Category Archives: Adventure Movies
This review may contain spoilers. But you should read it anyway. It’s great. Trust me.
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (2016)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard, Byun-hun Lee
Director: Antione Fuqua
Rating: PG-13 for six gun fun and ‘splosions
Plot: Seven gunslingers are hired to protect a town from a greedy land grabber who really loves grabbing land and killing innocent townspeople.
The Magnificent Seven is a remake of a classic movie which is itself a remake of another movie.
I know, it’s confusing. Allow me to explain, then we’ll both know.
In 1954 acclaimed Japanese film director Akira Kurosowa brought us the acclaimed Japanese film Seven Samurai which starred Toshiro Mifune, an acclaimed Japanese actor and the only man on the planet allowed to wear a man bun.
In 1960 John Sturges remade Seven Samurai into The Magnificent Seven, with cowboys in place of samurais and guns in place of wicked awesome samurai swords. That movie starred Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, who were also very cool.
Without warning the 21st century arrived so it was time for another Magnificent Seven movie. This one is also set in the old west and stars Denzel Washington and some guy named Chris Pratt who was in that movie Passengers which everybody hated.
Okay, he was in Guardians of the Galaxy, which is pretty great.
Jurassic World was okay, I guess.
Passengers bit donkeys.
That means it’s bad. I’m trying to make “bit donkeys” a thing so feel free to use it.
Things are not at all rosy in the mining town of Rose Creek. The nearby gold mine is owned by wealthy lunatic Bartholomew Bogue (an oily Peter Sarsgaard) who treats the miners like slaves and the townspeople like pawns in a chess game where beating and murdering the pawns is how the game is played.
Evil villain Bogue wants the townspeople out of Rose Creek in three weeks, and to prove how serious he is he kills a few who dare to stand up to him, like the husband of Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett). Determined to set things right, Emma sets out to find some gunslingers to stand up Bogue and his army of vicious gunmen.
Luckily Emma heads to the next town over and witnesses ace warrant officer Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) dispatch a bar room full of bad guys with his shiny six shooter. Chisolm is reluctant to help Emma because he’s allergic to suicide missions, but when she mentions the name Bartholomew Bogue he agrees to help with her save Rose Creek.
Hmm. Maybe Chisolm has an old score to settle with Bogue?
Hint: It’s a western. THE HERO ALWAYS HAS A SCORE TO SETTLE WITH SOMEONE.
Chisolm needs some help if he wants to take down Bogue, so on his way to Rose Creek he recruits six more gunslingers to get the job done.
Cowboy Roll Call!
Cocky gambler Faraday (Chris Pratt) who drinks a lot.
Ex Confederate Army sharpshooter Robichaeux (Ethan Hawk) who also drinks a lot.
Asian Billy Rocks (Lee Byung-Hung) who is really good with the knives and the stabbing.
Fugitive desperado Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) who is on Chisolm’s wanted list.
Mountain man Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio) who speaks softly and carries a big tomahawk.
Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) A Comanche who rarely speaks and when he does it’s in subtitles.
The seven arrive in Rose Creek and easy dispatch two dozen of Bogue’s men, then tells one survivor to run and tell Bogue he’s a big stupidhead and nobody likes him.
Figuring that if he doesn’t stop in Santa Fe for their annual Chamber Music Festival, Bogue will return to Rose Creek in seven days with an even bigger army of hired killers. Chisolm and his gunslingers helps the citizens of Rose Creek dig trenches and set explosives to even the odds against the bad guys, and nothing brings neighbors closer together than preparing for a violent and bloody land war.
Bogue and his thugs do return and The Magnificent Seven concludes with a long and explosive gunfight between townspeople and desperado. Bullets fly, lots of guys die, and Rose Creek is reduced to a pile of splintered timber and smoldering ashes. But when the smoke clears, Bogue is vanquished, a couple of people survive to clean things up, and Chisolm rides off into the sunset because good guys always win and Denzel’s name is above the title.
While Denzel, Star Lord, and the rest of the cast look like they had fun playing cowboy, this new version of The Magnificent Seven is an uninspired remake that doesn’t hold a candle to the 1960 classic or the even more classic 1954 version.
And that’s too bad because this high falutin’ city boy loves a good western.
I went out West once. Stayed in Santa Fe for a spell. Yes siree…
They got an annual Chamber Music Festival ya know..
Let’s be honest here. Movie characters are way better than us.
They’re better looking, in better shape, and seem to attract equally attractive and fit people as their love interests. Plus they have great hair. Thick, luxurious beautiful hair..
Oh. I’m not referring to you, dear reader. I like your hair. Never change it.
Movie characters also have great jobs we regular folks don’t have or could never hope to have. I mean, if some guy was looking for globetrotting secret agent at my college job fair, I would have signed up immediately, even though I don’t like to travel and I can’t keep a secret.
Just ask my brother the bed wetter.
Without further adieu, here are some great jobs to have in movies.
As Seen In: Road House, Road House 2 (Yes, they made a sequel to Road House)
Pros: Those pretzels on the bar? Take as many as you want!
Cons: Is murdering drunk guys a bad thing?
The Deal: Being a bar bouncer combines two things that people love more than anything in the world: Hanging around in dive bars, and beating the crap out of someone. You go to a bar to have fun, not to get hassled by some overserved frat guys who use the word bro waaaaay too much. A bouncer can mean the difference between a fun night of karaoke with your work chums or a trip to the emergency room with a shot glass lodged in your right nostril. A good bouncer should also possess good diplomacy skills, the ability to smash kneecaps when necessary, and maybe bus tables when it gets really busy during happy hour.
Job Security? Pretty darn good. Drunken a-holes are everywhere!
Occupation: Secret Agent/Spy
As Seen In: The James Bond franchise.
Pros: Whenever you save the world, a famous recording artist writes and performs a special theme song just for you!
Cons: Every non friendly nation wants you dead, jet lag.
The Deal: Before Jason Bourne came along and ruined things with his “They stole my memories” whining, being a globetrotting secret agent was glamourous and exciting. Fancy cars, beautiful women, playing baccarat and sipping martinis in Monte Carlo because that was somehow crucial to your mission. Sure, from time to time you may have to battle a gigantic henchman with metal teeth at some mountain fortress, but who cares? Your car can turn into a submarine and your Rolex shoots laser beams. LASER. BEAMS.
Job Security? If crazy billionaire megalomaniacs keep building death rays, you got a job.
As Seen in: The Transporter movies.
Pros: You always get to pick the radio station.
Cons: Criminal clients always double cross you, butt gets numb from all that sitting in the car.
The Deal: Do you like being your own boss? Got a thing for fast cars? Do you own a pair of driving gloves? Then maybe a Transporter is the perfect job for you! Okay, your clients are criminals and you’re probably breaking a crapload of laws every time you get behind the wheel, but you were never a play by the rules person anyway. A good transporter must have extensive martial arts and weapons training because – and I hate to keep bringing this up – your clients are criminals will more than likely try to kill you or even worse – not pay you!
Job Security? Heck yeah! Just don’t drive too fast and don’t look at what you’re transporting.
Your. Clients. Are. Criminals.
Occupation: Whatever the cast does in the Fast and the Furious movies.
As Seen In: The Fast and the Furious franchise.
Pros: Like the smell of burning rubber? Who doesn’t?
Cons: Illegal street racing is illegal, having Vin Diesel for a boss.
The Deal: Truth be told, I have not seen any of the Fast and Furious films so I’m not really sure what it is the motley crew of car enthusiasts featured in the movie do. I believe they are street racers who steal things and occasionally work for the government using said street racing skills. They are often called upon to do impossible things because in the world of action films only Vin Diesel and a tricked out Dodge Charger can accomplish more on a good day than a squad of Navy SEALS can. I know in one movie Vin and his team parachuted with their cars out of the back of a cargo plane, so that’s pretty cool. Most of us have to use a boring old normal plane when we go on a business trip. I bet the Fast and Furious crew doesn’t have to save their lunch receipts!
Job Security? As long as the CIA is so busy that they have to subcontract their missions out to a bunch of adrenalin junkies in drift cars, you’re good!
Pedal to the metal my friend!
Part two of It’s A Living: Best Jobs to Have in a Movie coming soon!
Please note: This review does contain spoilers.
THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR (2016)
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Rating: PG-13 for violence and CG scary stuff.
Plot: Eric the Huntsman is back! So is Queen Ravenna! One of the dwarfs is back too! Is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? No, it’s both! I’m so freakin confused.
The Huntsman: Winters War is a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman.
Hey, I reviewed that 2012 movie here at DVD Critics Corner! I know! Weird, right?
Click here to read the review if you care.
Spoiler Alert: It’s really good. The review, I mean. The movie? Not so much.
Apparently the movie making folks out there in Hollywood know better than we do what we want to see in the theaters, so they gathered up the cast of Snow White and the Huntsman and made a sequel!
Well, most of the cast. Kristen Stewart, who played Snow White, wasn’t invited back.
I know what you’re thinking. How can they possibly make a sequel to a movie without including the main character from the first one?
Quite easily, actually.
Winter’s War features the characters that made the first movie bearable – the evil sorceress/Queen Ravenna and Eric the ass kicking Huntsman plus a new hero and a second evil sorceress/Queen!
Sorry, Snow. There’s no room for you in this movie.
Winter’s War introduces us to Ravenna’s sister Freya (Emily Blunt), an evil sorceress/Queen who can turn things to ice and thankfully doesn’t feel the need to sing “Let It Go” at the drop of a hat. Freya’s soldiers kidnap children from conquered villages to turn them into vicious Huntsman because it’s cheaper than setting up a decent school system in the castle. Two of her prized young soldiers Eric and Sara are in love with each other, but love is forbidden in Freya’s kingdom because the Queen had a monumentally bad breakup at the very beginning of the movie, so if she can’t be happy then no one can!
Eric and Sara’s relationship is discovered by Freya. They are pummeled by the other Huntsman and Eric is banished and left for dead. Thinking Sara was killed, Eric moves on with his life and several years later he helps Snow White defeat Ravenna in the 2012 fantasy epic Snow White and the Huntsman, available on Blu Ray and DVD!
The movie then jumps ahead to a time after the first movie. Eric (Chris “Mighty Thor” Hemsworth) is chilling in the forest when Snow White’s husband William informs Eric that Ravenna’s magic mirror has gone missing, and asks him to go find it. Eric sets off on his mission with a pair of dwarfs; Nion (Nick Frost, reprising his role from the first movie) and Gryff (Rob Brydon) who bicker like comic relief sidekicks are expected to do.
Ten minutes into their quest Eric and his pals are attacked by a gang of Freya’s men, but they are saved by Sara, who is not dead after all!
Sara is played to butt kicking warrior woman perfection by Jessica Chastain, who is not, repeat NOT Bryce Dallas Howard!
Although it’s really easy to mix them up. Here’s a test. One of these lovely ladies is Jessica Chastain, the other is Bryce Dallas Howard. Go ahead, guess:
Give up? Touch each photo with your little arrow thing to find out who is who.
Did you guess right?
Is that weird or what? They’re like twins or something!
Anyhoo, Sara is monumentally pissed at Eric for abandoning her at Freya’s castle, which lead to several years of imprisonment in Freya’s dungeon before her recent escape. Eric believes Freya must have used her powers to make him think Sara was murdered and Sara think Eric ran away, but Sara doen’t believe him because Hell hath no fury like a Huntswoman scorned!
Sara agrees to help Eric recover the mirror before Freya can get her crazy ice hands on it. They pick up two female dwarfs Bromwyn and Doreana (Sheridan Smith, Alexandra Roach) who tell them the mirror was stolen by a band of goblins who are fierce, ugly and computer generated.
Eric and company retrieve the mirror, but (cue dramatic music) Freya shows up with her army and a huge plot twist – Sara has been working with Freya all along, and to prove her loyalty to her Queen shoots Eric with a bow and arrow!
Women! Am I right?
Freya takes the mirror back to her kingdom, and when she turns it on or reboots it or whatever the heck you do with magic mirrors, her sister the evil Ravenna (Charlize Theron) comes out of the mirror very alive and very determined to use Freya’s army to destroy Snow White’s kingdom! Freya is a bit put out that Ravenna is taking over as Queen of her kingdom, but hey, what are evil sorceress/big sisters for?
All appears lost but wait, Eric is not dead after all! Turns out Sara only nearly killed him with a bow and arrow which is a Huntswoman’s way of saying I love you!
Eric and his dwarf pals storm Freya’s castle to free Sara and put a world of Huntsman hurt on Freya and Ravenna.
Can Eric thwart Ravenna’s evil plans? Will Freya realize her sister is a billion times more evil than she is? Does Jessica Chastain know how much she looks like Bryce Dallas Howard?
Seriously, they could be twins!
Surprisingly, The Huntsman: Winter’s War is a heck of a lot better than the previous movie. That’s mostly due to Chris Hemsworth, who has this charming butt kicking warrior thing down cold thanks to a magic Norse hammer and a handful of Marvel movies. Throw in a trio of top notch actresses and some cool fights and action sequences and you have yourself a decent action fantasy movie.
Sorry Kristen. They didn’t need you this time.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Rebecca Ferguson, and John Hurt
Plot: Hijinks ensue when Hercules and his mercenary pals get more than they bargained for when they are hired to train an army to fight a war.
Rating: PG-13 for swords and spears and bloody combat that’s not bloody enough for an R rating.
I don’t know much about the Greeks, but I am a fan of their philosophers, their yogurt, and feta cheese, which is simply smashing on a burger. Seriously. try it some time. Dee-lish.
The Greeks also had a bunch of Gods, demigods,and fantastic creatures that throughout the centuries became a huge part of popular culture. One of the most famous of the Greek mythological figures is Hercules, the half God son of Zeus who righted wrongs and performed amazing feats of strength while sporting some awesome 1980’s rocker hair.
Hercules is so popular even to this day that two movies were made in 2014 about him and his legendary journeys: The Legend of Hercules stars a guy named Kellen Lutz. The other simply titled Hercules stars DVD Critics Corner Hall of Famer and ass kicking action star Dwayne Johnson. Needless to say we’re reviewing Hercules because we like shorter titles and Dwayne Johnson is wearing a freakin lion for a freakin hat!
Hercules takes the legend of the demigod son of Zeus and tosses it out with the bathwater. Hercules (Johnson) is just a really strong mercenary travelling the world with a team of skilled warriors. Since the internet hasn’t been invented yet, Herc’s action packed exploits have spread word of mouth and have become legend across the land, and with the help of his nephew Iolus (Reece Ritchie) who acts as Herc’s PR man, some of the good but gullible people believe he may really be the son of Zeus.
Let’s face it, people will believe absolute nonsense if you let them: like alligators live in the sewers and Two and a Half Men was a good show.
Herc and his team – Amphiaraus, master spear fighter and future predictor, knife guy/wisecracker Autolicus, blonde archer chick Atalanta, mute asskicker Tydeus, and Iolus – are hired by Lord Cotys (John Hurt) of Thrace to train his depleated army to fight off neighboring warlord Rheseus who wants to take over Thrace for reasons never disclosed. Maybe Thrace is closer to the highway and has a killer beach.
Anyhoo, Herc and his pals train Coty’s troops to fight like soldiers, and soon they charge into highly choreographed battle scenes with plenty of slo mo shots and CG blood splatter made famous by 300. But truth be told I can forgive that because nobody wields a club better than than Dwayne Johnson.
Except for Bamm Bamm. That kid had skills.
Coty’s army is victorious and they return to Thrace with Lord Rheseus as a prisoner, but Hercules begins to think that Rheseus may not be the bad guy in this movie. When Coty’s daughter Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson) confirms Herc’s suspicion that her dad is a treacherous a-hole, he has a huge decision to make: take the huge pile of gold given to him or give it back and make things right in Thrace by kicking Coty’s lying butt?
Spoiler Alert! Herc’s team doesn’t get their retirement fund. But they do get to help their boss overthrow a kingdom in a bloody climactic battle which is just as good as a huge bag of gold! It is! Honest. Look, just go with me on this, we’re almost done.
In conclusion, Dwayne Johnson’s huge presence and even huger willingness to cave in a head or two elevates Hercules a few levels higher over other recent sword and sandals movies. However, I didn’t like the idea that the mythical creatures that are real in similar movies didn’t exist in this one. No Centaurs? No Cerberus? No three breasted gladiator woman with the head of a Burmese Shrike and the legs of a liger?
Okay that last one isn’t an actual mythical creature.
But it should be. I’m getting my sketchbook!
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014)
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, and Gary Oldman
Plot: Survivors of a cataclysmic plague battle Caesar and his clan of super smart apes for control of the greater San Francisco area.
Rating: PG-13 for gun violence and ape violence and explosions and world ending apocalypse stuff.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Click here to read DVDCC’s immensely entertaining and informative review of that monkey filled movie!
When last we left Caesar and his ape pals, they had trashed most of San Francisco and settled in the Muir Woods on the far side of the Golden Gate Bridge to start their own world away from the stupid humans and their tumblrs and apple phone whozywhatsits.
As Dawn of the Planet of the Apes begins, ten years have passed, and Caesar’s apes are thriving in their wooded community, teaching their kids about “ape law” and wondering what ever happened to those pesky humans.
Turns out the humans haven’t been doing so well. In fact, they’re pretty screwed.
As the last movie ended, a deadly pandemic was rapidly spreading across the globe. Now ten years later 90% of the earth’s population is dead, which when you think about it greatly cuts down on highway traffic, but overall is a huge bummer for the few hundred survivors living in the ruins of San Francisco.
But the San Fran survivors have a plan. If they can get the hydro electric dam deep in the woods running again, they can restore power to the city and begin to rebuild their shattered civilization. Unfortunately the damn repair party lead by Malcom (Jason Clarke) and Ellie (Keri Russell) runs into Caesar and his massive army while heading for the dam. Seriously, none of them remembered the apes were still there? Oh I forgot. They were busy dying from the word ending pandemic.
Caesar banishes Malcom and his pals from the forest, and a few days later rides into San Francisco with his ape army to remind the humans and their leader Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) that the welcome mat is not out in their territory.
But Malcom begs Casear to let him repair the hydro electric plant so his fellow humans can get back their electric lights and waffle irons. Caesar relents and lets a small team of humans conduct their business, which angers Koba (Toby Kebbell), Caesar’s trusted lieutenant who never forgave the humans for all the cutting and dissecting they did to him when he was a baby ape. Koba’s mistrust of the humans is reinforced when he finds that Dreyfus has stockpiled a ton of guns and ammo to attack the apes should Malcom fail his dam repair mission.
Meanwhile in the woods Malcom fixes the hyro plant thing and Ellie uses her human doctor skills to cure Caesar’s ailing wife Cornelia (Judy Greer), which convinces Caesar that the humans aren”t so bad and the ape utopia he’s created seriously needs a comprehensive health plan.
Electrical power is resorted to San Francisco, but before Malcom and Caesar can join hands and sing Give Peace a Chance, the treacherous Koba shoots Ceasar and frames one of Malcom’s team for the crime. This whips the apes up into an ass whipping frenzy and they head off across the Golden Gate Bridge to give Dreyfus and his pink skinned pals a little payback.
Caesar and Malcom formulate a plan to stop the fighting but will it be too late to stop a full out war between the last surviving humans and the really pissed off apes?
Spoiler alert: This movie made lots of money, so there’s gonna be another movie.
And it probably won’t be titled Planet of the Happy Humans and their Talking Ape Pals!
Like the previous movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes features that state of the art motion capture computer process that can turn a human actor into a monkey. Truly amazing stuff.
I wonder if they can turn a monkey into a human?
Now THAT I would pay to see in IMAX!