Posts Tagged ‘The Karate Kid’

The following are my brief reviews of four documentaries I watched on Netflix…
Requiem for the American Dream  (2016)   —  movie / documentary review
This documentary is (more or less) a seminar about the consolidation of wealth in the hands of the few (1%) and the subsequent use of wealth to control the government and thereby use the government to increase their wealth.  The documentary presents the views of Noam Chomsky, an MIT emeritus professor who made his fame in the study of linguistics and philosophy.  Chomsky is a long-time “leftist”, but not in the traditional sense of Communist or Socialist, and more in terms of being pro-democracy, that is supporting the rule of the governed as opposed to the rule of the elite.  More specifically, the people should control the governmental (government and regulations) business environment, not the business’s (or the mega-wealthy).  I didn’t find much which was really new in this documentary, but then I have considered Chomsky’s positions previously and have long agreed with him.  If I have any problems with this film it’s that it is presented in a “relatively” dry (“academic”) format.  So, while I agree with Chomsky, the American public doesn’t seem to mind government of the elite, by the elite and for the elite – hence, the election of Donald Trump.  Final recommendation: highly recommended, particularly if you are angry about the state of the country and / or worried about your job / career and place in our economic class system.
Sneakerheadz  (2015)   —  movie / documentary review
A short (just over an hour long documentary) summary / description of people who obsessively purchase sports shoes.  I agree with one of the commentators – a young lady – who says (in effect): “If you grow up poor and wanting things, like name-brand shoes and clothes, when you grow up and have enough money to buy them, you do.  To excess…“)   As I watched, I recognized myself and realize that except constrained by money, I could / would otherwise fall into this “addition”.  Beyond the simple ego-boost of being able to get something you previously could not afford, there is an underlying message of people seeking a place in society by creating an image of themselves which they can project out to others.  Interestingly, it seems this message is learned at an early age and then becomes the goal of their (the Sneakerheadz) life.  There is also a strong message about societal values and the ability of marketing to influence those values.  Not an original idea, but I still found it interesting to hear it stated so openly in documentary about shoe collectors.  Final recommendation:  highly recommended.
A Drummer’s Dream  (2010)  —  movie / documentary review
What happens when you take some of the greatest drummers in the world, put them in an isolated Canadian farmland with a bunch of kids and all the drum kits and money the drummers can bring together?  It seems you get smiles, effervescent passion and irresistible personality. Starring drummers:  Nasyr Abdul Al-Khabyyr, Dennis Chambers, Kenwood Dennard, Horacio “El-Negro” Hernadez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Mike Mangini and Raul Rekow, the documentary captures you with Rock, jazz, Latin fusion, and soul, but mostly it is about the drummers and their joy in playing…  And, did I mention smiles!  These musicians are driven by the beats of their hearts – full of love and joy of life.  Final recommendation:  Highly recommended!  I found myself tapping my hands and feet for days after watching this.  Fortunately, my attention deficit disorder prevents me from becoming obsessive (in this way) or I’d still be drumming and trying to find / share their joy.  Come for the percussion, stay for the smiles…!
The Real Miyagi  (2015)    —  movie / documentary review
Back in the 1960’s, a young Japanese man came to America with little but an expertise in Martial Arts.  He subsequently went on to become an internationally recognized Martial Arts instructor and stunt back-up actor.  That man is Fumio Demura.  If you have seen any of the first four “Karate Kid” movies, you’ve seen sensei Demura in action (probably without realizing it). Pat Morita’s iconic sensei (Mr. Miyagi) in ‘The Karate Kid’ was based on sensei Fumio Demura and Demura was Morita’s stunt double in the action sequences.  I don’t mean based on Demura’s actual life, as Mr. Miyagi was a fictional Japanese-American character who fought in World War II.  Rather, Mr. Miyagi is based on the idea of a man perfecting (improving) himself using art – in Miyagi’s case it is Karate and Bonsai trees.  The documentary traces sensei Demura’s life and offers multiple tributes from his students which offer insight into the man behind the title “sensei”.  Final recommendation:  strong if you have only a casual interest in Martial Arts, highly if you have a personal interest in Martial Arts or in historic Martial Artists.
On This Day In:
2015 Just Like All The Others
2014 In My Own Vanity
2013 Filled With Words
2012 Lectio Auget Existentiae Meae
2011 Lied Lately?
2010 Born To Work At Faux News
Lost Again (Uh, Make That Still)
Qui Genus Humanum Ingenio Superavit
They’re Back… (Part 1)

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Manners maketh man.
    —    William of Wykeham
Motto of Winchester College and New College, Oxford
Kingsman: The Secret Service – movie review
Last week I had the great pleasure to watch a wonderfully entertaining coming of age / spy movie that harkened back to “The Karate Kid”  and the early days of 007 – James Bond (humor and sophistication) with a healthy dash of Jason Bourne (cars and fights) thrown in for good measure.  Without giving away too much of the movie, an older, experienced espionage agent recruits an off-the-street knock-about with (wait for it) a good heart.  Of course, the kid is also a bored genius and former junior national-class gymnast.  Blah, blah, blah.  Lots of life lessons, fights, car chases, and more fights later, you’re left thinking: “Wow!  That was a great movie!
Now, of course I don’t mean it’s going to get nominated for any Oscar’s or anything like that…  It’s just a very entertaining action movie.  Colin Firth is surprisingly good as Mr. Miyagi – I mean as Galahad / Harry Hart.  I don’t recall ever seeing him in this kind of action role before.  Kudos for stretching the envelope.  Taron Egerton plays Gary “Eggsy” Unwin – the kid.  Samuel L. Jackson plays the evil genius bent on taking over the world – Valentine.   And, Sofia Boutella delivers a cutting-edge performance as the evil henchman (okay, henchperson) Gazelle.   Seriously, Jackson plays the role of a lifetime as one of the James Bond way-over-the-top villains from the early (Sean Connery) and middle period (Roger Moore days).  The film even nods to the classic Bond send up – Casino Royale (with David Niven playing 007) – with poofing heads instead of hickups.
Lastly, the film has a great song.  EVERY great Bond film has a great song.  (You can hear it below performed by Take That.)  So, final recommendation: Very High Recommendation!  Action, humor, special effects.  This one has it all.  One note: this movie has a sexual “joke” at the end of the movie.  It will be offensive to some (many?) and is not appropriate for youth – hence the “R” rating.  In the words of Merlin: “Oh. Oh my word!
On This Day In:
2014 Brains First
2013 Not Listening Anymore
2012 At Your Marks!
2011 We Are Not Alone
Underlying Rationality
2010 Is the Obama Administration Failing?
In Other Words…
Quite Please!
In A Hostage Situation…
Are We Done Yet?
In Order…
Proof of Choice…
On “Leading” A Democracy To War…
Actually, It’s All About Me…

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