Well friends, its finally come to it...I'm moving out of my place for 5 weeks to go to Athens and take some courses. It should be fun, and yes I'll be driving home often to check on my place so no need to worry about me and my things. The folks who run the apartments are checking in on the place while I'm away as well, so everything should be right as rain. While I'm away I'm hoping to find Athens well and populated with at least a few friends of mine so that I'm not bored. Of course, I shouldn't wish for no boredom...as I will have to do work for class and I don't relish having a lot of homework. I've got a lot to figure out while I'm there too, like what kind of program I'm going to complete to get my full Theater certification and where I'm gonna go to do it. I also need to get to the amusement parks (but I'm filing that under 'frivolity'). I feel like I've been so busy this week, I don't feel like I did anything last week and this week I feel like I've been running around all over the place. I guess that's not a bad thing, but it certainly has made me very aware of how quickly this summer break is gonna slip away. I'm so glad that I've had several days to play with my new electronic toys though, but now I have to leave them behind for weeks and weeks...oy.
On the film side of things, the Summer Movie season is in full swing and the cinemas are packed with Summer Blockbusters. I've gone to the flicks three times this week and each time its been difficult choosing what I wanted to see. First I saw Killers with Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl. I never go out of my way to see anything with Kutcher in it...not because I hate him or anything...he just is never in anything I particularly want to see. Heigl on the other hand I enjoy, but she seems to have fallen into that typecasting curse that befell Meg Ryan following When Harry Met Sally. She seems to always be in some ridiculous romantic comedy where she plays the cute, yet uptight lead who needs to learn to either open up, learn to have fun, or learn some other 'quit being OCD' kind of lesson. Killers proved to be no different, although it was nice to see Tom Selleck in a movie again (as her stern and somewhat creepy father). There were some fun action sequences though, and I feel as though the movie could have been a little darker and more witty (it skirts around spoofing modern suburbia but never quite sinks its teeth in)....C+
Next I saw The A-Team, which as most of you know is based on the cult-favorite TV series by the same name. I can't say I've ever seen the original show, so that probably helped when I watched the film...because I had a lot of fun. Several critics and fans have stated that the film doesn't accurately capture the essence of the show and that it instead is more generically action based. Personally, I had a great time and loved all the performers (aside from Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson as B.A. (the role that made Mr. T famous) who comes off as a little flat). My favorites of course was Liam Neeson as team-leader Hannibal, who chews the scenery with gutsy gusto and Bradley Cooper as Faceman, his #1. Some of the editing gets a little on the frenetic side and makes discerning what's supposed to be going on kinda difficult (but its not as bad as in the Bourne movies or in Quantum of Solace). The plot also gets a bit ridiculous at times, but what can you expect? As I understand it, the show was like a comic version of "Mission Impossible" with the plans bordering on the ridiculous...so when the boys try to fly a tank using a parachute and the main gun, you feel like they've really captured the tone of what people remember about the show. Remember though, that having never seen it, I could be wrong. Either way, I enjoyed it and would greatly welcome a sequel....B
The last, and I think best, new release that I took in this week was The Karate Kid...a remake of the 1980s classic that starred Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. It is always difficult to remake anything, especially something that has such a classic status, but when you do it well it always shows. I am a fan of the original and I was nervous about this new version...especially since this one starred Jaden Smith and was produced by his loving parents (I'm sure you've heard of them...Will and Jada?) and to me it looked like a vehicle geared to promote mommy and daddy's little angel. However, I and all the other critics need to get over ourselves and admit that, promoting aside, the kid can act and has a future. In fact he does a very nice job filling in the role of Dre Parker (aka Daniel Larusso when it was 1984) and makes the part his own. Jackie Chan also shines in the dramatic role of Mr. Han (aka Mr. Miyagi) and gives one of his best performances to date...not mugging for the camera like he usually does, but actually bringing a tenderness and sorrow to the part that feels real. There was one point in the film where I actually teared up, when Mr. Han opens up and reveals past secrets to Dre, and by the end I was reacting with gasps and whoops as Dre fights to win the tournament. It followed the blueprint of the 1984 story but also added its own embellishments that allow it to stand apart. If you already know the story then you know how its all going to turn out and what things need to happen, but the rearrangement of the details and the energy in which the film moves keeps you wanting to see what will happen next. I hope they make another one, but this film works well as a standalone feature...just like the original did...A