V for Blak?

Two completely seperate issues. First, Jason, you were right my friend. Coke Blak is fantastic. I just had some this weekend and man, this brings me back to the days of Jolt and Crank Cola. Good stuff. For you guys that may not know, Coke Blak is a new Coca-Cola and coffee hybrid. It’s less carbonated than regular coke with a light coffee syrup taste. It’s very “jazz cola” if I had to pick two words that have nothing to do with each other. I like it. Now I have another option in my stable of caffinated beverages.

Moving right along, I should mention I finally saw V for Vendetta this weekend. I enjoyed it. I thought the Wachowski brothers did a great job with the screenplay, which, and I didn’t know this, they wrote back before the making of the Matrix. It seems to share a great many thematic elements with the Matrix saga, namely oppression from a controlling over culture and anti-hero’s with their own stories and uniqueness. Natalie Portman did a fine job and Hugo Weaving was a perfect choice for the voice of V. Also appreciated were the constant references to classic literature, which I think I was the only one in the theater who knew what they were. I thought it was entertaining from the start and even though the middle of the movie would have bored those there to see simply another action movie, I thought it moved well and defined the characters as best as I could have hoped for in a mere two hours. The “point” was also well received. It had a heavy “security is good but let’s not get carried away” tone. It definatly speaks to modern day conservatism and current situations around the globe.

I wonder if the constant “we don’t like Big Brother” signals we’re sending are falling upon deaf ears. How many counter-culture, anti-establishment, anti-sensorship movies/songs/publications can we as a society produce before the people who want to lock down every freedom we have get the hint? Or will it get to a point where there is in fact a totalitarian government and we as citizen live in fear and eventually rebel? Would we let it get to that point? Or would we, knowing whats down the road, stop ourselves short and avoid the dark view of the future that science fiction authors love to remind us of the possibilty of. I don’t see a “reclamation” and a cleansing of society in our immediate future, but it’s certainly happened in mankinds past. We just have to make sure it doesn’t happen again. And, there is our main theme. History repeating. That we never seem to learn from our mistakes and every once in a while, revolution is inevitable. Especially if it’s choreographed to the 1812 Overture.

Ok, enough pontificating for this evening. Matt Out.

Two Best Movies of the Year

Jarhead and Goodnight & Goodluck.

I was able to catch both of these over the weekend and was entertained and impressed by both. Jarhead is getting battered a bit by reviews, mostly for being a “war movie” without actually having battle scenes and for lack of a better term, a “war”. I would be inclined to agree if I was watching a Platoon or a Full Metal Jacket. But this wasn’t a movie about war, this was a movie about how we’ve trained these guys to be soldiers, snipers, etc and then we let them sit there bored for 6 months. It’s a movie about whats going on in someone’s mind when they’ve been trained to do something and are completely unable to do it. It’s also a perfect example of satire and sarcasm. The opening 10 minutes are a perfect example. Be warned however, that the movie is very much in the same style as American Beauty. It’s very funny and tongue-in-cheek but it’s also laden with first-person voice over naratives. I’ve hear people complain that those were reasons they didn’t like American Beauty. I thought both movies were brilliant and Jarhead is definatly going to be in my DVD collection.

Before I move on to GN&GL I wanted to mention the main reason I never listen to movie critics. Let’s take Mr. Scott of the New York Times for example. Quote: “Jarhead is a movie that walks up to some of the most urgent and painful issues of our present circumstance, clears its throat loudly and says nothing.” I see… so, Mr Scott, what painful issues would that be? The movie didn’t talk about the politics of war, about the justification for/against war, didn’t mention the war on terrorism at all (the movie was 1st Gulf War). It didn’t talk about soldiers dying in Iraq, helping mid-east locals rebuild, the lact of equipment our forces have, roadside explosives, etc. You see what I’m getting at? Mr.Scott has taken a movie about war and applied his own stance about the current gulf war to it without actually giving us any clue what he’s talking about. How about another? Larry Ratliff for the San Antonio News said “There’s not a whole lot going on. This is a war movie without a major battle. … Mendes, a director of indisputable talent, just can’t seem to find his footing.” I’ll give you the fact that there wan’t a major battle Larry, but perhaps, as a reviewer of movies PROFESSIONALLY, you should have grasped the fact that that was THE POINT. Anyways, you can read more reviews if you like. I for one can’t take it any more.

Hell, I don’t know why I like to review movies. Maybe it’s because I consider myself an average guy and consider myself to be both bullshit free and vaguely intelligent. I’m sure that there’s some who would argue both points with me.

Moving right along, Goodnight & Goodluck was a friggin masterpiece. Beautifully filmed, but I love black and white movies, perfectly acted, and the guy they got to play Edward Murrow was so good it was creepy. The main thrust of this, George Clooney’s directoral debute, is a retelling of the McCarthy era battle between the Senator and news man Edward Murrow. I could go into the whole background myself, but I’m far from an expert on it and there are far more helpful resources should you be interested in the subject. Surfice it to say that the movie details the events from a historical perspective while giving us insight into the minds of the characters through their off screen (off tv) personalities and conversations. You really feel that Murrow is concerned for the well-being of people as well as himself and realizes that this struggle is more important that him and that, for the greater good, these things can not continue as they are and that it’s the resonsibility of the people with the power to take action.

I was going to quote another review for disagreeing with me but I can’t seem to find any. I can however, find a few that although they liked the movie, completely missed the point. Stephen Whitty (nice name) from the Newark Star (what a surprise, he’s from Jersey) said “Good Night, and Good Luck says two things, at least, and they are worth repeating: There is always the chance for one good man to make a difference. And in 1954, Edward R. Murrow did.” No, if GN&GL said two things it would be that responsibilty lies with those who have the power to affect change and that persecution based in rumor and not in fact is unjust. If it said three things it would be about the roll media plays in our daily lives. Maybe Mr. Whitty came late and left early, because Murrow SAYS these things as the intro and exit to the movie. That if we become a society based on the placation of the media, that we take out all the icky things in the world and never show people the truth, that it won’t be a society worth living in. I could offer the same challenge to governing bodies like the FCC today. THIS is what Murrow was talking about. And no Mr Whitty, the fact that Murrow was the persion that did it wouldn’t make a 2nd point. I’m sure if he were he here he’d say that it was something that had to be done and that was that. I would contest that Murrow had the courage to do what others wouldn’t but that it was a selfless act. The movie did not glorify HIS achivement as the single reason McCarthy was ultimately denoucned, merely cronicle the events in a beautiful and stylistic manner befitting the subject matter. The movie was strait forward and not trying to preach down to people. I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much. Another for the collection.

Maybe I should be done with movie reviews for a while. But, that would take all the fun out of it don’t you think? So, if anyone’s seen either flick, I’d like to know what you thought. I’m open to thoughts about Jarhead being a bit tedious, but GN&GL was fucking genious.


Mexican Doom

Saying Doom the movie was “good” somehow seems like dirty pool, especially after I lambasted The History of Violence for having too little background story. I’ll just suggest you leave your disbelief at the door for this one. It wasn’t bad, it just requires a certain appreciation for the genre… or blood, whichever comes first.

Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the character “Sarge” the hero of the Doom series (I’m thinking Doom3 was the only one that mentions him by name). Or am I thinking of the Quake series. I know one of them was simply a Marine and the other some sort of officer. My memory is fuzzy on which one was which. You can tell I was really into the “story” of the games can’t you?

At any rate, its sort of a shame they didn’t go with the whole “hell demon” angle. Then again, blunt references to demons, hell, and the evil escaping from it probably wouldn’t have made it past American censors. So, when you can’t make monsters the old fashion way, what do you do? Genetically engineer them of course! Oh well. At least the movie got made.

I was actually pleasently surprised with the first-person bit. Interestingly done I thought. Not quite as cheesy as I figured it would be. Then again, I was giving this movie a lot of slack.

Ok, so it wasn’t good. I tried really really hard, but its still represents the typical movie Hollywood makes from video games. They need to let some gamers tackle the next few. I have high expectations for Halo, especially with the guy from 28 days later involved.

So… Mexicans. I know you were wondering when I’d get to that. It seems that our hispanic friends have even less ability to watch a movie than most annoying movie goers. Yes I’m talking about you gangsta rappers and pain-in-the ass white teenage girls. Wouldn’t want to leave any groups out now would I? All of these groups have one thing in common, their inability to pay attention for more than 30 seconds at a time. Couple that with cell phones, boyfriends/girlfriends and not shutting the hell up and you’ve got a portion of the population that I wouldn’t mind detaining on a small far away island. The hispanic people bring a whole other variable to the equation however: small children.

Don’t even get me started on the fact that small children should NOT, under any circumstances, be allowed to see a movie like Doom. No, these wonderful folks bring multiple, sometimes DOZENS of 4-9 year olds into movies like this. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, they completely forget to parent them while they’re there. The kids run up and down the stairs and isles, throw popcorn at each other, STAND up in their seats, all sorts of shit. So, while a whole brood of birth control mistakes runs rampent, Dad sits there, on his cell, watching the movie.

Everyone needs to be extremely thankful that people like me are patient. I’m constantly “this” close to slapping the shit out of people.

I digress, just, for me, at least try to be a parent. Don’t be stupid. And hang up your fucking cell phones.


The History of Complete Bordem

We went to see History of Violence tonight. Let me save you $8. Have you seen the trailer? Good, then you’ve already seen the most interesting parts of the movie. Shit, you seen the WHOLE movie.

Why can’t they make good movies anymore?

Its not that the plot was bad, its that it was non existant. You see, there’s this guy, who has (say it with me) a history of violence. Ex-mob type of guy, who has settled down in small town USA. The mob comes looking for him, he doesn’t appreciate it. The end.

Sounds interesting huh? Wrong! I thought it was going to be a Road to Perdition meets The Punisher sort of thing. Small town guy takes on the bad guys sort of thing.

3 scenes. 3! That’s how many moments of action we get. Unless you consider Vigo what’s-his-face running a small town diner to be “action”.

We are unfortunatly treated to a few scenes of another sort. 1970’s style “movie porn”, you know, the kind where if its tasteful it’s not really porn, it “cinema”. Yeah, well I’ve never seen a 69 in a major motion picture before and if this was “tasteful” they can just stop right fucking now. And I didn’t really appreciate the full frontal either.

This was yet another disappointing movies in a long disappointing summer. The only movie I can honestly say I enjoyed was Batman. Other than that this summer was crap. The winter isn’t shaping up to be much better either. The only movie I’m interested in at the moment is Goodnight And Goodluck, the black and white retelling of the Macarthy era.

Anyway, I’ve fallen off topic. Regardless, stay away from the History of Violence. It is not worth your time or money. The movie is weak and leaves you going “that’s it?” at the end. Pathetic. That turd could have been shot by SCAD students over a single weekend and turned in as a midterm project, that’s how little effort it appears went into this movie. The kind of movie where the actors agree to be in it because the movie they were supposed to be in was held up in preproduction and they needed something to pass the time.

Sad. D-

86 minutes I can’t get back

We went to the movies tonight and caught Red Eye. 86 minutes is NOT an acceptable length for a movie by any stretch. Not that I would have wanted the torture to continue. The movie started borring, ran 86 minutes of borring back and forth dribble banter and ended borring. Pathetic in every sense. About 60 minutes of the 86 involved the worst dialog I’ve heard all delivered in a single setting. A plane.

Let me summerize the movie for you. A girl who can’t act meets a guy who has a pan face on a plane. They talk. The relationship ends badly. With death. The end.

It took so effing long for the “story” to start that when its over I thought it was going to do some of that Hollywood twist ending bullshit where the movie “ends” and then takes off in a whole new direction. But it doesn’t. It ends. It just friggin ends. Which, based on the dialog is probably for the best. Had I been forced to sit through 120 minutes instead of 86 I’m sure you’d be hearing about how it was way too long.

Way to go Hollywood, just keep flushing yourselves down the drain. See if I go to the movies again any time soon. Geez.

Red Eye – D- (and it didn’t get an F simply because something blew up in the end)