Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Last King of Scotland – movie review

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

It’s actually been a few weeks since I watched The Last King of Scotland on DVD.  I wasn’t even going to write about it but it’s just been kind of nagging at me.  To say that I had no idea what it was about before Muse and I watched it is a huge understatement.

So for those of you, who like me have no idea what this movie is about, let me tell you what it isn’t.  It takes place in Africa, not Scotland.  [Umm.. OK.]  It’s about a tyrant who takes over a country in Africa but used to fight for the British and has some bizarre love of all things Scottish.  [What?]  There is a young Scottish guy in the movie who moves to this country but he is not a king.  He’s a doctor. [So confused.]  The tyrant considers himself to be the titular last king of Scotland because… well I have no idea why frankly. [Honest.]

It is a pretty good movie though.  I don’t think it was as great as it was made out to be.  The character of the young Scottish doctor is a complete moron and deserved far worse than what he got.  It was hard to sympathize with anyone in the movie because most people got what was coming to them.  But the story was decent and the acting was great.  There was quite a bit of nudity, sex and blood and gore as well which was unexpected.

So, fair warning, this movie is not about some bizarre story of a black king ruling Scotland.  I suppose that sounds more like a Martin Lawrence movie anyway.  But really I had no idea….

Lego Indiana Jones

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

So we’ve watched the new Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie (which I still say is an outrageuosly long title for a movie).  Before that we refreshed our Indy knowledge rewatching Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  [Have you noticed that the first move now has “Indiana Jones and” prepended to the title on the newer releases?  It wasn’t like that when it released.]

So you would think I’d be all work out at this point of anything with a fedora and a whip.  But I really want to play the new Lego Indiana Jones game.  Muse and I played the Lego Star Wars II game on Playstation 2 for a bit but we never really got very far.  I thought it was a lot of fun though and I can see how the Indiana Jones franchise could really take advantage of the Lego game formula.

I just need to add it to the ever growing list of games I want to buy before I leave Hong Kong.  XBox360 and PS3 games are quite a bit cheaper here since the market won’t support the ridiculous $60 USD per title price that is charged in the United States.  Most games releasing in Hong Kong start at or around $39 USD per title when they come out and you can always find some older/cheaper ones too.  I will definitely miss that when I’m gone.

The Kingdom – movie review

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

I have to admit that I can’t remember when The Kingdom came out in theaters or if I’d even heard of it at all before I read the back of the DVD box at the local rental shop.  I thought it sounded interesting so Muse picked it up yesterday for the weekly $10 Tuesday rental deal.  And then we watched it at dinner.

After the first ten minutes I had to pick my jaw up from off the floor.  Twice.

The kingdom starts and finishes strong and Jamie Foxx shows once again that he was meant to play dramatic roles in movies.  The movie is powerful, emotional, action-packed and very suspenseful.  And when I say action-packed I don’t mean like an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie or the latest super-hero from Marvel Comics.  I mean devastating explosions, realistic gun fights, painful car crashes….  Everything you could want in a movie I think.

As I’ve never served in the Middle East I can’t vouch for it’s true realism but this movie shows things that no other movie touches and everything seems more real than I could imagine.  This shows both sides of terrorism and the challenges that our people face in dealing with the every day trauma from a personal, political and physical point of view.

I don’t think I can recommend this movie enough.  It’s not for people who can’t handle some blood and suspense but it should be watched for those people because they probably have the most to gain from watching scenes like this.  This movie doesn’t seek to shield us from life or glorify the trvial; it puts everything right up on screen and lets the horror of it all make a lasting impression on you.

Indiana Jones and the what?

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Warning: contains some minor spoilers but seriously, have you seen the previews?

Muse and I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull [omg could that title be any longer] at the theater in Tung Chung last Sunday.  We laughed our butts off, usually for the expected reasons, for the first half and then it kind of shifted gears somehow.  It was a great movie and I’ll buy it when it comes out on DVD but I think it was just too late to keep up appearances with the previous movies.

Harrison Ford is just as good in this version as he always has been although his character seemed to fluctuate quite a bit between an old man constantly thinking “I’m getting too old for this shit” and a hero that can do anything.  In the first three movies he was a lot more consistent.  The idea of him having a son was a cute idea even if the character was a little annoying.  Short-Round had more personality.  Him showing up looking like Marlon Brando was a bit odd and really set the tone for two hours of cliches and stereotypes.

We re-watched the first three movies prior to going to see this new one so we would be ready.  One thing I noticed for the first time was how over the top, campy and completely unbelievable they were.  I never got that from these movies before.  Sure they all three showed some form of mythological magic in action against evil Nazis or evil Indians but they always seemed different.  I guess now that I’m older (and wiser? nah) I had to suspend my belief in everything that happened so much more than in the past.

So when the new movie makes fun of itself or things in the previous movies it’s a nice hommage now and then but sometimes it was just too much.  It seemed to ride on the hopes that the cliches and stereotypes it showed would carry it through and in some ways it did since all four movies are basically made in the old pulp fiction style of the Golden Age.  I suppose the idea of aliens from another dimension are nothing new when thinking about the Azteks. And truthfully is that any harder to swallow than a box that melts faces, a man who can pull out a still beating heart from a human with his hand or a knight living forever drinking from a magic cup?

The special effects were very hit and miss.  The ending sequence was pretty cool.  However, as Abraxus pointed out in his post, the cemetary model that was used was really pathetic.  Like him, I assumed we were supposed to be looking at an intentional view of a model and not the “real cemetary” as we were supposed to think.  It was a total amateur presentation from one of the best special effects companies in the world which just made me shake my head in wonder as to what they were thinking.

I know it sounds like I’m bashing the new Indiana Jones movie and that’s really unfair.  I’m a huge fan of the original movies and against my better judgement I still had extremely high expectations for the new movie.  It was a fun, funny and entertaining movie.  I would watch it again.  It’s just that the Indiana Jones movies basically created the current Action/Comedy genre of movies that we have been evolving with since the early 1990’s and this movie just feels very retro and un-evolved.  Not that that is a bad thing – it’s just not what was expected.  I have no idea why.

Happy Birthday Buddha

Monday, May 12th, 2008

It’s Monday and I’m sitting at home still un-showered and working on comics.  Today is a public holiday here in Hong Kong.  It’s Buddha’s birthday!  Who am I to argue?  Sadly though, public holidays are a double-edged sword.  Sure you get the day off, but unless you feel like pushing through crowds of people everywhere you go, you pretty much just sit at home all day. Like I’m doing.

We say Iron Man on Saturday afternoon and it was awesome.  I’m a bit of a fanboy when it comes to comic book to movie adaptations and I know many of them aren’t that great.  Iron Man definitely lived up to the hype in my opinion though.

After the movie, Muse and I split up and went with our friends to different places.  Me and my friend went to Sham Shui Po to go to the computer and game malls to look for a Sony PSP for me.  I thought about getting a second hand system but decided it was too much risk for too little discount.  So I went for a new one.  Unfortunately all the cool colors of the new ‘slim’ PSP are all twice the price (or more) of the standard black, white or pastel colors.  So I found a shop that still sold the ‘fat’ versions.  They had a few of the limited Japanese releases so I went for one of those.  Just to make Colin jealous if nothing else.

My blue PSP

Oh yeah, that is a metallic blue Sony PSP.  Only released in Japan but everything ends up in Hong Kong eventually.  Sometimes I love shopping here in Hong Kong.