disbelief. If you can do that, and you like the Rock, then you’re good to go. As for why it was the unrated version, I have no idea having never seen the theater release. There was no gratuitous nudity so I imagine the gore was ramped up in this version. It didn’t seem over the top to me so I’m curious what they added in to make it go past the R rating it received in the theater.

All in all, I don’t know that I would suggest seeing this movie but I didn’t think it was a waste of time.