sweet sweetness…

Many moons after borrowing it, I finally sat down and watched Empire of the Wolves. Now that’s a Jean Reno movie! I went in expecting another French flic flick but minutes in it adds gruesome “zombie” faces, a gruesome corpse and Jean Reno in a good role. It also features an involving story of a woman losing her memory, maybe her mind, hallucinations, a serial killer, plenty of action, foreign terrorists, corruption and a few gruesome scenes. Highly recommended to Action fans, and Reno is great in another of his trademark good guy/bad guy roles.

empire of the wolves 00:10:54
empire of the wolves 00:45:10

We also sat through three (yes) Harry Potter movies. I had thought that I had only seen Chamber of Secrets part way through, so I watched the whole thing again, just to realize I’d seen it. We then watched Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire. I don’t know, call me a fool but, in the movies at least, the story only holds about 2 movies of entertainment for me. After that point the thing seems a bit played out. Maybe it holds up better in the books? Anyway, the first two are quite entertaining and clever. Prisoner of Azkaban didn’t really do it for me. I thought it to be gimmicky, self-congratulatory and too self conscious… It seemed to be more interested in its “harry potterness” then in a good story and so the plot just didn’t seem that strong. Goblet of Fire, I thought was equally disinteresting. The plot that is unfolding though these movies is is well and good, but after the first two movies, it seems that the machinations used to move the plot along become gaudy and contrived. Also, I thought that, for a children’s movie, Goblet of Fire is a bit grim.

And if you are in the Boston area some time, I would strongly recommend stopping by the Coolidge Corner Theater. It looked very nondescript, but we stopped in due to it’s proximity to our hotel and we were in for a treat. It is being renovated and the chairs have been replaced with new-style theaters chairs (which, in all honesty, may be a good thing) but it turned out to be a beautiful old art deco theater on the inside. For it’s style, it’s easily the most dramatic I’ve seen yet! Certainly worth supporting this organizations efforts and stopping by to enjoy a film and the 1933 theater itself.

And what did we see there? Well, Little Miss Sunshine! I strongly recommend this one! I thought it was a wonderful movie: A great family movie about a family. I loved the Dwayne character, Alan Arkin, as always, dominated his scenes with his own unique efforts, Greg Kinnear did a great job, especially with the policeman, Steve Carrell shows that he can act just fine outside of juvenile comedies and Abigail is adorable and does a great job. This family road trip comedy of errors (not to be confused, at all, with National Lampoon’s Vacation

We also watched Sybil. Woosh. It starts off slow but it certainly comes into its own… It’s 3 hour length flows by very quickly and I found myself to be unable to tear myself away from it. Very shocking and tense for a TV movie, it has some startlingly unpleasant scenes and themes. Sally Fields is quite good as the women who hides behind a dozen different personalities and Joanne Woodward does a good job as the woman trying to break through them all. It was also a surprise to see good ol’ Charles Lane playing the old doctor… The cast, aside from that, aren’t really noticeable, but they’re pretty secondary to the story so no big deal. Anyway, even for someone with no interest in “multiple personalities”, it was a very engaging movie.

sybil 02:54:24
Lastly, I re-watched The Long Good Friday. Such a good classic… This time I watched the newer Anchor Bay disc. Honestly, it still looks a bit dull, but I’m thinking that’s just how the movie looks. Though it’s been a long time since I watched the Criterion disc, I didn’t feel like this looked all that much better. Soundwise, the dialogue remains unclear and the soundtrack sounds good, for what it is… But what it is, I still don’t like. Those jazzy 70s soundtracks in European movies just don’t do it for me. That all aside, this movie is just great! Bob Hoskin’s breakthrough role, showcasing his powerful presentation, is great! He just is this fellow… Peirce Brosnan’s debut film role, however brief, is very entertaining and he does a good job, Helen Mirren is also quite good… But the movie is really just Hoskins, strutting his stuff! That and a great story, really well-presented. It is quite exciting to be more in the know than poor ol’ Bob, but to still not know what the devil is going on. It is just a really well thought out, well acted, well made classic crime/action film. Highly recommended!

long good friday 00:54:40
long good friday 01:09:50

short on movies…

This week? two Theater trips! We went out to the newest beer theater, the Academy Theater. Very nice! It looks good and has a nice feel and they serve good pizza, good popcorn, and beer!

And what did we see? the best comedy I’d seen since 40 Year Old Virgin, Thank You for Smoking! it was great. I was expecting something, I don’t know, different something sillier. In fact, to me it was one of the better comedies I’ve seen. Great subject matter, fun characters, very funny, the reference to cell phones at the end… Great!

And then, a new old classic came to town, Army of Shadows. Some say the best Melville, well, not my favorite, but still quite good, and chock full of Alain’s, but no Delon. The noir sense worked well in this WW2 resistance drama, dynamically led by the great performance of Lino Ventura and also the charming Paul Meurisse. Full of close calls and treachery, great cinematography, great characters and a top notch plot. You really can’t go wrong with Melville.

Da Vinci Code… Ok. Yeah, I’ve, of course, never cracked the book open, and I always failed to see the great controversy behind the story, I guess it’s because this is the first time these ideas have really been presented in a package for the mass media consumer, instead of a more bookish group. Regardless, though it seemed uninteresting and with some uninspired stars, a trailer for it exuded an exciting action thriller atmosphere with some intriguing secondary players so, now that it has made it’s appearance in beer theater land, we went and saw it.

Well, well, well. First off, the projector was too unfiddled with so the slight blurriness of the picture, blended with the awkwardly edited night action scenes made the first part a bit hard to watch. The over-exposition was tried true and tiring. Especially, I thought, giving the subject matter and genre, there should have been a chance for people to figure things out, instead, all of the angles were handed out on a well-lit (especially see the Star of David) platter, sadly, considering the potentially intriguing subject matter. Anyway… It all made for a very predictable movie.

The movie was quite dull, until Ian McKellen showed up. I warn you, he is the only actor who actually seemed to be really using his acting muscle for this one, and the only character who was at all interesting. The first scenes with him were also the only times when really scandalous theories were given much airtime.. Reno and Prochnow were much underused and the two leads really aren’t too great. Hanks really shined in Big but since then… I dunno.

But enough about movies!

We took to the hills again and it was even better than the last. We, um, ascended to the top of Table Mountain.. Yes, it was back to Washington again, in fact, not far from ol’ Dog Mountain… The one was very good. Some nice steepness, some great vistas and a nice reminder of the works of geology… Warning, there are lots of pictures at: Ascent of Table Mountain


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