Movie week 2008

Just like last year, the boys spent last week at their grandparents houses (Nicky at Gail’s dad’s place and Ryan with my parents), and Gail and I had the week to ourselves. One of the things Gail and I miss most about life pre-kids is going out to movies — we do get babysitters now and again so we can go, but it’s a hassle and we just don’t do it very often, so on our kid-free weeks, we tend to go to a bunch of movies. I think we saw three in the week last year, plus went to the CNE and went to see We Will Rock You as well. This past week, I think I set a personal record for a single week — we saw four movies in five days (plus we rented The Da Vinci Code, the first Hellboy (to prepare ourselves for Hellboy II which we didn’t end up seeing anyway), and another movie called Untraceable, which was not bad. It had some techno-babble in it but it seemed like they actually talked to someone who knows technical stuff, since it at least approached making sense, unlike CSI: NY.

This year, we actually have two kid-free weeks, since the boys are doing the grandparents thing again the week after Fern, though they’re swapping grandparents. We decided to go to a bunch of movies during the first week, and if we get nothing done around the house, so be it. Then we’ll get more stuff done during the second week, though I’m sure a movie or two will still be involved. This past week, we’ve seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Monday, The X Files: I Want To Believe on Tuesday, The Dark Knight on Wednesday, and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor on Friday (I had a baseball game on Thursday). We were going to see a double feature on Friday with The Mummy and Hellboy II, but many theatres stopped playing Hellboy II on Thursday and started playing The Mummy instead. At the one or two theatres still playing it, we couldn’t get the showtimes to match up.

Here are some mini-reviews:

Indiana Jones: Entertaining and fun. Harrison Ford is great, and I liked the fact that they made him older (meaning they didn’t try to ignore the fact that he’s not 45 anymore) and a little more vulnerable. The story wasn’t bad, but if you’re expecting another Raiders or Last Crusade, you might be disappointed. The swordfight between the Russian soldier from hell and the teenager was a little silly, made even sillier by the fact that he was standing on a Jeep driven by his mother. She sees her son in a fight to the death and does not stop the Jeep. Still better than the awful Temple of Doom, though.

X Files: I liked it, Gail not so much. It was basically a long episode (which the first X Files movie was not) with a bit of a love story in there too. Billy Connolly was very good, though it’s odd that a creepy pedophile turns out to be kind of a good guy. The climax of the film was a little weak, but overall it was pretty good. Gail was worried it would be too scary (a few X-Files episodes creeped her out a little much, and more than one did the same to me — more on this below), but it wasn’t that scary. The trailer for the upcoming Mirrors — now that was scary.

The Dark Knight: Wow. Just, wow. I read Roger Ebert’s review of this movie after I saw it, and I really shouldn’t do that before writing my own review, since I frequently agree with him and now I just want to quote what he said. The acting was outstanding — Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart (who I don’t usually like) and Michael Caine (I can’t get used to the Cockney accent, though I believe that’s his real accent) were all great, and Heath Ledger was amazing as the very creepy and psychotic Joker. I was wondering if Ledger could “out-Jack” Jack, but to his credit he didn’t even try; his Joker was a different kind of crazy than Jack’s. I’m surprised I haven’t heard any outrage from women’s groups over this one — there’s all of one significant female character in this whole movie. The only other women who speak are the corrupt cop and a couple of crying wives. Anyway, Ebert’s right — this and Batman Begins are a new kind of comic book movie, which is good because until they started over with Batman Begins, the Batman movies were getting steadily worse. Drawback: the Joker’s “one of you will die, but you choose which one” schemes reminded me of the movie “Saw”.

The Mummy: Another fun-but-silly one. I really liked the first one, though I don’t remember the second one much. I do remember that The Rock played the evil Scorpion King, who subsequently got his own movie and somehow became the good guy in that. Anyway, the third one wasn’t bad, it had some funny bits and lots of action. The one thing that annoyed me was that they kept saying that they had to prevent the Emperor from doing something as if failing to do that would mean instant doom for everyone. Then he did it anyway, and they decided that they now had to stop him from doing something else. “We have to stop the Emperor from getting the diamond! Oh, he got the diamond. OK, we have to stop the Emperor from putting it at the top of the magic tower! Oh, he did that too. OK, we have to stop the Emperor from getting to Shangri-La! Oh, he’s there now. OK…” I guess it’s important to set goals for yourself.

The X Files thing I mentioned before: after a particularly creepy X Files episode (no idea which one), Gail said that she couldn’t possibly go to bed right away, so we needed to stay up a little later and watch something else to take her mind off of it. I said sure, so we chose something to watch. Gail then said she wanted a Coke, but we didn’t have any upstairs, only in the cold room in the basement. Gail opened the door to the basement, looked down the dark staircase, and then turned to me and sweetly asked if I wouldn’t mind going to get her one. I didn’t quite puff out my chest and deepen my voice, but I gallantly told her that it would be no problem, and I really thought it wouldn’t be. I stepped through the open door and flicked on the light switch. As I did, the light bulb in the fixture at the bottom of the basement stairs blew out with a bang. I quickly turned off the light, closed the basement door, and said “Sorry, no Coke tonight”. Gail, who was standing next to me, agreed, and we went to get glasses of water.


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