Archive for May, 2010

The movie Invictus contains the message that something seemingly trivial, like a game, can unite individuals and an entire country.  It is a typical sports movie, yet it is also a good movie.

The title Invictus comes from a poem of the same title, written by the English poet William Ernest Henley.  It reads: "Out of the night that covers me,/ Black as the pit from pole to pole,/ I thank whatever gods may be/ For my unconquerable soul.// In the fell clutch of circumstance/ I have not winced nor cried aloud./ Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.// Beyond this place of wrath and tears/ Looms but the Horror of the shade,/ And yet the menace of the years/ Finds and shall find me unafraid.//It matters not how strait the gate,/ How charged with punishments the scroll,/ I am the master of my fate:/ I am the captain of my soul." The last two lines are mostly what are used in the movie.

Both Morgan Freeman, as South African President Nelson Mandela, and Matt Damon, as Springbok captain Francois Pienaar, are what make the movie.  Well, the rugby helps.  The interesting thing, to me, is that President Mandela did not let the Springbok team be demolished and renamed, as many were expecting, even though they were seen as a symbol of apartheid.  Instead, Mandela stood behind them and, in effect, inspired them to win to unite their country.

I found Invictus to be entertaining and inspiring without going overboard into sappiness.  It’s a good movie, and one that I’d recommend.

I was rather shocked, recently, to find some people who had never heard of James Herriot.  That surprised me, not only because his stories are excellent, but also because the TV show based on his stories was quite popular.  Doesn’t “All Creatures Great and Small” sound familiar at all?

All I can say is that those who have never read the stories or watched the show are missing out.  Siegfried, Tristan, James, and the farmers of the Yorkshire Dales are all charming and often hilarious.  Not to mention the animal characters like Trickie-Woo and Clancy.

I would recommend checking out the show if you’ve never seen it.  The show is almost as good as the books.

Finally.  I got to watch Crazy Heart.  One of the main questions is whether or not Jeff Bridges deserved to win an Oscar for the role of Bad Blake.

Crazy Heart is about Bad Blake, a run-down country musician who helped launch the super-star career of county singer Tommy Sweet, yet is himself playing in seedy bars and bowling alleys.  Bad Blake is a chain-smoking alcoholic who has true talent but hasn’t gotten many breaks.  The question becomes whether or not Blake will be able to change his ways before he ruins himself.

There was no question in my mind that Jeff Bridges deserved the Oscar for best actor.  He literally and figuratively had to let everything hang out in this role.  And he did it.  He never broke from the character, and it could not have been the easiest character to play.  Bridges also played and sang for the role.  Sang with power and authority, as if he belongs behind a microphone.

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Robert Duvall played their parts well, but the movie was really about Bad Blake.  And Jeff Bridges stole the show.  I may even have to purchase the soundtrack…

Rude much?

On Saturday I went to see Iron Man 2 again.  I may have enjoyed the movie a little more the second time around.  Good times.

What was not so good were the rude people using their cellphones during the movie.  I know I’ve posted a mini rant about this already, but this time was worse.  There were a few teenagers sitting in a row behind the one I was sitting in.  One or more of them were using their cellphones during the movie.  It was noticable enough that one of the theater employees asked the boy to turn off his phone.  Apparently he thought it was horribly rude to be asked to turn off his cell phone in a movie theater.  Maybe he can’t read, because I’m pretty sure there are signs everywhere telling patrons to turn off their bleeding phones.  Anyway, the lad must have been sassy enough for the employee to report him, because the manager came into the theater himself to ask the boy to turn off his phone.  *headdesk*  Seriously?  Are you that attached to your phone?  You can’t go thirty minutes without texting?  Do you also plug it into your navel to recharge it?  Honestly.

I wish the story ended there.  After the movie, the boy saw the employee who had originally asked him to turn off his phone.  He started mouthing off again.  He was a rude, cretinous toad.  Where do kids like that get the gall to act that way?  Wake up call, boyo!  The world does not revolve around you and your precious little cellphone!

People like that, no matter the age, can so easily ruin a movie experience for others.  The sad part?  They don’t even care.

I’m on a bit of a "road-trip" at the moment, but I hope to be able to do a real update tomorrow when I’m more coherent.

Giamatti’s got SOUL, yeah, baby

I’ve thought for a long time that Paul Giamatti is an under-appreciated actor.  He is so talented.  And now I found a clip to prove it!

www.youtube.com/watch

 

The charm of Robert Downey, Jr.

Now I want to watch Iron Man 2 again.  I’ll try to wait for a matinee….

www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi2256077849/

Good times.  What an excellent movie with which to start out the summer.

At last; I finally watched Robin Hood.  I wasn’t deterred by the negative reviews it’s been receiving, but I did have to wait until I had an evening free.

The legend of Robin Hood is quite well known, so Brian Helgeland, the writer, and Ridley Scott, the director, took the story in as different a direction as they could.  Even though Russell Crowe is older than some of the other incarnations of Robin Hood, he is supposed to represent Robin Hood at the beginning of the legend.  That certainly makes for a unique twist on the story.

However, the story-line was somewhat lacking in cohesion.  All of the characters that one expects to see where in the story, but the story itself was a bit fragmentary.  There were some very nice parts, though.  Sir Walter Loxsley, played with quiet exuberance by Max von Sydow, was an excellent addition to the story.  Cate Blanchett was also superb as the ‘reinvented’ Lady Marion.  After all, the list of what Blanchett can’t do would be much shorter than the list of what she can do.  But I digress.

Oscar Isaac was sufficiently distasteful as Prince John; and Matthew Macfadyen stepped away from the brooding romantic type he plays so well to become the smarmy, despicable Sheriff of Nottingham.  The main addition to the story was Sir Godfrey, played by Mark Strong, who is a double-crossing friend of Prince John.  Strong brings his usual intensity to the role, making him seem much more the dangerous villain than the tantrum-prone Prince John.

Was the movie worthwhile, considering all the changes to the story?  I found it to be an entertaining and enjoyable movie.  After all, who doesn’t like the idea of a common man standing up against tyranny?  The fight scenes were well-done and exciting, especially the use of archery.  I found Robin Hood to be enjoyable, despite the lack of cohesion.  It was a good story about people who would rather be left in peace, yet will fight oppression if they must.  In other words, the naysayers are wrong about this movie.

At last; I finally watched Robin Hood.  I wasn’t deterred by the negative reviews it’s been receiving, but I did have to wait until I had an evening free.

The legend of Robin Hood is quite well known, so Brian Helgeland, the writer, and Ridley Scott, the director, took the story in as different a direction as they could.  Even though Russell Crowe is older than some of the other incarnations of Robin Hood, he is supposed to represent Robin Hood at the beginning of the legend.  That certainly makes for a unique twist on the story.

However, the story-line was somewhat lacking in cohesion.  All of the characters that one expects to see were in the story, but the story itself was a bit fragmentary.  There were some very nice parts, though.  Sir Walter Loxsley, played with quiet exuberance by Max von Sydow, was an excellent addition to the story.  Cate Blanchett was also superb as the ‘reinvented’ Lady Marion.  After all, the list of what Blanchett can’t do would be much shorter than the list of what she can do.  But I digress.

Oscar Isaac was sufficiently distasteful as Prince John; and Matthew Macfadyen stepped away from the brooding romantic type he plays so well to become the smarmy, despicable Sheriff of Nottingham.  The main addition to the story was Sir Godfrey, played by Mark Strong, who is a double-crossing friend of Prince John.  Strong brings his usual intensity to the role, making him seem much more the dangerous villain than the tantrum-prone Prince John.

Was the movie worthwhile, considering all the changes to the story?  I found it to be an entertaining and enjoyable movie.  After all, who doesn’t like the idea of a common man standing up against tyranny?  The fight scenes were well-done and exciting, especially the use of archery.  I found Robin Hood to be enjoyable, despite the lack of cohesion.  It was a good story about people who would rather be left in peace, yet will fight oppression if they must.  In other words, the naysayers are wrong about this movie.

Frasier’s not a narcissist?

I’ve always enjoyed the show "Frasier," mostly because of the way Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce were able to play off of each other.  Made for some hilarious moments in TV.

I just came across this website about a project Kelsey Grammer is working on, and I found if very interesting.

www.looc.org/index.php/kglf.html

It’s nice to see that there are celebrities that care about "ordinary" people, especially those willing to volunteer for their country.

Kudos, Kelsey!