Archive for July, 2018


July 31, 2018 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When actor/producer Tom Cruise got together with director Brian De Palma in 1996 to make a brand new big-screen version of the classic 1960s spy TV series Mission: Impossible, I doubt that even he expected that he would still be playing the role of action hero Ethan Hunt 22 years later – yet, here we are. We’ve gone through multiple director changes in the intervening two decades – John Woo, J. J. Abrams, Brad Bird – but for the time being the series appears to have settled on Christopher McQuarrie, who with this film becomes the first director to make two Mission: Impossible films. Fallout is, in many ways, a continuation of the story established during Rogue Nation in 2015, as it sees Hunt and his IMF compatriots again locking horns with the shadowy villain Solomon Lane, whose sinister Syndicate organization continues to be a threat to the stability of the world. The globetrotting adventure sees the action moving from Berlin to Paris to London to the foothills of the Himalayas – and what action it is! The staggering set-pieces in the film include a HALO jump over Paris which Cruise did for real, a brutal three-way fight sequence in a bathroom, a high-speed motorbike chase around the Arc de Triomphe and beyond, an epic foot chase through the streets of Britain’s capital that contains a scene where Cruise smashed his ankle – for real – jumping from one building to another, and an exhilarating helicopter dogfight weaving between the towering peaks of the Kashmir. The film co-stars Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, and Alec Baldwin, and has been widely acclaimed as one of the best action movies in recent years. Read more…


July 30, 2018 6 comments


Original Review by Craig Lysy

Steven Spielberg, like most kids, suffered with the divorce of his parents. He was 14, and to cope with his circumstances, he created an imaginary alien friend, who became a surrogate brother. Over time this evolved into a story, which his sought to film called “Growing Up”. After the success of Raiders of The Lost Ark, he returned to fashioning his childhood story, which would now incorporate elements from another story he had written called “Night Skies,” where aliens terrorize a family. He brought in screenwriter to Melissa Mathison to craft a story of a special needs child bonding with a friendly alien. The result was a story to be called “E.T. and Me,” which Spielberg pitched to Columbia Studios. Remarkably they rejected the project, believing that it would only appeal to small kids. Well, Spielberg was undeterred, and approached Sid Sheinberg of MCA, who saw the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and agreed to fund the project. They bought back the script from Columbia Pictures for $1 million dollars and granted 5% of the film’s net profits. Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy would produce the film, with Spielberg also directing. For his creative team, he brought in Carlo Rambaldi, who had created the aliens seen in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The story required Spielberg to cast child actors, and he screened hundreds. His patience and hard effort paid off as he managed to secure a perfect cast, which included; Henry Thomas as Elliot, Drew Barrymore as Gertie, Dee Wallace as Mary, Peter Coyote as Keys, and Robert MacNaughton as Michael. Read more…


July 26, 2018 12 comments


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When cinematic scholars make lists of truly groundbreaking films, very few of them ever mention Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but in my opinion they absolutely should. It’s an anarchic action-comedy-murder mystery directed by Robert Zemeckis, adapted from a novel by Gary K. Wolf. Set in Los Angeles in the 1940s, the film stars Bob Hoskins as Eddie Valiant, a down-on-his-luck private detective who is hired by the head of a movie studio to investigate the wife of one of its box office stars; there are rumors that she is having an affair, and the studio feels that the scuttlebutt is affecting their star’s performances. But here’s the catch: the star in question is a cartoon rabbit named Roger, and this version of Los Angeles is an alternate universe where all the classic animated characters from Disney and Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes live side-by-side with humans. As the plot progresses Eddie and Roger team up when Roger is accused of murder; as Eddie tries to exonerate the bothersome bunny he crosses paths not only with Roger’s sensationally seductive wife Jessica, but a creepy law enforcement officer named Judge Doom, who has a pathological hatred of cartoons, and wants Roger to pay the ultimate price for his alleged crime. The film co-stars Christopher Lloyd and Joanna Cassidy, as well as the voices of Charles Fleischer and Kathleen Turner. Read more…

SKYSCRAPER – Steve Jablonsky

July 24, 2018 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In 1988 director John McTiernan made a film called Die Hard, in which a group of terrorists take over a Los Angeles skyscraper, and a hard nosed cop played by Bruce Willis must defeat them to protect his family. Now, in 2018, director Rawson Marshall Thurber has made a film called Skyscraper, in which a group of terrorists takes over a Hong Kong skyscraper, and a hard nosed ex-FBI agent played by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson must defeat them to protect his family. And they say originality is dead in Hollywood. The reviews and box office returns for the film have not been great, especially compared to the director’s previous efforts Dodgeball and Central Intelligence, and despite the star-heavy power of The Rock in the leading role, serviceable support from Neve Campbell, and a decent amount of vertiginous thrills and spills. Read more…


July 23, 2018 1 comment


Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1973 George Lucas wrote a story titled “The Adventures of Indiana Smith”, drawing inspiration from adventure movies of the 1930s and 1940s. While on a shared vacation to Hawaii with Steven Spielberg, Lucas pitched his story, and convinced him to direct a trilogy of films. Upon Spielberg’s suggestion, the surname was changed to Jones and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was hired to create the script. The major Hollywood studios all rejected the project because of the $20 million price tag and Lucas’ exacting terms. Eventually Paramount took the gamble and Frank Marshall was tasked with producing the film. After exhausting efforts to cast the lead man, Spielberg convinced Lucas to cast Harrison Ford for the role of Indiana Jones. Joining him on the project would be Paul Freeman as Dr. René Belloq, Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, John Rhys-Davies as Sallah, Ronald Lacey as Major Arnold Toht, Denholm Elliot as Dr. Marcus Brody, and Wolf Kahler as Colonel Dietrich. Read more…


July 20, 2018 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The second film in the re-imagined Jurassic Park franchise is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, directed by Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona. It takes place several years after the events of the first Jurassic World film, in which the fully operational theme park was, as one would expect, fully overtaken and virtually destroyed by the genetically modified dinosaurs it housed. Claire Dearing, Jurassic World’s former operations manager, is now the head of a dinosaur rights organization; when a volcanic eruption on the Jurassic World island Isla Nublar threatens to wipe out the remaining animals, she is called to action by multibillionaire philanthropist Sir Benjamin Lockwood and his aide Eli Mills, who say they want her to help them move the dinosaurs off the island to a safe location. To this end Claire recruits Owen Grady, Jurassic World’s dinosaur expert and her former lover, to accompany her and a team of mercenaries on the mission. However, once Claire, Owen, and the team arrives back on the island, it quickly becomes clear that the priorities regarding the dinosaurs have shifted. The film stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, and James Cromwell, and has an original score by the composer of Jurassic World – Michael Giacchino. Read more…