The Functional Hermit

musings from a homebody

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Hermit Cinema: Iron Man

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So as you may have guessed, I’m not one to go out and see a movie in a theater anymore. I used to and really enjoyed it. It just lost its charm for me. Nevertheless, I love movies. I can’t watch enough. So DVD’s are clearly the way to go for the hermit.

One movie that really stood out for me lately was Iron Man. I’m really more of the independent cinema type, so this was a departure from my usual fare. For me, this was the best of all the superhero movies by far. I’d say Batman Begins was a close second.

For starters, Robert Downey Jr. is perfect in the Tony Stark role. He’s got the ‘genius turned partying playboy’ thing nailed. Jeff Bridges is a great foil to Tony. It’s hard to believe that this is the same person who played the lead role in my favorite movie of all time: The Big Lebowski. I’ve never been much of a Gwynneth Paltrow fan, but she’s fine playing Tony’s assistant.

The special effects are flawless. For me, that was crucial. None of it came across as cheesy or unconvincing. A lot of it made me rewind it to watch it again.

Right from the beginning, the movie jumps right into the action and then does a good job of giving you lots of background info in a very entertaining way. If anything, I only had one complaint with the plot.

I’m going to go ahead give a huge plot spoiler here so stop reading if you haven’t seen it or don’t want to know. But when he’s being held captive and he’s supposed to be building a missile system, would it be really all that difficult to realize he’s building something entirely different? How hard would it be to see that, gee, he’s not building a missile he’s building some sort of human armor/suit thing? But that’s really a pretty minor point as far as the whole movie goes.

If you’re looking for a good DVD, I’d say Iron Man is as close to a sure thing as you can get from a huge Hollywood kind of production.

Written by the bee dub

October 20, 2008 at 7:45 pm

Posted in DVD Reviews

Tagged with , , ,

Hermit Cinema: The Wire

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Unfortunately, I do not have HBO. But if you have hermit-like tendencies then it’s much better to engage things like this on DVD. If you get sucked in, you can just keep pumping another DVD into your player and become more and more obsessed as you watch each hour-ish episode. You don’t miss any details and are much more attuned to subtle twists of plot and character. Plus you have a great excuse to veg out at home.

In my opinion The Wire is, hands down, the best drama series ever created. It ran for five seasons and was one of the most ambitious things to ever grace a TV screen. A big part of its genius is that each season focuses on a different theme. Season One was the street drug trade. Season Two was all about dock workers. Season Three took on politics. Season Four was the public school system. Season Five, the finale, focused on modern journalism. Each season blends seamlessly into each other and still interweaves the drug trade and the police’s attempts to stop it into each season.

The series has a totally authentic, realistic feel throughout. The casting is superb. Some of the actors are recognizable from other things but they all disappear into character. There are little, or none, of the usual clichés that you expect from a dramatic series. There are people you could label good guys and bad guys, but beyond that, little is what you would expect. In fact, I found it as close to unpredictable as is possible.

The closest thing I would have to a complaint wouldn’t really be a criticism. As in, it’s so realistic it can be sort of depressing. There are no easy answers for any of society’s problems. You could argue that the series’ position is that there are no answers at all.

A few people I worked with told me over and over how great The Wire was, to the point that I started tuning them out. When I finally started watching it, it wasn’t like I immediately would have said that this was the most amazing thing I ever saw. But the more you watch, the more you want to know what happens next.

Here’s a rundown on some, but not all, of my favorite characters.

McNulty and 'Bunk' Moreland

McNulty and 'Bunk' Moreland

McNulty – The closest thing the series has to a main character, McNulty is a cop who wants to get the bad guys but not necessarily for the right reasons. He’s self-desctructive in every way. He’ll screw any one and any one over to get what he wants, yet you root for him all the same.

Bunk – At times, he’s McNulty’s partner and is a good counterweight to his partner’s moral ambiguity. His best line of the series: “The bigger the lie, the more they believe.”

Omar

Omar

Omar – A gay stickup man who only robs drug dealers and those who, “Play the game,” as he would put it. Somehow, he is the series’ most memorable character and you can’t help but have a visceral reaction when you see what fate has in store for Omar. He’s so feared around the neighborhood he can rob without even trying.

Carcetti – A politician whose ambition knows no bounds, he doesn’t make an appearance until a few seasons in. He might be the most cliché of all characters as he seems to have good intentions initially, but by the end, would sell his mother to get ahead in a public opinion poll. Nonetheless, it’s all totally believable and engrossing.

‘Bunny’ Colvin – A police major who comes up with a plan so unconventional, that it costs him more than he ever expected. Never mind that his plan actually works. Again, he doesn’t enter the picture for a couple of seasons but man, does he have some presence.

Daniels – A detective with a past whose star seems to be constantly rising and falling. He might be the closest thing of all to a bonafide good guy.

‘Proposition’ Joe – A high-level dealer who I probably like so much simply because ‘Proposition’ Joe is just a great fucking name for a character.

Chris and ‘Snoop’ – Entering onto the scene in the third season, these two musclemen for the drug trade seem to embody menace without trying. Actually, ‘Snoop’ is a woman but it took me a while to be sure of that. Again, I’m slow but tell me if you picked up on that right away.

Gus – An editor at the Baltimore Sun, he only appears in the last season. Besides Daniel, he’s as clean and as well intentioned as anyone in the series.

Frank Sobotka – He only appears in the second season as the head of the stevedores’ union. He also comes very close to an actual good guy. He made a lasting impression on me, perhaps because if I had to pick, the second season just might be my favorite.

‘Bubbles’ – A drug user who ends up on a quest for redemption. Again, try and come up with a better name for a character.

Now I know it seemed like I listed a ton of characters but I actually wrote a few more down and realized that this was just far too many. I’d list them all if I could.

If you haven’t yet seen this series, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the few I can think of that maintained its high level of excellence from beginning to end. Which is something I wish I could say about Lost, but that’s a story for another time.

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