- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: Starring Non-Persian Jake Gyllenhaal(just saying) and my new crush, the beautiful and underrated Gemma Arterton(Clash of the Titans' Io)...seriously, she is underused in my opinion. Anyway, it is based on Playstation's Sands of Time Trilogy, and bits and pieces of the games are sprinkled throughout the narrative. Yes, we gets some great bits of parkour, like the first game(the only one I've played so far), but no sand demons to suck the magic sands from(because that would have obviously made the film's quest too easy...not that it was easy, but I digress). Anyway, the film excited me, not because it was based off of the games, but because it was made by the union of Walt Disney/Jerry Bruickheimer, the same minds behind the awesome Pirates of the Carribean franchise. Anyway, the story is formula in a sense, where two clashing personalities, Prince Dastan and Princess Tamina, have to go on a journey after a series of unfortunate circumstances involving an invasion of a holy city accused of producing weapons of mass destruction(wow, that doesn't sound familiar, doesn't it?), the death of Dastan's adopted father, the King of Persia(branding Dastan falsely as the murderer), and...ostrich racing. I'm not kidding. While fun, the film suffers from not really providing any memorable script-wise, and while there is at least one shocking scene involving Dastan and one of his adopted brothers, the supposed big twist about the King's brother? Saw that coming miles away. This movie rates a B-.
- Karate Kid: As an African-American, I have to be honest: The Karate Kid of the Reagan Era wasn't trained in Kung Fu. HA! Thought I was saying something else, did you? But, I have to be fair here...I'm boycotting The Last Airbender because of the insulting white casting, so this Jaden Smith vehicle(starring the son of megastars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith) can't really be let off the hook...or can it? After all, Dre Parker(Jaden Smith's character...and that's a cliche' black name if I've ever heard one) is an entirely new character to begin with, different from Italian Daniel LaRusso(Ralph Macchio). Instead of the Okinawan Mr. Miyagi(Pat Morita), we have the Chinese Mr. Han(played very well by Jackie Chan), and the setting is Beijing, not California or Okinawa. So in essence, we have only the bare elements of the original films...and in this case, that is usually what should be used when making these remakes...tell entirely different versions of classic stories. Still, I'm also of a mind of this film simply being its own franchise, the Kung-Fu Kid(ironically, this is the name it is given in China). On the film itself, I thought it was pretty good, and honestly, I think the martial art scenes, battles, and training easily top the original source material. Granted, the fighting was jazzed up for modern audiences(and ironically, the age of the characters shrink), but I don't remember the original Karate Kid movies being that fast and furious. All the actors were wonderful. Still, I found the Tekken/Street Fighter-esque tournament at the climax to be a little over-the-top(COMPLETE WITH REPLAYS WWE-STYLE!). My grade for it is B+.
- Toy Story 3: Woody and his shrinking gang of toy pals are back in this spectacular second sequel to the Toy Story franchise. The "shrinking" reference is to the fact that prominent supporting characters from the previous installments are missing, like Little Po Beep and RC. The story itself veers screaming into dark territory, dealing with the inevitable repercussions of approaching adulthood and its effects on toys. The gang, already abandoned in Andy's wagon train trunk at the beginning of the story, are given the rather bright options of lanquishing in the attic or being disposed in the trash. A third option is thrusted upon them when they are taken to Sunnyside Daycare, benevolently ruled over by Lotso...which is revealed to be a prison of sorts. Woody and the gang has to escape the Daycare before Andy leaves for college. Just like in the previous entries, Toy Story 3 explore a facet of the secret life of toys, in this case, what happens after we grow older and turn to the opposite sex, paying bills, and video games. Easily the darkest of the series, and I'm not even talking about the daycare and its rampaging toddlers. My grade for this is A+.
- The A-Team: This film is an example of a perfect Summer Blockbuster...style-over-substance, popcorn fun that should not be shied away from as much as the critics want filmmakers to do. Starring Liam Neeson(who kicks ass in Taken), Bradley Cooper(the @****** friend in Hangover), Quinton Jackson(Rampage, fool), and Sharlto Copley(@****** from District 9), they are the eponymous A-team; this film is an origin story for them, showing how they initially got together, became an army unit, was court-martialed(i.e "the crime they did not commit"), make their escape, and try to fight to regain their innocence. Jessica Biel, sexy as freakin' ever, is one of the agents chasing after them. I thought this movie was awesome. I did not expect some deep exploration of the human condition here...I mean the show, from what I remember, was no different. I give this movie an A.
It's All Jake With Me: New original Jack Cole art surfaces at auction! - Lot #93073 in Heritage Auction's 2018 May 10 - 12 Comic Art Signature Auction, featured a stunning example of Jack Cole's post-Plastic Man girlie magazine...