Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade

     Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade – “You lost today, kid.  But that doesn’t mean you have to like it.”  The 3rd film of the Indiana Jones series returns Indiana to the action/comedy of the original.  The 2nd movie, “Temple of Doom” was too dark and incorporated an intolerable female character and the disgusting insertion of a tag along child that doesn’t fit with the character.  Unfortunately, inserting kids into movie sequels is too common.  However, some people liked it, but I have never missed not seeing that one again.  In the 3rd installment, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) teams up with his father, Professor Jones played by Sean Connery, who is an archaeologist as well searching for the Holy Grail.  As most adults will admit, trying to take on a monumental task with their parent will only lead to frustration and missunderstandings.  Thus, a great movie is born.  Rated 89% at Rotten Tomatoes and 4.5 stars by Amazon.com, this movie is a treat for the entire family.

Plot – The movie starts with a back drop to young Indiana Jones and his love for adventure.  While in the boy scouts, he stumbles on some robbers in a cave that find an ornamental cross belonging to Coronado (Spanish conquistador).  Young Jones steals the cross and is chased through a circus train before making it home.  The robbers and a crooked Sherriff arrive at his house and he’s forced to return it.  The robber gives Jones his fedora and encouraging words.  As an adult, Jones recovers the cross.  While donating it to the museum, he discovers his father is missing while searching for the Holy Grail.  Soon after, he receives a package containing his father’s diary.  Knowing he is in trouble, Jones sets off to Venice where he was last seen.  Jones discovers the castle where his father is being held and breaks in.  He finds his father and realizes that he was captured by the Nazi’s (Indiana’s long time foes from the first film).  They want the Holy Grail as well.  They break out and the adventure begins.  Through countless chases and action scenes, they finally arrive to the location of the Grail.  After surviving the 3 challenges to get to the Grail, he encounters the knight that found the Grail.  The Nazis now enter seeing numerous “grails”.  The knight warns them to “choose wisely”.

Commentary –  The movie brings Indiana back to the guy we enjoyed in the original film.  The comedic back and forths with his father will likely remind you of your frustrations with your own parents.  I did.  One of the funniest scenes is when Jones is retrieving his father’s book from Berlin and stumbles right into the path of the leader of his most hated rivals…Hitler himself.  I won’t tell you how it works out, but the encounter is hilarious.  So, if you enjoyed the original Indiana Jones, then you’ll enjoy this movie as well.  There’s plenty of action, comedy, and suspense to keep you enthralled throughout.

Trivia – Steven Speilberg (director) always wanted Sean Connery to play Indiana’s dad as an inside joke that James Bond was Indiana’s father.  In the movie, we learn “Indiana” is really “Henry Jones Jr.” and that he got his name from the family dog.  Finally, while watching Indiana wrestle with the other Nazi guard through the periscope on the tank, the Nazi tells his teammates in German that “The Americans.  They fight like girls.”

**  Just click to images to check out “Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade” at Amazon.com **

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The King’s Speech

     The King’s Speech – “I don’t care how many royal assholes have sat in this chair.”  The King’s Speech was a brilliant surprise.  Expecting a rather stuffy movie, the interaction of the characters was amazing and brilliantly played with numerous comedic moments tied to the drama of the King’s pain.  Colin Firth is incredible as Bertie (aka King George VI) and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue left you wanting more.  Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth ties everyone together for the story.  The storyline is obvious, but the movie is about relationships.  The relationships of Bertie (King George VI) & Lionel Logue, Bertie & Queen Elizabeth (wife), Bertie & King Edward VIII (brother), and Bertie & Bertie (his inner issues) are all entangled and critical to the movie.  The close ups and facial expressions display the emotions as the lines are stated and you feel the characters more than following the plot.  However, there are numerous subplots throughout the film that will keep you enticed as well.  Rated 95% at Rotten Tomatoes, 4.5 stars at Amazon.com, & winner of 4 Oscars certifies this as a great film

Plot – The plot is that Prince Albert, Duke of York (Firth) is trying to give a speech and is stammering.  His wife Elizabeth (Carter) visits Lionel Logue (Rush) to ask his assistance.  Logue doesn’t recognize her as royalty and is somehwhat rude until he discovers who is the new “student”.  Albert reluctantly goes, but does so for his wife.  Logue challenges him and even breaks royal etiquette calling him by Bertie (his birth name).  He doesn’t believe in Logue until a tactic used shows Albert promise of improvement.  He continues the eccentric treatments.  King George V dies and Albert’s older brother is now King Edward VIII, but he is a playboy and only follows his desires to the dismay of Bertie.  Bertie is more “kingly” and concerned with the Royal responsibilities.  When King Edward VIII falls in love with a divorced American, he must abdicate the thrown.  Bertie is now King George VI.  Bertie is now terrified as he has the mind of a king, but has lost his resolve due to his speech impediment.  However, he continues improving.  But, politics are at work.  As Bertie believes in Logue, his priest determines Logue doesn’t have “credentials”, but King George VI sticks with him after Logue challenges his authority again.  Unfortunately, the world is spiraling toward WWII and King George VI must make probably the most critical speech of his life.  Logue helps him trough and unleashes the King within.

Commentary – From the title, you can guess the story or you will understand it very quickly, but it is the relationships and subplots that keep this movie interesting.  Guy Pearce is excellent as hedonistic King Edward VIII and antagonist to his brother.  The story within the story is told through expressions as much as through the spoken word.  Rush was outstanding and can deliver so much through such a short statement.  In addition, the movie provides a different view of the royal family and even made me question their relevance.  This could be due to my being an American and anti-King anyway, but the humanistic qualities, fears, and even uncaring nature by most of the royal family will likely make you think the same.  Regardless, it’s a brilliant film.  It’s probably more suited for an adult audience as younger viewers might not appreciate the mature story and there is some profanity, but this is one film that should not be missed.

Trivia – Throughout the film, Logue doesn’t let Bertie smoke saying, “sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you”.  Due to increased smoking from the stress of WWII, King George VI died of lung cancer in 1952.  Humerously, the film has an Australian actor (Pearce) playing a Brit, a British actor (Best) playing an American, and an American actor (Ehle) playing an Australian.  Finally, despite Lionel’s insistance that Bertie call him by his first name, Bertie never actually does in the film.

** Just click the images to check out “The King’s Speech” at Amazon.com **


Top Secret

     Top Secret – “(Hillary) It’s a German name.  It means ‘she whose bossoms defy gravity’.”  Top Secret is an absolutely great movie over-shadowed by the greatness of its predecessor.  This comedy was a follow up movie by the makers of Airplane.  Unfortunately, Airplane was so great that it made many viewers not appreciate this film.  However, don’t let that keep you from enjoying it.  It is in the same comedy stylings and they bombard you constantly with jokes.  Even when it is in a lull of the action, there is usually a joke going on in the background.  It’s a silly, immature, and mindless movie, but it is hilarious and a fun 90 minutes.  I believe you’ll want to enjoy this film many times.  In fact, you’ll have to watch it several times to get all the jokes.  Rated 76% at Rotten Tomatoes and 4.5 stars at Amazon.com, this is a little gem worth looking into.

Plot – As with Airplane, the plot is somewhat irrelevent and an avenue for the jokes.  But, here goes.  Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer) is an American rock singer invited to East Germany to appear at a cultural festival.  Along the way, he rubs the German authorities the wrong way who strangely act like Nazi Germans.  Meanwhile, we see Hillary Flammond (Lucy Gutteridge) meeting a French Underground spy, but as the authorities catch up, she runs into a restaurant that Nick is present in.  Seeing her nervous, he claims she’s with him and they get involved.  She is part of the French Underground trying to save her father who is a brilliant scientist kidnapped by the Germans to build a powerful mine.  They join the French Underground and finally locate him in a prison.  They raid the prison, help him to escape, and flee Germany.

Commentary –  This is a completely underrated film.  Seriously, who doesn’t think a cow in rubber boots is funny?   The spoof of the Germans is hilarious and Val Kilmer’s Elvis/Beach Boys/Little Richard musical parodies will keep you entertained.  Considering this was his first feature film, his comedic timing was excellent, as well as his singing.  As stated, it’s silly at times and it’s subtle at times, but it’s funny from beginning to end.

Trivia –  The musical numbers in the film were actually recorded by Val Kilmer and released on the soundtrack under his character’s name.  When Val Kilmer is in prison, you can see a picture of Cher hanging on the wall.  Kilmer was dating Cher during that time.  The “German” spoken throughout the film is essentially gibberish.  However, some scenes contain Yiddish statements that are rather insulting.