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If you’re a fan of Bruce Lee, you already know this one.  A tale of tragic revenge, it stars Lee as the hotheaded student of a martial arts school.  There’s lots of action and death and long fight scenes, all necessary for a good martial arts flick.  I saw the dubbed version, so the acting is a little hard to judge, except for Lee himself.  He was very good at emoting, as good as he was at fighting.  The rest of the movie is mostly classic kung fu tropes and posturing, but it’s great fun if you’re a fan of such films or if you’re looking for a good popcorn movie.  The ending is a little sad, but the entire story prepares you for that by showing Lee’s slow downward spiral into revenge and a life of violence.  Deep cuts for a kung fu flick.  He doesn’t have much of a story arc for his character, but the overall story is touching and, in a way, sort of epic.

Broken Arrow

This straight-up action flick is great mindless entertainment.  That’s not to say it’s stupid.  There are a couple of minor plot holes and some science issues that aren’t accurately portrayed, but the characters are smart, and there’s lots of real-life military jargon and strategy.  The acting is good but not great, the plot is interesting but not profound.  The action and excitement is pretty much top-notch, though.  Hunting down a couple of missing nuclear weapons and the men who stole them will guarantee that.  There’s only one female character in the entire movie, which is annoying and ridiculous, but she holds her own pretty well and doesn’t dress or pose like a stripper, so that’s something.  Also, her romantic involvement with the protagonist is only hinted at in the end, instead of presenting her lips like a trophy.  She does as much to save the day as he does, and the physical attraction between them is hinted at in their first meeting but never delved into.  Much more realistic under the high-stress circumstances than what you see in most movies.  A sequel could have been nice, but that ship has long sailed.  If you’re a fan of Christian Slater, he’s at his Christian Slater-est in this one, and John Travolta does an excellent job in his role, which I can’t say about every movie I’ve seen him in.  So whether you’re a fan of the actors or of faux military stuff, you’ll like this one.

The original classic is full of a surprising amount of psychological drama and dark frights.  Other than the talking appliances, it’s based heavily in a realistic sort of world.  I wouldn’t recommend it for the youngest kids, though, because of the more horrifying scenes.  There truly is a lot of scary stuff that puts the main characters’ lives in danger and a lot of existential questions posed in an indirect way about the nature of life and existence and impermanence.  Pretty deep for a kids’ cartoon.  Other than that, it’s a cute little story about talking appliances looking for their old master.  Doesn’t sound like much, but there are plenty of memorable scenes and good music.

The first sequel is considerably sillier and a lot less scary.  The plot isn’t too bad, but it suffers from the typical ’80s problem of not knowing how computers really work or what they really do.  The voice cast changed a bit, and the music is less interesting.  But as far as direct-to-video cartoon sequels go, you can do a lot worse.  The biggest change is that the animals suddenly talk, as well.  Not too big a leap, considering.  The weirdest scene, however, involves a connection incident between a couple of computers that gets played off rather explicitly like a sexual encounter.  It’s a little strong for a kids’ show.

The second sequel takes a bigger leap, transporting some of the characters to Mars as part of a convoluted mess of a plot.  At least, it has some story progression, following the same people who’ve been there from the start.  But the music is just as forgettable as that of the previous film in the series.  It’s not a bad little cartoon, just another cheap straight-to-video sequel in a sea of much worse ones.  It does stretch credulity even more than usual, but it’s still mindlessly entertaining.  Just don’t expect rocket science, despite the premise.

Brave

One of the most recent of the Disney princess films, it’s also one of the best.  It’s actually my favorite, so I might be a bit biased in my review of it.  The voice acting is top notch, the music is fun and affecting, and the action and humor have an excellent balance.  The overall message about personal choice and responsibility is well made without being too preachy and ends up being quite inspiring.  The rejection of traditional romance and marriage tropes might be a little on the nose for a Disney princess movie, but it’s also well done.  I don’t really have any complaints.  The characters are well drawn, both literally and figuratively.  They might be a bit stereotypical, but their humanity still shines through, and you never feel like there’s nothing more to them.  If you haven’t seen this one and got tired of the typical princess movie, give it a shot.  You just may love it.

This documentary kind of misses its title.  The part the queen herself plays in the whole hour-long show is minimal.  It focuses mainly on the setting and Rome’s methods of war.  There are some details about the lifestyle lived by Celtic tribes of the time, as well.  It’s a slow, plodding sort of tale with repetitious visuals and very little detail about the woman herself.  On top of that, much of the story about the tribes is relayed from Roman descriptions, making them automatically suspect.  The victors of wars often depict their rivals as savage cowards and barbarians.  Doesn’t make it so.  There are better documentaries and historical dramas about Boudicca now, and I would recommend looking for them.

This version of the old, familiar tale stars a lot of familiar faces.  It’s a fun little romp that’s family friendly but not too dull for older audience members.  The story isn’t terribly unique but very well done, the acting is good, and it’s fun to pick out people you’ve seen elsewhere.  The effects are very well done for the era, too.  It’s a little odd that half the characters are American in a movie that obviously takes place in England, but it hardly seems to matter.  Everyone is well cast.  Harry Potter fans will particularly delight in seeing Tom Felton (a very young Tom Felton) as young Peagreen, the protagonist’s little brother.  He has Weasley hair, though.  There’s also a villain named Potter, and the father Borrower has a small group of old friends who happen to be very Marauder-like.  A coincidence, but very interesting.  Anyway, fun movie, nothing too special, but great entertainment.

Bones

This tv show was a result of the glut of crime dramas that flooded the airwaves some time back.  It has good qualities, but a second viewing left me cold.  The banter between characters is quick and snappy, but these people are basically just stereotypes.  The lead character is refreshingly unique and fun to watch at first, but every interaction with the people around her leads to her learning that she’s wrong about her perspective, her beliefs, and even her observations sometimes.  What’s the point of having a strong, smart, talented, scientifically-minded atheist if you’re just going to browbeat her into eventually becoming like everyone else?  Her interactions with her FBI partner are the worst.  Yes, there’s some cute flirting and back-and-forth teasing.  But he always gets what he wants, not by being right or thorough, but by being persistent.  She gives in because…she’s always wrong?  We’re obviously meant to feel more sympathy for him because he’s normal, but there’s very little compromise between them and they still end up in a relationship by the end.  With a baby.  Which is the end of most tv shows, anyway.  The forensics and science behind the individual episode plots are wispy and unrealistic for the most part, but it does make for some fun drama.  In the end, Bones isn’t bad on a first viewing if you don’t think too much about it and don’t empathize with weird, anti-social intellectuals like I do.  Otherwise, skip it.  There are better crime dramas out there.  At least, one, anyway.