Archive for Chris Pine

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Five years after the first film, Crown Princess of Genovia Amelia “Mia” Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) has just graduated from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and is returning to Genovia with her bodyguard Joe (Héctor Elizondo). There, she will await her reign once her grandmother, Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews), steps down as Queen. During Mia’s 21st birthday party, she dances with all the eligible bachelors in hope of finding a husband. She becomes attracted to a handsome gentleman named Nicholas (Chris Pine). During the course of the night, Mia’s tiara falls off and is caught by a Member of Parliament, Viscount Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies) who secretly plans to steal Mia’s crown. While the Parliament is in-session the next morning, Mia stumbles upon a hidden room that allows her to secretly listen in. Viscount Mabrey reveals his nephew, Lord Devereaux, is another heir to the Genovian throne. Despite Queen Clarisse’s objection, the only way Mia can assume her duties as Queen is if she marries within the month. Clarisse invites Lord Devereaux to stay at the palace, while Mia is shocked to discover Lord Devereaux is Nicholas. Mia’s best friend Lilly Moscovitz (Heather Matarazzo) surprises her by visiting. Together, they pick through potential husbands. Mia eventually chooses Andrew Jacoby (Callum Blue), Duke of Kenilworth and days later they are engaged. Mabrey plans to have Nicholas woo Mia and dissolve the engagement.

For a ceremony, Mia is to ride sidesaddle but does not know how. Queen Clarisse provides an ancestral wooden leg decoy to make it look like she’s riding sidesaddle. Mabrey spooks Mia’s horse with a rubber snake and Joe rushes to Mia’s aide, but accidentally tears off the wooden leg. Humiliated, Mia flees to the stables, where Nicholas fails to comfort her. At a garden party, Mia and Nicholas quarrel about Mia’s relationship with Andrew; Nicholas tricks Mia into admitting she doesn’t love him. Angered, she argues but instead gets bombarded by a kiss. At first, she kisses him back but then backs away. Nicholas pursues her even more, which causes both of them to fall into a fountain. Queen Clarisse finally tells Mia that her behavior with Nicholas needs to stop.

During the Genovian Independence Day parade, Mia sees some boys picking on a little girl (Abigail Breslin), and abruptly halts the parade to comfort the girl. Learning the children are orphans, Mia has a vendor give them all tiaras and lets them walk with her in the parade. Everyone is impressed by her act of generosity, while Mabrey sees it as a political maneuver. Mia later decides to convert one of the royal palaces into a temporary children’s center. That night, Mia has her bachelorette/sleepover party, where Queen Clarisse surfs on a mattress and sings a duet with Princess Asana (Raven-Symoné), one of Mia’s good friends. In the meantime, Mabrey realizes Nicholas has fallen for Mia, but Nicholas says that Mia will never love him. Nicholas comes upon Mia as she is practicing her archery as part of her coronation rites. He helps her succeed in getting the arrow to hit the bullseye, something she had been struggling with. Nicholas then informs Mia that he is leaving, but asks to see her just one more time before he goes. She declines, saying she is under close guard.

That night, Nicholas appears outside Mia’s window and asks her to come out. Lilly encourages her to go, and Mia sneaks out. They ride out to a lake where they share secrets, dance and eventually fall asleep. They awaken to find a man in a boat videotaping them. Mia thinks Nicholas set her up, while he insists he had no idea. By the time Mia gets back to the palace, the scandalous footage is already being broadcast. Andrew is disappointed and kisses Mia to see if there is a romantic spark between them. They realize they do not love each other, but do not call off the wedding for the good of Genovia. The wedding is to take place the following day, and Mia’s mother Helen (Caroline Goodall) comes with her new husband Patrick (Sean O’Bryan) and their newborn son Trevor. Nicholas decides against attending, but his surly housekeeper Gretchen informs him that Mabrey engineered their televised scandal.

Right before the wedding, Joe informs Mia that Nicholas is innocent. Queen Clarisse encourages Mia to follow her heart, something she has never done and has now cost her Joe, the only man she truly loved. Mia reenters the church, and after pointing out how her grandmother has ruled Genovia while unmarried for a number of years, she tells the members of parliament in the audience to consider the significant women in their lives (such as their wives, sisters, daughters and nieces) and questions if they would have them do what they’re trying to force her to do (marrying people they don’t love). Mabrey cites the law again and once again suggests that his nephew be named King, but just then, Nicholas not only refuses the crown, but also disowns Mabrey as his uncle. Mia proposes the law on royal marriages be abolished, and the Parliament unanimously gives its assent. Encouraged by Mia to have her own happy ending, Clarisse proposes to Joe and they are promptly married.

About a week later, Mia is preparing for her coronation when Nicholas shows up. He professes his love for Mia on bended knees, and they share a romantic kiss. The next day, Mia is crowned “Her Majesty Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, Queen of Genovia”, with all in attendance in the royal palace.

An epilogue shows that Genovian Parliament now allows female members, one of whom is Charlotte. And Queen Mia officially opens the children’s home

REVIEW:

Sometimes when the end credits roll on a film you wonder if you will ever see the characters again and what will they be up to the next time we see them, should we be privileged enough to see them again. This was the case with The Princess Diaries. The film ended in a way that left the audience wondering what happens next. Enter The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, a film that I swear I was not meant to see (up until tonight, I have never been able to watch it straight through for various reasons). With all that aside, let’s see if this film is comparable to its predecessor.

What is this about?

Directed by Garry Marshall, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement picks up where its predecessor left off — that is, with American teenager Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) reeling over the news that she is a princess within the royal family of Genovia, a little-known European nation with a population of barely 50,000. As promised, Mia, along with her best friend, Lilly (Heather Matarazzo), travels to Genovia after their high-school graduation. The unlikely princess has hardly settled into the castle, let alone begun representing the country, when she learns that a larger title is approaching more rapidly than expected; it seems as though Mia will have to take over as queen. Suddenly, in addition to further schooling on the etiquette of royalty, Mia finds herself with a daunting prospect — according to Genovian law, all princesses must be married before they can be crowned.

What did I like?

One more once. Not too long before the first film was made, Julie Andrews underwent surgery on her throat/vocal chords. The operation was a success, but she was no longer allowed to sing. I’m not sure what happened, but we get a song from her during the slumber party, albeit nowhere near as strong a vocal performance as we expect from her. Still, it is great to hear her sing a few notes.

In her skin. In this second time out, Anne Hathaway, as Princess Mia, seems much more confident both as an actress and the character as a royal. Can you imagine what this would have been like if she was still bumbling around like she was when we first met her? Granted, she does still have those moments that remind us that while she is the would be queen, the clumsy prep school girl is still in there somewhere.

Grandmother. Julie Andrews’ character is on her way out of the royal spotlight and off the throne as Mia takes her rightful place as ruler of Genovia. It is because of this that I think she is able to not be such a “stick in the mud” and be more of a grandmother towards her granddaughter. We get a few scenes where she is chewing her out, of course, but for the most part, she is the dream grandmother we all wish we had. She had poise, class, elegance, compassion…not to mention she’s Julie Freakin’ Andrews!!!

What didn’t I like?

Nevermore. Aside from her best friend, Lily, who was flown in from California (and felt a bit forced into the film), Mia seems to be close to Princess Asana. There are two glaring issues I want to bring up with this. First, if they are so close, why is Asana only in a couple of scenes? Second, who is she? How did they meet? Why are they so close? Mia grew up with Lily and they were both outsider freaks in high school, so we know that’s why they were so close, but with Asana, we get none of that. She’s just a random character that gets to sing with Julie Andrews.

Formula 1. Is it me or with every film, book, or tv show that involves a royal change of power of sorts, we get someone who wants to prove they are next in line. This is such a cliché’ nowadays. One could tell what was going to happen before it actually does, just by the film’s title and the type of film this is. Come on filmmakers, be creative!

Lionel. Joe, who is retiring when the Queen leaves the throne, is sacked with an intern in his last days. What I found odd about this guy was how he reminded me of Michael from the first film, but with darker skin and slightly shorter hair. This got me thinking…with the way Mia fawned over Michael in the first film, wouldn’t it have been a cool idea for him to show up as Lionel in disguise and be her dream ending? Of course, then Chris Pine’s whole character in this film would be worthless, but he goes on too much bigger and better things after this, so he’ll be fine.

Final verdict on The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement? Let’s see…it repeats some of the same notes from the first film. The soundtrack isn’t as catchy this go-round. Chemistry among the characters is so-so, but I actually believed it in the archery scene with Hathaway and Pine. The mattress surfing scene was perhaps the most fun part of the film. Do I recommend this? Yes, a good (non animated) family film is hard to find. While not great, it is somewhat entertaining and that’s worth something. However, I would suggest going for the first film, if you can.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

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Wonder Woman (2017)

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In present day Paris, Diana Prince receives a World War I-era photograph at the Louvre and recalls her childhood. Raised on the island of Themyscira, the land of the Amazons, the child Diana dreams of becoming an Amazonian warrior but her mother Queen Hippolyta forbids it, telling her the story of how Ares the god of war corrupted mankind and killed all the other gods except Zeus. With the last of his strength, Zeus left the Amazons a weapon capable of destroying Ares if he ever returned. Diana nevertheless disobeys her mother and is secretly trained by her aunt Antiope.

As a young woman, Diana rescues pilot Steve Trevor after his plane crashes off the coast of Themyscira. The Amazons engage and kill the German soldiers in pursuit of him, but Antiope dies protecting Diana. Interrogated with the Lasso of Truth, Steve reveals that he is an Allied spy in World War I and has stolen information from a weapons facility in the Ottoman Empire run by German general Erich Ludendorff, whose scientist Doctor Maru is producing a new, deadlier form of mustard gas. Certain that Ares must be responsible for the “war to end all wars,” Diana defies her mother’s orders and leaves Themyscira in search of him with Steve.

In London, Steve delivers Maru’s notes to his superiors at the Imperial War Cabinet, including Sir Patrick Morgan, who is trying to negotiate an armistice with Germany. Steve believes Ludendorff will complete and use the gas regardless of an armistice, and Diana concludes Ludendorff is Ares himself and slaying him will end the war. With Sir Patrick’s blessing, Steve and Diana travel to the front lines to stop Ludendorff, accompanied by Steve’s team: spy Sameer, marksman Charlie, and smuggler Chief. Arriving at the Western Front in Belgium, the group’s progress is halted by enemy trenches, until Diana pushes alone through the German lines, rallying the allied forces behind her to liberate a village from German control. Diana and the team celebrate the freedom of the villagers, and Diana grows close to Steve.

Learning that Ludendorff will attend a gala at a nearby castle, Steve infiltrates the party and is followed by Diana, who intends to kill Ludendorff. Steve stops her to avoid jeopardizing the mission to destroy the chemical stores, and shortly after Ludendorff uses the gas to bomb the nearby village. Diana is devastated that Steve interfered, blaming him for the loss of life. In rage, Diana pursues Ludendorff to a complex where the gas is being loaded into a bomber to attack London. Diana fights and slays Ludendorff, but is stunned when his death does not stop the war. Sir Patrick appears to her, revealing that he is the true Ares; he tells her though he has encouraged them to destroy themselves, humans themselves contain the dark impulse to make war.

As they fight, Ares attempts to convince Diana that humanity does not deserve to be saved, and reveals that she herself is the weapon of Zeus: his last child. As Ares overpowers Diana, Steve hijacks the bomber containing the gas and sacrifices himself to incinerate it at a safe distance. Inspired by Steve’s selflessness and his final words, Diana dedicates herself to defending mankind and summons her power to finally destroy Ares and spare humanity. In London, the team solemnly celebrates the end of the war.

In the present day, Diana writes to Bruce Wayne thanking him for the photograph of her and Steve and reaffirms her mission to keep protecting and guiding mankind

REVIEW:

We’ve had solo films from Green Lantern, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Superman, Batman, etc., but one of the biggest superheroes has been missing from the big screen. Even in the small screen adaptations we don’t get this particular hero. Well, the wait is over, we finally have a solo film for the 3rd member of what was once known as DCs “big 3”. Will Wonder Woman do this character justice, or continue the downward spiral that has been the dark, depressing, DC films?

What is this about?

Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when a pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers and her true destiny.

What did I like?

Color. Believe it or not, this is a DC comics film that uses color, rather than just black, gray, and muted variation of what are supposed to be colors. With the exception of Suicide Squad, we haven’t really gotten much in the way of color from these guys. Most of that blame is on Zach Snyder’s head, but it looks like we’re going another direction. Just look at the difference in Wonder Woman’s costume in this film and in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The design is more or less the same, but the red and blue pop more in this one. Then we have the lush landscape of Themyscira, greens, blues, and other actual colors as far as they eye can see. The scenes in this land are almost like a giant F-U to what has been happening in the DCEU.

On your own. Something that I’ve noticed with DC films, both live action and animated, is that Batman pops up in just about all of them. If he doesn’t then there is an Easter egg related to it, such as a Wayne Enterprise tower, truck, etc., or history is retconned so that he can be there. Well, unless he can go back to World War I, that won’t be the case with this film. Wonder Woman is allowed to stand on her own and become a character we can all love (or hate). Yes, there is a connection to Batman/Bruce Wayne, but that is part of the connecting arc DC is trying to do in making (rushing) the cinematic universe they are building.

War. The comparisons to Captain America: The First Avenger cannot be avoided. Major superhero who hasn’t been brought to the big screen because everyone thought they would be too cheesy. Film is set in wartime. Hero is helped by team of military mercenaries. Do we see the pattern here? What interested me, though, about how they did this is the selection of World War I. Not many films are made about WWI for some reason. If nothing else stands out about this film, the period in which it is set surely will.

What didn’t I like?

Scum and villainy. I believe it was last summer, when the hype was stating to pick up about this film, that I was reading an article about Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery and how they would be perfect for the big screen. Admittedly, I don’t know much of her rivals outside of Ares, Cheetah, and Giganta. That said, I have no qualm with Ares as the big bad, though I wonder if a different actor would have been better suited for the god parts. My issue is with Dr. Maru and Erich Ludendorff, neither of which we seemed to get much in the way of development. As it turns out, Ludendorff was a real person (obviously his powers in this film are false). Dr. Maru, though, seems like there is an interesting story there involving what happened to her face, but we got none of that.

Themyscira. You would think with all the money the filmmakers spent in making Themyscira look as great as it did, they would actually spend more than 5-15 minutes on the island. Green Lantern did the same thing. Oa was a sight to behold, but we barely spend anytime there before being whisked away to Earth. For the sake of the plot, though, I understand why not much time was spent on Themyscira, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

On the lighter side of things. Can this be? Was that? No way! I do believe there were some jokes in this film and not everyone was brooding! *GASP* You know what I didn’t like about this, though? Diana’s naiveté. Here we have a woman who knows nothing of the outside world. This should be comedic gold in most situations. I wish they wouldn’t have been so serious with most of her situations and given us some laughs before we got to the serious action stuff in the 2nd half of the picture.

Final verdict on Wonder Woman? Well, for an origin story it delivers everything we need to know about this character, including how that picture from Batman v. Superman came to be. With that said, I feel as if we still don’t know much about her. What I mean by that is, at the end of the first Captain America, we knew who Steve Rogers was and felt for him as we went down into the ice. With this, Wonder Woman just seems like a female superhero they are throwing out there to make the feminists happy. That said, I did enjoy this film. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly! However, if you want a solid origin of the character, check out Wonder Woman, the animated feature from 2009. I believe it was just re-released.

4 out of 5 stars

Horrible Bosses 2

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Nick Hendricks, Dale Arbus, and Kurt Buckman decide to start their own business after tiring of working for ungrateful bosses. Their idea is a car-wash-inspired shower head called the “Shower Buddy”. They have trouble finding investors until they are approached by Bert Hanson and his son Rex. Bert admires their commitment to manufacturing the product themselves, while Rex prefers to outsource to China, and agrees to invest if they can make 100,000 units. Taking out a business loan, the three rent a warehouse, hire employees, and manage to produce their output. However, Bert backs out of their deal at the last minute, claiming that he never signed an agreement, and he plans on taking their inventory in foreclosure and selling them (renamed the “Shower Pal”) himself, while leaving the three in $500,000 debt with their outstanding loan.

Seeking financial advice, Nick, Dale, and Kurt visit Nick’s old boss, Dave Harken, in prison, who says the three have no feasible legal options to recover their losses. The three then resolve to kidnap Rex and hold him for ransom. They seek the help of “Motherfucker” Jones, who says the best way to kidnap someone who knows them is to keep the victim unconscious for the duration of the kidnapping. The three create a ransom note asking for $500,000 and go to the office of Dale’s old boss, Dr. Julia Harris, to steal a tank of nitrous oxide. While there, Kurt and Dale are almost caught by Julia’s sex addiction group meeting; after the group leaves, Nick has sex with Julia, providing the distraction that allows Dale and Kurt to escape the building. The trio goes to Rex’s house, but while they hide in the closet, Dale accidentally turns on the tank and they pass out. When they wake up in the morning, they find Rex gone.

When they arrive back at the warehouse, they find Rex tied up in the trunk of their car. Rex gets out and reveals he found them hiding in his closet, but decided to stage his own kidnapping with them due to his strained relationship with his dad. Rex sent the ransom note to his dad and increased the ransom to $5 million. The three are uncertain of Rex’s plan, but Rex threatens to go to the police if they back out. They call Bert to inform him of Rex’s kidnapping, threatening to kill Rex if Bert calls the cops. However, the police, led by Detective Hatcher, subsequently arrive at their warehouse to question Nick, Dale, and Kurt due to their involvement with Bert. When the police leave, Rex breaks down, knowing Bert cares more about his money than his son. Now sympathetic to Rex, the trio agrees to work with him in the fake kidnapping, and all four devise a plan to outsmart the police and take the ransom money, utilizing untraceable phones, a basement garage to block out any tracking signal, and Kurt disguising himself as Bert.

While the plan is in motion, Nick, Dale, and Kurt find that Kurt left Bert his own phone instead of the untraceable one. They nevertheless call Bert on Kurt’s phone to give him the instructions. Before they leave, Julia arrives at their hotel room and demands to sleep with Dale or else she will report them for breaking into her office. Dale’s wife Stacy, whom Dale has three daughters with, arrives, and believing Dale is cheating on her with Julia, storms off. Dale angrily locks Julia in the bathroom so the three can leave. In the basement garage, Nick, Dale, and Kurt, wearing masks, tell Bert to give back the cell phone. Bert is killed by Rex, who reveals that, after seeing that his father did not care about him, he decided to kill Bert and frame Nick, Dale, and Kurt in order to inherit the family business. Rex forces Kurt to switch pants as Rex’s pants have Bert’s blood on them.

As the trio are about to be cornered by the police, Jones arrives, as he anticipated that the three would be betrayed and killed and was seeking to claim the ransom money for himself. He attempts to help them get back to the warehouse where Rex is supposed to be tied up, with the police chasing them, before Rex does so they can prove their innocence. When they get back to the warehouse, Jones escapes with the money and the police arrive to find Rex tied up. Before the police arrest Nick, Dale, and Kurt, Kurt’s phone rings in Rex’s pocket, and the police recognize the ringtone as the same phone that was left to Bert by the kidnappers. Rex tries to claim the phone is his, but when Hatcher asks why Rex did not bother to call the police if he had a phone, Rex takes Hatcher hostage. Dale attempts to attack Rex, but Rex shoots him, which distracts Rex long enough for Hatcher to subdue him.

A few days later, Dale wakes up to find out that the three did get in trouble, but because Dale helped save Hatcher’s life, the police dropped the charges. He also finds out that Julia helped make amends with Stacy, although she hints at having had sex with him during his coma and promises to have sex with his wife as well. In the aftermath, their business goes into foreclosure, but is subsequently purchased by Harken in prison, who allows the three of them to stay employed. Jones, meanwhile, uses the ransom money to invest in Pinkberry

REVIEW:

What do you do when you make a small film that turns out to be an unsuspected success? Of course you quickly churn out a sequel, because that is how business is done in Hollywood these days. Whether audiences want it or not, we get remakes, reboots, sequels, and prequels, just so studio execs can keep their billion dollar lifestyles. Unfortunately, Horrible Bosses 2 is one of those films that should not have been made, at least not as quickly.

What is this about?

In a renewed attempt to escape their employers’ abuses, the oppressed heroes of Horrible Bosses open a business together. When a slippery investor torpedoes their dream, the boys strike back by kidnapping his son.

What did I like?

Voice of reason. In almost every movie he is in, Jason Bateman plays a no-nonsense, stick in the mud character that is usually the least likable of the cast, or at least one of the least liked. There are times, though, that those same characteristics can work to his advantage. Take for instance this role in which he is paired with two morons, as is said about his partners multiple times throughout the film. Bateman’s character isn’t necessarily the brains behind the operation, but he is the voice of reason, keeping everyone grounded. I shudder to think of where this might have gone had he not been there.

In the cards. Reprising his role from the first Horrible Bosses, Kevin Spacey appears in a couple of quick scenes. I wager these were all filmed the same day when he wasn’t on set for House of Cards. Spacey knocks it out of the park in what may very well have been the performance of the film. He has a Hannibal Lecter type of sophistication about him, mixed with a dose of crazy, thrown in what random bits and pieces that Spacey came up with. It was a joy to watch, especially in the epilogue, but I won’t spoil that.

She can be my dentist. Whew! Jennifer Aniston with dark hair is just…there are no words! Brad Pitt, what were you thinking? Do you not get the picture that you downgraded to that big lipped skeleton you’re traipsing around the world with adopting kids? Anyway, Aniston is not just tasty eye candy, but her character is a little more fleshed out, as we learn she has a sex addiction, which explains a lot of her actions from the first film. Also, she has a collection and needs Charlie Day’s character to sleep with her so that she can complete it. Yeah, she’s still a bit psycho, and the audience loves her for it!

What didn’t I like?

Yammering. I mentioned earlier how Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis’ characters were called morons for a good part of the film. If I recall from the original, that is no change for Day’s character, but Sudeikis was a bit more competent. What happened that turned him into a grown up frat boy, for lack of a better term, I wonder? Why is it that he and Day constantly yammer on about random stuff and the most inopportune moments? Is this supposed to be funny?

Waltz from days gone by. Christoph Waltz has not had a bad performance. Even in bad movies like The Green Hornet, he seems to be a bright spot. That record will not be besmirched by this film, though it is close. I have issue with the way Waltz was portrayed. Obviously, he has a very thick German accent. It is what has made him such a hot commodity. I’m not sure if he was supposed to have been covering it up for this character, or playing someone who was making an attempt to cover up where they were from. Also, this look…it wouldn’t have bothered me, except every time he was on screen, I felt like I was back in 6th grade with my beginning band director, Mr. Ramsey. I wonder if I should tell him that he resembles Christoph Waltz in disguise.

Length. I feel as if this film went on way too long. This is a comedy, there is no need for it to go much past an hour and a half. Truth be told, I lost interest about 10 minutes or so into the picture, and didn’t really come back until the security tapes of Aniston and Bateman were on display. What would I cut to make this shorter? Perhaps cut down the chase scene. This is a comedy, not an action comedy. No need for all that. I’d also cut out all the rigmarole in the last act. It just seemed as if they were talking in circles, which is mostly what this film does, now that I think about it.

Everything that Horrible Bosses was, Horrible Bosses 2 isn’t. This film isn’t funny, charming, witty, innovative, interesting, or anything. It is one of those sequels where the studio noticed that something they just threw out to the wolves, so to speak, made a lot of money, so they want even more. This caused the writers to half ass throw together a script, then we get this rushed product that is far inferior to its predecessor. I liken it to this…when you put toast in the toaster and pull it out before it is toasted, you’ll have somewhat toasted bread, but it won’t be full toast. This film was that partly toasted bread, not quite toast. I don’t have much to say on the positive side for this film, I’m afraid so, as you can just about guess, this is not getting a recommendation from me. You’d be better served torturing your own boss like they did in the first film.

2 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Into Darkness

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 2259, the starship Enterprise is on a survey mission to the planet Nibiru, studying a primitive culture. Captain James T. Kirk and First Officer Spock attempt to save the planet’s inhabitants from a volcanic eruption. When Spock’s life is endangered, Kirk violates the Prime Directive in order to save him, exposing the Enterprise to the native inhabitants, a decision with which Spock disagrees.

Returning to Earth, Kirk loses command of the Enterprise and Admiral Christopher Pike is reinstated as its commanding officer. Pike manages to convince Admiral Marcus to allow Kirk to continue as his first officer on the Enterprise, rather than being sent back to the Academy. Meanwhile, a secret Section 31 installation in London is bombed by a renegade Starfleet officer, Commander John Harrison. During a meeting of Starfleet commanders to discuss the situation, Harrison attacks in a jumpship, killing Pike. Kirk disables the jumpship, but Harrison uses a prototype portable transwarp transporter device to escape to Kronos, the Klingon homeworld, knowing Starfleet would be unable to follow.

Admiral Marcus orders the Enterprise to kill Harrison, arming them with 72 prototype photon torpedoes, shielded and untraceable to sensors. Chief engineer Montgomery Scott resigns his duties in protest when Kirk denies Scott’s request to examine the weapons for safety reasons. Pavel Chekov is promoted in his stead and Dr. Carol Wallace, a weapons specialist, joins the crew. Spock, Dr. Leonard McCoy and Uhura convinces Kirk it would be better to capture Harrison and return him to Earth for trial, rather than killing him.

En route, the Enterprise suffers an unexpected coolant leak in the warp core, disabling the ship’s warp capabilities. Kirk leads a deniable operation to Kronos in a confiscated civilian vessel. Approaching Harrison’s location, they are ambushed by Klingon patrols. Harrison easily dispatches the Klingons, then unexpectedly surrenders after learning the exact number of torpedoes locked on his location. On the Enterprise, Wallace is revealed as Dr. Carol Marcus, the Admiral’s daughter, who along with Dr. McCoy, opens a torpedo at the behest of Harrison, revealing a man in cryogenic stasis. Harrison reveals his true identity as Khan, a genetically-engineered superhuman awoken by Marcus from a 300-year suspended animation. Khan reveals his crew was held hostage by Marcus to force him to develop weapons and warships for Starfleet in preparation for a war between the Federation and the Klingons. Khan attempted to smuggle his crew out in the torpedoes he had designed, but was discovered. Believing Marcus had killed his crew, he instigated his attacks to avenge his family. Khan reveals Marcus had sabotaged the Enterprise’s warp drive, intending for the Klingons to destroy the ship after firing the torpedoes at Kronos, giving him a casus belli for war. Acting on information from Khan, Kirk asks Scott to investigate a set of coordinates within the Solar System.

The Enterprise is intercepted by a larger Federation warship, the USS Vengeance under the command of Marcus. Marcus demands that Kirk deliver Khan, but Kirk refuses. The Enterprise, with a hastily repaired warp drive, flees to Earth in order to report Marcus, however the Vengeance intercepts and disables it. Kirk offers to exchange Khan and the cryogenic pods in exchange for sparing the lives of his crew. Marcus refuses, transporting Carol Marcus to the Vengeance and ordering the Enterprise’s destruction. The Vengeance suddenly loses power, having been sabotaged by Scott, who discovered and infiltrated the ship during his investigation. With the transporters down, Kirk and Khan, with the latter’s knowledge of the warship’s design, space-jump to the Vengeance. Meanwhile, Spock contacts his older self on New Vulcan, who informs him that Khan cannot be trusted. After capturing the bridge, Khan overpowers Kirk, Scott and Carol, killing Admiral Marcus and seizing control of the Vengeance.

Khan demands from Spock the return of his crew in exchange for the three Enterprise officers. Spock complies, but had previously removed Khan’s frozen crew and armed the warheads. Khan betrays their agreement, crippling the Enterprise, however the Vengeance is in turn disabled following the detonation of the torpedoes. With both starships powerless and caught in Earth’s gravity, they begin to fall toward the surface. Kirk sacrifices himself by entering the radioactive reactor chamber to realign the warp core, saving the ship. Kirk succumbs to radiation poisoning, throwing Spock into a grief-stricken rage.

In one last act of defiance, Khan crashes the Vengeance into San Francisco to destroy Starfleet headquarters. Fleeing the scene, Spock transports down in pursuit. While experimenting on a dead tribble, McCoy discovers that Khan’s blood has regenerative properties that may save Kirk. Spock manages to subdue and capture Khan, and Kirk is revived. One year later, Kirk addresses a gathering memorializing the events, where he recites the “where no man has gone before” monologue. Khan is resealed in his cryogenic pod and stored with his crew, while Carol Marcus joins the crew of a recommissioned Enterprise, as it departs on a five-year exploratory mission.

REVIEW:

Let me preface this review with a very important statement, I am not a trekkie. My sci-fi franchise allegiance lies with the holy trilogy, before George Lucas decided to make them nothing more than a cash cow. That said, I do have respect for the phenomena of Star Trek and was somewhat looking forward to Star Trek Into Darkness.

What is this about?

This sequel returns much of the cast from the Star Trek feature released in 2009, breathing new life into the seemingly ageless space franchise. Led by the intrepid Captain Kirk, the Enterprise crew still includes Scotty, Spock and Chekov as well.

What did I like?

Characterization. In the last Star Trek, I don’t recall the characters being as similar to the original as they are in this one. For instance, Scotty has an exaggerated, almost Scrooge McDuck-like Scottish accent, Bones was spitting out metaphors, until ordered to stop, etc. I know that this irked some people, but I loved it! If you’re going to reboot something, you need to have nods to the original, and this is a good way to give the fans a little nugget of nostalgia.

Sherlock. Benedict Cumberbatch is a fast rising star. If you haven’t had the chance to see him in Sherlock, then you are missing out on a great show. I’m no fan of him as Khan, but as a villain he has the cunning, cruel streak that is pure evil, not to mention his voice, which has been compared to the likes of Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, and Alan Rickman, makes for quite the imposing antagonist.

Pacing. If you are an avid reader of this blog, then you are more than aware that I am a sucker for films that keep things rolling along. When things slow down, my ADHD kicks in and I lose interest, unless it is an older film that Is made in a different time, so pacing isn’t the same. I appreciate this film being almost non-stop action, slowing down just long enough to let the audience catch their breath and then ratchets right back up.

What didn’t I like?

Plot. The big selling point of this rebooted Star Trek universe is that it is new adventures that may be similar to things that have happened before. Well, this was not a new adventure, no matter what they try to tell you. My dad was a trekkie and forced me to watch Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan when it was either released or on TV. It is more than obvious that this is a blatant ripoff of that film. Many of the memorable parts are recreated, just with different characters, for instance, it is Spock that yells “Khan” and Kirk that ends up in radiation. They came up with a new villain for the first film, and Khan was eventually going to have to make an appearance, but damn…they could have done better than this.

Lens flares. When this was released everyone was complaining about the lens flares. A couple of times, it worked, but after a while it just got to be old and annoying, in the same vein as bullet time has become. What was J.J. Abrams thinking by using this technique so frequently?

Underwear. There apparently is a bit of a controversy surrounding the scene with Alice Eve in her underwear. I was expecting it to be some huge scene where she’s half-naked, but instead it is a quick shot where she’s changing clothes. Yes, it was out of place, but I’m not complaining. A little skin never hurt anyone. I really don’t get the backlash. No one said anything about the alien girls in Kirk’s bed. Also, I would much rather see curvy Alice Eve than anorexic Zoe Saldana in her underwear.

There are only a few other films that were as hyped coming into this year as Star Trek Into Darkness. Did it live up to the hype? Well, judging by the box office, you would say no, but audiences seem to have responded very positively to it. That being said, audiences expected more than what we got. I enjoyed and recommend it, but I can’t help but feel it is a bit of a step back from its predecessor. Give it a shot, though.

4 out of 5 stars

Rise of the Guardians

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The story begins with the spirit of winter, Jack Frost being raised from a frozen lake, but he returns to the world unseen by people and it is learned that he cannot be seen because he is not believed in, and all of his memories from his former life are gone. Only his name, given to him by the Man in the Moon who raised him, is known to him.

300 years later, North receives a vision in his workshop of the boogeyman Pitch Black, and alerts the other Guardians; the head of the tooth fairies Tooth, the short tempered Australian-accented E. Aster Bunnymund and the gentle, non-speaking Sandy to the North Pole. Upon their arrival, they do not want to believe that Pitch poses a threat, but their guide the Man in the Moon suggests otherwise and instructs them to induct Jack Frost as a new Guardian to combat the threat. Meanwhile, Jack instills fun and laughter in children from his childish nature and inspires a snowball fight between a young believer named Jamie and the local children, but still they do not believe in him and he is still invisible. Jack is taken forcibly to the North Pole by North’s Yeti workshop workers, but declines joining the Guardians as his centuries-long isolation has left him bitter to the responsibility they hold dear to protect the children of the world. North tries to convince him otherwise, but they are alerted to an attack on Tooth’s palace. When they arrive, they discover Pitch’s nightmares taking all of the childrens’ teeth and the baby tooth fairies that work as Tooth’s assistants. Jack saves one before they are confronted by Pitch, who states he intends to stop the childrens’ belief in the Guardians so he instead is believed in, wielding a power like Sandy’s to turn his dreams into nightmares. Pitch escapes and the loss of belief in the tooth fairy seems to immediately effect Tooth. Jack volunteers to help when he discovers that the teeth provide the memories of the children they came from including his own and seeks to find his place among them. They manage to collect the teeth in one night and faith in Tooth is restored though they are caught by Jamie who can see them all with the exception of Jack. Jack and Sandy are attacked by Pitch’s nightmares and though Jack’s efforts are valiant, Sandy is overcome and seemingly destroyed by Pitch. With Easter a day away, the group agrees to help Bunny distribute his eggs. They find Jamie’s toddler sister Sophie at the Warren and manage to decorate eggs for distribution, Jack then takes Sophie home.

Lured by a familiar voice calling to him from under a bed in the forest, Jack and Baby Tooth discover Pitch’s hideout. Pitch offers Jack’s canister of memories in exchange for remaining a neutral party, but Jack refuses and in retaliation, Pitch destroys all the eggs before they make their way to the surface, destroying the childrens’ belief in the Easter Bunny. Being blamed for the failure, Jack leaves the Guardians and isolates himself in Antarctica where he encounters Pitch again who offers a partnership to spread fear to all the children. But Jack wants to be loved, not feared and rejects Pitch’s offer again. Pitch holds Baby Tooth hostage for Jack’s staff and then he sends Jack and Baby Tooth into a crevasse when Jack hands the staff over. Baby Tooth suggests Jack open his memories, where he discovers he was a teenage boy who had saved his sister from falling through thin ice by alleviating her fear with fun, in turn though he’d fallen in, but that sacrifice inspired the Man in the Moon to resurrect him as Jack Frost. Inspired by this, Jack returns to save the last light of belief on Earth; Jamie. Not only does Jack succeed in reaffirming Jamie’s faith in the Guardians, but he also instills a belief in him, allowing Jamie to see and hear him, much to Jack’s delight. The other woefully weakened Guardians join Jack to face off against Pitch, and Jamie has his own friends join in the seemingly impossible fight; but their faith is more than a match for Pitch’s nightmares and also causes Sandy’s resurrection, which sends Pitch running. No longer feared, Pitch cannot be seen or heard by the human children, and his fear turns his own nightmares against him, dragging him back under the bed.

Jack accepts his place with the Guardians and says goodbye to Jamie and his friends, their hope renewed and their belief strong Jack assures Jamie that they are now in his heart and as long as they believe the Guardians will always be there to protect them

REVIEW:

Let’s face it, there were a bunch of animated films that were released last year. Some have argued that there may have been too many. One of the films that many have overlooked, partially because of the massive shadow by Wreck-It Ralph and all the holiday films that were released around the same time, is Rise of the Guardians.

What is this about?

In this animated adventure, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost come together to battle Pitch, a malicious spirit determined to take over the world and destroy the innocent beliefs and dreams of children.

What did I like?

Not what you know. Normally, I’m a purist. Give me what I know and I’ll be happy. No need to go around changing stuff for the sake of change. This film won’t change my stance on that, but I did appreciate the new versions of our well-known holiday icons. No longer is Santa a jolly old elf, but a Russian biker type, for instance.

Children. Children, and humans, in films like this seem to be nothing more than an annoyance. Thankfully, the children don’t really have much to do with most of the picture and the focus is on the guardians, which is what the audience came to see, after all. I’m sure there are those out there that feel they could have more of an impact on the proceedings, but I’m not one of those. The decision to not have some cheeky, disrespectful child mucking things up was brilliant.

Pitch. I really like the villainous Pitch Black, otherwise known as the Boogeyman. The look of him reminds me of a vampire and for a character than is all about the darkness, that works. Jude Law’s voice also really worked…better than I thought it would. With all that said, he still is no Oogie Boogie.

What didn’t I like?

Origin. We get Jack Frost’s origin and a little bit of Pitch Black’s, but the others, not so much. Reading a little background on this film, and it turns out that it is set 200 years after the book series, which gives each character their own story, apparently. I’m not saying the film should have went into great detail about each one, but maybe a scene where they are sitting around getting to know each other and we get a quick reference to what their past is would have been nice.

Sandman. I loved the little Sandman guy. He actually may have been my favorite, but two things bothered me. First, whose idea was it to have him be silent? If anything, that seems like something better suited for the Tooth Fairy. Second, why did they have to kill him? I can understand not killing off Santa or the Easter Bunny. Can you imagine the shock and horror on the kids’ faces?!? I just don’t feel it accomplished what the filmmakers were attempting. Now, if he would have just been kidnapped, that may have worked better.

Timing. So, this doesn’t take place around Christmas, but rather Easter. Does that make any sense? Not to me, it didn’t. Around one of the major holidays like that, when the guardians are at their strongest, might not have been the best time to launch an attack. Perhaps Pitch should have tried one of the lesser Patriotic holidays like Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, etc.

When all is said and done, Rise of the Guardians should have risen to the top of the box office for weeks, but it didn’t, for whatever reason. Such a shame for such a grand film. The few qualms I have with this film are minute as it is a very well made and entertaining film. I highly recommend it, especially around the holidays (Easter or Christmas).

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

This Means War

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , on July 1, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

CIA agents and best friends FDR Foster (Chris Pine) and Tuck Hansen (Tom Hardy) are deployed to Hong Kong to prevent international criminal Heinrich from acquiring a weapon of mass destruction, but the mission goes awry, resulting in the death of Heinrich’s brother Jonas and Heinrich swearing revenge against them. For their protection, their boss, Collins (Angela Bassett), assigns them to desk duty upon returning to America.

FDR is a womanizer, whose cover is that he’s a cruise ship captain, while Tuck, who presents himself as a travel agent, has an ex-wife, Katie (Abigail Spencer), and a son, Joe (John Paul Ruttan). After seeing a commercial for online dating, Tuck decides to sign himself up and is paired with Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon), a product testing executive who’s dealing with the recent engagement of her ex-boyfriend. Her best friend, Trish (Chelsea Handler), has signed her up for the same online dating site. FDR insists on being Tuck’s backup for the date and hides nearby, but Tuck & Lauren hit it off.

Shortly thereafter, FDR runs into Lauren at a video store and tries to flirt with her, not knowing she’s Tuck’s date, but she notices that he’s a ladies’ man and ignores him. Intrigued, FDR crashes into one of Lauren’s test groups and persuades her to go on a date with him, where they also enjoy themselves. Lauren feels guilty about dating two men at the same time, but is persuaded by Trish to make the best of the situation.

FDR and Tuck soon discover that they’re seeing the same woman and decide not to tell her that they know each other, to interfere with each others’ dates, nor have sex with her and let her come to a decision between them. However, they soon break their rules and use CIA technology to spy on her and discover her preferences, as well as try to sabotage one another. FDR and Lauren eventually have sex, and Tuck and Lauren nearly do as well, before Lauren interrupts it, feeling bad about herself.

One day, Lauren invites Tuck to lunch, while FDR discovers that Heinrich has come to America to get revenge against them. He interrupts Lauren’s date with Tuck to warn him, but Tuck doesn’t believe him and they get into a fight, during which Lauren discovers that they’re friends and decides to leave alone with Trish. At that moment, they are captured by Heinrich and his men, who are pursued by FDR and Tuck.

FDR and Tuck rescue Lauren and Trish after a car chase, in which they reveal that they are CIA agents and, on Lauren’s advice, shoot the headlights on Heinrich’s car, deploying the airbags and sending Heinrich’s car spiraling out of control. FDR and Tuck, on different sides of the road, urge Lauren to come to their side, and she ultimately chooses FDR as Heinrich dies when his car swerves off the bridge and crashes below. Lauren decides to be with FDR, and Tuck makes amends with him. Tuck soon reconciles with Katie and they get married once more.

Shortly thereafter, FDR and Tuck are about to parachute out of a chinook helicopter when FDR reveals that he’ll marry Lauren, and also that he had sex with Katie before she met Tuck, and no longer feels guilty about it because Tuck had sex with Lauren. Tuck, however, reveals that they didn’t go all the way and angrily tackles FDR out of the helicopter.

REVIEW:

Spy films were all the rage back in the day. These days, with the exception of an alleged James Bond flick, we rarely get any really spies. This Means War brings us them back to us, but in a different medium, romantic comedy…with a splash of action/adventure thrown in there.

So, what did I like?

Reese’s pieces. How in tarnation can she be nearly 40 and look like just as hot as ever. Let us not forget that she has a couple of kids!  Aside from her looks, she is an extremely competent actress, probably the best one in this entire film.

No cheese. For a romantic comedy, this is missing all the cheesy parts that distinguish films in that genre. As a matter of fact, if not for the ending, and some female emotional breakdown stuff. There’s also the action stuff to throw it out.

Chelsea. There was a time when I thought Chelsea Handler was funny. Nowadays, she just comes off as mean and cruel. Here, though, she actually reminded me how funny she was. She should really consider playing more funny sidekick roles, they really fit her, especially since it turns out she ad-libbed almost all of her lines

Both sides. Chris Pine and Tom Hardy have great chemistry. I was really impressed with Hardy’s comedic abilities, as he isn’t known for being a comedic actor. Pine on the other is the usual, suave guy we tend to see in everything else he’s been in. I guess if the formula works for him, why change it, right?

What didn’t work?

Forgotten villains. The film starts with this awesome spy scene that leads you to believe this is going to be some sort of spy flick, but then it goes off into the whole main plot. In the last act of the film, though, it does came back, just in time to help tie everything together in a nice, neat bow and give the guys an outlet to save the girl, who hates them both now.

Cliche and predictable. The way this film plays out it extremely predictable and borderline cliché. There are times when this is cool, but in this case, not so much. This film had a chance to do something unique and different, but didn’t quite get there, and that may have very well been the biggest downfall.

This Means War is not the kind of film you would expect it to be if you were to see what genre it is listed under, however, once you watch it, one is sure to be pleasantly surprised. I know that I was. This is a really good film that many will fall in love with.

4 out of 5 stars

Unstoppable

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on April 2, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Veteran Allegheny and West Virginia Railroad (AWVR) engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) oversees his co-worker, freshly-hired conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine) as they use AWVR locomotive #1206 to pick up several train cars outside Stanton, Pennsylvania. Will picks up five cars too many, which they realize only after they have left the train yard. Although Will demands that they roll back and uncouple the extra cars, Frank continues north on the main line with the extras in tow.

Meanwhile, in a rail yard within the northern town of Fuller, two AWVR hostlers, Dewey (Ethan Suplee) and Gilleece (T.J. Miller), are ordered to move a freight train led by locomotive #777 (nicknamed “Triple Seven”) off its current track to clear the track for an excursion train carrying schoolchildren. Dewey attempts to take shortcuts, instructing Gilleece to leave the hoses for the air brakes disconnected for the short trip. Dewey later leaves the moving cab to throw a misaligned rail switch along the train’s path, but is unable to climb back on. He is forced to report the train as a “coaster” to Fuller yardmaster Connie Hooper (Rosario Dawson). Connie orders Dewey, Gilleece, and lead welder Ned Oldham (Lew Temple), to intercept the train at a siding and board it. With no sign of the train at the siding, they come to realize that the train’s controls have defaulted to full throttle, and it is speeding out of control on the main line.

Connie is able to successfully divert the excursion train to a side track in time, and then reports the runaway to Oscar Galvin (Kevin Dunn), vice-president of train operations for AWVR. Connie works with local police and sheriff forces to assure that each grade crossing along the main line is secured. As they evaluate their options, visiting FRA safety inspector Scott Werner (Kevin Corrigan) alerts them to the hazard that the molten phenol carried by eight of the train’s cars poses should it derail. Galvin rejects Connie’s suggestion to derail the train in an area of unpopulated farmland, believing they can stop the train before then. As the train’s odyssey becomes a media event, a lashup of two engines driven ahead of the runaway manned by veteran engineer Judd Stewart (David Warshofsky) is used to try to slow down the train while AWVR employee Ryan Scott (Ryan Ahern) is lowered to 777’s cab from a helicopter. The plan goes awry, injuring Ryan, and the lashup locomotives are subsequently derailed and explode, killing Judd. The train continues racing towards Stanton.

Frank and Will are warned of the oncoming train. Due to the extra cars picked up by Will, they are forced to bypass a closer siding in favor of a longer Repair-In-Place track further north on the line. They make it into the track just as the train speeds past them, smashing through the rearmost car of their train. Frank sees the last car of the runaway has an open coupler. When Frank learns that Galvin is planning to use derailers to stop the train, he asserts that this plan will not work and instead convinces Will to join him as they unhook 1206 and run it long hood forward down the line to catch 777 from behind. Galvin threatens to fire Frank and Will if they continue, but Frank reveals that he already was forced into early retirement weeks ago by Galvin. Despite Galvin’s demands, Connie and Scott encourage Frank and Will to continue their pursuit.

The police abort a plan of triggering a fuel cutoff switch on the side of 777 with close-range gun blasts at a grade crossing when they realize the switch’s proximity to the fuel tank. As Frank foresaw, Galvin’s plan to derail the train also fails, as 777 and its cars are too heavy and moving too fast. Fears arise that the runaway will derail on a sharp curve in downtown Stanton and fall into several fuel storage containers nearby, causing a major disaster; the city is evacuated as 777 approaches.

Frank and Will manage to catch up to the runaway, but Will injures his foot in manually coupling the engine to the rear car. Though 1206’s dynamic brakes are helping to reduce the speed of 777, the train is still moving too fast for the curve. At Will’s suggestion, Frank goes out onto the train and begins engaging each car’s handbrakes individually, further helping to reduce the speed. Soon, however, 1206’s dynamic brakes blow out, and the runaway begins to pick up speed again. With proper timing of 1206’s independent air brakes, Will and Frank barely manage to keep the train on the rails as it speeds through the Stanton curve. Though a major disaster is averted, the train is still out of control, Frank unable to get to 777’s cab due to a gap between cars too wide to bridge.

With a long stretch of parallel road next to the line, Ned appears in his pickup truck, pacing alongside 1206 to allow Will to jump into the back. Speeding to the front of the runaway, Will makes a successful jump to 777 and brings the runaway to a stop, ending the crisis. Frank, Will, and Ned are celebrated as heroes, and the former two reunite with their worried families. As described in a pre-credit montage, Frank got promotion and now retired with full benefits, Will continues to work for AWVR and is expecting a second child with his wife, Connie takes over Galvin’s job, Ryan Scott recovered fully from his injuries, and Dewey is now working in the fast food industry.

REVIEW:

 A film about a runaway train that is destined to all but level a fairly major city in Pennsylvania and only a rookie conductor and a grizzled old veteran engineer are on hand to stop it…with a little help from some key corporate people.

This is what you get with Unstoppable. Sure, it sounds like an action packed good time, but I wouldn’t go that far.

As with many film of this nature, it starts out introducing us to the major players. There wasn’t really anything wrong with that, except for the fact that they kept bringing up this mystery about Chris Pine’s character. It was obvious that something happened to him that was eating away at him. Eventually it is found out that it was some drama involving his ex-wife…blah, blah, blah. Seemed totally unnecessary to even bring that up, but whatever.

The real film involves the trains. The sheer power of these magnificent machines and the damage that they could inflict. The action involving these scenes is some masterful filming. Seeing these scenes leaves the audience wishing for more.

I did now know this until the end of the film, but this was based on an actual incident. Just watching the film makes me wonder what kind of sense of exhilaration and fear these people had to have been experiencing. This the true mark of some great camerawork.

The cast left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Denzel Washington is his usual, charming self, though he does seem to be playing the same character in everything I see him in lately.

Rosario Dawson, as disheveled and stressed out, yet maintained her gorgeousness. Something that neither Washington or Pine knew about until they meet her at film’s end. she has given better performances than this, but she’s also done much worse.

Chris Pine may be one of the guys studios are trying to put in any and everything these days, but this guy just didn’t work in this film. For some reason, he came across as annoying and seemed to be more like he was reading the lines for the first time for much of the film. Needless to say, I was not a fan of Pine’s character here.

So, is Unstoppable unstoppable? Yes, if you’re talking about just the trains. As for the film itself, along with all the action, you get some pretentious acting and some oddly placed political messaging regarding the economy that, in my opinion, would have worked had the topic been brought up elsewhere instead of near a critical moment in the film. All that aside, Unstoppable is a fairly decent film that is worth the time and effort to watch.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars