Los Angeles and gangsters. Before “Gangster Squad,” the first film that ought to come to mind is “L.A. Confidential.” For Ruben Fleischer’s latest, that creates an outrageous comparison point. The “Zombieland” and “30 Minutes or Less” director was probably not aiming that high. Even if he weren’t, he’s still not even aiming to add a [...]
My how things would be different today if in 1995, instead of getting Sylvester Stallone in “Judge Dredd,” we were treated to director Pete Travis’ “Dredd.” And I’m not just talking about visual effects advances in the last 17 years. “Dredd,” starring Karl Urban as the helmeted anti- hero, does classic, ’80s and ’90s-style action [...]
If I were to pitch you a movie about two police officers who are partners on patrol in South Central Los Angeles, one of your first inclinations might be “not another buddy copy comedy.” While “End of Watch” is often funny, the newest film from “Training Day” writer David Ayer, is no comedy.
Twisting history can be amusing and in some cases even insightful. Seth Grahame-Smith aimed for both with his book, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” but his film version doesn’t exactly achieve the balancing act.
The martial arts showcase movie, completely pure and unapologetic, has become a lost genre it seems. If nothing else, director Gareth Evans uses “The Raid: Redemption” to bring pencak silat to audiences all over the world in this manner, but he also manages to create an action movie that satisfyingly merges B-movie violence with a [...]
“Wrath of the Titans” really captures the spirit of its 2010 predecessor — that spirit being uninspired and underdeveloped. If the goal was not to work on improving the quality of the sequel, Warner Bros. succeeded.
The success of “Sherlock Holmes” in 2009 certainly opened up Warner Bros.’ pockets wide enough to give director Guy Ritchie a bit of free reign over the sequel. His choice of what do with that cash, however, didn’t have to be as straightforward as it is in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.” In other [...]
Let’s hope that Hollywood’s portrayal of the CIA is off, otherwise at this point every person with an appetite for action-thrillers knows exactly what goes on at Langley. “Safe House” is the latest “Bourne”-inspired romp featuring armed-and-dangerous Americans running, driving and parkouring through an exotic locale.
We’re now more than a decade into the modern superhero movie era, folks. At this point, we’ve just crossed the threshold of the “reboot phase,” in which studios have either been forced or decided to re-imagine some of the 2000‘s major superhero properties. We saw “X-Men: First Class” successfully relaunch the “X-Men” franchise last summer [...]
Since the Golden Age of comic books, folks have been imagining what it would be like if ordinary people came across extraordinary power. But not until 2012 with “Chronicle” has anyone truly attempted to capture this notion with a sense of realism. Josh Trank and Max Landis have done just that with their low-budget found-footage [...]
Liam Neeson the gritty action hero. How unbelievable that at nearly 60 years old, an actor can redefine his career and become more bankable. Neeson has somehow re-channeled the seriousness he brought to dramatic roles into creating utterly convincing heroes in decent (at best) thrillers.
Samurai films tend to lean toward either overly talkative and boring or hyper-stylized to the point that credibility comes into question. Striking that middle ground, however, can lead to greatness, or rather — great honor. Takashi Miike’s “13 Assassins” might not match the great Akira Kurosawa films, but boy does it come close, and it [...]
Let it be known that 2011 was a record-setting year at the movies. No previous year in all of film history has had as many … sequels. Yes, a whopping 27 films either directly following or based on previous movies came to theaters this year. “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” is the 27th sequel to [...]
Pulp flicks can sometimes get a bit too ahead of themselves. Sometimes all you need is a hobo, a shotgun and a twisted sense of justice. Rutger Hauer stars in “Hobo with a Shotgun,” the second film after “Machete” to be derived from a fake trailer created for the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino double-feature “Grindhouse.” Although [...]
Director Ruben Fleischer should call the “making of” documentary of this film “86 Minutes or Less.” The filmmaker who landed squarely on the Hollywood directing hot list with 2009′s rollicking sleeper hit “Zombieland” has crammed the action and laughs into another unusually short runtime. Distinct advantages exist to the “all business” attitude toward filmmaking, but [...]