Monday, November 29, 2010

7 Things "Indiana Jones" Taught Me

1. Antiquities from Biblical times will kill you.
Don't mess with God. Or, at least, his stuff. The Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail are tools of death. I think this is why I developed an aversion to all things Biblical at an early age.

2. Blondes have more fun, but brunettes kick ass.
Everyone knows that Marion is by the far the superior Indy girl. She punches Indy in the face, downs shots like a sailor, and looks damn good in chiffon. It's complete torture watching Willie Scott trying to outrun the flooded mines in that ridiculous Jasmine-esque onesie. And Dr. Elsa Schneider is hot, undoubtedly, but also a Nazi. So, that leaves Marion Ravenwood, every man's man's dream girl.

3. Indian cuisine is truly disgusting.
It was only later in life that I discovered that Indian food relies heavily on curry powder and saffron. I figured that chilled monkey brains and eyeball soup were always on the menu. The dinner scene from "Temple of Doom" definitely scarred me for life. Still to this day, I have never eaten Indian food.

4. All Asian clubs have lazy susans.
When Indy brings the remains of Nurhachi to Lao Che in exchange for a chunky diamond, he puts it on that rotating thingy-ma-jig. Oh, right, it's called a 'lazy susan.' I've repeatedly been disappointed when I go to an Asian restaurant and they aren't equipped with these brilliant things.

5. It's completely okay for a child to drive (if he/she can reach the pedals).
Short Round really got me into trouble. I used to sit on my dad's lap and take the Buick into the gated apartment community, which probably would be considered child abuse by now. I didn't have the block tied to my foot, but I certainly thought I was a badass.

6. A leather whip can get you out of a jam.
I used to pretend that my neon yellow jump rope was my whip. Sadly, the damn thing never held my weight. I still don't fully believe that Indy's leather whip was as useful as he made it look. Whips are for the circus and the bedroom, I think that's about it.

7. Brown oxfords will last you a lifetime.
Ok, mine weren't brown, but I seriously thought I could run a 5k in those things. With the amount of running, sprinting, jogging, climbing, and spelunking that Indy does, it's nearly impossible to imagine that he did all that in those ruddy lace-ups. What were the soles made out of, anyway?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

[f.g.i] Presents: A Tribute to Runners

It sounds ridiculous, but there is a huge difference between good runners and bad runners. If you want a great chase scene or an explosive action sequence, it's important to cast the right man or woman for the job. Those arms need to be pumping something fierce for it to be believable. Here's a list (along with some images) of the chosen few whose form I admire most:

1. David Belle ("District B13" and "District B13-U")
The French native is given credit for inventing parkour, or "free-running." It focuses on the ability to use the raw environment in order to get from one place to another. David Belle is a true athlete!

2. Sebastien Foucan ("Casino Royale" chase scene)
Along with the amazing David Belle, he is considered one of the founding members of parkour, the French art of free-running.

3. Matt Damon ("The Bourne Ultimatum")
Did you ever think that the young man in "Good Will Hunting" was going to end up being Jason Bourne? Me either. Matt Damon's foot chase scenes are well-choreographed and very fluid.

4. Liam Neeson ("Taken")
Qui-Gon Jinn isn't a small dude. For a taller and bigger man , Liam Neeson will chase you the *bleep* down. And then pistol-whip you until you beg for a swift death.

5. Tom Cruise (Pretty much every single movie he's done)
Let's not kid ourselves - it seems like Tom Cruise is ALWAYS running. Despite being on 5'10", he somehow manages to look bigger when he's on the run. Even though he's a crazy asshole, Tom Cruise is one heck of a runner.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sure, I can complain - but "Deathly Hallows" prepares you for the doom and gloom of the final face-off: B

Where did everybody go?

That was my initial reaction after watching DH1 this weekend. Where the *bleep* is everyone!? It’s hard for me to believe that following Dumbledore’s murder, the Order of the Phoenix doesn’t go out for some Death Eater blood. Instead, they rally around Harry to transport him safely to the Weasley’s; which isn’t really the safest place for Harry to hide, considering that in the last installment their home was destroyed by Bellatrix. The remaining members of the Order of the Phoenix then disappear, or, “go underground,” according to Hermione. So Harry, Ron, and Hermione are left to their own devices on their quest to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes, the seven objects containing bits of Voldemort’s soul.

**ALERT: The remaining portion of this article contains spoilers!**

The first segment of the film is very exciting. The film opens with a very sad montage that reminds the audience that the darkest times have arrived. (I don’t want to give too much away, but I certainly cried during the first 10 minutes!) As Voldemort prepares to take over the world, he gathers his Death Eaters in a dusty old mansion as he reveals his plan to kill Harry. The treacherous Severus Snape is at this meeting, along with the Malfoys and other Slytherin scum.

"Can I pleeeeease have one of your Jujubees?"

Meanwhile, as I mentioned before, Harry is safe and sound with the Weasleys on the eve of Bill and Fleur’s wedding. Obviously, the wedding has a disastrous end when it is disturbed by Death Eaters. At this point, Harry’s had enough and decides to begin his search for the Horcruxes. Brilliantly, one of the Horcruxes ends up being in the possession of Dolores Umbridge (in my opinion, a woman more evil than Bellatrix Lestrange). Thanks to some Polly juice potion, the trio infiltrates the Ministry of Magic in order to get their hands on the locket. This is a great part of the movie, by the way. But upon their escape, Ron is injured and the trio ends up in the middle of a forest.

Now, here’s where the movie started to put me to sleep. For about an hour and a half, we have to painfully watch and wait for something to happen. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione narrowly escape the Ministry, they’re now stuck in the wilderness, pitching tents and casting protection spells. It’s very, very boring. After Ron’s wounds are healed, he decides to leave because he believes that Hermione and Harry have a thing. Which, by the way, I always wished they did because the two of them make more sense than Hermione and Ron. So, it’s Hermione and Harry, in the middle of nowhere, talking and sleeping and being sad. Very, very lame.

Hermione's best impression of Carrie White.

When Ron decides to return, things pick up again. The trio heads to the home of Luna Lovegood, to get some info on a mysterious symbol worn around the neck of her father at the wedding. We learn about the story of the Three Brothers in a very cool, silhouetted cartoon. (Reminded me of the story of Oren Ishii in the first “Kill Bill.”) So, the Three Brothers have the 3 remaining Horcruxes: the Cloak of Invisibility, the Resurrection Stone, and, apparently, the most bad-ass wand of all time.

Unfortunately, the trio is intercepted after fleeing the Lovegood’s home and find themselves in the hands of Bellatrix at the dusty old mansion. She tortures Hermione and locks up Harry and Ron. The trio barely escapes certain death and pain once Dobby, the old house elf, comes in a saves them. Sadly, Dobby’s glory is short-lived, as he is punctured by a dagger thrown by Bellatrix at the last second before the group apparates. Dobby’s death was a hard one to watch, and I definitely cried for a solid five minutes. The film ends with a glimpse of Voldemort breaking into Dumbledore’s tomb to steal the wand of the Three Brothers.

And there you have it. The beginning was thrilling, the middle was utterly painful to get through, and the ending had me crying for my mommy. All in all, DH1 was a good film, certainly a great lead-in to the final chapter.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sorry Todd, but "Due Date" falls short of becoming the ultimate road trip movie: B

I had some pretty high hopes for this to be the comedic gold nugget of the year. But there's only so much awkwardness I can stand before the movie starts to just feel...uncomfortable.

I seriously love Zach's comedy special at The Purple Onion; I think it showcases his genius. But his humor is being exploited by Todd Phillips and is therefore becoming a little less funny.

The highlights of the movie, for me, included the cameos of Juliette Lewis and Danny McBride, along with Ethan Tremblay's (Galifianakis) signature perm and strut. The persona of Ethan is kooky, to say the least. And Sonny, the masturbating French bulldog, also provides some comic relief.

The not-so-great elements, for me, included Jamie Foxx's strange and unnecessary cameo, as well as a stereotypical scene in which RDJ and Zach smoke some chronic. There were quite a few useless scenes, like when RDJ has to keep an eye on a couple of rowdy kids. But, the real disappointment lies with Jamie Foxx. I know he and RDJ are friends in real life, but come on. The dude's storyline was incomplete, all leading up to a really lame who's-the-daddy-joke at the end.

It's worth seeing, it's definitely funny...but it's not comedic gold and I'm tired of Todd Phillips already.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

[f.g.i.] Presents: The 10 Best Movies About Elections

1. "Milk"
Sean Penn's portrayal of the openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk is nothing short of perfect. Watch the superb, award-winning documentary "The Times Of Harvey Milk" to get yourself interested.

2. "Charlie Wilson's War"
Tom Hanks plays the charismatic Texas congressman who gets involved with Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. A movie that's sure to keep you interested and entertained.

3. "Nixon"
Anthony Hopkins plays the aggressive Republican whose presidency ended in shame and embarassment. A great look into the life of the former president.

4. "Election"
Ok, so it's a high school election, but a great movie nonetheless. Reese Witherspoon is the perfect choice for the ambitious class kiss-ass. I can actually picture her being that annoying in real life.

5. "W."
A glimpse into the world of perhaps the most-hated president in U.S. history, George W. Bush. Josh Brolin and James Cromwell mesh well together as the father-and-son duo from Texas.

6. "Wag The Dog"
When the president is caught in a sex scandal, Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman join forces to "create" a war to deter the American people from finding out.

7. "All The King's Men" (Remake)
This time, Anthony Hopkins and Sean Penn share the screen in a film about a political Southerner based on the life of Governor Huey Long of Louisiana.

8. "Black Sheep"
Comedy gold! Chris Farley and David Spade star in this movie about a political candidate who hires an assistant to ensure that his fat, stupid brother doesn't ruin the election campaign.

9. "Man of The Year"
Robin Williams plays a talk-show-host-turned-presidental-candidate. But the voting system is found to be rigged by the company that makes the ballot-counters. It's heartfelt and funny.

10. "The American President"
Ok, it's not really about an election, but it's a great romance. Michael Douglas is the widowed president who falls in love with a lobbyist.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Ip Man": Probably the greatest kung-fu movie of our time

I have always been a huge fan of martial arts movies. There's something romantic about Eastern hand-to-hand combat. A few years back, my dad introduced me to Tony Jaa. I had never seen anything like it, and after watching Tony Jaa in "Ong-Bak" and "The Protector," I was convinced that Muay Thai was the new hotness. I mean, the dude broke bones and crushed skulls with his knees and elbows - how can you top that?

Donnie Yen topped it. I'd seen his skills before in such movies as "Seven Swords," "Iron Monkey" and "Hero." I never doubted that he could kick some serious ass, but this movie just blew me away.

This film is based on the life of the real Ip Man, a Wing Chun master and teacher to Bruce Lee. After the Japanese invade China in 1937, the residents of the small town of Foshan are forced into poverty. Ip Man has to work in the coal mines to feed his family. Like any great martial artist, Ip Man refuses to use his skills for anything other than self-defense. That is, until, the General of the Japanese army holds combat tournaments. Any Chinese man who defeats a Jap is rewarded with a bag of rice. After the brutal death of one of his fellow martial arts masters, Ip Man decides to take on the remaining Japs, including the General.

This film is a bit long and sleepy, but it's beautiful. The production value is exceedingly high, almost like it was made by American filmmakers. I really can't say enough about Donnie Yen after seeing this movie...he's a true artist with the speed and elusiveness of a crane. He's a real treasure, and a testament to an art that I hope never dies.

I urge you to watch this movie!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...