Archive for the 'Movies' Category

Sicko

On Sunday I went to the Sundance Cinema with my roommate and saw Sicko. I thought it was fairly good, not as good as Bowling for Columbine but much better than Roger & Me, and slightly better than Fahrenheit 9/11.

What I liked about it was that instead of doing mostly shock stuff like his previous movies (it was still there, but not as much), he concentrated on trying to make the audience want what he was selling. So he showed how great the health care systems were of Canada, England, France, and Cuba, while showing us how bad the system is here in the United States. At the end of the movie I honestly wanted to move to France but decided that England would have to do since I didn’t speak any French.

Being a disabled person who is currently on Medicare and will probably be entering privatized health care in a year or two, this movie hit me fairly hard.  I do worry about what is going to happen to me when I am no longer eligible for Medicare. While I had my previous job at Nike, I went all out to avoid getting health care, often spending frivolously because I have to keep my assets under $2,000 in order to be eligible for it. This means that unlike a normal American, I not only don’t save some of my earnings, I am basically prohibited from doing so. Going into the job market again this will not always be easily accomplished and eventually I will need to begin saving.

Which means getting a crappy insurance plan, but how am I supposed to get an insurance plan when I have a pre-existing condition? My mom had a difficult time finding health care for our family just because of me back in the 80s, it will be even harder in this day and age to get me health care for myself. Yet I more than the average person need it.

This is precisely why health care sucks in America and why the United States time and again proves to the world that capitalism isn’t the best of economic systems. Capitalism in truth is the last remaining vestige of the Hierarchical order that we tried to leave behind at one point. It is a system that promotes the poor being left in the dust, and a system that also promotes the rich getting richer while the poor gets poorer, and it makes it more difficult to swap classes. It keeps the tiered system of the old days in check, while giving us a false sense of freedom and ability to move up to a new class. It can happen to some degree but rarely. In the meantime, the poor are treated like crap. We’d be much better off in a socialistic democracy where everyones life needs are taken care of equally (from good working conditions, to health care, police, fire, all the way to education) and the corporate need takes a back seat to the individual. It is idealistic sure, but Micheal Moore’s movie shows us that it is possible, because it works to a large extent elsewhere.

Pirates

I just saw Pirates of the Carribean yesterday and I thought it was fairly good. This one was much better than the second one which I didn’t really care for all that much. The problem with the second one was that it was trying to be too funny and thus it lacked any real content. That is to be expected from these type of movies, but it felt forced and while the first movie wasn’t exactly heavy on content, the twists and turns that made the story run did not exist in the second story.

The third one however had much more twists and turns, in fact one could say a few too many because it was fairly easy to lose track of all that was going on. Some of the story line in this one could have easily been shifted into the second movie I think in order to add to the second one without overdoing this one. Like perhaps they could have started the call of the pirate council in the second movie would have been a good option. This one wasn’t as funny as the first movie, but it still had some good, albeit strange, humor.

My one big complaint about this movie was that everything seemed to be far too overdone. For instance in the middle of the end fight scenes Will & Swan decide to get married by Barbosa all the while all three are fighting baddies. This scene made me sigh with the corniness, but more than that, they drew it out for 10 minutes! I think this movie being somewhat corny is to be expected, but don’t drag it out. Especially considering the length of the movie was awefully long as it is at 3 hours. 3 hours for a low content action movie is a bit much, usually that length is reserved for more serious movies. There was another similar scene that stuck out with the evil trade company boss dieing a magnificent 10 minute death which made me wonder “who is this guy? And why do I care?” The scene was overdone for what really was a minor villain. They paid more attention to this guy than Davey Jones or Barbosa’s death in the first movie. It was retarded because it took me half of the movie to figure out he was even in the first one. This character was extremely forgettable and they made it seem like it was the main character in the movie the way they killed him. I think they could have easily done without some of these lame scenes which added nothing to the movie and was more senseless than anything and could have shaved 30 minutes off the run-time to make the movie length more reasonable.

A minor complaint was general inconsistencies which I don’t really mind because in reality it is to be expected with this type of movie. The main one that stuck out in my mind was that each pirate lord had a piece of the 9 pieces of 8. However, what confused me was that Barbosa had a piece and so did Jack Sparrow. I realize they were trying to increase the importance of these people, but in reality I couldn’t get over the hump of trying to figure out why a captain lord was part of the crew of another captain lord. Additionally, it seemed like the captain lords mainly consisted of different areas (China, Carribean, Mexico, Japan, Africa, France, Mediterranean, etc) yet Sparrow and Barbosa seemed to be the only 2 representations of the same area. It was all very odd, and maybe I missed that Barbosa stole his piece from someone else or something. But Barbosa was part of Jack’s crew and it just doesn’t make sense that a crew member would have held this kind of power.

My last real complaint with the movie was the Pearl itself. In the end of the first movie, it was sort of revealed that the ship itself wasn’t really cursed, the people on it were. This lead to the wonder of well what is so special about the Pearl? Even in this last movie they talked about how powerful this ship was, being the only one that could match Davey Jones’ supernatural ship. I had assumed that this would be dealt with in the second and third movies, but sadly it just left me wondering why this ship is so important that everybody is trying to get it? (Another pirate lord was also trying to steal it in this movie). They also left open a hole in Sparrow’s story with what the deal with this trading company guy was, they seemed to have a much larger history than was explained, but now that he is dead it seems rather unlikely that they will explain it.

I was certainly happy to see that they left the series open at the end, it is a good series overall, and it seems likely with how they ended at that Swan & Turner’s involvement with the series is likely over to a larger extent (I wouldn’t be surprised by cameos but I am guessing they are pretty much done, which is good because after the first movie, these two could have been done without entirely.)

Overall, I give this movie about a B. It was good, fun, humorous, and twisty, but a little too twisty and not funny enough. Is a hard balance but I liked it this way better than where they went with the second movie (which I probably would have given about a C or C+).

Thank God for Peter Jackson

The career of Peter Jackson looks to be muddled at best. He did great with the Lord of the Rings trilogy but bombed with King Kong. And now there is the whole business with the Halo movie where he is going to produce it not direct it and he wants more money than any studio is willing to give him but Microsoft will only do it with him… which essentially means that he may never do Halo.

Yet I still give him credit where credit is due, even if he never puts out another movie even half to what LotR was. What he did was single-handedly bring the genre to the fantasy screen. Yes there were others before him, most notably Harry Potter by one short year, Willow by many, and Legend by many more.

There were many more rather forgetable ones I am sure that I am missing as well but I think those were really the major players in the fantasy genre. This seems to have changed though. Now we are seeing a bevy of fantasy movies cropping up. We’ve already seen the first installment of The Chronicles of Narnia and I am sure we will see more from the series. Eragon came out not too long ago, and now the previews for some others are starting to show up like The Last Mimzy, The Bridge to Terapithia, and Pan’s Labyrinth. We are even seeing some smaller movies that are going straight to DVD like the long awaited (at least for me) Dragonlance Chronicles.

And now I am happy with the future of movies.

Davinci

Saw Davinci Code today, never read the book, but thought the movie was pretty good and interesting. Predictable as well, perhaps it was done better in the book but I knew who the bad guy was and who the bloodline would be fairly early in the film. Those were the two big surprises about it so I guess they weren’t that great. I thought it was a very entertaining movie however.

Being a christian, I for one didn’t have any problems seeing this movie. It wasn’t that controversial to me. It was a very interesting theory, I don’t think it is particularly likely but I liked seeing the book of Philip quoted… haven’t read that one yet, but I have read part of the book of Thomas and the quote they used in the movie was also referenced in Thomas. The movie didn’t change my views at all. I am, however, a curious fellow who likes seeing the biblical stories from different angles, and this one was fairly well done. So I guess I don’t see what the fuss is all about. My friend, who is a more traditional religious person, said it best.. the ending essentially says what is important, it is the message of Jesus that is important, some of the other things don’t really matter… like if he had a child or not… and if he had a bloodline… who cares? If this sort of thing really happened and would really make someone stop believing in God if they knew it happened, then perhaps they didn’t have a very strong faith in the first place. The feeling of God is with me regardless of my knowledge of Jesus. I know he is with me not because the book tells me he is, but because he himself has shared his presence with me. And that belief would not be shaken by anything that happened to Jesus. And it also doesn’t make anything Jesus any less meaningful, in fact if anything it makes what he did here even more meaningful. But that is just me.