Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

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Chamber Movie Review: Rambo

January 27, 2008

As I stated in an earlier post, I’m a fan of the Rambo franchise, so I took advantage of my day off on Friday (opening day) and caught the 2:40 showing at the local theater.  The first thing I gotta say is that I don’t go to movies that often, so I forgot how expensive this can be (the ticket was $7, and the soda/popcorn combo was $10.50), but I have no regrets.

The movie takes place in southeast Asia,  as we’re introduced to a bit of background story involving the ongoing war in Burma, followed by the revelation that John Rambo has settled down in a Thai village as a riverboat guide and snake wrangler.  It was only a few minutes into the movie when the Christian missionaries/aid workers arrive and ask him to give them a ride up the river to help the Burmese.  John reluctantly agrees after warning them that they’re wasting their time, and the story is off and running.  ( I was kind of left with the impression that Stallone went ahead and assumed that anyone that went to see this film was familiar with John Rambo’s history, as there wasn’t a whole lot of character development going on).rambo4_04.jpg

Anyway, the missionaries of course get caught, and Rambo is asked to hook up with a band of mercenaries to attempt to rescue them from a Burmese military camp (a camp that is very reminiscent of the Vietnamese camp in Rambo II, incidentally). I don’t want to be a complete spoiler, so let’s just say that, in the end, Rambo saves the missionaries (well, some of them at least) and the mercs (again, some of them) and kills about a 100 or so bad guys in the process.  Roll credits.

In short, this movie was thin on plot and thick on, um, Rambo.  In other words, it didn’t really pretend to be anything other than it was, and for a 10-minute span at the end of the film especially, it was an absolute orgy of graphic violence. ( I’m not sure if there’s a record somewhere for individual visual deaths per minute, but I’m sure this one would rank up there)  Don’t worry about shedding any tears of those on the other end of Rambo’s machine gun either, the bad guys are very bad guys.  They’re good for some rape, genocide, dead pools, killing children, torture, feeding prisoners to pigs, and even a little NAMBLA action just for good measure.  So, let’s be honest, for Rambo fans, this is exactly what we were paying for.  No one was expecting to see something akin to Saving Private Ryan, after all.  So, in that spirit, it delivered….bigtime. 

Memorable quote“Live for nothing, or die for something…your call”

Classic moment:  The look of disbelief on the mercenaries faces after witnessing Rambo single-handedly taking out a handful of bad guys with his bow and arrow, having been upstaged by the “boat man”. 

Something noteworthy:  Unlike previous Rambo films, the movie lacked a scene involving an antagonist capturing and subsequently torturing Rambo in some cruel and inventive way. 

Something I didn’t know previously: Rambo is a blacksmith. The large knife depicted in previous films was apparently abandoned, replaced by a more machete-like weapon that he was able to forge specifically for the mission.

Overall rating:  4 out of 5 (throwing) stars

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Update: Thanks to Sliquid for the email on these stats. I cannot be certain of the accuracy of any of this (only one person killed in the first movie?), but it is interesting nonetheless.

click to enlarge stats for all 4 Rambo movies
click to view

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Hollywood’s* Rambo Is Back

January 6, 2008

You may have seen the ads on TV, but if you weren’t aware, Sly Stallone has directed the 4th Rambo film (called, um, Rambo).  It’s release date is January 25th.

The question that’s probably on many people’s minds is:  Can a 60+ year old man really play an action hero effectively? 

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So what happened here?  Did Stallone figure “Well, I got all in-shape for the new Rocky film, so I might as well make another Rambo“?  (before the HGH wears off, anyway).  Oh well, I’ve always liked those old Rambo movies, so maybe the mere existence of an addition to the series will tempt me into the theater, no matter how bad the reviews are or how ridiculous the premise might be.  

I guess we’ll find out if John J. gets a chance “to eat things that would make a billy goat puke”. lol

*(I had to clarify, as I have another post titled Camp Phoenix’s “Rambo”)

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Fred Thompson Movie Quote Of The Week

July 22, 2007

“Stack ’em, pack ’em, and rack ’em.  Move!”

I just put this on here because it sounds so slick, so authoritative, so…presidential.  Ya know, something George Bush might say!

Anyway, your blog gets a link if you can guess the movie.  If you don’t have a blog, well, you get some pride points.

Update:  Damn, I thought this would have been harder, but John got it: Die Hard 2

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Raise Your Hand If You Couldn’t Give 2 Turds About Harry Potter

July 19, 2007

I see that Harry Potter is back in the news again, and showing up on technorati’s ‘top searches’ and everything, so I’d just like to say for the record that I don’t care.  I’ve never read the books, never seen the movies, and I’m not even going to soil my post with a Harry Potter tag.

Who’s with me?

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BREAKING: Mark Steyn Doesn’t Like Star Wars

May 27, 2007

Somehow, for some unexplained reason, Mark Steyn’s opinion on the original Star Wars made memeorandum today.  And for reasons even harder to understand, I actually read it.  Steyn decided to commemorate the film’s 30th anniversary* by…bashing it …again (as he simply reprinted an opinion he wrote 10 years ago).  Well, since I already wasted a few minutes of my life reading Steyn’s witty poking, I figured I might as well waste a few more poking right back.

First off, does anyone really need to write a review on Star Wars anymore?  I mean, aside from maybe a few Amish people or some monks in Tibet, I think it’s pretty well established that people have seen that movie (probably multiple times) and have formed their own opinion on it.   Oh, it’s been 30 years.  Great.

Second, an even better question would be: Who really gives a rip what Mark Steyn thinks?  Steyn.  You know, one of those guys who was wrong about everything concerning the Iraq war, a guy who thought the VT students weren’t heroic enough, and a guy who I heard on the radio say that another terrorist attack on the US would actually be good for Bush politically.  Apparently, there are people out there who wait anxiously for Steyn’s opinion on anything and everything, so memeorandum gave him the nod. 

So, This is my “Sunday Steyn“. I’m putting it here ’cause I really, really, really, want to know what a Canadian-born former disc jockey turned neocon thinks about this icon of American pop culture. Don’t you?

*That goofy StarTrib piece, incidentally, was written James “The Bleater” Lileks.  If you want a good laugh, check out the Bleater’s mocking of the Democrats’ objections to Bush’s Iraq war policy from Oct. 2002.  Talk about being wrong.  It’s amazing that people actually still pay people like Steyn and Lileks for their opinions, and even more incredible that they are taken seriously. 

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Hollywood’s Creativity Keg Is Officially Cashed

May 22, 2007

I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but this summer’s major movie offerings seem to have a something in common: 3.  Let’s take a look:

Let me know if I missed any.   Pretty soon they’re going to have to come up with a new comic book just so they can make a movie out of it, since everything else has been done already.  Oh well, as long as they can slap Shrek on every other thing in the grocery store, I suppose they’ll keep doing it. 

At least there’s a little bit of kung fu in there. 😉

Update:  I’ve decided to add reviews from fellow wordpress bloggers for these movies as I stumble upon them.

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Wal-Mart Chooses HD-DVD

April 24, 2007

Gotta love Digg.   

There is one retailer that has the power to call the winner of the protracted Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD fight and that vendor is Wal-Mart.

read more | digg story

I have to admit that initially I thought that the Blu-ray format was going to win this one, solely based on the fact the the PS3 is also a Blu-ray player.  Sony has had a bit of a shaky launch of its new gaming console, however, and the regular stand-alone players are still more expensive than their HD-DVD counterparts.

Honestly, I haven’t been terribly impressed with either format.  Most of the players available have plenty of glitches (1st gen. machines tend to have that), and the quality of the content is currently only a benefit to those who a) have an HDTV, and b) are unsatisfied enough with regular DVD to make the plunge into a newer, more expensive format.  That isn’t a big market right now.

Also, the jump from regular DVD to HD/Blu-ray isn’t as significant as the previous jump from VHS to DVD.  Think about it.  When DVD was introduced roughly 10 years ago, the benefits over VHS included much better picture and sound quality, as well as convenience features like no rewinding, chapter selection, multiple audio tracks and subtitles, repeat functions, etc.. When you go from standard DVD to these HD formats, you’re really only gaining some picture quality (the sound is also higher resolution, but most people would be challenged to notice).  Simply stated, these formats aren’t nearly as groundbreaking as the last one, and I think it’s quite possible that they could both flop.  That, or they may wind up being used more for computer and professional applications than movies, since an optical disc that can hold up to 50 gigs could have a lot of uses besides the ability to see T2 in a little higher picture quality.  Add to the equation the rise in on-demand and downloadable content, and you might just see your average consumer paying $5.99 to watch a new release one time off their HD cable box instead of using one of these new players.

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to watch this play out. 

Another related Chamber post: Adult Movie Makers Are Embracing HD

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Strike A Pose, Kung-Fu Style

March 30, 2007

It probably doesn’t take the average reader of my blog too long to figure out that I’m a fan of kung-fu movies.  I’m not quite sure what it is about them that I find entertaining, but I know I’ve liked them since my childhood (I know I’m not the only one who watched Kung Fu Theater).  I’m not sure where I’d be placed on rating of fanaticism, but let’s just say that I own 40 or so of them on DVD and I’ve seen many, many more.  I’ve actually thought about how the genre has evolved from the Shaw Bros. days to appearing in major Hollywood films like The Matrix, but that subject will have to wait for some future post here.

One thing I’ve always found really cool and different about the older ones (in particular) is the way the fight scenes incorporate a sort of machismo and LOTS of posturing.  These scenes will typically have many “squaring off” pose breaks interspersed within the choreographed action sequences.  It’s almost as if these directors and screenwriters knew that this moment before the combatants engaged each other had high excitement value, so they figured on having it happen as many times as possible before the fight’s conclusion.  I’ve noticed that it seems to be a source of some creativity on the part of the both actor and director.  As this type of thing became more popular, I’m sure the filmmakers were challenged to come up with new and hip ways of doing it.   A perfect example of this style of action sequencing taken to the max is the final fight scene in the Woo-ping classic The Buddhist Fist.

Fun stuff!  I’ll add more fun kung fu observations in the future.

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Note To Iran: It’s Just A Damn Movie

March 13, 2007

I haven’t even seen this movie yet, but I thought I’d comment on this one because it seems that everyone takes movies a bit too seriously.  Iranians included:  Iran outraged by Hollywood war epic

War epic “300”, a smash hit in the United States for its gory portrayal of the Greco-Persian wars, has drawn the wrath of Iranians for showing their ancestors as bloodthirsty “savages”.

The press, officials and bloggers have united in denouncing the film as another example of “psychological warfare” against Tehran by its American arch enemy at a time of mounting tension over its nuclear programme.

Can’t I go to a movie without having to contemplate what hidden message about someone’s ancestors may be contained within?   I suppose the ironic thing is that your average moviegoer probably wouldn’t have made the Iranian/Persian connection if this ‘outrage’ hadn’t made the news.

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