Book & Movie Review | Never Let Me Go

April 9, 2012

NOTE:  If you are consulting this page because you want to know the differences between the book vs. the movie then contact me offline.  I will tell you for a nominal fee.

Never Let Me Go is the name of a dystopian science fiction novel and movie in the Young Adult genre.  It was written in 2005 by Japanese born, British author, Kazuo Ishiguro, and published by the UK’s Faber & Faber, the same house that also published The Republic of Trees. The plot focuses on three protagonists and follows them through their various life stages as they move from childhood through adult.

The story opens with the children -Ruth, Kathy and Tommy- at their school.  At first glance, Hailsham seems to be just like any other English boarding school, and, the children seem to be just like any other children their own age.  Tommy is introduced as a young boy with emotional issues.  He is often bullied by other boys seeking to get a rise out of him.  Ruth is characterized as a very bossy kind of personality who is hopeful for a bright future for herself.  Kathy is the narrator of the story.  She is kind and loving and tends to stand up for those too weak to fight for themselves.  Kathy and Tommy become her closest friends and confidants. 

As the story progresses, it becomes clear that the teachers at Hailsham are not the usual, run-of-the-mill kind, and, Hailsham is not a typical boarding school. In time, the reader is subtly made aware of the children’s true purpose.  Miss Lucy is a young teacher and the only “guardian” that the students feel comfortable with.  She informs them during a frank discussion in class one day that the children are clones created to provide organs for non-clones (“Originals.”)  They will eventually become adults, move out of Hailsham to live in government-owned residential complexes, and, then will begin donating organs as they are needed by originals.  By the fourth donation, the children will “complete” the purpose they were created for. Miss Lucy is terminated for her temerity, but the children do not seem to register any particular distress at having discovered their fate.  They are, in fact, mostly resigned to it.

While the students are not taught any marketable skill sets, they are, however, encouraged by the guardians to create various forms of art and poetry.  The artwork is then judged by a woman known only as “Madame,” who then keeps all the best pieces.  The children speculate that Madame keeps their work in a secret gallery of sorts which provides rich fodder for rumors amoung the students, especially Tommy.  As they mature, Ruth, Tommy and Kathy develop close ties with each other, with Ruth and Tommy eventually pairing off as a couple, and, Kathy content to be a friend to both of them despite her growing feelings for Tommy. 

When Ruth, Tommy and Kathy reach age eighteen, they move out of Hailsham to the Cottages.  They meet up with other clones that came from other schools not as privileged as Hailsham.  The Cottages are described as cold and in squalid condition, and otherwise not as comfortable as Hailsham was. Save for a lone groundskeeper, the clones have no contact with anyone in the outside world. They have nothing to do except attend to their own whims, each exploring his own sexuality while waiting for the call for their first donation to come. 

As time passes, Ruth, Tommy and Kathy are informed by two of their housemates of a rumor that Hailsham students may be permitted to “defer” becoming donors for up to three years if they have truly fallen in love. Despite not ever having been any good with art, this rumor plays directly into Tommy’s theory that the artwork Madame had been collecting from them when they were children was designed to be a kind of lie detector test, to determine who was being honest about his true feelings as revealed through his art. Tommy then begins to secretly perfect his drawings in the hopes that he can submit them to Madame for consideration for a deferral.

The same housemates who spoke of the deferment rumor also tell Ruth that the original she was cloned from may be living in Norfolk since they saw a woman there in a shop whom Ruth closely resembles.  The five of them then decide to take a road trip to the town so that Ruth could check out her original, and also, so that Kathy could try to locate another copy of a tape cassette she had favored as a child but had since lost.

When the clones arrive in Norfolk, they locate Ruth’s supposed original, but upon spying her through a shop glass window, Ruth’s physical differences become immediately obvious to her.  Her frustration with not having found her original results in an emotional outburst during which she says that clones are from the human “trash” of society –the dregs that live in homeless shelters and the mentally ill found passed out in gutters and such. Ruth’s distress serves as the catalyst for Kathy to request early departure from the Cottages so that she may become a “carer,” a clone who attends to other clones recovering from organ removal surgery.

In the last third of the book, Kathy has been a carer for about a decade when she runs into an old acquaintance who tells her that Hailsham has closed recently, and, also that Ruth is on her first donation, which hasn’t gone very well.  Kathy then goes to see Ruth for the first time in years and begins caring for her. Ruth knows that her next donation will likely be her last since her health has deteriorated and so she suggests to Kathy that the three of them, including Tommy, take a road trip for old time’s sake to see an abandoned ship in the middle of a marsh.

During this trip, Ruth admits to Kathy and Tommy that she deliberately manipulated Tommy so that he would not seek to explore a relationship with Kathy despite sensing their bond.  She then hands them a slip of paper with an address on it that belongs to Madame, and encourages them to find her to ask for a deferment together since they are in love. Ruth dies shortly after her second donation and then Kathy becomes Tommy’s carer.  She also begins a romantic relationship with him, encouraged by Ruth’s last wish that they find Madame and ask for a deferment. 

By Tommy’s third donation, the two eventually decide to visit Madame to test the rumor to see if they can defer his fourth and probably last donation.  Tommy then selects his best sketches to bring along to be submitted as proof of his feelings for Kathy.  But when they locate Madame, they also find Miss Emily, Hailsham’s former headmistress at her residence as well.  The two reveal to Tommy and Kathy that Hailsham was an experiment to improve the living conditions for clones and otherwise change societal attitudes towards them. Before Hailsham, society at large had been content to view clones as non-human sources of organs. The collecting of the artwork was meant to prove to government talking heads that the clones were not soul-less, but every bit as human as the originals taking their organs.

[ Final scene withheld so as not to spoil it for those who wish to read the book or watch the movie. ]

All in all, I found Never Let Me Go to be a poignant red flag of the direction civilization is likely to take once cloning technology has been perfected sufficient to grow bodies for spare parts independent of a woman’s uterus.

Demand for organ donation continues to outstrip supply exponentially.  The following titles are eye-opening, great reads if you want to expand your knowledge of organ harvesting and the great fortunes made by surgeons, hospitals, and other purveyors of body parts for transplant purposes. Such information will make you strongly reconsider affixing that little donor sticker to the back of your driver’s license. 

Carney, Scott. Red Market

Cheney, Anne. Body Brokers:  Inside America’s Underground Trade in Human Remains

Milliman Research Report.  2010 U.S. Organ and Tissue Transplant Cost Estimates and Discussion

Sharp, Leslie.  Strange Harvest

©2012 Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo™.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Movie Review | Immortals

March 21, 2012

Immortals is the story of the mythical hero, Theseus (Henry Cavill).  Theseus is the son of Zeus, who, as afficionados of Greek mythology can attest, used to be the biggest slut in history. That is, before Crush Lardass from Reich Wing radio came along and started labeling anyone using birth control as such. It’s a wonder that Zeus’s whoring around from innocent maiden to innocent maiden didn’t result in an Olympic-strength STD, but let’s return to the movie.

Before he figured out his true path in life, Theseus was just your average, unwashed, ignorant peasant –Astonishingly agile reflexes, remarkably accurate hand-eye coordination, and pecs and six pack abs so ripped you can handwash laundry on them. It would seem that even the lowliest turd in the ancient Greek toilet was an elite athlete. (Or so would be your impression if you spent your time watching men-in-skirts movies from the producers of 300.)

The story goes like this –One day, a bad man wearing Max’s animal head hat from Where the Wild Things Are came to Theseus’s village searching for the Epirus Bow, a weapon forged by the gods on Olympus.  The bad man’s name is Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) and he wants to use it to release the Titans who are imprisoned beneath Mount Tartarus as payback to the gods for failing to save his family. Aethra, Theseus’s mother, is accosted by Hyperion’s men in the street.  Theseus sees this, and, of course, comes rushing to her defense only to be subdued. Aethra is then killed by Hyperion and Theseus is taken as a slave.

Theseus, along with three other slaves he is chained to, eventually end up at a rest stop in the middle of CGI land that looks suspiciously like an in-ground hot tub.  The three slaves all squat down to sip water from the hot tub while Theseus, too exhausted to drink, passes out against the wall.  Before long, four figures in boxy attire wearing lampshades on their heads are admitted to the hot tub as well. 

Just as you are thinking you’ve seen these people before in a Target commercial, one of the lampshade wearing people nearly trips over Theseus’s foot.  The accidental touch results in a such an orgasmic shock to the system that the figure removes her lampshade and lasciviously sucks up a some water with her hand from the hot tub.  She then nonchalantly saunters over to where Theseus is passed out and spits the water into his mouth.  (Apparently the hot tub staff hadn’t replenished the paper cups). This partially revives him before Hyperion’s men come along and hurriedly escort the four Target commercial extras out of the hot tub room.

Within 24 hours, Theseus not only fully recovers from his near-death exhaustion, but he also manages to get busy with Phaedra the Oracle, who, as fate would have it, is also a virgin.  Well, not for long, anyway.  But you just knew from the time she tripped over Theseus’s foot at the hot tub and nearly lapsed into an orgasm coma that she was going to bone him.

The sex scene between Phaedra and Theseus was about as stimulating as watching flies f!ck.  While Phaedra’s naked parts were cloaked in shadow, the camera spent plenty of time lingering over Theseus’s spotlighted pecs and happy trail, which seems to be standard operating procedure for films in this particular genre. I haven’t decided whether this is due to the fact that the director may be gay, or that he is just trying to be politically correct.  Then again, this is a movie featuring sweaty, buffed out beefcake actors.  It only goes to reason that if same was the sole reason you wanted to see the movie, then you probably also think that half-naked men rolling around on the floor with each other is erotic.  But I digress.

Meanwhile, that whole part about Phaedra’s prophecies becoming corrupted if she were no longer a virgin mysteriously falls by the wayside I suppose because her visions were no longer useful to the rest of the movie.

In the next shot, when Theseus, Phaedra and company emerge into a wide angle shot, they are on top of a huge mountain overlooking a steep drop.  One almost expects Theseus to triumphantly shout, “I  f!cked the virgin Oracle!”  Instead, Phaedra mumbles something about a missed period.  The movie progresses along in an unidentifiable and completely pointless arc filled with cheesy lines and  even cheesier characters. Before long, Theseus eventually finds the Epirus Bow, but loses it to Hyperion. 

Long story short – Theseus persuades the men of a village to fight with him against Hyperion’s forces.  Hyperion himself ends up setting free the Titans with the bow, and then proceeds to fight Theseus mano-a-mano while Zeus and Athena et al. fight the Titans all the while clad in their super speshul golden crowns, capes and ruffled panties.  (Hey, doesn’t everyone go to battle dressed like this?)

It’s hard not to get the impression that the actors playing the parts of Zeus’s entourage were creaming themselves in eager anticipation of donning the shiny, gold, completely bombastic headgear because it’s obvious these guys aren’t just gay, they’re Vegas gay. In fact, you half-expect Mercury to go tip-toeing through the tulips chasing after the Titans in golden, ass-less chaps while swishing his golden lasso around his head yelling, “Wooo!  Wooo! Wooo!  Pull ovah! Pull ovah!”

Final Scene:  The Titans are bitch slapped and bitch slapped good; Theseus defeats Hyperion, finally succeeding in knocking off that ridiculous hat of his, and, is subsequently teleported to Mount Olympus as his reward.  Meanwhile, Phaedra, the deflowered Oracle is walking around a village accompanied by a ten year old boy with a furrowed brow named Acamas.  He is looking at statues depicting his father’s great deeds and chatting with the same old man his father knew when he was a boy. (John Hurt).

As much as I wanted to like this film and get all tingly about the usage of 3D technology and post production (over-production in this case) to film beefcaked, Vegas gay men in short skirts with ripped pecs and abs, try as I may, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching gay porn. 

©2012 Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo™.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Movie Review | Strange Days

January 11, 2012

December 31, 1999: On the eve of the new Millennium, with the national economy in shambles, the city of Los Angeles is a war zone jam-packed with armored tanks and armed-to-the-teeth national guard soldiers patrolling the streets. Meanwhile, life goes on as usual for Angelenos.

Lenny (Ralph Fiennes) is ex-L.A.P.D. and currently makes a living on the black market selling other people’s memories recorded on computer disc media. The discs were burned using the latest technology referred to as “playback” on the street. Playback allows the user to experience a recorded event in the first person, that is, not merely via standard audio-visual input, but stimulation right down to his cerebral cortex. Playback is wildly popular and highly illegal. Lenny is hung up on former girlfriend, Faith (Juliette Lewis) who has since shacked up with a slime bag record producer by the name of Filo (Michael Wincott) in hopes of getting a recording contract. In his spare time, Lenny uses playback to re-live his recorded memories with Faith.

Macy (Angela Bassett) is a limo driver. She has an eight year old son and an ex-gang banging husband in the slammer. She knows Lenny because he participated in the raid on her home when the ex was hauled off in cuffs. Lenny was the cop consoling her son when his father was taken away. Lenny occasionally sees Macy during his daily routine, but they don’t have a lot of interaction. She doesn’t have much interest in spending time with him because of the way he makes his living.

It’s business as usual until one of Lenny’s hooker acquaintances (Brigitte Bako) turns up dead, but not before she manages to get a playback disc to him containing the recorded details of her last trick. Thereafter, Lenny involves Macy, and, his buddy, Max (Tom Sizemore) who is also ex-L.A.P.D., and is presently employed by Filo as a bodyguard. Max checks in with Lenny regularly to report back on Faith. In the meantime, black rapper and civil rights activist, Jericho 1, is reported in the news as dead. Not much news there since black rappers always eventually end up getting shot by one of their own anyway. Or so it would seem.

Despite the cyberpunk-like hype surrounding the movie, at its fundamental core, Strange Days is a racial revenge fantasy masquerading as a science fiction murder mystery. Considering the 1995 release date –a mere three years following the Rodney King debacle –race rioting is still a fresh memory. The war between the then mostly Caucasian Establishment, as personified by the LAPD, and Black Angelenos (where are the Mexicans and everyone else?) is very much alive. In fact, the entire movie seems to be an homage to civil insurrection motivated partially by racial inequality (for Blacks) but mostly by belligerence. As an aside here, it’s ironic how Hollywood has backed down from the race card rostrum lately since the Obama Administration. As if racial bias has somehow been eliminated. Newsflash: We have still have racial discrimination in the U.S., it’s just the reverse kind now. But I digress.

The character of Jericho 1 (Glenn Plummer) represents the ongoing conflict between law enforcement and rebellious youth. And his death, although perpetrated by a couple of hillbilly LAPD officers (Vincent D’onfrio & William Fichter), is not reported as such (because no one knows about it yet) is perceived instead by the fans as the by-product of his gangster lifestyle. The movie portrays the community as a great mass of unwashed, ignorant junkies and star-fuckers always on high alert for the next me-too trend in a city already devolved into a third world shit hole, which is a fairly accurate description of L.A., in my opinion.

When Lenny & Macy discover the contents of the playback Iris (the hooker) left behind for Lenny, the last 15 minutes of the film ties up the revenge fantasy all nice & neat for the viewer –right down to the beating of (Macy/Bassett) by the riot squad in the street. But this time, the crowd timidly intervenes and manages to stop the beating.

I should mention here that this intervention between Macy and the riot squad by the rowdy crowd (comprised predominantly of street thugs & wannabes) wasn’t very believable on any level. Envision throngs of raucous, disaffected malcontents in downtown L.A. on New Year’s Eve celebrating what most believe is the last day of the world. Meanwhile live bands play strident, electric guitar-led anthems all the while as people party it up in the congested streets high on drugs & booze –basically doing whatever the hell they want– but somehow, suddenly these thousands of party-goers become restrained when a few cops in riot gear show up. It’s an end-of-the-world party, and, the ratio of civilian to cop was at least 100 to 1, so I’m not sure what the hell writer/producer James Cameron, or director Kathryn Bigelow had in mind here, but I didn’t buy it. Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but this is pure fantasy. In reality, given the circumstances, the riot squad would have been toast.

Further, Ralph Fiennes (best known for his role as Lord Voldemort) in the title role was unadulterated bullshit. Not only was it hard to swallow that the Lenny character used to be a cop, but Fiennes’s barely contained English accent caused him to mumble all of his lines. (There weren’t any third rate, American actors available for this one-dimensional, shithead character…Really?) Additionally, Angela Bassett playing the role of a subdued black female limo driver makes about as much sense as making Stallone a British literature professor. (There’s only so much disbelief a viewer can suspend before common sense takes over and asks, What the hell?)

In the final analysis, my opinion of this movie is not very complimentary mostly because it appears that producer Cameron wanted to cash in on the then latest cyberpunk phenomena without actually having to acknowledge the guy who created it. (William Gibson). But his race driven content falls flat on its face; the film is nothing more than a glorified soapbox named after an old Doors’ tune (Strange Days) to flesh out trendy, politically correct talking points.

I enjoy Cameron’s movies when he sticks to straight sci fi such as Aliens, but I can live without the politically motivated bloviations that are front & center in a movie like this one. Hey James? I know this is about a decade and-a-half too late, but leave the lets-all-just-get-along and down-with-the-man themed flicks to Spike Lee.

Minute Movie Review Corner

October 25, 2011

Priest (A Fist Full of Cheese)

If you enjoy the gritty imagery of Dark City, the cinenamatography of The Matrix, the thrill of the hunt (and hunted) of Blade Runner, then Priest is the movie for you. 

Like an incredibly bad version of Mad Max (except in American English) and a CGI-enhanced “B” vampire flick, Priest is the hi-tech epitome of modern day entertainment. All the coolest movies, books and music have already been cashed in on (and copyrighted) by someone else, so all that there is left to do is take the best of the best and make it your own. In pop music, this concept is called sampling, and basically, it is an end run around getting sued for copyright.  In movie-making, Hollywood calls it entertainment.  I call it re-animated cheese. 

How shall I count the cheesies?  It will be tough, but following are some of my difficulties. Priest is supposed to take place in the far off, distant future.  So far off and distant, you see, that people are riding around on motorcycles that can break the speed of sound.  In fact, the bikes look a lot like a saddle with fuselage attached, a veritable crotch-rocket for-real.  Nevermind the vampires and the class of warrior, Catholic priests that was created to fight them, let’s talk about suspension of disbelief. 

I can suspend my disbelief just long enough to buy into the vampires and their nemesis, the priests.  I can even buy into the world having obliterated itself back to the dark days before electricity and indoor plumbing.  What I can and will not buy into is the fact that in the face of the new technology (especially the crotch rockets) that the characters are STILL using vinyl records.  WTF?  Really? Vinyl records??  You mean the recording industry has not developed yet another medium allegedly superior over compact discs with which to continue to fuck the fans??  Now that’s what I call fantasy.

To a lesser extent, I also object to the usage of a could-have-been-really-cool-but-isn’t character called Black Hat.   He’s so badass that not only is he a warrior priest, but he’s also been transformed into a (wait for it) vampire!  Gasp! Shock! And his demeanor is based on none other than the king of the spaghetti western, himself, Clint fuckin’ Eastwood, right down to wearing an identically-styled, trademark cover AND using a hoarse, whiskey-laden speaking voice. The cheese doesn’t get much stickier (or stinkier) than this. Rent this one only if you don’t have access to any of the original movies referenced above that it was inspired by.

Minute Movie Review Corner

October 20, 2011


Hanna is a blonde haired, blue eyed, sixteen year old girl.  Slight of build, she is deceptively cunning and agile.  She has spent her entire life in a remote cabin, far from civilization, learning survival techniques and training to kill with her rugged, hirsute padre in the frozen tundra somewhere above the arctic circle. What she knows of the modern world, she has learned from her father’s books. Then one day, Hanna informs him that she is ready.  She confidently flips the switch on the transmitter that broadcasts their location to an unknown third party’s GPS that then picks up the signal.  Shortly thereafter, a special ops unit of unknown origin shows up at the cabin in the middle of the night.  Hanna is retrieved and removed to a special bunker somewhere in Morocco.  Meanwhile, Eric, her father, is en route to France. 

This flick moves along in typical, action-packed fashion with the kind of soundtrack that hasn’t pumped you up this thoroughly since the Rocky movies or even, Midnight Express.  So much ass to kick, so little time to do it.  You know that Hanna is a different sort of girl, you just have no idea why.  And neither does she.  But hey, wherever she goes, shit does seem to get blown up a lot, and, dead bodies tend to accumulate.  There is the obligatory doctor evil –this one in female form with a really bad haircut and an even worse dye job–  The audience doesn’t know why the sick bitch is after Hanna, or, for that matter, her father, but it is fun to watch. 

Hollywood hasn’t really had much use for a female-dominated storyline unless she has been spread & ready or armed to the teeth decapitating werewolves. And there especially hasn’t been much interest in teenaged girls unless they are drooling over boorish, narcissistic, male vampires. Who knew that there would one day be a market for such rubbish written by a mediocre female writer who can barely string two words together?  Welp, Hanna isn’t a trollop, and she doesn’t drool over boys, in fact, she doesn’t even quite grasp the concept of indoor plumbing or electricity, but hey, she sure knows her way round firearms and smashing a man’s nose up into his brain.  And all without those damn vampires, too.

I have no complaints about Hanna, generally speaking.  It appealed to my fascination with all things genetically modified, and re-awakened my long since forgotten liking for the days of Dark Angel, before the writers turned the human jungle cat, Max, into a quivering pile of romance novel-inspired, air-headed, ditz.   But, substantively, I do, however, have just a few small quibbles with the screenwriter’s thought process. 

If all Eric wants for his astoundingly, athletically-gifted daughter, Hanna, is to have a regular life, then WHY are they living in an isolated cabin in subzero temperatures and WHY the HELL would you EVER have her push a button on a transmitter so the evil, red dye job who wants her dead can find her??

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to integrate quietly into society and just sign Hanna up for track or something at the local high school and THEN have the evil, red dye job somehow find her?  But noooo, you just had to bring out the transmitter and have her stupidly press the button so she could be easily located in the woods. Either the writer thinks the audience is THAT dumb, or this is the kind of insipid trash movie producers think will sell.  Even the girl with the dragon tat wasn’t this obtuse.

Minute Movie Review Corner

October 15, 2011


What if you could take a pill that would make you utilize more than 10% of your brain? And what would you do with that new-found productivity? 

Limitless answers these questions in a fast paced manner with a likable protagonist and a kinda, sorta believable story line. If you believe, that is, that human beings are basically good. 

Meh, not so much.  I think that the average person on the street’s sense of self-importance and overall level of douchebaggery is directly proportional to how much money he has in the bank, but hey, we’re talking about the movie.

We rented Limitless without knowing diddly about it, and were pleasantly surprised.  The movie moves along in a frentically paced, CGI cinemagraphic experience, and so there is not a lot of time to ponder whether the story line is, or is not possible.  Although it did remind me, vaguely, of a latter day version of Johnny Mneumonic.  

Not much to dislike here except maybe Eddie’s girlfriend, whose sense of commitment to him to  seems to lie somewhere between very little to none depending on how much cash he has.  Good for a Friday night rental with no place to go and nothing to do but entertain yourself with a pitcher of homemade Bay Breeze, less on the bay, but heavy on the breeze…


As much as I enjoyed Sourcecode, I have to say that it reminded of a high tech version of Groundhog’s Day.  Jake Gyllenhaal has long since shedded his Donnie Darko days, but at least he’s staying true to character here and sticking with action packed storylines instead of making pussified movies for a Lifetime Movie for Men Channel (cough Costner cough).

Captain Colter Stevens is sitting on a train across from a pretty girl headed for destinations unknown somewhere in Chicago. It all seems fairly mundane until the train explodes and he wakes up in a metal pod of sorts only to return to the train again and again. Turns out, Stevens is teleported into another guy’s life on the same train, across from the same pretty girl every 8 minutes until he can figure out where the bomb is and who planted it.  Meanwhile, Captain Goodwin is his only on-screen guide in the pod, and she isn’t much into detailed explanations.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…you’re thinking this is a gimme…the bomber is obviously the pretty girl, and ol’ Jakey is far to engrossed listening to the lull of his hormones to figure it out.  But you would be wrong! That’s all you’re getting from me for now as I would not want to spoil the movie for you.  You’re just going to have to rent it yourself and see what happens.  Highly recommended.

Minute Movie Review Corner

September 24, 2011


During the dumbassery of King John back in merry old England, Brother Thomas -along with a gaggle of lesser intestinally fortified brethren- commits treason, kicks ass, takes names and breaks his vow of chastity all for the greater good of church and state.  This flick is a veritable CGI wet dream chock full of gore galore and bone crunching blows so realistic you can almost feel the arterial spray and chunks of brain hit you full in the face. No complaints except this movie should have been retitled to something more apt, such as “Templar Van Damme” or “Die Hard: The Templar Version.”


Black Death

Dateline Europe Middle Ages. No one is spared from the scourge of the plague. Meanwhile, a group of god-fearing mercenaries commissioned by an Abbey and led by a teenage monk travel into the depths of the mysterious forest to, well, that part wasn’t really all that clear.  Doesn’t matter, tho, because this movie is a cross between Centurion, Ironclad and Excalibir. When the mercenaries end up in a remote village whose inhabitants are plague-free, their eventual conflict with each other becomes a medieval battle royale over whose god’s dick is bigger. Noteworthy parts include an Apocalypse Now-like prisoner cage in freezing cold water and an exceptional drawing/quartering scene involving Sean “Eddard Stark” Bean.

The Conspirator

 Lincoln has been assassinated; Booth has since been found and shot to death, and yet someone has to pay for the crime in order for the American sheeple to be satisfied. Enter poor Mary Surrat.  Mary is a mild-mannered, god-fearing widow with two adult children just trying to survive by renting out rooms in her home to transients.  Meanwhile, her son, John, is caught up in a cauldron of hate for the North and associating with other post-adolescent malcontents. Mary Surrat was the original victim sacrificed by the civil war era federal government in the name of political expediency over due process of law. Don’t miss this most excellent account of how the State can crush the individual when it suits it to regardless of any alleged rights contained in the Constitution. History has repeated itself during our own time as a result of the destruction of the Twin Towers.

Winter in Wartime

(Disclaimer:  Obligatory foreign flick offering). Michiel is a bored teenager who spends his time riding his bicycle and otherwise stirring up shit with his neighbor in Nazi-occupied Holland during WWII.  He unwittingly becomes part of the anti-war underground when his friend’s older brother asks him to pass a note to another friend in the village.  When Michiel is unable to get the message to the contact, he reluctantly opens the note only to discover the location of an injured RAF pilot barely older than himself hiding in the woods from the Krauts. Meanwhile, all is not as it seems with his father and favorite uncle, Ben. In the end, Michiel learns exactly who he is.

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