Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Rodriguez’
Wednesday, May 24th, 2023
Hard to believe, but I’ve been watching these FAST & FURIOUS movies for more than 20 years now. The first two on video, the rest highly anticipated theatrical events. At first they were these goofy lowbrow trendsploitation movies I got a kick out of, but I had to defend their right to exist from the Ain’t It Cool talkbackers. With FAST FIVE they became a hugely popular action saga that even mainstream critics respected for a couple years. The series definitely peaked during that period, and I don’t expect them to ever get that perfect balance back, but they still have their own delightful brand of preposterous action excess mixed with macho grease monkey soap opera that brings me great joy, and there’s no other movie series past or present that offers anything quite like it. So they’re back to being this dumb thing I enjoy while my Twitter feed is full of posts much like the talkbacks from back in the aughts. Why do they still make these, who are these for, Vin Diesel has an ego. Same old shit as time marches on a quarter mile at a time.
FAST X (which we all seem to have agreed to pronounce the same way we pronounce JASON X) doesn’t have as much to live up to as F9 did two years ago. It’s not my return to theaters after Covid-19 vaccination, and it’s not the series’ best director Justin Lin finally returning to the fold. In fact, it’s his departure – somehow Diesel (allegedly) managed to be such a pain in the ass that Lin quit as director. They’d managed four full movies together, but only a week filming this one. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alan Ritchson, Alexander Witt, Brie Larson, Charlize Theron, Dan Mazeau, Daniela Melchior, Helen Mirren, Jason Momoa, Jason Statham, Joaquim de Almeida, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Justin Lin, Leo Abelo Perry, Louis Leterrier, Michelle Rodriguez, Nathalie Emmanuel, Olivier Schneider, Rita Moreno, Scott Eastwood, Screen Actor's Guild Award Winner Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Spiro Razatos, Sung Kang, Tyrese, Vin Diesel
Posted in Reviews, Action | 37 Comments »
Tuesday, June 29th, 2021
F9: THE FAST SAGA, a.k.a. FAST 9, actual onscreen title: FF: F9, is not the Platonic ideal of a FAST AND FURIOUS movie. That would be FURIOUS 6 or FAST FIVE. But if Plato is anything like me he would’ve appreciated this one for what it is. I don’t know how much of a grump he was.
(lots of spoilers here of course)
This is the first FAST movie since 2003’s 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS that’s not written by Chris Morgan, instead being credited to Daniel Casey (KIN) & director Justin Lin (HOLLYWOOD ADVENTURES) with a story by those two & Alfredo Botello (uncredited revisions on TOKYO DRIFT). They’ve come up with a patchwork that certainly shows the dangers of a movie series going on for twenty years with at least half that time spent trying to top itself in size and ridiculousness each time out. But for me it has a much better balance of preposterous action and sincere melodrama than, at the very least, HOBBS & SHAW and FATE OF THE FURIOUS. It has more and better spectacle than your average movie, but also requires that you like the characters and themes of the series to enjoy it. In fact, in between a car somehow Tarzan-swinging across cliffs on a rope and another one being (as you’ve surely heard) launched into space, you’re gonna spend a surprising amount of time in 1989 when Dominic Toretto’s dad (J.D. Pardo, THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2, SNITCH) was killed in a racing accident and Dom went to prison for beating another driver (Jim Parrack, FURY) with a wrench. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alfredo Botello, Bow Wow, Charlize Theron, Daniel Casey, J.D. Pardo, Jason Tobin, Jim Parrack, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Justin Lin, Kurt Russell, Lucas Black, Martyn Ford, Michelle Rodriguez, Nathalie Emmanuel, Screen Actor's Guild Award Winner Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Shea Whigham, Sung Kang, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Tyrese, Vin Diesel, Vinnie Bennett
Posted in Action, Reviews | 122 Comments »
Monday, September 21st, 2020
In this age of streaming and crowdfunding and what not there has been a new wave of documentaries about movie topics I’m interested in. The history of Cannon Films, of martial arts cinema, of ‘80s horror, etc. Some are great and comprehensive, some take on too broad of a topic and can’t really get very far, some are just amusing surface level “remember that?” tours through basic things you likely already know if you watched the movie on purpose. So I try not to expect much more than a cursory talking-heads-and-clip-montages glance at a compelling subject.
STUNTWOMEN: THE UNTOLD HOLLYWOOD STORY – which Shout! Studios is releasing to digital platforms tomorrow, September 22nd – gave me much more. Credited as an adaptation of the book of the same title by Mollie Gregory and directed by April Wright (GOING ATTRACTIONS: THE DEFINITIVE STORY OF THE AMERICAN DRIVE-IN MOVIE), it has interesting things to say about the history of women in cinematic stunts, addresses industry issues that hadn’t all occurred to me before, and most of all gives a glimpse into the lives and work of some really fascinating, amazing women. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alyma Dorsey, Amy Johnston, April Wright, Debbie Evans, Donna Keegan, Heidi Moneymaker, Jadie David, Jeannie Epper, Melissa R. Stubbs, Michelle Rodriguez, Renae Moneymaker, stunts
Posted in Documentary, Reviews | 8 Comments »
Tuesday, February 19th, 2019
Man, we’ve been hearing about James Cameron doing this manga/anime adaptation since 2005, well before AVATAR. We’re talking Obama’s first year as a United States Senator, Christian Bale’s first year as a Batman, three live action Spider-man actors ago, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe even started, when Chris Evans was still The Human Torch, George Lucas was still making Star Wars movies, Saddam Hussein was still alive, the word “sexting” was just invented, Youtube was just starting, and Twitter didn’t exist yet. A long time ago.
So I can’t say I was thrilled when, after that decade plus of hopes, Cameron announced “Just kidding, Robert Rodriguez is gonna direct it.” Fresh off of SIN CITY 2. But also I wasn’t stupid enough to scoff at it. Cameron co-wrote and produced the thing. The only other time he did that was STRANGE DAYS, and that turned out pretty good. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Casper Van Dien, Christoph Waltz, cyborg, Diana Lee Inosanto, Ed Skrein, Edward Norton, Jackie Earle Haley, James Cameron, Jeff Fahey, Jennifer Connelly, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Keean Johnson, Laeta Kalogridis, live action anime, live action manga, Mahershala Ali, Marko Zaror, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez, Rosa Salazar
Posted in Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 51 Comments »
Tuesday, November 20th, 2018
When last we heard from director Steve McQueen U.K., his movie 12 YEARS A SLAVE had won best picture. Five years later he finally has a followup, and it’s a violent, artfully crafted heist movie. Now you’re earning that name, my friend.
It’s credited as “based on ‘Widows’ by Lynda La Plante,” which seems to refer to the 1983 ITV mini-series, though there’s also a book version that says “SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE” on the cover, and I have found no definitive answer as to which La Plante wrote first. Anyway, McQueen adapted whatever it was he adapted with Gillian Flynn of GONE GIRL (both book and movie) fame.
Liam Neeson (THE DEAD POOL), Jon Bernthal (THE ACCOUNTANT), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO) and Coburn Goss (MAN OF STEEL) star as a Chicago-based crew of highly skilled, even highlier armed and armoured robber motherfuckers in the vein of HEAT or L.A. TAKEDOWN or DEN OF THIEVES or POINT BREAK or POINT BREAK REMAKE. And by “star” I mean for a couple minutes at the very beginning we see a tiny bit of their heist intercut with them saying goodbye to their wives beforehand and then they get blown up. You barely even see that last guy’s face. Because this is not about dudes like that. It’s about their loved ones who have to clean up their mess. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: based on a TV show, Brian Tyree Henry, Carrie Coon, Chuck Inglish, Coburn Goss, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Elizabeth Debicki, Garrett Dillahunt, heist, Jon Bernthal, Kevin J. O'Connor, Liam Neeson, Lukas Haas, Lynda La Plante, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Michael Rocks, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert Duvall, Steve McQueen UK, Viola Davis
Posted in Crime, Reviews | 12 Comments »
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
THE ASSIGNMENT is Walter Hill’s weird new pariah of a movie, a Tale From the Crypt without a Keeper, based on a gimmick that was too challenging to execute properly, even ignoring the current touchiness of the subject matter. It’s much more interesting than good, more of a great acting challenge for Michelle Rodriguez (AVATAR) than a successful vehicle for her talents. Nice try, though.
Here’s what it’s about: ruthless hitman Frank Kitchen is just doing his thing one day, ruthless hitmanning, when he gets jumped and knocked unconscious and later he mysteriously wakes up in a hotel room with a woman’s body. Not, like, in bed with a dead woman. Like, he looks down and he has female genitalia. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, Walter Hill
Posted in Action, Crime, Reviews | 26 Comments »
Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
Here we are, number eight in the impossible series. The one that started as cheesy car exploitation with surprising heart, and evolved into… the FAST AND THE FURIOUS series. The one that, I am happy to say, is still the longest running movie series that I like every installment of. (Second place is still DEATH WISH. I am now aware that RESIDENT EVIL comes close, but I don’t like the first one.)
That is not to say that it can sustain forever. But only because fossil fuels will eventually run out. Inevitably, there has been a slight downward arc in quality since the untoppable back-to-back peaking of FAST FIVE and FURIOUS 6, but part FATE is still an immensely entertaining chapter in the ongoing soap opera about friends who have been repeatedly swallowed and coughed up by the impossible, and filmmakers who have not yet run out of ways to go bigger and more ridiculous than last time. (Hint: car playing chicken with nuclear submarine.)
Ah, who am I fooling, there is no room for hints in this review. This is gonna be straight up SPOILERs throughout. I’ll write it so it makes sense to those who will foolishly avoid the movie and just read this, but my recommendation is obviously to go see the movie first. I will not be pussyfooting around about surprises. We’re gonna want to discuss them. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Charlize Theron, Chris Morgan, Elsa Pataky, F. Gary Gray, Jason Statham, Kristofer Hivju, Kurt Russell, Michelle Rodriguez, Nathalie Emmanuel, Scott Eastwood, Screen Actor's Guild Award Winner Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, The Rock, Tyrese, Vin Diesel
Posted in Action, Reviews | 157 Comments »
Friday, January 27th, 2017
Paul W.S. Anderson stays in the director’s chair for the fifth one, RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION. This one starts at the end of the action scene that starts right where AFTERLIFE left off. Then it shows us that scene in reverse, then regular, and narrator Alice (Milla Jovovich, ULTRAVIOLET) tries to summarize the convoluted events of parts 1, 2, 3 and 4. And then they remake the remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD, showing Alice as a suburban mom just going about her business when the zombie outbreak explodes into her life.
That’s the fun of this series: the unpredictable patchwork of set pieces and gimmicks, often playing with expectations, making it seem like the story (like a video game?) is starting over and everything is different, but things usually turn out to have a pretty good explanation.
Okay, the explanation is always clones. Clones are the reason Michelle Rodriguez and Oded Fehr, whose characters died in previous chapters, are suddenly back as different people. Multiple different people. For a while it seems like Rodriguez came back to the series after a ten year absence just for a comically brief cameo where she gives Alice a ride and then crashes 30 seconds later. Then Alice is killed by a zombie. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Aryana Engineer, Boris Kodjoe, Li Bingbing, Megan Charpentier, Michelle Rodriguez, Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Paul W.S. Anderson, Shawn Roberts, Sienna Guillory, video games, zombies
Posted in Action, Horror, Reviews | 21 Comments »
Monday, January 23rd, 2017
The RESIDENT EVIL movie series is sort of a zombie in its own right – a dead thing leftover from another time, somehow still walking the earth. When the first one came out in 2002, movies based on video games were still a novel concept that had only really been done successfully by this same director, Paul Anderson, with MORTAL KOMBAT (1995). According to a chart I found, the video game industry itself made $48.29 billion in 2002. That’s a bunch of money, but it also says that as of three years ago they were making $76 billion. And I’m sure it’s still going up.
I don’t know of any charts for this, but I bet the revenue from zombie related entertainment has increased tenfold during that period. This may be hard for the youths to imagine, but zombie movies were a genre that had been fallow for nearly two decades, and only horror people obsessed with DAWN OF THE DEAD ever thought about them. This complicated the reception of RESIDENT EVIL for people like me. On one hand, it was exciting to see any take on this type of monster. On the other hand, we were still holding out for a comeback for George A. Romero, who had not yet done LAND OF THE DEAD (or DIARY OF THE DEAD or SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD). We knew because of internetting that he’d shot a series of Japanese commercials for the Resident Evil video game, and had been hired to write and direct the movie until the company didn’t like his script and replaced him.
So it was interesting to watch RESIDENT EVIL again in 2016, remembering that I hated it when it came out, but not much remembering why (here’s the dumb review I wrote almost 15 years ago). At the very least there’s a good opening sequence that I had no memory of. Employees of the Umbrella Corporation in Raccoon City, Wherever arrive one morning at their underground lab work place known as “The Hive,” having no idea that the shit is floating mid-air in a cool MATRIX style slo-mo flight toward the fan, because somebody broke open a vial of the deadly experimental T-virus. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Michelle Rodriguez, Milla Jovovich, Paul W.S. Anderson, video games, zombies
Posted in Action, Horror, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 37 Comments »
Monday, October 14th, 2013
There are lots of funny things in MACHETE KILLS. For a while it coasts on enjoyably stupid jokes, like the ridiculous trailer for part 3 of the series that it opens with. Early on it has a little faux-serious melodrama, playing it almost straight when a clash with rogue soldiers, a Mexican drug cartel and an army in lucha libre masks leads to the death of Machete (Danny Trejo, DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN, MARKED FOR DEATH)’s partner. I like the setup, with a redneck Arizona sheriff (William Sadler, DIE HARD 2) failing to hang Machete before he gets called in by the president (Charlie Sheen, NAVY SEALS, credited as Carlos Estevez) who offers him citizenship in exchange for doing a dangerous mission. I thought the joke of casting him was to have a guy as crazy as Sheen as the president, like wasn’t Mickey Rourke the president in MASKED AND ANONYMOUS? It honestly didn’t occur to me until seeing him on a White House set that his dad played the president in The West Wing (not to mention playing Kennedy). Anyway, the best part is the idea that this unsavory slasher/wife-and-daughter-fucker/assassin gets to sit in the White House and hear his offer.
Trejo’s face is even more rugged than ever, if possible, and he doesn’t have to joke around. He’s fun to watch just being that same character, but now equipped with various high-tech variations on machetes to chop people up with. Robert Rodriguez (credited as sole director this time, and also with his name above the title, but only a co-story credit) once again fills the movie with a huge, unlikely cast, mostly playing colorful gimmicky characters: Mel Gibson (PAPARAZZI) as a weapon inventor/space cultist planning to blow up the world, Demian Bichir (2012 best actor nominee for A BETTER LIFE) as a revolutionary/terrorist/something, Amber Heard (DRIVE ANGRY) as a government agent undercover as a beauty queen, Walton Goggins/Cuba Gooding Jr./Lady Gaga/Antonio Banderas all playing the same assassin called El Camaleon, Vanessa Hudgens (SPRING BREAKERS) as a girl that’s in one part, Sofia Vergara allowing Salma Hayek some dignity by stepping in to play the deadly Madam character with army of killer prostitutes (see also Lucy Liu in THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, Zoe Bell in BAYTOWN OUTLAWS, etc.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alexa Vega, Amber Heard, Antonio Banderas, Charlie Sheen, Cuba Gooding Jr., Danny Trejo, Demian Bichir, Jessica Alba, Lady Gaga, Marko Zaror, Mel Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Tom Savini, Vanessa Hudgens, Walton Goggins, William Sadler
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Reviews | 45 Comments »