A time-honoured tradition for outgoing high school students is the senior prank. Usually the senior prank is a banal bit of mischief that is memorable yet largely innocuous. That wasn’t the case at Central High School, class of 1996. Robbie Weirdicht (a CG Dwayne Johnson) a portly, but affable fan of En Vogue was the victim in Central High’s senior prank. A cruel victim of bullying Weirdicht, was never seen or heard from, since that fateful day. The only one to console Robbie in moment of shame was Calvin “The Golden Jet” Joyner (Kevin Hart). Voted most like to win at everything, Joyner was destined for greatness. 20 years later and now an accountant, The Golden Jet has been grounded by the dream killing mediocrity of adulthood. With his 20 year High School reunion looming and unable to live up to the lore that is “The Golden Jet”, Calvin contemplates skipping the reunion; that is, until he receives a random Facebook message from the unknown “Bob Stone”, who claims to be of Calvin’s graduating class.
Captain Ray Gaines (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) has made a successful career of rescuing people from precarious situations. Whether it’s in Afghanistan or Laurel Canyon, CA, Ray and his team of the Los Angeles Fire Department are the ones to call when disaster strikes. However, Ray isn’t as successful in saving his marriage. Soon to be divorced from Emma (Carla Gugino), Ray has to play weekend dad to his college-aged daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario). Meanwhile, over at the California Institute of Technology Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) is a seismologist who is working on a system to predict earthquakes. He and Dr. Kim Park (Will-Yun Lee) detect a series of “micro-quakes” near the Hoover Dam in Nevada. As it turns out, they were right; but before they could celebrate, the earthquake they predicted wrecks the dam.
As a result of the destruction, Ray and Blake’s daddy/daughter road trip to Blake’s school gets cancelled as Ray gets called in to work. Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd), Emma’s new wealthy, architect boyfriend volunteers to chauffeur Blake to school in his private jet, with a brief stop in San Francisco. If the boys and girls at Caltech are right, San Francisco could be the epicenter of the largest earthquake ever recorded. Continue reading “Movie Review – San Andreas”
It’s hard to imagine how the ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise started as a typical summer blockbuster in 2001; to a seven movie franchise, that has grossed nearly a billion dollars domestically. Who knew that ‘Tokyo Drift’ would be the catalyst for the resurrection of the franchise. As a collective sigh washes over the theater, there’s a strange silence in the audience. Personally, I believe it’s because we’ve witnessed a small miracle. Director Justin Lin had been with the franchise for 4 installments, but parted ways in 2013. Production stopped because of the death of Walker, a principle character. With the film only half-finished, if production resumed; how would it continue without one of its lead actors?
A little computer generated wizardry, a complex editing technique and help from Walker’s brothers: Caleb and Cody; Furious 7 still required the services of Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop, the New Zealand based special effects company to complete production. The budget ballooned from $200 M to and estimated $250 M, mostly to cover the cost of editing Walker; but it was money well spent. Except for one scene toward the end, the combination of Paul Walker, his brothers, quick editing and stunt doubles worked surprisingly well. Walker’s ironic death quickly became an afterthought, as he was indistinguishable from his avatars.
“You think you know the real story of Hercules? Think again.” Unfortunately, that translates into: You thought you were seeing an updated version of the story you know and like. Think Again. From the beginning, the marketing for Hercules had me convinced that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would become the son of Zeus. But, as suggested by the narrator, I don’t know this story of Hercules. Based on the Steve Moore short series, Hercules: Volume 1: The Thracian War; this story takes place in Thrace, not Greece. Cotys, the King of Thrace seeks the help of Hercules and his band of merry men. Bandits threaten the land and Thrace’s unqualified army won’t cut it. But, expectantly, not everything in Thrice is as it seems.
(If you read nothing else of this review, know this: do not leave the theater until the credits start rolling up the screen.)
It’s pretty hard to up the ante and the game from one sequel to the next. However, Furious 6 (also known as Fast & Furious 6 – the print I saw only bore the shortened title) director Justin Lin manages to do exactly that for his final film of the series, and he makes his exit from the franchise with an epic bang. With both Fast Five and Furious 6, Lin knows precisely what the target audience wants to see, and he makes damn sure that they get what they’re expecting: exciting car chases, big action set pieces, brutal fight choreography, and, of course, the family that makes the Fast & Furious franchise worth revisiting every time. Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Furious 6”
If I were to tell you about a movie in which the President of the United States is held hostage inside his own compound while a criminal mastermind has his way with our country’s nuclear arsenal, you might think I was rehashing my review of last week’s unintentionally hilarious Olympus Has Fallen. In fact, I’d be talking about G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the long delayed second entry in the Hasbro-spawned action franchise. The big difference is that Joe, though sharing more than a few traits with the the aforementioned ‘White House under siege’ clunker, never takes itself too seriously. And we’d be silly to expect it to. Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: G.I. Joe – Retaliation”
It’s been four long years removed from the surprisingly successful G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. With the additions of current WWE Champion, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bruce Willis to the team, while subtracting both Dennis Quaid and Marlon Wayans, G.I. Joe seems to be heading in the right direction as a franchise. With an original release date of June 28th 2012, G.I. Joe: Retaliation had bigger problems than Cobra plaguing them. Weeks of re-shoots, a costly 3D conversion process and the tweaking of the marketing campaign followed. Ten months past its original release date, it’s time for Retaliation; but is it worth the delay? Continue reading “Movie Review – G.I. Joe: Retaliation”
I really wish that I could review movies as pieces of art; as a piece that’s not really good or bad, but as an acknowledgement of effort, and a declaration of existence. I say that because Snitch starring current WWE champion Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, isn’t that bad of a movie. But, I am writing this to answer the question one generally asks before reading a review. Is this worth my money? Continue reading “Movie Review – Snitch”
Good summer movies keep you watching the screen while just blowing your mind with the sweeping special effects that make you ask yourselfâ€¦how did they do that? They’re usually called â€œpopcornâ€ flicks because you just keep sitting there shoveling popcorn into your mouth while never looking down. And considering most summer movie blockbusters are sequels, it takes a lot to bring back the same audience, as well as increase the audience’s attendance to the franchise. And the best way to do that is to take what’s successful and work on that and reinvent yourself to appeal to a broader audience. Fast Five does just that.