Archive for January, 2011

30
Jan
11

Independent Movie Marathon / Lemmy Kilmister / Casino Jack / Somewhere / Blue Valentine / Rage

Independent Movie Marathon /Lemmy Kilmister / Casino Jack / Somewhere / Blue Valentine / Rage

I’m sure you may be wondering why my Spartan Phoenix Movie Marathon Man Blog posts have been a little scarce on the last month of my yearlong experiment. Well when the end of January 2011 was approaching I noticed that reaching 200 movies seen in the theater in a calendar year was in reach I had to try for it. Do I do it? Stay tuned and read on. With that said since I’ve got some major catch up to do I’m gonna keep my movie takes a little shorter and to the point.

Tue Jan 18th, 2011


Today was independent small movie release marathon day. I decided to see five movies today between two smaller art house theaters. The first movie I saw was Casino Jack (2010) starring Kevin Spacey, Barry Pepper, Rachelle Lefevre, Kelly Preston and Jon Lovitz. It’s a true story about a hot shot Washington DC lobbyist and his protégé go down hard as their schemes to peddle influence lead to corruption and murder. Although Kevin Spacey is a good actor and played his part well in this film, I found this movie and the subject matter extremely boring. I don’t recommend it.

The next film I saw was Somewhere (2010) starring Stephen Dorff and  Elle Fanning . Directed by Sofia Coppola. Somewhere is about a hard-living Hollywood actor re-examines his life after his 11-year-old daughter surprises him with a visit. I liked the concept of this movie.  Elle Fanning who plays the daughter of Stephen Dorff’s character was very charming. She can act just like her sister Dakota Fanning. I liked this movie although it was a little slow at times. The one thing that kept going through my mind though was that Stephen Dorff was playing a character he wishes he could be I’m sure. Stephen Dorff is a good actor but I don’t think he has gotten the roles or the break he deserves.

The last film I saw at this theater today was Blue Valentine (2010) starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. The film centers on a contemporary married couple, charting their evolution over a span of years by cross-cutting between time periods. Both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams can act their butts off. They were both very good in this movie. This movie did and interesting job of traveling back in time to examine the relationship between these two characters. However this movie was depressing as hell and very slow paced. This is not my type of movie, maybe it’s yours.

I was now off to the next smaller art house theater to see the limited engagement of Lemmy (2010). It’s a documentary on the life and career of revered heavy-metal musician Lemmy Kilmister leader of the band Motorhead.

The legend Lemmy Kilmister, leader of the band Motorhead

Lemmy (center) and his Motorhead band mates.

I really enjoyed this movie. I got a chance to see Mortorhead while I was living in Virginia back in the early 2000’s. It was a great show and very, very loud. The best part of this documentary was how it showed Lemmy living a very normal life even though he is considered a rock god among his rock god superstar peers. He lives in a somewhat small rent controlled apartment a block off the Sunset strip in Los Angeles. On any given day you may find him walking to the famous Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Blvd playing the trivia machine at the bar. This was a great documentary, which I highly recommend.

Now I was planning on going home after the Lemmy movie but then I noticed that the next film was gonna be a cult classic so I decided to stay and see Rage (1977) aka “Rabid” – Canada (original title) starring Marilyn Chambers and directed by David Cronenberg.

Its about a young woman that develops a taste for human blood after undergoing experimental plastic surgery, and her victims turn into rabid, blood-thirsty zombies who proceed to infect others, which turns into a city-wide epidemic. This was an early David Cronenberg movie that was filmed and too place in Montreal Canada. Before the movie started we got to see old school trailers for the movies; Prom Night (1980), Body Parts (1991) and The Fly (1986). The movie Rage stars Marilyn Chambers who was best known for her 1972 hardcore film debut Behind the Green Door.

An interesting trivia note is that Marilyn Chambers was once was the cover girl on the Ivory Snow soapbox were she posed holding a baby. After seeing the course of her film career, the company dropped her in favor of another model that they hoped could better signify the purity of the product. As for the movie Rage, it was good cheesy horror fun.

Well stay tuned for movie madness. I’ve got a lot to cover in a short period of time if I’m going to make 200 movies before the end of January 2011.

–          Spartan Phoenix

Total movies seen in the theater to date since February 1st 2010:  183

  • February            2010: Movies Seen: 12
  • March              2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • April                 2010: Movies Seen: 16
  • May                  2010: Movies Seen: 18
  • June                 2010: Movies Seen: 19
  • July                  2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • August             2010: Movies Seen: 21
  • September            2010: Movies Seen: 17
  • October            2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • November            2010: Movies Seen: 13
  • December            2010: Movies Seen: 18
  • January            2011: Movies Seen: 7
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18
Jan
11

Hothlanta / Season of the Witch / Country Strong / Video Pick – Immortal (Ad Vitam)

Hothlanta / Season of the Witch / Country Strong / Immortal (Ad Vitam)

Saturday January 8th, 2011

So I’m a little behind on my Spartan Phoenix Movie Marathon Man Blog. Due to a stronger than usual snowdrop here in the Atlanta area, this town came to stand still and shut down for two to five days. The ice that accumulated here in town reeked havoc on all motorized travel here in town. The snowstorm we got was nick named “snow apocalypse”. Among myself and my fellow Star Wars nerd heads we called it “Hothlanta”

This is my original Han Solo in Hoth gear action figure surrendering to Hothlanta

Before the heavy snow fall I got a chance to see a couple of movies which were the first two in January I would see. This month is the last month of my yearlong Spartan Phoenix experiment. I’m trying to see 200 movies in a calendar year. But I’m not sure if I can do it. Gonna give it a shot though.

Today my fiancée Jane and I made plans to see a movie today. There were only two movies opening this week to see. So I asked Jane to drop me off at the theater early so I could see another movie first. Then she would meet me later for the second movie. The first movie I saw was Season of the Witch (2010) starring Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy and Christopher Lee. Its about 14th-century knights that transport a suspected witch to a monastery, where monks deduce her powers could be the source of the Black Plague. This movie wasn’t a great movie but was still enjoyable. The best part of this movie was the sidekick to Nicolas Cage played by Ron Perlman. Ron Perlman is a great character actor and has gotten his lead roles like in the Hellboy movies and one of my favorite TV shows “Sons of Anarchy” (2008). Season of the Witch had some good action. The costumes and sets were pretty cool. I liked the twist at the end too. Like I said, not a bad movie, but not a great one.

After Season of the Witch I met my wonderful fiancée in the theater playing Country Strong (2010) starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester. This drama is centered on a rising country-music songwriter (Hedlund) who sparks with a fallen star (Paltrow). Together, they mount his ascent and her comeback, which leads to romantic complications involving her husband/manager (McGraw) and a beauty queen-turned-singer (Meester). This is one of those movies that I think Gwyneth Paltrow is looking for a comeback on. She’s hasn’t has a big movie hit in a while. She was good and sang all of her characters songs as well as the rest of the cast did. But this movie was not hers at all. She was completely outshined by co-star Garrett Hedlund. Garrett Hedlund is the true star of this film.

Breakout star Garrett Hedlund as Beau Hutton in Country Strong

This movie would have sucked if it weren’t for him. He was completely believable as the young and up and coming country star. Garrett Hedlund sung all of his characters songs. I’m not a big country music fan but I did enjoy the music in this movie especially the songs that Garrett Hedlund’s character did. His acting was superb too. Garrett Hedlund can also be currently seen as the lead in TRON: Legacy 2010. Country Strong should be Garrett Hedlund’s break out role.

My Spartan Phoenix Video Pick is Immortal (Ad Vitam) (2004) starring Linda Hardy, Charlotte Rampling and Thomas Kretschmann. New York 2095. In a strange pyramid floating in the sky, the gods of ancient Egypt are judging Horus. In the city, a young women with blue hair and tears is arrested, but she has a secret power, even to herself… I originally found this movie in a DVD bargin bin at a local video star chain. The cove of the DVD caught my attention I and I purchased the movie. I liked this movie so much I upgraded to a Blu-ray copy. This is a French made movie with very cool effects and characters. Immortal (Ad Vitam) has a cool futuristic yet 1950’s style to it. There is a weird but cool human and humanoid alien cast of characters in this film. Some of the characters are computer generated even is its just their upper torso. The lead character played by Linda Hardy is captivating and weirdly attractive in her blue hair and style. If you’re a fan of sci-fi and check out this cool flick

Well If I’m gonna hit 200 movies before my year long experiment ends by the end of this month I’ve got some work to do.

Stay tuned! – Spartan Phoenix

Total movies seen in the theater to date since February 1st 2010:  178

  • February            2010: Movies Seen: 12
  • March              2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • April                 2010: Movies Seen: 16
  • May                  2010: Movies Seen: 18
  • June                 2010: Movies Seen: 19
  • July                  2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • August             2010: Movies Seen: 21
  • September            2010: Movies Seen: 17
  • October            2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • November            2010: Movies Seen: 13
  • December            2010: Movies Seen: 18
  • January            2011: Movies Seen: 2
01
Jan
11

The King’s Speech / Gulliver’s Travels / Spartan Phoenix Video Pick: The Last Legion

The King’s Speech / Gulliver’s Travels / Spartan Phoenix Video Pick: The Last Legion

December 29th, 2010, Atlanta GA

Today I wanted to get some after Christmas sale window-shopping done. Since I wasn’t spending money today I wanted to see which stores had the best deals. I wanted to visit the Mall of Georgia today to see what was going on there. They have a Regal multi-plex theater.  So I decided to do a quick two-movie marathon before my window shopping.

The first film I saw today was The King’s Speech (2010) starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush. The story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist that helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it. This is one of those movies that got my attention because of its cast. Also the historical side of this story is very interesting too. I’m becoming a big Colin Firth fan as well; I’m enjoying his roles in all of his recent films I’ve seen. Colin Firth’s role as King George VI of Britain is exceptional. His character has a speech impediment that’s make public speaking (which is crucial to his title as King) a burden. Geoffrey Rush plays his speech therapist that assists him. Geoffrey Rush is very charming in this role. Helena Bonham Carter plays the Kings wife with charm too. It’s nice to see her as a pleasant character for once. She tends to pick weird quirky roles or play scary ones like he did in the Harry Potter roles. The acting was exceptional in this film, was well as the acting and costumes. The set designs were beautiful as the made the time frame completely believable. My only problem with the film was that is was slow paced in several parts of the film. Some of the scenes tended to drag on where I think some extras editing should have been done. Other than that I found the film to be enjoyable and gave some great incite to a very interesting time of history in Great Britain.

The next film I saw today was Gulliver’s Travels (2010) starring Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly and Chris O’Dowd. Travel writer Lemuel Gulliver takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Liliput, where he towers over its tiny citizens. I like Jack Black, I know some people don’t. I like his sense of humor. I know he tends to play similar characters in most of his movies, but he’s a funny guy and very charming too. This is a modern take on the Gulliver’s Travels story. What if a mailroom nerdy nobody got a chance at adventure? This movie answers that with witty charm. This is a fun family film with a great cast. I was pleased that this movie had a lot of Star Wars references due to the fact that Jack Black’s character is a big Star Wars nerd like myself. Jack Black’s character’s love for music also provides some comedic scenes too. Chris O’Dowd plays the jealous bad guys role with great comedic timing. If you get a chance check out his BBC comedy TV show The IT Crowd (TV series) 2006-2010. It’s a very funny show about the nerdy IT computer guys that maintain the computer needs for a company they don’t believe in. I liked Gulliver’s Travels (2010) and the surprises it shared in this modern version of the Gulliver story. What I liked best about this film was the surprise visit of another giant to the island of Liliput. I’ll leave the tease to that for now. This was a very funny film with heart, check it out.

With this blog post I would like to introduce the Spartan Phoenix Video Pick. I’m going to review and recommend a movie on video you should see that I pick out of my own movie collection. If you know me personally, you know that I’ve always had an extensive movie collection that started with VHS and now has turned into DVD’s and Blu-ray. I currently own over 850 movies on DVD and Blu-ray. I own a few VHS movies that are out of print and still aren’t available on disc. Who knows, if you know me personally and live near me you might be able to borrow the movie from me directly.

My first Spartan Phoenix Video Pick is The Last Legion (2007) starring Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley, Aishwarya Rai and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. As the Roman Empire crumbles, young Romulus Augustus flees the city and embarks on a perilous voyage to Britain to track down a legion of supporters. I picked this movie cause it stars Colin Firth in another role that he commands in this sword and some sorcery film about the beginning of the Excalibur sword legend. The film has a great ensemble cast of cool warriors and great bad guys. Colin Firth plays the lead good guy as he leads a small band of warriors that play bodyguard to a young Romulas played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster who can also bee seen as the love sick boy in the romantic Christmas comedy Love Actually (2003) which also co-stars Colin Firth. The coolest character in The Last Legion is the mysterious ass kicking warrior woman played by Indian beauty Aishwarya Rai.

What’s funny, as I was leaving the theater that played The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth I saw a poster ad with Aishwarya Rai promoting something like perfume or designer clothes. I couldn’t remember what she was promoting cause she looked hot. I think her American audience is going to grow. When you see The Last Legion you will see what I mean. For a good adventure action film, check this one out.

So The Last Legion is my first Spartan Phoenix Video Pick. This is the last Spartan Phoenix Movie Marathon Man Blog for the 2010 year, which has tuned out to be an interesting one. I have one more month in my yearlong experiment. Stay tuned for more!

– Spartan Phoenix

Total movies seen in the theater to date since February 1st 2010:  176

  • February            2010: Movies Seen: 12
  • March              2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • April                 2010: Movies Seen: 16
  • May                  2010: Movies Seen: 18
  • June                 2010: Movies Seen: 19
  • July                  2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • August             2010: Movies Seen: 21
  • September            2010: Movies Seen: 17
  • October            2010: Movies Seen: 14
  • November            2010: Movies Seen: 13
  • December            2010: Movies Seen: 18