Category Archives: DVD

It’s A Living: The Best Jobs to Have in a Movie! (Part One)

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.

still-of-patrick-swayze-in-road-house-large-picture-2Occupation: Bouncer

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!

bond-2Occupation: 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.

transporter3_03-2Occupation: Transporter

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.

Why?

Your. Clients. Are. Criminals.

fast-and-furious-7-2Occupation: 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!

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They Saved Ryan’s Brain!

CRIMINAL (2016)

Criminal-2016-Movie-Wallpaper-21

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 license plates 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 which will enable him to launch nuclear missiles and ruin everyone’s weekend.

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.

kevin-costner-criminal-480x480

“I’m Batman! I mean Kevin!”

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.

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It didn’t.

Good to be back!

 

 

The DVD Critics Corner Academy Awards Quiz!

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_feature-770x472 (2)

SAN ANDREAS (2015)

Tom watched the movie San Andreas  because:

  1. He enjoys special effects laden disaster films.
  2. It was the next film on his Netflix DVD queue.
  3. He just felt like it okay?
  4. You’re not the boss of him!
Dwayne Johnson stars and plays Raymond Gaines, whose occupation is:
  1. LAPD SWAT team Leader
  2. Air Rescue Pilot for  the Los Angeles Fire Department
  3. Some other tough job you would never have because you’re a giant puss!
  4. Optimus Prime’s stunt double. The man is huge.

Ray is kinda bummed out because:

  1. 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).
  2. His daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) is going off to college.
  3. If his muscles get any bigger, he won’t be able to fit in his rescue chopper.
  4. All of the above.
Meanwhile, seismology professor Dr. Lawrence Hayes over at Caltech makes a horrifying discovery:
  1. The San Andreas Fault is about to shift dramatically.
  2. Any major city along the fault line is going to be destroyed by giant earthquakes.
  3. 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:

  1. Flies to the rescue in his helicopter.
  2. Extracts Emma from the building before it collapses.
  3. 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:

  1. Is in San Francisco which is being leveled by the biggest quake ever.
  2. Is using the survival skills her Dad taught her to survive the chaos.
  3. 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!
alexandra-daddario-san-andreas-trailer
TOO HOT TO DIE.

 

There are many exciting scenes in San Andreas, particularly:

  1. Raymond and Emma parachuting into a crumbling San Francisco.
  2. A massive tsunami that snaps the Golden Gate Bridge in half!
  3. 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:

  1. Raymond and Emma rescue Blake from a flooded building.
  2. Mother, Father, and Daughter are reunited as rescue workers move in to comfort the survivors.
  3. EVERY CG BUILDING, TREE, AND NATIONAL LANDMARK IN SAN FRANCISCO HAS FALLEN!
Does Tom recommend San Andreas?
  1. Yes.
  2. No.
  3. Give him a minute to think about it, okay?
  4. You’re not his Mom!!!

 

Enjoy the Star Wars free Oscars.

 

 

 

 

Robots in Disguise!

TERMINATOR GENISYS (2015)

terminator-genesis-poster-arnold

 

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.

 

 

 

Cinderella in Spaaaaaaaaaace!!!

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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.

Movie Villains You Wouldn’t Mind Hanging Out With!

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.

Total. Spaz.

Pictured: Total. Spaz.

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.

Ultron-Hot-Toys1

Name: Ultron

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!

hansgruberName: Hans Gruber

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.

bond-jaws-660Name: Jaws

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!

Ming-the-MercilessName: Ming the Merciless

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!

Wicked-With-of-the-West-via-screencap-615x345Name: Wicked Witch of the West

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!

Be Careful What You Wick For!

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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.

I’m an Apeman!

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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.

What part of "Stay out of our woods" did you idiots not understand?

Hi neighbor! Nice ruined city you have here. Quick question… that part of “Stay out of our woods” did you idiots not understand?

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!

This was on My Netflix My List: Rage!

Every February DVD Critics Corner takes a look at the movies that have been taking up space in the My List section of our Netflix page.

They could be movies that barely made it to the local multiplex. Or, movies that became “Direct to DVD” gems just waiting to be noticed.

Or movies that are so terrible Redbox kiosks are getting physically sick just having these movies inside them. You be the judge!

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RAGE (2014)

Director: Paco Cabezas

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Rachel Nichols, Peter Stormare, Max Ryan, Michael McGrady and Danny Glover

Plot: A reformed criminal gets his old crew back together to beat the crap out of the bad guys who killed his daughter. What a great Dad.

Rating: Not rated, but there’s enough gunplay, stabbing, and fisticuffs for either an R rating or a really good Irish wake.

 Nicholas Cage. A man with one of the most interesting careers in showbiz. He’s starred in critically acclaimed dramas, Coen brothers comedies, and action blockbusters. His name has appeared over he titles of quirky indie films and mediocre comic book movies. He’s won an Oscar and has been nominated for a Razzie.

To put it another way, Nicholas Cage’s career has had more ups and downs than Courtney Love off her meds riding The Cyclone at Coney Island.

I will say one thing for the Nickster; he does manage to keep busy. Unfortunately it seems that many of the movies he’s appeared in recently are the “direct to DVD” variety, which may help pay the bills (and I’ve heard that Mr. Cage has had trouble paying his bills) but they don’t get you many rave reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

Which brings us to Rage, a 2014 crime drama which is not much of a drama and has very little crime. But it is filmed in scenic Mobile, Alabama. So there you go. I have no idea what that means either.

Paul McGuire (Cage) is a well respected Mobile Alabama construction magnate. He’s wealthy, connected, and a loving husband to wife Vanessa (Nichols) and daughter Caitlin (Aubrey Peeples). He was also a former thief and brutal thug who worked for the local Irish crime boss O’Connell (Stormare) when he was a teen – who loved to dispatch his foes with a rather large knife.

Hey, we all have some things in our past we want to forget about. I was in the Webelos for a week!

Paul’s normal life comes to a screeching halt when Caitlin is violently kidnapped from her home by masked gunmen while she was entertaining friends. When the local detective St. John (Danny Glover, way too old for this shit) has no leads and Caitlin’s lifeless body is recovered a few days later, Paul grabs his trusty knife, assembles his old crime buddies Kane (Ryan) and Danny  (McGrady) and heads out for a little justice – Irish mob in Alabama style!

Paul suspects the local Russian mob killed Caitlin in retaliation for a robbery young Paul committed a while back that left one mobster dead and Paul and his crew very rich. Paul used that money to buy his freedom from the mob, which apparently harder to get out of than a gym membership.

O’Connell warns Paul that picking off Russian mobsters will lead to an all out war that be very bad for both mobs and lots of innocent bystanders. But since Mobile appears completely empty except for bad guys during the entire film thinning out the mob population might be a good idea.

Rage has fits and spurts of violence and Paul and his crew trash a few Russian mob joints and beat a few mobsters for clues to the identities of Caitlin’s killer, which cheeses off the head Russian mobster Chernov (Pasha D. Lynchnikoff) who now wants to break the mob truce with O’Connell to kill Paul.

Seriously, who knew Mobile Alabama was such a hotbed of Irish and Russian mob activity? Lynard Skynard never mentioned this in their song. Sweet Home Alabama indeed.

With all the buildup Rage reaches a not very exciting climax when Caitlin’s killer is revealed. I’m not going to ruin the plot twist for you, but let’s just say that fewer Russian and Irish mobsters wouldn’t have died if Paul let Detective St. John investigate things thoroughly before he got all stabby.  As the movie ends poor Paul is left to contemplate his mistakes as his enemies close in for the kill. I guess his construction business is up for grabs.

Rage is not a very good movie, but it taught me a few things – Mobile Alabama is pretty quiet except for all the mobsters, carrying a big ass knife in a shoulder holster is not only practical but pretty bad ass, and Nicholas Cage deserves so much better.

How about a sequel to The Rock?

Con Air?

Guarding Tess?

No, not Guarding Tess. That movie said all it had to say.

This Movie was on my Netflix My List: I, Frankenstein!

Every February DVD Critics Corner takes a look at the movies that have been taking up space in the My List section of our Netflix page.

They could be movies that barely made it to the local multiplex. Or, movies that became “Direct to DVD” gems just waiting to be noticed.

Or movies that are so craptacular everyone involved has publically disavowed ever taking part in their creation.  You be the judge!

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I, Frankenstein (2014)

Director: Stuart Beattle

Starring: Aaron Ekhart, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Jai Courtney, and Bill Nighy

Plot: Dr. Frankenstein’s creation is alive and well in 2014 and battling demons in an unnamed European city because Mary Shelley is dead and can’t see what’s become of her beloved characters.

Rating: PG-13 for gargoyles killing demons and demons killing gargoyles and so on and so on….

Victor Frankenstein’s monster is alive and well and battling the forces of evil bent on tearing the modern world apart in I, Frankenstein. If you think the monster was angry when he was awakened in 1795, imagine what kind of a mood he’s in in after wandering the world for over 200 years keeping up with current fashions and learning how Tinder works.

Nobody should know how Tinder works!

As the movie opens, Dr. Victor Frankenstien is hunting his monstrous creation across the globe. It seems the monster wasn’t so happy about being born and killed Victor’s wife. The chase takes to the two all the way up the Artic where the frigid weather is just fine for an electric powered monster, but not so fine for Victor, who dies.

The Monster (Aaron Eckhart channeling Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine) takes Victor’s body back to the Frankenstein family plot for burial (even walking abominations have a sense of closure) where he is attacked by some demons who look human but morph into humans in ugly rubber masks. Before Monster Aaron can lay a beatdown on the demons, a couple of the gargoyle statues come to life and join the fight.

Worst funeral ever.

Anyhoo, the human looking gargoyles take the Monster to Lenore (Miranda Otto) who is Queen of the both the Gargoyles and plot exposition. She dubs the Monster Adam and tells him gargoyles have been protecting earth from demons for centuries using magic weapons and highly choreographed movie fighting. She asks Adam to help them battle demons but he refuses because Dr. Frankenstein didn’t build his kid to be a team player.

220 or so years later, Adam is still alive, and thankfully has traded in his tattered rags for a stylish hoodie and coat combo to better blend in with the other skateboarders and baristas. Unfortunately those pesky demons have not left Adam alone the past two centuries, so he has supplemented his lonely brooding with occasional demon killing.

While in some unnamed European city (maybe London, I’m not sure) to do some slaying, Adam’s bloody antics attract the attention of Lenore (who looks fabulous after 220 years) who wants to punish Adam for killing demons without a permit or something.

Meanwhile, Demon Prince Naberius (Bill Nighy) who is a bazillionaire in human form, is trying to unlock the secrets of reanimating the dead for reasons that can’t be good. When he learns that reanimated dead guy Adam just so happens to be in town, he dispatches every demon in the city (Paris? not really sure) to capture Adam to help unlock the secrets of Dr. Frankenstein’s science.

All heck breaks loose in the last half of I, Frankenstein as Adam and his Gargoyle pals wage a war to stop the Naberius from reanimating the dead with dead demon spirits thus causing a huge surge in the undead population in WHATEVER GODDAMN CITY THIS MOVIE TAKES PLACE IN.

WHY CAN’T THEY TELL US WHAT CITY IT IS?

I don’t ask for much.

If you watch I, Frankenstein and notice some major similarities between this movie and any of the Underworld movies, give yourself a high five because I, Frankenstein is basically Underworld with Gargoyles instead of vampires, demons instead of werewolves and Aaron Eckhart subbing for a rubber suited Kate Beckinsdale.  Even Bill Nighey plays basically the same character in both movies!

When I first noticed this movie was ripping off Underworld I thought the producers of the Underworld movies have grounds for a huge lawsuit, but then I learned Kevin Grevioux, creator of Underworld is behind I, Frankenstein as well.   

So, he basically ripped off his own idea and sold it to Lionsgate who made the exact same movie another studio made in 2003.

Bravo Kevin. Bravo.