Tom Basham

Archive for the ‘New On DVD’ Category

Life of Pi

In New On DVD on April 10, 2013 at 5:43 pm


I didn’t see “Life of Pi” at the theater, I saw it on DVD last night. However, I think it was meant to be seen like a moving painting – a kaleidoscope of the trials of life. Director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) earned his best director Oscar as did Cinematographer Claudio Miranda (TRON: Legacy).

I did not read the book, but we all saw the trailer. It’s a movie about a guy who is stuck on a life raft with a tiger. The book was based on the story of a Jewish-German refugee who crossed the Atlantic Ocean while sharing his boat with a jaguar. And yeah, it was made with bits of light and magic known as CGI, but it was used to enhance the story and never to impress or distract from the experience.

I saw the movie as a metaphor – a complete metaphor for life and the struggles of man. We are all crossing a great sea, alone on a craft that is barely worthy. If that isn’t enough, we have a tiger to deal with.  We all have one. It may be drugs, booze, women, neighbors, illness, pain, a boss, or other obsessions or objects of aggression. We have to respect the tiger, feed the tiger, and eventually tame the tiger if we are to survive. We may hate the tiger – it wants to kill us, but in the end, it is our tiger, and as the movie tells us, when we look in the tiger’s eyes we see a reflection of ourselves. At the end of our life we understand that we needed the tiger. If there were no tiger in our life, no struggle, we would not have been challenged and not developed the life skills necessary for survival. If you do not tame your tiger, you will never have the life you were meant to live.

The “Life of Pi” got to me, and that is what movie’s are supposed to do; leave you thinking about it, the themes and your own life. You can’t get it out of your head.  You smile, and you are frustrated, you toss and turn at night. I know, it looked like it belonged in the “artsy-fartsy” category, and maybe it does. All I am saying is give art a chance, and maybe you will find peace.  I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars. The only thing keeping me from that fifth star is the “I want to tell you a story narrative” format. That bothers me…but not as much as this tiger I have in my life boat that I have to deal with every day.

Robot & Frank

In New On DVD, Uncategorized on February 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm


I saw the trailer for “Robot & Frank” about 6,000 times, so I was excited when the Netflix envelope showed up. The movie stars Robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard of An Education) and Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) as Frank, and I don’t understand how the Robot got top billing. This was his feature film debut, and he may have done some stage work (something called “Warehouse in Japan”) but he should never have been put ahead of Langella, who has played both Dracula and Sherlock Holmes. I heard that the Brave Little Toaster was considered for the part, but that may have just been some backstage Vanity Fair gossip.

Frank is old, lives alone, and has become forgetful. I can’t remember if they mentioned Alzheimer’s or just called it dementia, as I am not too far behind Frank. They use this health issue as a reason to bring in the Robot. From there, it becomes a buddy movie, and I have to admit the Robot does steal some scenes, or maybe there are scenes where the Robot actually steals.  Frank’s only other friend in the movie, aside from his two annoying grown kids, is Jennifer, played by the always-delightful Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking).  She works at the library with her fat robot friend. A relationship with Robot and fat library robot never gets going, which may be a problem with the script or something to do with an incompatible input port. In fact, there are a number of plot lines in this movie that are not well developed.  The whole robot-caretaker thing is just around the corner and the dynamics of that can be fascinating.

There was so much talent in this movie and most of them were given a simple one-dimensional character program. Perhaps if some of these characters or subplots were further explored I would be more amped up.  Unfortunately, they only scratched the cyber surface in this movie, but I did not fall asleep watching it and that skinny car was cool.
This is the first real feature for screenwriter Christopher D. Ford and director Jake Schreier, so I am thinking they may have suffered from lack of confidence and/or control. They have skills, and I will look for their next project.  I give this movie 2 ½ stars and only hope C3PO does not see it, as it would certainly send him back into a downward spiral of booze and Asian porn algorithms.


In New On DVD on January 24, 2013 at 12:34 am


I finally saw Looper.  I thought that I had seen it before in a past life, like when Bruce Willis was looking for Twelve Monkeys and ran into his younger self, but this movie was Brad Pitt-less.  Anyways, I am a sucker for time travel movies.

So there are these people called “Loopers” – and no Bill Murray,  they are not golfers.  These Loopers are bad people who do bad things for 30 years, and then they are bagged up and sent into the past to be disposed of.  There are a bunch of these folks, and for some reason they send the old Bruce Willis back to be killed by young Bruce Willis, who, with lots of makeup looks just like that guy from Third Rock from the Sun (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).  And then a whole bunch of stuff happens and they try to fix things in the past so the future will be nice and less loopy.

They do a nice job in keeping the technical side of time travel a mystery, and that’s a good thing since Jeff Daniels is in this movie and he played Dumber in “Dumb and Dumber”.  They also do a decent job in showing that time travel can be good, especially when you can kill bad people who do bad things like time travel.  There is a paradox there somewhere.  I give this movie 3 stars out of five as I think the movie worked, and is a decent watch, but it will not change your life, unless somehow in the future…