Stanley Kubrick Top Ten- Thank you MEWLISTS

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Happy Thursday everyone!  A little late, but better than never, I’ve finally seen Transformers 3 (in 3D no less!!).  While in Philadelphia I was able to meet up with Mr. Batduck and geek out a little by going to watch a movie that we both know Mrs. Batty would not have had any interest in so we ended up at the theater of the King of Prussia Mall with our Real D 3D glasses on.

I have enjoyed the franchise up to this point, but was really not too thrilled with the second movie.  The plot and action seemed thrown in to make a loud noise as opposed to advancing the story, but they do appear to have rectified this in the 3rd installment- to a point.  The comedic moments were very funny, the new chick (who looked a lot like the other girl to me) did a great job and her character added some dimension to Sam’s story-line in my humble opinion, and the action made more sense because they were fighting off an invasion.  I’m not sure why that made a difference for me, but it did.

All in all- I’ll give this a 4 out of 5 for sheer entertainment value.  Good job Mr. Bay!

Movie Review: Atlas Shrugged Part 1

Friday the 15th of April has finally come!!!  I woke up, got some breakfast/lunch and made my way tot the one theater in the area that was playing the film.  I give this an overall rating of 7 out of 10.  Call me biased, but I’ve always been a big fan of Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged.  The fact that they’ve FINALLY made a movie out of the book is just incredible.  That being said, it was never going to be a blockbuster movie.  The story and content are way too philosophical to be the Godfather, but the screenwriters should be commended.  The action of the film was steady, though not fast paced, but they managed to take nearly 400 pages of pretty dense material and create a good story with character development, plot movement, and mystery.

The problems that I have always seen with attempting to adapt Atlas Shrugged into a movie are pretty simple.  The characters have a lot of inner dialogue that advances the story and much of the plot points are given to you via newspapers, subtle conversations and small interactions between minor characters.  One way that the screen writers addressed this, in my eyes, was a very important updating of the world to a near future date.  One reviewer described this as a dystopian future and taking from the atmosphere the blatant references to Ayn Rands communist experience in the USSR was a master touch and highly necessary.  It was actually a little disconcerting to watch because the world of the film was 99% our current reality.  The dialogue, as it is in the book, is overly philosophical, but that is the nature of Atlas Shrugged.  It is a story about a philosophy.

The one thing that I was a little disappointed about was the portrayal of Dagny.  Taylor Schilling did a phenomenal job of portraying one of my heroes of literature, but the one part of the character that I didn’t feel was her sexuality.  Dagny’s affair with Reardon left me a little cool.  The progression was meh and the culmination of the affair was expected- overall, not a hot scene and I pictured fireworks in the sexual tension when I read the book.  I did, however, love the way that Ellis Wyatt was portrayed, he was dynamic and interesting and larger than life in a way that the book didn’t convey.

Either way- I am going to be waiting for part 2 with bated breath.  Not only did I enjoy the movie, but I am more sure now than I was yesterday that this is a relevant story in the current world.

Exercise #9

Time for another installment of READ MY HOMEWORK!!!  I bet that you thought these types of assignments would end once you left school- right? WRONG!  There was always some lonely masochistic dork (C’est Moi) who would do homework of their own free will.

9.   Summarize the plot of your favorite novel, movie, or TV show in your own words.

My favorite movie is most definitely “Now Voyager” with Bette Davis, Paul Henried, Claude Rains, and Gladys Cooper.  There was a much larger ensemble cast, but these are the characters that I remember and think of when the name of this film comes to mind.  I’ve seen photos of this film in color, but there must only be black and white and shades of gray whilst I watch Bette Davis slip further and further into her “nervous breakdown”, which we modern folk can recognize as a fully grown woman being manipulated by her over-bearing mothers guilt trips, put downs, and manipulations in a world where a woman can’t just BE self sufficient.

So Claude Rains swoops in as the psychiatrist to make sure that Bette goes to his sanitarium where she finds some peace and becomes a self assured woman.  Now I don’t think too much about the fact that part of her transformation is being allowed to diet and wear sexy clothing, but quite honestly I’ll let the feminists argue about the sexist implications.

Once out of the loony bin, Bette goes on a Cruise where she meets a handsome Frenchman in Paul Henried, and they begin an emotional affair with each other that we can translate into modern day people bumpin’ uglies on a boat.  He’s married, she’s crazy- they know that it would never work and when they get to Boston, the two part ways.  She goes back to her life and is pursued by rich men who want to marry her and he goes back to his autocratic and manipulative wife.  Needless to say- Bette almost has another breakdown, which does feel a little whiny to me, but it’s a plot device so who cares!

When she ends up back at the sanitarium she latches on to this very vulnerable 12 year old girl, who just happens to be the daughter of the married man that Bette had an affair with- awkwaaaaarrrrrdddd.  In a very creepy and hand that rocks the cradle sort of way, Bette becomes this girls mother and even takes her back to her mansion in Boston to live in society (there’s actually a sequel that continues this part of the plot) and be happy.  She inherits all of her mother’s money when the witch dies and becomes a spinster philanthropist who “hires” Jerry to build a new wing for a hospital.  Fade to black.

As you can hopefully tell- my modern sensibilities and brainwashing from the women’s rights movement make me slightly ambivalent to this plot, but there is something so wonderful about Bette Davis’s portrayal of this woman who, in any other situation would have always been this strong wonderful person, but who just could not break out of her mother’s shadow without help.  It doesn’t have a happy ending per-se and maybe that’s what I like about it.

The People we Meet

Good Morning Cats and Kittens!

I managed to get out of the city before the 25 inches of snow landed on it to put a halt to anything other than massive snowball fights (and this time nobody brought a gun ;-)).  But before I left the Inn I got to meet some of the guests that were checking out, since I was working the front desk that morning, and there was a film crew in from England.  I have got to say- and those of you who’ve known me since Miami know- that I am a SUCKER for a British Accent.  Oh hell- not just British, but Scottish, Irish, Australian, New Zealand, etc…. Not so much Welsh, but since I’ve been watching Torchwood- it’s been growing on me. 

Anyway- I got to chatting with one of the crew members and it turns out that he was also a producer for another film that was released in UK theaters this past October.  Now, it took me FOREVER to find this information out since it was an independent B film, but damned if it isn’t right up my alley.  The synopsis from Fandango reads as thus:

“In life, rock and roll rebel Johnny was the laughing stock of his peers; in death, the slick haired corpse rises from a watery grave to ensure that those who once mocked him never get the chance to laugh again. At the onset of the free love era, some folks just weren’t willing to hang up their blue suede shoes. Johnny “Flick” Taylor was a withdrawn Teddy Boy whose refusal to change with the times set him apart from the pack. A laughable relic of a bygone era to those who valued trend over substance, Johnny’s sole refuge was the Palace Dance Hall. Come Friday night Johnny would be out on the dance floor shaking and jiving, his eyes steadily fixed on the beautiful Sally Andrews. One weekend, after months of reigning in his stutter, Johnny finally works up the courage to ask Sally for a dance. Instantly rejected by Sally and mercilessly beaten by her group of male admirers, Johnny flies into a murderous rage in which he kills and maims his oppressors before tossing Sally in the back seat of his car and punching the gas. In the ensuing chase Johnny’s car spun out of control and went careening into a nearby river, though Sally miraculously managed to escape and make her way to safety. Forty years later Johnny’s car is recovered from the river, the murderous young rebel’s fists still clutching the steering wheel. Johnny’s story isn’t over yet though. It seems that the sounds of Rock-A-Billy radio have the power to bring the undead rebel screaming back to life, but only between the hours of midnight and two o’ clock in the morning as the sounds of the fifties fill the airwaves. Now, as the supernaturally charged outcast embarks on a vengeful mission to slaughter those who scorned him and take sixty-two year old Sally on a ride she’ll never forget, a Memphis cop on an exchange program from the UK must find a way to stop the music that drives the Brylcreem-slathered ghoul’s dreadful rampage. ~ Jason Buchanan”  This review doesn’t do the trailer any justice!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpn2GbaHCDw

From the look of this trailer Flick appears to be on a good track to horror cult classic with it’s fantastic nod to the good old days of drive in theater.  Granted- I’m not old enough to have ever experienced this in it’s heydey, but I can say that I went to a drive in when I was 8 years old in Stamford Connecticut.  I remember these films from many a late nights spent with HBO and cinemax before I understood how much MORE fun it was to have a social like 😉

To this day I have unfounded fears of the movies Tarantula, Psycho, and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  I also continue to watch these in a very masochistic way with both hands over my eyes and a little crack through the fingers to peek.  Mostly, I think that I appreciate the humor from the film makers of not just this film, but my last film review of Black Sheep.  Independent film has taken itself WAY too seriously for way too long- Make me laugh and I’ll keep coming back with popcorn in hand!

Movie Review: Black Sheep

Black Sheep: Get the Flock Out of Here!

Black Sheep: Get the Flock Out of Here!

Here is the synopsis from the Rottentomatoes.com:  This blood-soaked horror comedy is the story of Henry Oldfield (Nathan Meister), a New Zealander with an unfortunate phobia…of sheep. When Henry was a boy, his father was killed in a herding…This blood-soaked horror comedy is the story of Henry Oldfield (Nathan Meister), a New Zealander with an unfortunate phobia…of sheep. When Henry was a boy, his father was killed in a herding accident on the land, and Henry fled to the big city. Now, years later, he has returned to sell his half of the farm and–at the behest of his therapist–to face his fears. Meanwhile, Henry’s sadistic older brother Angus (Peter Feeney) has taken over the family business, and become widely known for his controversial genetic experiments on the animals. When two animal activists release one of Angus’s genetically-altered lambs, Henry’s trip quickly turns into his worst nightmare, as the lamb’s zombie-like bite turns sheep and people into vicious flesh-eaters. Henry joins forces with one of the animal activists (Danielle Mason), and together they try to escape the sheep and find an antidote for the virus. Director Jonathon King cleverly plays on the silliness of the normally docile, dimwitted lamb as terrifying monster, and his shots of the sheep swarming over the hills induce equal parts thrills and laughter. However, the storyline could perhaps have benefited from a bit less action, and a bit more plot, as the suspense and jokes begin to fizzle by the end. The excellent WETA WORKSHOP (known for its work on the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy) delivers hilariously gory special effects. Faces are eaten off, humans throw their own limbs, and heads explode, culminating in a raucous bloodbath that will likely earn BLACK SHEEP cult status among the EVIL DEAD crowd.
Now- needless to say, Zombie Sheep and Environmentalists = AWESOME!  This movie is truly campy and I would honestly liken it to Evil Dead, but that being said- I Flipping LOVE Evil Dead!  The cinematography is actually quite fantastic and being shot in New Zealand only means that the set is gorgeous.  The acting is surprisingly good.  I can only imagine that these actors were trying to make the best of a seriously cheesy script.The humor wasn’t as bad as you’d expect and yes the gore was pretty fake, but damned if the evil sheep fetus infecting everyone isn’t the cutest little animatron!All in All- I give this movie 3.5 out of 4 stars because it was wildly entertaining and it proved the motto, where men are men, and sheep are scared!