Archive for Brian Van Holt

Man of the House

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

At the beginning of the film, two Texas Rangers, Roland Sharp (Tommy Lee Jones) and Maggie Swanson (Liz Vassey), are going to a church in order to question Percy Stevens (Cedric the Entertainer) about the whereabouts of his former prison roommate Morgan Ball, who they want to testify against organized crime boss John Cortland. Percy is indignant, telling them he is a “man of God” and hasn’t spoken with Ball in years. However, Percy’s cellphone rings, displaying Ball’s name. Sharp and Swanson track down Ball to the warehouse, where Ball gives Sharp a key in an attempt to buy him off. Instead, Sharp takes the key and forces Ball outside, where FBI agent Eddie Zane (Brian Van Holt) is waiting. As they talk, a sniper begins shooting, wounding Swanson and giving Ball a chance to escape. It is revealed the sniper is after Ball, and a group of cheerleaders from the University of Texas at Austin witness his murder. Agent Zane is found shot in the arm next to Ball’s body and claims he didn’t see the sniper.

Anne (Christina Milian), Teresa (Paula Garcés), Evie (Monica Keena), Heather (Vanessa Ferlito) and Barb (Kelli Garner) are taken to the police station, where they all have conflicting descriptions of the shooter. Sharp is given the task of protecting the girls at all times, because their fathers are worried about them. The information is relayed to him by the Governor of Texas (Rick Perry). It is revealed that Sharp is divorced and has a daughter, Emma (Shannon Marie Woodward) who is in high school and doesn’t feel as though her father had ever been around. It is also revealed that John Cortlin has been exonerated from all charges pressed on him due to a lack of evidence. It is also revealed that FBI Agent Zane is working with Cortlin, having killed Ball and shot himself in the arm. Cortlin scolds Zane for letting some “loose ends” escape, and Zane begins searching for Sharp and the cheerleaders; he also kills the sniper he hired. With Swanson in the hospital recovering from her near-fatal wound, Sharp and two additional rangers must now pick the girls up from school and secure their sorority house. Sharp moves in with the girls and the two young men with him move into the fraternity house across the street, where they end up busting a drug deal.

Sharp sets some ground rules, including no cell phones. He also tells them to “cover up in his presence” (referring to the girls’ revealing clothes). When they fail to comply, he orders a massive industrial air conditioner, forcing them to dress warmly. Sharp is posing as a cheerleading coach specializing in conditioning, and at a Longhorns football game he tackles an opposing team’s mascot when the mascot approaches the girls with a gun, later revealed to be a water gun. Other humorous mishaps occur, but Sharp’s relationship with the girls begins to strengthen; indeed, Barb begins to develop a crush on him. However, Sharp finds himself attracted to Barb’s English teacher Molly (Anne Archer) who calls him into her office to complain about Barb’s plagiarism. Later he invites her over for dinner, which the girls coach him through using an earpiece and tiny video screen. After they fall asleep, he turns it off and woos Molly himself. He admits to the girls about his last failed marriage and the way he feels about his estranged daughter. This interests Evie, who has a 4.0 GPA and wants to write a paper on Emma. She uses the house’s “emergency phone” to call her, revealing Sharp’s location to Zane, who had contacted Emma.

Sharp takes the girls to a “spirit rally” where he is forced to give a speech about cheerleading. He becomes more and more impassioned, proving to the girls he finally “gets it”. The night is ruined, however, when Sharp realizes in the nick of time that somebody put a bomb under their van, and Teresa (who was convinced that nobody was after them) is almost killed when her seatbelt gets stuck. Sharp saves her, and she admits that maybe someone is trying to kill them. Evie tells Sharp she contacted Emma, and when Sharp calls his daughter he learns that Zane has her. He tells Sharp to take the key Ball gave him in the beginning of the movie to open a lockbox, both of them unaware the cheerleaders are listening in. The next day Sharp gets the money out of the lockbox and drives to where Zane instructs him. Zane gives Sharp instructions over a cell phone, telling him he will shoot Emma if Sharp disobeys. After Sharp handcuffs himself to the steering wheel, Zane thanks him and tells him he’s a “good parent.” Zane takes off with the money, Sharp’s keys and phone, and Emma. Zane and Emma get on a bus, but as it pulls away Sharp sees Barb in the back. As he wonders what is going on, Heather gets in the car with him and picks his handcuffs. They take off after the bus in a stolen Volkswagen Beetle. On the bus, Teresa pretends to go into labor and Evie demands the bus be stopped. She attempts to steal the bag with the money, but Zane pulls a gun and Evie runs away from the bus. Everyone else ran away, with Zane telling to leave. He forced the driver out, too, becoming one himself. Emma is rescued by the cheerleaders, but Zane attempts to drive to Mexico with the bag to hide. Sharp shoots a wheel, causing the bus to flip over 90 degrees. Zane gets out the bus, his face injured after he hits the bus’s ceiling. The USA/Mexico border closes and the border officers draw guns towards him, forcing him to surrender after seeing his gun. Sharp shoots the gun out of Zane’s hand, and handcuffs him by the handcuffs he used handcuff himself when Zane instructed him. He and Emma are reunited. At the end of the film, Cortlin is arrested and taken back to court, Sharp and Molly are married, and Emma and the cheerleaders are a part of the service.

REVIEW:

Hook ‘Em Horns!!!! This Saturday, the Texas Longhorns face the Oklahoma Sooners in the “Red River Rivalry”, so I figured now would be the perfect time to watch a film that deals with the ‘Horns, Man of the House. Hopefully, this will be some kind of butterfly effect that will help them win (wishful thinking, right?)

What is this about?

Texas Ranger Roland Sharp finds himself college bound when he’s tapped to protect a boisterous group of University of Texas cheerleaders who happen to be the only witnesses to a federal snitch’s murder.

What did I like?

Texas fight.  I’m a HUGE Texas Longhorn fan. If the school wasn’t so damned expensive, I probably would’ve ended up there…maybe. So the fact that they chose to base this in Austin and use the Longhorns instead of some half-ass made up school warmed my heart to no-end. In the game scene, I found myself singing the fight song and “Wabash Cannonball”. I wonder why they made that game against Arkansas and not a bigger rival like Texas Tech or Baylor, though.

Situations. The situations Tommy Lee Jones’ character found himself in because of these girls are what make this film so funny. I mean, come on, what guy wants to go buying tampons, especially if you don’t know anything about them. I try to stay away from that aisle as much as possible, myself.

Cheerful. Holy hand grenade! –Standing ovation– I have to give much kudos to the casting director for casting the 5 super hot girls as cheerleaders, highlighted by Christina Milian and Monica Keena. Not only do they have the look (I would wager that at least 2 of them really were cheerleader at some point), but they contrast in body sizes, while still having that look of college cheerleaders is dead on. On top of all that, each one has a decent backstory that gives them a character, rather than just being a pretty face with a hot bod!

What didn’t I like?

Story. Vanessa Ferlito plays the token “hard” cheerleader. Watching her character, I felt like they wanted to go more into her character, but didn’t because it would have made Tommy Lee Jones come off as more relatable before they wanted him to. In the final act, she does reveal that she did some time in juvie, so there is that. I would have liked to have gotten more from her, though, especially since she seemed visibly shaken by the fact that Jones’ partner was shot. Perhaps there is some relation there? Who knows, but it would have been nice, right?

Crime. The whole reason that Jones has to protect these girls is because they witnessed a murder and their parents called the governor, Rick Perry (who makes a cameo appearance), who all but decrees that everything is dropped and they are taken care of. I can live with that. Perhaps these girls are daughters of well to do families, but the criminal mastermind behind this all appears in one scene, and it is near the beginning. Afterwards, we never hear from him again. To this, I have to ponder what was the point?!?

Football. For a film about cheerleaders, it seems to me that there should have been more time spent at the games. They appear at a couple of pep rallies and that’s it. I know that with a school this size has like a billion cheerleaders, but it appears that these are the major ones, including the captain, so why aren’t they at every function? Also, it seemed like Jones didn’t even want them to go to class. So, because they witnessed a murder, they should flunk out. WTF?!?

Critics weren’t exactly sold on Man of the House, but I love this film, even if I do have a bit of a Texas Longhorn bias. How often do you get to see Tommy Lee Jones appear totally uncomfortable while buying tampons, or Cedric the Entertainer as an ex-con turned preacher who was a cheerleader himself (don’t ask me why they didn’t turn that into some kind of plot point). This is a film that I very highly recommend, so check it out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Bullet to the Head

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In New Orleans, hitman Jimmy Bobo (Sylvester Stallone) and his partner Louis Blanchard (Jon Seda) kill a corrupt policeman, Hank Greely (Holt McCallany), although Bobo leaves a prostitute, Lola, alive. Later, at a bar, Blanchard is murdered by Keegan (Jason Momoa), who also attempts to kill Bobo, but fails.

Washington D.C. Detective Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang) arrives in New Orleans to investigate Greely’s death and meets Lieutenant Lebreton, who informs him Lola confirmed Greely was assassinated. Kwon goes to the morgue, and, after seeing Blanchard’s body and finding out who he is, he deduces that Blanchard and Bobo killed Greely. Meanwhile, Keegan meets with his employer, Robert Morel (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and Morel’s lawyer Marcus Baptiste (Christian Slater). Baptiste reveals that Greely tried to blackmail Morel, and provided local mobster Baby Jack (Douglas M. Griffin) with a file detailing Morel’s illegal operations. Keegan later kills Baby Jack and his men and retrieves the file.

Kwon meets Bobo in a bar and informs him that he knows Bobo and Blanchard killed Greely. Bobo leaves, and when Kwon tries to follow him, he is attacked by corrupt cops who were ordered by Morel to prevent Kwon from further investigating about Greely. Bobo rescues Kwon and takes him to a tattoo parlor, where Bobo’s daughter, Lisa (Sarah Shahi), treats Kwon’s wounds. They later go to a massage parlor where Bobo interrogates Ronnie Earl (Brian Van Holt), the middleman who hired Bobo and Blanchard on Morel’s behalf. Ronnie Earl tries to kill Bobo, but Bobo manages to kill him, although his gun jams. Bobo later confronts Kwon, who admits to having tampered with Bobo’s gun, nearly causing his death. Bobo and Kwon agree to work together.

Bobo and Kwon kidnap Baptiste and take him to Bobo’s house, where he is forced to give them a flash drive detailing Morel’s plans to acquire housing projects and demolish them to build office buildings and reveals Keegan is an ex-mercenary hired to be Morel’s enforcer. Afterwards, Bobo shoots him in the head. Keegan and his men trace Baptiste’s cellphone to Bobo’s house, but Bobo and Kwon are able to escape and detonate a bomb, killing Keegan’s men. Keegan then becomes obsessed with killing Bobo.

Kwon meets with Lieutenant Lebreton to ask for his help, but Lebreton tries to kill him, as he is also on Morel’s payroll, but Bobo kills him and saves Kwon. Meanwhile, Keegan learns about Lisa and kidnaps her. Morel then calls Bobo and offers to trade Lisa for the flash drive. Bobo agrees, and meets with Morel in an abandoned warehouse, where he delivers the flash drive to him and rescues Lisa, while Kwon infiltrates the building to arrest Morel. Keegan becomes furious when Bobo is allowed to leave and kills Morel and his men before going after Bobo.

Keegan confronts Bobo and they have an axe fight, which ends with Bobo slashing Keegan’s throat with Blanchard’s knife, followed by Kwon shooting Keegan in the head. Kwon retrieves the flash drive and Bobo shoots him in the shoulder to make it appear as if Kwon failed to capture him. Lisa decides to stay with Kwon, with whom she initiates a romantic relationship, and Bobo leaves. He later meets Kwon at a bar, where Kwon tells him he did not mention Bobo’s existence to the police this time, but if Bobo continues in the business, Kwon will take him down. Bobo welcomes him to try and drives off into the night.

REVIEW:

The two biggest action stars of the 80s are now trying to capture a new generation of audiences with new action flicks. Arnold Schwarzenegger had The Last Stand and now Stallone brings us Bullet to the Head. I’ll try not to compare the two, because it is like apples and oranges, but one has to wonder which is the better film.

What is this about?

Justice and revenge go hand in hand in this thriller, which follows a young New York cop and an experienced hit man as they team up to track down and take out an enemy they have in common — the person responsible for slaying their partners.

What did I like?

Throwback. This films takes us back to the gritty buddy cops genre that was prevalent in the 70s as well as just straight up actin films from the 80s. For me, as someone who grew up watching the action from the 80s, I was eating this stuff up. As far as the cop stuff, I wasn’t hating it, as it was nice temporary respite between action scenes. I realize there are folks out there who would have preferred more character development and such, but seriously, if you’re coming into a film like this look for some deep meaning, then you really need to have your head examined!

Sleek sly. It is kind of funny that this is set in New Orleans because obviously, Stallone has been doing some kind of voodoo to have a body like that as his age (no comment about is face). Perhaps that is what happens when you’re not governor of California. I should also mention that his character has a very, very, VERY hot semi-estranged daughter. I wonder if she’ll be doing the taking up the family voodoo practice.

Conan. There are some actors that are just meant to do one thing and one thing alone. Jason Momoa is one of those guys. Aside from being a remake, one of the things that I couldn’t really get into in Conan the Barbarian (2011) was his acting. This director was smart enough to give him very few lines. All the guy has to do is stand there and look intimidating and spout off a few cliché’ lines until it is time for him to actually do something. I’d say that was good use of the guy, wouldn’t you?

What didn’t I like?

Narration. I think we have all been spoiled by the golden voiced narrations of Morgan Freeman, Patrick Stewart, James Earl Jones, and more recently Bill Nighy, Jeff Bridges and John Corbett. The thing about all these guys is that they have clear enunciation. In a bad narrating decision that rivals having Blake Lively do the narrating in Savages, someone had the brilliant idea for Sylvester Stallone to narrate this. Correct me if I’m wrong, but should narration fill you in on what is going on with clear and precise thoughts, not mumblings?

Evil plot? Mayhaps I missed something or got confused, but what exactly is the evil plot here? Best I can tell is that is has something to do with real estate, but I’m not sure. I’m also not real clear on why this led to the murders and double-crossing and how Christian Slater’s character factors into everything. Could they not have thrown the audience a bone with all this?

Punk. As is often the case when we see differing generations team up, the more youthful has no respect for is elder, has a smart mouth, and seems like they’ll die if they don’t have their electronic device. This detective that was brought in fits that bill to a ‘T’. Did I mention they cast him instead of Thomas Jane to make the cast more “ethnic”? So, he’s brought in to fill a quota, if you will, and is just an unlikable guy.

If I don’t say anything else about Bullet to the Head, I really should mention that 99.9% of the people who are shot in this film, and there are quite a few, all get bullets through their skulls. So, at least this film isn’t guilty of false advertising, but is it worth watching? Well, there’s blood, violence, gratuitous nudity early on, and an axe fight between Stallone and Momoa…hmm…sure! This is one of those films that is fast paced and fun from start to finish and I say you should most definitely check it out!

4 out of 5 stars