Movie Blog

December 18, 2010

Seven Samurai (review)

Everyone gripes about how dumb movies are, how the action is undirected and the target audience must be cretins (or seventeen-year olds) (same difference). Seven Samurai is a movie that treats you like an adult. You stand with the heroes as they strategize their desperate defense (against forty mounted bandits – yow!). You are given time to know the characters (at over three hours, the movie doesn’t rush).  The action is brutally realistic (not funny and not bloodless – there aren’t seven samurai at the end). It’s just a damn … good … movie. One of the best of all […]
January 2, 2011

How to train your dragon (review)

Okay, so I admit I went rabid when I saw this movie with my nieces. First off, I love flying. When I was a kid, I’d read Goshawk Squadron and Fighting the flying circus and dreamed of flying. I even built a fake cockpit (based on gleanings gained from my many dog-eared World War One books) and took to the skies in my imaginary SE5a (you kids and your Microsoft Flight Simulators!). In my twenties, I built and flew an ultralight around the Central Florida skies. After that, a pilots license. Even my current book, Indigo, draws heavily on my […]
January 14, 2011

Inspector Bellamy (review)

At one point in this movie, the Inspector (and his wife) visit some gay friends of theirs and get stuck watching a slideshow of their vacation. I sort of know the feeling, since the Inspector, himself, is on vacation and yet gets involved in a criminal investigation. Sort of. See, the guilty party comes to him and confesses (right up front). And then he stumbles across the girlfriend of the victim, who really doesn’t care to press charges and see justice done. And then we get interviews of what happened, which don’t change our understanding of events at all. Basically, there […]
April 4, 2011

The Most Dangerous Game (review)

Just watched this one tonight, a 1932 movie with Fay Wray, Joel McCrea, and Leslie Banks (as the smarmy, scarred, aristocratic Zaroff). Read the story over and over as a kid from my favorite collection, Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural. In a nutshell, a Russian big game hunter has grown bored with traditional game, and has set up a Pacific island with false buoys with which to wreck passing ships. Those who make it to his hospitality become “The Most Dangerous Game”, forced into the jungles to be hunted by the count and his dogs. The imagery here […]
April 16, 2011

The Tourist (Review)

Let me put it bluntly – the day before yesterday I was in Venice. It’s a beautiful city. Loved every minute I was there. The Tourist is a vehicle movie for a frumpy Johnny Depp and an impossibly exotic Angelina Jolie. In a nutshell, the British secret service are tailing her to snare her rich, mob-ripoffing banker boyfriend. To throw them off the trail, he orders her to pick a fall guy on the Paris-Venice train to play him (he’s had plastic surgery, don’t you know). She does, pulling an innocent tourist into this murderous game. So the flick’s got […]
April 29, 2011

Gilmore Girls / Jericho (opinion)

My mom and dad got us to first watch Gilmore Girls. If you were like me (without the benefit of my folks) and didn’t know anything about it, Gilmore Girls was a chick flick show that ran on TV for seven years. Lorelai Gilmore is the quirky single mom. Rory is her tenacious daughter. Stars Hollow, the town, is a bedlam of kooky characters. We ended up watching all seven season (which, at an hour per show, is a solid week of tears and laugher. Sigh). Now we are watching Jericho, a show about a Midwestern town struggling after the […]
April 30, 2011

Tales from Earthsea (review)

Let’s just put it out onto the table – I’m a Miyazaki fan. I loved Porco Rosso and Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’ve got many of his movies on the shelf. This latest effort, Tales from Earthsea, comes from his son Goro Miyazaki. This film heralds in a new Studio Ghibli, a darker one with more details. At the beginning of the flick, we sense that everything is wrong, that harvests are off, that fevers are taking livestock, that magic no longer works, that dragons (largely unseen) are fighting. And then, the most horrifying moment of all, the boy who will […]
May 28, 2011

Incendies (review)

Incendies plays out like a book. It starts on the perfect hook and slowly the mystery is unwrapped, allowing the audience to suddenly realize (at their own pace and perception) the core of the story. In this sense, the hook is masterful. A daughter and son are meeting with the attorney of their Lebanese mother’s estate – she’s passed away after suffering a seizure at the local pool in present-day Canada. So first the kids are surprised when mom’s burial instructions are a tad… unconventional. But then the hammer blow – each is given a letter. The daughter is to […]
June 6, 2011

Hobo with a shotgun (review)

I first became aware of Rutger Hauer in a Miami movie theater in 1982, watching Blade Runner. When Roy (Hauer), an android with a very limited life-span remaining, glides like a leather-clad punk cloud towards his manufacturer, Tyrell, and says, “I want more life, fucker”, it was a “frankly, Scarlett” moment for me. And later, when he slowly pushes his thumbs into Tyrell’s eye-sockets, releasing a horrific ooze of blood, I was sinking into my seat while the camera cut away to an imperial owl, its eyes reflecting the light while the screams went on. Hobo with a Shotgun is […]
June 26, 2011

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Review)

Before Dollhouse and Firefly, even before Buffy (on TV) there was the movie Buffy, the one my wife and I saw back in 1992 and rather liked. Anyway, she found the disk on the cheap, so it served as our Friday Nite Flick. What a difference nearly 20 years makes. I’d remember this being slick, stylistic, happening and hip. I remember it being so cool – Modern Vampires! In L.A.! I remembered really liking it. It came to me while Buffy was training, and in some of the early fight scenes. Everyone seemed… slow. Everyone looked like they’d just walked […]