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  • paulywalnuts 3:35 pm on February 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Chris Pine, Jack Ryan, Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Costner, Kiera Knightly, Tom Clancey   

    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Movie Review) 

    Jack_Ryan _Shadow_Recruit_14














    Hat’s off to Kenneth Branagh for directing a modern spy movie that is intelligent as well as action packed.  Sadly, you did it 12 years after the Bourne Identity … which was better.  Jack Ryan: Shadow recruit is a fun reinvention of a great character.

    Plot summary – Jack Ryan (well played by Chris Pine) is a young brainiac at the London School of Economics during the September 11 attacks.  Out of patriotic duty, he enlists in the Marines, gets injured on a mission, but still commits heroic acts while barely able to walk.  During recovery, the CIA recruits him to be an asset … on wall street.  Yes, America, our nation’s biggest heroes are actually among the 1%.  Jack uncovers a financial terrorism plot against America, and when he reports it – the agency sends him to Russia to investigate.  He fights for his life and the lives of those he loves in order to get back to the US and stop a terror attack.

    The first act is devoted to building up the character of Jack Ryan – naive, idealistic, soft spoken, but incredible attention to everything going on around him.  You can’t escape comparing him to Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford’s versions of the same character – and he somehow combines the two.   And yes, I’m intentionally not mentioning Ben Affleck’s take on J.R.

    Anyhow – we know what makes Ryan tick and we know what makes our main villain, (played by the director) tick.  I won’t spoil who the villain is or what he wants to do – but I will start to criticize where this is getting a little silly.  First of all, the enemy is Russia.  Come on, I know we don’t exactly like each other, but you might as well have made the enemy Cuba or another country that the US has documented beef with from 30 years ago.  Financial terrorism is so cutting edge, until this breaks down into a KGB-style plot in the present day.  I’m not even getting started on how a plot to take down the US financial system was being planned for 20 years but apparently only by one person in one branch of Russian government.  So a dozen (hundred?  thousand?) rogue operatives are all capable of taking down the US financial system?  We must me in worse shape than anyone thought …

    I loved the character development, but it pretty much took over the first two acts at the expense of any action.  There is one great fight sequence in the second act but that’s it.  The best part of the first hour and a half is Kevin Costner’s character being the badass we are waiting Jack Ryan to turn into.  Act three makes up for it, with great sequences, car chases, and Jack Ryan finally becoming a larger than life hero, not just naive cog in the CIA machine. But no studio wants to hear, “well at least we nailed the ending.”

    Branagh’s job was a to recreate the mythology and he did.  There are plenty of flaws, but if you like spy movies – and especially if you like Jack Ryan – you should give this a try.  It’s better than the last two Jack Ryan movies (Sum of All Fears, Clear and Present Danger) but not as good as the second (Patriot Games) and nowhere near the classic first (the Hunt for Red October).

    … and all of the Bourne movies are better.

    IMDB Rating:
    6.5 out of 10

    Rotten Tomatoes Rating:
    56% of critics like it / 63% of audiences like it

    This Groomsman’s Rating:
    6 out of 10; better than average and worth seeing eventually


  • Justin 3:47 pm on May 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Chris Pine, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Star Trek Into Darkness | Parodying Star Trek in a Canon Star Trek Movie 

    Star Trek Into Darkness, one of the biggest movies of the year hit theatres this week, and while overall reviews for this movie are very good, this is my official letdown (for now) of the summer as Star Trek Into Darkness is essentially a canon trek movie that is parodying a previous Star Trek movie; and the best one for that matter.  Star Trek Into Darkness  stumbles around looking for character arcs, themes, and a compelling, well-constructed plot. 


    The movie starts off fairly strong with a Indiana Jones esque intro-event with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) taking action during a away mission that saves Spock (Zach Quinto) and gets Kirk into some trouble with Starfleet as he is, as per usual, breaking regulations, but that’s what Kirk does best. Shortly after, Earth ( a futuristic London specifically) is bombed by a mysterious person names John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) that Kirk and the crew of enterprise are soon commanded to pursue. The crew is all back with John Cho as Sulu, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Karl Urban as Doctor McCoy, and Anton Yelchin as Chekov. Also we have newcomer Alice Eve as Carol Wallace (or is it Marcus…?).  And of course Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison. Though unfortunately Karl Urban/McCoy and Yelchin/Chekov are completely wasted. Cumberbatch’s performance is the best among all of them during the movie without a doubt.

    Again, the movie has a very promising beginning. And throughout the movie, as expected, the visuals and the audio are great.  And there are several action sequences that are very well done (though most have been seen before…and so are also alittle forgettable), but while JJ Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek was fun, witty, and smart with a opening that was quite epic (http://groomsmenonfilm.com/2013/05/16/top-10-star-trek-movie-moments-3/) Star Trek Into Darkness is not smart at all, and is unbelievably generic in its storytelling.  Now I cannot go into too much detail as to why I say Into Darkness parodies Star Trek because I’ll  be in spoiler territory, (but don’t worry scroll down to see it).  Yes your eyes will be on the screen for the entire 2 hours, there are certainly some laughs, and great sequences, but I honestly expected much more than a story that has been done  before. I think it’s average B reviews are appropriate; its a fine summer movie.


    Star Trek Into Darkness Grade: B/B-








    [Okay here comes the spoiler warning!]











    Now, for the 800lb gorilla in the room. Yes John Harrison is Kahn. And I’m actually totally okay with this. The problem is the absolutely unoriginal story telling here. Writers Orci, Kurtzman, Lindelof, and  Director Abrams had four years to create a Star Trek that was their own, and they ended up stealing someone else’s movie.  Not only did they rip off a better film, but their script is still filled with lazy cheats, and building the story around the set pieces rather than vice-versa. The whole purpose of the alternate universe was to create new adventures.

    It’s truly Kahn in name only. A new story would require originality and effort, and no one wants to put in the hard work.  Instead, they continue to rip off Wrath of Khan.  They plagiarize Spock’s famous death scene but instead decide to “kill” Kirk.  There’s no real weight to this death (given there’s no decades-long relationship/we’ve only seen them together in two movies and we all knew Kahn’s blood would save someone in the end), so we know Kirk will be fine.  Abrams and his writers pat themselves on the back for reversing the roles, even though that role reversal doesn’t tie into any earlier conflict.  The death scene has NOTHING on the original scene; all I saw was two new actors re-acting the original scene; I almost thought it was a joke, I couldn’t believe it. Seriously  I almost started laughing. And Spock looking down at Kirk’s body and yelling Kahn was just embarrassing and that did it for me (Seriously he doesn’t even yell Kahn well….) Oh yeah and then Uhura just beams down and shoots Kahn in the back?!? (And don’t get me started on using the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy) to TELL Spock (Quinto) that Kahn is dangerous …)

    In Star Trek II, Kahn may be the villian, but the movie embodies everything about Kirk. The Wrath of Khan brings him a deadly nemesis from his past, who then forces Kirk to learn a harsh lesson, and lose his closest friend.  The movie embodies the best of the original series (the tense, naval-style battles; outsmarting rather than outgunning the enemy; an admiration for the creative and destructive power of science), but you can enjoy it without having seen a single episode. But if you’ve seen The Original Series, Spock’s death has serious weight.  It’s the end of a decades-long friendship, and the line “I have been, and always shall be, your friend,” gets the tears flowing.

    I clearly love the original Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn, so most people won’t feel the way I do. Again it’s a fine summer movie; but if you want the real deal, go watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. There is a reason it’s considered a classic.

  • Justin 5:50 pm on December 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Anton Yelchin, , Chris Pine, , , , , , , ,   

    New Trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness 

    A new trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness has gone online. Unlike the previous teaser, this one is far more melancholy and epic as we hear Pike (Bruce Greenwood) tell Kirk, “There’s greatness in you, but not an ounce of humility. But there’s going to come a moment when you’re wrong about that. And you’re going to get yourself, and everyone under your command, killed.” From there, we see the epic action director J.J. Abrams is going to unleash. Details on the story are still scarce, but a teaser trailer never gives those away. They’re meant to entice, and this new trailer is even better than the first one.

    The film stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Alice Eve, Peter Weller, and Noel Clarke.  Star Trek Into Darkness opens in 3D on May 17, 2013.


  • Justin 4:28 pm on December 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bruce Greenwood, Chris Pine, , , , Zach Quinto,   

    Star Trek Into Darkness | Official Teaser 

    Star Trek Into Darkness Official Teaser is now online and it looks pretty badass. JJ Abrams returns to direct the sequel to the 2009 summer blockbuster that has revived the great Star Trek franchise.

    The movie is supposedly the Wrath of Kahn / Dark Knight for the series and again, looks great.

    Star Trek Into Darkness will see the entire cast returning including Chris Pine, Zach Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood as well as some new faces including Benedict Cumberbatch.

    Star Trek heads Into Darkness May 17, 2013.


  • paulywalnuts 1:45 am on June 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Chris Pine, , Netflix   

    Netflix Pick of the Week: Unstoppable 

    For those of you unable to go to the movies this weekend, I’m making a suggestion. Rent Unstoppable. I know, I know … it looked a little too much like Denzel trying to do another feel good movie like Remember the Titans. And also like Remember the Titans, we can pretty much guess how it ends. But it’s a hell of a ride getting there.

    Background – Tony Scott is still searching for his magic touch from the 80s (Beverly Hills Cop II, Top Gun) or even his breakouts from the 90s (Crimson Tide) — but it’s a hell of a lot better than the last ten years of stuff he’s been putting out (Deja Vu, Man on Fire). Denzel is once again his muse, and Chris Pine is looking like less Captain Kirk and probably more like Captain down on his luck. Those two are all that stands in between a ginormous train carrying hazardous chemicals to Marcus’ hood and a happy ending (not that type of happy ending … not that type of movie). That’s all I expected when I picked it up. It delivered a lot more.

    The plot doesn’t get much richer, sadly, but Denzel and Pine’s characters are developed about as well as you could go. I was a little annoyed at the archetypical train workers, and folks taking pot shots at union workers (because all of you guys in non-union shops have NO ONE that’s lazy, right?) – but get past the rushed setup and you start to care about a few of the growing cast of characters. Just a few.

    Tony Scott’s a great action director. I wasn’t quite sure how you can make a train running 70 mph exciting for two hours (I’m imagining baby Stewie saying, “It’s still out of control … it’s still out of control … it’s still out of control … it’s still out of control … it’s still out of control … ” as Lois stares ahead without blinking) — but I didn’t know how he could make a submarine movie interesting, and he did. The usual tricks are on full display – panoramic areal shots, quick shots from multiple angles of the same person moving two feet, and the biggest action scenes greeted with little sound other than the soundtrack. But you know what … it’s fun getting there.

    It’s fun to know that this is based on a true story. Don’t yell “that didn’t really happen” at the screen, just wonder what you would have done if an out-of-control train full of chemicals was headed your way and you didn’t know what was going on. Enjoy the different ways they tried to stop it; appreciate the police/fire/rescue workers that were worried about their own families but trying to save everyone else’s; be sad for the families of people that actually died. And, if you actually don’t know how it ended in real life … Netflix is only a few clicks away.

    Be sure to rent the Unstoppable with Denzel Washington, not Wesley Snipes. We don’t all look alike. And please tell me how Ethan Supplee keeps showing up in Denzel Washington movies, or why Rosario Dawson is so hot but didn’t get any mention in my review. *sigh* Enjoy the weekend. Somebody go out and see Super 8 and write it up without spoilers.

    • Marcus 2:01 am on June 11, 2011 Permalink

      Pauly, I just saw this movie not kidding credits are rolling now. Reminds me of the Money Train with Woody Harrelson and i think Snipes. Denzel is good and makes the movie. It is what you would expect, a fun ride and you know how it ends.

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