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Triple Action Movie Day: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Jack Ryan:Shadow Recruit, The Legend of Hercules

Monday, January 20, 2014

Thankfully, most movies I get to see in previews, but sometimes I miss a few flicks depending on my work schedule, or where the preview is screening. To catch up, every other month or so, I do a double or triple feature. (pay for 1 get 2 ;)

Which Tolkien Creature Are You? Take the Quiz - It Pegged Me Perfectly!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Director: Peter Jackson)  begins with a little prequel to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, where we see Gandalf (Ian McKellen) introduce himself to Thorin (Richard Armitage), the would be Dwarf King. These two were more than well acquainted in the first movie, so at first I was scratching my head, till I realized this was a device used to get us up to speed on the reason for the dwarf's journey with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), for anyone who didn't see An Unexpected Journey (see T & T post) or needed a refresher. 

I love these movies, but I kinda just go along for the ride, so I don't have a lot to impart other than 1) the first part of the trilogy has a good bit more levity; this 2nd installment centers around the dwarfs desperation to get to the mountain before some kinda solstice type situation occurs - the only day the dwarfs may re-enter the mountain kingdom they once ruled. The time constraint keeps the movie on high tension. 2) Gandalf really has no clue what the hell he's doing.  I wish he were wiser & more wizardly. 3) That is one chatty MF'er of a dragon!

T &T's LAMB Score: 3.5 outta 5

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Sculptor Victoria of VMCreations (aka FarTooManyIdeas) has created a paper sculpture inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit featuring a menacing Smaug emerging from the hardcover book itself.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Director: Kenneth Branagh) Believe it or not, I've never seen The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger or The Sum of All Fears (movies featuring author Tom Clancy's character Jack Ryan) So why did I want to see this one?  I didn't really, but I needed to see something in between the screening times of The Hobbit and Hercules.

But I'm glad I did see it, cause it's a crowd pleasing action/spy thriller! The title role is now played by Chris Pine. My research (Wikipedia) informed me that it's a reboot of the series, not based on any one of Clancy's novels, but rather an original story.

The beginning of the movie establishes Jack Ryan as a student working on his PhD in economics in the UK, when 911 hits, he switches paths and joins the Marine Corp, where he gets injured and has to learn to walk again, which is where he meets the love of his life, Cathy (Keira Knightley, whose quality I always like, despite the fact she acts with her mouth). At any rate, this back story set up is not handled very well, it's rather clumsily done. I'd prefer the movie start with CIA Agent Tom Harper (Kevin Costner) recruiting Ryan, and then get filled in on his military background at a later time.

The movie really gets going once Ryan goes from being an undercover analyst for the CIA to reluctantly being operational in Moscow; using his relationship with Cathy as part of the cover.

T &T's LAMB Score: 3 outta 5

The Legend of Hercules: (Director: Renny Harlin) 2 Words - Don't Bother!  This is the most useless movie I've seen in a long time, and you know I normally have something good to say about almost any and every movie.

An over used plot of brother against brother fighting for the same woman.  I don't want to see any more stories where the older brother is betrothed to the daughter of a King from another land who must marry in order to form an alliance between the two kingdoms. Only the girl falls for the younger, non-heir to the throne and their love is forbidden. Boring!

You know what else is boring? Fighting, so there can be more fighting and then we have a round of fighting, only this time there's fighting and when all is said and done now comes a battle.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy sword play and skirmishes. If I didn't, I wouldn't have had a Triple Action Movie Day!  But there's absolutely no heart in The Legend of Hercules, no character development, very little dealings with the Gods and mythlogy, the only Goddess present acts like a Grecian Zombie.

There's A Great Screenplay Within This Short Description of Hercules

The Hercules of Greek Mythology - Offsetting his strength was a noticeable lack of intelligence or wisdom. Once when he became too hot he pulled his bow out and threaten to shoot the sun. This coupled with strong emotions in one so powerful, frequently got Heracles in trouble. His pride was easily offended. He took up grudges easily and never forgot them. His appetites for food, wine, and women were as massive as his strength. Many of Heracles great deeds occurred while doing penance for stupid acts done in anger or carelessness. However, Heracles as simply a macho buffoon is unfair. If he held grudges, he would also do anything to help a friend. Once his anger passed, he was the most critical judge of his own actions. He was the last mortal son of Zeus. He is the only man born of a mortal woman to become a god upon his death. (Greek

If only they had used some of this to create a Hercules who struggled with the responsibility of his uncommon strength and his lineage. The basis of the movie could have been to show Hercules becoming stronger in wisdom and clarity. And yes, a love story is needed, but let's have something a little more fun; perhaps a rivalry between a goddess and a mortal for his affections.

T &T's LAMB Score: 0-5 Lambs

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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