Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s Like Frozen, But With More Murders!

Please note: This review does contain spoilers.

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR (2016)

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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.

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Nope.

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.

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She’s devastated. Trust me.

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.

 

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Still devastated. I think…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They Saved Ryan’s Brain!

CRIMINAL (2016)

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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.

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“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 Summer Movie Preview and Spoiler Alert Special! !

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?

batsMovie: 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!

the-jungle-book-character-poster-3Movie: 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.

 

Captain-America-Civil-War-PosterMovie: 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.

 

The-Angry-Birds-Movie-Poster-1Movie: 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?

 

xmenMovie: 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.

 

TMNTMovie: 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.

 

IDRMovie: 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…

 

ghostbusters-poster-lgMovie: Ghostbusters

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!

3990_star-trek-beyond_FE55 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.

jason-bourne-movie-2016-poster-393x624Movie: 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.

And finally….

suicide-squad-poster-movieMovie: 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!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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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!
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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)

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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.

 

 

 

There’s No Way the Dinosaurs will Escape and Kill Again. Part 4!

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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.

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Thanks a lot, Don Bluth!

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!

Caramel Velociraptorccinos!

Mosasaurus Macchiato!

Tazo Rex tea!

Hey Starbucks, if you’re reading this, don’t steal my ideas.

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.

Shell on Earth!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Directed by: Jonathan Liebsman

Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fitchner, Tohoro Masamune, and for some reason Whoopi Goldberg.

Plot: Genetically mutated turtles trained in the martial arts battle Shredder and his army who are terrorizing New York. Just like they did in the 80’s comic book. And the 80’s animated series. And the 90’s live action film series. And the 90’s live action TV series. And the second animated series. And the CGI animated movie in 2007. And the third animated series.

Rating: PG-13 for martial arts violence and the near death of a friggin talking CG rat.

Unless you’re a bear living in the pacific northwest for the past thirty years (and congratulations to you – most Grizzlies don’t live past 25) you’ve probably heard of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

These “heroes in a half shell” have been fighting bad guys and scarfing pizza for generations of fans on TV and in movies. Plus, the turtles have had their names slapped on tons of merchandise over the years. including toys, videogames, bed sheets:

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and breakfast cereal!

 Nothing says “you’re famous” like a sugar loaded cereal with pizza shaped marshmallows!

Their first live action movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) was a huge hit with fans. The two sequels that followed were moderate successes, which is amazing considering one of the films featured an appearance by everybody’s least favorite 1990’s white man – Vanilla Ice.

Pictured: The beginning of the end.

Pictured: The beginning of the end.

After a two decade break from the big screen, the TMNT returned big time in the big budget action movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This reboot is produced by Transformers guru Michael Bay, so it’s chockfull of explosions, destruction of property, slow motion explosions and slow motion destruction of property. Oh, and our teenage turtles (along with Master Splinter are now computer generated which makes them look even more freakish even for creatures that live in a New York City Sewer.

TV reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox, who looks about as Irish as a San Genaro festival) is looking for a great story that will make her top dog at her station, but her bosses want her to keep doing fluff stories while everyone else reports on the dangerous Foot Clan, an armed gang that has been looting and terrorizing New York City. Against the advice of her lunkheaded cameraman Vernon (Will Arnett, who really needs to start saying no to a script or two), April strikes out on her own to track down this powerful crime organization.

While observing a Foot Clan robbery at the docks, April sees a quartet of ninja warriors take out the Clan and foil he robbery. A few days later the same mysterious group lays a smackdown on a squad of Foot Clan soldiers who took hostages in a subway station. Intrepid April learns the identities of the four vigilantes who have the courage to stand up to the evil Foot Clan: They’re the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

and great googamoogle are they scary looking!

April befriends the freakish ninjas and learns from their Master Splinter that they were part of a lab experiment run by (surprise!) April’s late Father and his partner Eric Sack (William Fitchner) to test a miracle mutagen that would cure all diseases, even that toe fungus thing that makes your feet all gross.

A lab fire destroyed the research lab and killed April’s father, but young April rescued a lab rat and four tiny turtles and set them loose in the sewer, where they mutated into giant walking talking creatures who know ninjitsu and bicker like any other loveable sitcom family!

But Sachs, now an evil billionaire is hell-bent on making more evil billions by capturing the turtles and using their blood to make an antidote for a virus he’s about to unleash on the unsuspecting citizens of New York City!

Oh, did I mention that Sachs is in cahoots with Shredder (Tohoru Masamune), the maniacal  leader of the Foot Clan? He is. I told you – Sachs is evil!

TMNT as I said before, is loaded with plenty of action, violence, and mayhem, which can be expected from a Michael Bay production. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how much you enjoy Michael Bay’s movies. I happen to enjoy Bay’s movies as much as I enjoy a trip to the dentist for a long slow root canal while fighting a very bad stomach flu, but your love of the Bayman might differ.

 But on a positive note, at the midway point of the movie there’s an extended chase down the side of a snow covered mountain that answers a question I’ve been pondering for two decades: can the shell of a mutant ninja turtle crush a Humvee?

The answer is yes. I can move on with my life now.

 

 

More Movie News!

Dear readers,

Tom Levier, creator and writer of DVD Critics Corner is on a temporary sabbatical and was unable to cover this breaking news story. In his place, we have recruited Tom’s 74 year old uncle Jack.

SOME KIND OF SUPERHERO MOVIE TRAILER IS ON THE INTERNET NOW

by Jack Levier

Apparently there’s a trailer for some kind of new movie that’s all over the internet that I’m supposed to tell you about. It’s got superheroes in it which is what all the movies are about these days. What’s with all the superheroes? Bunch of showoffs if you ask me. Anyway, this group of superheroes are called the Adventures or something, and they’re a team that protects the planet when Superman isn’t around I guess.

The members of The Adventures are Captain America, Iron Guy, the green thing, that guy with the hammer, the red haired girl, and bow and arrow man. The trailer has them running around and breaking stuff, and the green thing and Iron Guy fight for some reason, the red haired girl drives a motorcycle and there’s some robot who wants to kill them all. Superman isn’t in this movie. My grandson says he’s part of another comic book universe like I’m supposed to know what that means.  He has a lip ring. Like that’s going to get him a good job.

Anyway, here’s the trailer to this Adventures movie which doesn’t come out for another seven months. I don’t think it will be a hit. But what do I know? I’m still waiting for them to bring back Flash Gordon. Now HE was a super hero.

A DVD Critic’s Corner Back to School Quiz!

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Director: Peter Jackson

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lily, Orlando Bloom

Plot: Bilbo Baggins and his dwarf pals continue their journey to fight a dragon and kill things.

Rating: PG-13 for swords clashing and scary monsters monstering.

Good day, class!

It’s September, and that means it’s time for the little miscreants – sorry, students to return to school for another fun filled year of readin’, writin’, and that stuff you do with numbers that makes no sense whatsoever.

Since the younglings will be facing a whole bunch of tests in the coming weeks, I though it would be a hoot if we took a quiz based on a DVD I recently viewed – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, directed by Peter Jackson.

So take out a sheet of paper and a pencil and we will begin. Keep your eyes on your own papers please, and no cheating or you’ll have to eat the food in the cafeteria as punishment.

Let’s begin!

1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a continuation of an epic movie saga based on a series of books by:

A) J.R.R. Tolkian

B) R.J.R Nabisco

C) J.R.J.R.R. Tolllkiann Jr.

D) That fat guy with the hat who writes Game of Thrones.

2. In this movie, Bilbo and his Dwarf companions:

A) Continue their journey to Lonely Mountain to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom.

B) Fight deadly adversaries at every turn.

C) Resist the urge to stop and bathe once in a while.

D) All of the above.

3. When giant spiders capture the dwarves and wrap them up in their webs, Bilbo frees them by using:

A) A huge rolled up newspaper.

B)  The magical One Ring Bilbo stole from Gollum in the previous movie.

C) A can of Raid Giant CG Ant, Roach, and Spider Killer.

D) His glorious singing voice, which charmed the spiders into making Bilbo their King!

4. The Wood Elves:

A) Have a long standing animosity for the Dwarf race.

B) Are unwilling to help the Dwarves in their quest to defeat Smaug.

C) All dress like they’re in some 1970’s glam rock band.

5. Evangeline Lily plays Tauriel, an elf warrior who:

A) Is Chief of the Elvenking’s guards.

B) Goes against the Elvenking’s wishes and helps Bilbo and the Dwarves

C) Is one of only two chicks in all of Middle Earth! Seriously, this movie is one giant sausage fest!

6. Azog and his Orc army are still chasing our heroes because:

A) Azog wants to kill Thorin like he killed Thorin’s father decades earlier.

B) He wants to destroy all Darves.

C) He’s just a giant, evil, asshole.

D) All of the above.

7. At the climax of the movie, Bilbo sneaks into Lonely Mountain and meets Smaug. Smaug:

A) is a fierce dragon with immense powers.

B) holds captive the vast treasure of the Dwarf kingdom – a literal mountain of gold!

C) is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the popular BBC series Sherlock.

D) Which is totally awesome, by the way. I cant wait for the next series.

E) Martin Freeman is great in that show too. They make a great team.

F) Wait, what are we talking about?

8. While watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, I thought:

A) This is another well made film by Peter Jackson.

B) The fight scenes were exciting and the effects were amazing!

C) Did everyone in New Zealand work on this movie?

D) Orlando Bloom is the prettiest elf of them all!

Please pass your papers forward. I will grade them sometime between Friday and never.