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Virtual Market Enterprises

G. Richard Yamagata, PhD

Phone: 530-848-8634
Phone: 530-753-9750

E-mail: yamagata@virtual-markets.net
Web: http://www.virtual-markets.net/vme

Best Movies of 2008
Michael Clayton starring George Clooney as Michael Clayton; Tilda Swinton as Karen Crowder; Tom Wilkinson as Arthur Edens; Michael O'Keefe as Barry Grissom; Sydney Pollack as Marty Bach; and Danielle Skraastad as Bridget Klein (voice). Directed by Tony Gilroy.
Saw Movie with: Mike Syvanen Dan Tokunaga Mike McCreary Leland Yamagata
This is one of the most tightly scripted movies that I have scene and it is put together with such artistry that it is a joy to watch over and over again. If you read further, there are plot spoilers. I would watch the movie before reading further.

What is amazing is the character of

Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark; Terrence Howard as Rhodey; Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane; Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts; and Paul Bettany as Jarvis (voice). This movie is directed by Jon Favreau
Saw Movie with: Mike Syvanen Dan Tokunaga Mike McCreary Leland Yamagata
I love to watch movies with Gwyneth Paltrow in them. There is something about her that just seems so familiar with her characters, like I personally know them in real life. (The same goes for Meg Ryan.) My DVD collection includes 23 of 26 movies that she has acted in since 1996 (missing are Two Lovers, The Good Night, and Love and Other Disasters -- missing only because I have not found them to purchase.). Before 1996, I have only three of the nine movies that she had rolls in: Hook, Malice and Flesh and Bone. That she is in the movie is an added bonus for Iron Man is exceptional. The movie captures the essence of the Stan Lee comic book character, which was a statement in the early 1960's about the military industrial complex.

Robert Downey Jr is the actor that brings that essence of the comic book character to the screen. He is an excellent actor and my favorite movie with him in the main role is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which is thoroughly enjoyable to watch over and over again. The movie role that is amazing to watch is Downey playing a white actor playing black man. The quote that defines his role from Tropic Thunder: "I know what dude I am. I'm the dude playin' the dude, disguised as another dude!"

Another excellent actor in the movie that people may not recognize at first is Jeff Bridges. He usually plays affable characters. In this vehicle, he plays a totally evil character that seems to get more and more evil with every passing minute up to the very end of the movie! But, you just have got to love him, because the character is played so well by Jeff Bridges.

What makes this movie work so well is the story of the origin of Iron Man and how the train of events transforms him into the super hero. At the end of the movie you understand what motivates him. It probably is the same reason that motivated Alfred Nobel to create the Nobel Prize after reading his premature obituary proclaiming him "the king of dynamite."

The Dark Knight starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman; Heath Ledger as The Joker; Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent / Two-Face; Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth; Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes; Gary Oldman as James Gordon; Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Keith Szarabajka as Detective Stephens. This movie is directed by Christopher Nolan.

I think that the world agrees that Heath Ledger's role as the Joker was the defining role of his career. That he died after completing major filming of that movie was so tragic. I first saw Heath Ledger in A Knights Tale. I enjoyed the movie and enjoyed it even more after Rodger Ebert compared jousting of the middel ages with "big time wrestling" of our current age in discussing that movie. The movie that I next enjoyed starring Heath Ledger was "The Four Feathers." In that role, his scenes with Kate Hudson were so perfect in portraying a close couple that knew each other well. Some people may find that familiarity incongruous with what happens, but it makes sense for the ending of the movie. It is one of the my three favorite movies starring Heath Ledger. Another movie that is memorable for me, is The Order. It is another dark, brooding, complex character, which Ledger seemed to portray so well.

In The Dark Knight Ledger completely transformed himself into a deeply disturbed psychopath. It was a very dark and disturbing role. And yet, watching the character on the screen, I began to wish for more scenes with The Joker. What was the most amazing thing, is that I did not see Heath Ledger in that role. The transformation was that well done into the character. It makes one wonder if the movie role had something to do with his death, having to absorb and live with the dark disturbed Joker to act this role.

Heath Ledger aside, my main complaint about this movie is its length. At about the 2 hour mark, my mind was exhausted trying to absorb the plot. I have friends that fall asleep, watching the movie about this time mark. They just cram too much on the screen with momentous action and plot twists, it is just too much for me to absorb. After Commissioner Gordon is killed and the Joker was arrested, that would have been a good time to end the movie and leave the cliffhanger for the next installment. For all I know, that may have been the plan with more development of The Joker and Two Face. But, the death of Heath Ledger logically prevented that.

Aaron Eckhart is an excellent actor and the role that he plays also is complex, but not overly dark. That he portrays a character that is pushed to his limits and then breaks and plays it so convincing is a testamonial to his acting abilities. That, coupled with the set cast from the previous movie, minus Katie Holmes, is a reason to see the movie. I think that it is Rodger Ebert that wrote that the comfort of those characters carries the audience through the disturbing scenes of the movie and I believe that he is correct.

My final thought on all of this is that this movie is a completed film memorial to the memory of Heath Ledger. That is what makes this movie worth seeing -- in a couple of sittings. Thank the lord for DVDs...
Saw Movie with: Mike Syvanen Dan Tokunaga   Leland Yamagata

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones; Cate Blanchett as Irina Spalko; Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood; Shia LaBeouf as Mutt Williams; Ray Winstone as 'Mac' George Michale; and John Hurt as Professor Oxley. This movie is directed by Stephen Speilberg
Saw Movie with: Mike Syvanen Dan Tokunaga Mike McCreary Leland Yamagata

2009 DVD Movies viewed in January with:
Leland Yamagata Wall-E (twice)
[New DVD Release] [Excellent]
Eagle Eye
[New DVD Release]
Hell Boy II: The Golden Army (2008)The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) Lakeview Terrace
[New DVD Release] [Excellent]
The Illusionist (2007) [Excellent]

Mike McCreary The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) [Excellent] Wall-E
[New DVD Release] [Excellent]
[New DVD Release] [Excellent]
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) [Excellent]Nim's Island (2008) [Excellent]

Mike Syvanen You Don't Mess With The Zohan (2008) [Good] David Lynch's Inland Empire (2007) [Excellent] Taxi to the Dark Side
(documentary 2008) [Good]
Lakeside Terrace
[New DVD Release] [Excellent]
[New DVD Release] [Excellent]

Dan Tokunaga Golden Boy
(Anime 1995)
Charlie Wilson's War (2008)

2009 DVD Movies viewed in February with:
Leland Yamagata Afro Samurai: Ressurection
[New DVD Release]
Futurrama: Bender's Game Snakes on a PlaneSukiyaki Western DjangoFuturama: Into the Wild Green YonderDragon Hunters [Forrest Whittaker, Anime 2008]

Mike McCreary I'm Not There (2007) [Bob Dylan's life through six characters] [Excellent] The Changeling
[New DVD Release] [Excellent]

Mike Syvanen Artic Tale (2008) [Good]
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) [Excellent for Johnny Depp & Director Tim Burton Fans] Bangkok Dangerous
[New DVD Release] [Fair]
Battlestar Galactica Episodes 4.13 & 4.14 [Excellent] Body of Lies
[New DVD Release] [Fair]
[New DVD Release] [Excellent]

Dan Tokunaga X episodes 0-4 [Anime Series, 2006]

2009 DVD Movies viewed in March with:
Leland Yamagata Babylon 5 Episodes 101-104 Babylon 5 Episodes 122, 201-205 Babylon 5 Episodes 222, 301-306Babylon 5 Episodes 321, 322, 401-405

Mike McCreary Big Night (1996) [Good] (Stanley Tucci) Ratatouille (2007) [Excellent] Amistad (1997)
Amazing Grace (2007)
[Very Good]

Mike Syvanen The Changeling
[New DVD Release] [Excellent]
(2008) [Good]
Battlestar Galactica Episodes 4.15 & 4.16 Battlestar Galactica Episodes 4.17 & 4.18 Battlestar Galactica Episodes 4.19 & 4.20 [Excellent]

Dan Tokunaga X episodes 5-9 [Anime Series, 2006] Battlestar Galactica Episodes 4.15 & 4.16 Battlestar Galactica Episodes 4.17 & 4.18 Battlestar Galactica Episodes 4.19 & 4.20 [Excellent]

2009 DVD Movies viewed in April with:
Leland Yamagata Babylon 5 Episodes 501 to 505 Babylon 5 Bloopers & Babylon 5 The Begining Babylon 5 Bloopers in Color and Babylon 5 CrusadeBabylon 5 To Live and Die in Starlight

Mike McCreary Batman The Dark Knight (2008) [Excellent] Thank You For Smoking (2008) [Very Good] Click! (2006)
The Bucket List (2008)

Mike Syvanen Doubt (new release)
The Contract (2006) [Very Good]Caprica (new release)
[Very Good]
Milk (new release) [Excellent]

Dan Tokunaga Doll House Episodes 1.3 to 1.7 Quarantine Doubt (new release) [Good] L: Change the World
(live action Anime, dubbed, 2009)

2009 DVD Movies viewed in May with:
Leland Yamagata Amistad The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) Fair Valkarie [new release] FairThe Great Debators [Excellent]Gran Torino [New Release]

Mike McCreary

Mike Syvanen Amistad
Gran Torino (New Release) [Excellent]

Dan Tokunaga Doll House Episodes 1.8, 1.9 & 1.10 Patton 360 Episodes 1, 2, 3, & 4Sahara (1941) [Good]Moribito Disk 1 and 2 [Excellent]

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