Saturday, January 25, 2014



Monday, January 20, 2014


Based on the CIA analyst created by espionage master Tom Clancy, “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” is a blistering action thriller that follows Ryan (Chris Pine, “Star Trek”) from his quiet double-life as a veteran-turned-Wall Street executive to his all-out initiation as a hunted American agent on the trail of a massive terrorist plot in Moscow. 

Ryan appears to be just another New York executive to his friends and loved ones, but his enlistment into the CIA secretly goes back years. He was brought in as a brainy Ph.D. who crunches global data – but when Ryan ferrets out a meticulously planned scheme to collapse the U.S. economy and spark global chaos, he becomes the only man with the skills to stop it. Now, he’s gone fully operational, thrust into a world of mounting suspicion, deception and deadly force. Caught between his tight-lipped handler Harper (Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner), his in-the-dark fiancĂ©e Cathy (Keira Knightley) and a brilliant Russian oligarch (Kenneth Branagh), Jack must confront a new reality where no one can seem to be trusted, yet the fate of millions rests on his finding the truth. With the urgency of a lit fuse, he’s in a race to stay one step ahead of everyone around him. (

RICK: I was extremely worried about this movie when I saw that Kevin Costner was going to play William Harper, Jack Ryan’s control for the CIA.  I was pleasantly surprised that Director Kenneth Branagh was able to pull a decent performance out of lackluster Costner.

Chris Pine does a wonderful job portraying the young Jack Ryan. He now has two leading man roles that have solidified him as a star.

Kenneth Branagh not only directs but he also stars as The Shadow Recruit villain Viktor Cherevin. Branagh has made one hell of a fun movie.  JACK RYAN is a nonstop roller coaster ride.  Hats off to Branagh for making the best movie I have seen in a long time.

The only negative I have on this film was the hand to hand fight scenes.  It is hard to blame the fight choreographer especially when there is not one listed on IMDB to blame.  Unfortunately the fight scenes consisted of shaky camera work that made it impossible to figure out what was going on.  With a production level this good, how hard would it have been to find a competent martial artist in Russian and New York to help with the combat sequences? 

TONY: Chris Pine, as Jack Ryan, breathes new life into the character created by Tom Clancy. Played by Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in the past, Chris Pine reintroduces the character almost as well as Ford did. We won't mention Afflecks attempt at portraying "Ryan," it's just not worth mentioning. Kenneth Branagh does an excellent job with the telling of one of Clancy's action packed spy novels. The writers of the script, Adam Cozad and David Koepp do an outstanding job translating Clancy's words into a script that keeps the audience guessing what is going to happen to Ryan next. Costner was, thankfully, kept in check with his drab acting which made this movie worth watching.

I have to agree with Rick on the action sequences being poorly shot. It was hard to follow the action when it was shot so close that you could not tell what was going on. If not for this one little fault in the movie, this would have been, easily, one of my favorite all time movies. I still enjoyed this film greatly and would even add this one to the library once it is available on disk. Looking forward to seeing if Pine will continue the franchise of Jack Ryan. "Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit," definitely one to go watch.

Thanks to Paramount Pictures and Hudak on Hollywood for the sneak Preview Passes.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Jessie begins experiencing a number of disturbing and unexplainable things after the death of his neighbor. As he investigates, it isn't long before Jessie finds he's been marked for possession by a malevolent demonic entity, and it's only a matter of time before he is completely under its control... IMDB

RICK --- If you have checked out Cinema Abyss before then you know that I am a fan of the horror genre. Now to be honest I am neutral when it comes to the found footage movie. I am not a fan of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT but I did enjoy CLOVERFIELD and at this point I have only seen the first PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. I liked the first paranormal outing but it was not enough to rush out for the other paranormal movies. Now I was back in the paranormal activity found footage realm with THE MARKED ONES.

THE MARKED ONES is being marketed as a horror / thriller. I would add another description; comedy. I laughed the entire movie. The Mexican American racial stereotypes were very strong and extremely funny. If you are an over sensitive Mexican American think twice before seeing this film. I can only wonder if the next project in the series will be something like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: FEETS DON’T FELLS ME NOW, or PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: WON HUNG LO.

THE MARKED ONES is rated R for language (I did not notice the language), violence (the violence is very cartoony), Nudity (kudos for the full frontal nudity), and drug use (pot smoking and drinking).

Andrew Jacobs as Jesse has a little something in his eye
The acting was very good and it is this that keeps you watching the film. Andrew Jacobs as Jesse and Jorge Diaz as Hector do great job carrying the movie and it does at times feel like you are spying in on their private lives. Add Gabriella Walsh in the mix as Marisol and you have three pretty strong young actors. Renee Victor as Jesse’s Grandmother was great you really fall in love with her.

The movie was fun and I enjoyed watching it. The younger crowd should really enjoy this. I did start having problems with the subjective camera style of the movie. There are just life situations that no right minded person would continue filming and that did ruin the movie for me.  The director Christopher Landon should have used a combination of both behind the camera and third person shots.  

Tony--Well, in this fifth installment of the PARANORMAL ACTIVITIES franchise moviegoers will find themselves dropped off in the realm of sanataria rituals and beliefs of ritual demonic insemination. The film makers take a new direction in introducing the hispanic culture as the new victims of paranormal stupidity when it comes to common sense as when it comes to getting the hell of of dodge when things get crazy. Once, a strictly owned trait of good ole' white anglo saxon Protestants, the writers of this film thought it would be a great idea to include the hispanic culture into the mix. This being done, in my opinion, as to take the stereotype of the seemingly intelligent average white high school/college kid who goes to investigate every single little noise in a dark spooky house and portray the curiosity of these young hispanics as if they were the Scooby Doo gang trying to solve a mystery.

 I too like Rick, am a big fan of a good horror flick and I was even taken in by the first of these five first person shot movies to give the impression that there was some real life sense to the movie. That being said, this installment took that technique a lil' too far with the unrealistic feel of how this was shot. Anyone familiar with a neighborhood such as the one portrayed in this film, knows that if your are walking around with a handheld video camera, not everyone is going to be so accepting of you or anyone filming the everyday activities, especially if it is in violation of certain laws. This film would have probably made a different impact on me if there was, as Rick stated, a mixture of filming technique that allowed the viewer to have a sense that they are watching events unfold as a combination of third person telling and first hand account.

The acting was not all that bad in this film but, I would file this one away in my comedy folder before I would place it in my horror files. The comical use of the hispanic stereotypes was a lil' offensive but, if you have a good sense of humor then it shouldn't make the film any less painful as I found it to be due to the story line. Rick and I had a couple of good laughs and were probably snickered at by some of the movie goers for our twisted sense of humor but, in the end I must say that I have seen worse and I am sure there will be other cinematic disasters that I will stomach so I can continue to bring a unique perspective to the movie making world. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY THE MARKED ONES won't win any awards but, go check it out with a date and you should at the least get her to jump into your arms once or twice during the movie.  

Thanks to Paramount Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Room 101, and Solana Films for the sneak preview movie passes.