Archive for jungle

The Jungle Book (2016)

Posted in Action/Adventure, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2018 by Mystery Man


Inspired by the animated Disney classic, this live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s beloved novel follows young Mowgli as he navigates a jungle full of wonder and peril with his animal allies Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear.

What people are saying:

“Exceptionally beautiful to behold and bolstered by a stellar vocal cast, this umpteenth film rendition of Rudyard Kipling’s tales of young Mowgli’s adventures amongst the creatures of the Indian jungle proves entirely engaging, even if it’s ultimately lacking in subtext and thematic heft” 5 stars

“It’s not like we don’t all already know this story backward and forward, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from giving this remake a chance. It’s visually beautiful, and I loved that they kept some of the music from the original animated Disney version. Neel Sethi is a perfect Mowgli and the casting of the voice actors is pretty much spot on. ” 4 stars

“By the time its evolution is complete, The Jungle Book has proven itself a minor Darwinian miracle, perhaps the oddest of all species: a movie nearly devoid of human beings, yet one bursting with humanity.” 4 1/2 stars

“Meh. While I was pretty impressed by this film on a technical and visual level, this film didn’t work nearly as well for me as it did for other people. The writing was lazy and there was no connection between the characters. Nothing was better done here than the book or even the animated one.Some will disagree with me but while Christopher Walken as King Louie was better than I thought, I still can’t get into Bill Murray as Baloo. Bill Murray is a very funny guy but I never saw a character in his performance, I just heard Bill Murray’s voice out of this bear and I found it quite distracting. Personally, I would’ve asked for a movie that had the Disney spirit but kept some of the brilliant themes and ideas from the book by Rudyard Kipling. I guess if I’ll give this 2016 version anything…….at least its not the 1994 Stephen Sommer’s version?” 2 1/2 stars

“Amazing! Where reality laves off and fantasy takes over is seamlessly executed and the movie transports you through an unforgettable journey. We watched this as established fans of Kipling, appreciating the tragedies of his life along with the magnificence of his writing; while the movie is an art form unto its own, it captures Kipling and wrings your heart as it unfolds. We watched it twice, the second time leaving no lesser impression. A film for all ages.” 5 stars

Tropic Thunder

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2009 by Mystery Man


Prior to the film a faux commercial and several faux trailers are shown, in a similar matter to those shown prior to the 2007 film Grindhouse. The commercial depicts Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson) promoting his two brands: the “Booty Sweat” energy drink and “Bust-A-Nut” candy bar. The first trailer shows Tugg Speedman’s (Stiller) latest film, Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown, the latest entry in a large action-adventure film franchise. The following trailer is for Jeff Portnoy’s (Black) film, The Fatties: Fart 2, about a family (with each member played by Portnoy) which enjoys farting. The final trailer, entitled Satan’s Alley, features Kirk Lazarus (Downey) and Tobey Maguire (cameoing as himself) as two gay priests at an 18th century monastery.

During the filming of Vietnam veteran John “Four Leaf” Tayback’s (Nick Nolte) memoir Tropic Thunder, the stars—fading action hero Tugg Speedman, five-time Academy Award-winning method actor Kirk Lazarus, rapper Alpa Chino, and drug addicted comedian Jeff Portnoy—behave unreasonably (with the exception of newcomer supporting actor Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel). Production is going poorly: rookie director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) is unable to control the actors while filming a large war scene and $4 million of explosions go off with no cameras rolling, and filming is reported to be a month behind schedule after only five days of shooting; consequently, the media dubs the production “the most expensive war movie never made.” Cockburn is ordered by studio executive Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) to get the production back on track or risk having it shut down.

Acting on Tayback’s advice, Cockburn drops the actors into the middle of the jungle, where he has installed many hidden cameras and special-effect explosions rigged so he can film “guerrilla-style”. The actors have guns that fire blanks, along with a map and a scene listing that will guide them to the helicopter waiting at the end of the jungle route. Unbeknownst to the actors and the production, the five actors have been dropped in the middle of the Golden Triangle, the home of the heroin-producing Flaming Dragon gang. The gang believe the actors to be Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents. Shortly after the group is dropped off, the actors are stunned to see Cockburn blown up by a land mine left by the French during the First Indochina War. Speedman, believing Cockburn faked his death, attempts to convince the other actors that it was a hoax. After a brief battle with the Flaming Dragon gang, he is able to persuade Chino, Portnoy, and Sandusky into believing that Cockburn is alive and that they are still shooting the film. Lazarus is unconvinced that Cockburn is alive, but joins the other actors in their trek through the jungle.

When Tayback and pyrotechnics operator Cody Underwood (Danny R. McBride) attempt to locate the now-dead director, they are captured by the drug gang, at which point Tayback is exposed as a fraud when Underwood pulls off his prosthetic hooks to reveal fully functioning arms. Meanwhile, the actors continue to forge through the hostile jungle. After Lazarus and Sandusky discover that Speedman is leading them in the wrong direction, the four actors, tired of walking through the jungle and hoping to be rescued, part ways from Speedman who leaves by himself to follow the film’s scene listing.

Slowly going insane, Speedman is captured and taken to the Flaming Dragon’s heroin factory, which he initially believes to be a prisoner-of-war camp from the script. The gang soon realizes that he is the star of the box office bomb Simple Jack(the only movie they have, on VHS) and force him to reenact it several times a day. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Speedman’s agent, Rick Peck (Matthew McConaughey), is trying to negotiate with an uninterested Grossman a to-date unfulfilled term in Speedman’s contract that entitles him to a TiVo on location. When they are contacted by the Flaming Dragon gang and are asked for a ransom, Grossman instead curses out the gang and then tells Rick and Slolom, who is also present, that they can benefit more by collecting the insurance claim on Speedman’s death, even offering the agent a share of the profits along with his own personal airplane.

The other actors stumble upon the Flaming Dragon’s heroin factory. After seeing Speedman being tortured, they plan an ambush based on the film’s plot line. Lazarus impersonates a farmer who has caught Jeff in his farm, distracting the armed guards so Chino and Sandusky can sneak into the building where the captives are held. After the gang notices inconsistencies in Lazarus’ story, the actors open fire on the gang, temporarily subduing them. When the gang realizes that the suspected DEA agents are only actors using guns filled with blanks, they begin firing on the actors.

Chino, Portnoy, Sandusky, and Lazarus locate Speedman and attempt an escape in Underwood and Tayback’s recaptured helicopter. After rejoining with Tayback and crossing a bridge that Underwood has previously rigged to detonate, they meet up with Underwood at the helicopter. Speedman asks to remain behind with the gang which he considers his “family”, but he quickly returns with the murderous gang in hot pursuit. Tayback detonates the bridge just in time for Speedman to reach safety, but as the actors and crew escape from the jungle, the gang fires an RPG at their helicopter. A disheveled Rick unexpectedly stumbles out of the jungle carrying a TiVo box and throws it in the path of the RPG, saving them all.

Footage from the hidden cameras is compiled into a feature film, Tropic Blunder, which ends up becoming a major critical and box office hit and a multiple-Academy Award winner. The film breaks Speedman’s streak of flops and he wins Best Actor, which is presented to him by the previous year’s winner, Lazarus. The film concludes with Grossman dancing to “Get Back” as the credits appear beside him.


Upon seeing the trailer for this film this summer, I assumed it was just a war film and had no intention of seeing it. Then, it came out and got rave reviews from many of my friends. I still waited for the DVD, mainly for financial reasons. It was either gas or movie tickets and gas won out.

Who would have ever thought to that a film with Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey, Jr. would be not only hilarious, but a pretty good film cinematically speaking, as well.

Ben Stiller is obviously the star of the film (not to mention he directed). He’s carried films before, but this time he has help as Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr. (who’s popularity from Iron Man  brought in some major buzz). Stiller does a competent job, but this is not his best work, comedically.

Robert Downey, Jr. had been written off as an addict before this year in which he has had success in every film he’s been in, and this was no exception. His role as Kirk Lazarus was nothing short of amazing. He was, as he says near the end of the film, “the dude playing the dude dressed as another dude.”

Jack Black is his normal self, and to be honest, not really sure why he gets star billing.

Tom Cruise makes a surprise appearance as over the top studio exec Les Grossman and steals the show, especially during the later terrorist scenes and at the very end.

Also making a surprise appearance is Matthew McConaughey. Sorry ladies, he keeps his shirt on in this one. McConaughey gives a good performance as Stiller’s agent and probably could have done with a bit more screen time, but that was probably cut in the final editing.

The film starts off a bit odd, with trailers for each of the “stars”, but those are some of the funniest parts of the film. I’ll tell you, though, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr.’s characters films could actually end up being made.

This film is a spoof on war movies and how actors can be. One must wonder how much is truth and how much is spoof, though.

The plot is pretty good, though I kind of wished there was more about the actors lives off set before they came to work on this film, but that’s a minor qualm.

From the moment this movie came out, I’ve heard nothing but how hilarious this film was and how I needed to see it. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t blown away by it. It is funny, but I’ve seen funnier. This is one of those that you have to see for yourself to make your own decision about.

4 out of 5 stars