Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Dukes See a Movie: Wrath of the Titans

Some of you out there were worried since it had been a while since we had posted a review of a movie. I am sure some of you were thinking "have the Dukes broken up?" or "were they kidnapped by jealous oil tycoons (it could happen)?" or "did Zac get super lazy again and stop writing?". If you thought the last one you were spot on. I also would have accepted "the last movie was so meh that writing a review seemed just as exciting as plain oatmeal". You are full but at the same time the meal was utterly unremarkable. Now in all fairness that was probably a rude comparison. Oatmeal, consider this an apology. I find your Quaker Oats logo to be pretty cool even though you recently made slight changes to him.

Turns out he needed a haircut and a face lift

Do you see what is happening to me? I am getting so sidetracked trying to do this review I find myself talking about oatmeal just for a change of pace.  Instead of giving you a normal sized synopsis I will give you a very condensed version.

No prayer makes the Gods weak. Weak Gods mean that the Titans are stronger and more able to escape prison. Some of the Gods join forces with the Titans. Only hope is in Perseus gathering pieces of a fabled spear made from God weapons. Perseus fights things and gets super dirty in the process.  He goes in a labyrinth. Oatmeal...Oh wait I just did it again didn't I? Well you get the point. So instead of a synopsis I will give you bullet points of things I learned in this movie.

  •  Demigods sound Australian. For some reason Sam Worthington cannot do a role without his accent. I wonder if that bothers anyone else.
  • Zeus is a fan of the awkward head nestle. Several times in this movie Zeus randomly rests his face on other people. Once on his brother's face and once on his son's chest. I thought it was pretty awkward.
  • The best defense against a lava monster is fire of course! There are several instances in which monsters clearly made of fire and lava are attacked with fire. What good is that going to do? That is like throwing a bucket of water at a killer whale and hoping for the best. 
  • If you appeared in Harry Potter that is how I will define you for the rest of forever. Ralph Fiennes is Voldemort and Bill Nighy is Rufus Scrimgeour. Forever.
  • The Greeks somehow managed to use a counterweight trebuchet even though they weren't used until the 7th century. Had they shown a catapult that would have been fine, but come on people do your research.
30 seconds on Google is all in would have taken.

The movie had some wooden acting from some of the characters and the writing wasn't great, but the graphics were decent. I didn't hate the movie but the best part of the movie actually came in the parking lot when a blanket from my trunk was turned into a weapon by Coombsy. Several people walked away from the altercation with sore necks, red eyes or guilty consciences.

Rating 2.5 stars.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Things the Dukes Hate: Part 2

As you may have guessed there are things in this world I do not like. Unfortunately for all of us not everything can be candy and jet packs. For all that is great and glorious there are these few things reminding us why we should barricade ourselves indoors and why we should have no hope for the future of this world (my outlook really is not that bleak but it makes for a more dramatic post so I will go with it). I already outlined various things that raise my hackles in a recent post, but as I was writing it I realized that I had way too many things to fit into a single list. That being the case I give you part two of our ongoing series of things the Dukes hate. To start off we have a classic Duke hate...


They are the worst! They constantly make messes and do the worst things imaginable. I will give you several personal examples. I make a fantastic Santa Clause. Due to this fact I bought myself an authentic suit and I don my gay apparel every chance I get. It was a blustery December eve. The year was 2009 and I was employed by a bank that shall remain nameless. We were having a Christmas party and in an attempt to bring joy to the hearts of the downtrodden I made my appearance as Santa. What should have been a glorious event was ruined by a few little uns who took it upon themselves to be the worst ever. I was having a nice little chat and the children clambered under the table and started trying to steal my boots. Who does that? Who tries to take Santa's boots? A devil child is the correct answer.

At least the night wasn't all bad.

 If that were the only case I would chalk it up to a freak occurrence but sadly it is only one of many that I have had the misfortune to be a part of. In that same dratted bank I have seen wild children rampaging through the desks, pushing every button that they came across in their doom quests. These buttons just happened to be connected to our silent alarm system that automatically notifies the police. I was a witness to this same thing no less than 11 times in my tenure at the bank. I could rant about children and my not liking them but I think you have had enough on this topic for the day.


Children that are well behaved are an exception. I have no problem with them at all. They can even be adorable (see: the kid from the Woman in Black). I also have a huge soft spot in my heart for my nieces. I would like to think that is because they are very well behaved and are already smarter than me. I guess when you think about I don't hate kids but rather I hate the parents that suck at their job of parenting and they let their kids run rampant.

Are we not just the most adorable thing ever?

Children are a fan of messes and that leads me to the second thing I hate...

My hands covered in goop

I cannot describe how much I hate having dirty hands. It is not that I hate germs and fear the diseases I can get. I just hate the feeling of having stuff on my hands. If I had to list the worst things about baking it would be having to mix the dough with my hands. If only you could see me now I am shuddering and I am pretty sure I just made an audible guuhhh sound. I literally needed gloves to play horseshoes when it started raining on us because I didn't want muddy hands. Muddy clothes? Meh. Muddy shoes? double meh. Muddy hands? SOMEONE GET ME A WASHBASIN STAT!!(Because when I get dirty hands I imagine myself in an old school hospital for some reason.)

Now that is some nightmare fodder.

Turns out I came by this dirty hands hatred honestly. As I was discussing the post idea with my mother she said "Well I guess you got that from me. I also hate having my hands covered in gunk." Thank you for that Mom (If you can't tell I typed that quite sarcastically).  At least most of what I got from her is a bunch of awesomeness. This hatred of goopy hands has led my mind to something else I hate...

Old lady hands

In all honesty this entry should have been placed on the list of things that terrify me, but it is here and you can't unread it. I hate old lady hands so much. When they are held up to the light you can see through them. It is like they are half ghost! I guess they decided to take the phrase one foot in the grave seriously and they are trying to start passing on while passing me by on the street.  I fear that if they touch my face they can steal my soul or my experience points or something. This hand condition can actually be seen in people younger. I am looking at you Emily. She actually asked if we would still be friends when her hands turned full poltergeist and I was unable to answer because I don't know that we could. (Well maybe if she wore mittens...)

   After that brief foray into my fears it is time to return to my burning hatred with something that is seemingly small yet super aggravating...

Not being able to fast forward my On Demand programming

I hate this so much!! I watch shows on On Demand so I can avoid the commercials! Now you are telling me that you are going to disable the fast forward feature?! I hate you and everything you stand for! Only a company stupid enough to want to cancel Community would also want to revoke my right to fast forward through your commercial on Magic Mesh!! Ok Zac just breathe. Now is not a good time to freak out. Think of cake and dragons. Mmmm okay all better. Sorry about that but I just get so heated about this subject.

That brings us to the end of this post of things that I hate (and fear). I know that there is more out there that will bring my rage brimming over the top and when it does you can be sure I will let you know about it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Dukes See a Movie: The Hunger Games

"May the odds be ever in your favor." Is that a movie catchphrase or the new slogan for Vegas? If you are one of the millions of people who have read or seen The Hunger Games you know that clearly it is a favorite saying of the inhabitants of the dystopian world of Panem. If you do not belong to that party I fear you may be dead inside or one of the dreaded "non-conformists" who will not read the books because they fear they will be labeled as a sheep just following society's whim with every passing fad or gentle breeze. To these people I say for shame (you got lucky you decided to read them this past weekend Andrea or I would be judging you as well). Often when a book is popular there is a reason for it. Even Twilight was popular for a reason even if that reason is just to show me how much the world sucks and why I should have no hope for the future (it also makes it easy to screen prospective mates). The idea that it is popular for a reason holds true with Hunger Games. It is popular because it actually a decent book. Now I wouldn't go as far as calling it a literary masterpiece, but I didn't hate myself for reading them.

Entering the movie I was pretty excited because they had been given a decent budget of 75 million and I thought for the most part they did a good job with their casting. There was one exception to that rule though. In the books Peeta is supposed to be super strong and pretty beefy, but the man they cast is 5'7". He is actually shorter than the girl they got for Katniss (she is 5'9"). I had a very easy fix for this in my mind and that would have been to switch the actors playing Gale and Peeta since Liam Hemsworth (who happens to be the younger brother of Chris Hemsworth aka Thor) is a solid 6'3". Josh Hutcherson is fine as an actor but I can only willingly suspend my disbelief so far and he crossed it with his diminutive stature.

I am sorry but that man is tiny and looks like he could be beat up by a toddler.

I did have a few other worries as well. The book is written in the first person and a lot of what we read are the thoughts going through Kat's head. I thought it would be pretty hard to get everything across in the movie without having a narrator of some type, but I also thought that a narrator would ruin the feel of it so I didn't know how they could win. Also the book clearly has some adult moments in it and I wasn't sure how they were going to clean it up so it would appeal and be available to the audience for whom the books were meant.

So with all this circling the old noggin we walked into the theater and I was pleasantly surprised. I have read a ton of reviews that ripped into the movie for being a ripoff of Battle Royale or for lacking in character development and I disagree with them for the most part. If you have never seen Battle Royale it is about Japan in the near future and how the government passed an act to force a random group of students to go out and murder each other with a random bag of weapons. There are some similarities in that it involves child murder but it doesn't go much beyond that, and as a warning to most of you don't watch Battle Royale. It is rather disturbing. As for the character development I think they did a decent job with all things considered.

I know this didn't seem much like a review but rather a hodgepodge of my ramblings and worries and mini-rants. I just couldn't think of a way to write this one is a way I liked so there you go, I decided to be an honesty broker and lay it out there. To make up for this I drew you all a unicorn. Enjoy.

His name is Reginald
 Overall I liked the movie. I thought it did a good job capturing most of the feeling from the book. Stanley Tucci did a great job as Caesar, which doesn't surprise me since I love him in most everything he has done.  I would say that the movie will probably be more enjoyable if you have read the books first. As always I will leave you with my random trivia of the week. The nation they live in is called Panem. This is derived from "Panem et Circenses," or "Bread and Circuses"(also the title of an episode of Hell on Wheels), which comes from the latter days of the Roman Empire. During this time the government would keep the population satisfied not by performing their public services well, but by providing violent and deadly entertainments for the people to watch. I think is rather fitting for the subject matter of the film.

Rating: 3.75 stars