REVIEW: ARTHUR (2011)

CAST

Russell Brand (Get Him to The greek)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Greta Gerwig (No Strings Attached)
Luis Guzmán (Traffic)
Nick Nolte (Hulk)
Geraldine James (Alice In Wonderland)
Jennie Eisenhower (Mona Lisa Smile)

Boozy Arthur Bach and his chauffeur, Bitterman, dress up in Batman and Robin costumes for a formal dinner hosted by Arthur’s mother, Vivienne. The dinner is intended to announce Arthur as the new chairman of her corporation, Bach Worldwide. Driving to the dinner in a Batmobile, an intoxicated Arthur is chased by police, arrested and released the next dayVivienne forms a plan to have her shrewd assistant Susan Johnson marry Arthur to ensure stable leadership and help Arthur’s reputation. Arthur initially refuses (citing that he and Susan have nothing in common for a loveless relationship), but is told that he will be cut off from his $950 million inheritance if he does not marry Susan. He reluctantly agrees and asks Susan’s father, Burt Johnson, for permission to marry. Burt agrees, after forcing Arthur against a table saw and warning him not to embarrass Susan. The next day, Arthur meets Naomi Quinn, an illegal tour guide to whom he becomes attracted because of her free-spirited nature. He arranges his wedding while sneaking around on dates with Naomi. Arthur’s nanny, Lillian Hobson – who normally dislikes all of Arthur’s choices in women – gets to know and likes Naomi. Arthur learns that Naomi would like to have her children’s book about the Statue of Liberty published. He attempts to find employment and other options so that he will be able to keep seeing Naomi and not need the inheritance, but to no avail.Hobson takes Arthur to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, where Arthur complains that it is depressing and makes him want to drink. He proclaims he is going to drink, unintentionally brags about his wealth, and turns to leave the meeting. Hobson stands up and takes the bullet, giving Arthur’s humiliating introduction in his place. Arthur, touched, states that if only she would do his drinking for him as well, he would be set.Arthur goes to see Naomi at her house and tells her the truth – that he is engaged to Susan. Naomi then tells him to leave. Back home, Arthur calls for Hobson, only for Bitterman to come and tell him that she is in bed with a headache. Later, Hobson goes to Naomi and asks her to give Arthur another chance, but she again falls ill and is taken to a hospital. Naomi calls Arthur to tell him what has happened. He comes to the hospital, meets Naomi and is about to make up with her, but Susan arrives and tells Naomi that Arthur has bought the company that is handling the publication of her book. Upset, Naomi leaves the hospital. Hobson comes home and Arthur takes care of her. The two begin to get along better. However, a few days later, Hobson dies in her sleep and Arthur reverts to alcoholism to numb the pain of her death, losing Naomi, and being married to Susan.At his wedding, Arthur gets drunk and finds Hobson’s last letter to him in which she advises him to follow his heart. Arthur decides, during the vows, not to proceed with the marriage. Susan and her father become belligerent and begin punching him, which makes Vivienne realize that the ambitious and conniving Susan is only after her company. Vivienne stops the ruckus, but reminds Arthur of the agreed upon disinheritance if he pursues Naomi. Arthur strips nearly naked to emphasize that he wants no kind of dependency on his mother’s money and runs to Naomi’s apartment. He tells her that he just lost his mum (meaning Hobson, not Vivienne) but Naomi, still upset with him, says she can’t replace Hobson and refuses any prospect of their getting back together.Six months later, Arthur is now sober. He has got back his inheritance because he is managing the company’s charity, and his mother is proud of him for finally taking something seriously (possibly indicating his love for Naomi). He goes to a bookshop to buy Naomi’s book – which she has dedicated to him – and sees an advertisement for a book-reading she will be giving at a library. Arthur goes to the library and, this time, Naomi takes him back. The two leave the library and Bitterman drives them through the city in the Batmobile with the police following in pursuit.Turn your brain off for a bit and enjoy the movie for what it is. Don’t compare it to the original but compare it to the other things Russell has done and you will see that the film is a decent comedy.

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REVIEW: ZOOKEEPER

CAST

Kevin James (Paul Blart: Mall Cop)
Rosario Dawson (The Defendors)
Leslie Bibb (American Housewife)
Joe Rogan (NewsRadio)
Nat Faxon (Sex Tape)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Steffiana de la Cruz (Stealing Harvard)
Thomas Gottschalk (Sister Act 2)
Donnie Wahlberg (Saw II)
Brandon Keener (The Purge: Anarchy)
Nick Nolte (Tropic Thunder)
Sylvester Stallone (Rocky)
Adam Sandler (Big Daddy)
Cher (The Witches of Eastwick)
Jon Favreau (Iron man)
Faizon Love (Wonderland)
Maya Rudolph (Grown Ups)
Don Rickles (Toy Story)
Jim Breuer (Dick)
Nick Bakay (Sabrina: TTW)

A zookeeper named Griffin Keyes (Kevin James) sets up a plan to propose to the love of his life Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), but she rejects him and claims that his career as a zookeeper is what is keeping her away, therefore breaking Griffin’s heart. Five years later, Griffin is shown to be the lead zookeeper at the Franklin Park Zoo who cares deeply for the zoo animals. That night, Griffin holds a party at the zoo for his brother Dave (Nat Faxon) who is getting married, but freaks out when he discovers that Stephanie was invited. Dave offers Griffin to come and work with him at a car dealership, explaining that it is the best way to get Stephanie back. Griffin contemplates quitting his job at the zoo and joining his brother at the dealership.Later, the animals hold a meeting saying that they think Griffin is the best zookeeper at the zoo and don’t want him to leave, so they decide to find some way to help him win Stephanie’s heart. Jerome the Bear (Jon Favreau) suggests that they teach Griffin their animal mating techniques, but Joe the Lion (Sylvester Stallone) protests, reminding them that it’s against the animal code to talk to humans. Donald the Monkey (Adam Sandler) says that Stephanie will be at the zoo tomorrow, and all the animals have to do is make Griffin look like a hero in front of her.The next day, Donald unlocks the door to the lion enclosure and lets Joe out, who confronts Stephanie and Dave’s fiancée Robin (Steffiana de la Cruz). Kate (Rosario Dawson), the zoo’s vet, manages to get them away from Joe, but Griffin fails to jump into the lion enclosure, ruining the animals’ plan. When he climbs out of the enclosure, Joe yells at Griffin, causing Griffin to believe he has gone mad. The next night, all the animals break their code of silence and tell Griffin that they will teach him what to do to win Stephanie. Griffin learns their different mating rituals, but ends up humiliating himself in front of the other zookeepers and the guests. Griffin then has a talk with Bernie (Nick Nolte), a forlorn gorilla who was moved into a deep enclosure after allegedly attacking a zookeeper named Shane (Donnie Wahlberg). Bernie explains to Griffin that Shane abuses the animals and he fell when he was abusing Bernie. He lied and said that Bernie attacked him, causing Bernie to lose his trust in humans.Griffin discovers that Stephanie is dating her other ex-boyfriend, a bullying alpha-male named Gale (Joe Rogan). Joe’s mate Janet (Cher) tells Griffin that the best way to attract a female is to be seen with another female, so Griffin asks Kate to go with him to Dave and Robin’s wedding. Griffin then takes Bernie to T.G.I. Friday’s and they bond, with Bernie telling Griffin that he’s his best friend. Griffin and Kate go to the wedding and seem to have fun together. Griffin becomes brave enough to stand up to Gale and this grabs Stephanie’s attention. After Kate tells Griffin she had a great time with him, Stephanie asks Griffin out to dinner. Griffin accepts and they go to dinner and then go to a fashion show. Stephanie tells Griffin that his job at the zoo is holding him back, so Griffin decides to quit his job and accepts Dave’s offer, which upsets Kate. Bernie also becomes upset and tells Griffin that he thought he could trust someone again, but was proved wrong when Griffin quit his job. Kate decides to leave the zoo and accepts a job in Nairobi.Griffin becomes the best employee at the car dealership, but misses working at the zoo. Stephanie proposes to Griffin, but Griffin refuses and dumps her. He then goes back to the zoo and apologizes to Bernie, who accepts Griffin’s friendship. The animals then tell Griffin that Kate is heading to the airport. Griffin heads out to stop her, though he does make a stop first to beat up Shane. Then, with Bernie’s help, Griffin manages to catch up with Kate on the bridge and confesses his love for her. Six months later, Griffin and Kate are back working at the zoo and Bernie is now living in a new enclosure where he gets a great view of the city. When Bernie asks what a “Benihana” is, Griffin asks Bernie if he still has his iZod.The movie is severely underrated by Critics and some audience members alike. It contains some seriously funny comedy that is suitable for all ages.

 

 

REVIEW: PARKER

CAST

Jason Statham (Fast & Furious 7)
Jennifer Lopez (The Cell)
Michael Chiklis (Gotham)
Wendell Pierce (Ray)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Mindhunters)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
Patti LuPone (Summer of Sam)
Carlos Carrasco (Speed)
Micah Hauptman (Everest)
Emma Booth (Hounds of Love)
Daniel Bernhardt (Precious Cargo)
Nick Nolte (Hulk)

Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief, specializing in big robberies, who follows a unique code—he doesn’t steal from the poor or hurt innocent people. His mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte) asks him take charge of a job with a crew he doesn’t know, consisting of Melander (Michael Chiklis), Carlson (Wendell Pierce), Ross (Clifton Collins Jr.), and Hardwicke (Micah Hauptman). The job, taking the gate money from the Ohio State Fair, is successful, but Hardwicke ignored instructions, resulting in him needlessly killing a man in a fire that was set as a distraction.Parker, disgusted with the crew’s unprofessional standards, refuses to participate in another robbery that could net them millions. Needing his share of the Ohio loot to finance the bigger job, Melander’s crew decides to shoot Parker and leave him to die alongside a road. Having barely survived, Parker is found by a family of tomato farmers who take him to the hospital, where he subdues a male nurse, steals his uniform, and escapes. He then robs a check-cashing store, shooting the proprietor in the leg, ties up both the proprietor and his employee, gagging them with duct tape, then steals a woman’s car.Parker tells Hurley he wants to go after the double-crossing Melander, who has gone to Palm Beach, Florida for another heist. Upon learning that Parker is alive, the crew uses mob connections to hire a hitman named Kroll (Daniel Bernhardt). Kroll tries to kidnap Parker’s girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth), who is Hurley’s daughter. She narrowly escapes and goes into hiding. Hurley is worried and suggests Parker run away with her, but Parker is completely intent on revenge. In Palm Beach, Parker poses as a wealthy Texan named Daniel Parmitt, looking for a place to live. Leslie Rodgers (Jennifer Lopez) is a depressed, unsuccessful real-estate agent living with her mother (Patti LuPone), struggling financially after a divorce. She is thrilled when Parker (as Parmitt) appears to become interested in her properties because she is desperate for a commission.Leslie becomes suspicious when Parker only shows interest in a house that a man named Rodrigo recently purchased and is remodelling. In reality, Rodrigo is Melander, who is staying in the house with the crew in anticipation of a $50 million jewelry auction they plan to rob. Parker returns to the house to plant his guns, find their weapons and disable the firing pins. Leslie finds out that Parker is using a fake identity. She offers her local knowledge in exchange for a commission of the robbery. He considers it only after making Leslie strip to show she isn’t wearing a wire. Together, they plan to steal the jewels from Melander after he robs them from the auction. Leslie makes a pass at Parker, but he remains distant, though obviously attracted to her. Melander’s crew disguise themselves as delivery men. Meanwhile, Kroll learns that Parker is in Palm Beach, and he attempts to kill him. After a brutal and bloody fight, Kroll stabs Parker through the hand, but ends up falling to his death from Parker’s hotel balcony.The next morning, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Fernandez (Bobby Cannavale) arrives with questions for Leslie after learning that she was in business with Daniel Parmitt. She is shocked when she discovers a bloody Parker hiding in her house with her mother’s permission. At her workplace, Leslie is horrified when she watches a video of Kroll’s death online, which was filmed by local onlookers. At Parker’s request, she contacts Claire, who comes to stitch up his wounds. Their subsequent encounter makes it clear to Leslie that Claire is the woman in his life. The crew successfully steals the jewels. They swim back to the house, where a weak and injured Parker is waiting to ambush them. Worried that Parker might need help, Leslie begins snooping around the garden. She is found and taken inside, where the crew abuse and question her, assuming she and Parker are working together. Ross goes outside where he is stabbed in the neck to death by Parker. Melander’s other men begin to panic.Melander finds Parker and a fight ensues. Carlson starts to molest Leslie, but she shoots him with a gun she noticed under the table that Parker had planted. Parker, in spite of his wounds, is able to kill Melander. All members of the crew end up dead. Parker and Leslie arrange for the jewels to be hidden and for her to be sent her cut. They part ways, Parker showing some regret as she leaves. Six months later, Parker goes to Chicago and kills the syndicate boss who hired Kroll to kill him. One year later, Leslie receives two hefty boxes in the mail containing several million dollars. The tomato farmers who saved Parker’s life are shown talking to somebody about how they somehow got a great deal of money that has changed their lives. They credit the stranger, thinking he must have been an angel sent to test them.The storyline moves fast enough to maintain interest and there is no violence just for the sake of it. An average action film that passes the time.

REVIEW: THE RIDICULOUS 6

CAST

Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)
Terry Crews (White Chicks)
Jorge Garcia (Lost)
Taylor Lautner (Twilight)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
Nick Nolte (Hulk)
Will Forte (MacGruber)
Nick Swardson (Grown Ups 2)
Steve Zahn (War For The Planet of The Apes)
Julia Jones (Jonah Hex)
Lavell Crawford (Breaking Bad)
Danny Trejo (machete)
Harvey Keitel (Little Nicky)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
David Spade (8 Simple Rules)
Whitney Cummings (Made of Honor)
Jon Lovitz (Rate race)
Saginaw Grant (Grey owl)
Norm Macdonald (Dr. Dolittle)
Chris Parnell (Paper Man)
Blake Shelton (Pitch Perfect 2)
John Turturro (Transformers)
Chris Kattan (Undercover Brother)

In the Old West era, a calm man named Tommy Stockburn (Sandler) is raised by Native Americans, where he is named “White Knife”, due to his expertise with knives. He is due to marry a Native girl named Smoking Fox (Jones). He has a run-in with a gang of bandits with eye patches on their right eyes, led by Will Patch (Forte), and manages to outsmart them and a deranged, Native American-racist food proprietor named Clem (Zahn), whose left eye is badly dysfunctional. At his Native village a bank robber named Frank Stockburn (Nolte) comes by, claiming to be Tommy’s biological father. Tommy explains to Frank that his mother was shot by a silhouetted man with tattoos on his hand when she was escorting him to school during his childhood, something that has haunted his dreams since. Frank also tells Tommy that he is dying of consumption, but that he has amassed $50,000 and buried it in a meadow next to a pine tree, which he offers to Tommy and the Natives. The next day, a group of bandits with connections to Frank come to the village, led by the ruthless Cicero (Trejo) who want Frank to give them his “big score” he gained a while back. Frank has the bandits kidnap him so he can lead them to the $50,000 at the so-called “Singing Windmill”, in return for the bandits not attacking Tommy or the Indians. With no time to search the meadow and find the money, Tommy decides he must find another way to obtain it and save his father.Tommy sets out on his quest to regain his father and decides that the best way to gain enough money is by stealing it. However, because his tribe does not condone theft and claims it is dishonorable, Tommy instead opts to steal from those who have no honor, leading him to target corrupt politicians, racist bankers, and thugs alike. During his quest, Tommy discovers that he has 5 half-brothers; Mexican burro rider Ramon (Schneider), whose innkeeper mother Frank had a fling with; mentally challenged yet happy-go-lucky Lil’ Pete (Lautner), who has a strong neck that makes him immune to hanging; feral mountain-man Herm (Garcia), who speaks incomprehensibly; guilt-ridden drunkard Danny (Wilson), who served as a bodyguard for Abraham Lincoln until accidentally leading John Wilkes Booth to murder him; and African-American saloon pianist Chico (Crews), who confesses to be only 50 percent white; all of which join Tommy. Meanwhile, Clem joins the eye patch gang in hopes of finding Tommy to take revenge on him after Clem removes his only functional eye (since the other eye patch wearers claim that removing the right eye is part of the gang’s way) before they kidnap Tommy’s fiancee, though she manages to escape them due to Clem’s poor eyesight and heads out to find Frank. When meeting Chico and Danny, they run with Chico’s boss: the aggressive, always smiling saloon owner Smiley Harris (Keitel), who was part of Frank’s gang until Frank stole his cut of their biggest score and left him to die at the windmill. He owns a large golden nugget the brothers steal after Ramon, while riding his burro, accidentally decapitates Smiley with a shovel from behind just as he is about to shoot the brothers as revenge against Frank for his betrayal, though Ramon was only trying to knock him out. While relaxing in a pond, Clem and the eye patch gang show up and while the brothers manage to overpower them, the gang manage to steal the money the brothers stole. Hope isn’t lost for the brothers, as Herm (through Tommy’s translation) tells them that a gambler named Ezekiel Grant (Lovitz) is hosting a gambling game with Mark Twain (Vanilla Ice) and General George Armstrong Custer (Spade) in Yuma. After successfully robbing the poker game, they head out to ransom their father. 1280x720-TUtAs dusk falls, Tommy realizes (through a photograph carried by Danny) that it was Cicero who murdered his mother. Not wanting to put his brothers in harm’s way, Tommy sets out alone in the cover of night to rescue his father and confront his mother’s killer. After paying the ransom, Cicero decides to part ways but Tommy insists on getting his revenge. Having successfully killed Cicero, the half-brothers (who followed Tommy) have a reunion with their long lost father. Realizing that Tommy’s group now have $100,000 after rescuing the Left-Eye Gang and getting their original $50,000, Frank double crosses them, revealing that he was in cahoots with Cicero for an easy $50,000. Tommy then reveals that their group also has a Plan B: a hidden bomb inside the bag containing the ransom money. When the bomb explodes and commotion ensues, Frank runs off with Smoking Fox (whom his group has been holding hostage) inside a mine. Tommy runs after them and successfully rescues his bride-to-be and captures his father. Also, in the process of the fighting, the Left-Eye Gang accidentally reveal that they lied about removing their right eyes, much to Clem’s outrage. Back in the Native Village, Tommy weds Smoking Fox with his brothers in attendance. Since the revelation that their biological father Frank Stockburn was no more than a two-bit crook, the Native chief decides to adopt the half-brothers as he did with Tommy.ililuiluiluiluilThis movie is just stupid fun. It isn’t trying to be the great American Western, and it doesn’t take itself seriously. The cameos are great, and the acting is superb. Just suspend disbelief, and enjoy the journey.

REVIEW: TROPIC THUNDER

CAST

Ben Stiller (Mystery Men)
Jack Black (Goosebumps)
Robert Downey, Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Steve Coogan (Hott Fuzz)
Jay Braruchel (Fanboys)
Danny McBride (Land of the Lost)
Brandon T. Jackson (Thunderstruck)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man)
Nick Nolte (Hulk)
Matthew McConaughey (EdTV)
Brandon Soo Hoo Supah Ninjas)
Tom Cruise (Knight and Day)
Tyra Banks (Coyote Ugly)
Martin Lawrence (Bad Boys)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Alicia Silverstone (Clueless)
Jon Voight (Transformers)
Christine Taylor (Zoolander)
Mini Anden (Chuck)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)
Rachel Avery (Scrubs)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Repo Men)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Valerie Azlynn (Julia X)
Reggie Lee (Grimm)
Miko Hughes (Full House)

Hook-handed Vietnam veteran Staff Sergeant John “Four Leaf” Tayback’s (Nick Nolte) memoir, Tropic Thunder, is being made into a film. With the exception of newcomer supporting actor Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel), the cast—fading action hero Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), five-time Academy Award-winning Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey, Jr.), rapper Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson), and drug-addicted comedian Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) all behave unreasonably. Rookie director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) cannot control them during filming of a large battle scene, and production is reported to be one month behind schedule a mere week into production. Furious studio executive Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) orders Cockburn to resume filming as planned, or have the project shut down.

Acting on Four Leaf’s advice, Damien drops the actors into the middle of the jungle, with hidden cameras and rigged special effects explosions to film “guerrilla-style”. The actors have guns that fire blanks, along with a map and scene listing that will lead to a helicopter waiting at the end of the route. Unknown to the actors and production, the group have been dropped in the middle of the Golden Triangle, the home of the heroin-producing Flaming Dragon gang. Just as the group are about to set off, Damien inadvertently steps on an old land mine and is blown up, stunning the actors. Tugg, believing Damien faked his death to encourage the cast to give better performances, persuades the others that Damien is alive, and that they are still shooting the film. Lazarus is unconvinced but joins them in their trek through the jungle.

When Four Leaf and pyrotechnics operator Cody Underwood (Danny McBride) try to locate the dead director, they are captured by Flaming Dragon. Four Leaf is revealed to have hands; he confesses to Underwood that he actually served in the Coast Guard, has never left the United States, and that he wrote his “memoir” as a tribute. As the actors continue through the jungle, Kirk and Kevin discover that Tugg is leading them in the wrong direction. The four actors, tired of walking and hoping to be rescued, leave Tugg, who goes off by himself and is captured by Flaming Dragon. Taken to their heroin factory, Tugg believes it is a POW camp from the script. The gang discovers he is the star of their favorite film, the box office bomb Simple Jack, and forces him to reenact it several times a day.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Tugg’s agent Rick ‘Pecker’ Peck (Matthew McConaughey) is trying to negotiate with Les an unfulfilled term in Tugg’s contract that entitles him to a TiVo. Flaming Dragon calls the two and demands a ransom for Tugg, but Les instead berates the gang. Despite the threats, Les expresses no interest in rescuing Tugg and tries to convince Rick about the benefits of allowing Tugg to die and collecting the insurance. Les also offers Rick a Gulfstream V jet and money in return for his cooperation.

Kirk, Alpa, Jeff, and Kevin discover Flaming Dragon’s heroin factory. After witnessing Tugg being tortured, they plan a rescue attempt based on the film’s script. Kirk impersonates a farmer towing a captured Jeff on the back of a water buffalo, distracting the armed guards so Alpa and Kevin can locate the captives, but after the gang’s leader (Brandon Soo Hoo) notices inconsistencies in Kirk’s story, the actors, knowing their cover has been blown, begin firing, temporarily subduing the gang. Their control of the gang falls apart when Jeff grabs the leader and heads for the drugs, and the gang regains their guns and begin firing.

The four actors locate Four Leaf, Cody, and Tugg and cross a bridge rigged to explode to get to Underwood’s helicopter. Tugg asks to remain behind with the gang which he considers his family, but quickly returns when Flaming Dragon fires in pursuit. Four Leaf detonates the bridge allowing Tugg to reach safety, but as the helicopter takes off, the gang fires a rocket-propelled grenade at the helicopter. Rick unexpectedly stumbles out of the jungle carrying a TiVo box and throws it in the path of the grenade, saving them. The crew return to Hollywood, where footage from the hidden cameras is compiled into a feature film, Tropic Blunder, which becomes a major critical and commercial success. The film wins Tugg his first Academy Award, which Kirk presents to him at the ceremony.

In a mid-credits scene, Rick is on a plane back to Hollywood with his estranged son.

Brilliant satire on Hollywood and war/action movies. Easily Stiller’s best role as it mirrors his reality. Downey Jr is in his prime! “I don’t read the script, the script reads me”. In smaller roles Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise and excellent as an agent and a film mogul. The film definitely has a “Spinal Tap” edge to it where the jokes keep coming through their subtlety. It is sad that Stiller will always be in cheesy cash cow films but this is the one that he should be remembered for, directing a satirical classic

REVIEW: GANGSTER SQUAD

CAST
Sean Penn (Mystic River)
Josh Borlin (Men In Black 3)
Ryan Gosling (Drive)
Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-man 1 & 2)
Holt McCallany (The Losers)
Wade Williams (The Dark Knight Rises)
Lucy Davenport (Alice In Wonderland)
Nick Nolte (Cape fear)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Michael Pena (American Hustle)
Giovanni Ribisi (Some Girl)
Anthony Mackie (Captain America 2)
In 1949 Los Angeles, gangster Mickey Cohen wants to control all organized crime and argues with local mobster Jack Dragna that they should not allow the East coast mafia to run the town. Meanwhile, LAPD Detective Sergeant John “Sarge” O’Mara raids a Cohen-owned brothel to save a woman from being raped, gaining the attention of Police Chief Bill Parker. Parker believes that more drastic measures need to be taken against men like Cohen, and tasks O’Mara to begin waging a guerrilla campaign against the mobsters. He tells O’Mara (a former OSS commando during World War II) to use his special operations training, learned at Camp X during World War II, and to select a small team that will work without badges or official support from the police.
O’Mara’s pregnant wife Connie suggests choosing unorthodox veterans like himself, as young high-performers would likely already be on Cohen’s payroll. With Connie’s help, O’Mara selects a small squad of cops: black street officer Coleman Harris, wiretap expert Conwell Keeler, gunslinger and sharpshooter Max Kennard, and Kennard’s Hispanic partner Navidad “Christmas” Ramirez. O’Mara also attempts to recruit his partner Sergeant Jerry Wooters, but Wooters has become lazy and complacent in his job and refuses. Wooters keeps in touch with childhood friend Jack Whalen, who provides him with information on Cohen. Wooters also meets and begins a secret relationship with Cohen’s etiquette tutor Grace Faraday.
The squad’s first mission is to bust up an illegal Cohen casino in Burbank, California, but things quickly go bad as O’Mara and Harris are captured by corrupt Burbank police who were guarding the casino. Wooters has a change of heart after witnessing the death of a young boy he had been helping out and attempts to shoot Cohen. Whalen stops him and tells him that O’Mara is going to be turned over to Cohen, prompting Wooters to rescue the men from the Burbank jail. Deciding that they need more information on Cohen’s operations, Wooters and Keeler break into Cohen’s house and place an illegal wiretap inside his TV. The men are seen sneaking out by Grace, who agrees to keep their secret. Using the information from the wiretap, the group conducts several successful raids on Cohen operations. After a particularly violent raid on a Cohen drug shipment, Keeler begins to question what they are doing but is re-assured by O’Mara. The media begins referring to the men as “The Gangster Squad”, and Cohen pushes his men to find out who they are. Keeler deduces that Cohen is building a large wire gambling business somewhere in town, and warns O’Mara that if they don’t take it out before it becomes operational Cohen will become too big for even them to stop. Keeler uses wire transmissions to locate the building, and the squad wipes it out. An enraged Cohen realizes that the Gangster Squad must be honest cops when he discovers that none of his money was stolen.
Cohen suspects that his house is bugged and begins searching for the tap. Grace overhears Cohen and fears that he knows about her relationship with Wooters. With the help of a maid, Grace escapes Cohen’s house and meets Wooters, who takes her to Whalen and tasks him with getting her out of town. Cohen finds the bug and begins feeding false information to Keeler. Cohen lures the Gangster Squad into a trap in Chinatown, but Wooters arrives in time to alert the men to the trap. While the men are distracted in Chinatown, Cohen hits several targets himself. Cohen’s bodyguard Karl Lockwood finds Keeler’s listening post and kills him while Cohen goes to Whalen’s looking for Grace. Cohen murders Whalen in front of Grace, who hides from him. O’Mara’s house is hit by a drive-by shooting, the stress of which causes Connie to give birth to their son in their bathtub.
Grace agrees to testify against Cohen for the murder of Whalen, and O’Mara uses her testimony to get a warrant for Cohen’s arrest. The squad arrives at Cohen’s hotel to arrest him and an intense firefight breaks out. Wooters and Kennard are wounded, while Cohen and Lockwood escape. O’Mara pursues them down the block, assisted by a mortally wounded Kennard and his sharpshooting skill. Kennard, with Ramirez’ help, shoots Lockwood just before he dies and O’Mara and Cohen engage in a brutal fistfight that ends with O’Mara eventually beating Cohen to his knees. As a crowd gathers, a bloodied O’Mara walks away and Cohen is arrested for Whalen’s murder.
As Chief Parker had told them, the Gangster Squad is never credited in taking down Cohen. Grace’s testimony ensures Cohen is sentenced to 25 to life at Alcatraz, where he is welcomed violently by Whalen’s friends. Grace and Wooters stay together and he stays on the force, while Ramirez and Harris become partners on the beat. Ramirez is shown patrolling with Kennard’s signature Colt Single Action Army on his hip. O’Mara quits to live a quiet life in Los Angeles with Connie and their son.
This is great fun, it isn’t the greatest film ever made, the most original or anything like that but it doesn’t waste a second and that’s the way I like it.

REVIEW: HULK (2003)

CAST

Eric Bana (Star Trek)
Jennifer Connelly (Labyrinth)
Sam Elliott (Ghost Rider)
Josh Lucas (American Psycho)
Nick Nolte (Warrior)
Lou Ferrigno (Pumping Iron)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)

Scientist David Banner introduces the idea of creating super soldiers by introducing modified DNA sequences extracted from various animals to strengthen the human cellular response, making them effectively impervious to any weaponized agent, but General Thaddeus Ross denies him permission to use human subjects. Banner subsequently conducts the experiments on himself. After the birth of his son Bruce, he finds that his son may have inherited the effects and seeks a cure, but is stopped in the process. Bruce remembers nothing of the incident after a traumatic event, and has been raised by the Krenzlers.Years later, Bruce is a geneticist working with his ex-girlfriend Betty Ross, within the Berkeley Biotechnology Institute on nanomed research. The pair hope to achieve instantenous cell repair by using low level Gamma radiation exposure to activate the nanomeds once they are introduced into a living organism. During routine maintenance of their appropriated Gammaspectrometer, a circuit shorts and triggers the experiment’s program sequence. Unable to prevent the machine from firing, Bruce throws himself in front of his colleague to shield him and is exposed to incredibly toxic levels of Gamma. Betty visits Bruce in the hospital and remarks that he should be dead, but Bruce feels great. A new janitor at the lab claims that he is Bruce’s biological father, of whom Bruce has no recollection. When under extreme stress, Bruce transforms into the Hulk who destroys the laboratory, though he has no memory of the incident. General Ross suspects Bruce of collaborating with his father but then deduces Bruce has repressed memories. He orders Bruce to be put under house arrest.Through a phone call with his father, Bruce learns that the radiation unleashed something that was already in his DNA, and that David Banner plans to have Betty killed by his dogs, which now have similar powers to the Hulk (thanks to David mutating them with gamma radiation), and he is attacked by Major Glenn Talbot, leading to a transformation into the Hulk. The Hulk seriously injures Talbot before leaping to save Betty from the dogs. The Hulk kills David’s dogs and changes back into Bruce before being captured by the military the next morning.Kept at a secret desert base, Bruce is kept under observation while Talbot intends to weaponize the Hulk’s powers. David Banner tries to recreate Bruce’s failed experiment, but instead of turning into another Hulk he finds himself able to absorb any materials and energy he touches, and hands himself over to the military after telling Betty that he murdered his wife in front of the child Bruce. Bruce has a nightmare about the event which leads to a more powerful transformation of the Hulk. Talbot is killed in an explosion of his own making. The Hulk escapes the base and rampages his way across the desert to San Francisco, battling army forces sent after him. When Betty calms him into his human form, General Ross realizes that the Hulk cannot be controlled and that Bruce should be executed. At their mutual execution, David Banner tries to taunt his son into transforming into Hulk, but fails. He then decides to “go first” and bites an electrical cable absorbing all the electricity in San Francisco. The electricity hits Bruce, triggering his own transformation. A brutal fight ensues between David and the Hulk, with David absorbing Hulk’s energy during the fight. David finds that the Hulk’s energy is too much for him to handle and he is killed by an army missile at the height of his weakness. One year later, though Bruce is presumed dead, General Ross mentions apparent Hulk sightings and Betty admits her love for Bruce. In a South American jungle, Bruce has become a doctor and is approached by rebel militants who want to take medical supplies from the poor. Bruce’s eyes turn green and a scream of the Hulk is heard.It’s Ang Lee’s masterful filmmaking, strong use of visual metaphor, and faithfulness to the original comics that really sets his Hulk film apart for me. Perhaps the one scene that really spells out what Ang Lee is doing and also brought me back to the old comics was that first close-up we see of Hulk free and jumping through the desert to the haunting Danny Elfman music. Classic.