Browse Author: andy

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015): George Miller

Imagine spending thirty years thinking about one creative project. You were ready to make this thing three decades ago, but forces of nature (and Hollywood, and Mel Gibson) conspired against you, always pushing back back back the thing you were trying to create. Imagine now that someone with some power somewhere gave you the green light, allowing you to unleash decades of pent-up ideas and energy, despite your seven decades of life. What would your creative work express? Imagine now that your long-dormant idea was a movie, a movie about the destructive nature of men, and a whole ton of things to blow up. Congratulations, you are George Miller, and you just made Mad Max: Fury Road.

ONE-SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A renegade general steals an armored truck to ferry fertile females to freedom as her boss pursues her with his glut of gonzo gas guzzlers.  Continue Reading

Godzilla

Godzilla (2014): Gareth Edwards

One of 2014’s surprise hits plunked down in mid-May and came away with $200 million, though that was only good enough for 13th on the domestic chart. Still, the success was enough to land Edwards a little movie called Rogue One, or How Princess Leia Stole the Death Star Plans, or If Edward Snowden was of Royal Blood and Could Fly.

Dozens of films after his Japanese debut in 1954, Godzilla arrived on American screens the largest he has yet been. Or at least he seemed that way. Detractors mocked his American fatness, and indeed the King of Monsters has a big gut, despite hibernating for untold decades.

One Sentence Plot Summary: Godzilla awakens to battle MUTOs, humans are killed, San Francisco crumbles. 
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Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation

Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation (2015): Christopher McQuarrie

Have you ever wondered, does the Impossible Missions Force work missions deemed possible? Or are they just hanging out, working out, playing cards, and such, for years at a time, between impossible missions? The fifth installment in the Mission: Impossible series sort of answers these questions. But can anyone answer this question: why did the original show give the IMF the same acronym as the International Monetary Fund?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Ethan Hunt, disavowed by the U.S. government, goes rogue to destroy a shadow group called The Syndicate.

Hero (5/10)

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) returns for a fifth mission of impossible proportions. Hunt is a very active member of the spy community. He’s a guy willing to hang from a plane door just to save a few VX gas warheads. No big deal. When he receives the debrief from that mission, it turns out that The Syndicate set him up. Hunt is pissed, but he’s always a little pissed off. In most missions, Hunt knows what he’s doing, but in Rogue Nation he runs around seemingly at the whim of Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), nefarious leader of The Syndicate. This is unusual for Hunt, but he doesn’t seem to mind. And, we learn at the end, he knew what Lane was building toward, but we never learn when Hunt figured it out. Mysterious guy, that Hunt. Continue Reading

Terminator: Genisys

Terminator: Genisys (2015): Alan Taylor

We’ve waited 12 years for Arnold to return to his signature role. We’ve mostly forgotten that there was a Terminator movie between this summer’s Terminator: Genisys and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. That movie, Terminator: Salvation is by far more famous for the recorded on-set tirade of ‘roided-up Christian Bale. If you remember anything about the finished product, good for you. T5 is meant to be Paramount’s major film franchise in a cinematic world full of film franchises. 

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator!!!!!!!! Continue Reading

G.I. Joe Retaliation

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013): Jon M. Chu

As if gifted to me by the Hollywood gods, the second G.I. Joe movie opened on my birthday. Did I see it on opening day? I did. Did I see it in IMAX? Of course. Did I have a kick-ass time? You betcha.

G.I. Joe is about as silly an idea for a movie franchise as one of enormous alien robots able to disguise themselves as 21st-century Earth technology. Now THAT would be a crazy franchise, and it would probably fail. I’m glad someone gave the Joes a try.

Is there any credit better than “In Association with: HASBRO”?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The Joes Retaliate against Cobra Commander and Zartan and…ZEUS?

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Outcast

Outcast (2014): Nick Powell

Nicolas Cage is one of America’s most prolific actors. About two times a year we are lucky enough to get a Cage movie, only to ask, “How can I see it?” Some movies hit theaters. Some go straight to DVD. Some are on demand. No one knows. I think Cage movie producers flip a coin. Heads=theatrical release, tails=not theatrical release. Who cares, as long as Cage gets to shoot in New Orleans?

Outcast continues a long tradition of terribly named Cage movies. Titles are important, and when they don’t tell you much about the movie, sales numbers will drop. Do you think Saving Private Ryan would have been as successful were it named War? I don’t, but if Cage had starred in it I bet that’s the title he’d get. Cage’s two movies prior were called Rage and Joe. The former of those two is a pretty good title in that it evokes emotion, but you still won’t know a thing about it.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An English crusader knight heads east to China, where he hooks up with the rightful child-king of a Chinese kingdom and his sister. Continue Reading

The Bridges at Toko-Ri

The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954): Mark Robson

Thirty-five thousand American soldiers died in the Korean War, but in the long shadow of the Second World War, the men who served on the Korean Peninsula are often overlooked. This was not the case in 1955, the year after the war ended and the year Hollywood released this movie, based on James Michener’s novel. This critically acclaimed film featured a vast use of the US Navy’s resources and access, and showed just how important the soldiers were during that war.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A Navy pilot, sick of war and worried about an upcoming bombing run, still has to do it, despite the protestations of his wife. Continue Reading

San Andreas

San Andreas (2015): Brad Peyton

When caught between a Rock and a hard place, the Rock might hug you. So I gathered as I watched San Andreas, the first Hollywood movie to set fire to San Francisco in years, as in 1.04 years, since Godzilla and Mothra gave it a shot in 2014. Brad Peyton reunites with his Grace Kelly–Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. (Aside: How can you be named The Rock and decide to go by Dwayne Johnson?)

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The San Andreas fault pops The Big One, wrecking much of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Continue Reading