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Archive for July, 2009

the-hurt-locker-20090605033432900_640wNot for the faint of heart, The Hurt Locker is the story of American soldiers who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world: disarming bombs in the heat of combat. The story focuses on three soldiers, Army Staff Sergeant Will James (Jeremy Renner), Sergeant JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackey) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), three members of the Bravo Company’s bomb disposal team stationed in Iraq.  Many films have been made over the last few years about the struggles of our soldiers in Iraq, but this is the first one that I have seen that focuses on soldiers who are forced to deal with even greater risks during wartime.  From the first scene, the film takes you right into their world and their dangers.  It seems so realistic that it feels as if you are watching a documentary, that it is almost jarring when you see the characters out of the action.

All three characters give you different perspectives on the war, but the most compelling is by far the character of Will James.  It’s almost as if he has duel personalities as a means of coping.  He goes from being a metal-listening meat-headed soldier who is ready to die at any moment, to a caring and compassionate human being in search of a missing child.  This makes the film all that more interesting, adding to the feeling of unexpectedness.  Which Will are we going to see in the next scene?  Is our protagonist a hero or a maniac?  You decide for yourself as you are sitting on the edge of your seat wondering who is going to live and who is going to die.  4 out of 5 monkeys

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DcotorWhos“The further adventures of the time traveling alien adventurer and his companions.”  There have been many incarnations of Doctor Who, starting with the first in 1963, but the one that I get a kick out of is the reboot that started in 2005.  The first season had some good and bad episodes, but the doctor is always entertaining.  The Doctor is the last of a race known as the Time Lords, who along with his companion (generally a young girl from planet earth) engages in adventures through the time/space continuum where they travel to distant planets, through Earth’s history (past and future). The Doctor and his assistants do battle with the galaxy’s most evil beings and menacing aliens and encountering all sorts of people and life forms on their adventures.  Many of the aliens are cheesy, but the humor is so British in nature that one can’t help but smile and enjoy the ride.  Having just finished season one, I am enjoying season two even more with a new doctor played by David Tennant (incidentally the only other time I had seen this actor prior to the series was in a small role in one of the Harry Potter films).  He is rascally and charming at the same time.  Billie Piper is fine as Rose Tyler as long as you don’t have her crying in a scene and then she is ghastly.  Such adventures of science fiction/nerdy awesomeness this show will take you on if you only let it!  Don’t be afraid to explore the galaxy!

Season one:  4 out of 5 monkeys; Season 2:  5 out of 5 monkeys

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Room with a viewWhat an often fun and quirky commentary on the snotty class system of English society and their many misconceptions on what makes a human being worthwhile.  I was amazed at how much humor there was to behold in a quote “merchant ivory” film.  The story revolves around Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter), a young Englishwoman who makes her first visit to Florence, Italy in the early 1900’s. While on her trip, she meets a cast of character including the somewhat uncouth, yet good-hearted Mr. Emerson and his quiet yet eccentric young son George Emerson (Julian Sands). Upon her return to England, Lucy must decide whether to follow through with her marriage to her stoic fiance, Cecil (Daniel Day-Lewis in a surprisingly different role from what we see him in today), or follow her heart and her growing attraction to George.  A star studded cast of favorite English actors such as Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench, help to round out the performances that make this film all the more enchanting.  The nude boys running in the forest after a bath is however not for the week of heart.  4 out of 5 stars

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harry-potter-and-the-half-blood-prince_290I generally enjoy going to a film that has a huge fan base, especially one where the fans are as happy as the Potter fans (it would be very different say if I went to a viewing of Jackass with avid fans).  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was no exception.  Fans were clapping and cheering in anticipation of the beginning of the film, laughing during the humorous parts (as well as during some inside jokes that only fans of the books would truly understand) and crying during the sad ones.  I always go into a Potter film knowing that there is no way that it could ever be as amazing and thorough as the book and anyone who does is an idiot.  Prince had many of the major components that were important to the book, but what I believe that it achieved the best was the awkwardness of young love and hormones. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed, squirmed and sympathized with our heroes as they were going through these emotions.  We have all been there and it is one of the most intense and overwhelming feelings that human can have and the film did it justice.

I also believe that this film did a great job of setting up the final chapter of the Harry Potter saga, which was it’s biggest task.  I have never been one to state that these films are life-changing in anyway, but anyone who is a true fan of Harry Potter is a follower because Harry is someone that we can all relate too – a boy who feels awkward and left out from society, a different child who is still kind and just wants to find a little love and happiness.  4 out of 5 monkeys

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serenity_lA sci-fi western in space, Serenity is a fun ride, with twists and turns at every corner.  A follow up to the series Firefly, Serenity tells the story of our band of misfits led by Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds as they unwillingly protect a 17 year old girl (River Tam played by Summer Glau) and her brother Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) from the alliance.  The alliance is government entity that is trying to “better” mankind through any means necessary and as the crew begins to realize, that means includes River and her many abilities.

Serenity has all of the action that one looks for in a science fiction film such as this, but it also has numerous humorous moments, as well as some heart.  The acting is a bit cheesy at times, but the surprises make it well worth the ride.  They jump right into the plot and there is null a dull moment.  Again a fun ride, well worth seeing if you are a fan of this genre of film.  And even if you are not, cause they are some shirtless dudes.  4 out of 5 monkeys,

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30-rockBased on some real life experiences that Tina Fey had while working as a writer for SNL, 30 Rock is the story of Liz Lemon, head writer of the sketch comedy show “TGS with Tracy Jordan”, who must deal with an arrogant boss (Alec Baldwin), crazy stars (such as Tracy Morgan doing a parody of himself and Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney, a needy starlet with a love of singing show-tunes), and idiotic mostly male writers – all without losing her mind.

I love 30 Rock for it’s clever one liners – “I hate it when people say that I smoke crack, that’s racist.  I am straight up mentally ill!”, while still allowing for more subtle humor at times (mostly obscure references to historical figures – watch the  show for an example).  The characters are all well written and performed, including Kenneth the Page (who doesn’t like hick jokes) and Jack Donaghey (got to the love the references to his extremely thick hair).  I also love 30 Rock for Tina Fey and her love of food and star wars.  She is a nerd and I love her awkwardness.  If only we had more role models like her on television.  Then less people would get boob jobs and would read more books.  5 out of 5 monkeys

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