Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wayne Allwine dead at 62

Wayne Allwine, a Disney sound-effects technician who became the falsetto voice of Mickey Mouse in 1977, died Monday in Los Angeles at age 62 from complications related to diabetes.

In a statement, Disney CEO Robert Iger said, "Wayne dedicated his entire professional life to Disney, and over the last 32 years, gave so much joy, happiness and comfort to so many around the world by giving voice to our most beloved, iconic character, Mickey Mouse."

Allwine was the third person to provide Mickey's voice in films and TV shows -- the first, being Walt Disney himself, who did so from 1928 to 1947, when Jimmy McDonald, another Disney sound engineer took over.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Guess the bad guy in 'Angels and Demons'!

Angels & Demons (2009)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan SkarsgÄrd, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and Nikolaj Lie Kaas
Director: Ron Howard
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

Harvard professor Robert Langdon (Hanks) races across Rome and against time to stop agents of the Illuminati from taking revenge on the Catholic Church for ancient wrongs, bringing to a head a secret war that has waged for 400 years. If Langdon fails to properly interpert clues hidden in the architecture and saturary of the Vatican and Rome's most famous sites within the space of one night, four Cardinals will be murdered and the Vatacin will be destroyed in a massive terroist attack.

"Angels & Demons" is a race-against-the-clock thriller (literally in every sense) that uses a heavily ficitonalized version of historical events and organzaitons as its backdrop, and the far-fetched sci-fi concept of an anti-matter bomb as a major plot device. It's well-filmed with an excellent musical score helping to move the action along. Every actor is excellent, with Ewan McGregor (as the only seemingly-openminded clergyman in the entire Vatican) and Stellan Skarsgaard (as the head of the Swiss Guard and a religious fanatic who seems to be obstruct Langdon's investiation at every turn) shining particularly brightly.

This is a thoroughly entertaining film with a cleverly constructed plot that gives viewers enough clues to play along and try to sort out the good guys from the bad guys as they story unfolds, but still keeps enough back so when the truth about the goals and desires of the film's main characters and villains start emerging it all fits together and it feels satisfying.

But only if one accepts that the film is complete and total fiction.

I'm no historian, but even I know that Copernicus died of natural causes and was not murdered by the Church (as is claimed in the movie, as one of several reasons for why the Illuminati has been secretly at war with the Church). I also know that the Illuminati was founded in 1776, by political philosphers with no interest in science, not by Gallileo as is claimed in this story. I'm no scientist but even I know that it is beyond our current scientific know-how to create (and let alone store) the amount of anti-matter featured in the film.

I've never read any of Dan Brown's books, but if this movie is accurate representation of the "facts" they contain, I don't understand what the fuss is. It looks to be trashy fiction that's translated into trashy movies. "Angels & Demons" is a fun romp, but it's nothing more than that."

The same is true of the claim that it's a screed against Catholics and that it promotes anti-Catholic bigotry. Having watched the filn now, I don't see where the American Catholic League is coming from with its boycott calls. They would have been far better off if they had just kept their mouths shut; Columbia Pictures would have had at least one less ticket sale on this opening day.

"Angels & Demons" no more promotes bigotry against Catholics than "Absolaute Power" promoted bigotry against political toadies. In fact, the only thing in this movie that seems to be an accurate portrayal of anything real is the fact that any institution made by man can be subverted and corrupted by man. There are evil Catholics in the film, and there are good Catholics in the film. (The only possible bigotry I see in it, is a bigotry against historical facts. But, since I know this is a work of fiction, that notion is as silly as the call for the film to be boycotted.)

So, should you see "Angels & Demons"? I found it to be a fast-paced, engaging thriller, but I wouldn't recommend you think too hard while watching it; if you do, you'll notice the historical and scientific nonsense that rests at its core. Basicallyl, this is the sort of B-movie trash that I spend most of my time reviewing, but it's features an A-list cast and a huge budget.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Vatican newspaper at odds with
Catholic League

"Angels and Demons" opens tomorrow, the latest Tom Hanks-starring, Ron Howard-directed, Dan Brown novel-based movie. The leader of the Catholic League has called for the film to be boycotted because of its anti-Catholic bigotry.

This means that I will be seeing it at as early a screening as my schedule allows, and that I will have a review posted here by tomorrow evening at the latest.

Interestingly, as is usually the case when morons call for a movie to be boycotted sight unseen, those who have actually seen it don't think it's as bad as all that.

Today, WENN says that film reviewers at The Vatican's newspaper "L'Osservatore Romano", who attended a special screening earlier this month, dubbed the film inaccurate but "harmless". (The film's storyline reportedly deals with a renegade element within the Catholic Church dishing out death and mayhem to protect its secrets and gain revenge.)

Also quoted by WENN is one of the movie's stars, Ewan McGregor. He stated, "there's no anti-Catholicism or anti-Christianity in the movie - otherwise I wouldn't have made it."

All in all, it sounds like the overly sensitive and/or publicity seekers are once again giving free (if false) advertising to another movie that already has hundreds of thousands of marketing dollars behind it.

I guess we'll all know the truth tomorrow. Please check in for my review.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Neo-Nazi assholes attack pensioners

Filthy Neo-Nazi cowards abused concentration camp survivors at ceremonies held to mark their liberation by American forces. Here are the first few paragraphs from the Daily Mirror story.

Survivors of a Nazi death camp were shot at and abused as they gathered to remember their liberation.

Masked neo-Nazi thugs screamed 'Heil Hitler!' and 'This way for the gas!' at ten elderly Italian men and women, who returned to the site of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.

The gang also fired air guns at a group of 15 French survivors, many dressed in the striped pyjama-style uniforms they wore as inmates. One suffered a head wound while another was injured by a shot in the neck. The four thugs managed to escape.

You can read the full article here, as well as see pictures of those who took part in the ceremonies. No pictures of the scum who disrupted them and terrorized those in attendence, though.

The most pathetic thing about these inbred, Eurotrash scumbags is that they don't have the courage of their convictions. Like Muslim terrorists, like "anarchists" who get off on disrupting the lives of citizens in cities hosting international conferences, like any number of assholes in this world, they are too cowardly to stand by their actions and hide their faces behind masks.

It's no wonder Nazis are so beloved among Muslims and that their methods are so popular among so-called liberal activist groups. They have a lot in common.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

'Taken' is the feel-good movie of 2009

Taken (2009)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen and Arben Bajraktaraj
Director: Pierre Morel
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

When his teenaged daughter (Grace) is kidnapped by a white slavery and prostitution ring, a retired CIA wetworks specialist (Neeson) puts all his skills to use to get her back... and to kill those who harmed her.

"Taken" is the feel-good fantasy movie of 2009. It's a movie about a father who is trying to make up for lost time with his nearly-grown daughter--and who manages to not only save her life but to make her fondest dreams come true through a series of coincidences established in the film's first act and resolved in the denouement--but it's also a movie where one man brings down a vicious crime syndicate and exposes police corruption at the very highest levels. I've also rarely seen a film with so many people so richly and obviously deserving of death as the ones dispatched by the hero in this film.

With well-drawn and believable characters and a script that is fast-paced and finely tuned, "Taken" is a must-see for lovers of action films--and for anyone who wants to see some truly scummy bad guys get dispatched by a James Bond-like character who is fighting to save someone he truly loves. Neeson is fantastic in the part of a man who isn't especially violent, but who has no problem with killing bad guys when it comes to it. (There is a particularly neat scene that demonstrates exactly how Neeson's character respects life and tries to protect the innocents: He is in the middle of dispatching the first rung of the white slavery operation, but he takes steps to avoid harming some construction workers who may or may not be innocent bystanders.)

"Taken" will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray discs on May 12. If you missed it in the theaters, I highly recommend you check it out now. For more information, click here to view the listing.

(A word of caution for parents: I was surprised to note that the film is only rated PG-13. With the level of violence, drug use, and general plot of the film, I would have assume it was R. You should definitely watch the film before you let your kids at it and decide if you think it's appropriate for them. The MPAA is erratic as ever....)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dom DeLuise dead at 75

Dom Deluise has died at the age of 75. The veteran comedian passed away in his sleep at a hospital in Los Angeles on Monday night, according to his son, Michael DeLuise.

DeLuise rose to fame in the 1970s and '80s, appearing alongside pal Burt Reynolds in movies like "The Cannonball Run", "The End", and "All Dogs Go to Heaven"; and in Mel Brooks comedies such as 1974's "Blazing Saddles", 1976's "Silent Movie", and 1993 comedy "Robin Hood: Men in Tights".

He became known on the small screen for his magic act as 'Dominick the Great' on the popular Dean Martin show between 1972 and 1973 He was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1974 for his work on TV comedy "Lotsa Luck", while he received a nod at the Daytime Emmys in 1999 for his efforts on animation "All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series". He also appeared on two episodes of "Stargate: SG-1".

DeLuise spent his latter years writing children's books and cookbooks.

He is survived by his actress wife Carol Arthur, who he married in 1965, and their three actor sons Peter, David and Michael DeLuise.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Actress Jane Randolph dead at 94

Jane Randolph, who starred in the two "Cat People" horror films and several film noir classics of the 1940s, died May 4 in Gstaad, Switzerland of complications from a broken hip. She was 94.