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Showing posts from November, 2009

Before I Self Destruct

Movie Title: Before I Self Destruct (2009) ***
Spoilers: No

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Before I Self Destruct was written and directed by 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson). The should-be-hyphenated title of the movie is shared as it is also the title of the rapper's newly released album. The plot is about the life of Clarence, an inner city youth whose dreams of becoming a basketball star have been shattered by an injury sustained while playing. Taking up a job working at a local supermarket, times have been tough. They only get tougher when his mother is killed by stray gunfire.

After the death of his mother, the family facing eviction, Clarence takes up work as a killer for hire to support his younger brother Shocka (Elijah Williams), a young and intellectually gifted boy whom Clarence loves and becomes the sole provider for. Shocka has nothing to worry about as long as the cash keeps coming. He will get the life he deserves. It’s Clarence who has a lot to worry about. Of extreme importance is that he makes …

Cinematic Cotton Candy

Movie Title: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Feeding your child nothing but cotton candy is sure to spoil them and work against their health. What will spoil them, but will do no lasting damage is the audacious sequel to Twilight, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, directed by Chris (“Down to Earth” 2001) Weitz. Like Twilight before it, New Moon is in the line of stories by now staggeringly famous author Stephanie Meyer.

It’s a good thing Meyer doesn’t know it, since she could amass all the teens in the world into one unbeatable army of devoted followers who would fight to the death at her command. Every 8 seconds, a Meyer fan is made.

Here is a second movie that will have greater pull than the first one. It will confirm the scrambled sentiments and “nobody understands me” attitude of every antisocial 13-year-old in the world. This includes but is not limited to those who wear black lipstick and tongue rings. But lest we forget, New Moon provides a phenomenally engaging and s…

Who Knew The Apocalypse Could Be This Boring

Movie Title: 2012 (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Until the release of the movie 2012, I was holding out a measure of hope that the New Age-ish obsession with this new myth of the apocalypse would prove to be nothing more than entertainment. I no longer hold out such hope. Sylvia Browne and the rest of the New Age crowd have won. They and so many others are convinced that “the end” is to come in just three years. Failing that, they’ll be satisfied with a few natural calamities and credit them as being predicted events once they hit the news. I don’t know what else to do but write about it and laugh at them.

The Christians once went the same route, and this was WAY before that shameful hoax known as Y2K. That had some of us (not me!) storing toilet paper and bottled water and canned goods in basements, closets, and bathrooms. Some of you yo-yos went outside and started your cars and revved the engine until the ball dropped to welcome in the New Year. Some of you goons actually thought the world’…

The Nightmare Before a Christmas Carol

Movie Title: Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Directed by Robert Zemeckis, this 2009 remake of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a 3-D animated picture that will not fail to make lasting impressions. Whether those impressions will be positive or negative is a toss-up, but that no expense was spared in creating a 96-minute phenomenally sophisticated and visually stunning work of animation is well beyond dispute.

Although the presentation of the actors is the product of a well-nuanced work of computer imagery, there are several notable voice performances. An always competent Jim Carrey voices Ebenezer Scrooge (in all stages of his life) and the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. Gary Oldman voices Bob Cratchit, Jacob Marley, and Tiny Tim.

Great efforts are taken to keep the story loyal to Dickens’ original work with that faithfulness being sidestepped in one long chase segment wherein Scrooge finds himself running from a spirit hearse sent from the Ghost of Chri…

A Nightmare Before a Christmas Carol

Movie Title: A Christmas Carol (2009) Spoilers: No   ---   Directed by Robert Zemeckis, this 2009 remake of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a 3-D animated picture that will not fail to make lasting impressions. Whether those impressions will be positive or negative is a toss-up, but that no expense was spared in creating a 103-minute phenomenally sophisticated and visually stunning work of animation is well beyond dispute.   Although the presentation of the actors is the product of a well-nuanced work of computer imagery, there are several notable voice performances. An always competent Jim Carrey voices Ebenezer Scrooge (in all stages of his life) and the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. Gary Oldman voices Bob Cratchit, Marley, and Tiny Tim.   Great efforts are taken to keep the story loyal to Dickens’ original work with that faithfulness being sidestepped in one long chase segment wherein Scrooge finds himself running from a spirit hearse sent from the Ghost of …

He's Got Machine Guns in his Butt!

Movie Title: Astro Boy (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Director David Bowers’ Astro Boy is like The Jetsons mixed with Wall-e, sprinkled with a few shakes of something off of Robocop in the style of an Esurance advertisement. It is an oddball as surely as it is optimistic to win over its viewing audience. It doesn’t really succeed, but if it were sentient and could hear me telling it that it is anything less than golden, it wouldn’t believe me anyway.

Astroboy the movie is based on the revered Astro Boy Japanese television series created in 1952 by Osamu Tezuka. Since its beginning, the story has undergone some changes, but none have been so bold as to replace the theme still intact in the film about an accomplished Minister of Science, Dr. Tenma (Nicolas Cage) who, due to his grief, uses the greatest technology in existence to bring to life an android replica of his deceased son.

I won’t give away too much of the story as it is one that has not yet lost its “new plot smell,” but the mov…

God’s Entrapment and James’ Idiocy

It's one of the worst blunders in the scriptures, and it comes from James, writer of the New Testament. He says: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13)

Studying the New Testament without the blinders of Christian dogma on reveals that James – like that sadly ignorant writer of the gospel of Matthew – had no idea of the things he was saying. James says that God doesn’t tempt men to do evil. God doesn’t want to see us fall. He’s not going to do anything about it if we do fall, but he wants us to prosper, and he’s not going to tempt us to do “evil.”

The abovementioned Bible quote would be nothing but another pious passage, were it not for the fact that James is wrong and that his statement creates a contradiction with the Old Testament. God does for sure try (test, tempt, all good words) men.

Genesis has God tempting a man, his servant Abraham: “And it came to pass after these…

Someone Has to Deliver That Pizza!

Movie Title: Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Capitalism: A Love Story is Michael Moore’s latest stab at cooperate America, released on the 20-year anniversary of his first documentary film, Roger & Me (1989). This 127-minute film features Moore interviewing politicians, economists, religious leaders, and average, blue-collar citizens on the evils of capitalism. Also included is a flurry of archived footage of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Everything, from social gatherings to mortgage scandals, is discussed at great length in what seems like miles and miles of clips. Along with the footage are silly scenes of Moore driving armored trucks up to banks and asking for the people’s tax money back and an obviously out-of-ideas Michael Moore wrapping a bank in yellow crime scene tape and claiming to be there to make a citizen’s arrest.

Moore’s message (as though you are wondering): capitalism is evil…capitalism is really evil…c…

Owls with Staring Problems

Movie Title: The Fourth Kind (2009)
Spoilers: No

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The idea that aliens are interested in planet earth and human beings is akin to the idea that a benevolent deity created mankind and takes a special interest in him. Both notions are salted with a fundamental sense of arrogance.

Partly, the idea of alien abduction sounds logical. If it turns out we are not alone in the universe, then this would generate a certain fascination in one type of life finding another. Studying human technology and biology would tell the abducting aliens about themselves, just as it would humans to discover alien life.

But as much as this is a reason to search out other life, it is equally a reason why a race of higher beings wouldn't be interested in us. Since the searching aliens would be an advanced race, they would likely have experience with other life forms prior to discovering us. If humans happened to be the first extraterrestrial life they encountered, it wouldn't take long to learn…

Pepsi: Now Available in the Afterlife

Movie Title: The Invention of Lying (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Ricky Gervais’ and Matthew Robinson’s The Invention of Lying is one of the better films of the year. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether that statement is the product of my strong atheistic bias or not, but that is the official statement that goes on the record. God-believers giddy-up and out, or else brace yourselves for an irreverently honest and amusing ride.

Ricky Gervais is Mark Bellison, an ordinary guy void of a love life who works as a scriptwriter in a not-so-ordinary universe. Mark’s world has the odd distinction of being a place where no one has evolved the ability to tell a lie…or to manipulate or withhold information or to deceive or to allow anyone else to believe misinformation. Everyone says everything that is on his/her mind. It never occurs to a single soul to hold back anything.

That is amusing. It is amusing not just for the way it is presented, but because the idea of deception never evolving is quit…