Browse Author: andy

RECAP: The Taking of Pelham 123

The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009): Tony Scott

Jay-Z’s acclaimed song “99 Problems” booms over visuals of New York City. As the city flits about on a normal afternoon, a defanged MTA employee sits at the Rail Control Center directing traffic along the dozens of lines snaking beneath the city. One of those lines is about to get shut down.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A disgraced MTA official negotiates with a disgruntled New Yorker after the latter seizes a local subway car, holding its passengers hostage until a ransom is paid.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon (1987): Richard Donner

The 1980s were fun time to live it up in Los Angeles, and Lethal Weapon captured both the glamorous and deadly sides of that lifestyle. It also paired two actors you wouldn’t expect to work onscreen and made a classic buddy couple.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Two cops at diametrically opposed moments in their lives team up to stop a team of ex-Special Forces drug dealers in Los Angeles. Continue Reading

RECAP: Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down (2001): Ridley Scott

October 1993 was a bad time for Somalia. Beset by self-proclaimed president Mohamed Farrah Aidid and, at the time, the world’s worst famine, which he evoked, Somalia, and especially its capital Mogadishu, needed help.

The United Nations sent peacekeepers who were handcuffed to oppose Aidid. The United States sent many of its best soldiers. Those soldiers spent a long period searching for Aidid to no avail. Then, one afternoon, they learned of a meeting of two of Aidid’s top people in the city, and perhaps they could capture them.

That afternoon became one of the worst military results for the US in Africa.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: In a mission to capture a vicious warlord in war-ravaged Mogadishu, an American black hawk helicopter crashes, and American soldiers spend the worst night of their lives trying to save the men trapped inside it.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Cyborg

Cyborg (1989): Albert Pyun

In the future, anarchy, genocide, and starvation preceded The Plague, which wiped out an untold proportion of the population. A group of scientists in Atlanta believe they can find a cure, if only they could get the information lodged inside a cyborg in Manhattan, fleeing a gang of bullies.

Fighting for the cyborg is JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: A rogue “slinger” takes revenge on the man who killed his adoptive family, and there’s also a cyborg for some reason.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai (2003): Ed Zwick

Tom Cruise. Yeah, he’s on the poster. His face is one of the most recognizable in the world. For several years he topped list after list of the most bankable stars. Cruise is one of a few actors to star in a Best Picture winner and a year’s number one box office success. He’s also 5’7”, four inches shorter than his ex-wife Nicole Kidman, but you would never know that from watching his films. He also does his own stunts. You would know that, at least from the press for his movies. Cruise has worked with Stanley Kubrick, Cameron Crowe, Michael Mann, and Steven Spielberg. He’s as successful as any actor could even hope to be.

The word "is" is not on this poster. That's important.
The word “is” is not on this poster. That’s important.

Cruise is a titan of action films, especially the science-fiction versions. War of the Worlds, Minority Report, Oblivion, Edge of Tomorrow, and the terrific actioners of Mission: Impossible. But today I’m talking about the 2003 samurai drama The Last Samurai

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An American soldier flees America to be a soldier in Japan, and he falls for the samurai culture.  Continue Reading

RECAP: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974): Joseph Sargent

What would New York do if smart hijackers took control of one of the city’s countless subway cars? Would they pay the ransom? Would they send the troops? Would they get angry about it?  Well, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three posits all three as feasible choices.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Four professionals hijack a New York City subway car and hold its passengers for ransom for $1 million, and only a transit cop stands between them and success.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Aliens

Aliens (1986): James Cameron

Aliens picks up where Alien left off, at least for Ellen Ripley, who wakes up 57 years later. Aside from the main character and the location, about everything else differs between the two movies.

First off, the director. For some reason or another (scheduling, conflicting ideas, offended spouses?), producers chose not to bring Ridley Scott back to the franchise. They went with hot director of The Terminator James Cameron.

From Scott to Cameron, from horror to action, from small cast to large, from ship setting to terrestrial setting, Aliens is about as different from its predecessor as a sequel gets. Does it work?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: Ellen Ripley returns to fight the aliens that nearly killed her on a distant world called LV 426, this time with plenty of firepower and a host of marines.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Thunderball

Thunderball (1965): Terence Young

The iconic, canonical Goldfinger defined James Bond for generations of fans. Its followup was Thunderball, an terrific jaunt in the tropics, with huge explosions and fight sequences few movies have ever tried again.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: James Bond travels to the Bahamas to foil a SPECTRE plot to steal nuclear bombs and destroy Miami.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Hardwired

Hardwired (2009): Ernie Barbarash

In a near future in which corporations control everything, what happens when they control your mind? What happens when a corporation can kill you if you don’t buy the right products?

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: An unwilling test subject fights the corporation that tried to kill him.  Continue Reading

RECAP: Goldfinger

Goldfinger (1964): Guy Hamilton

Still the-ahem-GOLD standard of James Bond movies, the third Bond movie in as many years catapulted the character and its star into icon status. If From Russia with Love left any doubt, Goldfinger erased thoughts that Bond would fade in years to come.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: James Bond counters a gold-mad villain named Goldfinger, a man determined to nuke the bulk of America’s gold supply.  Continue Reading