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.