The Scribbler Scratches Your Conformist Brain

The Scribbler

So, you know how people will say that nonconformists are actually conformists because they conform to nonconformity? Don’t listen to those people; they’re wise-asses without the wise. Nonconformity suggests a collection of people with staggeringly diverse tastes, personalities, aspirations, and ideals. Nonconforming groups like hipsters and hippies aside, it would be incredibly difficult to find two free spirits who think exactly alike. Now, take around twenty of those personalities, cram them into a single, sassy protagonist, and set her loose in a very tall halfway house for the socially and mentally inept; that there is the recipe for The Scribbler.

Suki, our delightful protagonist (played by Katie Cassidy), is afflicted with that brutal case of dissociative identity disorder, and flew the cuckoo’s nest all the way to Juniper Towers. Sometimes called the Jumper Towers due to the inanely high suicide rates within, this “psychiatric purgatory” is Suki’s final step on the road to normalcy. Doctor Sinclaire, Suki’s psychiatrist, employs the use of a seemingly volatile technique called the Siamese Burn; it is a form of electroshock therapy that regulates synaptic firing and effectively “burns away” excess personalities while counting those that remain.

The ScribblerThe Scribbler is given a vague presence early on in the film, but as the counter on Suki’s burn box shrinks, it becomes much more prevalent. Characterized as the film’s tentative antagonist, Suki is afraid that this mute but powerful personality is her true self, leading her to struggle with her ultimate goal: To follow through with Sinclaire’s treatment and risk losing out to the Scribbler, or to consider herself a permanent, incurable resident of the Jumper Towers and risk being incarcerated once more.

But then, a third option opens up. Out of the blue, Suki wakes up after a day-long blackout to find that her Siamese Burn box has been dramatically modified by none other than her brain-sister. Hogan (Garret Dillahunt), Suki’s long-time friend, tentative lover, and the only male patient in the Towers, samples the modified box and claims that it let him experience his true self. The stakes are raised all the more; if our protagonist were to use the newly modified box, who would she become? Suki, or the Scribbler? And why does Alice (Michelle Trachtenberg) keep pushing her down the stairs?

The ScribblerThis one’s definitely lacking in budget, but as far as B-movies go, The Scribbler is solid gold. Sure, it can feel a little nonsensically preachy at times, but that’s part of the charm. Up until the end, that is. The conclusion of the movie seemed rather… out of place. Epic, but out of place. Regardless of its shortcomings, the characters are strong (though most of them short-lived), the plot is gripping, and the musical score ain’t half bad. Watch you The Scribbler.

Matt Donato of WeGotThisCovered reveals the sad truth about poor little Scribbles: It yearned to be a cult classic and a seamless comic book adaptation, but lacked the chutzpa to pull it off. It seems the general consensus is that the conclusion was icky, but it is nice to see the Scribbler personality get some actual screen-time. Even if it is spent kung-fu fighting in the rain! Check out the WeGotThisCovered review right here, okay?

Dexter is Bloody Good Television

Dexter

Pretty sure I’ve made that joke before. Oh well. Don’t knock the golden oldies.

Serial murder is the zest that makes Dexter great. I harp on horror movies for using bloody violence as their selling point all the time. But when a TV drama takes that blood and puts a powerful character at the center of it all, it undergoes a miraculous transformation: it turns to solid gold. I’ve seen six seasons, give or take, and it genuinely surprised me to find that it stayed interesting. Between the scheming, the dark backstory, the close calls, you’re always kept on the edge of your seat. It’s tough to deal with sometimes.
DexterEnter Dexter Morgan, a socially awkward blood spatter analyst working for the Miami Metro PD. He’s got a foul-mouthed sister climbing the rungs of police hierarchy, a girlfriend with intimacy issues relating to her abusive ex-husband, and the memory of a foster father who taught him how to cope with his “dark passenger.” The dark passenger is the defining aspect of the series, in a way.

Once upon a spoiler-free time, three year old Dexter saw something terrible happen before his very eyes. He could barely understand what it meant at the time, but it left a hell of an impact. He is afflicted with urges that drive him to kill, but his dear adopted father Harrison taught him to channel the bloodlust towards the deserving. Ironically enough, the “Code of Harry” only permits the murder of murderers.

DexterThankfully, our rad lab rat lad Dexter has many tricks with which to verify the guilt of his marks. Perk of being a blood-spatter analyst, though on the other hand, it’s a double-edged blade. Being so close to the police whilst taking care of his dirty business means that every little slip-up leads into a huge fiasco that nearly brings his grody little secrets to light. To make matters worse, one cop in particular, James “Surprise Motherfucker” Doakes, hounds him constantly for being creepy, artificial, and generally abnormal.

Throughout the seasons, you’ll see Dexter dive into his past, learn about his family, learn from other serial killers, explore his personal life with Rita the girlfriend, work through his addiction problems, and plenty more. The characters are strong, the web of deception is stronger, and it is more than re-watchable. Top notch series.

DexterIt’s based off of the 2004 novel called Darkly Dreaming Dexter that is acutely different from the TV show, by the way. No comparative statements pending, and there won’t be an alternate article. It’s tough to review a TV series with many seasons that is also based off a novel with a single article. But I did just that. Hope it gets you watching! First few seasons are on Netflix instant view! Enjoy!



 

 

ComplainerMan’s Top Five Crime Movies

Crime movies: Because everybody loves a good cinematic heist. The top five crime movies I’ll be throwing at you don’t all have heists, but they certainly do have crime, available in all shapes and sizes. You can consider this countdown your crime-fitting. What kind of illegal activity captures your attention best?

 

#5 – Blood Diamond
Blood Diamond

I love this one because it depicts the transition from average joe to hero. Solomon Vandy’s (Djimon Hounsou) son is stolen from him and brainwashed by a revolutionary front, and he himself is forced into slavery, panning diamonds. Throughout the film, he undertakes a series of increasingly risky tasks to rescue his kid and bring order back to his tattered life; a story of personal strength and sacrifice.

 

 

#4 – Se7en

Se7en

Everyone loves making their own interpretation of the seven deadly sins, right? This one’s about a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) that patterns his homicide after the septet of Biblical vices. Detectives David Mills (Brad Pitt) and William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) have to track him down before he finishes his gruesome masterpiece. As far as crime thrillers go, the twist is what makes Se7en great. What twist, you ask? Let me answer that with another question: What’s in the box?

 

 

#3 – Changeling
Changeling

Based off the tale of Christine Collins, Changeling gives you a nice cinematic peek into the late 20s Los Angeles police, and all the corruption that comes with it. See a determined single mother fight valiantly to find her son while battling the seemingly unstoppable abomination that is the LAPD! It’s great: gets you involved, makes you want the antagonists to pay for their crimes, and- well, I can’t tell you if they do, but I can say I absolutely love the climax. Satisfying and bittersweet.

 

 

#2 – Snatch
Snatch

I had to watch this a few times to follow just what was going on, but each subsequent watch was better than the last. This character-centric heisty thriller manages to stuff a web of intrigue worthy of a book into a 102 minute movie. It’s a little different than the other four, mainly because it’s bloody hilarious. Sure, people are being shot and burned and stabbed and fed to pigs, but you’re too busy chuckling to notice.

 

 

 

#1 – Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction

This Tarantino flick ranked first because it’s a perfect blend of personal and professional, character and plot, slow and fast. John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames; golden cast for a golden crime classic. As far as Tarantino films go, this one sets the standard for non-linear plot and characterization. Best of both worlds! You get the full story of each crook and contender without even realizing it.

Snatch, Crime Can be Confusing

Snatch

Snatch is one busy movie. You have six criminal organizations vying after a single priceless diamond, making threats, mistakes, and murders. It certainly fits the bill for a crime thriller; rigged boxing matches, heists, robberies, kidnapping, murder… and dogs. It’ll be much easier to understand just what kind of movie Snatch is if you hear a little bit about the web of events.

Turkish (Jason Statham) and Tommy (Stephen Graham) are two fellows in a great deal of trouble. They’re meant to rig a boxing match for a notorious crimelord called Brick Top, who’s known for murdering useless lackeys and feeding them to pigs. When they go to a “pikey” encampment in an attempt to buy a better trailer, Gorgeous George, their boxer, gets his face punched in by Mickey O’Niel (Brad Pitt). So, they hire Mickey to fight the rigged fight. Only, he takes his opponent out in one punch instead of going down in the fourth. Brick Top is not happy.
SnatchAll the while, Franky Four-Fingers and his crew are busy stealing an 86-carat diamond from a jewelry store while disguised as rabbis. The heist is successful. Frankie contacts Doug the Head, a self-proclaimed Jewish man who’s known for moving gemstones. He tells his New Yorker friend Cousin Avi that Frankie’s got ice, and Avi wants to buy.

Frankie meets Boris the Blade, who convinces him to head to the boxing match and place a few bets. Boris knows that Frankie has a gambling problem, so he hires a few thugs to steal the diamond from him while he’s at the bookies. The thugs this time around are Sol and Vinnie, two pawn shop owners who have a lot of bad luck with crime. They manage to steal the diamond, but not before their getaway driver Tyrone shows his face to a camera.

Cousin Avi then wants to know where the hell Frankie’s gone off to, since nobody really knows that Boris shot him in the head and stole his briefcase. Since Doug the Head isn’t any help, Avi flies to London and employs the help of Bullet-Tooth Tony. Using one of his contacts, Tony finds out about the pawnbrokers and proceeds to hunt them down. Unfortunately, Brick Top already has his fingers in that pie.

SnatchAvi and Tony get to the diamond at Boris’s place first, though with Sol and Vinnie in tail. The former pair head to a pub to clean up, but not before Boris appears and ambushes Avi. Sol and Vinnie try to do some ambushing too, but their replica pistols don’t intimidate Tony. One clusterfuck with guns later, Sol and Vinnie make off with the diamond. Before they can get it to Brick Top, Tony hunts them down again.

Don’t ask how, but the diamond winds up in the belly of Vinnie’s dog, and in a panic, Avi accidentally shoots Tony. Crime is messy. That’s about all the plot you need to know in order to understand what Snatch is like; confusing.

So much as I enjoy the complexity and depth of the plot of this movie, it’s a little difficult to keep track of at times. Maybe more than a little difficult. You’ll meet a bunch of funky criminal characters, see most of them get their faces blown off, and probably have a laugh or two when Brad Pitt does his unintelligible pikey accent. Oh, and don’t feel bad if you don’t understand him. You’re not meant to. You are meant to watch this movie if you have a thing for black comedy laced crime thrillers, though, because this is a great one.

Joshua Tyler of CinemaBlend sees Snatch as a clusterfuck too, but finds that director Guy Ritchie drops the ball with his choice of dialogue. Also, the word “fuck” is used 163 times, so I suppose that accounts for the dialogue’s quality… Snatch is 104 minutes long, which means 1.5 “fucks” are said every minute. That’s quite a bit. But hey, there’s more to the review than profanity. Check it out: http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Snatch-95.html

Se7en – All He Wanted was One

Se7en

I never really saw Morgan Freeman or Brad Pitt as old-fashioned detective types. I mean, they’re probably two of the most adaptive actors I know, but even so, they feel a little out of place in Se7en. Unlike Kevin Spacey, whose acting as the serial killer John Doe is nothing short of beautifully morbid and morbidly beautiful. Maybe I’m just using sketchy mental references. After all, Freeman was in Dreamcatcher. That’s… that’s even more out of place. I’m going off on a bit of a tangent, so I’ll get back on track with a little synopsis action.

Detective William Somerset (Freeman) works in an unnamed city plagued with crime and urban decay. A stoic man with a grim philosopy, Somerset wants to quit the force and leave the city as quickly as possible. He takes on Detective David Mills (Pitt), an emotional married man, as a partner while working a case involving the murder of a particularly obese guy. When a second murder pops up, centering around the word Greed and a dead lawyer, Somerset returns to the scene of the first murder and finds Gluttony written in grease behind the fat man’s fridge.
Se7enThat’s when Somerset realizes that the killings are connected, and postulates that the killer is going to kill five more people based around the seven deadly sins. Still on the list are Sloth, Lust, Pride, Envy, and Wrath. The progression of kills continues smoothly until they move past Lust, when Mills accidentally cues Somerset to try to link the killer to the library books he’s checked out.

Right on the money, they stumble onto John Doe’s apartment. After a close encounter, the killer passes up a chance to kill Mills and makes a successful escape. For his next kill, he carves the face of an esteemed model and glues a phone and sleeping pills to her hands. As she is his target for Pride, I’m pretty sure you know how this one goes.

That’s when things get funny (not haha funny, I can tell you), though. John Doe turns himself in, shocking both Mills and Somerset. He sets up an ultimatum: either they accompany him to the location of the remaining bodies, or he pleas insanity across the board. That’s when one of the greatest twists in murder mystery history hits, and Brad Pitt makes the best set of facial expressions I’ve ever seen. No spoilers, though. Sorry.

Se7enSe7en’s a morbid classic that you can always go back to. It binds curious interpretations of faith and morality into a darker, consolidated theme that makes the viewer ask questions after watching. Whether it comes off as thought-provoking or not is irrelevant in the long run; it’s one hell of a good movie. Great acting, great tone, satisfying finish. Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, and Kevin Spacey pull their roles off admirably, resulting in a story that keeps you intrigued until the end.

Nick Venable of CinemaBlend… Holy CRAP that was a lot of puns. This guy’s credible in my book. Seriously though. Se7en’s one of those murder mystery movies you don’t want to pass up. Regarding tone, I couldn’t agree more. The bleak, disillusioned city that the sin murders takes place in feels all too perfect for the scenario. Regarding the Blu-Ray content and extra features… you’ll have to check this one out:  http://www.cinemablend.com/dvds/Se7en-Blu-Ray-4872.html

12 Monkeys: What the Hell, Brad Pitt?

12 Monkeys

Here’s a thought: Have you ever wanted to see Brad Pitt’s ass in the same movie as Bruce Willis’s ass? Trick question, you shouldn’t have to suffer through that. Don’t get me wrong, I love Brucey baby, but that right there’s some cinematic material I could have gone my entire life without seeing. Tell you what, in light of these monkeyshines (ha ha ha), let’s move on and look at what exactly 12 Monkeys is about.

The bigger picture: Earth’s surface is tainted by a virus that wiped out 99% of the human population while leaving all other species unharmed. Prisoners held for dire crimes are used as “volunteers” for surface recon, being forced to gear up in hazmat and attempt to collect residual samples of the virus. The science team in control of these operations also appears to have crafted a time machine that can drop people off in the past, then instantly pull them back into the present.

12 MonkeysJames Cole (Bruce Willis) gets the full runaround, as he successfully returns from a surface expedition, and is then deemed capable of searching for information regarding the virus in the past. Due to the unstable nature of the time machine, Cole touches down in 1990 and is sent to an insane asylum after raving about the global plague. It is here that he meets Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), a psychiatrist who remembers him for some reason or another. Though she thinks Cole is insane, some part of her believes him.

While he’s stuck in the institution, Cole meets a- well, he meets Brad Pitt playing a batshit insane son of a world-famous virologist. This Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) sounds like a drooling, crazed version of Tyler Durden, and I’m not playing around. When he starts ranting about consumerism and modern brainwashing, I had a moment where I just wondered, “Damn, what movie is this? Is this Fight Club?” Maybe 12 Monkeys is how he got the role. I digress.

Several major things happen between that point and the end of the movie. One: Cole and Railly discover that Goine is the head of the underground group called The Army of 12 Monkeys. Kind of like space monkeys in Fight Club. Two: Brucie falls for the girl and starts to think that he is insane. Three: The girl realizes that he isn’t insane, and convinces him to continue his mission. Four: They discover that the 12 Monkey Army isn’t responsible for the virus; all they’ll do is release a bunch of animals into New York. The person responsible for the near extinction of the human race is actually one of Goine Senior’s close assistants.

12 MonkeysYou don’t get to know about that, though. It’s spoiler stuff. What I will tell you is that there’s an obscure and annoying flashback that directly related to the movie’s conclusion that Brucie constantly experiences in his dreams. That in itself is a spoiler, but only if you view the movie.

In all likelihood, I don’t think you will. Even though I have a love for Bruce Willis and all his movies, I wouldn’t call this flick one of his better works. You can’t connect to the characters, the plot is a standard “I’m not crazy!” routine, and despite the would-be intensity of everything… it gets kind of boring. In short, it’s a good movie if you’re in the mood for funky old movies with Bruce Willis in them.

James Berardinelli of ReelViews gives 12 Monkeys 4.5 stars out of 5, which I believe is just crossing the line of generous. I’ll stand by the fact that the plot was well thought out and culturally relevant at the time. It even managed to address the paradoxical nature of time travel without befuddling it like Terminator did. Check out his review here: http://www.reelviews.net/movies/t/twelve_mon.html

Limitless: Inaccurate Self Reference

Limitless

Limitless has got some pretty cliché problems, which I find ironic considering it’s about a writer. The space between the beginning and end drags its ass, and the ending itself is pretty darn insulting. As an aspiring writer, and I don’t mean that in a pretentious way, I find the ending of the movie a little offensive. Yes, there will be spoilers. Yes, they will be disappointing to some degree. Let’s turn this milk into a shake.

Edward Morra is a broke, uninspired, smoking/drinking writer with a well-to-do girlfriend and a book deal that isn’t really going anywhere. While moving from bar to home to sit down and grind out his sci-fi story about the bread and butter of American society, he encounters Vernon, the brother of his ex-wife. Vernon hands him over a gratis “magic pill” that he claims will solve all of Edward’s creative issues. Not wanting to get into substance stuff, Eddie tucks it away for later.

Of course, on the way back to his apartment, the temptation overwhelms him, and he pops the tab. As his landlord’s young wife bitches him out about being slow, stupid, broke, and useless, the effects kick in. His brain goes into overdrive, and instead of saying sorry, he helps the gal finish her history paper and has gratuitous implied sex with her. I guess being on smart drugs means you get laid. First point of distaste. THEN, he cleans up his apartment, writes ninety pages of his book and gives it to his editor, who loves it, and then goes ahead and finishes his book in four days. His life is awesome.
LimitlessUntil the effects wear off, anyway. Next day, he feels like a piece of crap. With the effects gone, he can’t think of anything to do but go pester Vernon for some more. Vernon nearly makes a chore boy out of him, making him get dry-cleaning and breakfast. Only, when Eddie returns, Vernon’s dead and his apartment has been ransacked. Naturally, Eddie calls the cops. Then, being off of the drug, he scours the apartment and finds a massive stash of pills and cash in the oven.

This is where the movie tends to lose most people. With a steady dose of these crazy smart pills, Eddie becomes a genius in every area: gambling, writing, getting laid, economics, playing stocks, mathetmatics, so on, so forth. It gets a bit hectic, but the narration manages to keep you on track enough to learn that he plays the stock market and acquires a modest amount of fame and a shitload of money.

This snowballs into the movie’s drama meat as he’s pursued by men who want the pills for themselves, all the while trying to usher in a great big corporate merger on behalf of a high-up executive who liked his style. Many of the thrills come from Eddie losing his high and being in tense situations, or simply him being awesome and solving problems like a doped out genie genius.

The conclusion… sucks. Rather than apply his genius intellect into some practical field with grand potential, like medicine, artificial intelligence, or psychology, he decides to run for president. Because only geniuses get into the White House, right? I’m not going to start a rant on political commentary as that would be superfluous. My point is, what a damned waste of brainpower. And Edward’s such a cocky bastard about it, too.

LimitlessBut it’s just a movie, so whatever. Overall, I do believe Limitless is a good movie. It may choke at the finish line and suffer some occasional “why the hell would she use a little girl’s ice skates as a weapon instead of hedge trimmers or a baseball bat” moments, but overall, the outlook is positive. Good to watch, good to rewatch, but not quite over-and-over material.

Black Sheep Reviews unloaded a double-barrel of crap all over Limitless, and for good reason, I’d say. This is a movie about potential, and it falls flat on its ass. It’s fun to watch, but if you get any deeper than “sort of paying attention,” expect massive amounts of disappointment. The moral of this story is, you can’t just take drugs and become awesome. You have to be Bradley Cooper to pull that shit off. Hah, I’m just teasing, he didn’t pull it off either. Here’s the review link: http://blacksheepreviews.blogspot.com/2011/07/limitless.html

A Clockwork Orange: A Day in the Life of Alex

A Clockwork OrangeSex. Ultraviolence. Beethoven. This is your life. This is A Clockwork Orange. This has got to be one of the most controversial 1970’s films there is, mainly because of all that at the beginning. This little slice of memorable cinematic gold focuses on the life of one Alex DeLarge, a student with a taste for late night flings that often turn dour for those on the receiving end. Set in a futuristic London, laced with nearly incomprehensible slang derived from the Russian language, A Clockwork Orange is ready to shock and thrill you, if you can handle it.

Alex DeLarge runs a little gang of hooligans with an iron hand, passing from the Korova Milk Bar to the dark roads at night. They assault the homeless, play chicken on the dark roads of London, and break into houses to run their mayhem into private properties. And, while they’re at it, they snap up a fair amount of cash and valuable trinkets, just to keep the wealth circulating.

That’s not what the movie’s about, however. At one point, Alex’s droogs get tired of his abuse, and they betray him to the police. After two years in the box, he is subject to the Ludivico Treatment, a procedure that causes slight paralysis, along with feelings of sickness and helplessness whenever he attempts to do something violent or sexual. Incidentally, they condition him against his favorite piece of music, Beethoven’s Ninth. Though he gets off of his 14 year prison sentence early with a terrible psychological conditioning, the worst has yet to come.

A Clockwork OrangeAlex comes home to find that there is a lodger living in his room, and that his parents won’t kick the lodger out. He leaves and wanders, only to be beaten up by the same homeless man that he had attacked before. Then he finds that two of his droogs have become police constables, and they spare him from the sea of violent beggars. Then, sadly, they handcuff him, take him out in the middle of nowhere, stuff his face in a trough full of stagnant water, and beat him senseless. He survives, and escapes to the house of a man who he had attacked two years prior.

This man is a writer dead-set against the current government, and against the Ludivico Treatment. It turns out he’s also against Alex, whose identity he discovers after hearing him sing “Singin’ in the Rain,” the same tune he had crooned during the past attack. Since Alex and his crew had gang-raped the writer’s wife, the now-crippled old man plots to use the treatment to drive Alex to suicide.

This is the part where I cut off to avoid spoilers! I should point out that you’ll need to have a large tolerance for original half-Russian slang, because there’s a whole shitload of it in A Clockwork Orange. Half the time you won’t know what the hell Alex and his droogs are talking about. What is a droog, you may be asking? Exactly.

A Clockwork OrangeThis is all based off of a novel of the same name, written by Anthony Burgess. While several things have changed from the book, it still maintains the prime of the plot’s integrity. Of course, since movies are more readily accessible than books, some of the sex and ultraviolence were tuned down to better suit the film for general viewing. It’s still enough to cause seizures among those who are less conditioned to that sort of thing. Personally, I think Alex is one of the most interesting fictional characters in literature, but don’t quote me on that.

You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a truly negative review that focuses on anything other than the sex and violence. This review, by James Berardinelli, is not such a review. Written in 1999, his take should offer a fresher perspective on the 1971 film. Here’s the link: http://www.reelviews.net/movies/c/clockwork.html

Minority Report: Just Cruisin’

Minority ReportThat’s right, folks! Welcome to the future, and the future is Tom Cruise. First time I saw this movie, I was mainly paying attention to Mr. Cruise and his overdramatic performance. The guy takes himself a little too seriously, and I think even that statement’s a little modest. But hey, every once in a while his tone and the movie’s hit it off in perfect harmony. This is one of those cases.

Pre-Crime is a futuristic organization that works with with three very special individuals called the Pre-Cogs, who can see murders long before they happen. Pre-Crime uses the images produced by these future-seers to apprehend criminals before the incident actually occurs. It’s an incredibly effective system, and as such, it’s placed under investigation for flaws.

John Anderton works for Pre-Crime. He lost his son at a public pool, his wife left him, and because of all this he has taken to using a drug called Clarity. Despite all this, he’s a good cop. That is, until the system declares that he will kill a man named Leo Crow in less than 36 hours. Anterton has no idea who this Leo Crow is, let alone why he would kill him. All the same, John is hunted by his police friends, and by the federal investigator Danny Witmer.

Minority ReportOn his run, Anderton encounters one of the makers of Pre-Crime, who discloses that minority reports for alternative possible futures exist within the Pre-Cogs who make the predictions. So now, he has to run back to Pre-Crime and retrieve the female of the three Pre-Cogs, Agatha, in order to find a way to extract the minority report from her. Of course, in order to even get close to Pre-Crime without being eyescan identified, he has to have his eyes plucked out and replaced.

Skipping a bit, he manages to get her, and he quickly discovers that no, he does not have a minority report. He does, however, pick up the trail of a greater conspiracy hiding behind the mask of the honorable Pre-Crime organization. Soon, John discovers that the other creator of Pre-Crime, Lamar Burgess, his old friend, used his own system to get away with murdering Anne Lively. He manages to use Anderton’s lost son and Leo Crow to cover his tracks… But no spoilers here as to whether he gets away or not.

Anne was the mother of Agatha, and a Neuroin addict. Her daughter was born with brain damage, a common issue with children born of those addicted to Neuroin, though she was saved by Lamar’s original partner, then used by Lamar as the foundation of Pre-Crime. When Anne Lively came clean and tried to reclaim her child, Lamar made sure that she wouldn’t meddle with his system.

Minority ReportThat’s all of the plot I’m giving you, but that’s all you really need. For a Tom Cruise movie, this sci-fi conspiracy thriller really manages to hold your attention without making you say, “Really…?” Well, at least not as often as you would in War of the Worlds or Valkyrie. Quality effects, good characters, intriguing plot, and you have a win.

A word of warning, though. There is a considerable amount of corny-mushiness contained. It might get a little overbearingly obnoxious at some points because of the aforementioned dramatic tone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll kill the entertainment value entirely. It might make you roll your eyes, but you’ll be pretty content with the conclusion, I think.

Kill Bill, but Not Just Yet

Kill BillKill Bill is Quentin Tarantino’s unreasonably corny and ultra-violent revenge action thriller. I’m not sure whether to warn the squeamish or the non-squeamish, considering the violence is both excessively morbid and pretty damned stupid. I suppose I could get into the nitty-gritty of that first, but it would really do the movie justice if I started with plot.

The Bride,” as the character Uma Thurman plays is called, was assaulted on her wedding day by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. Though she’s now retired, she used to belong to this squad, working under the guidance of an enigmatic man named Bill.  From initial speculation, The Bride and Bill must have had a thing going, because he crashed her wedding with the rest of his squad, murdered everybody, and shot her (during the later stages of her pregnancy) in the head. However, she didn’t die. She wakes up, finding a metal plate in her head and her baby nowhere to be found, and revenge on her mind.

One by one, The Bride hunts down those responsible for her “murder” and delivers to them the fullest extend of her vengeance. In the much loved Tarantino style, the Deadly Viper Assassins go down in a blaze of bloody fury. Vernita Green’s the first, dying from a knife to her chest in her own home. Not very exciting, but if you look closely enough during the fight, you can see Vernita’s rubber knife flopping around. Heh.

Kill BillThen The Bride goes to Japan to get a sword from Hattori Hanzo. That’s really the only part of the movie that doesn’t involve blood splurting out of ragged katana wounds like a crimson fire hose, or people firing guns through cereal boxes only to have a four inch dagger buried into their chests.

O-Ren Ishii is the half-Chinese half-Japanesese American born mob boss of the Crazy 88. She kills people a lot, which is why she’s still the boss. Unfortunately for her, she took part in the kicking of The Bride’s ass, which  earned her a one way trip to being irrevocably dead. The Bride slaughters every last one of her gangsters with Hanzo’s katana, making blood shoot out everywhere like some morbid new age artist’s masterpiece. Then, afterwards she chops the top of O-Ren Ishii’s skull off so her brain is sticking out. I forgot to mention, Lucy Liu plays O-Ren Ishii, and the skull-chopping scene would have been epic if not for the fact that it was so gosh darned silly.

Flashback (because this is a Tarantino review of a Tarantino movie) to the origin of O-Ren Ishii. Her dark and brooding past: A gangster kills her family, she kills the gangster, then becomes a world-renowned assassin. That catches Bill’s attention, and she becomes a part of his super-secret boy band. The Japanese anime style in which this is presented makes the violence almost more extreme than that of the live action movie itself. It’s awesome if you can get over how overdone it is.

Kill BillSo, uh… That’s about all there is to the movie. Violence, violence, and more silly, willy-nilly violence. I guess if you’re into that sort of thing it makes for a good watch, but I’d guess that most people just watch it for a good laugh if they’re in the mood for one of the crappier Tarantino flicks. I’m not saying this one is horrible, I’m just saying it could afford to be a lot better.

There’s a sequel, you know. The final chapter. If you make it through the first, you’re going to HAVE to see the second, just out of morbid curiosity. Very morbid curiosity. My personal recommendation, don’t see Kill Bill Volume One if you’re going to try to take it seriously. You’ll regret it. You should see it anyway, though, just to lower your standards a tad.

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