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Showing posts from February, 2009

Taken

I know Taken has been out for a few weeks, but what can I say? I’m always late to the new release party. I have no excuse.What I do have are a particular set of skills.You know, sometimes it’s just fun to watch bad guys get the crap kicked out of them for no other reason than they are bad. Some people are very good at doing just that.Skills I have acquired over a lifetime.And at the same time, it’s fun to watch one of your favorite actors take on the role of the ass kicker. For example, it was all kinds of awesome watching Charles Bronson at work in Death Wish. It was amazing watching the hunters (muggers) become the prey.Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.Here, that actor is Liam Neeson, someone I’ve enjoyed watching since I first saw him as an Irish terrorist on Miami Vice. He’s a marvel at playing a suave gentleman, whose face can be open and warm one moment, then close, frozen, and lethal in the next. Here, he plays a tired and retired CIA professional. The asses …

DVD: The Right Stuff

Today marks the 47th anniversary of John Glenn’s flight into space. Last Friday was Chuck Yeager’s 86th birthday. To celebrate both, it was only natural that I watch The Right Stuff.Written and directed by Philip Kaufman (from the book by Tom Wolfe), the film chronicles the early days of the United States manned space effort. Like the book, however, it starts with test pilots, specifically Chuck Yeager. In 1947, the US is looking for a way to break the sound barrier. They design an experimental rocket plane, the X-1, which they believe is the right tool for the job. Now they just need a pilot, and they find Yeager.Kaufman, at the time a San Francisco Bay Area-based independent filmmaker, successfully made what is almost an anti-epic epic. While a big-screen production in every way, The Right Stuff has a certain gritty, indie film vibe to it. The majority of the film was done in the SF Bay Area. Kaufman sought, as much as possible, to use locations that were a close match to where the …

Want to see a horror film? See Eden Lake

But before I get to that, let me say this: I don’t really like horror films. Tonight reminded me why. Christian Toto wrote encouragingly about two: Rogue and Eden Lake. I saw Rogue a couple of weeks ago and held off writing about until I’d seen Eden Lake. Well, that was tonight.Rogue is one of the best man-versus-seriously-nasty-beast films since, well, Jaws. What’s startling is that very little happens during the first 30 minutes or so, yet I was staring at my screen in rapt attention. It’s damn near a travelogue for the Northern Territory of Australia. It’s mind-bogglingly beautiful, yet somehow, amidst all this light and beauty, in wide open spaces, claustrophobia builds, a sense of dread creeps in, and in a splash, a man disappears and no one know how. He’s just…gone.Like Bruce the shark, the crocodile in Rogue is within the realm of the possible. What makes the situation horrifying is that the creature’s motivation is simple: Humans have invaded his territory and he will continue…

Me and Zune

I am sooo behind in posting. Any moment now I’ll post a few thoughts on horror films, a genre I used to say I disliked. But an honest evaluation of what I like to watch, and write, tells me otherwise, especially given some of the great examples I’ve seen recently. More later.For now, some minor notes. First, I finally caved and bought a Zune. I searched high and low (i.e., went to a local Fry’s) and found an 80GB model. Since the 120 can’t handle all of my library, and I felt even the 16GB was a little too restrictive, I hunted down a deal on an 80GB, and voila, there is was. As an added bonus, the 80GB came with deluxe headphones, which are now a $40 option. So I got the player at a discounted price, plus an upgraded set of headphones. Score for me!I opted for Zune over, say, iPod because of the desktop software. For me, a player is a player, so it came down to how the desktop software handled my library and how I could access new music. iTunes has become such a beast, and frankly bo…