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 […]
The rules of time travel in fiction can make your head spin. As a writer, you have to be so meticulous in your vision that all the rules of your universe don’t collapse upon each other and bring your entire concept crumbling to the ground. Or, like Rian Johnson does in “Looper,” you can be […]
Fast cars and comedy have never really gone hand in hand. Movies such as the “Fast and Furious” franchise have always been about the cars, with the jokes mostly sticking to characters digging at each other and one-liners. “Hit and Run,” on the other hand, is all about the humor — with a side of […]
You’d think putting together an action ensemble of some of the best muscle-bound men to ever grace the silver screen warrants an effort that goes beyond casting, but that’s not what we got in 2010’s “The Expendables.” The healthy dose of blood spatter and explosions certainly whetted action fans’ appetites, but the film ultimately fell […]
“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.
After “The Bourne Ultimatum” became the most successful and critically praised film of a trilogy considered the consummate modern spy series, it was only a matter of time before the saga continued. With that film’s director, Paul Greengrass, interested in pursuing other projects, and star Matt Damon uninterested in returning without Greengrass, Universal has been […]
Third installments have a history of letting us down — in the superhero world especially. You won’t find a lot of folks who list a movie with a “3” at the end as their favorite of a movie series, and frankly, they don’t have a lot to choose from either. It’s extremely tough to find […]