Archive for October, 2004

Matrix Revolutions (2003)

Rothe Blog Matrix RevolutionsTwo Stars

When I saw Matrix Reloaded in Georgia on my honeymoon, I wasn’t overly thrilled. There had been a lot of time between the movies and a ton of anticipation. But the second time I saw it, those expectations were gone and I actually like the movie for it’s own reasons other than what I thought I would originally.

So, when Revolutions came out, I tried not to have high expectations for it. But somehow, I was still kind of like, what the heck.

I saw it last night again thinking I may have a similar reaction, that it would be better a second time around. Hardly.

This is what I will say for being good about the movie. How in the heck do you envision something like that, and make it come to life? The robotics, the intricate detail, the ships, the Sentinels, all of it was just phenomenal. When the sentinels pour into Zion like a plague, you have that feeling of “Oh Crap”. A feeling of empathy for these weak humans. A lot of the camera shots are low to the ground so you see from their perspective.

The characters were fallible. Neo gets his eyes burned out, who saw that coming? Plus Trinity dies and in the end, maybe Neo does too. It’s not like the heroes came out unscathed.

Plus there are those robot machines the humans use to shoot with, pretty intense. But that is what most of the movie is, intense. Intensely graphic actually which in my opinion is quite a divergence from the other movies. From the Neo vs. Bane fight, to the kid taking over for the face mangled captain, to Neo’s eyes getting burned out. After the first couple movies of perfectly choreographed fight scenes, this movie was becoming like all the others.

That is my final complaint. You don’t really get a sense of urgency when you watch this movie. It really is for popcorn, you sit back, watch the amazing effects and think “Now why are Agent Smith and Neo flying around like two Supermen around the city”. It is like that final fight scene between the mortal enemies even took a life of it’s own, spawning away from the Wachowski brothers in attempting to top the fights scenes of the previous to movies. It was presumptuous that and audience would swallow that and a little like a super athlete getting caught up in his own hype.

It became a special effects movie in the end where it should have encapsulated what in my opinion was the original idea, a new fresh concept about this world that didn’t even exist, was built around computer programs, and therefore a human in that world could bend the physical rules.

Not a half an hour of machines shooting machines and an overload of special effects.

Spiderman 2 (2004)

Spiderman 2Five Stars

This blog just missed me singing the praises of this movie when it first came out, so on top of every other reason, it was one more excuse to go and see it again now that it was at the cheap theaters this past Tuesday.

Here’s my thing with this movie, and most people can empathize with this.

Most people read books, and some people have characters that they love, whether it be from old TV shows like Mission Impossible, or cartoons like Scooby Doo, and there is nothing more thrilling to see these characters come to life on the big screen.

Comic books are looked down on for whatever reason, but they are basically books with pictures, and the characters are very dense with back story.

So when a comic themed movie that comes out like this one, you have to stand up and take notice, and here is why.

1. Realistic translation of the characters – You go to a movie to suspend some belief, and this is grounded just enough in reality to possibly be real.

2. Groundbreaking special effects – Seriously, when will you ever see the context for a guy swinging around those breath taking cityscape scenes, or the fights between Spidey and Doc. Ock on the train and building facades?

3. Relatable characters – This is especially true to the comic as Spiderman is a kid, who is just trying to make it by, that has this incredible weight of life to balance with everything. This movie has desire, struggle, inner demons and really makes you feel for Peter Parker.

4. Respect to the books – My problem with the first movie was that it was dumbed down, even past the necessary introduction to the characters to have painfully forced “moments” between Peter and Mary Jane and kind of cheesy dialogue that you can only assume was there because they were trying to appeal to a tag younger teenie audience. (To the disagreement of Chip Cullen, Jerry Davidson, and Avi Shertok, sorry guys). This time round, the dialogue was natural, it was a good translation of the character of Doc. Ock, and the action / violence didn’t seem as watered down.

So, I loved it, you can tell. It is not just because it is a comic book movie. Actually, some of the movies I hate the most are comic book movies, because they are that kind of “supernatural” experience that can flop even worse in a big screen translation.

There have been only four really solid Comic book movies ever in my opinion. First there was Batman, then Batman Returns (Michael Keaton’s tortured Bruce Wayne was prefect, silent, violent, and efficient), X-Men 2 for many of the same reasons as Spiderman 2 but even more so, and now…

Spiderman 2.

Pumpkin carving with the Buissons

Rothe Blog Photo Diary Astros Carved Pumpkin

This was a pain, and hopefully, it isn’t an omen.

Sarah has asked me twice why I am cheering for the Astros in the Championship series, and I am not. But they have a much cooler and easier symbol to attempt to carve on a pumpkin, or so I thought.

About 3.5 hours later, and stiff neck I was finished. I never remembered curves being as hard as they were, and this seemed like a larger sized carving when I began, but by the end I knew it was pretty small as I was cutting out little slivers just to get the curves to be perfect.

Stay tuned for more pics from this past Sunday and information about our time with the Buissons.

Roller Skating with School and a trip to the bar

Rothe Blog Photo Diary Roller Skate

Not a particularly great picture, but out of the whole evening, which included having Christine and her little chicas over for lunch, going roller skating with the school, and then going out to the bar afterwards with the faculty, this is the best picture I got that wasn’t beyond blurry.

We had Christine and her daughters over for Simpsons trivia and a dinner full of giggles and little girl chatter on everything from
boys and the definition of “puberty” is to movies and owning exotic animals like raccoons. We were all going to go roller skating, but then Sarah and I got held up, for me something with work I had to help out, and Sarah was trying to clean up the apartment.

By the time we finally got to the roller rink, there were only :45 minutes left, and I had planned on skating, but wasn’t going to pay to skate for only that long. Fortunately Mr. Herre had gotten skates, and had 12 size shoes. It was a blast to do that again, hard at first being back on four squarely set wheels instead of four in a row on my blades, but great none the less.

Then we went to that bar and watched the Yankees kick the hell out of the Red Sox, who have all but rolled over.

More House Hunting in Beech Grove

Rothe Blog Photo Diary Beech Grove 2

This is another house we looked at last week, on a last minute notice as our realtor called up and arranged a showing on the spot, that was intriguing.

An older home that had been kept up really nice, there was new carpet and huge rooms. Both the dining room and living room were enormous with two large bedrooms. The upstairs reminded me of my Aunt Pat’s old house, just large enough maybe for a daybed and an unfinished attic that could be made into a perfect playroom.

It had a lot of character. There was a back exit out of the driveway to the alley behind the house. There was an enormous walk through closet from the dining room to one of the bedrooms and it had built in shelves and a enclosed porch.

The only downside was the price, and I didn’t have the emotional reaction I did to the other house in Beech Grove. As much as I liked the inside of this house, I almost couldn’t picture myself living there. But if it is still on the market in a couple of months and comes down in price significantly, it is enough of a “move in” house that I would consider it.

The Terminal(2004)

Rothe Blog The TerminalFour and a Half Stars

Another Steven Spielberg / Tom Hanks Triumph. Tom Hanks yet again carried this movie, making it interesting from the start to the end.

Tom plays Victor Navorski, a mild manner, genuinely nice guy whose country is in shambles after he makes the trip to America and is “forced” to live out of an airport in New York. A funny and touching movie, you laugh when Tom is having dinner with Catherine Zeta Jones and his Indian friend is juggling plates in the background, and you cry when he finally reveals what is in his Planters peanut jar and the “promise” that drove this trip to America and kept him going during nine months of life in an airport.

Only turned into Hollywood mush for a brief scene that doesn’t interrupt the main plot line, you have quirky relatable characters that you can empathize with, and you have a great original story, which really isn’t too common anymore.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Sky CaptainFour Stars

I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t like this movie just a little, and the fact was that I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end.

It’s a movie with the classic “movie picture” kind of feel with old 50’s clothing, architecture and automobiles. Then you put that against a landscape of modern technology, robots, planes with gadgetry that would make Batman jealous, and dinosaur type animals and you have this great blend of the two.

Now, the naysayers of this film think it is stupid, probably for it’s plot. But I say this. It feels like what most people have for a stereotype of a 50’s movie. Things are a little “golly gee” and even the violence is hinted at but rarely shown, but you know that up front, so you shouldn’t expect some great in depth plot other than a mad scientist bent on cleansing the world and
starting anew in outer space.

It has this filtered look, glowing lights, rich slick colors that are never bright but are textured, and it has vision for design and pushing what a modern movie of real life actors and completely created scenery can be. There may be times where you say, gosh that looks a little unreal, but then for every “American Pie” and “Mean Girls” teenie movies that rely completely on the same concepts of sex and discovering, you have a movie that never existed.

You had some individuals that had to think of such a grand movie and then have the perseverance to give it life. You have got to respect that, and you have to expand you mind. See this movie and see what a different idea of a totally CG movie can be apart from the Matrix and the Star Wars movies.

Only turned into Hollywood mush for a brief scene that doesn’t interrupt the main plot line, you have quirky relatable characters that you can empathize with, and you have a great original story, which really isn’t too common anymore.