013008 New review of the film 'Rambo'.
. . . . . . Sylvester Stallone writes, directs, and stars in the latest ‘Rambo’ and for those that are action fans it is worth seeing. Not only that but the film manages to do so under the guise of shedding light on the horrible situation in Burma. Plus, inadvertently the film shows plainly how flawed our ratings system is here in the USA. ‘Rambo’ like an uncountable number of films is an adult film and as such should be rated NC-17. Sadly, the rating is unusable since when a movie gets that rating it is in effect branded as pornography and most movie chains will not carry it. That leaves filmmakers in the frustrating place of mediating between studios that want the maximum number of box office take (which come from ratings of PG-13 or lower) and the ratings board whose dodgy rating system can be maddening. The MPAA has been covered in the enjoyable documentary ‘This Film Is Not Yet Rated’ but still our poor ratings system continues. I believe the problem runs deeper because there are similar issues in the world of video games. The ratings are meant to be a guide for the content of a film or videogame but instead they are used too often to censor it. This is a real shame.
. . . . . . Anyway, here we have ‘Rambo’: a bloody, intense, action film that is most certainly adult and should have had an NC-17 but since that would label it as pornography the film is fitted with an R rating. Stallone should be credited as he didn’t let the film get cut down to a PG-13 rating like ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ did. I like 'Rambo' for what it is in a similar way that I like '300'. My review of ‘Rambo’ is HERE. -Nate


012208 Heath Ledger dies in New York City.
. . . . . . My first update in a little while is not a happy one but I couldn’t help but post that the young actor Heath Ledger was found dead (and this comes not too long after another young actor, Brad Renfro was also found dead, CNN page HERE). I’ve made a few posts about the upcoming Batman sequel that looks so good to me and Ledger as The Joker was one of the strongest looking features of the upcoming film. Making his death a little eerie for me is the fact that he was the same age as myself and while that doesn’t really mean anything it somehow seems more creepy to me. I can’t say I always like the works that Ledger was in but I thought he was often better than he got credit for. I think the first time I remember noticing him was in the underrated teen comedy ’10 Things I Hate About You’. He received an Oscar nomination for ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and if ‘The Dark Knight’ is as strong as it looks I wouldn’t be surprised if his performance gets some notice.  I thought his performance in the drama ‘Monster’s Ball’ was exceedingly powerful, and were it not in a film with equally strong performances, he might have gotten more notice. The exact cause of death is still unknown, a CNN page about it can be found HERE. Rest in peace Heath Ledger 1979-2008. -Nate


010708 Hellboy 2
. . . . . . The Guillermo del Toro written/ directed sequel to ‘Hellboy’ has a new trailer that looks pretty spiffy. I was a fan of many of Mike Mignolia’s ‘Hellboy’ comics and overall enjoyed the first ‘Hellboy’ feature but thought it was a bit of a mixed bag. From the looks of the trailer, del Toro appears to have wisely dropped the sort of everyman character John Myers (Rupert Evans) that was made up for the film (I’m guessing to make the feature more palatable to those not familiar with the comics). I really can’t give del Toro much flack for weaknesses in the first film though, because he made as faithful an adaptation as he could and the perfect casting of Ron Perlman as the titled Hellboy makes up for any shortcoming.
‘Hellboy 2’ (AKA: ‘Hellboy II: The Golden Army’) looks like it may very well be a stronger, more entertaining feature. I’ll be curious to see how it performs at the box office. The left poster is one drawn by Mignolia and the right is the Perlman featured teaser. I wish that the direct to video ‘Hellboy’ animated films were made in the style of Mignolia’s artwork. The look of the comics was one of its best features and as a result the cartoons look like cheap knock-offs. For a cartoon that retains the look of Mignolia’s work, check out the underrated TV pilot ‘The Amazing Screw-On Head’ (reviewed HERE). Sadly the series was not picked up which makes for a double shame since it is the only animated feature that retains Mignolia’s wonderful style. Scope the ‘Hellboy 2’ trailer HERE. -Nate


010108 I may just be the grim reaper... or maybe I'm cursed, yeah, that's it...
. . . . . .Be prepared for a self indulgent new years update: as 2007 winds down I look back and think I just couldn’t win. From bizarre death related instances, such as: I looked up ‘Poison Elves’ for the first time since I was a teenager and found out the creator, Drew Hayes, had just died, (see update HERE) I finally got to see ‘Rolling Thunder’ (reviewed HERE) and the director, John Flynn, died and lastly, I heard an interview with Ike Turner on Howard Stern and was making plans to go see him on his tour and he died. So there’s that, then there is my luck this year. I’ve had to go to the emergency room four times and had to stay in the hospital three times. I lost a few thousand on stocks while simultaneously wracking up thousands on credit cards. Add to that some vehicle problems that also added to the debt and now medical bills to boot. (Amongst other things I was over charged $400 by the hospital.) Oh and then there is my illness and the fact that the doctors seem helpless when it comes to figuring out what is wrong. So I get referred to other doctors but they are always never given my files so everything has to start over again from square one. All of this whining is my farewell to 2007. It is also my way of somehow hoping this will help make 2008 better. I suppose if you bothered to read this, it may make you think your year wasn’t so bad after all. If your year was worse, well, all I can say is I'm sorry and I feel your pain. Rest in peace, Drew Hayes, John Flynn, Ike Turner and the many, many others who have passed. So toast with whatever your poison may be. Cheers to you and Happy f***ing New Years to all! -Nate

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