July 2005 Wayback

July 31, 2005

links for 2005-07-31

Posted by Michael at 11:22 AM
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June 2005 archive

[this is an archive post from our old database. Any links pointing back to daHIFI.net are probably broken.]

June 30, 2005

Batman Begins and War of the Worlds at the Hampton VA Cinema Cafe

OK, I admit it, I’m not one to go see a movie in the theater when I can download a good copy of it off of P2P networks. I’m definitely not one to go see 2 movies in the theater in the same week, let alone one opening night, but I did this week, first seeing Batman Begins Sunday night and War of the Worlds last night, both at the newly opened Cinema Cafe in Hampton VA.

I’d been interested in these two movies when I first saw the trailers for them months ago, long before the big Tom Cruise/ Katie Holmes/ Scientology hubub got started, (more on that later,) but I can’t help but feel that I’ve fallen into the middle of one of the greatest PR campaigns ever devised.

Batman Begins, directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento) and starring Christian Bale (American Psycho, the Machinist) Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Ms. Holmes, did a good job of making me forget the train wrecks that were Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. In fact this movie was as entertaining as the first 2 Batman movies with it’s retelling of the beginning of the Batman myth. I thought this was one of the best movies I have seen in a while, with great acting and a great mix of drama, action, and comic relief. In fact the only problem that I had with this movie was from a purely technical standpoint: The movie’s main threat revolved around a microwave based weapon that had the ability to vaporize the water in underground pipes hundreds of feet away but somehow had no affect on the water in people standing right next to the device.

In what has become standard in comic book movies the past few years, the movie ends with the promise of a sequel to come as Detective Gordon breaks out the Batsignal and tells Batman of a new threat to Gotham City who’s calling card is the Joker from a deck of cards. Rumor has it that Sean Penn is being considered for the role. Also of interest is that Katie Holmes was dropped from the sequel, apparently because of the publicity surrounding her relationship with Tom Cruise.

I must say that Mr. Cruise’s antics on the TV lately spoiled my enjoyment of War of the Worlds. With his ridiculous appearance on Oprah to his beratement of Matt Laurer on the dangers of psychiatric drugs and his Scientological antics around the world have some saying that Cruise is becoming the new Michael Jackson as far as mental instability. Defamer is having great fun with Cruise lately.

Going back to the movie, War of the Worlds was a brutal film. The images of violence and destruction were so incredible it made Independence Day look like a Disney movie. At times the combination of Cruise’s acting and Spielberg’s direction mad me feel like I was watching a sequel to Minority Report, as one scene in particular made me flashback to the part in Minority Report where Cruise’s character is hiding from the spiders in the bathtub.

War of the Worlds is quite a different direction from Spielberg’s other alien movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and ET in that the aliens are no longer the benevolent kind hearted kind and are instead bent on man’s extermination. It also follows the darker vision that Spielberg has shown us in AI and Minority Report. There also is a lot of controversy surrounding the movie’s post 9-11 imagery. Two other scenes that stand out in my mind are one where Cruise’s character tries to stop his son from rushing of with the Army out of revenge and retribution and another where Tim Robbin’s character trys to attack the aliens with a shotgun while Cruise trys to wrestle it away. I can’t help but thinking that Spielberg is making a statement about American calls for vengeance against the terrorists. Slate.com’s David Edelstein has a great review of the movie and RottenTomatoes.com has some interesting snippets from reviewers.

And now lastly for the Cinema Cafe in Hampton. The theater that it now occupies has been through several movie companies in the past few years that have gone out of business, but the Cinema Cafe shows promise. Ever other row of seats has been removed to make room for servers, and a long table has been put in front of each remaining row. The tickets are cheaper than most other movieplexes, and the food is decently priced and pretty good. The only problem that seems to be with the service. Now I know that the Cinema Cafe just recently opened and I’m hoping that it will get better, but me and the people that I went with have been seriously disappointed with the service. It seems that the waitresses are disorganized as to who is serving who. When me and my date went to see Batman we sat there for 10 minutes watching waitresses walk by us without anyone stopping to see if we needed anything. This second time we ordered our food 15 minutes before the movie began, didn’t get our drinks until 15 minutes into the movie, and had to bribe another waitress to actually get our food and hour and a half in to the movie.

While I did enjoy both Batman Begins and War of the Worlds, the service at Cinema Cafe has a bit further to go before I’m pleased. Their communication and service leave much to be desired next to their decent food and inexpensive ticket price.

Posted by Michael at 11:20 AM
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