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Movies Reviews

Holiday Film Review: Lethal Weapon (1987)

Lethal Weapon. Released in 1987. Directed by Richard Donner. Starring Danny Glover and Mel Gibson

It is Christmas in Los Angeles in 1987, and Mel Gibson has lost his mind. To be more exact Mel Gibson’s character, Martin Riggs is losing his mind; Mel Gibson would lose his much later. Reviewing Lethal Weapon seems futile; everyone knows the story and understands the tropes; it is a classic buddy cop movie that designed most of the ideas that are familiar to the audience and genre. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover both do tremendous jobs in their respective roles as Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, but the real star is behind the scenes, and that is screenwriter Shane Black. Richard Donner does a great job directing the movie, but Shane Black’s screenplay is excellent and helps make the movie a classic.

Lethal Weapon is a quintessential buddy cop action film, and on this rewatch, I discovered that there is a lot more to the story than just gunfights and thrills. Interestingly, this movie deals with the ramifications of the Vietnam war and how it affected the two main characters; the antagonists of the movie are also Vietnam vets who use their knowledge of the drug trade to exploit and make money. There is an aspect of the movie that seems to be analyzing masculinity as well, and we see this primarily through the character of Martin Riggs. He has shut himself off from people, and up until he becomes panthers with Murtaugh, he is looking for a reason not to kill himself. Shane Black uses his films to parody and deconstruct masculine concepts, and he is not afraid to let his characters become close with one another and show their emotions.

I also find it interesting that the setting of the movie is on Christmas. Shane Black likes setting his films around the holidays. I assume it is because he enjoys the aesthetic of Christmas trees and Christmas lights, but there is also a thematic idea of the year coming to an end and the beginning of the new year. Both characters, Riggs and Murtaugh, are at turning points in their lives. Riggs has lost a wife and wants a reason to keep going, and Murtaugh has just turned fifty and is reevaluating his identity because of his age. The Christmastime adds a unique aesthetic to the film and uses the period to explore change and renewal.

Lethal Weapon is a classic. It has amazing performances, great direction, and an immaculate script. It is a perfect action movie to view around the holiday season because of the Christmas setting, but Lethal Weapon is perfect no matter the time or date.

Rating 5/5

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Movies Reviews

Holiday Film Review–Rambo: First Blood (1982)

Directed by Ted Kotcheff. Written by Michael Kozoll & William Sackheim and Sylvester Stallone. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, and Richard Crenna.

Now…I know that this movie isn’t considered to be a holiday film. It’s not Die Hard. I’m adding this to the holiday film review season because the movie is either set in the fall or the winter. The movie is set in the Pacific Northwest (Washington state) so it’s naturally cold and rainy. We’re starting the holiday film review season with action!

Rambo: First Blood is directed by Ted Kotcheff, who’s known for mainly directing comedies. Kotcheff directed The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz in 1974 and Weekend at Bernie’s after Rambo in 1989. John J. Rambo is played intensely by Sylvester Stallone. Rambo is a Vietnam veteran and drifter that wanders into a small Washington town looking for an old friend. Rambo is met with hostility as the town’s sheriff, Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy), doesn’t like drifters because he believes that it makes the town look dirty. Teasle and his deputies arrest Rambo. They restrain and try to shave him, which causes him to have a flashback of him being tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Rambo escapes the officers, where he flees to the woods surrounding the town. Teasle starts a manhunt for Rambo and doesn’t know how deadly the former Green Beret is. Rambo’s former commander (Richard Crenna) arrives to assist the officers in finding Rambo. Otherwise, the hunters (police officers) will become the hunted.

The film includes excellent performances by Stallone and Dennehy. Stallone portrays Rambo as a man that is haunted by his past. Rambo wants to achieve inner peace, which is ruined by sheriff Teasle. Stallone’s cold facial expressions are impressive when Stallone needs to show Rambo’s violent, brutal side. Dennehy brings emotion to Teasle, whether it’s anger or fear when Rambo is on the attack. Dennehy’s confidence as the sheriff perfectly conveys how egotistical the character is.

Director Ted Kotcheff captures the beauty of Washington state in this film with shots of gray skies along with a tree-line that seems miles wide. The forests of Washington state are gorgeous with danger hidden inside of the beauty. Kotcheff’s use of wide shots are numerous throughout the film. An example of the wide shot being handy is in the final action sequence where Rambo battles Teasle. The shot gives space to the Washington town, while showing how small the town is. There are some shots that last too long. An example is where a deputy fires repeatedly at Rambo in the woods. The shot is long to create tension, but it drags on. The deputy also has the accuracy of a Stormtrooper.

Final evaluation–Rambo is an amazing action film that reflects the horrors of PTSD.

Overall rating: 4/5.

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Comics Gaming Spider-Man

Miles Morales Mission Review: “Hold Onto Your Web-Shooters”

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales by Insomniac Games.

Today, we begin reviewing story and side missions for Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. We will try to keep these spoiler-free. We plan on taking our time to do these reviews, so people can enjoy the game themselves. The reviews are to analyze the scenes/missions, even if they are brief. Let’s dive in!

“Hold Onto Your Web-Shooters” delivers an exhilarating punch for the game’s first mission. Players catch up with Miles Morales a year later from the events of Marvel’s Spider-Man. Miles has been training with Spider-Man (Peter Parker) to master his skills. Those skills are put to the test when an iconic Spider-Man foe breaks out of a police convoy. The Spider-Men go a crazy, violent thrill ride to halt this villain.

The gameplay in this mission is fluid and smooth. Insomniac Games managed to make the web-slinging more polished than its predecessor. Players get a taste of Miles’ potential powers with the introduction of the Venom ability in this mission. Miles is able to summon an electrical charge that proves helpful in the defeat of the villain.

After the epic battle sequence, we are introduced to Simon Krieger, who is the Head of R&D at Roxxon Energy. Krieger owns the land where the fight sequence ends. Insomniac Games does a fantastic job of keeping the machinations of Krieger hidden. Is he good? Is he bad? We’ll see.

The mission ends with Peter Parker telling Miles that he’ll be gone for the next few weeks. Peter tells Miles that he’ll be the only Spider-Man for a while. Miles seems afraid at first, then embraces the idea in a beautiful cutscene. With the snow falling on a new Spider-Man, we are in for a fun ride.

Overall rating: 5/5.