Whale of a Tale Productions

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127 Hours, by Danny Boyle (2010)

I have to say when I heard about this film it is not a film I felt like rushing out to see. Sounds like way too brutal of a story, and I am never a big fan of people losing limbs. And all I can say is I am so glad I did not stay away because this is easily the best film of the year. It fills you with wonder and hope, and James Franco deserves the Oscar. This is an absolute must see film, even if you must hide your eyes for some of it. Do yourself a favor and go see this film right now! This makes me want to read Ralston’s actual book Between a Rock and a Hard place. Wow, what a story and what a person.

In April of 2003 Engineer Aron Ralston (James Franco) is heading out to go hiking. He ignores a call from his mom, and can’t find his swiss army knife, only a really crappy multi-tool and heads out in his truck to go hiking in Utah. Ralston is in his element, and having a great time all alone in the wilderness, though he does run into two beautiful hikers, Megan McBride (Amber Tamblyn) and Kristi Moore (Kate Mara) who he shows a secret way to a watering hole, and has them dropping into it from above. The invite him to a party that night, and he agrees, but skips off on his own, electing not to go with the girls. Shortly thereafter he goes into a small canyon and a knocks a rock lose and it falls on him, pinning his right arm under it, leaving him stuck.

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Tron Legacy by Joseph Kosinski (2010)

Wow, I have been excited for this film for a long time, and while it was visually stunning, the film’s story is laughable bad, as is the directed, and because of it the acting. Disney should have let someone who actually got the first film do this sequel, because great visuals do not make for a great movie. Sure the effect of making Jeff Bridges young is great, but the story veers completely away from the themes of the first film, and tries to be it’s own thing, but it’s storyline is just contrived and ridiculous, and even Olivia Wilde can’t lift the mediocrity that we see here. The first film was about computers taking over the fledgling computer networks of the world, and this movie abandons that for plans to take over the real world, huh? And while the 3D was great, I have to say the good electronic glasses they had at the Arclight were so covered in an oily film that the whole movie looked fuzzy, and my mom and I weren’t the only ones constantly trying to wipe out glasses!

in 1989 the CEO of ENCOM, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) tells a story about a fantastic new world, and then disappears that night, never to be seen again. ENCOM, though owned mostly by Flynn’s son, is run by it’s board of directors in complete opposition to Flynn’s ideas of free software, and they spend each year releasing a new upgrade to their system software (as developed by Edward Dillinger Jr [Cillian Murphy] a nod to ENCOM executive Ed Dillinger who was played by David Warner in the first film) which is really only advertising and doesn’t add anything. The only executive who fights it is Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) who stills believes in his old friend. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) an adrenaline junky pulls his yearly prank on ENCOM and steals the new OS and releases if for free, before being arrested after base jumping from the top of the building. That night Alan goes to see Sam to tell him that he got a page from Kevin’s old arcade, though the number has been disconnected for 2o years. Sam goes to the old arcade (which strangely features a Tron game instead of the Space Paranoids that is should have, and which they had at the recreation in San Diego for Comic Con) where he finds Kevin’s secret office, and using the same laser as the first film gets digitized into a world created by his father, the computerized world of the Grid.

Sam is taken, stripped and given an identity disc, and forced to fight in the game grid. Sam proves himself to be most able, defeating everyone who goes against him, until he goes up to the raining champion Rinzler who realizes that Sam is not a program but a User. Rinzler takes Sam to see the head of the Grid, Clu (a young looking Jeff Bridges) who is a program that Kevin created to help create a perfect world, and he took over from Kevin and forced him to go into hiding. Clu decides to take on Sam himself in the grid in a light bike competition.

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Black Swan by Darren Aronofsky (2010)

With Aronofsky I either love or hate his films, loving most of them, but having hated Requim for a Dream I didn’t know what to think here, but it turns out this is a hate. The film is completely one night and pretty nonsensical, seemingly about a dancer who is completely insane, and whose life is paralleling the story of the Black Swan. I am usually a fan of Natalie Portman, but even her seemingly prodigious ballet skills cannot help her completely one note performance, and she is so skinny that she seems to have gained 20 years. I really don’t see why this film has gotten so much oscar buzz because it is really not an enjoyable film in any way shape or form. Not even the lesbian makeout scene between Portman and Mila Kunis can help raise this film above the crappy pulp that it is.

Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is a ballet dancer with the New York Ballet company, living with her overbearing mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) who was a failed dancer and now controls every aspect of Nina’s life. The ballet company’s director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassell) has cast away the companies old lead Beth (Winona Ryder) and is searching for someone new to play the White and Black Swan’s in Swan Lake. Nina is amazing as the white Swan, as she is all about perfection, but doesn’t seem to have the emotion to play the Black Swan. And her rival Lily (Mila Kunis) who has just joined shows emotion without even trying. When Leroy tries to kiss her, she bytes him and this surprises him, and excites him, causing him to cast Nina, but wants her to try and find her emotion, trying to get her to seduce him, and giving her homework of masturbating (which she tries but stops when she realizes her mom is in her room sleeping in a chair).

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True Grit written, directed and produced by Joel and Ethan Cohen (2010)

I have to admit that the Cohens have become really hit or miss for me. Sure, No Country for Old Men was decent (though in my opinion not deserving of all the hype), but A Serious Man, Burn After Reading, The LadyKillers, Intolerable Cruelty and the Man Who Wasn’t There all stunk. Of course all before that were pretty fantastic, but that is a pretty big list of stinkers. Of course the trailer of this film looked amazing, and I must say the film easily lived up to the trailer. The Cohen’s are back and in force. Everyone is amazing is in this, and it is a really great Western. This is another must see film this holiday season. And this film should certainly easily get some acting nods. Jeff Bridges is as fantastic as he usually is. Matt Damon is hysterical. And wherever they found Hailee Steinfeld, they really found a gem. She makes the film and is fantastic.

The young girl Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) heads into town to deal with her murdered father. He was killed by his hand Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). Mattie sends her slave back to her mother with her father’s body, and then sets out to hire someone to catch Chaney. She manages to get money her father was owed, and sell the horses he bought. She decides to hire, the baddest of the U.S. Marshals, the notorious one eyed Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges). Cogburn doesn’t want anything to do with her. A bit of an idiot Texas Ranger named La Boeuf (Matt Bamon) shows up also looking for Chaney, and wants to team up with Cogburn, as he knows the Indian territory an terrain, but Mattie will have none of it, as she wants to take Chaney home to be hanged and not to Texas for his crime of killing a congressman. Mattie does manage to hire the drunken Cogburn, though he gets more than he bargained for, when she decides to come along. Cogburn attempts to leave her behind, and meet up with La Boeuf, since with 2 bounties he can make more money, but Mattie will have nothing of it, and swims her horse along the river and comes along anyway.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 by David Yates (2010)

Now my wife is a huge Harry Potter Fan, and I do love the books, but the movies have been more let downs to me than joys, and this one has proved no exception. The films hit their peak with the third film, The Prisoner of Azkabhan by Alfonso Curon, and the only film to come close was David Yate’s Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, but his Order of the Pheonix film is my least favorite in the entire series, and this one has dropped back down in my opinion. Not only does Eduaro Serra’s cinematography not touch that of the amazing Bruno Delbonnel’s, but the pacing was off enough to drag at times, and though they claimed to not have cut anything out, they did in fact cut things that seem like they should be important to the story. And the did in fact add to the film, though the big addition of a dance between friends Harry and Hermione I did enjoy, though it does seem to suggest that Harry does love Hermione which is not even hinted at in the books. Honestly the kids do a great job here, and have really grown as actors, but the film really left me flat. First off the score I thought was jarringly bad, and really should have been John WIlliams, and should have continued some of his themes for characters, even if they had grown and gotten darker. But with all new music here, I am never drawn into the world as I was with William’s score. Once again it felt to me like they really didn’t get the novel, and were just going through the motions, instead of really getting into it. And the big opening chase scene was not only too confusing, but to me it felt like it was staged as a big 3D spectacular, which really fell flat without the 3D conversion (which I am glad they did not do), but I think the scene could have been done better if it wasn’t intended to have been done for 3D. I also felt that the film wasn’t ominous enough, as in the book Voldemort is always right on Harry’s heals waiting to get him, but here we only see him in the big chase, and that seem is so disjointed that I couldn’t tell if Voldemort was supposed to be there, or Harry was dreaming it. Maybe the ultimate extended edition they will eventually release will make it better, as maybe they filmed it all, but if that is the case, what they ended up with was just badly paced (something that really bothers me as an editor) and didn’t draw me as I hoped it would. Sure it had some good moments, but had too many things that threw me out of the film (why did Dobbie’s voice sound so different, especially with Toby Jones playing him in the two films he appeared in?). I am sure after repeated viewings I might find more to like in the film, but overall it just left me feeling flat. Let’s hope part 2 is better, and since they covered so much of the book in the this film, lets hope for an hour long battle scene at the end (especially since they cut the big battle out of Half Blood Prince which took a lot away from the ancillary characters and made the ending fall much flatter than it should have).

The film starts with the new Minister for Magic Rufus Scimgour (the great Bill Nighy) giving a speech about how the ministry still being strong, while Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) meets with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and the Death Eaters at the house of the very damaged by prison in Azkhaban, Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs). Snape informs them of the exact time that Harry Potter will be moved. Voldemort knows his wand will not kill Harry so he takes Lucius’s wand to do the dead. Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) erases the memories of her parents, erasing herself from her parents lives (an awesome addition to the film). The Dursley’s leave for their safety, leaving Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) alone at the house. Mad Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson) along with Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), Hermione, Fred and George Weasley ( James and Oliver Phelps), Bill Weasley (Domhnall Glesson) and his fiancee Fleue Delacour (Clémence Poésy), the thief Mundugus Fletcher (Andy Linden), Rebueus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), Remus Lupin (David Thewlis) and Nymphadora Tonks (Natalia Tena). Half of them take Polyjuice potion and they head out to fool the death eaters, but are ambushed. Harry with Hagrid is saved by his owl Hedwig who is killed, but is still almost taken by Voldemort, but again the wand will not kill Harry, and he manages to get to the Weasley’s house the Burrows. Mad Eye Moody is killed though when Mundugus evaporates, and George is hexed and hurt. Harry wants to leave so no one else is hurt, but Ron convinces him to stay. Scimgeour arrives with Dumbledore’s will. Ron is left his Deluminator to get him through his darkest time, Hermione is given a copy of the Tales of Beedle the Bard and Harry is given the snitch from his first Quiditch game. He is old told he was left Godric Gryffindor’s sword, but not only is it lost, but it belongs to the ministry so it won’t be given to him. At Bill and Fleur’s wedding, death eater’s attack, and Harry along with Hermione and Ron apparate and arrive in London, and start on the run.

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Superchunk at the Music Box

I have been a fan of Superchunk since college, and have been psyched that they finally started recording again after 7 years with they Leaves in the Gutter EP and now their ninth album Majesty Shredding. And Kelly and I have really enjoyed seeing shows at the Music Box as it has a great sound system which is not too loud, and we love the balcony, which was unfortunately closed last night. I did get their early enough to claim one of the side seats though, so Kelly and I were able to sit for the show, especially great since it was so hot and humid last night.

The first opening band was from Seattle, and is a band called Telekinesis, with their singer being the drummer. And they were very enjoyable and had a great energy. I ended up picking up their album for $10 at the show, and it is quite good.

The second band was the Vaselines, and I was not much of fan, neither was Kelly.

Superchunk though were amazing! Mac McCaughan and his high pitched voice were fantastic, and played songs spanning their whole career, not just focusing on Majestic Shredding. McCaughan has so much energy it is infectious (really shows you were he got the song Hyper Enough, one of my personal favorites, along with Nu Bruises, which they also played).

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Cop Out by Kevin Smith (2010)

I had stayed away from this because the trailer just looked so bad, but I am a fan of Kevin Smith, so I rented this POS from Netflix and wish I hadn’t, because I want that 107 minutes back. This film is just plain horrible. In fact it is easily the worst thing Bruce Willis has ever done. This could be the worse action buddy drama ever made. I mean it is that bad! Just a waste of celluloid. What the hell was Kevin Smith thinking? This movie should never have been made!

Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) are cops who have been partners for 9 years at the NYPD. The two screw up a collar and cause a shootout, so they get suspended without pay. This is bad because Jimmy’s daughter Ava (Michelle Trachtenberg) is getting married, and he doesn’t want his ex wife’s new husband Roy (Jason Lee) to pay the $40,000 for the wedding, so he decides he has to sell a very rare baseball card he has. Paul meanwhile thinks his beautiful wife Debbie (Rashida Jones) is cheating on him with the neighbor, so he sets up a camera in a teddy bear. At the baseball card store the store is robbed by Dave (Seann William Scott) who also steals Paul’s gun, so the two set out to catch the robber. They get Dave, but find he has sold the card and gun for drugs, so they must search for them.

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Confucius 孔子之決戰春秋 by Hu Mei (2010)

Really an all over let down of a film. Sure it is epic, but the story and characters really fall flat, and they fail to go into the depth or even a true overview of confucian ideals, nor where they might have come from. This film glosses over any depth the story could have had. It felt like Chow Yun Fat trying to make up for not doing Red Cliff, but failing miserably instead. And it doesn’t help that Chow Yun Fat is dubbed into Mandarin here (as he speaks Cantonese). And while there is some detail in the first half of the film, where we see Confucius as a politician, the section where he is homeless and traveling doesn’t really go into depth of what they were doing, and instead just shows that it was hard, and makes the film not very enjoyable. Sure it looks good, but that is not enough to carry this film. Really a let down, I would stay away from this one.

The film opens with Kong Qiu [Confuscius played by Chow Yun Fat] as an old man remembering his life, looking out of badly digital windows. Then we got back to his period as an official in the Kingdom of Lu. He had been a mayor, but his ideals and disciples had turned the state into such a principled state, that the leader gets Chi Shun (Chen Jianbin) to give up his position as minister of Law to allow Confucius to gain that position and put his principles into affect. He first manages to save a burial slave from being slaughtered and killed with his dead master, and having the law changed to make the practice illegal. Kong then manages to get a treaty through with a warlike neighbor and get 3 cities back that had been taken in a previous conflict. He seems at the height of his powers, and according to the law starts to have the 3 walls taken down from the 3 powerful families fiefedoms, and this loses him his power, and he is banished from Lu.

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Robin Hood Series 1-3 created by Dominic Minghella and Foz Allan (2006-2009)

An alright update of the Robin Hood legend for modern times, that suffered a bit from being drawn out too long, and some story points that just didn’t make sense. Sure some of the characters were fun and enjoyable to watch, and the show looks great and has good music, but the Robin Hood legend works better as a finite story, since otherwise you question why they didn’t just kill off the villains (they gave a better explanation in the second series for the sheriff, but for others it got a bit ridiculous). It also suffered in having Robin and Marrion’s love story get so drawn out, and having Guy of Gisborne constantly come between them, it just made her seem cruel, and flighty. I guess the show was decent enough, but overall not too impressive.

Having been wounded as a protector of the King in the holy land in the Crusades, Robin of Lockley (Jonas Armstrong) returns with his servant and best friend Much (Sam Troughton) to Nottingham and his lands, to find everything is changed. The old sheriff has lost power to a new evil man (Keith Allen). The old sheriff’s daughter Lady Marian (Lucy Griffiths) is pissed at him because he chose to leave her for the Holy Land and war, and his hated foe Sire Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) fights for her affections. Robin quickly has his lands taken from him, and becomes an outlaw, joining with other outlaws Little John (Gordon Kennedy), Will Scarlett (Harry Lloyd ) and Allan A Dale (Joe Armstrong) to fight for what is right, and to fight for their King. The Sheriff works with he kings evil brother Prince John, and wants to kill the King and take the land of England into Darkness.

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Spooks (MI-5) Series 1 through 4 created by David Wolstencroft (2002-2005)

A smart and stylish BBC One television series dealing with a group of British Intelligence officers from MI-5 Dealing with with in country terrorist threats. The show really rests on the shoulders of the excellent Matthew Macfadyen (who was recently in The PILLARS OF THE EARTH) and the show is really about him and his team including Keeley Hawes who would go on to be so excellent in Ashes to Ashes. I kind of lost it with 24 because it was so ridiculous, but I quite enjoy this show, though Series 3 did fall a bit for me, as it felt like an entire series just designed to get rid of the 3 members of the original team, and slowing starting a new team led by Rupert Penry-Jones as Adam Carter. And while this did allow some more focus on Kelley Hawes and David Oyelowo, it didn’t really let the new team start to take off until the 4th series. The show is thrilling, and worth checking out, especially since the first 4 series (out of 7) is available as MI-5 on Netflix Streaming. There are some fun cameos by High Laurie as an MI-6 officer and Andy Serkis as a rocker which are fun to watch for as well.

The series starts out following Tom Quinn (Matthew Macfayden) and his team, Zoe Reynolds (Kelley Hawes) and Danny Hunter (David Oyelowo) working at the Grid in Thames House for MI-5. There boss is Sir Harry Pearce (Peter Firth)who always had their back if needed. They are later joined by intelligence analyst Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker) who is brought in to spy on them, but they catch her and make her a permanent team member. The first season deals with not only the missions to stop terrorism, but also Tom dealing with being in love with a woman and her daughter, and having the relationship torn apart by his job, and his constantly having to lie to her.

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Clash of the Titans by Louis Leterrier (2010)

A darker high budget effects remake of the classic 1981 film that does not live up to it’s promise. The effects are good, but the story isn’t nearly as accurate to greek mythology here, more like they are just making it up. It has so much promise, but really it kind of falls flat. I mean why does everyone have long hair in the film, but Sam Worthington has a modern buzz cut? And it really is sad to see Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson so wasted. And many characters that are introduced, but have almost no parts, which makes the film seem badly edited. The one saving grace is the effects are fun to watch, especially the digital cities, but overall I was pretty letdown and very glad that I waited until I could Netlfix the blu-ray. I think my favorite moments was the cameo of the mechanical owl from the original film.

THe film starts with a voice over explaining how the three gods Zeus, (Liam Neeson), Poseidon (Danny Huston) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) conspired to take Olympus, with the use of a creature created by Hades, the Kraken, but Zeus betrayed his brother, and when he took over Olympus he had Hades banished to hell forever. Zeus and the other Olympians lived off the love and prayers of the humans who worshipped them, but over the millennia, that worship has waned, and the Gods no longer have the power they once had. A fisherman named Spyros (Pete Psotlethwaite) sees a coffin come from the deep, and in it is a dead woman and her baby son. The fisherman adopts the boy and he grows to be a man, Perseus (Sam Worthington). The fishing is bad, and the are trying new places, and near Argos they see soldiers having declared war on gods knock down the giant statue of Zeus. Hades in response sends his harpies, which kill most of the soldiers, and also hit Spyros boat, killing him, his wife and daughter, sparing only Perseus. Perseus is found by the troops and taken back to Argos and meets King Kepheus (Vincent Regan), queen Cassiopeia (Polly Walker) and their daughter Aphrodite (Agyness Deyn). Queen Cassopeia describes her daughter as being more beautiful than any goddess. Hades meanwhile has convinces Zeus that they must scare the people back into prayer, and set the Kraken against Argos. Hades appears and kills the soldiers and kills Cassopeia. He recognizes that in fact Perseus is a demi-god and a son of Zeus, and threatens Argos to either sacrifice Aphrodite or the Kraken will take the city. Persues is imprisoned by Kepheus. Io (Gemma Arterton from Prince of Persia) a woman cursed by the gods to never age for not falling for the seduction of the God Ares comes and tells Persues who he really is. Zeus, in order to punish the king Acriscus (Jason Flemyng) changed into his form and impregnated his wife Danaë (Tine Stapelfeldt). Arriscus had his wife and her son locked in a coffin and cast into the sea, where the wife died. Acriscus was struck by Zeus and left as a monster. When Persues learns that killing the Kraken will allow him to have his revenge on Hades he agrees to destroy the Kraken and is released.

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Repo Men by Miguel Sapochnik (2010)

I was looking forward to this film as the idea of people repossessing organs is a great idea (and I didn’t want to see the previous musical which had the same premise), but boy do I wish we had stayed away. This movie is all around completely awful. It is shot well, but that is all it has. The premise is good, but the pacing is awful and the story is not good either, and every character is so unlikeable that you never care for anyone. And the twist at the end is laughable, because it doesn’t add anything and you just don’t care any which way. This must have been a good script to get this cast, but it sure was a waste with this director because this is such an awful film it should never have been released. It is utter crap.

In the near future a corporation called The Union has created artificial organs, but they do not make money by selling them, instead they make more money by selling them at exorbitant interest rates, and when they people go 90 days past due they “reposes” the organs, killing the patient and getting their property back. Remy (Jude Law) is a class 5 repressor, the best of the best, matched only by his best friend and former partner Jake (Forest Whitaker). They work for the slimy Frank (Liev Schreiber) and do their job very well. Remy’s wife Carol (Carice van Houten) wants Remy to move to sales, because she hates his job, and threatens to leave him, though their son does still love Remy. Jake isn’t happy about Remy wanting to leave, as they have been friends since they were kids, and were in a tank in war together. Carol says Remy must quit, but he and Jake find a tanker ship filled with people with past due organs and they go in and take many people including some who had jammers which made them seem normal, though they killed them anyway and took their hidden organs. Remy wants to quit anyway, but takes one last big job taking the heart of a record producer, but his defibrillator malfunctions and he wakes up the hospital after a heart transplant, which he doesn’t want, but he cannot kill anyone anymore, as he thinks of his own heart.

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Legend of the Seeker created by Sam Raimi adapted from the novels by Terry Goodkind (2008-2010)

I unfortunately missed this show on TV, but thanks to my friend Chris started watching it on Netflix on Demand and quickly fell in love with this fantastic fantasy show. It has a great cast and an excellent story. In fact it was so good that I quickly picked up the books (which are huge) and am already on the third book in the series, and I just can’t put them down. The show looks fantastic the cast is amazing (and Bridget Regan is totally hot). It is really a shame that this show did not get the third season it so readily deserved. There is a fan site set up to try and save the, Save Our Seeker, and I have already written my letter to Disney ABC, and I hope it gets another season, but I am not holding my breath. Still this is an excellent fantasy show, with great characters and is really worth checking out (especially on Netflix Streaming). I quickly fell in love with this world, and my only consolation is that their are 11 books in the series with a 12 being written as well as one prequel and one in this world that ties in. My only complaints with the show is there are some flashback episodes which are nothing but filler, but the long novels do not have nearly enough story to fill these long seasons, so they had to make stuff up. Actually I would love to see features made of these books, which could be more accurate to the story (though I am not sure they could have gotten a better cast).

Richard Cypher (Craig Horner) is a woods guide living peacefully in the land of Westland, a land without magic, that is separated from the magical land of the Midland’s which used to separated from the land of D’Hara, but that wall has fallen. While out in the woods Richard runs into a beautiful woman named Kahlan Amnell (Bridget Regan) who is being chased by a Quad of Assassins. Richard helps her, and she uses her magic, confessors magic, which lets her take control of any person she touches (though only once every 2 hours) and they kill 3 of the Quad. The fourth though, goes and kills Richard’s father, and allies himself with Richard’s brother Michael (David de Lautour), who believes the Quad over Richard, and hunts him as a killer. RIchard meanwhile was bit by a strange plant and is only saved by his best friend, the old man Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander (Bruce Spence who is perfect here, though I always picture him from Road Warrior) who has hidden his identity, but secretly is actually Richard’s grandfather and also the First Wizard of the Midlands, who went into hiding, and who Kahlan is searching for. She wants the Wizard to name a true Seeker, who can fight against the evil of the D’Haran king and Magician Darken Rahl (Craig Parker). Zed names the true Seeker, the one he has been watching all his life, Richard, much to Kahlan’s chagrin, and gives him the magic sword of truth to battle evil.

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The Expendables by Sylvester Stallone (2010)

It is really too bad, because I was so looking forward to this film, but really it is such a let down. It is awesome to have all these action stars together, but the story is mediocre at best, and even the action is not that impressive, with not much gore (and with most of it being digital). Honestly this needed a decent script as well. I mean they go in at the end without a plan and the building they are in blows up, but does not blow them up? WHAT?!?!??!?! And while it is great to see Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger on screen together, but the scene is really a throw away and didn’t need to be here (though it does have some funny lines it). Overall this film is really a let down, and not worth all the hype.

The Expendables are a group of Mercenaries who fight for the highest bidder. They are Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his best friend Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Toll Road (Randy Couture), Hale Ceasar (Terry Crews) and Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) They start by attacking some Somalian pirates and saving the hostages, but the junkie Gunnar goes too far trying to hang the pirates, so they kick him out. When they return Barney Ross goes to see his old friend Tool (Mickey Rourke) to see about work, and learns of a new job. Christmas goes to see his girlfriend, and finds her with another guy.

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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Edgar Wright (2010)

I am a huge fan of Edgar Wright, but was a little worried to not have Simon Pegg or Nick Frost in it, and honestly I have gotten sick of Michael Cera, but I have to say my worries were unfounded because this is a great film. Fun witty, enjoyable and just plain bad ass all the way around. This film gets the look and feel of video games and really comes down to a sweet little love story. This is a must see film, and it is too bad it isn’t doing too well in the theaters because this is destined to be a cult classic.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a down on his luck bass player in the band Sex Bob-Omb who seems to be irresistible to women, but his heart was badly broken a year ago, so now he is dating a a high schooler named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) who he has barely held hands with. Scott lives in a one room apartment with his gay best friend Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin) right across the street from where he grew up. Scott sees and falls for a mysterious girl named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who he wants to be with At the bands show in a concert to win a record label, Scott is attacked by Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha) who turns out to be the first of Ramona’s 7 evil exes who he must defeat to be able to date her!

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Mother (마더) by Bong Joon-ho (봉준호) 2009

I had been hearing about this for a while, and wanted to see it, especially since Bong Joon Ho has shown some serious talent. This is of course a much more introspective film than the Host, but is in fact better made and all around an intense and good thriller. Well made and well done, I expect to see this film being picked up for a US remake before long, but see the original, it is well worth seeing. A really enjoyable and good film. A must see.

A older widow (Kim Hye-ja) lives in a small town working selling herbs and doing unlicensed acupuncture for her clients. She has a son named Do-joon (Won Bin) who has mental problems, and she does everything to take care of him and keep him out of trouble, but is not easy. A rich man in his car hits Do-Joon an takes off, so his only friend Jin-tae (Jin-goo) grabs him and they chase after it to get revenge. Jin-tae smashes the window off the car and steals the man’s gold clubs, but since Yoon Do-joon can’t remember what happened, he gets blamed and his mother is forced to pay off the man for the damage. When a local school girl is murdered, and some golf balls that Do-joon has written his name on are found there, Do-joon is quickly blamed. When they take him into the station he signs the confession, though he doesn’t think he did it, and the case seems locked and shut, but his mother sets out to prove her sons innocence.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

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Meat Loaf’s Hang Cool Tour at the Gibson Amphitheatre

I have been a fan of Meat Loaf since I was a little kid, and have always wanted to see him in concert, though of late once I had the money the tickets seemed absorbently priced, but when we saw them for $10 on Goldstar we jumped on them even though Kelly was sick. And I sure hope they made back their money and made some money because this was an incredible show. Not only was Meat Loaf amazing (if his voice is this good at 62, how would have sounded in his 20’s), but his stage show was spectacular, I mean 2 huge balloon figures, fireworks, flames! This is an amazing show, and would have been easy worth $50 a ticket! I want to see him next time around too!

The started by stalking the stage with a pink guitar with a cancer awareness badge on it, and a tiny little amp that when it played it exploded into fireworks! Oh yea!

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Primeval Series 1-3 created by Adrian Hodges & Time Haines (2007)

I had stayed away from this series because the premise of dinosaurs in modern times has already been done and sounded just so incredibly lame, but having watched it I was blown away. This is a fantastic show with great characters and really top notch special effects! This show is 100% worth checking out. Well done and well acted. The 3rd Series did jump the shark a bit though, as the main storyline got sidelined, and killed off, and the whole thing kind of switched gears, but with Abby and Connor staying in the show, I will keep watching for sure. I am looking forward to the 4th and 5th series. I love having Netflix streaming! Great to be able to see the first 3 series streamed.

Professor Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) works at a university and ends up investigating some strange occurrences in the woods where his wife disappeared in the woods 8 years before. His assistant is Stephen Hart (James Murray) who was also in love with Nick’s wife. Also along for the ride is a eager grad student named Connor Temple (Andrew-Lee Potts). Also in the woods is zoologist Abby Maitland (Hannah Spearritt) who finds a prehistoric flying lizard, and ends up joining the team. They learn of holes in space time continuum where creatures are coming through. The government comes in and hides this, and makes them the lead team along with Claudia Brown (Lucy Brown) from the home office and James Lester (Ben Miller) a senior Home Office Official.

REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS…

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Legendary Assassin 狼牙 directed by Wu Jing and Li Chung Chi (2008)

I was hoping for a lot more from Wu Jing’s directorial debut. I love that he is trying his hand, but this story is uninspired, and the score awful, and while the action is decent, their is not really enough to carry the film. And the realistic feel is hampered by a bit too much bad wirefu which hurts the film overall. Wu Jing is decent enough here, and the Eurasian Celina Jade is cute, but that isn’t enough for this film to be anything but forgettable. And this is another film that really suffers from the post handover film restrictions as you know what will happen to the “bad guys” no matter what. Wu Jing is certainly someone to be watched, as he is a possible Jet Li successor having gone through the same Wushu training and won the same national tournaments, but hopefully he can be in some better films soon.

Bo (Wu Jing) visits a restaurant and then heads to a rural island off of Hong Kong, where he goes and kills crime boss Chairman Ma (Kou Zhan-Wen) having first knocked out his men, who only saw that he was carrying a brown bag (which is actually a bowling bag). Bo heads back to the ferry, but it is stopped because of a typhoon warning, so he is stuck in the island. As Bo wanders around, he saves a woman named Hiu Wor (Celina Jade) when she falls out of a tree trying to retrieve her cat. The go back to her place, where he realizes she is a police office, and then head out to the one open restaurant to get some food. On the radio is a broadcast about 3 theives who are also eating dinner there. Hiu Wor confronts the men (led by Jackie Chan’s ex body guard Ken Lo), but gets attacked, so Bo must save her, and they head back to the police station.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

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Skins Series 3 and 4 Created by Jamie Brittain and Brayn Elsley (2008-2009)

Skins was a show that my wife and I started watching streaming off Netlfix (the much inferior US release which had the music changed) and really got into the show, even if it is a much more intense version of a teenage soap opera. It was with trepidation that I learned that the 3rd series would feature a new cast going to take their A levels before going on to college. Quickly I found the characters were interesting enough to keep going with. We already knew Effy Stonem (Kaya Scodelario) and her best friend Pandora Moon (Lisa Backwell) and the rest of the cast made for an interesting show. I especially like the sweet Emily Fitch (Kathryn Prescott) and the troubled but sweet JJ Jones (Ollie Barbieri), but it soon became obvious instead of being about relationships this show was more about ruining relationships, with everyone seemingly doing everything to destroy their relationships, and that was when this was good. The Second series completely jumps the shark, adding in a serial killer, and a bunch of other nonsense that was badly written and unnecessary. When the final episode of Series 4 ended, both my wife and I were in shock that they could have so completely destroyed the show! I mean seeing James Cook doing synchronized dancing and having a major killer randomly killed by a serial killer! WTF!!!! And they weren’t even close to bringing many of the story threads to a close. It was like the show runner had a stroke and thought he still should have total control yet his brain wasn’t working correctly. That is how much of an incredible mess the 4th series of this show was.

The show starts with 3 best friends on their way to school for the first day, this is the unruly and womanizing James Cook (Jack O’Connel) the skateboarder Freddie Mclair (Luke Pasqualino) and JJ Jones (Ollie Barbieri) who has some mental problems, but is as sweet as could be. On their way to school they Elizabth “Effy” Stonem (Kaya Scodelario) on her way to school and all three fall in love with her. Effy’s best friend finds that she can’t handle just taking beauty classes, so she joins her friend Effie. Other students are the twins Katie (Megan Prescott) and Emily Fitch (Kathryn Prescott) who could not be more different. Katie always has a man and is very outgoing, while Emily is quite and is fact gay and is love with another student Naomi Campbell (Lily Loveless). Naomi though is straight, and hates that Katie is always giving her shit about trying to seduce her sister, when it fact it was the other way around. On the first day the school lays out new rules, and Effie makes a game of breaking them all basically telling Freddie and Cook that they can have her if they break all the rules. Cook quickly does, and has Effie in the school nurses office, leaving Freddie to pine for the woman he loves (and who Effie actually cares for, but is not willing to ever let her emotions get the best of her). They soon meet Thomas Tomone (Merveille Lukeba) a recent emigrant from the Congo. He is a good kid, and sweet and starts seeing Pandora, but they get in a lot of trouble first, both with a gangster and then with his mom who catches the kids all doing drugs and having sex, and sends Thomas back home for a while.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

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Little Big Soldier (大兵小將) by Ding Sheng (2010)

It has been a while sing I can honestly say that Jackie Chan has made a good film, but he has done so here, and with a much different role. Sure he does some acrobatics and rock throwing, but no real fights here. And this isn’t a happy film either, but how can a serious take on the warring states period in China be? This film is gorgeously shot, well acted and well done.It actually comes down to being a buddy store, and a story about loyalty. An enjoyable film that is well worth checking out.

This takes place during the Warring States period in Chinese history. The kingdom’s of Wei and Liang have a huge battle with 2000 Liang troops and 1000 Wei troops and wipe each other out. One Liang soldier does survive (Jackie Chan Sing Lung). He survived because he has rigged up a gag in his armor, which pops up an arrow on both sides and makes it look like he has already been shot. He is busy looting and getting a wagon ready when a Liang general turns out to be alive, and ends up fighting a surviving Wei General (Wang Lee Hom). The Wei general survives, but it wounded, much to the soldiers happiness. He uses his own mix of herbs to treat his wounds and ties him up to take him to Liang, as a captured General means enough land to farm on, and exemption from military service. Of course the General is being followed by more Wei who also want him dead, the Prince (Steve Yoo Sung Jun) and his general (Gai Chun Wa who I loved in the Seven Swords soap opera) are hunting him for reasons unknown.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

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Banlieue 13 – Ultimatum written and produced by Luc Besson, Directed by Patrick Allesandrin (2009)

The sequel to the incredible action film Banlieue 13 starring the parkour master David Belle and the martial artist Cyril Raffaelli. This is a serious action film that looks incredible, and has some of the best action in the world. Raffaelli’s scenes are like serious Jackie Chan fight scenes (no comedy here) and Belle is amazing to watch, he literally is a human spiderman able to leap and jump and run up walls. The ending was a bit of a let down for me, but overall this is an enjoyable sequel, and one of the most impressive action films of the last few years.

The film starts with the ending of the last film, Leito (David Belle) the Banlieue 13 resident who fought back saying goodbye to his friend the cop Damien Tomaso (Cyril Raffaelli) talking about the government doing what it said and breaking down the wall holding in the getting B13, and putting money into education and parks. We cut to 3 years later and nothing has changed. The gangs still rule. And Leito is pissed off, and keeps planting bombs to blow up the wall, which neither the cops or the local gangs like. Damien is meanwhile undercover, breaking a chinese gang that is running drugs that are taken out from the district. He is dressed like a tranny, but manages to capture the Chinese boss, and all the other mob bosses who are there to meet to pick up their drugs. Damien can’t go out the escape tunnel though, as the Van Gogh Painting he has won’t fit, and he has to use it to fight his way out. Damien is a success, and is sent home to rest, but he wakes up to cops from the special edition breaking in and arresting him for drugs that they planted.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

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Skins Seasons 1 and 2 created by Jamie Brittain and Bryan Elsley (2007-2008)

I had heard about this show and had been wanting to watch it for some time, and finally ended up watching it on Netflix on Demand, which may have been a mistake. It would seem the US releases have had their music removed and replaced with inferior music, also the stream seems to be the wrong aspect ratio, so this may make the show not as enjoyable to watch as it could be (I wish I had just ordered the PAL dvd’s from England). Still even with all the problems I greatly enjoyed this show and it’s characters, and especially the first season finale. Sure this is a teen drama, but there is so much more here than they would ever allow in the states, I mean nudity, sex, and lots of drug use throughout. And really it all comes down to the characters, and I liked the characters, or at least liked watching them, as you of course do not like them all. The standout is Mike Bailey as Sid Jenkins, whose character really is the heart of the show, but he sure did deserve a less crazy girl! And it interesting that the writing team has an average of 21, because this does seem pretty realistic, if a bit too much for one group (much like Platoon was dramatized as not all of that would have happened to one group of people). I found it quite interesting to see just how different that the British school system is, as we have nothing like these 2 preparatory college years that are the last years of mandatory education. An interesting and enjoyable show, and I look forward to seeing Seasons 3 and 4 with an almost entirely new cast (Effy Stonem played by Kaya Scodelario is the younger sister of one of the main characters of the first 2 seasons and appears multiple times in these seasons before going on to Season 2 and 3). I would say worth checking out, but the music issue does make it not as enjoyable as it would have been, so only if you a fan of British television.

This is the story of a group of friends in college preparatory classes for their last 2 years of mandatory schooling and their good and bad and love and hate, and all the partying in between. We have Tony Stonem (Nicholas Hoult, the boy from About a Boy who has sure sprouted) who is tall and handsome and quite manipulative of all of his friends. His girlfriend is Michelle Richardson (April Pearson) who he calls Nips and always disparages, though she is a sweet girl who loves him. Tony’s best friend is Sid Jenkins (Mike Bailey) who not only is not good in school, but looks down on himself and still a virgin, especially because he is in love with Michelle, and everyone knows it. They try and hook Sid up with the crazy Cassie Ainsworth (Hannie Murray) who is often put away because of an eating disorder. Then we have the party animal Chris Miles (Joe Dempsie) who will take any drug at any time, and is hiding from the death of his brother at a young age. Chris pursues and eventually gets the groups psychology teacher Angie (Siwan Morris). The Muslim of the group is Anwar Kharral (Dev Patel) who follows his religion in some ways, but still does drugs, and is always trying to have sex. His best friend is the openly gay Maxxie Oliver (Mitch Hewer) who wants to not do construction like his dad, and instead wants to be a dancer. Finally we have Jal Fazer (Larissa Wilson) a talented clarinet player whose dad is in music, and whose mother left for reasons unknown.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

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Inception written and directed by Christopher Nolan (2010)

With Christopher Nolan I either love or hate his films, but this trailer has had me really excited for some time. Still I was a bit wary. I refuse to see Insomnia because I love the original too much, and I absolutely hated the Prestige (I mean the ending was just painfully bad), but Memento, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were all phenomenal. Anyway, it has been in the 100’s in Los Angeles, so Kelly opted to go to a show in the morning on release day of this to beat the heat, and I have to say this film blew me away, easily the best film so far this year, and some of the best special effects I have ever seen. This movie is phenomenal and a must see, and I would love to see it again right now! The soundtrack by Hans Zimmer is perfect, and DiCaprio is the best I have seen him (he finally seems grown up and after this I would love to see him as the Ridler in the next Batman film! Actually everyone is great here (well Ellen Page is nothing special really, she is cute enough, but doesn’t bring too much depth). This is an awesome look and take on the world of dreams, and is not only a great psychological thriller, but Nolan proves he could easily do an amazing Bond style action film too. And I am really still blown away by the effects, which are absolutely seamless, except when they are not supposed to be. Inception is easily one of the best films of the year, and an absolute must see! See it now, and see it again and again!

A man is found washed up on a beach carrying only a pistol and a small metal top. He is brought to the japanese household here and the old man who is the master (Ken Watanabe). The man’s name is Cobb, and he is there to help the old man Saito remembers something very important to them both.

At an earlier time we see Cobb in along with his team consisting of Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his architect (who designs the dream worlds they project into) named Nash (Lukas Hass). They are on a train, while jacking into the dream of Japanese the young Japanese industrialist Saito. They are actually in a dream within a dream, which starts to go bad when a woman from Cobb’s past named Mal (Marion Catillard) shows up and starts to work with Saito against the team. The end up in the second dream, but Saito can tell that the details that Nash has created are not correct, so he knows he is still dreaming, and admits that this is in fact an audition for this team. He does not want them to do the normal and steal information from someones dream, but do an inception, which is to plant a dream into someone’s mind so that they think it is their own. Cobb and his team try to run, but they are betrayed by Nash and led to Saito. Saito takes away the traitor and gets Cobb to agree to try to do an inception in exchange for Saito helping Cobb with his legal issues in his home of the united states, where he can no longer return to see his young children. Arthur doesn’t even think an inception can be done, but Cobb says it can, because he has done it before.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS...

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The Invention of Lying by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson (2009)

I don’t know why I stayed away from this because I love all of Gervais’s British shows and his standup, and this continues along with those, being enjoyable and funny. And I can easily see why this film did not do better, because this country is too religious for such a blatant attack on religion (I mean come on, that there can be no religion without lies! THAT ROCKS!), but for me that made the movie so much funnier and so much more enjoyable! This movie is awesome and hysterical. One of the best comedies I have seen in a long long time. Really a must see. And I love all the cameos, people must have loved the script or love Gervais, because there are a ton of people in this who make the movie even funnier!

Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) live in a world where lies have not been invented and in fact everyone must tell the honest truth all the time. Making cruel statements all the time, because it is the truth. Mark works as a writer for films, but in this world the only films feature a man sitting in a chair talking about a period of history, and Mark has the dark ages in the 13th century, which does not make for interesting stories, and he is on the edge of losing his job because of it. He manages to get a blind date with a beautiful and successful woman named Anna McDoogles (a very funny Jennifer Garner, especially when we are introduced to her telling that she was just masturbating and probably will go do it again as she gets ready). Despite herself Anna actually laughs and has an enjoyable time, but it is not to be because Mark is just not genetically matched to her, he is too fat and ugly. Mark arrives at work the next day to find his very unhappy secretary Shelley (Tina Fey) celebrating that he must be fired, as well as his genetically superior nemesis Brad Kessler (Rob Lowe). And finally his both Anthony (Jeffrey Tambor) manages to build up enough courage to fire Mark. Mark returns home and his landlord gives him eviction notice unless he can come up with $800 by the next day, which without a job there is no way her can do. Mark goes to the bank, where he only has $300 dollars, and while waiting to get his money, he tells the worlds first lie, that he has $800 in his account. The computer says differently, but the teller assumes it must be a mistake, and gives Mark the money. Mark’s entire world has just changed!

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

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