Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Transformers: Prime" Season One (2010)

Starring Peter Cullen, Frank Welker and Kevin Michael Richardson
Developed by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Duane Capizzi and Jeff Kline

I previously reviewed "Transformers: Prime - Darkness Rising," which was the first five episodes of the series edited together into a movie.  Those first five episodes present the opening arc of the season.

After the defeat of Megatron's (Frank Welker) undead army and the destruction of the Decepticon space bridge, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and his small squad of Autobots turn their sights toward cleaning up the rest of Megatron's disciples on Earth.  Joining Optimus are Ratchet (Jeffrey Combs), Bumblebee, Bulkhead (Kevin Michael Richardson) and Arcee (Sumalee Montano), and their human allies young Rafael (Andy Pessoa), Miko (Tania Gunadi), Jack (Josh Keaton) and Agent Fowler (Ernie Hudson).

The Decepticons, under the leadership of Starscream (Steven Blum), continue to mine all possible sources of Energon from the planet Earth.  When Starscream and Soundwave manage to locate the body of Megatron drifting in space, they are shocked to discover he is still alive.  The Dark Energon he used to create his army of the undead now fused with his body, Megatron will rise again to be more powerful than ever.  And when his ultimate plan is revealed, to awaken the slumbering titan Unicron, Optimus realizes that an ancient Cybertronian prophecy is coming to bear... and that he may have to give his life to stop his arch enemy once and for all.

Friday, April 20, 2012

"Hulk Vs" (2009)

Starring Fred Tatasciore, Steven Blum and Matthew Wolf
Written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
Directed by Frank Paur and Sam Liu
PG-13 - Violence
Running Time: 82 Minutes

"Hulk Vs" is actually two short features back-to-back: "Hulk vs Thor" and "Hulk vs Wolverine."

In "Hulk vs Thor," the evil demigod Loki (Graham McTavish) convinces the sorceress Amora (Kari Wahlgren) to help him unleash the Hulk (Frank Tatasciore) upon Asgard.  Loki knows that while the allfather, Odin (Dwight Schulz) is in his regenerative sleep, the kingdom is vulnerable and he sees a chance to usurp control.  Amora, angry at having been spurned by Thor (Matthew Wolf), is just angry enough to go along with it.  She helps Loki remove Bruce Banner (Bryce Johnson) from the Hulk, leaving the creature entirely without a conscience.

As the Hulk lays waste to Asgard, only Thor stands in his way.  But the creature proves too powerful even for the god of thunder, and the Hulk beats Thor to within an inch of his life.  Amora, regretful for her actions, rescues him and tells Thor that Loki is controlling the beast, and he seeks out his half-brother, leaving only Sif (Grey DeLisle) and the legion of Valkyries to defend Odin.

In "Hulk vs Wolverine," the Hulk has been cutting a swath of destruction across Canada.  The government sends its best and most lethal agent, Logan (Steven Blum) to track the creature and stop it after it levels an entire village in the countryside.  Logan tracks the Hulk, but is surprised to find only the weak Banner instead.  When his interrogation of Banner unleashes the Hulk once more, the two are set upon by a team of superpowered mercs including Deadpool (Nolan North), Omega Red (Colin Murdock), Lady Deathstrike (Janyse Jaud) and Sabertooth (Mark Acheson).  They are captured and taken to a secret location where Logan learns that the scientist who turned him into Weapon X years earlier, Dr. Thornton (Tom Kane) plans to experiment on the Hulk to turn him into a weapon.

When Thornton tells Logan he also plans to erase Logan's memory and experiment on him once again, as well, Logan breaks free and fights his way through the Weapon X team, unleashing the Hulk in the process.

"Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme" (2007)

Starring Bryce Johnson, Paul Nakauchi and Michael Yama
Written by Greg Johnson
Directed by Frank D. Paur
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language
Running Time: 76 Minutes

Doctor Stephen Strange (Bryce Johnson) is one of the world's best neurosurgeons.  He only takes the most high-profile cases that will bring him prestige and money to the hospital that employs him. One night, while driving to work, he witnesses a group of mystics battling a strange monster, despite a spell that was supposed to hide the fight from the eyes of mere mortals.  Later, he does a consult in the coma ward to help treat a young girl who has fallen into a coma.  When he touches her, he sees a vision of a massive, burning demonic face.  He learns that the ward is full of other children all having the same nightmares.  When driving home afterward, he sees the spirits of the children in the street, and swerves to avoid them, wrecking his car... and ruining his hands.

Strange spends the next few months seeking out every possible treatment for his hands, spending his entire fortune and eventually losing his job.  Down to his last time, he decides to commit suicide but is saved by a man named Wong (Paul Nakauchi), who tells him to travel to Tibet to find the cure he seeks.  Strange scrounges one last favor from Dr. Gina Atwater (Susan Spano) for airfare to Tibet, and treks through the mountains to a hidden monastery.  There, the Ancient One (Michael Yama), Mordo (Kevin Michael Richardson) and Wong help train Strange in the ways of sorcery.

At first, Strange doesn't understand.  But he eventually comes to know the power that lies within him, that  the regrets of his past and his unwillingness to perceive things in more than one way are what kept him from fixing his hands.

But while Strange's power grows, Mordo and the others at the monastery fight a dangerous and secret war against the forces of Dormammu (Jonathan Adams), a powerful and immortal creature imprisoned eons ago by the Ancient One.  Dormammu has found a way to influence the Earth realm, and will soon have enough power to break free of his prison.  As the protectors' numbers dwindle against Dormammu's evil minions, Wong and the Ancient One realize that the unique, but untested, power within Strange may be the world's only hope against true evil.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Ultimate Avengers: The Movie" (2006)

Starring Justin Gross, Andre Ware, and Michael Massee
Written by Greg Johnson
Directed by Curt Geda, Steven E. Gordon and Bob Richardson
Not Rated - Violence
Running Time: 72 Minutes

In the final days of World War II, supersoldier Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Justin Gross) leads an assault on a Nazi stronghold said to contain some kind of doomsday weapon.  He discovers the Germans are working with alien creatures called the Chitauri, but sacrifices himself to stop their weapon from destroying America.

Decades later, Nick Fury (Andre Ware), leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., searches the ocean floor for the remains of Captain America.  Dr. Bruce Banner (Michael Massee) and Dr. Betty Ross (Nan McNamara) believe the captain's DNA is the secret to restarting the supersoldier program in order to combat the Chitauri, which have remained in hiding on Earth since the end of the war.  They are shocked to discover, however, that Rogers is not dead - merely preserved.  Captain America awakens in the present, a man outside of time, who has lost everything he held dear... except his country.

When the Chitauri attack a S.H.I.E.L.D. satellite and kill three astronauts, Fury is forced to gather superpowered civilians in order to protect the Earth until Banner can create new supersoldiers.  Fury contacts Hank Pym (Nolan North), Janet Pym (Grey DeLisle), Tony Stark (Marc Worden), Black Widow (Olivia d'Abo) and Thor (David Boat) to form the Avengers.  Led by Captain America, this team will serve as the planet's front line of defense against the alien invaders... if they can just learn to work together.

But all the while, Banner holds a deadly secret.  Within him lies a creature more powerful than anything anyone has ever seen.  The Avengers may find that the Chitauri are not the greatest threat to planet Earth.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Planet Hulk" (2010)

Starring Rick D. Wasserman, Lisa Ann Beley and Mark Hildreth
Written by Greg Johnson
Directed by Sam Liu
Not Rated - Violence
Running Time: 81 Minutes

When Earth's heroes decide that the Hulk (Rick D. Wasserman) is simply too dangerous to keep around, they lock him into a spaceship and fire him off toward an uninhabited world where he can live out the rest of his time in peace.  Unfortunately, when he awakens and discovers what's happened to him, his violent outburst sends the ship off-course and he crash-lands on a dangerous world ruled by the ruthless Red King (Mark Hildreth).

Captured and sold into slavery, the Hulk is forced to do battle in the gladiatorial arena for the entertainment of the king.  He bonds with his fellow slaves, Hiroim (Liam O'Brien), Korg (Kevin Michael Richardson), Miek (Samuel Vincent), Elloe (Advah Soudack) and Android (Lee Tockar).  To everyone's surprise, the group is able to best their opponents in the arena, and people begin to believe that the vicious Hulk may be the Sakaarson - a prophesied warrior who would bring an end to tyranny on their world.

But the Red King has no intention of allowing the Hulk or his friends to survive, no matter the rules or laws of the land.  His faithful servant and assassin Caiera (Lisa Ann Beley) will do whatever it takes to make sure the Hulk can't threaten her king, but as the Red King grows more desperate, she soon begins to realize that perhaps she's on the wrong side of this conflict.

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Lethal Weapon 2" (1989)

Starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Joe Pesci
Written by Jeffrey Boam
Directed by Richard Donner
Rated R - Violence, language, sex
Running Time: 118 Minutes (Director's Cut)

LAPD detectives Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) are surprised when their drug bust turns into a massive and destructive cross-city chase.  While the perp escapes, Riggs and Murtaugh are confused to discover the trunk is full of Krugerrands, currency of South Africa, which is illegal in the United States.

To get them off the streets while the department deals with an insurance nightmare, Riggs and Murtaugh are assigned protection duty of a federal witness named Leo Getz (Joe Pesci).  Leo tells them he has been skimming millions of dollars from a massive drug organization, and has decided to testify in exchange for protection and immunity.  But when someone tries to assassinate Leo, Riggs and Murtaugh decide to dig into the case and discover Leo's drug dealers are actually a group of South African diplomats led by Arjen Rudd (Joss Ackland).  Unfortunately, Rudd and his cronies are protected by diplomatic immunity.

Soon enough, Riggs, Murtaugh and Leo are all targets for Rudd's hit squads, led by the vicious assassin Vorstedt (Derrick O'Connor).  But when their perp is protected against any and all crimes, Riggs and Murtaugh realize they're going to have to go outside the law to take them down.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Cabin in the Woods" (2012)

Starring Kristen Connelly, Chris Hemsworth and Fran Kranz
Written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon
Directed by Drew Goddard
Rated R - Violence, gore, language, drug use, sex, frightening images, you name it
Running Time: 95 Minutes

You know the setup - Five friends: Dana (Kristen Connelly), Curt (Chris Hemsworth), Jules (Anna Hutchison), Holden (Jesse Williams) and Marty (Fran Kranz) head off from college for a weekend in the woods at Curt's cousin's creaky old cabin.  On the way, they meet a creepy hick who warns them of danger lurking in the woods, and the kids scoff at him and go on their merry.

Once at the cabin, they begin to do all the things you expect them to do.  They drink.  They party.  They engage in various sexual acts.  They smoke pot.

And they anger an ancient evil that starts to kill them.

What is the cabin in the woods?  What is the evil out to kill our cliched group of pretty young heroes?  And what does it have to do with a mysterious laboratory full of scientists and military personnel?

You know the setup.  You think you know the story.

"Flash Point" (2007)

Starring Donnie Yen, Louis Koo and Collin Chou
Written by Szeto Kam-Yuen and Nicholl Tang
Directed by Wilson Yip
Rated R - Violence
Running Time: 88 Minutes

In 1997, just before the transition of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule, two detectives Ma Jun (Donnie Yen) and his partner Wilson attempt to take down a Triad gang.  Wilson has gone undercover in the gang led by three brothers: Tiger (Xing Yu), Archer (Ray Lui) and Tony (Collin Chou) who are organizing a massive drug deal to smuggle product from Vietnam.  Wilson lives in fear of being discovered as he gathers intelligence to use against the brothers.

When a rival drug smuggler agrees to testify against the brothers, the gang decides he needs to be taken out.  With their key witness dead, Ma and Wilson realize the only one who can take down Archer in court is Wilson.  Everything falls apart when Wilson is discovered to be a mole, beaten and left for dead.  Making a recovery with his girlfriend Julie (Fan Bingbing), Wilson becomes a target for the gang.

When his girlfriend is kidnapped and Wilson is blackmailed to give false testimony to save her, Ma and Wilson decide to take matters into their own hands.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Lethal Weapon" (1987)

Starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Gary Busey
Written by Shane Black
Directed by Richard Donner
Rated R - Violence, language, nudity, drug use
Running Time: 110 Minutes (Director's Cut - 117 Minutes)

"Die Hard" is the best Christmas movie ever.  The 2nd best Christmas movie ever?  "Lethal Weapon."

When a young girl is poisoned and jumps off the roof of an LA high rise, aging detective Roger Murtaugh is shocked to find that it's the daughter of an old Vietnam war buddy.  As he begins to dig into the case, Murtaugh is annoyed to be assigned a new partner - Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) who everyone believes may be suicidal after the death of his wife in a car accident.

Riggs and Murtaugh don't get along.  Murtaugh is a veteran cop who likes to do things safe and the old way, and Riggs is a young hotshot who takes unnecessary risks.  But soon enough they discover they're going to need each other to stay alive as their case uncovers a massive drug ring operated by a former US Army general Peter McCallister (Mitchell Ryan).  McCallister and his private army including the psychotic henchman Mr. Joshua (Gary Busey) are planning a huge shipment of heroin, with one of Murtaugh's old Army buddies running the money end of it.

Things get more dangerous as McCallister decides that Murtaugh's family is the leverage they need to get the two cops off their case.  Riggs and Murtaugh will have to do whatever it takes to save them... if they can survive each other first.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Vanishing on 7th Street" (2010)

Starring Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo
Written by Anthony Jaswinski
Directed by Brad Anderson
Rated R - Language, violence, scary images
Running Time: 92 Minutes

Sometimes, shadows can be very, very scary.  There's a sort of primal human fear of shadows and darkness, the way our mind can interpret shapes and danger out of them.  "Vanishing on 7th Street" hopes to tap into that fear by constructing a horror movie out of our fear of shadowy shapes and figures and the danger lurking in the darkness.

Luke (Hayden Christensen... ha.  ha.  Srsly) awakes one morning to find the power out in his apartment and his girlfriend missing.  He gets dressed and goes looking for her and makes a strange discovery: everyone else has disappeared, too, leaving only piles of clothing on the ground wherever they were standing when they were taken.  After three days trying to find a working car, Luke discovers a bar with the lights still on and goes inside.  There, he finds young James (Jacob Latimore), who tells him his mother works at the bar and he's waiting for her to return.  Soon after, a third stranger arrives at the bar, a physical therapist named Rosemary (Thandie Newton).

By now all three have discovered the rules to survival in this savage new world: Stay in the light.  Whatever it is out there that's taking all the people, it can't get you if you stay in the light.  The only problem is that light is become scarce.  Batteries drain faster, generators burn through more fuel than they should, the nights are getting longer and the days shorter.  At 11 am in the morning, it's pitch dark outside.

While trying to figure out how to get out of the city, Luke finds another man, Paul (John Leguizamo) who managed to escape from whatever other realm everyone has disappeared to thanks to a malfunctioning flashlight.  His injuries are grave, but he tells the others of the mysterious disappearance of the Roanoke colony hundreds of years earlier and his theory that the same thing is happening now on a world-wide scale.

Luke manages to discover a truck with a battery that still works, but the starter is bad.  He convinces the others that if he can use the generator to jump-start it, they can drive out of town.  But with their light sources running thin, getting the truck back to the bar could be suicide.

Monday, April 9, 2012

"The Lincoln Lawyer" (2011)

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillipe and Marisa Tomei
Written by John Romano
Directed by Brad Furman
Rated R - Violence, language, mature themes, sex
Running Time: 119 Minutes

Michael Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is a slick-talking defense lawyer who sometime back lost his license.  In order to get around, he hired one of his clients to be his chauffer (Laurence Mason) instead of paying his legal bills, and rides around in a Lincoln Towncar.  He mostly defends scumbags, but one day his friend Val (John Leguizamo) urges him to take a meeting with a young man named Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillipe).  Roulet has been arrested and charged with rape and attempted murder of a young prostitute (Margarita Levivita).

At first, Haller is excited to take on a case that will surely pay him a good deal of money, as Roulet comes  from a rich family that owns a real estate empire.  He hears the details of the case and hires his friend Frank (William H. Macy) to be his investigator.  His ex-wife, prosecutor Margaret McPherson (Marisa Tomei) with whom Haller has a child, isn't too happy he's taking this case.

Soon enough, the details of the case begin to get muddled.  Haller and Levin suspect that their client may not only be guilty in this case, but in a string of murders over the last few years - including one in which Haller himself gave up his client to life in prison instead of the death penalty.  When Roulet confesses such to Haller, and threatens Haller's family if he doesn't get him a not guilty verdict, Haller finds himself between a rock and a hard place.

How can Haller protect his family and bring Roulet to justice without violating the laws and rules he swore to uphold?  He can't tell the police, or he'd torpedo his entire career and the case would be thrown out anyway. But if he doesn't try his hardest to get his client off, he's in the same boat.  With no one to turn to, Haller concocts a devious and dangerous plan that if it goes wrong could cost him his future, and his family's lives.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"American Reunion" (2012)

Starring Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, and Alyson Hannigan
Written and directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Rated R - Language, violence, nudity, sex, drinking and drug use by teens
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Trailer (Red Band)

13 years after graduating high school, the crazed weirdos from "American Pie" return to their hometown for their high school reunion.

Jim (Jason Biggs) is now married to the band chick Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and the two have a young child.  Unfortunately, their sex life has taken a nosedive, causing strife in their marriage.  Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is also married and an architect who works from home.  Oz (Chris Klein) is a sportscaster who recently competed on a celebrity dancing show and lives with his slutty model girlfriend Mia (Katrina Bowden).  Stifler (Seann William Scott) has a crappy job at an investment firm  where he plays at being a big-shot but is really just a gopher.  And Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) has been living the life of a worldly nomad.

Having grown apart, the guys are excited to be back in town to hang out for the weekend and go to the reunion.  Jim is glad to see his dad (Eugene Levy) who is lonely after the loss of his wife several years earlier, and is also surprised to find that the girl next door who Jim used to baby sit, Cara (Ali Cobrin) is now a gorgeous 18-year-old.  The guys start hanging out and discover that their lives have taken them, in some ways, in disappointing directions.  They also begin to clash with the younger generation of their hometown, who have taken over their old haunts.

Things begin to strain as Stifler keeps attempting to get the guys to live it up like the old days.  Oz and Kevin both run into their old girlfriends Heather (Mena Suvari) and Vicki (Tara Reid), which stirs up old feelings in them both.  Oz dislikes Heather's new boyfriend, and realizes that he's still in love with her.  Meanwhile Kevin, after a night of heavy drinking, wakes up in bed with Vicki and stresses over the possibility that he's cheated on his wife.  Jim finds his marriage on the rocks when Michelle believes he might be cheating on her with Cara.

And Stifler finally figures out a way to get revenge on Finch for having sex with his mom (Jennifer Coolidge) back in high school...

"The Skulls" (2000)

Starring Joshua Jackson, Paul Walker and Leslie Bibb
Written by John Pogue
Directed by Rob Cohen
Rated PG-13 - Language, sex, violence
Running Time: 107 Minutes

Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson) is a working-class orphan struggling to get through Ivy League college and then figure out a way to pay for law school.  He banks on being invited to join a secret society known as the Skulls in order to afford Harvard Law.  His best friends Will (Hill Harper) and Chloe (Leslie Bibb), whom Luke has a crush on, are not supportive of Luke's plan.

But Luke is offered membership in the Skulls, which he greedily accepts, putting him on the outs with his friends.  But within the organization, he makes new ones: Caleb Mandrake (Paul Walker), the cocky son of powerful Judge Litten Mandrake (Craig T. Nelson) the current chairman of the Skulls.  The Skulls are set up with a unique buddy system called "soul mates", and Luke and Caleb are partnered together.  Litten's soul mate, Senator Ames Levritt (William Petersen) takes a liking to Luke, and offers to mentor him in the ways of the Skulls.

Luke's life begins to turn around - he's pre-accepted to the law school of his choice, large sums of cash appear in his bank account, and he's given an expensive car to drive.  Not long after, Will is found dead of an apparent suicide, but the police learn that he was murdered and the suicide staged.  Luke discovers that Will was doing an expose of the Skulls for the student newspaper when he was killed, and comes to believe it it Caleb who is responsible, and decides he needs to take down the Skulls to get justice and to take his life back.

But the Skulls are an organization comprised of powerful men.  They control the school, the police, and everyone Luke might turn to for help will be in danger.  Who can he trust?  How can he gain leverage over the most powerful men in America, or perhaps the entire world?

Friday, April 6, 2012

"Swordfish" (2001)

Starring Hugh Jackman, John Travolta and Halle Berry
Written by Skip Woods
Directed by Dominic Sena
Rated R - Violence, nudity, drug use, sex, language
Running Time: 99 Minutes

Oh, hackers... One day, Hollywood will figure out how to make what you do not look completely ridiculous.

Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) is a former hacker who was caught by the FBI and as part of his sentence is never allowed to touch a computer again.  He works a crappy job hoping to one day get back custody of his young daughter Holly (Camryn Grimes) from her strung out, porn-star mother Melissa (Drea de Matteo).  One day, he's approached by a mysterious woman named Ginger (Halle Berry) with a job offer.  Promising him a hundred thousand dollars just to meet her employer, Ginger convinces Stanley to meet with the mysterious and dangerous Gabriel Shear (John Travolta).

Gabriel needs a hacker of the highest calibre to help him steal $9.5 billion in illegal funds from the United States government.  With this money, he tells Stanley, he will commit America to a war on terror the likes of which the world has never seen.  But hot on Gabriel's trail is FBI agent JT Roberts (Don Cheadle), the man who years earlier caught Stanley.

Trying to make enough money to save his daughter from a life of drugs and porn and keep himself out of jail, Stanley agrees to do the job for Gabriel, settling on a fee of $10 million.  But Stanley doesn't know who he can trust - not Ginger, who claims to be a DEA agent; not Roberts, who will likely send him back to jail; and certainly not Gabriel, who would just as soon kill him as soon as the job is finished.

And when Gabriel proves himself to be less a patriot and more a sadistic murderer, Stanley realizes he's in far, far over his head with no way out.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Trespass" (2011)

Starring Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman and Ben Mendelsohn
Written by Eli Richbourg and Karl Gajdusek
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Rated R - Violence, language, drug use
Running Time: 91 Minutes

So what's the deal with Nicolas Cage?  Is it really his money troubles that keep him bouncing from one terrible movie to another?

Kyle Miller (Nicolas Cage) is a slick diamond dealer, a middle-man for people looking to sell or purchase diamonds.  He lives at home in his incomplete mansion, which he's have trouble with the contractor to finish, with his lovely wife Sarah (Nicole Kidman) and teenage daughter Avery (Liana Liberto).  One evening, after Avery sneaks out to go to a party, some men come to the door posing as police officers to talk to the Millers about recent break-ins in the area.

Kyle lets them in, not knowing that these men are, in fact, robbers themselves. They grab Kyle and Sarah and bring them into Kyle's office where they attempt to coerce him into opening the safe, where they believe they will find a large cache of unsold diamonds.  Kyle says he can open the safe and give them the diamonds, if the men let his wife go safely, but then reveals that because the diamonds have been etched and their ownership registered with a national agency, they will be useless to the thieves because they can't be sold.

The stakes grow bigger when Avery returns home early from the party, however, giving the thieves another hostage to bargain with.  As Kyle does everything in his power to keep his family alive, the thieves grow more desperate as things begin to go wrong for them.  And Kyle begins to realize that his family may not be the only hostages, for one of the thieves reveals that he's being forced to rob from Kyle to save his own life.  But who can Kyle trust?  And how will any of them live through the night?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"Fear" (1996)

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon and William Petersen
Written by Christopher Crowe
Directed by James Foley
Rated R - Violence, language, sex, drug use
Running Time: 96 Minutes

Good-girl Nicole Walker (Reese Witherspoon) spends much of her time dealing with her somewhat overbearing father Steven (William Petersen) and her step-mother Laura (Amy Brenneman) and hanging out with her best friends Gary (Todd Caldecott) and Margo (Alyssa Milano).  One night, Margo convinces her to go to a rave, where she meets David (Mark Wahlberg) a seemingly nice older guy who helps her out when the rave gets out of hand.

Soon enough, Nicole and David are dating.  Steven is wary of David, as fathers often can be, but everyone tells him to loosen up.  As their relationship deepens, David begins to push Nicole subtly, manipulating her.  Blind to his manipulations as negative, she initially goes along with it since it's all so exciting and new to her, and David seems so nice.

But David soon begins to show a darker side.  He assaults Gary when he sees Gary and Nicole share a hug outside of school, and gives Nicole a black eye.  Nicole covers it up with her parents, but decides not to see David again until he shows up at Margo's house and begs her forgiveness and for another chance, which she grants.  But by now, Steven has decided that David is not a good person, and will do whatever it takes to keep David from seeing her.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Moonraker" (1979)

Starring Roger Moore, Richard Kiel and Michael Lonsdale
Written by Christopher Wood
Directed by Lewis Gilbert
Rated PG - Violence, language, sex
Running Time: 126 Minutes

When an experimental space shuttle is stolen while being transported across the ocean, MI6 agent 007 James Bond (Roger Moore) is sent to the United States to investigate the manufacturer, Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale).  There, he meets Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles), a beautiful scientist and undercover CIA agent.

Bond suspects that Drax is involved the theft of the shuttle, but can't prove it.  He begins to dig deeper into Drax's massive multinational corporation, and finds evidence that Drax may be manufacturing some kind of nerve gas.  He heads to Italy, where he finds Goodhead once more, and after surviving an encounter with the assassin known as Jaws (Richard Kiel), the two decide to team up and figure out exactly what Drax is up to.

Eventually, they find that Drax is creating a secret society in space and plans to wipe out all of humanity using his deadly nerve gas, and the survivors will be only those of his choosing to form a master race.  Bond and Goodhead must race against time, assassins, and Drax's henchmen to stop the gas from raining death upon the Earth.

Monday, April 2, 2012

"The Man with the Golden Gun" (1974)

Starring Roger Moore, Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland
Written by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Rated PG - Violence, sex
Running Time: 125 Minutes

James Bond (Roger Moore) is relieved of duty when the British government learns he may be the target of a mysterious assassin named Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), whom no one has ever seen, and who kills his targets with a custom-made golden gun.  M (Bernard Lee) has received a golden bullet with "007" inscribed on it, and tells Bond he must abandon his mission to find a scientist named Gibson who has perfected a solar energy device which could solve the world's energy crisis.

But instead of laying low, Bond decides to track down Scaramanga himself, heading to Beirut where he finds one of Scaramanga's bullets which he then tracks to a gunmaker in Macau.  Bond meets Andrea Anders (Maud Adams), Scaramanga's mistress, who he forces to help him set up a chance to get at Scaramanga.  But Bond learns that Scaramanga is not after him at all, but after Gibson.

Teaming up with a Hong Kong agent named Hip (Soon-Tek Oh) and the beautiful MI6 agent Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland), Bond must uncover Scaramanga's true plot to steal the solar energy device, and engage in a duel with the world's greatest assassin.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Diamonds Are Forever" (1971)

Starring Sean Connery, Jill St. John, and Charles Gray
Written by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Rated PG - Violence, sex
Running Time: 120 Minutes

Agent 007, James Bond (Sean Connery) tracks down his nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray) and kills him, to get revenge for the death of his wife Tracy in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."  Soon after his return, M (Bernard Lee) assigns him a new mission: to uncover a diamond smuggling ring.

Bond travels to Amsterdam and impersonates a smuggler named Peter Franks, setting up with a woman named Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) to transport a large load of diamonds to the United States without getting caught.  When they arrive in Las Vegas, Bond begins to unravel the threads of the diamond smuggling ring, including run-ins with two assassins named Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith).

Bond suspects that the head of the smuggling ring is the massively wealthy and reclusive entrepreneur Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean).  But no one has seen Whyte in years, and arranging an audience with him is impossible. While maintaining his cover as diamond smuggler Franks with Tiffany, Bond tries to ingratiate himself into Whyte's organization and finds that the diamonds are to be used in the construction of a space weapon that can annihilate anything from orbit.  But Bond discovers that Whyte is not behind this dastardly plot to hold the entire world hostage.  Who, then, is calling the shots?  And from where?