J.J. Abrams is having a good year. His new movie Star Trek: Into Darkness opens this weekend and will take over from George Lucas to make a Star Wars sequel that’s due in 2015. Being the guy fixed Star Trek or getting a chance to fix Star Wars would be the life’s dream of any sci-fi kid who grew up in the ‘70s or ‘80s. Being the guy who gets to fix both is something that’s impossible to imagine.
Abrams is using his Hollywood power and profile to support The Mission Continues, an organization founded by former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens. The theory behind the group is that men and women who served their country aren’t given enough opportunities to continue that service after they leave the military. +Continue Reading
Jack Reacher is out today on Blu-ray and DVD. Based on Lee Child’s wildly successful series of novels about a mysterious Army vet who roams the country using his military police skills to right wrongs and beat the hell out of bad guys. The book describe Jack as 6’5″ and around 220 lbs., so a lot of readers were surprised when the movie version cast Tom Cruise (generously listed at 5’7″ on the Internet) to play the role.
Director Christopher McQuarrie (who previously co-wrote the classic The Usual Suspects with director Bryan Singer and directed the underrated The Way of the Gun) made a movie that should win over the doubters. It’s got enough action to appeal to the Jason Statham (or Charles Bronson, depending on your generation) action crowd but adds a level of wit and intelligence most action pictures don’t make the effort to achieve.
One of the director’s secret weapons is his brother, former Navy SEAL Doug McQuarrie, who worked as the weapons technical advisor on Jack Reacher. Doug also advised his brother on The Way of the Gun, so they’ve long had a successful working relationship. This clip from the bonus documentaries describes Doug’s role in making sure the climactic shootout at the rock quarry looks as realistic as possible.
The movie is based on the novel One Shot and really uses its Pittsburgh locations to great effect: the movie is definitely set in western Pennsylvania and the detailed and obvious use of location is a big plus to this movie. (Compare that to the dozens of current movies that use Georgia locations as Anywhere, USA and never use the local character to the movie’s advantage.) Tom Cruise really gets into this role: even if he’s not the Jack Reacher you were looking for, he commits 100% to the role and he’s the best he’s been in a film since at least Minority Report.
There are currently eighteen books in the Reacher series, so there’s plenty of source material for a McQuarrie/Cruise sequel if Jack Reacher finds the audience it deserved on DVD after a so-so theatrical run.
Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Ryan Gosling, is one of those great movies that didn’t get a full Hollywood push that still managed to find its audience. It stayed in theaters for months and really hit big once released on DVD and it’s been one of the most popular titles on Netflix for months.
Refn and Gosling have reunited to make Only God Forgives,a crime thriller set in the Bangkok underworld. Gosling runs a Thai boxing club as a front for his family’s drug smuggling operation until his mom forces him to find out who killed his brother and avenge the death. +Continue Reading
The Sweeney is a movie based on a mid-‘70s British cop show that was never shown in the States. The original was violent, profane and wildly politically incorrect; the new movie, just released on Blu-ray and DVD, tries to keep up the tradition. +Continue Reading
It’s hard to imagine that anyone who’s deeply interested in the Civil War didn’t make it to the theaters to see Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln during its incredibly successful run up to the Oscars, where Daniel Day-Lewis stomped the competition to win Best Actor but the movie lost out to Argo in most of the other major categories.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Channing Tatum and Bruce Willis finally opens this weekend after a nine-month delay to add 3-D effects. Even though the new movie picks up where 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, new director John M. Chu has made great efforts to focus on the action and dial back the campy elements. +Continue Reading
Before all the controversy over No Easy Day and Zero Dark Thirty, there was Lone Survivor. A #1 New York Times bestseller back in 2007, Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s memoir about a failed 2005 mission in Afghanistan to capture or kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah is finally coming to the big screen this fall.
Directed by Battleship and Friday Night Lights filmmaker Peter Berg, the movie stars Mark Wahlberg as Luttrell and features Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster as his fellow SEALs. +Continue Reading
Director Kathryn Bigelow’s movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden gets released on DVD and Blu-ray this week and Sony Pictures has given us this exclusive clip from the disc’s bonus features.
Everyone involved in Zero Dark Thirty has really wanted to have it both ways: they’ve been ultra-careful to say that the movie is not a docu-drama when it comes to the exact details of the story but they hired a truckload of military and intelligence advisers to make sure everything on screen looks as realistic as possible. The clip above talks about the effort the filmmakers put into those visuals. +Continue Reading