9 May 2013

L'il Kim vs Asgard

As I am saving for my wedding next year I have to budget for the movies I see. That generally means that I see and review the movies that I prefer to.

And to be fair that has to end.

So I wondered what film I really didn't want to see and should review and there was one  that stood out.

Armed with a bottle of 2011 Segfried pinot noir, a supportive girlfriend, and Heather one of my best friends, I sat and watched a movie that would probably be even worse than  the remake of Conan the Barbarian.

Not that you will probably care but this review is one of the exceptionally few that has spoilers.

Here we go.

The 1984 film By John Milus was set during the feasible paranoia of the cold war period. The remake tries to create a similar sense of paranoia with the current economic crisis in Europe, and the tensions between the western world and North Korea. While the economic situation globally is a concern, when it comes to the military might of the DPRK, the tension that was created swiftly becomes what seems like a set up for a joke by the The Onion. 

With the premise tenuously and ludicrous set, the movie is starts off introducing the two main protagonists. Patrick Swayze played by Thor (Chris Hemsworth), a marine back home on leave, and his annoying selfish little brother Matt (Josh Peck whose previous work was playing the dorky kid of a lame Nickelodeon tween sitcom.) Matt is a senior at the local high school and is dating Erica (Isabel Lucas from Home and Away) who has apparently been held back from graduating for the last seven years.

After a terribly angsty reunion with his brother there is some sulking and low carb beer then the mighty North Korean military invades USA. More planes than I think the US air force has built, ever suddenly appear over the suburban streets of California, and they release one million elite North Korean paratroopers.
 Now I don't know much about Para troops, but it seems foolish to drop in a parachute in an area filled with power lines, trees, etc where your parachute would get tangled and you might die?

Anyway there is an epic car chase brought to you by Dodge, and Erica is taken by the evil North Koreans.

A group of kids escape the city with the brothers and hide in the woods, including Robert (Josh Hutcherson) and Daryl (Connor Cruise),the others who were described by my friend H as "the expendables".

The North Koreans show up with the brothers policeman father (Brett Cullen) and the town mayor (Michael Beach)who is Daryl’s father. The brothers watch as the  their father is murdered after a rousing speech of defiance by Captain Cho, the North Koreans evil leader
Good work Brett Cullen you were better than this movie.

Roused by predictable righteous vengeance Jed (Thor, sorry Chris Hemsworth) cleverly uses an 80's montage to train this rag tag bunch of kids into an effective fighting force. Luckily for the kids Obama hasn’t managed to get automatic weapons banned by the time of the invasion.

Thanks to the NRA, the fledgling rebels commit several successful raids. But tension builds between the brothers.  Partially because young Matt is not a team player and recklessly endangers the others by going to town hoping to catch a glimpse of the beautiful but academically challenged Erica, but also because Jed can’t stand his little brother inability to emote beyond a sulk.
Like an emo smoulder so is the acting of Peck

This tension comes to a head when during a raid in the town Matt is confronted by some potentially genuine emotion from Daryl, who has discovered that his father is a collaborator. Matt then runs off to rescue Erica from a bus getting, Greg(Julian Alcaraz), one of the expendables killed in the process. Typically in Hollywood films the minorities are the first to die, and in Red Dawn 2012 it appears that Hispanic is the new Black. 

Matt also thwarts Erica’s attempt to rescue anyone else from the prison bus by groping her until she leaves with him. 

Back at base Julie (Alyssa Diaz), Greg’s sister is furious at Matt getting her brother killed during the most sexually awkward rescue attempt in the last 25 years of cinema. But the last expendable Danny (Edwin Hodge) brings the team back together after a rousing talk and inexplicably Julie forgives Matt for getting her  brother killed. 

Jed and love interest Toni (Adrianne Palicki) try to bring some credibility to the film with an intimate moment together. But before they can the North Koreans attack the base killing off the last of the expendables, Julie and Danny.  I suspect Matt, or at least John Peck’s agent  betrayed the rebels to the North Koreans as Danny and Julie were clearly superior actors.

As the survivors flee they come across a trio of marines led by Jeffrey Dean Morgan who reveals that it is not just the North Koreans superior military that has defeated the USA, but their superior technology.  Apparently the North Koreans have used some sort of EMP device to knock out US communications, but the North Koreans have some sort of coms unit that is immune to the EMP.   

At this point two things dawned upon me; the first was that maybe it was South Korea that had invaded  pretending to be North Korea? That seemed more plausible given their military and technological advancements. And secondly the script appears to have been written by a nine year old boy. 
This boys model army is a more feasible invading force

You can’t use your communications network because of my magic emp ray!
 Then how come you guys have phones?
 Umm because I have magic phones that are immune to my magic emp ray.  

 The kids team up with the marines to steal the device and violent hjinx ensue and climax with Thor killing his archenemy Cho with his fathers gun.  The get the magic doo-hicky but Daryl is caught by the North Koreans Spetsnatz allies, despite being a slim teenage boy and a minority he some how manages to escape death at the hands of the Russian special forces. Apparently he is not a threat to Josh's acting ability after all.


Sensing the end of the film Thor congratulates his little brother and goes to get the girl, but before he can Thor is killed by the spetsnatz or trolls I forget. It turns out that the Spetsnatz let Daryl get away with a tracking device.  So Daryl is left behind.  In a desperate attempt to save their careers the surviving marines fly out with the magic phone, and the film ends with Josh Peck doing a bad Chris Hemsworth impersonation to a group of new recruits and I ran out of wine.


Apart from Josh Peck the cast do a reasonable job with what they have. The premise is so ludicrous it is nonsensical. The only thing that does make sense about this movie is that it is a collaboration between Josh Pecks agent and the North Korean defence marketing department. Seriously as soon as some one gave a half decent performance they died! And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse they killed Chris Hemsworth. Isabel Lucas is barely in the film, and Josh Hutcherson carries Conner Cruise a little, but both are ok. 

I can't really say anyhting else except to say do not see this movie, not even for a dare. You know those films that are so bad they are funny, this is just bad. 

Two monkeys 

6 May 2013

Weding Expo

I like expos, they are usually quite an entertaining couple of hours, with goodies and a bag of flyers that generally go straight into the recycling. Of course I the only expo I go to is the food and wine show, where I can load up on delicious snacks and wine.    
But I was interested to see what a wedding expo was like. 
I had a vague idea from the various romantic comedies on TV and film so I knew it wasn’t going to be like Armageddon, or sadly Comiccon San Diego. Although if it was that would be interesting:
Bride cosplay
Me  “Who are you?”
Bride cos-player# A “Oh I am Muriel from Muriel’s wedding
 Me “And you? 
Bride cos-player# B “Oh I am Four weddings and a funeral.”
Me “ Really? Are you the wedding or the funeral?”
And that is how the fight started. 

So the novelty of a sea of cos-players dressing up as famous brides from movies might become a bit ‘samey’. 

Anyway my lady, friend H and I set off to check it out.  I was interested to see how long we would last. Not because I suspected I would get bored, more the fact the girls had been out to a friend’s hens night the previous evening and were slightly worse for wear.  

Once we arrived we were all given labels; Groom, Bride, Brides best friend.  While a novelty, it also quickly identifies who to speak to and who not to speak to. More on that later. 

We decided to do a circuit first and then work our way methodically through the middle.  Almost immediately we found a photographer that Rach had put on the short list.  I liked his dramatic use of light and his open horizons. And they were very nice people to deal with.  That might sound a little weird, but you spend half your day with these people so you have to have a rapport with them.  One photographer we spoke to later seemed like she was coked up to the eyeballs, and we barely coped with her intense ‘enthusiasm’ for our wedding for the five minutes we chatted to her, let alone half a day. 

There were hire places which were good, DJ’s, Venue hire, wedding videos, and catering which were of no interest to us as we have already sorted that.  Although I admit I am one of those terrible people that pretend to be interested just to get free samples of food. 

One thing that interested me was there was no cake tasting. I would have thought that if you wanted me to spend one hundred and eleventy million dollars for you to supply our wedding cake then surely we should taste it first? 

There were hire cars which was very good because my lady had not been all that fussed on the cars really, and I had thought she would look great in a vintage car, and enjoy it more as well. So when she looked at this lovely old Bentley I could see she got what I meant.  And I guess that is why these sorts of events are helpful. If you just get one single idea, or one aspect of your wedding sorted then it is worth attending. 

As with anything there was an overall theme, and the 2013 wedding expo was pretty hipster. Vintage was queen. There was ironically rustic, vintage everything; from a crooner, to confectionary bars to a vintage caravan you can hire. Ironically this suits my lady to a T. She is unconsciously   hipster in her tastes.  And in true hipster style because it is currently fashionable she won’t do it.  Also we are not spending $20 each for a ‘vintage’ jam jar which my mum has just to pop a tea light in it. 

Maybe I can try and sell my catering idea of a bull roasting on a spit as ‘ironic’ to her?  What is more ironic than a six foot iron stake right?
So ironic

But for all of you that are addicted to that gypsy wedding theme do not panic. There was a two mile long purple stretch hummer out the front just for you. 

During the expo I had a self-imposed isolation clause while the girls looked at wedding dresses.  This meant I had to wander around sans bride.  And this highlighted a small issue for me. About one in three stalls blanked me, not a bride, not interested. One catering place I forced to engage with me. But they were pretty reluctant, and had no interest in talking to me at all about their catering ideas.  And while I didn’t care as we have already sorted that, if I hadn’t we certainly wouldn’t be using them.  

That aside most people were actually very nice.  And the winner of the day for being nice to the groom would have to be a tie between Pretty Vintage and the New Zealand Weddings Magazine people.  Both of which shall be getting custom from us in the future.   And a small note for all you stalls that refuse to talk to grooms I suspect your business may suffer from August, and rightfully so. 

Going to the wedding expo was really informative and interesting. It had stalls for those who want other people to plan the wedding, to those like us who want to plan our own.  I think that if you can just get inspired by something then it is worth it.  For me it was fine.  There were certainly some grooms that were wandering around like little boys being taken clothes shopping by their mum.  I found it interesting, but then I am actively involving myself in the wedding planning. 

One thing I recommend to the expo people is maybe more food and catering stalls, more wine tasting, cake tasting and maybe a bbq? Maybe a pig on a spit? 

Just a thought.