Action

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Director:

Louis Leterrier

Starring:

Edward Norton

Liv Tyler

Tim Roth

William Hurt

Tim Black Nelson

Plot:

Bruce Banner, a scientist on the run from the U.S. Government, must find a cure for the monster he turns into, whenever he loses his temper.

Review:

The second movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is incredibly different from the first. I understand why they made The Incredible Hulk, of the original Avengers movies The Hulk, probably, had the most name recognition. However, I think this movie took too much inspiration from the Ang Lee Hulk film.

Norton plays a more broody and dark version of Bruce Banner than Mark Ruffalo. His focus is on keeping his heart rate down because that is what he believes sets him off. His entire existence is finding a cure so that he can get rid of The Hulk and is living in Brazil working in a bottling company while he talks on an encrypted channel to Mr. Blue, Tim Blake Nelson. Eventually he has to come to NY, because everything always happens there, so that he can finally be cured.

During all of this you discover that General Ross, William Hurt, has been trying to find him so that he can recreate The Hulk. He’s desperate for that ability and ends up giving power to someone who is clearly too attracted to violence.

Great big violent battle, lots of destruction, and Bruce Banner/The Hulks situation doesn’t change.

This movie isn’t shot like what I’ve come to expect from superhero movies. It is much more of an action thriller and has probably the best shot action scenes in the entire MCU. There’s no shaky cam and very few quick cuts, even with the large amounts of CG that was used. It was impressive.

Story wise, the movie only makes a passing reference to S.H.I.E.L.D. and doesn’t mention Iron Man at all until the credits scene (which is not at the end) when Tony appears. Bruce believes he changes because of his heartrate and not just because of rage, which I don’t believe is brought up again. Betty, Liv Tyler, makes no future appearances even though they act like she’s the love of his life. Blonsky, Tim Roth, is captured, but not killed, and Mr. Blue is exposed to Bruce’s blood and starts to change. To my memory none of this is referenced in further movies.

The Incredible Hulk is like the relative that people prefer not to talk about at family reunions. It seems to be largely ignored in the greater story and, thankfully, is not used as a style inspiration for future movies. Though, maybe Thor: Dark World could be explained that way…

Clearly, you don’t have to watch The Incredible Hulk to enjoy the MCU, but it is interesting to see what could have been. What if, instead of bombing financially, making less than half what Iron Man did, the roles had been reversed? How would that have changed the franchises future?

3/5

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The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)

the Spy Who Dumped Me

The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)

Director:

Susanna Fogel

Starring:

Mila Kunis

Kate McKinnon

Sam Heughan

Justin Theroux

Plot:

Audrey and Morgan are best friends who unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when one of the women discovers the boyfriend who dumped her was actually a spy.

Review:

Audrey, Mila Kunis, is dumped by a d-bag that turns out to be a spy, Justin Theroux. She is then pulled into a plot that involves traveling all over Europe, surviving multiple gun fights, and attempts on her life. The movie is incredibly amusing and fun to watch, I love how competent the friends are, but they also make obvious newbie mistakes, and hijinks ensue.

The real revelation for me was Sam Heughan. I’ve never had a desire to watch Outlander until now, but damn that man can walk down a hallway. The scene where he’s going in to save the women…if my husband hadn’t been sitting right beside me I would have rewound that scene a few times. I actually searched for a gif of it but couldn’t find it. So sad.

The movie was definitely entertaining and has been added to the list of movies I’ll buy when I see it on sale. I could see myself watching it just to have something fun on in the background.

4/5

Skyscraper (2018)

Film Title: Skyscraper

Skyscraper (2018)

Director:

Rawson Marshall Thurber

Starring:

Dwayne Johnson

Neve Campbell

Chin Han

Plot:

A security expert must infiltrate a burning skyscraper, 225 stories above ground, when his family are trapped inside by criminals.

Review:

Die Hard on a skyscraper. This was a fun, stupid movie that didn’t always make sense but was entertaining to watch.

Dwayne Johnson was great. I loved that his character was missing a leg. He was smart, a dedicated father and husband, and just an all-around good guy who was friends with the wrong people and in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The movie was over the top and ridiculous and just enjoyable to watch. There was nothing deep here. It was completely unbelievable, but that didn’t matter. It was easy to turn my brain off and just watch.

I liked that the wife, Neve Campbell, wasn’t helpless and that she had her own part to play in things. It would have been easy to make a damsel in distress or too much of a badass and they didn’t. I appreciated that a lot.

4/5

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Director:

J.A. Bayona

Starring:

Bryce Dallas Howard

Chris Pratt

Danielle Pineda

Rafe Spall

Plot:

When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.

Review:

Fallen Kingdom started off strong. Immediate dinosaur action, then some story explaining that Bryce Dallas Howard had changed from a corporate exec to a bleeding heart, dinosaur loving, activist. Meanwhile, Chris Pratt is building a cabin in the middle of nowhere.

Then back to the dinosaur action. Throw in some exploding volcano and the first half of this movie is just perfect. It hits all the notes you want from a Jurassic Park movie, though, my husband was a bit peeved that the T-Rex was once again a hero.

Things started to slow down for the last third. Well, not really slow down, but I just didn’t care much about it. I didn’t like the introduction of the clone child. It could have been fine, but she was just sort of there in the background and then BOOM saving them. It was eh.

That last third just felt weaker and I can’t really put my finger on why. I didn’t like the kid, but I thought the cloning side of things was interesting, but it kind of expands past what I want from a Jurassic Park movie. Money as a motive was normal, but I didn’t like how easily Bryce was drawn in by the bad guy. She was so smart and capable in the previous movie and she was conned so easily. She didn’t question at all. She was still a badass, though, so I liked that. Chris Pratt helped the IT dude because he knew she could take care of herself.

I love Blue, but the whole Chris Pratt blue backstory was kind of eh. I like seeing a softer side, but it just seemed kind of odd. I feel like they tried to change the characters or make them deeper and not everything worked for me because it went against what I’d already built in my head. Bryce Dallas Howard is a badass corporate chick, while Chris Pratt is an animal trainer that can run.

Great movie. Beautifully shot, felt very much like a Stephen Spielberg movie, so kudos to J.A. Bayona. Music was spot on too. Looking forward to the next.

4/5

Jack Ryan (2018-?)


Jack Ryan (2018-?)

Network:

Amazon

Creator:

Carlton Cuse

Graham Roland

Starring:

John Krasinski

Wendell Pierce

Abbie Cornish

Ali Suliman

Dina Shihabi

Plot:

An up-and-coming CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, is thrust into a dangerous field assignment as he uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication that launches him into the center of a dangerous gambit.

Review:

When I was younger I really enjoyed the Jack Ryan books by Tom Clancy. It’s been a few years so I’m not sure how those feelings have aged, but I was curious to see this and binged it one weekend.

Jack Ryan, John Krasiniski, is a former marine that after a tragic accident was honorably discharged. He went from a stock broker to working for the CIA as an analyst. He has spotted suspicious financial activity and believes he’s discovered someone about to commit the next 9/11.

The number of times 9/11 was mentioned in the first episode was annoying and had the opposite of the intended effect. I almost stopped there because of it, thankfully, it wasn’t really mentioned again.

I wasn’t impressed with Krasinski’s portrayal of the role. The only time I could tell what he was feeling was when he was smiling, but a show about terrorism meant he was rarely smiling. Every other time I was just guessing, occasionally there would be verbal queues but they didn’t match up with what his face was saying. Mostly he just looked like he was there.

There was one whole plot line with a drone pilot that has caused some controversy because of the transphobic joke that was made. I actually missed the “joke” because I’d been fast forwarding through his sections. They honestly made no sense and could have been completely removed. Maybe his character comes into play later on if there’s another season, but for now it was just wtf.

Female representation was mostly disappointing. Cathy, Abbie Cornish, was the best female main character we had and she was mostly just Jack’s love interest. She did end up getting some of her doctor skills thrown in, but she kind of ruined that by getting mad at Jack for lying about his job. We had a French police captain that was killed. Hanin, Dina Shihabi, was good, but her story line revolved around her escaping her husband and being saved once by the drone operator and then ultimately by Jack. It was a bit disappointing.

James Greer, Wendell Pierce, was probably my favorite character. I loved that they made him a Muslim. He was so incredibly competent at his job and he didn’t automatically share shit with Jack because he was the boss, he didn’t have too. He reminded me of Holdo in The Last Jedi in that regard. He was interesting and a badass and if there’s a second season and they hold with what’s been established in the show and books he’ll be there.

Honestly, based on what I remember of the books, they took a fair amount of creative liberties. That was to be expected, though. Jack Ryan is more about connecting the dots and not action. Occasionally action, but normally it’s a lot of discovering information and sending someone else out into the field. To make a TV show watchable and not boring they had to add more, but it would have been cool if they’d added John Clark and Domingo Chavez.

I’ll probably watch a second season, but I hope they make some tweaks.

3/5