Knee-jerk review: "Live Free or Die Hard"

1. That's a pretty lame title.
2. But this is a pretty kick-ass movie.
3. With the possible exception of Harrison Ford in his Indiana Jones prime, no actor can take a beating quite like Bruce Willis. It never takes long for Willis' John McClane to get bruised and bloody and covered in a film of sweat and grease. He always seems to be just barely hanging on...
4. ...then again, the McClane character has by now proven to be wholly indestructible. There's no hopelessly dead-end situation that he can't somehow manage to wriggle out of at the last possible moment (see also: "jumping off a high-rise building tied to a fire hose" and "using an ejector seat to avoid hand grenades"). With this film in particular there's a clear connection to the 1930s cliffhanger serials. You know he'll get out of it - you're just not always sure how.
5. Maggie Q is exceedingly hot, just in case there was any debate.
6. It's hard to remember a movie with this many scenes of people typing on computer keyboards and staring into computer screens with colorful, sleek graphics that only exist in Hollywood movies.
7. Here's how The Cheese Fry rates the Die Hard movies: 1) 1988's perfect Die Hard, 2) 2007's Live Free or Die Hard, 3) 1990's over-the-top Die Hard 2, and 4) 1995's abominable and essentially unwatchable Die Hard with a Vengeance.
8. The PG-13 rating feels a bit awkward, what with the many bloodless shooting deaths and the clumsy use of "jerkoff" as a curse word. It's a wonder McClane's trademark "yippe-ki-yay" line got to stay in.
9. The action scenes here certainly do strain credulity at times (note the spectacular but silly truck/plane fight or the SUV-in-an-elevator-shaft sequence), but this is without question the best pure action film since Casino Royale. And much of it is fairly cleverly plotted, one move ricocheting into another and spinning things out of control.
10. Justin Long, the guy from the PC/Mac ads, is much better than you'd expect as McClane's reluctant sidekick. He fares much better than Samuel L. Jackson did as the sidekick in Die Hard with a Vengeance.


"So You Think You Can Dance" shagging odds

Jaimie and Hok, 3:1
Sabra and Dominic, 5:2
Sara and Pasha, 6:1
Lacey and Kameron, 10:1
Lauren and Neil, 30:1
Anya and Danny, 500:1

Knee-jerk review: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

1. It's fun to see Gary Oldman channeling his considerable thespian energy into playing a heroic character like Sirius Black. He is the man.
2. This is a pretty dark movie.
3. Yes, Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge steals the whole movie, her sweet smiles and cheery sing-song voice hiding some very scary, very fascist aspirations. This story is a product of post-9/11 jackboot politics, with the Ministry of Magic suggesting that anyone who dares disagree with its myopic, misguided policies is "disloyal."
4. A close runner-up to Staunton is Evanna Lynch's creepily oddball character Luna Lovegood. She's hilarious.
5. For the uninitated, there's quite a bit of dialogue and backstory that can get pretty confusing, especially in the first 15 minutes or so.
6. How cool would it be if Patronus Charms were real and you could use them to whack pretentious snob jackasses who text-messages during a movie like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? Whoever you are, Mr. Porkpie-Hat-and-Plain-White-T, be glad I'm not a wizard.
7. Alan Rickman seems to enjoy the brooding character of Severus Snape.
8. The Cheese Fry, as uninformed as it may be when it comes to the Potter universe, still maintains that it's very possible that Voldemort is Harry Potter's father, a la Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
9. Emma Watson isn't legal yet (she's 17), so stop thinking what you're thinking.
10. The ending gets a little bit protracted with all of the swooshing special effect sparks and lightning and clouds, though it is invigorating to see Harry and his classmates band together to fight the bad guys.
11. In a world that's so consistently creative and clever, there's a tired quality to this business about Harry's mind being invaded by Voldemort. Been there, done that.
12. Harry gets the best line of the movie as Dolores Umbridge meets her fate.
13. What does Harry see in Cho Chang?
14. All in all, not as entertaining and magical as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but still solid.