War movies

From Here to Eternity
    I never really planned on watching any war movies.  But I do like Burt Lancaster. 
   This is Hawaii, just before Pearl Harbor.  Pruitt is a new transfer.  He used to box, but doesn't want to anymore.  He hit a friend during a sparring session and killed him. 
    The Captain wants a winning boxing team.  That's why he allowed the transfer.  When the boy won't fight, he allows a lot of abuse that he otherwise wouldn't.  The boy is forced to do the worst jobs, continually made to do extra exercises, and constantly put upon.  He won't give in though.
    His best friend stands by him throughout.  But he has temper problems.  That eventually gets him sent to the stockade.  There, he's abused badly until he escapes.  But he was fatally injured before the escape.  He dies and the boy goes after vengeance.
    Lancaster is Sergeant Warden.  He falls in love with the Captain's wife.  There is a very erotic beach scene between them.  Even though there's no nudity, it's pretty hot!  He tries to help Pruitt, but there isn't much he can do without getting in trouble with the Captain.
    I don't like war movies.  They are too grim for me.  I admit this one was fantastic.  The acting was solid, the plot was complicated but stayed  good, and it was very engrossing.  If you like war movies, I think this one ranks pretty high.  It was just too depressing for me to want to watch again.

Action movies

Sherlock Holmes
    A new take on an old theme.  Robert Downey Jr. is Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law is Watson. 
   Lord Blackwood murders women and is caught.  He tells Holmes that "Death is only the beginning."  (Shades of the Mummy!) 
   The problem is he doesn't stay dead.  He's seen afterwards, quite alive thank you.  A new character shows up, Irene Adler.  Holmes is very leery about her.  I think he has great affection for her, but she's outsmarted him twice and she tends toward thievery. 
    Holmes has other problems.  Watson plans on moving out and getting married.  Holmes doesn't take that well.  Watson stays to help him with this case, but the tension between them grows.  It's a far fetched plot that gets more down to earth as you learn more.  You certainly have to stay awake to watch this or you'll miss quite a bit!  You can't just watch the action, you have to observe the scenery to get even more information.
    I adored this.  Finally, Watson is more than just a sidekick.  You see just how much Holmes needs him.  Holmes is more than a little erratic and is very self-destructive.  He needs Watson for stability, for his very sanity if truth be told. 
    I always hated the old Sherlock movies.  Watson was a real pain to watch in them.  In this one, there wasn't a single "Elementary, my dear Watson."  Thank you, thank you!!  That was annoying!  This is going to be added to my library very soon.

Remo Williams: the Adventure Begins
This is based on the Destroyer series by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir.  The movie is campy but very funny and very watchable.
    Remo (Fred Ward) is chosen by a super secret organization to become an assassin.  He doesn't get a choice about it.  Either join or die. 
    His first assassination is a little Korean guy.  This is a hilarious part, since this is his future trainer.   Chiun (Joel Gray) takes him down without effort.  Chiun has a lot of unflattering things to say about Remo's abilities, but he agrees to teach him. 
    Remo is less than thrilled.  He's forced to eat wholesome food, like rice.  He's also expected to master his fears.  Since he's afraid of heights, Chiun makes him jog on top of buildings.  Along the ledges.  Remo improves greatly, but he's not happy.
    A feisty young woman is investigating Grove Industries.  One of their guns blew up in a young grunt's face.  Her search irritates Grove, who orders her termination.  Remo keeps getting in their way.  She gets very annoyed with Remo, since she doesn't realize someone is trying to kill her.
    It's campy, it's silly, it's loads of fun.  This I enjoyed from start to finish.  The tongue in cheek humor, the clashes between Chiun and Remo, the fast pace, it's a truly delightful blend that works very well.  I loved it when I first saw it and it didn't lose anything the second time around.

Science fiction movies

   It's old and it shows.  I think it took the name from an Isaac Asimov book, which it has nothing to do with.  It has robots and that's all it has in common.
   Tom Selleck is police officer Jack Ramsey.  He's afraid of heights and good with robots.  He gets a new partner and a new case.  A housekeeper robot goes amok and kills everyone in house except the baby.  But that's only a matter of time.  So Jack goes in to take out the robot.  When the lab is studying it, they find an unexplained chip.  Before anyone can touch it, it explodes. 
    The father of the rescued baby disappeared before it was even rescued.  Jack doesn't think that's an accident.  He investigates and finds out there are more chips.  These chips turn robots into killers.  When it's put into a bullet, it turns it into a heat seeking missile that can be programmed for a specific person.  It's literally a bullet with your name on it. 
    It's not the best sci-fi movie.  My husband hated it and thought it was boring.  I liked it.  I'm not sure why, but I did enjoy it.  Gene Simmons as the bad guy was perfect.  He is severely creepy.  He looks right at the camera and it just gives you chills, it feels like he's looking right at you.

Stephen King movies

Hearts in Atlantis
   A coming of age movie with a bit of precog thrown in.  Bobby meets a new tenant who goes into trances and knows things he shouldn't.  The tenant hires Bobby to keep an eye out for strange men and odd flyers pasted on things. 
    I went in expecting something really paranormal.  It's pretty understated though.  Even though the men are looking for Mr. Brautigan because they want him to use his powers working for them, that's the only real part they play in this.  It's mostly a coming of age and a friendship between Bobby and Mr. Brautigan. 
    Even though it had Anton Yelchin and Anthony Hopkins, I just didn't care for this.  Maybe because I was expecting something else.  It was a good movie, as the coming of age and friendship.  The acting was superb.  I just wasn't interested in that type at that time.  Ooops.  I'd advise you to see it to make your own judgement.  Like I said, I was prejudiced.

My favorite movies

Darkness Falls
Ok, I know this isn't all that great a movie. The acting was pathetic. But I still loved it. All those quickie scares, where you never knew when something was going to happen.

     150 years ago, the townspeople of Darkness Falls killed an old woman. They later found out she hadn't done anything wrong. She cursed them all. She used to give the children a gold coin for every tooth they lost. Now, she comes to get their last baby tooth. If they see her, she kills them.
      The night Kyle lost his last tooth, he saw her. She didn't manage to get him, but she did kill his mother. Except everyone thought he killed her. Now he's an adult. His old friend, Caitlin, calls him and wants him to tell her how he cured his night terrors. Her little brother has them and hasn't slept in a long time. Kyle visits and the terror spreads quite quickly. The old woman still plans on getting Kyle, but she keeps missing. The only defense is light. It's painful to her.
        The little boy is the only good actor in this show. He does a great job. But I still loved it. It's nonstop action, creepy atmosphere, and a plot that holds together fairly well. It's my favorite horror movie. Very little gore, but lots of suspense and scares.

Hudson Hawk
The movie Hudson Hawk. I've heard it listed as one of the worst 100. Funny, but it's in my family's top 10. It's a spoof of burglars, action, conspiracies and quite a bit more. The Hawk is a burglar being blackmailed by pretty much everybody into stealing Da Vinci art. The characters are fun, quirky, outrageous, and goofy. I never fail to laugh at this one. People want to look at this as a straight action movie. If you look at it that way, it's pathetic to watch. But it's not straight action. It's tongue in cheek spoofing. James Coburn and Bruce Willis are so straight faced while they do the most outrageous things. I do love this movie. If you like laughing, this is way better than Airplane!

It's based on the comic book, but takes a few liberties. I can't say how much, because I didn't read a lot of them. I only read enough to know about the romance between Snake-Eyes and Scarlett, which isn't in this, and why Snake-Eyes doesn't speak (which isn't the same as in the movie).

     The G.I.Joes are the best of the best from a variety of nations. This is where they first meet Cobra, their arch-enemy. It introduces Duke and Ripcord as new members.
      I like group dynamics, or teams. I always have. This is nowhere near the best of the superhero movies, but I like it. I rented it, and liked it. Then rented it again later. I finally gave in and bought the darn thing, just because I enjoy watching it and I was tired of renting it. It's a fun action movie, and it's very neat seeing all the familiar faces from The Mummy movies. Can you spot Brendan Fraser?
     It doesn't have the quality of the other hero movies, or the plot cohesiveness, but it sure is a lot of fun to watch. I prefer it to the grimness of the Batman movies (I know, shame on me) or even my beloved X-Men. It leaves you feeling good and energized, not depressed. That's kind of important sometimes!

Humorous books

Tales From the Dad Side
    by Steve Doocy
    He's a very funny man.  This was easy to read and gave me lots of giggles.It's about his experiences as a Dad, from cooking to teaching.  Definitely not the same viewpoint as a woman!  It's about raising his kids, as well as tidbits from his own childhood.  Yes, our children can grow a brain.  Eventually.  He's proof there is hope. 

Horror movies

    Similar to Darkness Falls, but nowhere near as good.  He has to go back to his home, to put things in order.  And face his fears of the Boogeyman.  He believes his father was taken by the B-man.  Society has convinced him, almost, that he made it up to cope with his father's abandonment.  Now he finds out he was right.  He also finds out he isn't the only one to see the B-man.
    The only way to stop the Boogeyman is for Tim to face and defeat him.
     It was pretty good throughout, then it started getting a little far fetched.  I don't mind suspending disbelief for a movie, but you have to make it a little logical.  The ending just seemed to be slapped on.  Like it wasn't really going in that direction, but it needed to end so there you are.  I did enjoy all the scares.  That was good.  I just didn't like the contrived ending.

Darkness Falls
    Ok, I know this isn't all that great a movie.  The acting was pathetic.  But I still loved it.  All those quickie scares, where you never knew when something was going to happen. 
    150 years ago, the townspeople of Darkness Falls killed an old woman.  They later found out she hadn't done anything wrong.  She cursed them all.  She used to give the children a gold coin for every tooth they lost.  Now, she comes to get their last baby tooth.  If they see her, she kills them.
    The night Kyle lost his last tooth, he saw her.  She didn't manage to get him, but she did kill his mother.  Except everyone thought he killed her.  Now he's an adult.  His old friend, Caitlin, calls him and wants him to tell her how he cured his night terrors.  Her little brother has them and hasn't slept in a long time.  Kyle visits and the terror spreads quite quickly.  The old woman still plans on getting Kyle, but she keeps missing.  The only defense is light.  It's painful to her.
    The little boy is the only good actor in this show.  He does a great job.  But I still loved it.  It's nonstop action, creepy atmosphere, and a plot that holds together fairly well.  It's my favorite horror movie.  Very little gore, but lots of suspense and scares. 

Fright Night
     It's very dated, from 1985.  It's about a teenager who has a vampire move in next door.  He doesn't know how to handle it, so he looks up the great Peter Vincent.  Vincent is a famous vampire killer, in the old movies.  He, of course, doesn't believe the boy.  He accepts money from the boy's friends to try to convince the kid the guy isn't a vampire.
      There's only one problem with all of this.  The guy really is a vamp and he plans on munching on the kid.  When Vincent finds this out, he's totally freaked.  For being so old, the special effects are particularly gruesome.  It's campy, but still a lot of fun.  Chris Sarandon is darkly seductive while playing the evil vamp.

House of the Devil
    A sitter for an old woman gets more than she bargained for.  Like a scary house, a dead friend, and weird Satanic rituals.  I'm not sure where this was going.  I think it was supposed to be a type of werewolf show, but I can't say for sure.   It was very suspenseful and creepy.  I guess I'm just one of those people who want instant gratification.  After so much suspense, I just wanted it to go somewhere!!  Anywhere!  It was horribly boring to me, watching her explore the house.  The suspense built, but it never went anywhere till much later.  By then I just wanted everyone to die. 

This is like a very dark Mary, Joseph, birth of Christ story. 
    God is tired of humanity.  He sends his angels out to cleanse the Earth.  Most of them possess weaker willed humans and turn them into something like demons.  The exceptions are Michael and Gabriel.
    Michael (Paul Bettany) is sent to kill a specific unborn child.  Instead, he cuts off his wings and searches for the mother to protect her and the child.  Gabriel leads the possessed humans to exterminate the same woman.
    Everyone is converging on a small diner where the woman is working as a waitress.  There are 8 people already there.  A sweet and friendly little old lady shows up.  When she gets her practically raw steak, she sweetly tells the waitress that her baby will burn.  Then she gets more venomous and her eyes go black.  A direct hit with a frying pan doesn't faze her and she sinks her fanged teeth in another customer.  She does a Spiderman imitation on the ceiling till she's shot and killed.
    It's a tired old plot about putting a diverse group of people together that do as much damage to each other as the enemy ever could, with a twist of a new Messiah.  I stuck with this one because I thought the wings were cool.  The direct battles between Gabriel and Michael were extremely neat.  It's pretty much the same old thing as Demon Knight, but I still kind of enjoyed it.  A shirtless Paul Bettany and angels fighting were the best parts.  It's not original, nor filled with great acting, but it is watchable.  It doesn't hurt too much getting to the end.  I wouldn't buy it, but it's worth renting.

Resident Evil
   This is a movie based on a video game.  Even so, it's a pretty good action movie.  Alice wakes up with amnesia and is taken into the Hive.  The team has to find out what has gone so horribly wrong.  It doesn't take long before they're attacked by dead people, who seem to be quite hungry!  Then they're attacked by the Red Queen, the computer controlling the Hive.  Everyone is dead that was in the Hive, except they're walking and looking for munchies.  The explanation is the T-virus was stolen and released.  The T-virus brings dead cells back to life.  If it's a dead person, they come back without a brain but they can still kill and eat.  Basically, a zombie movie.
     I don't like zombies.  They creep me out.  But I sure like this one.  Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriquez are two of the best strong-willed females to show up on the big screen in a long time.  It's a true pleasure to see either one of them.  They darn near always kick butt, and make it quite believable.  This is more action than horror, as far as I'm concerned.  Maybe that's why I liked it, despite the zombies.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse
    This one is even better than the first.  The character of Jill Valentine is just as hard nosed as Alice, and just as tough too.  The T-virus has escaped the Hive and is now in Raccoon City.  People are being evacuated, but not fast enough.  Then Umbrella closes the doors, locking all the people inside the City.  They plan on nuking it, destroying all evidence of their experiments.
    Alice and Valentine are trying to find a way out when the creator of the T-virus contacts them.  If they find and rescue his daughter, he will get them safe passage out.  He also makes the deal with some left behind Umbrella task force members.  They wind up working together, but there's something new walking the streets.  Nemesis is an experiment that is now brought out to see whether it or Alice is better.  Alice has also been experimented on.  She has formed a living bond with the T-virus, making her stronger and faster.
    I really really liked this one!  The action is fast-paced and exciting.  I loved the church scene.  Very cool action.  The characters aren't the usual screaming females that are just begging to die.  These people are mostly tough, get the job done, characters.  The few that aren't don't last long enough to get really annoying.  It's definitely the best of the trilogy.

Resident Evil:Extinction
    Alice's powers have continued to grow.  They now include telekinesis.  She stays away from people, especially her friends.  She knows Umbrella is trying to track her with the chip they implanted.  She doesn't want to bring danger to her friends. 
    The world is now a wasteland.  Umbrella didn't act fast enough to contain the T-virus.  It has spread over the entire planet, destroying animal and plant life.  There aren't many humans left, except for the zombie variety.  Claire Redfield's convoy is having a hard time.  They're running out of food and gas.  If you can't stay moving, the zombies will find you and you'll be dinner.  Alice hooks up with Claire's convoy, but it's still almost wiped out in Vegas.  Alice has to battle a whole new monster and finds out she may be the only antidote there is to the T-virus.
    I didn't care for this one at all.  The only reason I own it is because it finishes the trilogy.  The first two are so good, it almost makes up for this one.  Some of my problem might be because I have always hated desert end-of-the-world movies.  There's just something about sand and end of the world that drives me batty.  Don't like Mad Max either.  Guess I'm prejudiced!

Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour
    Sarah goes to Pine Valley to revisit memories.  She finds herself embroiled in a supernatural mess.  A young man was killed years ago in an auto accident.  His father, a very bitter person, blamed the young woman he was with.  She had two young sons and this bitter man said he would kill her oldest son on his 21st birthday, like his son died. 

Then the bitter man killed himself on the day of his son's funeral.  But the boy believed him, and now he's almost 21.  He's terrified and obsessed with supernatural books.  He's trying to find a way to escape the man's prophecy.

It's not a bad movie.  I liked it better than Paranormal Activity.  But I sure wouldn't buy it.  The acting wasn't that great.  The plot was pretty good, with some twists.  You almost thought it was going in one direction, but it turned and went somewhere else.  I am looking forward to seeing more from this director.  She just needs some practice. 

Dog Training books

150 Activities for Bored Dogs
    by Sue Owens Wright
    The writing is hilarious and there's so much information that helps.  This is a winner all around. 
    When you leave your dog home to go to work, sometimes he or she can do a lot of damage.  This gives you games/activities your dog can do by himself to keep him occupied with something other than your sofa or shoes. 
    It goes further and gives you games you can play with your dog as well.  Something besides the old fetch or walk.  It's such a fun read, whether you have a dog or not.  I advise you to at least read it.  You can't help but laugh at how she phrases things.  I'm so glad I bought it.  I not only have new games for my dogs, I almost laughed myself sick reading it.  It's a double hit! 

Bad Dog to Good Dog
    by Dr. Quixi Sonntag
    This is dog training and about fixing problem behavior by changing it to more acceptable behavior.  It explains how when you do one thing to change a behavior, you might be subtly reinforcing it.  Making them  do it more since they're getting attention by it. 
    Like when a dog jumps up on you.  I push mine away when they do it.  It never made him stop, he just did it more.  I  learnt why.  When I pushed him, he saw it as me playing with him.  So, of course, he did it more.  He got attention!  When I did what the book said, turning away from him as he does it and ignoring him, he stopped doing it.  That only took two days.  I'd been causing the behavior to keep going by not looking at it like he did.
    This is a good book.  I like Dog Body Language Phrasebook better, it helped with a major problem we had, but this also helped with more minor problems.  I'm glad I bought this one.  It's done some good and may help more in the future. 

Dog Body Language Phrasebook
   by Trevor Warner
    This book was my best buy, so far.  I bought a bunch of dog books, because my dog was really causing family problems.  I love the little bugger, so I needed to fix his issues or I would have had to get rid of him.  He was getting that bad.
    I found out I was the problem.  Everything I'd been doing with him had been the wrong thing.  He was growling at anyone coming in the bedroom, or even if I moved around at night.  I didn't know what to do, so I'd just put him outside at every incident.  Now I realize I had started the problem.
    I wanted my dog near me.  So he always slept in the bedroom and on our bed.  I loved him, so I let him do what he wanted.  Basically, I taught him he was top dog and I'd obey him.  So he bossed me around.  I didn't recognize some of the warning signals, that he thought he was pack leader.  I thought it was cute that he stood on his hind legs, putting his paws on my shoulders as I was sitting down.  Now I know he was showing dominance over me.
    Now the bedroom is off limits, day or night.  He can come up on the bed to say good night, but then he has to get down.  I don't know if he's getting it or not, but nobody's getting growled at anymore.  He's also stopped starting fights with his brother.  I knocked him off the throne, now he's not sure enough to keep trying to teach his bro who's boss.  I'm queen and they have to obey me.
    The book is deceptively simple.  It seems like it's just a child's book, because it's not full sized.  It keeps the language simple.  I read some very complicated fiction books and I do fine.  But when it comes to instructions, I can't quite grasp them if they're too complicated.  This kept it simple enough I could get it. He didn't harp on things we do wrong.  He'd just point out an action, then tell you how the dog sees it.  Which can be vastly different than we see it!!  That's how I learnt to adjust what I was doing.
    Each page has two parts.  One is a behavior trait, the other is a short fact.  The behavior trait is looked at through the dog's eyes, and how it affects you as well.  This book is a keeper for my reference library!  This was well worth what I paid.

    Editors of Pets
    This book has a section on how dogs communicate.  Page 9 is a body language primer.  It's very short and concise as to what body movements mean what.  It shows the different positions for the body parts and what they mean.
    This was the most useful to me of all the books.  It used pictures of dogs as well as words.  It's a lot easier for me to see what a dog's posture is than having it described and trying to recognize it.  Now I'm getting much faster at catching my dogs before the fight is on instead of after the biting and clawing have started.  It's very hard to separate fighting dogs. 
    The part explaining how dogs perceive our movements was extremely valuable.  Your dog puts up with you petting his head because he loves you.  If you try putting your hand on a strange dog's head, you probably won't get much back!   A dog doesn't really like hands on his head.  A smile is also something a strange dog doesn't like.  When a dog "smiles", it's a snarl meaning aggression.  So they see our smiles as the same thing. 
    This book helped me the most in recognizing what my dog was doing.  All the cute tricks he was pulling was his way of showing me he was top dog.  Since I allowed it, he started growling at me and others, asserting more control.  Since reading this one, I recognized when he was putting himself above me.  I just thought they were tricks, not his way of taking over.  Now that I can recognize these things, and don't allow it, my dog is finally behaving like he should.  Growling at me has stopped, he obeys me almost immediately (we have a ways to go there...), and the dominance fights between the two dogs have stopped.
    The bond between us is stronger than ever.  My dog finally respects me and he's more affectionate than he's ever been.  If I could only have one book out of all these, this is the one I'd choose.  It doesn't teach tricks or anything else, but those are only icing.  This one and What Color is Your Dog? are the two best books.  They were the most useful to me and the easiest to understand for what I needed.
    I love my dog very much, but it really was getting to the point where I thought I'd have to put him down.  I cried a lot wondering what I was going to do, how I could handle losing him.  These books saved my dog.

Dog Training Handbook
   by Stella Smyth and Sally Bergh-Roose
This is a 10 week training course for your dog.  It tells you when to start and various training methods.  Come is the one I really needed.  My dogs prefer coming when they feel like it.  This one helped me get it through their heads that come means NOW.  There's a lot of dangerous situations out here or anywhere that obedience can save your dog's life.
    This wasn't as helpful to me as Bad Dog to Good Dog or Dog Body Language Phrasebook.  But then again, I'm not very good with formal training.  I'm too lazy, I like quick fixes too much.

Dog Tricks
   by Captain Arthur J. Haggerty and Carol Lea Benjamin
   Haggerty was in the Army and has taught some of the most prominent dog trainers.  Benjamin is a professional dog trainer and has written a lot of dog books.
    These start out with quick and easy tricks to teach.  I do mean easy too.  It tells it in simple language and how to get the dog to do it.  Like triggering the action/trick.  Say you want him to learn to kiss you, but he isn't  big on that.  Put a dab of butter where you want him to kiss.  Praise every time he touches it.  Simple, easy.  Just like I like it. 
    It does get progressively harder, just like the tricks listed.  Later in the book, the tricks are very complicated.  So are the explanations.  I had a hard time with the tricks after chapter 12.  To be honest, I stopped reading after that.  I didn't care to teach those, so why bother reading it.  It's a good book, for what I did read.  It helped me teach some tricks I wasn't getting them to do.  Dog Tricks - Eighty-eight Challenging Activities For Your Dog From World-class Trainers

Dog Tricks
   by Selina Gibsone and Jenny Palser
    This is a short, sweet, effective way of training dogs to do tricks.  Almost every trick is taught in one page, except for the really difficult ones which take two.
    A short paragraph describes the trick and it's value to you and your dog.  Like stay can save his life.  Say he jumps out of your car and traffic is near.  Stay can make the difference between live dog or road kill.  I can't bear to lose my dog, so we're working on this one.
    Then the page is broken into steps to teach this.  It also shows the hand signals used for each trick, if you'd prefer that. 
    Each trick builds on an earlier trick, like down is a continuance of sit.  At the end of the page, it lists the trick and page number this trick is built on.  Then it lists future tricks that build on this particular page.
    I like the simplicity of this book.  It's not at all complicated, even though some of the later tricks are.  I like how things are broken down.  The past and future tricks make it easier to skip and build on what I want my dog to learn.  This way I didn't have to search for similar tricks to keep my dog on track.  I could just keep building on what he'd already learnt.
Dog Tricks: Step by Step
     by Mary Ann Rombold Zeigenfuse and Jan Walker
This is sort of a combination What Color is Your Dog?  and Dog Tricks.  It says much the same things and how to accomplish them, but not nearly as concisely or as in depth.  It saves you from buying both of the other books, but I don't think it explains things nearly as well. 
      There's a canine personality test on pages 10-13.  This is so you can find out what Drives affect your dog.  Things like Prey, Pack, Defense/Fight, or Defense/Flight Drive.  Prey Drive makes it easier for them to learn retrieving.  Pack means they want to please us so they try harder.  Defense/Fight helps them cope with pressure from hard work.  Defense/Flight is necessary for the trainer to know.  They are easily terrified and one must adjust the training so as not to make them more afraid.
    Page 16 tells you the body language needed to switch your dog from one Drive to another, depending on what's needed for which trick.  Every trick is broken down into sequences to make it easier.
   It's a good book.  If I hadn't read the other two books first it would have been fine. 
This one probably would have saved me the cost of buying the other two.  But since I'd already read the other ones, I knew how much was left out.  I guess it wasn't as necessary, I just liked knowing the extras.

What Color is Your Dog?
   by Joel Silverman
   This is dog training using your dog's personality to adjust the training for maximum effect.  This one helped me the most. 
    It uses colors to describe your dog's personality type.  Red is an off-the-wall energetic type, Orange is high-strung, Yellow is mellow and easiest to work with, Green is timid and Blue is overly fearful. 
    We have two dogs.  One is an Orange, almost Red dog.  His brother, my pet, was an extreme Blue.  Using this book, I was able to help my dog gain confidence and move to Green, then Yellow. 
    This book helped me understand some basic mistakes I was making with the boys.  Food treats work great with Blue or Green dogs, sometimes Yellow.  But they're counter productive with Orange and Red. Using food treats, I was able to teach my dog a lot of tricks.  But using treats with the Orange dog, he lost all ability to learn.  He was so caught up in FOOD, he couldn't concentrate on anything else.  I didn't believe what the book said, now I know better!
   There's a wonderful section on training yourself how to train.  A lot of the mistakes he lists are what I was doing.  I didn't understand when to treat or praise, so I was confusing the poor mutts.  I was waiting too long to give them something, or to tell them they were good boys.  So what they learned was hit and miss.  Mostly miss!  Now I know better!  This was an invaluable book.  Not just on training your dog right, but fixing what is wrong too.
   Check out the charts on pages 130-133 and 140-143.  These are immensely helpful if you don't want to have to read the entire book before starting to train.  It's still a good idea to read the whole thing, but it's nice not having to look everything up when you need it.

Of all these books, my two favorites were What Color is Your Dog?  and Dogspeak


DC/Dark Horse super hero movies

      The movie Batman Begins.  This showcases his beginnings.  From the death of his parents, to his search to understand the criminal mind.  During his search, he is approached by an emissary of the League of Shadows.  Once he proves himself, they take him in and teach him how to fight.  He has to face his fears, and control his anger.  But they part ways when they expect him to kill and help destroy Gotham. 
       He returns to Gotham, 'borrows' technology from his father's Applied Science area, and recreates himself as the superhero known as Batman.
        This is very gritty and real.  Batman may be a comic book character, but this movie was made as realistic to a crime drama as it could get.  His gadgets are based on real-life military technology, making it even more realistic. 
         I can't say as this is one of my favorite movies.  I don't like that much realism!  But it was exciting and caught your attention.  It paid attention to detail and kept you interested all the way through.  I can't fault it as a movie.  It's just too gritty for me.  I own it because it really is a very, very good movie.  I just like my comic book heroes to have a little more humor.  This Batman comes the closest to being true to the spirit of the comic.  The movie was as well written as anything out there.  I even have to admit, as far as plot and how it was done, it's better than my beloved Blade 2.  (Do you have any idea how much that hurts to admit??!!!)  I still prefer my Blade 2, because it has at least a tiny leavening of humor.  (A very tiny bit)

The Dark Knight
    The Batman versus the Joker.  This is not your usual Joker.  This one is very scary.  Heath Ledger did a fantastic job.  This Joker isn't the slightest bit funny.  He's brilliant, terrifying, ruthless.  I was shocked at how ruthless.  The character was so diabolical, plans within plans, always a Plan B or C, always a back-up, I was truthfully surprised to see Batman catch him.  Batman always seems to be playing catch up here.  He's always two steps behind the Joker's plans.  Even when he catches him, the Joker actually wins.  It's very much a cat and mouse game, with deadly stakes.  The Bat is all noble and incorruptible, but he really does lose where it counts here.  AKA Harvey Dent and Rachel. 
     This is the best superhero movie I've seen.  For sheer realism, no holds barred believability, it's awesome.  I really don't see how they can make a third movie that can even come close here.  There are no fantastic powers.  All the Bat's gadgets are based in reality, of what's used in warfare today.  His legendary status is a carefully built psychological trick.  (see Batman Begins for that explanation)  He himself is fallible, torn, and deeply wounded inside his heart by the end of this.  A definite must-see.

    He's big, he's red, he's going to bring about the end of the world.  Or so they say.  He doesn't much care.  He just likes to fight and the bad guys better watch out.  He has horns and is in love with Liz, a lady who has a temper and can control fire (move over Torchie!). 
     Rasputin is the one who brought Hellboy over from another dimension and he wants Red to bring about the apocalype.  Rasputin causes a lot of trouble, kills Red's father, and kidnaps Liz to try to force Hellboy to lose control and fulfill his destiny.
    I enjoyed this.  Ron Perlman is in his element here.  He's always been a favorite of mine, and Hellboy was perfect for him.  Red, or Hellboy, is irreverent, bad tempered (hey, aren't we all?), gruff, and a show-off.  The show might be grim, but Red just plows on through and his smart mouth comments really lighten the mood.  Even my husband likes this show.  If my daughter ever moves out, it will probably be a battle royal over who gets this one.  (I plan on winning.  She can get her own)

Hellboy II:The Golden Army
    The Prince of Elfland wants to rid the world of humans.  Can't really blame him.  They've taken over pretty much the whole planet and pushed the non-humans into hiding.  He plans of finding the crown that controls the Golden Army, an unstoppable mechanical army that will destroy the humans.  Prince Nuada kills his father and takes his piece of the crown, attacks an auction house and steals the second piece.  His sister Nuala has the third and she's not going to give it to him.
    Hellboy and the team find what's left of the auction house, and the people.  Abe Sapien figures out what happened to them, and who might be behind it.  When the team and their new leader go to the Troll Market to get answers, Abe meets Nuala.  They have similar powers and  learn a great deal about each other just by touching.  The team take her back to base.
    It's put together better than the first one, but Hellboy is more obnoxious in this one.  He's kind of annoying here.  Liz and Abe get more screen time, and that's a good thing.  Prince Nuada is none other than Luke Goss.  It's a similar role as in Blade 2.  He's a tormented son who's doing what he thinks is right.  But this role shows more of his acting talents.  I was very sympathetic to the Prince's torment.  He wasn't exactly in the wrong.  He did a lot of bad things, but you could understand why.  At least I could.  I liked the first movie better, but this one is much more haunting.  I wouldn't like it nearly as much without Prince Nuada.

The Spirit
Denny Colt is the Spirit.  The Octopus is his nemesis.  Denny was shot and killed.  His coroner was Octopus himself.  Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) had been experimenting with creating an immortality drug.  Denny was his first success.  Once Denny came back to life, Octopus used it on himself.
    Now Octopus is trying to get the blood of Herakles, to turn himself into a God.  But Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) was after something else that was with it.  She loves bling, and the Golden Fleece is the ultimate bling.  She gets the wrong crate, with the Herakles' blood.  Now she and Octopus are quarrelling.
    The Spirit (Gabriel Macht) spends a LOT of time talking, to himself, to the camera, and to his city.  He also spends a lot of time chasing skirts.  Macht has a gorgeous body and a sexy spekaing voice, but I got real tired of it after awhile.  It's dreadfully campy, which isn't a bad thing by itself.  I love campy.  It just falls flat all around.  The humor is cute.  I loved Octopus' little creation: a tiny head on a foot.  But there were only glimpses of interesting things.  It was an ordeal getting through this.  Fast Forward was never so welcome!

Superman:The Movie
The planet Krypton explodes.  Jor-El sends his son to Earth, to save him.  On Earth, the boy is taken in by Jonathan and Martha Kent and named Clark Kent.
    As an adult, he dons a cape and calls himself Superman.  His secret identity is a reporter.  That follows the comic pretty closely.
    I'm not a Superman fan, so I'm already prejudiced, but in the comic Lois Lane at least had a brain.  She was obnoxious, prone to trouble, and always had to be saved.   But she did have a brain. 
    When she's walking around with Clark Kent, supposedly training him, he gives away his super powers over and over.  She can't see it.  She's too busy being superior to the farm boy to accept he might be able to do something she can't.  It's annoying.
    When she does the interview with Superman, she lists everything he tells her.  Thereby making him vulnerable to Lex Luthor.  She didn't hold anything back, even though she's completely gone on him. 
    If you like Superman, you'll like this.  If you don't, it's a waste of time. 
Actors: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder

Superman II
Three criminals from Krypton are freed from the Phantom Zone when Superman throws a hydrogen bomb into space.  They like the idea of taking over Earth, so they show up.  General Zod wants revenge on Jor-El for putting him in the Zone.
    Lex Luthor escapes from prison and searches for Supes Fortress.  He finds it and listens to the memory crystal.  Now he knows all about what Supes can and can't do.
    Meanwhile, Lois and Clark are doing a piece on Niagara Falls.  Lois finally figures out Clark disappears when Supes shows up.  So she sets out to prove her theory.  The results are disastrous, but funny.  She gives up on the idea, then by accident he shows his true self.  He takes Lois to his Fortress to tell her all about himself.
    He's in love wtih Lois, so he makes the decision to give up his powers.  The memory crystal from his father tells him how.  But when they return to civilization, they find the Krypton criminals have taken over the White House.
    Lex shows up and offers to help Zod find Jor-El's son.  They kidnap Lois, to draw Superman out.  Supes goes back to his Fortress and regains his powers. 
    There's the usual battle.  Whenever Zod gets what he wants, he orders Lex's death.  Then Lex comes up with something else Zod wants.  This scenario replays over and over.  Lex is supposed to be a genius, but he keeps helping Zod even though right after Zod orders him killed.  How many times does he have to get backstabbed before he stops trusting Zod? 
   The only good thing about this movie, to me, is Terence Stamp is in it.  Oh, Supes takes away Lois' memory so she doesn't know his secret identity anymore.
Actors: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp

Superman III
Gus learns how to be a computer programmer.  He's able to make the computer do things his teacher says can't be done.  Then he realizes how much hidden money can be found in that computer.  He writes a program skimming pennies off every account.  He's still shocked when he gets an $85,000 check.  He was expecting $50. 
    He gets the attention of Ross Webster.  Webster has uses for his skills.  He wants Gus to hack into Vulcan, a weather controlling satellite.  Then to use it to destroy Columbia.  It works, until Superman steps in and saves Columbia.  Webster is angry. 
     His next plan is to get some kryptonite and kill Supes.  Gus uses Vulcan to find some.  It scans it and they make synthetic kryptonite.  Pretending to be a General, Gus gives Supes the fake kryptonite.  It doesn't affect him, at first.  Then he turns into Dark Superman.  He becomes like a normal person, being selfish.
     He gets worse and worse, until he finally splits into nasty Superman and goody Clark.  They fight and finally Clark wins and Supes is normal again.  Whoopee.
     There's a super computer that learns from experience, the Bad Superman, Clark's old flame Lana Lang, and fake kryptonite.  Nothing really special, unless you count Richard Pryor.  I wouldn't want to own this!
Actors: Christopher Reeve, Annette O'Toole, Robert Vaughn, Richard Pryor

Superman IV: Quest for Peace
The Daily Planet is now owned by Mr. Warfield.  His daughter, Lacy, has the hots for Clark.  The world is in an arms race.  Lex escapes from prison and creates a Nuclear Man. 
    Mr. Warfield is a firm believer in sales.  Truth has no meaning, only sensationalism.  A boy writes Superman, through the Daily Planet, asking him to destroy all nuclear weapons to make the world safe.  Warfield sets up a press conference with the boy.  Supes shows up.  Boy says he wished Supes had said yes to destroying the weapons.  Warfield prints it as "Superman tells kid to drop dead!" 
    Lacy and Lois want to have a double date.  Lacy wants Clark, Lois wants Supes.  Only an idiot would agree to this, but Supes does.  So the entire date has Supes disappearing and reappearing as Clark.  Funny for about 3 seconds, then it's one long yawn.
    Superman is very depressed over not being able to stop the arms race (not supposed to interfere with history), Warfield's lying headlines, and life.  He needs someone to talk to.  So he tells Lois who he is.  Again.  They have a heartfelt talk, and then he makes her forget his secret identity.  Again.  Now that just struck me as supremely tacky.  Cause he needed  a shoulder to cry on. 
    Afterwards, he takes all the nuclear weapons and destroys them.  Luthor gets together with arms dealers and offers to dispose of Supes.  For a price.  Then he creates Nuclear Man by using Supes DNA as a base and the sun as the creation point.   Nuclear Man is born in the sun, comes back to Earth and orders Lex around.  Then he walks into shadow and shuts off like a light switch.
     There's the obligatory fight between the two super beings, and the damsel in distress that needs rescued.
    Lois is supposed to be such an intrepid reporter, but she's so helpless!  She's on a runaway train. Instead of trying to get to the conductor when she realizes it's out of control, she just stands there screaming "Help!"
    Nuclear Man really stretches the bounds of credibility.  I don't mind the sci-fi part.  But he comes out of the sun fully clothed?  What, he had clothing DNA too?  He'd never met a human, but he can speak English to Lex as soon as he lands?  The double date?  No man in his right mind would agree to that.  But he did.  I wouldn't waste my money on this.  I wish I hadn't rented it.
Actors: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Mariel Hemingway

Comedy movie summaries

          The movie Hudson Hawk.  I've heard it listed as one of the worst 100.  Funny, but it's in my family's top 10.  It's a spoof of burglars, action, conspiracies and quite a bit more.  The Hawk is a burglar being blackmailed by pretty much everybody into stealing Da Vinci art.  The characters are fun, quirky, outrageous, and goofy.  I never fail to laugh at this one.  People want to look at this as a straight action movie.  If you look at it that way, it's pathetic to watch.  But it's not straight action.  It's tongue in cheek spoofing.  James Coburn and Bruce Willis are so straight faced while they do the most outrageous things.  I do love this movie.   If you like laughing, this is way better than Airplane!

     What took man millions of years to get to, these aliens do in a week.  Evolve, that is.  They started out as amoeba, and moved up to "no nose chimps" quite fast.  What's standing between our planet and them as the top of the food chain? 
     A biology teacher who used to work for the government (shades of the X-Files!) but was kicked out for experimenting with an anthrax vaccine.  The side effects tended to be drastic.  A girl's volleyball coach with an internet certificate in geology.  And a fledgling firefighter (Seann William Scott).
     You know it's going to be tongue-in-cheek throughout.  It's funny, sort of.  I wouldn't have bought it, but my 21 year old thought it was great.  It's in her favorite list. 

July 28, 2010

Well, here I am.  Again.  I'm trying to get my act together and decide what I want this blog to be about.  I love books and movies.  I used to prefer books, but as my eyes get worse the movies are starting to look better!  So I'm going to try to do book and movie summaries on Shvoong, and reviews here. 

Yes, I'm trying to make money from these reviews.  But I'm also trying to steer people away from bad stuff and let them know what's good.  Just like I'd like people to do for me.  I hate buying a movie, then getting stuck with a stinker.  Even renting can hurt, especially if the fast forward button doesn't work!  Or there are no subtitles, so you have to watch the whole thing just to find out what happens.  Those are painful.  And I've had enough of them.

No one will agree with all my choices, just like I won't agree with everyone else's.  But we might be able to find out which movies to rent and not have to suffer through the horrid ones.  Unless you want to bring a bunch of people to see it, and then point out all the flaws while eating (and possibly throwing) popcorn.  Those can be fun.  It's about the only worthwhile use of bad movies.

Marvel super hero movies

     Blade is half vampire/half human.  He has all their strengths, and only one of their weaknesses.  The blood thirst.  He hates them for killing his mother and making him a monster.  So he hunts them unrelentingly.  His friend and mentor, Whistler, helps him.
      I liked this movie.  It was better than the comic book, at least for me.  I felt no empathy with the comic book character, but I liked this movie one.  It was very fast, and action packed.  I didn't buy it though.  Not until after the second one came out.  Then I did, because I have to own the first in a series if I own the second.

          Blade 2.  This is my favorite Blade movie.  The fight at the beginning just hooked me.  It was so exciting!  The plot was complicated, but went along quite smoothly.  Ron Perlman did a great job as a bad guy, like he always does.  There was an intriguing sort of love story, even if it wasn't fully realized, between Blade and Nyssa.  She was a great character, and you could almost see Blade coming to terms with his vampirism.
          There is a new kind of vampire, called Reapers.  They hunt vampires.  Unfortunately, this doesn't kill the vamp.  It just turns them into Reapers.  And Reapers are constantly hungry.  Sooner or later, they'll start on humans.  So the vampires offer a truce to Blade, wanting him to join with them in killing Reapers.
           I enjoyed this movie from beginning to end.  After getting it, I was even willing to get the first one, so my set was complete.  You can't go wrong with this one.

             Blade:Trinity is the third, and worst, in the series.  The Nightstalkers were very neat.  I enjoyed Ryan Reynolds and his constant smart mouth comments.  Jessica Biel was very good as the arrow shooting daughter of Whistler.  Snipes wasn't his best, for whatever reason.  The vampires were the real dead end here.  They were almost laughable for bad acting (excepting Triple H) and pitiful scariness.  Dracula was made out to be so horrible and terrifying an antagonist, but that sort of fizzled out quickly. 
              I own this, but for all the wrong reasons.  Dominic Purcell and Ryan Reynolds shirtlessness helped minimize the pain of watching this, and Reynolds constant snappy patter helped too.  Biel's business like attitude made her very enjoyable.  But I mainly bought it to complete the set.  I'm not going to get any others though!  It's very yawnable


             X-Men movie.  If you're a fan of the comics, this will be a bit difficult to swallow.  Especially if you want it just like the comics.  It isn't.  There are differences.  It was jarring to me, and I wanted to hate it.  But as a writer, I realize if they tried to be exactly like the comic, it would never have been made.  It didn't focus on the powers as much as it did how it feels to be different, to be shunned.  Anyone who has ever felt like a misfit (and that's all of us, at some time or other), can relate to how these people feel.   That's the reason so many of us fell in love with the comic.  Here were others, different, not like us, but they found others like themselves.  They found a reason to keep going, to keep fighting.
       Kudos to Hugh Jackman.  I don't think Wolverine would have been so well done if it wasn't for him.  I just wish they'd given as much thought to the other characters.  Jean and Scott were the staple of the comic, here Scott was just a character.  It's still worth watching.  I'm not so sure about owning, but I do.  And nobody is taking my movies away from me!!  Shoot, I even have 2 copies of all the movies.  Just in case something happens to one of them...  Have I mentioned how much of a fan of the comics I am?  lol

          X2, the second X-Men movie.  This one focused even more on Wolverine.  Colonel Stryker gets permission from the President to attack Xavier's school.  Magneto is tortured into revealing more than he wanted to Stryker.  Xavier and Cyclops are kidnapped.  Storm, Jean, and Wolverine are forced into partnership with Mystique and Magneto to try to rescue the Professor and the kidnapped children.  Otherwise Stryker will use mind control to force Xavier into killing all the mutants on Earth.  What the X-Men don't know is, Magneto has a plan of his own.
        It's an exciting movie.  I liked seeing more of the kids, the secondary characters.  It was obvious, to a comic book fan, where they were going with Jean.  But that didn't make it any less exciting.  At the end, I'm sure all the other fans were hoping that what we were seeing was going to be developed for the third one.  I liked this better than the first, even though it was more complicated.

     X3:The Last Stand     Just like Blade, this was the worst of the 3.  Jean has become Phoenix and gone bad.  The humans now have a cure for being a mutant.  It's permanent and they'd like all mutants to take it. Mystique is captured and Magneto has to find her.  When he does, there are two new recruits/prisoners.  Juggernaut and Multiple Man have joined the Brotherhood.  Then one of the guards shoots at Magneto.  His bullet contains the Cure.  Mystique takes the shot, saving him, but then loses her power and becomes human. This is the part where I disliked the movie.  Magneto states she saved him, then leaves her behind, shunning her as if she were the enemy.  She isn't one of them anymore, he acts like she's dead. 
        I respected Magneto.  He was ruthless and did things that were unacceptable.  But to abandon one of his own, for being injured?  That smacks of as much bigotry as the humans were showing.  I hated the plot that took it that direction.  Yes, Magneto was a monster, but we could understand what made him that way.  This was something else.  The plot never should have gone that way.
        I admit, I enjoyed the big fight scene at the end.  Iceman against Pyro was something we'd all been waiting for.  Kitty outhinking Juggernaut was priceless.  Wolverine tricking Magneto, great.  But Jean at the end was a bit over the top.  Fans of the comic probably were as irritated as I was.  As much as I adore Wolverine/Hugh Jackman, the end of Phoenix should have involved Cyclops.  It should have stayed true to the comic, and focused on their love.  Not let that love story just be a tiny bit part of the trilogy. 

                             Movie--Wolverine.  This tells you Wolvie's history.  How he and Sabretooth are connected, why Wolvie lost his memory, what Stryker has to do with everything, and where/why Wolvie got his adamantium skeleton.  I don't know how close this is to the comic, since I didn't read any of these.  I liked the movie.  It wasn't a classic by any means.  There was a lot of action and it kept moving at a fast pace.  I really loved Liev Schrieber as Sabretooth.  His deep voice gave the big guy some oomph.  He made an interesting nasty. 
                                It was fun seeing other Marvel characters show up and interact.  Ryan Reynolds was particularly good as Deadpool.  Deadpool always had the nickname of "merc with the mouth" and Ryan was perfect.  He's always had that rep of a smart-mouth, so nobody was surprised at his comments.  And love of instigating trouble.  I really couldn't see anyone else playing that part so well.  Deadpool was made for this boy. 
                                We also got to see Remy LeBeau (handsome boy, not such good acting), Wraith, The Blob (Fred Dukes) (Shoulda had more air time), Zero (played well), and so on. 
                                 This was better than the X-Men, so I own it.  But I still say Blade 2 is better than all of 'em.  (It's all Luke Goss' fault)

    I went into this prejudiced.  I never liked the comic or the character.  I can't explain why.  It has nothing to do with him being blind or anything else.  I just couldn't relate to Matt Murdock or Daredevil.  The movie did nothing to change that.  My daughter bought it, she thinks it's great.  She likes love stories.  I wasn't impressed with anything about the movie. 
      Matt Murdock is blinded by a barrel of gushing radioactive liquid.  While it takes away his sight, it gives his other senses huge enhancements.  He can actually "see" by using sound to frame objects, like a bat's sonar.  Heh, heh.  Wonder which came first, Batman or DD?  He becomes a lawyer, only taking innocent clients.  If he can't convict the bad guy in court, Daredevil hunts him down at night and makes him pay for what he's done.  Now, he meets Elektra Natchios.  She's been targeted by the Kingpin.  Kingpin sends Bullseye out to hunt her down.  DD and he fight and it's a very close thing.
      I don't remember the comic DD being willing to let bad guys die, but it's been decades since I read one of his.  So I don't know how close this is to the comic.  I was very bored through it all.  I couldn't relate to anyone except Elektra, and that was only because I saw her movie later.  This one just didn't do a thing for me.  The action, the plot, the characters, nothing caught my attention and held it.  I didn't care what happened, just so it would be OVER.

    Elektra died in Daredevil.  But her sensei, Stick, knows Kimagure.  In the hands of a master, it can heal and even bring the dead back to life.  He brought her back to life.  She's always known violence and suffering, so she can't quite relate to Kimagure's precepts of peace and control.  Stick forces her out.  She becomes an assassin for hire.
     She's hired to take out a father and daughter.  Almost goes through with it, but can't.  She packs to leave, but as she's leaving she sees more assassins coming to do the job.  She saves the family and becomes entangled in keeping the girl safe from the Hand.  They want to recruit her, willingly or not doesn't matter. 
     I know this wasn't that great a movie, plot wise or other.  But it's one of the few my daughter and I can watch over and over together.  We're too much alike, so we fight constantly.  Arguing, getting mad, giving each other the silent treatment, sometimes screaming.  We watched this movie, and how Abby kept testing Elektra's patience.  My husband had to point out at every confrontation how similar this was to what kept happening at home.  After awhile, at every little snipe, my daughter and I would glance at each other and grin.  We can even get along for a few days without snarling after we watch this.  It got us to finally relate to how the other looked at things.  I've eased up, she's mellowed.
     Like I said, it's not the greatest movie.  But I always enjoy seeing it again, for the action and plot as well as for the memories of finally getting along with my daughter.  Of finally being able to relate to her and her problems.  We have two copies of this!!  Anything that gets us together, I'm not going to take a chance of losing!

Fantastic Four
    This stays true to the comics so far as the character's personalities.  I don't know about the comic history.  I didn't really read many of these, even though I adored The Thing.  The Human Torch always infuriated me, he was just so shallow.  Unfortunately, the movie stayed true to that character.  Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl brought new life to what the comic could have been.  I never paid much attention to those characters, they were just there to bring stability to the group as far as I was concerned.  The movie changed that!  These actors made the characters come alive, and be likable.  I adored Sue Storm in this.  What a modern woman!   She was all woman, tried to keep the boys from fighting and all that, but she was also a feisty, 90's woman.  This lady does the right thing, but she sure isn't going to put up with any crap while she is!!  Jessica Alba rocked!
    Michael Chiklis did the Thing proud.  He didn't lower the character in any way.  He brought all of the Thing's compassion, temper, humor, insecurities, loyalty, etc. right out there for everyone to see.   It was just a silly movie, but when I saw him on the bridge, it brought tears to my eyes.  He's the real meaning of hero.  No matter what he looks like, or how people see him as a monster, he still does the right thing.  Even though he expects to be shot afterward.  The movie is a fantasy, but Thing's actions shine true for any real hero.
    Sue and Johnny Storm work for Dr. Victor Doom.  Reed Richards and Ben Grimm convince Doom to allow them to use his space station to study a cosmic storm.  Reed thinks the data could help cure diseases and extend human life.  The storm hits early, everyone is bathed in cosmic rays and changed. 
    Sue gains the ability to turn invisible and cast force fields.  Reed is able to stretch to great lengths.  Johnny becomes the Human Torch, with the ability to control and cover his body in flames.  Ben's body becomes rock hard and looks like bricks, he becomes massive.   Doom's body is starting to look like metal, he can affect electricity and is very powerful.
    Doom holds a grudge towards the Foursome and wants revenge.  He turns them against one another and eventually attacks.  The action is exciting and the movie moves right along.  I enjoyed it and own it.  Even with the Torch in it...  (nothing against Chris Evans.  I just dislike the character)

Fantastic Four:Rise of the Silver Surfer
   There are unnatural phenomena all over the earth.  There is snow in Egypt and a frozen lake in Japan.  General Hager wants Reed to build something to track the anomaly that's causing all these problems.  He's busy with getting married to Sue, finally.  He does build it, but the anomaly knows that it is being tracked and fries the system. 
    The anomaly's energy surges wake up good old Dr. Doom.  The General wants Reed and Doom to work together.  (what a moron!)  Reed comes up with a way to stop the Silver Surfer/anomaly.  They take the Surfer hostage.  Doom steals the Surfer's board, which contains all his power.  Now the FF have to get the board back, convince the Surfer to help stop his master, and save the world.
    Johnny isn't quite as annoying as he was in the first one.  He's still pretty close, don't get me wrong.  But he has problems and Ben is enjoying picking on him.  (I enjoyed it too, trust me)  The team is caught up in a lot of emotional issues that don't really interest me.  When there was action, it was quite enjoyable.  That was the best part of the movie.  Except when hotshot Johnny kept fouling up.  I know, I know, get off the soapbox!  Ok.  There was still a lot of humor in here.  Sue having her powers go wonky, the poor girl.  Johnny being able to absorb the other's powers if he touches them (Ben has a heyday with that!  I loved it too), Reed telling the General off.  I really liked those parts and more. 

G.I. Joe
    It's based on the comic book, but takes a few liberties.  I can't say how much, because I didn't read a lot of them.  I only read enough to know about the romance between Snake-Eyes and Scarlett, which isn't in this, and why Snake-Eyes doesn't speak (which isn't the same as in the movie).
    The G.I.Joes are the best of the best from a variety of nations.  This is where they first meet Cobra, their arch-enemy.  It introduces Duke and Ripcord as new members. 
    I like group dynamics, or teams.  I always have.  This is nowhere near the best of the superhero movies, but I like it.  I rented it, and liked it.  Then rented it again later.  I finally gave in and bought the darn thing, just because I enjoy watching it and I was tired of renting it.  It's a fun action movie, and it's very neat seeing all the familiar faces from The Mummy movies.  Can you spot Brendan Fraser? 
    It doesn't have the quality of the other hero movies, or the plot cohesiveness, but it sure is a lot of fun to watch.  I prefer it to the grimness of the Batman movies (I know, shame on me) or even my beloved X-Men.  It leaves you feeling good and energized, not depressed.  That's kind of important sometimes!

Iron Man
   Tony Stark's transformation into Iron Man.  He was a genius, weapons making industrialist.  Then on a trip to Afghanistan he is captured by the Ten Rings, a terrorist group.  They have stockpiles of Stark weapons and they want him to recreate his Jericho missile.  He pretends to, but instead creates the first Iron Man suit.  He escapes. 
    When he returns to the States, he begins work on a new suit.  It's going to be more stream-lined, tougher, with more bells and whistles.  He also tells the world he isn't going to be in the weapons business anymore.  This doesn't go down well with his associates.  His friend, Obadiah Stane, wants him to reconsider.  What Stark doesn't know is Stane is the one who hired the terrorists to kill him.  Nor does Tony know Stane is selling Stark weapons to those same terrorists. 
     I never was big on Iron Man.  I don't know why.  I do enjoy this movie though.  It's hilarious when he's testing the various Iron Man gadgets because they always have more oomph than he plans.  I got a kick out of the robotic arms he kept yelling at too. 
    This movie moved along at a good clip, rarely leaving you bored.  It had a good plot and stuck with it.  I can't wait till I can buy Iron Man 2.  Everyone says it's better than the first, and I do like to buy series.  I've never regretted buying this one.  It's pretty easy to watch over and over.

Iron Man 2
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) tells the world he's Iron Man.  Automatically the government wants to own it.  They want Stark to turn over the suit to them.   Stark ridicules them and turns the tables on their information.  He gets to keep the suit.
    We see Tony drinking lots of chlorophyll.    The chest unit he wears to keep himself alive is also poisoning him.  Tony will eventually die because of his toxicity level.    He prepares for his death by choosing Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) as his CEO.
    More new characters are introduced.  Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) gains his powers from the same power source as Tony's chest armor.  The Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and keeping an eye on Stark.  We see more of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) than ever.
    Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) is Tony's business rival.  He gets Whiplash to work for him, to create multiple Iron Man suits that are remotely controlled by him.  Hammer doesn't realize Whiplash will have control of them.
    War Machine (Don Cheadle) is first controlled by Whiplash, then breaks free to fight at Tony's side. 
    I'm glad I didn't buy this sight unseen.  I don't want to own it.  First off, they have a new actor playing Rhodey.  Like nobody's going to notice?  That one really burned me.  I liked the original Rhodey. 
    The characters of Whiplash and Black Widow are very neat and excellently played.  What they did with Iron Man less so.  His selfishness and blatant disregard for anyone but himself was irritating.  He was so cruel to the people who care the most about him.  I lost all sympathy for the character.  He was so annoying, I was disappointed he didn't die.  Totally different from the first one.