Oh, have one final thing to say after looking at that photo again. WOW.
This is the cutest owl I have EVER SEEN.
You know you want it! ^_^
Here is the caption from the Associated Press: “In this undated photo released by American Bird Conservancy, a man shows a rare bird named in its own genus, ‘Xenoglaux,’ meaning ’strange owl,’ due to the long wispy feathers or whiskers that stream out from its reddish-orange eyes in Peru’s jungle, January, 2007. An extremely rare species of owl discovered in 1976, and known only from a few specimens caught in nets after dark, has been seen in the wild for the first time, the American Bird Conservancy said Thursday.”
**** out of ****
Ahhhh, the movie that we’ve all (well, maybe not all of us, but at least my friends and I) have been waiting months upon months that felt like years upon years to see. Despite well intentioned plans of going to see this movie at the Imax theater, we were foiled by our local Imax being completely and hopelessly dumb and not playing it, so we had to go see it in the normal theater. While it probably would have been even more amazing in the Imax, it was still plenty incredibly unbelievably amazing in the normal theater. ^_^ And this is just a prelude to all the praise I intend to heap upon it in this review. Which probably shouldn’t be called a review. Maybe a worshipful homage.
While the film is of course loosely based on the real life history of the three hundred Spartans VS the Persian empire, it is far more closely based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, “300″. Unfortunately I have not personally had a chance to view the graphic novel, but I would imagine that is definitely were the more outlandish and unrealistic elements came from.
Premise: The premise of this film is simple. Three hundred Spartans stand defiant in the face of a Persian army composed of something like 100,000 men. That’s pretty much it. ^_^ Small subplot follows the Spartan queen as she urges the council to send the whole of the Spartan army to aid her king in his fight against the Persians, while the wicked traitor councilman attempts to foil her.
In this movie, there is not one element that falls short of expectations. The writing is great, the acting is great, the special effects are great, the fighting choreography is great, the sound editing is great, the cinematography is great, etc. The ultimate badasses of the Spartan army are beautifully portrayed by actors who went through brutal training to achieve the rock hard sculpted bodies you see on the screen, and Lena Headey, who plays the Spartan queen, is perfect: Beautiful, but obviously just as hardcore badass in her own way as the Spartan men.
The fighting was brilliant - the choreography was incredible, shield, spear, and sword. Also utterly believeable. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I loved how unique it felt, with the complete and utter integration of their shields into their fighting style. It lent it credibility - you could almost see real life Spartans back in the day fighting almost just like this.The acting was excellent - although to be fair, it’s not like the roles were all that challenging. Gerard Butler: Look menacing, yell (no, roar) a lot, and every once in a while take on a forcefully tender expression. Lena Headley: Look stern and uncompromising, every once in a while take on a repressed grieved expression. All the rest of the Spartans: See Gerard Butler. And the writing was sharp - filled with odd spots of humor through the movie that livened it up.
Obviously those who don’t care for graphic violence should not see this film. Though definitely not a bloodbath movie (actually there was surprisingly few blood and guts scenes), it’s filled with other graphic imagery: A tree completely covered with dead bodies affixed to its trunk and limbs, a wall of corpses (there were quite a few corpse wall shots), slow motion decapitations and limb severing, etc. The violence is all quite artful, though, although I’m sure there will be those who disagree with me. ^_^
All in all, the movie is, in my never to be humble opinion, a masterpiece, instant classic, my new favorite movie. You walk out of the theater feeling energized, and (if you’re me, at least) keep saying to your friends who saw the movie with you, “that was so FUCKING BAD ASS!!!” usually followed up with “holy SHIT!” Then, a little while later, “those Spartans were FUCKING BAD ASS!!!” and so on and so forth. ^_^
And, as my friend Bob said, going to the theater from now on will always be a bit of a let down, because nothing will ever come close to being as awesome as Frank Miller’s 300. And now, a few more photos for your enjoyment. ^_^
*** out of ****
Interestingly enough, until about an hour before I left to go see this movie, I had no idea that it was based on an actual serial killer. And when I say “based” I mean a lot more closely based than, say, ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ or ‘Amityville Horror’. I was never all that into true crime stuff, but the movie was very good. Also, this was the first movie in a very long time that I went to go see alone, and I remembered that even though I think that I hate going to the theater solo, I actually do enjoy it. ^_^ It’s more fun going with other people, but it was still entertaining going by myself. Plus, I live a five minute walk away and my car was in the shop. ^_^ Incentive.
Premise: True crime. In the late sixties and early/mid seventies a serial killer roamed around the San Francisco Bay area. He sends letters and codes to the newspapers, taunting letters, demanding that his letters be published. Police and a determined newspaper cartoonist desperately try to find the killer and bring him to justice.
The movie already had a lot going for it, simply by virture of the actors that were in it. Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr, and Mark Ruffalo all exhibited excellent performances in this film. Especially Mark Ruffalo. I don’t usually like him very much, but he played his character very well. Gyllenhaal also warrants special attention for his role, going from interested, no, fascinated with the case to having it become a full blown obsession.
At times the movie felt extremely fast paced and energetic, then it would lull to a sleepy meandering crawl for a while, but even it stayed interesting. It owed as much of it’s ability to enthrall to the simple fact that this is a true story as to the writing, acting, and directing. It’s a novel concept, watching a true story about a serial killer that actually feels real.
And that was one of the movie’s greatest strengths. The fact that it just felt so real. Obviously I don’t know how closely the film was based on the case files, but even if it strayed far into the realm of artistic license it retained that feeling of reality.
My one complaint about this movie is it’s length. No, it wasn’t that I thought it was too long as in it needed to be better edited, it was just that after two and a half hours sitting in a movie theater chair, my butt really starts to hurt!! ^_^