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REVIEW: Tron

September 12, 2014 Leave a comment
TronDirected by: Steven Lisberger
Produced by: Donald Kushner
Written by: Steven Lisberger (screenplay), Steven Lisberger, Bonnie MacBird (story)
Edited by: Jeff Gourson
Cinematography by: Bruce Logan
Music by: Wendy Carlos
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Dan Shor, Barnard Hughes, Peter Jurasik, Tony Stephano
Year: 1982

 

For the longest time, Tron was somewhat of a white whale for me. Apart from fleeting footage on TV here and there, I’d only heard and read about it several times in my childhood, having only gotten a very rudimentary understanding that it was some kind of old Disney film set in a computer. References to the movie seemed to pop up everywhere, though, from video games to that one Halloween episode of The Simpsons where Homer crosses over into a computer generated 3D world, and I’d always be reminded of that one Disney film set inside a computer that everyone seemed to have seen, including my own mom, who had seen it back when she was in high school and who mentioned it more often than probably anyone else in my life. I never was able to get a hold of a copy, however. It never seemed to turn up in rental stores on VHS or DVD (and LaserDisc was something my family never adopted), and not even cable TV seemed to turn up any airings. It wasn’t until the release of the 20th anniversary DVD in 2002 that I was provided with an opportunity to finally watch it, thanks to my fellow nerd and friend loving the film enough to actually get the 2-disc set. While I don’t recall exactly when we actually got around to watching it, I do remember the emotion that ran through me upon getting to the middle part of the movie: Complete and utter boredom. Read more…

Independence Day Review: “Live Free or Die Hard”

Live Free or Die HardDirected by: Len Wiseman
Produced by: Michael Fottrel
Written by: Mark Bomback (screenplay and story), David Marconi (story)
Edited by: Nicolas De Toth
Cinematography by: Simon Duggan
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Starring: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Cliff Curtis, Maggie Q, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jonathan Sadowski, Kevin Smith
Based on the Wired article “A Farewell to Arms” by John Carlin
Year: 2007

 

People understandably lament the quick devolution that John McClane has undergone over the course of the four movies that have followed the original. The quick-witted everyman cop trying to win back his wife has become more known for performing ridiculous stunts and frequently being in the wrong place at the wrong time and yet just the right man for the job. The issue was already apparent in the incredibly dull Die Hard 2, and by the third film, the coincidences of his involvement become too glaring to ignore unless you suspend your disbelief and pretend like this is something that regular cops have to deal with every now and then in the Die Hard world. (Considering the ties that were later made to the TV series Chuck, I wouldn’t put it past them on that point, though.)
Read more…

A Casual Update – or, What’s Going On in CJ’s Rather Boring Life?

August 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Just a quick update today, as I’ve not been feeling too well. I figured I’d do a little bit of writing, however, and take some time out to discuss what’s been up in my own life for once — for a blog, I just don’t write that much about myself, it seems, so I think it’d be nice to do now that I’m feeling all tired and such.

Up until today, the most exciting thing that happened recently in my movie-watching life was my pre-ordered copies of The AristocatsThe Rescuers films, and Pocahontas arriving in the mail.

I sent this picture to my mom and sister that day just to brag. :)

I’m a huge fan of Disney animation, and with these films and the upcoming Cinderella, I will have 26 of the 52 Disney Animated Feature films, spanning DVD and Blu-Ray, a number that includes this year’s really fun-looking release, Wreck-it-Ralph:

[youtube:http://youtu.be/btB8tb8fLYM?hd=1%5D

A long time ago, when I first started this blog, I intended to start something going down every single Disney animated feature, as well as Pixar’s, but those kinda fell to the wayside. I’m still planning on it, however, and I’m just figuring out the logistics of how that’s going to work, exactly. Perhaps it’ll be along the lines of my Ultimate Evolving Superhero Films List, but I kind of wanted to go deeper into the films, too, so who knows? I’ll figure something out, though!

Speaking of that list, by the way, after all the superhero stuff I’ve been covering lately, part of me has been drifting towards older movies. In the past week or so, I’ve watched Sabrina, which features a very endearing performance by Audrey Hepburn and even a surprisingly sweet performance by Humphrey Bogart, whose only other movie I have seen, I am ashamed to say, was just Casablanca, which I also rented this past weekend, along with American Psycho, which isn’t exactly old and was certainly new for me. (I enjoyed it, if you’re wondering.)

Casablanca - Paul Henreid, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart

The only love triangle guaranteed to make you not wish you were bashing your head into a wall.

Same goes for Glengarry Glen Ross, which showed up on Netflix streaming this week and was an amazing experience. All the actors in that movie are hamming it up in the most awesome way, with Al Pacino actually having to keep his head above his costars, including Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, and Ed Harris, who are also stellar. Not to overlook Kevin Spacey, that is, who puts in a comparatively understated performance as the office manager (or whatever his title was) whom nobody likes. Again, however, that’s not exactly an old movie so much as it is an older movie.

I also threw on The Shop Around the Corner one late night, which came with my copy of You’ve Got Mail, and I’ve got to be honest — it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I know it’s a beloved classic, and I’m not going to begrudge anyone who does love it, but I found it rather… droll. Perhaps it’s my unreasonable love for the snappier remake, but I did enjoy the lead performances in Shop, despite not being much of a fan of the film itself. Perhaps a second, non-late night viewing is in order.

But the oldest film I watched recently was 1933’s King Kong, which was prompted after my buying the masterful 2005 remake at my local Bookman’s for a steal. It was my first viewing, and I can honestly say that the spectacle, if not the special effects, holds up very well, even today, and I thought that the stop motion effects and camera tricks were fantastic. According to this Roger Ebert review, the projection screen they used for some of the background effects was pieced together from condoms! How hilarious is that? I must also note that I watched the ’76 remake, too, before watching the original, each for the first time. It was an interesting experience going back in time, almost like tracing back the history of the story, from 2005 back to 1933. I can honestly say that I consider the 1933 and 2005 versions to be brilliant, but the 1976 modernized version is pretty awful. I plan on doing a review of each of these films soon, once I finish up that Superhero Films List — part 3, the final initial increment of the list, is still coming!

King Kong (1976) - Kong, the king

Yup. They put a crown on him in this one, just to make the title more clear.

Another goal of mine is to commemorate director Tony Scott, whose work I have honestly not been the biggest fan of, but he was a director whose style I nonetheless admired, with his gritty . I enjoyed Top Gun far more than I expected, cheesiness and all, when I first watched it a while ago, and Unstoppable was great fun and illustrates that a good action film doesn’t necessarily have to have a central villain. I also happen to think that Man on Fire is an underrated thriller, so expect a review of that to come, as well. It’s truly sad when we lose great talents, and it’s even sadder when it likely could have been prevented. I send my condolences to his family and hope that they have the support that they need at this difficult time.

Shifting gears, I previously said that my Disney movies were the most exciting thing happening this week, up until today. That’s because I bought myself a new laptop, which I’d been meaning to do for quite some time, but had to save up for it. Here’s the super awesome deal that I got that was only a little more than I expected to pay: http://dealzon.com/deals/lenovo-ideapad-y570-coupon#lenovo-ideapad-y570-08626qu

How is this relevant? Well, basically, this is going to enable me to write more and get more active with my writing. I had a laptop last year that crapped out on me before I started The Viewer’s Commentary, and, honestly, I miss it dearly. I have a hard time keeping focus, and staying in one place is really hard. When my laptop died last year, I had to get a cheap computer, fast, as I had nothing else. The desktop I’m currently writing on, a Compaq bought off the shelf no less, was a used computer I got from my buddy for $200 and has done an admirable job in the past year and a half, but I miss the intimacy of a laptop and the ability to move around wherever and whenever I wanted without having to abandon my work.

This should rock!

This new machine, which I only found tonight, but have been saving up for unknowingly for the past several paychecks, has Blu-Ray built in, so I’ll finally be able to take more screenshots on my own, rather than searching for them on the web. Seriously, this is going to hopefully allow me to write more and be more mobile, rather than having to sit in my uncomfortable chair in my room, and even if I go visit my family 100 miles away, I can finally take a computer with me and update from there when everyone else has gone to bed. Now all I have to do is get in the habit!

So, that’s what’s going on in my life these days, at least as far as my movie viewing habits goes. I’m planning on seeing ParaNorman this weekend, as I’ve been given a Groupon movie pass from my boss to a local theatre, so, huzzah! Expect a theatrical review of that, too!

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