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Christopher Nolan Director's Collection - Better than a Dark Knight Marathon

Christopher Nolan Director’s Collection – Better than a Dark Knight Marathon

After briefly considering the butt calluses we would collect by going to a theater and watching all three Dark Knight movies back-to-back-to-back, we opted instead for the freedom of our couches and availability of our own bathrooms, and picked up the Christopher Nolan Director’s Collection, a set of five movies on Blu-Ray.

With the price of the Dark Night marathon at about $20 per person ($5 for each of the first movies, $10 for the new one) plus snacks if any, the $40 bucks for the five Christopher Nolan DVDs is a bargain…especially since I’d been hinting for a copy of Inception for a while. And the collection includes Memento and Insomnia, two movies on my to-watch list. It does not include The Prestige, apparently due to some contractual issues.

Plus the Collection includes a coupon for a free ticket to see The Dark Knight Rises (up to $8), making this a great investment (the coupon is valid through August 5, and gave a selection of movie theaters near our zip code).

The movies in the collection are:

Includes:

  • Memento (2000), MPAA Rating: R; Guy Pearce has CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff) and puts notes to himself as tattoos on his body. Any movie with Carrie Anne Moss is worth watching (even the last two Matrix movies).
  • Insomnia (2002), MPAA Rating: R; Al Pacino versus Robin Williams in a murder mystery set in Alaska. Even though it has Hillary Swank, Pacino and Williams are worth watching in most anything.
  • Batman Begins (2005), MPAA Rating: PG-13; Batman (Christian Bale) learns from and battles Raz Al Gul (Liam Neeson) and himself in this reboot of the Batman series. Features Katie Holmes before she became Mrs. Tom Cruise. Some great nods to Arkham Asylum and the questing of whether Ra’s Al Ghul survives in the end means there might be a Dark Knight 4???
  • The Dark Knight (2008), MPAA Rating: PG-13; Batman battles the Joker (Heath Ledger) and turns DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart)into Two-Face. Tom Cruise wouldn’t let his wife in this one, so Maggie Gyllenhaal takes over the roll of Rachel Dawes.
  • Inception (2010), MPAA Rating: PG-13; the dream within a dream within a dream that sparked the debate on whether the whole movie was a dream. With Leo DiCaprio.

 

The Social Network vs. Zombieland SMACKDOWN

With the Facebook IPO consternation, coupled with news of certain Zombie-like events in the U.S., it is time for a SMACKDOWN of two movies that are bursting with mysterious parallels.

ZOMBIELAND
The SOCIAL NETWORK
Commentary
Movie ThemeZombies have taken over the worldSocial networking has taken over the worldThere's always someone with dreams of world domination.
Star
Jesse Eisenberg
Jesse Eisenberg
Jesse is shown in these pictures with two "Z"'s: Zombie and Zuckerberg. Go ahead...you can figure it out.

Jesse was also the voice of Blu in Rio...redemption!
Sidekick
Woody Harrelson
Justin Timberlake
Coming soon: a Woody Harrelson vs. JT SMACKDOWN...not!
Star cameo
Bill Murray
Annabelle Amirav
Murray's Zombie disguise was classic, as was the line about GARFIELD.

Ms. Amirav is a star in her native Israel with a small part in this movie, but, dressed almost like a zombie, her public service announcement on Domestic Abuse is powerful and moving.
Quote that should be from the other movie"Without friends, you might as well be a zombie.""Hey man, sorry. A couple of girls are freshening up in there."Can't pay for marketing like that!
Superhero connection
Emma Stone (Wichita in Zombieland) is Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider Man
Andrews Garfield (Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network) is Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider Man
Though not a fan of reboots (which usually means (a)need more money or (b)it stunk the first time), I'm a fan of anything Ms. Stone is in...as long as she's carrying a shotgun.

Gwen Stacy with a shotgun...yum!
Best Facebook IPO Quote"Time to nut up or shut up!"“They’re suing me because for the first time in their lives, the world didn’t work the way it was supposed to for them.”'nuff said.
Least likely to occur in a million yearsThat a geek like Columbus (Eisenberg) would be lucky enough to get a babe like Wichita (Stone) as his last girl on Earth.That a geek like Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) would be lucky enough to get a company like Facebook to IPO
A Tale of Two Depressing Movies - Notes on "The Descendants" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"

A Tale of Two Depressing Movies – Notes on “The Descendants” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

We rarely watch depressing movies in our house, as we find reality harsh enough. But in a recent week we viewed two Oscar Best Picture nominees: The Descendants starring my wife’s favorite (and everybody’s wife’s fave) George Clooney, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock.

The one to watch, in our humble opinion, is NOT the one we predicted. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is, by far, the better movie of the two, with an interesting story and an ending that, while not exactly uplifting, tells a story of hope. The Descendants, in contrast, meanders all over the place, not really telling us anything.

There are some good pieces to the Clooney movie, his performance being one of them; as a man who has ignored his wife, who is now in a coma and finds out she was having an affair, Clooney plays confusion and uncertainty on what steps to take exceedingly well. The subplot of the Hawaiian land that “the descendants” own, and what to do with it, hits close to home, with our good friends who live and were born on the islands providing background on this issue, past and present. And Shailene Woodley who plays Clooney’s teenage daughter, out of drug rehab and trying to help, is enjoyable and gorgeous.

But the movie is a cacophony of angry reactions and aimless events (with the exception of the decision on what to do with the parcel of land). While the characters may be believable, it’s hard to give a crap what happens to them.

The opposite occurs in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The story of Oskar Schell, close to his father, not so much to his mother, hunting for the lock that fits a key that he found amongst his father’s things after his father was killed in 9/11. By finding what the key fits (and it has do with “BLACK”, which is the name on the envelope the key came in), Oskar hopes to find some closure on his father’s death. Aided in his search by his Grandmother’s “renter” (who he knows is his estranged Grandfather, played well by Max Von Sydow), without giving away spoilers…Oskar does find closure, and ends up much closer to his mother.

Hanks and Bullock could have overwhelmed this movie, but it is Oskar’s story (played by Thomas Horn, whose IMDB bio says he won Kid’s Week on Jeopardy) and the two stars (and Sydow) fit in seamlessly.

Inception

I am ecstatic that the movie Inception was not based on a novel, because that novel would most certainly have made me strongly consider retiring my one pen. If Christopher Nolan continues the writing, directing and producing quality he has exhibited with this and the last Batman movie, the rest of Hollywood should be concerned that he, Peter Jackson and a select group will corner the market of our minds.

Unlike The Matrix, The Sixth Sense and others of the genre, Inception not only pushes the boundaries of what movies expect from movie goers, but assumes enough intelligence on the populace to let us draw our own conclusion. I loved the ending (and, yes, no spoilers here).

To put a summary here would be to commit movie hari cari. All I can say (besides go see the flick) is this: Dom Cobb (Leanardo DeCaprio) is an expert at getting into dreams and finding secrets. Because of a tragedy involving his wife, he cannot enter the US and be reunited with his children. A Japanese businessman whom they were trying to steal secrets from recruits Dom and his team to insert an idea into the mind of an heir to a fortune, with the promise to Dom of reuniting him with his children. Dom has to recruit another “architect” because he cannot create any dream scapes without his dead wife intruding and because the Japanese businessman (well played by Ken Wantanabe) got rid of his last one. This happens to be Ellen Page who during a test dream is able to quickly bend Paris over on top of itself, making wine bars accessible in multiple dimensions.

The difference between this movie and others is that not only does it expect you to keep up (as one of my son’s friends said, you have to watch and pay attention to the whole movie), the story line keeps you emotionally involved while your brain is trying to differentiate dream from reality. The special effects are as good if not better than the previews, and DeCaprio, unfairly classified since Titanic, is excellent.

Best movies of the year thus far, and any movie that has Michael Caine in it is a must-see. But I am holding out for R.E.D. (Retired Extremely Dangerous) before final judgement. When my man Bruce Willis can jump out of a spinning car shooting, that is Oscar material.

200px-district_nine_ver2

District 9 – Four movies in one

Watching District 9 with my 18 year old this weekend 200px-district_nine_ver2and observing how is interest level changed made us realize that the movie is four movies in one. He was interested in some parts, bored in others and excited/laughing in others.

An alien ship stalls out of Johannesburg. The aliens are rescued from the ship, and, 20 years later, they are in a slum called District 9. Tension with the locals incites a movement to relocate them out of the city (to the cleverly named District 10)

The movie is:

  • a political commentary; setting a ‘let’s discriminate against aliens’ movie in South Africa, still remembered for Apartheid/racial segregation is ironic and well done. The aliens are segregated, forced into a slum called District 9, and generally regarded as outsiders and inferiors (feeding them cat food?) by the residents (both black and white with interesting documentary like commentary). Obvious parallels are drawn to District Six in South Africa as the aliens are told they are to be forcibly relocated outside the city limits (and asked to sign documents in English to make sure their rights are protected!). As with most of these types of movies, the military/corporate complex (MNU) is portrayed as doing dissections and weapons research in secret. My son was casually interested in this part, but I could tell he was wondering why he came with me. (more…)

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo

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