Titanic (1997)


Music to Drown by.  Now I Know I’m in First Class.

I was really perplexed by today’s request from my friend Loni.  I typically review movies and video games, and have only rarely reviewed random things like hair dye.  But, I said I’d review anything and I meant it.  Today’s review is for the Titanic, or more officially the RMS Titanic, built by Thomas Andrews and the Harland and Wolff shipyard, and captained by John Smith.  I couldn’t do any personal research on this boat, but everything I’ve read about this boat leads me to decide that I cannot recommend this boat.  Sure, it was big and pretty when it first came out, but it has not held up well.  It’s practically a pile of rust on the bottom of the ocean by now!

I think I drained that joke for all it was worth, and that was not much.  I’m guessing (based mainly on the fact that Loni has a vagina) that she was requesting that I review the MOVIE Titanic.  I had seen this movie already because I’m a member of the human species, and it’s viewed as a requirement.  I was dragged to see this movie because I grew up in a household of women and it could not be avoided.  But, though I had already seen this movie, I really didn’t remember that much about it.  What I remembered about the movie was more accurately what I remembered about the actual Titanic.  So when it was requested of me, the only thing that made me delay the review for as long as I did is not having the desire to dedicate a large fraction of my day to watching a movie.  I finally decided that it’s time had come.  Thus, here is my review of Titanic, written and directed by James Cameron, and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Gloria Stuart, Bill Paxton, Billy Zane, David Warner, Victor Garber, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Bernard Hill, Jonathan Hyde, Danny Nucci, Jason Barry, Suzy Amis, and Ioan Gruffudd.  Also, it should be noted that I will not entertain the notion that spoilers are possible in this movie.  Even if you’re one of the three people in the world who hasn’t seen this movie, I’m sure you have heard plenty about it.  And if you’ve managed to avoid that, then I’m sure you know about the actual event.  And if you don’t know that, then you’re an idiot and you haven’t understood half of the words I’ve used.

In 1996, Brock Lovett (Bill Paxton) and his crew are searching the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, looking for a valuable diamond that was last seen aboard the ship known as Le Coeur de la Mer (the Heart of the Ocean).  They get excited when they find a safe, thinking it would contain the diamond, but find only papers inside.  But, as they are cleaning the papers, they find one of them to be a drawing of a naked chick wearing the diamond.  When it’s shown on the news, 100-year-old Rose Dawson Calvert (Gloria Stuart) sees the picture and calls Lovett, revealing that the girl in the picture was her back when she was young and extremely fuckable.  Lovett flies her and her granddaughter (Suzy Amis) to their boat above the wreckage and Rose unfolds her life story to a group of people that just want to know where she left her jewelry.  The story then turns to Rose back when her name was Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) who boards the Titanic on its maiden voyage with her fiancé Caledon Hockley (Billy Zane) and her mother Ruth DeWitt Bukater (Frances Fisher).  She starts a love affair with a drifter/artist named Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio).  Later, the boat hits an iceberg, Jack dies, and Rose is rescued by Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd).

Yes, I did only decide to tell the entire story of the movie so that I could make a joke about Mr. Fantastic saving Rose.  …WORTH IT!!!  And here’s another thing: this movie is WAAAAAY too long, but ultimately it is also worth it.  I feel like I had a very masculine reaction to this movie, but I was not totally against the female, lovey-dovey parts.  The love story occupied the bulk of the movie, and tended to make the movie feel a little slow and drawn out to me, but I liked that it was vaguely Romeo-and-Juliet-esque in how the two of them were like star-crossed lovers whose status was trying to keep them apart.  Also, we know that their relationship is probably not going to end well.  Speaking of which, though I thought the love story part of the movie was fine, I admittedly didn’t really get interested until things started going wrong and people started dying.  That’s when the movie got exciting and, sometimes, a little funny.  C’mon!  You tellin’ me that you didn’t snicker at all when that CG dude fell off the vertical sinking ship and hit the handrails, sending him into a crazy spin until he hit the water?  If you didn’t laugh, you just don’t know funny when you see it.  I didn’t find that quite as funny as the fact that it seemed as if Cameron was trying to build suspense right before the Titanic hit the iceberg.  Fer real, dude?  You want me to wonder whether or not the boat’s going to hit the iceberg?  I probably knew that was coming before I knew anything else about the movie, including who James Cameron, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kate Winslet were.  But I suppose it’s what a filmmaker was inclined to do, and I’m not sure just how much of my generation actually paid any attention to what the Titanic was before this movie made it a household name again.  And I can’t deny that I got a little choked up at the end of the movie.  It didn’t reach tears, but it got close.  And I also like the message of the movie.  The bulk of the movie is just about how classes are bad, but that message doesn’t go quite as far with me.  The one that resonated with me was what showed up at the end of the movie as the camera panned over the pictures from Rose’s life that she had endeavored to live to the fullest because of her promise to Jack.  Although it seems like something you should always have on your mind, sometimes I do need a movie to remind me that life is finite and you should really try to live it.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the look of this movie.  It goes for epic and it blows epic out of the water.  The launching and the sinking of the Titanic were both as epic as they should have been.  They even had some impressive transitions, like how they morphed the corroded image of the sunken ship’s bow into the recreation of the brand new ship.  Of course, there’s one thing that cannot be ignored when talking about this movie and that’s that Céline Dion song, “My Heart Will Go On.”  I remember finding that song somewhat annoying around the release of this movie, but it was really more due to the fact that it was entirely overplayed.  I feel prepared to say right now that it is a good song.  And I don’t care how gay it makes me.  It sets a great mood, and it’s actually fairly versatile, which you can tell by how often they used it in the movie.  Sometimes it was the score and sometimes it was the version with Dion singing, played fast and up tempo or slow and melodic.  But it does make me laugh on the few occasions when I see a movie that does this kind of thing.  Some movies just like the song they picked so much that they beat the audience over the head with it, demanding that they like it too.  Armageddon did it with that Aerosmith song, and I think one of the Transformers movies did it with a Linkin Park song.  At least this movie bothered to change the tempo on the song to change the mood.

I couldn’t think of much of anything to say about the performances in the movie.  I didn’t particularly find anyone that mind-blowing, but they all did very well.  And I think we all know the performance that stood out for me.  Was it the Academy Award nominated old broad?  Nah.  She did fine.  Was it Mr. Fantastic in his pivotal tiny cameo role?  Nope.  I’m more of a Human Torch person.  Obviously it was Kate Winslet’s boobs.  I could look at that lady naked all day.  And I have.  I also think there’s a chance that they revealed that Winslet would be nude in the end of the movie early on so that the male audience would sit through all the lovey crap to see the boobs.  It would’ve been off-putting at first because we’d be thinking that the nudity they were hinting at with that sketch was going to be that old lady, but then that old lady turns into Kate Winslet.  Alright, I’ll stick around for an hour or two, but you better deliver, movie!

So there’s a really long review to accompany a really long movie.  I would say Titanic holds up as one of the most watchable chick flick type movies that I know of.  You do have to sit through a good deal of a romance novel (albeit a decently written one) to get to the boobs and mayhem, but if you give it a chance it actually pays off in a way that surprised me with the expectations I had going in.  It’s mainly hindered by its ridiculous length, much like the Titanic itself.  I don’t know if that metaphor makes any sense, but I do know I will be saying that Titanic is a good movie.  Go check it out.  Titanic gets “It’s over a hundred feet longer than the Mauritania, and far more luxurious” out of “That’s one of the good things about Paris: lots of girls willing to take their clothes off.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

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Predator 2 (1990)


You Can’t See the Eyes of the Demon, Until Him Come Callin’.

The awesomeness of Predator was bound to lead to at least one sequel.  It was inevitable.  And, as with most sequels, it was probably going to suck.  I’m positive that I’ve seen today’s movie before today, but I wouldn’t have been able to prove that from the DVD that I pulled from my DVD collection as it was still in its original packaging.  That’s not necessarily a damnation, but it’s certainly not a good sign that I would buy a movie and have no care to open it.  It’s actually somewhat typical for me because my OCD-like need to have complete series makes me want to buy all of the movies in a series, regardless of quality.  But, since I literally have no memory of this movie whatsoever, I can’t say for sure.  Until now, as I present my review of Predator 2, written by Jim and John Thomas, directed by Stephen Hopkins, and starring Danny Glover, Kevin Peter Hall, Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton, Gary Busey, Adam Baldwin, Robert Davi, Kent McCord, Morton Downey Jr., and Calvin Lockhart.

Los Angeles, in the near future of 1997, suffers from both a heat wave and a crime wave, as gangs rule the streets.  So, basically, their prediction of Los Angeles was right on the money.  The Columbians are winning a shootout with the police until a cop that plays by his own rules, Lieutenant Michael Harrigan (Danny Glover), shows up and pushes them back into a nearby building, where they are all subsequently slaughtered by an invisible and powerful threat (Kevin Peter Hall).  In the following days, this invisible predator takes out large groups of gang members, stringing them up and skinning them, and occasionally taking their skulls as trophies.  Every time Harrigan closes in on the creature, his progress is halted by Special Agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey), who lays some jurisdiction on him to keep him at bay.  But that sounds like a rule, and Harrigan has his own set of those that he chooses to play by.  Especially when members of Harrigan’s team start falling victim to this invisible predator.

The biggest failing of this movie is its imagination.  It doesn’t have one.  It takes a creature that was fantastic in its originality and imagination and plops it down on the set of every other movie ever.  The only way you would be surprised by the things in this movie would be if this was the first movie you ever saw, and your parents would have a lot of explaining to do if this was what they chose to show you as your first movie.  I could name about 100 movies that starred the cop that played by his own rules, but got results.  And I would only stop at 100 because I got bored and depressed by the lack of creativity in cinema.  How about a cop that’s being held back by the Special Agent that has jurisdiction?  Well no one’s ever seen that before, but there’s no way he’s going to play by his own rules.  WHAT THE WHAT?!  He’s doin’ it!  Are you fuckin’ seeing this, man?!  What about this tough chick cop over here?  I doubt she’d ever grab a guy’s balls and squeeze to teach him a lesson.  Think of the sexual harassment lawsuits!  At a certain point, I started to just pay attention to the cliché’s that they kept going for and not paying to the story that was unimpressive on its own.  It’s not fun and it’s not interesting.  I think the biggest problem I have at a certain point is that I want the Predator to be the good guy.  The Predator’s awesome!  And, for the greater majority of the movie, he’s just killing gang members.  And I can’t even knock him that much for wanting to hunt humans.  I don’t particularly have anything against humans hunting animals, but I find it a lot more admirable when a man takes on a creature that actually has a chance at killing him.  Anyone could hunt bunny rabbits, but what about a lion?  Same thing.  You can’t judge the guy for wanting to hunt humans any more than you could judge a human for wanting to hunt animals.  This desire for the Predator to be a good guy made parts of the movie annoying, like when Detective Archuleta started falling through the roof and the Predator grabbed his ankle.  This mother fucker starts pulling his gun on the creature that just saved his life.  You deserved to die.  The Predator was about to kill a woman at one point until he let her live because she was pregnant.  See?!  He’s a good dude!  Stop trying to kill him and he’ll probably do right by you.  If you pick up his spear and use it to shove him off the roof with the broad side of it, he’ll throw down with you.  Also, were you aware that there was a pointy side to that spear?  The movie only had a happy ending because of the benevolence of the Predator species.  Glover would have been dead at the end of the movie if they weren’t.  On the other hand, he also decided to sample a little kid offering him candy so that he could later say it as the most random non-sequitur ever in the middle of a gunfight.  In the first movie, he sampled the Indian dude’s creepy laugh and used it at a very appropriate moment.  Offering candy to someone that’s shooting at him is just dumb.

Most of the look of the movie still holds up.  The infrared visuals take a step up so that they’re not as difficult to comprehend as they were in the first.  The Predator still looks awesome, regardless of his confusing dreadlocks.  They work for him, alright.  I’m not quite sure why they didn’t go for the obvious joke when the Predator was fighting the Jamaican gang with similar haircuts though.  They went for every other obvious thing.  It’s also nice that he has some new toys in his arsenal.  It never made that much sense that the supreme hunter has only 3 weapons in his arsenal: the wrist blades, the shoulder-mounted gun, and the self-destruct.  Now he has some projectiles, a spear, and a Frisbee of Death.  And the self-surgery he did in this movie was much more convincing.  There’s one point in the movie where we get to see the inside of the Predator’s ship and it got me wondering.  Did they already have plans to pit the Predators against the Aliens when this movie was made, or was it just a random kick to the balls that the Predator had a Xenomorph skull in his ship?

I can’t actually say I liked any of the performances in this movie.  Danny Glover annoyed the least, but all he really did was run around, sweat, and swear.  And, if I might say so, he’s probably getting too old for that.  Every other performance either failed to impress or was just bad.  Lines are delivered in a stilted and unrealistic fashion quite often.  I was also happy to realize that Bill Paxton has realized that he doesn’t have to be over the top manic in his performances anymore, as he was in this movie and Aliens.  He’s been a lot more mellow recently.

Predator 2 is not a good movie, but it’s fairly typical for a sequel in that regard.  I still like the character of the Predator, but everything else in this movie was piecemeal from every other cliché action movie.  Visually it was an improvement, but it failed in every other department.  And when you’re getting out-acted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, that’s a problem.  I wouldn’t call this worth a watch.  Just watch Predator twice instead.  Predator 2 gets “Shit happens” out of “I don’t think he gives a shit!”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Aliens (1986)


It’ll Be Dark Soon, and They Mostly Come at Night … Mostly.

Continuing onward in the series that should’ve lead up to Prometheus and I’m coming to realize that I have a bad memory.  Okay, I realized that a long time ago, but I’ve forgotten that by now.  When I got to thinking about the Alien series, I could only remember the vaguest of feelings towards them.  I remembered that I liked the first one, and I’m pretty sure that I liked the second one.  But when I got to thinking about it I began to think that the sequel may have just been pretty much a remake of the original, but this time with a bigger budget.  But that couldn’t be right, could it?  We’ll find out today in my review of Aliens, written and directed by James Cameron, and starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Carrie Henn, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, Jenette Goldstein, William Hope, Al Matthews, Mark Rolston, and Colette Hiller.

Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is found on her rescue vessel after drifting for 57 years in stasis.  Being one of the only survivors of the destruction of the space freighter, the Nostromo, after its invasion by an alien creature – the other survivor being her cat – is something to be proud of, but her employer, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, quickly deflates her with tales of how her daughter died already (at the ripe old age of 66) and that she’s losing her flight license because they don’t believe her nonsense about aliens.  They start believing when a terraforming colony on LV-426 comes across the Xenomorph eggs and subsequently disappear.  A representative of the company, Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), and a Colonial Marine, Lieutenant Gorman (William Hope), approach Ripley to get her to join them in investigating the distress signal from the colony, but are met with a detailed instruction manual on where to sit, what to sit on, and which direction to spin.  Realizing that her nightmares will never relent if she hides from her fear, she begrudgingly agrees to go, so long as their mission is to kill the creatures and not study them.

Aliens is definitely the best movie in the Alien series.  And I was wrong: it’s not just a remake of the first movie, but this time with more money.  It’s similar in the basic idea, but it’s amped up and infused with plenty of things that set it apart.  It kind of changes its theme a little bit.  Alien was a sci-fi horror movie, and this one is more of a classic sci-fi action movie, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Especially when the movie goes full throttle for the greater majority of the movie.  It starts off with the basic setup, which is necessary because you would desperately need to answer the important question: Why would Ripley allow herself to be taken back into this situation?  It gets answered with Ripley’s own desire to put her nightmares away by facing her fears so she doesn’t have to wake up sweaty and rubbing her boobs every night, and with her need to show that she wasn’t imagining the situation to the company that revoked her license.  Probably a little bit for the safety of the colony too.  This first part of the movie is a little slow, but it’s entirely acceptable.  Setup is necessary in the movie, so you really didn’t need to throw in the scene of Ripley dreaming that she was having one of the creatures burst through her chest, just to get a bit of an easy thrill in the early stages of the movie without actually having to commit to anything by making it a dream.  But then she gets on the ship with the roughnecks and the movie remains on a steady stream of awesome all the way through.  The look of the movie maintains its quality, and indeed amps it up in most parts.  When looking at some of the CG, I was reminded of talks when the movie Avatar came out about how some of the vehicles in that movie looked so much like the ones in this movie, those critics apparently forgetting the fact that the movies were written and directed by the same guy.  I would say one criticism I had for the look was the automated turrets.  I can understand that all movies have limits to their budgets to work around, and that might make them show exciting action scenes where turrets are blasting down hordes of aliens by only showing us the ammo count on a computer screen, but it’s also entirely possible that the movie would not have changed much at all if you just left the scene out entirely.

The performances in the movie were good, but I didn’t necessarily like all of them.  Sigourney Weaver is well on her way to making Ellen Ripley the super badass that she becomes.  She’s still not quite reached her badass potential yet though, as she still seems terrified as she’s doing the badass things she’s doing.  On the other hand, for a character to be afraid but still do the badass stuff could potentially be more badass.  Of course, she never reached the level of fear that other characters (namely Bill Paxton) did, so it’s still a cool contrast that the woman character is stronger than most of the male characters.  They also have Jenette Goldstein, who is practically a man, and I’m pretty sure she must’ve been Michelle Rodriguez’ mom or something.  And I just found out that Weaver got nominated for an Academy Award for this movie, which is just awesome, even if she didn’t win.  I also love me some Michael Biehn, and he’s the male protagonist of the movie.  This guy has had some career, even though I wouldn’t consider him a household name.  The guy was Johnny Ringo, he was the sperm behind John Connor in the Terminator franchise, and he was a couple moments of downtime away from knocking boots with Ellen Ripley.  Carrie Henn was also a great character as Newt, the little girl who survived the Xenomorph infestation.  She was naïve and cute when we were supposed to be growing attached to her, but she was also more mature than her age would suggest because of the things she had seen, like when she told Ripley that her doll couldn’t have dreams because it was just a piece of plastic.  Paul Reiser was a very unlikeable character, but that’s what he was supposed to be.  He was likeable on the surface, but a giant piece of shit underneath, and I was thrilled that he got what was coming to him.

Though the first movie was great for its minimalist approach, Aliens takes the same premise and pushes it over the top with some great action, great characters, and the fantastic performances to pull it off.  I would say this movie is easily the best movie in the Alien franchise, which says a lot because Alien was a great movie itself.  Both Alien and Aliens are required in any respectable movie collection.  Aliens gets “My mommy always said there were no monsters – no real ones – but there are” out of “I like to keep this handy … for close encounters.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Tombstone (1993)


You Tell ‘Em I’m Comin … And Hell’s Comin With Me!

It’s come time for me to say what my favorite movie of all time is.  This has always been a difficult question for me to answer as I usually just have a sliding scale of “Like” or “Dislike” for movies, but don’t usually make the claim of having an actual favorite.  What I determined to do was to just pick a movie that I really like and just say it’s my favorite.  I used to say it was The Crow, but eventually decided that there was at least one movie that I find completely awesome every time I watch it.  It’s never aged for me, it’s in one of my favorite genres, and it has the hands down best performance by more than a few people in the cast.  This movie would become the movie I would say is my favorite ever.  Whether or not it truly is my favorite is debatable, but we’ll see if its awesomeness is when I review Tombstone, written by Kevin Jarre, directed by George P. Cosmatos, and starring Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Stephen Lang, Thomas Haden Church, Tomas Arana, Dana Delany, Michael Rooker, Buck Taylor, Peter Sherayko, Terry O’Quinn, Jon Tenney, Billy Zane, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Joanna Pacula, Paula Malcomson, Lisa Collins, Harry Carey Jr., and Billy Bob Thornton.

Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) and his brothers Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) go to Tombstone, Arizona with the hope of finding their fortunes.  Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) is already doing alright for himself with gambling and shooting, but he goes to Tombstone as well to hang out with his buddy Wyatt.  Even though he’s married to Mattie Blaylock (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), Wyatt starts developing feelings for a travelling actress named Josephine Marcus (Dana Delany).  Wyatt takes a job as a dealer at a saloon and gets some friction from a band of outlaws called the Cowboys, and more specifically their leader “Curly Bill” Brocious (Powers Boothe), Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn), Ike Clanton (Stephen Lang), and Billy Clanton (Thomas Haden Church), but the Cowboys are somewhat comforted by the fact that Wyatt is retired as a peace officer and has no interest in taking the law into his own hands.  That being the case, when Curly Bill kills Marshal Fred White (Harry Carey Jr.) while high on opium, Wyatt pistol whips him and takes him into custody.  Ike and Billy try to get Wyatt to release Curly Bill, but find themselves out-awesomed and leave.  Tensions continue to mount and, if you’ve read your awesome history of the West, you know some shit’s about to go down at the O.K. Corral.

I am still perfectly comfortable saying this movie is my favorite movie of all time.  There are definite contenders for the title, but this movie is definitely up there.  You probably can’t give a whole lot of credit to the story as it seems to mostly stick to what actually happened, or at least what is said happened around then.  Watching this movie always makes me start looking up information about what happened in Tombstone and it’s apparently hard to find solid information about it because most people in the town were biased either towards the Cowboys or the Earps.  This movie obviously takes the side of the Earps, and I’m okay with that.  It turns out very awesome, so I wouldn’t dare complain.  I’m sure it’s not 100% historically accurate, but I don’t watch this movie for a history lesson.  As it pertains to the movie, they show what they need to when they need to, and I like that.  They even do something to show the character’s personality right in their introduction to save time.  Wyatt Earp starts off by hitting a guy for whipping his horse, showing that he’s hardcore and big into justice.  Doc Holliday starts off coughing and being hilarious and awesome at a poker table.  Johnny Ringo shoots a priest in the head soon after we meet him.  Now we know who we’re dealing with.  The story is pretty damned solid too.  It starts off with just the tension building between the Earps and the Cowboys, and the Earps’ sense of justice leading them to feel they should get involved.  And the first good portion of the movie – assuming you know about Wyatt Earp and the others – is just building up for the most famous gunfight in American history: the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  And it does not disappoint.  From what I’ve read, it’s around 90% accurate to what actually happened, which adds weight to the scene.  It’s not only awesome because it’s awesome; it’s also awesome because it feels like we’re time-travelling to watch it.  And the last big chunk of the movie is watching Earp’s Vendetta Ride, which is also very awesome.  All of the action in the movie was great.  They only went for the classic tension building before a quick draw contest twice and the rest of the action was regular shootouts and fist fights, but they were all awesome.  The Vendetta Ride was mostly just a series of montages, displaying any random images of people looking awesome while shooting guns, but it was great and time-saving.  Some of the “action” in the movie was even hilarious, and I’m mainly referring to the part where Johnny Ringo is showing off by twirling his gun around and Doc Holliday responds by doing the same with his cup.  I would say that the dialogue in the movie was great, but I think I mainly mean that Doc Holliday’s dialogue was great.  Everyone else only got to occasionally say something awesome, but almost everything Doc said was fantastic.  I think one of my favorite lines in cinema history is Doc Holliday saying, “I’ve got two guns, one for each of ya.”

I also loved every performance in this movie.  Almost every male character in the movie was a stone cold badass.  But let’s face facts: Val Kilmer steals this movie.  Val Kilmer looks like the Devil in the greater majority of this movie.  Pale skin, red around the eyes, often bleeding from the mouth, and even has that goatee goin’ on.  He was fucking awesome in this movie.  He’s hilarious and badass in equal measure.  Kurt Russell is also a bona fide badass in this movie.  He took care of the majority of his problems in this movie with sheer intimidation, not even requiring that he use a gun.  He made a little bitch out of Billy Bob Thornton and Stephen Lang on more than one occasion.  Michael Biehn was also epically badass.  The way he talked always made me think there was something supernatural about him as most people talked as if he sold his soul to the devil for his killing prowess.  I believed it.  Sam Elliott is also entirely enjoyable, and that’s not something that surprised me.  Not only is he usually great, but he seems to be made for westerns.  I think I would’ve found more conflict if Wyatt’s wife, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, was ever a likeable character.  I didn’t really care that she got left behind.  She was a drug addict and a bit of a bitch, whereas Dana Delany was fun-loving and free-spirited.  Seems like an easy decision to me.

Tombstone may not be the smartest movie you’ve ever seen, but it will probably be at least a contender for the most awesome.  The story is easy enough because it’s based on historical data, but it’s also based on some of the most awesome historical data in American history.  It’s compelling, it’s exciting, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but it’s pretty awesome as well.  All of the people in this movie perform greatly, but I think we can all agree that Val Kilmer steals the show.  I love this movie, and you should as well.  Tombstone gets “Make no mistake, it’s not revenge he’s after.  It’s a reckoning” out of “In Pace Requiescat.”

Who here’s shocked to hear that Chris won this one again?  Fuck this guy, am I right?

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Haywire (2012)


I Haven’t Closed My Eyes Since You Were Born

Against my better judgment, I’ve been super interested in seeing today’s movie since I first heard about it.  It’s the screen debut of an MMA fighter that I’m a fan of along with a pretty spectacular supporting cast.  But, even though I felt like I really wanted to see it, something always held me back.  I’m not sure if I was afraid of seeing a movie with this fighter in it because I expected that person to not be able to act or if there was just never a good time to do it.  When I was in Arizona a few months back, I occupied myself by going to the movie theater frequently.  This movie was still in the theater there at the time, but the one or two shows it had did not align with the times I would be able to see it.  The time to see it in theaters had passed, so I set my sights on its RedBox release.  It came out on DVD and at RedBox on the same day, and the first thing I did was put it on reserve.  The time has finally come for my review of Haywire, written by Lem Dobbs, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and starring Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, Bill Paxton, Michael Fassbender, Michael Angarano and Anthony Brandon Wong.

Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a mercenary of sorts that works for Kenneth (Ewan McGregor), who is also her former boyfriend.  She goes out on a successful mission to rescue a hostage named Jiang (Anthony Brandon Wong) along with another member of the private firm she works for named Aaron (Channing Tatum).  When Mallory returns home, Kenneth asks her to take a quick and easy assignment to pose as the wife of MI6 agent Paul (Michael Fassbender) on a stakeout.  At the party, Mallory sees Paul talking with his contact before entering a barn.  Later, she checks out the barn to find Jiang dead.  Mallory realizes that she’s been set up.  When they return to their hotel room, Paul attacks Mallory.  She whips that ass and kills him.  She then uses his cell phone to find out that Kenneth was the one that told Paul to kill her.  Mallory sets off to find out why she was set up, and make the ones who did it pay.

What a bummer.  I went into this movie with the expectation that Carano would not be able to hold up her end of the acting, but would make for some awesome fight scenes.  What I didn’t expect was that the only real problem I had with this movie would be completely at the fault of the director.  I found myself extremely annoyed with how slow this movie moved.  It was a complete artsy fartsy movie.  You may recall my complaints sounding similar in my review of the Ang Lee Hulk movie.  It seemed to me as if the director was really concerned about getting some interesting and stylized looks and camera angles, and not really concerned with making a movie that was interesting.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind my action movies having a nice artistic style.  But what an action movie needs above all that is pacing.  This movie chose to show boring and uneventful scenes in real time, as if I was watching a boring episode of 24.  During a chase scene on foot, the director uses footage of Carano running down an alley in a straight line for a good 30 seconds.  You can have really long foot chase scenes if you throw in a lot of things to break up the simple running, like jumping over cars or fences.  But when you just show me a lady running in a straight line I get to feeling like I’m watching track and field at the Olympics.  He also shows us about 10 minutes of Carano and Fassbender getting dressed for the party they’re going to and inspecting all their equipment.  I will take your word for it if you tell me these people are pros, so you don’t need to show me them inspecting their equipment.  I will also jump to the conclusion that they got dressed when they show up to the party with clothing on.  Later on, we get a long, drawn out scene of Carano walking down the street occasionally looking over to check that a guy is following her.  This goes on for like 5 minutes before it turns into a pretty boring chase scene.  I got to feeling like the director was doing all of these time wasting and boring things because he finished his movie and realized it was only 40 minutes long.  And, since it would make less money if they just put that version on TV, making it a full hour with commercials, he just decided to hit ‘Undo’ on all of the cuts that he made.

The action, when it happened, was very satisfying to me.  It was like watching an MMA fight, but in a more practical way because it was in a real life setting with no rules and some weapons in the mix.  But I like watching MMA, so I liked watching these fights too.  The fights smashed the hell out of the environments too.  The bulk of them were a little brief for my tastes, though.  The fight between Carano and Fassbender was particularly exciting, lasting for a pretty good stretch of fighting, using and destroying the environment.  The problem with this scene is that it probably would’ve been more impactful to see Fassbender attack Carano out of nowhere had they not spoiled it in every trailer I saw for the movie.

I had no complaints about the performances in this movie.  I would’ve assumed that Gina Carano wouldn’t have been that good of an actress, but I felt like she did good.  Some of the dialogue in the earlier scenes was a little flat, but I was more distracted by the fact that the dialogue was happening in scenes I had no reason to be watching to pay much attention to her performance.  Carano is a solid, good-looking woman, but never really made that much out of her looks in the movie.  She was there to whip ass, and she did.  I found it a little bit jarring at first to see fight scenes between a guy and a girl where neither one was holding back at all, but it would be ill-informed to hold back because Carano was a woman.  She’s a nearly undefeated MMA fighter!  Also, even though it was just made as a snide comment in the movie, I would completely endorse Carano to play Wonder Woman if they make a movie out of that.  It was surprising to me how many huge names they were able to get into this movie to support Carano, but all of the performances were fairly low key and didn’t give me much to talk about.

Haywire had the potential to be a solid action flick, but the director turned it into a stylized bore.  The action was great, but often too short and spread out too far.  The cast was fantastic, and Carano (though not fantastic) did manage to impress me for her first film.  This movie would’ve been fantastic if they had only edited about 40 minutes of boring scenes we didn’t need to see out of it.  As it is, I say you can skip it.  I look forward to seeing Carano in better action movies in the future, though.  Haywire gets “Bummer” out of “You shouldn’t think of her as being a woman.  That would be your first mistake.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Apollo 13 (1995)


Houston, We’ve Had a Problem

I feel that not having seen a movie as classic as Citizen Kane until recently was excusable because I was nowhere near alive when it came out.  But for me to have not seen a classic movie such as today’s movie when it came out when I was 12 is a problem.  PROBLEM SOLVED!  I’ve now watched this movie.  I and the entire world had heard about this movie and the event it was based on for quite some time, AND it stars at least 2 people that could be in my list of top actors (as well as many others I like a lot), AND it was also directed by a great director, yet I hadn’t seen it.  I had not seen this movie until now because … uh … well okay, I have no idea why I didn’t see it.  I guess I just took my time.  And so, just over 16 years late, I present to you my review of Apollo 13, written by William Broyles and Al Reinert, directed by Ron Howard, and starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris, Gary Sinise, Kathleen Quinlan, Clint Howard, David Andrews, Xander Berkeley, Miko Hughes, Mary Kate Schellhardt, Max Elliot Slade, and Emily Ann Lloyd.

Astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) is giving a tour of NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building when he gets informed that he and his crew – Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise) – are getting their mission to the moon pushed up from Apollo 14 to Apollo 13.  Having just recently watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon during the Apollo 11, Lovell says he wants to get him some of that action.  During training, it is determined that Mattingly is unable to go because he was exposed to measles and may get sick mid-mission, so he is replaced by Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon).  They get all launched up and that’s when shit hits the fan … continuously for the next hour and a half.

Most people were probably well aware of this before I was, but this is a damned good film.  The story seems like one that would be hard to get wrong when you base your movie around a real life event that captured the attention of the world so thoroughly as it did, but they did not get it wrong.  They got it so right that it kind of bummed me out that I wasn’t alive to witness the world around this time, and even more so around the Apollo 11 time.  Instead, I got to grow up in the time where NASA says we’re not going to the moon anymore and, by the way, we’re gonna shit all over Pluto’s face and call it a bitch planet.  I don’t even know who you are anymore, NASA.  In fact, I’m not even going to capitalize your name anymore.  Anyways, this movie definitely tells nasa’s story with gusto.  It starts out perhaps a little slow, but once you get up into space, it really doesn’t waste very much time before it starts shoveling tension on to you, and it doesn’t really let you unclinch your anus until the last minute or so.  I also found it pretty amazing that this movie was able to turn something as boring as watching people do math and flick switches into something so riveting and engrossing.

You know what takes that there great story and elevates it so much?  PERFORMANCES!!  Tom Hanks, as it turns out, is Tom Hanks!  This dude is the best.  He always has the most real and emotional and charming portrayals of characters in the movies he’s in that you can’t help but love him and feel for him.  In this one, he really doesn’t overdo it and freak out as most of us would in his position.  I would lose my shit, at least that’s what nasa said when I tested to be an astronaut.  (Psst.  I cried and peed myself while filling out the application)  He was the glue of the team and, probably, the movie.  I love Ed Harris a lot too.  He had to keep his shit together and get everyone around him on task following these tragedies and didn’t allow himself to lose it until those astronauts were safe, finally breaking down into tears.  Paxton and Bacon were very good supporting characters on the mission, but they both let the events get to them and they freaked out a little, but Hanks put the kibosh on that nonsense.  I get the feeling that Hanks might not like Gary Sinise very much though.  Assuming (as I do) that he has control over the movies he’s in, he fucks with Sinise every time he’s in a movie with him.  What do you want to do to Gary in Forrest Gump?  Cut them legs off, and make him a drunken whore-monger while you’re at it.  What about Apollo 13?  It wouldn’t work to take his legs off.  Uh…give him the measles and make it so he can’t come into space.  Then tell him later he didn’t actually have measles.  Fuck you, Gary!  But Gary did bring it pretty well to the movie.  He was noticeably bummed out about not getting to be on the mission, but didn’t throw the whole “I was on Earth while you guys were counting the minutes to your deaths” back in their faces.  Instead, he kind of saved the day from the ground.  Hanks should really give this guy another chance.

The only thing I find more regrettable than not being alive when Apollo 13 and Apollo 11 actually went down was the fact that it took me so long to watch the awesome movie about it!  Apollo 13 is what happens when you take a real life event, retell it in an awesome, tension-filled way with a great director, and perform it superbly with actors who are supremely awesome.  There was not a part of this movie I did not like.  It’s available via Netflix streaming, so you too have no excuse to not be watching this movie right now save for the overwhelming compelling nonsense streaming from my fingers right now.  I will be purchasing this movie for my collection post haste, so you should in the very least be watching it streaming.  Apollo 13 gets “So long, Earth.  Catch you on the flip side” out of “Pluto, you’re still a planet to me.”

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Frailty (2002)


Killing People is Wrong, Destroying Demons is Good

Today’s movie comes as another review request, this time from my friend Ryan.  The movie did not escape my radar, but I never got visual confirmation on it.  That is an overly complicated way to say that I knew about it, but never saw it.  And to even say I knew about it perhaps goes too far.  I had seen the DVD on the shelves at stores, knew who was in it, vaguely knew it was horror, and that about covers it.  And I do greatly appreciate it when these requests make me watch a movie I hadn’t already seen, even if that movie is horrible.  Is this movie horrible?  Let’s find out in my review of Frailty, written by Brent Hanley, directed by and starring Bill Paxton, and starring Matt O’Leary, Jeremy Sumpter, Matthew McConaughey, Levi Kreis, Powers Boothe, Luke Askew, and Missy Crider.

We start off the story in a police office in Dallax, Texas.  Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) enters his office to talk to a man, who introduces himself as Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey).  Fenton tells Doyle that a rash of serial killings known as the “God’s Hand” killings are being committed by his brother, Adam (Levi Kreis).  Asked to explain, Meiks jumps into flashback.  When Adam (Jeremy Sumpter) and Fenton (Matt O’Leary) were kids, they lived a pretty normal life with their unnamed dad, Dad (Bill Paxton).  Normal, until Dad wakes up one night, stares at his bowling trophy, and decides he’s gotten a message from God.  This message is that he needs to start destroying demons, and he’ll be sent three magical weapons and a list that he’ll use to do so.  These demons will look like normal people, but they’re demons.  There is no other explanation for this than divine intervention.  Let’s kill some people!  …I mean destroy demons.  Adam is totally on board with Dad, but Fenton would rather be a stick in the mud.  Dad assures Fenton that their sins will be revealed to the family when he lays his hands on the demons.  God sends Dad the weapons in the form of a magical lead pipe to knock out the demons, magical gardening gloves so their sins aren’t revealed before justice time, and an axe with ‘Otis’ carved into the handle.  As Dad starts getting into the destruction of demons, Adam feels that he too can see the sins of the demons with Dad lays his hands on them, but Fenton sees nothing beyond his father murdering people with an axe.  Generally speaking, this doesn’t work out well for Fenton, but he must figure out what to do about Dad.

I mostly liked this movie.  Well, technically I guess I’d say I did like the movie, but I had story issues that are spoilers and I’ll get to later.  I found the story itself very intriguing.  As a religious person, you might expect I would find this movie upsetting because God is causing this guy to kill people.  As a rational person, you might expect I would find it upsetting because this nutjob with his Jesus crutch is killing people.  But, as me, I just found this to be a good, intriguing watch.  I did have a lot of the Jesus crutch reaction, but I’ll get into that when I spoil in the next paragraph.  There were a few parts that confused me about the movie, but they didn’t stop me from enjoying it.  When Paxton and Fenton go to kill Fenton’s first demon, the “demon” guy is very creepy and tries to attack them, but this is never explained at all.  As far as he knows, it’s just a guy and his kids with a flat tire.  Why was he attacking?  This part stuck in my brain as a problem a lot longer than it probably should have.  But, again, this didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the movie.

::SPOILER ALERT:: Let’s talk about what did take away from my enjoyment: the ending.  Throughout the entire movie, you’re never given any reason to believe that Paxton is anything but looney.  You’re being told the story in a flashback from someone that you believe is Fenton, the person who didn’t believe Dad and Adam.  In the end, it turns out that not only is the story being told by grown up Adam (McConaughey lying and saying he’s Fenton), but there is a greater possibility that God actually is leading them to kill people.  When Adam touches the hand of Powers Boothe, he sees that Boothe killed his own mother and that paralyzes Boothe into being unable to attack Adam.  Also, the people that let Adam in to see Agent Doyle inexplicably remembered nothing about Adam and even didn’t recognize him when they saw him again, and the surveillance footage had an imperfection that blocked his face.  I believed Paxton was a lunatic for the entire movie because my version of God wouldn’t tell someone to go kill things.  The way this movie ends seems to almost endorse the idea that some people may be doing the right thing to go out and kill for God.  The reason I’m torn about the ending is because they path they took was the one with the interesting twist, but the horrible message.  I’ll say it for this movie: “Just enjoy watching it, but don’t listen to your bowling trophy if it tells you to kill people.”  ::END SPOILERS::

It turns out McConaughey is a monkey!  HAHA!  Spoilers were NOT really over!  Okay, I’m just kidding.  Let’s talk acting.  McConaughey puts on a pretty solid performance here, and by that I mean he gets his shirt off by the second time you see him.  COME ON, DUDE!  Ah, who’m I kidding?  If I had sweet abs, I’d never wear a shirt either.  But he is fairly solid in this movie, but he’s also scarcely in it.  When he is, he’s pretty apprehensive and beaten down as you would expect Fenton to be after what you see him go through, and he changes persona in the very end.  When he’s not in the movie, he’s played by Matt O’Leary, who performs very well for the most part.  He’s the only one who doesn’t believe what’s going on is divinely inspired and he can’t get help because he loves his father but knows he has to do something and starts doubting religion because of it.  He pulls off the conflict very well.  Both versions of Adam are barely featured here.  Powers Boothe was alright.  No complaints.  Oh wait…  That dude was Curly Bill in Tombstone?  I’m going to up my response to his performance.  He was now the greatest actor ever.  Okay, he wasn’t even the greatest in this movie.  Bill Paxton stole the show, and why wouldn’t he?  He did direct the thing.  But he does crazy well, and he also does loveable well, so he did this part perfectly.  He was crazy, but he was also a good dad, so you can understand Fenton’s conflict.

There you go, Ryan.  Thanks and you’re welcome.  Thanks because I did like this movie.  Interesting story with a nice twist ending, although that same ending kind of kicked any positive message in the balls.  The performances were also very good.  And, of course, you’re welcome because I just typed over 1200 words for you.  Frailty is definitely worth a rental, though I don’t think it’s on Netflix streaming, and I doubt you’ll find it in a RedBox, but you should rent it at least.  I think it’d probably be a pretty cheap purchase by now, and I may do just that.  Altogether, I will give Frailty “We’re just fulfilling God’s will” out of “Sometimes truth defies reason”.

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!