In My Humble Opinion: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a ridiculous departure from the Jack Ryan character we’ve become familiar with. If you’re unfamiliar with the character Jack Ryan, he is a character featured in Tom Clancy’s novels as well as their big screen adaptations. If you haven’t seen the films surely you’ve at least heard of: The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears. Now since I haven’t read the novels I will be referring to the movies because those are what I’m what familiar with. Ryan is a CIA analyst (though I believe he’s retired in Patriot Games) who finds himself thrust into dangerous situations where he’s forced to operate outside of his comfort zone in order to save the day. He’s kind of an everyday man dealing with situations he’s not used to and is generally unprepared for. To me, that’s what always made him a little bit more relatable and realistic knowing he was in over his head; that was always the appeal of his character. This all led me to ask the question after seeing trailers for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, “Why?”
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit breaks formula and features Ryan as a CIA field agent who must travel to Moscow to prevent an imminent terrorist attack. If you’ve seen the trailers perhaps you agree that the premise looks more James Bond / Jason Bourne than Jack Ryan. It’s just too much of a departure in my opinion. I remember with all the other movies that preceded Shadow Recruit there was a running gag in which Ryan had to remind anyone and everyone around him that he was just an analyst. Alec Baldwin (my favorite Jack Ryan) put it best in The Hunt for Red October when he said, “I’m not field personal, I’m just an analyst. I’m not an agent, I just write books for the CIA.”
So back to my question of why? Why reboot a character that still has plenty of source material to pull from? There are still five other Tom Clancy novels featuring Jack Ryan that haven’t been made into feature films. Why not adapt those and stay true to the character? Why not just start fresh with a brand new character instead of trying to cash in on the name Jack Ryan? I mean if Hollywood really wants to bring a literary figure into the action film genre why not tap into the character Mitch Rapp? Mitch Rapp is a character featured in the novels written by Vince Flynn (awesome spy name by itself right?) that IS a spec ops, black bag, CIA spy type that travels the globe preventing terrorist attacks, keeping America safe, etc. Personally, I think he’d be the perfect character to be brought to the big screen. Sorry for the rant, just doesn’t make sense to me.
THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO TOM CLANCY AND VINCE FLYNN
TOM CLANCY PASSED AWAY ON OCTOBER 1, 2013 FROM UNDISCLOSED ILLNESSES. HE WAS 66 AT THE TIME.
VINCE FLYNN PASSED AWAY JUNE 9, 2013 AFTER A THREE YEAR BATTLE WITH PROSTATE CANCER. HE WAS 47 AT THE TIME.
In My Humble Opinion: Sherlock is an incredible show that deserves more notoriety. Martin Freeman (Dr. John Watson) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes) each turn in remarkable performances that make the masterfully written show all that much better. Season 2 ended with a cliffhanger! Watson witnessed his best friend Holmes leap to his own death in order to protect those closest to him (a plot line involving the infamous Moriarty, who eventually took his own life as well) Of course, the viewers were let in on the secret that Holmes had in fact faked his own death but were left wondering why and how he pulled it off. Now, like the cab driver from the first episode, I give you a choice; you can wait for the Sherlock premiere on January 19 for the answers to these questions or you can read below. CAUTION SPOILERS BELOW!
Two years after his reported demise, Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) has been completely exonerated of the slander he endured at the hands of James Moriarty. The opening scene shows a version of how Sherlock might have faked his death. Sherlock jumps from the roof with a bungee cable, bouncing back and entering the building through a window, where Molly stood waiting for him. While Sherlock escaped, members of his homeless network put a mask on Moriarty’s face so that he would look like Sherlock and dragged him onto the street to the spot where Sherlock would have landed and sprayed him with fake blood. While all this was happening, Watson was lying on the ground, having just been run over by a cyclist, who was in on the plan in order to give the others time to plant the body. This however is all shown to be a conspiracy theory of Anderson. Sherlock, with the aid of Mycroft, returns to London which is under threat of a terrorist attack. Watson has moved on and has a girlfriend, Mary Morstan (Amanda Abbington), whom he intends to propose to in a restaurant. Sherlock of course enters the restaurant disguised as a French waiter with a thick accent. Sherlock visits John’s table a couple of times before Watson figures out that it is in fact Holmes. Sherlock reveals that he faked his own death. John fueled by anger, hits Sherlock more than a few times. Sherlock enlists Molly to assist him in the case of an underground skeleton behind a desk containing a manuscript: “How I did it” by Jack the Ripper, revealed to be a fake planted by Anderson (now a conspiracy theorist, driven by guilt over his role in Sherlock’s defamation) to lure Holmes out of hiding. Later that day, Mary receives a text telling her that John has been kidnapped by unknown assailants and will die if he isn’t rescued in time. Sherlock and Mary come to Watson’s aid and are able to rescue him.
John and Sherlock then return to solving Mycroft’s terrorist problem, which is revealed to be planned by an “underground movement” in the most literal sense (i.e. a movement based in the London Underground). They discover that a key figure in the plot is a politician named Moran, who with his organization plots to blow up the Houses of Parliament during an all night sitting on the Fifth of November (Bonfire Night). Near an abandoned underground station, they find a carriage that was earlier seen disappearing with Moran on it. The carriage is now rigged with explosives. Sherlock manages to defuse the bomb by turning the off-switch, but not before making Watson believe the bomb can’t be defused, causing him to panic and reveal to Sherlock how much he has missed him.
In a flash forward, Sherlock is seen visiting Anderson and reveals to him how he faked his death as part of a plan to round-up Moriarty’s network. Sherlock tells Anderson that he and Mycroft had anticipated thirteen possible scenarios that could happen on the roof. Each possibility had a code name and a plan of action attached to it. Sherlock however, did not anticipate that Moriarty would kill himself. Sherlock texted his brother one of the code names (“LAZARUS”). His homeless network shut down the entire street and were at the ready. When John arrived, Sherlock made sure he stood at the right spot so that his view of the bottom half of the building was blocked. The homeless network and Mycroft’s people set up a large inflated cushion which Sherlock fell on safely. All the people rushed to pull the cushion away and Sherlock ran to hide. Molly, who was near a window, threw a body double on the ground (the same person Moriarty used to frame Sherlock for the abduction of Rufus Bruhl’s children). John, who had rushed to the scene, only saw a glimpse of the body before he was intentionally knocked down by the cyclist. This allowed Sherlock to take the place of the body double and complete the charade. Sherlock even put a ball under his armpit to momentarily give the impression he had no pulse for good measure. The people who surrounded him then poured blood around and on him to complete the illusion.
In the final scene, a silhouetted figure with blue eyes wearing glasses is seen watching footage of Sherlock and Mary.
In My Humble Opinion: It’s not tragic to die doing what you love, but it is tragic that Hollywood seems so fresh out of ideas that it has to yet again recycle a movie that has already been made. Not sure if you’ve heard yet but the word around the campfire is Point Break will receive its very own Hollywood remake and Gerard Butler will be surfing in to take over the role of bank robbing / Zen surfer dude Bodhi, a role previously filled by Patrick Swayze. If you check out IMDB, the remake is confirmed and slated for a 2015 release. As is my typical practice, let me be completely up front; I have nothing against Gerard Butler or the original Point Break itself.
As far as Gerard Butler goes, I think he’s a pretty decent actor that can certainly portray the ultimate bad ass when it comes to action films (300 anybody? Oh and he was brutal in Olympus Has Fallen). In fact, when the rumor was circulating that he could be stepping in to take over as Snake Plissken in a planned Escape From New York remake, I found myself cautiously optimistic (the cautious part was more because of the remake itself not the casting). Low and behold this was not meant to be and rumors continue to circulate on who will eventually fill the role once filled by Kurt Russell (personally, Josh Holloway seems like a no-brainer).
As far as Point Break goes, let’s be honest; the original 1991 film directed by Kathryn Bigelow isn’t exactly Oscar material but still a pretty entertaining movie nonetheless. Patrick Swayze embraced the role he was given and received acclaim for his portrayal of Bodhi. And let’s be honest, any movie in which you can have Keanu Reeves pretending to be a dim-witted surfer dude is obviously playing to the actor’s strengths. That being said, how many more remakes is Hollywood going to subject us to? I think that’s probably my biggest apprehension when it comes to the remake genre itself. There’s been so many remakes that don’t hold a candle to the original (there is the occasional success) it’s almost insulting that Hollywood keeps churning them out. I’ve always said that you don’t have to literally remake the movie; just take the plot and change the environment and abracadabra you’ve got yourself a new movie. I mean after all, didn’t Hollywood “remake” this once already but instead of using surfboards it used cars and called it Fast and the Furious?
In My Humble Opinion: Phil Robertson being suspended from his show Duck Dynasty on A&E is an unwarranted punishment illustrating censorship at its worst. Phil was recently interviewed by GQ magazine (still trying to figure that one out honestly) and during the interview he made derogatory remarks about homosexuality and made it very clear that he does not support it at all. Can we all please remember that Phil Robertson is a REALITY show personality and will, heaven forbid, offer up his opinion on certain topics from time to time?
Let me be clear! Do I agree with his views on homosexuality or support his comments? Not at all! Especially comparing homosexuality to bestiality! However, what I do support or believe in (though I’m quickly being proven wrong) is that we live in a society wherein people are allowed to express their views and speak freely about their beliefs without the fear of persecution. I’d also like to point out that while I disagree with his suspension, I understand that Phil is a reality show personality and that A&E has the right to dole out whatever punishment it deems necessary.
However, in reality, there are individuals that support homosexuality and those that oppose it. For those of us that have accepted homosexuality as a life choice, we have the right to express ourselves freely and openly about our beliefs. Do our beliefs and views on this subject offend certain people? I’m sure they do. We live in a world where comments are made every day that surely offend people of a certain race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. The test that accompanies the right for an individual to freely express his/her opinion is the ability to respect others with opposing opinions and allow those individuals to express their opinions just as freely.
In Travis’ Humble Opinion: The holidays are a special time of year for many people, a time full of friends, family and good cheer. Everyone has their own traditions from big meals to tree decorating, all tied to certain sights, sounds and smells that recall the happy times we’ve spent around yuletide. For me, the scent of fresh pine or a baking pumpkin pie, the twinkle of multi-colored lights strung about people’s homes and the gentle piano notes immediately recognizable as Vince Guaraldi’s score for the Charlie Brown Christmas special, all transport me magically to those few weeks at the end of the year when everyone just seems to be in a better mood, at least when they’re not elbowing each other in the head for the best deals at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.
Something that often gets left out of nostalgic ramblings (like this one) about this time of year, is the quality time we spend in front of television and movie screens catching up with our favorite holiday-themed programming. People are so busy trying to DO things around Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year, I think they often try to sweep under the rug these more mundane holiday rituals, even though a great many people take part. Sure, sitting and watching your favorite Christmas cartoons isn’t as beautiful a memory as sitting in front of a roaring fire, sipping egg nog and singing Christmas carols with the family…but maybe it’s a more realistic one for most people.
To my mind, there are essentially 3 categories of memorable holiday viewing. The animated Christmas special, the Christmas movie, and the hyped-up-non-holiday-but-aired-during-the-holidays-for-big-ratings, special TV event. They all have a place in our hearts and the importance and quality of each has declined quite a bit over the years, but here’s a rundown of a few that I enjoy from each category.
Perhaps the most sacred of all holiday TV-watching remains the animated special. Once upon a time, these specials were just that, special. They aired on the three (at the time) major networks and were shown once a year. If you missed How the Grinch Stole Christmas to go watch Aunt Sally and Uncle Bert get hammered on holiday cheer at their annual Christmas party, you weren’t seeing it again until next Christmas and that was almost too much to bear. Certain shows were absolute must-see viewing for me. From Charlie Brown to Frosty, from Rudolph to the afore-mentioned Grinch, I always made sure that my parents knew when these were set to air and planned my holiday activities accordingly. More than any of the others, though, Mickey’s Christmas Carol was utterly essential for the holidays. It doesn’t get as much love today and it’s a lot tougher to find (and nearly impossible with its original accompanying cartoons featuring Donald, Chip N Dale and Goofy), probably because of the scene featuring a cigar-smoking Pete sending Scrooge to hell for a minute or two, but it’s absolutely a beautifully-made adaptation of the Dickens classic. I also always looked out for a less well-known entry into the canon, Twas the Night Before Christmas, a musical number featuring some clock-repairing mice and a strangely vindictive Santa Claus. Nowadays, ABC Family shows most of these specials ad nauseam and a new spate of more recent features that mostly exist as some sort of marketing tie-in to some movie that’s coming out in theaters (or came out last year and is hitting DVD this year). I would be remiss, however, in not mentioning the series of American Dad Christmas episodes that have aired over the duration of that series. They’re probably the best episodes of the series and easily among the best new Christmas content out there.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with a solid holiday movie. I’ve seen Christmas Vacation so many times that the scenes are starting to meld with my own memories. You have the classics like It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street, and the vaguely holiday-related films like Gremlins and Die Hard (or even more violent affairs like Home Alone). Probably the modern classic of our time, though, is Will Ferrell’s tour-de-force, Elf. Some pretty funny stuff, mixed in with just enough seasonal sentiment makes Elf a perfect movie to watch with the family after a tough day of shopping or seeing relatives. To this day, I always answer my phone, “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” and turns of phrase like “son of a nutcracker!” feel absolutely natural this time of year. Predictably, there haven’t been many classics to add to the lexicon lately. Clunkers like Fred Claus and Four Christmases (sorry Vince Vaughn, you’re still money) don’t even hold a candle to such gems as Jingle All the Way…I guess. Honorable mention to Scrooged, yet another classic retelling of A Christmas Carol with the incomparable Bill Murray.
The last category is perhaps the toughest to nail down. The super-hyped holiday seasonal release of X movie or TV special, be it a mini-series, TV movie, whatever. Essentially, the concept is this. Movie studios like to release movies around the holidays. People are off of school or work and they need a break from holiday stuff and especially from their insufferable families, so they go out and see a movie for a just a couple hours to themselves. That’s the theory, anyway. It used to be more prevalent in TV as well, I assume based on the same idea that people just have some free time to dedicate to entertainment they might not otherwise possess. Just as an example, Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings. Neither film series have the least bit to do with the holidays, but both were released primarily during the peak holiday season and were billed as “the holiday event of the season.” Despite the fact that there is no relation between holidays and these movies, the two things are wedded to some degree nonetheless and I know I personally associate them. Going back several years and over to TV, there are two examples worth noting. Both the Rankin and Bass animated version of the Hobbit (1977) and the Ewok Adventure (1984) were released on Thanksgiving weekend. The Hobbit predates me just a bit, but I remember anxiously anticipating the Ewok Adventure and I remember the Hobbit being re-shown around the same time. Again, studios essentially using the holidays to promote non-holiday content and unintentionally (or intentionally, who knows) wedding the two. Seems like you see this less and less, although I’m certain the advertising dollars are more available than ever. There just doesn’t seem to be as much “event” viewing as there used to be, probably because the amount of content is so much greater.
So, I guess what I’m saying is this: Don’t let anyone tell you to get off the couch during this season and engage in more holiday-themed chaos. Sit yourself down and cozy up with the TV and movies you remember and relax for a change. Let Clark Griswold, Charlie Brown and what the hell, Harry Potter, make your memories for you. If you’re like me, these pieces of entertainment lore are part of your holiday-consciousness – embrace them!
In My Humble Opinion: Man of Steel serves as an origin story for the Superman character which provides background for his aversion toward killing. I’ve read so many posts, comments, rants and raves from people about how pissed off they were that in the new Man of Steel movie Superman/Kal-El/Clark Kent ends up (SPOILER) killing General Zod in their final battle. Superman has Zod, excuse me General Zod, in a headlock and is doing his best to keep Zod from killing a human family. Superman is left with no other choice but to break General Zod’s neck in order to save the family. Obviously, after the act has been committed, Superman is pretty upset with what he had to do.
My question to all those people who are upset at how the final battle went down is this. Taking into account that this film reboots the franchise and serves as an origin story; couldn’t this be the moment in Superman’s history in which he establishes/realizes his disdain toward killing? There’s no other part in the movie that discusses the morality or consequences of taking another life (a lot of people know Superman is against killing because of the comics). As a stand-alone movie, which will surely spawn sequels/spin offs and develop the character further, the fact that he killed Zod seems to be in line with the rest of the film. Then again, that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.
In My Humble Opinion: It’s with a heavy heart that I report all Blockbuster stores will be closed by the end of the year (yes there were some still open). This will include any and all kiosk’s that offered DVD rentals as well. Blockbuster had once been a shining light when it came to my movie viewing. I remember going in and grabbing a few DVD’s for the three-day weekend or a day I was off work while my wife still had to work. I was there to experience the changes the store went through; offering 2 day rentals, reducing late charges, and yes the kiosk experience.
Guess this is just a sign of the times and the video streaming world we live in where movies are available in a number of other ways. One of the most popular of which is Red Box (though I find peculiar that every Red Box I come across is actually blue) which offers DVD’s in a way the Blockbuster kiosk’s once did. Of course this one alternative cannot be given sole credit when it comes to Blockbuster’s demise. Others like; Netflix, Cinemanow, Vudu, On Demand, Hulu, and probably a whole gaggle of others I’m not yet familiar with are to blame as well. As easy as a lot of these alternatives are, I will miss going into the store and scrambling to find what new releases had come out and browsing the older titles to see if one warranted a repeat viewing.
I guess this was inevitable though. I can still trace my movie viewing experience back to the local Movie Time when I was renting VHS movies and paying 50 cent rewind charges. Eventually these smaller movie rental locations were put out of business by the large Blockbuster chain. Now Blockbuster is experiencing the same fate it bestowed on those smaller, more intimate stores. My fear is that the next casualty in this changing world will be movie theatres.