I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Indiana (Harrison Ford) is forced to find a box that is hidden in a U.S. facility by a group of Russian soldiers, headed up by Dr. Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett). The box holds a corpse that appears to be from out of this world. Indiana at first attempts an escape that is foiled by Mac (Ray Winstone), whom he thought was his friend. The professor is not stalled for long, and he manages to get away, even getting out of being harmed by a bomb dropped on a nuclear test site. Unfortunately, this puts Indiana under suspicion of being in cahoots with Communism. It's 1957, and anti-Communist sentiment is high.

Indiana is forced to take a leave from absence from his professor's position. On the way out of town, he meets Mutt (Shia LaBeouf), a young man who needs a favor. A professor friend of his, Oxnard (John Hurt) has been kidnapped. When Mutt's mom went to find him, she ended up in trouble, too. Oxnard was in search of the Crystal Skull, which is rumored to have great powers. Mutt shows Indiana a letter of what Oxnard had found so far. Indiana and Mutt travel to Peru, where they encounter a lot of dangerous situations, as Dr. Spalko stays on their trail. Indiana is surprised to find Mutt's mom is Marion (Karen Allen), a former girlfriend who was introduced in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

This film is not as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it's not the weak entry in the series that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was. It has flashes of what made people admire Indiana Jones, and Mutt is not a bad sidekick.

Shia LaBeouf was in Transformers (2007). Ms. Allen was in Animal House (1978) and Scrooged (1988). Ford has been in many movies including American Graffiti (1973).

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Knocked Up (2007)

Alison (Katherine Heigl) is a reporter on her way up at the E! Network. She gets a promotion to be on-air. Alison and her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) go to a bar, where Alison meets Ben (Seth Rogan). What Alison doesn't know about Ben is that he's a major slacker. He shares a house with three buddies, and they basically do nothing, except for preparing to launch a porn web site. Alison gets drunk, takes Ben home, and they do the deed -- without a condom.

Soon Alison is having morning sickness, and regretting hooking up with Ben. Ben doesn't take the news that he's going to be a daddy seriously in the beginning. It appears that he and Alison have absolutely nothing in common other than the fact that they are going to be parents.

I understand this movie was a big hit. I'm sorry, but comedies about loser guys and their dumb attitudes aren't that funny to me. I'm glad I saw it on cable as opposed to paying to see it in the movies. I thought the Alison character should have known better than to foolishly get drunk and get with some guy she barely knew. I thought Ben was stupid for not using a condom, especially in this age of AIDS. The constant profanity came off as being done to make lame jokes and silly comedic situations appear funnier.

Ms. Heigl appeared on TV's "Grey's Anatomy". Rogan was in Superbad (2007). Paul Rudd who appears as Heigl's brother-in-law in this movie, was in The Object of My Affection (1998).

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

When we first see Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), he has found a statue in a cave. He removes it from its spot, replacing it with a bag of sand meant to represent the weight of the statue. The statue has been booby-trapped to guard against thieves. Jones doesn't get much time to celebrate his new treasure. He's set off a trap after all -- a boulder comes barreling towards him. Jones makes it out of the cave in the nick of time.

Jones is also a professor in addition to being an archelogist and adventurer. The year is 1936, and the U.S. is concerned about the rise of the Nazis overseas. The Nazis are seeking the Ark of the Covenant, a Biblical artifact. They believe if they possess the Ark, their military will be invincible. Knowing that Jones is an expert on religion and the occult, the U.S. government asks him to find the Ark before the Nazis do.

What follows is a wild adventure that is done up in the style of 1930's movie serials. Maybe that's why my late dad, who grew up during the Great Depression, liked this movie. It has the distinction of being the only movie in color that he liked. Indiana goes from one cliffhanger and narrow escape to the next, assisted by his former girlfriend, a tough woman named Marion (Karen Allen). It is rip-roaring entertainment, one of the best films of it's kind.

Harrison Ford has appeared in many films including the first three Star Wars movies and the big screen remake of the 60's TV show The Fugitive (1993). Karen Allen made her film debut in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), and later appeared alongside Jeff Bridges in Starman (1984). Both Ford and Allen were born in Illinois. Alfred Molina is also in this movie. He was Doc Ock in Spiderman 2 (2004).

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Iron Man (2008)

Tony Stark is kidnapped while in Afganistan to show off a new weapon his company has made. The rebels who grab him demand that he make a rocket for them. When Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) realizes he'll be killed after he delivers the product, he makes a robot instead. Yelsin (Shaun Taub), who's also a prisoner of the rebels, helps him to build it. Stark stages a daring escape, but unfortunately Yinsen is killed. Before he dies, Yinsen basically tells Stark to think about how he'll live his life from here on in.

As soon as Stark returns to the States, he announces he getting out of the business of being a war profiteer. This does not sit well with either his business partner Obadiah (Jeff Bridges) or his long-time friend, Jim Rhodes (Terrance Howard), who is a military officer. Stark secretly works on another version of the robot he made in Afganistan. The experience over there has made him a changed man in terms of how he'll use his talents for the world.

This is a different type of superhero movie, as the man behind the mask is not completely a good guy. Stark is a mega-rich playboy who drinks too much, and often frustrates and irritates the few people who are closest to him, including his assistant Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). His genius has made Stark a bit arrogant, too. Action is displayed, but the emphasis is more on character than it usually is in films of this genre.

Downey (Chaplin, 1992) and Bridges (Starman, 1984) are Oscar nominated actors. Ms. Paltrow won a Best Actress Oscar for Shakespeare In Love (1998). Howard was in The Brave One (2007), alongside Jodie Foster.

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