June 2007

The Story So Far

by Alan Rapp on June 26, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

In 1988 Bruce Willis starred in a action flick which changed both his career and the formula for this genre.  Die Hard became an instant hit, and remains so today (ranked #155 on IMDB’s Top 250 Films of All-Time).  From that point other films “borrowed” the formula to give us Die Hard on a Plane (Passenger 57), Die Hard on a Boat (Under Siege) and Die Hard on a Train (Under Siege 2: Dark Territory), among countless others.  So with the dormant franchise that spawned so many imitators getting a new lease on life in Live Free and Die Hard out tomorrow (come back for our review) we thought we’d take a look back at the first three films in the series and give you a look at the story so far…

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Die Hard

NY Police Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) travels to Los Angeles to reconnect with his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia).  At the company party terrorists arrive and take everyone hostage.  McClane manages to loose himself in the building, call for backup, and spends the night discovering the terrorists real agenda and killing them off one by one until the final showdown with the mastermind Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman).  Great supporting performances from William Atherton as a slimy reporter, Paul Gleason as a schmuck of a Deputy Police Chief, and Reginald VelJohnson as Sgt. Al Powell, the only friend McClaine has on the outside.  Memorable for many moments including McClane toying with the terrorists, the revelation the terrorist are in fact bank robbers, the ill-fated FBI team of Johnson (Robert Davi) and Johnson (Grand L. Bush) – no relation, a lesson why you should always wear shoes in public, and the famous catch-phrase “Yipe-Ki-Yay, motherfucker.”

 


Die Hard 2

Shaking of the ridiculous promotional title of “Die Harder,” and an overly convoluted conspiracy plot with unnecessary twists, the second film in the series finds McClane working in Los Angeles as a cop and on Christmas vacation with his wife’s family in Washington.  Waiting for his wife’s plaine to land McClaine uncovers a merecnary plot to take over the airport runways and force the release of a Latin American drug dealer (Franco Nero) whose plane is secheduled to soon arrive.  Though not as good as the first film, it does have built in suspense as McClane is forced to stop the terrorists, led by a former military hero (William Sadler), before his wife’s plane runs out of fuel and crashes into the earth.  Nice supporting performances from Dennis Franz as the pain-in-the-ass airpot cop and John Amos as the military commander brought in to deal with the situation.  And don’t forget the stun-gun scene between Atherton and Bedelia’s characters miles above the ground.


Die Hard: With a Vengeance

The third film, and the last entry into the franchise for a dozen years, finds the once great hero down on his luck, separated from his wife, and back in New York.  With the help of shop owner (Samuel L. Jackson) McClane is forced to play a deadly game of cat and mouse with a mad bomber who has placed a bomb inside a school somewhere in the city.  As McClane and Zeus are sent on mindless errand after errand, and the police scattered across the city looking for bombs in schools, the villain (Jeremy Irons) pulls off a heist of the Federal Gold Depository and laughs all the way home, except for the fact he can’t seem to kill McClane who keeps surviving his traps!  A good film with some intriguing plot twists and a nice return to the swerve bank robbery formula of the first film.  Memorable moments from the film include the revelation of the true identity of Simon and the reason behind his hatred of McClane, the many riddles Willis and Jackson have to solve and some fun buddy-cop moments between the pair, and a chase scene which involves garbage trucks.

 

Psych – The Complete First Season

by Alan Rapp on June 26, 2007

in Home Video

  • Title: Psych – The Complete First Season
  • tv.com: link

psych-season-one-dvd

What do you say about a show where the main character pretends to be psychic just in order to use his highly observant skill set to solve crimes, all while acting like a complete jackass? If you’re me, you call it fun.

After falling into the role of a psychic detective, lifetime quitter Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his much more buttoned-down best pal Gus (Dulé Hill) start their own psychic detective agency solving crimes. Those included in this First Season collection involve murder at a Civil War reenactment, a missing wedding ring, a trip to Comic-Con,  a retired police captain (Kurtwood Smith) with an unsolved murder, underground poker, the National Spelling Bee, a psychic cat (who Gus is jealous of, whether he’ll admit to it or not), and an urban legend (which Shawn and Gus inadvertently started as kids). One of my favorites involves Shawn, Gus and Juliet (Maggie Lawson) helping Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) solve a murder at the planetarium.

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Tube Watch

by Alan Rapp on June 26, 2007

in Television Reviews , Uncategorized

Thursday night marks the premiere of the new USA Network show Burn Notice starring Jeffrey Donovan as a spy who has been disavowed by the US Government and has been cast out without explanation.  The show, which also stars Gabrielle Anwar and RazorFine favorite Bruce “Don’t Call Me Ash!” Campbell,  premieres this Thursday night on USA at 10:00/9:00 central.  For more, including a short teaser, check out the Full Diagnosis.

Burn Notice
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BURN NOTICE – An official statement by one intelligence agency to other agencies, domestic or foreign, that an individual or group is unreliable.

 

Jeffrey Donovan stars as Michael Western, an international spy who becomes disavowed and cut-off from his contacts and resources without explanation.  With no other recourse Western returns home to Miami to put the pieces together and put his unique skills to use for profit to fund his own investigation about what caused his current situation.

Gabrielle Anwar (For Love or Money, Scent of a Woman) stars as a former IRA operative and ex-girlfriend of Western and Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., Man With the Screaming Brain) stars as a washed-out military intelligence officer being used to keep tabs on Western.

This marks the second attempt for the USA Network to structure a show around Donovan to go with the network’s gem Monk.  2004’s Touching Evil started with an intriguing premise but failed to catch-on before being cancelled after twelve episodes.  Here’s hoping this one fares better.  For more on the show check out the official site.

This Week in Animated Film

by Alan Rapp on June 25, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

From writer/director Brad Bird (The Incredibles) and Pixar Entertainment comes the tail (heh) of a rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt) who wants only one thing, to become a chef in a Paris restaurant.  The film also features the voice talents of Ian Holm, Lou Romano, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo, and Peter O’Toole as food critic Anton Ego.  Check out the official site.  We’ve seen it and we’ll have the review for you when the film is served to audiences everywhere on Friday.

Ratatouille
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This Week in Film

by Alan Rapp on June 25, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

After a 12 year hiatus, Bruce Willis returns in the role of Detective John McClane who shows up again, this time to take on Internet terrorists who want to shut down the United States.  Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Kevin Smith, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (as young Lucy McClane) also star.  Check out the official site.  The studio is waiting until the last minute to screen this for critics (never a good sign), but we’ll burn the midnight oil and have our review ready when this one explodes into theaters on Wednesday.

Live Free or Die Hard
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