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Die Hard still has a pulse

16 Feb


The original Die Hard introduces action movie fans to John McClane’s (Bruce Willis) brand of endless ammunition and memorable one liners. Unlike many of its contemporaries, Die Hard is still a good movie that entertain audiences  of from start to finish. McClane remains relevant because he is the “Everyman” of action heroes. Unfortunately, the sequels have not lived up to the first film’s billing, mainly because none of the villains have been as engaging and intelligent as Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). His accent and his patience with McClane while he attempts to steal 640 million dollars from the Nakatomi Tower. Most of Willis and Rickman’s dialogue takes place over walkie-talkies. The anticipation of the final showdown between the good guy and bad guy crescendos unlike any other action film from its era. The climax is bigger and better than anyone was expecting while Willis’ popularity explodes into stardom and several sequels over the next twenty-five years.


Chuck’s Grade: A

Adam’s Grade: B+

A Christmas Story never gets old

25 Dec


I cannot remember if I saw this Christmas classic in a theater back in 1983, or (like most people today) watched the film on cable television during a twenty-four hour movie marathon. There are very few movies that could be played over and over again without people getting sick of it. A Christmas Story is one of those films that has become apart of America’s contemporary holiday condition. It is a funny story about a young boy (Ralphie) that only wants one gift under the tree, a Red Ryder BB gun, but every adult he comes in contact with tells him, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” The film is a heartfelt, but hilarious journey to a special Christmas morning. This mid-western family captures the highs and lows of the holiday season in a way that resonates with people on many different levels because we are all of these characters in some form and fashion. A Christmas Story never gets old.


Chuck’s Grade: A+

Adam’s Grade: A

Pieces of April on Thanksgiving Day

22 Nov

Believe or not, there are only a couple quality films that are focused on the Thanksgiving holiday. I think the best of these movies is Pieces of April. An independent film written and directed  by Peter Hedges. In 2003, this unassuming caught people off guard with a memorable story about a rebellious city girl who has been a thorn in the side of her conservative, suburban living parents. April (Katie Holmes) has invited her reluctant family to Thanksgiving dinner, but her plans begin to fall apart when her stove does not work.

Hedges does a wonderful job parrelling April’s struggles, along with her parents journey into the city, which is complicated because April’s mother, ironically named Joy (Patricia Clarkson) suffers from cancer.  He uses a series of memory flashbacks to reveal the parent’s past, as well as their sources of resentments. This balance between comedy and drama is perfect for this penetrating Thanksgiving story that reveals the power of unconditional love.


Chuck’ Grade: B+

Adam’s Grade: N/A