Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Ice Age 2 [* * * * * *]

Far better than Ice Age for kids, this one had all the elements of romance, danger, teaching herd behaviour and tons of fun.

This one was about the meltdown. The animals must move across a valley to prevent a flood of melting ice. There's an ark they need to get to. They run across a mammoth who thinks she's a possum and the two fall in love with each other. Very exciting and fun with geysers and floods and prehistoric alligators. Anyone will enjoy this movie.

I must say this Ice Age series keeps improving. We have a new one the 3rd, coming up this month!

Ice Age [* * * * *]

This first Ice Age was about a mammoth and a sloth saving a baby's life and returning it to its tribe.

There's a sabretooth, Diego, who wants to take the baby back to his pack to win the leader's approval, but slowly changes to accept this family as having better values than his own pack. He finally confesses and saves their lives.

An imaginative and creative look at the prehistoric animals. Most adults can enjoy this as much as the kids.

Blackbeard's Ghost [* * * * *]

Peter Ustinov and the terrific looking Dean Jones do an old-fashioned slapstick comedy. I'd missed this as a kid so it was worth watching.

Blackbeard's descendants are a bunch of old ladies running an Inn which a local gambler wants to purchase. Blackbeard's Ghost comes back from limbo (one of his wives had cursed him to be forever or until he could find some goodness in his black heart). He uses all means, fair and foul to save his soul and the inn.

Altogether a fun watch, esp if you like Disney Classics.:)

Friday, 20 March 2009

The Adventures of Huck Finn, 1993 [* * * * *]

"Just because an idea, like slavery, is popular doesn't make it right."

Huckleberry Finn is a story that I could never read, so I was glad it was made into a movie.:)

Like so many classics, they're better rendered into the succinct style of visualization than as they were written. Mark Twain's classics, Tom Sawyer and it's companion Huckleberry Finn, were too much blood and gore for my taste when I was younger.

Huck Finn liked his freedom. So when his best friend, Jim, a slave, decided to run away, Huck wanted to help him. They had a grand adventure dealing with the frauds who peopled the West of those days and come out winners in a tough world. They hold values that often get them into trouble but affection and good luck gets them through most of it.

The picture is filmed with a great attention to authentic detail, unlike other Disney productions (Anastasia and Pocahontas come to mind for audacious manipulation of the truth). Well worth a watch.

Anita Bryant in the news again

Anita Bryant will always be remembered as a spokesperson for the "family-values" christian homophobes from her potrayal in Milk and 1,000 Homosexuals.

Starting out as a runner-up for Miss World 1958, her career as a singer blossomed with the chart-topping Paper Roses . Representing Florida's Orange Bird and a political activist campaign to Save the Children (a successful homophobic initiative) side-by-side proved to be a disastrous course, bringing both her career and marriage to an end in the 80s. In 2001 she had to file for bankruptcy and was shunned by her own community for her divorce.
What astonishes me is the amount of hate she generates even today - not just from the gay community (which is natural and understandable) but mostly from heterosexual men! There's a vindictive side to hetero men that treats a beautiful, successful and perfect woman as an enemy to be feared and hated, esp since she articulated their position so clearly.:)

That so many who were unaffected by her views revel in her fall from grace and wish her ill is characteristic petty malehood. Like straw[wo]maning everywhere, she's been pinned to a 30 yr old position with no letup as they go for overkill.

Finally, her views probably were those of her domineering husband, Green, and manipulative preacher, Brother Bill, along with the hormonal soup that comes with protective motherhood with 4 young children.

She endured and survived the troubles for her beliefs; she was a successful campaigner for her society, ... so why the crowing over her political ruin from hetero men who share her beliefs, who'd probably marry lesser versions of her and repeat the cycle?

Seems to be a pattern problem here of male values and domination, endlessly repeating: Either have kids and deal with motherhood like hers or stay single and hatin'.

Milk, 2008 [* * * * *]

It's a real-life story of Harvey Milk, the gay activist. How he got to be the first openly-gay elected representative in the US. It's a wonderful story about how the years past 40 (he woke up and came out of the closet after he turned 40) can be both meaningful and important to the world.

Sean Penn can act wonderfully well - he's a convincing Harvey in virtually every move! Well worth seeing for his fans.

The movie itself might be a difficult watch for most professed homophobics - there are gay men in every field, all ages and shapes and sizes doing their thing - mostly because, like Anita Bryant, for the first time you'll be looking at the world from a minority-perspective.

(For me, being a woman, asian and activist, the movie wasn't as hard - but then, I'm a gay hag: I just love most gay men, and have often fallen in love with closetted ones. They're just better-looking, better educated or more expressive than heteros ... maybe all the above!:)

But just one gross misrepresentation - Milk wasn't a martyr for gays. The movie isn't about his dying for his gayness. He was killed for playing politics and preventing a rival from getting his job back.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Sky High, 2005 [* * * *]

It's a movie about the children of superheroes. Ever wonder about them? Superheroes marry and I used to think of what their kids would be like.

It's a goofy movie, and I got a few laughs out of it. And it didn't promote any morality about heroes or villains or even sidekicks - which was heartening.

It's about a kid who doesn't discover his powers even though he has two superhero parents and finally finds them and good values in the superhero school up in the sky.

Altogether a fun watch esp for families.:)

Friday, 13 March 2009

Got jammed!:)

I'm downloading so many movies that they're all stuck.:/ So ... no reviews for a bit.

I'm reading up a lot on quitting smoking and, for some reason, Krav Maga- the Israeli naked-kill style of self-defense.:)

I've always wanted to learn some form of self-defense (other than verbal violence, which seemed to be more womanly at first, now I'm finding it hard not to cuss like a sailor!) and Krav Maga really appeals since it's a free-style - but it's bloodthirsty. You can kill or maim an attacker in seconds. My big doubt is if I'll be able to use it without feeling guilty - you know how you can hit a guy, see him bleed and then regret it because you see he's just a brainless boy inside? Happens too often. Then I'm feeling guilty for years when it really was the right thing to do.

I wonder if it would feel worse or better karmically if I killed him in self-defense? Got to think about it. (j k:)

Friday, 6 March 2009

Happy Feet [* * *]

I didn't like this movie. The idea is good - that eventually the animals appeal to our better nature and we stop starving them to death and harming their environment.

But they go wrong somewhere in trying to make it all fun for kids. For eg., they make this little penguin a pariah then captured by a zoo and set free with a radio beeper attached to him.

All that he can do is dance for the humans. And when they see him dancing (communication, I guess), they study his environment and realise the penguins are starving to death, they decide to stop marine fishing around the antarctic.

Somehow, I think it's too hopeful. Kids know already that it's more complicated than that. Maybe the writers are talking down to them and giving them improbable solutions that take little effort.

Brother Bear [* * * * *]

I really liked this movie. It was very simplistic, but then it's meant for kids.

The story is set in America where a native american has a clash of values - their reverence for nature and a boy who wanted to be a man.

Manliness is often at odds with reason and reverence - it's mistaken by youth to be rough, cruel and hard. This one teaches a boy to find manhood in acting through love.

The boy kills a bear in revenge for her eating some fish he'd carelessly left lying around. The Great Spirit turns him into a bear and he meets a lost cub who becomes his brother. As he gets to know the cub, he finds out the bear he killed was it's mother.

The boy becomes a man when he chooses to remain a bear to take care of the cub and repair the damage he'd done. Nice karmic reverberations.

-sigh- when will Indians make movies like this for their young? All this senseless cruelty to street animals by boys and girls who could have easily followed a greater cycle through wisdom. We have the Panchatantra and Jataka Tales and so much mythology to support the larger connections of Life: responsibility is love is wo/manhood. Tiresome waiting for change that never comes.:)

Amadeus [* * * * *]

Who doesn't love Mozart? The boy who was writing entire symphonies by the time he was 12, who could play the piano lying on his back. My personal favorite is Don Giovanni (a dark driven piece written after the death of his exacting father).

Virtually every tune comes from an analytical mind expressing emotions - what a rare combination! Composing that emotion for instrument and voice within a theme - opera, symphony, etc. How rare a gift.

Tunes of such timelessness that they're used today all over without recognition - reversing cars play them, childrens toys have it on, the advertisers and elevator music, it's almost always Mozart.

Now this is what I like about him: He heard the music in his head, complete, and he said the rest was just 'scribbling' it down. Completeness reaches into a common psyche that touches everyone alike.

I'm inclined more and more to categorizing music by it's composing source. Drug-addicted singers are making stunning music, but best appreciated in a drug-induced state; alcoholics make superb music which other alcoholics will cry to; chaste and humble worship music will appeal to the chaste and humble (but not to the vile and proud) etc., until you reach pure genius which breaks through to the unconscious and brings out whole music which everyone can appreciate.

In the movie, for the first time though, we see the great composer in a different light - through the eyes of a less-talented rival, Salieri, who later claimed to have driven Mozart to his death. I didn't quite like having to view Mozart through an envious, petty, scheming, mediocre mind - it frightens me - like a warning that it would take a very average schemer to bring down a finer mind - just like the mediocres around IRL who triumph through little acts of perfidy.

Watching the movie was like seeing how genius works. A must-see for any lover of music.:)