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Monthly Archives: October 2009

I Really Should Explain the Rating System.

I realized that I had not formally explained how we rate movies here.  Well here we go, the JPF I’m Outta Here Movie Thoughts movie ratings scheme.  Going from a bad/crap movie to a great movie we have:

  • (1) The dung heap, if a movie is in the dung heap . . . well I think it is self-explanatory;
  • (2) Not crap.  If a movie is not crap that is the equivalent of the Catholic Church’s purgatory, not so bad but not great; then
  • (3) The rose.  If you remember our first post we are in search of those beautiful roses that grow out of the dung heaps.  If a movie gets a rose, watch it and (hopefully) you will enjoy.

Well that is it, pretty simple huh?

J.P.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2009 in Movie Reviews

 

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The Zero Effect–Out of the Dung Heap and Into the Rose Garden.

The Zero Effect is one of my favorite movies probably because it is based on the great Sherlock Holmes short story A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The film stars Bill Pullman as Daryl Zero (Sherlock Homes), a gifted but strange private detective who is socially awkward and inept.  His “Dr. Watson” is portrayed as Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller).  Zero keeps himself locked in his apartment where, like Holmes and his violin, he composes dreadful songs on his guitar and subsists on a diet of tuna, Tab, and amphetamines (Holmes’ drug use included morphine and other narcotics).

Paralleling A Scandal in Bohemia, Zero is retained by Gregory Stark (Ryan O’Neal), a wealthy man who hires Zero to investigate who is blackmailing him.  During the investigation Zero ventures outside of his apartment encountering Gloria Sullivan (Kim Dickens).  Gloria is based on the character Irene Adler, the only woman who had the wit to outdo Holmes, and he admired her for it.  Sullivan is the blackmailer (like Adler) and as the film progresses, they begin to fall in love.  While in the end of this movie Zero bests his Adler, because of his love and admiration for Sullivan he lets her go to leave the country with the blackmail money and hide from Stark who alludes to killing her.

This film was sort of a sleeper by mainstream Hollywood box office standards.  I give it a rose.  What gets this movie out of the dung heap is probably because I loved Doyle’s A Scandal in Bohemia as well as Zero’s eccentricities.  The movie’s storyline is much more interesting than most of the garbage seen in today’s films, network TV shows and porno movies.
I was also glad to see Ryan O’Neal again in something decent since the last time he starred in anything pleasing was Irreconcilable Differences (1984), Green Ice (1981) and So Fine (1981), all three in my opinion classics.

Zero Effect is well worth watching and if you have half a brain you won’t  want your two hours back.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2009 in Movie Reviews

 

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The Hurt Locker–Not Crap Not A Rose.

We just got done watching The Hurt Locker and I must say that it was better than I though it was going to be.  Before seeing it I had already labeled it as a typical action war in Iraq deal, at least The Hurt Locker was a little different.

The Hurt Locker the Acceptable:

Film had very little music giving it a documentary feel.
Depiction of American soldiers seemed bona fide.
Film didn’t need to have (and didn’t have) a lot of traditional action scenes.
Kathryn Bigelow goes quite a ways to redeeming herself after K-19 Widow Maker (the poor man’s Hunt for Red October which was crap).

The Hurt Locker the Crap:

The story line was thin—not quite as thin as a porno—but still thin.
The ending was completely cliché — a little too pat, like an O. Henry short story.

Unfortunately, when a movie’s crap is its story line and ending it will never get past the “not crap” plane of film.   You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to watch this one.  It is a good movie if you want some mind candy or to set your brain on auto pilot, I might watch it a second time with someone who had not seen it before but that is about it.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2009 in Movie Reviews

 

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A Little Woo Goes a Long Way: Red Cliff Parts 1 & 2.

Debbie and I have always said “a little Woo goes a long way.”  Well this time John Woo has outdone himself with Red Cliff Parts 1 & 2.

Simply put, John Woo’s film, Red Cliff , Parts 1 & 2, in which he re-creates (at an $80 million dollar price tag, I might add) the oh so legendary battle of Red Cliff  in 208 A.D., which ultimately led to the demise and fall of the notorious Han Dynasty, can only be described as a breathtaking war epic, edge of your seat cinematic masterpiece!!!

From the Prime Minister waging war against the western kingdom, in hopes of eliminating opposition and placing himself as sole ruler of his envisioned unified China, to the ironic friendships which flourished among an unlikely alliance, not to mention, the strategic genius of Infantry verses Naval wits, that culminate into one of the most famous battles in history.

Even for those of us who are not familiar with famous battles in history, though, this is a film to be cherished. The music alone is uplifting and invigorating. It could almost be described as Star Wars-like. The characters are much more finely drawn than you usually see in any blockbuster film and certainly more well developed than you would usually find in a war movie. And, although Red Cliff is about a famous battle, Woo does more, much much more, than cast this one battle in broad strokes. He goes beyond even Kurosawa in this respect. Kurosawa’s films are visually beautiful, painfully beautiful even, and every frame could be frozen and hung on the wall in a museum, quite frankly. But Woo takes time to savor the moment. I guess that’s why this film is broken up into two parts, each of which is two hours long…but they’re well worth it. They’re what make this film three-dimensional and human–more than just art but something that can touch the spirit.

For example: consider the moment when the army is ordered to stop the demonstration it is putting on for visiting dignitaries, all because the chief of defense has heard a flute playing out of tune in the hill over the training grounds. The chief of defense climbs the hill, while the entire army waits, frozen in place. He finds a boy and his grandfather. The boy is playing the flute. The chief of defense looks at him sternly, demands that he turn over the flute, takes a knife out of the boy’s belt, and fixes the flute. He then hands it back to the boy who finds that it is in much better tune now. He plays again and the army and visiting dignitaries all smile…and, as happens all the time in Red Cliff, this moment, which is carried out so sweetly, immediately gives way to another, in which–well, I won’t give away what happens this time, but the entire army ends up spontaneously kneeling in response to the boy’s grandfather suddenly kneeling. For a rag-tag army, many of whom we are told used to be pirates, such a spontaneous show of respect for the elderly is very touching.

Having said all of that, I have still only scratched the surface of what is so wonderful about this movie. There are the brilliantly creative tactics devised by the army’s chief strategist, when the army is running out of arrows, for instance. There is the chief strategist himself–if you haven’t seen the movie yet, I suggest you read the subtitles carefully whenever he has anything to say! There is the princess who refuses to play the role of a subservient woman–she responds to a proposal of marriage by punching her suitor and knocking him out, and then she proceeds to find her own way to defend her kingdom, leaving to become a spy on the other side, taking along pigeons to use in sending intelligence back across the Yangtze River. There is the general who saves his lord’s baby son, and proceeds to tie the baby on his back and ride into battle with him. There is the other general who manages to escape after being cornered by 30 or 40 men all pointing spears at him–he takes his own spear and flings it at the prime minister, then grabs one of the spears being pointed at his own throat, uses it to knock down the men in front of him (killing at least one along the way), runs straight at the prime minister and knocks his horse onto its side, then grabs his side’s flag from the ground, jumps on the horse as it stands up, grabs his spear (still standing up where he threw it) and rides off. The prime minister, at that point, lost in admiration, refuses to allow his men to counterattack…I have to stop here because Red Cliff is full of moments such as this. You’ll just have to watch the movie!

On a side note, I personally loved the fact that this film had sub-titles and was not dubbed.  I found it to be more realistic and authentic to its true form and it did not come across as a watered down, been there and done that Hollywood Blockbuster. If you are a John Woo fan and are waiting to feast your eyes, ears and mind on a juicy mind-blowing, smack that A$$, who’s your daddy flick, then this is a MUST SEE EPIC! WHOA!!!!

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2009 in Movie Reviews

 

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The First Step to Seperating the Quality from the Crap.

I am sick and tired of Hollywood treating us like we are idiots.  The formula endings, plots as thin as a porno’s storyline and “zany” adventures cut and paste characters and, of course, the worst: the preachy ending where film makers (who are in complete solidarity with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski) actually tell you what is right and wrong.  Well I have had enough!  This site is dedicated to sifting through all of the junk movies and T.V. shows to both warn the watcher and see if we can’t find those beautiful roses that grow out of dung heaps.

So if you have a warning about a movie or found a gem, please let the rest of us know since we can’t get the hours back wasted watching bad theater.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2009 in Movie Reviews

 
 
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