Monday, June 30, 2014

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" (2014)

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Peter Cullen and Stanley Tucci
Written by Ehren Kruger
Directed by Michael Bay
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language
Running Time: 165 Minutes

Five years have passed since the Autobots defended Earth from Sentinel Prime and Megatron's attempt to transform Earth into a new Cybertron and enslave its human population. But despite their victory and heroic defense of Earth, the Autobots have been branded dangerous by the United States government.

Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) leads a CIA operation to hunt down and destroy remaining Decepticons on Earth. But what Attinger hasn't told his superiors is that with the help of a non-alligned transformer named Lockdown (Mark Ryan), his CIA team is also hunting down and killing the Autobots.

In Texas, struggling inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) purchases a beat-up old truck and tows it back to his workshop where he discovers it's actually a gravely wounded Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen). Prime tells Yeager that he's hiding from humans out to kill him, barely having survived an ambush in Mexico. Cade is willing to help Prime, but his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) is afraid and begs Cade to call the government. Instead, his friend Lucas (TJ Miller) does it for them. A CIA team led by James Savoy (Titus Welliver) arrives and threatens to kill Cade and his daughter if they don't give up Optimus Prime.

Cade and Tessa are rescued by Shane (Jack Reynor), Tessa's boyfriend, and the three go on the run with Prime. The group meets up with surviving Autobots Hound (John Goodman!), Bumblebee, Drift (Ken Watanabe), and Leadfoot and Crosshairs (both voiced by John DiMaggio). They soon discover that the transformers killed by Lockdown are taken to facilities owned by Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) who has unlocked the secret of the transformers shape-shifting abilities.

Joyce has constructed his own transformers, and while Cade struggles to learn the truth and figure out a way to protect his daughter, Optimus Prime wonders whether he should even bother protecting humans anymore.

Friday, June 20, 2014

"22 Jump Street" (2014)

Starring Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube
Written by Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman
Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Rated R - Violence, strong language, drug use, sexual references
Running Time: 112 Minutes
Trailer (red band)

Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are back on the streets, trying to infiltrate a drug operation run by a major player named Ghost (Peter Stormare) that uses encoded messages in online college lecture videos. Unfortunately, Ghost escapes their bust and the deputy chief (Nick Offerman) decides to reassign the two back to the Jump Street undercover unit, now located at another, larger abandoned church across the street from their old HQ.

Once again under the command of Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), Jenko and Schmidt are ordered to go undercover at the local university to root out the source of another dangerous synthetic drug. Posing, again, as brothers, even using the same cover names as their high school adventure, the two enroll at college and almost immediately find themselves in the same shit, different day.

Continually ordered to merely do what they did before, the two cops find themselves unable to crack the case. Worse, Jenko has begun to bond with the quarterback of the school's football team, causing stress on his partnership with Schmidt. Schmidt, meanwhile, has fallen for Maya (Amber Stevens) and run afoul of her acidic roommate Mercedes (Jillian Bell) and her father... Captain Dickson.

But the boys are back at it, with a bigger budget and bigger stakes. Jump Street is on the case.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

'Arrow' Season Two (2013)

Starring Stephen Amell, David Ramsey and Emily Bett Rickards
Developed by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg

In the wake of the Undertaking that nearly destroyed Starling City, causing many deaths including that of his best friend, billionaire playboy and secret vigilante Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) has retreated from the public eye. When his company is threatened with a takeover, his friends and allies John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) convince him to return. He soon finds that Starling City has changed, and not perhaps for the better, even with two new vigilantes on the scene: Roy Harper (Colton Haynes), a young street tough who also happens to be dating Oliver's sister, Thea (Willa Holland); and the mysterious Canary that Oliver is surprised to learn is Sarah Lance (Caity Lotz), who was marooned years earlier with Oliver on the island that forged him into a warrior.

But Sarah has taken a darker path than Oliver, having fallen in with the League of Assassins. Slowly, Oliver attempts to convince her that killing isn't the only way to fight crime in Starling. At the same time, Sarah attempts to reintegrate with her family, the family that was torn apart by her supposed 'death' years earlier. Her sister, Laurel (Katie Cassidy), has lost her job as an attorney and is spiraling into alcoholism, and her father Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) has been demoted from detective back to patrol officer.

Oliver's family life is just as complicated, with his mother (Susanna Thompson) imprisoned for her role in the Undertaking, and Thea struggles with the revelation of the identity of her true biological father.

All the while, a new danger is brewing in Starling City: Another refugee from the island, long thought dead, has returned seeking vengeance on Oliver and Sarah. Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett), the man who trained Oliver to fight, believes Oliver to be responsible for the death of the woman he loved, and he'll stop at nothing to make sure Oliver pays for that. And he's got an army of super-strong psychopaths ready to do anything he orders.

The city is falling once more into chaos, and only Oliver, Sarah, Diggle and the others stand in the way.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

"Edge of Tomorrow" (2014)

Starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton
Written by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth
Directed by Doug Liman
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language, frightening images
Running Time: 113 Minutes

After a meteor strike in the middle of Germany unleashes an unstoppable alien force, the world's military might is on the brink. The "mimics" as they are known have taken over most of Europe, leaving only the UK on one side and Russia on the other. A major invasion is planned, with forces from the world's remaining military ready to storm Europe from all sides and meet in the middle.

Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), a former marketing exec essentially drafted after the start of the war, is now in charge of the media campaign to get volunteers to sign up for the invasion. But on the eve of battle, he's ordered by General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) to be embedded with the troops to document the invasion personally. He refuses, vehemently. He's arrested, charged as a deserter and dumped into a combat squad as a new recruit.

Unfortunately for Cage, he's no soldier - his rank is mostly honorary, he doesn't even know how to turn the safety off on his weapons. Within minutes of landing on the beach, it's obvious that the entire invasion is a failure. The mimics were somehow aware of the invasion plans, and every soldier on the beach is slaughtered - including Cage, who manages to die somewhat heroically by taking out an "Alpha," a rare sort of mimic. Its blood mixes with his and...

...he wakes up the previous morning, repeating the same events. Again and again and again, Cage goes into battle, is killed, and wakes up to do it all over. He soon meets Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), one of the few surviving heroes of the war who explains that she went through a similar experience earlier. Together, the two of them realize that knowledge of the future gives them the same advantage as the mimics - to keep at it until they get it right, and win the war.