Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Snakes, why'd it have to be snakes?"

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is the first of three incredible films starring Harrison Ford, and this one is directed by Spielberg (not so sure about the others). In The Lost Ark, Indian Jones (Ford) plays a boring college professor by day, studly archaeologist by night...and any other time he takes off from his day job. In this film, Indie finds himself in an endless struggle to get the chest which supposedly holds the original slates of the ten commandments sent from God himself. The struggle is, the Nazi's of the late 1930's are also trying to get this same chest for Adolf Hitler, which creates quite a conflict. This is definitely your typical action film, only so much better. Most of the plot line of the story is Indiana searching for the lost ark, which all seems to have a doomed feeling about it. In fact, at one point one of Indiana's closest friends says that "the ark is not something that men deserve", of course, Indie will find is anyways (because he's a stud like that).

I'd have to say that my favorite thing about this film was the characters. Indiana Jones obviously, is simply incredible, a classical hero beyond belief. But then there were so many other characters that made the dialogue and general action of the film dramatic, hilarious, creepy and suspenseful. Mary (Karen Allen), Indiana's love intrest (who he apparently has quite a bit of a past with), is simply wonderful. She is not your typical damsel in distress, she is a whisky drinkin', fist fightin', bar owin' hard ass with a voice to match, basically, she's my hero. Oh, and the nazi's, oh the nazi's...they are just some of the creepiest characters I've laid eyes on. The actors just hit the mark, every time I saw their faces, I just got the shivers. Let me just say, it's a good thing they get what's coming to them. Oh man, there's even a nazi monkey!! This film has everything.

The cinematography is also very entertaining. The film opens with a shot of a mountain, then Indiana comes into the frame, and he appears the same size as the mountains themselves. He then procedes to ever so smoothly places his hands on his hips and stare the mountain down with the sillhoute of his hat and whip clear against the red sky, as to suggest he is in charge of whatever he may encounter. I also noticed that during every action sequence of either boobie(sp?) traps, a horse/car chase or whatever it may be, the shots are all very short, usually no longer than a few seconds. This keeps the viewer engaged and on the edge of their seat, since at some times there is no establishing shot, it gives this feeling of chaos and disorder, but Indie always seems to figure it out. The music contributes to this chaotic feeling also, constantly switching between Indie's anthem when the camera is on him, to the demonic sound of the nazi's tune when the camera is on them.

Overall I felt this movie was very entertaining, but did get a little long. If you are in the mood for a stright forward action movie, this is for you. In conclusion, I approve, and highly reccomend this film.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Today is a Good Day to Die"

I recently stayed at home to on a Friday night, and stumbled upon this movie on AMC, and may I just say, I am impressed! Little Big Man, directed by Arthur Penn and starring Dustin Hoffman(Jack Crabb/Little Big Man), who was so young in this movie, definately surpassed my expectations! The plot is that Jack is about 120 years old, and is flashing back to the early years in his life. He starts when he is ten and his family is murdered by Native Americans while trying to go West across the US, and Jack and his sister are left alive and taken in by the "human beings" as the Native Americans call themselves. Throughout the movie, Jack goes back and forth from being a "human being" and a "white man". During this exchange, Jack ends up fighting in General Custer's army more than once, taking up gun fighting, getting married to a Swedish bride, searching for his Swedish bride, having children, and hunting buffalo.

The movie has a great mix of comedy, tradegdy, sarcasim, drama, and an overall interesting message...Although I'm not really sure how to state it. I guess you could say the message is: agression, hatred and violence towards one ethnicity(on both sides of the argument) is simply stupid and unnecessary because it only causes more pain for both sides, and we are all the same anyways. So I'll stop being philosophical now, and encourage you to watch this clip the whole way through, it's really good, especially at the end!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Alvin and the Chipmunks...Yes please!

I was weary first heading into the theater, but Alvin and the Chipmunks captured me right from the start with its amazingly awesome rendition of “You Had a Bad Day”, the song made popular by American Idol; Which in the movie, is sung in three parts by Alvin, Simon, and Theodore (the cutest one). That was it for me, if there was going to be more sweet trios, I was in for the long haul! I only became more impressed as the movie went on, Stephen Hunter on the other hand, did not feel the same way, he describes the chipmunks as,
“Alvin and his buddies, Simon and Diseased Scurvy Rodent -- oh, sorry, folks, I
mean Theodore!”

I simply could not disagree more! These rodents happen to be some of the cutest things I have ever seen, and their antics are not only loveable, but hilarious as well. When Dave (surrogate Father to the chipmunks) first rejects the chipmunks and literally throws them out in the rain-a little dramatic, I know-even he cannot deny their loveable nature and is forced to take them back in.
The acting in the film is actually done pretty professionally as well. First of all, I just really like Jason Lee, who plays Dave Seville. I think he did a very good job becoming a believable character, regardless of the ridiculousness of the movie. David Cross on the other hand, well, I agree with Hunter on that point,
“…David Cross's hammy over-acting as the record exec who wants to corrupt the
I own some of David Cross’s standup, and let me just say, it is VERY far from the humor in Alvin and the Chipmunks. I believe that Cross knew what he was doing with his “hammy over-acting”, either way, it was still “hammy over-acting”. The chipmunks on the other hand, were computer animated; soo…their acting was great (?). I can’t decide if I liked the computer generated chipmunks or not, I guess I would like them more than actual chipmunks, but maybe plain old cartoon would be good as well. Hunter appears to dislike the computer animated chipmunks, he elaborates,
“--is new computer technologies. So this film features what look like living
plush toys.”
Overall, I truly enjoyed this movie a lot. It was fun to be a kid again for that hour and a half, and I say you should not listen to Hunter when he says,
“But youngsters who love the shrieky singing and don't notice the tapioca of the
story will probably get their money's worth. Parents: Bring earplugs.”
The singing is actually pretty good, I mean, besides the shrieking, they sing in perfect harmony to tunes you can sing along to. And if you’re not enthralled with the music, then I assure you that your heart will melt during the scene when Theodore curls up in Dave’s bed, watch for it! It’s so cute, it’s almost comic, which is what makes it so amazing!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

so the 'robots' don't delete my blog!

hey guys, my favorite movies at the moment include: Goonies, The Lion King, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Home Alone 2-Lost in New York, Juno was pretty good, and actually, the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie was pretty hilarious, and those chipmunks can sing!! That's about it for now.
P&L, Claire