Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

Stephen King’s The Stand   Leave a comment

Finished watching The Stand. I forgot how much I liked that show. Gary Sinise, Rob Lowe, Bill Fagerbakke. “M-O-O-N that spells moon.”

I watched it back when it was originally on TV in 1994. I don’t remember my reaction then, other than that I liked it, and after watching it, I read the book. (That’s big for me, I NEVER see the movie first. In fact, I’m taping Under The Dome, and will not watch it until I finish the book. Which I just started.)

(This morning.)

Jamey Sheridan was creepy as hell. If they do make the Dark Tower books into movies (AND THEY SHOULD REALLY REALLY DO THIS) they should get him to reprise Flagg. So he’s older. So what? He aged well.

jamey sheridan

(Sheridan in Law & Order:Criminal Intent, and as the devilish Randall Flagg)

Speaking of aging well, here’s a recent random pic of Rob Lowe.


His character was really interesting, and very much against type. Yeah, he was a pretty boy, he couldn’t help but be, but it was still a very different role for him.

And here’s a pic of Gary Sinise, because I like pics of Gary Sinise.


And speaking of aging well, (let’s just roll with this, shall we?) Bill Fagerbakke. A favorite of mine from his role as Dauber on Coach-

COACH-- Bill Fagerbakke

and then as Tom Cullen in The Stand-
bill MOON
M-O-O-N that spells moon….

And Bill aged well, too. Here he is today:

About the only actors I didn’t really enjoy in The Stand were the two women. I think the reason I didn’t get into Laura San Giacomo was her clothes. Whoever did costuming for the show missed the boat with her. And with Molly Ringwald as well. They dressed Molly as if it was 1962 and she was an Army wife. It was ridiculous, and it was only Gary Sinise’s acting ability that convinced me Stu was really in love with Franny.

I wanted to like Molly Ringwald’s character. There’s not a lot of Franny’s out there, and we must stick together. And I loved her in so many other things-The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Tempest – but she was just so – awkwardly WRONG in this role.

Still, I enjoyed watching it again. I teared up when Mother Abigail told Larry and Ralph to come home. I respected Lloyd’s loyalty to Flagg. And I crowed like a fangirl when I recognized the face playing Teddy Weizak. In 1994, I wasn’t a huge Stephen King fan. I’d only read one or two books, and had no idea what he looked like. Today I do, as he may be one of the most recognizable authors next to J.K. Rowling. And his just-slightly-over-acted-yet-happy-making-because-hell-he’s-Stephen-King take on Teddy made me smile every time he was onscreen.

Laura San Giacomo and Stephen King

One last word: “Don’t screw with my disco, Nadine.”



Cheated   Leave a comment

Yesterday we went to see Ironman 3. Finally. I’ve been trying to go see it since the weekend it came out. We decided to go to the 3D version: 1) because I found that the new 3D is not half bad at all. In fact, it’s quite good. And 2) because of the really, really cool 3D glasses they’re giving out.


So when we asked for our glasses, after paying for our tickets, and she handed us the same, plain, black 3D glasses they have for every show, I was almost close to angry. And then the woman said she didn’t know what we were talking about. Well, whatever.

The movie was excellent, the story went places I didn’t expect, not having, thankfully, heard or seen any spoilers. Ben Kingsley was a quiet delight, very much enjoyed his character, I must say.

This week I hope to see Star Trek. No cool glasses expected, but I still wish I had the Ironman ones!

Posted May 20, 2013 by Fran LaPlaca in daily, movies

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Adrift in Tokyo (a tale of The Hair)   Leave a comment

Just finished watching Adrift in Tokyo, a Japanese movie based on a book by Yoshinaga Fujita. (which I can’t find in English sadly, as I’d love to read it now that I’ve seen the film)


The plot synopsis from Wikipedia says, “Leading a lazy life, Fumiya has been a student for 8 years and owes money to loan sharks. One day, a man named Fukuhara comes to collect the loan, which Fumiya cannot pay. So Fukuhara makes a proposition: He will cancel the debt as long as Fumiya agrees to walk with him across Tokyo to the police station of Kasumigaseki, where he intends to turn himself for a crime he deeply regrets. Not having much choice, Fumiya accepts the deal. Thus begins their journey.”

It stars Tomokazu Miura as Fukuhara, and (what really drew me in) Jo Odagiri as Fumiya, sporting a head of hair that is at first glance terrifying; at second glance, glorious. But The Hair (it should have it’s own line in the credits) grows on you, and within minutes you can’t imagine Fumiya any other way. In fact, it becomes almost attractive. Almost.

the hair

Jo Odagiri on the left (THE HAIR RULES) and Tomokazu Miura on the right. (Don’t ask about the nose.)

There was a small side story running through of a group of three office workers who were worried about a co-worker. They decide to check up on her (it is actually relevant to the main storyline, though the two lines never cross) but never quite manage to stay on track. I found myself waiting almost impatiently to see what would cause them to veer off course every time they showed up onscreen.

It was actually a really sweet film, quietly funny in places, sad in others, heartwarming throughout. I’ve only seen Odagiri before this in Mushi-shi, but since I really liked both Mushi-shi and Adrift in Tokyo, I plan to look out for more of his stuff. Though I didn’t realize it until after, I’d seen Miura in The Taste of Tea a year or so ago. (Also recommended.)

All in all a good find, this movie. Watch it.

You won’t regret it, if only for The Hair.

mushshi Taste-of-tea

From Up On Poppy Hill   Leave a comment

I was lucky enough to go see Studio Ghibli’s latest, From Up On Poppy Hill, last week. It’s been released to a limited amount of theaters, which generally means the closest city would be Boston or New York, but for some odd reason it showed up on the list as playing at The Moviehouse in Millerton, NY.

I had checked the theater list about a month prior, and Millerton wasn’t listed. Then I saw a post on Facebook saying they had added cities, so I checked, thinking maybe Hartford would be there. Instead I saw Millerton, which is not only near, (about 40 minutes) but a much nicer drive than into Hartford. The catch? It was only playing there for two more days. I happened to be off from my paying job that day, but had to work the next day. So it was then, or never.

I texted my daughter to see if she wanted to go. If not, I would go to an earlier show, but she did, and her best friend was able to come as well. Her best friend is a HUGE Hayao Miyazaki fan, just like me. So that afternoon, we headed out.

As I said, it’s a gorgeous drive, and it was one of the first really nice days we’ve had. The girls had been separated for a couple of weeks due to an out-of-state vacation, so they jabbered and talked non-stop the whole way while I enjoyed the scenery and kept the car window down.

I think I’ve only been to Millerton once before, a long time ago, so I had to drive up and down Main Street twice before I saw the theater. The picture on their website didn’t prepare me for how tiny the entrance once. Then I had to turn around and come back to find a parking space.

They had four movies playing, so they must have four theaters. Poppy Hill was playing in what was called The Screening Room, up this steep, wide staircase to the second floor. Outside in the hallway was a coffee bar, so the girls bought a coffee something-or-other. I sent them downstairs for popcorn, but felt guilty once we got in the theater. It’s for artsy-fartsy films, I’m guessing. It’s a small, living room-sized room with couches and chairs. Big windows, and one nice wall with speakers along the bottom. Not made for popcorn eaters.

IMG_0355 IMG_0356 IMG_0357

At first it was just the three of us, and we naturally sat on the couches. A bad choice, it turned out later, because the backs were far too low for comfort when you’re tilting your head to watch the screen. They were wide enough to slide down and get comfy, but I don’t slide well. Then we were joined by two elderly women, and I think two men came in just before it began. The manager (?) came in before the movie started and told us what would be playing next week and so on, and we felt even more out of place with our tub of popcorn.

This was not a theater made with anime fans in mind, and they might have been slightly horrified at Rachel’s pink hair and Kethry’s trans style, accompanied by my white hair, Black Butler t-shirt, and our back packs. But this was Miyazaki, and this was Studio Ghibli, and no way were we going to miss it.

If they issue it in a wider release take yourself to see it. It was just what you’d want from both Miyazaki’s and Ghibli. Not as childlike as Ponyo or Kiki, no fantasy elements like in Princess Mononoke or Spiritied Away, or my two absolute favorites, My Neighbor Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle.

It’s described as a ‘coming of age’ story, and it is, but it is also a nice, gentle love story. It had that slice-of-life feel that so many Japanese films have, where not much really happens, but what does happen fills you up. And in Umi and Shun’s lives, the little that happened meant everything to them.

Rachel pointed something out that I hadn’t realized before. In nearly every movie from Miyazaki or Ghibli, there is always a major house cleaning scene. I have no idea what the significance of that is, but thinking back, she’s right. I wonder what it means. (I did search for that one damned piece of popcorn I know I spilled, but I couldn’t find it, I swear.)


Hold On To Your Butts   Leave a comment

The last time I saw a 3D movie had to be…hmm…Spy Kids 3D.

Which was not the best movie even without the 3D, (far too little Antonio Banderas) and only honed my dislike for 3D. I vaguely remember taking off my 3D glasses in the theater and watching parts of it all blurry and red and blue, just because. It seemed to me that with or without the 3D glasses, I still couldn’t see the movie. Not really.


I never could SEE what you were supposed to SEE. It was just blurry crap. I saw a couple of slightly better quality 3D movies in Disney World. The bug one, and the Muppet one. Better, but still, what’s the big deal?

Now 3D films have been coming out left and right for several years, all ‘new and improved’. And since they were more expensive, and since I knew I hated 3D, I was not about to waste my money going to see them.

Then Steven Spielberg remastered Jurassic Park in ‘real 3D’ or whatever it’s called. So I thought, well, it’s one of my favorite movies. I already know how good it is, and what it looks like. Why not go on Cheap Tuesday and finally see what the big fuss is all about?

So I did.

Now when they make a movie specifically meant for 3D viewing, it makes a difference. Scenes and shots are filmed and staged and set up with that in mind. Jurassic Park was not. And online reviews that I’ve seen have said that the 3D in this re-outing is good, but not the best.

That said….I love this new 3D. It was worth giving it a shot. I can’t really comment on the quality, since this is the first one I’ve ever seen, but compared to the last one I saw, I found it pretty impressive. I can’t wait now to see a movie made for 3D. Star Trek: Into Darkness maybe? The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug? Ironman 3? 47 Ronin?

I’m actually a little bit excited. Don’t let me down!


Yo Joe!   Leave a comment

Just got back from seeing G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and went online to see what others thought of it. I was slightly disappointed in the reviews I found.

Was I the only person to enjoy this film? I love action movies, and I love martial arts movies, and I love military movies. I also have a soft spot for good looking men in all of those. G.I. Joe had all that, and a couple of very gorgeous women for others to ogle at. (Although I will admit one of the women was there for no apparent reason – since I’m not familiar with the Joe world, I will assume she has a part in future stories, since they inducted her into the Joes at the end…Oh! Was that a spoiler??)

WARNING!! A few more possible spoilers ahead!!

John McClane Bruce Willis has a small part, and a couple of good lines.



Dwayne Johnson is appropriately large and tattooed.


(He didn’t smile this much in the movie)

Channing Tatum, from Magic Mike, which I have NOT seen (yet), leads the Joes into action.


Duke/Mike. Duke Mike?

Ray Park, one-time Sith Lord, is the silent yet deadly Snake Eyes, (I kept wanting to call him Cyclops) and had one of the best battles ever, atop a mountainside somewhere (Tibet? Dunno) fighting a band red-clad ninjas on apparently endless zip-lines, while carrying a body and wielding a sword. (Do they really have zip-lines at Tibetan monasteries?


Snake Eyes Over Maul

And the zip-line-monastary-mountain-ninja battle.


Okay, here’s the ladies of Joe. Gorgeous, and they can kick ass, too.


Adrienne Palicki as Lady Jaye and Elodie Yung as Jinx

OK. So we have explosions, Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, The Rock, two beautiful, deadly women, a bad guy in a mask Did I mention the bad guys? No? Sorry.

There’s a bad guy. His name is Commander Something-Or-Other. J/K, it’s Cobra Commander. Oh, and Jonathon Pryce gets to play two roles – the President of the United States, tied up, beaten and tortured, and Zartan masquerading as the President, slimy and yet somehow fun, even as he pushes the button to launch World War 3.

And finally, my favorite part of the whole film. I have, as some of you know, a fondness for fictional ninjas. So I leave you with Lee Byung-hun asĀ Storm Shadow. You can click on this one to open full size, should you like.



Listening to: Illness Illusion – GACKT – Mars album

20th Century Boys   Leave a comment

My favorite manga by far is and has been 20th Century Boys, with the follow-up two volume 21st Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa. I read it in its entirety one weekend about a year or so ago on one of those online scanlation sites. I couldn’t stop reading. I remember having a huge headache, and staying up far too late, reading again before work the next day, and coming home and diving right back in, until the story was finished. It was one of those stories you want to read again, but it’s so long and twisty-turvy you hesitate to begin again too soon.


Then the movies came out. Three of them, and I bought them immediately. I wanted to wait until I had all three before watching them, but I gave in a month before the third one was released, and watched the first two. Then had to sigh and wait – and wait – and wait…until the third one came out.

On a side note, it began an obsession with the actor who played Otcho, Etsushi Toyokawa.


(Otcho – the Shogun)

Which led to the amazing movie, Face, which starred the even-more-amazing Naomi Fujiyama. I’m still convinced that Masako swam straight into…well, never mind. You should watch it. And while you’re at it, watch The Man Behind the Scissors and Hula Girls as well.

 alt= scissors hula

But back to 20th Century Boys. I began collecting the manga, and in yesterday’s mail came the final volume. My collection is complete, and now I can start reading it again. As many times as I want.

(as you can see, the precious pile of books is being guarded by not only a band of kick-ass ninjas, but by Colonel Roy Mustang as well, and he is not going to let anyone get past him.)

Oh. Wait. Mustang is the Flame Alchemist. And the books are made out of – paper.

Maybe I should re-think my guardians. I’ll let Shikamaru think of a better strategy. Meanwhile, here’s a picture of two Kakashis with an apple. Kakashis love apples.

(New, current Kakashi and younger, Anbu Kakashi. And an apple.)