(With apologies to Shrek)

Donkey: Cause I’m all alone.
There’s no one here beside me.
My problems have all gone,
There’s no one to deride me.
But you gotta watch movies…
Shrek: Stop singing! Why, it’s no wonder you don’t have any friends, if you mangle the lyrics like that.

So the wife has headed out to take advantage of some higher education, leaving me alone again. This means I get to visit the local movie rental store (not Blockbuster) to do some serious movie watching. I love movies, and I seem to get to watch them more when she is gone. In a wild burst of candor, she confessed that the idea of going out to see a movie is not something she is too wild about. But she admitted to enjoying the movies once I’ve succeeded in dragging her there. There is a simple lesson to learn in this — wives should listen to and obey their husbands! [thpbhpthpt. --ed.]

Hah! I’m two states away, so The Pirate King can’t use her trusty cutlass on me. I’m safe! SAFE, I tell you! Well, completely safe until she gets back here. But I think she’ll have forgotten all about this by the time she comes back home, and if she is reading this, I think I can distract her. Hey look! Shiny things! [ooo, shiny! --ed.]

Now that she’s off looking at Swarovski crystals, I can get around to my main point — movies! I picked up four DVDs to watch this weekend, and so far have viewed three. I’ll watch the final one in the next day or so. And so I present the three movies in the order I watched them.

*Spoiler Warning*
(or as the wife says, “Arr! Thar be spoilers ahead!”)

Ocean’s Twelve
Ocean’s Eleven was a successful movie in 2001, and with popularity comes sequels. And when you consider that Ocean’s Eleven is in turn a remake of a 1960 film, Ocean’s Twelve is a sequel of a remake. If Hollywood makes a remake of this sequel, then the circle will be complete. Most of the time, sequels suffer from a technical failing I have termed “sequelitis.” The sequel is never as good as the first movie. But there are a few rare exceptions to this movie malady — Shrek 2, Toy Story 2, and Highlander 2. OK, so the last one stank like last week’s fish. “Highlander 2 — there can be only one. Again.”

But I found I liked Ocean’s Twelve. It had the fun interaction of the players, and the same fast action heists. But I think the main reason I liked this movie was the European setting. Having spent some years in Europe, I’m familiar with the no-word traffic signs and narrow streets. The movie suffers from some jerky camera work in places; it must have been part of the director’s “vision.” I’d call it “bad editing,” but I’m not an Oscar-winning director. Of all the fun cut-scenes, I like the one of Amsterdam best.

I give Ocean’s Twelve 2 and 1/2 stars out of four and a Faberge Egg.

The Punisher
This was a guilty pleasure. Not only is it a movie about a Marvel comic, it is a movie made by Marvel. There was an earlier Punisher movie staring Dolph Lundgren, but I enjoyed the newer movie much more than the earlier, non-Marvel version. After all, in the new version the Punisher gets to kill off John Travolta! How cool is that?!? But this is precisely the type of movie I can’t take my wife to see because of its high “Guy Film” quotient. A movie scores high as a “Guy Film” if it contains the “Three Bs” — blood, bullets and boobs. And The Punisher delivers all three, but with only brief glimpses of the last, you pervert.

With everything going super-CGI for effects, it was very nice to see a down and dirty movie done with down and dirty effects. I think my favorite fight scene is with the Russian, but the best death comes at the end when John Travolta goes up in smoke. Did I mention that John Travolta dies in this movie? I did? Oh, so I did. I know that John Travolta played Terl in the craptastic Battlefield Earth movie, but I haven’t seen it. In the book Terl dies. Could either of you brave souls who watched Battlefield Earth let me know if John Travolta dies in that movie? This information might make it worth watching that polished turd.

I give The Punisher 2 and 1/2 stars and a Francis Ray Ottoman t-shirt.

House of Flying Daggers
This is the third Ziyi Zhang movie I have seen, the first two being Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. If you enjoyed either of these, you will like House of Flying Daggers, too. Set in ancient China, it is the story of two guard captains and their plan to infiltrate the rebels known as the Flying Daggers because of their skill with Chinese cooking. And if you believe that, I want to sell you your next car.

Like the other two movies with Ziyi, House of Flying Daggers is a very visual movie, and the colors are nicely done. This movie doesn’t have the same saturation of color as Hero does, but it still has some very impressive locations. My favorite location in the movie is the vibrant green bamboo forest, closely followed by the snowy end battle. Eighteen seconds of this film was snipped before it was shown in the United Kingdom. Three scenes of horses falling were removed to comply with animal cruelty laws in the UK, and they were enough to cause a very long IMDB thread on the subject of animal cruelty.

I give House of Flying Daggers 3 stars and a flying Ginsu knife that cuts both throats and ripe tomatoes paper thin!

I haven’t watched Osama yet, but I was intrigued after visiting the movie’s website. It’s the next movie to watch. Time to go make me some more popcorn. Mmm….

[And he can make it as garlicky as he likes, too. --ed.]

Addendum (4/26/2005): I see The Pirate King has been editing this article and putting her touches on it. :)

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