Sunday, December 22, 2013

"American Hustle" (2013)

Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper
Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Directed by David O. Russell
Rated R - Strong language, brief nudity, sexual situations
Running Time: 138 Minutes

In the late 1970s, Irving Rosenfield (Christian Bale) has found a sort of happy balance in his life. Sure, he's not really happy, but he's moderately successful at his business that allows him to live a fairly comfortable life with his wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) and adopted son Daniel. What is that business? Well, Irving owns a chain of dry cleaning businesses in New York and New Jersey, but his real business is conning people.

Irving makes a good living selling and trading fake or stolen art, in addition to sharking $5,000 at a time from desperate people looking for a loan. All this changes, however, when he meets Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), a young woman, like him, looking to get a leg up in the world. Prosser is desperate to reinvent herself, and Irving gives her the perfect opportunity. Together, they expand Irving's loan-con business and things start to go pretty well.

Until they get ensnared in the grasp of ambitious FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). Richie threatens to toss Sydney (now going by the name 'Edith' and speaking regularly with an atrocious British accent as part of her new identity) in prison unless she and Irving help him snare some bigger fish.

That fish is Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), family man and beloved mayor of Camden, New Jersey. Carmine's big ambition is to revitalize Atlantic City, which, despite the recent passage of gambling laws that would allow for massive casino resorts, is a total dump. Soon enough, Irving, Richie and Syd have their hooks in Carmine and the sting is on.

But that's not enough for Richie. When Carmine hangs even bigger and bigger fish in front of him, Irving, Sydney and Rosalyn find themselves falling deeper and deeper into a more complicated, dangerous game they might not even get out of alive.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (2013)

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
Written by Simon Beaufoy and Michael deBruyn
Directed by Francis Lawrence
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language, frightening images
Running Time: 146 Minutes

After surviving the 74th Hunger Games, the tributes from District 12, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), return to a world in turmoil. Both suffer from nightmares after their traumatic experiences, but they're forced to relive it when they must go on a Victory Tour of the 12 districts. Worse, the two are forced to continue their sham romance for the cameras, something Katniss knows causes deep pain for Peeta. He loves her, but her affections are for Gale (Liam Hemsworth).

But what Katniss and Peeta find on the tour shocks them even more: the people appear to be resisting the forces of President Snow (Donald Sutherland). They see Katniss as a symbol of hope and rebellion, a symbol Snow is eager to wipe away. Together with the new master of the Hunger Games, Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Snow plots Katniss' downfall. To turn the people against Katniss, Heavensbee suggests, they must make them hate her.

But with each attempt to discredit her, the people rally more and more for the cause of freedom. And so now the game is on: Katniss is called back into the Hunger Games for a special all-stars edition, where she and Peeta will face off against the ruthless winners of previous years.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Red Dawn" (2012)

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Adrianne Palicki and Josh Peck
Written by Carl Ellsworth and Jeremy Passmore
Directed by Dan Bradley
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language
Running Time: 93 Minutes

Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) is a US Marine on leave, going home to Spokane, Washington, to visit his father, police sergeant Tom Eckert (Brett Cullen) and younger brother Matt (Josh Peck). He finds that Matt, now quarterback of the high school football team the Wolverines, is a cocky, selfish young man who thinks little of others.

That night, the power in town goes out, forcing Tom to go back on duty and leave Jed and Matt alone. When they awake, they find the world has changed around them: North Korean soldiers are parachuting from the skies, rounding up the townspeople. Jed and Matt escape to their father's cabin along with several of Matt's friends, including Robert (Josh Hutcherson), Daryl (Connor Cruise) the son of the mayor, and Toni Walsh (Adrianne Palicki) a friend of Matt's girlfriend, and a few strangers.

But after a fight with Jed, one of the  youngsters betrays their location to Captain Cho (Will Yun Lee) who leads the North Korean contingent in Spokane. Cho brings Tom Eckert and Mayor Jenkins (Michael Beach) to the cabin to force the kids' surrender. But Jed and the others hold strong. Their father asks them to go to war, just before Cho shoots him in the head.

Now, the Eckert boys see themselves forming a resistance. Using Jed's military training and calling themselves the Wolverines, the group of youngsters fights back against the invaders, rallying the people of Spokane to the cause of freedom.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Thor: The Dark World" (2013)

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Tom Hiddleston
Written by Christopher Yost, Christopher Marcus and Stephen McFeely
Directed by Alan Taylor
Rated PG-13 - Fantasy/sci-fi violence and action, language
Running Time: 112 Minutes

Ages ago, an army of Dark Elves led by the vicious Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) waged war to control a powerful weapon called the Aether, capable of sapping the life out of the very universe itself. He was stopped by the forces of Asgard, led by Bor, father of Odin (Anthony Hopkins). The Dark Elves were defeated, Malekith and his lieutenant Algrim (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) sacrified most of their warriors to buy their escape and wait until the time was right to strike again.

That time is now, thousands of years later as the Nine Realms once again move into alignment, weakening the dimensional borders in a way that would allow the Aether to spread across the entire universe more quickly. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has spent the last couple years bringing peace and order back to the Nine Realms after the events of the first film and beating back the Chitauri invasion of Earth. He pines for Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) the human woman he fell for during his exile there, and his friends and father all notice the difference in him.

Foster, meanwhile, similarly wishes for Thor's return to Earth as she investigates a series of strange electromagnetic disturbances in London with her trusty intern Darcy (Kat Dennings) and her mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgaard), who has somewhat lost his mind after the trauma of being brainwashed by Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Back on Asgard, Loki is imprisoned for his crimes against Asgard and for leading the invasion of Earth.

All these storylines will come crashing together when Foster accidentally discovers the location of the Aether and becomes infected by it, drawing Thor to her side to protect her and Malekith to seek her out in order to use her to destroy the known universe.

Friday, October 4, 2013

"Gravity" (2013)

Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
Written by Alfonso Cuaron and Jonas Cuaron
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Rated PG-13 - Peril, frightening images, language
Running Time: 89 Minutes

Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), an astronaut with little training, is on a mission to install a prototype scanning device she designed on board the Hubble telescope. She's joined by her mission commander, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), a veteran of the program on his last mission. While on a spacewalk to install the device, their space shuttle is hit with debris from a destroyed Russian satellite. The debris is circling the world at high speed, destroying other satellites and creating more debris.

With their crew dead and shuttle destroyed, Stone and Kowalski find themselves alone in Earth orbit, out of contact with mission control in Houston. Stone's lack of training is causing her to panic, and her dwindling oxygen supply isn't helping. With limited options, and time running out before the debris circles round the planet for another devastating event, Stone and Kowalski make a desperate run for survival and salvation.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

'Continuum' Season Two (2013)

Starring Rachel Nichols, Victor Webster and Erik Knudsen
Created by Simon Barry

Following the terrorist bombing in downtown Vancouver in Season One, time traveller Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) decides to end her official association with the Vancouver PD. She feels it's safer for her and her allies there to work on the fringes. Meanwhile, her friend Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen) suffers a personal crisis: His stepfather has been killed and his stepbrother Julian (Richard Harmon) was arrested in connection with the bombing.

Elsewhere, the terrorist group Liber8, now led by Sonya Valentine (Lexa Doig) continue their campaign to alter the future by taking the bold move of assassinating Vancouver's mayor. Kiera teams up with VPD detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) once again to investigate the crime, and eventually pulls Alec back into the fold as well. But schisms within Liber8 set up an even deadlier set of circumstances as rival factions set off a gang war in the streets.

All the while, the influence of the mysterious and powerful owner of Piron Corp, the man known as "Escher" (Hugh Dillon) becomes known. Who is Escher? What interest does he hold in Kiera and Alec Sadler? And why is he using his money and power to turn the Vancouver Police into a private army with little regard for the rule of law?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Metallica: Through The Never" (2013)

Starring Dane DeHaan and Metallica
Written by Nimrod Antal and Metallica
Directed by Nimrod Antal
Rated R - Violence, strong language, frightening images
Running Time: 93 Minutes

There's never a lack of crazy when you're a roadie for Metallica. Trip (Dane DeHaan) is just such a roadie, hired by a manager to be a gofer for the band. On the night of a massive, one-night-only show, Trip is sent on a mission to retrieve something of vital importance to the band. It seems a truck carrying their parcel broke down on its way to the venue, and Trip has to take his van and a tank of gas and get the thing running again.

At first, Trip seems disappointed that he's missing the show and rushes to get through his task in time to catch the rest. But when he's T-boned at an intersection, he discovers that he's got bigger problems to deal with: Trip finds himself stranded in the midst of a massive battle between rioters and police.

Worse, a mysterious rider on horseback wearing a gas mask seems to have set his sights on Trip, stalking him through an increasingly dangerous and apocalyptic setting.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

'Fringe' Season Five (2013)

Starring Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble
Created by JJ Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci

After saving the universe from power-mad William Bell in Season 4, the Fringe team has settled into something of normalcy. New parents Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) take their young daughter Etta to the park. In a flash of light and a crack of thunder, the invaders come: the strange men from the future known to the team as the Observers quickly conquer the world. Etta is lost in the fray. The Fringe team joins the resistance, and then they disappear.

21 years later, an adult Etta finds her parents, and her grandfather Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his assistant Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) frozen in amber. She frees them, and brings the team up to speed: the Observers control the world, and are slowly converting the atmosphere to something more suitable for their kind. Humanity lives under their thumb, and the oppressive forces of the human Loyalists. Travel is restricted. Freedom is a myth.

The Fringe team quickly gets to work with the resistance. Before they were frozen, Walter had concocted a plan to defeat the Observers. But the information has been stolen from him by an Observer named Windmark (Michael Kopsa), who sucked it telepathically from his very mind. Fortunately, Walter detailed the plan on a series of video tapes frozen in amber under his old lab in Harvard.

Now the Fringe team is desperately working to unlock the mystery of Walter's plan. With the Observers closing in, time running out, they'll put everything on the line for the sake of the future.

Friday, September 6, 2013

'Star Trek: The Next Generation' Season Four - 1990 [Blu-Ray]

Starring Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner
Created by Gene Roddenberry

As season four opens, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) has been taken by the hive mind of the Borg, twisted into the villainous Locutus and forced to commit violent acts of aggression against the Federation. The crew of the Enterprise, now led by Captain William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) races against time to stop him before Locutus reaches the heart of the Federation - Earth - and decimates its population.

The Borg are not the only threat the crew of the Enterprise will face this year. Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) will come face to face once more with his evil twin, Lore (also Brent Spiner) and his own creator (also also Brent Spiner). Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) will deal with the trauma of losing her empathic powers. Doctor Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) finds herself trapped in a slowly-collapsing alternate universe, with no means of her own escape. Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge (Levar Burton) investigates the mysterious disappearances of some of his former crewmates, and discovers he may be next.  Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn) will face his destiny as he is once again plunged into the dangerous world of Klingon politics.

'Spartacus: War of the Damned' (2013)

Starring Liam McIntyre, Manu Bennett and Dustin Clare
Created by Steven S. DeKnight

Rome is in crisis. With its forces spread thin dealing with foreign threats, it is unable to counter heavy losses at the hands of the rebel army of Spartacus (Liam McIntyre). To this end, the Senate broaches its richest citizen, Marcus Crassus (Simon Merrells) to use his fortune to raise an army of his own to meet Spartacus. To this end, Crassus recruits a young, but highly-skilled warrior, Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance) to infiltrate Spartacus' ranks. Then, with his son Tiberius (Christian Antidormi) at his side, Crassus makes his march with an army 10,000 strong.

Meanwhile, Spartacus' rebel army has grown massive. In need of food and shelter, Spartacus and his lieutenants, Crixus (Manu Bennett), Agron (Dan Feuerriegal) and Gannicus (Dustin Clare) hatch a bold plan: to capture an entire city and make it their stronghold. The rebels manage to infiltrate and overthrow the city of Sinuessa, on the coast, slaughtering the many nobles that reside there.

Spartacus draws the ire of his people, however, when he decides to keep some of the Romans as prisoners instead of killing them outright. He places one of the prisoners, a woman named Laeta (Ann Hutchison) in charge of the prisoners. Though she resents him for killing her husband, Laeta proves sympathetic toward Spartacus as time passes.

And Spartacus soon finds that taking a city is far simpler than keeping one. With Crassus at his doorstep, pirates of uncertain loyalty on the seas, and ever-growing rivalries between his own men, Spartacus struggles to keep his rebel army from falling apart... and falling beneath Crassus' sword.

'Spartacus: Vengeance' (2012)

Starring Liam McIntyre, Manu Bennett and Dustin Clare
Created by Steven S. DeKnight

Following the bloody slaughter at the House of Batiatus, the Thracian warrior Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) and his group of rebel gladiators and slaves take refuge underground, striking fearsome raids into the city of Capua for supplies and food. But the loose band of former rivals does not function well. A band of gladiators led by the gaul, Crixus (Manu Bennett) is a constant aggravation for the other slaves, often taking their food and women with little thought for others.

But Spartacus swore an oath to Crixus that he would help him find his lost love, Naevia (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), who had been banished from the House of Batiatus after their affair was discovered by Batiatus and his wife Lucretia (Lucy Lawless). Spartacus attempts to balance the needs of keeping his rebel group alive with his oath to Crixus.

Meanwhile, the leaders of Rome, infuriated at Spartacus' murder of so many nobles, sends Praetor Gaius Claudius Glaber (Craig Parker), the very man who sold Spartacus into slavery in the first place, to correct this grave error. Accompanied by his pregnant wife Illythia (Viva Bianca), Glaber sets up shop in the fallen house of Batiatus, only to discover that Lucretia still lives within its walls, injured and half-mad from her ordeal.

With supplies scarce, and internal rivalries growing hotter, Spartacus struggles to lead his ever-growing band of rebels to safety... as Glaber closes in with his legions.

'Transformers: Prime' Season 3 (2013)

Starring Peter Cullen, Frank Welker and Steven Blum
Developed by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Jeff Kline and Duane Capizzi

Following the destruction of their secret base by the Decepticons, the Autobots find themselves scattered and in hiding across the United States. Rookie teammember Smokescreen (Nolan North) has hauled a mortally-wounded Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) to safety beneath the mountain's wreckage. Arcee (Sumalee Montano) and her human ward Jack (Josh Keaton), Bumblebee and his friend Rafael (Andy Pessoa), and Bulkhead (Kevin Michael Richardson) and the energetic Miko (Tania Gunadi) are spread out elsewhere and unable or unwilling to contact each other as the Decepticons are monitoring all Earth communications.

From his new palace built over the ruins of the Autobots' base, now dubbed "Darkmount," Megatron (Frank Welker), Starscream (Steven Blum) and Shockwave (David Sobolov) use their advanced weaponry to ward off human military forces. Megatron attempts to convince the humans, through federal agent Fowler (Ernie Hudson) that he means to leave humanity in peace, but Fowler and the others know that's a lie and that Megatron will stop at nothing to conquer the Earth.

Soon, the Autobots are joined by allies Wheeljack (James Horan) and Ultra Magnus (Michael Ironside) to launch a new offensive against Megatron. But even with the return of Optimus Prime, Megatron unveils his next deadly plan to destroy the Autobots and enslave the Earth: the Predacons, an ancient race of Cybertronian dragons resurrected in the modern age... and nearly indestructible.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"The World's End" (2013)

Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Martin Freeman
Written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg
Directed by Edgar Wright
Rated R - Violence, strong language, sexual references, copious amounts of alcohol
Running Time: 109 Minutes

Gary King (Simon Pegg) recounts what he considers the greatest night of his life to a rehab therapy group. Years ago, Gary and his best friends attempted a pub crawl in their hometown called the Golden Mile - 12 pubs, 12 pints, all culminating at a pub called The World's End. But they never made it. Too young, too stupid and too eager, they drank themselves to an early oblivion... then went on with their lives.

Now, Gary is intent on getting his friends back together for another attempt at the Golden Mile. But each of them has grown up and gone their separate ways. Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), Peter (Eddie Marsan) and (Nick Frost) all have jobs, careers, families... but Gary does not. In order to convince them to join him, he concocts a story about his mother having died, and the friends reunite in their hometown of Newton Haven.

But no sooner are they on their way for a pint that they start noticing something strange. No one seems to remember them, and the populace has become very, very strange. After a couple of stops and feeling a bit loose, Gary goes into the bathroom of one of the pubs and ends up in a confrontation with a young man he thinks is rude. What escalates into a fistfight ends with Gary shearing the man's head off on the edge of the toilet - revealing that it isn't a man at all. The town, it seems, has been taken over by robots, and the only ones not affected are Gary, his friends, Oliver's sister Sam (Rosamund Pike) - the object of years-long crushes by both Gary and Steven - and a few random folks here or there.

But as his friends desperately beg him to leave, Gary is adamant that they continue on their pub crawl, determined that nothing will get in his way this time... not even the end of the world.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Elysium" (2013)

Starring Matt Damon, Sharlto Copley and Jodie Foster
Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp
Rated R - Violence, strong language
Running Time: 109 Minutes

Max (Matt Damon) is a young orphan who grew up to be a petty thief. His entire life, he's scrabbled and stole to build up enough wealth to one day make his only dream come true: to get to Elysium, a massive orbital habitat where humanity's wealthiest citizens reside in total luxury.

Max lives on Earth, in a dilapidated, overcrowded slum called Los Angeles. The air quality is terrible. There's little work to be had. And for someone with a criminal record like Max, a job in and of itself might just be a miracle. Max works at a robotics factory, brushing off requests from his old friend Julio (Diega Luna) to help him steal some cars and make quick cash. He tries to reconnect with his childhood friend and crush, Frey (Alice Braga), a nurse at a nearby hospital.

But one day, Max receives a lethal dose of radiation. The company's robot doctor tells him he has five days to live, and the CEO, John Carlyle (William Fichtner), orders him let go with only a single bottle of pills as treatment.

Max and Julio find Spider (Wagner Moura), a smuggler who specializes in getting people illegally onto Elysium. Max, willing to do anything to get to the advanced medical technologies on Elysium that could heal him, agrees to pull a job for Spider - intercept Carlyle's shuttle and steal vital information from the man's brain.

The job goes south when Elysium's Secretary of Defense Delacourt (Jodie Foster) sends in a team of agents led by the vicious, unstable Kruger (Sharlto Copley). Now Max is on the run in Los Angeles, with Kruger on his trail, while Spider discovers that the information downloaded from Carlyle could be the key to changing the future of human civilization, both on Earth and on Elysium.

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox" (2013)

Starring Justin Chambers, Kevin McKidd and Michael B. Jordan
Written by James Krieg
Directed by Jay Oliva
Rated PG-13 - Intense animated violence, language
Running Time: 81 Minutes

Barry Allen (Justin Chambers), also known as the Flash, has lived his life with only one regret: not having been able to save his mother when she was murdered while he was just a child. One night, after a confrontation with some of his greatest enemies, including Captain Cold, Heatwave and Mirror Master, Flash is taunted by a dark version of himself from the future, Professor Zoom (C. Thomas Howell). Batman (Kevin Conroy) tries to console him, but upset, Flash takes off running.

The next morning when he awakens, he finds the world has changed around him. He no longer has his speed powers, his wife is married to another man, and his mother is alive. But the world is in danger: A war has broken out between Aquaman's (Cary Elwes) Atlantis and Wonder Woman's (Vanessa Marshall) Themyscira, a war that has decimated Europe, killing billions and pitting the rest of the world on a collision course with armageddon.

Barry, desperate to figure out what has happened to the timeline, tracks down this world's version of Batman - Thomas Wayne (Kevin McKidd), Bruce's father. In this timeline, Bruce was the one shot by a mugger in an alley, leaving his grief-stricken parents to suffer. This version of Batman is a brutal killer, but still a genius and one of the world's greatest strategic minds. As such, he is courted to aid the United States government in the coming war with the Amazons and Atlanteans by Cyborg (Michael B. Jordan), who is attempting to gather a team of superhumans to avert catastrophe.

Flash realizes that he has only a little time to regain his powers, convince Batman to help him and change time back before war consumes the entire world to its bitter end.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

"42" (2013)

Starring Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford and Nicole Beharie
Written and directed by Brian Helgelund
Rated PG-13 - Strong language, mild violence
Running Time: 128 Minutes

In the late 1940s, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) makes a bold move: He decides to offer a place in his baseball club to a player from the negro leagues, a temperamental young player named "Jackie" Robinson (Chadwick Boseman). Of course, the fact that the United States is still a deeply segregated country means that this is a decision fraught with danger.

Jackie starts out with the Montreal Royals, quickly proving himself a talent, but running up against the insurmountable wall of racism. At every turn, Jackie is reminded that he's considered barely human by not only the populace, but even his own teammates. But, also at every turn, he finds Rickey pushing him to bigger and greater things. Rickey pushes Jackie to hold in his temper, to "have the guts not to fight back" whenever the white men around him push him around. Rickey wants him to play ball, and that's what Jackie wants, too.

Soon enough, Rickey gives Jackie a chance to move up to the Dodgers, becoming the first black player in the major leagues. Will that milestone prove to be a watershed moment for baseball as Rickey and Jackie hope, or will it be a grand embarrassment for all involved?

"The Wolverine" (2013)

Starring Hugh Jackman, Tao Okimato and Rila Fukushima
Written by Christopher McQuarrie, Mark Bomback and Scott Frank
Directed by James Mangold
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language, brief male nudity
Running Time: 126 Minutes

Logan (Hugh Jackman) is a broken man in the wake of events in "X-Men: The Last Stand." Forced to kill the woman he loved, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Logan retreats from his friends and his life into the Canadian wilderness. He lives alone in the woods, with only the clothes on his back, the booze in his bottle and a battery-operated radio. He has nightmares every night, of his lost love begging him to join her in the afterlife, of his adamantium claws stabbing through her gut.

One evening, Logan is approached by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), a young Japanese woman sent to find him by Shingen Yashida (Hiroyuki Sanada), owner of the largest and most powerful corporation in Asia. Yukio, with some convincing, brings Logan to Tokyo, where he finds Shingen dying of old age. In 1945, Logan saved Shingen from the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, and Shingen, on his death bed, wishes to repay Logan that kindness. He offers to take Logan's incredible healing abilities from him, leaving him a mortal, ordinary man.

But Logan refuses, and the next day attends Shingen's funeral. But he's not the only unwanted guest: Yakuza thugs attack the funeral, attempting to kidnap Shingen's granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okimato). Logan intervenes to rescue her, but is wounded in the process. He quickly discovers that his healing powers have been stolen from him, but manages to get Mariko to safety anyway. Weakened, Logan takes Mariko on the run from the Yakuza.

But the Japanese mob aren't the only ones trying to find Logan and Mariko. To protect this woman, Logan realizes he's going to have to become something he promised himself he isn't anymore, that he would never become again. The animal within. The Wolverine.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"Pacific Rim" (2013)

Starring Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi
Written by Travis Beacham and Guillermo del Toro
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Rated PG-13 - Violence, frightening images, language, peril
Running Time: 132 Minutes

Humanity always thought an alien invasion would come from outer space. They never expected that huge, powerful monsters might rise up from a dimensional rift deep beneath the Pacific Ocean. But that's exactly what happened. In response to the threat from these massive beasts, called Kaiju, humanity has banded together to create the Jaegers - incredibly powerful robots, controlled by human pilots connected psychically to the machine and to each other. Two people are required to pilot the machines, as the psychic toll of doing so is too much for any one man to take.

One such pilot is Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) who controls the Jaeger called Gypsy Danger with his brother, Yancy (Diego Klattenhof), as the two are "drift compatible." Jaeger pilots, it seems, are a select breed - only two people who are deemed psychically compatible may join together to control the Jaeger, each pilot serving as one hemisphere of the giant robot's brain. But during an encounter off the coast of Alaska, a Kaiju causes serious damage to Gypsy Danger, killing Yancy and forcing Raleigh to pilot the Jaeger back to shore - alone.

Five years later, bigger, badder Kaijus are slaughtering the Jaeger teams, and the world's governments have decided to mothball the program in favor of building a massive, impenetrable wall around the entire Pacific Ocean. The leader of the Jaeger program, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) has moved the final four Jaegers to a base in Hong Kong, from where he intends to launch a desperate final attack on the rift under the Pacific. But to do so, he needs Raleigh to come back and pilot Gypsy Danger one last time. But Raleigh, in returning, finds only rivalry and resentment among his fellow Jaeger pilots, who view him as a quitter. And the one person he believes could be his copilot, a young woman named Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) has been forbidden from doing so by Pentecost.

Outmanned and outgunned, the Jaegers and their pilots are the last remaining force standing between the increasingly devastating forces of the Kaiju and the extinction of humanity.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

"The Lone Ranger" (2013)

Starring Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp and Tom Wilkinson
Written by Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott and Terry Russo
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Rated PG-13 - Language, violence, sexual references
Running Time: 149 Minutes

John Reid (Armie Hammer) is a lawyer returning home to Texas to take a job as a county prosecutor. On the train there, he notices a gang of outlaws boarding the train and goes to investigate. It seems that vicious murderer Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) is aboard the train, being transported for hanging, and his gang has come to bust him out. A Comanche warrior, Tonto (Johnny Depp), is also aboard the train, planning to kill Cavendish, but Reid interferes in the name of the law. Cavendish gets away, but his men have killed the train conductor, leaving the locomotive out of control.

John's brother Dan (James Badge Dale), a Texas ranger, catches up with the the train and helps John and Tonto unhook the cars to save the other passengers as the locomotive crashes off the end of the rail line. Soon, the chase is on to find Cavendish. John is deputized as a ranger, and heads into the desert with Dan and his posse to find Cavendish, leaving Dan's wife (and John's former love) Rebecca (Ruth Wilson) and her young son behind.

But the mission ends in tragedy when one of Dan's men betrays the rangers, leaving them for an ambush that kills them all. Tonto discovers that a spirit horse has revived John, whom Tonto calls "a spirit walker" to help him on his quest for vengeance against Cavendish. As the two track the outlaws, they find themselves in a vast conspiracy aimed at igniting a war between the remains of the Comanche nation and the United States as the railroad expands westward.

Friday, July 5, 2013

"White House Down" (2013)

Starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx and Maggie Gyllenhaal
Written by James Vanderbilt
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language, children in peril
Running Time: 137 Minutes

John Cale (Channing Tatum) is a DC cop working protection detail for Speaker of the House Eli Raphelson (Richard Jenkins). He manages to call in a favor to snag a job interview for the Secret Service, and takes his politics-fanatic daughter Emily (Joey King) along for the chance to check out the White House.

At the same time, President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) has unveiled a bold plan for peace in the Middle East that involves exposing all the dirty deeds of the military-industrial complex and pulling all American troops out of the region. Facing stiff opposition, today is the day that will either make or break his plan as he tries to get Congress and America's allies on board.

It's also the last week on the job for Martin Walker (James Woods), Secret Service agent in charge of the Presidential Detail. But as his cohorts throw him a retirement party, including Special Agent Carol Finnerty (Maggie Gyllenhaal), they have no idea that Walker has masterminded a plan to seize control of the White House and everyone within it.

Soon, the country is in crisis as the seat of our government's power is under attack. A bomb devastates the Capitol building, prompting Raphelson to move to the Pentagon. The Vice President (Michael Murphy) is whisked away on Air Force One. Armed men storm the White House from within, slaughtering security guards and the Secret Service. They are led by Eli Stenz (Jason Clarke), a vicious former black ops soldier.

And stuck in the middle of it is John Cale, who manages to get away from the terrorists and rescue the president. Cale and Sawyer are on the run in the White House, outnumbered and outgunned. But Finnerty suspects that Walker isn't the only black hat around, and wonders just who the real players are, and what their endgame might be.

Monday, July 1, 2013

"Safe" (2012)

Starring Jason Statham, Chris Sarandon and Catherine Chan
Written and directed by Boaz Yakin
Rated R - Violence, strong language
Running Time: 95 Minutes

Luke Wright (Jason Statham) is a disgraced New York cop and cage fighter expected to take a fall in his latest bout. Instead, he trounces his opponent, infuriating the mob bosses who were set to make a great deal of money on this fight. Soon after, mob enforcers murder Luke's wife in retaliation. Luke loses everything and wanders the streets, a homeless drunk.

A year later, Luke crosses paths with Mei (Catherine Chan) a young girl with a gift for numbers. She can instantly memorize and recall anything she sees, and has been used by the Chinese mafia in their illegal gambling operations in the United States. With Mei, there is no need for records or a paper trail of their activities. When the Russian mafia ambushes Mei's Chinese captors, she escapes and finds a reluctant protector in Luke. Wanted by the Russian and Chinese mafias, as well as the corrupt cops (and Luke's former colleagues), Luke vows to keep Mei safe and free her from a life of slavery and crime.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"First Blood" (1982)

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy and Richard Crenna
Written by Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim and Sylvester Stallone
Directed by Ted Kotcheff
Rated R - Violence, strong language
Running Time: 93 Minutes

John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is a drifter. He roams the country, no job, just making his own way, rejected everywhere he goes. Eventually he comes to a town called Hope, looking for an old Vietnam war buddy, but discovers that his friend has passed away from cancer. Soon enough, he's picked up by the town sheriff, Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) who doesn't abide drifters and vagrants in his town.

But Rambo also won't abide the treatment Will gives him. So after Will drops him off at the edge of town, Rambo heads back in, looking for something to eat. Will arrests him and brings him back to the police station for processing. There, his mistreatment at the hands of Will's small-town "big-fish" police force escalates, triggering Rambo's memories of being tortured as a Vietnam POW. He escapes, setting off a dangerous chase.

Will gathers his forces, determined to take down Rambo, but soon discovers that while he's the big man in town, he and his batch of country cops are no match for Rambo's Green Beret training and hardened warfare experience.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

'Hannibal' Season One (2013)

Starring Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen and Laurence Fishburne
Developed by Bryan Fuller
Based on characters created by Thomas Harris

Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is a gifted criminal profiler with a somewhat unique ability to put himself into the mindset of the nation's sickest serial killers. Recruited to assist on FBI investigations by Special Agent-in-Charge Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), Graham goes to work on a case involving young women gone missing. The case becomes more intriguing to Graham when one of the girls is returned, and he suspects this is actually an apology from the killer.

Graham's friend, Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) is worried about Will's emotional state and requests that Jack bring aboard a psychotherapist named Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) to assist. Soon after, another girl is found murdered and mounted on deer antlers. While the FBI initially assumes this is the killer's next stage of escalation, Graham believes that the case has garnered a copy-cat. Graham and Hannibal eventually track the killer, a man named Garrett Jacob Hobbs. When they arrive at Hobbs' home, they discover that someone has tipped Hobbs off, and he's already killed his wife and wounded his daughter Abigail (Kacey Rohl). Graham kills Hobbs to save Abigail, but that is only the beginning.

Tormented by what he's done, Graham begins to see Hannibal as a patient. And as their cases grow more and more grotesque, the specter of Garrett Jacob Hobbs grows like a cancer in Graham's mind. He begins to suffer delusions and lost time. But Hannibal, in the guise of a therapist, may not have Graham's best interests in mind.

Because Hannibal Lecter also has a secret: He himself is a serial killer, and a cannibal... working for the FBI.

Monday, June 24, 2013

'Star Trek: The Next Generation' Season Three - 1989 [Blu-ray]

Starring Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner
Created by Gene Roddenberry
Saved by Michael Piller

After a disappointing Season 2 release on blu-ray, Season 3 of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," often cited as the season that saved the show and thus the future of the franchise, warps into HD with much better results.

Gone is the soft, bland image of Season 2 - restored at the hands of an outsourced company that thought the show should still look like 1988 - and back again is the warm, filmic and exciting visual palette of Season 3. The detail on display in these episodes is, again, truly incredible. While occasionally the sets or props will look cheap, much of the show is actually quite well done even these decades later. The main areas of the Enterprise, such as the bridge, Captain Picard's ready room or the engine room all look amazing.

There are a few standout restoration moments worth mentioning here. The first is an episode called "The Enemy," in which the Enterprise answers a distress call from a Romulan ship crashed on a harsh, barren world. La Forge (Levar Burton) becomes trapped on the surface with a Romulan survivor. Previously, on TV and on DVD, a lot of the episode was practically unwatchable. Shot in dark cave sets with lots of dust floating around the air because the planet is supposed to be inhospitable, in SD this episode looked as murky as can be. But in HD, it's a revelation. Detail is crisp and clear, even in the deepest, darkest shadows. The muck on characters' clothing, the wounds and grime on their skin are all crystal clear. It's like watching the episode for the first time.

Enough cannot be said about the quality of the restoration work on the special effects in this season, some of which are huge. From the opening episode, "Evolution," which has shots featuring the Enterprise in front of a twisting stream of stellar matter, to the asteroid belt in "The Booby Trap," to the space-combat in "Yesterday's Enterprise," to the new orbital shots in "Deja Q," it all looks incredible. The Enterprise reappears in all her glory in this season, no longer washed out and dull as it was in Season 2.

Further, there aren't so many glaring errors in the new composites, either. The ship doesn't disappear partially in the frame, or have misaligned lighting passes or any of the other nonsense that plagued the previous set. Colors are bold, lighting is fantastic and subtle. It's great. This set is a joy to watch.

And then, of course, there's "The Best of Both Worlds," one of the show's biggest and most famous episodes. Don't miss it!

All is not super rosy, however. There is a noticeable drop in quality over the course of the season. This is not the fault of the restoration; rather, it's the fact that the show's visual style was changing. Things start out looking really amazing on the first disc, with much of the live-action photography looking very, very stunning and film-like. By the final batch of episodes, however, the lighting on the show has grown flatter, which robs the production of some of its glory. It still looks incredible for a show of this age, it's just a shame that the actual production is becoming somewhat lackluster.

If you're a fan of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," you owe it to yourself to watch these high-definition versions. There are so many great episodes in this season, and they've been lovingly restored. It's incredible.

'Continuum' - Season One (2012)

Starring Rachel Nichols, Erik Knudsen and Victor Webster
Created by Simon Barry

In the year 2077, corporations have replaced government in ruling the people. While this dystopian future is advanced and many people live lives of comfort, freedom is a thing of the past. People are born with "life-debts" that they can never erase, always forced to work for the corporations for "life-credits" to earn their amenities.

Police officer Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) is ordered to witness the execution of a band of terrorists, the leadership of a group known as Liber8, who blew up a corporate congress building and killed thousands. But when the execution gets underway, the terrorists reveal their secret plan: In a flash, they travel back through time to the year 2012 and prepare to begin their revolution again in an earlier time, to rewrite history in their own image.

What they didn't count on was that Kiera would be thrown back in time with them. Posing as a government agent, Kiera works with the Vancouver Police Department, partnered with Detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) to track down these terrorists and put them away for a long, long time. She also forms an alliance with a young technical genius, Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen) who in the future will run one of the world's largest and most impressive corporations - and only young Sadler knows the truth about Kiera's identity.

As Kiera attempts to adjust to life in 2012, the members of Liber8, including their vicious and charismatic leader Edouard Kagame (Tony Amendola), grow more cunning in their methods to undermine government and police authority. And at the end of the day, Kiera wonders if, even after she's defeated Liber8, will she ever be able to go home to her husband and son?

Friday, June 21, 2013

"World War Z" (2013)

Starring Brad Pitt, Mirielle Enos and James Badge Dale
Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard
Directed by Marc Forster
Rated PG-13 - Zombie violence, peril, language, frightening situations
Running Time: 116 Minutes

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is a former investigator for the United Nations who left his job to spend more time with his wife Karen (Mirielle Enos) and children. One day, an outbreak of an unknown virus spreads quickly across the entire world and Gerry and his family are caught in a riot in Philadelphia. Gerry witnesses a man bitten by another person, and then sees that man reanimated as some sort of flesh-eating creature in under fifteen seconds.

Escaping Philly, Gerry is contacted by his old boss Thierry Warmbrunn (Ludi Boekin) who offers Gerry's family safe passage aboard a UN vessel in exchange for his help tracking down the source of the infection. Gerry and a team of United States Navy SEALs heads to South Korea to investigate a memo dated a week earlier that may be one of the earliest mentions of the outbreak. As the world's governments crumble and the population is being turned into ravenous, bloodthirsty zombies, Gerry and his dwindling group of allies must discover the source of the outbreak and, hopefully, find a cure before it's too late...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Man of Steel" (2013)

Starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon
Written by David S. Goyer
Directed by Zack Snyder
Rated PG-13 - Superhero and sci-fi violence, language
Running Time: 143 Minutes

On the distant, dying world of Krypton, scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara (Ayalet Zarur) have just given birth to the planet's first natural child in centuries. Jor-El hopes that his son, Kal-El, will lead the rebirth of Krypton - a world that has given up choice and freedom for strict population control and a rigid caste system. Having exhausted its natural resources and abandoned its ancient colonies, Krypton is on the verge of destruction after a foolhardy attempt to harvest energy from the planet's core.

Because of this, military leader General Zod (Michael Shannon) leads an attempted coup to ensure his vision of Krypton's future after the planet's coming destruction. In the heat of battle, Jor-El steals a valuable codex containing the DNA patterns of Krypton's unborn children and sends it and his infant son to planet Earth, away from Zod and his power-grabbing minions.

The child grows up on Earth, raised by kindly Kansas farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Kostner and Diane Lane). Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) is a man who doesn't understand his place in this world. He feels abandoned by his birth parents, but also has trouble relating to his adoptive ones. He's developed fantastic powers, stronger than any human and practically invincible. But this makes him alone. When he hears that some sort of strange object has been found deep in the ice of northern Canada, he travels there and meets Lois Lane (Amy Adams), reporter for the Daily Planet.

Clark discovers that the object is a Kryptonian scout ship, buried there long ago. He learns his true heritage, and begins to understand what purpose he might serve in his life. Unfortunately, that discovery comes with dire consequences: Zod and his forces, having survived the destruction of Krypton in the Phantom Zone, are alerted by an automated signal from the ship and travel to Earth. Zod, desperate to rebuild a new Krypton in his own image, demands that Clark surrender himself or let Earth face the devastating consequences.

"Furious 6" (2013)

Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriguez
Written by Chris Morgan
Directed by Justin Lin
Rated PG-13 - Violence, vehicular mayhem, language
Running Time: 130 Minutes

Following the events in Rio that netted career criminal Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and former FBI agent Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) millions of dollars in stolen drug money, the two men and their growing family have escaped to a non-extradition country to live their lives in peace and luxury. But a series of heists across the globe, executed with extreme precision by a terrorist named Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), forces federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) to track down Tom and Brian and ask for their help in catching Shaw.

It seems that Shaw has set his sights on putting together a weapon of great technological power that could blackout an entire country, throwing the economy and society in general into chaos. Terrorist organizations across the globe would pay huge money for such a weapon, and Shaw is only one piece away from completing it. In exchange for full pardons for themselves, family and friends, Dom and Brian agree to take on Shaw's team of highly-trained drivers and operatives.

But there's one big twist that gets Dom's attention: one of Shaw's drivers is none other than Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), Dom's former lover whom he thought killed by Mexican drug runners. Dom and Brian gather their team, including fast-talking Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), tech-wiz Tej Parker (Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges), street-racer extraordinaire Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang), and former Mossad agent Gisele Yashar (Gal Gadot) to take on Shaw. They're joined, whether they like it or not, by Hobbs and his partner, Riley Hicks (Gina Carano), in the race to stop Shaw from selling his dangerous weapon to the highest bidder. But for Dom, this adventure is more personal: It's a chance at saving the woman he thought he'd lost.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Star Trek Into Darkness" (2013)

Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch
Written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof
Directed by JJ Abrams
Rated PG-13 - Sci-fi action/violence and language
Running Time: 133 Minutes

While conducting a survey of a primitive civilization on an alien world, the crew of the USS Enterprise discovers a volcano eruption will likely annihilate the indigenous people. A plan is concocted to save them by rendering the volcano inert, but when Spock (Zachary Quinto) becomes trapped inside of it, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) breaks the Prime Directive, Starfleet's highest rule, in order to rescue his friend. But while Kirk ignores the incident in his reports, Spock, being an honest Vulcan, does not. As a result, Starfleet Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) removes Kirk from command of the Enterprise, demotes him, and gives the ship back to its original captain, Admiral Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood).

But before the Enterprise can ship out again, a secret Starfleet research facility beneath the streets of London is attacked by a terrorist named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). Marcus organizes the commanders of all Starfleet vessels in the region to hunt down Harrison, but the the bombing was merely bait to set the trap: Harrison attacks the meeting of Starfleet captains, killing Pike and wounding the others, leaving only Kirk and the Enterprise in any shape to chase down Harrison.

With Kirk back in command, the Enterprise will head deep into Klingon territory to locate this dangerous fugitive. Kirk's mission, one which his entire crew desperately pleads him to abandon, is to fire an experimental torpedo at Harrison's base in an abandoned city on the Klingon homeworld. Risking all-out war with the vicious Klingon Empire on a mission of murder, Kirk must make difficult decisions to rise above his desires for vengeance, and become the hero and commander his crew, and the Federation, deserve.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Superman: Unbound" (2013)

Starring Matt Bomer, John Noble and Stana Katic
Written by Bob Goodman
Directed by James Tucker
Rated PG-13 - Animated violence, peril, language, offensive gestures
Running Time: 75 Minutes

Things are in flux for the Man of Steel. Superman (Matt Bomer) is struggling to teach his young cousin Supergirl (Molly Quinn) how to temper herself on Earth, not to go too far hurting the bad guys. At the same time, his girlfriend Lois Lane (Stana Katic) is frustrated that Clark refuses to allow knowledge of their relationship to go public. He worries that if anyone ever discovered that Clark Kent is Superman, Lois would be in trouble. She counters that she's already in trouble all the time, anyway.

But things are about to change, and Superman's world will be rocked the core by the arrival of an alien scout belonging to Brainiac (John Noble) a vast intelligence whose sole mission is to ingest the knowledge of entire worlds. But Brainiac's flaw is that he destroys every world he encounters after absorbing its knowledge. Supergirl tells Superman that Brainiac visited Krypton shortly before its destruction, and somehow stole its capital city, Kandor.

Superman tracks down Brainiac, who is in the process of consuming an alien world. He attempts to stop Brainiac, but is captured. Brainiac is intrigued by Superman's existence, and through him, learns of the planet Earth. Now, thanks to Superman, Brainiac is on his way, and not even the two powerful Kryptonian heroes may be able to stop him.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Iron Man 3" (2013)

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Kingsley
Written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black
Directed by Shane Black
Rated PG-13 - Superhero violence, peril, language
Running Time: 130 Minutes

After fending off the alien invasion of New York, the Avengers have once again gone their separate ways. But life has not quite returned to normal. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) can barely sleep. He stays up all night at home, tinkering and producing bigger, badder suits of Iron Man armor. His girlfriend, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) runs Stark Industries, but comes home frustrated with her relationship with Tony. His best friend, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is also struggling to fit into his new role as Stark Industries' head of security.

Meanwhile, a vicious terrorist known as the Mandarin is taking credit for a series of deadly bombings across the United States. Col. James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), the Iron Patriot, can't seem to locate the Mandarin, and informs Stark that the bombings are strange in that there appears to be no actual bomb at the sites.

Unfortunately, the latest bombing has brought this battle to Tony's doorstep: Happy is left in a coma, near death. Stark, enraged, challenges the Mandarin to a one-on-one fight, and the Mandarin responds by sending attack helicopters to destroy Stark. Left with only one malfunctioning suit of armor, Stark takes on the investigation himself to locate and destroy the Mandarin. But what does all this have to do with a scientific research company called Advanced Idea Mechanics, run by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), an old acquaintance of Pepper?

To figure it all out, face his demons, and stop the Mandarin's mad plans to destroy America, Tony Stark will have to abandon his fancy tricks and slick technology and learn what the man inside the suit is capable of.

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Oblivion" (2013)

Starring Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman
Written by Joseph Kosinski, William Monahan, Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language, brief nudity
Running Time: 124 Minutes

In the year 2077, the Earth has been abandoned in the wake of a devastating war against an alien race. Though humanity was victorious, the cost of winning was great - civilization has been destroyed, and large swaths of the world are uninhabitable. The survivors were evacuated to a massive space station known as the Tet.

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and Victoria Olsen (Andrea Riseborough) live in Tower 49, still on the surface, the last humans remaining on Earth. Their job is to monitor and maintain a series of massive machines converting the Earth's oceans into fuel for nuclear reactors that will allow the humans aboard the Tet to leave Earth behind once and for all and settle on Saturn's moon, Titan. Though the war is over, Jack still has to deal with remnant alien forces on the surface, who, of late, have been downing his drones and stealing their power supplies.

Things get weirder when the aliens manage to send a message into space, and soon enough a human ship crashes to the ground. There is a lone survivor: a young woman named Julia (Olga Kurylenko), who somehow knows Jack's name. More confusing for Jack is why the drones attempted to kill her when she landed. Jack defies orders, and the pleading of his lover, Victoria, in order to get answers. What he finds is unbelievable: a secret colony of humans living underground in the remains of old New York City, led by Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman) who tells Jack an incredible tale that rock's Jack's life and beliefs to the core.

But now that Jack knows the truth about his existence, he can't simply go back to the life he knew. And the future of the human race will be placed squarely in his hands.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

"GI Joe: Retaliation" (2013)

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki and Ray Park
Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Directed by Jon M. Chu
Rated PG-13 - Language, violence
Running Time: 110 Minute

When the leader of Pakistan is assassinated, the elite GI Joes are sent into the destabilized nation to secure that country's nuclear arsenal. Unfortunately for the Joes, led by Duke (Channing Tatum) and Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson), the operation is a setup. Zartan (face of Arnold Vosloo, but mostly played by Jonathan Pryce), agent of the evil terrorist organization Cobra and master of disguise, has replaced the President of the United States (also Jonathan Pryce), and sets up the Joes as a rogue military operation and uses US forces to wipe them out.

Only Roadblock, Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki), Flint (DJ Cotrona) and silent ninja warrior Snake Eyes (Ray Park) survive the assault. Cobra's plan quickly begins to take shape: Zartan uses his influence as President to locate the secret prison where Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey, voice of Robert Baker) and Destro are being held. He sends in Firefly (Ray Stevenson) and Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-Hun) to free Cobra Commander, who resumes his rightful place as leader.

On the run, Roadblock, Lady Jaye and Flint head back to the US to try and expose Zartan while Snake Eyes enlists the aid of Jinx (Elodie Yung) and Blind Master (RZA) to track down Storm Shadow. When Joes learn of Cobra's dastardly plans for world domination, Roadblock realizes there's only one man he can turn to: The original GI Joe, General Joseph Colton (Bruce Willis), and then the battle is on to save not just America, but the entire world from the evil of Cobra.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Olympus Has Fallen" (2013)

Starring Gerard Butler, Rick Yune and Aaron Eckhart
Written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedict
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Rated R - Violence, strong language
Running Time: 120 Minutes

One snowy evening, a Secret Service convoy carrying the President of the United States, Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart), his wife Margaret (Ashley Judd), son Connor (Finley Jacobsen) and led by Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) crashes on a bridge over a river near Camp David. Banning pulls the president out of the car before it slips off the edge of the bridge, but does so at the expense of rescuing Margaret.

Eighteen months later, Banning now works for the Treasury Department in a dull desk job and wracked with guilt over his failure. His wife Leah (Radha Mitchell) is frustrated with how distant he's become and begs him to go on vacation with her to help fix their marriage. He promises instead to take her out on a date, then heads to work.

Meanwhile, a delegation from South Korea is visiting the White House, including their Prime Minister, and a private security detail that includes another former Secret Service agent and friend of Banning's, Dave Forbes (Dylan McDermott). At the same time, an attack begins on the United States. A plane painted with false Air Force markings makes its way into DC airspace and begins laying waste to the city. The Air Force manages to shoot it down, but it is only the beginning of a well-planned assault on the White House. Banning, seeing the attack from his office, rushes over to help but becomes trapped inside when the terrorists manage the impossible: seizing the White House, with the President, Secretary of Defense (Melissa Leo) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs still inside.

At the Pentagon, the head of the Secret Service, Lynne Jacobs (Angela Bassett) and Speaker Alan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) negotiate with the leader of the terrorists, Kang (Rick Yune) whose men had posed as the South Korean PM's security detail. They're locked in a secure bunker underground, with access to some of America's most high-tech and deadly weaponry.

With most of the Secret Service dead or trapped outside, Banning is the only one inside still capable of taking on the terrorists and rescuing the president and the other hostages. But he's alone, outmanned and outgunned. And when the terrorists' ultimate plot is revealed, Banning might ultimately be the only one who can save the entire United States.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"The Muppets" (2011)

Starring Jason Segel, Amy Adams and The Muppets
Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller
Directed by James Bobin
Rated PG - Mild language and peril, fart shoes
Running Time: 103 Minutes

Human Gary (Jason Segel) and Muppet Walter (Peter Linz) grew up as close as brothers can be. But Walter had a tough time growing up, since all the other kids made fun of him. So aside from his brother, his only solace came from The Muppets, those like him who had made it big and gave the world the third greatest gift ever: laughter. Now adults, Gary announces to Walter that he's taking his girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams) on a trip to Los Angeles for their 10th anniversary. And, much to Walter's surprise, Walter is invited to go with them and take a tour of the Muppet Studios.

Unfortunately, it has been years since the Muppets performed together. The studios and world-famous theatre have fallen into disrepair, attended only by an elderly, unenthused tour guide (Alan Arkin). Walter sneaks into Kermit's old office and overhears a conversation between evil oil baron Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) and his muppet cronies planning to demolish the studios to drill for oil beneath. The Muppets' only chance to stop him is to raise the $10 million necessary to purchase the land back from Richman.

Determined to save the legacy of Walter's heroes, Walter, Gary and Mary seek out Kermit the Frog and convince him to get the old gang together to put on one last show to raise the money. But the Muppets haven't performed together in over a decade, and the personal conflicts that drove them apart haven't been resolved. With only a few days, Walter, Gary, Mary, Kermit and the others will have to come together and put on the show of a lifetime to save not just the Muppets' past, but their future as well.

Monday, March 4, 2013

"Snitch" (2013)

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jon Bernthal and Susan Sarandon
Written by Justin Haythe and Ric Roman Waugh
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language, drug use
Running Time: 112 Minutes

John Matthews (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) owns a trucking and construction business that he's trying to expand. His son from his first marriage, Jason (Rafi Gavron) accepts a package from a friend containing the party drug Ecstasy. But upon opening it, he discovers that the package is a dupe and DEA agents arrive to arrest him. Set up by his friend in exchange for a smaller sentence, Jason is now facing up to thirty years in prison if he doesn't also help the government set up other drug dealers. This is due to mandatory sentencing laws designed to break the back of drug distribution networks.

The problem is, Jason isn't a drug dealer and doesn't know any other dealers or even users, really. The only way to reduce his sentence, then, is to set up his friends on what would essentially be trumped up entrapment schemes for the government. Jason is unwilling to do that, so John volunteers to do it for him. He inks a deal with the prosecutor, congressional candidate Joanne Keeghan. One of his employees, Daniel James (John Bernthal) is an ex-con with two convictions for dealing narcotics. Reluctantly, in exchange for a large sum of money, Daniel introduces John to a major local player, Malik (Michael Kenneth Williams).

John and Daniel then go on a drug run for Malik to prove their plan can work. When the run is ambushed by a rival cartel, John and Daniel's actions escaping with the drug impress cartel bigwig Juan Carlos 'El Topo' Pintera (Benjamin Bratt) who decides to recruit them for a bigger run. When Keeghan learns this, she scrubs John's deal in the hopes of snagging a bigger fish, putting John and Daniel in danger.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome" (2013)

Starring Luke Pasqualino, Ben Cotton and Lili Bordan
Written by Michael Taylor, David Eick, Bradley Thompson and David Weddle
Directed by Jonas Pate
Unrated - Violence, language, nudity, sex
Running Time: 94 Minutes

Ten years into the first Cylon War, William Adama (Luke Pasqualino) is a young, eager Viper jock itching for his first kill. Perhaps too eager. For his first tour, he's assigned to the Battlestar Galactica, the very ship he would eventually command to end his career as well. But instead of being assigned to a Viper, he's given an under-gunned Raptor and a co-pilot named Coker (Ben Cotton) who is only weeks away from ending his tour and doesn't want to rock the boat.

Adama and Coker are given their first mission, a "milk-run" escorting a scientist, Dr. Beka Kelly (Lili Bordan) to a nearby supply depot. But once they're out of Galactica's sensor range, the truth is revealed: Kelly is actually on a secret mission, and Adama and Coker must bring her to a rendezvous deep inside Cylon-held space. Outmanned and outgunned at every turn, two pilots and a scientist must make their way to a secret Cylon facility on a captured ice moon on a mission that could determine the fate of the entire war.

"The Hunger Games" (2012)

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Woody Harrelson
Written by Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray
Directed by Gary Ross
Rated PG-13 - Violence involving children and teens
Running Time: 142 Minutes

In the future, after a great uprising, 12 Districts were set up in the ruins of the old world. The districts serve the Capital. Every year, two children are chosen as tribute from each district and brought to the Capital. There, they are trained and then set loose upon each other in a free-for-all fight to the death called the Hunger Games. When her younger sister is chosen, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers in her place. Katniss, along with another young man named Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), and their mentors Effie (Elizabeth Banks) and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) travel to the Capital. Katniss leaves her boyfriend, Gale (Liam Hemsworth) to care for her sister and mother.

At first, Katniss riles her mentors and the others. She doesn't understand the subtleties of being a tribute, of riling up the crowd and gaining sponsors. What she does understand, however, is how to hunt and survive in the wilderness. And as she takes the advice of her mentors and learns to work the crowd, she soon becomes a favorite to win this year's Hunger Games.

Survival won't be a simple matter of staying alive in the woods, however. Hunted by the vicious, well-trained tributes of the richer districts, Katniss is alone and outnumbered. Worse, the order comes from above for the games to be fixed and manipulated. The President (Donald Sutherland) sees danger in Katniss giving the people too much hope, and orders the Games' director, Crane (Wes Bentley) to stack the odds against her.

Winning the Hunger Games is about more than surviving the hunt. And the odds are not in Katniss' favor.

"Hall Pass" (2011)

Starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis and Jenna Fischer
Written by Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Pete Jones and Kevin Barnett
Directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly
Rated R - Language, nudity, sex, drug use, violence
Running Time: 109 Minutes

Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are both married men... and obsessed with sex. Neither of them can get what they want from their wives, Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate). They spend their days gazing at attractive younger women, thinking to themselves about the good old days when they were wild and single.

Maggie and Grace hear from their friend (Joy Behar) about the concept of a "hall pass" - give your husband a week off from marriage to do whatever he wants, and he'll return more appreciative than ever before. Rick and Fred accept these offers, and the women head to visit Maggie's parents in Cape Cod for the week.

While Rick and Fred stumble about town trying to figure out how to attract these younger women, Maggie and Grace find things much easier on the Cape. Maggie finds herself attracted to the coach, a friend of her father's, while Grace finds a young pitcher rather alluring. Rick and Fred are continually sidetracked, at first by eating too much food, then by eating pot brownies. Rick begins to make progress wooing a gorgeous Australian barista named Leigh (Nicky Whelan), but runs afoul of a young man who is desperately in love with her.

Will Rick and Fred score? Will Maggie and Grace give in to their temptations?

"The Bourne Legacy" (2012)

Starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, and Edward Norton
Written by Tony Gilroy and Dan Gilroy
Directed by Tony Gilroy
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language
Running Time: 135 Minutes

Jason Bourne was only the beginning. As agents of the United States government, led by Eric Byer (Edward Norton) attempt to wipe away the evidence of the black-ops assassin program known as Treadstone, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) discovers that means he's now a target. Escaping death by Predator drone in Alaska, Cross is low on medication that increases his physical and mental prowess.

Meanwhile, a scientist working on a secret project for a major pharmaceutical company, Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), survives a mass killing in the lab. With all of her coworkers dead, she takes a leave from work and decides to visit her sister in Canada. But buying a ticket out of the country triggers a red flag, and government agents arrive to interrogate her. These agents are not only there to interrogate her, but to kill her and make it look like a suicide. Cross shows up just in time, hoping she has a stash of medication for him, and rescues her.

Now the two of them are on the run. Cross needs the medication or he'll regress to a state of sub-intelligence, and he's the only one who can protect Shearing from the assassins on their trail.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"A Good Day to Die Hard" (2013)

Starring Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney and Sebastian Koch
Written by Skip Woods
Directed by John Moore
Rated R - Violence, strong language
Running Time: 97 Minutes

John McClane (Bruce Willis) receives word that his son, Jack (Jai Courtney), has been arrested for murder in Russia and heads to Moscow. Meanwhile, Jack arranges to testify against a political prisoner named Yuri Komorov (Sebastian Koch) who claims to have a file of dirty deeds committed by powerful Russian government official Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov). But Jack's testimony is only an excuse to get him into the same room as Komorov; Jack McClane is actually an agent for the CIA, whose mission is to extract Komorov and retrieve the file on Chagarin.

McClane arrives at the courthouse just in time to witness Jack and Komorov escaping custody and under fire. He joins the chase and eventually saves Jack and Komorov from assassins sent by Chagarin. But with their extraction blown and their safe house under attack, McClane, Jack and Komorov have no choice but to retrieve the file themselves and escape Russia and Chagarin without the help of the CIA.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Taken 2" (2012)

Starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen
Written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen
Directed by Olivier Megaton
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language
Running Time: 91 Minutes

After the events in Paris, Brian Mills (Liam Neeson) and his family have settled into a new routine. Brian is teaching his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) to drive while ex-wife Lennie (Famke Janssen) suffers from her collapsing second marriage.  Meanwhile, in Albania, Murad (Rade Serbedzija), father of the man who kidnapped Kim in the first film, vows revenge against Mills and his entire family.

Brian soon arrives in Istanbul for a job, where Murad's men are waiting for him. Worse, Kim and Lennie make a surprise appearance to spend vacation with Brian, and Murad's men make their move. Brian and Lennie are taken by Murad's men, but Kim manages to escape and then free her father. Now Brian will once again use his "particular set of skills" to take down Murad's men and rescue his ex-wife.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Dredd" (2012)

Starring Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey
Written by Alex Garland
Directed by Pete Travis
Rated R - Violence, drug use, language
Running Time: 95 Minutes

"I am the law." Dredd (Karl Urban) is a Judge, a member of the police force of the future. The judges patrol Mega City One, a huge metropolis sprawling from Boston to Washington DC. They have broad powers to dispense justice, including executing perps on the spot if deemed necessary.

A new drug called Slo-Mo is appearing on the streets, a narcotic that makes it feel like time moves at only 1 percent of its normal speed. Dredd is paired with a rookie named Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) who also happens to be a psychic, and the two decide to investigate a triple homicide in the massive housing complex known as Peach Trees. Peach Trees is controlled by a vicious gang run by the drug lord known as Ma-Ma (Lena Headey).

When Dredd decides to arrest and interrogate the man responsible for the murders instead of executing him on the spot, Ma-Ma is forced to take drastic action. She locks down the tower, trapping Dredd and Anderson inside, and then offers a massive bounty on their heads. Now the two judges are alone, outnumbered and outgunned.

Monday, January 21, 2013

'Transformers: Prime' Season 2 (2012)

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

Following the events of Season One, the Autobots find themselves in dire straits: Their leader, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) has lost his memory, reverting to his original personality, Orion Pax. Orion Pax used to be an archivist on the planet Cybertron before he was called to be the Autobot leader. The evil Megatron (Frank Welker), taking advantage of Prime's amnesia, recruits Pax to decode an ancient Cybertronian database.

From this database, Pax uncovers several sets of coordinates which lead to artifacts of great power jettisoned from Cybertron eons past and buried on Earth. Over the course of this second season, the Autobots will race against time to retrieve these powerful artifacts before the Decepticons do, with the fate of both their worlds hanging in the balance.

And what does it all have to do with the arrival of a young new Autobot, Smokescreen (Nolan North)?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"The Last Stand" (2013)

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker and Johnny Knoxville
Written by Andrew Knauer
Directed By Kim Ji-Woon
Rated R - Violence, language
Running Time: 107 Minutes
Trailer (Red band)

FBI Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) is overseeing the transfer of a dangerous Federal prisoner to death row. Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) is one of the most vile and vicious drug lords in history, and he's due to be executed. Bannister thinks he's got it all covered, but Cortez's men manage to break him free during the transfer, and Cortez is now rocketing toward the Mexican border in a specially-modified Corvette ZR-1.

The only thing standing in his way? Small-town sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Ray, a former Los Angeles narcotics detective, is called to investigate the murder of a local farmer in the middle of the night. Soon enough, his deputies, Jerry (Zach Gilford), Sarah (Jaime Alexander) and "Figgy" (Luis Guzman) are involved in a firefight on the farmer's property with Cortez's mercenaries, led by the vicious Burrell (Peter Stormare), who are building a bridge across the ravine into Mexico.  Ray warns Bannister that Cortez's men are in town, but Bannister won't be able to get his forces there in time.

So Ray and his small, inexperienced band of deputies will arm up and make their last stand in the middle of Main Street to prevent Cortez from escaping to freedom. Aided by a drunken former Marine (Rodrigo Santoro) and the local gun nut (Johnny Knoxville), this small band of weirdos will take on vicious mercenaries hell bent on getting their boss through town at whatever the cost.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"In Time" (2011)

Starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy
Written and directed by Andrew Niccol
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language, sex
Running Time: 109 Minutes

In the future, human beings are genetically engineered to stop aging at the age of 25. But, time has become the new currency. The more you have, the longer you live. You use it to pay for everything, your bills, your groceries.  And when you go broke... you die.

Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is a factory worker in a poor zone called Dayton. He lives with his mother Rachel (Olivia Wilde). One night while out at a bar, Will rescues a rich man, Hamilton (Matt Bomer) from muggers. But Hamilton reveals that wants to commit suicide. He gives will a century, then times himself out. Will can't believe how rich he is, and plans to give his best friend a decade and then take his mother into the rich zone known as Greenwich. Unfortunately, when Rachel misses the bus because she doesn't have enough time to pay for the ride, she doesn't make it.  Enraged, Will heads into Greenwich with his newfound fortune.

Soon he's dressed in nice clothes and driving a slick car. He heads to the casino and wins over a thousand years in a poker game against Phillip Weis (Vincent Kartheiser), one of the richest and most powerful men on the planet. Weis takes a liking to Will, and introduces him to his daughter, Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried). Sylvia invites Will to a party at their house the next evening. When Will arrives at the party, he and Sylvia begin to develop a romantic entanglement.

But when the detective investigating Hamilton's death arrives to arrest Will, he takes her hostage. Soon the two are running for their lives in the ghetto, and Sylvia joins Will on his quest to balance the scales by taking from the rich and giving to the poor.