indiana jones throughout the years

 

indy_raiders first there was Raiders of the Lost Ark. with a careless flick of his rope whip and a wave of his trademark fedora hat, henry “indiana” jones (harrison ford) easily wormed his way into his fans’ hearts. i guess after Star Wars — where the actor played space buccaneer han solo — it was hardly a surprise.

 still, with his exciting exploits, rough-hewn looks and lopsided grin he dug deeper into our affection. and then there was the perky and resourceful marion ravenwood (karen allen) who was practically his female counterpart. at the time the movie came out, i thought there would be another movie like it. it was a fun, exhilarating ride and Indy was a remarkably easy to like as a protagonist — he wasn’t pretty but he was intelligent, capable, and could play rough when needed. and most of all, he was funny. you could laugh at him (who could forget his reaction to his pet peeve?) but it doesn’t change the fact that you still admire him. he was a REAL guy, an adventurous academic, if you will. and he was cool.

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then, came Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. i think it was the first movie that i lined up for (about 45 minutes) and ended up watching 3 times before it ended its run in local theaters. it was far better than Raiders of the Lost Ark. and Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw was a scream)! i remember squirming — those bugs — and laughing along with my cousins during some parts of it. i still rate this film as one the best adventure flicks i’ve seen.

 

when The Last Crusade came out, indy was already showing unmistakable signs of aging. still he was the same old tough customer and just as charming as ever. george lucas made an inspired decision by casting sean connery as indy’s father. and they even gathered the old crowd (john rhys-davies as Sallah, denholm elliot as marcus btody) to ‘enhance’ the story. this time the leading lady was alison doody (as elsa schneider) and the bad guys were the nazis (again!). hey, even old adolf himself had a cameo here. also it was fun to watch the father-son dynamics between two obstinate guys (indy hated being called “Junior” and retaliates by calling his old man “pops”, which of course irks Indy Sr. no end).

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 and so now we come to the last indiana jones picture: IJ and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. we know of course that at his age, we can no longer expect Indy to do his usual swashbuckling stuff (at least, not as much), so i guess it’s no surprise that george lucas added rising star shia labeouf to the cast — ostensibly to bring in the younger crowd. and for his leading lady, we have no less than cate blanchett (Spalko), who prances onscreen in an uncompromisingly black wig (which looks like it’s been screwed on with metal plates). and oh wait, karen allen also appears here, too. boy i can’t wait.

 

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull will make its bow in local theaters on May 22, 2008.

 

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waiting for Iron Man

two days… two days until Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges) finally hits the local theaters.

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after hearing a lot of buzz about this movie in the last couple of weeks, i realized that this wasn’t just onc of those loud, mediocre big-budget action films (at least i hope not). we’ll know more in a couple of days.

i must admit though that intially my main interest in this movie had something to do with gwyneth paltrow‘s reappearance in the big screen and in public consciousness. and seeing how great she looked during the film’s premiere in several major cities only fueled my curiosity further. she looks just as amazing as ever.

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then, the first reviews came in. i know it’s too early to tell but a lot of critics are already giving Iron Man their thumbs up (see Rotten Tomatoes‘ account on this). i’m hoping this isn’t just one of those premature hype that eventually fizzles out. whatever. still i’m hoping i can find the time to watch Iron Man on its opening day.

 

film break: horton hears a who

i was able to catch a couple of features last weekend, and one of them is dr. seuss’ Horton Hears a Who.

jim carrey‘s sagging career has certainly received a much-needed shot in the arm with this delightful animated film. the filmmakers have done a good job of translating Horton Hears a Who, which topped the weekly boxoffice chart during its debut, into the screen and jim carrey is one of its driving forces.

it’s rather a bit jarring to see and hear jim carrey (or at least his animated alter ego) as the bumbling and innocuous Horton the elephant, who helpfully struggles to keep Whoville — apparently a tiny speck of a village perched on a small pink flower — from falling apart literally.

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the cast includes steve carrell (as the mayor of Whoville), carol burnett (sour kangaroo), isla fisher (whoville scientist) and will arnett as the dim-witted eagle who aspires to be known as a tough baddie.

film break: 10000 BC

10,000 b.c. was one of the movies i’d been able view lately. and although it hasn’t really fared well among the critics i don’t regret watching it. it performed well in the box office, though.

10,000 b.c. (i’m adding the periods here because that’s how we usually deal with these acronyms at work) is, as you might guess, set in prehistoric times when most humans lived in small hunter-gatherer groups and woolly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers roamed the world at large.

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with a cast of unknown actors, the film is a simple story about ancient prophecies and human ties that transcend distance and racial lines. a mammoth-hunting warrior (D’Leh) from the colder regions of the north must travel east to save the woman he loves (evolet) from the evil clutches of an advanced Egyptian-like civilization that seeks to dominate and enslave its smaller and weaker neighbors.

one of the film’s strength is the clever use of CGI, which blended well with the live action going on. some violent scenes have been toned down, i guess as a sort of concession to attract younger viewers. there are also a few rough patches here and there but overall they’re not enough to mar the whole movie.

movie break: 3:10 to Yuma, VP

i’ve already watched Vantage Point twice: the first time as a viewer (for sheer pleasure), and the second as a critic (for a more objective look and to pick up on the things that i’ve missed or overlooked earlier).

i have already written a brief review of Vantage Point in my other blog (Recycled Thoughts), so i guess there’s really no point in rehashing things except to say that i liked it well enough.

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i have also seen 3:10 to Yuma last weekend (i know it’s been ages but i guess better late than never), which of course features such heavyweights as Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Peter Fonda and even a cameo role for Luke Wilson. bottomline, it was just as explosive and as mesmerizing as i had anticipated.

i was counting on a shattering climax, but i must admit the direction that 3:10 to Yuma took still managed to surprise me (thanks to Peter Mangold‘s spare but effective handling of this remake). it was nice to see russell crowe taking command of the silver screen again as ben wade, the charming and ruthless leader of a cutthroat gang of thieves. he gets a steely counterpoint in christian bale (as dave evans), whose quiet and brooding intensity burns through piles of life’s hard knocks as a down-and-out rancher who volunteers to help bring the felon to justice. peter fonda turns in a great job too as this tough-as-nails mercenary with a dark past.

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and then there’s charlie prince (played by ben foster), ben wade’s fiercely loyal second in command who is basically one trigger-happy sociopath. with all these dudes thrown together in one explosive setting, you can be sure that the bullets will be flying in all directions and body bags will be piling up.

3:10 to Yuma is definitely one of the best films i’d seen in the last few months.

Temeraire IV: Empire of Ivory

i just finished book 4 of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series.

ok. bottomline, i found it entertaining (hardly a surprise). still, compared to the first 3 books (His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War), i found Empire of Ivory rather flat and a bit less interesting.

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Empire of Ivory starts off a few days after the last scene in book 3 (The Black Powder War), with Temeraire and Capt. Laurence and their allies finally reaching the safety of British shores. This fourth installment basically highlights Temeraire’s trip (along with his squadron mates Lily, Maximus, Dulcia, etc., and their crews) to Africa in their desperate search for a cure against the deadly malaise that was steadily decimating the draconian ranks of the British Aerial Corps.

after finding the cure and surviving a run-in with the local dragons, which have their own peculiar hierarchy and mythology, the squadron heads back to England. Britain’s dragons are eventually saved. Meanwhile, the island’s aerial defenses have to make do with Arkady and the rest of his cohort (a bunch of wild Turkish dragons featured in book 3), along with a few surviving dragons — a measure that elicits mixed results.

this series of events, however, prompts the British Admiralty to try to find a way to spread the deadly disease across the Channel — thereby ensuring that Napoleon’s dragons would suffer the same fate and consequently tilt the balance of power into Britain’s favor. finding this move vile and downright shameful, Capt. Laurence and Temeraire take matters into their own hands. Empire of Ivory ends with Temeraire and Capt. Laurence finally meeting Napoleon face to face and facing an uncertain fate as they consider the consequences of their actions. this hanging question, of course, sets the tone for book 5.

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the publisher has already sent out advance notice that Book 5 will cover Napoleon’s invasion of England.

hmmm… let’s hope book 5 doesn’t suffer the same lethargic pace that hounds Empire of Ivory. i really don’t want to give up on this series yet and i’m still wondering how ms. novik will integrate the Duke of Wellington into the series. perhaps in book 6…?

2008 Westminster: woof — it’s a beagle

The year 2008 proved to be a lucky year for Snoopy and his brethren. Uno, who is more grandly known as K-Run’s Park Me, grabbed the top prize (Best in Show) despite stiff competition from a couple of poodles, a Sealyham terrier, an Akita, a Weimaraner, and an Australian shepherd.

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The 3-year-old 15-inch charmer, who clearly wowed the appreciative crowd at New York’s Madison Square Garden, was handled by Aaron Wilkerson. Incidentally, Uno (a fitting name, that) was ranked no. 6 among America’s top dogs last year (2007).

here’s a couple of dog treats for you, Uno. woof! woof!