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Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

bluethunderWhen I was a 12 or 13-year-old dad let me watch this movie on HBO and it always stuck with me.  I don’t know why because the movie isn’t very exceptional in any particular way and quite simple in story.  I guess it’s one of those child hood happy memories that I have makes me fond of the movie so I was very happy to see it show up on Starz so I could watch it again.

In early 1980’s Los Angeles, Police Helicopter pilot Frank Murphy, played by Roy Scheider (Jaws,) is selected to fly an experimental helicopter, Blue Thunder, that the government is testing.  One of the leaders of the program is his former commanding office in Vietnam Colonial Cochrane, played by Malcom McDowell (Halloween,) and the history between Murphy and Cochrane is not good.  During their first test flight Murphy and his co-pilot Officer Lymangood, played by Daniel Stern (Home Alone,) discover that the helicopter is designed to be an offensive response to any riot that would take place in LA.  In order to cover this fact up the group headed by Cochrane are will to kill Murphy and anyone else to keep it a secret.  Murphy is framed for Lymangood’s murder and Murphy has to clear his name and expose the true purpose of Blue Thunder.

The biggest reason I enjoy this film is basically the last 45 minutes of this fairly short film when Murphy steals the Blue Thunder helicopter and we have all sorts of chases in and around the city of Los Angeles.  In these chases he takes on two regular police helicopter units and two F-16 fighter plans and beats them both.  During these scenes we see the absolute ludicrous notion that all of these people would be firing live ammunition at each other in the heart of Los Angeles.  In a five-minute span the F-16’s takes out a BBQ restaurant and the top five floors of an office building with heat seeking missiles.  This point aside it did make for some entertaining film watching for a while.  The finale was Cochrane in his helicopter and Murphy in Blue Thunder chasing around LA shooting up buildings while trying to shoot each other down.  The last part of the movie was fun and the action was the best part of the movie.

Surprisingly this movie is directed by John Badham who is responsible for directing Saturday Night Fever, Wargames, and Short Circuit to name a few.  The writer of the film is one Dan O’Bannon who has written such classics as the original Alien and Total Recall as well as a favorite film of my movie cohort Benn Farrell, Return of the Living Dead.  Blue Thunder was also nominated for Best Film Editing for 1983.  I mention this because maybe with all of these talented people, seriously, including the cast is the reason why I enjoy this film.  In the cast I failed to mention the awesome role of police Captain Jack Braddock played by Warren Oates (Stripes.)  He was perfect as the angry but intelligent ass kicking captain who had to keep Murphy in line.  Those of you who have seen Stripes know him to be Sargent Hulka who was awesome in that as well.  This unfortunately was his last film.

If I was to say what was wrong with the film I could say that the plot itself was easy.  There was never any suspense as to who the bad guys were and what they were planning.  The writers did put in key points in the beginning of the film that helped the story like saying it was illegal for police helicopters to be armed.  But it just made for no tension in the film other than how Murphy was going to kill Cochrane.  Speaking of killing and death, we only saw three deaths in the film, and while that seems like enough, if you consider how many bullets were sprayed across the city and rockets.  Also it was interesting to watch how they took the care to show how Murphy hadn’t killed any of the opposing police officers or military men who was hunting him down.  The worse thing about the film was the needless love story for Murphy.  The lady was the person who got the proof of Murphy’s innocence to the TV station but other than that she was pointless.

I enjoyed this film but I won’t say it’s a good film.  The music is so very much 80’s with its electronic synthesizer sound that it brings a smile to my face when I hear it.  The ending helicopter chase is the selling point of the film if you can ignore the use of miniature models and blue screens for some of it.  It’s great for me to go back in time and watch this film because on it a certain level it reminds me of happier less adulting times.

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eddietheeagleWow, what a great movie. Since I am an old man I remember the stories about Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards in the Olympics back in 1988.  I remember him even being compared to other lovable losers like the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Cubs.  But I didn’t know a lot about him.  This movie gives us a wonderful story and a great performance by the actor portraying Eddie Edwards, Taron Edgerton.

Eddie the Eagle is a biopic about Eddie Edwards, played by Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service,) who was the only member of Great Britain’s Ski Jumping Olympic Team in the 1988 Calgary Olympics.  The amazing part of his story is that he is was unwanted by his county’s Olympic organization because they were afraid that he would embarrass himself and his county and possibly hurt himself because he was so poor at the sport.  Despite his being unwanted and being told repeatedly that he is not an athlete Eddie never gave up and achieved his goal of being an Olympian for his country.

As I said Taron Egerton was the star of the film.  He did an amazing job of playing this character with a very delicate balance between physical and emotional acting.  Trying to describe the character of Eddie Edwards is a difficult job because while he is not mentally disabled in any way and he is not dumb.  But it is almost like he is a very smart Forest Gump but nowhere near as athletic as Gump.    Egerton does a great job with physicality and the small details.  He wears a pair of glasses and there isn’t a scene where he isn’t fidgeting with them depending on the situation at hand.  Edgerton’s vocal work is also amazing in that he made Eddie sound almost like an idiot savant.  I almost feel bad because I am making it sound like Eddie is this mentally and physically disabled person but he really isn’t and I think its credit to what Edgerton has done with this character.  All I know is that I love what he did with it and as of now if I had a vote for Best Actor Oscar it would go to him.

The writer of the film did a great job of showing the ineptitude of Eddie and his athletic ability.  The opening montage of the film just had me rolling on the floor laughing at how unskilled Eddie in almost all sports.  However it wasn’t as if they just showed it for laughs.  The writer did take the time to show that as a youth Eddie did have a serious leg issue that needed to be fixed by wearing a brace for quite some time.  The writer also did a great job of allowing Egerton to show the determination and shear character and will power that Eddie had in ignoring all of the critics and achieve his dream of making the Olympic team.  One scene that I loved that again shows the awkwardness of Eddie, in this case socially awkward, is when the female owner of the German bar Eddie sneaks into and sleeps in his first night after the day of training and the bar owner offered Eddie a job so he can stay in the bar to sleep so he can train.  The wonderful awkward part is when Petra, played by Iris Berben, offered to give Eddie her body every now and then and it was wonderful to watch Eddie squirm and act like a 16 year old getting hit on by an older woman.  The acting and writing in that scene were wonderful.

I did not like the fictional character of Bronson Peary, played by Hugh Jackman (X-Men III: The Last Stand.)  Peary is the maintenance man for the ski jump training park in Germany and former USA Olympic ski jump competitor who was kicked off the team.  This is a fictional character added to give us an emotional subplot of a coach seeking redemption but it didn’t really work.  As well as the writers developed Eddie’s character, the writer really did not do much to develop the other characters in the film.  This lack of development led to some awkward scenes.  One in particular started off as a great scene and then kind of went sideways.  The scene is that Eddie is forced to qualify after the British Olympic committee changed the rules on his qualifications and he was at the last event he could qualify for and during the practice jump he reached the 61 feet goal that was required.  However the next day during the jump in the competition he fell and was disqualified.  He begged the German officials to let him jump again but the German judges wouldn’t let him.  This created a great but sadly emotional scene in that Eddie was dejected and forced him to accept defeat.  He was then given a letter in the mail that showed that either by accident or on purpose the German judges put his practice jump in as an official jump so he qualified for the Olympics.  He went to Bronson to share the good news and Bronson told him to wait and train for another four years and try to qualify for the next Olympics.  Eddie said he didn’t want to wait and he was going to go to Calgary and Peary said that if he goes he will go alone because he will be a joke at the Olympics and no one will take him seriously.  The entire scene just kind of through off the feel good moment at the time which kind of went the grain of the film up to that point there was no sense that Peary was going to go in that direction.

Despite this issue and I feel like I am nitpicking here, I am a big fan of this film.  I will cross my fingers and hope that Taron Edgerton is not forgotten come award season but since this movie came out in January rarely do movies released then get remembered during award season.  None the less you should watch this film because it is a great feel good underdog sports story with some humor and a lot of heart.

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wtfWell this is a first for me and I don’t quite know how to feel about it, I am all conflicted. I can now say that there is a movie starring Tina Fey that I like because of Tina Fey.  I know it’s pretty amazing to think that.  Now this movie does have its faults but it really has nothing to do with Fey at all.  In fact I think that if this movie was directed by Spielberg and maybe written by Randall Wallace and this cast it could be an Academy Award worthy film.   But they didn’t so the movie is what it is which is a decent film.

Kim Baker, played by Tina Fey (Sisters,) is a low end network journalist who volunteers to head to Afghanistan in 2003 to cover the war there because all of the talented journalists are headed to Iraq to cover that war.  Once there Kim meets fellow journalist Tanya Vanderpoel, played by Margot Robbie (The Big Short,) and Iain MacKelpie, played by Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: Unexpected Journey,) who try to show her the ropes as well as show her all the places to party in Kabul. As she learns the ropes Baker realizes that she must take risks if her news stories are going to make it to the TV and she also learns that the Taliban and other insurgents aren’t the only dangers to her life and career.

As I stated above I really liked the cast in this film.  I was surprised by how well Tina Fey was doing in what really was a dramatic roll.  She was able to convey emotions and I saw her show happiness, sadness, betrayal, etc. all the things you are supposed to be able to do in a dramatic roll.  Her comedy was understated but surprisingly funny for me and maybe because there was an underlying tone of smartass to it but by no means was it over the top which has been her forte in past films that I haven’t liked.  Tina Fey did a great job in this film but she was not the only one.  As I said above the entire cast was great.  Both Robbie and Freeman were great as conflict journalists who seem to not only accept what was going on in Afghanistan but almost enjoy the chaos and the belief that no risk is too great to get on TV.  Freeman was great not only as the love interest but the calming influence of Fey’s character to kind of remind to stay grounded.  Also I wonder if Margot Robbie only plays gorgeous kick ass characters.  I haven’t seen her in Wolf of Wall Street but from the pictures I have seen she looks like her character is a party animal and she is cast as Harley Quinn in the upcoming Suicide Squad film and unless they mess up the character a lot, I know that character is kickass.  I’m not sure how good of an actress she is yet, but she is hot and I’m not sure I want to be stuck in an alley with her on the other side.   I loved how this movie showed a good view of the military, which surprises me, in the character of General Hollanek, played by Billy Bob Thornton (The Judge.)  He was probably the funniest character in the film and was fun to watch.  Also humorous was the character Ali Massoud Sadiq, played by Alfred Molina (Pete’s Meteor.)  He plays a character that is constantly hitting on Kay Baker and ends up getting in trouble time and time again and was quite funny, and believable as a Middle Eastern man. Overall the cast was a strong point of the movie.

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If the cast was a strong point then the story and direction were a little weak.  My biggest problem, and this probably isn’t on them but the producers, is that this film was marketed as a comedy and I get that when Tina Fey is the star.  But this movie is not a comedy.  This movie is much more dramatic then comedic with a little bit of action thrown in to the film.  This is a film that looks at the life of a war correspondent and what they have to do to get a story that is good enough to get on TV.  One of the good things this story showed was the constant frustration that Kim Baker was having in that she was risking her life to come up with stories that would get killed at the network and never see the light of day.  This of course would cause the journalists to take bigger and bigger risks in order to get a story and enhance their career without caring about the potential consequence.    One thing I wish the writers of the story did a better job of was showing how the near death experiences were like a drug for the journalists which lead them to go on more and more dangerous missions.  This idea was conveyed by Baker’s translator Fahim Ahmadzai, played by Christopher Abbott (A Most Violent Year.)  While I thought Abbot did a good job I wish he didn’t have to give the exposition about comparing the drug addicts to the journalists.   I would have enjoyed that journey.

Another problem I had was that the sound was jack up in the film.  I know I am losing my hearing but I couldn’t hear the dialogue so I would raise the volume on my TV and then the action would happen and my ears would bleed.  So I had to turn the TV down and turn on the subtitles. Maybe its because I have bad hearing but I think the movie could have had better sound for sure.

This is a good movie but could have been much better.  When you watch this film think of it as a drama first and you will enjoy the film a lot.  I like a Tina Fey film…never thought I would say that.

My movie review partner’s review of this movie can be seen by clicking here.

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13hours.jpgThere are three reasons to see this movie the first of which being that considering how political this topic is in our county there is no politics in this movie. So if you didn’t want to see this film because you believed it purposely painted President Obama and/or future President Hillary Clinton in a bad light because of their many failures of these people you can put your mind at ease, there is no finger pointing or Fox News talking points in the film.  The second reason is that this film, surprisingly for me, is directed by one Michael Bay of Transformers Movies fame and after a quick gander at his list of movies he has directed I discovered that most of his movies keep me entertained but aren’t very good.  I can tell you this movie is, in my opinion, his best film he has ever directed.  The third reason is that an American Ambassador and Foreign Service officer were killed in the attack and two CIA security agents were killed the second attack and politics aside you should due the bare minimum to honor their service by watching a fairly reliable telling of the Benghazi attacks.

In the evening of September 11th, 2012 in the city of Benghazi, Libya, the compound housing the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, played by Matt Letscher (Her,) was attacked and overrun by elements of the terrorist organization Ansar al-Sharia that forced the Ambassador and his security team and one other foreign service officer into hiding.  One mile away at a secret CIA compound a group of CIA Global Response Staff (GRS) members, which is a CIA security force full of former U.S. Special Forces members, led by Tyrone ‘Rone’ Woods, played by James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3,) and Jack Silva, played by John Krasinski (TV’s The Office,) want to get a group together and head over and rescue the ambassador.  However the GRS group is forced to wait because the Chief of the CIA compound, Bob, played by David Costabile (Lincoln,) can’t get authorization from anyone in the US government.  After several pleas for help by the Ambassador and members of his team Rone ignores Bob’s orders and takes a group to the compound to try and rescue the Ambassador and bet back to the CIA base to protect it from the inevitable attack that will happen latter that night.

So like I said in the beginning there are no politics in this movie.  At no point does the story or direction point to the complete cowardice of the Obama administration in its response to the situation or the complete political cover-up that came right after the attack when they said it wasn’t terrorism but a spontaneous…let me see how Wikipedia states it, “Initially, top U.S. officials and the media reported that the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous protest triggered by an anti-Muslim video.”  In fact the only mention of this is towards the end of the movie when the agents in the compound are listening to the news of what’s being told in the rest of the world, while they are living it.  In fact my two sentences above have more politics in them the does the entire movie.  The movie just tells the story of what happened from the point of view on the guys on the ground and keeps the politics out of it.  The story is a very entertaining telling of the battle with excellent action scenes, no surprise with Michael Bay, and enough breaks in the action to create some character development.  If I wanted to be nitpicky I would say that the beginning is a little slow in the build up to the story and lots of character development but it didn’t bother me; others may be annoyed by it but not me.

When I say Michael Bay movies entertain me I mean they are fun to watch.  I loved Transformers even though outside of the many explosions and hearing father Optimus Prime speak in the film, a lot of the story made me giggle at the ridiculousness of it.  But the action was good and I felt good in the end when the good guys won.  I shall not comment about the rest of the Transformer movies other than to say lots of action, yeah Optimus.  Pearl Harbor was difficult to swallow because of the love story which drives me crazy.  As with Transformers the action scenes in his films are outrageously over the top in it explosions.  Pick a scene from any transformers movie and you will see just the most awesome explosions ever as well as the entire attack sequence in Pearl Harbor.  Surprisingly in 13 hours he brings the explosions down to a level that would be much closer to realism than I have ever seen with him.  Plus he does take the time to tell the story of these six men who risk their lives to save the Ambassador.  I would argue we learn more about Krasinski’s character in two hours of this film then we learn of Shia LaBeouf’s character in 3 Transformer movies.  But then again John Krasinski is a good actor and Shia is…an actor and major tool.  So I would say if you have been waiting for a good Michael Bay film then this is your movie.

The last reason I give for seeing this film is that no matter the politics of this movie, an American Ambassador was killed doing what he believed was right as did the two GRS members who were killed defending the compound during the second attack as well as the tech guy with the foreign service who was simply there to make the Wifi better, at least that is how the movie portrays him.  As I said this movie does a nice job of presenting what happened and I think attention needs to be paid to the film to honor those who died.  It’s hard to watch the good guys get their ass kicked a little bit but it happens.  Overall as a war film I would rate this in the same category but a step below Black Hawk Down.

I nitpicked a little earlier about some spots that were slow and if I wanted to nitpick about anything else I would question if the CIA station Chief was as big of an asshole as the movie shows him to be as well as borderline incompetent.  I get that he has orders but he was portrayed as someone who clearly couldn’t handle stressful situations and the position seems like it needs someone who can be the eye of a hurricane.  I also wasn’t sure of the purpose of the two people the CIA GRS teams were protecting at the beginning of the film before the Ambassador shows up but that could be because my hearing sucks and I hadn’t but the subtitles on during that part of the film. In fact my only complaint is that the scenes that had lots of dialogue with no action were too quiet for me and I couldn’t understand what was going on until I had turned on the subtitles.  Not a huge issue but an annoying one for me.

Please see this film if you have ever watched war movies or action movies in the past.  It is an entertaining film and the best film made by Michael Bay.  Ignore your politics and see this film.

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1776_film_posterIn the mid 1990’s, when I was living in a house full of theater people and one pretentious independent film maker (Benn Farrell,) most of them were very proud of their love of musicals, one female in particular, Jennifer, was obnoxious about that and many other things. One day her and her boyfriend Jason were watching some musical and I walked by briefly and she asked me if I wanted to watch it.  I had said no because with one exception I didn’t like musicals.  She looked up and asked me which one did I like.  I told her the musical I like was 1776.  She stared at me for a second and said, “That figures.” She went back to her musical feeling very smug and I walked way knowing that I disliked the ugly no talent hack just a little more.  Of course shortly after this I was introduced to Stephen Sondheim and fell in love with Sweeney Todd and a few of his other musicals.  But 1776 is still my favorite and since its July 4th weekend I figured why not a review of the movie made from the musical.

So 1776 is a fun little musical about the founding fathers trials and tribulations of getting the members of the American Continental Congress to declared independence from England.  There are three sides to the debate, those for Independence, led by John Adams, played by William Daniels (The Graduate,) Thomas Jefferson, played by Ken Howard (The Judge,) Dr. Benjamin Franklin, played by Howard Da Silva (Mommie Dearest.)  Then there was the one who was against Independence, John Dickenson, played by Donald Madden.  Then the third side was basically the three southern states headed by South Carolina and its head delegate Edward Rutledge, played by John Cullum (TV The Day After,) who also wanted independence but not just from England, but from all outside governance except for things like national security and definitely not slavery issues.  So the tug of war begins between the three sides with the birth of a nation on the line.

Now I like this movie for many selfish reasons the biggest of which is that I am a fan of American history and I love to see it put to film.  Now if we get any kind of historical movie it usually is a rewrite to show how bad we Americans are and how good the rest of the world is because that is the current world we live in, thank you Progressives.  However since this movie is based off the musical that was produced on Broadway in 1969 and written earlier so patriotism is still a good thing in the movie.  As for its historical accuracy in how conversations took place during the actual debate, no one really knows what happened because the actual congress was held in private and no one kept records.  Because of that the writers did what they could to create conflict and show the spirit of the debate.  For me it works because I enjoy the story very much and believe that this is an entertaining fictional account of what happened.  I would compare it to the movie JFK which I too like the story as a fictional account of what happened besides the obvious.

The strength of the actors in the film is the three main actors who portrayed Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson.  All three actors, Daniels, Da Silva, and Howard, respectively, all were cast as in the same parts in the Broadway Musical.  Actually I feel that there is not a weak link in the cast.  In fact there is only one character that was annoying and that was McNair, the Congressional Custodian, but I feel that’s because how his character was used in the story.  It was funny in the beginning but by the fourth time he said, “Sweet Jesus” I wanted to punch him.

My favorite musical numbers, and in truth I like all of them but one, are, “But, Mr. Adams,” which has Franklin, Adams, Jefferson and two other delegates discuss who should actually write the Declaration with some funny lyrics dealing with Jefferson’s desire to see his wife that he hasn’t seen in six months, and “The Egg,” which again has the three main characters sing about the birth of the new nation once the Declaration is approved, and lastly “Molasses to Rum,” sung by the South Carolina delegate Edward Rutledge, played by Cullum, who in the final act creates a new challenge for those who wish Independency by threatening to vote against it if the passage that outlaws slavery is kept.  The song is about the hypocrisy of the northern states that wish to discontinue slavery yet reap the benefits of the cheap rum brought back on the ships during the infamous Triangle Trade in our country.  If you don’t know what it is, first that means you had horrible American History professors, and second you should look it up.  It’s important.  The one song I didn’t like as a child when I watched the movie but don’t mind it so much now is the one called “Mama Look Sharp.”  It is sung by General Washington’s dispatch rider who fought at the Battle of Lexington.  His song talks about loss of the young boys who fought the battle and the mothers looking for them.  I can appreciate the song now for what it is.

There are some great scenes in the film besides the musical ones, although they all tie to one.  The scene involving Jefferson’s wife Martha, played by Blythe Danner (Meet The Fockers,) and Adams and Franklin is quite entertaining.  Since Adams is painted a prudish Massachusetts puritan it’s fun to watch him squirm while Franklin has fun with the sexual innuendo at what Martha implies. The other great scene involves the song “Molasses to Rum” in that the whole dialogue leading up to it and the final act in which Adams must compromise and take the slavery language out of the Declaration to get Rutledge’s vote is pretty powerful and sets up the beginnings of what will become the struggles that lead to the US Civil War in a 90 years.

This is a fun movie that you should watch around the 4th of July if you are stuck at home for any reason be it foul weather or hangovers.  It’s educational and it will make you feel proud to be an American and God knows we need that after the last 8 years.  It will definitely piss off a Progressive or two and that is always a good thing.

***Update***

There is no trailer on the interweb highway for this movie.  So I will post a YouTube video with the opening scene because that’s all I got.

 

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dayearthI remember watching surfer dude’s (Keanu Reeves) version of this movie and it was absolutely horrible. At the time I had no desire to see the original because I have never been a fan of the 1950’s Science Fiction movies.  But as I have become a little older I have been more open to seeing most movies.  So needing a classic review and this being Disaster Movie month I opened up my Amazon Prime and picked this Sci Fi classic.

A Flying Saucer comes from an unknown destination and lands at a park near the National Mall in Washington DC.  An alien named Klaatu, played by Michael Rennie (The Devil’s Brigade,) walks out of the spaceship and is almost immediately shot by a jittery American Soldier.  Klaatu is taken to Walter Reed hospital where he is treated and he meets a representative of the US government.  Klaatu states that he has a message for the world and will only say the message to all of the world leaders at once.  Quickly he discovers that the paranoia and distrust of the world’s leaders makes this impossible so he sneaks out of the hospital and explores the area so he can determine if he should continue to with the message or leave and destroy the Earth.

It’s almost silly to say that this movie is dated but for a lack of better words, this movie is dated.  The movie is a statement on the fears of the time at the beginning cold war and the development of atomic weapons.  It’s impossible for any kid after 1980 to imagine living in a world where information only comes in TV and Radio news and the newspaper the next day.  But that is the world in the 1950’s and the movie also plays that up that fact.  The people don’t have enough information about what is going on so in gathering places they are gossiping and they are constantly going to the worst possible place instead of keeping an open mind.  In this movie the only person who is the example of an open mind is Helen Benson, played by Patricia Neal (Breakfast at Tiffany’s.)  The point is being made that just because you don’t know what’s going on doesn’t mean that the unknown is bad.

The constant usage of establishing shots in the film is very common in 1950’s films and highly annoying for the modern viewer.  Nothing is more exciting than watching a bunch of police cars leave a police station and lots of military vehicles leave a military base, including a couple of tanks turning so hard and fast that they almost skid out, when just before we had a scene where we watch a radio journalist read that the police and military are mobilizing to the area where the spaceship is located.  There is another scene where Klaatu is an elevator with Helen and the power goes out and Klaatu explains that this is an orchestrated event worldwide by him.  So the movie then goes to show a half dozen places worldwide where the power is out as if to confirm what he says.  I would love to have seen more conversation between Klaatu and Helen in the elevator but we don’t get that.  Which is the second time when the movie decided to go with establishing shots or voice over instead of showing us what its talking about.  The first was when we see Klaatu and Walter Reed and a soldier locks him in his room and we see Klaatu smile.  The next scene we see a nurse try to bring food to him and we see the room is empty.  We then get to see a montage of newspapers and newsmen saying he escaped with parents bringing their children indoors and policemen scatter to their cars and finally seeing Klaatu walk down the street observing thing.  Instead I would have loved to have seen how he got out of the secured room but that is a mystery that we will never know.

The special effects were typical for the 1950’s which isn’t horrible considering the era but they do a horrible job of the suit for the robot Gort.  Its way to obvious that it’s a fabric suit even though they say its metallic and you can see the seams where the zippers are located.  But to give them credit the appearing and disappearing doors and steps on the flying saucer were done well I thought.  Oh and while the music helped inspire Danny Elfman to become a composer the use of the Theremins in the film was beyond annoying for me.

Despite all of these issues the movie did keep me hooked until the end because I wanted to see what Klaatu had to say to the world.  So after an hour and twenty minutes of film we finally get the final scene where he finally gets to talk to the world and instead of giving us an Academy Award like acceptance speech on the dangers the plane Earth with have if it pursues its atomic militarization he gives us a short POW trained response message to being held captive by basically saying that if the people of Earth bring atomic weapons to outer space the rest of the universe will come destroy the planet to keep interstellar safety intact.  He then gets in his spaceship and leaves, the end, and very anticlimactic and unrewarding for 80 minutes of buildup.

I can see why this is a classic and for me it’s a decent film that did have me interested in the outcome, as unfulfilling as it was.  This film is 1000 times better than the remake 50+ years later so if you are stuck seeing one or the other I say watch this one and try to imagine a time when there were only 3 TV stations that were off the air by midnight every night and the only place to get information was the library.  It makes you think how lucky, and in some aspects, unlucky we are to live in the world we live in now.

 

 

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left behindWow, did that suck. I always wonder how actors who have an Academy Award for acting can fall so far from grace and end up in the worst movies ever.  It happened to Cuba Gooding Jr. and it has definitely happened to Nicolas Cage.  He has been suffering in movie hell for quite some time now.   The last decent films he was in were maybe National Treasure 2 and Ghost Rider maybe?  Well after starring in Left Behind he is as close to rock bottom as you can get. Next stop for Cage, Sharknado 4 maybe?

Rayford Steele, played by Nicolas Cage (Season of the Witch,) is a pilot who has family troubles with his wife.  No, she isn’t doing drugs or is a drunk, no that isn’t it, he has a problem with his wife because she has fallen for another man.  His name is Jesus Christ.  That’s right she has found God and that has forced their college daughter Chloe, played by Cassi Thomson (TV Big Love,) to stay away at school and forced Ray into the arms of a loving stewardess named Hattie, played by Nicky Whelan (Hall Pass.) Ray has decided to skip his birthday weekend with his family because of an unplanned planned trip by getting a last minute call to fly to London that Hattie just so happens to be on.  About two hours into the flight, and while Chloe is at the mall with her little brother, something amazing happens, all of the children on the plan and select adults, including the co-pilot, all just disappear.  Chloe witnesses her brother disappears along with every other child and some selected adults at the mall.  At first they are clueless as to what happens but as time goes by Ray discovers that the people disappearing all are Christians and innocent children.  He begins to thing the end of days have come and all the good people have been taken to heaven.

Oh this movie is rough and the only good things in it, for me, are all of the hot women in the film. Nicky Whelan, who I know as the hot Australian medical intern from the final season of Scrubs is gorgeous as the somewhat innocent but soon to be slutty flight attendant.  Also enjoyable is Cassi as the daughter who I have never seen before but she does a wonderful job of bending over a lot to show us her cleavage and I spend most of the movie thinking what she is doing in college to keep from going to heaven.  I am guessing its some kind of lesbian experience with an equally as hot coed. Here, enjoy some pictures of Nicky and then Cassie.

nickyw cassiet

There is no since of direction in this film.  It is a disaster film in the since that there are people in danger on the airplane and there is chaos on the ground that puts Chloe in danger, but we really don’t care about the people on the plane.  Within the first or ten minutes of the flight we discover who all the scumbags are and who the good people are so when the good people get beamed to heaven we are left caring about a bunch of non-believers who for the most part, happen to be jerks, oh and one Muslim.

I thought this was one of those God type pictures where we get to find out all the rules about being saved and see Kirk Cameron show up and help us.  But that isn’t really the case either.  Even though we have the mother Irene, played by Lea Thompson (Back to the Future,) has a heart to heart with Chloe about being ready for what’s coming and how God got her to visit at this time.  Of course that doesn’t go over at all with Chloe who things it’s some kind of disease to believe in God.  Of course the opening of the movie has a photo journalist Buck Williams, played by Chad Michael Murry (House of Wax,) being accosted by some woman who thinks it’s odd he is always around disasters and starts to quote biblical scripture about the end of times.  Both this woman and the mom Irene come across as annoying bible thumpers who no one will listen too.  And when they turn out to be right we can’t even say gee I wish I listened to them because they were so obnoxious about it.  But to be honest, the people they were preaching too were just as bad.  Chloe verbally assaulted the woman in the mall and then yelled at her mother for what God was and wasn’t doing and not believing any of it.  When she went to the local church to ask someone what was going on she ended up screaming at someone who was in the church about believing in God and why she was still there.  Every conversation regarding God came off as negative before and after the event so it just doesn’t seem like a come find Jesus movie.

The disaster part didn’t have that much too it either.  In terms of the airplane the only issue was that they had a minor collision with another plane, that was pilotless and they had a hard time trying to find a place to land.  They tried to have some passenger on passenger violence, there is the one Muslim on the plane mind you, and the wife of a professional football player who thinks her husband came on the plane and took her daughter.  But none of it was really believable nor did I really care. Poor Chloe had a bigger problem trying to get home from the mall.  She was by the door of the mall when a driverless car rolled through the door and tried to run her over.  Then when she was in the parking lot she was nearly hit by a small pilotless airplane.  After being nearly shot by a jewelry store owner and visiting the hospital to see all of the new born children were missing she made it home to a home without a mother who also disappeared and instead of trying to come to grips with what is going on started to contemplate suicide.  So there is no real danger and no real stars so this really doesn’t qualify as a disaster.

The final insult of the movie does come at the end of the film.  After Ray finally gets a hold of his daughter she creates a run way on a road that was being worked on in the greater NY area so the plane can land.  The plane does land, everyone is safe and hugging each other when the look and see the New York skyline ablaze in an almost holy inferno.  So they saved the passengers only to have to live through seven years of darkness and hell on earth, the end.  That should make you feel good huh?

The picture of Nic Cage’s face on the movie poster aptly describes my look as I was watching the film as well.  Hell his expression could also describe his feelings about what is happening to his movie career.   He has the look of, “You mean to tell me all I can get is Sharknado 4?  And my character doesn’t even to get to have sex with Tara Reid’s character?  What’s the point?”  Indeed, what’s the point!

 

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