Hey everyone. Tom here, your DVD Critics Corner compadre. Please, remain seated.
Summer is almost upon us. I know this because My left knee throbs when summer is coming. My right knee throbs when there is cake nearby.
That, I don’t understand. But I do like cake.
Anyhoo, Summer means a great big load of blockbuster movies will be dumped on us between now and September, some will have superheroes, others will have bloodthirsty space aliens, and at least one will have the undeniable stench of Michael Bay.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on the big movies about to hit the multiplexes; reading all the movie websites and blogs, combing over ever trailer frame by frame, and picking the brains of my private nerd council (aka my friends) to bring you the very first DVD Critics Corner Summer Movie Preview and Spoiler Alert Special!
Let’s get started, shall we?
Please Note: My “spoilers” are for entertainment purposes only. They will not give away any important plot points. Would I do that to you?
Movie: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Release Date: March 25
Synopsis: With Metropolis in ruins, people are concerned that Superman (Henry Cavill) may not be the hero the world needs. Batman (Ben Affleck) thinks the Man of Steel needs to answer for his crimes. Let the battle begin!
Spoiler Alert! – After a long fight, Batman and Superman put aside their differences and team up with Wonder Woman for an important mission that if successful will save humanity as we know it – preventing the Baywatch movie from being made!
Movie: The Jungle Book
Release Date: April 15
Synopsis: A live action version of the Disney animated classic about a boy living in the jungle with his animal pals.
Spoiler Alert! – All the animals are real. The kid is CGI.
Movie: Captain America – Civil War
Release Date: May 6
Synopsis: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and Captain America (Chris Evans) find themselves on opposing sides when the government wants to reign in The Avengers.
Spoiler Alert! – In the post credits flashback sequence, The Hulk bursts into tears when he’s told he won’t be in the movie.
Movie: The Angry Birds Movie
Release Date: May 20
Synopsis: The birds must defend their home against the evil pigs!
Spoiler Alert! – Ten minutes into the movie you will realize how many hours you wasted playing Angry Birds on your phone. It was a lot, wasn’t it?
Movie: X Men – Apocalypse
Release Date: May 27
Synopsis: The X Men must join together to defeat super mutant Apocalypse before he destroys the world.
Spoiler Alert! – Halfway through the movie, Mystique remembers that she’s Academy Award winning actress Jennifer freakin Lawrence and walks off the set.
Movie: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Release Date: June 3
Synopsis: The Turtles are back, and are facing a new enemy!
Spoiler Alert! – One of the Turtles screams Cowabunga! and a piece of you dies inside.
Movie: Independence Day – Resurgence
Release Date: June 24
Synopsis: Earth once again faces a huge invasion from outer space!
Spoiler Alert! – Will Smith is not in this movie. But good news – Jeff Goldblum is! So that’s kind of good I guess…
Release Date: July 15
Synopsis: An all new all women team fights ghosts in this remake/reboot!
Spoiler Alert! – In mid July the internet will collapse from all the angry comments from disgruntled Ghostbusters fans who don’t want any stupid ol’ girls in their Ghostbusters movies!
Movie: Star Trek Beyond
Release Date: July 22
Synopsis: The Enterprise crew is back for another adventure!
Spoiler Alert! – Since Simon Pegg (who plays Scotty) wrote the script for this one, Scotty will be called upon to save the day when big doofus Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) puts the crew in danger. AGAIN! And Scotty totally scores with Uhuru.
Movie: Jason Bourne
Release Date: July 29
Synopsis: Former superspy Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is still on the run from – wait? is he still on the run? I thought he cleared his name in the last movie.. Or did he? You know what? I don’t care any more.
Spoiler Alert! – Someone playing a CIA official will shout “Find Jason Bourne,” every 12 minutes. Extra Spoiler Alert! – They won’t find him.
Movie: Suicide Squad
Release Date: August 5
Synopsis: The world’s most dangerous villains are recruited by the government for secret missions.
Spoiler Alert! – The internet will collapse again as disgruntled fans worldwide take to the comments section to whine about how Heath Ledger was a way better Joker than Jared Leto. By then I will have stopped giving a flying crap about anything and will curl up into a ball and weep until the Fall.
ENJOY THE BLOCKBUSTERS!!
3 Days to Kill (2014)
Starring: Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen, Amber Heard
Plot: Aging CIA agent with serious health problems tries to get some family time in but is forced to do one last job because the CIA hates families!
Rating: PG-13 for gunplay, explosions, and close quarter punchin’ and kickin’.
Hey kids. Let me tel you all about this movie I just watched! It stars an aging movie star who plays a badass assassin…
No, its not Taken.
Anyway, he has a young daughter he’s trying to shield from his dangerous career but…
No, it’s not Taken 2.
It’s written by Luc Besson and it has some car chases and gunfights and..
No! Its not Taken 3, which is coming to a theater near you on January 9, 2015!
Why do we always have to argue when I’m doing the blog?
3 Days to Kill stars Kevin Costner, the untouchable man who danced with wolves and fielded dreams in Waterworld. He plays Ethan Renner, a veteran CIA spy on a mission with his team to capture a pale bad guy known as The Albino (Tomas Lemarquis) who is trying to sell a dirty bomb to some dirty people. Unfortunately, things turn south as the often do in these movies and bullets start flying and stuff gets blown up and lots of European guys get dead. Oh, and the Albino escapes.
Feeling a bit under the weather after the disasterous mission, Ethan gets a checkup from his CIA doctor and finds out he’s got a brain tumor that will kill him faster than Message in a Bottle killed his comeback in 1999.
Hoping to make the most of the last few months he has, Ethan heads back to Paris to reconnect with his estranged wife Christine (Connie Nielsen) and his daughter Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld) who he abandoned long ago for the demands of his job. Christine barely tolerates his return and Zooey knows very little about her Dad, and wonders if he is in fact a travelling salesman as he claims to be. Maybe it’s because he always smells like gunpowder and is covered in fresh bruises whenever he visits.
But before Ethan can book is first daddy/daughter day, he is approached by another CIA operative Vivi (Amber Heard) who makes him an offer the former Prince of Thieves cannot refuse: find and kill The Albino’s boss, a man known only as The Wolf, and Ethan will receive an experimental drug that will cure him.
Ethan is not so sure if he can trust Vivi, but since she gives him a sample of the treatment for free, and since he has to do something during the day when Zooey is at school, he takes the job.
Before we continue with the review, I’d like to go of on a slight tangent.
Look, I know we as movie viewers are expected to suspend disbelief a bit when we watch these CIA spy type films, but Vivi is without a doubt the worst secret agent in the history of movies.
First, she maintains a “low profile” by wearing a Lady Gaga wig and dressing like a European dominatrix:
Second, in keeping with the “I’m a spy so I must maintain a low profile” thing, she tools around Paris at breakneck speed in a sports car:
And finally, Viv the super covert /don’t attract any attention/ leave no traces/ top secret spy racks up a body count that rivals the opening 15 minutes of Saving Private Ryan:
Just so we are clear, WORST. SPY. EVER.
Okay, tangent over. I won’t pick on Vivi any more. I’m sure leather corsets are in the CIA budget somewhere.
Anyhoo, the rest of 3 Days to Kill jumps back and forth between Ethan trying to win back his estranged daughter and Ethan trying to hunt down and kill The Wolf. There’s also subplots involving the African family squatting in Ethan’s old apartment, and a henchman for The Albino who Ethan kidnaps for information then kidnaps a few more times to ask him for parental advice when he learns the guy has teenage daughters of his own.
See? A top secret CIA spy has regular problems just like the rest of us regular Joes!
3 Days to Kill draws to a rousing and bullet riddled climax when Ethan’s two worlds collide during a huge party at the penthouse apartment owned by the family of Zooey’s boyfriend. You thought your Mom and Dad meeting your sweetheart’s Mom and Dad for the first time was awkward, you should try it with gunplay! Hoo boy! I hope the caterers brought some extra bandages!
Despite having the writer from Taken, the father/daughter dynamic of Taken, and the European setting of Taken, I have to admit I was not taken at all by 3 Days to Kill. Costner took the director’s note to look tired and sickly and ran with it, because he looks like he’d rather be someplace else the entire movie, and Amber Heard’s character is from a completely different movie altogether.
That movie is about the WORST. SPY. EVER.
SKYFALL (2012) Director: Sam Mendes Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Judy Dench Rating: PG-13 for gunplay and explosions and martinis being shaken.
Unless you’ve been under a rock and headless for the last fifty years, you’ve probably heard of James Bond. Created by author Ian Fleming, agent 007 has appeared in novels, radio dramas, video games, not to mention the longest running movie franchise in the history of ever, and has been thwarting super villains and bedding femme fatales since before Jason Bourne was playing with his Hot Wheels.
James Bond has been portrayed by several actors over the last half century; Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Remington Steele to name a few. Daniel Craig is the current Bond, and the three Bond films he’s headlined are an awesome mix of globe trotting adventure and good ol fashioned ass kicking. The last Bond adventure Skyfall came out last year and made over a billion dollars worldwide, which means James Bond is now as rich as the evil geniuses he does battle with every movie. He should buy a hollowed out mountain fortress! Always a good investment.
As Skyfall opens, Bond is chasing an assassin who has stolen a list of secret agents and all the secret things they’re doing at that moment (which is something that should be carried around in some dumbass’s laptop), and in usual Bond fashion the chase devolves into mayhem and destruction as motorcycles, trains, and construction equipment wreck most of Istanbul. Bond is wounded, falls off a bridge and is presumed dead by the MI6. But before MI6 headmistress M (Judi Dench) can put up a help wanted sign in the window, the window (and a good chunk of MI6 headquarters) is destroyed by a bomb. Someone is targeting M and the other secret agent men!
Oh, if only James Bond were still alive to track down the culprit!
Oh wait, he still is.
Turns out Bond was just laying low and pretending to be deceased. When he hears about the attempt on M’s life, Bond decides that hanging out on a beach drinking and having casual sex is not the a good retirement plan and springs back into action!
Bond finds out the assassin who eluded him earlier in the movie is working for a strange blonde guy named Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem in a strange blonde wig), a cyber terrorist with a major league bone to pick with M.
Maybe M never gave Silva the positive reinforcement he craved when he was a top agent at MI6; like a little chuck on the shoulder and an “atta boy Silva” after finishing a really important mission or a positive performance review in his personnel folder – these things can make a difference between a good employee who works hard and is respected around the office and an unhinged megalomaniac who steals lunches from the breakroom fridge and tries to take over the world.
Happens all the time.
Skyfall deftly moves from one action sequence to another as Bond chases Silva in, around, and under London, trying to thwart his cunning plan to take out M. When Bond realizes Silva is really crazy and really well armed, he takes M to hide out at his family’s ancestral home Scotland where he sets a trap for Silva and his soldiers that involves improvised booby traps and a pissed off Albert Finney. Can Bond save his boss and keep the world safe from the deranged cyber terrorist who refuses to let go of the past and live in the now?
Spoiler alert! Bond. James Bond. That means yes.
I give mega props to the folks behind Skyfall for doing away with the usual Bond movie cliches like an overly complex plot that usually has to do with a mysterious evil organization led by a bald guy in a Nehru jacket and giving me what I really like in a Bond movie – James Bond chasing, then beating the crap out of bad guys.
Less talking, more punching. It’s a philosophy that I’ve lived by since I watched A Room with a View back in ’85. It’s made me the man I am today.
THE BOURNE LEGACY (2012) Director: Tony Gilroy Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach Rating: PG-13 for some explosions, guns going off, and other spy vs. spy action.
The Bourne Legacy is a spinoff to the popular Jason Bourne spy movie series starring Matt Damon. A quick reminder; a spinoff is where a very minor character from a good movie is given his or her own film, and the results are usually sucktacular. For an example, I sight the 2011 abomination Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, which was spun off from the High School Musical series.
Do not get me started about Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure. YOU NEVER MESS WITH A HIT! That’s all I have to say.
Actually, The Bourne Legacy is a “sidequel” to the Jason Bourne movies, with the action of Legacy taking place almost simultaneously with one of Damon’s three Bourne adventures.
Trouble is I’m not really sure which movie… I know it was the one where Jason Bourne was running around and making phone calls, and he fights a bunch of assassins, and they cut back to the CIA chiefs who shout “find Jason Bourne” over and over…
Is that the second one? No, it was the third one; The Bourne Equilibrium. Is that the title? I’m confused. And my back hurts.
Anyhoo, as The Bourne Legacy opens, the once secret events of the previous Bourne movies have gone public, and the big muckety-mucks in Washington are anxious to know how and why everyone working for the CIA (except maybe the janitors and cafeteria personnel) is trying to kill Jason Bourne and vice versa. Secret Ops overseer Eric Byer (a cranky Edward Norton), who’s a little peeved that one amnesiac loner has offed almost every covert assassin in the CIA’s Rolodex, decides to shut down the secret project that made Jason Bourne the one man killing machine he is today.
It turns out Jason Bourne is just one of a small army of CIA “super soldiers” (from a unit known as Operation Outcome) who have been genetically altered to be better, stronger and more secret agent-ier than your average spy. And since the CIA doesn’t “shut down” anything by merely asking people to clean out their desks and turn in their I.D. badges, (this is the movies, after all) we all know things are about to get messy.
Fellow Operation Outcome member Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) learns the hard way that his services are no longer required when a spy drone tries to blow up the huge chunk of Alaska he happens to be standing in at that particular moment. A little miffed about his crappy severance package, and jonesing for the “chems” that will keep him in tip top super soldier condition, Cross sets out to get some answers using his spy skills: cleverly avoiding every closed circuit camera in the country because the CIA can monitor every one of those at the same time, picking up his phony passport collection from his secret stash, and driving cross country in just a couple of hours. He is a super soldier after all. They don’t need bathroom breaks!
Cross hopes CIA genetics whiz Marta Shering (Rachel Weisz), one of the scientists who created the super soldier pills will be able to help him replenish his dwindling supply, but she’s been targeted for early retirement too because she’s part of the many loose ends that is Operation Outcome and she can’t fake an American accent for a tinker’s darn!
Now Cross and his pretty scientist pal are on the run trying to escape the remaining assassins Jason Bourne hasn’t killed so they can live free to be a covert spy and genetic engineer without the pesky CIA looking over their shoulders. Isn’t that what everyone wants?
Sadly, if you’ve seen The Bourne Identity, its two sequels, and every movie that has ripped off The Bourne Identity and its two sequels, there’s nothing very new or unique about The Bourne Legacy, because it’s pretty much like every other “rogue spy” thriller we’ve seen in the last nine years.
Sure, there’s plenty of gunplay and fisticuffs, which is always good, and Jeremy Renner is a decent stand in for Matt Damon, whose salary demands are probably in the billions of dollars by now, but I think maybe it’s time to give the Jason Bourne movies a rest for a while.
Then a few years down the road, you can reboot the series with Jason Bourne’s son picking up where his Dad left off!
They can call it The Bourne Conception…
You’re welcome, movie studio guys.