Commentary

July 11, 2014

Fly Over: ‘The Terminator’ and ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It?’

Marcy Copeland and Nestor Cruz

On DVD:

Terminator-poster

‘The Terminator’

“The Terminator” starring the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator), Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor), and Michael Biehn (Kyle Reese), and directed by James Cameron features a human-looking, almost indestructible cyborg sent from the year 2029 back in time to 1984 to execute Sarah Connor.
At 1:52 a.m. an alleyway is lit up by an electrical storm. A large ball of light appears, melting the concrete. The ball disappears and an unclothed terminator is kneeling. He stands and surveys the area. His first priority is to obtain clothes, which he does from a street punk after he kills the street punk’s two friends.
Shortly after, in another part of town, another ball of light and an electrical storm hit downtown Los Angeles. This time an unclothed (you can’t time travel with clothes on, people) Kyle Reese, a soldier from the future, appears. After stealing pants from a homeless man and evading the police, Reese strolls down the street and begins his mission to find Sarah Connor.
Sarah Connor is an average 19-year-old waitress. The Terminator begins to systematically eliminate the Sarah Connor’s listed in the phone book, a news broadcast reports on the murder of the first Sarah Connor, but Sarah brushes it off as coincidental. Later that evening, Sarah is stood up by her boyfriend and decides to venture out on the town solo. Grabbing a bite to eat she sees another broadcast about a second Sarah Connor being murdered. This prompts her paranoia, and she seeks shelter in a dance club called Tech Noir.
The Terminator murders Sarah’s roommate thinking it’s her. He hears Sarah call and leave a message about her location. The Terminator roams the club looking for Sarah. After he spots her, he pulls out his gun and aims directly for a canoe splitting head shot. Reese jumps through the crowd and opens fire on the Terminator. One shot after another from a 12-gauge shotgun sends the Terminator through a window. Reese shows up and sticks out his hand to Sarah and says the classic line, “Come with me if you want to live.”
After a massive car chase, Reese and Sarah seek refuge in a parking garage. While trying to boost another car, Reese reveals to Sarah why she has been targeted for termination. He tells her of a war when Skynet, an artificial intelligence computer system linked into everything takes control and decides mankind’s fate in a microsecond – complete extermination of the human species. But one man rose up, taught the humans how to fight back and created The Resistance. His name was John Connor, Sarah’s unborn son. Skynet determined in order to prevent a war between robots and humans and have absolute victory, John Connor needed to be eliminated before the nuclear war.
Another chase ensues and after a crash into a wall, Sarah and Reese are arrested and the Terminator disappears. In an amazing scene, the Terminator fixes his mechanical arm and removes his eyeball to reveal his cyborg infrared eye. (So awesome!) The Terminator locates Sarah at the police department. He attempts to be a concerned friend (sneaky machine) but is turned away by the police officer. After studying the structural integrity of the room, he delivers the ultimate one-liner, “I’ll be back.” He walks out and then crashes a car through the building. He rages war against the Los Angeles Police Department, killing more than a dozen men in the hunt for Sarah.
Just the first three minutes of the movie clearly shows the masterful special effects, and to accomplish all of it on a $6.4 million budget is extraordinary for being released in 1984. This movie was ahead of its time.
This has been my favorite movie since I was 3 years old, so yes I am biased, but for sci-fi lovers everywhere this movie is phenomenal. If I could give it more stars I would. This movie can be summed up like this.
“The machines rose from the ashes of the nuclear fire. Their war to exterminate mankind had raged for decades, but the final battle would not be fought in the future. It would be fought here, in our present. Tonight …”
This film is rated R for brief nudity, extreme violence and gore, and profanity.

 

And also on DVD:

tina-turner-movie

‘What’s Love Got to Do with It?’

*This is the first in a series on music biopics
True life stories make for compelling drama in books and movies, especially stories about singers and musicians.
“What’s Love Got to Do with It?” is a 1993 movie loosely based on the life of pop legend Tina Turner and adapted for the screen from the book “I, Tina” written by Turner and former Rolling Stone editor Kurt Loder.
Angela Bassett stars as Anna Mae Bullock, the young woman from Nutbush, Tennessee, who would become Turner.
The story begins with Bullock’s parents walking out on her, leaving her in the care of her grandmother. Years later, Bullock reunites with her mother Zelma (Jenifer Lewis) and sister Alline (Phyllis Yvonne Stickney) following the passing of her grandmother.
Alline brings Anna Mae to a local club one evening where she hears Ike Turner (Laurence Fishburne) performing on stage with the Kings of Rhythm. Young ladies at the club are given a chance to sing with the band and Anna Mae impresses Turner with her performance.
The next day, Turner visits the Bullock home and asks Zelma for permission to mentor Anna Mae and sign her on with the band. Zelma begrudgingly agrees and thus begins Anna Mae’s music career.
Anna Mae begins recording songs written by Turner and gaining his favor and the scorn of others. She eventually falls in love with him and the two are married. Turner gives Anna Mae the stage name Tina Turner and the two gain success as “Ike and Tina Turner.”
The marriage turns violent as Turner, jealous of his wife’s popularity and success, begins abusing Tina. He turns to drugs, which fuels his abusive behavior.
As Tina struggles with Turner’s abuse and life as a recording artist, a close friend offers solace in Nichiren Buddhism. It’s through Buddhism that Tina finds the strength and courage to stand up to Turner and break free from the volatile relationship.
“What’s Love Got to Do with It?” is an inspiring story of overcoming adversity, although Hollywood took several liberties in adapting Tina’s story. For example, the “friend” who introduces Tina to Buddhism is actually a combination of friends including members of her entourage and the Ikettes.
Another example is how the movie depicts the acts of abuse, which were “fictionalized for dramatic purposes.”
The movie is packed with excellent performances, from Fishburne and Bassett as Ike and Tina, to the supporting cast. Bassett has clearly done her research, nailing Tina’s onstage mannerisms. Fishburne is eerily believable as abusive Ike. It’s interesting to note that Fishburne was offered the role five times and he refused each time. He changed his mind when Bassett was cast.
I really enjoyed the movie’s soundtrack, which showcases some of Tina’s finest performances and memorable hits, from the classic “River Deep – Mountain High” and the show-stopping cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival “Proud Mary” to the movie’s title track. The concert scenes seamlessly brought together an historical record of the group’s famous performances with Bassett’s acting and Tina’s vocals.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” as a concert movie, a glimpse into a legend’s personal life and drama. Whether you’re a fan of Tina Turner, music in general or biographical dramas, this movie will inspire you with how strong the human spirit can be.
This movie is rated R for domestic violence, strong language, drug use and some sexuality.




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