LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD
Hey gang, E.J.’s back with the “Die Hard” retrospective and today, I’ll be talking about the fourth movie in the franchise, “Live Free or Die Hard.”
Let me start off by saying that I never would imagine a new “Die Hard” movie would be made after the first three. A “Die Hard 4” was in the works for years, but nothing came about it and I never took the news seriously. At one point, it was going to be called “Die Hard 4: Die Hardest” with John McClane and his son kidnapped and dropped in the jungle where they’re forced to fight their way out. The son was even supposed to be played by Ben Affleck! That shows you a sign of the times. This was when Affleck had just done “Armageddon” with Willis, so I guess they formed a friendship. Years later, when I read that it would be about an old school hero like John McClane going up against new school techno-terrorists, I loved it. I actually had a similar idea for a movie, so it would seem like fate that an idea would like that became a “Die Hard” with John McClane smart assing and using streetwise tactics against a technology culture everyone is evolving with.
The first thing to note is now, they’re following the third movie’s example of using the title within a phrase which I didn’t see coming. Especially a title like “Live Free or Die Hard.” Although, I like it better than“ Die Hard 4: Die Hardest.” I don’t understand why they couldn’t use the international title “Die Hard 4.0.” It’s not a conventional title and it relates to the movie’s techno theme.
This one was based on an earlier script which was a techno-thriller called “WorldWar3.com.” I can’t help but think I would’ve liked this film as a stand alone movie more. But like the others, it was tailored to a John McClane story.
Here, John is no longer an alcoholic, but he’s definitely not happy with his life. He’s estranged from his kids and he had divorced from his wife, Holly. They use a device in reference to the first movie where his daughter, Lucy, uses the last name Gennaro instead of McClane to distance herself from her father. What the hell kind of a dad was John McClane?!
The terrorists here are a rogue organization that hacks into the government mainframe and begins to shut down important computer run programs that run society. It’s a scary thought. Especially since almost everything these days is digital. The foundation of the terrorists’ codes is written by a select group of hackers that are assassinated in the beginning of the movie. There’s only one left and McClane is called in to bring him to the F.B.I. So, he has this simple task which quickly turns ugly when the bad guys try assassinating the last hacker, Matthew Farrell. They waste no time getting to the action.
They get away and the terrorists put their plan into effect. First, they mess with traffic, then they mess with power and utilities before pushing the button to bring us all to a new stone age. It’s a reset of the system. The main villain this time around is Thomas Gabriel played by Timothy Olyphant of “Justified.” I have nothing against this actor, but he was just so bland. A good villain doesn’t have to necessarily be charismatic. I liked Colonel Stuart of the second movie even though he was a stone-faced bad guy archetype, but here, Gabriel barely even emotes. His voice is so monotone; it almost feels like a Keanu Reeves impression. I get he’s supposed to be a bitter and focused individual, but there wasn’t anything threatening about him. In the other movies, they may be villains, but sometimes they’re cool enough for you to root for them in some small way. Here, I couldn’t wait for McClane to rid of them.
So, McClane delivers Matthew to the Feds in Washington D.C. like he was assigned, but when they get attacked, McClane jumps into action to get them out of there. There’s a sequence where a helicopter chases them to a tunnel and the hackers open all the lanes and shut the lights out. This sticks the both of them smack dab in the middle of a colliding nightmare. This is a pretty exciting sequence and I believe the only computer effects used were to merge the actors in with the cars crashing. But it’s just so over the top! The physics are mindboggling!
Here, we see John act a little bit more like John McClane. He starts talking to himself. There should have been more of this. This kind of characterization is sorely missed in this movie. Most of the time, John barely smiles. He’s more melancholy. The best thing about the John McClane character is he’s complex without acting complex. He puts on a front and laughs in the face of danger as both a defense mechanism and intimidation. He probably seems the most pissed off in this movie. Later on, when he daughter is kidnapped, he becomes so serious. It’s understandable. But he and his wife were both stuck in a building riddled with villains in the first movie, he still kept the mood light. Maybe it’s a testament to how old he’s getting. Maybe something bad happened to him in between the last movie and this one, but John should not be this serious!
The Matthew Farrell character just didn’t track with me. I know he was supposed to be the polar opposite of John, but he came off as baggage. I don’t know why they felt the need to stick John with another sidekick. It worked in the last movie because the chemistry between Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis worked. Here, the generation gap didn’t work in its favor as it could have.
I suppose I should address the rating issue. A lot of fans of the series complained about this movie being PG-13. The studio wanted it to reach a larger audience and a lot of teenagers go to the movies these days so they figured they’d market to a wider crowd by making the action more extravagant instead of violent. It’s quite noticeable how much more grand the action set-ups have become. But it would seem, they traded grit for comic book action. There is probably only one big-scale action sequence in each of the original three movies, but here, the action is elevated to such a huge scope. There’s a scene late in the movie where John actually faces off against a fighter jet and destroys an entire highway set-up. McClane manages to escape it as the jet explodes and there’s a shot of the collapsed highway and burning cars. It’s an image that looks like it belongs in an apocalypse movie. The music cue even sounds like a clip of “The Terminator” score. And does John have a funny line in this aftermath? No. No he doesn’t. He just says “woo.”
So, Lucy McClane is kidnapped in the end and John has to get her back. They make sure to have Lucy resemble her father, but I think they make her too tough. We lose the severity of the situation. Why should we be frightened of the bad guys if their hostage isn’t?
To be honest, I really liked this movie the first time I saw it and even went back for repeated viewings. But it just doesn’t hold up anymore with me. It’s incredibly far removed from the other movies and any suspense that the series had to offer was completely absent in this movie. I can still watch it on occasion and enjoy it on a popcorn movie level, but “Die Hard” should be more than that.
TWO STARS OUT OF FOUR.
But now, we have a fifth entry coming out. The buzz hasn’t been good due to the people behind the movie and early word is, it’s more of a forgettable action movie. I’m setting my expectations low, but to be honest, I’m pretty excited to see it. I’m just a sucker for John McClane. It’s like meeting up with an old friend. If it’s entertaining like the second movie, I’ll be pretty satisfied.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my take on the movies. You may have disagreed with my points and that’s cool. Entertainment is subjective. I just wanted to offer my perspective and give a little history about the series. There’s a reason these movies stick around. It was a game changer and like other game changers, it’s been duplicated so many times. It became almost a subgenre. People describe its clones as “Die Hard on a blank.” There are some entertaining ones though. But no matter how many there are, there’s just no beating the original.
DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE
Welcome, one and all! It’s part 3 of E.J.’s “Die Hard” retrospective and we’ll be taking a look at “Die Hard with a Vengeance.”
I was 11 years old and my dad was cool enough to take me to see this in theaters and let me tell you, I loved it from the start and it still holds up to this day! Director John McTiernan returns and it’s just so obvious that he understands what makes a good “Die Hard” movie because he succeeds in telling a different kind of story without losing the charm of the original. I get a genuine feeling he purposely doesn’t acknowledge the second movie and considers this a true first sequel to the first one. Why else wouldn’t it be called “Die Hard 3?” Well, I commented on how I thought at the title “Die Harder” was cheesy, but this was just a head scratcher. Never had I heard a sequel put its title in a sentence or phrase before. But to tell you the truth, it grew on me quickly. There’s just something about the phrase “With a vengeance” that screams, “back for a real sequel.”
Well, this movie actually started off as another script named “Simon Says” which was intended to be made into the third Lethal Weapon movie. It’s especially evident by the fact that this installment is more of a buddy comedy. Not to be confused for the movie “Simon Sez” starring Dennis Rodman. For some reason, it became some sort of tradition to make a “Die Hard” movie from a different source material. The first two being books and this one, a different script.
This film literally starts off with a bang. The only credits presented are the titles, then we have a small montage of New York City set to Lovin’ Spoonful. Then, boom! A department store blows up! It grabs our attention immediately! The police department is scrambling for damage control when Police Chief Walter Cobb gets a call from the mad bomber “Simon.” There’s a beautiful shot where we pan slowly around his head throughout Simon’s call and the suspense already starts to build!
John McClane is once again thrust into a situation he doesn’t want to be in. But in a great twist, this time he’s being held hostage as Simon specifically requested John McClane to start participating in a dangerous game of Simon Says and if he fails the tasks, Simon will detonate another bomb. When we first see John, he’s hung over, he’s become an alcoholic and he’s even on suspension. It’s mentioned that he’s once again separated from his wife, although she doesn’t technically appear this time around.
The first task John must carry out is wearing a sandwich board with a message that could get him killed. A humble electrician, Zeus Carver, played by Samuel L. Jackson confronts him and unwittingly gets himself involved in the game. John convinces Zeus to play along and the rest of the movie, they become joined at the hip. It’s a detour to give McClane a direct partner. In the first two movies, he’s usually working alone, but has help from at least one more person. Here, he relies on Zeus on multiple occasions and couldn’t possibly complete all of the tasks without him. What follows is a series of sequences where John and Zeus have to travel around New York City solving riddles and disarming bombs. It’s incredibly fun to watch. It’s just like a video game. It’s not unlike missions in open world games like “Grand Theft Auto” or “Saints Row” where you travel around the city completing tasks or else something bad happens. The riddles were shown in a way to challenge the audience too. I remember rumbling amongst the people in the audience, trying to figure out the answers.
The entire New York police force gets involved in containing the terrorist plot since there’s more than just McClane’s end. It’s great to see him not butting heads with authority as much this time around and you really get a sense of unity between the police officers. What’s funny is you get to see John interact with his old cop buddies and being in New York, everybody is a smart ass and bust each other’s balls all the time. It happens a lot without being overkill and you can really see how McClane developed such a sarcastic personality at his home base.
Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis’ chemistry is perhaps one of the best buddy-cop relationships ever. They play off of each other so well! Zeus is an “angry black man” character and is overly sensitive to everything McClane says like he’s implying something. Their bickering elevates this entry to be funniest of the series. It was just a blast to watch them argue. I remember the theater crowd going nuts. I don’t know how McTiernan does it, but in his “Die Hard” movies, the dialogue delivery seldom sound like actors giving performances. They’re always incredibly natural. It’s like a Howard Hawkes movie!
The “Vengeance” part of the title comes from when McClane finds out that Simon is actually Simon Gruber, Hans Gruber’s brother. It was such a fun twist to find out because it I already loved the movie and it actually had the balls to connect itself with the first one without being cheesy. Simon is played by Jeremy Irons and let me tell you, he gives Alan Rickman a run for his money. He’s just as good and what makes him so charismatic is his confidence. He walks everywhere like he owns the world and makes great quips himself. He’s like an evil James Bond! The great thing is he actually has a personality similar to Hans but has his own personal flare so you believe they WERE brothers instead of being a rehash. The motif of the bad guys in this movie is the song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” just like “Ode to Joy” was in the first one. Whenever I watch this movie, I can’t help but whistle along to this song. Their plot is similar to the first where they pose as terrorists to deviate from their real heist plot, but here, it feels fresh and exciting. Never did it feel forced nor copied.
McClane and Zeus run all over New York playing Simon’s game until John finally gets a lead. Then, it becomes a detective story, which is McClane’s thing. The beauty of the first and third movie is he relies on his wits. It shows he’s really got street smarts. When it becomes a detective movie, it finally unleashes McClane on everyone. There are few gunfights in this movie, but when they take place, they really get brutal. There is one particularly over the top scene where John is stuck in a flooding tunnel and he surfs on the truck he was driving, but it doesn’t hurt the movie and I can forgive its silliness.
The last third of the movie sees McClane and Zeus climbing aboard a tanker that the terrorists have loaded with their loot. Here, we’re brought into familiar territory as it separates the two protagonists and we have McClane sneaking around another enclosed location trying to find Simon. It’s brief, but a great throwback to the first movie. Bruce Willis can just sell sneaking around and being alert. The ending of the movie is what kind of hurts it. It’s a sequence that seems to pop up out of nowhere and feels a bit tacked on. But this is for good reason, because this was a reshot ending. The original ending, which can be viewed on the DVD set and youtube shows McClane catching up to Simon months later in a German bar. McClane was fired from the NYPD and he’s been driven angry and bitter by Simon’s whole ordeal. There’s practically no action in it. It’s just John and Simon talking. With that and its darker tone, it kind of resembles a Tarantino movie. What happens is John gets out a rocket launcher and institutes his own riddle game, “McClane Says.” This is an interesting ending. I probably prefer the theatrical one more even though it’s a by the numbers action scene. The alternate ending shows McClane being a bit too dark. He’s crazier because he looks so obsessed with killing Simon. In the theatrical ending, it may be a typical action scene, but at least he still has his sanity and John feels more like a cop than a killer here. Overall, this is without a doubt a close second in the whole franchise.
THREE AND HALF STARS OUT OF FOUR.
One more review to go, then it’s “A Good Day to Die Hard.”
DIE HARD 2
Hey gang, it’s part 2 of the “Die Hard” retrospective, I’m going to be talking about the first sequel in the series, “Die Hard 2.”
The first thing that I’ll say is that almost everything I read gives this movie the ridiculous official title “Die Hard 2: Die Harder.” But the only times the movie even uses “Die Harder” is in its promotional material. The movie itself only calls it “Die Hard 2.” It may be nit picky, but “Die Harder” is just so cheesy, I only refer to it as “Die Hard 2.”
This one was based off of another novel. Whereas the first movie was based off “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Roderick Thorpe, the plot to this one is taken from the book, “58 Minutes” by Walter Wager, although I have no clue how faithful this adaptation is. “58 Minutes” has absolutely no relation to “The Detective” series.
This one becomes more of the type of action movie that the first one differentiated itself from. One of the factors is because the director of the original, John McTiernan declined to return because he felt he would be repeating himself. So, the one to step up to the plate is Renny Harlin, who made the “Die Hard”-type movie “Cliffhanger” and even a film a that cloned the third “Die Hard” movie with wrestler John Cena called “12 Rounds.” Here, I feel Renny Harlin does a serviceable job, but the drop in directing quality is pretty evident. He tries to duplicate the formula, but he tries too hard. In fact, I once read a top ten list of “Die Hard” clones where number 1 was actually “Die Hard 2” which I found pretty amusing.
Bruce Willis, his wife played by Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald Vel Johnson, and even William Atherton, who played the blood-thirsty reporter, Richard Thornberg from the first one, reprise their roles. Here, it’s established that McClane is back with his family, now as a cop in LA and he even became somewhat famous after the events of the first movie. He’s at Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. during a snowstorm waiting for his wife to arrive for Christmas vacation.
While he waits, a group of mercenaries plan to hijack the airport. How do you hijack an entire airport? Well, you’ll have to watch the movie cause it’s too complicated to explain in this review. In short, they reroute landing power from the airport tower to their own secret base. Their goal is to intercept a plane that’s transporting a Central American drug lord of a country the movie invented. He’s jailed and he’s paying the mercenaries to break him free. So, the mercenaries suspend landing of all flights until the drug lord’s plane lands. This means McClane’s wife remains in the air in danger of losing fuel.
McClane catches on from the very beginning when he spots two mercenaries doing some sort of recon work in the baggage area. He tries to alert authorities, but through some weird personal vendetta, he decides to handle it himself. And that’s part of the problem I have with this entry. McClane becomes a little too willing to get in on the action in this one. In the first one, he exhausts all options before getting involved himself. Although he isn’t too gung ho about it. He tries to alert the tower after he gets in a fire fight with the bad guys, but the McClane of the first movie couldn’t wait to step aside for the LA police and here, he goes out of his way to bring down the mercenaries. I understand his wife is on one of the planes, but his wife was held up at gunpoint in the first movie and he didn’t want to be the one to save her! Here, he willingly works by himself. It’s almost like he gets caught up in his own press like they say in the movie.
The main villain this time around is Colonel Stuart played by another character actor, William Sadler, whom you may recognize from “The Shawshank Redemption” and who hilariously played the Grim Reaper in “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.” Colonel Stuart is a villain archetype that we see all the time in action movies. He has a cold gaze and stern delivery. He doesn’t have too much charisma, and I can understand that, since he’s more of a military-type character, but with better writing, he could’ve been a lot more memorable. He does have a memorable introduction though. The first we see of Colonel Stuart, he’s doing some sort of Martial Art kata in his hotel room naked. Uh, thanks. Wasn’t expecting that! Although it’s sort of awkward to watch, it does show his character is pretty hardcore in some way. This scene was actually taken and used in a Chinese “Die Hard” clone starring Jet Li! Although, the villain was just in his underwear.
I would go more into the plot, but really, it’s just a rehash of the first one. The whole movie takes place around the airport. Everyone works against John again. I mean, did we really need the reporter, Thornberg, to come back? The characters in this one fall a bit short, but they don’t necessarily hurt the movie either. They really do try duplicate the intelligence of the original, but it’s just far too over the top to be taken as seriously. And here, John’s jokes are even cheesier than the first movie. I think I read somewhere that they let Willis improvise a lot more in this movie and it shows.
The suspense, save for maybe a couple scenes, is all gone. It’s a straight up action movie. And they up the ante of the first one. Here, planes explode, the body count is probably the highest in the series and McClane is put into extraordinary situations. There’s a particularly fun scene where McClane is locked in a cockpit of a plane and the mercenaries throw grenades through the windshields. All the grenades take a laughably long time to explode. Enough time for McClane to react, come up with a plan to escape, strap himself into an ejector seat, then eject. I’m not experienced with grenades, but even in the movie world, that took a while. It does showcase some pretty cool special effects though.
In another fun, over the top, scene, McClane enters a skywalk shootout from the air ducts from maybe two stories up, drops down and rolls into the middle of gunfire! If you’ve ever played a first-person shooter video game, you know that won’t give you any clear advantage! This whole scene is hilarious, but pretty awesome too. It’s a typical 90’s action scene.
It’s all fun though. This movie may have traded its suspense for action, but at least it’s entertaining. This one is more of a guilty pleasure for me. It’s almost like a parody of the first one. John even says to himself, “How can the same thing happen to the same guy twice?” That should tell you everything. It’s more tongue in cheek and even more violent than the first one. John McClane may feel different, but he’s still a charismatic character and it’s a pretty fun story to watch.
TWO AND A HALF STARS OUT OF FOUR.
One more thing of note, the edited for TV version of this movie is notoriously bad.
Coming up, John McTiernan returns as director for the third movie,”Die Hard with a Vengeance.” Stay tuned.
Well, the newest “Die Hard” movie is about to be released on DVD and Bluray, and if you know me, you know that I pretty much grew up loving the first three films. So, I thought I’d do a retrospective over the whole series, offer my review and my personal thoughts since the movies have been such an influence on me.
This will be the first of four reviews, so buckle up; this is E.J.’s “Die Hard” Retrospective!
The first movie is actually based on the novel, “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Roderick Thorp. In that novel, the character who would eventually become John McClane is actually an older character, a detective named Joe Leland. He’s invited to his daughter’s Christmas party rather than his wife’s. And the terrorists are actually political radicals rather than thieves. The book has a darker tone and more complex themes, but a lot of it is surprisingly faithfully adapted on film. “Nothing Lasts Forever” is a sequel to Thorp’s book, “The Detective” which actually was adapted into a film starring Frank Sinatra as Joe Leland. So, if you’re so inclined, you can consider this Frank Sinatra movie to be a prequel to “Die Hard.”
The first thing people rave about this movie is how much of a breath of fresh air it was. Considering it was an action movie in the era where Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger ruled the cinemas, Bruce Willis’ John McClane was a different type of action hero. His physique isn’t that of a bodybuilder and he doesn’t plow through a sea of bad guys all at once without getting injured. It’s ironic because before being adapted into “Die Hard,” this movie was supposed to be a sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Commando,” and if you’ve seen how ridiculously over the top that movie was, I can only imagine how this one would’ve turned out.
I feel the brilliance of the movie is in the pacing. A lot of people seem to think “Die Hard” is all about the action, and while I agree that the movie certainly features mind-blowing sequences, it’s actually more of a thriller and the suspense plays more of a key role than the action. Imagine if someone took an Alfred Hitchcock movie and inserted a bit of John Woo into it. There’s a good chunk of time before the terrorists show up where it almost seems like a different genre of movie. We meet John McClane as he first gets to L.A. He’s thrusted into a minor case of cultural mergence being he’s from New York and California just seems too out there for him. He sits up front in a limo, LA’s technology is trendy and he gets kissed by a drunk guy. So, wait does that never happen in New York on New Years Eve? John finally meets up with his wife at her new job in the Nakatomi Towers. It’s a somber occasion. The mood is awkward and they’re obviously still at odds with each other after she accepted the job relocation and John stayed in New York without the family. Right off the bat, John is proven to be stubborn and doesn’t waste any time arguing with his wife.
The terrorists finally show up and take control of the building while John is relaxing with his shoes off in an office bathroom. The phones are cut and John hears gunfire which springs him into action. He manages to sneak away, thus leaving John alone and is literally the hostages’ only hope for survival.
When the terrorists arrive, the movie basically becomes a “heist gone wrong” movie. Although, instead of following the thieves like most heist movies, we’re following the guy who becomes the factor that the thieves don’t anticipate. Here, we see immediately what separates John from other action heroes. He runs away, he gets scared, he doubts himself and most notably, he’s trying to pawn the situation off on someone else to handle. He goes the whole movie without shoes too which makes him so vulnerable to the action.
Every tactic John uses to get word on the outside that the Nakatomi building has been seized gives away his position. In response, the terrorists realize there’s a rogue person in the building and keep trying to rectify the situation. The cat and mouse game is really this movie’s charm and instead of normal action movies where bad guys fight the good guys in a chance meeting, the action scenes serve the story and everything in the script is based on action-reaction. John gives authorities information that exposes him, so he risks bad guys coming after him.
The main villain is Hans Gruber, played perfectly by Alan Rickman. This was his first major movie role and it’s no wonder why he became such a great character actor after this. Hans is such a charismatic individual, he’s a hard villain to hate. In interviews, Alan Rickman has even said he played the character, not as a villain, but as a man on a mission. It’s just that he’s willing to go as far as killing everyone to accomplish that mission. Despite his sociopathic nature, he’s the reason the whole villain plot becomes more fun as well as menacing. The rest of the terrorists mostly have distinctive characterizations which elevates them from being more than just a body count. And what makes this movie such an effective action-comedy is McClane’s attitude through it all. He’s such a New Yorker at heart that even in the face of danger, he can’t resist being a smart ass to the bad guy. This goes well beyond having one-liners for the sake of puns. Hans’ reactions to McClane’s attitude is just so funny!
When the police finally arrive and surround the building, they are very little help to John and even become another reason for McClane to maintain control. His only real ally is Sgt. Al Powell played by Reginald Vel Johnson of “Family Matters” fame. The dynamic is interesting here because they only communicate by CB radio which is monitored by the villains so they actually listen in on the entire genesis of their friendship. The police officer who is running the show on the outside is a quintessential 80’s asshole who is in great doubt of McClane’s status. Then, there’s the blood-thirsty news reporter who tries to exploit the situation and one of the hostages is a typical 80’s yuppie prick who tries to give McClane up and has a crush on his wife. I mean, have you ever seen an action movie with THIS MUCH characterization? Even if they’re a one-dimensional figure, they’re explored to their mass potential!
The movie was advertised and received in 1988 as a wall-to-wall action movie that’ll blow you to the back wall of the theater, but by today’s standards, the action doesn’t really ratchet up until the last half of the movie when there’s no more messing around. They just use brute force to solve all their problems!
Bottom line, I just can’t recommend this movie enough. I feel as though the sequels have cheapened its image, like the sequels have done for “Jaws” and “Rocky,” but if you ever see just one movie out of the entire series, make sure it’s this one.
FOUR OUT OF FOUR STARS.
Tune in next time where we look at its sequel “Die Hard 2.”
Two TV trailers in one day! That doesn't usually happen. Usually, I'm not one for newer shows unless they have a star I'm a fan of. This is the case here. As a lifelong fan of Michael J. Fox, it has always been inspiring to learn about his story and read about what he goes through and know the courage he has to go on and live his life in such a positive manner.
Now, he has returned to television! With his condition harder to hide, it's part of his character to have Parkinson's and the show is sure to shed light on a lot of aspects about the disease and having to live with it in the spotlight.
So far, Mike's been two for two in television sitcoms. He always seems to know what makes a good show and this looks to be just as good! Enjoy the trailer below!
Now the story of an ambitious show that lost everything. And the fans that had no choice but to keep it together.
But, now, you can rejoice! "Arrested Development" will be premiering on NetFlix in just a few days and will be continuing the adventures of the Bluth family and, hopefully, additional recurring characters!
"Arrested Development" was one of the infamous "best show you're not watching" sitcoms. For some reason, Fox treated it like crap with minimal advertising and a bad time slot that let it get buried with a bunch of shit. Remember, this was back in the early millennium when Fox aired stuff like "When Animals Attack" and "High Speed Chases." Also, the show was incredibly different than anything else out at the time. Laugh-track sitcoms still dominated. This format had yet to find its place and the show had a progressive storyline that made it hard for new audiences to start watching in the middle of a season when DVD shows or DVR's weren't yet available.
However, since the release of DVD and now NetFlix streaming, the show was able to gain momentum and come back!
Jason Bateman has addressed the change in format with this fourth season. Apparently, when working on the feature film version of the show, it had become way too long, so the first act of the movie is now this upcoming season of the show and will build up to the movie.
On May 26th, all the episodes will premiere at once on NetFlix. Each episode, apparently, is a recap of what the family has been up to during the hiatus and each character is the focus of their own episode and will take place at the same time as the other episodes featuring the other characters. This seems interesting and may mean that the same family interaction scenes may happen in multiple episodes.
But no more talking, watch the trailer below!
This is a very powerful and inspirational short film that I had the pleasure to come across today.
It is a sad story of a man overcoming the suicide of his sister, who he loved very much. It takes his feelings and shows the symbolic struggle of a person versus pain in a literal fight.
Truth be told, it's disarming to see such a concept be shown in a fantastical fashion, but listen to his words.
I, myself, have come up with my own philosophy of dealing with life and it's problems, but the man in this video has such stronger concepts than I ever could imagine. One notable thing is his quote, "If looked at right, even Hell can be pretty." It's something I've both known, yet, didn't think about just because, you can't admit that Hell can be pretty. I also love his analogy of forging a sword. Using the trauma and hits that life can serve to you, but using it to come out stronger and beautiful.
I haven't had the experience of losing someone to suicide, so I can't relate directly to the man in this video, but his words are universal for anyone who's ever been in pain.
The YouTube channel who hosts this video issued this statement:
The Forge is an incredibly rich and powerful film. The entire SoulPancake family was moved by Eric Lim's story and his love for his sister. Death is such a universal experience, but when a life ends too soon, it can be hard to express that grief. This film expresses those feelings beautifully, and we're grateful that Eric and Stephen Reedy have chosen to partner with our channel to share this with the world.
A cinematic titan has passed. Admittedly, I haven't really gotten into the old school fantasy movies that he has worked on, but there is no denying the impact he's had on the movie business.
Ray Harryhausen brought to life the impossible that was able to reach the imagination of a generation that has made movies that, in turn, inspired my generation. Today, people hardly marvel at the wonder of special effects because ever since its impact on movies like 'Jurassic Park' or 'Independence Day,' they've been used recklessly and seemingly in every summer blockbuster. There is no more wonder because, no matter how good it looks, we know it was done by computer. Not to take anything away from the computer animators for it takes time and energy to contribute to seamless effects, but for Ray Harryhausen, everything was done by hand and by sheer will.
I have only limited experience in stop motion animation. I have one short where two hours of work when into ten seconds of footage. Even Peter Jackson's company tried stop motion work for King Kong's special edition release which they found to be a trying process.
There is no doubt that even those of us that haven't actually seen the movies he's worked on have seen clips of his work. And though it seems dated compared to today's special effects, there is a certain grit to it. The shifty movements his creatures move with give it an extra fantasy feel to it. Again, I say, he brought to life the impossible. He must always be remembered for unlocking a generation's imagination.
Mr. Harryhausen, I salute you.
I am now a voice-over artist! Check out my newly made voice-over demo below!
This is also available for listen in my "acting" section.
E.J. is just a simple man who loves movies. Don't judge.