"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, September 26, 2009

SNMR 7.7: "Seven"

GREEN'S SPECIAL DELIVERY FOR DETECTIVE DAVID MILLS REVIEW:

Grizzled police detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is a week from retiring into the peaceful life. Newcomer to the department, fresh faced detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) can't wait to get into it. Until the grisly murder cases start happening. Now each is obsessed with finding the killer who is murdering people in accordance with the seven deadly sins. Gluttony and Greed are the first. Then come Sloth, Lust and Pride. Who is the killer and why is he doing this? That's what the detectives want to find out. When they catch a break in the case they think they've prevented the last two crimes from being committed. Or have they?

I remembered watching this film only once before, in the late 1990's, long after it came out on videocassette, and didn't remember exactly how it went. I knew the basic plot and realized from director David Fincher's reputation that there were probably going to be some unexpected twists. As the film went on I recalled what they were and braced myself for what I knew would be a grisly ending. (Fincher, in 1997, would direct one of my all time favorite movies, The Game, which was my first exposure to his directorial style.)

Morgan Freeman provides another stellar performance and Brad Pitt is actually really good, too. As you know, Pitt is either hit or miss with me. Gwyneth Paltrow's character, Tracy Mills, could have been filled by any actress. The then relatively unknown Paltrow got the part, I believe, because she was dating Pitt at the time this film was made. The script, written by Andrew Kevin Walker, is tight and suspenseful. Walker himself makes a cameo appearance as the first corpse Somerset discovers. Fincher's direction is dark, disturbing and creepy which is actually perfect for the film. The lighting is dark and subdued and the visual effects are well done. Even the opening credits are disconcerting and the fact that the end credits scroll down the screen instead of up is a wonderfully weird way to end this movie.

I actually watched the two disc special edition of this movie and recommend the extra features included therein.

This genre of movie is generally not my favorite, but it is well done all the way around and is definitely worth revisiting.

****½ out of *****

Seven (1995, R, 127 minutes) starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey and Daniel Zacapa. The film was written by Andrew Kevin Walker and directed by David Fincher.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumn begins today

Summer is now officially over as of the time of this post. Yup, 17:19 EDT marks the Autumnal Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere ~ according to the Farmers Almanac, 2009 edition. It is depressing when my favorite season ends. But not nearly as depressing as the first day of winter.

such is life.

The best thing about autumn is that football season is in full swing on all levels. And that is good. Real good.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

SNMR 7.6: "We Are Marshall"

GREEN'S "UP FROM THE ASHES THEY AROSE" REVIEW:

For most of us, November 14, 1970 was just another day. I personally was almost 17.... months old and remember it not at all. But if you lived in football crazy Huntington, West Virginia at that time, it's a day you'll never forget. That's the day Southern Airlines flight 932 crashed, killing all 75 people on board. Most of those people were part of the Marshall University football team. This film is about the rebirth of that school's football program and the restoration of the essence of a close-knit community racked by tragedy. The story centers around Jack Lengyel, a young football coach hired to restart the football program and begin the healing process. Lengyel's young team only won two games in 1971 and Lengyel only won nine games total as Marshall's coach from 1971-1974. However, Lengyel's legacy will forever be remembered at Marshall University, which has since become a highly successful college football program.

Matthew McConaughey is a very good, versatile actor and has proven to be able to handle dramatic as well as comedic roles. His performance in this film is necessarily solemn and reserved, due to the film's subject matter, yet very inspiring. The rest of the cast is good, though no one is outstanding. McG does an excellent job directing this movie, keeping the story moving without getting bogged down, which could have easily been the case. This is a movie that offers a nice tribute to those people that died in the crash and bringing awareness to an event that, for many outside of West Virginia, has long since been forgotten. The success of the Marshall University football program in the last 15 years has almost certainly eased the pain.

If you haven't seen this movie, I heartily recommend it.


**** out of *****

We Are Marshall (2006, PG, 131 minutes), starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, David Strathairn, Ian McShane, Kate Mara, January Jones and Kimberly Williams-Paisley. The film was written by Cory Helms and Jamie Linden and directed by McG.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Could this be true? Let's hope so.

Since the last one was so good, could we possibly have a 5th Indiana Jones movie?

That would be so cool.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze (1952-2009)

Wow. Patrick Swayze has died of pancreatic cancer at the young age of 57. What made him famous was two roles in particular: Johnny Castle in "Dirty Dancing" (1987) and Sam Wheat in "Ghost" (1990). As good as he was in those movies, the role that I will always remember Patrick Swayze for is in the two "North and South" television mini-series, which aired in 1985-1986, where he played Orry Main. The two miniseries were based on novels by John Jakes ~ fantastic historical fiction.

I think the first film I ever saw Swayze in was "The Outsiders" (1983), which came out when I was in the 8th grade - Mrs. Rancourt took us on a field trip to see it at the movie theater. We were reading the novel, by S.E Hinton, in her English class at the time.

Patrick Swayze seemed to be one who always carried himself with grace and humility in his public life. That seems to be a rare trait with most Hollywood celebrities. He certainly wasn't a self promoter, that's for sure.

"I believe in a higher power. I've studied Eastern philosophies, and I've studied the Koran. We've devalued everything worth believing in. Now we're tearing into religion. A line should be drawn. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and The Da Vinci Code (2006) borders on that. I was glued to the book, but afterwards I thought, 'My Lord, now we're tearing into God and our faith'. Are we going to be turning into a reality show, too? I certainly hope not." -Patrick Swayze

Here is a tribute story from the LA Times.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

SNMR 7.5: "Grace is Gone"

GREEN'S HIDING THE TRUTH CAN DRIVE YOU CRAZY REVIEW:

Stanley Phillips (Cusack) is a Minnesota man who works for a home goods type store and misses his wife immensely, as she is serving in the Army and stationed in Iraq. He has trouble relating to his two daughters (O'Keefe and Bednarczyk) without her. When he gets the dreaded visit from two Army officers who inform him that his wife was killed in the line of duty, what remaining life he had drains right away. He wants to tell his daughters but can't summon the strength to do it. Instead he decides to take them on a long car trip to a Florida amusement park, only making one side trip to his mother's house, where he sees his brother (Nivola) instead of his mom. After a fun day at the amusement park and a side trip to a gorgeous Florida beach, he does finally tell his daughters the bad news.

Yes I really did need to tell you essentially the whole story line of this movie because there really is no suspense involved. You know almost from the beginning that something bad is going to happen, it's just a matter of setting up the story enough to reveal exactly what the bad news is all about. You also know that the daughters will eventually find out what happened, it's just a question of when will he tell them and what will the consequences be? It's also a look at grief and how differently each person handles it.

John Cusack gives his usual strong performance in a film that honestly was quite painful to watch. Painful, not because the story was bad but, because of the agony we have to go through waiting for him to spill the bad news and how unfair it was of him to keep it hidden for as long as he did. There's only so many ways to handle a personal subject such as this. Still, I toughed my way through it and even got a little misty eyed at the end, which I was surprised at. It's almost funny that this movie was only 84 minutes long but seemed like it took a full two hours (or longer) to watch.


** out of *****

Grace is Gone (2008, PG-13, 84 minutes) starring John Cusack, Shelan O'Keefe, Gracie Bednarczyk, Alessandro Nivola. The film was written and directed by James C. Strouse.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Green's 2009 NFL Predictions

A brand new National Football League season starts tomorrow night with one game, thirteen games on Sunday and two games on Monday Night Football, one of which is my beloved New England Patriots. This is also the 50th Anniversary season of the AFL. All of the original AFL teams will be wearing throwback uniforms during certain games this season. I think when ever two original AFL teams play each other is when they'll break out the retro unis. For example, the Patriots will be dressed in red and white with old Pat Patriot on the helmet, as you see on the left, for their Monday Night game vs. Buffalo.

With the start of a new season, I thought I ought to give you my predictions (some of which more than likely will be wrong). Prognosticating is a tuff biz, but I can handle it. Someone's gotta do it - may as well me moi.
Last year I predicted good things for my Patriots and gave my thoughts on the reality that unfortunately came to pass, with #12 going down for the season less than halfway through the first quarter of the opening game against Kansas City. They still finished 11-5 but missed out on the playoffs due to the NFL's complicated but fair tiebreaker rules.

I gots news for y'all. Some of you may like it, others not so much.

Tom Terrific looked well, terrific, during the preseason and the record setting offense of 2007 is essentially in tact. So, NFL, you've been warned. Will Brady throw for 50 touchdowns again? Not likely. 35-40 is a distinct possibility. Will the Patriots offense break its NFL record 589 points scored from 2007? Possibly. They'll give it a run, anywhoo. This will be a hard team to defense and will give teams fits.

Here we have my predictions:

AFC EAST
1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS ----> Brady's back. MVP redux. Comeback Player of the Year.
2. Miami Dolphins ----> Will slip back to reality at or near .500
3. Buffalo Bills ----> T.O. gets the damn ball but it's not enough.
4. New York Jets ----> Sanchez' new favorite old TV show: Growing Pains.

AFC NORTH
1. Pittsburgh Steelers ----> Because they're the defending Champs, obviously.
2. Baltimore Ravens* ----> Tough D. Just a bit short on O.
3. Cleveland Browns ----> Could make a run at the division title if...
4. Cincinnati Bengals ---->Sadly, Head Coach Marvin Lewis 1st to be fired in 2009.

AFC SOUTH
1. Indianapolis Colts ----> They'll be good as long as it's Peyton's place.
2. Tennessee Titans* ----> Was last years' record a fluke or are they really good?
3. Jacksonville Jaguars ----> Probably will win 9 or 10 games but miss playoffs.
4. Houston Texans ----> I can realistically see 8-8 this season but probably 7-9.

AFC WEST
1. San Diego Chargers ----> In a weak, rebuilding division, still finished 8-8 in '08.
2. Kansas City Chiefs ----> Cassel's dream '08 season redux? Not quite. Maybe 6 wins ~ sorry Matt.
3. Oakland Raiders ----> Better with Richard Seymour but still bad.
4. Denver Broncos ----> Chaos reigns in Denver. 5 wins max.

SEEDS
1. NEW ENGLAND
2. Indianapolis
3. Pittsburgh
4. San Diego
5. Baltimore
6. Tennessee

Wild Card Games:
3. Pittsburgh over 6. Tennessee
5. Baltimore over 4. San Diego

Conference Semifinals
1. New England over 5. Baltimore
3. Pittsburgh over 2. Indianapolis

Conference Championship
1. NEW ENGLAND over 3. Pittsburgh

NFC EAST
1. Philadelphia Eagles ----> How will they use Michael Vick?
2. Dallas Cowboys* ----> Will they win a playoff game this year?
3. Washington Redskins ----> Another late season collapse.
4. New York Giants ----> Just not good enough in a tough division.

NFC NORTH
1. Chicago Bears ----> Monsters of the Midway? No, but good enough.
2. Green Bay Packers* ----> some say QB Aaron Rodgers will be MVP in '09. Not me.
3. Minnesota Vikings ----> Favre should have stayed retired. Sorry Brett, it's time.
4. Detroit Lions ----> Lions win! Lions win! Only 3 games but it's an improvement.

NFC SOUTH
1. Atlanta Falcons ----> Matt Ryan leads Falcons to 2nd Super Bowl appearance. Same result.
2. Carolina Panthers ----> Just not enough in a tough division.
3. New Orleans Saints ----> Surprising late season collapse ruins the Brees.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ----> Should never have fired Jon Gruden.

NFC WEST
1. Arizona Cardinals ----> Courtesy pick for Super Bowl XLIII loser. Seattle is better.
2. Seattle Seahawks ----> Could easily win this division by three games.
3. San Francisco 49ers ----> Better, but still need work.
4. St. Louis Rams ----> Lowlight of season - losing to Detroit to break their streak.

SEEDS
1. Atlanta
2. Philadelphia
3. Chicago
4. Arizona
5. Green Bay
6. New York Giants

Wild Card Games:
3. Chicago over 6. New York Giants
5. Green Bay over 4. Arizona

Conference Semifinals
1. Atlanta over 5. Green Bay
3. Chicago over 2. Philadelphia

Conference Championship
1. Atlanta over 3. Chicago

SUPERBOWL XLIV at Miami
1. NEW ENGLAND (AFC) over 1. Atlanta (NFC)


For the record, here are ESPN's expert predictions.

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

SNMR 7.4: "The Prestige"

GREEN'S "EVERY MAGIC TRICK HAS THREE PARTS" REVIEW:

Friends and colleagues, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are a duo of aspiring magicians, until a trick goes bad and Angier's wife drowns before she can be rescued. After this incident, Angier and Borden become enemies and arch rivals, each trying to be the best magician that the world has ever seen. Olivia (Scarlett Johansson) becomes Angier's beautiful new assistant but eventually switches sides and becomes Borden's assistant, telling him all of Angier's secrets in the process.

Ladies and gentlemen, for our next magic trick I will make this film disappear! Yeah, I wish. As you can tell I didn't like this film at all. I thought it was too long and that the performances of Jackman and Bale were flat and uninspiring.

I'm really not sure what to make of Hugh Jackman as an actor. Do I like him or not? Can't be sure at this point. Christian Bale seems to be in just about everything these days. He was good in the two "Batman" films and as John Connor in "Terminator: Salvation" and decent in "Public Enemies." Michael Caine does give a fairly good, typically steady performance as Cutter, the engineer behind Angier's more complicated tricks and the voice of reason. The actor playing Nikola Tesla seemed familiar to me but I could not place where I had seen him before. Turns out the part was played by David Bowie. Perhaps the reason I didn't recognize him was because the part gave no room for the flamboyancy I normally associate with David Bowie's acting gigs. Scarlett Johansson is a fine actress but sadly her talents are all but wasted in this movie.

Maybe the reason I didn't care for this movie has to do with what I consider to be a weak script or maybe it has to do with Christopher Nolan's uninspired, bland directing. The film is set in 1890's London and the costumes and sets reflect a dreary, depressing, kind of morbid London. Perhaps that's why I didn't like this movie. Yeah, that's it.

I had no desire to check out the DVD extras for this film. Normally I enjoy the bonus material. I'd pass on this one if I were you.


*½ out of *****

The Prestige (2006, PG-13, 130 minutes) starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, Rebecca Hall, David Bowie and Andy Serkis. The screenplay was written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan. The film was directed by Christopher Nolan.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

This is a cool picture



That's Gino Cappeletti, WR/K for the AFL's Boston Patriots (1960-1970). Great photography.

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