Monthly Archives: February 2012

Taylor’s Gotta Run


Abduction (2011) Director: John Singleton Starring: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina Rating: PG-13 for suspenseful violence and violent suspense.

There are two things I know about the Twilight movies.

1. They’re very popular with the young people.
2. I don’t understand them.

Other things that are popular with young people that I don’t understand are Tumblr, TV shows with singing, and poor grammar in text messages.

The Twilight films feature three actors – Robert Pattison; the pale british guy, Kristen Stewart; the girl who looks physically uncomfortable being on camera, and Taylor Lautner; the shirtless guy who turns into a wolf.

For reasons yet to be proven by modern science, these youngsters have become big superstars thanks to the teen vampire saga, and are now branching out into other movie roles. Lautner’s attempt at showing the world he’s more than a werewolf who loves to work out comes in the 2011 suspense film Abduction, which is chock full of spies, stunts, and chases. Think of it as a Bourne movie for the Nick Jr. crowd.

Also, Nick Jr is something that’s very popular with the kids that I don’t understand.

In Abduction Lautner plays Nathan, an average suburban Pittsburgh High School teen with good friends, a sweet motorcycle, and loving parents played by Maria Bello and Jason Isaacs. You can tell Dad really loves Nathan because they put on boxing gloves and beat the crap out of each other in the backyard. My Dad and I just played catch and talked. I guess he didn’t love me that much.

While doing some online research for a sociology report about missing children with adorable classmate Karen (Lily Collins), Nathan discovers he’s one of those kids you see on a milk carton.
Before Mom, Dad, and Nathan sit down for a major heart to heart, mysterious assassins bust in and kill his parents and blow up the house, leaving Nathan and Karen running for their lives with a price on their heads and an incomplete grade on their sociology report.

Who should Nathan trust? The shady CIA operative (Alfred Molina) who wants the boy to turn himself in? His psychiatrist (Sirgourney Weaver) who helps him flee and tells Nathan not to trust anyone?

Abduction is one of those modern day spy thrillers with traced calls, safehouses, black ops agents repelling down the sides of buildings, bad guys who can easily hack into every closed circuit TV camera on the eastern seaboard to instantly pinpoint your location, and a major government agency that doesn’t care that several agents are killed trying to keep track of one teenage lunkhead and his would be girlfriend.

Turns out Nathan’s real Dad is a top spy CIA spook and his arch nemesis, an evil dude named Kozlow (Mchael Nyqvist) wants to use Nathan as leverage to retrieve a stolen list of super secret stuff; like the names of rogue CIA agents and where Tupac Shakur is now living.

Just kidding about that last one.

No I’m not. Tupac isn’t dead. You didn’t know that?

Abduction draws to a nail-biting conclusion as Nathan unravels the truth behind his secret past while drawing his tormentor Kozlow out of the shadows while the CIA closes in. The big showdown takes place at a Pittsburgh Pirates game, because when I think of nail-biting excitement, I think of a team that finished fourth in the National League Central Division.

While I give him credit for trying, I don’t think Taylor Lautner isn’t quite ready for the action hero leading man status yet. Perhaps some day when Bruce Willis retires or Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson are busy, if Stallone finally turns to dust and Tom Cruise is called back to his home planet, then maybe – just maybe it will be his turn.

Please don’t turn to dust, Sylvester Stallone!


Shock The Monkey!

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) Director: Rupert Wyatt Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto Rating: PG-13 for scary ape on ape action.

Let’s face it folks, monkeys are friggin awesome. You show me an adorable Capuchin monkey or a mischievous chimpanzee with a gift for slapstick and I am one happy yet understandably single fella.

Plus, monkeys make movies thousands of times better!

Remember Every Which Way but Loose and Any Which Way You Can starring Clint Eastwood? Of course you do! Why? Both movies had a hard punching orangutan. Remember Honkeytonk Man starring Clint Eastwood? No you don’t. Why? No hard punching ogangutan!

Plus Clint Eastwood sings in that movie. It’s very sad.

So based upon this criteria, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which is swarming with monkeys by the way, must be high up on my personal scale of awesome, right?

It is!

I’d say this movie rates on my personal scale of awesome somewhere between vintage Tyco slot cars and a fine quality cheesesteak.  So that’s pretty awesome in my book. It’s taken me years to develop this scale. Your personal scale of awesome will vary of course.

In this reboot of the original Planet of the Apes series, scientist Will Rodman (played by Academy Awards ceremony ruiner James Franco) works to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by injecting a super drug into plain old chimpanzees.  His work shows promise when his prized female chimp develops incredible brainpower, but when she breaks up the lab protecting her newborn baby, Will’s dick boss (David Oyelowo) scraps the project and orders the scientists to go back to inventing other things, like new flavors of Gatorade and fun and sporty activewear for dogs.

Will and his dad Charles (John Lithgow) raise the baby chimpanzee at home.  The chimp, which they name Caesar, grows up in a really cool loft apartment in the attic and has inherited his Mom’s super smarts and a growing feeling that he is not like other monkeys. But before the movie turns into the best sitcom ever, Caesar (Andy Serkis)  let’s his wild monkey run free when he attacks a bullying neighbor who threatens Charles. The cops force Will to take Caesar to a primate sanctuary, which Caesar soon discovers is actually an all monkey version of  Midnight Express.

Angry and bitter about his predicament, Caesar uses his super brain to become the leader of the other captive apes and to devise a plan to escape his cruel human captors.  Using some super brain formula he steals from Will’s fridge (note to all scientists out there – never keep your super brain formulas in the fridge, that’s the first place they look!) Caesar makes his fellow monkey prisoners smart like him and soon they are storming the streets of San Francisco determined to stick it to the evil human oppressors who made them ride tricycles and wear bow ties and frilly dresses.

I’m not going to give away the ending to this exciting and monkey filled flick, but since the title is Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and it is the first film of a proposed franchise I’ll let you draw your own conclusion.

They rise. Sorry, I had to say it.

The amazing thing about Rise of the Planet of the Apes is all the apes were created using state of the art CGI and motion capture technology, so you get all of the advantages of having tons of cool apes in your movie, but without the horrible smell! Although many actors had to wear those form fitting motion capture leotards for hours on end under hot studio lights…

You know what, let’s not think about that.