Browse Author: andy

RECAP: Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976): John Carpenter

John Carpenter’s second feature film, Assault on Precinct 13 set the bar for future films. Carpenter speaks openly about the influence of Rio Bravo and Night of the Living Dead, and the nods to those classics are easy to find.

Don’t let that take away from this movie. Filmed on a $100,000 budget, Assault doesn’t have the time or money to shoot the hell out of its sets and characters. Instead, the movie focuses on its characters, finding the breaking point for each of them. Oh, and it does shoot the hell out of the set.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: After Los Angeles police kill members of the notorious Street Thunder gang , an about-to-close precinct station finds itself under retaliatory siege.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Thor

Thor (2011): Kenneth Branagh

What happens when you mix Norse mythology, Marvel, and and Shakespearean fanboy director?

Thor. Sam Raimi and Matthew Vaughn nearly made a Thor movie, but that’s the biz; it doesn’t always work out. They sound weird for this film. But who wouldn’t? Norse gods living in the same world as the Incredible Hulk and Tony Stark.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Heir to the throne of Asgard, Thor is banished to Earth to learn some humility before he is worthy to rule.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch (1969): Sam Peckinpah

Sam Peckinpah made a career antagonizing his actors and bludgeoning the public over their heads with messages an imagery. In his 1969 masterpiece, the man who would consider himself an outlaw director made a film about the low down, most rootin’-est, tootin’-est cowboys seen in American cinema.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A wild bunch of thieves and do-no-gooders robs a railroad company, a train, and a Mexican general, outruns the US Army and bounty hunters, and all for the fun of it.  Continue Reading

SPOILER FREE REVIEW: Wonder Woman

Nearly eight decades after her comic book debut, Diana, Princess of Themyscira, Wonder Woman to the rest of the world, receives her own movie. Not a moment too soon, it delights.

Gal Gadot, returning to the role she played in the loathed Batman v Superman, brings a lighter Diana to a brighter film. Continue Reading

RECAP: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman (2017): Patty Jenkins

It took 76 years, but in June of 2017 Wonder Woman, a canon comic book character, finally got a feature film to call her own.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Formed from clay, on an island of immortal women, Diana Prince leaves her world to fight the last war against Ares, the last god.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Wrath of the Titans

Wrath of the Titans (2012): Jonathan Liebesman

Clash of the Titans hit theater in 2010, an homage and update on a classic 1981 film famous for its groundbreaking special effects. The updated Clash used terrific effects as well, but were hardly groundbreaking. This movie returns Sam Worthington to the role of Perseus, and with more hair.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Perseus, half human son of Zeus, must save his father, and Greece, from the release of the monstrous titan Kronos.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange (2016): Scott Derrickson

After trying out more famous actors (Robert Downey, Jr.) and more famous characters (Hulk, Thor, Captain America), Marvel moved into left field, throwing lesser-knowns into (hopefully) major franchises (Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy) and less-statured characters (Ant-Man).

That was a big hit. Of course, Doctor Strange was already on the table, but surely the success of Guardians helped executives breathe sighs of relief. Casting the most recognizable actor face of genius, or face of acting genius, no, guy who plays geniuses, Benedict Cumberbatch, eased tensions as well.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The world’s greatest surgeon permanently injures his hands, and then he becomes the world’s greatest wizard. Continue Reading

RECAP: King Arthur

King Arthur (2004): Antoine Fuqua

Saddle up for another ride with the greatest king in English history, Arthur, a king who never existed.

Or did he? The makers of King Arthur, would have us believe that this new tale is based partly on the real past, on “recently discovered archeological evidence.”

(Keep in mind, the natives of northern Britain were Picts. Legend had them wearing blue woad dye in battle. All references to “Woads” are meant to be Picts.)

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: In 452, Arthur, the man who would be king, takes his knights to the north of England to save a Roman boy and repel the Saxon invasion. Continue Reading

RECAP: The Kingdom

The Kingdom (2007): Peter Berg

Saudi Arabia is the kingdom. Let’s get that out of the way. In case you were wondering.

What happens when local terrorists kill dozens of Americans in Saudi Arabia? You get…Jamie Foxx Investigates.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Homegrown Saudi terrorists attack a compound of American oil workers and their families, and the FBI flies in to investigate against the will of many in the Saudi government.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Battle: Los Angeles

Battle: Los Angeles (2011): Jonathan Liebesman

Only Hollywood execs would make a movie with “Los Angeles” in its title and set it in Santa Monica. In their defense, most people in the world have never heard of Santa Monica, not so the titular city. Point taken. Title passes.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A Marine squadron is the last gasp for humanity against an alien invasion off the coast of southern California. Continue Reading