Thursday, May 29, 2008

a target on the audience

Spring Grove Cemetery. As always you can see more photos on my Flickr page.

the dogs of doom are howling

I entered the theater to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull bracing myself for the worst and instead I exited the movie feeling only slightly disappointed. I guess that's something to be happy about?

Most satisfying--surprisingly--was Harrison Ford's performance. His last few films have been pretty abysmal, but he managed to bring back much of Indiana Jones' old spark, while throwing in some of the grumpy-and-wise-old-man act when appropriate. The story wasn't bad, although the crystal skulls are no where near as cool of a plot device as the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail. Nor do the Soviets come across as menacing as the Nazis did in two of the three previous films. But a lot of the same adventure is back, especially when it comes to the fist fights and car chases (although the jungle chase went on a little too long). I'm normally not a huge fan of car chases, but Indiana Jones movies always feature exceptional ones, and the chases in Crystal Skull were fairly entertaining.

What really brings the film down are some absolutely ridiculous scenes that take the film from a semi-realistic action movie to a downright ludicrous B-movie at times. The most offensive such scenes (minor spoilers follow) are ones such as Indy surviving a nuclear blast by hiding in a refrigerator, the super-intelligent army ants, ramping an aquatic car off a cliff onto a tree that bends and drops the care safely into a river, and Shia LeBeouf swinging through the trees like Tarzan with his squad of monkeys. Speaking of LeBeouf, I was disappointed when I heard he was in the film, and my fears were justified as his character was one dimensional and the acting was stale. Whether LaBeouf or the writing and directing is to blame for that is debatable, but I have yet to be blown away by any of his performances. Cate Blanchett was passable as Indy's Soviet nemesis, but Karen Allen was disappointing. While Ford seems to have aged well, time has not been kind to Allen, and there was little of the spunk left in her character from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I also agree with Justin Hall that nearly all of the CGI in the film looks awful. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg both said they used as few special effects as possible to retain the feel of the original films, but when CGI is used it is glaringly obvious and distracts from the events unfolding in the scene.

I'm still unsure how I feel about the ending or the whole X-Files feeling of the plot. On the one hand it fits with the whole 1950s B-movie setting of the film, but on the other hand the climax felt a little too science fiction for an Indiana Jones movie.

Jess, who has never seen all of the other films (I guess that means I'm failing as a boyfriend) said she thought the movie was entertaining. I suppose that means on its own, to people less familiar with Indiana Jones it is a decent action flick. Fans of the series will be a little more disappointed.

Two and a half out of Five Davies. **1/2

On a side note, did you know Newport on the Levee's AMC theater only does student ticket prices on Thursday nights now? A mediocre theater just got even worse. All the more reason for me to go to Springdale from now on.

Friday, May 16, 2008

a country's soul that reads post no bills

I hear many people complaining these days about the state of politics in our country. Never fear, boys and girls, for democracy is alive and well in America!! That's right, we have no reason to worry when our altruistic and trustworthy elected representatives hold secret, clandestine meetings to discuss bills about spying on their own constituents. That's always been my favorite part of the Constitution, the section that talks about how the government is to be held completely unaccountable for its actions and should violate the civil liberties of its citizens as frequently as possible.

On a serious note, let's hope the Democrats grow a backbone for this new bill and maybe they can fix some of the damage that's been done by all the unconstitutional, warrantless surveillance that has been going on. Naturally, Bush has promised to veto any bill that would curb his surveillance powers at home. After all, why in the world would he want to give up some power for the sake of something as unimportant as freedom and liberty?

Edit: Did you also know the U.S. can and does search and download the data from any laptop entering the country? Fantastic. Apparently that whole needing a search warrant thing doesn't apply to your laptop in an airport.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

on warm milk and laxatives

It seems my body grew tired that the subtle hints it had been sending me that my dietary habits needed changing were going unheeded, and decided that the only way I would take notice was if the message was delivered more forcefully. This message was received loud and clear last night, when a week's worth fast food binging--the pinnacle of which being the rather disgusting amount of Skyline and ballpark food I consumed yesterday--ended with me with one of my body seated on the toilet and the other buried in the bathroom garbage can. I apologize for giving you all the unpleasant mental images that accompany my gastrointestinal habits, but you should really be thankfully you didn't have to endure the smell that accompanied my body's revolt against its the fuel I had been giving it.

I may allow myself to be stubborn and stupid in many situations, but I like to think I can take a hint from my own body, at least when that hint is delivered with sledgehammer-like force. I'm heading to the grocery again tomorrow morning to reinforce my supplies of moderately healthy food, and avoiding fast food for awhile. Hopefully I can stay consistent with this.

Monday, May 05, 2008