Action Films

The Last Stand

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s full fledged return to the big screen in this weekend’s The Last Stand isn’t triumphant by any measure, but it is a pretty fun action film which is all the more impressive considering the star is 65 years of age. Raking in an estimated and meager $6.3 million three-day total, the film was handily out-grossed by Mama, Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook, Gangster Squad, A HAUNTED HOUSE, Django Unchained, The Hobbit, and man the list just keeps on going. I mean, seriously, did you see that A Haunted House, a movie that likely shouldn’t have even gotten a theatrical release, beat out The Last Stand at the movies? That’s disgraceful. I’m glad to see the success of Mama and many of the other films are Awards Season hold-overs, but this weekend should have been one for Arnold to win. If you’re an action film, I’m here to tell you: you’ve got to see action films in theaters or we’re screwed.

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Stolen Movie Nic Cage 2012

A general rule of thumb to follow when dealing with modern Nic Cage movies is that the more ridiculous his hair looks in the trailer, the more awesomely bad the movie is going to end up being. Given that criteria, it doesn’t seem like his latest film, Stolen, is really going to be anything to write home about. Just look at that relatively short, slicked back, graciously-accepting-the-receding-nature-of-the-hairline do that he’s sporting here—it’s almost typical for a man his age. Given the apparent lack of lunacy, is Stolen even going to be worth watching? Maybe. It’s important to keep in mind that this project is re-teaming the actor with his Con Air director, Simon West, and Con-Air is one of the seminal, balls-crazy Nic Cage action films. He plays a character named Cameron Poe in that one, for heaven’s sake. There’s bound to be at least some residual craziness seeping into this one, even if Cage has people hair and is playing a character named Will Montgomery. We do know that there’s at least one scene where Cage awkwardly holds a teddy bear in public. And Josh Lucas does seem to be pretty creepy playing some sort of cab-driving villain who looks like one of the bank robber surfers from Point Break if they got into meth. Plus, making a movie about a kidnapped daughter called Stolen after Liam Neeson had so much success getting his daughter kidnapped in Taken lends the whole thing a B-grade, ripoff charm. It looks like […]

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What is Movie News After Dark DRINKING? It’s what happens when Neil leaves and Kate Erbland and I joke about me doing this column drunk and then don’t realize that’s probably a bad idea until the next day. So hello and welcome to maybe the only installment ever of Movie News After Drinking, brought to you by Old Crow Bourbon. Old Crow Make it a Double! (Note: We should get paid for this). I think my introduction needs to be longer before I put that page break thing here and before I get fired for making a mockery of this column. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance came out today and it should come as little surprise that most people hate the movie. Our boy Jack Giroux reviews the flick over at TheFilmStage where he politely points out that Jerry Springer jokes are old enough to be getting paternity tests themselves (that means they’re like 15 years old).

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Boiling Point

Many people will come to the defense of outrageous events in movies and otherwise unbelievable activities by claiming movies are all about the “suspension of disbelief.” That’s why cars can turn into robots, animals can talk, heroes can surf anything to safety, and all the Jewish people rode unicorns to Israel at the end of Schindler’s List. See, that last one is a joke about how not all movies are about the suspension of disbelief. Sometimes movies make a greater impact by maintaining a thread of realism throughout. No, Die Hard isn’t the most realistic film in the world, but when a shoeless McClane has to run over broken glass, you can relate to “that must fucking hurt” because you can see it affects him for the next ten minutes of the movie. In movie time that’s like 8 years, so it’s no wonder he’s back to running and jumping by the end of the film. While I’m the first to admit I enjoy action films where a commando can jump from a plane flying 150mph and fall 300 feet into a swamp and be fine, there are a few minor movie injuries that bug the shit out of me.

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This piece contains spoilers for Sucker Punch. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go watch it before diving in. Once the first images hit, or when the first synopsis hit, or maybe even when Zack Snyder dreamed up the concept for Sucker Punch ten years ago – a time bomb was set to explode twice, and it finally did this weekend. The first explosion was the basis for the existence of the movie, and it continued exploding many, many times during the runtime. The second was the question of feminism. Now that the movie is out, it has also exploded. The reactions from before the film was released varied, and they still do. Some see it as feminism merged with geek culture (which assumes geek culture isn’t sexless to begin with). Some see it as an affront to the advancement of women parading in thigh high boots. One who gives a strong argument for the latter is Angie Han of /film, who writes the hell out of an editorial called “On Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch: Why Ass-Kicking and Empowerment Aren’t Always the Same Thing.” You should absolutely go read it before reading this, although I’ll do my best to condense her arguments (in a fair way) in order to respectfully counter them.

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At the end of 2010 we counted down the ten best action films of the year as an introduction to this column, the (almost) cleverly titled Bullet Points, our newest, most explosive column focusing on the action world. Beyond just reviewing action films, Bullet Points sets its sights on the genre as a whole- from stunts to guns, ass kickings to wire-fu and even just what the hell makes action films so great in the first place. In what is effectively our first official Bullet Points entry we wanted to get right to the ignition point of the explosion and discuss the ultimate principle of the action universe. That is, what makes a damn fine shoot ‘em up, beat ‘em up, blow ‘em up?

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halo-movie1

A few years ago, Neill Blomkamp directed a short series of commercials for Halo, giving us just a glimpse of what a movie might look like with him at the helm. Now, with District 9, we know what we’re missing, but we’ll always have his short film and the question of what it might look like if he had a proper budget behind him.

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