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.

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Zero Dark Thirty" (2012)

Starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke and Joel Edgerton
Written by Mark Boal
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Rated R - Violence, language, torture
Running Time: 157 Minutes

On September 11, 2001, a terrorist attack engineered by Osama bin Laden took the lives of thousands of American citizens. For the next decade, the CIA searched the ends of the earth for him, following up every lead, no matter how small or vague.

"Zero Dark Thirty" is the (fictionalized) story of that manhunt. Maya (Jessica Chastain) is a new CIA agent assigned to Pakistan, investigating something called the Saudi Group, which may have helped fund the attacks. Her partner, Dan (Jason Clarke) brings her in on an interrogation on her first day. Days and weeks pass as Dan tries every trick in the book to get what he wants out of the prisoner, until Maya suggests that they simply lie to him and catch him in a trick. Suddenly, she has a solid lead: a man named Abu Ahmed who may be the courier for Osama bin Laden.  But finding Abu Ahmed proves to be more difficult than originally thought.

Years pass and the leads dry up, Abu Ahmed may even be dead. But Maya continues to believe that Ahmed is, in fact, alive and the key to finding bin Laden. Then comes her big break: Abu Ahmed has been found, and better yet, he leads them to a house in Pakistan that seems very, very secret...

Monday, January 7, 2013

"The Change-Up" (2011)

Starring Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds and Leslie Mann
Written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Directed by David Dobkin
Rated R - Language, drug use, nudity
Running Time: 112 Minutes

Best friends Dave (Jason Bateman) and Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) couldn't be more different. Dave is a driven, hard-working attorney with a wife and three children while Mitch is an actor without much of a resume, doing just enough to get by and spending most of his time smoking pot and getting laid. But one night after quite a bit of alcohol, Dave confesses that he wishes he had Mitch's freedom while Mitch wants Dave's stability and family attachments. Later, the two friends end up making a wish while urinating in a magic fountain.

The next morning when they wake up, they discover they've somehow switched bodies. Realizing they need to undo this immediately, they try to find the fountain. Unfortunately, the fountain has been removed from the park for restoration, forcing the duo to wait until it is unveiled elsewhere. Meanwhile, they'll have to impersonate each other... and try not to ruin each other's lives. The problem, of course, is that Mitch has absolutely no idea how to be a husband, a father or a lawyer, and Dave is equally inept at being a ladies man party animal.

And somewhere along the way, they'll figure out exactly what is missing from their own lives.