The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Posted in Movies, Staublog in July 11, 2003 by | No Comments »

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Capt. Jack Sparrow: Johnny Depp
Capt. Barbossa: Geoffrey Rush
The Governor: Jonathan Pryce
Elizabeth Swann: Keira Knightley
Will Turner: Orlando Bloom
Norrington: Jack Davenport
Lt. Gillette: Damian O’Hare
Pintel: Lee Arenberg
Ragetti: Mackenzie Crook
Murtogg: Giles New

Walt Disney Pictures presents a film directed by Gore Verbinski. Written by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio and Jay Wolpert. Running time: 134 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for violence).

Central Theme
You will pursue what you treasure, so be careful what you treasure; you must be willing to lose everything to possess what you treasure most.

From producer Jerry Bruckheimer comes the thrilling live-action adventure “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, and Orlando Bloom, directed by Gore Verbinski. For the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow (JOHNNY DEPP), the crystalline waters of the Caribbean, like the high seas the world over, present a vast playground where adventure and mystery abound. But Jack’s idyllic life capsizes after his nemesis, the wily Captain Barbossa (GEOFFREY RUSH), steals his ship, the Black Pearl, and later attacks the town of Port Royal, kidnapping the Governor’s (JONATHAN PRYCE) beautiful daughter, Elizabeth Swann (KEIRA KNIGHTLEY). Elizabeth’s childhood friend, Will Turner (ORLANDO BLOOM), joins forces with Jack to commandeer the fastest ship in the British fleet, the HMS Interceptor, in a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl. The duo and their crew are pursued by Elizabeth’s betrothed, the debonair, ambitious Commodore Norrington (JACK DAVENPORT), aboard the HMS Dauntless. Unbeknownst to Will, there is a curse that has doomed Barbossa and his crew to live forever as the undead, when exposed to moonlight, they are transformed into living skeletons. The curse they carry can be broken only if a once-plundered treasure is restored. Stunning visual effects bring these formidable foes to life as our valiant heroes clash mightily with Barbossa and his invincible pirates of the Caribbean.‚©WALT DISNEY PICTURES/JERRY BRUCKHEIMER FILMS

Johnny Depp has brilliance and in this movie it is his unique sashay-like swagger and lightness of spirit that brings Sparrow to life. It is the perfect counterpart for the earnestness of Will and the devilishness of Barbossa. The Pirate adventure genre has been around a long time and the appeal is in the possibility of a daring, dashing band of ne’er-do-wells, who at the same time live and die by a somewhat honorable code. Here Depp’s rogue character is actually honorable and a perfect foil for Barbossa’s dishonesty.

The special effect ghosts are not for younger kids, but the overall mix of romance, noble mission and silliness delights and entertains.

Beliefs num
–Some belief honor codes to be rules, ;others consider them guidelines.
–If you love someone, you will die for them.
–We are all obsessed with treasures, but not all are silver or gold.
–There is a thin line between madness and brilliance.
–There is honor among some thieves.
–Pursuing the wrong treasure can have dire consequences.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us about who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–What is the legendary romantic appeal of pirate tales?
–What is your treasure?
–Have you ever pursued a treasure that you later regretted pursuing?

Provocative Quotes byline
–A craftsman is always pleased to hear his work is appreciated.
–This shot was not meant for you.
==Sparrow to Will.
— Then that’s not much incentive for me to fight fair then, is it?
==Sparrow to Will who has just said, ¢â‚¬Ëœyou didn’t beat me. You ignored the Rules of Engagement. In a fair fight, I’d kill you.’
–One good deed is not enough to redeem a man of a lifetime of wickedness.
–Commandeer! We’re going to commandeer that ship. Nautical term.
==When Will sees they are about to ¢â‚¬Ëœsteal’ a ship.
–No survivors? Then where do the stories come from I wonder?
==Sparrow on the legendary stories of Pirate wickedness.
–The code is what you call guidelines more than actual rules.
–I’d die for her.
==Will when asked how far he is willing to go to save Elizabeth.
— The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do. For instance, you can accept that your father was a pirate and a good man or you can’t. But pirate is in your blood, boy, so you’ll have to square with that some day.
–That’s not true. I’m not obsessed with treasures.
==Will, to which Sparrow replies, ¢â‚¬Ëœall treasure is not silver or gold mate.’
–This is just like what the Greeks done at Troy. ‘Cept they was in a horse instead ‘o dresses. Wooden ‘orse.
–Me? I’m jus’ honest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest… Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly (…) stupid.
==Sparrow on his code.
–The moonlight shows us for who we really are.
–Worry about your own fortunes gentlemen. The deepest circle of hell is reserved for betrayers and mutineers.
==Sparrow to Pirates.
–For too long I’ve been parched of thirst and unable to quench it. Too long I’ve been starving to death and haven’t died. I feel nothing. Not the wind on my face nor the spray of the sea. Nor the warmth of a woman’s flesh.
==Barbossa about being cursed.
–Do us a favor…I know it’s hard…but stay here, and try not to do anything…stupid.
==Sparrow to Will.
–Of the two of us, I’m the only one who hasn’t committed mutiny, therefore my word is the one we’ll be trusting.
==Sparrow to Barbossa.
–This is either madness… or brilliance.
==Will to which Sparrow replies, ¢â‚¬ËœIt’s remarkable how often those two traits coincide.’
–I think we’ve arrived at a very special place. I feel really good about this spiritually… ecumenically… grammatically.
==Sparrow to Governor Weatherby Swann.
–This is the day you will always remember as the day you almost killed Jack Sparrow.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in July 9, 2003 by | No Comments »

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines


Terminator: Arnold Schwarzenegger
John Connor: Nick Stahl
Kate Brewster: Claire Danes
T-X: Kristanna Loken
Robert Brewster: David Andrews

Warner Bros. presents a film directed by Jonathan Mostow. Written by John Brancato, Michael Ferris and Tedi Sarafian. Running time: 109 minutes. Rated R (for strong sci-fi violence and action, language and brief nudity). Opening tonight at local theaters.

Central Theme
Technological superiority is still no match for the human spirit with its desire to survive, and with a nature that innately possesses a moral sense of right and wrong.

A decade has passed since John Connor (NICK STAHL) helped prevent Judgment Day and save mankind from mass destruction. Now 22, Connor lives “off the grid” – no home, no credit cards, no cell phone and no job. No record of his existence. No way he can be traced by Skynet – the highly developed network of machines that once tried to kill him and wage war on humanity. Until…
…out of the shadows of the future steps the T-X (KRISTANNA LOKEN), Skynet’s most sophisticated cyborg killing machine yet. Sent back through time to complete the job left unfinished by her predecessor, the T-1000, this machine is as relentless as her human guise is beautiful.
Now Connor’s only hope for survival is the Terminator (ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER), his mysterious former assassin. Together, they must triumph over the technologically superior T-X and forestall the looming threat of Judgment Day…or face the apocalypse and the fall of civilization, as we know it.
From C-2 Pictures, Intermedia and director Jonathan Mostow comes TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES, the highly anticipated third installment in one of Hollywood’s most innovative and celebrated franchises, which was originated with the 1984 release of The Terminator. Melding riveting suspense, trademark humor and explosive action, TERMINATOR 3 pays homage to its predecessors and adds an electrifying new chapter to the series’ sophisticated mythology. ‚© Warner Brothers.

Story has given way to special effects, and the third Terminator is more like a ‘fill in the remaining storyline blanks,’ than an exploration of deeper themes. Terminator still raises important questions about where human history is going. Some say the machine dominating humans is in fact more of a real possibility than most humans realize. All this raises interesting questions for those who adhere to the biblical end-times predictions, which don’t seem to include technological gadgetry as part of the end. The idea of Judgment Day is a biblical one, and JC as savior (John Connor/Jesus Christ) may be an intentional play on the initials.

[David Bruce at sees clear biblical parallels in this entire series:

The Terminator series structures itself around the Bible story of Jesus Christ. In fact, the main character John Conner’s initials are J.C. Also, the dual natures of the terminators should also be noted. They are human/machine as Jesus was human/divine.

Terminator 1 (1984) was pattered after archangel Gabriel’s visit to earth to inform Virgin Mary she was going to give birth to the savior of the world

Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is pattered after Virgin Mary, the single mother of Jesus. The name Sarah comes from hero of Hebrew Scriptures who gives birth to Isaac -the child of promise. Sarah is the prototype of Mary. The machines that rule the future (the evil gods of this world) send an unstoppable Terminator to assassinate the yet unborn John Connor (JC). This cyborg sent back from the future (a sense of eternity here) is a mix of Lucifer and Gabriel, both Arch Angels in the Scriptures.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) gets its story line from Gabriel’s warning the Holy Family of the plan to kill the child around the flight into Egypt.

The subtitle is interesting here: The Day Of Judgment -a biblical term. It begins ten years later after the savior, JC, has been born. In this episode the machines (like the evil king Herod in the Jesus story) try to kill JC again in a parallel to the biblical story of the massacre of innocence in Matthew Chapter 2. Robert Patrick plays the satanic role of T-1000 (the reign of Satan in scriptures is 1000 years).

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) presents the death, burial of JC, Armageddon, and the approaching Day of Judgment.

The Terminator carries the coffin containing John Conner, symbolic of the angels at the tomb of Jesus. There are, in fact three symbolic deaths and resurrections of JC in this episode. The first is in the back room of the Animal Clinic where John Conner is entombed in a dog cage (photo, left). The second is the coffin scene (sited above) and the third is found in the ending scene where John Conner is locked away deep in earth in a bomb shelter, safe from the Armageddon battle engulfing the entire earth. Basically this is a blending of Jesus’ death and resurrection story with the Apocalypse of the book of Revelation. Kristanna Loken plays T-X (Terminator X), a portrayal of the evil one (Satan). Perhaps the next episode will, no doubt, feature the emergence of JC to save planet earth from the machines (Satan’s forces) as in the book of Revelation.]

Beliefs num
–Human destiny is at risk.
–There is not fate; we make our own future.
–Anger is more useful than despair.
–In a battle against machines and technology, humans will win, with the help of machines.
–We should never stop fighting.
–Behave as if the future depends on you.
–Technology can run amuck; machines could become independent of humans and then seek to destroy humans.
–There is a coming Judgment Day that will determine the future of humans.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us about who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–Do you believe machines could some day take on a life and “mind” of their own?”
–Do you believe in fate?
–Do we make our own future?
–Do you believe there is a Judgment Day? What will it be like?

Provocative Quotes byline
— The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. I wish I could believe that. My name is John Connor; they tried to murder me before I was born, when I was 13 they tried again. Machines from the future. Terminators. All my life my mother told me the storm was coming, Judgment Day, the beginning of the war between man and machines. Three billion lives vanished in an instant, and I would lead what was left of the human race to ultimate victory. It hasn’t happened, no bombs fell, computers didn’t take control, we stopped Judgment Day. I should feel safe, but I don’t, so I live off the grid — no phone, no address, no one and nothing can find me. I’ve erased all connections to the past, but as hard as I try I can’t erase my dreams, my nightmares. I feel the weight of the future bearing down on me. A future I don’t want. So I keep running as fast as I can.
==John Connor.
–I like that car. I like that gun.
==T-X taking what she likes.
–I’m the luckiest father in the world. I’ve never had to be afraid for my daughter.
==Robert Brewster, dead wrong.
–I still prefer to keep humans in the loop.
Robert Brewster on not wanting to activate SkyNet.
–I lied.
==Terminator to Kate who he had promised to let go.
–John Connor. It is time.
==Terminator to John.
–I’m unable to comply.
==Terminator to Kate who has told him to: ¢â‚¬Ëœdrop dead asshole.’
–John Connor is the leader of the worldwide resistance and last hope for mankind.
==Terminator to Kate about JC.
–You only postpone it. Judgment Day is inevitable.
==Terminator to JC.
–So she’s an anti-terminator terminator?
==JC wanting to understand T-X.
–No fate but what we make.
==Inscription on Sarah Connor’s crypt.
–Anger is more useful than despair.
==Terminator to JC.
–Later on your children are important. She’s your wife.
==Terminator revealing some of his future to JC.
–She’ll be back.
==Terminator about T-X.
–Desire is irrelevant. I am a machine.
–Oh Katie, I’m sorry. I opened Pandora’s Box.
==Brewster to Katie.
–We’re gonna make it Kate. The future is up to us.
==JC to Kate.
–We’ll meet again.
==Terminator’s last words to JC.
–You are terminated.
==Terminator to T-X.
— The attack began at 6:18 PM, just like he said it would. Judgment Day. The day the human race was nearly destroyed by the weapons they built to protect them. The Terminator knew…he tried to tell us. But I didn’t want to hear it. Our destiny was never to stop Judgment Day. It was merely to survive it. Maybe the future has been written, I don’t know. All I know is what the Terminator taught me…never stop fighting, and I never will. The battle has just begun…
==JC in last lines of the film.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in July 2, 2003 by | No Comments »

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde

Elle Woods: Reese Witherspoon
Rep. Rudd: Sally Field
Sidney Post: Bob Newhart
Emmett Richmond: Luke Wilson
John Bosload: Charles Dance

MGM presents a film directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld. Written by Kate Kondell, based on the story and characters by Eve Ahlert, Dennis Drake, Kate Kondell and Amanda Brown. Running time: 95 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for some sex-related humor).

Central Theme
One person can make a difference if they possess a good cause, a positive attitude, a gracious spirit, and the support of some loyal friends.

America’s favorite blonde is back! Reese Witherspoon returns as brainy bombshell Elle Woods in the sunny summer comedy Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde. Having conquered Harvard, Elle is now a rising young lawyer at a great firm, balancing her demanding career with preparations for her wedding to the man of her dreams. But when she finds out her beloved dog Bruiser’s family members are being used as cosmetic test subjects by one of her firm’s own clients, she stands up for their rights – and is promptly fired. She’s devastated, but you can’t keep an optimist down. Ms. Woods goes to Washington to take matters into her own French-manicured hands.

Trying to learn the political ropes and win over politicians, Elle faces a formidable challenge – and in a sea of gray, black, and navy, she sticks out like a pink thumb. Others on The Hill aren’t immediately kind to “Capitol Barbie” and D.C. isn’t an easy place for a person with impeccable fashion sense and a Harvard Law degree. But with her clever and sassy signature blend of intelligence and determination, she bucks the system the Elle Woods way. Speaking up for Bruiser and his family and rallying blondes across the country, Elle eventually inspires those around her to find voices of their own.
‚© MGM.

What possessed this director to take a relatively sweet franchise and turn it into Mr. Smith goes to Washington in Pink and in drag? The introduction of a “gay-is-cute subplot” is overbearing. The PG-13 rating is due to “some sexually related humor,” gay and straight, that detracts from rather than enhances a movie that attracts a lot of kids. How did this happen? According to Dr. Ted Baehr, “The producers of the comedy hit, LEGALLY BLONDE, starring Reese Witherspoon, decided to turn over the reins of the sequel to a liberal, homosexual activist named Charles Herman-Wurmfeld. According to the June 29 issue of the Los Angeles Times on page E27, Herman-Wurmfeld is a “long-time liberal activist” who works for Howard Dean’s campaign for President and whose first movie was the lesbian comedy KISSING JESSICA STEIN. The results are, to say the least, predictable, mindless, and highly offensive.”

For those who wonder if even an insipid, totally unrealistic movie like Elle has an impact on the next generation? Roger Ebert reports, “Ramping up for this review, I came across a curious column by Arianna Huffington, who attended a preview screening and wrote: “Sitting between my teenage daughters while watching Elle take on the U.S. Congress, I was struck by the palpable effect it had on them: They left the theater inspired, empowered and talking about the things they wanted to change and the ways they might be able to change them.” She quotes approvingly from Elle’s big speech (“So speak up, America. Speak up for the home of the brave. Speak up for the land of the free gift with purchase. Speak up, America!”). Amazing that the usually tough-minded Huffington fell for the movie. Amazing, too, that two teenage girls who have their mother as a role model were inspired and empowered by the insipid Elle.”

This is a silly, feel-good movie that would have felt better of it had checked the politically correct political views, including the gay themes, at the box-office door.

Beliefs num
–One person can make a difference.
–Honesty and kindness win out over mean, shrewd and manipulative.
–Behind the faƒ§ade of bureaucrats are people who once believed in something.
–One honest voice is louder than a crowd’s.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us about who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–What is the relationship between beauty and brains?
–Is the worldview in a “Pollyannaish” movie like this useful or harmful to a younger generation forming impression of life and politics?
–Is one honest voice louder than a crowd’s?

Provocative Quotes byline
–She had so much potential; she could have been a Playmate by now.
–I think you are confusing right and wrong with the law, you don’t think they’re the same thing do you?
==Law firm to Elle.
–I have always respected redheads as members of a hair color minority.
–Yea, but have you seen what they’re wearing?
== Elle to Emmett when he reminds here “You fall asleep during the West Wing.”
–Oh, the bend and snap…I did that last night. Naked!
–Paulette, I taught Bruiser to shop online, I think I can handle congress.
–Your dogs are GAY!
==Groomer to Congressman and to Elle.
–I don’t think I’ve been this excited since Gucci became a publicly traded company!
–I can’t do any good, if I am no longer here! The people believe what we tell them to believe.
==Rep. Judd excusing her backhanded ways.
–That woman wears a lot of pink?
==Elle when Emmett asks, “You know what I thought when I first met you?”
–This is just like C-Span, except I’m not bored.
–So speak up, America. Speak up for the home of the brave. Speak up for the land of the free gift with purchase. Speak up, America!
==Elle to Congress.
–One honest voice is louder than a crowd’s.
–I didn’t know I could be this happy without incurring credit card debt!
–Dolly Madison! That was my grandma’s stripper name!

Posted in Movies, Staublog in July 2, 2003 by | No Comments »

Charlie’s Angels:Full Throttle.

Natalie: Cameron Diaz
Dylan: Drew Barrymore
Alex: Lucy Liu
Madison Lee: Demi Moore
Jimmy Bosley: Bernie Mac
Pete: Luke Wilson
Jason: Matt LeBlanc

Columbia Pictures presents a film directed by McG. Written by John August, Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley. Running time: 105 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for action violence, sensuality and language/innuendo).

Central Theme
Women can kick ‘butt,’ and most successfully with a few real friends.

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle is a sequel to the blockbuster action-adventure, comedy hit released by Columbia Pictures in 2000 and inspired by the phenomenally popular television series. The sequel reunites Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu as the indomitable crime-fighting heroines.

In the Angels’ new adventure, the captivating trio once again demonstrates their expertise as masters of espionage, martial arts, and disguise. ‚©Sony Pictures.

In this story the fun loving Angels go undercover to retrieve two rings containing the entire list of citizens in the Government’s witness protection program. Along the way we learn that Dylan herself was in the program, that Italian, Asian and Irish mobsters all want the rings, and that a ‘retired’ angel, Madison Lee, plays a key role in the unfolding plot.

Roger Ebert said of the first Charlie’s Angels movie, “imagine a swimsuit issue crossed with an explosion at the special-effects lab, and you’ve got it.” This time you must add a barrage of sexual innuendo from the girls and ongoing swearing from the new Bosley (Bernie Mac). These elements turn the experience from a mindless-but entertaining friends movie with extreme sports, action and frothy humor, into a movie with an unnecessary morally bankrupt underbelly that caused even USA Today to observe, “in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Demi Moore lasciviously licks Cameron Diaz’s face, the Angels bump and grind in a production number, and numerous double-entendres refer to group sex and hookers. That’s not to mention a brutal attack by a former boyfriend on Drew Barrymore’s character that was trimmed, according to Barrymore, to avoid an R rating… Hey, everybody’s doing it. The weekend’s No. 1 movie is the latest example of Hollywood’s increasingly passionate love affair with the racy PG-13 movie…The major studios have found a secret to box office success: Avoid the G with a four-letter word or some sexual innuendo so that teens and pre-teens won’t think you’re putting out a ”baby” movie. And avoid the R so theater managers won’t catch heat for letting under-17s into R-rated films.”

In addition to the sex jokes and Bernie’s foul mouth (in the character of Bosley who used to be just a nice guy) young kids are treated to “The Sound of Music” playing in the background as young boys read Playboy on the lawn of the nunnery.

In the same USA Today article, “Better Luck Tomorrow” director Justin Lin said of the rating system, ”Anytime a filmmaker tries to stay true to the sensibility of today’s youth, he’s going to get hit with an R. Adults will say, ‘Kids can’t see that; that’s too graphic for them.” He is arguing for relaxed standard, but his comment can also be taken as commentary on the society our kids are being raised in.

Beliefs num
–Earth girls want to have fun.
–Women make great action heroes and can anything men can do and maybe even better.
–Good friends are like family.
–Teamwork is more important than individual performance.
–Good prevails over evil.
–Sexual innuendo is amusing.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us about who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–Is sexual innuendo an acceptable form of humor?
–Is violence OK if only bad people get hurt?

Provocative Quotes byline
–I know. Hardly seems fair, doesn’t it?
==Alex when told there are fifty armed men against the three angels.
–Get off the babysitter. Daddy’s home.
==Alex code to Natalie and Dylan.
–I’m no angel.
==Dylan (when asked what an angel is doing so far from home).
–You’re broke, you’re horny and you stole my boots.
==Alex to Dylan.
–What the hell. Goddam.
==Bosley’s first lines in the movie.
–Bring it on bitch!
==Natalie and Madison Lee.
–Natalie and Pete live together; soon they’ll be engaged.
==Alex to Dylan.
–I think I lost my nuts. Your nuts ever shrink up on you?
–When it’s big, I like to ride it long and hard.
==Natalie to surfer about waves (and…).
–Your real name is Helen Zass?
==Angels to Dylan.
–Assassin. Anal-yzed.
==String of ass jokes.
–Only God will judge me.
==Tattoo on Seamus’ back.
–Look at those knockers.
==Boys reading Playboy at the orphanage run by nuns.
–You know I always like it with the light on.
==Seamus to Dylan at the dock.
–You were the cock. I was the Beaver! Its like we were made for each other.
==Pete and Natalie learn they were the school mascots.
–I’ve found a whole new way to help people that makes me feel alive. We’re a team. We just took on 12 sailors. I’m going to take a shower because I’m covered with you can only imagine what. Then I’ll give you a full report. blow by blow.
==Alex to dad about her work (which he thinks involves delivering sexual favors).
–Why be an angel when you can play God? Being an angel did not fulfill my destiny.
==Madison Lee.
–Angels are like diamonds. They can’t be made, they have to be found. Each one is unique.
==Kelly Garrett to Dylan.
–I was never good. I was great.
==Madison Lee.
–I have something you’ll never have. Friends.
==Natalie Cook.
–Go to hell.
==Natalie to Madison who has just told her to enjoy heaven.
–It was a woman this time dad.
==Alex to dad about her night’s work.
–I get to kick butt every day of the week. You think I’m gonna give that up? I love our family.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in June 27, 2003 by | No Comments »

The Hulk

Bruce Banner: Eric Bana
Betty Ross: Jennifer Connelly
Father: Nick Nolte
Ross: Sam Elliott
Talbot: Josh Lucas
Young David Banner: Paul Kersey

Universal Pictures presents a film directed by Ang Lee. Written by John Turman, Michael France, James Schamus, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. Based on the story by James Schamus. Running time: 138 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for sci-fi action violence, some disturbing images and brief partial nudity).

Central Theme
Human attempts to exceed the boundaries ‘established by God” are fraught with potential, danger and unintended consequences.

What if you always had someone around to look out for you?

To defend you when challenged by a bully, threatened by an enraged driver, assaulted by a knife wielding mugger? That at those moments of stress and escalating violence, someone appears— an ever-present avenger, fueled by righteous anger and possessing unequalled strength—and vanquishes the antagonist, rights the wrong, settles the score. Without remorse. Without consequence. Without memory.

And what if that someone…was you?

After more than four decades of continuing popularity, one of Marvel Comics’ most enduring and compelling comic book creations comes to the big screen, continuing Marvel’s superlative track record of bringing its classic characters to motion picture life: Blade, X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil. And now, this summer, The Hulk arrives.

Scientist Bruce Banner (ERIC BANA) has, to put it mildly, anger management issues. His quiet life as a brilliant researcher working with cutting edge genetic technology conceals a nearly forgotten and painful past. His ex-girlfriend and equally brilliant fellow researcher, Betty Ross (Academy Award. winner JENNIFER CONNELLY), has tired of Bruce’s cordoned off emotional terrain and resigns herself to remaining an interested onlooker to his quiet life. Which is exactly where Betty finds herself during one of the early trials in Banner’s groundbreaking research. A simple oversight leads to an explosive situation and Bruce makes a split-second decision; his heroic impulse saves a life and leaves him apparently unscathed—his body absorbing a normally deadly dose of gamma radiation.

…And yet, something is happening. Vague morning-after effects. Blackouts. Unexpected fallout from the experiment gone awry. Banner begins to feel some kind of a presence within, a stranger who feels familiar, slightly dangerous and yet darkly attractive.

All the while, a massive creature—a rampaging, impossibly strong being who comes to be known as the Hulk—continues its sporadic appearances, cutting a swath of destruction, leaving Banner’s lab in shambles and his house with blown out walls. The military is engaged, led by Betty’s father, General “Thunderbolt” Ross (SAM ELLIOTT), along with rival researcher Glenn Talbot (JOSH LUCAS), and both personal vendettas and familial ties come into play, heightening the danger and raising the stakes in the escalating emergency.

Betty Ross has her theories, and she knows the shadowy figure lurking in the background, Bruce’s father, David (NICK NOLTE), is somehow connected. She may be the only one who understands the link between scientist and the Hulk, but her efforts to stop the military threat, deploying every weapon in its attempt to capture the monster, may be too late to save both man and creature.

Acclaimed Oscar-winning filmmaker ANG LEE (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) turns his masterful eye to adapting the classic Marvel Comics character for the big screen. Setting out to faithfully transfer the Hulk comic book character from four-color paneled page to motion picture screen, Lee combines all the elements of a blockbuster visual effects-intensive Super Hero. movie with the brooding romance and tragedy of Universal’s classic horror films. Staying true to the early subversive spirit of the Hulk as envisioned by its creators (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) while also tuning the tale to current dangerous times, Lee presents a portrait of a man at war with himself and the world, both a Super Hero and a monster, a means of wish fulfillment and a nightmare.

Committed to bringing the Hulk to authentic life, director Lee and his effects teams logged countless hours to assure a creature true to the essence of Kirby’s powerful seminal artwork and Lee’s mythic stories. Designers and artists returned to the original Hulk character conceptions to honor the Marvel traditions and place the creature in a motion picture world—grounded in reality, dictated by time-honored practice and colored by comic book convention. ‚©2003 Universal Pictures.

When you strip away all the special effects at a very significant level this is a story about fathers and children. Roger Ebert observes, “there are two dueling oedipal conflicts at the heart of “Hulk,” and notes “it is touching how in many scenes we are essentially looking at damaged children.”

Banner’s father clearly wants to move beyond the boundaries established by God and makes a vague reference to the role of human religion in making the human soul inferior. His “mad scientist” mentality is shaped by man’s age-old desire to “be God.” In “Hulk” you are seeing the Garden of Eden and Tower of Babel rolled into one storyline.

The story also explores the law of unintended consequences in scientific experimentation. The story also shows how the military, for-profit research labs and a mad scientist share in common an insatiable hunger for power.

Beliefs num
–Scientific research produces results that can be used for good or evil.
–Scientists can create that which they cannot control.
–Scientific discoveries can be exploited for good or for evil.
–Those who wish to exploit discoveries are often by an insatiable hunger for power.
–Human morality and agreed upon values can be important restraints on the scientific endeavor.
–Humans fear that which they cannot understand or control.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us abut who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–Given today’s advances in genetic engineering is it possible that one day a creature like Hulk could be a reality?
–Since humans will not restrain ourselves from experimenting with the possibilities, should limits be imposed on such experimentation? Who would do this and how?
–How does this story illustrate the dangers of a value-less science or scientist?

Provocative Quotes byline
–I want to achieve human regeneration. What has been passed on? Confirmed my worse fears. Must find a cure.
–There’s something inside you, so special. Someday you’re going to share it with the world.
–You’re just a byproduct of my inexplicable obsession with emotionally distant men.
==Betty to Banner.
–Someday I’ll, write a book, ‘When stupid ideals happen to smart, penniless scientists.’
–I can help you understand if you’ll let me, if you’ll forgive me.
–Everything your extraordinary mind has been seeking has been inside you.
–Even now I can feel it. Buried somewhere deep inside. Watching me, waiting. But you know what scares me the most? When I can’t fight it anymore, when it takes over, when I totally lose control. I like it!
==Bruce Banner
–I bet you’d really like to destroy it, but I don’t think you would destroy part of yourself would you?
==Father to Banner.
I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I’m becoming, but I know one thing for sure…you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
==Bruce Banner.
–My son is…unique. And because he is unique, the world will not tolerate his existence.
–A lot of people want in on this. A lot of money to be made.
–I should have killed you.
==Banner and Father both say this to each other.
–Puny human. I don’t want to see you. I want to see my son…my real son…inside of you. I gave you life…now you must give it back to me.
==Father to Banner.
–Keep fighting. The more you fight the more of you I take.
–You’re making me angry. I don’t think you’re gonna like me when I’m angry.
==Bruce Banner’s final lines in the movie.
–When I was younger, I loved the movie Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff as the monster, and I also loved Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One day, I figured, ‘Boy, wouldn’t it be cool to combine the two of them and get a character who can change from a normal human into the monster?’ I always felt that in the movie Frankenstein, the monster was really a good guy. He didn’t want to hurt anybody—he was just always being chased by those idiots holding torches and running up and down the hills. So I thought, ‘Why not get a sympathetic monster, but let it be a guy who can change back and forth?’ So, the Hulk became the first Super Hero who was also a monster.
==Stan Lee, creator of Marvel’s Hulk.
–I always thought the story of the Hulk, as presented in the Marvel Comics, had elements of a Shakespearean tragedy that had great cinematic potential.There was real, elemental drama of the human condition in this character. What I always liked about the Hulk was that he was a hero, but not really a Super Hero, not when compared to the other Marvel crime-fighting characters. The Jekyll and Hyde conflict intrigued me. Part of it is a cautionary tale, not only about the demons that we have to come to terms with inside ourselves, but it is also a bit of a commentary about the ramifications of having the technology to create a Hulk. The comic book dealt with Cold War issues, but we’ve been able to update it and it’s relevant, if not more relevant, now.
==Producer Gael Anne Hurd.
–I had seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which I liked very much, and later watched The Ice Storm and Eat Drink Man Woman. I was curious about Ang and The Hulk—the combination of Ang and the source material interested me. I wondered, ‘Well, what is he going to do here?’ You have this comic book level, but then you have mythic proportions to it; you have psychological fantasies involved; you have childhood psychology, archetypal, primal stuff, smothered by a veneer of adult, pseudo-responsibility, false maturity, false wisdom and the gamesmanship of rivals. There was so much to it. And Ang seemed like a great choice because we get a marriage of the East and the West. That was exciting to me.
==Nick Nolte.
–This is a comic book movie for people who wouldn’t be caught dead at a comic book movie.
==Roger Ebert.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in June 20, 2003 by | No Comments »

Hollywood Homicide

Joe Gavilan: Harrison Ford
K.C. Calden: Josh Hartnett
Lieutenant Fuqua: Keith David
Ruby: Lena Olin
Benne Macko: Bruce Greenwood
Sgt. Bobby Riley: Jamison Jones
Jerry Duran: Martin Landau
Ferre Salesclerk: Lolita Davidovich

Columbia Pictures presents a film directed by Ron Shelton. Written by Robert Souza and Ron Shelton. Running time: 111 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for violence, sexual situations and language).

Central Theme
Hollywood is one big “out of body, out of mind experience” and the inane-ness colors all of life and every profession there.

In Revolution Studios’ fast-paced action comedy Hollywood Homicide, directed by Ron Shelton (Bull Durham, White Men Can’t Jump), veteran detective Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) is on the biggest case of his career and saddled with a new partner, K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), who can’t quite decide between being a cop or an aspiring actor.

Joe Gavilan is complex and multi-faceted, courageous, yet vulnerable, flexible at times, hard headed at others, very capable, but sometimes overwhelmed. Ford approached him as a “man who’s better at work than he is at life. He’s living on the edge, drinking a bit too much, staying up too late and in pretty desperate circumstances. He’s got several hundred dollars worth of dry cleaning in hock. And to top it off, he’s being investigated by his own department at the same time as he’s on a major homicide investigation.”

The character of K.C. Calden is a headache for Gavilan, a young detective who seems to be interested in everything but police work. Hartnett saw K.C. as an opportunity to create a fully rounded, reality-based character. While working as a cop, Calden busily pursues such avocations as teaching yoga and acting. ‚©Columbia Pictures.

The crime to be solved is a murder that takes place at one of LA’s clubs and the absurdity of the music business is but one of the extreme counterpoints in the movie. The age difference of Gavilan and Calden allows for some intergenerational analysis, but overall this is a movie that shows Hollywood thinking Hollywood is funny, when it is really very sad. The search for fame and fortune, the whacky new age and psychic fads, the sex life of both K.C.and Joe, KC’s moonlighting as a yoga instructor who wants to be an actor, Joe’s real estate deals transacted during a homicide investigation, these are people with no “there there” and I suspect only Hollywood types will really find this vacuum amusing.

It was sad that this movie with a contemporary film legend, Harrison Ford, was released the week before a real Hollywood legend died (Gregory Peck). Peck maintained his dignity and took roles that mattered his entire career whereas Harrison Ford took a risk with this one¢â‚¬¦most will agree it was not worth it. I understand that our age is nihilistic and Peck’s was idealistic and I understand there is a certain level of craftsmanship at work in both Ford and Hartnett, but this vehicle is an inferior one thematically and artistically.

Beliefs num
–There is right and wrong, but beyond homocide, in Hollywood it would be difficult to say with certainty what else is wrong.
–New age spirituality is deep and shallow?

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us abut who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?

Provocative Quotes byline
–Sometimes I see things. It just comes to me¢â‚¬¦Sometimes I just make shit up.
==Psychic Lena Olin.
–Kind of deep¢â‚¬¦and shallow.
==KC describing the yoga experience.
–If I take the gingko, I can remember where I put the Viagra.
–There is an absurdity to L.A. that I find attractive. Los Angeles isn’t really a city in the normal sense, and movies aren’t really made in Hollywood. That is, if you can even find Hollywood.
==Ron Shelton.
–Hollywood Homicide is the kind of story I’m always looking for but rarely find ¢€œ a great blend of reality, action and humor. The film interweaves several thematic elements, bringing different threads together. The relationships between the characters have pop and sizzle to them.
==Harrison Ford.
–Joe has no idea about K.C.’s alter ego as a yoga instructor. That part of him is really relaxed and cool, spiritual, though the women in his class often get in the way of his spiritual path.
==Josh Hartnett.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in June 17, 2003 by | No Comments »


Red Pollard: Tobey Maguire
Charles Howard: Jeff Bridges
Tom Smith: Chris Cooper
Tick Tock McGlaughlin: William H. Macy
Marcela Howard: Elizabeth Banks
George Woolf: Gary Stevens

Universal Pictures presents a film written and directed by Gary Ross. Based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand. Running time: 140 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for language, some sexual situations and violent sports related images).

Central Theme
There is great potential in those who get banged up by life and then get a second chance.

It is the story that inspired a nation¢â‚¬¦and one that almost didn’t happen. It is the story of a country whose dreams had been shattered¢â‚¬¦and the people who found a hero in an average horse that could achieve the unthinkable. It is the story of three lost men, Johnny “Red” Pollard, a young man whose spirit had been broken; Charles Howard, a millionaire who had lost everything. and Tom Smith a cowboy whose world was vanishing who found each other and discovered hope in an unlikely place. The odds were incredible, the dream was impossible and somehow, it actually happened. An American epic of triumph and perseverance set during the Great Depression, is based on the best-selling book that was one of the most popular and widely read non-fiction books of recent years. ‚© Universal Pictures, Dreamworks Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment.

Beliefs num
–Every life has value.
–Broken people need a second chance.
–Hope is a great healer.
Redeeming a life requires giving another chance.
–Redemption requires taking a chance on someone who everybody has given up on.
–We are born for a purpose and that purpose can be forgotten in the rough and tumble of life.
–The future is for those who will seize it.
–Goodness and courage prevail.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us about who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–How do the themes of this film mirror the gospel, the good news of what Jesus does for humans?

Provocative Quotes byline
–It was the beginning and end of imagination all at the same time.
==Narration regarding Henry Ford’s assembly line.
–To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t spend more than $5 on the best horse in America.
==Howard selling cars to replace horses in the west.
–You have a gift.
==Dad to Red.
–At a time when you really needed a drink, you couldn’t get one in the US.
==Narration about prohibition during the great depression.
–You don’t throw a whole life away just because he’s banged up a little.
==Smith to Howard on why he is healing a horse’s leg instead of shooting him and then Howard to Smith when he learns Red is blind in one eye.
–It isn’t just the speed¢â‚¬¦it’s the heart.
–They got him so screwed up running in circles; he’s forgotten what he was born to do¢â‚¬¦he just needs to learn to be a horse again.
–For the first time in a long time, somebody cared. For the first time in a long time, you were no longer alone.
==Narrator on government programs that helped people after the depression.
–That’s who we’re riding for. The guy with a quarter in his pocket.
==Howard wanting poor people to be at the races.
–Sometimes all somebody needs is a second chance.
–Our horse is too small. Our jockey’s too big. Our trainer’s too old. And I’m too dumb to know the difference!
==Howard on cross-country press junket.
–You know what Hadrian said about Rome, ¢â‚¬Ëœbrick by brick.’
==Red about making progress.
–You want to know what I think? It’s better to break a man’s leg than his heart.
==Jockey George Woolf on giving Red a chance to race again.
–I was crippled for the rest of my life. I got better. He made me better. Hell, you made me better!
==Red to Howard who is afraid to let him test his leg in a race.
–That horse is as much mine as he is yours!
==Red to Howard.
–Everybody thinks we found this broken down horse and fixed it, but he fixed us and in a way¢â‚¬¦we fixed each other too.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in June 1, 2003 by | No Comments »

The Italian Job

Charlie Croker: Mark Wahlberg
Stella Bridger: Charlize Theron
Steve Frezelli: Edward Norton
Lyle: Seth Green
Handsome Rob: Jason Statham
Left-Ear: Mos Def
John Bridger: Donald Sutherland

Paramount Pictures presents a film directed by F. Gary Gray. Written by Donna Powers and Wayne Powers, based on a film written by Troy Kennedy Martin. Running time: 105 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for violence and some language).

Central Theme
Honor and community among thieves is celebrated in this depiction of the noble thief and the nobler motives of some thieves over others.

The plan was flawless… the job was executed perfectly… the escape was clean. The only threat mastermind thief Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) never saw coming was from a member of his own crew. After pulling off an amazing gold bullion heist from a heavily guarded palazzo in Venice, Italy, Charlie and his gang — inside man Steve (Edward Norton), computer genius Lyle (Seth Green), wheelman Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), explosives expert Left-Ear (Mos Def) and veteran safecracker John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) — can’t believe it when one of them turns out to be a double-crosser. Now the job isn’t about the payoff, it’s about payback!

Enter Stella (Charlize Theron), a beautiful nerves-of-steel safecracker, who joins Charlie and his former gang when they follow the backstabber to California, where they plan to re-steal the gold by tapping into Los Angeles’ traffic control system, manipulating signals and creating one of the biggest traffic jams in L.A. history!

A contemporary update of Paramount’s 1969 classic, “The Italian Job” features the ever-popular MINI Cooper in state-of-the-art chase scenes down Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, through the Metro Rail tunnels and down narrow escape routes only the MINI can go. Full of twists, turns and exciting stunts with armored cars, motorcycles and helicopters, this action-packed thrill-ride takes audiences on wild curves they’ll never see coming. ‚© Paramount Pictures

An incredible Venetian heist, great chase scenes, the canonization of the Mini Cooper and a likeable thief (Charlie) counterbalanced with a despicable thief (Frezelli). This is an escapist flick that most people will enjoy for the sheer implausibility of it!

Beliefs num
–People are likable; it is the devil in them you’ve got to watch.
–There are degrees of noble intent in the motives for robbery.
–There are degrees of honorability among themes.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us abut who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–What, if any, are the ethical implications of rooting for the thieves? Why is this a universal phenomena in “heist” job movies?

Provocative Quotes byline
–Dad, you’re supposed to do you shopping after the job!
–Don’t talk about right and wrong with me because I don’t give a shot.
–God Charlie. I’m doing all this for a man I hardly knew.
–I liked him right up until the moment I shot him.
–You’ve got no imagination. You couldn’t even decide how to spend 35 million dollars on your own. You had to get what everybody else wanted.
==Charlie to Frezelli.
–I trust everyone. It’s the devil inside the person I don’t trust.
==Stella and dad both say this phrase.
–You know what “fine” means? Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.
–I am The Napster!
–Yeah! Got the Holy Spirit!
==Lyle distracting crowd at airport.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in May 30, 2003 by | No Comments »

Finding Nemo

Featuring the voices of: Marlin: Albert Brooks
Dory: Ellen DeGeneres
Nemo: Alexander Gould
Gill: Willem Dafoe
Pelican: Geoffrey Rush
Bloat: Brad Garrett
Bruce: Barry Humphries

Walt Disney presents a Pixar production written and directed by Andrew Stanton. Running time: 101 minutes. Rated G.

Central Theme
The lost can be found when the “finder” is motivated by deep, sacrificial love.

A mother sacrifices her life to protect her son Nemo. As Nemo grows up and seeks independence, his father (Marlin a Clown Fish) becomes overprotective of his overconfident son.

In this wonderful Pixar Productions we see NEMO scooped up in a fisherman’s net and carried off to life in a dentist’s fish bowl in Sydney, miles beyond the barrier reef. There he meets a colorful cast of characters, including Gill who plots the escape of the aquarium-bound captives.

Meanwhile, motivated by love for his son, the overly cautious Marlin is driven to overcome his fears and heads-out in search of Nemo. Along the way he teams up with Dory, a loveable, forgetful and optimistic blue tang. Their trip beyond the reef is filled with danger–great white sharks, a whale, seabirds and other life-threatening situations, but Marlin’s love and Dory’s hopefulness compel them to keep going. They find help along the way from Crush a surfer-dude sea turtle; and Nigel a quirky, yet bold pelican.

Religious themes and references are numerous with Dory functioning as a Good Samaritan, the whale alluding to Jonah and the whole story reminding us of Jesus’ parables about seeking what is lost. The Father’s limitless love is a wonderful reminder of God’s love and the “helper’s along the way” remind us that greater love has no “man” (fish) than to lay down his own life for a friend.

The Computer graphics animation is incredible, the story warm and redemptive, and the characters are funny in a way that appeals to kids and parents alike.

Beliefs num
–Love overcomes obstacles in life.
–When you love someone you’ll got he extra mile for them.
–With cooperation and the help of friends amazing things can be accomplished.
–Trust. It’s what friends do.
–Parents need to let go and children need to listen to their parent’s warnings about life’s dangers.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this film?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this film?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this film tell us abut who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?

Provocative Quotes byline
— You think you can do these things, but you just can’t, Nemo!
==Marlin warns Nemo who does not listen
–I am a nice, friendly shark. Not a fish-eating monster. Fish are our friends, not food.
==shark support group.
–What is it with men and asking for directions?
==Dory begs Marlin to stay.
–Hi there. Sorry if I took a snap at you at one time. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta eat.
–Well, you never really know, but when they know, you know, y’know?
==Crush to Marlin on when “kids are ready” to be on their own.
–You;ve got serious thrill issues dude.
==Crush to Nemo.
–I promised him nothing would happen to him.
==Nemo reports the promise no parent can keep.
–Okay, don’t make any sudden moves. Hop inside my mouth… if you want to live.
–No. No, you can’t. …STOP! Please don’t go away. Please? No one’s ever stuck with me for so long before. And if you leave…if you leave… I just, I remember things better with you! I do, look! P. Sherman, forty-two…forty-two… I remember it, I do. It’s there, I know it is, because when I look at you, I can feel it. And-and I look at you, and I…and I’m home! Please…I don’t want that to go away. I don’t want to forget.
–I look at you and I’m home.
==Dory to Marlin.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in May 30, 2003 by | No Comments »