Home > Blogs > Double D’s Double Feature: Recap and Top 25 – #23: Die Hard

Double D’s Double Feature: Recap and Top 25 – #23: Die Hard

OK, so sorry again for taking my time in recapping here. It has been one crazy couple of weeks. My Sister was moving from one apartment to another, so I had to take a lot of time after work to help her move, on top of picking up extra hours at the comic shop where I work, so things haven’t been easy lately, trust me. I managed to take some time to go to the movies, but I just couldn’t seem to find the time to blog about what I saw.

Well, here I am now. I have no new movies from the past week to speak of, because there was really nothing I wanted to see this past week, so I didn’t even bother to attend the cinema. I think I might be getting withdrawals. There was a 50th Anniversary Screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho that was playing at a theatre near my house on Wednesday, but it was a one-time only thing and the scheduling didn’t work out. I’ll add it to the ever-expanding list of things that I had to miss out on due to scheduling conflicts. Oh well, such is life, I guess.

One of the big developments that I’m super excited about however, and the main reason I’m writing this blog is because I got a microphone and mixer on Wednesday, so I can start podcasting again! Yay! This means that I will soon be rejoining my friends over at thisweekingeek.net for all sorts of shenanigans! Also, the really big news is that coming in 2011 I will be creating a Double D Does the Movies podcast. I’m giving myself until the new year to work all the kinks out and make sure I’m good to go, but you can look forward to hearing my sweet, sultry voice once again talking to you about movies with all sorts of guest hosts, or maybe a recurring host, or maybe a recurring host who is replaced every now and again by a guest host. See what I mean about working the kinks out? Either way, it’s coming and it will be awesome. I can guarantee that. Don’t worry though; I won’t be giving up on this blog. Besides, I haven’t even finished my Top 25 yet! You’ll still be able to stop by and read me whenever you want, but believe me; I’m going to be working hard to keep pushing forward. I’ll give you all word on any developments as they come.

In other news, I did manage to see a few movies this last month that I haven’t blogged about yet. As opposed to wasting your time with lengthy reviews for each one however, I’m going to give you a quick one-paragraph recap of my thoughts on each film, followed by a rating, so you can see my thoughts, knowing that I fully recognize the out-of-dateness of this blog post. Yes, I know that out-of-dateness isn’t a real word. Anyways, on to what I like to call recap-o-rama! What, too cheesy?

Movie #1: The Town
Wow! What a movie! Seriously, Mr. Affleck, if you do not get nominated for some kind of Oscar, I call shenanigans! That’s the word of the day, by the way, shenanigans. Anyways, this movie was pitch perfect, from Affleck’s surprisingly well crafted performance, to the brilliant script, to Affleck’s also surprisingly good directing. Even the supporting cast do a great job with the likes of Jeremy Renner and John Hamm pulling their weight here as well. All I can say is that this movie will affect you. In a year filled with mediocrity, brace yourself for a movie where you will be gripped by the characters in a story that unfolds expertly. The film-making here harkens back to the great crime classics of old where the crime itself was often superseded by those committing it and its effect on their lives. The Town was definitely this year’s surprise hit for me. There’s a few clichés and it gets predictable every now and again, but I don’t mind predictability, as long as I keep predicting something great. 4.5/5.

Movie #2: Let Me In
If anything this movie deserves an Oscar nomination for best original score. The music in Let Me In was moving, sad and powerful. The movie however, was pretty good. Is it as good as the Swedish original from a few years ago? Of course not. American remakes never are, but it still holds up pretty well. The one thing I like about Let Me In as opposed to Let The Right One In is how director/ writer Matt Reeves has tightened the script, focusing in more on the relationship between the young Owen and his vampire girlfriend, Abbey, whereas the original strays off into several subplots that have been either shortened here or removed entirely to make for a much tighter, more effective film. Reeves also draws more attention to things left a bit more subtle in the original. All in all, cutting the fat works quite well. Where the film falls short however is how it was “Americanized”. In the original, Eli was creepy because she never changed form. Even when she was drinking blood she still looked and talked the same. In this version they had to give her a CGI face and an exorcist voice. Why? Wasn’t it enough that a 12-year-old is drinking blood? I guess not. There are also quite a few scenes that push into the violent action much closer instead letting us observe from afar like innocent bystanders like in the original film. Maybe it’s unfair to compare this film to the original. Despite some bad choices here and there and some bad CGI every now and again, this movie is every bit as impactful as the original and both should be enjoyed as being what a vampire film should be. This is definitely no Twilight. 3.5/5

Movie #3: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Did Wall Street really need a sequel? Actually, it kind of did. The ending of the original film leaves you completely up in the air and that slaps a big fat “THE END” in your face, what a crock! I’m kind of glad that Oliver Stone finally became this desperate for ideas. Besides, he can’t make an Obama movie until at least 2012. So, what did I think of this follow up to the 1987 cult classic? It was decent. The original was decent and so was this one. My only major quip is that it lacks too much of the intensity of the original. Mr. Stone has gone a bit lax in his old age. Instead of a film that grabs you by the balls and shouts in your face, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps casually pats you on the back while giving you a friendly lecture about sustainable energy and economic responsibility. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, Old Man Stone, but I was half expecting you to be at your yelling-at-the-kids-from-your-porch stage. It sure would have made the film a bit more entertaining. Instead, what we get is a bit too pedestrian and don’t get me started on the happy ending! Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was entertaining, if a little too casual. 3/5.

Movie #4: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
Holy crap, that title! That f**king title! It takes like 23 seconds just to say this movie’s name. I’d joke about awkwardly taking forever to buy tickets from the box office, but I buy all my tickets from that little print-out machine. I’ve become like a NASCAR pit crew on that thing. I’m so efficient. Anyways, I have to get something out of the way here. I am not a Zack Snyder fan. Cue angry crowd. Seriously, what does everyone love so much about that guy? Dawn of the Dead was a mockery of the original. 300 was well, 300 and Watchmen lacked the humanity that made the original comic so great. Now we get to LotG: TOoG (Jeez, even the abbreviation looks ridiculous!), which in all honesty wasn’t that bad. I was pretty shocked when I found out Zack Snyder of all people was directing a kid’s movie. In all honesty, he does a pretty good job. First off, this movie had brilliant visuals and looked AMAZING in 3D right from beginning to end. My eyes were glued to the screen. It was also very entertaining. Now there are some warnings I should give here. There are some very intense things here and um, this movie (I’m not typing the title again) is not intended for very small children, but kids over 8 are going to be pretending to be owls in their backyards for months and then again for a few weeks when the DVD comes out. The plot can be a bit ludicrous and there are times it moves too quickly, but let’s face it, this is a kid’s movie. It’s not Lord of the Rings with owls. No, wait… 3.5/5.

Movie #5: The Social Network
Right now is the perfect time to make a movie about Facebook. I’m going to use Facebook to promote this review. On Facebook, people will likely comment on it and on Facebook I will interact with anyone who cares enough to read this review. Facebook has become a microcosm of real life. Let’s face it, in a way we let it run our lives. So, why not make a movie about this phenomenon and who better to direct it than Mr. David Fincher, one of my all time favourite directors? Also, we’ve got Jesse Eisenberg, who just happens to look strikingly similar to the real Mark Zuckerberg to play the lead, with upcoming Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin and a surprisingly adept Justin Timberlake as Napster founder Sean Parker. The casting was perfect, the timing was perfect, the movie was almost perfect. The Social Network had a brilliant, witty and intelligent script that balanced all its elements of humor, drama and informative social commentary quite well. The performances are quite good as well and for a movie that I half expected to be a little drab, it never once felt boring or like it was dragging its feet. In fact, if anything The Social Network moves to quickly, never really stopping enough to relish any of the irony that it’s characters are experiencing as their plan to connect the world causes their lives to further and further disconnect. Maybe I had my hopes up a bit too high. You really shouldn’t judge a movie by its trailer, but let’s face it; The Social Network’s trailer kicked ass! Anyways, despite a few misgivings, this was still a thoroughly intelligent and well-wrought social commentary and can truly be called a film for our times. The question is, will it hold up over time? I sure hope so. 4/5.

Alright, now let’s talk about Die Hard! Yes! I love this movie! Seriously, even though I’m really tired writing this right now and I sort of just want to jerk off and go to bed, Die Hard is too cool to not talk about. Where do I even start?

How about we start with Mr. John McClane? He is the ultimate down-to-Earth nine-to-five hero. He’s the everyman and maybe that’s why people like him so much. It’s hard to relate to James Bond, it’s easy to relate to John McClane, a man with no shoes on, totally out of his element and feeling like a loser as he desperately tries to win his wife back. He’s the kind of hero that really isn’t a hero. He’s just a guy trying to do what’s right, because no one else will and ultimately he’s the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Essentially, at its core, Die Hard isn’t an action movie, but that’s what I love about it. Action movies have heroes that work for the FBI and chase after international terrorists with expert combat skills. Die Hard has none of that. Essentially, it’s just a brilliant character piece about a man trying to get his wife back, but hitting a few snags along the way. It isn’t trying to impress you with explosions and guns, as much as it tries to impress you with good characters and a wonderful story. It just throws in all those guns and explosions for good measure. And let’s face it; this movie has some pretty awesome action set-pieces. There’s the elevator shaft scene, the scene where John’s under the table, the part where the roof explodes; Die Hard is one of those few action-packed films where the action is just as well executed as everything else: the acting, directing, editing, music, etc. It all comes together perfectly. Let’s face it, films as fun and as perfect as this are rare.

The first of the so-called “snags” that Mr. McClane hits comes in the form of German terrorist Hans Gruber, played amazingly by Alan Rickman. Then later things get even more complicated when the FBI shows up. Fortunately John’s gonna get a little help from his friends Sgt. Al Powell, played by Carl Winslow and Argyle, the limo driver. I have no idea who plays him. The supporting cast and the brilliant realization of so many rich and wonderful characters, beyond just McClane himself is another one of the reasons why Die Hard is so impressive every time I watch it. I always end up clinging to the guys who have 6 minutes of screen time just as much as the guys who have 60 minutes. Every little detail in this movie is just realized so perfectly, it blows me away every time. Not to mention, it’s only the best Christmas movie ever! Or maybe a close second after A Christmas Story. I really like that one too.

So, it’s got guns. It’s got explosions. It’s got fights and danger and fun to be had at every turn, but it’s also got heart and in the end that’s why Die Hard is #23 on my Top 25.

Stay tuned next time for more Top 25 picks and more reviews, because you know you wanna!

And yes I know that Al was played by Reginald VelJohnson, not Carl Winslow. Jeez, I was making a joke! Get off my back, will ya?

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