RECAP: Mockingjay (Parts 1 & 2)

Mockingjay (2014 & 2015): Francis Lawrence

Not the first and not the last to try it, studio executives at Lionsgate split the final book of The Hunger Games series into two films.

The movie were hits at the box office, and likely made more as two movies than as one, but each of the two parts of Mockingjay paled to the huge box office and high quality of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.

It probably didn’t help that Katniss Everdeen, the hero, stood on the sidelines for much of the final installment. The driver of her narrative when in the arena, Katniss takes orders from those who’ve fought the war against President Snow for decades.

Much like Aaron Rodgers backing up Brett Favre for three seasons as Green Bay Packers quarterbacks, Katniss waits her turn until the final moments, when one decision changes history.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Newly minted symbol of the resistance, Katniss Everdeen fights President Snow as a propaganda tool in District Thirteen’s war against The Capitol.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Catching Fire

Catching Fire (2013): Francis Lawrence

She thought she was out, but they pulled her back in.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Katniss Everdeen, reigning champion of the Hunger Games, re-enters the arena, but this time the stakes are higher.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (2012): Gary Ross

In the future, the United States no longer exists. In its place is a state called Panem, ruled by The Capitol [sic] and comprised of 12 Districts. At least 74 years ago there was a District 13 and rebellion. The Capitol squashed both, and The Hunger Games were born, all the better to remind the districts to forget about future rebellions.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: In a future autocratic society, a teenager living in the sticks volunteers to compete in a 24-person fight to death, broadcast live, for the amusement of many.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Die Hard

Die Hard (1988): John McTiernan

In late 1987 Bruce Willis won an Emmy for his role in the ABC series Moonlighting. Little did he know, little did anyone know, that in less than a year he would become the third in a triumvirate of modern action star gods.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A New York City cop travels to a Christmas party in Los Angeles, foils a robbery, has a few laughs. Continue Reading

RECAP: Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell (2017): Rupert Sanders

A famous anime film from the 1990s, Ghost in the Shell got a live-action adaptation in 2017. It starred several white actors, despite taking place in Asia. Is this fact enough to sink the film? The controversy probably hurt the box office intake, but did it hurt the movie?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The first human brain-robot body hybrid fights domestic terrorists in Asia and seeks to remember her past.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999): George Lucas

We should have known how The Phantom Menace would turn out when the opening crawl came on, and in the first line was the phrase “taxation of trade routes.” If you want your space blockbusters to discuss senate procedure when it could be having a space fight, take a seat!

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Trade Federations, Senate squabbling, the Republic, and other bureaucratic entities bog down rights protections across the galaxy, but also there’s Jedi and light sabers and the Force and stuff.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok (2017): Taika Waititi

Thor: Ragnarok is Marvel’s third trilogy about some of the individual members of The Avengers. They made all these movies in fewer than 10 years, plus Marvel through in an Avengers trilogy, a couple Guardians flicks, Ant-Man and Spider-Man (the two hyphens) got some love as well. Black Panther debuts his franchise in 2018, the last movie before the start of the Infinity War.

It’s been a long strange trip, and it’s gonna get weirder. Here’s where Ragnarok comes in. Are you ready for a space adventure comedy? Are you ready for Loki to scythe word “anus?” Are you ready for Jeff Goldblum’s least acted career performance? You better be. Let’s roll.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Two years after fleeing Earth and Ultron’s attack on Sokovia, Thor meets his sister, finds Hulk, loses his hammer, and gains a kingdom, all in a couple of days. 

Continue Reading

RECAP: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017): Jon Watts

“Homecoming.” Do you get it? The events of Spider-Man: Homecoming occur around homecoming dance at Midtown School of Science and Technology, but the producers were being cheeky. Wink wink nudge nudge. This Spider-Man is the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Get it? That’s the homecoming. So clever.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Spider-Man struggles to be a normal teenager and a crime-fighting hero, but this time it’s different because Iron Man shows up.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Hitman

Hitman (2007): Xavier Gens

Video game movies were a hot item in the Aughts. Hitman sought to turn a fun, stylish action game into a movie with those same modifiers. Did it succeed? Read on.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An unnamed hitman with a barcode tattooed on his scalp navigates a murky Russian political scandal that threatens to end his life and that of a woman caught in it.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island (2017): Jordan Vogt-Roberts

King Kong has a long film tradition of beginning his movies at home and later finding himself climbing some concrete edifice in Lower Manhattan. Poor guy’s endured that a few times.

Rather than bringing the giant to civilization, Kong: Skull Island brings civilization to the giant ape. A detachment of soldiers from the Vietnam war and some scientists from Washington descend on Kong’s native habitat. Many die for it, but does that make Kong the bad guy?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Many humans die after they discover Skull Island and its 10-story-tall ape protector, Kong.  Continue Reading