The Spy Next Door (2010)

AKA Spy Daddy, Kung Fu Nanny, Double Mission

Starring Jackie Chan, Amber Valletta, Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley, Alina Foley, Magnús Scheving, Billy Ray Cyrus, George Lopez, Katherine Boecher, Mia Stallard, Maverick McWilliams, Quinn Mason, Lucas Till

Directed by Brian Levant

Expectations: I don’t expect much at all.


I don’t know what I expected this movie to be, other than the reasonable assumption that it’d be another in a long line of Jackie Chan spy movies. When the movie began with a montage of old Jackie Chan spy movies, I was surprised and taken aback. Why would a movie open with a montage of movies that it has no chance of matching? But as the story of The Spy Next Door developed, this opening actually makes a lot of sense. By opening with the old, amazing clips, we see how Jackie has defended the world against insurmountable odds throughout his career; he is an indestructible machine capable of taking on literally anything the villains can throw his way. But one thing Jackie has never had to contend with on-screen is the more mundane, everyday task of managing a family and earning the respect and trust of potential step-children. So while this is “another Jackie Chan spy movie,” it is unique among the bunch.

Jackie plays Bob Ho, international spy on loan to the CIA and living life undercover in New Mexico as an importer of pens. His neighbor and main squeeze is Gillian (Amber Valletta), a single mother of three: seven-year-old Nora (Alina Foley), 10-year-old Ian (Will Shadley), and teenager Farren (Madeline Carroll). Bob and Gillian’s relationship is getting serious, and Bob wants to finally divulge his true profession, retire and begin a new life with Gillian. But because it’s a movie, he’s interrupted by an urgent job which complicates matters, and before you know it, Bob is tasked with caring for the three kids on his own while a group of Russians hunts him down.

Continue reading The Spy Next Door (2010) →

Stoker (2013)

stoker_1Starring Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, David Alford, Matthew Goode, Peg Allen, Lauren E. Roman, Phyllis Somerville, Harmony Korine, Lucas Till, Alden Ehrenreich, Dominick ‘Dino’ Howard, Jacki Weaver, Dermot Mulroney

Directed by Park Chan-Wook

Expectations: High. Really looking forward to this despite knowing almost nothing about it.

twohalfstar


Sometimes waiting to see a movie makes for a better experience. If I had seen Stoker when it was released in theaters, I would have liked it but I would have been missing a key component to understanding it. Fortuitously and completely unbeknownst to me, Stoker is something of a re-imagined Shadow of a Doubt, so it was quite interesting to see this one after finally seeing that film for the first time just a couple of weeks ago.

The initial premise of Stoker is similar to that of the classic Hitchcock film, but it kind of flips everything on its head. Stoker begins with the funeral of Richard Stoker, father to India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) and husband to Evelyn Stoker (Nicole Kidman). Out of the blue, Richard’s long-lost brother Charlie (Matthew Goode) returns from traveling Europe and stays with the girls to help them in their time of mourning. India has no idea that she even had an uncle, so the event is one that raises her suspicions and interest in the mysterious and fetching Uncle Charlie.

Continue reading Stoker (2013) →

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, Oliver Platt, Ray Wise, Zoë Kravitz, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi, Jason Flemyng, Álex González

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Expectations: Super low. These X-Men movies just don’t sit right with me, and the trailer for this looked awful.


Maybe I’m getting too old for this shit. Maybe X-Men was always this juvenile. Maybe I just don’t care about the equality struggle of the mutants anymore. These are thoughts I’ve had over the last few years while soldiering through the mediocre series of X-Men films. After hearing nothing but outstanding stuff about this new & retro take on the X-Men, I hopefully decided to give it a shot in spite of the initial feelings and reservations the trailer brought to my mind’s surface. I kept my expectations as low as humanly possible, but as the X-Men have always held a special place in my heart, I’ll admit I was excited to finally see this one.

The film opens with what looks to be the same footage that opens the first X-Men film, but it’s been several years since I last saw that one, so maybe they re-shot it. In any case, it’s the same scene: a teenage Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) residing in a German concentration camp, exhibiting his magnetic abilities by bending a metal gate when the guards pull him away from his mother. Next we are introduced to a grade-school aged Professor Xavier, walking downstairs to thwart a would-be burglar with a baseball bat. Turns out it’s Mystique. For whatever reason, Hollywood has a hard-on for putting Mystique in every X-Men movie… oh right, it’s the blue skin-tight bodysuit on the beautiful girl, that’s why. Anyway, the rest of the film follows these mutants and the path they take to achieve their place in society as the mutants they are. Sound familiar?

Continue reading X-Men: First Class (2011) →




Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 71 other subscribers

Ongoing Series

Top Posts & Pages