A shadowy arm of the government want to be proactive against threats against the land. Realizing the futility of conventional means against these threats, the agency uses an unconventional weapon. The baddest of the bad, worst of the worst criminals ever would fight (begrudgingly) against those that threaten our existence. Set to a trippy set list of memorable songs that act almost as a commentator throughout the film, surely this will be the experience that shapes your summer. Unfortunately for Warner Brothers and DC Comics, 2014 happened and Guardians of the Galaxy was released to positive reviews. With two lackluster entrants for the DC Extended Universe preceding Suicide Squad, the WB and DC needs this film to do well. At this moment Suicide Squad has a 27% positive rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes.com; which was down from 31% 12 hours ago. Despite the vitriol for Suicide Squad, the battle at the box office is ultimately decided by the value of your movie ticket. It’s not that Suicide Squad isn’t worth seeing but, with ticket prices steadily increasing and the added costs of 3D and IMAX (also in 3D); how much is it worth seeing to you? Continue reading “Movie Review – Suicide Squad”
Louis Zamperini of Torrance, California; may not be a household name. After reading Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 thrilling biography of Zamperini, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption; I couldn’t help but wonder whether a movie could be made. The book, filled with tense, gut wrenching and disturbing accounts of Zamperini’s survival after his crash water landing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Danger lurked around corner for the Italian hooligan as a kid, that turned into an Olympic track star. Angelina Jolie’s big screen adaptation tried hard to replicate the horrors of an internment camp, but stymied by its PG-13 rating, forcing the film to dial down the emotional punches.
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For better or worse, Bruce Willis is back as John McClane in the fifth installment of the Die Hard series. A Good Day To Die Hard follows the only real rule of Die Hard films: be bigger than the last one. It is. Seemingly the first third of the movie is a car chase. Visually watching a Mercedes Benz SUV do a monster truck impression is cool; that doesn’t guarantee a successful sequel. Die Hard 2: Die Harder was a thing that happened. It’s definitely my least favourite movie in the series. After a twelve year break between Die Hard With A Vengeance and the moderately enjoyable Live Free Or Die Hard, where does John McClane go from there?
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In 1979, author Roderick Thorp released a novel titled Nothing Lasts Forever, a story about ex-NYPD detective Joe Leland visiting his daughter in her high-rise office building during her Christmas party. The party is interrupted by terrorists with a heavy political agenda, and Leland uses his military and police training to eliminate the terrorist threat and save his daughter. Nine years later, this book was made into a fairly faithful film adaptation called Die Hard, renaming Leland as John McClane (Bruce Willis in his career-defining role), and changing the daughter of the novel into his wife. The claustrophobic pressures of the building and the tight, limited spaces keeping both McClane and the terrorists together kept Die Hard from being a rote action movie; instead, it was a wonderful, masterful suspense film – not quite Hitchcockian, but close enough for ‘80s movies. There was actual danger and a sense of dread, with the audience hanging on for dear life as McClane navigated his way through what must have been the most horrific night of his life. We felt for him when he had to walk across broken glass to escape a firefight, when he got shot, or when he had to confess that he hasn’t been the best person in the world to his wife. He was an underdog hero in the unlikeliest of situations, and audiences ate it up, with Die Hard becoming a beloved staple of American cinema.
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The expression ‘they don’t make ’em like they used to’ is commonly used to describe action films these days. This is why the old-fashioned approach that writer/director Christopher McQuarrie takes in adapting the 2005 novel ‘One Shot’ for the big screen makes it such a stand-out crime thriller. Devoid of digital augmentation, Jack Reacher has the type of heart – and punch – that I sorely miss from the ’80s, an era when the camera remained steady for fight scenes and car chases were dependent mostly on the talent of stunt drivers to do the work. It’s the same reason I loved McQuarrie’s first feature The Way of the Gun(2000), which was defined by its brutal simplicity and didn’t seem like it was trying too hard to prove anything. Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Jack Reacher”