Starring: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, Gal Gadot, and a very brief Ryan Reynolds
Director: Ariel Vromen
Plot: A hardened death row inmate is implanted with the memories of a dead CIA agent to stop a cyber criminal from blowing up things like cities and people.
Rating: R for graphic violence, gunplay, bad language, and yucky brain surgery stuff.
Hello everyone! It’s Tom, your DVD Critics Corner pal!
Sorry I’ve been away for a few months, but I have a very legitimate and totally not made up excuse for my absence.
Something very strange happened to me at the end of March.
The last thing I recall it was opening day of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. I was exiting the movie theater after seeing the movie, wondering if Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Lex Luthor was either off-putting, flat out annoying, or both.
It’s both by the way. It’s both.
Anyhoo, as I approached my mid sized sedan in the parking lot, a couple of guys wearing suits with dark glasses threw me into a sinister looking van with no windows and none of those adorable stick figure family decals on the window.
The next thing I know a scientist implants me with the brain patterns and memories of some secret agent man and I’m in a life or death struggle to stop some psycho from stealing a computer program who plans to launch missiles and cause all kinds of problems.
Oh wait…That didn’t happen to me! That stuff happens to Kevin Costner in the 2016 spy thriller Criminal!
My bad. So why haven’t I posted in months? Truth be told I forgot the password that unlocks my computer. I’d rather not talk about it. Let’s review Criminal, shall we?
CIA agent Bill Pope (a pre Daredevil Ryan Reynolds playing it straight) rushes around London with a satchel full of cash, ready to deliver it to some computer hacker called The Dutchman because he’s Dutch. Man.
The Dutchman created a “wormhole” program that can hack into any computer on the planet. He was going to sell it to wealthy lunatic Xavier Heirndahl, but changes his mind because Heirndahl plans on launching a few nukes because he’s a lunatic, and decides to sell his wormhole to the CIA.
But before Pope can deliver the moulah to The Dutchman at a secret safe house he’s ambushed by Heirndahl’s private army of soldiers (the kind all wealthy movie bad guys have at their disposal) and dies without telling Heirndahl the location of the Dutchman.
The top CIA guy in London Quaker Wells (a manic Gary Oldman) is determined to bring The Dutchman in, but since Pope stashed him in a place where only he knew, Wells decides to try an unorthodox way to find The Dutchman and finish Pope’s mission.
Yes, Oldman’s character is named Quaker. Who names their kid Quaker? Parents who want their son to grow up to be a dickhead CIA boss, that’s who!
Wells enlists the help of renowned brain scientist Dr. Franks who has developed a technique that transfers the memories from one brain to another without having to call a Vulcan to do a mind meld.
Dr. Franks is played by Tommy Lee Jones, who looks like he wishes his brain and body was transplanted into a better movie.
Unfortunately the good Doctor’s brainwave transfer will only work on a certain type of brain, and that brain belongs to hardened criminal Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner) who pretty much hates the world and for some reason growls his words like Christian Bale’s Batman.
Using a couple of drills and a bunch of high tech movie props, Dr. Franks transfers the dead Pope’s brain patterns into Jericho’s live noggin. But when Jericho fails to divulge any of Pope’s secrets or even fire off snarky one liners in Ryan Reynolds’ voice, an impatient Wells sends the criminal back to prison.
Jericho promptly escapes from the two poor CIA guys guarding him and heads to London to steal things and beat people up (He is a homicidal criminal with zero impulse control you know) but before he begins to wreak real havoc on innocent Londoners he starts to have visions of a bag of money, some library, and a really hot brunette who looks like Wonder Woman. He makes his way to Pope’s house (thanks to Pope’s brainwaves he knows the alarm codes) and meets Jillian Pope (Gal Gadot, who really is Wonder Woman!) and her daughter Emma who are still really sad that Ryan Reynolds only had a ten minute part in this movie. As Pope’s memories begin to take hold, Jericho feels compelled to find the missing money, locate The Dutchman and get Van Wilder out of his head!
Criminal ratchets up the tension when The Dutchman comes out of hiding to try to sell the wormhole to the Russians, the CIA realize that Dr. Franks’ brain transfer worked and try to catch Jericho and Heirndahl starts shooting up London trying to stop Jericho and recover the wormhole program so he can launch a few nukes because those damn nukes aint gonna launch themselves!!
Despite having a top notch cast and an interesting sci-fi premise Criminal has an exciting blockbuster thriller brain that’s been transferred into a direct to DVD movie body. I give Costner credit for playing an amoral jerk who slowly learns to do the right thing, but he did the same thing in Waterworld.
And we know how well that turned out.
Good to be back!
Hey everyone. Tom here, your DVD Critics Corner compadre. Please, remain seated.
Summer is almost upon us. I know this because My left knee throbs when summer is coming. My right knee throbs when there is cake nearby.
That, I don’t understand. But I do like cake.
Anyhoo, Summer means a great big load of blockbuster movies will be dumped on us between now and September, some will have superheroes, others will have bloodthirsty space aliens, and at least one will have the undeniable stench of Michael Bay.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on the big movies about to hit the multiplexes; reading all the movie websites and blogs, combing over ever trailer frame by frame, and picking the brains of my private nerd council (aka my friends) to bring you the very first DVD Critics Corner Summer Movie Preview and Spoiler Alert Special!
Let’s get started, shall we?
Please Note: My “spoilers” are for entertainment purposes only. They will not give away any important plot points. Would I do that to you?
Movie: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Release Date: March 25
Synopsis: With Metropolis in ruins, people are concerned that Superman (Henry Cavill) may not be the hero the world needs. Batman (Ben Affleck) thinks the Man of Steel needs to answer for his crimes. Let the battle begin!
Spoiler Alert! – After a long fight, Batman and Superman put aside their differences and team up with Wonder Woman for an important mission that if successful will save humanity as we know it – preventing the Baywatch movie from being made!
Movie: The Jungle Book
Release Date: April 15
Synopsis: A live action version of the Disney animated classic about a boy living in the jungle with his animal pals.
Spoiler Alert! – All the animals are real. The kid is CGI.
Movie: Captain America – Civil War
Release Date: May 6
Synopsis: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and Captain America (Chris Evans) find themselves on opposing sides when the government wants to reign in The Avengers.
Spoiler Alert! – In the post credits flashback sequence, The Hulk bursts into tears when he’s told he won’t be in the movie.
Movie: The Angry Birds Movie
Release Date: May 20
Synopsis: The birds must defend their home against the evil pigs!
Spoiler Alert! – Ten minutes into the movie you will realize how many hours you wasted playing Angry Birds on your phone. It was a lot, wasn’t it?
Movie: X Men – Apocalypse
Release Date: May 27
Synopsis: The X Men must join together to defeat super mutant Apocalypse before he destroys the world.
Spoiler Alert! – Halfway through the movie, Mystique remembers that she’s Academy Award winning actress Jennifer freakin Lawrence and walks off the set.
Movie: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Release Date: June 3
Synopsis: The Turtles are back, and are facing a new enemy!
Spoiler Alert! – One of the Turtles screams Cowabunga! and a piece of you dies inside.
Movie: Independence Day – Resurgence
Release Date: June 24
Synopsis: Earth once again faces a huge invasion from outer space!
Spoiler Alert! – Will Smith is not in this movie. But good news – Jeff Goldblum is! So that’s kind of good I guess…
Release Date: July 15
Synopsis: An all new all women team fights ghosts in this remake/reboot!
Spoiler Alert! – In mid July the internet will collapse from all the angry comments from disgruntled Ghostbusters fans who don’t want any stupid ol’ girls in their Ghostbusters movies!
Movie: Star Trek Beyond
Release Date: July 22
Synopsis: The Enterprise crew is back for another adventure!
Spoiler Alert! – Since Simon Pegg (who plays Scotty) wrote the script for this one, Scotty will be called upon to save the day when big doofus Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) puts the crew in danger. AGAIN! And Scotty totally scores with Uhuru.
Movie: Jason Bourne
Release Date: July 29
Synopsis: Former superspy Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is still on the run from – wait? is he still on the run? I thought he cleared his name in the last movie.. Or did he? You know what? I don’t care any more.
Spoiler Alert! – Someone playing a CIA official will shout “Find Jason Bourne,” every 12 minutes. Extra Spoiler Alert! – They won’t find him.
Movie: Suicide Squad
Release Date: August 5
Synopsis: The world’s most dangerous villains are recruited by the government for secret missions.
Spoiler Alert! – The internet will collapse again as disgruntled fans worldwide take to the comments section to whine about how Heath Ledger was a way better Joker than Jared Leto. By then I will have stopped giving a flying crap about anything and will curl up into a ball and weep until the Fall.
ENJOY THE BLOCKBUSTERS!!
Hey movie fans, Tom here, your DVD Critics Corner pal!
Well, the Oscars are finally here! All the glitz and glamour, the stars, the movies…
The gold statue thing… the guy who says stuff…
Look, I’m going to be honest. I completely lost interest in the Academy Awards when Star Wars: The Force Awakens was not nominated for best picture.
I know! Right? Complete outrage! So because of this egregious miscarriage of justice, I am boycotting the Academy Awards show this year. I have much better things to do with 5 hours on a Sunday night thank you very much. My socks are not going to sort themselves you know.
Since I did promise a quiz of some sort, here’s one based on the last movie I just saw which features natural disasters, massive destruction of property, and a DVD Critics Corner Hall of Famer! That beats some snooty ol art house Oscar movie any day! Here’s a DVDCC Quiz about – San Andreas!
SAN ANDREAS (2015)
Tom watched the movie San Andreas because:
- He enjoys special effects laden disaster films.
- It was the next film on his Netflix DVD queue.
- He just felt like it okay?
- You’re not the boss of him!
- LAPD SWAT team Leader
- Air Rescue Pilot for the Los Angeles Fire Department
- Some other tough job you would never have because you’re a giant puss!
- Optimus Prime’s stunt double. The man is huge.
Ray is kinda bummed out because:
- His estranged wife Emma (Carla Guigino) has given him divorce papers and is going to move in with her wealthy architect boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd).
- His daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) is going off to college.
- If his muscles get any bigger, he won’t be able to fit in his rescue chopper.
- All of the above.
- The San Andreas Fault is about to shift dramatically.
- Any major city along the fault line is going to be destroyed by giant earthquakes.
- He’s played by Paul Giamatti, who really is too good for a movie like this.
A massive quake hits L.A. and traps Emma atop a crumbling skyscraper. Raymond:
- Flies to the rescue in his helicopter.
- Extracts Emma from the building before it collapses.
- When listening to her cries for help on the phone replies “Why don’t you get Mr. Rich Architect to help you, ya whore!” before hanging up.
Raymond and Emma then race to help Blake who:
- Is in San Francisco which is being leveled by the biggest quake ever.
- Is using the survival skills her Dad taught her to survive the chaos.
- Is super hot, and therefore must survive because so many hot girls in Los Angeles were probably killed in the earlier quake, and hot girls must not go extinct!
There are many exciting scenes in San Andreas, particularly:
- Raymond and Emma parachuting into a crumbling San Francisco.
- A massive tsunami that snaps the Golden Gate Bridge in half!
- Paul Giammatti looking at the earthquake data on his laptop and saying “Oh my God” a bunch of times. He’s such a good actor!
San Andreas draws to a dramatic conclusion when:
- Raymond and Emma rescue Blake from a flooded building.
- Mother, Father, and Daughter are reunited as rescue workers move in to comfort the survivors.
- EVERY CG BUILDING, TREE, AND NATIONAL LANDMARK IN SAN FRANCISCO HAS FALLEN!
- Give him a minute to think about it, okay?
- You’re not his Mom!!!
Enjoy the Star Wars free Oscars.
TERMINATOR GENISYS (2015)
Starring: Arnold Shwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke
Director: Alan Taylor
Plot: To save mankind from extinction, Kyle Reese goes back in time to protect the woman who will be the mother of the man who will lead the humans in the future war against the machines. Nah! Just kidding. This movie is nothing like that.
Rating: PG-13 Because nobody does R rated action movies anymore.
Hey kids. It’s Tom, your DVD Critics Corner pal. Sorry I haven’t been around that much the past few months, but my job as a retired black ops soldier turned pro kite surfing champion who occasionally solves crimes the CIA won’t touch has been keeping me really busy.
Why just the other day as I was hanging from the landing skid of a helicopter with one hand with bullets and rockets whizzing by my head and a briefcase full of recovered nuclear missile launch codes in my free hand when it hit me; it this what I’m all about? Am I fulfilled?
The answer was no. So the CIA gave me a nice going away party, erased most of my memory, and here I am, back at my post as… what is it I do here?
I think the CIA gave me the deluxe memory wipe package.
Speaking of memory wipes, I want you to forget everything you know about the Terminator movies. Forget Skynet, forget a young Linda Hamilton running from a Michelin Man sized Arnold Shwarzenegger, forget everything that happened in Terminator Salvation – seriously, forget everything about that movie – because the latest installment of the venerable sci fi saga, Terminator Genysis has rebooted/revamped the franchise with a plot twist that has everything in the Terminator universe all topsy turvy and higgledy piggeldy.
Higgledy piggeldy is a movie reviewer word. Only we can use it. Let’s move on.
As the movie opens, it’s 2029 and the last surviving humans are duking it out with the Skynet and their evil army of robots. Under the leadership of John Connor (Jason Clarke), Skynet is on the ropes, but they activate their time machine to send a Terminator cyborg back in time to kill John’s mother in 1984. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney, more wooden than ever) Connor’s most trusted soldier, volunteers to get naked and travel back in time to protect Sarah’s pretty little head from the menacing Arnold-bot.
Reese arrives in 1984 Los Angeles. But before he can play Donkey Kong on Colecovision or catch an episode of Dynasty, he’s set upon by a T-1000 liquid metal robot, who’s not supposed to be there. Before lunkhead Reese can figure out what is going on, he’s rescued by a gun toting Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and her T-800 bodyguard “Pops” (Arnold Schwarzenegger; still looking darn good) who have a lot of plot exposition to lay down.
Turns out Pops was (for reasons not explained) sent back into the 1970’s to protect Sarah when she was 9, so Sarah grew up knowing that her son was destined to lead the human resistance, a T-800 would be sent to try to kill her in 1984, and most importantly, she has to do the no pants dance with Kyle Reese to insure her son is born.
That’s a lot of pressure on a little kid. When I was nine all I worried about was returning a book to the library on time. Hey, those late book fees could cost you 8 cents a month!
Since Sarah and Pops have already taken care of the T-800 cyborg sent to kill her, they want to now go forward in time to 1997 to stop Skynet from going online using the time machine she and Pops built in their secret underground bunker, which makes that old dresser you and your dad restored and repainted in the garage look really lame in comparison
But wait! Kyle suggests they go ahead in time to 2017, because when he was travelling back in time, he saw an altered timeline when his younger self tells him to go to 2017.
Remember all those sci fi books, movies, and TV shows that told us that mucking around in the past would cause irreparable damage to the future, and the end result could be a rift in the space time continuum that causes the collapse of the universe itself?
Nah! Forget that crap! According to Terminator Genisys, the timeline welcomes our abuse. So do whatever you want with it! Change the past, mess with the future, it’s all good! Don’t pay any attention to what Doc Brown said! Stupid old geezer…
Anyhoo, Sarah and Kyle travel forward to 2017 to find that Skynet isn’t a high tech defense computer controlling our nuclear weapons. In this new timeline it’s a super cool operating system named Genisys that’s about to go online to an adoring public hungry for a faster app that will help share pictures of the sandwich they are about to eat with strangers.
Sarah and Kyle hook up with an aged Pops, who has been hanging around awaiting their arrival for 33 years stockpiling more weapons in the bunker and catching up on his soaps. The valiant trio gears up to destroy Skynet/Genisys, but a new, stronger, smarter, T-3000 cyborg is running things now, and he looks a lot like someone they all know!
Terminator: Genisys has lots of action and cool effects – the fight scene between “Pops” Arnold and his younger bulkier 1984 self is especially fun – the usual stuff you’d expect from a Terminator movie.
Which is fine, I guess.
The problem is the cast. As Sarah Connor, Emelia Clarke has a hard time filling Linda Hamilton’s combat boots. And Jai Courtney, bless his little heart is really trying to make a go with this whole acting thing, but when Arnold freakin Schwarzenegger shows more range playing an emotionless cyborg, maybe it’s time to try something new. I don’t care if he’s dreamy! He’s a lousy actor! Man, I wish the voice in my head would leave me alone when I blog!
To sum up, I guess those Hollywood movie folks thought the whole “change the timeline” thing would help reboot the Terminator franchise the same way it did for Star Trek in 2009, but this case the time tripping franchise makeover falls flat.
Still, it’s always good to see Arnold stepping back into one of his signature roles. And it’s nice to see Emelia “Game of Thrones” Clarke in a role that requires her to wear a shirt.
I didn’t write that last part. The voice in my head insisted I put that in.
He is such a prude.
JURASSIC WORLD (2015)
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Vincent D’Onofrio
Plot: Everything is fine and dandy at Jurassic World until a super smart genetically engineered dinosaur breaks loose and starts eating people. Sorry, no refunds!
Rating: PG-13 for dinosaur violence and icky blood splatter.
Unless you’ve been living in a remote mountain cave without cable and missing a head for the past 23 years, you’ve probably heard of the Jurassic Park film franchise. And if you have been living without a head for that long, congratulations! I hear that’s really hard to do.
Based on the best selling novel by Michael Crichton, the first three Jurassic Park films were mega blockbusters, earning billions of dollars at the box office and scaring the crap out of a generation of children who thought dinosaurs were those cute and cuddly creatures from The Land Before Time film series.
The film series was dormant for about 14 years until executive producer Steven Spielberg decided it was time for another chapter in the dino-saga, and Jurassic World came roaring into theaters this summer. This sequel/reboot features a new cast, new park, and a bunch of new dinosaurs who gosh darn just won’t stay in their cages no matter how nicely they are asked!
Picking up 20 years after the events of the first movie, Jurassic World is now a ginormous amusement park on the same island the original Jurassic Park once stood. Every day thousands of tourists come to Isla Nublar to ride a baby triceratops, watch a giant dinofish eat a tiny shark, and purchase expensive merchandise in one of many Jurassic World souvenir shops.
Billionaire industrialist Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) now owns the park and all the dinosaur cloning technology, and is looking for a new attraction that will keep the visitors coming back and spending way too much money for a Venti latte at the Jurassic World Starbucks. I’m not making that up. There is a Starbucks in the park in the movie.
Claire Dearing (Howard), the operations manager of the park shows Masrani their new hybrid “Indonimus Rex,” which is very big, very mean, and just loves killing and eating anything with a pulse.
Meanwhile, raptor expert Owen Grady (Star Lord Chris Pratt) has been training a quartet of raptors to sit, roll over, and stay off the sofa for some reason. Park security chief Hoskins (D’Onofrio) thinks the raptors would make great soldiers once they are trained, but Grady shrugs off such an outrageous suggestion. I mean, it’s not like Vincent D’Onofrio has ever played a treacherous jerk who turns on everyone in the third act before, right?
Anyhoo, Grady warns Claire that her new pet dinosaur is super dangerous and should not be the next stuffed toy at the Jurassic World gift shop, but before Claire can say “hey, aren’t you that Star Lord guy,” the Indonimus Rex escapes from her escape proof pen and starts killing and eating anything with a pulse.
Claire, Grady, and the rest of the staff try to get the thousands of park guests to safety before the I Rex can make it across the island to where most of the delicious dinosaurs and people are located. To complicate matters Claire’s two nephews are trapped outside the park when their cool hamster ball car is destroyed by the I Rex. As Claire and Grady try to rescue the kids, Hoskins and his security team learns the hard way that genetically engineered dinosaurs don’t liked being told to get back in their cages or no more snausages!
When a swarm of pterodactyls starts carrying off park guests waiting to be evacuated from the island, Grady gathers up his raptor pals and heads out into the jungle to take out the I Rex in a classic man vs dinosaur vs raptor showdown. Spoiler alert: the Starbucks doesn’t survive. Great. Claire is going to be so pissed off!
Like the original Jurassic Park, Jurassic World ends with a multi billion dollar theme park in ruins and lots of innocent bystanders either injured, killed, or eaten. It’s doubtful the park will ever open again (between the lawsuits, the property damage – have you ever tried to clean raptor blood off of concrete?) but since Jurassic World made over a billion and a half dollars at the box office, it’s safe to say we haven’t seen the last of Grady, Claire and all their dinosaur pals.
Maybe they could get Starbucks to sponsor a new park.
Think of the cross promotion!
Tazo Rex tea!
Hey Starbucks, if you’re reading this, don’t steal my ideas.
Director: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi, Amr Waked
Plot: An unwitting college student ingests a new synthetic drug that turns her into a major brainiac!
Rating: R for graphic violence, gunplay, some blood, some more blood, a little more gunplay…
Lucy opens with brilliant scientist and brain expert Professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman) informing a lecture hall full of students that humans only use about 10% of their brain.
10 percent? He’s probably right. Here’s how I use my 10:
1% – devoted to thinking about the construction of and/or acquisition of sandwiches.
1% – Star Wars. Actually, it’s more like 2% with The Force Awakens opening in 93 days.
5% – Stuff that keeps me alive; breathe in, breathe out, fire = hot, do not close eyes while driving, etc.
1% – Witty answers to hashtag games on Twitter.
1% – Brad and Angelina.
Fret not folks. Professor Norman informs us that as humans evolve and unlock more of their brains power, we will be able to do amazing things; like repair our sick bodies, speak to each other telepathically, and remember where you lost your retainer in the 8th grade.
Mom never let me hear the end of that.
Anyhoo, while it will take several hundred millennium for us to harness 100 percent of our brainpower, the hapless heroine of this movie manages to do it in just a few days thanks to a ruthless drug gang and a huge overdose of a powerful new club drug. And they say ruthless drug gangs never give back to their community.
In Taipei, college/party girl Lucy (Johansson) is tricked by her oily jerkass boyfriend into delivering a suitcase to a man in a swank hotel. Before you can say what could possibly go wrong, poor Lucy is grabbed by a well armed Korean drug cartel whose boss Mr. Jang (Choi Min-Sik) really enjoys killing people.
Turns out Lucy was carrying a suitcase full of a new drug all the kids will be jonesing for, and now she and three other poor dopes have been recruited as mules to deliver the drugs across Europe, which probably means Lucy won’t be going to her 2:00 French Lit class.
Lucy and the other mules have a bag of the drug surgically implanted in them and are sent on their way, but before she can hop a plane, one of her abusive captors – who gosh darn it just can’t stop himself from being abusive – assaults Lucy, causing the drug bag to rupture and flooding Lucy’s petite system with enough blue stuff to make Walter White freak out.
Rather than dying from a monumental drug overdose, Lucy finds herself alive and growing smarter by the minute. And I’m not talking “I just learned a fun new life hack on YouTube” smart, I mean “I can see cell phone signals and make shit float with my mind” smart. Lucy finds her way back to Mr. Jang and with a little mind reading (and a couple of knives) she finds where the other three bags of drugs are going and sets off to retrieve them leaving Jang alive, which just goes to show you that even the smartest person alive doesn’t know YOU NEVER LEAVE HOMICIDAL DRUG KINGPINS ALIVE SO THEY CAN COME AFTER YOU!!!!
Lucy realizes she needs the rest of the drugs to open all 100 percent of her mind so she enlists the help of a Parisian detective Del Rio (Waked) to have the other drug mules rounded up and sent to Paris, where she also meets Professor Norman so she can tell him in person she’s about to unlock the secrets of mans next step in evolution and to compliment him on his awesome speaking voice.
Lucy draws to an action packed conclusion as Lucy races to “download” all the secrets to human existence she has unlocked to Professor Norman while Jang and his heavily armed gang storm the building hoping to get what’s left of his drugs back only to run into Del Rio and his armed police pals.
Will Jang succeed? Will Lucy leave behind a path for human beings to follow into a new plane of existence? More importantly, now that she has evolved into a superbeing free of any corporeal shell, will her parents be able to get a refund on her tuition?
Lucy is a trippy little film by Luc Besson, who keeps the usual gunplay and violence of his films to a minimum to tell an interesting sci-fi tale about the human mind an how it will evolve as man evolves.
Heck, what’s going to happen to us when we finally unlock all the powers of our mind?
I don’t know. I was thinking about sandwiches. And Star Wars.
Hey folks. It’s Tom, your friend from DVD Critics Corner.
How are you? Is the family okay? Did that problem you had with that loan shark named Cheech work itself out?
Good. I hope you were able to keep your thumbs.
Anyhoo, The Man from U.N.C.L.E has hit the theaters, which means the 2015 summer movie season is pretty much over.
It was a great summer for movies as far as I’m concerned. It was not a great summer for my curbside lemonade stand. Not only did I loose money, but received three visits from the health department and sixty unfavorable reviews from Yelp. Who reads Yelp anyway? I’m just a simple man trying to run a business…
But I digest.
This summer the movie going audience was treated to a wonderous cornucopia of movies; some of which were not sequels, reboots or remakes! There were Avengers avenging, Terminators terminating, and Minions minioning. We laughed, we cried, and we learned once again that combining amusement parks and carnivorous dinosaurs is about as smart as putting the Entourage cast in a major motion picture.
Enough frivolity, lets get to the summer movie reviewin’.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
Synopsis: Hijinks abound as Iron Man and his pals take on a sentient robot who’s not very up with people!
What The Fans Said: Woo Hoo! Joss Whedon must have read my blog because he fixed everything I hated about the first Avengers movie!
What Tom Says: Avengers 2 kicked butt. James Spader must play the villain in every movie from now on. I’m serious James. Do it.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
Synopsis: Post Apocalyptic Australia’s favorite Police Officer is back and way beyond Thunderdome!
What The Fans Said: What a lovely day!
What Tom Says: Three decades later and George Miller hasn’t lost his ability to stage an exciting chase scene. I loved every sand covered minute of it!
Synopsis: Real life CG dinosaurs run amok in an amusement park and only Star Lord and Ron Howard’s daughter can stop them!
What The Fans Said: Is Jeff Goldblum in this one?
What Tom Says: Didn’t see it. I don’t like dinosaurs. A raptor stole my lunch money in fifth grade, okay?
Synopsis: The guy from Anchorman is now an Ant-Man! I know! Weird, huh?
What People Said: Edgar Wright isn’t directing this? This is gonna suck! I mean I’ll see it, but I am going to hate it!
What Tom Says: Holy crap, how did they make Michael Douglas look 30? It’s sorcery, I tell ya!
Seriously, Ant-Man was tons of fun.
Synopsis: Adam Sandler plays a guy blah blah blah and video games come to life and oh look, Kevin James is in this too! Big freakin surprise.
What People Said: Yeah, we took a poll and we decided that Adam Sandler should stop making movies.
What Tom Says: Didn’t see it. Apparently I wasn’t the only one.
And the rest….
Mission Impossible Rogue Nation – Didn’t see it. Sorry Tom. Loved the trailer when you hung off the plane. Very cool.
Minions – Didn’t see it. If there’s no Gru, then nuts to you!
San Andreas – Didn’t see it. From what I heard final score was The Rock 1, San Andreas 0.
Terminator: Genysis – Sorry, I missyd thys movye.
Inside Out – Didn’t see it.
Vacation: Wasn’t crazy about the original.
Trainwreck – Noooooooooo.
Fantastic Four – You know what? I’m gonna leave this one alone. It’s been through enough.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
What were your favorite Summer movies? Let me know in the comments.
JUPITER ASCENDING (2015)
Directors: The Wachowskis
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne
Plot: Mila Kunis is a lowly Chicago maid until she learns she owns the planet Earth, and Channing Tatum is a half wolf space soldier who, um…you know what, you’re on your own here buddy..
Rating: PG-13 for laser gun fights and CG space gore and one bare bottom. No, it’s not Mila’s.
Poor Jupiter Jones. Working her fingers to the bone day after day cleaning rich peoples homes while having to live with a cutesy comic book character name.
Jupiter Jones… Didn’t she date Peter Parker?
No. Jupiter Jones was a cub reporter for the Daily Planet, right?
I know! Jupiter Jones was Jughead’s sister!
No, that was Jellybean Jones. Is Archie Comics still around? Archie has to be in his seventies by now..
What were we talking about? Oh, yeah..
One day Jupiiter (Mila Kunis) is scrubbing toilets and thinking about some serious life changes when a bunch of alien bounty hunters try to kill her. She is saved from assassination by a human/wolf warrior named Caine Wise (Channing Tatum sporting Spock ears and guyliner) who flies around on rocket powered hover boots. Seriously.
Why do a bunch of bad guy aliens want to off the adorable little maid from Chicago? Is she a White Sox fan? No, she’s not that awful.
Let me esplain, No, there is too much, let me sum up:
Jupiter is the genetic double of the head of the House of Abrasax, one of many ancient families of humans that throughout time have colonized all humanoid planets in the universe and now covet them like so many green and red houses on a galactic monopoly board. The Abrasax matriarch “owned” Earth, but since Jupiter is an exact DNA match for the dead Mom, Jupiter now owns Earth, much to the chagrin of the other three Abrasax family members who each want Earth for their own because they plan to mine the entire planet and turn it into a magic elixir that extends the life of whomever drinks it, is the most valuable commodity in the universe, and looks like Crystal Pepsi.
Got it, Chachi? Good, I’m glad somebody does.
Jupiter is taken up to space where he meets the Abrasax children; Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) who takes a dip in the youth juice and shows Jupiter that 15,000 is the new 40!
Then she meets smooth talking Titus (Douglas Booth) who wants to take over the family by marrying Jupiter and take Earth for himself without acknowledging how creepy it is that he wants to marry the exact double of his Mother. Ew.
Caine saves Jupiter before she marries Titus, but they soon run afoul of Balem (Eddie Redmayne) the Abrasax sibling who cornered the family market on batshit crazy and homicidal. Balem and his hoard of CG minions kidnap Jupiter’s family and threatens to turn them into gazpacho unless she signs the earth to him, and that includes the entire earth, even the useless parts like Antarctica and Greenland. Can Jupiter save her family and her planet so she can fly off into the sunset with her man-wolf boytoy?
Between all the palace intrigue, Jupiter Ascending is packed with weird creatures, outlandish costumes, and people saying weird things. It’s kind of like Burning Man, minus the sand and hippies.
I give the Wachowskis credit for trying to give the movie audience an original sci-fi adventure in a world of sequels and remakes, but Jupiter Ascending didn’t rock my world.
I do like the idea of a magic drink that can make you young and healthy again. So get on that right away sort drink companies. Oh, it better not have a nasty after taste like Red Bull. Also, it should come in regular and diet.
I’m watching my figure.
Let’s face it. Everyone loves movie villains.
They live in really cool underground lairs complete with armies of henchmen and swimming pools loaded with sharks. They have all these meticulously detailed plans for acquiring wealth or dominating the planet depending on whatever mood they’re in on that particular day.
And most important; they are cool. The best villains can keep it together and not go all spazzy when the good guys are closing in and it looks like they won’t be ruling the world.
We at DVD Critics Corner love movie villains, and we love hanging out. So here is a list of some cinematic baddie we wouldn’t mind kicking it with for a day, week, or long holiday weekend. Or at least until the Avengers bust in and ruin the fun.
Occupation: Sentient Robot/Meglomaniac
As Seen In: The Avengers Age of Ultron (2015)
Why so cool: Okay, Ultron isn’t too crazy about us human beings, but he’s got the qualities we look for in a guy to hang out with. He’s witty, sarcastic, intellectual, and since he controls the internet he could score you a deal on a hotel or shut down the power where your ex girlfriend now lives.
Best Party Trick: Since Ultron is voiced by James Spader, he’s full of great stories about working with Molly RIngwald!
Occupation: Freelance Terrorist, Exceptional Thief
As Seen In: Die Hard (1988)
Why so cool: Hans appreciates the finer things in life, like money, fancy clothes, money, explosions, and money. I can picture Hans hosting lavish dinner parties with his terrorist pals, where they discuss art, politics, and pesky wise cracking cops who ruin the most perfect of plans!
Best Party Trick: His killer impression of Bill Clay. Spot on.
Occupation: Henchman, Assassin
As Seen In: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979)
Why so cool: It’s Friday night. You’re siting at the local Applebee’s checking out the Happy Hour action, when you spot a bevy of beauties splitting a plate of pot stickers. What’s your in? You introduce the ladies to your towering pal Jaws who bites a barstool in half and orders a double platter of Double Crunch wings for the group! Best night ever!
Best Party Trick: Pretending to get beaten up by an elderly James Bond in 2 movies!
Occupation: Ruler of the Universe, Emperor of the Galaxy
As Seen In: Flash Gordon (1980)
Why so cool: What makes Ming so Hellacool? Is it his wicked facial hair? No. His complete change of wardrobe for every scene he’s in the movie? Nope. His super hot daughter Princess Aura? Maybe. I mean NO! It’s gotta be the weather machine. Who wouldn’t want to hang with a guy that can freeze the Great Lakes and burn to ashes the city where your ex-girlfriend is now living. Dude. Let it go. She’s not coming back.
Best Party Trick: Using his magic ring to make your Aunt Sally twerk like a busload of Miley Cyruses!
Occupation: Wicked Witch of the West
As Seen In: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Why so cool? Two words: FLYING FREAKING MONKEYS.
Best Party Trick: Uh, FLYING FREAKING MONKEYS!
JOHN WICK (2014)
Director: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, and Willem Dafoe
Rating: R for bad language, graphic violence, gunplay up the wazoo and a bad thing happening to a poor widdle doggie.
Plot: Retired hitman John Wick goes on a monumental kill spree when Russian mob guys steal his car and kill his dog. What? They killed his dog? What the Helll man? Go get those bastards, John!
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is having a bad week. His beloved wife has just died, leaving him emotionally shattered and grief-stricken.
A delivery truck arrives with an adorable beagle puppy his wife sent him so he will have someone to care for, which will hopefully heal his broken heart.
If you aren’t crying now, you must be a robot.
As John and his pup – who he names Daisy (awww) begin to bond, John runs afoul of a trio of obnoxious Russian dudes who take a liking to John’s totally bitchin’ 1969 Mustang.
The Russian baddies attack John in his home, and in a frightening fit of bad guy evil, the head Russian douche Iosef (Alfie Allen) kills Daisy and takes John’s car.
There is a supercomputer that has yet to be invented that can design the algorithm required to calculate how freaking huge a mistake that was.
See, John Wick isn’t your average bro with long greasy hair and a movie named after him. He’s a former mob assassin who has killed more guys than the Death Star. The guy buys bullets by the pallet. The Grim Reaper sends him thank you cards.
In summation, John Wick was really good at killing people. And some jerk killed the dog his dead wife gave him.
CUE THE BLOODY RAMPAGE.
Wick learns Iosef, the no good dog killer is the no good son of Viggo Trasov (Michael Nyqvist) the Russian mob kingpin of New York City and John’s former boss. Knowing that his former top assassin will kill everyone in his way to get to Iosef, Viggo sets a bounty on Wick’s head and sends a hit squad to take him out, but Wick dispatches his foes with an amazing display of hand to hand and gun to gun combat.
Seriously, the kick ass fight moves Keanu pulls off in John Wick make his Kung Fu in the Matrix trilogy look as lame as his British accent in Dracula. Whoever choreographed the fisticuffs in this movie deserves a gold star. And a cookie.
Wick heads into New York City where he checks into a swank hotel that caters to assassins only; which is a smart move by Wick since hotel rules state that no assassins can kill anyone on the premises. Plus they have free Wi-Fi and a make your own waffle bar at breakfast! I wonder if Travelocity can hook me up with a reservation..
Wick immediately goes to work hunting down Iosef and making hamburger out of any mob goon who is standing in his way. Making matters worse, a crazy female assassin named Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki) and Wick’s former mentor Marcus (Willem Dafoe) have joined in on the hunt to take out Wick because a bounty is a bounty and they obviously didn’t hear the part about Iosef killing Wick’s puppy!
John Wick is a no nonsense shoot em up thriller with a simple plot and awesome action. Reeves is a man of few words in this movie, which is great because the talking thing was never Keanu’s go to move. Reeves has signed on to star in a sequel to John Wick so I’m not giving away the ending by saying our hero avenges Daisy’s death and cuts the Russian mob population in the greater New York City area by about 85 percent.
You the man, John!
Maybe you should get a cat this time.