Sunday, September 28, 2014

DONNIE YEN BRINGS THE RUMBLE IN “KUNG FU JUNGLE”


Tony - The modern day legend that is Donnie Yen is back with another action packed, sure to be blockbuster, film called “Kung Fu Jungle.” The film portrays Yen as former Police Martial Arts instructor Xia. Xia, who has been incarcerated, offers his help to the police who are looking for the villain Feng, played by Wang Bao-qinag. Feng has been going around killing all the top martial artists in Hong Kong and leaving a nasty little calling card called the Moonshadow.

Xia helps the police realize Feng's kill pattern is that of a systematic order based on a martial code of training. Xia goes missing after his first encounter with Feng and the police fear the worst. Turns out the two have been accomplices the whole time and Xia’s release was part of the plan. But, that may not be the case in this martial arts outing as Xia shows that he is more than just a simple instructor. Xia must save the woman he loves and break the martial code he holds dear.


I have been a big fan of Donnie Yen since he first hit the scene in 1984 in DRUNKEN TAI CHI. He got even more attention after the classic IRON MONKEY. Donnie Yen continues to explode on the screen with his action fight scenes and his martial versatility. One of his best movies to date is WU XIA a.k.a. “DRAGON.” This was one hell of a movie. He had great performances in both the IP MAN movies and in LEGEND OF THE FIST: THE RETURN OF CHEN ZHEN. Donnie Yen does not let his audience down when it comes to action movies. If the above films are any indication of how good this flick is going to be then I cannot wait for it to hit the theaters in October. Stay tuned for more from the depths of the Abyss.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

THE GUEST REVIEW

THRILLER


Disclaimer: Language may be higher than 7th grade reading level
If you read all the way through, Congratulations, you're smarter than a 7th grader!

By Taylor S. - The recent release of The Guest proves to be an engaging thriller, if retribution is your angle, with some comedic bits, as evidenced by my fellow theatre goers who chuckled their approval in surround sound. It was an all out action-packed free for all of guns, drugs, murder and mayhem, starring the newly discovered Dan Stevens who performs an eerily perfect off kilter example of an ex-military man who has seen some classified shit in his day. Now, when I say newly discovered, I don't mean to imply that this is Dan Stevens first cinematic role. But, as this movie reviewer was IMDBing him, I shockingly realized that he is none other than the late Mr. Matthew Crawley of the BBC hit Downton Abbey. I had to do a serious double take, as I can assure you he does not have an aristocratic look or british appearance whatsoever in this film, but a gorgeously lethal american air to himself this time around. And boy did he play his part well as the fellow soldier of the Peterson family’s late son/brother, Caleb. He introduces himself as David, a recently released veteran visiting the family as a last wish to their son and his comrade in arms. His identity is verified through a photo sitting on the Peterson’s mantel of both he and their son in full military gear, proving that that knew each other. But how well did they really, or more importantly in what way?



Dan Stevens
The intent of his menacing stares are unclear upon his initial arrival, other than possible PTSD as so many soldiers are understandably prone towards. Which begs the question, why would someone let hospitality trump their own common sense when it comes to survival? Granted it would be impolite to call his superiors and verify his information with him in the room, but given that he is a trained killer it would be prudent to check him the fuck out before inviting him to stay with the whole family. This soldier definitely proves to have an admirable if not uncanny knack for survival. Given his condition which is definitely more than just pure combat memories, he does remain faithful to the family and does not intentionally harbor ill will towards them, just everyone else who disrespects them. One could say that he is just doing his utmost to be the perfect guest.

While entertaining and necessary for the conclusion of the character’s continuing story, the military’s attack or rather defense lacks some plausibility for the most part. When hellfire rains down upon a building in the form of bullets, any shooter worth his salt in ammo would understandably aim low at some point, as a man will surely crawl through hell and back to survive. But don’t fear moviegoers, I assure you I haven’t revealed any key plot points. To truly grasp the complexities of David (and he does that name justice as only Michelangelo could) one must obviously watch the film. His origin and conclusion are all revealed in a pleasurable showstopping showdown of a family trying to remember their lost loved one by engaging in the deadly acceptance of an essential stranger. I give this one four guns up.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

THE DROP IS PONDEROUS

Crime



THE DROP is a new crime drama from MichaĆ«l R. Roskam, the Academy Award nominated director of BULLHEAD.  Based on a screenplay from Dennis Lehane (MYSTIC RIVER, GONE BABY GONE), THE DROP follows lonely bartender Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) through a covert scheme of funneling cash to local gangsters – “money drops” – in the underworld of Brooklyn bars.  Under the heavy hand of his employer and cousin Marv (James Gandolfini), Bob finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.--- The Drop website

Cousin Marv
Rick - This movie pissed me off.  THE DROP does has some decent acting. Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace are believable.  You will get tired of the halting speech patterns EVERYONE uses. It is almost like everybody had to think about what they were going to say. The performances cannot save this plodding uninteresting film.  Slow is not the word for this movie; tedious is more like it. None of the characters are likeable; the only exception is the pit bull Rocco.  Even this was ruined by the threat of impending doom that was a constant theme involving the cute puppy.

The trailer calls this movie a thriller. A thriller is a book, stage performance, or film with exhilarating intrigue. This movie has none of that. THE DROP is only 106 minutes long but it felt like an eternity.  We got to see people working in a bar. We experienced people walking the streets of Brooklyn.  We thrilled while people drank coffee in diners. We delighted in meaningless conversations. We amused while people went to mass. The only time things get interesting was near the end of the movie where the twist was and still we did not care. Even after the reveal the movie dragged on another ten minutes.

Gandolfini. This is a sad end to a story book career. His role is lost. I am not sure why he chose to do this movie. His acting is fine but there is no substance here for him to work with. Do not expect the strong Sopranos mobster here. Cousin Marv is the sad case of man that blinked, lost his manhood, and is haunted by what could have been.



I read some other reviews of this movie. There is a discussion going on that the subplot of the film is sin. Can sin be redeemed? Sin is a wicked act thought to be disobedience against heavenly rule. Maybe it is my secular beliefs but I do not see it. Just because Bob (Hardy) is a consistent church attendee we are to assume he is there to try to vindicate himself for past wrongdoings. There is no validation for this idea. You could just as easily say he goes to mass often because as a child he was brought up going to mass and it has become habit. Whatever the director’s point the church scenes are meaningless in more way than one.

Dolphin Tale 2 Will Delight Viewers

Family


Cinema Abyss has a new reviewer and she is female! We are no longer a sausage fest. Her name is Taylor S. She will review the movies that Tony and I refuse to see. So expect more chick flicks, family films, and I have been told she loves Bollywood films. Oh Joy!--- Rick

By Taylor S. - Dolphin Tale 2 will delight viewers and animal lovers alike. This spectacular family friendly movie showcases the famous bottlenose dolphin named Winter. Winter first captured the hearts of Floridians after the 2011 movie Dolphin Tale. She has inspired aquatic enthusiasts with her ability to overcome her amputated condition. Winter swims with a prosthetic tail made to fit her like a glove. Simply stated, she is the dolphin that can. Alongside Winter continues the ongoing story of Hazel, Sawyer, and Rufus (the pesky pelican). Winter and her friends live at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium based in sunny Florida. Joining them in this real life sequel are new friends, Mandy the dolphin, Mavis the sea turtle, and Hope the baby dolphin.

Even if another female dolphin is accessible to the aquarium, how long can she remain? The purpose of the CMA is to rescue, rehab, and release healthy marine animals to their natural habitats. Winter is a special case as she cannot swim for prolonged periods without her manmade tail. The aquarium is a rehabilitation center after all, not a prison holding captive orcas or seals as seen in the 1992 movie Free Willy. This reviewer could not help but make connections to such a substandard marine creature ‘loving’ film. Willy was not rescued but imprisoned, and forced to perform shows. It was lackluster given the backdrop. The teenage angst and the owner’s murderous intentions only inspired anger. The exception was the conclusion of the film; when it was over… and of course when Willy was freed, hence the title.



This dolphin’s tale rings truer. It is an actual, humane version of events centering on a young boy named Sawyer. Sawyer had little interest in anything until he saw the potential in Winter, and then himself. Winter enabled Sawyer to teach and inspire others. Now the CMA staff must be on the lookout to rescue, as usual, a special friend for Winter. After your viewing of the film, be sure to check out Winter via webcam at seewinter.com.