Archive for the ‘Action’ Category


Director: Gareth Edwards
Writer: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy (screenplay by); John Knoll, Gary Whitta (story by)
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Forrest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen
Release Date: December 16, 2016
Runtime: 2h, 13min
MPAA Rating: PG-13




No Bothans died to bring us this review (or this movie). Just to remind everyone – the famous Mon Mothma line (“Many Bothans died to bring us this information”) comes from Return of the Jedi, and was concerning the second Death Star.

This is going to be a really difficult review to write. Not because I’m on the fence about this movie – I’m not, I loved it – but because it’s hard to say anything about it without giving some serious spoilers away. I will do my best, relaying primarily feelings and impressions, with any direct comments related to those things revealed in the trailers – but if you’ve been avoiding those, don’t read through past the break. I’ll let you know right up front that I’m awarding Rogue One an A-, and would place it in my top three Star Wars films of all time. Click through for my (hopefully) spoiler-free review. At the end, I will have a section of blanked out text (which you can mouse-over to reveal) that will list some of the cool things I noted on my first viewing.


Director: George Miller
Writers: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nick Lathouris (written by)
Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne
Release Date: May 15, 2015
Runtime: 2 hrs.
MPAA Rating: R



I grew up on action films in the 1980s, and Mad Max was a big part of that (I’m talking The Road Warrior here, not the largely regrettable Beyond Thunderdome). You couldn’t get much actiony-er than Max Rockatansky. Now, some thirty or so years later, George Miller is rebooting his franchise. To get my take on the movie, click through after the break. (more…)


Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn (written by), Nicole Perlman (written by), Dan Abnett (comic book), Andy Lanning (comic book)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Runtime: 2 hrs. 1 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13




When was the first time you remember watching a gang of ragtag misfits flying around trying to save the galaxy from a force intent on utterly destroying its enemies? A lot depends on how old you are, but for me, it was Star Wars back in the summer of 1977. I was eight years old, and it was a magical experience. I have a feeling that this same magical experience is being relived by other 8- or 9- or 10-year-olds all around the world tonight, as they go with mom or dad or older siblings to watch the latest Marvel outing, Guardians of the Galaxy. But you don’t have to be young – it can still be a magical experience at any age, as this 44-year-old will attest.

Maleficent Poster

Director: Robert Stromberg
Writers: Linda Woolverton (written by), Charles Perrault (based from the story “La Belle au Bois Dormant” by), Jacob Grimm (based from the story “Little Briar Rose” by), Wilhelm Grimm (based from the story “Little Briar Rose” by), Erdman Penner (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, story adaptation by), Joe Rinaldi (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Winston Hibler (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Bill Peet (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Ted Sears (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Ralph Wright (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Milt Banta (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by)
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley
Release Date: May 30, 2014
Runtime: 1 hrs. 37 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG

This is not your mother’s fairy tale. Maleficent is Disney’s attempt to go live action with the story they first showed in 1959’s animated classic Sleeping Beauty, itself an adaptation of Charles Perrault’s La Belle au Bois Dormant, which, one step further, was an adaptation of the tale as collected by the Brothers Grimm – which means it was an adaptation of a story transmitted orally. You’d think that an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation (just take a look at all those writing credits above!) might get a little diluted; but, with a message that drastically moves away from the typical Disney paradigm, and a powerful performance from Angelina Jolie, there is nothing diluted about it.

<<Spoiler Alert: There will be minor spoilers regarding thematic elements of Maleficent – bear this in mind before clicking through.>>


Director: Richard Donner
Writers: Steven Spielberg (story), Chris Columbus (screenplay)
Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton
Release Date: June 7, 1985
Runtime: 1 hrs. 54 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG

In our lives, there are certain moments, events that will always stick with us and elicit the same emotions they originally wrought those many years ago whenever we think of them. Things like weddings, births, deaths, moves when we were young. But there are other, less dramatic events, that can have a similar effect. A concert, a trip taken with family, or a film seen at the right time, at the right age. For me, The Goonies is one of those films, and today marks the 29th anniversary of the film’s original theatrical release. For people of my generation, watching it again is an enjoyable ride down memory lane; for those of younger generations, read-on – I have a real gem to share with you, one that you may have missed growing up.


Director: Gareth Edwards
Writers: Max Borenstein (screenplay), David Callaham (story)
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston
Release Date: May 16, 2014
Runtime: 2 hrs. 3 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG-13




Godzilla has seen numerous iterations since its inception in Toho Studio’s 1954 film of the same name. He is usually seen stomping and roaring his way through urban cityscapes (most often Tokyo), sometimes alone, sometimes fighting other monsters, sometimes the good guy, sometimes the bad – but almost always entertaining. This, the latest American reboot of the franchise (the most recent American production was 1998’s uneven outing with Roland Emmerich at the helm), this Godzilla plays with the same old tropes, but presents things in new and sometimes refreshing ways. It does pay homage to its Japanese roots, beginning the main action at a Japanese nuclear power plant, and involving Dr. Ishiro Serizawa [Ken Watanabe], a specialist in prehistoric cryptids (mythical, but possibly real, animals). This is – and isn’t – you father’s Godzilla.

[Mild spoilers below – click through for my full review]