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 […]
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.
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 […]
James Bond has been going strong for 50 years on the big screen, but it has taken until this most recent incarnation starring Daniel Craig for anyone in control of this enduring franchise to realize that giving Bond a soul could be a good thing. Frankly, “Skyfall” gets personal — and it’s about time.
Liam Neeson’s action-man renaissance in 2008’s “Taken” was a most unheralded critical and box-office hit for a seemingly generic revenge flick. Writers Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen managed to captivate audiences with a streamlined story of a retired CIA operative using his skills to locate and rescue his kidnapped daughter. It was a simple […]