The days of the classy ’60s spy films seemed long lost. The world has gotten too complicated for simple stories of agents in tuxedos squaring off with megalomaniacs. Yet in walks “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” based on a Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons offering that sleek look and those beloved spy genre conventions but with […]
In a post-“Avengers” comic book movie universe, bigger is not only better, but also necessary. Leave it to original “X-Men” and “X2” director Bryan Singer to get the whole gang together (old and new) in order to bring one of the biggest “X-Men” story lines to the big screen in attention-grabbing fashion. “X-Men: Days of […]
Before now, Godzilla was a giant dino-lizard, a punchline, a D-list movie monster. Now, in Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla,” he is a god, the alpha predator, a force of nature. Warner Bros.’ has not only crafted an exhilarating “Godzilla” movie here, it has pulled an incredible P.R. move, transforming a brand last known for having Matthew […]
As the world’s most popular superhero, Spider-Man is the poster hero for the resurgence of the superhero genre at the movies, but these days he’s hanging there by a strand of webbing. When Sony gave Peter Parker a reboot in 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” they became the first studio to recast and reimagine an entire […]
If you’ve ever wondered how cool it would be if a superhero movie was combined with an espionage thriller, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is a dream come true. It’s as much “The Rogers Ultimatum” as it is an irresistibly cool blockbuster, and though a totally different film than the quality origin story of “Captain […]
Who says all “based on a true story” movies have to take themselves seriously? Regardless of how true-to-life the events of “Pain and Gain” are, the film offers a ballsy take on a crime thriller, namely in being unafraid of comic territory.
Throughout the course of the modern superhero era, one thing has stayed true: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. After being a successful piece of the “X-Men” franchise for three films, Wolverine got his own solo gig in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” which turned out to be a chaotic smear of superhero film with a cliché-ridden script. […]
Bruce Willis has proved himself to be an ageless wonder. Although the roles he has chosen of late (“RED,” Old Joe in “Looper,” “The Expendables 2” and playing the original G.I. Joe in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”) suggest he’s playing the “aging action star” card, his box-office draw has been consistent if not downright reliable.
In this superhero-obsessed culture/Hollywood world we live in, it’s a wonder that the grand-daddy of them all, Superman, hasn’t had a successful debut in the 21st Century. Obviously I’ve just implicitly bashed 2006’s “Superman Returns,” which I will not be taking the time to discuss beyond this sentence, but I don’t think anyone disagrees that […]
A man who doesn’t play by the law when it comes to delivering justice isn’t an original idea for a main character, and Tom Cruise is far from an original action star, but somehow “Jack Reacher” doesn’t suffer too much from being stale.
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 […]
How will Marvel’s universe ever be the same after “The Avengers”? There’s bound to be a vocal percentage of viewers who walk out of “Iron Man 3” thinking, “why didn’t he just call his superfriends in the end?” It’s a good question, one that Drew Pearce and Shane Black’s script doesn’t ignore, but never satisfyingly […]
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.
In this his eighth feature film, Quentin Tarantino has made it very clear what he’s all about. The auteur’s hallmarks litter the frames of “Django Unchained,” the closest he’s come to making a film in the style of his favorite genre (arguably, but it’s not really a contest) — the Spaghetti Western.