Battle: Los Angeles

The 10 Best Action Films of 2011

Some other sites or site runners may look down on lists, but those people are what are known as no-fun douche bags, because really, lists are awesome. They are short, easy to digest little morsels that you can wash down with a carbonated beverage, argue about, and take recommendations from. If you don’t like lists, you are worse than Hitler. You know what’s better than Hitler? Lots of stuff, like peanut butter cookies with little peanut butter cups pressed into them. That, and also these ten action movies, which are my favorite for the year. Yeah, you’ll probably disagree, so comment below or get your own damn website.

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Boiling Point

Science Fiction has seen somewhat of a resurgence these past few years, bringing dozens of different aliens to Earth’s surface via cinema screens. Tom Cruise battled aliens in War of the Worlds, aliens broke down in South Africa over District 9, and more recently Transformers waged war on our planet, Los Angeles was invaded, and a subterranean alien was interrogated in a small town, only to escape. No matter what year it happened, one thing is clear: when aliens come in peace, all is well. When they don’t, well, they’re the ones in for an ass whooping. Not that it makes much sense, considering alien species that manage to make it to Earth are often technologically advanced, super strong, intelligent, and sporting a massive boner for our resources, not to mention laser guns. Despite all of this, when have aliens ever managed a successful takeover? Not only that – when have aliens ever managed to not look like completely retarded asshats, who pretty much design their own downfall as if they were Death Star engineers?

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This Week in Blu-ray

It’s always a special week for This Week in Blu-ray when I can say that I’m on time. Last week was a mess, but this week we come roaring back with some great titles. It’s made even more special with the release of one of the best movies I saw in 2010, Legend of the Fist. My Donnie Yen addiction kicks into high gear while my lack of interest in big, studio-funded comedy and alien invasion films becomes readily apparent. Plenty to rent this week, a few precious titles to buy and that Red Riding Hood movie from Catherine Hardwicke right where it belongs: bringing up the rear. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen As you are undoubtedly aware, the movie theater is no place for hooting and hollering. Audiences should be present, but unheard. I know this as well as anyone out there, having sat through hundreds, if not thousands of movie with some of the stuffiest people on the planet (other film critics). But there was something about Legend of the Fist. When it screened for the audiences of Fantastic Fest last year, it jumped into our laps and demanded that we cheer. So there I was, alongside fellow critics Drew McWeeney and Brian Salisbury, reduced to cinema fandom’s equivalent of a “woo girl” by the first 20-minutes of this Donnie Yen action opus. It played like Saving Private Ryan, but with a little Asian dude running around killing Germans in the most creative of […]

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This Week in DVD

This is the second week in a row featuring a metric ton of new releases, and as usual there’s more worth a rental than there are worth buying and avoiding combined. Some of the more recognizable titles this week include the fun Donnie Yen action pic Legend Of the Fist, the alien action movie Battle: Los Angeles, and the Owen Wilson-led gross-out comedy Hall Pass. Two of this week’s better releases though come completely out of left field (for me anyway). One is a cool and casual cop show from A&E and the other is a relationship drama starring the always lovely Rashida Jones. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Monogamy Theo (Chris Messina) and Nat (Rashida Jones) are young, engaged, and in love… but that may not be enough to save their relationship. Theo’s side job sees people hiring him to photograph them out in public without their precise knowledge, but when a woman hires him to watch her in the park things take a dark turn. He becomes obsessed with her sex-filled evenings and begins to question his own allegiance to monogamy. Both leads give strong performances, but Messina is fantastic as he descends into an emotional spiral. Character study, love story, and a dash of romantic thriller with a strong ending. This is not a happy, feel-good movie, but it is a pretty powerful one.

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Boiling Point

Pointing out the flaws in Hollywood is easy – there are hundreds of them. Unfortunately for the entertainment system, I’m a fan of taking the low road and always pointing those flaws out. After all, it’s not easy to be mad every week without taking a few cheap shots. A child of the 80s, I’m a big fan of action. Guns, knives, swords, bullets, punches, jump kicks, Van Damme, you name it, I dig it. Hell, I’ll watch the shitty UFC/WWE vehicle movies that go straight to DVD just to see somewhere get punched in the eye socket. You’d think action movies would be easy to make and send to theaters. Toss in some fireballs, some blood, some roundhouse kicks – easy, right? Apparently not. I mean, sure, we get good action films every now and then, maybe even once a month – but how many more just fall flat? What’s wrong with Hollywood and action movies when one of the best, if not the best, action movies so far is the animated Kung Fu Panda 2?

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The Reject Report

It ain’t Easter, right? It ain’t Easter. It ain’t white rabbit day. Don’t tell Universal that. They’re looking to bring in the golden egg with the seasonal Hop, and there’s a very good chance of that happening. Duncan Jones’s second film, Source Code, and the new horror film from the guys who brought us Saw – thanks, guys to be named later – may have something to say about that, but whatever that is will probably fall on deaf bunny ears. See what I did there? Well, see some more this week with the Reject Report the hollow chocolate bunny edition.

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The Reject Report

You have to wonder if Warner Brothers is getting a little nervous about Zack Snyder taking on the Superman franchise next. Not only was his latest film, Sucker Punch, trounced by critics, its “sure-fire” walk to the #1 spot in this weekend’s box office was done away with. It wasn’t the latest blockbuster that beat the sci-fi, action movie out. It wasn’t even a comedy vehicle for someone like Adam Sandler. It was the second film in what is sure to be a lucrative franchise for Fox, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid sequel. Sure, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules beat Sucker Punch for the coveted #1 spot. You have to wonder, though, how much of this was the result of Wimpy Kid being such a strong film and how much was the result of Snyder’s latest getting all kinds of poor word of mouth. Diary of a Wimpy Kid opened pretty much in line with expectations, slightly higher than its 2010 predecessor but nowhere near eye-opening. It didn’t even crack $25 million. On the other hand, Sucker Punch performed much poorer than expected. That $30-35-million estimate for the film seemed possible after its $8-million opening Friday. Then its numbers dropped liked a defective blimp. $6.7 million on Saturday and and estimated $4.2 million on Sunday. Likewise, Wimpy Kid’s $7.3 million on Friday rose to over $10 million on Saturday. In fact, Sucker Punch was the only film in release this weekend whose Saturday numbers were poorer than […]

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The Reject Report

Red punch. Green punch. Chilled punch. Spiked punch. We’re big big fans of all kinds of punch here at the Reject Report. We also really like suckers. Just in case anyone out there is in the mood to send us a package of goodies. Sucker Punch, on the other hand, we’re not so sure about. It’s already getting a “love or hate” stench about it, but how that results in box office dollars is another matter entirely. It’s sure to be #1 this weekend, but by how much will take a bit of analysis. Check out how we see it and the other films playing out this weekend. And a preemptive thanks for all the punch and suckers you’re all going to send.

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Drinking Games

Were Los Angeles attacked by aliens, would you rather be saved by the Marines or a pack of television actors playing a rapper’s posse? If you said the Marines, then take your sorry butt down to your local cineplex and spend the money to see Battle: Los Angeles on the big screen. If you went for the TV actors, then get your sorry butt to your local video store of your choice and pick up a copy of Skyline. Either case, you might want to pick up a bottle of your drink of choice along the way.

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The Reject Report

Unless that man went from Midnight Meat Train to The Hangover to The A-Team to Limitless. Quite a career Bradley Cooper is making for himself, one that keeps coming with the hits this weekend with the #1 film Limitless. I’m sure there was more at work behind the film’s opening weekend numbers. Robert De Niro might have something to say about anyone claiming Cooper was the sole reason for its success. Neil Burger, too. Regardless of what did it, the film got pushed into the top spot. Limitless didn’t exactly break any kind of bank here. It’s still a long way down on the list of Cooper’s biggest openings, but for a film that only cost a reported $27 million, didn’t have any brand recognition behind it, and wasn’t exactly flashing ad space every five feet, it performed reasonably well.

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The Reject Report

You can blame South by Southwest for that, too. While we’re getting loads of cinematic gold thrust upon our senses and very little sleep, the rest of the movie world is still spinning. It’s time to take a gander at how everything looks to be playing out at the box office this weekend, but in a capsule form. The new films are Paul, Limitless, and The Lincoln Lawyer. None of them look to make much of a statement with how well they’ll play at this weekend’s box office, but none of them look to bomb, either. The big winner is likely to be Battle: Los Angeles once again despite the lack of love it’s getting from critics. Audiences want big action. They want it loud, and Battle: Los Angeles definitely delivers both. Character studies don’t make bank unless the word King or the word Speech is in their title. Just ask Michael Bay through his gold, diamond-encrusted cell phone how well big, dumb action sells to the masses. He’ll have a story or two to tell.

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The Reject Report

Literally. The entire city literally came to life and fought its way to the top of the box office this weekend. Not unlike Fightin’ Around the World with Russell Crowe but with less Australian accent. Yes, while that idea may lead to an amazing film, it probably wouldn’t end up doing as well as Battle: Los Angeles did this weekend. It may not have opened quite as big as some analysts were expecting – some had predictions of the film opening in the low $40-millions – it did do quite well for itself. In domestic sales, it has already reach the halfway mark of its reported $70-million budget. Not much indication how the film, which is very Amurrican, will play overseas, but Sony can stand proud knowing their domestic opening weekend is considered a grand one.

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The Week That Was

It was another scorcher of a week here on FSR (isn’t it always, though?) in which we reviewed the weekend’s big releases, talked incessantly about the latest H’wood developments and for good measure, made fun of everyone in the process. In fairness, we did plenty of snarking but we’re always fair. Even with the likes of McG and Joel Schumacher. It’s what sets us apart from other movie blogs. Also setting us apart is the giant mound of excellent content that you can read after the break, in a little ditty we like to call The Week That Was…

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Battle: Los Angeles is an unusual movie. It’s an action film with Aaron Eckhart in the lead, it’s pro-military, and it doesn’t feel compelled to answer every question put forth by its premise. There are elements within it of several other films, but it still manages to play out like a somewhat fresh mix of military action and alien invasion. It’s Roland Emmerich without the cheese and laughable understanding of science. It’s Michael Bay without the stupidity and excessive use of ground level POV slow-mos. And most unusual of all, it’s a solidly entertaining action movie releasing in the middle of March.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr finds himself behind enemy lines in Los Angeles. At first, he thought he was the victim of an alien invasion, but then he realized he was just in South Central wearing the wrong colors. Fortunately, Aaron Eckhart came to his rescue. This gave him a chance to put on a red cloak and skip through the woods, searching for Amanda Seyfried. He then capped off the week sneaking on a NASA flight to Mars wearing only boxer shorts, a T-shirt and a space helmet. He plans to return soon because that kind of makeshift space suit worked for the folks in Mars Needs Moms. Don’t wait up, though.

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Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movie, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend. This week features an alien invasion to steal of our moms, an alien invasion to blow things up all over place, a werewolf invasion courtesy of the MTV generation, and a governess that swears she’s in a classic novel instead of a horror film.

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The Reject Report

That’s right. It’s a battle in here sometimes. Two or three or maybe even four films enter. One film leaves. Which film is it going to be this weekend? The science fiction endorsement for the Marines? The Twilight-esque take on a werewolf classic? The Disney computer animated film from the guy who directed 2002’s The Time Machine. Hint: it’s not gonna be that last one. They’re all in here, and they’ve taken their corners. It’s time to see who’s going to knock some aliens out of the sky and who’s going to be wearing a hood of shame.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know. How will you know what to watch this month? Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of February drinking tiger’s blood, wandering the Oscar red carpet, and copying by hand every copy of Below The Line in order to keep you informed about what’s coming out in March. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

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