Saturday, January 26, 2008


If the first John Rambo movie was titled FIRST BLOOD, then this latest installment should have been called MORE BLOOD (and gore). Good grief, this was the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan the whole freaking movie.

I have always loved the Rambo series. A story about a man who is trained to survive and kill whenever he is pushed. He has to come to terms with who he is and what he is. In this (final?) film he comes full circle.

We find our sullen hero catching snakes in Burma for the local deadly cobra snake show. John Rambo hates his life, his job, his boss, and the world. He cares for nothing and no one. Until a group of missionaries shows up and wants him to take them up the river to deliver medicine and aide to an embattled tribe of people who are being ruthlessly attacked by the thuggish military.

Rambo tells them he will not help them and they should go home. (Ahhh the reluctant hero bit). But one of the missionaries, Sarah Miller (Julie Benz), is persistent and keeps coming back to challenge Rambo and his pessimistic view of the world. Of course she quickly convinces him to take the job and the non-stop killing begins.

Rambo still kicks butt with a bow, and carries a big knife, but I really missed his clever jungle tactics, and his surprise attacks on the enemy. In this movie, he joins forces with a group of mercenaries and everyone, good and bad use guns and bombs, and sometimes pigs to rain violent, gory, and bloody death on each other. Don't get me wrong, I love a good shoot out, but this was ....pardon the pun... overkill.

All in all it was a decent story, with a bit of over the top acting, and way to much killing. But if you are a RAMBO fan and can handle the senseless violence, then by all means strap on your head band and check out RAMBO!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger April 4, 1979 - January 22, 2008

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Actor Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday of a possible drug overdose in a Lower Manhattan apartment, the New York Police Department said.

I first saw Heath in A Knights Tale - A whimsical medieval fantasy. I am looking forward to his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. (If they got all the shots they needed). Godspeed Heath.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


We have seen this viewpoint before. The Blair Witch Project brought us an interesting vantage point from the lens of a handheld camera. It gave us a fresh perspective to the horror genre and it also gave many people something else; nausea. It doesn't bother me at all, but several people can't stand the constant shaking and swinging motion of the handheld camera.

So if the Blair Witch Project, and Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum gave you motion sickness, you'll probably want to stay away from Cloverfield. That said, this was a very fun and intense movie. A thrill ride as the non stop action constantly comes at you.

The movie begins and ends with Rob (Michael Stahl-David) and Beth (Odette Yustman) filming each other on their cam-corder. The first is a "Good Day" at Coney Island, this memory is slowly erased as Lily (Jessica Lucas) is throwing a going-away party for Rob, her boyfriend's brother, and Rob's friend, Hud (T.J. Miller), is coerced into documenting the event on Rob's camera.

The party is interupted as the building suddenly shakes. They go to the roof for a look and see a massive explosion rock New York's harbor. From that moment chaos and panic ensues bringing back memories of September 11th. Rob, Jason (Mike Vogel), Lily, Hud and party guest Marlena (Lizzy Caplan ) set out together to rescue a trapped Beth while the city is attacked by some unknown monster.

I was impressed by the acting abilities of these unknown actors. They delivered their lines so naturally, and the comments by Hud, who is behind the camera most of the movie were hilarious. This film has already set a box office record, so you don't need me to tell you to go check out Cloverfield!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) is in this movie, but it's no Lord of the Rings. It does have an all-star cast though. Action Hero, Jason Statham, Burt Reynolds as the King (he's no Sean Connery), Leelee Sobeski, she's no stranger to wielding swords having played Joan of Arc in 1999. (She's put on a few pounds since then as well), Ron Perlman, most famous as Vincent in the TV series, Beauty and the Beast, also makes a great Hellboy, finally Ray Liotta rounds out the B+ list as the arch villain. Sure he makes a great bad guy... in a mob movie.

This movie is based on the PC game; Dungeon Siege. I played the game but I mostly remember the red-headed female warrior on the cover of the game box. Why wasn't she in the movie? The story is about a farmer, who every one calls..."Farmer" (rolls eyes). He is a hardworking man with a loving wife (Claire Forlani) and son. One day the wife and son are off to market in a nearby town. That's the day the Krug attack. What are the Krug? Basically men in rubber monster suits that were likely borrowed from the set of The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Normally mindless beasts, the Krug have been organized and given weapons by the evil wizard Gallian (Liotta) who has them under his control. Meanwhile the king's nephew (Matthew Lilliard) is trying to usurp his throne. Farmer joins the kings forces to take on the Krug and rescue his wife.

I know I've been slamming this film pretty hard and if you are not a die hard fan of the fantasy genre, then you won't see this film. But overall I enjoyed the movie well enough for a matinee. It wasn't so bad that I found myself wishing I was at home watching Oprah. The acting was a little forced at first, but they seemed to come into their roles later in the film. And it's always fun watching Statham kick butt in his fight scenes.
If you have found yourself having withdrawals, since the Lord of the Rings, and need a fix till Peter Jackson produces The Hobbit, or you played the Dungeon Siege game and want to see that world come to life then check out a film with possibly the record for longest title; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War

Holy Cow this movie was fabulous! (In my humble opinion). Even more so because it is based on a true story. It is a political drama about a Texas congressman's covert fund raising to support Afghanistan's war against the soviets in the late eighties.
I give it a four stars must see for the well told story of the war, the no-holds-barred depiction of the main character's lives, and the spot-on acting of Tom Hanks (Charlie Wilson), Julie Roberts (Joanne Herring), and Philip Seymour Hoffman as CIA agent Gust Avrakotos. They played their roles with fervor and the characters had great depth to them. THAT is how you develop characters Hollywood! Kudos to the writers Aaron Sorkin (screen play), George Crile (book) and director Mike Nichols!

The movie hops from scene to scene following Charlie Wilson's life, starting with a club rife with strippers and hot tubs, to his office in Washington, to social parties, to Afghanistan, to meetings abroad, and back to his office. Normally that would make me crazy, but it was so well edited that you don't really get distracted by it. The transitions are smooth and keep the story moving merrily along.

The most chilling scene in the whole film comes at the end of the movie (I don't want you to miss it). They are at a party celebrating Russia's withdrawal from Afghanistan and Gust, the CIA agent takes Charlie outside on the balcony to talk to him. Basically he says to Charlie that, "Yes all the people are cheering that this is a good thing, but....we'll see." This is clear foreshadowing of 9/11 and at that moment you hear the roar of a jet plane engine passing overhead. I still get chills just writing about it. No horror film has ever elicited such goose flesh on myself as that scene.

If there is anything bad that I could say about the film (and I'm not) it's that the whole story just flows so smoothly. There is no major crisis or hardship that jeopardizes the characters and their goals. Oh they try, when Charlie's lifestyle is scrutinized by the justice department, but it is never a real threat and Charlie just blows it off. Nor are their any suspenseful moments that lead to a dramatic victory. I guess what I am saying is that for a drama....there was very little drama. But I enjoyed the story and the characters so much; I didn't really care.
I found it slightly ironic that Hanks plays a character named Wilson. Go on....think about it. Remember Castaway? WILSON!!! Foreshadowing? I know it's a stretch, so shut up! ;)
And go check out Charlie Wilson's War!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Aliens Vs Predator - Requiem

I LOVE the Aliens and Predator franchises! So when I heard they were creating the first Aliens vs Predator movie, I was as thrilled as Rosie at a HoHo convention. I was totally on board and couldn't wait to see it. Maybe I was as over hyped as a Hilton, but the movie was a huge let down!
Sure it had its moments, but overall I was disappointed. I think they tried to make too much out of it and they tinkered with Alien doctrine. In addition, I wanted Aliens running through the city streets! The first AVP takes place in the isolated arctic.
So I was skeptical when I saw the trailer for Requiem, here we go again (and here goes my money) I thought. But at least this time I do get my Aliens running through the streets! I have to say this film was a bit better than the first AVP, however I was taken aback by a few choices the writer made. Maybe I am getting old, but I feel there are a few images/scenes that Hollywood should shy away from. For example, in the opening scene of POTC - At World's End, they don't show a young boy get hanged, but Disney IMPLIES that he does indeed swing from a noose. Likewise in AVP-R we have a young boy and his father out hunting together when they are assaulted by the spider-like "face-huggers" (Have you hugged an Alien today?)
Subsequently as we all know, face-huggers beget... that's right, "chest-poppers". Now that's something I didn't need to see happen to a young boy! Why couldn't it have been two adult hunting buddies? I know, I know spoilersville, but it doesn't take two plus two to figure out what was going to happen to them, and I may be sparring some of you the horror! Wait! Isn't that why we go to these type movies in the first place? There's another part later in the film that deals with pregnant ladies, I'll spare the belly-popping details (oops-too late!), but I didn't care for that either. (I am getting too old).
So what about the rest of the film? Well it was mediocre. I mean the fight scenes between the predator and the aliens was pretty good, but the acting was sub-par. There was no Arnold to save the day, and while Reiko Aylesworth, (Kelly) did her best Sigourny Weaver impression, it still fell a little flat.

If you are a huge fan of the Predator and Aliens franchise, then by all means, check out AVP-R, otherwise go see National Treasure and catch AVP-R on cable or rental! Cheers!