The Dark Knight, Eragon, Man Bites Dog, Shinsengumi Assasins of Honor, Golem Reviews

The Dark Knight. The latest Batman movie with Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Christian Bale reprising their roles, but Rachel is acted by Maggie Gyllenhaal instead of Katie Holmes. Heath Ledger in his final role as the Joker plays him as a psychopath. There isn’t anything lovable about him at all. He is not a flashy dresser like Jack Nicholson or Cesar Romero. But I was pleasantly surprised at how well he came off.

This movie started off slow with the setup being a bit confusing. However the pitch heightens to nonstop action and a very satisfying conclusion. The bat costume has been redesigned-more matte, smaller ears, more flexible and very cool in the air. The batmobile is all it can be and a transformer, too! The workspace for Morgan and Batman is splendid although I miss the ole mansion. It’s being rebuilt, so hopefully it will return for the next movie.

And what do you think? Does the batman get the girl? Doesn’t the superhero always get the girl? Or is the Dark Knight to dark for the women? Personally, who would want a man that stays out all night and falls asleep during the day. Okay, maybe it’s his money. Of course he’ll always have Michael Caine and Gary Oldman. These guys are great actors, and will always be there for him. I don’t mind that Rachel is a different actress, but I will be po’ed if these two guys don’t come back again. But who knows if Christian Bale will come back? Hmm. Who out there can be the next Bat?

Eragon. I have the book in my reading queue. This movie was entertaining, but nothing really special. It’s difficult for me not see influences of Lord of the Rings and Highlander. Jeremy Irons is no Sean Connery in the tutor the naive mythical hero department. The ending left me hanging. The girl rides off. He flies off a hero. He smiles way too much. The bad guy lives. But entertaining nonetheless. The dragon is way cool.

Man Bites Dog. This is Belgian fake documentary about a film crew that follows a serial killer. The directors and writers say they are actually making a film about the art of film making and just happened to pick a serial killer. It is black and white. It won prizes at Cannes. I didn’t get it.

Shinsengumi Assasins of Honor. Toshiro Mifune stars in this reenactment from a period in Japanese history that was full of turmoil. The rest of the world is knocking at Japan’s door, 300 years of Tokugawa shogunate rule are coming to an end, the sword is being replaced by the gun, and the emperor is poised to be renstated. It’s a confusing period to me. The current NHK Taiga drama takes place right before this movie. Atsuhime has married Shogun Iesada, 13th Tokugawa shogun. The Americans are threatening Japan and force a treaty. Atsuhime has been planted to urge childless Iesada to name Yoshinobu to be his heir. He eventually becomes the 15th and final Tokugawa shogun.

The Shinsengumi was a group mostly non-hereditary samurai. The lived by and strict code and the punishment for breaking one of the five articles was death. There were at least 3 factions of the original group, but the Shinsegumi were a pro-Tokugawa force that was supposed to keep order in Kyoto.

Recommended for those interested in this period of Japanese history.

Golem is silent movie based on Jewish myth of a being created by a sorcerer to protect his people from persecution. I loved the costumes and the beards. The story was a bit like Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Hellboy 2, review

Red has relationship problems. Nothing he considers big, but Liz is the only woman for him. He’ll even get rid of the cats for her. But her labile emotions are not about the cats and he’s afraid to ask. All this gets puts aside though when some nasty tooth fairies devour a whole room full of antique dealers. Prince Nuada has unleashed these nasty little beasties in his quest to gather the pieces of a crown which will enable the wearer to command the Golden Army. There are a multitude of interesting CGI characters, nonstop action, and corny dialog. A fun movie. 3/5 acorns. No clives.

The Proposition, Californication reviews

The Proposition stars Guy Pearce in this movie about retribution out the with wilds of early 1900’s Australia. John Hurt pops in as a bounty hunter. Danny Huston, Ray Winstone and Emily Watston, all actors with very familiar faces also star. Guy Pearce is Charlie Burns, a member of a very dysfunctional family. He has taken his simple brother away from the family in hopes of getting away from the raping, robbing, pillaging and killing. Ray Winstone plays a police sergeant who has brought his English sense of justice to a small town out in the boonies. He has brought his wife, played by Emily Watson, and they try to maintain their dignity and keep house with the accouterments of civilization. Danny Huston, (half brother to Angelica) is the head of the family. He and Samuel enjoy pillaging and killing. They hide out in some hills where even the Aborigine’s won’t go.

The police apprehend Charlie and baby brother but let Charlie go to kill his older brother. He has 9 days until Christmas to do it or baby brother will die. He rides off into the sunset and into the outback. The sunsets are amazing, but what will he do? Mr. Pearce plays Charlie quiet…his dearth of dialog works well.

Meanwhile, back in town, the people of the town, outraged at the latest raping and murder of a pregnant women and her family, want a lynching.

This was a very engaging, though brutal movie. The soundtrack was most interesting. I will rate it 4/5 acorns.

Californication is an showtime TV series starring David Duchovney. He is writer who in in a down cycle following a very disappointing, but commercially successful movie version of one his his books. He has left his girlfriend and daughter, although he regrets his leaving them. All in all it is pretty funny.

Sex in the City and Dexter reviews, Totoro and Retirement

Sex in the City is basically a longer version of the TV series. The 30 somethings are now 40 something, and Samantha is on the verge of her 50th birthday. One of the knit ladies had seen this movie twice already, so I decided to chance it. It’s a chick flick, most definitely. Our ladies have moved on in the decade of the TV series. Samantha to the west coast, in a 5 year relationship, Miranda to Brooklyn-struggling a bit in her roles as mother, lawyer and wife, Charlotte elated in her role as adopted mother and wife, and Carrie still a successful writer and in a strong relationship with Mr. Big. The friendship is as strong as ever and they are gathering for Carrie’s upcoming marriage. So no cyborgs or CGI here. Just drama, lovely fashions, expensive leather goods, and a celebration of the the kind of friends women can have, the kind that last a lifetime, like sisters.

Dexter is Showtime TV series. I don’t get showtime but got the DVD of the first season as a gift. I was of the opinion prior to watching this that there was something fundamentally wrong with the premise of a serial killer being a good guy…a vigilante, an avenging angel. Dang, now I find there is season 2 and season 3. Dexter is a forensic blood spatter expert. He can read stories into the pattern of the blood spots found at crime scenes. He is also a serial killer himself. He was adopted at age 3 my a policeman who coaches him on how to appear normal as he does not experience feelings like a normal person and has urges to kill things, starting with bugs and animals. He develops a code to live by…kill only those that “deserve” to die. He has a collections of slides with a drop of blood he harvests from his victims and keeps as a trophy. He is in a relationship that works for him as Rita is “wounded” and has not made any demands on him in a physical way. He works closely with his sister, who wants to be a homicide detective. The whole first season bad guy has been dubbed the ice truck killer. He is playing games with Dexter. What can I say? I can’t argue with the IMDB people who rated this 9.1/10. It sucked me in.

On the retirement scene, I’ve given myself until my flowers die to not get serious about anything. I still don’t have a real dog. My house is still a mess. I still am playing games with Hewitt the retirement company who keep putting me off on my retirement benefit, I still don’t have an exercise routine. I still have not found an electrician or gotten drapes for the upstairs. I’m still shopping. And, I still have thank you cards to write. So what have I accomplished?

1. TV 2. movies 3. read 4. Knit a Totoro toilet roll cover 5. some exercise 6. got the mp3 on the new shuffle 7. started the SAM portion of my recertification 8. cleaned out a couple boxes and rescued my diplomas and certificates 9. killed one plant and 10. have not gained or lost any weight.

It’s still surreal not having to go to work or even get up.  Heh, I kind of like it.  Sloth is habit forming.  But it’s only two weeks and a I have to remind myself that I gave myself 3-6 months leave of absence.

Sukiyaki Western Django and Public Enemy, reviews

I will have to watch Django again as I didn’t think he was Japanese. This goofy spoof is a prequel to Django. In the opening sequence I kept thinking, boy that cowboy looks familiar and finally realized it was Quentin Tarentino. The feud between the Minamoto and the Taira lives on 200 years after the battle of Dan-no-ura.    Yojimbo is alluded too, and there is the feel of a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western.  There is also strange dancing, a mute child and Gatling gun.  I’m pretty sure this movie would be better if the mystery science guys were commenting on it.    I will rate it 2/5 acorns.

Public Enemy is a Korean movie.  The protagonist a brutal cop on the edge.  One night he accidently runs into a man in a raincoat who has just come from murdering his own parents.  When the bodies are discovered a week later, he is drawn into the investigation.  No one believes the well dressed and smooth son could have murdered his own parents as there doesn’t seem to be a motive.  To further cloud the issue the murderer kills another man with the same modus operandi.  Although this killing seems random, the second victim had accidently run into the murderer in a cafeteria and had accidently spilled something on the the killer.  The killer has anger management issues to the max.  After being cleverly twarted by the murdered, the detective gets demoted to traffic cop.  The case is interesting and ultimately has a surprising conclusion.  I had a difficult time with the portrayal of the police as being so brutal and unethical.  I’m spoiled by the Mel Gibson cop in Lethal Weapon or the Bruce Willis detective in Die Hard.  They are screwed up but don’t deal drugs or beat guys who are not attacking them to a pulp.  I will rate it 2.5/5 acorns, 1/2 clive for beating to a pulp scenes.

The Other Conquest and Little Otik, reviews

The Other Conguest is about an Aztec scribe who is the lone survivor of a massacre of his people by Cortes. A Spanish priest takes on the task of converting him to Christianity. He takes him into a monastery, cuts his hair, makes him speak Spanish. His half sister, concubine to Cortes, plots revenge against the Spanish and and becomes preganant with his child. While the sister goes to her death, the priest advocates for him because he truly believes he can “save” Tomas. This is a very different perspective on a first generation assimilation. Topiltzin, renamed Tomas by the priest, never forgets who he is. He mourns the loss of his people, all turned to ashes. The priest is haunted by his experience even on his deathbed. The acting is quite good. A very thoughtful movie when a great period look. 3/5 acorns, no clives.

Little Otik is an odd movie directed by Jan Svankmajer.  It is based on a Czech fairy tale.  There are some great scenes in the beginning that graphically portray a couples’ desire for a child.  The father digs up a tree stump and presents it to his wife as a baby.  She powders and nurtures it until it comes alive.  Unfortunately Otik has a voracious appetite and soon the cat, the postman and a social worker all go missing.

The next door neighbor child is suspicious of the whole false pregnancy and her suspicions grow after reading the fairy tale about the Otanek.  The parents of Otik cannot provide enough food for Otik but feels such a bond to him, they can’t kill him.  Instead, they lock in a trunk in the basement.  The neighbor child tries to save Otik, democratically picking the pedophile for Otik’s first meal.

Otik is a stop go animation of the type the director is famous for.  There are some great close up shots throughout, almost like snapshots.

I will rate this 4/5 acorns.  Not for everyone.  1/2 of a clive.

Wanted, Review

Wanted is a rolicking good fun movie starring Mr. Blue Eyes McAvoy and Angelina Jolie. Throw Morgan Freeman in there for some extra points. McAvoy has lost his accent in this one. He is a bored loser, brow beaten by his his boss, his best friend who is banging his girlfriend, and even himself. Then one day he is attacked by a stranger in a convenience store and saved by Angelina Jolie, and his life changes forever. He barely survives his initiation into a group of assassins descended from medieval weavers. Yes, weavers. Like the textile type. Seems as though they get messages from the secret loom and cloth and carry out assassinations based on those messages. Failure to carry out the terminations has serious repercussions. Someone else may die instead, or maybe thousands.

I didn’t recognize the Danny Elfman music until the credits were running, but it added a great deal to movement and flow in this movie. The stunts were pretty fantastic. I feel sorry for the rats, but oh well, they are rats after all. Hopefully CGI rats.

I wasn’t sure how Mr. McAvoy would fare as an action hero, but I would say he fared very well! Angelina looks lovely as well.

There be blood…thoug as this movie is about assassins. i will rate this 4/5 acorn and 1 clive. Nothing too horrible , no eyes popping out. Can’t have it all.

cartoons for my archive