Friday, February 22, 2013

Call it a movie day Mar 12, 2007 4:48AM PST

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It's just as violent and shallow as you think it is but first let's solve the mystery I went to see it for(not really)

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The reason this guy was standing next to that hole is because he was a messenger, supposedly meaning it was blasphemous to harm him. It"s a stupid reason sure but mystery solved

Anyway, story is pretty basic begginning with main character Spartan King Leonidus(pictured at top)'s training as a child and a chance encounter with a laughably obvious CGI black wolf in the snow just so you know how badass this kid is.

Of course, the meat of the story lies in the empire of Persia wishing to take over Greece and King Leonidus not having any of it(as seen in 2nd picture).

But before Leonidus can start anything he has to ask a corrupt assembly that lives on the top of a hill(lightning added for effect) to ask permission from the gods.

The reality of this revered assembly is they're all freaky orc-like beings under cloaks who want some gold out of Leonidus before they hear his plea and go through a ritual of using the most beautiful Spartan women to let the gods speak through:

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Leonidus's reaction to this as he tells his wife is basically "To hell with them and that stupid drunk girl, I'm pwning me some Persians"(editor's note: not actual quote).

A sex scene takes place immediately afterwards, effectively alienating females in the audience with a completely unnecessary slow-mo take on the Spartan Queen mid climax in doggy style position.

Once Leonidus gathers his army of 300, the movie basically progresses from wave to wave of the Persian army(kill Persians, some setup, kill Persians, some setup etc.) and overused but still excellent and badass fight scenes

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(Not pictured: best use of slo-mo in a movie ever)

One problem I had with the film was that pretty much all the bad guys were anyone who wasn't white and considerably good-looking.

At least some dignity is given with how freaking tall Persian leader and self-described "god-king" Zerkses is.

Zerkses grants people(namely a hunchback the Spartan leader rejects) anything they want as long as they bow to him. Beautiful women, money, anything. Which of course the Spartans are supposed to contradict because their men are warriors with freedom, Persians are just slaves with armor.

Every skirmish is presented as epic and important which can get tiring, but ultimately makes the film fun to watch as Rhinos and Elephants and giant creatures fall at the hands of Spartan swords, spears, and shields sometimes used as deadly frisbees.

Main character Leonidus has plenty of popcorn-movie witty quotes. For instance in one scene while his army builds a wall of dead Persian bodies they're stabbing(just to make sure they're dead), Leonidus recieves word that the Persian king may be willing to compromise. The messenger is shocked that Leonidus is willing to consider and in response to the reaction Leonidus states(while biting an apple and getting stab-happy) "There's no reason we can't be cicilized y'know". At least while the characters in the film aren't exactly deep, most Spartans are inherently likeable.

Ultimately, 300 is just a really good, shallow as hell action film that's so badass it more than makes up for the miniscule plot.

I just wish the movie hadn't ended with a you-know-what-happens-next march into camera then fade into credits scene. Damnit I don't care if I know what happens next, I want CGI bloodshed!

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Good Cop Bad Cop at its very finest.

In The Departed, Jack Nicholson is a crime boss named Frank Costello that nurtures Colin Sullivan(aka "Sullivan's kid", played by Matt Damon) and encourages the boy to become a cop so he can use him as a rat with direct access to police information. Sullivan gets to be a "Statsie" or Massachusets police officer, in other words a "big shot". Leonardo DiCaprio plays Billy Costigan, and undercover cop with bad family history, a record of violent behavior, a coke dealing cousin and ends up being one of Costello's cronies in order to build a case on the crimelord.

The boss of the bigshot Statsies Alec Baldwin takes a liking to Costello informant Sullivan. Meanwhile, Costigan's detective handler played by Mark Walberg treats him like crap with only some relief from fellow detective handler played by Martin Sheen.

I can't really say much else plotwise other than "really good twists" without spoilers so I'll just leave it at how well-done the movie was.

All involved give great performances, with DiCaprio surprisingly totally pulling off the street-wise yet severely depressed badass character, becoming the most likeable charcter in the film in the process. It should be obvious why Nicholson's so good at playing a crime boss, and Damon, Sheen and Walbherg are all equally convincing. And of course there's coincidences and trickery galore that keep you guessing as any good crime drama does.

My only real gripes with this film were that 1) in the opening scenes we get Nicholson's speech on why he doesn't like black people because they expect things handed to them. Outside of a black hooker he sleeps with, there are no other black people involved in the film and deeper insight to why Costello is such a racist never gets revisited. It's a minor complaint but frustrating nonetheless.

And 2) at the very end of the film, the characters get a little too trigger happy. The first few deaths can be surprising and provoke sympathy, but the fastly executed cluster of death towards the end ultimately works to make every subsequent death less and less meaningful than the one that preceded it due to the fact after a certain point you're just expecting everyone to get shot anyway.

But don't let a mere two gripes get in the way of a great crime drama with nothing but good elements of moviemaking from excellent writing to directing to acting.

HUGE EDIT: Sullivan is played by Matt Damon(one that actually wrote Good Will Hunting), not his friend(guy from Gigli) Ben Affleck! Joay apologizes

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