Archive for June, 2010


Star Wars Screen On The Green, Piedmont Park, Atlanta GA.

Star Wars Screen On The Green, Piedmont Park, Atlanta GA.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

            Every summer in Atlanta Georgia with the help of many sponsors, Piedmont Park hosts Screen On The Green every Thursday night. It lasts for about 5 to 6 weeks.

Since I’ve moved to Atlanta this is an event that I have always wanted to partake in. When they announced that the original Star Wars was to be shown I knew it was time to take advantage of this situation. They were going to show the Special Edition version of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. For those who don’t know, the Special Edition has some restored scenes and enhanced special effects that the original release did not have. When the original date was released for Star Wars Screen On The Green I mentioned to my girlfriend Jane that we had a date in the park.

            A couple of weeks prior to the Star Wars show I got news that violence marred a recent Screen on the Green event showing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009). I heard there was gunshots and a mini riot. The movie and park had to be shut down 20 minutes in. The organizers of the events postponed the Screen on the Green event for a week to review and upgrade security and safety protocols with the police.  It turned out there were no gunshots. The problem was a bunch of unruly high school teenagers that got out of hand when police started arresting some troublemakers.  After a week the remaining screen on the green events were rescheduled with only a week delay.

             Jane and I made plans to meet up at my place between 5 and 6 pm. The screen on the Green movie starts at dusk but we wanted to get there early for a good parking place and a sweet spot on the grass. I made plans earlier that day to do a three-movie marathon starting at 10 am. I’ll have more on that later in my next movie blog post. After my three movies I headed home and got together some of our picnic items. Jane was bringing most of the food. I got together the lawn chairs, umbrella, sunscreen, bug spray, blankets and mini Yoda and R2-D2. I wanted to bring my Sith Lightsaber, but I though due to the recent events I thought they wouldn’t allow a 4-foot sword type object. So I left it at home. I loaned Jane my cooler bag for the food goodies. When she arrived I also added some extra snacks. Jane also brought here Yoda plush pillow that I bought for her daughter but then was adopted by Jane herself.

Jane also donned her classic episode four Star Wars shirt. She’s got a few now; I’ve trained her well. My dilemma was which one of mine should I wear? I have more Star Wars shirts than I can count. But I wanted one fitting for tonight. I narrowed it down to two. One was a dark blue shirt with the date 5-25-77 printed on the front. This was a shirt I bought at Star Wars Celebration 4 convention I attended in Los Angeles California in May of 2007 just prior to my move to Atlanta. 5-25-77 is the release date of the original Star Wars movie and was the name of an Independent film shown during this event. The movie is now known as 77 (2007). Its a coming of age story about a teenager being introduced to an, as-yet-unreleased, film called Star Wars. My second t-shirt choice was the one I ended up taking. It’s a black shirt with “Han Shot First” printed on the front in white letting in the Star Wars style font. I wore this as a tribute to the one scene change that I didn’t approve of in the new Star Wars Special Edition. In the original, there is an iconic scene where Greedo threatens Han Solo in the Cantina. When Greedo threatens Han at gunpoint and mentions he would take Hans ship too. When Han responds by saying “Over my dead body”, Greedo retorts, and Han shoots Greedo from under the table with his blaster. Greedo never got a shot off. This was cool and set the stage for Han’s rogue ways. Well, in the new Special Edition version of Star Wars that was released in the late 90’s, things had to be politically correct I guess. With special effects they added a laser bolt that Greedo shot first but it went wide right, sort of speak. This implied that Han shot Greedo out of self-defence not in cold blood like he did originally. This upset many hardcore Star Wars purist like myself that liked the fact that Han took out Greedo first. So I thought this “Han Shot First” shirt was fitting for this event.

Jane and I arrived at the parking lot to a shopping center within a short walk of Piedmont Park. When we arrived at the park there was a good crowd that had already had set up their blanket spots. Jane and I got a great spot up in the front about 100 feet from the inflated screen. The screen itself is about 50 feet wide. Along the left and right side of the perimeter of the screen was booths set up by the participating sponsors selling and giving away prizes. There was also a first aid tent, water station and a long row of port a potties. It was a fun setting; Jane and I were among friendly people and sallow Star Wars fans. Among the fans were members of the 501st. The state of Georgia has their own garrison: This a worldwide group of Star Wars fans that also volunteers at events in costumes of their favorite Star Wars characters for meet and greets and photo ops. They also do a lot of charity work. The 501 were attending this Star Wars event in costume. There was some Stormtroopers, Rebels and the famous bounty hunter Boba Fett posing for picture ops. Both Jane and I took some pictures with some of the bunch.

My only one small regret albeit a very small one is that I didn’t bring my lighsaber. There were many people who did bring their lightsabers, and when dusk approached it was quite a site to see when the crowd increased substantially. It was a great place to people watch for both Jane and I. We got to know some of our neighbors. And Jane’s Yoda got some fun attention. I also got props and praise on my Han Shot First t-shirt from some members of the 501st and some other event goers. I also busted out my Yoda and R2-D2 action figures which made for some funny pictures to be had. Speaking of pictures, I missed out on an opportunity to take a picture when I saw a couple dressed up as Luke and Leia. What was funny was that the woman Leia costume was black and had a bondage twist to it that included a spiked collar.

As dusk and the movie start time approached Jane and I were having a great time. We both took people watching and booth visit shifts. Jane even had some fun when some police officers flirted with her. I couldn’t blame them for trying she looked hot. Before the movie started we sat through ads showing on the screen from the participating sponsors and a spot about the upcoming additions that will be made to the park renovations. When the movie started I had a flash black to when I saw Star Wars for the first time in the summer of 1977, at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara California with my parents. It was nice to be sharing this with Jane; I could tell she felt the same. The setting was fun. It was a great date with a classic movie. The crowd was fun and there were no problems whatsoever. After the Death Star blew up and the medal ceremony scene at then end where Chewie got screwed out of his own medal, heh heh, people started to get up and go as the credits rolled. Jane and I took our time and left at the end of the credits. We had no trouble with the crowd as we walked back to our car. I think most people parked elsewhere or took public transportation. I recommend this event or any events like it where there is an outdoor setting to see a movie with a picnic type setting. Most major cities have events like this around summer time. Look for one in your area this summer and make your own magic. May The Force Be With You!

Till next time! – Spartan _phoenix


The Karate Kid, err.. The Kung Fu Kid. How To Enjoy A Movie Remake.

The Karate Kid, err.. The Kung Fu Kid. How To Enjoy A Movie Remake.

As my year long Spartan Phoenix Movie Marathon Man Blog experiment continues I have to remind myself of all of the topics swirling around in my dome that I want to share with you all. One of those is the movie remake or TV / book movie adaptation tradition that has exploded in the past ten years. I thought I would touch on this subject with the recent movie remakes hitting the big screen. Like The A-Team movie release and now The Karate Kid (2010) remake, what a perfect time to give you my take! 

When I saw the first trailer for the remake of the Karate Kid, I got a little excited about the idea of how this reinvention would go. I was a little skeptical too. My fondness for the original The Karate Kid (1984) sits in a very special place in my heart. I knew that I would have to keep my skepticism at arms length. When I saw the first Karate Kid in the theater I was 13 years old. I went with a group of friends to a small 2-screen theater in my hometown of Santa Barbara, CA. I don’t remember all of the friends I was with, but I remember having a crush on one of the girls and being afraid to do anything about it. This was the perfect movie to see at the perfect age. Who didn’t want to be Daniel Larusso played by Ralph Macchio and kick some bully butt? As I’ve grown up I’ve always had a fondness for this original including the memorable cast like Pat Morita as Miyagi and Elisabeth Shue as Daniel’s girlfriend and one of my favorite teenage on-screen crushes. And lets not forget one of my favorite all time great onscreen villains Johnny Lawrence played by the iconic bully actor William Zabka who can be seen recently in Hot Tub Time Machine. This original Karate Kid is rooted in everyone’s mind and hearts as a classic that should not be touched fixed or re-done.

            One a personal note I’ll give a good example of this. I listen to a lot of AM sports radio. I like sports and enjoy the programs; sports analysts’ takes and score updates. I also enjoy the off the field drama that follows many of the sport super stars. I admit it, I’m a celebrity gossip and pop culture junkie as well. Many of the sports talk show hosts, (many my own age) had been slamming The Karate Kid (2010) remake staring Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s son Jaden Smith before the movie came out. They were going as far as asking listeners to boycott this movie. Although I understand their passion for the original, I thought this course of action was unfair. This makes great radio cause it “stirs the pot”, but I feel my take wasn’t being heard or shared by anyone. I feel that most movie critics and some of these radio and TV personalities have become jaded and have forgot how to enjoy movies. I hope my insight my change or open few minds.

Let me hit you with some knowledge. Here is how you “try” to enjoy a movie remake. This advice can also be adopted to “try” to enjoy TV to movie and book to movie adaptations. First off, let the original go and let it stand on its own, don’t walk into the new version thinking its going to be the same. Treat the new one right off as a different monster of sort. Although there will be the obvious similarities from the original movie, TV show or book, look to enjoy the new “angle” that the new version may bring to the screen. Enjoy its as you are seeing the re-imagination from someone else’s fondness of the original idea, not as a second-generation copy. Yes the movies are about money too. But don’t dwell that; enjoy the entertainment aspect of it. Enjoy the new adaptation for what it is and what it has to offer. Let it stand on its own, don’t compare it to anything going into the theater and taking your seat. My best example is trying to compare the Harry Potter books to the movies, DON’T DO THIS! There is no way to successfully transfer what is exactly on the page to the movie screen. Treat the Harry Potter books and movies as two separate entertainment entities. Don’t expect the books to be an exact interpretation of the movies. Enjoy the movies or remakes for what they are, a movie to enjoy and escape away with.

Thursday June 17th, 2010

            OK, now that I have counseled your bitter and jaded minds let’s get on to my take of the remake. Today I scheduled a movie marathon that would start at 10am at my favorite AMC Theater. I love early start times, because this means I can get more movies in on a marathon day or if I get cabin fever after a few movies I can cut out late afternoon to get on with the rest of my life. I wasn’t sure how many movies I would do today but I had at least three movies I wanted to see today.

            The first movie I saw was the one the blog entry is centered on, the remake or re – imagination of The Karate Kid (2010) starring Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan and Taraji P. Henson. I really enjoyed this remake. I believe it stands on its own. Here are four things that the remake has to offer that the original doesn’t. 

#1: Its filmed in China. Jaden Smith’s character moves to China with his mother played by Taraji P. Henson. When they get there they move into the city. You get a great incite to the in town Chinese culture. However when the story moves along you are treated to the culture outside the Chinese countryside, such as The Great Wall, The Forbidden City and the beautiful mountainsides that many call home.

#2: Jackie Chan. Mr. Chan was perfectly cast as the martial arts mentor roll. We know he knows his Kung Fu. That’s what he’s famous for. But what caught me by surprise were his acting chops. He showed some range when he has to explain to Jaden Smith’s character what happened to his family. I actually got a little water in my eye during this scene.

#3: The Girlfriend. In the original film, The Karate Kid’s girlfriend played by Elisabeth Shue didn’t have much of a plot line. She was a cheerleader and was once involved with the main bully, but that’s it. In this remake the girlfriend has an interesting side story that helps the new Karate Kid learn a lesson and learn some Chinese culture and honor at the same time.

#4: The signature kick. At the end of the original Karate Kid, he uses a “signature karate kick” to win the big match. You see him practicing this kick throughout some of the training montages prior to the end of the original movie. In the new Karate Kid, you don’t know what the match winning strike will be. It’s kept as a surprise that was really cool to finally see. However you are given a small clue to the surprise move earlier in the film.

The running time of this film is about 2hrs 20 min. It may seem long but I must say the movie was well paced and didn’t lag or drag out at all. Jaden Smith was good as his role as the Karate Kid. You can tell he took the role seriously and trained for it as well. His acting chops weren’t bad and he’s very likeable. His character is about 12 years old, which is younger than the original Karate Kid where Daniel Larusso was a senior in high school. I thought a younger Karate Kid worked. When Jaden Smith’s character Dre, was being bullied, he got his butt kicked pretty good. Jackie Chan’s character Mr. Han was fun to watch as he trained him in the ways of King Fu for the big match.

Now the new Karate Kid remake had many similarities from the original. But the new one has enough new things to offer and it’s a real pleasure to watch. I only had one main issue or problem with this movie remake. The movie should be called The Kung Fu Kid, not The Karate Kid. The trailers even show Chan’s character saying he is going to teach him real Kung Fu, and this is what is said in the movie itself. The international title for the Karate Kid remake is called The Kung Fu Kid. I don’t know why the U.S. Title couldn’t do the same.

The second movie I saw in my marathon today was Marmaduke (2010) starring the voice talent of Owen Wilson, Emma Stone, George Lopez, Kiefer Sutherland, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Stacy Ferguson (Fergie from Black Eye Peas). I really loved the Marmaduke cartoons in the funny pages when I was a kid. The movie was targeted towards kids as a family film. The talking dogs and cats were fun due to the fact it was interesting to see what famous actors were lending their voices to the characters. Some of the scenes were CG animals. But most of the animals were real but had the digital mouth movement treatment when they talked. The movie was cute and funny at times. I didn’t fall asleep like I did during a family film Furry Vengeance (2010), which I thought, failed.

      The third film I saw was Robin Hood (2010). I wanted to see this film again cause I really enjoyed the cast and sets and overall look of the film. I was planning to see a fourth film like maybe the A-Team, but I was ready to leave the theater. I wanted to get back home and work on a few projects. I want to start riding my bike again. Time to oil that baby up and get it back on the road.

I’ll be back my movie peeps! Stay tuned and enjoy your movies, don’t be so bitter. We don’t need anymore movie snobs, we’ve got enough. 

Your movie man, Spartan Phoenix

Total movies seen in the theater to date since February 1st 2010:  73

  • February           2010: Movies Seen: 12
  • March              2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • April                 2010: Movies Seen: 16
  • May                  2010: Movies Seen: 18
  • June                 2010: Movies Seen: 13

The A-Team, Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage, Marathon Record Broken

The A-Team, Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage, Marathon Record Broken

Thursday June 10th, 2010

My Spartan Phoenix Year Long Movie Marathon Man Experiment continues on a June high when I had an opportunity to break my own Movie Marathon Record today. Last month on May 6th 2010 I broke a previous record of mine. Here is the link to that blog: 

On that day I did a seven-movie marathon, which included a midnight premiere of Iron Man 2. Today’s record attempt will include a midnight premiere of The A-Team. Before I get a head of myself, lets start from the beginning. I searched the multiplex theaters that I could get the most out of a full day & night at the movies. One, which would conclude, with the midnight premiere I was looking for. The AMC near my girlfriends house Jane, would serve perfectly, cause then I would have my sleepover at Jane’s. There were some movies playing at this AMC that no one else was playing. My eight-movie marathon attempt would only include one movie I’d seen before. Lets get this shit started!

Ok, the first movie started at 10am. The first movie I saw was Babies aka Bébé(s) (2010). This movie is a documentary that takes a look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo. It’s an interesting look at how babies are raised differently around the world and how the parents get it done. The most entertaining part of this film is the interaction between the babies and the pets and farm animals. Some of the other entertaining parts of the film is the Mongolian baby tethered to a bed post, the Japanese baby that has an epic tantrum and the Namibia baby girl discovering baby boy parts.

The second movie I saw was a “Bollywood” India produced International movie called Kites (2010) starring Bárbara Mori, Hrithik Roshan. Now I must first say that this particular AMC movie has been playing International Movies on a regular basis. It’s a program that AMC has been promoting throughout the country. For those of you who haven’t seen a “Bollywood” India produced International movie, there are some cliché’s that always come into play when you see one. Like more than one cheesy love song montage’s, a dance sequence, barely any kissing and dramatic facial lighting that seems like a lighting grip is shining a flashlight in the actors face. With all of these clichés at hand, I still really enjoyed this film. It was a little weird regarding the dialog, which these films seem to do. The dialog will switch between English, and Hindi and in this case some Spanish. When the dialog is spoken in Hindi and Spanish, English subtitles pop up for reading. This movie is about a guy named J, who is a dance teacher and does other odd jobs in Las Vegas for money including marring illegal immigrant woman so they can get their green cards. J gets involved with a Vegas Casino owner who is also the head of a mob family. J falls for The Casino owner’s son’s fiancé who also falls for him. This movie was a cross between Vegas mob movies, Bonny and Clyde revenge flick with a love story tied around it. This movie had some action and was funny too. It didn’t hurt that the lead actress Bárbara Mori was easy on the eyes. The lead actor Hrithik Roshan who played J was a good-looking guy who couldn’t seem to keep his shirt on at times. It seems they needed to show off how good-looking this guy is. He had a “Blue Steel” look that would make Derek Zoolander (2001) jealous. I liked this movie, it had some cool car chases, which included some A-Team car flips and gunplay, and it even had a giant hot air balloon escape. Oh and the film even had an intermission break half way through the film. It was only for a few seconds, but in India I’m sure it was longer :-)

The third movie in my movie marathon was Killers (2010) starring Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara. This movie is about a vacationing woman who meets her ideal man, leading to a swift marriage. Back at home, however, their idyllic life is upset when they discover their neighbors could be assassins who have been contracted to kill the couple. This movie was a little predictable but still fun. It wasn’t great but worth a see. Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl were good in their roles; the scene-stealer for me was Tom Selleck who played Katherine Heigl’s character’s father. He was very funny. I also thought Katherine Heigl outshined Ashton Kutcher, her star is on the rise and then some, his, not so sure yet.

The forth film I saw was Splice (2009) starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley. Its about two young rebellious scientists, who defy legal and ethical boundaries and forge ahead with a dangerous experiment: splicing together human and animal DNA to create a new creature which rapidly develops from a deformed female infant into a beautiful but dangerous winged human-chimera, who forges a bond with both of her creators which turn deadly. This movie was wasn’t very good, but it did keep my attention to “see what happens next”. It was predictable with the exception of what the creature I thought would look like. There was a sex scene that made me uncomfortable to watch. The human animal hybrid was played well by Delphine Chanéac, and actress with an exotic look that translated well for the creature’s expressions. There’s a “Boobie Alert” for the guys. Although it’s during the uncomfortable sex scene I just mentioned.

The 5th film in my movie marathon record attempt is Get Him to the Greek (2010) starring Russell Brand, Jonah Hill and Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs. This was a very funny film about a record company intern who is hired to accompany out-of-control British rock star Aldous Snow to a concert at L.A.’s Greek Theater. I laughed very hard during this film. I recommend it, its one of the funniest I’ve seen since I started this marathon experiment back in February. Jonah Hill was very funny and I was impressed with how funny Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs was during his scene-stealers. This movie was one of those flicks that didn’t include some of the scenes shown in movie and TV trailers. In this case it was a good thing. The scenes in question were shown allot during the pre-opening commercials and trailers. However this movie has so many funnier scenes not given away during these promotions of the film. Check this movie out; it’s a fun time! On a side note I had to “slice” this film. That’s where I watch part of the film in one theater and see the rest in another. The movie Splice went longer than I anticipated and so I missed the first 10 minutes of the film. Not to worry I saw the missing 10 minutes later between my 6th and 7th films :-)

The 6th film I saw was Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (2010) It comes to you from the directors Sam Dunn & Scot McFadyen who also did Iron  Maiden: Flight 666 (2009). This movie was only playing once, at 8pm. It fit perfectly in my schedule. AMC theaters like this one will show concerts or plays on the big screen. This movie was not a concert but a documentary about the band Rush. Now, I feel I must say I’m not a Rush fan, like I’m a Guns n’ Roses fan. But I do like a few of their songs and really respect them as musicians due to the fact that I’m a musician myself. However this trio from Canada and their longevity has always intrigued me.

I visited the bathroom right across the theater first. I was running late by 5 minutes or so. As I was washing my hands I heard a sound of jingling keys. When I hear this I know that those keys are attached to a theater manager staff of some sort. The managers at my store all have key rings that jingle. Since my hobby is sneaking from theater to theater, I got a little nervous. I took a peak outside the door and sure enough, a female manager just walked into the theater. I decided to wait for her to leave the theater by listening for the key jingle. 30 seconds later I heard the key ring jingle walk past the bathroom door, I then walked into the theater to see this Rush documentary.

            I was honestly thinking there would be about 10-15 people watching this thing. Boy was I wrong. The theater was packed, about 90% full I would say.  I was lucky to find a seat right in the middle of the theater behind the metal railing in front of the main isle. I was very impressed with this documentary. I was glued to my seat with all of the fascinating interviews with all members of the band, family members, fans and other famous musicians. This doc was very thorough visually by diving into this bands past with great concert footage and rare pictures. The crowd was very much into this film, it was fun to look back over my shoulder and read the expressions on people’s faces. Even if you’re not a Rush fan I would recommend seeing it, you might walk away more of a Rush fan like I did.

            After I left the theater showing the Rush doc, I went to the concession stand to get a refill on my #1 large combo. It was a few minutes after 10pm. I just realized that I had been in this same theater for 12 hours straight. At least 4 hours remained, as I would be bringing in a new day in the wee hours of tomorrow, in the same theater. Do you think I’m crazy? After my concession refill I saw my 7th film of the day, which was The Losers (2010). I’ve already had seen this film and it would be the only movie in this marathon visit I had already seen. I saw this movie again cause it was only 90 minutes or so and I wanted to see some of the action scenes again. Its not a great film, but is still fun to see. Like I said before in my first review of the film it should had been a rated R film, not PG-13 like it was.

            Next up was my 8th and final movie of my own personal record movie marathon man visit. That movie is the midnight premiere of the big screen version of The A-Team (2010) starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Sharlto Copley. This movie is based on the very popular 1980’s TV show of the same name. I was a big fan of the show at the time. I loved the iconic A-Team black van at the time. I remember visiting Universal Studios in Hollywood when I was a kid and getting a chance to see this van close up. In that same visit I also got to visit K.I.T.T., the Knight Rider car, which would talk back to you cause they hired the TV voice actor who voiced the actual K.I.T.T. car on the show. Very cool. OK, back to the A-Team. I did buy a ticket for this movie when I purchased my first and only other ticket for the first 10am movie I saw earlier that day. For those who don’t know, this movie is about a group of four Iraq War veterans who look to clear their name with the U.S. military, who suspect the four men of committing a crime for which they were framed. This was a great “popcorn movie”. I really enjoyed this film. The casting was great. It was very funny and had a good plot too. Overall, this movie was very fun. My favorite casting was the character Murdock played by Sharlto Copley who recently shot to fame by starring in last years critical acclaimed hit District 9. My other favorite was Lt. Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck played by the new male “it” star Bradley Cooper whose big hit last year was The Hangover. As the credits started to roll I was about to leave when I realized that what if there was a “secret” after the credits scene? I noticed that most of the theater patrons were leaving but a few stayed behind. I’m glad I did cause there was a secret scene at the end. Most of the Super Hero or pop culture nerd films are doing this now. SPOILER: The secret scene included two scenes that included cameos from the original actors who played the original Murdock and Lt. Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck in the 1980’s, Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict. Awesome. After I left the theater I walked through the lobby, on my way I saw a group of 20 something guys and girls talking about the movie. As I passed them I mentioned they missed the after credits secret scene, they seemed disappointed that they missed it. I didn’t give away the scene details but did mention who the cameos were. I had a tiny geeky power trip at that moment. I love those! After the movie I headed to Jane’s house to stay the rest of the night. Sleepover baby!

            So that’s it, I beat my movie marathon record of 8 straight movies at the same theater in one visit. I don’t know if I can do more than 8 but I will try :-) Stay tuned!

– Spartan Phoenix

Total movies seen in the theater to date since February 1st 2010:  70

  • February        2010: Movies Seen: 12
  • March              2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • April                 2010: Movies Seen: 16
  • May                  2010: Movies Seen: 18
  • June                 2010: Movies Seen: 10

Prince Of Persia’s Sex In The City & The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

 Prince Of Persia’s Sex In The City & The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Sunday 05-30-10

            With the month of May winding down my yearlong Spartan Phoenix Movie Marathon experiment is heating up with June on the horizon. The mass of the big summer movies is going to be released through the months June and July. Today was Sunday and there were two major movie releases this weekend that I wanted to see. The advantage of doing a movie marathon on opening weekend is that movies start earlier in the morning like 10am or even as early as 9:30am. This means can get in a 3 or 4 movie marathon in and have the rest of my evening free.

            Because of the favorable schedule I went to my favorite AMC theater .At 10am this morning the first movie I saw was Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, and Ben Kingsley. This movie is based on the video game, which follows an adventurous prince who teams up with a rival princess to stop an angry ruler from unleashing a sandstorm that could destroy the world. I never played the game so I didn’t have any type of expectations. I thought this movie was fun, but it wasn’t great. I really liked the casting, costumes and some of the sets. Most of the sets and long shots were CG and so was some of the “impossible stunts” which bugged me a bit. For a 10 am movie I was impressed how many people showed up early for this movie. The theater was half full. Overall I enjoyed the flick. Gemma Arterton however caught my eye big time. She plays the rival princess. She’s a British beauty who recently starred in Clash of the Titans (2010) and a bond girl in Quantum of Solace (2008). She may have graduated to my top 5 J.

            The next movie I saw in my marathon was Sex and the City 2 (2010) starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall. Now I’m going to go on record and say, I’m a dude who likes Sex and the City. I enjoyed the TV series and the first movie. I liked how funny and honest the dialog was. The dialog has always been the best part of the series for me. I also enjoyed the occasional girl nudity. I don’t pay too much attention to the fashion, that’s a girl thing that I overlook cause sometimes I think what they wear is way over the top anyways. My favorite character is Samantha portrayed by Kim Cattrall because she gets the best lines and is the most brash. I don’t find her attractive but she entertains me the most. In this movie the girls’ head to Abu Dhabi in the Middle East on a free PR trip that Samantha arranges. As you can imagine hilarity ensues. I really enjoyed this movie it was very funny. I liked it better than the first one. The movie started out with a very funny gay wedding scene. I noticed this movie got some very bad reviews. Which I don’t get cause I enjoyed it and it was well paced for a movie over 2 hours long.

            I thought I would share a little side note that is related to these two movies. One of my very best friends who I used to work with years ago who now lives in Washington State sent me a very funny cell phone text that I thought I would share. He and I used to do movie marathons together back in the day. Apparently he and his new girlfriend did their own movie marathon and also saw Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Sex and the City 2. Here is what his text said: “Dude, Prince of Persia sucked. At least Sex and the City was good. Even got a little B.J. during the closing credits!”  When I got this text I couldn’t help laugh out loud. We sometimes share our entertaining sexual situations with each other via text or phone.

            The last film I saw to wrap up this 3-movie marathon was Shrek Forever After in 3D. I saw this movie during my last marathon and really enjoyed it cause it was very funny. But I forgot to mention in my last blog post about this movie was that I did fall asleep for about 10 to 15 minutes during the first time I saw it. I fell into a sugar coma and dozed off. Even though I missed 10 to 15 minutes of Shrek Forever After I stilled enjoyed the film. So I wanted to see it again to see what I missed and enjoy the 3D imagery again.  I tend to smuggle my own pair of 3D glasses with me whenever I go to the movies now so I always have them on me.

Tuesday 06-01-10 / Foreign Film Fun    

            Today I planned a short two-movie marathon. This one made me a little nervous because I was planning it for a smaller art house type of theater with only 6 screens. There is no digital sign above the entrance to each theater just a number so it makes it more difficult to find out which movie is playing at a particular theater. Instead there are poster frames hanging outside each theater with the corresponding movie poster to identify which movie is playing inside. This theater is a landmark in the Atlanta area. A major movie theater company does not run it so I didn’t know if I could theater switch in-between movies. However the movies I wanted to see were foreign films not in major theatrical releases. These films were only playing at this theater. I like the concession stand at this theater, it serves a very cool variety of snacks and sweets you cant find in larger multiplex theaters. This theater even sells alcohol! Instead of my regular large Diet Coke and popcorn #1 combo I bought a pina colada flavored smoothie, medium popcorn and a delicious yummy brownie.

            The first movie I saw was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or better known in its native Swedish title Män som hatar kvinnor (2009). This movie is based on the very popular international best selling book The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I never read the book. But this book first came to my attention when I noticed it on my girlfriend’s bookshelf. Jane said she hadn’t gotten around to reading it yet but she heard it was good. I then noticed the movie was playing at this art cinema. Then I found out through causal conversation that one of my co-workers just finished reading the book and said how good it was and was going to see it the a day before me. She also mentioned that there is three books in the series, which I think, involve the same character in this movie called Lisbeth Salander. The movie is about a journalist who is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing — or dead — for forty years by a young female hacker called Lisbeth Salander. The actress who played Lisbeth is Noomi Rapace. She was awesome in this movie. This movie overall was very good I highly recommend it. It’s a great thriller with historical and political intrigue. I did a little research and found out that there an American remake in the works and may be released in 2012. It will be called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2012) and famous names are already attached to it like Johnny Depp, Viggo Mortensen and Carey Mulligan. The director attached to this remake is David Fincher better know for directing Se7en, Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

            I had no trouble theater switching. The second film I wanted to see was playing right next-door on the way towards the exit of the theater. The second film I saw was a British film called Harry Brown (2009) starring Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer and David Bradley. It’s about an elderly ex-serviceman and widower played by Michael Caine who looks to avenge his best friend’s murder by doling out his own form of justice. His best friend is played by David Bradley who is now better know as Argus Filch the bitter and cruel caretaker of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. When I found out this was a revenge film I was all over this movie like flies on shit. I got very excited about seeing and elderly Michael Caine kicking some ass! I wasn’t disappointed. Michael Caine’s character shows his age, which makes this film entertaining while he exacts his revenge on drug dealing street punks, and gang bosses who have overtaken his neighborhood. Michael Caine was superb in this role. , Emily Mortimer was good too. She plays a cop who is trying to help but is bogged down by her bureaucratic ass of a boss. It’s an interesting look into the underbelly of a crime ridden UK town. I like older actors playing roles their own age that can kick ass. Like Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stalone and Bruce Willis, Michael Caine can open up a can of whop-ass!

All right June, bring on your summer blockbusters! Stay tuned, more movie marathon adventures to come!

– Spartan Phoenix