Movie Review – Hellboy

Hellboy The MovieThe Plot – During World War II Hitler gains command of the Spear of Longinus (the fabled spear that pierced Christ on the Cross). Unable to match an unknown threat President Roosevelt decides to create the Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense. Led by Professor Broom a special task force is sent to thwart Hitler’s latest plans led by Grigori Rasputin a follower of the dark arts.

U.S. Special Forces arrive too late to stop Rasputin from opening a portal to a hell dimension, but they manage to prevent anything from coming through… or so they think.

60 years later “Hellboy” has become the government’s secret weapon against evil. There are indeed things that go bump in the night and he will bump back.

The ReviewHellboy is based on the Dark Horse comic series. My club card will probably be revoked as I was not very familiar with this character before seeing the film. Personal musings aside, this movie will be thrown into the lot with other comic remakes. Held up against the likes of Spiderman, X-Men, Blade & even the Hulk expectations are bound to be high.

While the film carries itself with the predictable “good vs. evil” motif, what makes it stand out is the levity of its characters. Much like The Mummy the title characters provide humorous moments to break up what could be considered a slow paced action flick. Ron Perlman brings his own bit of humor & depth to the character of Hellboy. The movie may not have the same dramatic level achieved by Toby Maguire in Spiderman, but it does well for a first movie/origin story.

Where the film gets lost is the large cast of supporting characters. It would have been nice to see more development here, but the focus of course is the title character. I found the lead villain Rasputin rather boring and his underlings insignificant. I would have liked to have seen a little more variety in the monster/demon category. The much noted exception is Kroenen. This S.O.B. definitely needed MORE screen time. I’d like to see him show up in an X-Men flick for duels with Wolverine or even a spot in the next Blade movie.

If you’re the type of person who will nitpick details in plot and look for the flaws in CGI use then you may find contrast to my opinion. Overall I thought this was an enjoyable film based on the delivery by Ron Perlman as Hellboy.

Grade: A- (Hey, I got a thing for cats)

MOVIE REVIEW – Walking Tall

movie_wt.jpgThe Plot – Chris Vaughn has come home after eight years in the Special Forces. Only trouble is it’s not the home he remembers. The once thriving lumber community is now overshadowed by a casino which provides the small town residents their only source of income. Prosperity has taken a back seat to shady drug dealings and hedonism. Taking back the town will require more than just standing up to crooked casino owners it will also mean fighting a corrupt town sheriff.

The ReviewWalking Tall is a remake of the classic 1973 flick which originally starred Joe Don Baker. The film was inspired by the true story of Buford Pusser a wrestler turned town hero who fought corruption with his infamous four foot long 2×4. I say “classic” simply because I can remember watching this movie along side other titles such as Billy Jack and the Death Wish series. But then I grew up on a solid diet of action films including any martial arts flick and stories with a vigilante inspired theme.

The current film differs from the original in more than just the title character’s name change. Can you imagine The Rock portraying somebody called Buford? The original movie was fairly graphic by today’s standards and the updated version while violent does it’s best to tone down any scenes by simply taking them off camera. (WWE executives are smart enough not to alienate their core audience – young wrestling fans)

The film moves along at a quick pace, by that I mean I blinked and it was over. Approximately an hour & fifteen minutes, the movie sometimes felt like a summary tale than an actual story. I thought The Rock did well (thank God I didn’t have to witness “the eyebrow”) and is slowly cementing his title as the next big action hero.

The surprise of the film was Johnny Knoxville. As the best buddy/comedic sidekick, he stole almost every scene he was in. I’ll admit I was surprised to discover he has talent that goes beyond getting kicked in the nuts on camera.

Overall I thought the film delivered. There are certainly plot points or scenes that could have been extended to give the film more depth, but a movie like this is simply meant to be an adrenaline rush.

Grade: A- (Johnny Knoxville gives this film a boost)

Thursday Shout Outs

Mid-afternoon items:

1. About two weeks ago I received a package in the mail from Mr. Helpful. He was kind enough to send his readers a videotaped performance by The Jezebel Diary which features his son “The Pride & Joy” on drums. As a musician/roadie/video tech/music enthusiast, I could’t pass up the opportunity to check out the band and the video that was shot by Mr. Helpful. I have to apologize for not posting about this sooner, but let’s not relive my tech issues.

The tape provided me a nostalgic trip down memory lane back when I myself played hole-in-the-wall joints for tips that covered gas expenses. There’s nothing more exhilarating than being on stage performing. I miss it, I really do. Mr. Helpful tried to downplay the quality of the tape, but I know how difficult it can be to film live shows. I enjoyed the tape and the reminder of fun times. You can check out MP3s on the band site and if you live in the Washington area you might see if they’re playing in an area near you.

2. Sean Johnson must be a busy guy. Not only does he have the killer blog (go read it now), but he also has various side project including A Bright Red Package. Currently he is giving his book away for free. While the book targets college graduates, I highly suggest this book to anyone looking for employment. What impressed me the most was not the ideas presented (whatdoyaknow I actually used some of his techniques already), but I thought the packaging/arrangement/explanation of said ideas very useful. I’m certain his success will be reached once his concepts become the everyday mainstream techniques used by graduates everywhere.

Oh, and before I forget, yours truly is one year older today. Today’s update by Tony Pierce listed some famous folks celebrating with me. Who knew I had something in common with guitar legend Jeff Healey? Maybe that means I’ll get some cool gifts. The parents already hooked me up with a nice software upgrade. Now if I can only get out of school tonight.

Movie Review – Hidalgo

The Plot – Frank Hopkins is a man running away from his past. Billed as the greatest rider of the West, he travels with Bill Cody’s Wild West Show wasting away in a drunken stupor. That is until an Arabian Sheik challenges him to enter the Ocean of Fire, a long distance race held once a year. Apparently, the Sheik is offended that an American would claim such a title as Best Rider especially considering that Frank’s horse is a mustang. Known as the mutt of horses, mustangs garner little respect compared to purebred horses. Reluctantly Frank enters the race with his horse Hidalgo and together they gather up the courage to face not only the hostile terrain of the Arabian desert, but their own troubled past.

The Review – Most of the reviews I had read about Hidalgo were pretty negative. Maybe I was in a jolly good mood, but I thought this picture was well done. Is the story unbelievable? Perhaps. Are the stunts outrageous? I don’t think they’re quite as overdone as an Arnold action picture. Is the pace too slow? Well, maybe if you what you’re looking for is nonstop adrenaline scenes.

This movie is about cheering for the underdog. About a man who has lost his way only to somehow find the inner strength to overcome his own shortcomings. I thought the cinematography was great and the action sequences weren’t completely over the top. And despite what critics have said, I didn’t think any of the fight scenes were too chop-socky (and I would know). Is it cliché? Yup. Is it predictable? Yup. Did I enjoy the film anyway? Yeah, but I cried when Old Yeller died too. Sometimes you just want to be entertained.

Grade: B+ (Chalk it up to the Love it or Hate it category)

Tuesday Filler

Today’s theme Men vs. Women.

Joke #1
An old man and woman were married for years even though they hated each other.

When they had a confrontation, screams and yelling could be heard deep into the night. A constant statement was heard by the neighbors who feared the man the most. “When I die I will dig my way up and out of the grave to come back and haunt you for the rest of your life!”

They believed he practiced black magic and was responsible for missing cats and dogs, and strange sounds at all hours. He was feared and enjoyed the respect it garnished.

He died abruptly under strange circumstances and the funeral had a closed casket. After the burial, the wife went straight to the local bar and began to party as if there was no tomorrow. The gaiety of her actions were becoming extreme while her neighbors approached in a group to ask these questions: Are you not afraid? Concerned? Worried? that this man who practiced black magic and stated when he died he would dig his way up and out of the grave to come back and haunt you for the rest of your life?

The wife put down her drink and said “Let the old bastard dig. I had him buried upside down.”


Joke #2
A guy boards his plane bound for Pittsburgh and sits down in his seat. He notices immediately that the guy next to him has a black eye. He says to him, “Hey this is a coincidence, we both have black eyes, mind if ask how you got yours?”

Other guy: “Well, it just happened. It was a tongue twister accident. See, I was at the ticket counter and this gorgeous blonde with the hugest breasts in the world was there. So, instead of saying I’d like a ticket to Pittsburgh, I said, ’I’d like a picket to Tittsburgh.’ She socked me one.”

First guy: Mine was a tongue twister too. I was at the breakfast table and I wanted to say to my wife, “Please pour me a bowl of Wheaties.” But I accidentally said, “You ruined my life you f#cking bitch.”


Joke #3
During a course in human sexuality, the instructor was discussing various items in the Kinsey report.

The class members gasped audibly when the instructor read out that a woman had several hundred orgasms in a single session.

A male voice said, “Wow, who was she?”

A female voice followed with, “The hell with that… Who was HE?!?!?!?!”


Joke #4
A husband is at home watching a football game when his wife interrupts, “Honey, could you fix the light in the hallway? It’s been flickering for weeks now.”

He looks at her and says angrily, “Fix the light? Now? Does it look like I have G.E. logo printed on my forehead? I don’t think so.”

“Well then, could you fix the fridge door? It won’t close right.”

To which he replied, “Fix the fridge door? Does it look like I have Westinghouse written on my forehead? I don’t think so.”

“Fine,” she says, “then could you at least fix the steps to the front door? They’re about to break.”

“I’m not a damn carpenter and I don’t want to fix the steps,“ he says. “Does it look like I have Ace Hardware written on my forehead? I don’t think so. I’ve had enough of you. I’m going to the bar!!!”

So he goes to the bar and drinks for a couple of hours. He starts to feel guilty about how he treated his wife, and decides to go home and help out. As he walks into the house, he notices the steps are already fixed. As he enters the house, he sees the hall light is working. As he goes to get a beer, he notices the fridge door is fixed.

“Honey, how’d this all this get fixed?”

She said, “Well, when you left, I sat outside and cried. Just then a nice young man asked me what was wrong, and I told him, He offered to do all the repairs, and all I had to do was either screw him or bake him a cake.”

He said, “So, what kind of cake did you bake him?”

She replied, “Hello… Do you see Sara Lee written on my forehead? I don’t think so.”