Archive for August, 2008

Review: Traitor

Don Cheadle plays Samir Horn, a devout Muslim who has traveled the globe, assisting various Islamic extremists by building bombs and planning attacks on Western targets.  He’s also working for the U.S. government.  Horn grew up in an Islamic household and eventually joined the United States Army, where he received special ops training.  He soon dissapeared, believed to have turned traitor to the U.S. and begun several bombings.

But all is not as it seems, in the tense, straight-from-the-headlines thriller from director Jeffrey Nachmanoff.  It turns out that Horn is a double agent, working his way up in an underground al-Qaida-esque Islamic terrorist network in order to help bring it down.  His handler is a man named Carter (Jeff Daniels), who has kept his mission top secret from practically everyone.  Horn’s activities have caught the attention of an elite FBI counter-terrorism unit headed by Roy Clayton (Guy Pearce) and Max Archer (Neal McDonough), who have pursued Horn all over the world.

The main focus of this movie is on Cheadle, whose conflicted Horn must deal with the results of his actions alone.  He considers Muslim terrorists traitors to Islam, and is willing to appear to be one of them in order to take them down.  However, in order to gain their trust, he must do what he despises: kill innocent people.  Carter does what he can to help Horn; from planting already-dead bodies in the aftermath of an explosion, to supplying Samir with money and materials needed for the bombs.  Horn, however, becomes guilt-ridden when the innocent body count begins racking up.  All of this leads to a suspenseful final act that raises the bar in post-9/11 thrillers.

Don Cheadle is great in this role.  Even though his boss is Carter, he answers to God alone, willing to ignore his superiors in order to do what is right.  Guy Pearce and Neal McDonough play their parts fine, although they’re relegated to running around after Cheadle.  Jeff Daniels, unfortunately, doesn’t really have much to do.  He’s only in a few scenes and spends much of his screen time annoyed with Horn.  Writer/Director Jeffrey Nachmanoff, working from an idea by Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) builds the tension slowly, allowing the actors to wade deeper and deeper into the storyline.  The action is rather tame compared to other recent action/thrillers like The Bourne Ultimatum, but the focus here is on the people, and not necessarily the story.

In the end, the big question the movie raises is, “How many innocents must die in order to protect everyone else?”  In an ideal world, the answer would be, “None,” however this is an imperfect world.  Innocent people do die, even if it is in the name of a percieved good.  Traitor doesn’t attempt to answer this question, but puts it out there for the audience to make a decision.  While not exactly a masterpiece of the genre, Traitor stands out by never really choosing a side, and by showing the lengths each side is willing to go to win the ‘War on Terror’.

8/10

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August 30, 2008 at 4:43 pm Leave a comment

Gov. Sarah Palin Is McCain’s VP Pick

I’ve been pushing for her to be McCain’s running mate since the beginning.  I kinda dismissed her when she said, in an interview, that she’d say ‘No’ if asked to be VP.

This is gonna be one hell of an election.

August 29, 2008 at 9:25 am Leave a comment

George Washington Was Right

With the Democratic National Convention wrapping up tonight, the entire Democratic party is hoping that the four-night love-fest will get this one point across to the entire nation . . .  no, the world: The Democratic party is united.

But is it?

Sure, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Pres. Bill Clinton verbally announced their support behind Barack Obama, to thunderous applause.  Still, there are Hillary fans out there that still are not convinced that Obama was a better choice than Hillary.  Most damaging to the left-wingers is that some people don’t believe that Obama is a better candidate than McCain.

With all the crap that gets thrown at the Republican party, one thing remains certain, and has remained certain for the past 15 years: the Republican party is ready to back any of their candidates.  Romney, Huckabee, and Giuliani all now throw their weight behind McCain, despite an at-times heated campaign for the Republican nomination.  Doing so, and doing so early gave the Republicans the time needed to solidify their base, and watch as the Dems tore at each others’ throats for another few months.

What this showed me was Founding Father George Washington was right.  Political parties are a bad idea.

“All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They [political parties] serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.

“However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

What I believe, in regards to political parties, is that they force voters to side with one group or the other, based on popular beliefs.  For example, I’m a twenty-something minority currently living in a heavily democratic state.  I’m also a long-time Republican, having grown up in a traditionally Republican state and brought up with traditionally conservative beliefs.  But, I’ve never always voted Republican, and the only political campaign I’ve ever volunteered for was for a Democrat.  Given my current situation, does that mean I should vote for Obama, because everyone else in my state, my school, and my circle of friends will do so?  Or, should I vote for McCain, out of some political party loyalty?

The answer is a resounding NO on both accounts.

Why should I vote for Obama?  Because it’s the ‘cool thing’?  Because he’s a minority just like me?  Or is it because I think he’s the best man for the job?  But, in doing so, does that automatically make me a Democrat?  Absolutely not.

I may be a registered Republican, but I support gay rights, strong anti-nuclear proliferation, a draw-down in troops in Iraq, and, though I consider myself pro-life, I’d never overturn Roe v. Wade.  All these things I came to on my own, not because the member of some political party told me to.  What I hope for all Americans that are able to vote this November is to vote with their head.  If you’re embarrassed to say who you’re going to vote for, you don’t have to tell others.  It’s none of their business anyway.  There will be plenty of Democrats and Independents that will be voting for McCain, and they’re proud to do so.  Likewise, there are lots of disillusioned Republicans that will vote for Obama, so either way, you won’t be alone in whoever you vote for.

If I had my way, there wouldn’t be political parties, for all the obvious reasons.  But, I guess it’s human nature that we shoehorn ourselves into groups.  Obama is only half-Black, but he’s considered African American.  McCain is known as a maverick with an independent streak, but he’s a Republican.  I believe that the things these two men do and vote for are because of what they think, not because of what their party thinks.  If Americans can continue to vote for what they believe in, regardless of who says it or what party it came from, then we can still proudly say we are a Democratic Republic.  We make our own destiny, we steer our own ship.

(quote from http://www.laughtergenealogy.com/bin/history/politics.html)

August 28, 2008 at 9:38 am 1 comment

New ‘Quantum of Solace’ Theme Song!

LOL

August 24, 2008 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

‘Quantam of Solace’ Video Game Trailer

Wow, it looks like these game developers are really getting some mileage out of existing engines.  Batman: Arkham Asylum looks great running on the 2-year-old Unreal Engine 3 and the Quantum of Solace game is doing some great water effects with the Call of Duty 4 engine.

August 24, 2008 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

Nolan No-Go For Batman 3?

According to the clip below, there may be some doubt that Nolan might not do a third Batman. His contract is apparently for 3 Batman movies, but that doesn’t mean 3 consecutive movies. Someone else may step in at some point (which will most likely happen) and direct a Batman movie, and it’s possible Nolan won’t do Batman 3.

Possible, but not likely. Christopher Nolan knows that, among comic book geeks, he is revered. Nolan is credited with single-handedly saving a stagnant franchise and elevating the comic book movie from summer popcorn fluff to a work of art (though I’m sure there are some who will argue that point). Point is, the fans, and probably the critics, too, will be upset if he doesn’t do the third Batman movie. Not just a third, but the next one in the series.

I do think that Nolan should take some time off and do some other work just to refresh his creative batteries. The Prestige was a very different movie from Batman Begins, and maybe that time away from comic book material was what he needed before he took on The Dark Knight. That’s probably something Sam Raimi should have done before turning out the decent, albeit lackluster Spider-man 3

clipped from movies.ign.com

August 18, 2008The Dark Knight soared past the first Star Wars movie this weekend to become the second highest-grossing domestic release of all time just behind Titanic. With over $470 million now in their coffers, Warner Bros. is understandably eager to make sure that filmmaker Christopher Nolan, the director of TDK and Batman Begins, returns to helm the third installment in their revitalized Bat-franchise.

So far there had been little hard news about Batman 3 (but plenty of unfounded casting gossip about who might play the villains in the next sequel). Until now.

According to Variety, “There’s a deal for the director to helm a third pic, but he has yet to decide on whether to tackle it yet.” Warner Bros. studio boss Alan Horn told the trade, “We have no idea where Chris is going with this. … We haven’t had any conversations with him about it.”
blog it

August 20, 2008 at 7:59 pm Leave a comment

Batman: Arkham Asylum – Video Game

Having just recently got back into the world of comics, I’m pretty excited to hear that there’s a new Batman game coming, and not the type that usually comes with the release of a movie.

Eidos announced earlier this week that there’s a new game coming based on the comics, and not the excellent The Dark Knight film.  Here’s part of the story from 1up.com:

“Tired of waiting for Electronic Arts to figure out what to do with their Dark Knight game? Let Eidos comfort you in their warm embrace — in the latest issue of Game Informer, the publisher has announced Batman: Arkham Asylum, a new game based generally on the Batman comics (NeoGAF, via Kotaku).

By “based generally,” that is to say Eidos owns the rights to the Batman comics (while EA owns the rights to the Batman movies), but Batman: Arkham Asylum isn’t specifically based on the graphic novel of the same name. Rather, it’ll reportedly pull from all 70 years of comic history, with an original story crafted by Paul Dini (who served as a writer, producer, and editor for Batman: The Animated Series), and artwork and character designs by DC Comics studio Wildstorm.”

Here are some screens.  As you can see, it looks good.  Unreal Engine 3 looks even better than before.

Can’t wait.  I actually just finished reading Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth last week.  It’s a great book, definitely different from the usual Batman fare.  Check out the rest of the 1up story here.

August 16, 2008 at 12:07 pm 1 comment

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