Saturday, December 27, 2008

Eagle Eye Review

When I went to see Eagle Eye I wasn't sure what to expect. I had only seen part of the trailer and I just knew it was about two people who were wrongfully accused of crimes they didn't commit and were on the run from the law. I found it was much more complicated than that. Warning: if you haven't seen it yet here come the spoilers.

Many of the scenes reminded me of other movies. The main character played by Shia LaBeouf gets a phone call from a stranger warning him of eminent danger and instructing him what he must do in order to escape. He ignores the advice and ends up in custody and is questioned by a hard nosed official just like The Matrix. The surveillance and spying technology reminded me of Enemy of the State and we've seen the manipulating of traffic lights and equipment in Live Free or Die Hard.

This movie's premise is not original either. This is the same plot from 2001: A Space Odyssey, War Games, I Robot, and Stealth. Half way through the movie we learn that the manipulating lady on the other end of the phone is actually a computer. Aria is a top secret government computer that goes bad and takes matters into her own hands and formulates a complicated assassination plot.

Eagle Eye is action packed and intense but obviously unrealistic. There were some interesting conspiracy theory themes that were appealing and it made me wonder how much big brother watches us and what technology the government really has when it comes to surveillance and spying. Despite the over the top fake details I still enjoyed this movie. It may not be original but it was entertaining. Besides how can you not like a movie where the star of the film plays identical twins? I guess we could add The Parent Trap to the list of previously mentioned movies while we're at it. I give it 6.9 out of 10 stars.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The 25 Greatest Movie Villains

There have been thousands of villains in the movies over the years. Some are more memorable than others and some are certainly scarier than others. Below I have listed my top 25 scariest movie villains. Feel free to add any others that have scared you in the comments section.

1) The Joker-The Dark Knight (2008)
2) Hal 9000-2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
3) Maleficent-Sleeping Beauty (1959)
4) Don Lope de Aguirre-Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1964)
5) Commodus-Gladiator (2000)
6) Mrs. Iselin-The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
7) The Wicked Witch of the West-The Wizard of Oz (1939)
8) Freddy Krueger-A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
9) Darth Vader-Star Wars (1977)
10) Alonzo Harris-Training Day (2001)
11) Norman Bates-Psycho (1960)
12) Hannibal Lecter-The Silence of Lambs (1991)
13) Hans Beckert-M (1931)
14) Darth Sideous-Revenge of the Sith (2005)
15) Michael Meyers-Halloween (1978)
16) Mr. Potter-It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
17) Baron Harkonen-Dune (1984)
18) Samara-The Ring (2000)
19) Agent Smith-The Matrix (1999)
20) The Terminator-The Terminator (1984)
21) Darth Maul-The Phantom Menace (1999)
22) Queen Bavmorda-Willow (1988)
23) Magu-Last of the Mohicans (1992)
24) Tom Powers-The Public Enemy (1931)
25) Jack Torrence-The Shining (1980)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bigger, Stronger, Faster Review

Bigger, Stronger, Faster is a documentary about steroid use in the United States. The director is Chris Bell and he tells how disenchanted he became when he realized that most of his role models and heroes were "on the juice." I related to his experience since I looked up to many of the same athletes and movie stars when I was younger. This movie features Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Barry Bonds, Carl Lewis, and many others who have been idolized by society yet accused of steroid use.

He interviews Olympians, professional athletes, movie stars, power lifters, models, high school students, body builders, Air Force pilots, the most prolific steroid abuser of all time, and even features his own family member's struggle with steroids. This movie gives time to both sides of the issue and addresses the different reasons why people use anabolic steroids. Aside from obvious strength and size issues these include enhanced performance, improved appearance, quicker recovery, self confidence, and in several cases legitimate health benefits.

This documentary takes an honest look at this issue as it exposes those who have used steroids, but surprisingly by the end of the movie I didn't feel steroids were as much of a danger as I previously had. The proponents of steroid use make many valid points that deserve some attention. Seeing these different viewpoints made me rethink my opinion behind the controversy. Was this documentary a wolf in sheep's clothing that is actually promoting steroid use? I'm still not sure but I loved it.

Bigger, Stronger, Faster does much more than blow the whistle on steroid users. It analyzes the ethical issue while pointing out the hypocrisy and double standards in American culture. This film was very entertaining and it made me think which is something that few movies do. I highly recommend it and give it 8.0 out of 10 stars.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Celebrity Evil Twins

I think I'm pretty good at keeping movie stars straight, but some people confuse them with one another. I am going to list some of the celebrities/movie stars who sometimes get confused with each other by the public. They may not all look like each other but I still hear some people getting them mixed up. I have marked the ones with an asterisk if I think they are a good match.

Kurt Russell and Patrick Swayze
Missy Peregrym and Hilary Swank
Mark Walberg and Matt Damon
Gregory Peck and Carey Grant
Seth Green and Jamie Kennedy
LeeLee Sobieski and Helen Hunt
Nicholas Cage and Andy Garcia
Christopher Walken and Jon Voight
Gary Busey and Nick Nolte
Matthew Broderick and Robert Downey Jr.
Jean Tripplehorn and Marcia Gay Harden
Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz
Dennis Quaid and Kevin Kostner
Kira Knightly and Natalie Portman
Keanu Reeves and Greg Grunberg
Emma Chambers and Claudie Blakley
Owen Wilson and Ellen Degeneres
Michael York and Richard Chamberlain
Jack Black and Oliver Platt
Will Smith and Robert Horry
Jay Leno and Taylor Hicks
Kyle Korker and Ashton Kutcher
Woody Harrelson and Lance Armstrong
Val Kilmer and Brian Regan
Colin Hay and Christopher Eccleston
Cheryl Crow and Carly Simon
Richard Branson and Wolf From American Gladiators
Elvis Costello and The Verizon Guy
Jack Nicholson and Jack Nicklaus (I know they look nothing alike but everyone has confused them at some time)
Feel free to offer any of your suggestions that I might add to the list.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hollywood's Most Prolific Actors

Some actors are know for their roles in a couple big movies like Mark Hamill or Ralph Machio. Others make many movies and have a successful career with a string of blockbusters like Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, or Russell Crowe. The third group are in different category because they have been in an insane amount of movies. Some of these actors like Morgan Freeman seem to be in almost every movie you see.

Below is a list of some of the actors that have been in over 50 movies. I got this data from IMDB as of today's date. I know some of these actors have also worked as directors and producers of movies, but these numbers are just for films they have acted in. The numbers may be slightly skewed since some of the films they are credited for may be TV shows or video games or a guest appearance on the Simpsons, but at least you can get an idea of the scope of work they've been involved in over the years. I did not intend to exclude actresses, so don't take offense If you are looking for Angelina Jolie or Julia Roberts (neither of which have been in over 50 movies). Here are some of the actors who have been in at least 50 movies.

The 50 + Club
Steve Martin-55
Sylvester Stallone-55
Tom Hanks-56
Harrison Ford-59
Tim Robbins-60
Brad Pitt-61
George Clooney-62
Keanu Reeves-63
Dustin Hoffman-63
Nicholas Cage-64
Clint Eastwood-66
Val Kilmer-67
Liam Neeson-71
Jack Nicholson-71
Jerry Lewis-72
Humphrey Bogart-76
Spencer Tracy-78
Bruce Willis-79
Ben Stiller-83
Kurt Russell-85
Morgan Freeman-87
Robin Williams-88
Sean Connery-89
Jackie Chan-99

The 100 + Club
Gene Hackman-100
Anthony Hopkins-104
Samuel Jackson-120
Charleton Heston-126
Robert Duvall-132
Klaus Kinsky-135
Michael Caine-139
James Earl Jones-170
John Wayne-170
Christopher Lee-264
Mickey Rooney-320

Congratulations to Mickey Rooney for being the most prolific actor I could identify. Maybe being a manipulated childhood star does have its rewards after all. I'm sure I have missed some obvious ones so if anyone comes to mind list them in the comment section.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tribute to Don LaFontaine

In a world of movie trailers....

I love movie trailers. Sometimes sitting through 10-15 minutes of previews before a movie starts can be more enjoyable than the feature you came to see. If I'm late to a movie and miss the previews then it is hard to have the ideal movie viewing experience. Whenever someone mentions movie trailers the name Don LaFontaine comes to mind. He is the most celebrated voice man for movie previews and has narrated thousands of movie trailers during his career.

I've seen several interviews with him and he said he'd actually make up the lines for most of his trailers. He's famous for his thunderous deep voice and starting his trailers with phrases like "In a World..., One Man..., In a time..., "etc. Last year I came across a YouTube link by comedian Pablo Francisco where he does a great job of impersonating him. I also saw a funny preview for Comedian which makes fun of his trademark style.

This year I noticed that Don had a new Geico commercial so I was surprised a few months ago when I learned that he had passed away. A voice like his is hard to replace. I thought as a tribute to him I'd post the above mentioned links. Thanks for all the previews.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Favorite Movie Quotes

I love movie quotes. Many times when I see something happen in my life it reminds me of a scene or a quote from a movie. My in-laws have entire conversations repeating lines from movies which can be funny unless you haven't seen the movie. Reading the following quotes is like a trip down memory lane. Some movie quotes can be even more potent than watching a movie trailer. Here are some of my favorites:

"It's just a flesh wound" Monty Python and the Holy Grail-1975
"Gentlemen of the court, there are times that I'm ashamed to be a member of the human race and this is one such occasion." Paths of Glory-1957
"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father prepare to die. " Princess Bride-1987 "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges. " Treasure of the Sierra Madre-1948
"So you're telling me there's a chance?" Dumb and Dumber-1994
"Don't mess with the volcano my man, 'cause I will go Pompeii on your... butt." Mystery Men-1999 (side note- Mystery Men have had many shortcomings but probably is pound for pound the best value for one liners and awesome quotes you will ever find)
"Your eyes are full of hate, forty-one. That's good. Hate keeps a man alive. It gives him strength." Ben Hur-1959
"Do you believe that my being stronger or faster than you has anything to do with my muscles in this place? Do you think that's air you're breathing now? The Matrix-1999
"Ours go to 11" This is Spinal Tap-1984
"Rosebud" Citizen Kane-1941 "
"Do you see what I have to work with here?" Batman-1989
"Your fire is dying down Fraulein" Raiders of the Lost Ark-1981
"Eddie says I can quit one of my night jobs after the baby comes"-Vacation-1983
"The Internet... is that the one with the e-mail?" For Your Consideration-2006
"Open the pod bay doors Hal" 2001: A Space Odyssey-1968
"Eat Cookie!" Micky Blue Eyes-1999
"These are not the droids you are looking for" Star Wars-1977
"May I take your trident sir?" Dirty Rotten Scoundrels-1988
"Get your stinking paws off me you damned dirty ape" Planet of the Apes-1968
"There is no charge for awesomeness... or attractiveness." Kung Fu Panda-2008
"Necessary? Is it necessary for me to drink my own urine? No, but I do it anyway because it's sterile and I like the taste. " Dodgeball-2004
"Money well spent, both times I might add" Lonesome Dove-1989
"Nothing is Written !" Lawrence of Arabia-1962
"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" The Wizard of Oz-1939
"Soylent Green is People" Soylent Green-1973
"That doesn't really work, does it?" Amadeus-1984
"Don't tell me my business boy, just checking the luggage" Fletch-1985
"Oops, You caught me being a mentor" A Series of Unfortunate Events-2004

There are thousands of other great quotes so feel free to list some of your favorites.
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