(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

The Millennium Series: Girl With The Dragon Tattoo & Girl Who Played With Fire Movie Reviews

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A while back I had heard things about the books by Stieg Larsson and thought I should read them sometime. Well, life moves on at its usual 18x the speed of light and well, there is no time to read any more… Sad really… Well, not “enough” time that is. I do get some time in before bed usually, but the futility is evident when I wake up with the light on and a book on my head.


I decided to watch the films after hearing an interview with Noomi Rapace on NPR and I have to say, I am thoroughly enjoying the series. It has it all really, the odd characters, the espionage, the murder, and of course, the hacking. Though, with almost any movie, the hacking is nowhere near what the reality of it is, but, at least this one makes an effort at some semblance of reality and I give them points for it. Much more though, the well defined characters and the interesting story lines are the key to these films.

The story follows Lisbeth Salander, a 5 foot coil spring of pent up anger, dressed in goth/hacker/punk attire and makeup. She is an employee of a Stockholm security company working as a sort of “troubleshooter” for information. If there is data on someone, then she is going to get it by whatever means she deems necessary… And that mostly turns out to be hacking into the targets systems as well as all other databases she can access.

In the first movie you get to see just why Salander is so angry, she is under a type of “probation” where the state wants to be in control of her money as well as her life. She has a new PO and he begins right off, abusing her sexually, and soon brutally assaults her. It is then that you begin to see just how ruthless she can be in the vengeance she wreaks on the PO to wrest control back from him and at the same time remove him from the picture.

Salander is mercurial though, and oddly see’s her current assignment, reporter Mikael Blomkvist, as a kindred spirit because he is being falsely accused of slander from reports he had been filing on a local tycoon’s ill deeds. They eventually begin to work together to solve another series of crimes as she watches over his digital shoulder from his compromised laptop that he is writing on.

In the second film, “The Girl Who Played With Fire” The two are back, but in a turn around, Mikael Blomkvist is the one defending Lisbeth from a murder charge. The murder victim? The same PO who raped her and she took vengeance upon in a larger and more arcane story of sexual slavery and the illicit trafficking of foreign women from the Baltics and other regions for brothels. These brothels are frequented by the rich, powerful, and in short, those in government. After Blomkvist’s magazine “Millennium” begins a story on the whole issue, people start dying, starting with the main reporter on the story. I will not though, go into more detail as it would ruin it for you.

What I will say though, is that I see now what Stieg Larsson has been grappling with all these years since witnessing the gang rape that was the genesis for his character of Lisbeth as well as Mikael Blomkvist. He is working through the underbelly of our bestial natures and showing in all of its ugliness, the vileness that we are capable of as human beings while showing that there is always hope as well as potential for good in the world.

See these films or, if you have the time, read the books.

For more go HERE


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/11/13 at 22:28

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

Movie Review: The Ghost Writer

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“The Ghost Writer” a Roman Polanski film, has reached the DVD market and I got a copy to view. Now, the Polanski prison/underage sex thing aside, I generally like his films. In the case of this film though, I was left kinda “meh” at the end. Perhaps that is how he is feeling of late in his life and it just leaked into the film perhaps. Either way, its an interesting slow paced film that may have you guessing for a bit.. Well really only til about the time where one of these characters hops into bed with Ewan McGregor.. I will keep you guessing on who that is though.. heh.

The plot takes aim at whispered accusations in the real world about the last man in Number 10 Downing Street and his seeming earnestness to do anything that former President Bush and the U.S. Administration wanted him to. In this case, the former PM is being hung out to dry on war crimes charges in the Hague whilst hiding out in the U.S. and writing his memoirs with a ghost writer. Well, a “new” ghost writer as the former one just turned up quite drowned. Enter Ewan and his slimy agent.

In the end, you have a bit of a suspense film with tidbits of “alternative history” from the last 9 years. Which leaves one with small nagging doubts about our “special relationship” with the U.K. Well, at least I gave it some thought at the end… You may too.


If you’re bored its a serviceable film… Rent it on NetFlix… Oh, and you will know who did it and why at about 1:50:00


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/08/13 at 17:01

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

And Now For Something Completely Different.. A Movie Review: Outlander

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Back in 2007 or so I saw the trailer for “Outlander” on a DVD I think and was intrigued.

A new take on Beowulf you say?

Aliens you say?

I am all over that! Well, as happens all too often either I missed this film playing near me (likely) or, more likely it never made it to the theater and thus I had to wait until it hit the DVD. As would happen, the wife and I were in the BestBuy this week after a fine repast and mas tequila and there it was on the shelf… For five dollars.

I know what you’re thinking.. 5 bucks? It’s gotta be a stinker.

Well, I am happy to report that my five dollars was WELL spent. Let me tell you why…

The film takes place in 790AD in Norway. Kainan, and his ship crash land into a fjord with only Kainan surviving.. So we think. You soon realize that not only is this film a new take on the Beowulf mythos, but also that it is suggesting that humans are not indigenous to Earth as a computer alludes. Once Kainan has his bearings, he begins to scout the area but it turns out as you watch that he is not only scouting, he is looking for something.

“Grendel’s Mother”

I shall spare you the whole plot line as it would ruin it for you, but, you pretty much have the idea if you have *hopefully* read the epic poem or its latter day re-imagining. At the very least one hopes you have seen the 3D film that came out a few years back. Anyway, I think this is an interesting spin on the myth as well as brings out the morality play quite well but with a twist (the decimation of a species)

Cinematography: Well done, some dark murky parts film wise but overall well shot.

FX: The monster is well done and in the end I found quite empathetic.

Acting: I found myself happy with James Caviezel and John Hurt was a thoughtful Hrothgar and Ron Perlman made quite the bezerker.

Script: I thought that in general the script was well put together. The dialog was sparing and lent to the feel of a group of Norse chest beaters. The only thing I took issue with was some of the accents (british/cockney on one guy) but overall it did not bother me that much.

I frankly don’t understand how this movie got panned so much by the critics as well as the users on Rotten Tomatoes.. But, everyone has their opinion.. and this is mine..

See it… At least its 5 bucks!


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/08/06 at 20:01

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

Carnivale: Two Seasons of Goodness and Then A Blight from HBO

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Back in 2005 a show came to HBO that I got in drips and drabs over time while I was a “Travelling Man” for IBM. Since I did not have HBO at home and still don’t I had to finally catch this whole show on DVD. I have just finished watching both seasons of the show and I felt compelled to write a review. The show was Carnivale.

Carnivale takes place in 1934, the depths of the depression in the blighted land of the dust bowl. From the start, it is an incredibly well shot and designed show that really places you in the setting of depression dust bowl life even better than the Dorthea Lange picture of the migrant worker. You literally feel the dust and parching heat of the place and time by just looking at the scenery and of course, the players. Never a more dusty troupe will you ever see.

The basis of the show is the epic battle between good and evil that takes place on the earthly plane after the war in Heaven came to an end. Evidently, every generation has the chance of being led by evil or good according to the deal that was struck between Satan and God. A savior and a devil are born with each generation and they may, or may not, fulfill their destiny to do battle and decide the fate of man.. For that generation at least.. Until the Omega.

In this generation you have Ben Hawkins, a boy who has been shunned by his insane mother and in the start of the show, we find has escaped the chain gang to be with her and try to help her. She refuses his help, which could heal her by the laying of hands upon her, and dies. Ben, moves on to escape the law with the local Carnivale and begins the journey of discovery of what he is as well as hasten the epic battle to come.

The Good:

Fantastic cinematography, set design, costume design, and general historical accuracy down to the language of the time and place! This will be darkly wonderful and dry for you to watch. You will feel like you are literally sitting next to that migrant worker as well as give you a taste of 1930’s carny life.

The Acting was well done and the writing of the characters well defined if not a little cryptic at times.. But that cryptic nature makes you want to know more, so you make a point of watching the next episode. There was not one episode that left me thinking.. Meh, maybe I will not see it next week when it was on tv.. The only problem I had was.. I didn’t have HBO except in hotel rooms!

The story was well defined and had you wondering at every turn just where it was going to go. You had hints and visions of possible futures but you really were left with your imagination as opposed to too many foreshadowing scenes that gave everything away. The interplay of the plot lines both historical and present really kept you going too. All in all, a story that was originally a book that was turned into a series that kept most of its content. This was one of the reasons for its downfall though. The series was just too costly to continue according to HBO and thus, in the end I have a gripe about the ending…

The Bad:

As mentioned above, the cost of the show and the sudden decision to pull it from HBO left it in the lurch. Much of this due to the story lines and arc of the show being presented in book/chapter format. By killing it in the second season, the writers were left to tie up some loose ends hastily and end it with as much finality as they could and still serve the story…

Which, really did not happen.

At the end, the story was forced enough that the last three episodes felt like you were being rushed out of your seat at a busy restaurant by a harried wait staff. You got to eat, but you got heartburn for it really. The story suddenly shifted into high gear with a feel akin to a speed walking version of “The Stand” and the new “Canaan” took the place of Las Vegas.

Additionally, I found that the plot device used to foil the evil one was a bit of a kluge, however, had it been part of the larger arc later discovered through the writers pitch document, then it would not have made it seem too forced. But, because this show was given the axe, the story line and end falls flat. I think though, that I need to find out if the writers etc, knew that this was the end when they had it in the can or, did they think season 3 was coming still? If so, then the pace was just, the pace and my perception of it different because it was “the end” according to HBO.

All in all, the ending left quite the opening for continuation should someone pick up the mantle. However, since its 2010 and Hollywood would rather make crappy re-makes than original works, I hold out little hope of redemption through the arc being finished out.

Final Analysis:

  • Carnivale was a fantastic show that got the usual short shrift from the studios.
  • HBO screwed the pooch.
  • Clancy Brown is America’s scariest actor
  • This show leaves you wanting to Google a LOT of things
  • It includes Templars, Renne Les Chateau, and other mythos and that is ALWAYS cool
  • See it all on DVD.. I promise you you will not regret anything but its ending
  • Once you have seen the series read the “Pitch Document” it will give you more to work with

“Ok children.. Let’s shake some dust”


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/07/29 at 18:44

Movie Review: “Whip It”

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A while back I remember seeing the trailer for this film and thinking that it looked like something I wanted to see. As happens many times though, I  just didn’t get around to seeing it in the theater for whatever reasons. So on it went to DVD where I recently I got it in the mail from NetFlix.

Happily, my sense of the film from the well cut trailer was right on and I really liked this film. It stars Ellen Page as Bliss Cavendar, a teenager who is put upon by her stage mother to be a pageant girl. Bliss though, isn’t much for the idea but goes through it to make her mother happy. Secretly though, Bliss wishes to have her own dreams and her own unorthodox life, to include trying out some blue hair dye that goes awry.

The story written by Shauna Cross is somewhat reminiscent in pathos to the first film that I had seen Page in as “Juno” by Diablo Cody. Bliss, like Juno, is a young woman who is on the cusp of getting to know just who she is and where she wants to go at the edge of adolescence. Unlike other films of this genre though, it is written in a way that is not at all sophomoric  and leaves you perhaps thinking about your teen years and some of the same angst you may have felt at the time.

The core of the story centers on Bliss discovering something she wants to do, “Roller Derby” Something that at 17 she can’t necessarily take part in unless given permission, but surely will not be allowed to by her mother. So, she does it anyway and lies about her age. What at first seems to be a wild whim to try something non conformist by a girl who lives in backwoods Texas turns into something very liberating for Bliss as well as a catalyst for change with her whole life.

Directed by Drew Barrymore, this is a truly ensemble cast piece that really holds your attention as well as your ears, with a great soundtrack (listening to it now in fact) of compiled music from various artists including the Indie scene types from the Austin area that the movie takes place in.

My review: Check it out.


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/05/29 at 12:52

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

Movie Review: Miami Vice 2006

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Back in the day, I was a fan of “Miami Vice” on tv. In fact, I am still somewhat a fan with the DVD set of the series, but, in looking back on it older, see that through the lens of time that it was often cheesy. When I finally watched the 2006 Michael Mann film that I had decided was going to be crap, I found myself surprised.

It was indeed not crap.

As much as I am not a fan of Colin Farrell, I found his portrayal of Crockett and Jamie Foxx’s as Tubbs tight and well played. The re-vamping of the team that included the usual Zito, Trudy, and Gina was a great change giving them more technical roles and more tooth than just being the bug guy and the hookers as it was from the tv show.

All of those changes leads me to the plot line and the technical aspects where undercover work was concerned and this movie did a good job with that. The creation of legends that would hold up and the mole hunt that had to happen as they were faced with a leak in the DC FBI. Good stuff.

Cinematography on this film was a bit on the shakey cam side and grainy, but, that is the look that Mann wanted on this and much of the night scenes were shot in a manner that lent itself to making you feel like you were really there without lights (and I believe they had minimal lights) so it meshed with the story. As I watched the film I could not but feel the heat and humidity of Miami and remembered my time down there working.

Good times… Mmm a Cuban and a Mojito…

The plot line just launches right off the bat and you are placed in a story that you know from seeing the show back in the day, but, you are faced with new and dirtier adversaries like the Russian mob and the tweakers with high RF transmitters. Its quick paced, down and dirty, and sleek in a 2000’s way that makes the 80’s Ferrari spider seem like a VW beetle.

Check it out.


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/05/22 at 13:40

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

Movie Review: “Hackers Wanted”

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Somewhere in an undisclosed location, I had a preview of this film so here’s the review. Of course now that this movie is out on the intertubes everyone will see it soon so a review might be good.

I liked the film, it brought out some very good points about the posture of government and private network security as well as defined the differing types of players within the space. In the end, it was a little more driven about Adrian Lamo, but, all of the material leading up to his story was and still is, very important to understand.

You will see if you watch the film, the psychological landscapes of not only conformity and non conformity, but human natures predilection toward lackadaisical behavior and the systems breaking of the will on creativity through conformance. After all, government and society is at its core, predicated on a conformance mandate. Thus if you break conformance (i.e. laws) you are ostracized, or actually imprisoned.

Mix the two things together and add a healthy inability for humans to gauge long term threats and you have out current threat-scape coming at us where cyber-war and other network based security issues stem from. We simply have inter-networked ourselves into an insecure and overly connected system that could have great impact on us if attacked in the right way. Of course this is what I and many others in the field have been saying for some time and much of that time it has fallen on deaf ears.

Oh well, we either evolve or die…

In the end, this film could not come out at a better time I think. Adrian Lamo is out, on meds for aspbergers (the new medical excuse for certain types of hacking behavior.. Well its being leveraged by the McKinnon team at any rate) and with much coincidence in the air, had a couple articles on him on Wired as the news hit that the film was loosed upon the bit-torrents.

Hmmm coincidences…..

Oh, and just what prevented this film from being released? Some disagreement between producers and others? Or maybe some other pressures were involved? Too hot a topic for some? Moved the world into areas of grey that made them uncomfortable? Everything today seems rather black and white doesn’t it? Lamo was spanked, Deceptive Duo were spanked, Mitnick was not only spanked, he was really civilly gang raped where his constitutional rights were concerned….

But.. those guys are all collared now huh… Still though, I see little on the side of real and effective law out there on internet issues.. Well other than the whole RIAA MPAA juggernaut trying to make law out of whole cloth IP miasma…

Meh, we haven’t learned much..

If you get the chance to see the film do so. Maybe all you hacker types out there should have a download somewhere that you can do a screening of.


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/05/22 at 13:17

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

Movie Review: DEFENDOR

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DEFENDOR, a film that I never saw anything about until I saw a trailer on a recent DVD from Netflix and thought it looked good. I am happy to say that I really did like this underrated film and I especially am fond of the work that Woody Harrelson did with this role.

Of course Woody does have a sweeter side in portraying certain characters and really broke out of the mold of “Woody” on Cheers with his crazy “Natural Born Killer” role. This role though of “Defendor” has added dimension and a subdued comedic quality mixed with the innocence of a child.

Defendor, aka Arthur Poppington, prowls the night streets in a DOT truck in search of bad men and his arch nemesis “Captain Industry” His main weapons in this battle are the truncheon, marbles, a VCR and camera, and angry hornets. He lives in a DOT facility, and has the IQ of approximately 80. Though, for all his alleged disability in the mental facilities, he makes up for it all in heart and innocence.

The plot is simple but the story carries you through to an end that will uplift you. In these times where we seem to be grasping for heroes, you couldn’t do any better than Defendor. I swear, if you don’t get a bit of a lump in your throat when the the taggers mural is wreathed in flowers… Well, you just don’t get it.

Check it out.

Written by Krypt3ia

2010/05/21 at 01:26

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

Movie Review: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, a movie that almost didn’t make it to the screen because of the untimely death of Heathe Ledger. I guess that the movie did not play too well in the theater either because I don’t remember there being too much buzz around it all, though it did get some Oscar noms.

I finally sat down yesterday to watch Imaginarium and wasn’t sure what I was going to get. Of course it is a Gilliam piece, so I did know to expect some interesting visuals and even maybe some Monty Python-esque bits. In the end I wasn’t disappointed, but I was kind of left wanting a bit by the credit role.

The story is based on the ever waged battle between the Devil, or Mr. Nick, and Dr. Parnassus (God perhaps?) Of course when I say battle, I mean more along the lines of the Sheepdog and Wile-Y-Coyote than Legions of Demons and Forces of good. You se, the Devil and Dr. Parnassus are friendly and in reality kind of like one another even when they are diametrically opposed. They also have a great penchant for gambling that in the parlance of the movies story, uses the souls of human kind as the remuneration.

Basically, its an old story about free will, human nature, and love. Something that if you look into more deeply than the surface story, you will hear Joseph Campbell in your ear whispering about the “Hero With a Thousand Faces” and yes, you should listen to him. This film’s story may be a re-envisioning of an oft told tale, but, its something that we all should reflect upon now and again I think. All of this wrapped up in a very stylishly designed and shot film.

The acting in this film was also great. The choice of Tom Waits as Mr. Nick was inspired and he plays a great rakish kind of Devil who you kinda have to love even when he is being bad. Of course you have Christopher Plummer as Dr. Parnassus, and he does a great job at being a bumbling and befuddled dreamer of dreams. Verne Troyer, has the most lines I have ever heard him utter in a film and does an admirable job at being the conscience of the king in Percy as well.

The set design, CG, and costumes are all fantastic lending a real vintage carnival feel to the piece also. I especially loved the odd travelling stage that Dr. Parnassus has which seems at times like the TARDIS, being larger inside than it is physically outside! Gotta love that English mind set.

So, I would suggest a bit of Absinthe, and a nice sit down with this film. Grok to the strange kids and listen to your inner Joseph Campbell. Oh, and pay attention to the nuanced images/plot devices that parallel Propaganda Due….

“All the world is a stage” after all…

Check this one out.


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/05/21 at 00:31

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies

Movie Review Two For: Robin Hood & Capitalism: A Love Story

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I saw “Robin Hood” this weekend and left the theater with the feeling of “meh” as the credits rolled. Since this weekend, I have been pondering just why I was left feeling nonplussed by this film and I think I am finally at a point to put those impressions into writing.

First off, once again I find myself going to the Hollywood well only to look down into an empty dry chasm. Why must we be put through another iteration of the myth so soon? Ok, you may be asking yourself

“Just when was the last Robin Hood film?”

Well, I believe it was Costner’s flick, so maybe my perspective of time is bad on timing, but, really, that wasn’t an epic and neither is this so why do it? Of course in between there have been at least 2 series on BBC that have made it to America and I have seen a few of those.

Perhaps I am just tired of schlock…

In any event, this film was a new take on the Hood mythos with some historical context that was on the money. Other things though just kind of set me off on the whole issue that Robin Hood did in fact, not exist. According to the history that I have read, he was a myth perhaps based on someone, but he certainly wasn’t a known historical figure who brought “freedom” to England.

In the film we have Russell Crowe doing his best to play.. Well.. Russell Crowe. His acting is wooden and frankly he should have just been in his Roman Gladiator outfit throughout the film, it would have made no difference. Lets just call it Robinus Maximus Dismus Hood.

“I am a husband to a dead wife, father to a dead son, and the man who will kill you Godfrey!”

Now that would have been something! But alas, that did not happen. Instead, we have a war weary archer returning a sword who’s handle holds the secret to his early life and family. He must assume the mantle of the murdered Locksley and take on the evil that is King John to bring the Magna Carta to the masses!

*blink… wtf?*

No, really, we are to believe that the son of a “Visionary Mason” *wink wink, Masons, men of vision and freedom on 1199* is going to bring political and economic freedom to 12th century England.

Boy, those peasants sure are lucky! C’mon!

Then there was the siege that never happened using 12th century versions of Higgins Boats with oars instead of inboard diesels. I watched this whole scene unfold and all I could think of were two scenes from other films done much much better. Firstly, the battle scene at the end of “Braveheart” where Mel rides in blue woad to rally the troops. Secondly, the overt imagery stolen from the Omaha beach invasion from “Saving Private Ryan” Except with horses and swords…


So, in the end the film just left me not very moved by its moody pathos, its phoned in acting, and its lackluster screenplay. However, in light of the second film I am reviewing today, it has stirred some interesting thoughts.

For my second film, I am going to talk about “Capitalism: A Love Story” by Michael Moore. This film had me thinking pretty much all day today about our current situation and where we are all headed economically. It also however, had me reflecting on “Robin Hood” as well as the Magna Carta and other historical events.

Moore’s film was released in October 2009. At that time many revelations about the Banking and Financial industry had come out and we were seeing the meltdown of our economy in front of us. Of course we had been seeing that for some time, but, it was really in our faces then. Now, in May 2010, we are beginning to see how the sausage was made at places like Goldman Sachs and realizing we never want to eat sausage again.

The thrust of this film is the fact that it would seem that the institutions that make up “Wall Street” and the “Financial Industry” had been in reality making huge bets using the economy as its private casino. What the film lacks in perspective though are the recent hearings in Congress with the Sachs emails that pretty much showed anyone watching, the loathing that these people had for anyone not in their private circles.

Basically, it has been a private circle jerk and we the people have been the ones with semen on our collective faces. What’s worse, they didn’t even buy us as much as a happy meal in exchange for the pleasure.

At this point you may be asking yourselves why am I writing about these two films together? Well, isn’t it obvious?

Robin Hood: The serfs/peasants rise up at the behest of one man to force the king to sign the “Magna Carta” so they may be free and not taxed to death.

Capitalism: A Love Story: A single man exhorts us all to realize that we are in reality Serfs/peasants (see who now have a vote… That is unless the elections are rigged…

I find it interesting that these films both are created during a time where our lives are being challenged on some of the same levels. Whether it be the 12th century or the 21st, it seems that there will always be people and or systems in control of the country that perhaps need some reminding that they rule at the behest of said same people

In the end, skip Robin Hood but take away from this review the ideals that Robin Hood stands for. Then watch Capitalism: A Love Story, and ponder just how much things have not changed since the 12th century.

The rich want to stay so at the expense of the poor. Nowadays they just have many more laws to hide behind.


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/05/17 at 21:59

Posted in Movie Reviews, Movies