Saturday, January 26, 2008

Review: Rambo

Okay, I'm a guy, which automatically means I like Rambo. Rambo is one of those classic action characters outranked only by one Mr. John McClane from the Die Hard series. Most people think that Stallone is too old to be taking on his iconic ex-green beret action hero one last time. I disagree, Stallone is in his sixties, but he's in better shape than I will EVER be, so give the guy a break. This time we find John J. Rambo living as a bitter snake wrangler in Thailand. Occasionally he rents out his boat to travel up river to certain areas of the jungle, save for Burma that is. Well, some Christian missionaries come to ask Rambo for a ride into the war riddled Burma. Reluctantly Rambo takes the group into the Burmese jungle. I don't think I need to type the expression for you to figure out what happens from there, but I'll give you a hint: it involves something hitting a fan. Soon the pastor of the church that the missionaries are from comes to tell Rambo that the group is 10 days late from returning and haven't contacted the church at all so something bad had to have happened. This church does the right thing, they hire mercenaries. Let me repeat that. The CHURCH hires MERCENARIES to go rescue their missing missionaries, however, they need a boatman. Cue Rambo. From there on it's pretty much a standard Rambo flick, running through the jungle, setting up traps, shooting fools, shanking fools, bow and arrowing fools, etc. Stallone directs the fourth installment in the popular series, and I'm not sure how I feel about it to be honest. I like Rambo, don't get me wrong, but it's a violent violent film. Stallone has said that he made the film so gory to call people's attention to the genocide that is happening in Burma as we speak. I understand that to a certain extent. What's happening in Burma isn't right, but is Stallone sending the right message to his audience? Do the ends really justify the means in this situation? Sure we would like it to stop, but is that how we would like it to stop? All in all, Rambo is a great action flick, but in the end is too bloody for me to really recommend to anyone.

my rating: 6/10

Review: Cloverfield

Okay, before I start this review there's something you need to know about me. I think JJ Abrams is going to take over the world. If you don't believe me, go see Cloverfield. Abrams is in the producer's chair on this one (but will be behind the camera for the new Star Trek film) however, all he needed to do was make sure that as an audience we were left wondering what was going on well after the film ended. And that's EXACTLY what happens. Cloverfield isn't so much a movie you see as it is a collective experience between the audience and the characters on screen. I've now seen Cloverfield 3 times, and I have to say the first two were more enjoyable than the third. This was due mostly to the fact that the audio was several notches lower than it was the first time which ruined the experience and the audience in our theater today was not engaged with the characters or the story at all. Basically the whole night goes down like this. We find ourselves witnessing Robbie Hawkins and his friend with benefits Beth McIntyre the day after they've slept together. From there we jump to the last minute preparations for Rob's going away party. Twenty minutes of set up and then BOOM explosion, running, mayhem, statue of liberty head, fight for survival, END. Cloverfield is a simple movie, but it gets the job done. It's an American masterwork for the creature feature considering Peter Jackson's mediocre King Kong and Roland Emmerich's "we don't talk about this one" version of Godzilla. Cloverfield is a movie about the people running and screaming in the streets. If they don't know it, you don't know it. There's an heir of mystery to everything which I really liked, but hey, LOST is my favorite tv show so it's to be expected. Just because Cloverfield is simple, doesn't mean it's lame. The sound design on the film is incredible, it's best watched loud. As a matter of fact, it's half the experience. The acting is very well done, and the filming style totally works for the movie and is used to it's full potential (the subway scene comes to mind for that one). All in all, if Cloverfield set the bar for how good movies are going to be this year, I am EXCITED.

my rating: 10/10