Dec. 2nd, 2012

innocent_man: (l&o&b)
A Few Good Men is a military/courtroom drama based on the play by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollack, Keifer Sutherland and J. T. Walsh. Like everything Sorkin does, it's very dialog heavy, people walk quickly through hallways, but he manages to make people talking not boring, which is a gift.

So: Danny Kaffee (Cruise) is a lawyer who's joined the Navy for a three-year stint in JAG before he gets a real job. Jo Galliway (Moore) is an Internal Affairs lawyer who catches a case of two Marines in Gitmo who accidentally killed a squad-mate during a "Code Red," that is, a disciplinary measure within the Corps (common, but against the rules). Cruise wants to plea it out, the prosecutor (Bacon) is amenable, but the men won't go for it - they won't admit guilt. Cruise is ready to give up, but then he realizes that he was handed this case precisely because he always pleas out.

So it turns out that the base commander (Nicholson) and his senior officers (Sutherland and Walsh) were really responsible, insofar as they gave the orders for the Code Red (well, Walsh didn't, he wanted the dude transferred). The defense basically cooks down to "they were just following orders," but Cruise digs a little deeper into the psychology of the Marines in Cuba and why they do not question orders, ever, even if the orders are obviously morally wrong on their face. And he wins, insofar as Nicholson is arrested for perjury and the accused Marines are acquitted of murder (though, appropriately, they are dishonorably discharged).

It's good, it's iconic, and if you've ever heard someone thunder "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH," this movie is why. Cruise turns in one of his standard "cocky, young whatever" performances, but he's young enough that it still works. Nicholson gets to be an asshole, which he seems to enjoy, and you can see the progression in Sutherland's voice work that eventually landed him the gig in Monsters vs. Aliens.

My grade: A-
Rewatch value: Medium. Say what you want about Sorkin, he's very watchable.

Next up: The Fifth Element
innocent_man: (woola)
It's been a while, after all, since we've played Spirit of the Century.

Well, last time, the apes were under attack! Gar and Elitza were heading back on the speeder while Raenna, Justin and Xax were in the monastery with Garus and the rest of the apes. Mar'ik, Praeceptor of the Fifth District, led squads of ground troops and a squad of flyers, as well as a boat with a big fuck-off ion cannon, to attack the White Ape Monastery.

Raenna and Justin tried to call up the spirits of the Green Martians to possess the reds, but it didn't work out and they abandoned that idea. Elitza and Gar zipped under the fliers, staying stealthy, but I compelled Gar's Vengeance!! Aspect and he shot at them. They turned on the skimmer and fired at it, and Elitza bailed out and scaled the wall of the monastery.

Garus and the apes lobbed rocks at the fliers, and then, with Raenna leading, jumped down off the walls to engage the ground troops. Justin jumped onto the boat and took out the crew there, and fired the ion cannon at the ground troops, vaporizing a bunch.

Elitza (after a compel for Didn't Think This Through - everyone should have an Aspect like that) jumped onto a flier, tossed the pilot off, then jumped to another. The ground troops were losing and although the other fliers had done some stress to Gar, his Integer Pistol was holding them off. Mar'ik called a retreat and the fliers sped off, leaving the surviving troops as prisoners.

The characters discussed their next move. It was pretty obvious that the Master of Chains had sold them out, but maybe that was good - if they could funnel him misinformation and it would end up with the Empire? The device would create water, but also a devastating explosion, so they needed to get it to the Sea of Tranquility. Maybe they could lure the Xenon armies there, too, and use their beacon to get all of their other allies away?

Justin asked Garus is he, as a tactician, had any suggestions, and Garus was just worried because using the Master of Chains this way was risky. But if Elitza went to him and offered to join him, and if they could intercept Mar'ik before he got back and made a report...

So it was settled. Xax quickly used the capture fliers and the ion cannon to soup them up. Justin and Gar would go after Mar'ik and his squad and take them out before they reached Xenon. Elitza would go on ahead to Xenon and "join" with the Master of Chains. And Raenna and Xax would transport the device to the Sea of Tranquility. Raenna, for her part, wants to learn, there, why she's the Mother of Dragons.
innocent_man: (lsd)
The Fifth Element is a sodding weird sci-fi action movie starring Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Chris Tucker, Gary Oldman and Ian Holm.

So: Every 5000, a giant evil planetoid comes to destroy all life, and it's up to an advanced race to assemble the four elements (air, earth, water, fire) around a fifth element, which creates a weapon to stop the evil. We learn about this in 1914, and then 300 years later, it's about to happen. A priest (Holm) with the passed-down knowledge of how all this works tells the President of the Federation (Tiny Lister) about all this...and then the craft carrying the "supreme being" gets shot down.

But then resurrected by an awesome 3D-life-printer as Leeloo (Jovovich). Watching the movie again, they do talk about how the supreme being has the same kind of DNA as a human, just a lot more genetic knowledge (if that's a thing) packed in. So I guess it makes sense that she's human-looking. What doesn't make a lot of sense is how she phonetically decodes English when she doesn't speak it, but whatever, she's super-smart.

Anyway, she escapes, crashes into a Special Forces op-turned-cabby named Korbin Dalls (Willis), and they eventually wind up saving the world from the evil.

The scripting and editing in this movie is amazing. They created this freakish, vibrant, at times dirty and oppressive and at times beautiful and awesome world. We have our second-tier villain in the form of weapons dealer and all around rich fucker Zorg (Oldman), who's trying to get to the Elemental Stones to sell them. For money. We learn pretty early on that for as scary as he can be, he's terrified of the evil (which he refers to as "Mr. Shadow" and is under the mistaken impression he'll be alive to spend the money). We also get Ruby Rhod (Tucker), the celebrity DJ who acts as sidekick to Dallas for the second act.

I personally think Tucker is annoying as hell, but that's what he's here for and he's not in the whole movie, or even the majority. Yes, he steals scenes, but he's good at backing off and requiring exposition, so he's got a reason to be there (also, he macks on girls with freckles, and I can get behind that).

If I have a complaint, it's that Korbin saying the magic words ("I love you") to get Leeloo to fight the evil was maybe a little hokey. But then, much is made of how innocent and vulnerable she is, so maybe it's appropriate. It's kind of a Raimi moment, almost - by the time the movie reaches that point, it's already been so over the top (OMG THE COSTUMES) that you don't care.

The production design is fantastic, the soundtrack is awesome, and the costumes are amazing. The movie is delightfully weird, and paced so well that it feels much shorter than it is.

My grade: A
Rewatch value: High

Next up: Fight Club

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