Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Episode 11

16 Blocks - Bruce Willis plays a cop (huh...fancy that...) who's down on his luck. He gets through the day by drinking and feeling sorry for himself. Having just pulled some overtime, he merely wants to go home and slip into an alcohol-assisted coma, but one of his superiors on the force has other plans for him. He's given the job of escorting a young man played by Mos Def to a courthouse 16 blocks from the police station, where he's supposed to give his testimony in a case. No biggie, right? Sure, until every crooked cop in the New York starts chasing them down and the two of them go from strolling down the street to dodging bullets. It turns out that the testimony Mos Def's character is on his way to give is against the same 'good guys' who have suddenly become trigger happy. Among New York's finest are David Morse and David Zayas, who plays Angel Batista on Showtime's top-notch crime drama Dexter (wink wink...go watch it!). My interest in 16 Blocks began as I stood in Blockbuster one day with a copy of Lady In The Water in one hand and a two-for-one coupon in the other. I'd just seen Lucky # Slevin, so I figured another Bruce Willis movie couldn't hurt. And right I was. 16 Blocks begins and ends as a fairly standard action movie with your usual cop stereotypes and lots of running through the streets of NYC a la Die Hard: With A Vengence. The thing that really drew me into the film were the characters portrayed by Willis and Def, and their relationship with one another. It's a little corny, but I think the actors in question did a good job of holding it all together. David Morse also tosses in a good performance as the main "villain" (if you want to call it that). I think he pulls of the bad guy role so well because he doesn't seem like one. It's the same reason that I love Robin Williams in One Hour Photo (more on that in a moment). Not the best action movie ever, or the best Bruce Willis action movie for that matter, but not bad.

Aladdin - Poor kid goes ga-ga over a princess, meets a genie, stops a creepy dude with a mustache and a talking bird from overthrowing the sultan, and transcends the boundaries of social status for true love. I think we all know the plot of Disney's Aladdin. What we don't all know is how I feel about it. Well, let me tell you, I love it. That's right. Aladdin is up there with The Lion King, Robin Hood, and Toy Story as one of my favorite childhood Disney movies. These films really transcend time, meaning that I don't lose any respect for them as I get older. The same cannot be said for some things that I enjoyed when I was a child. The Ghostbusters and G.I.Joe cartoons, which I find it hard to sit through these days, for example. That's the joy of Disney movies. Somehow they all manage to be just as enjoyable for adults as they are for children. Once again, I'm sure this is something we are all aware of. For me, though, what really makes Aladdin so memorable was the genie, whose voice was provided by Robin Williams. It is because of roles such as this one, as well as those in such films as Jack and Hook that I will always see Williams as an all ages personality. Even after seeing his stand-up comedy, which is a far cry from the innocence of Aladdin, and his roles in films like One Hour Photo, Death To Smoochy, and Insomnia, I still feel that his real place is in G-rated roles (however, he was spectacular in One Hour Photo). Also of note are Gilbert Gottfried's voice acting skills as of Iago, the evil, talking parrot. If, by some incredible mishap in the fabric of the space/time continuum, you have never seen Aladdin, I'd advise that you do so. It's good clean fun for the whole family, and it'll really piss you off after watching it to know that Disney has discontinued it's 2D animation department to focus solely on 3D romps such as Toy Story. For the most part these have all been good thus far, but I don't think anyone really wants to see an end to 2D animation from Disney. Oh, and if you get the chance to see either of the sequels to Aladdin (The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves), don't bother.

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