Saturday, November 10, 2012

Miami Connection

If you're the type of moviegoer who enjoys films that are poorly made, terribly acted, only semi-competent in executing action sequences, but ones with tons of charm and enthusiasm, Miami Connection just might be your new favorite movie. Made in 1987 and promptly forgotten, someone at Drafthouse Films bought a copy of it using Ebay and is now releasing it for the world to see. The plot involves a synth-rock band named Dragon Sound full of Tae Kwan Do black belts who battle drug lords and a gang of motorcycle-riding ninjas to stop the cocaine trade in Orlando. And the final product totally lives up to that ridiculous premise.

Miami Connection
Co-writers/co-directors: Y.K. Kim, Richard Park
Starring: Y.K. Kim, Vincent Hirsch, Kathy Collier, William Eagle

Friday, November 9, 2012


For his entire life, the man and myth of Abraham Lincoln has mystified Steven Spielberg. The director has wanted to make a Lincoln-centric film for years, and he actually came close to doing it with his Schindler's List star Liam Neeson in the lead role. But the project was eventually scaled down and reworked to cover a small period in the 16th President's life surrounding the ratification of the 13th Amendment, and (with no offense to Neeson here) the incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis stepped in to fill Lincoln's shoes. With the film hitting theaters just days after a major presidential election in America, it seems like as good a time as any for the world's most famous director to tell his version of these historical events.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Thursday, November 8, 2012


The future of James Bond was looking a bit shaky following the disappointing Quantum of Solace and MGM's recent financial troubles. But once they got things sorted out behind the scenes and selected American Beauty and Road to Perdition director Sam Mendes as the man to helm this newest entry, excitement for Bond's return began to gradually ratchet up to a fever pitch. Freed from the Vesper Lynd storyline of the past two films, Mendes uses Skyfall to take Bond to the next level while, at the same time, looking back on what has made the character such an indelible and iconic mainstay in pop culture. The result is a very solid Bond entry that culminates in a breathtaking action climax and a setup for another entry that will have longtime fans itching to see the next film as soon as the credits roll on this one.

Director: Sam Mendes
Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rise of the Guardians (AFI Fest '12)

In a post-Avengers world, it's easy to peg Rise of the Guardians as just another attempt to capitalize on the "superhero team-up" format that has made Marvel boatloads of money so far and has Warner Bros. scrambling to keep up with their Justice League film not too far away. There are similarities, for sure; the main characters here are legendary icons essentially imbued with superhero powers, they must overcome their differences to battle a common enemy, and they're each a larger-than-life character that could lead his or her own film. But this movie has enough heart and tender moments to put cynics' minds at ease, and with a dash of humor and an occasionally dark arc in its hero's journey, Rise of the Guardians rose high above expectations.

Rise of the Guardians
Director: Peter Ramsey
Starring: Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Jude Law

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Silver Linings Playbook (AFI Fest '12)

When director David O. Russell's family boxing drama The Fighter had its world premiere at the AFI Fest in 2010, the audience slowly realized we were being treated to one of the year's best films. Two years later, the same can be said for Silver Linings Playbook, Russell's newest movie that maneuvers between comedy and drama as well as a star running back threading through the defense on a football field. Russell's script provides a fascinating look into the lives of a few people who don't exactly have their lives together, infusing football, family, and a classic movie romance together with excellent performances from Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro.

Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O. Russell
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker