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.
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!
G.I. JOE: RETALIATION (2013) Director: Jon M. Chu Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki, Channing Tatum, Ray Park, and Bruce Willis Rating: PG-13 for guns, explosions, swordfights, and fun with nuclear weapons.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra which was based on a long running animated series which was based on a super popular line of toys from the 1980’s.
G.I. Joe fans were pretty psyched when the Rise of Cobra came out, because if any of you readers were around when those toys and the cartoon were popular, you remember how cool the Joes were.
And if any of you readers were around when the G.I. Joe dolls were 12 inches tall and featured the patented “kung fu grip,” then you’re an old person like me! I wonder when the nurse will be around with dinner. I hope we’re having Salisbury Steak tonight!
Anhoo, despite turning many of the popular G.I. Joe cartoon heroes and villains into living breathing human beings, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was (as we say in the critics biz) a terrible movie, which is hard to believe because the film starred Channing Tatum and the youngest Wayans brother!
I know! A Wayans Brother! How could it not succeed!
Well, you know the old saying; if at first you don’t succeed, make another movie, so G.I. Joe: Retaliation exploded across the big screen earlier this year. It’s more of a reboot then a sequel, with lots of new faces and cameos by guys with old faces. But they kept what was really important to the whole Joe saga – guns, explosions, the eternal battle between good and evil, and Cobra Commander’s really cool helmet:
As the movie opens Duke (Channing Tatum) and Snake Eyes (Ray Park) are running the G.I. Joes because all the other guys from the first movie were smart and signed a one picture deal. Duke and his new best pal Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson, who is big enough to block roads) are ordered by the President (Jonathan Pryce) to lead the Joes on a secret mission to recover some stolen nuclear warheads at a remote base in Pakistan. Things go horribly wrong and Duke and most of the other Joes are murdered by a squad of mysterious soldiers in black helicopters because A) The President is actually Cobra secret agent Zartan in disguise and B) Channing Tatum had to leave the movie early to go film Magic Mike 2 or something.
Roadblock and two other Joe team members Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Flint (DJ Cotrona) survive the ambush because nothing short of an atom bomb can kill Dwayne Johnson, and now they must figure out what the heck is going on and who they have to kill to set things right.
Cobra ninja Stormshadow (Byung-hun Lee, the only other cast member from the previous movie) breaks Cobra Commander out of a high tech prison withe the help of Cobra mercenary Firefly (Ray Stevenson) and his electronic fireflies that blow stuff up. Snake Eyes (who is also a ninja, remember?) and his assistant ninja Jinx (Elodie Yung) tail Stormshadow to a mountain fortress in the Himalayas and a huge battle ensues between Snake, Jinx, and other assorted ninjas on the side of a mountain. Snake has to bring Stormshadow back to Japan to wrap up the least important story line from the previous film, which is okay I guess.
Not for nothing Snake Eyes, but 99.7% of your unit was just murdered, but that’s cool – you go off to the other side of the world to settle an old family thing. No problemo dude, I’m sure Roadblock and the others will be okay.
Meanwhile, Roadblock, Flint, and Lady Jaye figure that there is something not right with the President who ordered them to be slaughtered in the desert, so they hatch a plan to unmask the impostor. They seek out the help of the only surviving member of the G.I. Joes who wasn’t in the fist movie to help them – General Joe Colton, (Bruce yippe kay yay Willis) who has enough guns hidden in his nice suburban home to take on Cobra personally.
Oh, part of the plan to stop Cobra from taking over the world involves infiltrating a Presidential Ball, giving Lady Jaye an excuse to squeeze into a slinky red outfit that flaunts her lady parts. She’s such a good soldier. Way to take one for the good of the unit, Jaye!
G.I. Joe: Retaliation moves to an explosive conclusion as Roadblock, Lady Jaye, Flint, General Joe, Snake Eyes, Stormshadow (who’s a good guy now) and Jinx spring into action to prevent the fake President/Zartan from destroying key nations with a bunch of killer satellites, rescue the real President from an underground bunker, and stop Cobra Commander from becoming king of the world and instituting a “no cool helmets except for mine” law across the land.
A big improvement over the previous movie, G.I. Joe: Retaliation had enough action and fun to make me want to see a sequel.
Hopefully the sequel will have a Bruce Willis who speaks more than five lines of dialogue and a subplot where Lady Jaye has to go undercover as a bikini model/mud wrestler!
Okay, that’s asking too much. They don’t need Bruce Willis in the sequel.
Today DVD Critics Corner opens the doors to our Hall of Fame to induct another illustrious member!
This large former wrestler turned large movie star has set the world of action cinema on fire, with such films as The Scorpion King, The Rundown, and Journey 2: Mysterious Island. In a few short years this muscle bound thespian has cemented his place at the top of the box office heap, and a coveted spot in the DVD Critics Corner Hall of Fame!
Without further ado, DVD Critics Corner! welcomes its newest and largest member:
Don’t call him The Rock anymore, he’s left that name far behind! Johnson first came to our attention in 2004 with his starring turn as a former soldier turned sheriff who cleans up his hometown in Walking Tall.
Johnson has had little trouble jumping from family friendly fare like The Game Plan and Tooth Fairy to action thrillers like Faster and Snitch. The folks behind the Fast and Furious movies saw the colossal awesomeness of Johnson and brought him on board in the fifth installment of that franchise: Fast Five!
With four big movies out in 2013 alone, Dwayne Johnson shows no signs of stopping, so get out of the way or get mowed down. We salute you Dwayne Johnson, newest member of the DVD Critics Corner Hall of Fame!
The DVD Critics Corner Hall of Fame is located in Tom’s basement between the water heater and the unused Soloflex. Visiting hours are every other Sunday from 11AM – 12 PM.