Blog for author Gloria Oliver. Postings on anything and everything including movies, books, conventions, life, what have ya. Come visit me at www.gloriaoliver.com
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Movie Review - Prince of Persia
Staring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Ronald Pickup, Richard Coyle (OMG! Jeffrey from Coupling!!!!)
Premise: The king of Persia adopts a young boy after seeing him do a courageous deed. Fourteen years later, his adopted son is on campaign with his two brothers (the king's true sons) and the king's brother. Having obtained information from a spy that the holy city of Alamut is forging weapons for their enemies, Tus, as the brother in charge and heir to the throne, decides to attack the city despite his father's orders not to do so. Dastan ignores his brother's wishes and attacks the city from the side to minimize casualties on both ends. When he accidentally ends up with an unusual dagger, he gets thrown into a cyclone of treachery and mystery, as he is branded a murderer and traitor to the realm.
Review: Okay, I better get this off my chest now cause I can see it disrupting my attempt at a review if I don't. :P
Prince Tus is played by Richard Coyle. Didn't know he was in this movie! Loved, loved, loved Richard Coyle as Jeffrey in the British comedy by Stephen Moffatt's (who's done some of the BEST new Dr Who episodes and is now in charge!!!) Coupling! And he's got long hair! He looked GREAT! But every time his character chose badly all I could hear was Jeffry's mother going "Ohhhh Jeffrey" in her deep disapproving tones in my head. ROFL! Totally awesome to see him again! (And on a totally random side note (did warn you all!) just saw on IMDB Mr Coyle is playing Ludwig Von Lipwig in a TV rendition of Terry Pratchett's "Going Postal" - How totally awesome!!!! Now if I could just get a hold of it to see it...) Wheee!
Ahem...back to the review... Prince of Persia was a nice, action filled romp! The back and forth play between Dastan and Tamina were pretty good. Sheik Amar was a hoot. Beautiful scenery, cities, buildings. Tons of acrobatics. I've not played the original game, but it definitely had the feel of one here and there as our hero jumps from building to building, flips, runs over the tops of camels, and other fun bits. Even a section was very reminiscent of the game Assassin's Creed (though for all I know that game (which the one scene and the activation chamber make me soooo dizzy - the game not the movie - making it hard for me to play...) took it from them instead. Whatever the case, there's loads to see and appreciate. The ostrich races were too funny.
Special effects were great. Some of the baddies were just creepy. And what they did with the snakes? Pretty darn cool. Loved the sand devils mode of transport for those guys - just a nice touch of mysticism there.
Any major surprises in plot? No. But then this isn't that kind of movie. Just a fast paced good time. Though the switch at the end did seem to almost come out of nowhere. Did not fit with the facts we'd been given up to that point. I may have missed something though. Still totally worth it for the action antics. Acting was pretty good too!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Movie Review - Shrek Forever After
Staring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Jon Hamm, John Cleese, Walt Dohrn, Craig Robinson, and a tons more!
Premise: Life for Shrek has turned somewhat predictable and sedentary after the birth of his kids. Finding it hard to find time for himself, he starts pinning for the olden days when he was single and had no responsibilities. Rumpelstiltskin finds out about his desire and cuts Shrek a deal, one with unexpected and dire results.
Review: All of our old friends are BACK! The same elements we've come to know and expect in the Shrek films are totally there. The songs, the jokes, the fun and excitement. Think of this as a mutated version of 'It's a Wonderful Life' and you'll have some idea what to expect. Except there are added wrinkles. What Shrek thought he was exchanging for 1 day can actually become the new permanent reality and a grim one at that.
It was a lot of fun seeing the old gang and how they would be if Shrek had never entered their lives. Plenty of homage fodder as usual. Cookie in the Spartacus/Gladiator bit almost killed me. Rumpelstiltskin (and his wigs) was a hoot. The trailer park for the lowlife element and the others thrown in there were too much fun. Witches were a hoot. Loved Rumple's goose companion as well. Puss in Boots, as usual, steals much of the show. :) And Shrek's successful wooing practice is definitely only one ogres would love. Heh heh. (And Fiona kicks some buns! Dang girl!)
While nothing truly unexpected, they still managed to throw a curve ball or two, which was great. Overall a fun, dazzling ride. Made me want to go watch the first Shrek all over again really bad! Heh heh.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Another Goodbye - My Feline Master Keiko
Pets can be your friend, console you when you're sick, boss you around. They may not be able to speak in words, but they can communicate with you all the same. The better you know them and they know you, the easier that communication becomes. Some are extremely intelligent, others dumb as a box of rocks. Mellow, mean, happy, moody, easily bored, ADD, cruel, kind every extreme found in our own species can be found in theirs.
This week I lost my feline master and friend - Keiko.
Keiko was a fourth generation cat in our household. Her great grandfather was my beloved Lestat, and her great grandmother was Gretta. Grandmother was Claudia, who survives her at this time thought she's looked like she's been about to kick the bucket for years. (She will probably outlive us all!) The mother I did not know, as she'd been adopted by my mother and sister-in-law from one of Claudia's litters. Keiko was born at the Beltline house and after much prodding by my daughter, and my gooey husband capitulating to her whims, we'd brought the oh so cute (and I had resisted so well! I had just about escaped!) black kitten home.
Keiko was black from tip to tail with golden eyes and utterly adorable. Though she didn't smoke cigarettes, she was of the Nermal line, looking diminutive and cute her whole life. As a kitten, she'd been fearless. She would approach strangers in the house without a qualm, until she was somewhat traumatized by one of my husband's friends and then she grew extremely shy of strangers. (Steve, you fool! *shakes fist*)
More trauma was visited on her when we had to leave her and the others as outside cats for a few months, as our old house sold too quickly, the new one was not finished, and we had to move into an apartment complex for several months that didn't allow pets. She did not take well to being outdoors. Shell shocked from three seconds in. Coming by on weekends and spending time in the back yard with treats, I had no problems consoling the others, but Keiko remained aloof and distant, a tree her permanent perch.
When the time came, however, I was able to entice her close enough to reconnect and take her and the other back us once the house was finished. We settled in to our new place, and she slowly came back to herself. I will NEVER put a friend through this kind of hardship ever again. (Lost Gretta because of it, Lestat got kitty aids, Angelique got locked inside a storage shed in summer without food or water for days before we found her and got her free. Never, never again!)
Lestat was king in our house, and though he allowed me to lavish love on the others, he was top cat. On his passing, Keiko took up the mantle, having been the self designated heir for sometime.
Twelve years she spent with us. She ruled with an iron paw for one so small, but was normally quite gracious. My lap was her throne. She watched over me constantly and made demands when she deemed she had a need and castigated me when she felt I was laughing too loud or seemed upset. She comforted me when I was sad or ill, making sure not to leave my side until I was better. She took all the love I could heap upon her as her due and never complained in that regard.
In the last several months she'd become thinner than her already svelte self. We'd assumed it was just age finally catching up to her. In no other way did she seem different. But in April she looked like she was not feeling well, spending a lot of time in the bed during the day, which was unusual for her. She seemed to rally after a few days so we figured she'd just caught something we, the humans, were passing around.
On the day I got back from Conestoga I realized something wasn't right. Her poor belly was distended. I just about freaked. But we didn't take her to the vet. A sad experience with Miaka, the beloved ferret we lost a couple of years before, made us hesitant to take her in.
When the bloating didn't go away, however, I caved and my son-in-law was kind enough to take her to the clinic. Later that day I got the sad phone call. Keiko had cancer. There were growths on her liver and it was too far along to do anything about it. While chemo was an option, there were no guarantees. I couldn't see putting her through that. While you can explain to a human what chemo is and why they feel bad during treatment, how do you do that with a cat?
The vet felt we had a month with her, maybe two. I fought to hold it together and lavished what love I could on her as often as possible. The diagnosis came on 5/7/10. Rather than a month, Keiko left us in one week. She was gone by the afternoon of Friday the 14th. My husband had had a feeling she was going that morning before we left for work. The way she just lay unmoving on the comfy pile of sheets my daughter had made her, the fact she'd stopped eating the night before.
I petted her gently that morning and got a soft purr in return. Despite my husband's prediction, I didn't think it would be so soon. The son-in-law was home and keeping an eye on her, making sure she was comfortable. Daughter called me that afternoon after she got home.
Keiko was gone.
My husband had checked on her and realized she had left us sometime that afternoon. He buried her in the rain in our backyard. A feat he would not have done for just anyone.
I miss her terribly. She was my friend.
Good bye Master Keiko.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Movie Review - Iron Man 2
Staring: Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L Jackson, Clark Gregg, etc.
Premise: Now that Tony Stark has revealed himself to the world as Iron Man, he's having to deal with some of the fallout. The government wants the suit, his industry competitors want the suit, some aggrieved people he's never even heard of want pay back. But the one thing most prominent in Tony's mind is the ticking time bomb in his chest. While the power source keeps him alive, it is also killing him with toxins. His time is running out and he's not taking it very well.
Review: The grapevine said that there'd been problems with Terrence Howard, the original Rhodey, so they'd had to get someone else to play the part. While Mr. Cheadle has been around and has been known for some very fine work, the spark between his Rhodey and Tony Stark just wasn't as pronounced as it should have been. Not that he was given much to work with, so it isn't entirely his fault. But it was something that hurt the film somewhat.
With Pepper now taking a back seat in the plot, that also didn't do the film any favors. (I also have to agree with Rob Thurman, they're just cruel having her running around on those heels! Oi!) Even the poor robot, which had caused such laughs in the first film, got his time cut. While understandable due to the plot and the time constraints, it still hurt the film.
There were definitely touches of comedic moments, but nothing like the original. Something was lost here as well.
The special effects, Stark Expo, the tech, all were FAB! The flight sequences, the race sequence, the explosions, all of that was utterly awesome. In the digital finesse of IMAX, it will have you drooling. Robert Downey Jr was excellent once again as Tony Stark, showing the multiple sides and complexity of the character and his many facades with ease. Very much enjoyed Mickey Rourke's addition as Ivan Vanko. Just the right touch of reckless madness and creepy. Mr Rockwell was well suited to be Mr Hammer, a man with power, who let it get to his head, yet always still looking for just that bit more of acceptance at any cost and never realizing what an idiot he's making of himself trying to copy others. (Kinda felt sorry for the schmuck! Heh)
The action sequences with Scarlett Johansson were a total blast! Made it all look so easy~! And way more believable than Hit Girl. (Sorry Kick-Ass fans!)
Poor Stark's house gets trashed yet again. That awesome place has no hope or survival. Good thing it's isolated!
Overall, the movie kicked buns even as it fell short of the original. I was way way relieved they didn't do the normal process Hollywood tends to go with these hero films when they decide that one bad guy is not enough to make a movie with. They kept it to 1.5 bad guys and extra plot complications. That worked quite well. Yay! (I can't believe how these movie people will not get the hint that multiple villains DO NOT WORK! You can have awesome scripts with just 1 bad guy. Really!)
Definitely go check this puppy out!
Rating: 3.75 out of 4
P.S. While the movie website is gangly and hard to figure out, it does have some awesome stuff in there. Even more fun are some of the associated sites under Extras like the Stark Expo 2010. Let the expo map load and you can click on some of the buildings. Some of these have even more sites attached. The Japanese one was the bomb! And wait till you get a look at the new sonic fire fighting equipment. (There's video!) Whoever organized the web presence went way out of their way. Awesome stuff. Now if only the main site had been more friendly. I almost missed out on all this! (Make sure the click the tiny nav square on the left side.)
P.S.S. Of major disappointment was seeing that while there's an AC/DC Iron Man 2 CD for the movie (AC/DC Rules~!) the background music soundtrack is NOT available! You can hear tracks from it at the main website, but that's it! ARGH! Soundtrack junkie needs will not be met for me. Nooooo!!!!!
Sunday, May 02, 2010
Movie Review - Losers
Staring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada, Jason Patrick, Holt McCallany, etc.
Premise:An elite special forces unit is sent to Bolivia in what should have been an easy in out tagging mission. Things get complicated when they find out the target is using 25 children as shields. When the voice on the other end of their comm link refuses to call off the air strike, they wade into the estate and save the children then get out before the place blows to kingdom come.
They stay behind giving their extraction space to the kids, only to watch them be vaporized after take off.
Presumed dead, the team exists in Bilivia trying to get enough cash to make it back to the states, until they're approached by the spitfire Aisha who not only wants to help them get out, but wants their help getting revenge on 'Max' the voice on the com link.
Review:This was a fun action flick. Has little pretension on being more than it is, which was great. The bad guy was bad, the good guy was good, and everyone was tarnished in one way or another. Bullets and explosions flying left and right. And two side characters made the movie for me: Jensen and Cougar. Jensen was a manic hoot and Cougar was just cool! Heh heh.
The interplay between Clay and Aisha was a lot of fun too. Volatile relationship indeed!
Max, the bad guy, was pretty cookie cutter though the actor made him very creepy and worked him out pretty good all the same. He had a bad hand and eventually we got a look at it, but what happened to it was never mentioned or explained, so I felt a little cheated. If you're not going to tell me, why bring it up at all?
There's a plot twist or two though none of them all that surprising, but still fun. And we truly see the Puerto Rico giant dish not just a picture of it, they were there! (Sorry X-Files, still sore about that one...)
So if you're looking for a fun romp with tons of action and nice bits of comedy, Losers might just be what you're looking for.
Rating: 3 out of 4 stars
P.S. The movie's website has a cute little shooter game. Totally cracked up that Jensen's piece is his hand. ROFL! (You'll understand once you see the movie (or the previews))