Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Around the World in 80 Days

It's been awhile since I last posted, but my homework load has gotten big enough that a post seemed like the perfect way to procrastinate.

A couple Saturdays back, I was able to watch the first half of Around the World in 80 Days. I say the first half, because the film is approxametly 3 years long. The film took up two discs, and felt longer than the 183 minute run time. Why is the film this long? Long long scenes where not much happens. THe film spent at least an hour on, a bull fight, shots of the alps, a jungle trek, and a Japanese acrobat show. None of these really moved the plot along enough to justify this amount of time. They're all interesting at first, but start dragging after a couple of minutes.

Do these scenes have a point? No. Are they pretty? Yes. This seems to be what people went to the movies for back then, which makes sense. If you didn't have the money to go around the world, you pay to watch other people do it.

The veiw of the world portrayed in the film, though, is not perfect. Often, the other cultures met by our heroes are thin stereotypes of the people they represent. The Indian (as in, the Asian culture) people are portrayed as violent savages, and the only Indian woman portrayed like a person is the British educated love intrest played by a white woman.

The film does have a ton of cameos. Be sure to look for silent film star Buster Keaton, and the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra.

This film is too long for most kids, and it was too long for me. It's long, it's pretty, it's dull.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Karate Dog

I have to admit, I did not have high hopes for Karate dog. I know it's hard to believe, but a film who's biggest claim to fame is it features the voice of Chevy Chase as a talking dog does not really rouse my attention. Then I saw the dog, (for those who are sickly curious, here's a picture) and then I was ready to hide underneath the kids bed rather than watch this canine monstrocity. The only thing that kept me on the couch was the promise of cash ninjas.

A film called Karate Dog must have some martial arts madness right? Sort-of. The begining and climax of the film do include Cho-Cho, the Karate Dog, in kung fu battles. Creepy anthropormorphic kung fu battles, where he stands on its hind legs and fights in such a way that it make you want to rip out your eyes out of their sockets one by one if it just took the dog away.

The middle, if it is possible, is even worse. Any semblence of kung fu is replaced by a boring detective story with interludes of a dull romance subplot. Cho-Cho was an ordinary dog, whose owner, by the power of zen (I know, seriously?) gave him the ability to talk. His owner, played by go-to Asian master Pat Morita, then teaches him kung-fu. When his master is killed by masked ninjas, Cho-Cho, teams up with an socially-awkward police detective, to solve the murder. The detective also has time to fall in love with another cop played by My Name Is Earl's
Jaime Pressly.

One idiotic plot about dogtrack steroids and daddy issues later, I had almost lost all faith in film making. The film was like what would happen if the odd couple met Mr. Ed, if none of them had any charm, but thought they were funny anyway. An hour of my life, (was it only an hour? It felt like an eternity.) was spent watching Cho-Cho use a urinal, throw a dog party in the guy's house, and generally act like a jerk. By the end of the movie of course, the guy is thanks the dog, his best friend who he couldn't do this without blah blah blah. This is a move by the writer to try to make us forget the dog has done nothing to endear himself to anyone, not the guy, and certainly not to the audience.

President Obama has made movements to close Guantanimo Bay because of the torture that is said to have occured there. I'm not an expert on the subject, but I think this means guards made the inmates watch Karate Dog.