Desperado – South of the Border week

This is South of the Border week. We will be featuring movies taking place in Mexico. Desperado is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Desperado (1995) – Rated R for strong bloody violence, a strong sex sequence and language.

“This south-of-the-border action flick picks up where the indie hit El Mariachi left off. Seedy drug lord Bucho (Joaquim de Almeida) is responsible for killing the girlfriend of El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) and for injuring the musician to a point where he can no longer play the guitar. Seeking revenge, he goes in search of Bucho, and a showdown ensues between the rivals — but not before El Mariachi meets the lovely Carolina (Salma Hayek).”

“Bless me Father, for I have just killed quite a few men.”

Robert Rodriguez again writes, directs, produces, and edits for Desperado. Taking on so many tasks allows him to make films for a lot less.

Here he had $7 million to work with. This allowed him to work with a number of name actors and use a lot more real guns than in El Mariachi (which used squirt guns for many of the scenes).

Desperado is nominally a sequel to El Mariachi though it rehashes much of the plot and themes from the original (a la Evil Dead II).

The second bar fight is absolutely hilarious and is obviously very heavily inspired by John Woo. It is a very elaborate setpiece with a wonderful standoff. Rodriguez keeps his action frantic without being confusing (something that has become all too common these days).

Antonio Banderas is very charismatic as the Mariachi. This is the best role I have seen him in. He even does all of his own guitar work including “Cancion Del Mariachi” at the beginning of the film.

Salma Hayek is gorgeous and fun as Carolina. There is a hilarious sceneĀ  where she crosses the street and two cars behind her crash because they are watching her. I like it because she holds her own and is not just the love interest.

Robert Rodriguez stated that when they filmed the sex montage sequence between Salma Hayek and Antonio Banderas, everyone on the crew showed up.

Joaquim de Almeida plays our villain Bucho. This is essentially the same role Moco (Peter Marquardt) played in the original. Bucho is a boss much like Moco and dresses all in white just like Moco. Joaquim replaced Raul Julia, who had to drop out due to health reasons.

The supporting cast is absolutely marvelous.

Cheech Marin and Quentin Tarantino have a lot of fun with their humorous roles.

Steve Buscemi plays the conscience of the Mariachi. The role is so tailored to him that the character is actually called Buscemi. Originally he was to have been the pick-up guy but a new role was written for him when Tarantino decided to cameo.

Danny Trejo plays a knife-wielding assassin, Navajas. This is a very similar character to Azul in El Mariachi. Danny is finally going to headline a movie. Robert Rodriguez has made a feature-length movie out of his fake Grindhouse trailer, Machete and it is currently in post-production.

Carlos Gallardo returns from El Mariachi. This time he plays Campa, a friend to El Mariachi.

I highly recommend this quintessential action movie unless gore bothers you. If you enjoy this and El Mariachi then stick the final film in the trilogy, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, in your DVD queue.

People Watch: Actually not so much a “people” watch as a prop watch. The crotch gun that Carolina finds in the guitar case is sadly never used here. It is however used the following year in From Dusk Til Dawn (by Tom Savini no less).

El Mariachi – South of the Border week

This is South of the Border week. We will be featuring movies taking place in Mexico. El Mariachi is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: El Mariachi (1992) – Rated R for adult content, adult language, and graphic violence.

“When guitar player El Mariachi (Carlos Gallardo) arrives in a small Mexican town, drug lord Moco (Peter Marquardt) mistakes him for Azul (Reinol Martinez), an assassin who carries a trademark guitar case full of guns. Now he must elude Mocos henchmen, who plan to shoot first and ask questions later. First-time indie filmmaker Robert Rodriguez famously made the wildly popular gritty crime drama on a $7,000 budget.”

“I came across a turtle. I realized we were both taking our time getting to where we were going but what I did not know was that my time was running out.”

This is the first feature film by one of my favorite directors, Robert Rodriguez. Prior to this he had made a cute short, Bedhead, that can be viewed on Youtube.

When you are working on a $7,000 budget, you have to wear a lot of hats. Robert Rodriguez is not only the director, producer and writer of El Mariachi but also the cinematographer, film editor, sound editor, music editor, camera operator and special effects man.

Carlos Gallardo is not only the star (the titular Mariachi) but also producer, unit production manager, dolly grip, and special effects man.

Rodriguez makes excellent use of several rundown locations, particularly the jail sequence in the beginning of the film. I also liked some of the flavor like the man chopping ice with a machete.

The Professionals (yesterday) seemed a bit of a cheat as none of the heroes were Mexican, the lead villain was not played by a Mexican and it was not filmed in Mexico. El Mariachi not only takes place and is shot in Mexico but almost everyone working on the film is Mexican.

This is the dubbed version of the film. Robert Rodriguez stated that Columbia spent more on the dubbing than he did on the entire film.

The acting is good but not great. The charm is in the story itself and the rapid-fire pace that Rodriguez keeps up.

I highly recommend this fun low-budget film. The counting gag alone makes the movie. For that matter so does the bathtub confrontation.

People Watch: Carlos Gallardo appears in the semi-remake/semi-sequel Desperado as Campo.

The Professionals – South of the Border week

This is South of the Border week. We will be featuring movies taking place in Mexico. The Professionals is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: The Professionals (1966) – Rated PG-13 for adult content, adult language, nudity and violence.

“A largely forgotten action-adventure gem, The Professionals teams Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan and Burt Lancaster with more star wattage than most Westerns have ever marshaled. Hired to retrieve kidnapped Claudia Cardinale from bandito Jack Palance, these pros shoot, rope and ride all over northern Mexico. Gorgeous cinematography from Conrad L. Hall (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) makes The Professionals ideal summertime entertainment.”

“Your hair was darker then” – “My heart was lighter then.”

“Maybe there is only one revolution, since the beginning, the good guys against the bad guys. Question is, who are the good guys?”

Richard Brooks does double duty here. He not only directed The Professional but also adapted it from the book, “A Mule for the Marquesa” by Frank ORourke. He was nominated for an Academy Award for both of those roles.

Conrad L. Hall was also nominated for an Oscar for color cinematography. Unfortunately The Professionals ran into the juggernaut that was A Man for All Seasons. A Man for All Seasons took 6 Oscars including the three that The Professionals was nominated for.

While the cinematography is gorgeous (nearly a requirement for a good western) and the story takes place in Mexico, the filming was not done there. The Professionals was filmed in Death Valley and the Valley of Fire.

Being a western of the 60s, this film has characters that are a little more complex than earlier decades. They are somewhat introspective. The heroes are not all good and the villains are not pure evil.

Lee Marvin plays the same role he always does and is fun to watch. Burt Lancaster does a good job of letting Lee do the leading. Burt spends his time playing the cynic. Robert Ryan comes the closest to being an old-fashioned western hero and the script does a good job of pointing out that he is somewhat naive in his outlook.

Our fourth hero is played by Woody Strode. I really like that they address the possible prejudice against a person of color without making him the lackey of the group. The other members accept him as an equal.

Owing to his complexion and angular features, Jack Palance was pretty consistently doomed to play the villain. Here he plays Jesus Raza. He actually is not in much of the film but he gets a pretty sweet speech.

Our kidnap victim/love interest is played by the lovely Claudia Cardinale. True story – my wife saw her in person at the Cannes film festival. She had no idea who Claudia Cardinale was and Poppa and I who would have loved to have seen Claudia were off on a park bench at the time.

In spite of the three Oscar noms, this is not a classic film. The action suffers a bit from lack of realism – there would be three more years before we would have the grittiness of The Wild Bunch (1969) and it lacks the polish of The Magnificent Seven (1960).

Mostly due to the cast and cinematography, it is quite enjoyable if you like westerns and I do recommend it on that basis. While the first two acts are fairly standard western tropes, the third act actually has several good payoffs culminating in a very satisfactory finale.

People Watch: Our intrepid group is hired by Joe Grant played by Ralph Bellamy. While he starred in literally hundreds of movies from the 30s on, Ralph Bellamy is currently best known for two roles. He played Randolph Duke in Trading Places opposite Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. He also played FDR in The Winds of War and War and Remembrance miniseries.

Lazy Weekend Musings – Portable

This weekend I finally got something I have been wanting for a long time (years in fact). I watch movies in the luxury of my own home for the most part. As I mentioned last week I rarely go out to the movies any more. The expense is beyond ridiculous and the atmosphere and experience are often not as good as what I get at home.

I have a small television next to the computer for watching movies for review. This is an ideal setup for me as I am an exceptionally slow writer. I also use this TV to entertain my wife while we both compute.

I have a wonderful large 1080p television in the living room to watch my favorite movies in luxury. I love to sit down a few feet in front of it with a large iced tea and a sandwich. Currently my youngest and I are working our way through Planet Earth.

Anyway enough digression – this weekend I finally got an iPod (thank you honey!). I never listen to music but I have always wanted something to watch movies on when we take long trips or when I am waiting to pick up my daughter from school.

I have already used Downloadhelper (a firefox plugin) to download some Youtube videos and put them on the iPod. Besides the usual unbelievably large selection of short films, you can also find a number of films that have never been released on DVD broken up into several parts.

Downloadhelper has been amazingly easy to use. Now I just need to find something to convert my DVD library to MP4 so the iPod can read it.

Passengers – Do Not Get on That Plane week

This is Do Not Get on That Plane week. Passengers is currently available on instant Netflix.

PASS: Passengers (2008) – Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including some scary elements and sensuality.

“When therapist Claire Summers (Anne Hathaway) starts working with the surviving passengers of a plane crash, she discovers that their individual accounts of the tragedy differ significantly from the airlines official version. As Claire digs deeper for the truth, beyond the airlines sanitized statements, the survivors suddenly begin to vanish, leaving her swimming in a dark abyss of intrigue and conspiracy.”

“The truth heals. Who said that?” – “I dont know, some dead white guy”

There is no getting around it. Anne Hathaway is really likable. She seems more at home with something in the comedy genre however. this is not a good role for her.

She is aided by an able if non-flashy cast. Patrick (Watchmen) Wilson is a central part of her enigma. Andre (The Mist) Braugher is her boss. Diane (Law & Order) Wiest plays a really creepy neighbor. David (St. Elsewhere) Morse has a small part as Arkin.

The central premise of the movie, survivors of a plane crash start disappearing, could be made into a good horror movie. The problem is that movie is Final Destination. If you want a science fiction version then you have Millenium.

The central problem with the movie is actually Anne Hathaway and her character, Claire. Her portrayal of a grief/crisis counselor/psychologist is about as believable as Denise Richards as nuclear scientist Dr. Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough (my personal yardstick for credibility).

Claire is completely irresponsible and unprofessional – so much so that one character even feels the need to comment on it. For a counselor, she never ever listens to her patients. Her professional conduct would make House blush. I am not sure whether or not Anne Hathaway has the acting chops to pull this part off as it is written so badly.

I like reveal movies – movies where you find out something at the end that changes your whole perception of the story. A really good reveal movie stands by itself without the reveal. The Sixth Sense is a very good movie until the end when it becomes a great movie.

The other thing a really good reveal movie does is to not give away that there is going to be a reveal. To use The Sixth Sense again as an example – unless you have been told ahead of time, you do not know there is going to be a game changer ending (my apologies to the three people out there who have not seen or read anything about The Sixth Sense).

This movie does not make any sense and the mystery is kept very vague – these are two hallmarks of a bad reveal movie. They telegraph all throughout the film that there will be a reveal which is why I do not feel bad calling it one.

I kept hoping that the reveal would make this worthwhile. Instead you will either end up scratching your head at the leaps in logic or you will be irritated because it simply rips off the ending to another film.

Either way it is not worth your time. Give this one a pass.

People Watch: Look for William B. Davis aka Cigarette Smoking Man from X-Files as Jack.

The Concorde: Airport 79 – Do Not Get on That Plane week

This is Do Not Get on That Plane week. The Concorde: Airport 79 is currently available on instant Netflix.

AVOID: The Concorde: Airport 79 – Rated PG.

“In the fourth installment of the air-disaster series, a ruthless businessman (Robert Wagner) tries to destroy the Concorde and kill a corporate spy, forcing the flight crew to contend with an errant missile, the French air force and a midair explosion. George Kennedy reprises his role as Joe Patroni — now piloting the hypersonic jet — alongside a bevy of 1970s stars, including Charo and Jimmie Walker”

“My boy is starting college, my wife has been dead for about a year.” – Said with no emotion at all by Patroni (George Kennedy).

Last night I woke up in a cold sweat. I dreamt I was being chased by a giant banana.” (No I am not making that up)

To paraphrase Thumper, “If you do not have anything nice to say then say nothing at all”. Well that will not make for good reading so let me think a moment.

I have it – the good part about this movie is that it is broadcast in high definition for those with set top boxes. that is pretty much it.

In 1979, we are a half decade away from the height of the disaster genre, The Towering Inferno (pun intended). While Robert Wagner does appear in both of them, Inferno stars Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway and William Holden. Airport 79 stars Alain Delon, Eddie Albert, Susan Blakely, and George Kennedy.

George Kennedy reprises his role as Joe Patroni from the previous three Airport movies. Apparently when asked to appear, he must have told them “only if I get to fly the Concorde and have sex with a hooker this time “. Thus, inexplicably, he is now a pilot.

After treating the Concorde like the jet in the arcade game Afterburner, he dazzles the passengers with a story about what a minor problem it was. They proceed to give him a standing ovation (seriously).

What this movie lacks in star power, it makes up for in sheer mind-boggling quantity of low-tier celebrities.

Apparently the European nature of the Concorde inspired them to hire some international actors. My guess is that they were able to acquire them on the cheap. Alain Delon, Bibi Andersson, and Sylvia (Emmanuelle) Kristel all appear here.

For old TV and movie fans we have Mercedes McCambridge and Eddie Albert. For genre fans we have David (Time after Time) Warner and Sybil (Chained Heat) Danning.

Martha Raye makes her final appearance here as a bladder-challenged passenger. Jimmie (Dyn-O-Mite!) Walker appears as a dope-smoking, jive-talking musician (way to fight those stereotypes!). Charo (coochie coochie) is Margarita.

What are the odds that not one, not two but three consecutive news stories would all relate to our plot? Admittedly the first two are related to each other but seriously how often do we have news stories on state-of-the-art military hardware? I wonder if those drones will show up later in the film.

Since the sick kid ploy worked so well in Airport 75, here we have a 7-year old boy who needs a heart-transplant. Apparently they could not find a cute boy so they are transporting the heart to the boy. Do not worry though we have Cicely Tyson talking incessantly about it.

If that is not treacly enough for you, we also have a little deaf girl on the plane. Avery Scheiber plays her Russian coach father.

I have to say that I really do not understand why we do not have Concordes in the military. In this film the most sophisticated drone ever made (news story) is unable to shoot down the Concorde and neither is a jet armed with missiles and machine guns.

Of course, and I assure you that I am not making this up, when you have a missile locked onto you the obvious answer is to open the window and fire a flare gun. If this does not work, you can always turn the Concorde upside down for a second shot.

You would think all of those would be spoilers but they actually occur in the first half of the movie. I thought it was utterly ridiculous before they land in Paris but then they up the ante.

Really the only people I can imagine this appealing to are Concorde fetishists and train-wreck aficionados. This movie is just awful.

People Watch: Ed Begley Jr. has an early role here as the aptly named, Rescuer #1.

Lost – Do Not Get on That Plane week

This is Do Not Get on That Plane week. Lost seasons 1-5 are currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Lost season 1-5

“Stranded on a tropical island after their plane crashes 1,000 miles off course, a group of castaways must learn to survive in their new home, avoid the gigantic something crashing through the trees and determine whether they are really alone. Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Terry OQuinn, Dominic Monaghan and Naveen Andrews head the diverse ensemble cast in this landmark series, which won an Emmy for Best Drama.”

What can I say about one of the best shows on television? It begins with a bang and is endlessly fascinating.

The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous with locales chosen from all over Hawaii. It looks especially good in HD for those who are using a set top box.

The large ensemble cast is definitely one of the reasons the show is such a winner. While there are members who get more attention than others, hardly anyone is skimped on. Almost all of the characters arrive on the island while on the run.

Matthew Fox appears to play our quintessential hero, Dr. Jack Shepherd. It is not long before we find out that while the Doctor is heroic and a natural leader, he is also deeply flawed. He represents the voice of reason. Michael Keaton was originally cast in the role.

Terry OQuinn plays John Locke, almost the polar opposite of Jack. He is a deeply spiritual man who finds his answers on the island. He represents the voice of faith. Terry had previously worked with J.J. Abrams on Alias.

John Locke is not the only character named after a philosopher. Lost also has characters named Jeremy Bentham, Anthony Cooper and Rousseau as well as scientists Faraday and Minkowski.

Other main characters include Sawyer, a rogue, Kate, our woman of mystery, the Kwons, an unhappy Korean couple, the hapless Hurley, and Sayid (my favorite), an Iraqi.

Telling you much more about the characters spoils a few of the surprises though Sawyer, Kate and Jack form the main romantic triangle in the show.

The writing is simply amazing. It manages to be very literate while giving each character their own voice. A common failing among series is that the dialogue of different characters becomes interchangeable.

The writers juggle dozens of plot threads with a great deal of finesse. The only thing that is infuriating is that for every mystery they resolve, they add two more. Having said that, it does come together as one big story as opposed to 24 where Jack Bauer and CTU clearly forget every lesson they learned from each season when the new season starts.

Lost is not the best TV series on instant Netflix (Dexter carries that honor) but I heartily recommend it if you have the time to invest. The first five seasons are currently available on instant Netflix. The current season (6) is supposed to be the last and they are clearly winding up the threads.

People Watch: Two members of the cast of Con Air (covered earlier this week) also appear in lost. Rachel Ticotin appears in two episodes as Captain Teresa Cortez and M.C. Gainey appears in 18 episodes as Tom Friendly.

Air Force One – Do Not Get on That Plane week

This is Do Not Get on That Plane week. Air Force One is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Air Force One (1997) – Rated R for Violence.

“Harrison Ford stars in this high-stakes thriller set in the skies aboard Air Force One, in which Russian terrorists (led by Gary Oldman) conspire to hijack the aircraft with the president and his family on board. The commander in chief finds himself facing an impossible predicament: give in to the terrorists and sacrifice his family, or risk everything to uphold his principles — and the integrity of the nation. Glenn Close co-stars.”

Wolfgang Petersen is an excellent director. He made the classic Das Boot – a film that wonderfully detailed the harrowing and claustrophobic life of a U-Boat crew. He then came to Hollywood and then made the thrillers In the Line of Fire and Outbreak. While Das Boot is clearly his best, this film is probably his second best. Unfortunately he has had some misfires recently (Troy, Poseidon).

As with any good modern action movie, this one begins with an action setpiece. In this case, we have a rapid high-tech snatching of General Radek (Jurgen Prochnow, star of Das Boot).

It is quite difficult to discuss this film without mentioning the obvious influence of Tom Clancy. This thriller is exciting and full of action without being dumbed down. It features (then) state-of-the-art technology and its use by both heroes and villains. These are all Clancy hallmarks.

In addition the film is extremely jingoistic, another Clancy hallmark. Go America!

Harrison Ford is just right here. He is old enough to carry the gravity of the President of the United States while being young enough that his heroics are not outside the realm of possibility.

Gary Oldman chews up the scenery as the hijacker trying to trade for General Radek. He is quite fun to watch. I am quite glad that he learned to tone down his performances when he portrayed Gordon in the two most recent Batman movies.

Glenn Close plays our first female vice-president (Sorry Hilary!), Kathryn Bennett. I know, I know that is as unrealistic as the thought of our ever having a person of color in the White House (they do not call it the White House because of the paint job).

She and Dean Stockwell (as Defense Secretary Dean) have a fun time sparring both with each other and Gary Oldman.

Backing the President up on the plane are Paul Guilfoyle (Captain Brass from CSI) as Chief of Staff Shepherd and the always wonderful William H. Macy as Major Caldwell.

Air Force One was nominated for two Oscars. One was for sound (Con Air was also nominated) and the other for film editing. Titanic won both of them.

Unlike Con Air yesterday, I have no qualms about recommending this intelligent exciting thriller. For those of you watching this on set top boxes, Air Force One is in high definition.

People Watch: Look for Xander Berkeley (George Mason on 24) as Secret Service agent Gibbs. It is a little funny to see him in this as a fair amount of the plot here is recycled later in 24.

Con Air – Do Not Get on That Plane week

This is Do Not Get on That Plane week. Con Air is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Con Air (1997) – Rated R for strong violence and language.

“When the government puts all its rotten criminal eggs in one airborne basket, it is asking for trouble. Before you can say, “Pass the barf bag,” the crooks control the plane, led by creepy Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom (John Malkovich). Watching his every move is the just-released Nicolas Cage, who would rather reunite with his family. The action climaxes with an incredible crash sequence in Las Vegas.”

“Make a move and the bunny gets it!”

“What if I told you insane was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years at the end of which they tell you to piss off; ending up in some retirement village hoping to die before suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time? Wouldnt you consider that to be insane”

Okay recommending this movie I realize that I should have a category for Guilty Pleasure. For everything it gets right, it gets something wrong.

This is the first film directed by Simon West. None of his other films so far have been any good (Tomb Raider? The Generals Daughter?) and yet this one is chock full of great action and sort of great performances (more on that later).

We are not even five minutes into the movie when Cameron (Nicolas Cage) is attacked by three thugs who threaten his wife, deface his uniform, and beat him. Clearly they deserve the smackdown. Of course Cameron, a former Army Ranger, allows them to surround him in a rainy parking lot and begin beating him down without initially fighting back which seems quite odd.

The action is fun and pretty much non-stop. The acting is the real reason to watch this movie. They got a great cast and Simon West appears to have told each of them that they should go flat out with their acting. The actors do not seem to interact so much as they try to outdo each other.

Nicolas Cage overacts his heart out. His performance will leave you cringing at times but it does give him a certain charisma. They also take plenty of opportunities to show off his pecs and abs. Even his hair is given plenty of screen time and real estate.

Our other hero is a sandal-wearing U.S. Marshal, Vince Larkin. He is played by John Cusack who is clearly having a lot of fun here. He continually twits rival DEA agent Duncan Malloy played by Colm Meaney (Chief OBrien on Star Trek TNG/DS9 – his keychain has a Star Trek ornament on it).

We know that Malloy is not a hero because the first thing he does is arrive in a very expensive sports car and park in the handicap spot.

Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs was such a part of the cultural zeitgeist by this point that they base not one but two of the felons on his character (Cyrus and Garland).

Cyrus is our main villain and is overplayed to perfection by a scenery-chewing John Malkovich. He is riveting and stands out above the other overactors. His number two is Ving Rhames as Diamond Dog.

Even the minor villains are all chosen for their flamboyance. Comedian Dave Chappelle plays Pinball (humorously of course). The excellent character actor Danny Trejo plays rapist Johnny 23. M.C. Gainey plays white trash Swamp Thing.

Strangely the only actor in the whole movie who seems restrained (and that is only in comparison to the other actors) is Steve Buscemi who gives a delightful performance as Garland Greene.

The actresses are actually restrained (literally in one case). Rachel Ticotin plays a guard and Monica Potter is the love interest, patiently waiting for Cameron to come home. Neither is given much to do – perhaps because they did not overact?

The action is fabulous and almost as over-the-top as the acting. Almost every airplane trope is covered here – emergency takeoff, crash landing, fight in flight, body falling from airplane, landing gear stuck, etc.

I have to say a few words, but only a few, about the plot. The plot is utterly ridiculous – any description of it reveals plenty of plotholes. The dialogue is alternately wonderful and cringe-inducing. The film steals liberally from Flight of the Phoenix, Silence of the Lambs, and others but definitely has its own sense of identity.

I did like that almost the entire movie takes place on Bastille Day.

Con Air was actually nominated for two Academy Awards. Diane Warren was nominated for best song for “How Do I Live”. Con Air was also nominated for Best Sound. Unfortunately it ran into the juggernaut that was Titanic.

I cannot in good conscience call this a good film but I do recommend it because it is a huge amount of fun.

People watch: Powers Boothe does an initial voice-over showing love for the Rangers.

Lazy Weekend Musings – ActionFest

Okay these are definitely lazy weekend musings as I am publishing them on Monday. I want to blog 7 days a week but I find I never have time on the weekend as that is when I spend the most time with my wife and youngest daughter. I think this means that I will cover movies on a semi-random topic Monday through Friday (and occasional Saturdays) and that I will reserve Sundays for this and that.

Coming April 15-18 to Asheville, NC (my neck of the woods) is ActionFest. ActionFest is “the worlds first film festival for Action films”. The festival opens with the premiere of Centurion, directed by Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent). It concludes with a presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Chuck Norris. More of the film schedule is to be revealed on their site March 22nd.

As you might tell from the subject of my blog, growing up one of my absolute favorite things to do was to go to the movies. Raising my children, I took them as often as I could (as much for my enjoyment as theirs).

I go to fewer and fewer movies each year. I love my home, my TV (thank you honey!), my comfy chair, and my food. I despise paying the price of a DVD to watch a film in a theater that may work out fine or may have people chattering incessantly or using their cellphones, especially when I know the DVD will be out in four months.

Moviegoers: Insert your own private rant about $6 sodas here :)

In spite of that, Actionfest has me excited about going to the movies again. I plan to go all four days and catch as many of the premieres and retrospectives as possible. All of the movies will be held at Carolina Cinemas Asheville and the closing ceremony will be held at The Orange Peel with The Reigning Sound playing.