Archive for the ‘Action’ Category

momentumGiven the preposterous casting of Olga Kurylenko as a jewel thief and discredited CIA operative, the largely phoned-in performance of Morgan Freeman (not a comment on the quality of his acting – his sporadic appearances in the film are almost entirely limited to being one half of a phone conversation a continent away from the action), and the start-to-stop silliness of the premise, plot, and denouement, the surprising thing about the new thriller Momentum is that it’s not absolutely awful. In fact, it’s even somewhat entertaining and enjoyable and not entirely in the “OMG, this is so bad, it’s good” way.

How can a film destined to be terrible wind up as not too bad? (more…)

Big GameIf you have an 11-year old boy or, even, better, if you are an 11-year old boy, Big Game might just be your favorite movie of the summer of 2015. If you are an 11-year old Finnish boy, Big Game might be your Citizen Kane.

For everyone else, it is important to realize what Big Game is not before you make the trek to the Cineplex for a showing. It is not plausible, logical, or consistent within its own narrative. It is not a movie that is on par with Escape from New York or Die Hard, although it borrows liberally from both. It is most decidedly not a conventional Samuel L. Jackson movie. (more…)

Jurassic WorldThe most amazing thing about Jurassic World is that none of its manifest flaws are fatal. Somehow, the movie retains enough magic from the original to be entertaining in spite of the sub-standard dialogue, tired plot, uninspiring special effects, indifferent performances, and recurrent boneheaded decisions by pivotal characters. The success of this film will stand as either a testimony to the enduring strength of 1993’s Jurassic Park or as a contemporary milestone marking the low threshold in place for summer blockbusters.

More likely the latter. (more…)

Gun WomanToo much of what passes for drive-in movies these days are arch ironic from the get go, overly self conscious attempts to cook up the heady cinematic concoctions of the late 60’s and early 70’s with modern ingredients reheated in a 21st-century Hollywood microwave. This trend started with Grindhouse, but traces of modern taint can be found even in otherwise stalwart efforts of late including Hobo with a Shotgun and Bring Me The Head of the Machine Gun Woman. The genuine stuff is out there, but it’s rare and easily missed.

That’s what makes Gun Woman special. This 86-minute extreme import from Japan is the real deal, an organic exercise in hardcore drive in. Leave the kids at home with the sitter for this one, or, at the least, make sure they’re asleep in the back seat with a blanket over their heads. Accidental exposure will result in more than a nightmare – we’re talking years of lockdown therapy. Gun Woman is the finest exploitation film since Raze (2013), the absolutely bonkers flick that showed captured women fighting to the death. (more…)

SurvivorHow bad can it be?


It is natural to take a glance at the new thriller Survivor as a possibility for an evening’s entertainment and come away favorably disposed toward giving it a go. The cast has a slew of familiar names who have been involved in quality productions in the past and been rewarded for it. Survivor boasts an Oscar winner, a Golden Globe winner, a former James Bond, and a Quentin Tarantino resurrection project among the leads: Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Pierce Brosnan, and Robert Forster. The cherry on top is Milla Jovovich, who has single handedly made the Resident Evil series viable. (more…)

San AndreasDisaster movies are like cicadas: noisy, plentiful, routine, and predictable. Fortunately, for most, both are only a minor annoyance. We are made aware of the insects by the unique song a swarm produces. Disaster movies let us know of their arrival in a less subtle manner: a bombastic trailer that reveals the world falling apart around our hero du jour. Our reaction to these occurrences are usually a comment on how time passes: “Didn’t we just have a tornado movie?” or “Is this the every 13-year or 17-year kind?”

The summer of 2015 will see the hatching of both 13-year and 17-year cicadas in North America, and the premiere of San Andreas. One thing is certain right now: the movie represents a particularly nasty infestation in way too many Cineplexes. (more…)

TomorrowlandDisney as cult is not a new concept. The Corporation would never choose such a descriptor, but neither has it ever shied away from behavior that justifies the label. Walt Disney saw his company as the landscapers of the future, the architects of the social engineering that would lead us into a brave, new world that simultaneously held the small town values of a past that never existed with a technology-solves-everything, squeaky clean and dazzlingly white future that could be ours if we purged ourselves of our baser vulgarities. (more…)

Mad MaxFor once, you can buy the hype.

You will see the screaming shout-outs in the Mad Max: Fury Road ads on line, in print, and on TV, and you will ask if it is really that good.

It is.

Mad Max: Fury Road is cinematic insanity. It defies routine film criticism. It exceeds the highest standards of the best moments of the three previous Mad Max films. It kicks ass, over and over and over again.

You will crawl out of an IMAX screening of this movie drained, with drums still pounding in your head. You will scan the horizon for Pole Cats, Gas Boys, War Pups, and Imperators. You will ask yourself, “What the hell did I just see?” (more…)

548790_036It’s decision time at the virtual drive-in. You’ve made it through the first two features of the night, and there’s a third one coming up. It’s a coin flip whether you stick it out and settle back in the vinyl upholstery of the front seat or whether you reholster the heavy metal speaker that’s been resting on your driver side window and join the growing line of cars heading for the exit.

Next up is Assassin’s Game, and all you know is that Tom Sizemore, Bai Ling, and Vivica A. Fox are the above-the-credits talent, and the premise is something about a hitman coming out of retirement to save his son. What the hey? It might turn out as poorly as ordering the deep fried shrimp from the snack bar, but any lingering aftertaste from bad movies and bad shellfish will be forgotten by next weekend. (more…)

MV5BMTc3MDc0NDkzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjIwMjQ0NTE@._V1__SX1202_SY826_Have often do you see a film that starts well only to falter at the midway point and limp to a conclusion that leaves you wondering what might have been? Conversely, how seldom do you see a film that is going off the rails in the early going, yet somehow manages to correct its mistakes after halftime and eke out a win?

Count Avengers: Age of Ultron as one of the rare films that appears headed toward failure, yet somehow course corrects halfway through and finishes strong enough to be regarded as a mild success. As summer blockbuster entertainment, you can call it necessary, but not sufficient. (more…)