Cecil the Lion, Steve Zissou, and The Hunter

LifeaquaticposterI am captivated by the Cecil the lion matter.  For those of you who do not know, he was killed by an American dentist seeking a hunting trophy a few weeks ago.  Like many, I had never heard of Cecil before his death, but I find myself thinking about my dog, Pepper, when I read about the lion.  I’m not saying that hunting for a trophy is wrong, but I don’t understand it.  It makes me sad to think about loosing my dog someday in the future, even though he can be a colossal pain sometimes.  I wonder if that is how folks who knew Cecil feel?  I don’t know.

I’ve been thinking about two movies that relate to the subject, at least in my own crazy mind.  The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is one of my all time favorites.  Many of my friends and family have not been able to appreciate this film when they have allowed me to screen it for them.  Bill Murray, as the title character, is absolute fantastic as the host of a ocean based nature show.  Yes, the movie is very silly.  But it is also insanely serious as Zissou is searching for the fish that killed his best friend in order to get revenge.  As Zissou loses himself, he finds himself, even if he can’t put his finger on how he got lost in the first place.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

 

Hunter_ver3The Hunter with Wilem Defoe flew largely under the radar.  I watched it one night when I couldn’t find anything else more enticing and it has been with me since.  It is haunting.  The story is believable, built around the Tazmanian Tiger, which is believed to be extinct for some time.  Defoe, the titular hunter, is hired to find and bring back a specimen when a lone animal is spotted in the wilderness.   It challenges the audience to a game of bioethics.  Can the Hunter, as wild as his prey, be taught by nature about what makes humanity so special?  .  Are Zissou and the Hunter different versions of the same man?  Tell me what you think.  I’ll be back after spending some time with my buddy, Pepper.

 

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than SciFi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

 

 

 

Review: Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation

Mission_Impossible_Rogue_Nation_posterEthan Hunt drops in for another round.  And like a prize fighter, he delivers plenty of punch.  But this time, it’s not so easy.  Hunt is no longer in his prime (think recent James Bond).  He’s vulnerable as his skill are repeatedly matched by the evil Syndicate.  As always, Cruise thrives in the underdog roll.  I’m not complaining!

There is no shortage of fun and special effects, but this mission is reminiscent of the mystery and mind games of Brian DePalma’s more subtle first chapter of the franchise back in 1996.  To me, that is a good thing, as the audience is right next to Hunt trying to figure out friend/foe and who is really behind the Syndicate.

While the cargo plane scene was greatly hyped–rightfully so–it is the high speed motorcycle chase that stood out to me.  It was impossible to miss how real it feels.  My only gripe is that Jeremy Renner, who was introduced in MI4, was severely underutilized in this installment.  Don’t wait for home video release, go see it now:  feel the breeze–in your hair.

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than SciFi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

Ant-Man: A Tiny Review

Marvel did it again.  Just when you think they may have a flop on their hands, they produce a giant winner in Ant-Man.  This is no small feat with their 12th consecutive #1 opening.  The movie was hilarious, much funnier than the forgettable Avengers:  Age of Ultron.  More laugh out loud moments than The Guardians of the Galaxy, in my humble opinion (hold my tongue, I know).  The dialogue was snappy, and the heist approach was fresh for a superhero flick.

The only bug spray I have to unload is the hero-villain setup.  Haven’t we been there done that in Iron Man 1 when Tony Stark had to defeat the crazed CEO of his company who had developed his own super suit?  Just saying…

Am I stomping on the ant hill or maybe just making a big deal over a tiny detail?

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

The Difference Between Jurassic World and Terminator Genisys

Two major franchise reboots, one prehistoric, one futuristic.  One roared out of the gate, knocking down the turnstiles, the other tripped over its own cybernetic feet.  While I enjoyed Terminator Genisys, I loved Jurassic World.  Why did JW break records while TG largely disappointed nostalgia seeking nerds like me?  Here are some thoughts:

1.  JW is dinosaurs attacking people on an isolated island based amusement park.  A visceral fight to survive.  It’s a simple concept executed again to perfection.  (The idea was genius thirty years ago when produced by the late, Michael Crichton.)  It sticks closely to the formula:  children in peril, park administrator doesn’t appreciate the dangers, everyone must be saved by a brilliant scientist, if at all.  It had the same tone, but introduced new characters that were fun and likable.

2. The Terminator franchise is at its best when it is both SciFi and horror.  TG was not scary, not even for a moment.  By utilizing the same characters from previous movies, the producers’ hands were tied, more so since the movie is a very technical time travel franchise.  In my opinion, this is where the story stalls.  Why not tell a new Terminator story in the same in the same cinematic universe with new characters?  That was sort of tried in Terminator Salvation and Sam Worthington’s character is the best part, but the story felt halfhearted.  My suggestion:  different terminator, different time period, different target, different objective.  What if Professor Charles Xavier was replaced by a T-1000?  Would the X-Men ever unite?  Wait, did I mess something up?

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

Why I’m Excited About the New Batman vs. Superman Trailer

1. Visually Interesting.  Zach Snyder gets comic books.  The hallmark of the medium is images that won’t leave your mind–movement while being a 2D still.  Energy while leveraging tension (see 300 if you are confused).

2. Motiff:  Super vs. Super.  While many consider the comic book movie genre to be a well too often visited, DC is trying something different.  While it is well worn on paper pages, it has not been explored on screen yet.  Give DC some credit here.  They may be late to the party, but they are bringing the host a new, cool gift.

3. Role Reversal / New Ideas.  On screen, we are used to seeing Superman as a flawless, almost messianic like character, a public relations / propaganda piece for the idealized America (see Captain America for a good comparison).  In this trailer, we see that Superman has blood on his hands, collateral damage from his defeat of General Zod. When to go to war is just as important as how you conduct it.  Batman, on the other hand, has most recently been portrayed on screen as the anti-hero, the “villan Gotham needs,” our Dark Knight.  Batman will either shine as bright as the sun or fade further into a black hole.  When is revenge okay?

If I have to sit through another superhero movie, give me a front row seat and some popcorn.  Just don’t tell me how long I have to wait for this one to hit theaters!

 

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com

 

 

 

 

Terminator Genesys: Movie Review

Back again.   Terminator Genesys lumbers onto the screen, this time with more life on his exoskeleton.  Barely.  But enough to provide for a tasty meal snack.  I went in with low expectations and was rewarded.  This fifth installment was preceded by two largely lifeless sequels.  Terminator Salvation could have been special but for a marketing campaign, which sabotaged any potential “ah-ha” moments.  It was a shame.  At least Salvation had potential.  Terminator:  Rise of the Machines is so bad, it will be on Mystery Science Theater 3000 one day.

The current film uses the considerable acting chops of Emelia Clarke, Jason Clarke (not related, but her son), JK Simmons (have you seen Whiplash yet???), and the surprising Jai Courtney to its advantage.  Schwarzenegger hasn’t been this funny in years.  Among the film’s strengths is director, Alan Taylor’s scene for scene recreation of the 1984 classic’s opening in the streets of LA.  There were lots of giggles of delight in my theater.

While the many time travel plot problems stick out–way out–it is the lack of plot creativity that nearly dooms this installment.  Can we break new ground or is there only one way to defeat SkyNet?   It is also a lack of understanding of what made the original and the first sequel timeless:  they were horror movies as much as they were SciFi flicks.  While some might blame the film’s PG-13 rating for this miss, I believe it is possible to be scary, frightening even, without piles of graphic violence.

Despite all of this, I was entertained.  It could have been my low expectations buoyed by a lifetime supply of Coca Cola or the good acting and well timed humor.  I know it wasn’t the story.  Yet, I am hoping for a Terminator Six in the near future.

 

*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave.  It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement.  Grab a copy and visit another dimension during your lunch break.

www.HuskyHarlequin.com