Wednesday, June 22, 2005

All right...enough with the Star Wars nonsense...

Lord Vader will read your mind!

OK, so it's still Star Wars related, but this isn't nonsense, well, it might be a bit silly -- OK, so what if it is a bunch of Star Wars nonsense, it's my blog, so shut up!!

Click the picture above and you can challenge Darth Vader to a battle of wits, Twenty Questions. He'll always take a firm guess on #20 if he hasn't already beaten you by then. He'll continue to guess up to around 30, but be creative - he can be beat!

Be aware that it is little more than a Burger King promotion, so if that creepy Burger King guy shows up, you'll know why.

Films Recently Watched:

Father of the Bride (1991) dir. by Charles Shyer

Father of the Bride (1950) dir. by Vincente Minnelli
Having seen the 1991 film several times and again, recently, this was my first time seeing the original 1950 Father of the Bride. After the Cheaper by the Dozen fiasco, I was surprised to see that the older Father of the Bride was apparently used as a model for the later, 1991 version. This is one case where, in my opinion, both films are well-made and quite good.

Strangers on a Train (1951) dir. by Alfred Hitchcock
Pretty classic Hitchcock. Robert Walker's facial expressions and stares in this film were spooky! Reminiscent of Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

Napoleon Dynamite (2004) dir. by Jared Hess
Much to Christy's chagrin, I was compelled to watch this again because I picked it up used from Blockbuster and wanted to check for defects before the guarantee expired. I believe that Christy would be more than happy to point out the "defects" in this film and return it to Blockbuster for me, but it looked fine to me!

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) dir. by Michael Gondry
Odd for a "romantic comedy," but pretty cool conceptually as science-fiction.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Batman Begins

Batman Begins

Films Recently Watched:

Batman Begins (2005) dir. by Christopher Nolan

First, let me begin by saying that I went into this movie knowing nothing about it beyond what was shown in the trailers that I’d seen (including the trailer that showed immediately before the film began – Way to go, Applewood 8!). Further, I know nothing about the Batman mythology beyond what is obvious from the three or four previous Batman Films beginning with Tim Burton’s 1989 film. Having said that, I believe that anybody can go to and appreciate this film. I sure did!

The aptly named, Batman Begins, explains the origin of the character of Batman. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn of events which occur during Bruce Wayne’s formidable years that explain how and why he acquires the tools, abilities and motivation to become the crime-fighter, Batman.

Now, I love the 1989 film, Batman. Michael Keaton was definitely an -- odd choice for the Bruce Wayne/Batman character, but it worked for me. Val Kilmer and George Clooney in the later Schumacher Batman films also seemed a bit off-key as the caped-crusader. Christian Bale, however, is perfect as both the millionaire playboy, Bruce Wayne and the winged avenger, Batman.

Katie Holmes also delivers an excellent performance here the only potential love interest to Bale. She also manages an important political plotline. As assistant District Attorney representing Gotham, Rachel Dawes(on's Creek - coincidence?) is on her own crusade to protect Gotham and its inhabitants.

Among the supporting cast, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are convincing in their roles as Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s caretaker and Lucius Fox, Wayne Industry’s techno-gadget creater and inventor, respectively. These are the only two guys who know how Bruce Wayne spends his nights. They also supply much of the occasional humor to the film.

Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia) directs the picture. In the hands of another director, this film could have easily gone wrong (i.e. Batman & Robin). But Nolan remembers that Batman is somewhat unique as a superhero in that he possesses no superpowers. This is a point hammered home by Nolan. This is as real and gritty as superhero movies get. He shows several times that Batman gets hurt and, in doing so, tells a compelling story of beginnings and beliefs.

I believe that Tim Burton’s 1989 film, Batman will always hold a special place as my “favorite” Batman film, but I can absolutely say that Batman Begins is the better film. It’s story, construction, and execution are superior, the performances are more believable.

Believe it or not, besides watching a bunch of movies, I have managed to do a few other things since I last posted. I can't remember what they all were, but that's only because one of them was turning thirty-one. Besides that, we went to the Indianapolis Zoo on Memorial Day (Monday) with my Mom & Dad, Christy had a Pampered Chef party, and we've been spending some time outdoors when it has been nice - grilling out, working in the yard, we even planted a tomato plant and a zucchini plant that seem to be growing and doing quite nicely! Hannah's getting pretty good on her tricycle. I have some pictures, but I'm having trouble getting them off the camera onto the computer. Oh, and we also went to the Zoo!

Other Films Recently Watched:

THX 1138 (1971) dir. by George Lucas

A Shot in the Dark (1964) dir. by Blake Edwards

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) dir. by George Lucas
This was my second theatrical viewing - this time, with Christy. I was better able to see the film this time as I was able to sit further back in the theater.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) dir. by Brad Silberling

Hero (2002) dir. by Yimou Zhang

The Aviator (2004) dir. by Martin Scorsese
Christy and I watched this one together. It is a biopic of Howard Hughes. She was interested in the portrayal of Hughes' Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was interested to learn of Hughes' film-making days in Hollywood; so I also watched...

The Outlaw (1943) dir. by Howard Hughes
After watching The Aviator, I was expecting to be wowed by Jane Russell's "mammaries" in this film, but was quite disappointed. I'm in the camp that would have to believe that the 1943 version of the MPAA was more disturbed by the films implications than any skin that was actually shown, or perhaps they were disturbed with Hughes, himself. Regardless, a pretty run-of-the-mill western, as far as I'm concerned.

Metropolis (1927) dir. by Fritz Lang
An amazing work of science-fiction for 1927.

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) dir. by Walter Salles

Apocalypse Now (1979) dir. by Francis Ford Coppola

Collateral (2004) dir. by Michael Mann
Not usually into Jamie Foxx films, but he really stands out in this one. And, no, I haven't seen Ray yet. Some of the best cinematography of Los Angeles I've ever seen.

Did I mention we went to the Zoo?