Archive for the ‘Movies’ category

A Nightmare Indeed: Irresponsible Parenting & Traumatized Children

April 29, 2010

I just came from a screening of the remake, A Nightmare on Elm Street, at Edwards Marq*E here in Houston and I may not be able to sleep tonight.  Not because of Freddy but because I am so LIVID at what I saw happen with the children at the theater.

Before I get to the story, here is IMDB’s description of the plot:

A re-imagining of the horror icon Freddy Krueger, a serial-killer who wields a glove with four blades embedded in the fingers and kills people in their dreams, resulting in their real death in reality.

What they don’t tell you about the remake:

In the original 1984 movie, Robert Englund plays a psychopathic child killer. In this remake, they take it one step further and add the twist of him being a child molester as well into the plot. That fact is not explicitly stated in the trailer or any of the promotional material. In any case, that’s not why we’re upset. The movie in of itself was actually pretty good for a new-age horror movie.

Note: Minor Movie Spoiler Alert

Here’s why Megan and I are so upset.

We get that a rated-R movie allows cinemas the right to sell tickets to children as long as a parent is with them. But the new A Nightmare on Elm Street should not be rated R, considering they have turned Freddie into a child molester who comes back from the dead to kill the children he molested. It should be rated NC-17 so NO child can get in. After all, it is a graphic and blunt theme in the movie.

Irregardless, this was a promotional screening so nobody paid for a single ticket. Prior to the commencement of the movie, the representative for whatever organization put this on was being very selective about whom they let in and were open about discouraging large amounts of people from getting in line for overflow seats. Out of those that remained in line, there was at least one family which included children of the approximate ages of seven, five, three, and a 4-month old baby. To accommodate this group, the representative walked them in personally and sat them directly in the front row.

These are the same people who fought with us about bringing a cell-phone in. In the theater there were at least 5-7 employees scanning isles for recorders and cell phones throughout the movie. Naturally, when Freddy started slashing people up the kids started crying. I heard not one, but multiple babies, in addition to toddlers, crying at various points in this movie. This whole time, not 1 employee asked parents to step out based on their kids disturbing the audience.

As A Nightmare on Elm Street wore on it was revealed that Freddy molested pre-school kids on top of torturing them, and the kids in the theater kept screaming. Again, not one employee moved but they were sure looking hard for those pesky cell phones and video recorders. The traumatized cries of the kids in the seats and on their parents’ laps just blended in with the sound effects and gore of the characters on-screen.

As we walked out of the theater, representatives for whoever handled this screening were asking movie-goers what they thought of the film. We first walked past and almost made it out of the theater before we walked back to tell these people what we thought.

“What organization are you with?”

Response: “A local group representing Warner Brothers… mumble, mumble, mumble…”

“How dare you let babies, children into a movie about a child molester?”

Response: “We can’t control who people bring to our movies.”

Before we left, we also posed the same question to the theater manager on-duty but all she could manage in response to our questions was speechlessness and a dropped jaw.

Tragic.

There are some parents out there that will say this type of thing is okay and kids shouldn’t be sheltered. I agree to an extent but children shouldn’t learn about the dangers of child predators from a movie like this in the same sense that parents shouldn’t pop in Ron Jeremy’s classic pornos to teach their children about sex. Seeing the wrong thing at a young age can have a profound effect on the young. I remember watching the movie It as a child and to this day, I still have a complex about clowns! Over-exposing children is NOT a good thing.

To those parents that brought their young children to this movie… shame on you.

I never thought I’d be “that guy” that would be so upset about an issue like this. Now that I have a 4-month old son of my own, I finally understand. Kids shouldn’t be exposed to this type of subject matter, in this way, this early in life. At best, you’re taking away their innocence and at worst, you run the risk of leaving a permanent scar on their ever-so-fragile psyche.

The same type of parents that would take their young children to movies about child molesters that kill them in their dreams have them dancing to explicit dumb sh*t on YouTube and think its cute. Get a clue! And for the sake of those kids, please find some common sense so they can grow up the right way.

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Movie Review: John Woo’s Red Cliff

November 1, 2009

I’ve posted some amazing pictures before. I’ve even spoken about an opportunity to tour with a good friend of mine. But when it comes to exploring the vast history of the Chinese empire, I haven’t had a great opportunity to highlight this amazingly interesting subject matter until now.

Think about it… Unless you focused specifically on other history in your collegiate or post-graduate studies, chances are that your academic and literary exposure to history centered around western civilization, such as Rome, Greece, and the Americas.

Famed Hong Kong Director John’s Woo’s latest epic movie, Red Cliff, gives viewers a rare opportunity to sneak a peek into China’s illustrious thousands-of-years long history. Set in a time period of tumultuous change, with a puppet Emperor and warlord’s waging war for control, this movie gives us the battle of Red Cliff. Fought in the year 208 AD, this was a pivotal and decisive battle during the end of the Han Dynasty and immediately predates the period of the three kingdoms.

I can not say enough how awesome this movie is. Probably the my favorite eastern action film ever. It was nominated for 15 honors at the famed Hong Kong Film Awards and its award-winning cinematography and visual effects make Lord of the Ring’s Battle of Minas Tirith seem like an afterthought. Set for a November US release, I highly recommend this film to any historian, or movie-goer for that matter.

Check out the preview for yourself.

The year was 208AD, the Prime Minister Cao Cao (Fengyi Zhang) has taken control of Northern China and made the Emperor a puppet ruler. But the south is defiance. Lord Liu Bei (Yong You) tries to fight and has excellent general, but is hopelessly outnumbered by Cao Cao “>Cao forces. He sets out to make an alliance with two other Southern Lords, the young Sun Quan (Chen Chang) and military expert Zhou Yu (Tony Leung). Liu Bei uses his chief adviser Kongming (Takeshi Kaneshiro) to negotiate with Lords. Even with this new alliance, Cao Cao still outnumbers the 3 Kingdoms with a force of 800,000 troops. Zhou Yu and Kongming sets out the win the coming battle with strategy, expert military tactics, trickery, the weather and spies. Here the two forces set out for the coming battle.

Tip: If you’re got a high-definition television, a suitable surround sound system, AND ATT U-Verse, you can screen this movie NOW by renting the HD Version for only $11 on Video on Demand. Do it quick though, I don’t know how much longer they’ll offer it since its coming out in theaters soon.

Reality Bites

September 4, 2009

Yes, reality bites. And you know what? As each day passes and I see more and more people of my and the upcoming generation taking all the riches that our American world has to offer for granted, I start to seethe.

After watching the movie, Reality Bites, I was compelled to write the below. If you haven’t seen this movie, it is basically a monument to the drowning cynicism and complete arrogance of the early nineties.

It is slacker personified.

reality bites poster

The last time I saw this movie I was 18 and I thought it was profound and edgy. Now, 8 years or so later, I am just watching this train wreck of my generation’s pop culture with my mouth hanging open. It is not cool to abstain from being a productive and hopeful member of society! Why did we ever subscribe to this ridiculous way of thinking?

To be fair, the movie is a parody of sorts on just this kind of thinking. It is pointing the finger at itself as much as anything else. However, in the midst of the sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek fun, a real message starts to come through. Try as they might, they weren’t able to escape the sense of entitlement and the too-cool-for-school cynicism that marked the early nineties…and only gathered strength as the years rolled on.

The characters in this film are an inherent contradiction. Through all their artistic pessimism, sharp wit and clever lines, they are still filled with hope. Hope for the future and full of ideals they try to pretend don’t exist for fear of losing their put-upon edge. Hope born from irrepressible youth and  dreams, near tangible in their clarity. To quote a different movie, they are,  “Hope dancing in stiletto heels…

The invincibility of youth is a powerful drug that rockets you to the highest highs and keeps you company through the lowest of lows. It is a beautiful ride, filled with dizzying drops and heart-stopping inclines. The comedown, however, can be a terrible thing. If you haven’t been paying attention, if you haven’t learned to look outside your self-centered bubble; it will give you a nasty, but nelife isn't fair mugeded wake-up call. It sneaks up on you around 24 or 25, give or take a few years contingent upon your personal level of maturity, and where you are in your life. The comedown is being forced to look at your future as it relates to reality. Remember when your parents repeated ad nauseam that, “Life isn’t fair.”? They were right. Again. Get used to the idea now, because it becomes a louder litany for every year you gain. Nothing is what you thought it would be and life is even harder than you knew it would be.

Let us review…

Love.

Love is not patient, easy or kind. It is usually fleeting, risky and painful. You can invest your heart over and over again, and more often than not, it is returned with a negative balance. The true love story ends with Romeo and Juliet. They were two ignorant star-crossed lovers that weren’t old enough to know anything about life. If they had actually been able to realize their dream of being together, they would’ve most likely ended up poor, ostracized, arguing about money and loathing the sound of each others chewing. Don’t get me wrong, kids, I’m not saying love it is an impossibility; I’m saying that love isn’t a certainty. It’s not a given. It can be work, like anything else. The only people that have to love you, are your parents – and even then…

Life.

Life (adulthood) isn’t just difficult because you have to work hard, pay constant bills, care about people who hurt you, let tightly clutched dreams go, or take responsibility for hurting people that you care about. Those things are just bit players on the stage of life.

It is the moments in between that shoot your hair with gray and line your face with wrinkles.

Looking in the MirrorIt is looking at yourself in the mirror every single morning and reconciling what is inside you, with what you see. It is in the fading but still visible scars that tell a story about a mistaken, drunken night. It is the very first time you fall in love with a child, protect them with all you have, then one day realize you may never see them again. It is facing your mistakes naked, with a cold and unforgiving eye. It is real cynicism, borne from life experience, that you fight with every bit of the child left inside you, because somehow you know that letting it take over would be like daily taking a little arsenic with your morning coffee. In the beginning, there are barely noticeable symptoms akin to a general unwell feeling and then, one day, you die a terribly painful death.

It is the final, full acceptance that you absolutely will die, anytime and anywhere, for no reason at all. It is the death of one or both of your parents. Learning to live in a world where the people who made you no longer exist. It is caring for your elderly at a nursing home and knowing that it could very well be you, sitting alone in a darkened room refusing to shower one day… if you’re lucky that is. That is when life is truly hard.

The heroes in this life are not the cynics, the artists and the empty, all-too-human, glittering celebrities we worship. The heroes are the people who take these harsh realities of life and turn them into a positive, even when it seems impossible. The people who find a reason to smile through adversity. The Gandhis, the Nelson Mandelas, the Martin Luther Kings of this world are the people to exemplify.

Or the everyday hero. My personal favorite.  The woman who still finds steel in her soul that allows her to smile and be gracious through the funeral of the only man she ever loved. The mom who loses her child but stays strong for the remaining ones. The fathfunny-pictures-cat-says-thank-you-to-his-fireman-rescuerer who goes to work every single day at a job he despises just to feel fulfilled when watching his children reap the rewards of all that hard work. There is such nobility in willing self-sacrifice.  The bottom line these days is so much more centered around instant gratification or the pursuit of happiness. The simple but moving stories above are becoming less and less, fewer and far in between. The people who turn their constant worries into valid causes, that look at obstacles as an exciting challenge. . . these are the people who inspire and shame us all. The heroes rise above the pain of reality and do something about it.

Not so are the people who embrace the cynicism, wearing it like a security blanket for all the world to see. Making jokes about hard working men and women struggling to feed their families, as if what they do is somehow less because they accepted the daily rat race or because they weren’t “cool” enough to get some job painting pictures for a living. You know, we can’t all be artists. Who would be there to appreciate that piece of work then? I think every self-labeled artist should profusely thank the average man and woman every day, because without them, all they’ve accomplished is putting some color on canvas or words to music that no one looks at and no one listens to. If we didn’t go to the movies, read books, drink wine, or attend museums… well, then where would the artists of this world be?

So, to abstain from the rat race, to pursue culture, to be an artist is all well and good – great even! – but don’t for a second believe that it makes you better in some way or that you are nobler somehow. We all come from the same Earth, we all will return to it and we all make a difference in some small way. And I tend to believe that the humble, rough farmer does a great deal more than the Picasso’s of the world.

I am not one of these heroes I mentioned. I am somewhere in between. I would like to say though, I do hope to be one someday…

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day – The Trailer

September 2, 2009

bdsOn a lighter note…. I wanted to let you guys know that there is a sequel coming for the cult classic movie, Boondock Saints. The sequel retains its original director, Troy Duffy, as well the orignal saints, Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus.

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day hits theaters on October 30, 2009. Watch the brand-new trailer below, brought to you by IGN.

Movie Review – Food Inc.

August 21, 2009

We went to Houston’s Angelika Theater to watch Food Inc. this past week. The movie/expose by fimmaker Robert Kenner gives a look into America’s agricultural business and how the industry has evolved within oh-say, the last sixty years or so.

Here is the synopsis from the official website:

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

Now before I give you my honest review of the issues within the movie, I think its important to tell you what type of person I am, so you can see the foundation of my opinions.

  1. foodincI am the most cynical person I know.  As an example, when it comes to politics, I’ve smiled and listened to both extremes of the left-wing and the right-wing on issues. And oftentimes, I think both sides are full-of-you-know-what spouting off uneducated none-sense and propaganda. I’ve seen too many people incoherently babbling on issues that they don’t even have full knowledge of recently.
  2. In going with the above theme, I believe it to be important for individuals to educate themselves on all sides of an issue in order to form their own opinion. Doing so will help you avoid coming off like an uneducated dolt aka one of them ‘sheeple.’ Understand that others will always try to influence you. From individuals and organizations to politicians and activists, everyone will have an argument to back their side. Take an objective look at the whole picture before you figure out where to plant your feet. And for God’s sake, when somebody tries to influence your thoughts and beliefs, check their premise before believing them.
  3. As soon as you have your facts straight and have planted your feet fully on issues, I think its okay to be an advocate – so long as you do it respectfully and avoid coming coming off like an idiot trying to push your beliefs on people. Challenge others to awareness and not opinion. Let them figure out issues for themselves through objectivity rooted in factual knowledge. That’s the respectful way to affect change.

 My Opinions on the movie, Food Inc.

 Variety’s review is correct in stating that this movie “does for the supermarket what “Jaws” did for the beach — marches straight into the dark side of cutthroat agri-business, corporatized meat and the greedy manipulation of both genetics and the law.”

With that fact in mind, I’ve gotten the following feedback all too often when talking about Food Inc. this week, “I’m scared to watch this movie.” or “Don’t do it, you won’t want to eat for a week.”

 Well duh you idiots, that’s what the movie is intended to do. But why in the world would you want to avoid something you could possibly learn from? I’m not saying believe everything you hear because I certainly do not. What I am saying is that maybe by watching films like Food Inc. and other like it, you may raise your own awareness of problems in the world you didn’t even know existed. I know that’s unfathomable for a lot of people. Most of us don’t want to be bothered. And films like this one delve in issues on a much-higher level than our usual ‘things that go boom’ and ‘girls like Sarah Jean Underwood’ that we like to be entertained by. I’m cool with that. I love those types of films too. But for real, it’s okay sometimes to walk out of the theater not jumping up and down about the bad-ass explosion sometimes. What a startling concept huh? To actually walk out of the theater with your head down because you learned something that jarred your consciousness… LOL.

Like I said, Food Inc. deals with complex issues. If you haven’t watched it yet, ask yourself how much you know about how our agricultural systems work. Probably not much. Films like this are good at showing you that. Honestly, walking in to the movie, I was thinking it would be nothing but a collection of propaganda and ‘facts’ bordering on bullshit. I was expecting another Da Vini Code but what this ended up being was my Zeitgeist about chicken. Except the facts were a lot newer and certainly a lot more irrefutable. I’m sure there is a lot more behind the food issue and the agricultural industry that I need to learn before I go off advocating anything other than awareness.

But here are just a few facts I got from the movie that warranted some thought.

  • It’s insane that four multi-national corps. (Perdue, Tyson, etc.) control most of the the food chain from planting to our stomach. The choices we see on the aisles are all coming from the same sources.
  • It’s sick how they grow beef, chicken, and pork. They’re truly not growing animals naturally, but rather growing meat for consumption. It’s not natural.
  • I never know large the corn industry was and how our government subsidizes it. From ethanol to food to beauty products, damn near everything we have contains corn.
  • Genetic-manipulation and patenting of said genetic advances have created monopolies of monstrous proportions. Scary sh*t. It’s Orwellian for sure.
  • There is much more to the agricultural business than I ever thought there was and it’s a lot to digest, no pun intended.

Reviews from other Sources about Food Inc.

Entertainment Weekly, LA Times, Salon.Com, Village Voice, and Rolling Stone gave highly favorable reviews. Rotten Tomatoes  gave the film a 97% rating.

Comments about Food Inc. that made me laugh

“It’s an “Inconvenient Truth” for food, minus the droning Al Gore and a handful of PowerPoint slides.”
 
“Smart, gripping, and untainted by the influence of Michael Moore.”

“A brutally disturbing, fundamentally important new documentary.”

“Consider food your guilty pleasure? Well, “Food, Inc,” shows it’s a killer. You need to see this film.”

Food Inc. Trailer

10 movies that make you want to hit somebody!

September 5, 2008


Green Street Hooligans – Elijah Wood’s post Lord of the Rings pet project delves into football culture across the pond. His character, unfairly expelled from Harvard, moves to England to stay with his sister. Thanks to his brother-in-law Pete, Wood discovers the passion for the game and all that comes with it. Lots and lots of good-old-fashioned drunken brawling ensues!


300 – The graphic adaptation of the Frank Miller novel, 300 must be the quintessential testosterone movie! Retelling the Spartans’ improbable Battle of Thermopylae, this movie is about pure and unadulterated violence. Thousands amongst thousands of men, magicians, and exotic beasts fight to the death. Ahh Woo!


Gladiator (1992) – If you were thinking about Russell Crowe’s Roman saga, that is NOT the movie we are referring to. This 1992 feature film is the story of 2 teenagers from the mean streets of south side Chicago who are trapped in the gritty, dirty world of underground boxing. One fights to get his father out of danger related to illegal gambling debt. The other fights for the money needed to get out of the ghetto. And in the end, they are pitted against each other for an explosive ending. Easily one of the more underrated movies of our lifetime.


Any Given Sunday – Oliver Stone paints a masterful depiction of life in professional football. What really gets me about this film is Al Pacino’s halftime speech for the biggest game of his teams’ year. Adversity, a willingness to fight against impossible odds, and coming to grips with your own limitations – If you’re ever been a competitor, this movie will undoubtedly fire you you up!


The Program – Much like ‘Any Given Sunday’ this 1992 film is also about the football world, this time delving into the dirty underbelly of college football. From being expected to make the bowl game to drug & alcohol abuse, this movie lets you see what it’s like for these characters to deal with the adversity of college life. Pressure surrounds them. Competition divides them. Glory unites them.

01_fight_club
Fight ClubA lonely, remote thirty-something young professional seeks an escape from his ordinary life with the help of an underground fight club. In this club, boxing matches and harmless pranks soon lead to an out-of-control spiral towards oblivion. Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club takes the audience into a world that finds discomfort with consumerism and changes in the state of masculinity in American culture, and throws violence around as if it is the problem solver.

equilibrium2
EquilibriumSet in a very fascist futuristic world, one guy, played by Christian Bale, turns against the establishment and fights the resistence neo-kung-fu style to overturn the regime.


BraveheartIn this period film, you will see lots of blood! Mel Gibson is a Scottish patriot, doesn’t like the authority that rules his land, and takes matters into his own hands as he and his mob of rebels fight back against the English with everything from pitchforks to giant swords!


The Matrix – Who doesn’t know about the Matrix… In this futuristic film an ordinary man gets awakened from his 9-5 life of servitude to the reality that the world is not what he thought it was. From then on, “Neo” learns how to fight all from downloaded information directly into his brain. “I know Jujitsu” …. damn Neo, it took me four years to learn a quarter of what you did in ten minutes.


Flash Point – Quite possibly the best MMA-adapted kung fu movie of ALL time, this movie is about an agent who battles against the powerful forces of a powerful Vietnamese gang. Donnie Yen, who plays the protagonist, says that the final fight sequence was the hardest scene he has ever had to shoot in his lifetime. You have got to see it to believe it. (HINT: It’s on YouTube)

NEW Legend of Zelda movie trailer

August 23, 2008

Check out the trailer for the new Legend of Zelda movie!

Worth watching?