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Showing posts from 2012

Harry Potter and friends return in 2002's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (review with link)

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

If you have ever watched a film series based on a multivolume literary tale – like, say, The Lord of the Rings orTwilight – you’ve probably noticed that the first movie is the “expository” installment in which we are introduced to the characters, settings and situations of the story.  Usually, these first movies are sometimes a bit long and leisurely paced so that we can get our bearings in their universe, especially if they take place in a fantasy Utopia with magical themes and otherworldly creatures. 

Second films in continuing sagas, on the other hand, tend to flow better and with a firmer grasp on the story and characters because the introduction of characters and the setup of the overarching tale have all been dispensed with.  The pacing of the story is usually brisker – even if the running time is not particularly short – and the writers, director, and actors can get on to the meat of the tale. 

Such is the case with director Chris Col…

Alien 3: Not horrible, but not great, either....

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One of the more interesting aspects of the four-film Alien saga is the way in which the audience was given a seemingly satisfying conclusion at the end of each chapter in the Ellen Ripley-versus-the-xenomorph saga, then, after a decent interval of five or six years, a new installment was released by 20th Century Fox that dispelled whatever feeling of closure Ripley (and the audience) felt after each “fade to black.” 

At the end of James Cameron’s Aliens (1986), it seemed impossible that there could be another installment of theAlien franchise. After all, Sigourney Weaver’s signature heroine had nuked the Company/Weyland-Yutani’s “Shake-n-Bake” colony on LV-426 and duked it out mano-a-mano with the Alien Queen aboard the Sulaco before going into her cryogenic sleep tube just like her fellow survivors Hicks (Michael Biehn) and Newt (Carrie Henn). Ripley’s tale, it seemed, was happily over. 

Until, of course, producers David Giler, Walter Hill, Gordon Carroll, Ezra Swerdlow, and Sigourney …

Give My Regards to Broad Street - Paul McCartney (Complete Music Review)

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In 1984, Paul McCartney starred in what amounts, basically, to an overlong and unremarkable music video titledGive My Regards to Broad Street, which centered upon the theft of the master tapes to Paul's newest album and the musician's resulting efforts to retrieve them. And just like The Magical Mystery Tour film a decade-plus or so earlier, Give My Regards to Broad Street failed to follow in the celluloid footsteps of Help!A Hard Day's Night, or even Yellow Submarine.

Of course, sometimes even failed films come with a soundtrack album, and Give My Regards to Broad Streetlends itself well to having its spinoff record -- and of course, because it was a Paul McCartney project, the powers that be did release an album that is a mix of songs from Paul's Beatles career to his solo/Wings years. 

Although I didn't care much for the film (which I've almost totally forgotten), I do like this album, considering that I'm a Beatles fan and thus appreciate the appearance…

Star Wars - The Clone Wars: Clone Commandos

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Before the November 2009 release of Star Wars - The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One Blu-ray and DVD sets, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Lucasfilm released two four-episode "volumes" of episodes of the Cartoon Network's animated anthology series set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

The first volume, A Galaxy Divided, is a no-frills presentation of the series' first four episodes (Ambush, Rising Malevolence, Shadow of Malevolence and Destroy Malevolence); the first of these is a Yoda versus Asajj Ventress battle of wits, while the others make up a complete story arc in which Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin's Padawan Ahsoka Tano are on a seek-and-destroy mission against a Separatist superbattleship commanded by General Grievous.

Because Star Wars: The Clone Wars (like Lucasfilm's The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles) doesn't have a well-defined chronology, Volume Two: Clone Commandos takes the series' fifth episode,…

Gods and Generals: The Epic That Wasn't

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I'm not a Civil War movie fan. I'm rather a more, shall we say, generalist war movie one. Still, I have watched several feature films about the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history because, like the late Shelby Foote, I believe that we must understand that mid-19th Century tragedy in order to comprehend the modern character of the American people.

As a general history buff, I prefer Ken Burns' 1990 documentary miniseries The Civil War as a source of such a deep comprehension.   Sure, the writers (Burns, his brother Ric and Geoffrey C. Ward) allowed a few factual errors to creep in, but overall the most-watched PBS program in history has depth and a powerful narrative that many "for entertainment" films about the Civil War sorely lack.

Of the three Hollywood-made Civil War epics that I've seen over the past 21 years (including Edward Zwick's Glory), writer-director Ronald F. Maxwell's Gods and Generals is the only one which disappointed me after I watched…

Star Wars: Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture (1977)

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Nos·tal·gia: Pronunciation: nä-'stal-j&, n&- also no -, nO-; n&-'stäl- Function: noun Etymology: New Latin, from Greek nostos return home New Latin -algia; akin to Greek neisthai to return, Old English genesan to survive, Sanskrit nasate he approaches
1 : the state of being homesick : HOMESICKNESS
2 : a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition; also : something that evokes nostalgia
- nos·tal·gic /-jik/ adjective or noun
- nos·tal·gi·cal·ly /-ji-k(&-)le/ adverb

Nostalgia.

For most of us, the past sometimes seems more attractive than our present or somehow less frightening than the undiscovered country of the future. It's an illusion, really, but memory has a way of dulling all but the sharpest pains, the saddest memories, and the rest of all our yesterdays becomes a series of sepia-colored memories in which we take refuge from our 21st Century red state-blue state, conservative vs. liberal, war-on…