Archive for the ‘Movies & Television’ Category

Top 10 Movies of 2007

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

2007 was an unusual year for me–I actually saw a lot of movies. In the past I went to theaters only when something really grabbed my attention, but this year I went on average at least once a week. Even more surprising: most of them were actually good! Granted, I didn’t see all the movies of 2007 by any stretch, but of those I did see, here are my top ten:

10) Mr Bean’s Holiday: I doubt many critics will list this as one of their top movies of 2007, but it is my list! Hilarious from beginning to end and my favorite comedy of the year.

9) In the Shadow of the Moon: Clearly the best documentary of the year, this is an amazing look at the space program featuring many of the astronauts involved, and chronicling mankinds’ greatest achievement.
8) 310 to Yuma: A remake of a classic Western film, 310 is exciting throughout. Whether or not you like Westerns, this is definitely a film worth seeing.

7) Amazing Grace: The true and inspiring story of William Wilberforce, a British MP who led the movement to ban the slave trade in the British Empire.

6) Into the Wild: Based on a book, this is the story of Chris McCandless, a wanderer who forsake his upper-class upbringing to travel alone throughout America, ultimately attempting to live off the land in the Alaskan bush. A powerful epic about friendship, family, adventure, and forgiveness.

5) The Kite Runner: Based on the book of the same name, a story of hope, regret and forgiveness set in pre-Soviet Afghanistan, and chronicling the atrocities of the Communists, and later the Taliban. The unknown Afghan child actors steal the show, making this a moving and fascinating film.

4) Charlie Wilson’s War: Charlie Wilson was a Democratic Congressman from Texas know for his philandering and corruption until he took an interest in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and worked tirelessly to provide arms to the Afghans, thus helping secure defeat for the Soviet Union and ultimately ending the Cold War. A fascinating poltical film with loads of humor and touching scenes mixed in.

3) American Gangster: Based on the real life heroin kingpin Frank Lucas who ruled Harlem in the 1970s and the cop who brought him down, this movie is intense from beginning to end. Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe really shine.

2) Zodiac: An very underrated film based on the real life Zodiac serial killer who terrorized the San Francisco area during the late 1960s and 1970s. Although about a murderer, the film is not a “slasher film” by any means; focusing strongly on the police investigations and the psychological aspects of Zodiac.

1) Breach: Based on the true story of the takedown of Robert Hanssen (brilliantly portrayed by Chris Cooper), FBI agent and traitor who spied for the Soviet Union and Russia for more than two decades.

I Did Not Know This

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

The phrase “beam me up, Scotty!” was never uttered on any Star Trek episode or movie.

Additionally, the phrase “just the facts, ma’am” was never spoken by Joe Friday on on the show Dragnet.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

Is frickin’ hilarious! If you haven’t seen it yet, well, you should!

More Than Meets the Eye

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

I saw Transformers last night, and it was surprisingly… great. It managed to perfectly fuse action, drama, and comedy into an all around excellent film. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do so ASAP.

As a side note, for those who have seen the film… the blonde girl; does she have a southern or a British accent? Seriously, I know those two are hard to confuse, but she seemed to have some strange hybrid. Anyone know?

How’s It Going to End?

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

**SPOILER ALERT** – If you have not yet watched last week’s episode of “The Sopranos” and plan to do so, stop reading this.

The Sopranos, that is. One of the all around greatest shows in television will be just a memory after tomorrow night. How will it end? Will Tony live or die? What about A.J.? Carmella? Meadow? Paulie? Last week’s episode was particularly bloody; Silvio now lies in a coma and Bobby, probably the nicest gangster around, met his demise. And Tony seemed to be digging in for a final stand. But will he fall? And if so, by who’s hand? Phil or one of his henchmen? Or someone from his family (the figurative one or the literal one)? Or will be somehow avoid this fate, either by defeating Phil Leotardo or flipping to the Feds?

And then there’s A.J., the directionless slacker who tried to off himself a few weeks ago. Nothing this kid does could surprise anyone. Seriously, he could be either his father’s savior or his murderer and be equally convincing.

Geez, I hate to see this show end.

UPDATE: Silly me. I thought that after watching the final episode, I’d know how it ended. But no. I am reminded of the words of Larry from the sitcom Newhart: “I think I speak for all of us when I say… HUH?!”

Good Movie

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

*SPOILER ALERT* If you have not yet viewed “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” and plan to do so, you may want to skip this posting until after you have viewed it.

The other day I was in Blockbuster when I happened on a film entitled “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days”. I had learned about Sophie Scholl, who led the White Rose non-violent resistance movement, while in Munich last summer, and decided to watch the movie. Sophie was a 21 year old student at Munich University, and, along with her brother, a professor, and several other students, distributed anti-Nazi pamphlets before being arrested by the Gestapo and executed in Germany in 1943.

“Sophie” is an incredibly powerful film; it should not be watched if you’re expecting an enjoyable experience. It is quite chilling at times. Particularly poweful are the courtroom scene as Sophie and her comrades face trial, and the scene where Sophie’s parents visit her before her execution. Through it all, Sophie maintains a level of bravery that seems almost impossible, and it’s hard for the viewer not to wonder how they would handle themselves in a similar situation.

The movie is also interesting for it’s treatment of Sophie’s faith. At a time when Europeans are generally viewed as secular by most Americans, the movie is unique in it’s unabashedly positive portrayal of Sophie’s Christian faith, which is shown to be a major source of her courage.

As it is a German film, I watched it with English subtitles, but I really didn’t need them. The acting is so amazing that you can follow the storyline even without being able to understand the words.

Obviously, I enjoyed this film, and I heartedly recommend it. It is not a feel good film, but does an admirable job of portraying the bravery of some idealistic students in history’s darkest hour. It is well worth your time.

UPDATE: This post is taking part in the Beltway Traffic Jam.

Indoctrinate U

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Evan Coyne Maloney has posted a trailer for his documentary on politics in academia. Evan and his partner, Stuart Browning, came to UT shortly after the controversy involving the UT Issues Committee and Sukhmani Singh Khalsa to gather information, interviewing myself and several friends. I look forward to their latest documentary.

Meet Your Modern Stone Age Family

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

Finally, some real must-see TV:

Winner for most unusual piece of development this pilot season goes to ABC, which has turned a series of quirky Geico commercials into an actual half-hour comedy project.

“Cavemen” will revolve around three pre-historic men who must battle prejudice as they attempt to live as normal thirtysomethings in modern Atlanta.

Via Hot Air

Federal Censorship Commission Strikes Again

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Not content to merely protect children from sex, the government now thinks it should protect them from violence as well:

Television networks are free to sprinkle their programs with shootings, slashings, torture and other gore because the government has no regulatory authority over violent programming.

But a draft report being circulated at the Federal Communications Commission says Congress can change that, without violating the First Amendment.

I doubt that. The FCC itself violates the First Amendment. But the government (and, even more tragically, most Americans) quit caring what the Constitution says long ago.

Good Movie

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

I caught “We Are Marshall” the other night. It’s an excellent film. If you like sports movies (and even if you don’t), I think you will appreciate this movie.