Non-Stop Fun! (Final!)
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I remember precisely when my friends and I went to the dollar theater to see that cheesy Sharon Stone flick, The Specialist, intent on goofing off. Inadvertently we walked in to The Professional. We walked out shaking our heads, in surprise and amazement.

Side note: saw The Dark Knight last week and it took the whole movie for me to reconcile that Gary Oldman was NOT the bad guy.


Ha! (On both counts.)

Yeah, the memory of the first time I saw it also very special to me. Read a review in the Washington Post which made it sound pretty good. Went down to Chapel Hill for the weekend, as I used to do in those days (circa 1994). Was hanging out at good ole Cafe Trio with Joe and Mark and Dana and a couple of other people I think, and I also still had some General Cinema (aka Cynical Enema) passes from my days working there, and I said, Hey, let's go to this movie, it looks kind of okay. And we all went in kind of not really expecting anything, and halfway through the opening sequence, we were all like, Holy shit, this is clearly something special . . . and then we walked out afterward and Dana (Pitely) and I actually lay down in the grass so knocked out were we.

I knew instantly it was my favourite movie of all time, which gave me the neat opportunity to see it on the big screen as many times as I cared to.

When 'La Version Integrale' - i.e. the one with the 24 minutes of footage that were 'deemed to extreme for American audiences' restored - came out, I bought the DVD, instantly. Albeit I didn't own a DVD player. But Netfish did, attached to our big screen TV in the lounge. Anyway, buying the DVD was the only way I could see it. It's still really the only DVD I own.

And, yeah, Gary Oldman's so freaking amazing that (in The Dark Knight) he could play a totally ordinary and boring guy - and DISAPPEAR INTO THE CHARACTER. It's one thing to disappear into a totally over-the-top character (and Norman Stansfield is very probably the most over-the-top villain of all time), but another to disappear into . . . nothing. He's a machine. It was suggested after Leon that he is the greatest actor of his generation.

By the bye, if you haven't heard the rumours, there have been rumours the past few years of *a sequel*, with Mathilda as a grown-up assassin - easily depicted as of course Natalie Portman is grown-up. On the upside, Ms Portman said she was definitely in if it happened. On the downside, the rumours also had Luc Besson's script involving aliens. And as I think we all know with Luc Besson's scripts, they can go a lot of different ways.

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ARISEN : Operators, Volume I - The Fall of the Third Temple by Michael Stephen Fuchs