Browse Author: andy

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

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