Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Avatar review

Alright, everyone on this blog seems to be weighing in on the biggest release this year, so let me add my two cents. I saw this epic yesterday on IMAX 3D in the best possible seat (back row centre) seeing Avatar in the best possible way you can in Toronto (I think the true 3D projectors James Cameron prefers are in New York or some such thing). So, after all the hoopla -- is Avatar any good?

Effin' yeah it's good! Look, everyone knows the premise of this movie by now, but really, it's what James Cameron adds to the thing that's the key. Heck, it's the key to any movie. Afterall, the original 1977 Star Wars film was derivative of any number of concepts but did Akira Korasawa's Hidden Fortress have anything like R2D2 and Darth Vader in it? Did the story of Gilgamesh have the Death Star and X-Wing trench battle scene? So it is with Avatar. Sure, native people being infiltrated by an outsider who is taught the ways of the tribe by a woman whom he falls in love with and is thwarted by a pissed off tribesman whom he eventually befriends is totally lifted from Dances With Wolves, and the idea of telepathically linking with flying creatures who can only be ridden by the person they choose is dangerously close to the Dragonriders of Pern book series (um, why haven't those books been turned into movies??), but James takes all of these elements and inserts characters that you care about, a love story where you actually see the two characters bonding and actually falling in love (heck, most romance movies can't even do that) and this whole biological network idea that neatly ties in his messages of environmentalism and empirial ignorance. And really, the action is clear and crisp on screen with some neat sequences involving alien animal chases, flying bird creature dogfights, army space ships blowing stuff up and a cool update on the loader from the movie Aliens fighting the protagonist towards the end.

As for the effects, the CGI Na'Vi are examples of the best CGI animation ever shown on screen. They're still not fully photorealistic, but they're damn close. When standing still or seen in a still shot, they look like CGI renderings, but when they move around and act, they're amazingly life like. The facial expressions on Neytiri alone are so good, you forget that these folks are CGI, which I guess was the goal. The animals still had that Jurrasic Park vibe to me, but that doesn't mean they're not cool looking. And you get clear looks at all of this stuff. No shakey cam and skimping on the creatures here.

Although the themes in the movie are not new, they bare repeating of course. I really liked how they all tied together here though, with the humans' reaction to the idea of a global neural network being one of indifference "They're just trees!" and the notion of a diety being looked upon the same way war mongering Christians look upon something like Mecca -- with uncaring disdain. I also liked all the details of the tribe (how they bury their dead, how they teach their young ones, how they address each other) and I really loved the glimpse we got of the other trbes in the area.

All in all, Avatar is a solid example of storytelling on film. Off the top of my head, nothing seems out of place and everything makes sense in the story. And it's hugely entertaining. From the sympathetic characters to the bad guys (and one of the most pumped up villains in movies -- drinking coffee during a battle is genius!) to the cool action scenes and the glory of discovering section after secion of Pandora and its wildlife, this movie breezes by its over two hour running time.


Now, a word about Avatar as a cultural item, since everyone seems to be comparing this thing to Star Wars and saying that Avatar changes everything:

Will Avatar touch off a phenomenon? Nope, I don't think so. Perhaps I'll eat those words. But look, I think Avatar might make back its money, may even be one of the "all time top grossing films" and it will be fondly remembered years from now as a "classic" much the same way we view Total Recall and Terminator today. It isn't the industry changer that Star Wars was and frankly I can't see a lot of merchandising potential for this beyond the inevitable toys which have just missed the Christmas season. No Avatar toothrushes, pillowcases, night-lites, T-shirts that people proudly display to show off their love for the movie, etc. And I don't think the toys will sell as much as people think. There just isn't alot of diversity beyond "this blue guy" and "that blue guy" and "this army guy" and "that army guy" etc. (the birds and beasts are cool though!). The most important demographic for a phenomenon is kids. They propelled Davey Crocket and Superman in the 50's, and they propelled Star Wars and Indiana Jones in the 80's. Will they get into Avatar with the fever pitch my generation did with Star Wars? Perhaps, but with so much more vying for their attention nowadays, I just don't see it. Avatar, as good as it is, doesn't really stand out from the alien laden Star Wars movies playing constantly on TV or the CGI cartoons kids watch today.

Is this movie a game-changer in terms of effects? Hard to say. I remember seeing the life-like characters in Final Fantasy (the movie) and thinking that every CGI character after that film would look that good. Didn't happen. After I saw Gollum, I thought there was no excuse in not having photo-real, expressive CGI characters in movies after the Two Towers, and boy was I wrong. Hell, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant came out this year and the CGI looked like total ass. And that was a 2009 release! (And don't give me some shit about how that was a style choice -- why would your style choice be ass style?). Honestly, I'd say that District 9 was the far more important movie this year. Avatar shows what you can do with a $500 million budget and unlimited access to all facilities in Hollywood. District 9 was made on a meager budget (by Hollywood standards) and displayed amazing special effects and a terrific story and went on to gross its budget many times over. If anything, District 9 is the model Hollywood studios will follow in the future; this kind of lean, mean movie with more bang for the buck. I really don't think studios will be jumping on the "let's make movies with a half-billion dollar budget a piece" band wagon. The results on screen are nice and all, but what a risk! I think some movies will take advantage of the breakthrough in mo-cap that Avatar represents, but it won't be a game-changer across the board.

All that said, great movie and I look forward to whatever else James Cameron has planned for the future.


Not the Air Bender


James Cameron has brought us many great films, Terminator 1 and 2 and Aliens seem to be the best examples. Titanic is the one that made the most money, over a billion dollars. So basically this guy needed to top that. Now we have Avatar. A simple story of a man who joins up with some aboriginal blue guys called Na’vi on a moon called Pandora. His mission is to infiltrate the tribe appearing as one of them. He uses an Avatar to accomplish this.

An Avatar is a mixture of our DNA with theirs, so that we can form a psychic link to our Avatar and control him on Pandora (regular humans cannot breath the air on Pandora). Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington – who seems to have the best agent in Hollywood due to his great filmography) uses an Avatar to learn about the Na’vi (note his Avatar has 5 fingers and the Na’vi have 4) and then report back to the military. In order to learn their culture he teams up with a young female Na’vi who teaches him a lot of cool stuff like how to fly a dragon! You can pretty much guess what happens after that.

The story to the movie is simple. Then again, Titanic was simple, and to an extent Terminator was simple too. The story of T1 – An evil sentient computer sends a robotic killer back through time to kill the future leader of resistance before he is born. The only difference in story from T1 to T2 is that the target is Sarah and in part 2 its John.

That’s it. That’s Terminator. So why is it so good? Because James Cameron can take a simple story and tell it in such a way that makes you care. You care about these people in this world that he has created. This is true in Avatar even more so I think than in those other films. The story is familiar but the plot is amazing. Most of you who read this blog took some kind of film course. Story is the overall story of what is going on. The plot is the details that take us from scene to scene. It’s dialogue, setting, character development, etc. Inglourious Basterds has almost no story – the Basterds want to kill Nazis. That’s it. But the dialogue and tension of the plot are what makes it so good.

Avatar has a good story, and amazing plot and really awe inspiring effects. That being said I really should give this 4/5 in order to make up for the story, but I just cant give it less than 5/5.

I loved every single thing about Pandora and we get there within 20 mins of the film and we almost never leave (sometimes we leave for some exposition – but that’s it). James spent a lot of money on this baby, and I think for the most part I saw it on screen. The effects with 3D are just amazing and I couldn’t help but get into this movie. I love fantasy and sci-fi and I love getting into a world and staying there. The first 90 mins is Jake learning stuff about the world, and we get to learn too. This isn’t just a quickly mocked up world created for the sake of action. This is a well thought-out, creative world where these beings live. Yes they are fashioned after our Native Americans or Indians etc. But all sci-fi takes it cues from something real. This film is an adventure. And YES I think in 2D it would be great too. This is a good movie. Towards the back half I forgot it was 3D, that’s because I got into the movie so much that I didn’t notice. Plus the 3D is not “in your face”. Most 3D movies tend to overuse the 3D to no end (see Friday the 13th part 3 – but I love that movie), this is a MOVIE first, and 3D second.

Do I think Avatar is equal to the moon landing? NO. Do I think it’s the best movie of the year….NO. It’s not better than Watchmen. But Watchmen’s characters are so well written, and well acted and the plot AND story are so great, with a lot of depth. Nothing will beat Watchmen for a long time. But Avatar must certainly be number 2, or at least in the top 10.

Anyone who doesn’t enjoy this film really doesn’t enjoy fantasy or science fiction. I mean the world of Pandora is so rich and wonderful who wouldn’t want to have an Avatar to go running around in it?



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Dream Team

A fun little movie involving 4 mental hospital escapees. Their doctor thought it would be therapeutic for them to attend a baseball game, only he witnesses a murder and gets knocked out and taken to the hospital leaving the 4 of them free in the city.

The premise for this movie was better than its execution, but it was still fun to watch and it had some really funny moments.

Two that pop to mind are when the doctor doesn’t come back Chris Lloyd says “We are on a tight schedule, he will be back any minute.”
Then the shot dissolves and its night time, and Mike Keaton says “Oh yeah, this is a great game. We got some good seats here.”

And the other scene is where Peter Boyle (who thinks he is Jesus) goes to a church and start preaching a sermon and starts to take off his clothes!!! You’re like what the hell is this guy doing!!!

Anyway, it was a fun movie. Not the funniest thing ever, but enjoyable.



Thursday, December 24, 2009

I want my scalps.

Inglourious Basterds

I am a Tarantino fan…I own all of his films, and I pretty much like them all. I bought Pulp Fiction in widescreen vhs (wasn’t old enough for theatres) and watched it and thought it was just ok. Nothing great. I watched it again and loved it. What can I say, when I was younger I didn’t get a lot of movies unless they had Freddy or Jason in them.

Once I started getting into them, I really started to admire QT and I like his attitude in general. So I like him and his movies. He’s a bit weird but then again no one ever accused me of being normal, so we are even.

That being said, I have to tell you that I loved this film. The Basterds are not really the main characters, but they are kind of like the hitmen in Pulp Fiction. They are the guys that everyone is wanting to see. Well I liked the Basterds and the villains and ALL the characters in this one.

This may be QTs best film in the sense that it is very grown up. Nothing too “cool” happens. The dialogue is long, but there is a reason for it. Plus it is very suspenseful. At no point in time did I know what would happen. I mean I kinda knew, but didn’t. I love how it all played out.

Ok, now for the bottom line stuff.

A – there is A LOT of reading to do here. All the characters speak in their native tongue, so only the Basterds speak English and as I said, they are not the main guys here. You will be reading dialogue spoken in German and French for the majority of this film.

B – there is violence, but VERY minimal I found. Maybe I’m a gorehound, but I thought it was pretty toned down. Which isn’t a bad thing. It was more effective that way, because it added to the tension. You never knew when someone was gonna pull a gun out and start blazing.

C – this is definitely NOT historically accurate. This is a QT fantasy for sure. This makes 300 look like a documentary.

Anyway, you really should be buying this movie. If you are a QT fan, it’s a duh, but I think this is a good one for regular people to get into also. Very well done.

Id also like to give a shout out to Melanie Laurent. She was just so good in this movie. A real treat.

5/5 – one of the years best!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dances with Avatars

O.K. Avatar. I saw it 3D. Not IMAX, thanks to a ridiculous screw-up at the box office, which I won't go into now, but still, in glorious 3D. Everyone seems to be jizzing their pants about this movie, about the 3D, about the effects, etc, etc. No one seems to be talking much about the story, and for good reason: the story is very, very ordinary.

How ordinary, you ask? Think of Dances with Wolves, but replacing the Americans of yesteryear with the Americans of now. They're ignorant, they're greedy, and I'm pretty sure that the chief villain, Stephen Lange's character, owes more than a little bit to one George W. Bush. Intersperced throughout, there is quite a bit of recent events imagery (the Hometree's fall felt a lot like the fall of the World Trade Centre, for instance). I am actually kind of disappointed that Cameron felt the need to just throw his name into the hat of filmmakers who constantly remind us on how evil and corrupt the American military and American corporations are, instead of choosing a better topic. Yes, we know the Americans are evil, and yes, it is going to be their downfall, I don't think we need to hear this in every single movie where the American military is portrayed.

Now, how about the 3D? Honestly? There were times where I forgot I was watching a 3D movie. That might be because it was SOOOOOOO LONG, and also, it might have something to do with the fact that yes, the 3D looks did the 3D in Journey to the Centre of the Earth...and I heard the 3D in the latest Final Destination was, it wasn't something mind-blowing. You still have flickering at the edges of the screen when objects were in 3D, and they also lost definition. Am I being too hard on it? Only because I've heard so much damned hype about the technology in the first place, for this movie.

So, how about the effects? Yes, they are great. Cameron has a wonderful imagination, I got a kick out of little details like the CGI alien counterparts still had a distinction so that you knew who their human controllers were, the world of Pandora is very colourful, and just wonderfully shot, and it has an assortment of different creatures, the blue aliens were not the only species on the planet. That being said, should we expect any differently from movies, these days? I mean WETA, the guys who worked on this film, also worked on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and does anyone remember an ass shot from any of those flicks?

The movie is just too ordinary. The aliens are literally Indians (they wear warpaint, give war cries, and are even mentioned at one point as being "Aboriginals"), the Americans are greedy, corrupt, and give faint lip service to diplomacy, when you know they just want to go in and take out the species, and our hero, Jake, even though it's not really well told (he seems to not think much of the aliens "tree-hugging crap", until he gets a piece of alien tale, then everything's hunky-dory), does switch sides, and leads them on to eminent victory. If you've seen the trailers, you've seen the story. It's not bad, but with all the hype, and rave reviews, I was expecting something more.
I realize this review isn't going to sit well with everyone, so I invite you all to either write a comment here, or on the forums.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (for the cinematography, and creatures in the film).

I bid thee a fond goodnight.

- Stephenstein

Monday, December 21, 2009

Arsenic and Old Lace.

CARY GRANT stars in this FRANK CAPRA film. I caps that because this is UNLIKE any Capra/Grant movie you have seen.

It starts where most Capra films end. The bachelor (who is reluctant to get married – and he even writes book about how marriage is a bad thing) finally ties the knot. That is the start of this oddity of a film.

So he brings his wife to meet his 2 joyful, wonderful aunts. They are the sweetest of the sweet. Jolly, fat and always ready to help strangers. The local police officer and minister swear by these 2 great ladies. His uncle is completely mad – he believes his is Teddy Roosevelt and every time he runs up the stairs, he screams “charge” and then bolts up the stairs like a fat madman. He turns out to be the sanest of the bunch!!!! Later Grants brother shows up and this movie and he looks like Boris Karloff on a very very bad day!

I will say this, you will NEVER guess where this film is going. I was completely shocked at what was going on.

Don’t read about it, just watch it.



The Weather Man.

Nick Cage (who I like – I know some who read this don’t like him, but whatever) plays a weather man who has some family problems. His little girl wears tight clothes which cause the kids to scream “camel toe” at her. His son is being treated by a child molesting gay psychiatrist, his wife is re-marring and his father (Micheal Caine) is dying. It doesn’t help that Cage is constantly being harassed by “fans” of his show and that people continually throw fast food on him when they pass by – perhaps because he doesn’t predict the weather as accurately as he should. Even though you cannot really predict the wind.

This was an odd movie, but a good one. Well shot, acted etc. But what I liked was how Cage found some joy with archery. He learns to focus, to aim and to shoot. All metaphors for what was going on in the film, and in life in general.

Good little movie. Not as good as Adaptation, but way better than Leaving Las Vegas.



George Washington Slept Here.

This is similar to Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream Home – a much better film, however, this had its moments.

A family movies to a run-down old home in the country. The lady of the house bought it because she wanted to live in the country and because she learned that George Washington once slept there. Well they find out that it was actually Benedict Arnold that slept there.

You can guess what happens. The house is completely destroyed, no water, no anything. Everything has to be build from the ground up and the couple keeps losing money. Their neighbour is a bastard etc. A lot of fun shenanigans.

Catch on tv if you can. If you want a funnier version BUY Mr. Blandings.



Thursday, December 17, 2009


Fantastic Mr Fox

You don’t see stop motion around too much anymore. My hero, Ray Harryhausen was the master of it, but his is a dying art. Even cell animation, rotoscoping, and puppeteering are getting close to extinction. Too bad in my opinion. I love the tangibility of stop motion. I mean the thing is actually there. Harryhausen has the Kraken in his house! I know, it’s a mini Kraken, and I know it takes forever to move and shoot each little motion, but it’s worth it. It gives the viewer a feeling of a different world. It’s part of the magic of film, but today the magic of film seems to be about money, and how much you can make.

But every so often you get something like this. This is a wonderful film adapted from the Dahl novel (who also wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach). I wont get into the plot, but its cool. The main thing here is the characters and the dialogue. Sooooo funny!!! I cant tell you how enjoyable this movie was. Please go to the theatre for it. I am buying this on dvd large and maybe bluray too. It’s in my top 10 of the year!

If what’s going on here is what I think is going on…it better not be!





My wife wrote a poetry book and take my opinion for what you will, but I must say this is a great collection of poetry. I made sure not to read many of them while she was working on them, and I’m glad. It was a real treat to read each of these works with a clear and fresh mind. There are so many favourites, and each one is very touching in its own way.

The title is fitting because I felt as though my mind and feelings were in Chaos. I sometimes felt sad and depressed, but some of them really made me think too. And all of them were excellently written and I really enjoyed some of the longer ones.

In any case I cant really write an objective review, but I think if you are into poetry you will love this book, and even if you are a casual reader, I think you’ll find a lot to love here.

Thanks hon.



The Roaring Twenties.

James Cagney plays a WW1 vet, who returns home to find he has no job, no money and no hope of paying his rent. He drives a cab, but that only leads him to getting arrested for smuggling illegal booze – prohibition was around. He’s innocent, but found guilty, serves a day or two in prison gets out and becomes a real gangster.

This movie works so well because Cagney and Bogart (his meaner accomplice) are so great in these roles. Cagney is so awesome as this forced to be gangster and how he manages to follow his own code, and not become a real bastard. He falls in love with a girl who is in love with his best friend, and when he finds out they have been cheating his reaction is so well acted that I am tearing up while writing this!

It’s an unexpected reaction too. What a great film and what a great actor. Cagney is slowly become one of my all-time faves.



Sunday, December 13, 2009

Get yourself armored

Armored. Doesn't the title sound cool? Like, "I'm going to get all armored, and then we'll see who is laughing at who for bed-wetting!" Not me. I don't wet the bed. Any more. Anyhow, the movie hooked me because of the insane amount of "we're not really headline stars, but we're known" actors in this movie. Matt Dillon. Laurence Fishburne. Jean Reno. Skeet Ulrich (that's right...Skeet...Ulrich), Milo V. (I refuse to spell his last name, as I don't really know how to spell it, but you know, he's Rocky's kid in Rocky Balboa).

Overall, this movie was solid, if unspectacular. Basically, it's about a guy, Ty Hackett (Columbus Short) refusing to give in his principles, even when there is overwhelming reasons for him to. His folks died, he's got two mortgages on his home, there's a stack of hospital bills, Child Welfare wants to take his little brother away from him, because he's skipping school, because the little brother is looking for a job to help support him and Ty...and all Matt Dillon and his guys want to do is take a little bit of money ($42 million worth), to help him and his family out...and themselves, of course (no duh), so he reluctantly agrees, even though his experiences as a soldier in Iraq had scarred him. Wow, I haven't been this depressed since Up.

So it all goes bad of course, and then it's him against his fellow guards, and since he's a solider, that's a good excuse for how ludicrously resourceful he is. He makes a bomb in no time flat, he burns money, in no time flat, if you want something done, in no time flat, then this is your guy.

However, I can't help but feel that his nobility is a tad misplaced. His main gripes are against anyone getting hurt, and getting caught by the cops, as they would definitely take his little brother away from him. However, he bails at the first sign of danger, which doesn't make much sense, considering that he has the most to gain by the heist succeeding. Consequently, the "bad" guys (who aren't really that bad, when you think about it), take far too much time pounding away on the hinges to the back door, when really, they had an alternative that I thought of, that would save them both time, and allow them to succeed. Ty's locked in the back of one of the trucks with half the money, so why not torch that truck, and split the remaining money? You still have 21 million, and a perfect scapegoat for the crime, but I guess you also wouldn't have a movie, would you?

That's the inherent problem with these movies, though: logic has to go out the window for it to be a movie, but these sort of movies rely heavily on logic for them to succeed. It's a Catch-22 situation, that very few movies can overcome. This isn't one of them. It is a decent movie, there's so good suspense, and I laughed out loud when he set up the bomb, as the guys who were killed in the explosions DEFINITELY deserved it (at least Laurence Fishburne did...he was pissing me off the entire film), and I liked the main guy, Columbus Short (though he got 7th billing or something, and I don't know why, he was the star of the show), but this one really is either a rental or a $6 cheapie DVD purchase.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

I bid thee a fond armored goodnight

- Stephenstein

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Only a ninja can destroy a ninja.

Ninja Assassin.

When you say the word “Ninja” it conjures up an image of a Japanese guy in all black with a katana (sword), and Ninja Stars (shuriken), who can disappear, climb walls, AND kill you in 100 different ways, and if you really know your stuff, you may even conjure up an image of Sho Kosugi.

Well if you thought of any or all of those things, then Ninja Assassin is the movie for you. Wait, did J-man, just say ALL of those things…but he said Sho Kosugi…THAT’S RIGHT!!!!

SHO KOSUGI is in this, and not only is he the trainer and father of the Ninja’s, he’s also the main villain in the piece and has equal screen time with the good guys! That there, may be enough to see this movie.

But there’s more…if gore is your thing, then this also delivers. Think Kill Bill, but in every scene! At times it’s almost laughable, but I think they want you to laugh! At one point Riso (rise-o – played by popstar Rain) gets his stomach and chest cut open and the lead girl is trying to make this big metaphor or something…I was like “the man has no stomach! I don’t think he cares right now!"

Also, Ninja stars. Not sure what you all think of them, but in this movie they are treated as bullets. Every time someone turns a corner, there are 1000 Ninja stars thrown at them! At one point the girl’s car is attacked by Ninja Stars and her entire bloody car is filled with them. Like she is driving a spiked car from Road Warrior. The amount of Ninja’s in this movie is also crazy! And the amount of physical damage that Riso sustains is bloody (and I mean bloody) crazy! I have never in my life seen a man take so much punishment. And I know I mentioned the gore, but my god man! It’s worse than Friday the 13th, if you watched Friday the 13th 5 times in a row!

That being said, it’s not all good. The Ninja’s (true to form) attack in the dark, so all the fights are at night and you cant see what’s going on, unless you really focus. Also the storyline is pretty lame, and the non-Ninja characters are really whatever.

The high points are Sho, and Rain (he was cool) and the Ninja stars and gore.

But I would’ve traded 60% of the gore to see more of the fighting.



Text Color

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bad Day at Black Rock

Spencer Tracy comes to Black Rock to find a friend of his and the town treats him like crap. Even threatening to hurt him if he doesn’t leave. Well he is crippled (his left hand is no longer functioning) but not scared. He decides to stay to learn the fate of his friend.

This movie was fairly predictable, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that Spencer is a man on a mission and he wants to complete it. He is not scared by the locals, and even fights back against them, and they find he is one hell of a good fighter! The point of this movie was that it was a bad day for all at black rock.

Some of the townsfolk are bastards, others are too scared to stand up for right, etc. So everyone has a bad day! But the best line occurs when the sheriff is speaking to the doctor. We know that the doctor and sheriff are keeping a secret and its been eating away at them for 4 years.

The doc says to the sheriff if he’s feeling ok, the sheriff says no, I need a prescription. The doc asks for what? The sheriff says for a guilty conscious, and the doc replies that he too is in need of that prescription and then the doc finally says:
“maybe the stranger (referring to spencer) has one.”




The Thin Man

Part of long series of films starring a husband and wife detective team. This is the first of that series.

I must say that the couples relationship is just amazing! They make fun of each other, they laugh at themselves, they undermine each other and all the while you know that they really love each other. It’s all done very playfully and smart. The writing here is top notch!

Now the murder mystery aspect of the film was a bit downplayed. Which was too bad, since I was getting into it. It’s kind of like Gosford Park, where the mystery is only seriously discussed in the last scene. But that being said, if you go in just wanting a fun movie with great leads, then this is it!



The Devil and Daniel Webster

Farmer Jabez is down on his luck. His wife and mother live on his farm, and he has nothing. Mr Scratch (aka the devil) comes to him and makes him an offer. Your soul for 7 years of good luck. Well souls don’t exist, so Jabez makes the deal. He becomes rich and mean. He used to be a kind farmer, but now he’s just a bastard. He gambles, cons people, and treats his wife and ma like crap. The devil comes to collect after 7 years, but offers Jabez a renewal if he gives up his son. Jabez by this time has learned that he was wrong and decides to cancel the deal. The devil is not impressed and is about to take Jab’s soul when Politician and attorney Daniel Webster shows up to defend him in a trial! So 12 ghosts show up for the jury (Benedict Arnold is one of them!) and they have a trial.

This movie was again, predictable, but enjoyable. But it’s like Thin Man in the sense that the trial is just 10 mins in the end, and I wanted to see a bigger trial. But this was an enjoyable afternoon of viewing.



Lawrence of Arabia

TE Lawrence goes to help the Arabian people and he does good! He’s white, but they end up respecting him (duh) but how and why is just amazing. This film won 7 oscars, and for good reason. It is one of the greatest films I have ever seen.

Ben-Hur, is it’s only rival (not counting Watchmen and Conan, and 2001 – my personal faves) but I am talking epic here and for good reason!

This film is just so amazing, I don’t know what to tell you about it. You have to just watch it and learn from it. Peter O’Toole is just AMAZING in this role and I never knew what to make of him.

Was he mad, or a genius or simply a man forced to do something he never wanted to, or was a man who knew what to do, and did it! I don’t have these answers, but I only know that this movie is worth watching several times to figure out.

Buy it.