Miss Marvelle’s Mid-Day Movie Review

•December 16, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I’ve decided that it was time that *someone* do running movie reviews of both new and old movies so that those of you who are thinking about buying or renting various films might get some idea of what you might be getting yourselves into. Some of these will be new, some of these will not – in case you think I give a shit whether or not I am keeping these fuckers current, think again. This is at MY leisure (isn’t everything?).

There WILL, most likely, be spoilers in these reviews, so if it’s something you think you are DYING to see, then perhaps these reviews aren’t for you.

The rating system is done in stars, just to keep from confusing people with other metaphors and, mostly, because I’m lazy. 🙂

***** // Five Stars
MUY FABULOSO! *LOVED* the movie. Couldn’t be better.

**** // Four Stars
Great movie. Somehow, someone managed NOT to fuck up the story.

*** // Three Stars
Okay movie, could use some improvements. Might like it if it were a gift but would think twice about paying for it.

** // Two Stars
Crap movie. Sure as hell wouldn’t pay for it and probably borderline pissed that I bothered to watch the damn thing.

* // One Star
Complete shit. Don’t pay for it, don’t watch it and, if you are unfortunate to have already done so, burn it at once. Have holy-water on hand.

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“Charlie Wilson’s War”
Rating:
****

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

I was skeptical of this film as I tend to be skeptical of anything that claims to be based on, or worse yet, “inspired by” a true story and this one falls squarely into the first category.

Let me start by saying that I am NOT a big Tom Hanks fan. I cannot seem to shake images of him and Darryl Hannah from “Splash” years ago that are still burned into my psyche, but every now and then he seems to pull an amazing performance out of his ass like that in “Philadelphia” for example. “Charlie Wilson’s War” is another excellent example of this man actually being able to act. Julia Roberts could have had a better southern accent, but if you’ve seen the scary-ass woman she’s playing (in real life), you will realize that she’s earned that Academy…

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“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”
Rating: **

Starring: Thomas Kretschmann (I list him first because he is, unbeknownst to him, one of my many future ex-husbands), Ron Perlman, , John Hurt, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Luke Goss, Anna Walton, Jeffrey Tambor

Let me preface this by saying that I am NITPICKING this crap film because it had SO MUCH potential with Guillermo del Toro – the man is an amazing genius, but I think maybe having done “Pan’s Labyrinth” so soon before starting this one may have fried his ability to be creative (loved “Pan’s,” mind you).

The first weirdness in this movie is discovering that THREE different people play the new Ectoplasmic head-of-operations, Johann Krauss. First, it is played by Thomas Kretschmann (who, even though he *IS* a native German, didn’t *sound* German enough – more on that in a moment), then James Dodd (a dancer, nonetheless – even though Johann doesn’t do any dancing that *I* am aware of in this movie) and, finally (sort-of) John Alexander (an unknown). Apparently none of them could produce a German enough sounding voice (even the German), so it is played by THREE people and then VOICED by another (Seth MacFarlane of “Family Guy” and “American Dad” fame – yes, I know…).

John Hurt (whose voice alone I have always loved even outside of his acting abilities) has merely a bit part as Hellboy’s “father” in this movie with a terribly animated/acted/THING of a young Hellboy whose head appears to be barely hanging onto the gyroscopic mechanism upon which it is delicately balanced.

They opted to change Abe Sapien’s voice to that of the actual actor’s voice (Doug Jones) from the much more convincing David Hyde Pierce. Doug Jones sounds *somewhat* like Pierce, but lacks the ability to emote properly – there is a REASON he *NEVER* does the voice of the people he plays (body of the Silver Surfer, but Laurence Fishburne the voice, etc., blah, blah, blah). Terrible idea. He is also the Angel of Death (not the voice) as well as the Chamberlain (also not the voice). Wonder why? Listen to Abe for a few minutes and you will know why…

Selma Blair (whom I also normally love) has had a personality bypass in this – she is overstated and underplayed. She’s had a new Super Heroine Du Jour hair-do to go with the abilities and makes sure to blither the same EXACT lines (“you should be running” – great once, but not always) from the first film. There is TOO MUCH of a focus on the she and Hellboy’s relationship in the film and it’s associated bullshit – I didn’t pay to see a love story, I PAID to see a dark, engaging film about the darker side of the world.

There is even (yes) a Troll-Market in this movie that looks like it was right out of the NOT pile of cut scenes from the 1980s film “Labyrinth.” Ugh.

The visual effects are good and the puppet movie in the beginning of the film telling the tale of the beginnings of the Golden Army is fantastic – they should have done the entire movie in this style. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so put off. The creature effects are also incredibly done (a del Toro trademark).

I mention Luke Goss (Prince Nuada) and Anna Walton (Princess Nuala) as they are the break-out roles in this film and are about the only thing that make it worth stomaching. The characters are powerful and beautiful – they are apparently in the wrong movie.

They changed Hellboy’s look just enough to be irritating – the facial hair changes as well as the subtle body changes only make him look closer to Perlman’s actual 50+ age with a head that is way too big for the body. Perlman is brilliant but even he couldn’t save this disaster.

I think the biggest problem I had with this movie is that, while it IS based on a comic (from Dark Horse out of Portland, Oregon, of all places), it tends to be WAAAAAY too comic-book-esque and cheesy. The occasional cheesy line amidst the darkness of the first film was endearing, but here is is just ridiculous and pandering. Also, do you THINK they could have made the “Tecate” product placement a LITTLE *less* obvious?

Precautionary Statements

•November 21, 2008 • Leave a Comment

“Any contact with this product, either direct or indirect, constitutes a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical attention.”

I saw this on a label for a cleaning solution at work… Keep in mind, I work in retail and NOT in a chemical plant… Good god…

Shitting Yourself Silly

•November 21, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Ever had one of those times at work when you are SO bored, you have to think up weird shit to do to keep yourself entertained? And, invaribly, you get “caught” being an idiot by the customer you didn’t hear come in?

Me neither…

Fly-Ra, Secret Lover of Mongo and She-Devil of Sumatra

•October 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Well, kiddies, it has been a bit since I last wrote anything of any real import, but I thought it best to keep you abreast of my involvement in the latest mortal combat in my personal realm.

Insects indoors and I do not get along. Outside is fine – I can deal with OUTside. Somehow they are fascinating OUTSIDE. Once they enter the forbidden kingdom, however, they are sworn enemies of Marbahn the Semi-Great…

Days ago in a bedroom far, far, far, far, far the fuck away…

It was a dark and unstormy night… I was lying in my bed, minding my own business (which is what one does whilst in bed unless someone else happens to be there and then it is much, much more than their business you are minding…), reading my book, “142 Ways to Look Fabulous During an Apocalypse,” when I heard this… sound… It was a buzzing… Awful buzzing… I was not able to see it (being without my infra-red goggles and all), but I sure as hell could *hear* it. Not too close, but yet, not too far away, either. After a few minutes of this, I assumed (as most would) that it was nothing more than, perhaps, a neighbor kid getting electrocuted while climbing on the power lines and figured I’d just ignore it.

((“Danger Zone” from ‘Top Gun’ starts playing))

*Something* buzzes past me between my book and I at four-hundred *THOUSAND* miles an hour… Lithe and nimble thing that I am, I jump like Mikhail Baryshnikov (because in my perpetually delicate state, I find myself startled at the fly-by). I put the book down and try to visually track my assailant… It’s a FLY. Not just ANY fly, mind you, it is Fly-Ra, She-Devil of Sumatra! I am relatively certain she has been sent by Mongo to murder me in my sleep but her bloodlust has made her act prematurely…

The hateful bitch takes a moment out of her strafing mission to land on my lamp next to the bed. For reasons I cannot determine, I have a rat-tailed comb next to the bed on the night stand (which is a filing cabinet in stealth mode – black and all…). I grab the comb… She doesn’t flinch (I am getting eyed… I am sure of it…). I wield the comb like a fucking Samurai (I am hanging on to the bigger end – I try to do that with *anything* I am wielding, mind you…) and… SMACK!! I *ACTUALLY* managed to hit her! She flies off of the lamp, limping in flight… (trailing smoke I just know it!). I assume she is done for… My work here is done… I sit and marvel at my comb/sword wielding skills…

I get comfortable, snuggling back down into the pillows with my book… The world is at peace… or is seems to be… My blissful peace was soon to be shattered…

VRRRRRROOOOOOOOOM!! BUZZZZZ!!! Around inside the lamp shade and back out again… Over and over!!

GAAAAAHHH!! (This is me screaming – on the inside, of course…)

She flies by again! Apparently she has managed to repair her damage and get back into the air! She buzzes by again… I swipe at her with my pocketbook (assuming that, given my now being a Samurai sword *master*, I should be able to hit the bitch with a fucking piece of elbow Macaroni for that matter…)… I MISS!! I can’t believe I MISSED! It must be a fluke… She turns back around mid-air and comes back at me… I take another swipe… I miss again!

I am simultaneously saddened and enraged, so I launch out of bed and grab the deadliest weapon in the Bedroom Arsenal… The DREADED LAPTOP SLEEVE… Fly-Ra comes at me again, arcing around the lamp (presumably for additional speed and/or deadliness) and I SWING the sleeve and WHACK! I connect!! She goes reeling across the room (I am feeling rather empowered by my Babe-Ruth-esque batting abilities)… And she COMES BACK! SHE IS STILL FUCKING ALIVE!! GAAAAAAHHHH!!

Apparently, my weapons are of no use… I must resort to MAGIC now… *DARK* MAGIC!! MUUUAHAHAHAHAHAA!!

Just outside my room lurks… THE BATHROOM… I dart out of my room and slip (as stealthily as someone in my petite and delicate state CAN dart or slip, mind you) into the bathroom and engage the solar-flares (lights) as bait, of course…

I LUNGE (again with the delicate state thing) into my room, roll across the floor (not really, but it makes for good drama) and knock out (aka “turn off”) the lamp, throw myself onto the bed as not to be seen and lie in wait for what is to come…

My predictions are correct…

The spell has worked…

Fly-Ra ZOOOOOMS out of my room and into the bathroom (assuming that she has me trapped there and can go in for the kill!)… I JUMP! I SLAM my bedroom door closed to ensure my personal safety (leaving the solar flares engaged to ensure the decoy). I can hear her banging against the door… I can smell her rage… Finally… (sigh)… The incessant buzzing goes away and I know that she is gone… The assassination attempt FAILED…

I know that she will come for me again… But this time… I shall be ready! Mark my words… MARK MY WORDS…

I Have a Dream…

•September 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

So… Apparently…

In my dream last night/this morning…

I had a drunken brawl with Connie Chung at a Children’s Miracle Network fund raiser…

WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!

Leaves a Pleasant Fragrance

•September 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

 

Mongo the Construction Spider

Mongo the Construction Spider

I had yet another adventure with Mongo the Construction Spider the other day (actually two of them – one being at Gene’s house and trying to make it out the damned door and he had enlisted the employ of a spider who attempted to subdue me in it’s web on the way down the stairs and almost succeeded…). I was lying in bed reading (I do that) and realized that I felt something on my leg. A bit of a tickle, nothing more. So… I pulled back the sheet (I do that as well) to see what might, per chance, be tickling my leg. I look down and there on my leg appears to be my arch nemesis – Mongo the Construction Spider. I nearly shit myself. I don’t MIND spiders, really, just as long as they stay the fuck out of the house and, more importantly, OFF OF *ME*. I don’t DO WELL with spiders on me – and that, my friends, is an unbelievable understatement.

Well… I FREEEEEEEEEEAKED out (I didn’t scream like a little girl, no… Actually I DID make a bit of an “EEEEEP” sound as I think I was physically incapable of anything more at that point, being in the midst of complete and total cardiac arrest at the moment) and started smacking, smashing, KILLING, KILL IT!, KILL IT!, EEEEP!, DIE MOTHERFUCKER DIE!, doing the Arachnoid variation on Riverdance in my bed and looking like a complete psychopath who had just been pushed *completely* over the edge. Mongo, in dramatic fashion, fell off of my leg (imagine Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk music here whilst in slow motion) and onto the bed. Well… I *HAD* to get a closer look at the product of my murderous rage (at the same time trying to get my blood pressure down below 1,200/692 and figure out how to get the bedroom back in one piece considering it’s total annihation during my Honorable Combat with Mongo-San). Funny… It doesn’t *look* like a spider… Well… Perhaps, given that I am SOOOOO strong and brave, I have obliterated my enemy so far as to make him unrecognizable… I blinked just to make sure you know… Because it was looking LESS and LESS like a spider at that particular moment (I could not give in to the idea just yet that I was a complete fucking moron – more on that in a minute). I got a pen (I have one by my bed just in case I need to make a shopping list in my sleep – I’ve done that before… don’t ask…) and I poke it. Nothing. Poke it again. Still nothing. I get a MUCH closer look now that I have ensured, entirely, that it is dead.

It appears that I have done the UNTHINKABLE. I have just murdered a sock fuzzy. A fucking SOCK FUZZY. Dear god… What a fucking moron… I am truly impressed with my having gone Berserker on my room at this point and find myself looking around to make sure no one is looking (why do we do this when we know damned well no one was watching – are we suddenly trapped in a bad Big Brother episode?) and decided I needed to go and have a cigarette…

Cigarette in hand… I run into a spider’s web. Mongo’s revenge. I just know it. I put the fucking cigarette out, vogue my way back through the web and back into the house. Time for bed and perhaps to up my dosage…

Among the Missing:

•September 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Almost never are we given any real warning in life for anything. We may feel as though life passes us by – the windows are a blur of colour and moments that pass from one pane to the next without ever looking back at you. When the windows go dark however, in the various night times of our lives, we can feel something terrible looking back at us and are left paralyzed in it’s stare.

There are those who would say that life is one big experience, but really, it’s nothing more than a series of fragmented memories in the end somehow tied together by the unified experience of emotion, elation and loss. We sit back and say nothing when we are in love with someone, don’t say “I love you” to a loved one nearly enough times, or let some fantastic experience pass us by because we are frightened for reasons we cannot completely identify in the immediate.

When someone you immediately and entirely connect with comes into your world or you realize, suddenly, as happens at times, just how much someone who has been there all or most of your life, *really* and TRULY means to you, you can find yourself almost breathless in a singular instance with both overpowering love for that person and complete terror at the idea that you may, someday, find them to be gone from your world – that they are now, among the missing, in your life.

When these people leave, go missing, just disappear from our world we may, ourselves find ourselves feeling as though we too are one of them… Ghosts in a world that is real only to others…

I think, at some point in our lives, we realize that not only the ones around us will be gone but that even we, as invincible as we might have once felt or seemed, will too be gone – to go to where ever it is that we are going that may or may not even be where we came from. Mortality leaves a nasty taste in your mouth and it’s one that’s not easily washed away. Nothing rinses the taste of blood from the mouths of those murdered by life… You cannot help but feel as though people have been stolen from you and that, at some point, you shall also be stolen… Down a dark alley being drug by your hair into a shadowed doorway by someone you cannot see… cannot hear… and cannot know…

Yes, perhaps this train of thought is a bit depressing, and I have to say that, at the moment, I am in a state of what I can only describe as a “peaceful sadness.” It’s not the crushing, breathless depression that most would equate with someone who talks of dying, but rather a strange serenity brought on by many thoughts and many conversations over the last couple of days and I just wanted to get it out of my mind before it became something else altogether.

I know that I feel better for sharing this strangeness with you and I hope that I have not made you feel terrible with this moment of darkness of mine. I refuse however, on all and any fronts, to ever allow myself to *become* this darkness again which is also why I chose to share it with you.

Just remember – we are the sum of our experiences of others and the love returned by those who have experienced us. Love powerfully, love truly and love without fear.

“If you’re frightened of dying, and holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. If you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels – freeing you from the earth.”