Category Archives: Movies

Summer Action Movies

Friday Films

Action Movies to Look Forward to This Summer

This summer should bring an exciting mix of action movies, from sequels and superhero flicks to fairytale and classic rewrites, there should be something for every film fan. So take a break from your college, job or fun online school classes to check out some of these much-anticipated summer action movies.

[box] The Avengers” – Starting off the summer with a superhero bang, Marvel brings us “The Avengers.” Directed by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon, this early summer film should be a hit. The movie includes a team of famous Marvel characters such as Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and Black Widow, and will also feature some great acting talent such as Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, and Scarlett Johansson. The plot centers on S.H.I.E.L.D., an international peace keeping agency, and its fight to save the world from disaster. Release Date: May 4, 2012[/box]

[box]Battleship” – Who says you can only get feature film ideas from a book? Director and producer Peter Berg turns to the classic Hasbro naval combat game for inspiration for the upcoming “Battleship.” When an international fleet of ships come across an alien armada, the men must do battle on land, sea, and air to discover the goals of the unknown “Regents.” Release Date: May 18, 2012 [/box]

[box]Men in Black 3 – Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones will team up this summer to star in “Men in Black 3.” If you thought the ending of “Men in Black II” left the series without hope for a sequel, think again. When the fate of the planet is at stake, Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to make things right. Get ready for more secrets, guns and aliens – all the components of a guaranteed summer hit. Release Date: May 25, 2012 [/box]

[box]Snow White and the Huntsman” – Kristen Stewart of “Twilight” and Chris Hemsworth of “Thor” face off against evil queen Charlize Theron in the upcoming spin on the classic Snow White tale, “Snow White and the Huntsman.” When evil Queen Ravenna decides Snow White must die, the smitten huntsman instead decides to train her for battle. Release Date: June 1, 2012 [/box]

[box]Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Stemming from the popular parody novel mashups like “Pride and Prejudice” and Zombies” and “Jane Slayre,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” turns good old Honest Abe into a vampire hunting superhero. When President Lincoln discovers that vampires are plotting to take over the United States, he must hunt them down to save the country. Release Date: June 22, 2012 [/box]

[box]G.I. Joe: Retaliation” – “G.I. Joe” fans will be happy to learn about the upcoming sequel to the series, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.” The Hasbro brand of “action figures” inspires another potential blockbuster this summer with the return of Roadblock, Flint, Duke, Lady Jaye, Firefly, Snake Eyes, and Storm Shadow. It will also feature Bruce Willis in the role of General Joe Colton. Release Date: June 29, 2012 [/box]

[box]The Amazing Spider-Man” – A new take on the superhero franchise, “The Amazing Spider-Man” changes the traditional story and adds some interesting characters. When Peter Parker discovers a mysterious briefcase that once belonged to his father, he sets out on a journey to find the meaning behind his parents’ disappearance. Release Date: July 3, 2012 [/box]

[box]The Dark Knight Rises – Just when you thought it was safe to put away your Batman mask, the epic tale continues with “The Dark Knight Rises.” Staring Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway, this should be on everyone’s must-see list for summer. When a new villain arrives in town, Batman must put his tarnished reputation aside to once again save Gotham. Release Date: July 20, 2012 [/box]

Movies goers especially interested in the directing and producing process of films might want to develop their skills by completing an MFA Degree in Performing Arts, Studio Arts, or even Film Criticism. Also, check out the sources listed below for more news about upcoming hits.


IMDb (2012)

Flixter (2012)

I Don’t Know Jack

Jack NicholsonBut I do know it’s his birthday.

Happy 75, Jack Nicholson!

Dig your movies and your court side seats.

I’ve like seen almost every movie Jack has made, including all the bad ones and frankly — he’s made some real stinkers along the way.

We’re not going to talk about those.

Here’s my top ten favorite Jack movies:

Jack NicholsonEasy Rider

The Last Detail


Five Easy Pieces

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Jack NicholsonThe Shining


A Few Good Men

About Schmidt

The Departed

It’s hard to pick a favorite. At least four of these on any given day could be a favorite for different reasons. Jack has a knack for playing the flawed and complicated character — Batman’s Joker, Fonda’s sidekick George Hansen in Easy rider, R.P. McMurphy in the Cuckoo’s nest, or the L.A. PI, Jake Gittes, in Chinatown.

Love him or hate him, you have to admit, Jack is a Hollywood icon.

What about your top-ten Jack list? Let me know below.


Friday Films

The Life of a Guide Dog

As a Labrador puppy, Quill is sent to live with a couple, Isamu and Mitsuko Nii, who train guide dogs (seeing eye dogs).

When he grows to an adult dog, Quill is taken to a guide dog school, by a friendly, yet firm trainer Satoru Tawada.

Although Quill is a little slower than the other dogs at the school, he seems to have an unusual ’empathy’ and remarkable patience with his trainers. Tawade decides that Quill would be the ideal guide dog for Mitsuru Watanabe. A lonely and ill-tempered middle aged man, Watanbe isn’t as enthusiastic – he would “would rather sleep than be dragged around by a dog.”

From here, the story is narrated by Wanatabe’s daughter, Mitsuko, and slowly, Wantanbe is rehabilitated, venturing into the outside world, and learning, not only to trust other humans, but the animal at his side.

Men in Black 3

Friday FilmsIt was only a matter of time, relatively speaking. What would a world full of aliens do without the likes of Agent J and Agent K to watch their scaly backs? Get ready for Men In Black 3.

The Men in Black franchise of Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones is back in business, May 25, 2012. It’s been ten years since the dynamic duo strapped on their out-of-this-world weaponry and battled the so-called intelligent life-form Serleena (Lara Flynn-Boyle) hot black leather and all.  (Serleena, not Tommy Leee Jones)

In this reboot of the MIB team, Veteran MIB field agent Agent J learns that Agent K’s life and the fate of Earth are at stake. He must time-travel to 1969 to stop an alien criminal named Boris from assassinating K and changing the history of the planet, travelling back from the future to 1969 to team up with the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to stop the alien, while apparently also facing a twenty four hour time limit before he will be trapped in the past forever.

I see Murphy’s Law all over this one.

All I can say is I am ready to see the Men in Suits hit the Big Apple and save the world from a life without Agent K.

Josh Brolin absolutely nails Agent K.

Movie Characters

Doc HolidayThere’s a phenomenon that happens when pop-culture collides with history. Characters of our past take on the persona of the performer who played them on screen.

A great example is Vil Kilmer‘s Doc Holiday in the movie Tombstone. I’ve seen pictures of the 19th century Doc Holiday so I know what the guy is supposed to look at. But when I hear Doc Holiday, I see Vil Kilmer.

I’m confident Moses looked nothing like Charlton Heston, but there you are. If you think about it, even the cartoon Moses in the animated feature, The Prince of Egypt, favored Heston. (Coincidently the voice of Moses was Vil Kilmer.) Ben Kingsley played Moses in the 1995 TV movie of the same name, but it is the Heston portrayal that will stand the test of time.

Some other stand out character portrayals are:

Jamie Foxx – Ray Charles

Anthoney Hopkins – Nixon

Ed Harris – Jackson Pollock

Josh Brolin – George W. Bush

Val Kilmer – Jim Morrison

Jim Carrey – Andy Kaufman

Paul Giamatti – Harvey Pekar

Helen Mirren – Queen Elizabeth II

Sean Penn – Harvey Milk

Phillip Seymour Hoffman – Truman Capote

Woody Harrelson – Larry Flynt

Robert Downey Jr. – Charlie Chapman

Tom Hulce – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Faye Dunaway – Joan Crawford

Sissy Spacek – Loretta Lynn

Ben Kingsley – Mahatma Ghandi

James Stewart – Charles Lindbergh

There are many more but I can tell you when I think of any one of these people I usually see the actor who portrayed them.

One of the best is whenever I think of Julia Child, I can only see Dan Aykroyd doing Julia “I seem to have cut myself” Child. And when I think of Richard Nixon, I don’t see Anthony Hopkins, I see Dan Aykroyd doing Richard “I am not a crook” Nixon. And when I think of Sgt. Joe Friday, I don’t think of Jack Webb, I can only see Dan Aykroyd as Sgt. Joe Friday.

Come to think of it, Dan Aykroyd sort of reminds me of Beldar Conehead. It’s a small universe when you look at it like that.


Beldar Conehead

Long live Beldar Conehead!

Total Recall – 2012

Friday FilmsWay back to 1990 when the former Governor of California was an occasionally pretty decent action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger made a film named Total Recall.

This post is not about that film…mostly.

This is about a Hollywood slap-out of ideas and nothing better to do than rifle back through the catalog, shake the dust off an old script and see if a new movie falls out. It’s shake and bake movie making.

This is about the 2012 reboot of Total Recall with Colin Farrell reprising the Schwarzenegger role from the original. Watching the trailer I can gather that Farrell does a pretty first-rate job of rebooting Doug Quaid/Hauser. Farrell brings a certain savoirfaire to the role the Governator could never achieve.

But I have to ask you this… In what world could Kate “Beauty is such a burden” Beckinsale ever replace Sharon Stone? Surely a place does not exist.

Now, in the role of Melina, I liked the very under-rated b-role actress Rachel Ticotin who did a decent job in the original. She went on to do some very forgettable roles since including the hot prison guard in Nick Cage’s Con-Air. She was good but she’s no Jessica Biel. I expect Biehl, who rocks the action girl role, to really strut her A-game partnered with the action master, Colin Farrell.

I believe the original Total Call had one of the worst villain casting of all time with Ronny Cox in the role of Vilos Cohaagen. Cox was great as Captain Bogomil in Beverley Hills Cop but as a martian gangster, not so much. The flip side of that is the casting of Bryan Cranston, the chemistry teacher turned meth chemist in Breaking Bad, in the Cohaagen role. This oughta be something to see!

In the Kuato role, served up with a journeyman effort by Marshall Bell in the original, I’m interested to see what veteran British actor Bill Nighy can do with the part.

The original won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1991. For the time it was all cutting edge stuff. The same gags in the 2012 remake is common Hollywood action now. What you can do with green-screen and a computer these days is amazing. We are almost at the point where they won’t even have to build anymore sets. Actors will soon be obsolete or at a minimum… redundant.

And then what will Beauty Beckinsale do for work? Barista? Bartender? Meter Maid? Spokesperson for Actresses of Hollywood Remakes, LLC? Only time will tell.

This looks like a definite big-screen watch but the cost of popcorn and gas to get there may keep me waiting for the Amazon Prime version for $3.99. It ain’t cheap being a big Hollywood film critic!

Safety Not Guaranteed

Friday FilmsHere’s one of those Indie films that crept up with little fanfare or Hollywood glitz. This movie has much promise among a slow set of indie offerings. The movie: Safety Not Guaranteed.

Here’s the essence of the film starring a small class of relatively obscure b-listers goes something like this:

An odd classified ad inspires three cynical Seattle magazine employees to chase the story behind it. In the process they meet the man behind the ad, a mysterious  oddball named Kenneth.

Kenneth is a likable but paranoid supermarket clerk, who believes he has solved the riddle of time travel and intends to depart again soon. Together, they embark on a hilarious, smart, and unexpectedly heartfelt journey that reveals how far believing can take you.

Between you and me I love everything about the core message in this film. It’s about faith and trust and believing the unbelievable. The funny thing about this film is…

SNGIt’s based on a real classified ad.

The newspaper advertisement originally appeared on The Copenhagen Post, a weekly newspaper providing Danish news in English. The image paired with the ad of the stone-faced man was not included in the original ad and his identity still remains unknown. The first “Safety Not Guaranteed” YTMND was created by axlbonbach on October 27th, 2005 and has over 1.2 million views as of January 2012.

About the only thing known about the “Time Traveller” is he doesn’t smile and he has a mullet.

It’s kind of cool that out of seemingly social media fraud, creative minds went to work and came up with a whimsical film with a cool story and great writing.

I take it as a very good sign the trailer coerced hairs on my arm to do the wave.

Opens in theaters – June 8, 2012

Official website for Safety Not Guaranteed.

Purple Rain

Purple RainTo say Purple Rain was a cultural phenomenon in 1985 is like saying there’s a vacuum in space. You know it to be true you just don’t quite understand why.

Now I’ll be the first to say I am not, have never been, will probably never be a Prince fan. That’s a personal preference and has nothing to do with the skill this Minneapolis native has with anything musical.

Born Prince Rogers Nelson this young musician was a relative unknown in certain musical circles around the country before the release of the film, Purple Rain. Although his October of ’79 self-titled album, Prince, reached  No.4 on the Billboard Top R&B/Black Albums charts, and No.22 on the Billboard 200; until I heard When Doves Cry on the radio, I’d never heard of the guy.

PrinceThe film is tied into the album of the same name, which spawned two chart-topping singles: “When Doves Cry” and the opening number “Let’s Go Crazy“, while “Purple Rain” reached #2. The movie won an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. The soundtrack sold over 10 million copies in America alone, and 20 million worldwide.

I’ll be the first to tell you I am by any means a music critic, expert, or go-to guy for all things music. At the end of the day I am a consumer. I have a diverse taste that spans many genres from hard rock to classical to blues and jazz. What that means is my opinion and a buck fifty will get you a cup of Waffle House coffee. It doesn’t mean Jack.

Was Purple Rain winning the Oscar for Best Original Song Score a surprise? Maybe-maybe not. Considering the competition came down to Kris Kristofferson – Songwriter, and Jeffrey Moss – The Muppets Take Manhatten,  I’m not surprised at all. Had it been up against Yentl or Out of Africa, I’m convinced the results would have been quite different.

Instead… Prince takes the Oscar – March 25, 1985.

Snow White & the Hunstman

Friday FilmsWe’ve heard the story since we were children. However, this is not the old Queen/Witch with the rotten apple for the pretty Snow White tale. You won’t found those wimpy Disney dwarfs in this movie. These dwarfs have serious attitude and everyone comes together to deliver a fairy tale with balls.

This is Snow White and the Hunstman.

Hold on to your theater seats, the boys are back in town and Snow White isn’t going to lay down for anybody. The evil Queen is an evil bitch and Snow is going to go all medieval on her ass.

Kristin Stewart leaves the vampire world behind to slip into the role of Snow White. Charlize Theron shines in a purely evil performance as Queen Ravenna. Thor’s Chris Hemsworth steps in as Eric, The Hunstman and together the trio explode on the silver screen in a wonderment of action and magic.

Snow White opens on June 1st.

(Did I mention the Queen was really evil?)


Snow White Storyline

In a kingdom ruled by tyranny, the vain and selfish Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) learns her stepdaughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is destined to surpass her as not only the “Fairest One of All” but the kingdom’s future ruler. But the Queen then learns from her Magic Mirror (Christopher Obi) that the only way to remain in power is to consume Snow White’s heart and achieve immortality. Snow escapes into the Dark Forest and Ravenna recruits the Huntsman Eric (Chris Hemsworth) to kill Snow. Eric, however, takes pity on the young princess and teaches Snow White the art of war. Now, with the aid of eight dwarves and Prince William (Sam Claflin), Snow White begins a rebellion to bring down her stepmother once and for all.

Source: Wiki[/box]

Dark Shadows Reboot

Friday FilmsTurn the clock back to my early high school days. Say somewhere around 1969. There was a lot of stuff going on around me – Woodstock, Vietnam, “The Eagle has landed” and Quentin Collins began haunting Collinwood, so Barnabas traveled back to 1897.

Dark Shadows was the rage of the day.

It was a lot to keep up with for a young impressionable child of the 60s. With the right buzz on, Dark Shadows was magnificent!

Dark ShadowsSo here we are, 43 years later and the fascination with the vampire of Collinwood Mansion is at a fever pitch. That’s what happens when you put Johnny Depp in the role of Barnabas Collins. Vampires, and werewolves, and ghosts… oh my!

In a Tim Burton production, Dark Shadows is coming to the big screen on the 11th of May. It may even eclipse the camp factor of the original series.

With cameos by Alice CooperChristopher Lee and the original B. Collins himself, Jonathan Frid, this big screen reboot of the 60’s serial is sure to be a playful romp through the house that Barnabas built.


Dark Shadows – Storyline

In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better…

Written by Warner Bros. Pictures on