Category Archives: movies


I was glad that they surrounded Tom Cruise with such a large supporting cast, because it distracted me from the fact that I was watching a movie with Tom Cruise in it. The start of the movie felt very much like an episode of Alias. I was happy to see that Greg Grunberg showed up as he does in every J.J. Abrams directed project, and it was nice that he registered his boredom with Cruise. I was also happy that Jonathan Rhys Meyers was in the movie, because he was pretty. I really really really wanted Philip Seymour Hoffman to kill Cruise.

V for Vendetta

I don’t think I’ve ever had a more mixed reaction to a movie. I feel as if I’ve gone to see a wacky exhibit of installation art where someone made a sculpture of lovely diamonds embedded in a giant pile of rhinocerous excrement. Although I might want to appreciate the lovely diamonds, I’m distracted by the horrible overwhelming smell of rhino shit. There were some funny and clever moments that made me laugh, but these moments would be immediately offset by something so off with the adaptation that I’d be laughing at the movie. Hugo Weaving was great, as were most of the British cast.

Death Note, Jewish Superheroes

I get all my Death Note movie news from Telophase. The official web site shows you some goodies if you click around in Light’s room. Here’s a pixelated version of the movie trailer on You Tube, although a much higher quality version is available if you click on the power button on the TV to the far right in Light’s room on the official web site.

Via The Great Curve, Jewish Superhero Corps, read all about Minyan Man and Matza Woman. You can buy them as Purim Costumes. I think this is an outrage. There is absolutley nothing wrong with more traditional purim costumes. If you don’t feel like dressing up like Esther or Mordecai, you can always dress like a cute yummy Hamentaschen. Or if you are a girl and you are tired of dressing up like Esther, you could be a little bit creative. I won a prize in a Purim costume contest when I was little because my mom made me a Queen Vashti costume.

Tom Yum Goong

I felt I had to watch Tom Yum Goong, because Nat and Jon have seen it, so I was ending up last on the list of bloggers I know who like martial arts movies who have seen this Tony Jaa movie. I watched the Chinese edition of this movie, so since I don’t know Thai or Chinese I probably missed some of the plot. But the storyline isn’t very essential to understanding a movie like Tom Yum Goong. In Ong Bak, Tony Jaa had to leave his rural village to beat people up after they stole a Buddha head. In Tom Yum Goong, Tony Jaa has to leave his rural village to beat up people after they steal his elephants. If there is one important lesson to be learned from Tom Yum Goong, it is this – don’t come between a Thai man and his elephants!

Baby and Papa elephant are taken to Australia, so Tony Jaa must follow in order to find and protect them. I’m guessing that the Australian setting was chosen to make the movie appeal more to an international audience, and there are plenty of snippets of English language dialog. Unfortunately I couldn’t understand much of the English. I’m sure part of it is due to my lack of ability to understand Thai accented English, but I honstly had no idea what Petchtai Wongkamlao was saying in his role as a cop who doesn’t play by the rules.

But dialog doesn’t matter in a movie like this! I have to say I was slightly disappointed in the action scenes in this movie when I compared them to the action in Ong Bak. Ong Bak conveyed a bit of manic gleefulness in showing scenes like Tony Jaa dive through a circle of barbed wire – just because he can! There were wonderful explosions! Although there were plenty of great action scenes in Tom Yum Goong, I wasn’t seeing the sheer joy in the ridiculous action scenes that I loved so much in Ong Bak.

Still Tom Yum Goong had many of the elements that you’d expect from a great action movie. One of the things that I like about the few Thai action movies that I’ve seen is they aren’t too prettied up by CGI or an excessive amount of wirework. Tony Jaa’s kicks to the head are still a thing of beauty. He runs up walls. He leaps into frame. He jumps up and kicks a streetlamp. There’s a great scene with a capoeira fighter. There’s a fight scene in a house of worship! There’s fire, water, and a climatic bare-chested fight involving improvised symbolically resonant weapons. Although it isn’t as sublime as Ong Bak, Tom Yum Goong is the next best thing.

Cultural Illiteracy Confession

I have a horrible thing to confess. I hope you will not think less of me as I expose the depth of my ignorance. Before today, I have never seen a Sonny Chiba movie.

I don’t think his role in Kill Bill really counts, since Hattori Hanzo was more of a cameo role. I think you can pick up Chiba movies very cheaply now on DVD. I watched Street Fighter and Return of Street Fighter. Both of the movies seem fairly typical of what you’d expect from 1970s martial arts movies, although it is fun watching Chiba karate chop people and emote by making funny faces. I think I liked Return of Street Fighter more, because even though Street Fighter featured an impressive amount of eye-gouging, throat ripping, and a climatic fight in the rain, Return of Street Fighter featured fights on top of a mountain, in a bathhouse, and a climatic fight in a darkened building.

power search!

Do you ever have a hard time remembering something and it starts to drive you batty? At times like these I am glad I’m a librarian, because if I sit down and think a little bit I will be able to use my librarian powers to figure out the answer. This afternoon I was wracking my brain, trying to remember the title of a recently released Chinese martial arts movie that hasn’t come out in the US yet, was directed by a fairly well-known director, and the English title had either one or two words in it. I read about it on a web site, but I couldn’t remember where. I used the imdb power search to look for movies from 2000-2005, with China as the country of origin, looking for either action or adventure as a genre and excluding TV shows or TV movies. I pulled up a really long list of results, but I think I found the movie I was trying to remember, Seven Swords. Here’s the French trailer. Why hasn’t it been released in the U.S yet?

In going through the list, I stumbled across the title, Shaolin VS Evil Dead. Doesn’t that also sound great?

December Movies

I’ve been hanging out with the future Mr. Tangognat, going to a bunch of movies.

King Kong – Great special effects, but the action on Skull Island drags on too long. I think the best part of the movie takes place in New York. Naomi Watts did a great job, I thought Jack Black seemed a little miscast.

Syriana – Challenging movie with a convoluted plot. I might have to see this again, because I’m sure I missed some of the details as I was trying to make sense of the interlocking storylines. Many good performances by a huge cast of actors.

Munich – Great performance by Eric Bana showing how an assassin grows more and more paranoid as he takes on a mission of revenge. I kept waiting for the moment that Spielburg would go for an obvious symbol like the girl in the red coat in Schindler’s List. I thought he managed to hold off until the last frames of the movie. My sister was glad that the 1970s hair styles covered Mr. Bana’s ears, and so was I.

goblet and wardrobe

Now that the future Mr. Tangognat is visiting, I’m catching up on some of the movies that I’ve been meaning to see. We went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I enjoyed Goblet of Fire more, I was surprised at how well the book compressed to movie-length, even if I missed some of the side stories like Hermione fighting for house elf rights. I was glad that the twins got a bit more screen time, they were hilarious.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe struck me as a very careful adaptation. I’m glad I saw it, but I don’t think I’ll be rewatching it all that much in the future. I wonder if they’ll be able to adapt more of the Narnia books.