Friday, April 30, 2010
She cut her teeth in a sensational role at age 12 in Interview With A Vampire and also played Mary Jane Watson, girlfriend to Peter Parker in all three Spider-Man films. Happy Birthday Kirsten.
Kirsten Dunst stars as Mary Jane Watson in Columbia Pictures' Spider-Man 3. Photo Credit: Merie W. Wallace. Copyright© 2006 Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.. All rights reserved. Photos
Kirsten Dunst stars as Mary Jane Watson in Columbia Pictures' Spider-Man 3. Photo Credit: Merie W. Wallace. Copyright© 2006 Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.. All rights reserved. Photos
Monday, April 26, 2010
Logan and Jessica on the run
Recently watched a childhood favorite of mine called Logan's Run. And guess what, the film actually holds up remarkably well 34 years later. I was expecting it to not be as good as I remembered it, but it actually surprised me. It's the 23rd century and some type of holocaust has decimated the earth, and the survivors sealed themselves into a domed city near Washington, D.C. To maintain the population balance, the computers that run the city have decreed that all people must die at 30. Those who turn 30 must participate in the event called Carousel, in which they expect to be renewed, that is reborn. But no one actually has seen or heard of anyone being renewed. And those that chose not to take part attempt to run. This system is enforced by "sandmen" : black-clad police operatives who terminate (kill) "runners" (those who attempt to live beyond 30). Logan, a sandman, is sent on a mission to find "sanctuary," which is a code- word used by the master computer to describe what it believes is a place to which runners have been escaping. Logan begins to question the system he serves and after seeing for himself that there is life beyond the dome, he returns to destroy the computer. Michael York is Logan, fresh off the Three Musketeers film. His partner and friend Francis is played by Richard Jordan. And both do a solid job. British fan favorite Jenny Agutter is cast as Jessica 6, a woman who helps Logan escape and find the truth. And she is credible in the lead female role. Not too mention beautiful. Farrah Fawcett appears in an early film role as Holly, a doctor's assistant who is gorgeous but a little confused about things. A side note, this film may be rated PG, but there is a brief orgy like sequence where there are several women that are seen topless. The movie may be set in the year 2274, but that scene feels like the 1970's. God bless the film-makers for that.
Those freaky Carousel robes and masks......
I remembered Logan's Run being this cool sci-fi movie and to that effect it is still very cool. Some of the effects may be dated now, but they were state of the art then. And to be fair, the carousel scene is still very striking today. As the participants must wear some freaky robes and masks. Sweet. The sandman's weapon is a very cool blaster that fires 4 energy blasts that form a circle pattern and strikes with deadly impact. I always thought that was a fantastic weapon to have. As are the striking uniforms of the Sandman. The action scenes are still very exciting as Logan and Jessica are pursued relentlessly by Francis, who goes off the deep end a bit. There is also the sensational score by Jerry Goldsmith which is foreboding and intense.
Richard Jordan as Francis looking crazy as hell..........
So I am pleased to report that Logan's Run is still a highly enjoyable piece of sci-fi fun that does not, I repeat, does not need updating. It's one of those few films that film-makers should leave alone. It has stood the test of time. It was even spoofed in the cult comedy classic Free Enterprise but in a good way. And although Logan's Run the movie is still awesome, the unfortunate TV series that followed it, is best forgotten.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
This powerful episode actually takes place one week before the Callisto episode. In this one Gabrielle takes center stage as Xena is poisoned by an unknown assailant and leaves Gabrielle to defend a village from a rampaging warlord named Talmadeus. After rallying the townspeople to defend their village, Xena goes from bad to worse and seemingly dies. Gabrielle is devasted put assumes her best friend's identity to battle the warlord and his army. She holds off the bad guys for a while but is soon outnumbered. And when the warlord prepares to have Xena's body drawn and quartered, things look bleak. But lo and behold, Xena rises from near death and comes out kicking much ass. And her and Gabrielle end up driving the marauders away. The Greater Good is excellent and like I said more of a showcase for Gabrielle, since Xena is laid out by the poison for an extended time. Renee O'Connor is simply amazing as the loyal friend who must rise to the challenge. Her friendship with Xena really shines in this episode as her love for Xena brings out the warrior in her. A must see.
Monday, April 19, 2010
A ( for the entire series)
Friday, April 16, 2010
I know what you're thinking...Alaina who? Well, the Canadian actress, who turns 30 on April 17th is currently starring as 1st Lt. Tamara Johansen on the latest incarnation of the sci-fi franchise Stargate. This new series is entitled Stargate: Universe and Alaina is one of the best characters on the show. I knew Alaina previously when she played Black Canary on Smallville and on another sci-fi series called Painkiller Jane. Alaina has been married to John Henry Huffman since 2003 and they have three children. A talented woman with a rising fan base that should produce a long lasting career. Happy Birthday Alaina.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Since Lucy is my star of the month, I decided to post mini reviews of her Xena episodes which I thought were the very best ones. I believe Callisto from season one is one of the best the series ever produced, and is definitely a personal favorite of mine. It is said that you measure the hero by the villian they battle with, and if that is the case then Xena's counterpart is one awesome villian. Years ago when Xena was still a bad person, wreaking havoc all over the countryside, she came to this town called Cirra. And had her amry lay waste to the entire village. A young girl named Callisto survived and swore vengeance on Xena. She blames the death of her mother and sister on Xena and seeks retribution. Flash forward a few years and Callisto, a lithe blonde compared to the muscular dark haired Xena (played by the impressive Hudson Leick) is roaming the country and ransacking villages and claiming it in the name of Xena. Well Xena and her trusty sidekick Gabrielle get wind of this and begins to track down Callisto. Their initial meeting is classic as Callisto more than holds her own with the warrior princess and lets her know that Xena's past has finally caught up with her. The two will meet again, in fact Callisto has Gabrielle held captive and will kill the girl if Xena doesn't battle with her to the death. This is the episode where everything clicked for the series. Finally a true adversary for Xena. Yes Aries was first and he is awesome character, but by him being a god of unlimitless power made him always seem unbeatable. Here with Callisto, Xena is perfectly matched. She is the ying to Callisto's yang. And Hudson Leick delivers a powerhouse performance as the revenge seeking woman who is a tad insane. Her performance actually brings out Lucy Lawless own game as she takes her acting ability to a new level. Callisto would re-appear several more times over the course of the series, constantly tormenting our hero and Gabrielle as well. Callisto's acts of violence and depravity are without remorse and she doesn't hestitate for a second on her plan of revenge. If this is not the best episode in the series, then it's pretty damn close. Check out some of the choice quotes from this entertaining episode.
Callisto: The sight, just the *sight*, of Xena, Warrior Princess arguing on *my* behalf amuses me, so let me tell you. Let me answer your question about what I'd do if you let me go. You let me go, and I'll dedicate my life to killing everything you love. Your friends, your family, your reputation - even your horse. I'm being so honest with you, because the idea of your pity is worse than death for me. You see, you created a monster with integrity, Xena. Scary, isn't it
Xena: Don't worry, I won't let anything happen to you without a fair trial.
Callisto: You know, there used to be a little respect mixed up in my hatred for you... but not anymore. Your petty scruples are embarrassing. As a villian, you were awesome. As a hero, you're a sentimental fool.
Gabrielle: You know, she'll do anything for revenge.
Xena: I don't blame her.
Gabrielle: Uh, I do. When will this end? Look at Melas. I know that he's a good man, but, this hate is making him an obsessed killer. Somebody has to say no to this lust for revenge.
Xena: That is so hard to do.
Gabrielle: You did it! When your village was destroyed, you were infected with bloodlust. But you overcame it!
Xena: I was lucky. I saw what I'd become, and I was able to turn around. But if something happened to Mother, or Hercules, or you, I might do just the same.
Gabrielle: No... No, look, you promise me. If something happens to me, you will not become a monster. There's only one way to end this cycle of hatred, and it's through love, and forgiveness.
Xena: Don't you go changing, Gabrielle. I like you just the way you are. Go get some sleep.
Gabrielle: No, no, you promise me.
Xena: I promise. Go, go on.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Been watching a lot of cop movies lately and a few of them were about cops of questionable integrity. So I decided on making a list of the best corrupt cop movies I have seen. Because they are some of the best films you will watch. Most will follow the template of a rogue cop or detective who does all kinds of bad things in the name of justice. It takes for his partner to get killed or some other emotional type event for him to realize that what he has been doing is wrong. Or in some cases, he will just go out in a blaze of glory. There have been several types of these films which usually feature a stellar performance by the lead (i.e Denzel Washington in Training Day and Kurt Russell in Dark Blue). So I fashioned this Top Ten list of the best of the dirty cops genre. Enjoy and feel free to chime in with some of your own choices.
Monday, April 12, 2010
When the character of Xena was introduced on the TV series, Hercules, I was immediately impressed with the actress portraying her...Lucy Lawless. After that 3 episode arc on Hercules, the producers had the super smart idea to greenlight a series all about Xena. And it was a brilliant idea. I made it my priority to watch Xena every Saturday night at 7pm on the local channel it was playing on. This was around the mid 90's, which for me was pure heaven for TV watching. Along with Xena, there was Buffy and The X-Files going on. But back to Xena, Lucy Lawless was sensational in the part. She showed tremendous range in comedy and drama going from serious to light-hearted with ease. She handled all the action scenes like a pro. And developed one of the best on screen partnerships with actress Renee O'Connor, who played Xena's friend Gabrielle. And Lucy even managed to show off her considerable singing voice on several occasions. Which would bode well for her future after Xena would end it's six year run. Lucy is currently wowing audiences with her fantastic concerts. Lucy is one of my favorite actresses and Xena is what introduced her to me. I found Xena to be far more interesting than Hercules, mainly because while Hercules had super strength and was basically a god, Xena was just a woman, who faced impossible odds, but always came out on top. Her fighting ability and never say die attitude got her through several events. And her backstory of her being this ruthless killer fueled her desire to make up for that past life and doing good for others. Her past always was an issue and Lucy handled all those scenes with strong dramatic portrayals. I'm planning on writing my top 25 favorite actresses and I can tell you Lucy will be ranked very high.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
This is the action movie that is like a dream come true for action junkies....Stallone, Jet Li, Statham, Rourke, Stone Cold Steve Austin, cameos by Bruce Willis and Schwarzenegger. Hell Yeah!
Friday, April 9, 2010
A tale of double cross and revenge, centered upon the members of an elite U.S. Special Forces unit sent into the Bolivian jungle on a search and destroy mission. The team-Clay, Jensen, Roque, Pooch and Cougar -find themselves the target of a lethal betrayal instigated from inside by a powerful enemy known only as Max. Presumed dead, the group makes plans to even the score when they're joined by the mysterious Aisha, a beautiful operative with her own agenda. Working together, they must remain deep undercover while tracking the heavily-guarded Max, a ruthless man bent on embroiling the world in a new high-tech global war. The film stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Idris Elba, Chris Evans, and Zoe Saldana. Saldana is coming off a big year with Avatar and Star Trek in 2009. Looks like she will continue the streak with this cool looking action flick. The Losers hit theatres on April 23rd. Check out the photos below.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Let me begin by saying that the original Titans film made back in 1981 is one of my childhood favorites. It may be cheesy and a little dated now, but it's still a fun movie. And I love all things mythological. King Arthur, Troy, etc. Even the erstwhile Xena series, which often devolved into slapstick, but was still entertaining. The new Clash of the Titans boasts bigger and better effects and more in your face action. The storyline has been tweaked a little, but the main plot is still there. Perseus (Sam Worthington, fresh from playing Jake Sully in Avatar) is the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), who is raised by a kindly couple (Pete Postlethwaite and welcome back Elizabeth McGovern). But tragedy strikes when Hades (Ralph Fiennes) attacks desecrating soldiers and the family is caught in the middle. Perseus swears vengeance on the lord of the underworld and begins his perilous quest. He is taken to the city of Argos, where the king and queen are having a joyous celebration with the city's inhabitants. And they are pretty much mocking the gods and the queen even praises her daughter Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) over the goddess Aphrodite. Hades strikes and says the city must pay for their arrogance. If the princess is not offered up as sacrifice, then the Kraken, a formidable sea monster shall be unleashed and will destroy the entire city. So Perseus joins up with the king's soldiers to find a way to defeat the Kraken and must journey across the desert to meet the three Stygian witches. Who tell Perseus that the head of Medusa is the only way to defeat the Kraken. The new film follows that part pretty closely but things change up after that. Like Calibos. In the original film Calibos was a would be suitor for Andromeda who is deformed by Zeus for slaughtering all the flying horses, save Pegasus. In the new version, Calibos is the husband of Perseus natural mother, who is seduced by Zeus. But he is still transformed by Zeus into this hideous creature who lives hidden from man. Well Hades uses Calibos to hunt down and kill Perseus, and he imbues Calibos with some of his power. So this Calibos is amped up with strength and speed. He goes through the soldiers like they're nothing. In fact, he rips one soldier in half which is cool as hell. His initial battle with Perseus is cut short by the scorpions who are enlarged by Calibos spilled blood. That leads to a thrilling scene as the scorpions attack our heroes. Around this time Pegasus shows and she makes a powerful entrance as the other horses back off to make room for her. Oh also tagging along is Io, an immortal (played by Gemma Atherton), who has been watching over Perseus since the day he was born. Mads Mikkelsen is Draco, the leader of the soldiers. The band of heroes finally make their way to Medusa's temple, which sets up the best scene in the entire film. This Medusa is a CGI creation but she looks very real and moves very fast. She is very cool looking. And like the original film version, she is apt with a bow and arrow, picking off soldiers left and right. Her final battle with Perseus is pretty instense. After this scene, Calibos returns for a frenetic sword fight with Perseus. And then the finale with the face off with the Kraken. Which is an awesome display of CGI that fills up the entire screen. And when Perseus atop Pegasus, rides over and under the Kraken's tentacles, it's like a rollercoaster ride.
The new Clash of the Titans is not a perfect film. Worthington is ok as Perseus, but he's kind of one-note in his performance. Davalos as Andromeda is wasted. Pretty to look at, but that's about all. Neeson and Fiennes definitely have a good time, chewing the scenery. Jason Flemying is good as Calibos, but he is not used enough, save for his two big scenes. Mikkelsen is terrific as Draco. You may remember him as the bad guy from Casino Royale and the bad ass warrior from King Arthur, who didn't speak much and had a bird for a companion. He gives the film a kick every time he is onscreen. As does Atherton as Io, who may seem a tad odd, but she eventually warms up and becomes a likable character. The visual effects are top notch, including the Kraken, Medusa, and Pegasus. The negatives would be the weak music score, which doesn't even come close to matching the heroic score of the original film. The Stygian witches are forgettable. And while this new version is about 15 minutes shorter, it does have a very slow beginning. It takes awhile to get going, but once it does, it becomes a solid adventure. And the 3D effect is non-existent. I pulled my glasses off for like 20 minutes and couldn't tell the difference. So you can enjoy Clash in the regular 2D version just fine. So, while this update improves on almost every aspect of the original, it falls short in one major category. Davalos just doesn't do it for me as the princess Andromeda. She really doesn't inspire the feeling that she is a woman worth all the trouble. I mean Judi Bowker from the first Titans movie was the real deal. One of the most breathtakingly gorgeous women ever. And definitely worth battling gods and monsters for. OK, lost my train of thought there, back to the review. But that's a minor quibble from me. Both films can be enjoyed in their own right. Oh and Bubo, the owl makes a cameo appearance as a nice homage to the original film. It's was cool seeing him, if only for a few seconds.
B (for the 2010 version)/ B- (for the 1981 version)
Alexa Davalos as Andromeda (2010)
Judi Bowker as Andromeda (1981)