4 items from 2015
Ever since he left office as the two term governor of California and returned to the acting world, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the film choices of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s slowly gone from being a wise cracking killing machine (sometimes literally) to someone more contemplative of the toll it all takes on a person. To be sure, the movies are almost all throwaway popcorn entertainment regardless, but there’s a definite shift that’s easy to notice (the very talented Matt Singer often writes about this in terms of Schwarzenegger, so I highly recommend reading something of his). This week, there’s another new side of Schwarzenegger on display in Maggie, a zombie drama in which he’s trying to avoid killing for one of the first times in his career. As a quick plot summation, the film follows a farmer who sees his daughter slowly turning into a zombie. »
- Joey Magidson
The past few years has seen a resurgence of action films revolving around a past-his-prime yet-still-bad-ass dude setting things right. This was probably first set in motion by Sylvester Stallone and his grizzled action star filled "The Expendables" films, and has been handily retrofitted to varying degrees of success for actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger ("The Last Stand," "Sabotage"), Liam Neeson ("Taken," "Unknown," "Run All Night," "Non-Stop") and Kevin Costner ("3 Days to Kill"). One of the more unlikely participants in this prune juice-fueled movement is Sean Penn via the "The Gunman." It shares a lot with those other films —a graying, righteous loner making the hard decisions no one else can or will, an improbably high body count, a soundtrack that bleeps along like the inner workings of a computer, a beautiful woman caught in the middle— but is also saddled by Penn's self-conscious »
- Drew Taylor
Joyous and exhilarating. A fresh and funny animated adventure that subverts genre clichés at every turn. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Superhero origin stories are ubiquitous in our comic-book-happy pop culture, but none of them has been as sheerly, simply delightful as Big Hero 6… maybe because it barely feels like an origin story at all. Oh, all the familiar elements are here, in this gorgeously animated Disney flick: a young genius tormented by grief; high-tech gadgets; a complex villain; funny sidekicks. But the movie is so utterly unself-conscious that even the moments of self-referential humor — the kind that are inevitable when one of the superteam is a big ol’ geek who has been actively trying to reinvent himself as a comic-book character — play like something we’ve never seen before. (You’d probably »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Director: Olivier Megaton.
Running Time: 109 minutes
Synopsis: Bryan Mills (Neeson) is framed for the murder of his ex-wife (Janssen). He’s soon on the run from the law while also trying to find out who is responsible.
I have no idea why the Taken movies are popular in the slightest. I’ve always found them to be moronic action cliches that rely too heavily on coincidence but take themselves far too seriously. But since Taken 3 decides to abandon the Taken formula, perhaps I can give it another chance? Well, it may not be anything new; in fact it’s almost a remake of The Fugitive, but Taken 3 is the best of the bunch, and is surprisingly enjoyable due to its ability to have a bit of a laugh.
Without anybody being taken, the »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
4 items from 2015
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