About Calamity Jane

I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you.

Midnight Movie Review – G.I. Joe: Retaliation

I write this with a heavy heart: the new G.I. JOE movie sucks.GIJoe2

I went to see the midnight showing (that was actually at 9pm. Remember when you used to have to wait until midnight for a midnight showing of a movie on opening weekend?).

I am pretty much biting my tongue completely off not to give away the hugest of all spoilers in G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Although to be honest, I wish someone would’ve just told me. I think I could’ve relaxed and enjoyed the movie a bit more.  But probably not much more.

So what’s wrong with the movie exactly? Take your pick: it’s disjointGIJoeTheRocked, bland, and tension-less – just kind of big and dumb.  Will my 9- and 10-year-old sons like it? Oh heck yeah. After all, there are lots of fight scenes and raining ninjas and blowing shit up. (I give it a very soft PG-13, for any parents who might be wondering – it really could’ve almost gone PG)

GIJoeLadyJaye

Palicki’s Lady Jaye

But I was hoping for more…something.  More anything but absurd action. After all, these characters are pretty holy to me – I grew up on G.I. Joe. In South Florida, running around as the only girl in a neighborhood of boys, we played G.I. Joe all the time. I was Lady Jaye.  I know these characters and love them, but the film? Not so much.

There were some good things about the movie. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson brought his normal charming blend of charisma and swagger as Roadblock. Bruce Willis is gleeful as the original General Joe.  Channing Tatum and D.J. Cotrona are both hot (although Cotrona’s Flint left me pretty cold). Adrianne Palicki played my namesake Lady Jaye with as much flair as could be mustered for a pretty one-dimensional role.GIJoeSnakeEyes

And Snake Eyes? Well, he’s still the most bad-ass mother fucker on the planet, isn’t he? And without ever saying a word. Ray Parks communicates all he needs to by leaving a string of dead and unconscious bodies in his wake.

GIJoeRZA

Would’ve been better off using this doll

The bad stuff I’ve pretty much already pointed out. But I would be neglect in my duty if I didn’t mention the mind-numbingly awful performance of RZA from Wu-Tang. He makes an appearance as the “Blind Master” about half way through the film and single-handedly kills all the momentum in the movie. Seriously. Screeching halt.

Not that it had a great deal of true momentum to begin with, but whatever it had was gone by the time RZA finished with his scene.

True Joe fans will be disappointed by this film. They can’t help but be. Non-Joe fans may not care as much. As a silly action movie, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is not really too bad. But not really too good either.

Now you know.  And knowing is…well, you know.

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs IMDb #82

It’s the Sunday Showdown: continuing my comparison of the American Film Institute’s and Internet Movie Database’s Top 100 films.

This week, #82: Amadeus vs. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans.

amadeusAmadeus. Hmmm… What is there to say about the film telling the life story of Mozart? For the original 1998 AFI list, Amadeus was #53. But Amadeus was one of the 23 films that completely dropped off when the AFI list was updated in 2008.  (Of those 23, only Amadeus and The Third Man are on the IMDb list.)  I’m not surprised it dropped off. It’s really one of those films that the story is great, but the movie is only good. I liked it as a period piece, but for me it still had that 1980s feel to it for some reason.

sunrise

Sunrise — impressive techniques

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans has been called the Citizen Kane of silent films.  I can see why. For a film made in 1927 it had some pretty groundbreaking cinematography.  It was directed by the German Expressionist director F.W. Murnau, but filmed in America (therefore eligible to be on the AFI list – no foreign films for that list).  It won an Oscar for “Unique Artistic Presentation” at the first ever Academy Awards.

I had no difficulty choosing Sunrise over Amadeus.  I think IMDb should take a hint from the AFI list and get rid of Amadeus completely. It’s not a top 100 film.

So the score: AFI – 13, IMDb – 6.

Next week Spartacus (More Kubrick!?!) vs. All About Eve.  Never seen either. Not really looking forward to the three hour Spartacus epic. Four of my last six movies have been 3+ hours in length.  And Easy Rider, which was only an hour and a half, but felt like three hours.

The Threeway: Top 3 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Couples (Janie’s Take)

Valentine’s Day. I’m not a huge fan of flowers or chocolate. My valentine got me a box of 3small9mm hollow-point ammunition for this holiday o’ love. So nobody should be very surprised that my choices for Top Sci-Fi/Fantasy couples are a little nontraditional.

#3: Flint and Lady Jaye in GI Joe I don’t know what is going to happen in the upcoming GI JOE: Retaliation movie between Flint and Lady Jaye.  I’m not thrilled about the actors playing either of these characters- especially Flint (D.J. Controna ain’t no Jai Courtney, plus has a name that sounds like dancing & drinking – which, Flint&LadyJayereally is not a problem for me, but still…)  Anyway, in the cartoon, they were obviously more than friends, but also always had each other’s backs. Plus Lady Jaye kicked ass.  Always.  Let’s hope for the same in the movie.

#2: Master Chief and Cortana in Halo 4.  I am not a true gamer by any sense of the imagination. But when my 11-year-old son begged me to get him Halo 4 (“The best game EVAR, Mom!!!”) a few months ago, I agreed – with the stipulation that I watch him play for a while to make sure it was okay.  Cut to 2 weeks later:  I am spending every spare hour playing (“Die you alien motherfu— um, you scum!!!”) the game with my son – addicted, akin to some sort of assault rifle-toting crack whore. Continue reading

Midnight Movie Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

John McClane: You got a plan?
Jack McClane: Not really. I kinda thought we would just wing it. You know: running in guns blazing. Make it up as we go…

Evidently that was director John Moore’s plan too for this newest installment of the Die Hard films: Live Free or… no wait, that was the 3rd one. Or maybe the 4th.  This one is called Die Hard With a… no, that was the 4th one.

DieHard5-JaiCourtney

Jai Courtney as McClane Jr.

Whatever. Die Hard 5. (The one that doesn’t have any Germans, Samuel L. Jackson or the Apple Guy.)

I saw it tonight at the midnight showing. It’s pretty terrible. (Not sure if I should’ve offered a spoiler alert for that statement or not). To be a better film, about 35 minutes of the fluff that permeates the movie needed to be cut. Unfortunately it only has a total run time of 1:38, so I guess fluff was the only option.

It’s really kind of a perfect mixed-drink recipe of badness. You’ve got:

1) A setting in Russia

2) A father/son dynamic

3) A Die Hard franchise.

So take EVERY SINGLE cliché you can think of from each of those ingredients and blend it up. I’ll help you:

Russia: confusing characters (wait, which middle-aged bearded guy is that again?), a singing cab driver who LOVES New York, a bad guy who desperately wants to be fashionable, an obnoxious American who gets mad because the person yelling at him in Russian doesn’t speak English, and… Chernobyl

A father/son dynamic:  Moment of clarity for the son: “Wait, my dad is a generally awesome guy? How did I not see that in my 25 years of fighting with him?” (cut to slow motion scene of saving each other’s lives).  “Let’s go kill some scumbags, son.”

Die Hard elements: Blow up as much shit as possible. Have ridiculously long car chase scenes and drive cars off every fucking bridge in the entire country. Blow more shit up. Push bad guy off top of building.

So you mix up all that above goodness, throw in 7-8 shots of BacDieHard5ardi 151, and there you have it: A Pineapple Fuck-Me-Up

AKA: A Good Day to Die Hard.

Bottom line: The son (Jai Courtney) is pretty good, and there are a couple of almost-clever nods to the other films in the franchise (including Bruce’s yippee ki-yay), but overall it’s not worth the time or money. Wait for it to come out on video. The explosions won’t be so big and loud, but you’ve already seen them in Die Hard 1-4 anyway.  If you must go watch it, be sure to do your own shots of Bacardi ahead of time.

The Threeway: Top Three Star Wars Characters that Most Deserve Stand-Alone Movies (Janie’s Take)

3smallI have to admit, I am meh about the whole concept of side-stories in the Star Wars universe. (In any universe, really.) I can barely tolerate subplots within the original movies. The thought of creating an entirely new movie about a character that didn’t even make the first string as a hero seems… Unnecessary. Unimportant.

An obvious attempt to un-brainrape those of us who willingly followed George Lucas into a dark alley on May 16, 1999.

No means no. It does not mean ‘maybe.’ It does not mean ‘come back later.’ It does not mean ‘try a little harder.’ It does not mean ‘Maybe, if I’m a little drunker…’ NO.

But I digress. Kind of.

So even though I am not excited about this Three Way, I know my compatriots have been dreaming/thinking about this for their entire lives. You can feel the glee fairly oozing from Anthony’s pores. (Adam’s too, under the stinky sarcasm.) So I’ll play:

StarWarsOola23) Oola. You know, the green dancer lady in the skimpy outfit in Jabba’s Palace. That’s right, she has a name – remember it: Oola. We all know she ends badly, but how did she get there in the first place? And did her death have some other meaning besides introducing us to the rancor? Enquiring minds want to know. She’s the like the Bree Tanner of Star Wars.  (That’s right, I just included a Twilight reference in a Star Wars post. Suck it.)

2) Boba Fett. An obvious choice. But hell, it’s my avatar people, what do you expect?

1) The Villains of Star Wars. Cause let’s face it: it’s Disney – they’re not just looking for a movie, they’re looking for a ride too.  It won’t be long until Star Wars UniveStarWarsVillainsrse is a full-fledged section of Tomorrowland in Disney World. What better ride could there be than all the villains of the Star Wars universe, based on the hit-movie?  Jabba (complete with rancor and sarlacc), Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, Vader, even Boba Fett, with some stormtroopers and battle droids thrown in.  And, of course, the one who came closest to destroying the universe: Jar Jar Binks.

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs IMDb #83

It’s the Sunday Showdown: continuing my comparison of the American Film Institute’s and Internet Movie Database’s Top 100 films.  #83: Titanic vs. Once Upon A Time in America

once-upon-a-time-in-americaFitting that these two were up against each other seeing as they are both the longest movies EVER. I didn’t really enjoy Once Upon A Time In America, but I made it through. Barely.  That phone ringing… I thought I might have to shoot my television (if you’ve ever seen it, you know what I mean).  I definitely enjoyed Titanic much more.  Although, [spoiler alert] the ship sinks.

So, at this point, AFI is still winning 12 to 6.

#83

Titanic (1997) Once Upon A Time in America (1984)
#84 Easy Rider (1969) The Green Mile (1999)
#85 A Night at the Opera (1935) Full Metal Jacket (1987)
#86 Platoon (1986) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
#87 12 Angry Men (1957) Inglorious Basterds (2009)
#88 Bringing Up Baby (1938) The Great Dictator (1940)
#89 Sixth Sense (1999) Braveheart (1995)
#90 Swing Time (1936) The Bicycle Thief (1948)
#91 Sophie’s Choice (1982) The Apartment (1960)
#92 Up (2009) Goodfellas (1990)
#93 The French Connection (1971) Downfall (2004)
#94 Pulp Fiction (1994) Gran Torino (2008)
#95 The Last Picture Show (1971) Metropolis (1927)
#96 Do The Right Thing (1989) The Sting (1973)
#97 Blade Runner (1982) Gladiator (2000)
#98 Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) The Maltese Falcon (1941)
#99 Toy Story (1995) Unforgiven (1992)
#100 Ben Hur (1959) The Elephant Man (1980)

Next week, Murnau’s silent classic Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (AFI) and Amadeus (IMDb). I haven’t seen the first and don’t remember the second well, so I’m looking forward to both.

The Threeway: 3 Worst Christmas Specials Evah (Janie’s Take)

I pretty much hate Christmas. It’s true. I pay people to wrap my family’s presents, I reconfigure my radio channel pre-sets during the holiday season so I don’t ac3smallcidently hear every superstar from the 80s sing “Feed the World,” and I’ve never seen any of the Santa Clause movies.  (Okay, maybe that last one isn’t so bad).

Grinch. Scrooge. Bee-yatch.  Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve been called all the Christmas insults.

So, I’m happy to offer my 3 Worst Christmas Specials Evah!  No problem.

nester-christmas-donkey-hea

my mommy died. Merry Christmas kids!

3. Nester the Long Eared Christmas Donkey. Cause nothing says Christmas like a story about a the death of a mother. Think Bambi (dead mommy) meets Dumbo (big-assed ears) and cross it with Rudolph (verbal abuse of peers) and you have this craptastic claymation special from 1977. I’m sure A1 or A2 are going to call me a heartless bitch for saying it’s not wonderful, but whatever.  Rankin & Bass should’ve stuck with The Year Without A Santa Claus.

2. And speaking of… did you know there was a live-action remake of The Year Without a Santa Claus. No? Well you probably did at one time, but your traumatized brain blocked it out. Maybe this will help you:

Don’t send me the therapy bills; I’m still paying for my own.

1. The Star Wars Holiday Special. You can watch Adam’s clip if you really want to experience just a bit of how truly awful this special is. I’m a pretty big Star Wars fan, but star-wars-holiday-specialsomehow I survived until I was 38 years old without ever seeing this…train-wreck. If only I could go back to that sweet, innocent time of my past.

Here is where this becomes a cautionary tale about Facebook. A couple years ago I mentioned on FB that I had never seen the Star Wars Holiday Special. An ex-boyfriend of mine from high school – who I thought had long gotten over me breaking up with him – said he would be glad to send it to me, that he couldn’t believe I had never seen it, that I would love it!

What I thought was a kind gesture of friendship and forgiveness was actually that motherfucker telling me that he still, and forever more would, hate me.

If we were ever keeping score, he wins. There’s no greater damage that can be done than subjecting an unsuspecting Star Wars fan to the Holiday Special with zero warning.  Well-played, indeed.

Star Wars Holiday Special: the reason I hate Christmas.

And ex-boyfriends.

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs IMDb #84

Continuing my comparison of the American Film Institute’s and Internet Movie Database’s Top 100 films.

#83: Titanic (AFI) vs. Once Upon A Time in America (IMDb)

Fitting that these two were up against each other seeing as they are both the longest movies EVER.

once-upon-a-time-in-americaI didn’t really enjoy Once Upon A Time In America, but I made it through. Barely.  That phone ringing… I thought I might have to shoot my television (if you’ve ever seen it, you know what I mean). Mob/gangster epics are definitely my least favorite movies. The graphically personal violence and the subconscious knowledge the film is not going to end well for anyone make them difficult for me to watch. Unfortunately, I must be in the minority because both lists are fairly littered with them.

I definitely enjoyed Titanic much more.  Although, [spoiler alert] the ship sinks. I was not an over-the-top fan of this film when it came out (meaning, I only saw it once, not 27 times), but I liked it.  Although honestly, if I was Jack, I would’ve dragged Rose’s ass off that floating wood and left her to die. But, whatever – true love and all that. My 13-year-old absolutely adores  this movie, so I guess it does have lasting value, considering she was -3 years old when it came out in theatres.

I definitely pick Titanic over Once Upon a Time in America. Not a difficult choice. That means AFI leads 12-6.  A recap of the winners (in red) thus far:

AFI’s Top 100 IMDb’s Top 100 (as of 1/1/12)
#83 Titanic (1997) Once Upon A Time in America (1984)
#84 Easy Rider (1969) The Green Mile (1999)
#85 A Night at the Opera (1935) Full Metal Jacket (1987)
#86 Platoon (1986) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
#87 12 Angry Men (1957) Inglorious Basterds (2009)
#88 Bringing Up Baby (1938) The Great Dictator (1940)
#89 Sixth Sense (1999) Braveheart (1995)
#90 Swing Time (1936) The Bicycle Thief (1948)
#91 Sophie’s Choice (1982) The Apartment (1960)
#92 Up (2009) Goodfellas (1990)
#93 The French Connection (1971) Downfall (2004)
#94 Pulp Fiction (1994) Gran Torino (2008)
#95 The Last Picture Show (1971) Metropolis (1927)
#96 Do The Right Thing (1989) The Sting (1973)
#97 Blade Runner (1982) Gladiator (2000)
#98 Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) The Maltese Falcon (1941)
#99 Toy Story (1995) Unforgiven (1992)
#100 Ben Hur (1959) The Elephant Man (1980)

Next week: Murnau’s silent classic Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (AFI) and Amadeus (IMDb). I haven’t seen the first and don’t remember the second well, so I’m looking forward to both.

The Threeway: Top 3 ThinkGeek T-Shirts (Janie’s Take)

If I’m not mistaken, this week’s Threeway came about since the guys figured it would 3smallmake my “loins hum like a tuning fork.”  And oh, they weren’t wrong.

ThinkGeek = wondrous

ThinkGeek + apparel = loin-humming fantasticalness

A t-shirt (Stay Calm and STFU) made my Top 3 last week. But I had no problem finding three more for this week, I just let my humming loins guide me.

geek_inside_maternity#3: As the token gal in our little group, I feel like I need to represent the women and the wee-ones. So this. I totally would’ve worn this back in my baby-making days. (Of course, if you see me in it now, it’s referring to a geeky alien). Continue reading

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs IMDb #84

The Sunday Showdown: The American Film Institute’s Top 100 vs. the Internet Movie Database’s Top 100.

This week: #84: Easy Rider (AFI) vs. The Green Mile (IMDb)

easyriderIt’s difficult for me to express how much I disliked the film Easy Rider. I can sit back and objectively say I understand why it’s in the National Film Registry. It captured an era in our history. A ridiculous, drug-using, free-loving hippie era, but an era nonetheless.  Unfortunately, I have little patience for drug-using, hippie films that insinuate everyone else are unenlightened bigots because they’re not riding across America on motorcycles with long hair.  Not to mention the movie was formulaic and preachy, and at a couple points just plain ridiculous.

Written by Peter Honda and Dennis Hopper. Directed by Hopper. Produced by Honda. Starring Honda and Hopper. Hmmmm. Perhaps less nepotism in this little family would’ve produced a film better than random glad-to-meet-ya scenes punctugreen_mileated by music videos.

So although I didn’t think The Green Mile necessarily deserves to be in the Top 100 (along with a few others on the IMDb list including [sorry A2] Back to the Future and The Prestige), it still wins it for me.

So at this point AFI is still winning 11 to 6. Can it be that I really do agree with the scholars over the masses?