Tag Archives: popular culture

Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “Ben-Hur” (2016)

In this film, Jesus is played by actor, Rodrigo Santoro……….

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……….who also played the villain Xerxes in “300”.

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Joe’s Random Movie Review: “Swiss Army Man”

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Swiss Army Man is a 2016 drama/ comedy/ borderline musical about a lonesome man named Hank (Dano) on a deserted island. About to kill himself over the grief, he a dead body (Radcliffe) washed up on the shore. It doesn’t take Hank long to discover that the corpses flatulence, and his ability to talk to Hank, make him a unique and interesting companion/tool to use on his journey to return home. Naming the corpse, Manny, Hank tries to reenact what the outside world is like so that Manny knows how to help Hank as well as trying to rediscover his previous life. Which he cannot remember.

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A word used by the characters a lot in this movie, is “weird”. That alone says quite a bit about it. It has a very “Castaway” like feeling to it. The use of only a couple actors throughout the majority of the film adds a very claustrophobic feeling as it progresses. The wilderness environment in the movie is almost a character in and of itself as the obstacles in the character’s way seem to have an everlasting impact on both of their developments.

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Dano’s performance in the movie is superb. As the film’s hero, we don’t really know very much about Hank, apart from what he chooses to teach Manny. Its a mystery that carries on deeper and deeper just as his friendship with Manny grows too. He is a character with very obvious flaws in both his life and his circumstances which he tries to confront more and more to recover what he thinks he never deserved in his life back home. Of course he questions his sanity throughout the movie, (as any sane person would if a dead body started talking to them).

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Radcliffe’s acting as Manny is one for the books. Long surpassed the Harry Potter image with great movies like The Woman in Black and Horns, Manny is a character who besides trying to discover, or rather rediscover his humanity, is also uncovering new powers which range from his gas being used to propel him as a human jet ski, to spitting marbles s fast as bullets, to vomiting drinkable water. Yet through it all, he’s still a corpse, and is being carried on Hank’s back through a good portion of the movie. Radcliffe adds a very naive, almost childlike curiosity about the most mundane of human activities. He make us, the audience, really question our surroundings. And being dead, he really appreciates the gift of life in a way Hank has yet to learn.

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All in all, this is a very beautiful movie about friendship, love, and a powerful and humorous lesson of humanity.

Final Score: 8/10
Rated R

Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

Cast

Paul Dano…..Hank
Daniel Radcliffe……Manny
Mary Elizabeth Winstead………Sarah

Joe’s Random Movie Review: A “Lord of the Rings” character analysis on Boromir

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WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!

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Part One of the Lord of the Rings introduced a group of heroes with a single goal and as a team each member brought something different to the team. For all intensive purposes the Fellowship of the Ring were Middle Earth’s Avengers seeking to destroy the One Ring and save the land. While many hard core fans of both the books and movies have their favorites like Aragorn, Gandalf, or Gimli no member has been as underappreciated as the representative of Gondor, Boromir.

The original group was four hobbits, two humans, a wizard, an elf, and a dwarf. Middle Earth was a vast place with many heroes and many races scattered throughout. Borormir himself represents the kingdom of Gondor, which at this point in the story has been defending itself against Mordor for some time now. Aside from Gandalf (and possibly Aragorn) Boromir is the only other member of the fellowship to have at least caught a glimpse of the evil which Frodo and Sam wouldn’t encounter until the events of The Return of the King.

It seems rather obvious after the Fellowship first sets out that almost each member is estranged from the rest (Legolas and Gimili being a prime example). But as the Fellowship continues, as an audience, we see the group becoming more as friends. Willing to defend each other to the very end. He also is a bit isolated from the group as he is technically the only full blooded human. Aragorn is a descendent of the men of Numenor who had Elf blood in the family lineage. At the time this story takes place, Aragorn is in fact 87 years old. As such, his outlook on life is undoubtedly different then the significantly younger Boromir.

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Boromir is probably the least liked of the fellowship because of the temptation of the Ring and its power. Initially, he was sent there by his father the Stewart of Gondor to bring the Ring back as a weapon to use against the enemy and only wanted to use its power to help Gondor. Would he have delivered it to his father? Probably not. He would’ve one far more mad than he already did those few times he was tempted by the Ring.

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He was the pride of his people and his father, and with a reputation such as his, many would assume he would die honorably in battle. Yet how does he die?

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…………defending two hobbits.

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In short, Boromir is the everyman. He represents what is good and what is ugly in all humanity. Everything Elrond says is weak about man is certainly shown in Borormir’s character, and in Sean Bean’s excellent performance of him. He is a character who is both a hero and a villain and as such, though he is not as well received as the rest of the Fellowship, he is certainly the most sympathetic.

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Character Analysis: Wile E. Coyote

I’ve always liked Wile E. Coyote. He never gives up, and is clearly one of the smartest Looney Tunes characters. Comparing him with a character like Bugs Bunny. Bugs is a character who just wings it or cons his way through a scheme. And Coyote just wants to eat, an important motivation to say the least. Coyote represents one of the most important life lesson anybody can ever learn. You can be the smartest, most resourceful, most worthy person and somebody less qualified may still come out on top. Still, that’s no reason to stop trying.

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“Ghostbusters”

“Well, let’s say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. Based on this morning’s reading, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.” 

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Joe’s Random Movie Trivia: “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954) / “Jaws” (1975)

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The giant squid in this movie was created by Robert Mattey, who would later in 1975 create the shark in Steven Spielberg’s film “Jaws”.

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Joe’s Random Movie Review: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

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As I’ve said in a previous post, we are living in the ever growing, ever tiring era of remakes, reboots, late sequels, prequels, etc. Movies like this are either a hit or miss as there are many factors to consider the least of which is a good storyline. I think its fair to say that back in 1996 when Independence Day was first released, it showed audience a new look to the ever classic alien invasion science fiction genre. It was action packed, contained a stellar A-list cast, and was undoubtedly considered to be first movie in what we are now very familiar with; the Michael Bay- type action movie. Lots of visual effects, explosions, villains you love to hate, and nice guy heroes. And twenty years later… they came back.

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Independence Day: Resurgence takes place twenty years after the original alien invasion of Earth. Earth has essentially assimilated the leftover alien technology and made it their own with hovercrafts, antigravity propulsion, colonizing of the Moon, etc. And brought back a few familiar faces back to face the extra terrestrial foe yet again (without the ever popular Will Smith). And it brought in new heroes, like Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison and Jessie Usher who plays the now grown up Dylan Hiller.

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While this was undoubtedly a good sequel, it still had its issues. There was an even less ammount of character development on the part of any of the heroes, as if the action itself was a main character. Granted, that’s pretty much how the original was. But that was when this type of action movie was new to the scene. In this movies with explosions every ten seconds, this style of filmmaking gets old fast. In that aspect, this was a movie that was joyfully made for the fans and was trying way too hard at some points to be a carbon copy of the first movie. While there is some character development on the new characters, more could’ve been given.

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This film also attempts to shed some light on what the alien’s inicial plan was for harvesting the Earth. This included an excellent backstory about Congolese fighting the aliens who were left behind on Earth, and the only ship to remain intact. This backstory alone would’ve made a great stand alone movie, as the tone of those scene in this movie were less Independence Day and more like Predator. And the film also dealt with more in the nature of the Alien’s telepathy on the characters of Dr. Okun (Brent Spiner) and President Whitmore (Bill Pullman). The idea of exploring the telepathy was something only touched on in one scene in the first film, but this film makes it a plot point.

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The corniness, and yet the humorous points of this movie mostly came from the return of some of the original characters (mostly on the part of the crazy, but hilarious Brent Spiner and the hysterical Judd Hirsch). But there were parts of the movie where one could not help but roll their eyes. Particularly the fight scene which bears a striking resemblance to Pacific Rim (you’ll know when you see it).

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All in all, this was a good sequel. Not great, but still an entertaining addition to franchise for a whole new generation.

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Final Score: 6.5/10

Directed by Roland Emmerich

Cast

Liam Hemsworth………Jake Morrison
Jeff Goldblum……David Levinson
Bill Pullman…….Pres. Thomas Whitmore
Jessie Usher……Dylan Dubrow-Hiller
Sela Ward…..Pres. Elizabeth Landford
Travis Tope…….Charles Ritter
William Fichtner…..Gen. Joshua Adams
Charlotte Gainsbourg…..Dr. Catherine Marceaux
Judd Hirsch……Julius Levinson
Brent Spiner….Dr. Brakish Okun
Vivica A. Fox……Jasmine Dubrow-Hiller
Angelababy……Rain Lao
Robert Loggia…..Gen. William Grey