Dr. Teine’s Inflammatory Tonic

For the relief of acute/chronic complacency, optimism, and coherent thought.

A Night At The Movies CLXXXIV: The Italian Job (2003)

Posted by drteine on January 12, 2013

Well….to call this a remake of the original would be an insult to that original film.  The original film was fun but full of action.  This one…well, it has its moments of goodness (the setups to take the gold) and the characters are likeable enough, but this film just doesn’t have the same great vibe the original British film had.  It’s not that this film is bad exactly, it’s just not as good as the original, and I cannot help but compare the two.  I feel like I should have watched them in reverse order and then I might have come away with a different view.

It you want a serious team crime action movie, give it a go.  If you want a fun team crime action movie, go watch the original – it’s far better from start to finish, especially the scenes with the Minis.  In this movie the Minis do okay, but they’re not as awesome as the original.

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A Night At The Movies CLXXXIII: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

Posted by drteine on January 12, 2013

I’ve finally gotten to see the 1st in the new epic trilogy.  I went into the film with some reservations about it being too long and that what was a nice stand-alone book had been expanded into way too much.  And then….well, it was this book long ago that got people interested into the Lord of the Rings, and for me was my gateway into Fantasy books.  It was the first fantasy book I ever read – I devoured it in short order and later enjoyed the Record LP version of the story, including the animated movie.  So with all that history, what did I think?

Well, the feel of middle earth that was seen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is still well captured.  Bag End, the Misty Mountains, the quick scenes of the Lonely Mountain.  Great special effects as before and superb acting, including some good comedic timing in places, although also a bit lame in a few spots.  I watched it in 2D, but you can see where the 3D parts would really show through.  The “Riddles in the Dark” was superbly done, and was all that you would expect from that unique scene in the book.  Gandalf plays that slightly humble wizard well when in the presence of his betters, and yet shows his intelligence and cunning quite well – so good acting there as well.  So I really liked it, but….I found that despite the quick action that there were things which could have been left out on the editing room floor and the film would not be any worse for wear.  I actually did check my watch at one point wondering how much longer I would sit.  I feel slightly blasphemous for saying that I actually checked my watch, but for cripes sake, this is why such long epic films had an Intermission!   So you can get up, stretch your legs, go to the bathroom, and return for the 2nd act.  2.75 hour marathons are amazing things to sit through, but dear lord it has to be perfect or you’ll tire, and I did.   My only other slight complaint was that there were several places where the movie could have just ended – but it didn’t, and then went along into yet another scene.  Again, my comment about too long I think, unfortunately, holds true here.

Oh well, this is a franchise that needs to make money and so I suppose there will be some flaws along the way towards that goal, and I saw some of them today.  All that being said, I really enjoyed it and I would watch it again, but not all at once.  Perhaps someday directors will remember the intermission and bring it back.

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A Night At The Movies CLXXXII: Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Posted by drteine on January 3, 2013

Well, I’ve now seen all 4 movies and this last one in the series (although I now believe there will be a 5th film) is the best.  Everything from start to finish was much better put together while still maintaining the over the top stunts, action, and special effect spy gadgets.   The action was non-stop and the timing was well-done.  There was indeed a good feeling of anxiousness about the completion of events on time.  So there was good dramatic suspense throughout the film and this kept the film going along at a good clip.  Unlike in some of the other films where I found there to be times where I rolled my eyes or got bored, this film didn’t have that problem.  The acting was also better this time around.  Sure, the characters didn’t have a lot of depth, but they were still better developed and more likeable such that you wanted to see them succeed.

An overall good film.  I will finally say that I rather enjoyed the opening scenes of the film with the Sinatra music going during the prison fight.  It was wrong but funny – if there ever was going to be a Russian prison riot done to music, this would be it.

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A Night At The Movies CLXXXI: Mission Impossible 3

Posted by drteine on December 28, 2012

The third movie in the series is definitely the best I’ve watched so far.  Yes, it has some of the same suspensions of disbelief that is required, but you can really the difference that J.J. Abrams brings to the movie. For starters there is the opening scenes that makes it clear that the villain in this film doesn’t mess around.  The movie is jam packed with action from start to finish, with only a few moments of quiet in between.  Not a deep plot either, but rather just lots of action, special effects, and some buildup to the end of the film.  The last half hour has a lot of great twists to it where the super-spy is led astray twice, and ends the movie quite well.  Not much else to really say about it really.  As usual the characters are not deep, but with this type of film, they don’t need to be.  They just need to carry along the action which they do well.

So with the new director at the helm, let’s see how the 4th holds up.

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A Night At The Movies CLXXX: Mission Impossible 2

Posted by drteine on December 28, 2012

And now #2 in the series.  I actually saw this out of order due to a scratched disc in the mail, and so watched #3 next and then saw this one just last night.  So, what do I think?

Plot – meh.  Acting…or lord don’t get me started.  Dialogue:  ugh.

The action ballet that was the rest of the film?   Actually not bad.  Completely over the top and bogus in authenticity, but after awhile somewhat entertaining.  So I’ll mark it higher than the 1st, which at times left me bored, but not as good as #3.  I am beginning to think that the only thing which continues to propel this movie series forward is Mr. Cruise as producer…or enough other people out there like it to keep buying tickets, in which case it makes money and keeps going.

One final comment – I will say Anthony Hopkins as the head of the spy force was good casting.  He played the role of restrained jerk quite well.  It sounds demeaning, but it’s not really if you put his character into context for the whopping 5 minutes he was probably on film.  I guess he had a mortgage payment due at the time, but still, he played his part well and completely stole the scenes where he was present.

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A Night At The Movies CLXXIX: Mission Impossible (1996)

Posted by drteine on December 17, 2012

Hmm…..I think this one was a film that had I watched it when it originally came out, I may have liked it.  I remember all the hype about it in the late 90s, but never watched it until now.  I decided to watch it because the Mrs Dr. Teine suggested I watch MI3 and MI4, and so in fine obsessive compulsive form, I figured I should watch the whole series from start to finish.

Bad idea methinks, but useful to see how some movies DO NOT hold up with time.  This is one of them.  Action/suspenseful films like this have been done so much better lately, that when you look back at this one, it’s not a good movie.  Shallow acting, BS over-the-top events (helicopter in the Chunnel….WTF?!?), and predictable memes and themes abounded.  But again, I think if I had seen  this movie in 1996 I may have reacted differently as I’ve been spoiled with more modern-day films which set the bar so high, that by the time I came back to this one, it was going to be a letdown no matter what.

I’d stay away from this one for now, but I’ll watch the other three and see if this one is needed watching to put the others into the right frame of viewing.  I doubt it though, as I get the impression the other films are stand-alone.  Stay tuned as I review each of the MI movies in order to see how they did.

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A Night At The Movies CLXXVIII: Hancock

Posted by drteine on December 17, 2012

This was a rather well done movie, with a very different superhero theme to it all.  Rather than the amazing superhero being all good and perfect, you encounter a man lonely, angry, and at times very very drunk, and yet completely invincible.  The opening scenes of the title character flying around drunk and wrecking mayhem was indeed something to behold.  The special effects were well done and the movie moved along at a nice clip.  Not a very deep story, but surprisingly realistic for how someone who is effectively invincible may choose to act given his situation.  Indeed, how exactly would you corral a man who could do anything (fly, invincible, very strong), could mess up anything he wanted, and you cannot stop him?   Ultimately you would have to convince him voluntarily to let things go and obey the law.  Watching that argument occur and seeing how it is executed is what I think made the film most enjoyable.  Very messy, but very human.

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A Night At The Movies CLXXVII: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Posted by drteine on December 6, 2012

This 2011 espionage film is notable for what it does and does not show.  It’s not Bond and gadgets and it’s not all action.  It’s rather about how deadly the spy game could be  in the Cold War and sometimes how much of a mind game true espionage can be, especially when betrayed from within.

The movie catches the vibe and feel of the early 1970s England so well.  The costumes, the locations, the furniture, the sets – everything is very well done.  The actors are also superb and have the right level of coolness, intelligence, and also emotion when needed.  Gary Oldman as always is masterful and once again has entered into a role where you can’t believe it’s Gary Oldman.  He amazingly can look so completely different from one film to another, especially in voice and action.

The movie is a thinking movie, but if you just relax and pay attention you’ll be able to follow the twisted route to the conclusion of the film and you’ll then see how the whole thing was set up and why so many spies got duped by the double agent.  A side point of the film seems to be that the actions of our past will have to be paid for in the end, but at the same time, we may be willing to overlook those crimes and hurts so we can remember the best of the past; our friendships, loves, and good times with those people, rather than remember that the particular friend or lover betrayed us.

Definitely worth a viewing.

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A Night At The Movies CLXXVI: Wreck-It Ralph

Posted by drteine on December 3, 2012

A trip down memory lane for all you gamers out there, and for any recent video game fan.  While there is a huge amount of neat nostalgia for those of the video game generation, there is family fun for all, but it can be just a tad saccharine at times.  Still, witty humor and fun for those who might wonder what the games would do after you went away for the day from the old arcade.

Way too many game character cameos – hard to catch them all.  The characters for the most part fit their stereotypes, but in a very nice way and become likable.  Wreck-It Ralph is the main star though and thankfully he’s not just another bad guy who is barely part of the plot. He is the plot.  The plot isn’t necessarily deep, but it carries some weight.  Not all who come across as bad/rough around the edges are bad people and from time to time they need to be part of everything.  A little bit of a community morality tale I suppose, but that’s not a bad thing for a movie about video games to portray.

I think though if you’re not a video game fan that you should probably give this a miss though.  The video games are the central stage, and while you could still pick up the story even if you were not a fan, I think you would find it grating.  If you are a fan though, give it a watch, I think you’ll enjoy it.

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A Night At The Movies CLXXV: Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows

Posted by drteine on November 24, 2012

Sherlock Holmes with action!   Well, that’s what it is.  This sequel to the original is fun to watch and easy on the eyes.  Likeable characters, plenty of action, fast moving plot.  But not a lot else to say really.  While one particular Holmes novel seems to be the basis for this movie, there is not nearly as much Holmes solving things as there is lots of non-stop action.  Which isn’t a bad thing per se, but what makes Sherlock Holmes such a memorable character I think is a bit lost in translation here.  It’s more of a lovable intelligent eccentric on screen that you’re watching in this film, not the man of amazing insight solving one sets of puzzles after another.

But don’t get me wrong.  I enjoyed the film – it just wasn’t THE Sherlock Holmes for me.  Still, worth a viewing.  I think the Mrs. Dr. Teine is correct, the recent BBC show (Sherlock) is the best incarnation of the master sleuth.

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