The Time Traveller’s Wife

Time Travel has fascinated countless writers of science fiction, this might be the first time a romance writer takes a stab at it, and the end result is surprisingly good. This is much more romance and matters of the heart than it is the actual science behind transversing time and space. All the physics geeks (and yes, I was part of that group as well) might have trouble the bending of the laws in order to make the story work.

Hey, there is actually something out there called the Clock Gene, but I doubt it has any bearing in transporting a entirely naked Eric Bana across space and displacing all his molecules perfectly together in another time. Hey, if you can believe that he can interact with his younger self, thereby violating the basic principle of time travel, well, you can just suspend your belief.

The movie isn’t about going around from place to place in any sort of awesome way, it’s about Claire’s (Rachael McAdam’s) very creepy love affair with the sometimes old, sometimes young Henry (Eric Bana). Who first appears to Claire at the tender age of 6, gym fit and buck naked he continues to visit her until she catches up with him while still in College and he’s a research librarian (too bad he can’t go back and get some real dirt on the Spanish inquisition). She falls in love with him even with his ‘Chrono-impairment’ which causes him to miss birthdays, holidays, and even a portion of their wedding. But don’t worry, an older Henry takes his own place.

The wardrobe costs for this guy must be killer.

You’re telling me you’re in the Sherlock Holmes sequel?

There’s a lot of naysayers out there, mainly the Internet community which I happen to be a part of that didn’t feel any emotion and figured Claire was a damsel in distress, constantly having to love someone that wasn’t there. Hey, it’s romance guys, this is what chicks dig. And for me, it was somehow soothing. Forlorn love, difficult decisions, and kids. Kids just make me well up these days. Damn those cute kids and father figures they’ll end up missing as they grow up.

7.5 out of 10

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Year Released: 2008
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf
Production Company: LucasArts
Review done: 7:41 AM 6/23/2008

At some point after doing the Star Wars Prequels, Lucas must have been searching in his front pocket for change and found the script to Indy 4. Hey, I’m not saying it was done horribly, I just wish it came out a little bit earlier – as in before Shia LaBeouf started to make a name for himself in movies. I’m not a huge fan of the kid, and it’s plain to see why he’s there in the first place: to gap the generations, and to pull in the younger audiences. I could have done without his false bravado, as convincing as Spielberg’s direction was, that kid simply annoys me.

Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a throwback to the adventure serials of the 40’s and 50’s. Indiana Jones this time around has shown his age and the era has made a shift from 1940’s Nazi enemies to late 1950’s Cold War Russians. Harrison Ford as the titular character is back as the most Bad Ass bullwhip cracking, fedora wearing Archaeologist ever. For a guy in his 60’s he can still hold his own, throwing punches and doing most of his stunt work (even if it is done primarily in front of a blue screen). The storyline departs radically from the original series use of biblical and religious roots; this time around the plot point focuses on Aliens. That’s right, it sounds even a little bit harebrained to me; but you think about it- Spielberg has done ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘E.T’, so at least he can make it look convincing. The Russians want to get their hands on a Crystal skull (yes, an Alien Skull) to make use of its powers for the U.S.S.R’s power arsenal. And it’s up to Indy and company to stop them.

“Spielberg promised this would all be blue screen!”

There’s a great deal done to keep the same feeling as the older Indy movies; the sets seem to be cut from the same cloth, the soundtrack feels the same, but the visuals are certainly different. Remember in Raiders of the Lost Ark, that part where Indy comes face to face with a cobra? In that scene you could see the reflection of the snake for a split moment. For the moment, that little imperfection, it was what made the movie for me, all the little things. These days the green and blue screen techniques used cover up all the imperfections and it looks a little layered. Believe me, you’ll notice it in the jungle scenes, especially when Shia LaBeouf is swinging through the trees Tarzan style with a bunch of CGI MONKEYS. If you think that sounded as ridiculous as it’s written, imagine my surprise that this movie spawned a catchphrase for a whole new generation.

I’m willing to forgive a lot since this is one of those adventure characters I fell in love with as a kid. That’s saying a lot, I can tolerate what’s going on between LaBeouf, a Boris and Natasha style Cate Blanchett, and a bunch of cartoony Russians in a comic book style plot. I mean, it’s still Indiana Jones; just sexed up for the 21st century with an X-Files twist. The first act, the need to find the Crystal Skull, the introduction of the main characters is worked beautifully; Spielberg has always masterfully given us characters we can care about no matter what the subject matter. The second act brings us further into this new Indy world, but by the third act, Jones doesn’t really have any motivation rather than to just get it over with. If it’s because he can get the seniors dinner discount at Applebee’s I can understand you got an obstacle to overcome buddy, but seriously: I wasn’t pulling for him in the last half hour. I think the problem was with Lucas’ script, did he really need the money? Obviously not. I’m sure he was digging around in his pocket and came out with the script treatment for Indy IV. Be that as it may, the other writers do pull their weight and at least make the dialogue somewhat plausible.

Harrison Ford shines a light on LaBeouf’s future career.

Indiana Jones is back and Harrison Ford is better than ever with his bad ass fedora. Bring some popcorn and tune out your mind for the ride. The parts where you have to suspend your belief are still fun, and heck the possibility of another Indy film keeps me coming back for more.

7.5 out of 10

Movie Review: Live Free or Die Hard

Live Free or Die Hard
Year Released: 2007
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Starring: Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Justin Long
Production Company: 20th Century Fox

Come and gone are the 80’s action movies. With their over the top action, defying of physics and one liners they were retired when the age of special effects entered the arena. Everyone got the memo: except for John McClane: indestructible supercop and it’s about time he came back!

Live Free or Die Hard could very well be the most fun movie for the summer 2007 season and it stands out with a point: who needs all the blue and green screen crap when you have a veritable, be it bald, action icon like Willis who’s come back in the digital age to lay down the smack: analog-style. The plot is simple: it brings forward all those Y2K era fears you had about dependency on computers, and what happens to infrastructure, government, finances and traffic when their tied into said computers. Ultra hacker Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) has devised the mass mayhem in an attempt at securing the World’s finances by way of duping hackers into cracking pieces of government code, and he does away with them with a C-4 firmware upgrade (?) that destructs when the geeks hit ‘delete’. Pretty far-fetched. It was even more farfetched that some of the terrorists were French (!).

The action is just what you’ve come to expect from the Die Hard series: it’s fast, furious, and loud. At times, it’s pretty over the top and somewhat silly: such as when McClane crashes a police cruiser into a helicopter. “I was out of bullets” an understated, if not dry use of his quick barbs. That’s another thing too, what happened to the one-liners? We were treated with a veritable cornucopia of memorable quotes:

There was the statement of obvious:
“No fucking shit, lady. Do I sound like I’m ordering a pizza?”
More obviousness:
“Who’s driving this car, Stevie Wonder?”
And my personal favourite: right at the end when he’s beating the hell out of Karl:
“You motherfucker, I’m gonna kill you! I’m gonna fuckin’ cook you, and I’m gonna fucking eat you!”

In the most recent incarnation, we’re given
“Enough of this kung fu shit”
“A little thing they invented back in the sixties called ‘jogging’. You’re gonna love it. Come on”

Okay, now that it’s down on paper, I have to say I cracked a smile over that kung fu line.

Speaking of which, with the family friendly PG-13 rating, I was a little disappointed. Viewing the first Die Hard, it was basically B movie fare that compensated not having a big star (at the time anyway) with massive amounts of blood and Willis’ trademark smart-ass one liners. And it worked great. Hell, it worked in the first, second and third instalment, not so much this time around though. Yes, I blame the rating for the lack of swearing, and Die Hard’s famous quote ‘Yippee Ki Yay Motherfucker!’ which they needlessly blanked out the last few syllable with a gunshot. So, the ratings board doesn’t like any famous four letter words, but is willing to substitute it with on screen shootings and McClane beating a girl into submission? Well, whatever works.

Oh yes, the ACTION. It’s pure and plenty, but there’s a few parts that I’m sure auto manufacturer’s hoped to cash in on, namely the parts where:

McClane drives a cop car into a helicopter.
McClane drives over a chick ninja with a Ford Explorer.
McClane drives a semi big rig into an F-18 hornet.

Plus, he steals a BMW and Kevin Smith’s old beater. To say the screenwriters might be autophiles might be stating the obvious: or point out their closet fetish.

If you want a movie with an action icon back in form, check out the indestructible human bullet John McClane kicking ass on July 4th. His old school tactics certainly work: especially when he delivers the package with a wise cracking mouth.

7.5 out of 10