Posts Tagged ‘Dwayne Johnson’

Media Update 8/8/19

August 8, 2019


Hobbs and Shaw

I have been a big fan of the Fast and Furious movies ever since Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was added to the mix in Fast Five. This is also when they seemed to find their formula of an ensemble movie with comedy, crazy action, and a little bit of drama. Recently, they decided to separate The Rock’s character Luke Hobbs off into his own attached franchise. Luke Hobbs is part of the Diplomatic Secret Service which is basically being an International cop. In this new franchise, he is forced to team up with disgraced British military man Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) who became a mercenary. Both are tapped by the CIA to stop a bioterrorism plot. They are up against Idris Elba and team up with Vanessa Kirby. They do a really good job of separating the movie from the Fast and Furious franchise. While many of the events and character backgrounds draw from events in Fast 6, 7, and 8, they do not require you to know all of that. They highlight the important parts and provide new information to flesh these characters out. Part of that is infusing Luke Hobbs with Dwayne Johnson’s real-life Samoan heritage. The real draw of this movie is the unforgettable chemistry between Statham, Rock, and Vanessa Kirby and the incredible action scenes. There are also a couple great surprise cameos but personally, nothing tops Roman Reigns getting a moment in the spotlight. I definitely recommend this one and I cannot wait for the next one.


African Queen

I was way past due to watch this movie but sometimes it just takes a while to watch the classics. This movie is entirely filmed in Africa and set in Africa during the first World War. The star of the movie is Katharine Hepburn who is a British missionary in Uganda when Germany attacks, mobilizing resources and soldiers in their African territories against other European forces.  She is forced to flee with a Canadian steamboat driver, played by Humphrey Bogart, as they try to make it down river to meet up with British forces in the Belgian Congo. There are other people in the movie but what really matters is that ninety percent of the movie is the Hepburn and Bogart alone on a boat going down the river. A proper English gentlewoman and a roughneck smuggler who slowly get to know each other and change their lives for the better. The two must face off against not only the Germans but the elements, the local wildlife, and their own madness at different times. This could have been a really lowkey and depressing movie but they keep things light and fun. This makes sense as this movie was the inspiration for Disney’s Jungle Cruise ride.  It was also directed by the legendary John Huston. I definitely recommend it as an essential classic.


Split Second

I was searching for something else to watch this week and I stumbled upon this movie for free on Amazon Prime. With the recent passing of Rutger Hauer, I was in the mood for a crappy genre film. The movie is set in 2008 (which was the future then) in a London that is suffering from the effects of global warming. Much of the city is flooded and even passable roads have at least six inches of water. It makes for a messy, miserable city and probably still a possible future for London and other coastal cities. Rutger Hauer stars as a cop obsessed with tracking a serial killer that killed his partner ten years prior. He is a miserable bastard and has zero friends on the force and would always be extremely close to getting fired if he was not ‘the best’. He is partnered with Alistair Duncan, a bookish and intellectual detective who is a serial killer expert. The two begin the hunt for the serial killer anew by combining Hauer’s honed instincts with Duncan’s intelligence. The movie also stars Kim Catrall as the love interest of Rutger Hauer/Widow of his partner. Sometimes it is fun to watch a movie this cliched. It is like a science fiction film noir combo that really feels good. Rutger Hauer makes the film with his gruff charm. I recommend it. (Fun fact: This movie was written by the same guy who wrote the Fast and the Furious in 2001)

Music of the Week:
Brittany Howard – Stay High

Lizzo – Tempo

Bring Me The Horizon – sugar honey ice & tea

YUNGBLUD – Kill Somebody

The Highwomen – Redesigning Women

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Unexpected Pairings”
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I watched more Arrow Season 7
– I watched more Star Trek: Voyager Season 3
– I watched more Riverdale Season 3
– I watched more Defunctland and Yesterworld
– I watched more Wynonna Earp Season 3
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I finished Supernatural Season 14
– I finished The Flash Season 5

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Media Update 7/18/19

July 18, 2019


Skyscraper

Unless he does something dastardly in real life, I will be a fan of The Rock for the rest of his career. I became a fan watching him act like a jerk in 1997 on WWF programming and he has only built his skill set ever since. What I went into this movie with was an expectation that it was a big dumb action movie. I received more than that. The movie is about a new, state of the art skyscraper built in China that is more than twice as tall as the Burj Khalifa. The Rock plays a security consultant brought in to sign off on the security system for insurance purposes. He gets caught up in the chaos of crime and flame. The movie is one part crime movie and one part disaster movie. While there is a lot of action, there is a lot of interesting mechanics having to do with building design, infrastructure, and computer science. This leads to a lot of action sequences for The Rock which also includes great fight scenes. There is also great drama in the movie, allowing the Rock to show off his acting chops which just get better. Neve Campbell plays his wife and gets to be a bit of action star herself with plenty of neat sequences (with two small children too). Chin Han is good as the enigmatic building owner. Roland Moller plays the perfect mercenary asshole villain. I went in knowing I would like this movie and ended up liking it even more. I definitely recommend it.


The Meg

I also really like Jason Statham. He has that rugged charisma that is hard to ignore even when he is being a jerk or a sadistic villain. This movie has been in development since the publishing of the book in 1997 and I had heard about many different treatments. Statham plays a deep-sea rescue expert who comes to the rescue at an oceanography station. What he and the cast of scientists must confront is the legendary Megalodon, a shark big enough to take down a T Rex and bite blue whales clean in half. Once again, this movie exceeded my expectations. The cast is so good. Statham is tough but a lot of fun, playing it a little looser and nicer than he usually does. Bingbing Li plays a marine biologist who gives Statham a run for his money as an action star. There is a great smaller role for Ruby Rose as a punk rock vehicles expert. Cliff Curtis, Masi Oka, Page Kennedy, Robert Taylor, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jessica McNamee, and little Sophia Cal all have their moment to shine. Rainn Wilson shows up as the main comic relief as the rich boy backer who gets mixed up in all of the chaos. There is plenty of shark action and plenty of good character moments and I liked the twists the plot took. I recommend it.


The Art of the Steal (2013)

This is the only movie this week that was not a big-budget blockbuster. This one is definitely more of a heist movie in the style of a low budget Oceans 11. This is not meant as an insult. The movie stars Kurt Russell who is always fun as the laid back dude who just wants to have a good time. He plays a former getaway driver/conman who has now become a motorcycle daredevil. He gets summoned back into the game by his old crew and must unite his new crew with his old crew for the heist of his life. Jay Baruchel plays his plucky comic relief sidekick, an old school street thief. Matt Dillon plays his brother, the ‘face’ of the old crew who burned things to the ground and now is trying to make amends. Jason Jones plays the Interpol agent trying to track them down, an inept mess of a man who is almost a cop. He is joined by an art theft informant played brilliantly by Terrance Stamp all world-weary and snarky. The rest of the group are not as known but all three are fun character actors who add to the plan in their own way. The movie is not perfect but it has a lot of fun elements and dialogue and I liked the weird philosophical groove to the movie. I recommend it as well.

Music of the Week:
Fredo Bang – Dawg Gone

JINJER – Pisces

Kane Roberts – Beginning Of The End

Colleen Green – Maybe I’ll Get Hit By A Car Tonight

Jay Bovino & Hannah Sands – Hideaway

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Fast and Furious Franchise Alumni”
– I watched more Game of Thrones Season 3
– I watched more How to Get Away With Murder Season 1
– I watched more Losers Season 1
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I watched more Star Trek: Voyager Season 3
– I watched more Designated Survivor Season 3
– I watched more Defunctland

Media Update 9/27/18

September 27, 2018


Rampage

I hung out in quite a few arcades in my youth and, frankly, I would visit one if they still existed in Baltimore. One of the cabinets that first drew my attention was Rampage, a game where you play as giant monsters and you just wreck everything. When we got the game on NES, my brothers and I played it a lot more. It became one of those iconic games that were just fun to zone out and play. Only once did we “win” the game. When I heard that the Rock was making a live-action movie based on the game, I was surprisingly all in. The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson, makes everything better and there looked like there was a lot of big monster action. There was plenty of great fun as a giant gorilla, a giant crocodile, and a giant wolf literally rampaged across the USA. The Rock was great as usual and carried the movie on his back as usual. I especially really believed his relationship with George the gorilla. What I had not expected was that there would be other fun performances in the movie. Joe Manganiello has a small part but it is always good to see him. Jeffrey Dean Morgan played a charismatic yet complex character who always kept me guessing. Naomie Harris proved herself to be a good partner for The Rock, balancing out some of his sillier moments. On the other end of the spectrum, Malin Akerman was a delightfully over the top villain who stole every scene she was in. This movie was not anything to write home about but I had a lot of fun watching it and they left it open for a sequel that I would be open to. As of today, it is the highest reviewed video game movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes (at 51%). I definitely recommend it but sit back and watch the silliness.


The Dragon Prince

When I first saw the artwork for this series, I immediately liked what I saw but I was not sure if it was a video game or a show. Thankfully, it is a show. I immediately felt an Avatar: The Last Airbender feel to the show from the first few minutes. This makes sense as the head writer and director from that show, Aaron Ehasz, created this show. Like that show, drama and humor are carefully mixed together in a very natural but entertaining way. The world building really impressed me as the show went on and more details were revealed. It felt like a blend of a good video game and a good fantasy novel series. Each new detail was really cool to learn and figure out how it fits into the narrative. The art direction is really exciting and I was pretty inspired by a lot of the choices. The gist of the series is that it mostly involves a conflict between humans and elves. The humans have been confined to their part of the continent because they invented dark magic. I really liked the magic system they laid out and I am excited to see more of the system and its implications revealed. I also really liked the characters as none of them are perfect paragons and I am excited to see them attempt character arcs. I definitely recommend this one as well.


Tremors: Cold Day in Hell

I have been with the Tremors franchise since the beginning. The first movie was a fresh look at monster movies and kind of reinvented characterization usually used in that subgenre. This is now the sixth movie and I have certainly enjoyed the ride. Kevin Bacon dropped off after the first film but all of the movies have the fun Michael Gross as hunter/prepper Burt Gummer. The character has so much momentum six movies in. He feels like the Tremors franchise version of Fin Shepard in that he is a somewhat ordinary guy who is really good at killing the monster in the title. Last time he hunted graboids in Africa but this time he is summoned to the Canadian Arctic to deal with them. As with the previous movie, he brings along Jamie Kennedy as his sidekick/son. Normally, Jamie Kennedy is too annoying but he is alright in this. Jamie-Lee Money is introduced as the daughter of Kevin Bacon’s character from the first movie and she becomes part of the next generation of monster hunters. Tanya Van Graan plays a female scientist who starts out skeptical but quickly helps lead the crew in their adventure. The rest of the cast is filled with quirky character actors who have their charm. The action scenes live up to the craziness that the franchise has always held. I recommend it as it felt better than the last one.

Weekly Music:
The Stunners – We Got It

Judas Priest – No Surrender

The Breeders – Cannonball

Christine and the Queens – Girlfriend

Kumiho – Loverman

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Giant Monsters”
– I kept watching The Blacklist Season 5
– I kept watching Iron Fist Season 2
– I kept watching Bojack Horseman Season 5
– I kept watching Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I am caught up on Critical Role again

Media Update 1/25/18

January 25, 2018


Baywatch

I never really watched Baywatch when it first aired or since. I was aware of the show, though, and all of its quirks and weirdness. It was an odd show that only got odder as the seasons went by. I know all about the slow-mo, lifeguards pursuing criminals, Hollywood good looks, and cheesy lines and plots. This movie knew exactly what it was. It was part-parody, part-tribute to a show from the nineties. I would compare it to The Brady Bunch Movie. There were a lot of callbacks to the show but there was a lot of self-referential/meta-humor. The movie had its cake and ate it too by pointing out the flaws in the show and then embracing them. The Rock was great as usual. He has a magnetic charisma that is impossible to ignore. Zac Efron is funny as the douchebag who learns some humility and redeems himself. Alexandria Daddario ends up being the smartest character in the movie which is not saying much but still. Ilfenesh Hadera was just as badass as the Rock, basically a highly-capable, female version of his character. Finally, Priyanka Chopra was a great card-carrying villain who had Hanibal Burress as her henchman. I understand why people dismissed this movie or did not like it but if you saw the trailers, you knew exactly what you were getting. It is a strange movie. However, I still recommend it if you can go in with few expectations and a good mood.


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

I was a big fan of the original Jumanji film. It was during the heyday of Robin Williams and it had a great big budget for both CGI and practical effects. Also, the concept of a board game coming to life and threatening the players was a fun idea. The movie had comedy and adventure. This movie was an attempt at an update with a sort of sequel. Instead of a board game, the four kids find a video game that transports them into Jumanji, a setting previously unexplored. Not only does it transport them into the game, it transports their minds into video game avatars. The Rock (yep again) is a nerdy scaredy cat who transforms into a musclebound hero. Kevin Hart is a football star who transforms into a short sidekick. Karen Gillan is a brainy geek who transforms into a brutal fighter. Jack Black is a self-obsessed teen girl who transforms into a bookish professor. The point of the movie is to watch these actors play against type and slowly try to adjust to their new roles. The movie is not a reboot but an unconnected sequel. It was oddly charming to me. Sure, there were some bits that were a little overdone to me but overall it was a fun movie. I recommend it if you like a fun actiony movie with cute humor and a very fluffy plot.


CHIPS

I really do not know much about CHIPS beyond seeing it parodied and listening to an episode of TV Crimes about it. It seemed like a weird show that I would not like. This is, of course, from the perspective of somebody on the outside looking in. Anyway, the movie tried to do the same thing that Baywatch did. It was both a parody and a tribute. However, it did not quite work for me. Dax Shepard plays Jon, an ex-stunt biker who wants to be a cop to impress his wife (Kristen Bell! What a waste!). Michael Pena plays Ponch, his partner who is trying to investigate a crime covertly. Vincent D’Onofrio plays the villain and he is usually a great villain but he had very few scenes to strut his stuff in. Most of the movie is spent on the interplay between Pena and Shepard who are an odd couple. Shepard’s character is touchy-feely and psychoanalyzes everything and Pena is crass and rude. In the end, I guess I just did not really like their characters. Also, I feel like the movie was oddly sexual with at least half of the jokes being about sex or nudity in some way. That was not really necessary or desired. The movie ended up being alright but not the fun romp that I wanted it to be. I do not recommend it but use your own judgment since it is not that bad.

Music of the Week:
Miike Snow – Genghis Khan

Von Iva – Not Hot To Trot

J Balvin – Safari

She Wants Revenge – Tear You Apart

Big Data – Get Some Freedom

 

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Action Comedies from the Past”
– I finished watching Longmire
– I finished Season 2 of The Magicians
– I started watching Glitter Force Doki Doki
– I continued watching Gurren Lagann
– I continued watching Little Witch Academia Season 2
– I continued watching DuckTales
– I am almost done Schitt’s Creek Season 2
– I finished Puella Magi Madoka Magica
– I have been hitting the gym lately and watching anime there

Media Update 6/15/17

June 15, 2017


John Wick 2

One of my favorite parts of John Wick was the occasional glimpse at the life John had left behind. There was this whole soldier of fortune/assassin culture that was brutal but also dignified on its surface. There were rules and there was structure in a mysterious world just beyond our own. I wanted more. I got it in the sequel. In John Wick 2, John is forced to go back into that world he retired from and he must go deep. The fight scenes are just a good as the first movie and just as relentlessly pulse-pounding. Keanu Reeves’ quiet intensity is so much fun to watch. The world building was everything I wanted it to be. Even after all the new information is revealed, there are so much more mysteries and corners of that world to explore. I hope there will be a third movie in the series. I definitely recommend this.


Hercules (2014)

Live-action, hard-hitting Greek legend adaptations have been a big thing lately probably since Zack Snyder put out the pretty OK movie 300. This movie is also action-packed but I felt that it is a more nuanced take on the legends than the testosterone-driven 300 or the Clash of Titans remake. Greek legends are not just about what the characters did but also the personalities involved. I have been a huge fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for almost twenty years now so I will pretty much see anything that he is in. This was a neat adaptation of Greek legends. It feels much more down to Earth mostly because not a single god shows up in the story. Instead, we get Hercules (who is unsure of his parentage) leading a squad of mercenaries in the years after the Trojan War. The combat is excellent with great combat strategy and beautifully filmed. Where the movie really shines is the charisma of The Rock mixed with the awesome supporting cast. It is exciting, funny, and a great popcorn flick. I recommend it.


Manhunter

I have read Red Dragon (and all of the Hannibal Lecter books) and I watched all of the movies with Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. I have also watched the first season of Hannibal, the deeply disturbing television show. This was really the only part of the franchise that I had not seen. When I learned about it, I dismissed it because I was afraid that Lecter without Hopkins would not be any good. This week, I was suddenly curious what the movie was like. I was right, the movie is very different without Anthony Hopkins’ magnetic performance. That is not actually a bad thing. By the time Red Dragon rolled around, Lecter was drawing too much attention in a story that is not really about him. This version is allowed to focus more on Will Graham, the deeply troubled hero. I loved William Petersen’s performance and the muted but powerful way he interacted with the world. Graham as the deeply troubled detective who is just barely keeping on the rails is so interesting to watch. Cox as Lecter is more driven and direct. It’s not better or worse, just different. Dino De Laurentiss shot the movie beautifully but I can definitely see the effect that David Lynch left behind when he quit the project. I recommend it if you can sit through a slow-paced murder mystery/thriller.

Music of the Week:
Katy Perry – Bon Appétit

The Afghan Whigs – Oriole

Anthrax & Public Enemy – Bring The Noise

Knower – Time Traveler

Teamheadkick – Deadpool Rap

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “A Name With Instant Recognition”
– I continued Season 3 of The Flash
– I continued Season 5 of The Arrow
– I continued Season 12 of Supernatural
– I continued Season 2 of Supergirl
– Lucha Underground is back
– I might see Wonder Woman this weekend. Maybe.


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