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Tag Archives: Ian Holm

Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyHobbits, wizards, dwarves, New Zealand….we’ve been here before, haven’t we? Peter Jackson decided that 3 Lord of the Rings films wasn’t enough and proceeded to decide that neither one or two movies would be able to adequately cover J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The result is An Unexpected Journey, the first in a trilogy taking place 60 years before the events of the LOTR trilogy. Nothing wrong can happen when doing three prequels to an already adored trilogy, right George Lucas?

The Hobbit is the tale of 12 dwarves, 1 wizard, and 1 hobbit attempting to reclaim the homeland of those dwarves at the Lonely Mountain. The reason this isn’t easily done is due to a dragon named Smaug. A lengthy intro explains all of this, so don’t worry. Of course then we get shot into Fellowship of the Ring territory, with Ian Holm’s Bilbo Baggins and Frodo (Elijah Wood) only to get sent back to the time when Gandalf (Ian McKellen) asks the young Bilbo (Martin Freeman) to join in on an adventure. An hour or so of the movie passes by and we finally get on our way. Of course, the group led by Thorin (Richard Armitage), has plenty of hurdles to overcome, including rock giants, cave trolls, and those pesky Orcs. With the decision to make this a trilogy we only get the beginning of the journey, but there is plenty more to come.

My chief concern going into the theater was that each scene would drag on forever. After all, this was originally going to be one movie. Combine that with the fact that An Unexpected Journey is 170 freaking minutes long, I would say that I was warranted in my concern. For the most part, it wasn’t too much of an issue. Yes, most scenes tend to run a tad too long, but the beautiful imagery is enough to keep you distracted. And what beautiful imagery it is. Rivendale most stood out to me, and we get several camera shots that we haven’t seen before. And Gollum! I could watch that creature forever. It is absolutely stunning how much they have improved him since the original trilogy. Absolutely mind boggling. My finally verdict however eventually comes down to this: haven’t we all seen this already? Yes, the story and most of the characters are new. But it just seems too familiar. Hopefully it can improve along the rest of the way.

My Rating: B+

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Review: The Aviator (2004)

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I read a review one time before watching The Aviator, comparing it to Citizen Kane (one of the highest if not highest regarded piece of cinema in history). Well I don’t know about that, but no doubt about it Leonardo DiCaprio is a superb actor.

The Aviator is a biopic about the eccentric and insanely rich/successful Howard Hughes (DiCaprio). We start things off with his attempt to break into Hollywood and the long process to direct and fund “Hell’s Angels”. After the success of the film, Hughes goes into the flight business, designing, creating, and flying all sorts of planes, breaking records, and working for the military. Besides his successes we also get a look into his sometimes OCD like behavior, and his unsuccessful relationships. The result is a sad look at one of the most powerful persons in the world.

The Aviator presumes you have at least heard the name Howard Hughes. I’ve heard the name before but couldn’t tell you who he was. While it took me a little bit to gain my bearings, I soon began to understand Hughes. It seems to be every bit as epic as Gone with the Wind or Citizen Kane. It has the same kind of grand scope. I was a bit worried half way through, but once Hughes started to break down mentally, I was hooked. The courtroom scenes seemed especially great placing Alan Alda against DiCaprio (made me want to see J. Edgar). My one big problem was Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn. She just seemed really annoying and a bad imitation of her. Not to mention there wasn’t much chemistry between her and Hughes. The fact she won an Oscar for best supporting actress is beyond me. But looking past that, it was a great movie.

My Rating: B+

Classic Review: Alien (1979)

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I’ve been pumped for Prometheus for a while now. Unfortunately I had never seen Ridley Scott’s original 1979 classic, or any of the other Alien films. So why not start at the beginning and see why fanboys were drooling when the first Prometheus footage hit the web?

Alien follows the crew of the Nostromo, a mining ship on its way back to earth. However, the ship awakes the crew well before its destination in order to look into a distress call from a nearby ship. They land, find some strange looking things, get freak out from a alien species and leave in a hurry. However, the danger was not left. Soon, the suspense part of the film begins and crew members begin to drop like flies. The real question is not who will survive, but will anyone be left?

Right off the bat, you know Alien is going to be nerve wracking. I mean, there is no dialogue or people until 6 minutes in! And when the crew does awake, there is tension in their relationships as well (some want more money, some are suspicious of others, etc.). As far as the “horror” aspect there wasn’t as much blood and guts as I thought, but when it does happen it catches you off guard. Many of the key moments were already familiar to me and it still surprised me. Alien doesn’t attempt to be philosophical or too smart for it’s britches, but it succeeds as a 90 some minute romp in space where the only objective is to find and kill this creature. I loved every minute of it, and it only makes my desire to see Prometheus stronger.

My Rating: A-

Review: Naked Lunch (1991)

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It may not be on the level of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as far as bizarre and weird goes, but Naked Lunch does have its moments. It’s gruesome, strange, and slimy. Unfortunately, all of those things don’t usually add up for a great movie.

Unlike Fear and Loathing, Naked Lunch has a something resembling a plot. Bill Lee, an exterminator, has recently begun to take the very substance that kills the unwanted pests after his wife convinces him to try it. From there, his typewriter comes to life as a giant cockroach and instructs him in going over to “Interzone” some desert laden alternate reality filled with all types of bugs, and apparently lots of homosexuals. Lee, when he finally comes to on our side of things, finds out he is writing a book called “The Naked Lunch” and promptly heads back over to Interzone to finish the work. That’s the basic plot, but there is plenty that I could put, but wouldn’t make to much sense here.

Although the confusion died down alittle as I went further and further into Bill Lee’s strange world, the grossness didn’t. You wouldn’t think a typewriter that has a talking anus wouldn’t be the worst thing, but I was very surprised when a centipede later rapes a man in a cage. I can’t state this enough, this movie is bizarre. It is most definitely not for everyone, and I would advise the feint of heart to stay away. I found myself turning away every now and then.

My Rating: C