Browse Author: andy

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

RECAP: Free Fire

Free Fire (2017): Ben Wheatley

Would you survive a movie shootout? That’s the idea behind Free Fire. Get ready for characters who dislike each other and will sort their problems through firearms.

Trigger warning: the verb “to crawl” will appear many, many times in the following recap. Most of the characters crawl, shuffle, and slide to avoid being shot.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: In Boston in 1978, a weapons deal goes wrong and a bunch of criminals try to kill each other with handguns in an abandoned warehouse. Continue Reading

RECAP: The Fate of the Furious

The Fate of the Furious (2017): F. Gary Gray

After directing the smash success N.W.A. origin story Straight Outta Compton, F. Gary Gray earned the helm of the biggest franchise of the 21st century: a story about people who drive quickly.

The Fast franchise has always been about family. And cars. But mostly family. Dominic Toretto, hero of the street-class,  turns bad guy in this eighth installment, an inspired choice that gave the series an edge it needed.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Dominic Toretto’s crew faces its toughest enemy yet–Dominic Toretto. Continue Reading

RECAP: Sudden Death

Sudden Death (1995): Peter Hyams

Perhaps no movie better represents the “Die Hard in a ___” premise better than Sudden Death. The second collaboration between Hyams and Jean-Claude Van Damme, the hockey movie puts Van Damme in one of his least combative roles.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: At Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, a terrorist holds the Vice President hostage, and the only man who can stop them is…the fire marshal.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Fast Five

Fast Five (2011): Justin Lin

Bringing a new edge to the Fast franchise, Dwayne Johnson joins Vin Diesel and his family to steal some cars and avoid the law in Rio de Janeiro.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Fast cars and bad men, Dominic Toretto ducks the police in Rio while planning to steal $100 million of a crime lord’s funds.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean (2003): Gore Verbinski

Yo ho yo ho a pirate’s life for me.

So begins the out-of-nowhere leviathan that became the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. From its start as a fun, water-based ride in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, this movie, the original, spawned four sequels (and counting?), grossed more than $4.5 billion worldwide, and remade Johnny Depp into a Keith Richards clone. Quite the success.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A loopy pirate recruits a reluctant blacksmith and a governor’s daughter to help him capture a cursed pirate ship roaming the British-era Caribbean.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Miami Vice

Miami Vice (2006): Michael Mann

Crockett and Tubbs, Tubbs and Crockett. Try finding a cooler, more decade-defining duo than those two Miami Vice detectives in the 1980s. They made Miami cool (cooler), pastels cool, and they made it possible to wear t-shirts with sport jackets.

What better way to adapt this hyper-cool TV series than a gritty filmmaker like Michael Mann? OK, a lot better. Mann makes a different movie, a Mann movie, but a good one. And yes, this Crockett and Tubbs are cooler.

Don’t shoot me!

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: When a federal drug sting goes awry, the FBI calls Miami’s top undercover detectives to bust a worldwide cartel operating in Miami.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World (2013): Alan Taylor

After the world-shaking events of The Avengers, Thor flies around the nine realms cleaning up Loki’s mess. He’s also not seen his girlfriend Jane Foster for two years. How will that reunion go?

With a new director, Thor: The Dark World plays as a denouement for The Avengers and a bridge to the upcoming Avengers sequel. That might explain why it grossed half Iron Man 3‘s total and barely beat the unknown Ant-Man released at the end of Marvel’s Phase 2.

Nevertheless, you enjoyed the family bickering, Hiddleston hair, Hemsworth chest, and Asgard aerials. Get ready for round two of Norse gods, because here we go!

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The Dark Elves, who predate the universe’s nine realms, try to destroy all of creation with the indestructible Aether, and only Thor can stop them.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)

Assault on Precinct 13 (2005): Jean-Francois Richet

Remaking any movie is a troublesome prospect. Assault on Precinct 13 is a good choice, if you’re going to remake a classic. The original is well liked, at least a generation old, and made on a tiny budget.

The 2005 remake upgrades everything. Cast, production budget, cameras, even the besieged precinct station gets a second floor. The movie landed with a thud at the box office, but its cast put in a solid effort.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: It’s New Year’s Eve, and some very bad, very well armed dudes, mad at Detroit cops, surround a decommissioned police station and try to kill the eight cops, criminals, and civilians stuck inside. Continue Reading