Month: July 2012

July 20, 2012

Justified

CHARACTER

Elmore Leonard has made a career out of creating great characters.  So much so, they tend to pop back up again in other stories and films from time to time.  This cross film character appearance thing Marvel is doing with their superheroes…it was done before with Ray Nicolette in Out Of Sight & Jackie Brown.  That said, two of Leonard’s characters get more airplay than the rest.  Karen Sisco of the previously mentioned Out Of Sight and Raylan Givens.  Givens made his first appearance in a tv movie based on the Elmore Leonard book called Pronto.  He then made his reappearance on his own show Justified.

So, what makes Raylan special?  The same thing that makes the show special.  He has CHARACTER.  From his trademark cowboy hat and southern charm, to his always simmering rage and quick trigger finger.  Played brilliantly by Timothy Olyphant, The Deputy US Marshall of Harlan County is layered with CHARACTER.  But he’s just the anchor of the show.  Justified, in it’s brief stint on tv has become the show to watch if you want to see uber interesting characters and interesting performances to boot.  It might be the only show I can remember seeing where the hero’s arch nemesis is probably just as beloved as the hero himself.  That arch nemesis being Boyd Crowder.  Brought to life by Walton Goggins, Boyd Crowder is the Joker to Raylan’s Batman.  However, you respect and love his wit, his brains, and his rapport with Raylan.  The character was supposed to die in the pilot but was so good they made him a staple on the show.  Raylan and Boyd’s relationship is the life blood of Justified.   
Justified at its core is just a modern day Western set in a country town.  But the plot of the show isn’t what makes it great.  Its the placement of the amazing CHARACTERS in different situations and seeing how they react to one another.  One moment Raylan or Boyd or Dickie Bennett or Wynn Duffy or Robert Quarles or Limehouse could be smiling and laughing with you.  Then, at the drop of a hat, shoot a dozen holes right through your chest.  Its a CHARACTER driven show that is easily my favorite show on tv right now. You won’t be able to watch just one episode.  Go ahead.  Watch one…then tell me I’m wrong. 
July 19, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

DESPERATE 

DESPERATE to keep the property at Sony to thusly prevent a possible Spidey sighting in Avengers 2, which would thusly lead to Marvel Studios earning an estimated BAGILLION dollars. (I Rounded Up)

DESPERATE to win over the hipster/Twilight audience with its emo, big haired, recluse, douche hero and his “Ready To Turn My Back On Everything, Including My Own Self Worth” love interest.

DESPERATE to make the film grim and dark like The Dark Knight, but sadly only accomplishing to make it poorly lit and soulless.

DESPERATE to be special and different with a highly promoted yet LAME half-baked Spidey secret origin, which they abandon before the film’s midway point.

DESPERATE to not be like the first trilogy while poorly attempting to steal things from it.

DESPERATE to cast great actors but then relegating them to being only exposition spewing wallpaper.

DESPERATE to redefine the hero’s core mantra but only managing to debase it into a vague, poorly delivered shrug of a purpose.

Some say the greatest inspiration is often born through desperation…good words.  I, however, don’t see inspiration here.  I see a middle aged hoodlum, who managed to get a gun, trying to hold up a liquor store.  Unfortunately the cops showed up too fast and he is now using an old Korean woman as a human shield, desperately holding on to what little semblance of hope he has of escaping.  A slew of dumb ass decisions piling up to result in a chalk outline on a splotchy linoleum floor.  THAT is The Amazing Spider-Man.  If you waste your time and watch it, you’ll be hard pressed to…tell me I’m wrong.

July 19, 2012

Get the Gringo

Get the Gringo: Entertaining


Mel Gibson kinda lost it the last few years, in film and well…real life.


But this film clearly shows he truly hasn’t lost it, well mostly in film anyways. Gibson’s acting is a gift to viewers, because when you watch him perform it’s pure fun! He brings back that Lethal Weapon fun that so many of us miss. Mel Gibson is a damn good actor, enough said… Just don’t piss him off or he’ll slap you!


July 19, 2012

The Good The Bad And The Ugly

MYTHICAL

There are some people that don’t see the appeal of Westerns…(cough! cough!)…mostly women…(cough!) There are some that think them to be boring art pieces where nothing ever happens….(cough! cough!)…women mostly…(cough!)…studies show it…(cough! cough!) And that is…(ahem)…okay. On paper its just movies about cowpunchers or farmers during post Civil War America living their lives. But Westerns, to me, are American fairy tales. You know the girly ones with the knight rescuing the damsel in the tower from the two headed dragon. Those stories are European based and don’t hold the same relatable appeal. (Not that many castles in the states) Cowboys are our knights in shining armor. But their armor is a little less shining. They rescue damsels. But there had better be a payday involved. They deal with the occasional monster. But its usually either a corrupt sheriff or a gang of bandits.

Grandfather of the Western, Sergio Leone, understood this concept and thrived in bringing those tales to the big screen. From Fist Full Of Dollars to Once Upon A Time In The West. He saw the American frontier as a place to take regular cowboys and make them into MYTHICAL heroes or antiheroes as the case may be. The Good The Bad And The Ugly was perhaps the best one of his films that personified that concept. And to be in on it gag. You have a hero with no name that all but winks at the camera before a gun fight. A villain that, for as evil as he is, still has a code. And a lovable scoundrel you shouldn’t be rooting for but do anyway.(There wouldn’t be a Jack Sparrow without a Tuco to pave the way)

You ever wonder which character began the worship of Clint Eastwood? You want to see where the term ‘Mexican Standoff’ comes from? You want to watch….SPOILER ALERT…probably the best prequel ever made? You remember that awesome opening scene in Inglourious Basterds? You want to see where Tarantino got the idea from?  You want to hear one of the greatest movie scores of all time?  It is all in The Good The Bad And The Ugly. If you want to show someone who doesn’t like Westerns a film that might sway their opinion…THIS is the movie. Watch it….then tell me I’m wrong.

July 19, 2012

Die Hard

 QUINTESSENTIAL

That budget wasting/cgi wasting/oxygen wasting Michael Bay has proven to us that anyone can do an action film. However, not just anyone can do it well. There is one action film that ALL other action films are judged to when it comes to greatest ever. And that is the QUINTESSENTIAL action film Die Hard. No, there wasn’t some racial stereotype of a robot blowing up random things under the shadow of the American flag while some Victoria’s Secret runway model struggles to put words together in an attempt to get the director’s d*ck hard. (I hate Transformers if that wasn’t clear)

No, there isn’t a square jawed, Zzzzzzzz…boring, goody-goody, untouchable, unflappable, hero that relates to the audience as equally well as a f*cking block of wood. No, the villain wasn’t some dumb faceless one note straw man for the hero to do battle with. Die Hard was about a regular guy who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time against a sophisticated and scarily realistic criminal. Yes, it has explosions. Yes, it has one liners.(Possibly The Greatest Of All Time) Yes, it has unbelievable stunts. But at its core is a normal guy doing amazing things NOT to just save the day, but to survive. In doing that, Die Hard put us in the shoes…or bare feet…of John McClane….And that’s why it works so well. That’s why its the best. 
As far as legacy is concerned, it was the benchmark example on how to pitch and/or promote an action movie for years. “Its Die Hard in a grocery store!” “Its Die Hard in a school!” “Its Die Hard in space!” Terminator 2 comes close but Die Hard was the first action film to have the perfect balance of action, story, performances, comedy, and pure spectacle. If you’re one of the alarming number of people living under rocks and haven’t seen it, watch it. If you have seen it, watch it again….then tell me I’m wrong.
July 19, 2012

Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon: Perfection

Only a handful of films can hold a title under, “Greatest Action Films of All-Time”. Lethal Weapon is one of them, mixing the perfect blend of Action with Comedy into a fantastic 80’s standout film.

If you don’t understand the title of the film, then I’ll come kick your ass.

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