Showing posts with label Michelle Rodriguez. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michelle Rodriguez. Show all posts

Friday, May 19, 2023

Review: "FAST X" is Too Fast, Too Furious For One Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 22 of 2023 (No. 1911) by Leroy Douresseaux

Fast X (2023)
Running time: 141 minutes (2 hours, 21 minutes)
MPA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, language and some suggestive material
DIRECTOR: Louis Leterrier
WRITERS: Justin Lin and Dan Mazeau; from a story by Justin Lin & Dan Mazeau and Zach Dean (based on the characters created by Gary Scott Thompson)
PRODUCERS: Vin Diesel, Neal H. Moritz, Justin Lin, Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, and Samantha Vincent
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stephen F. Windon (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Dylan Highsmith and Kelly Matsumoto
COMPOSER: Brian Tyler


Starring:  Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Leo Abelo Perry, Jason Statham, Jordana Brewster, Charlize Theron, Jon Cena, Brie Larson, Scot Eastwood, Alan Ritchson, Daniela Melchior, Pete Davidson, Joaquim de Almeida, Rita Moreno, Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Helen Mirren

Fast X is a 2023 action movie that is directed by Louis Leterrier and is produced by Universal Pictures.  It is the tenth installment in the Fast & Furious movie franchise (now also called the “Fast Saga”).  A direct sequel to 2021's F9, Fast X finds Dom Toretto and his family targeted by the vengeful son of a drug kingpin they defeated over a decade ago.

Fast X begins in 2011 in Rio de Janeiro and recounts events, some of which were depicted in Fast Five (2011).  That time, professional criminals, Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O'Connor, led their crew/family in a heist against drug lord, Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida).  It is revealed that Reyes' son, Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa), failed in his bid to stop the heist.

In present day Los Angeles, Dom is living a quiet life with his wife, Letitia “Letty” Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), and his son, Brian “Little B” Marcos (Leo Abelo Perry).  Dom holds a family reunion that gathers the current incarnation of his crew-family:  Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), Han Lue (Sung Kang), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), as well as Dom's grandmother, Abuelita Torreto (Rita Moreno).

Roman, Tej, Han, and Ramsey are about to embark on a mission in Rome, Italy – with Roman leading – for Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), the current head of “the Agency.”  However, what Dom and his family will discover is an elaborate trap laid for them by Dante Reyes, returned after over a decade and looking to avenge himself and his late father, Hernan.  Dante promise to kill Dom, but not before he makes him suffer by targeting his family and everyone connected to them or who helped them.  Now, a ragtag friends, enemies, and frenemies must gather together to stop Dante, who is always one step ahead of Dom and his family.  And Dante is enjoying every minute of the chaos and violence he causes.

When the first film, The Fast and the Furious, arrived in movie theaters in June of 2001, I ignored it, although I recognized the film's two stars, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker (1973-2013).  However, a few years later, I wanted to see 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) because it was directed by the late John Singleton (1968-2019) and because I was a fan of actor Tyrese and rapper/actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.  Three years later, I was in a local theater to see The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), but I called it quits after that, refusing to see Fast & Furious (2009).  I eventually did see it because I wanted to see the fifth film in the series.

That would be 2011's Fast Five.  I found it hugely entertaining, and it was the film that made me a consistent fan of the “Fast & Furious” film series.  I think that Fast Five was the first film in the series in which the action was more fantasy or fantastic than realistic.  Beginning with Dom and company's adventures in Rio, the series became some hybrid of science fiction-action, quasi-superhero fantasy, and James Bond-type super spy adventure.  After Fast Five, the series was never the same.

I won't say that Fast X epitomizes that any more than the previous four films:  Fast & Furious 6 (2013), Furious 7 (2015), The Fate of the Furious (2017), and F9 (2021).  There may be more crashes and collisions of automobiles, military vehicles, aircraft, etc, but it is all familiar, solidly entertaining, but familiar.  Fast X does seem to have the highest body count of any of the films, which I did find off-putting.  The characters shoot to kill and injury as if they are players in a video game and not characters in a narrative film.

Jason Momoa and Charlize Theron really give stand out performances in the film.  Momoa's Dante Reyes seems to be the first series villain that can really destroy Dominic Toretto, and Theron's Cipher is simply, majorly cool.

Fast X is also surprisingly funny, with more wit and humor than I think the series has delivered since 2 Fast 2 Furious.  The action is non-stop, but it is also apparently too big for a single film, as you will discover when you watch it, dear readers.  Fast X isn't a great work of cinema, but it is a superb entry in this crazy series.

[Fast X has one mid-credit scene.]

7 of 10
★★★½ out of 4 stars

Friday, May 19, 2023

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Friday, March 31, 2023

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from March 26th to 31st, 2023 - Update #14

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon:


AWARDS - From RondoAwardThe 2023 / 21st Ronda Hatton Classic Horror Awards are currently in the midst of voting and will close April 23rd.  The awards, which honor the "best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation," are named for the late American journalist, actor, cult film icon, and World War I veteran, Rondo Hatton (1894-1946).

AVATAR - From DeadlineMichelle Rodriguez says that she won't let James Cameron bring her "Avatar" character, "Trudy Chacon," back to life.  Trudy was killed in the first film.

TELEVISION - From Deadline:  There is apparently early development on a spinoff of the hit FX drama, "Snowfall," which is currently in its final season.  The spinoff would focus on the fan-favorite character, "Wanda," played by Gail Bean.

DISNEY - From THRMarvel Entertainment chairman Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter is out at Disney as part of the company's latest round of layoffs.  The billionaire, who sold the comic book giant Marvel to Disney in 2009, was told Wednesday that Disney is folding his Marvel Entertainment unit into other pats of the company and that he would be let go.  Marvel Entertainment co-president, Rob Steffens, has also been let go.

TELEVISION - From Deadline:  HBO's "House of the Dragon" will have a shorter second season, eight episodes instead of the 10 the first season had.

TELEVISION - From BloodyDisgustingChris Carter, creator of "The X-Files," says that Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ryan Coogler is developing a new take on the series.

DISNEY/TRAILER - From DeadlinePixar has released a trailer for its upcoming film, "Elemental," which is due in theaters, June 16th.

ANIMATION - From DeadlineDreamWorks Animation announces the third film in its "Trolls" series, "Trolls Band Together."  It is due in theaters Nov. 17th.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficePro:  The winner of the 3/24 to 3/26/2023 weekend box office is Lionsgate's "John Wick: Chapter 4" with an estimated take of 73.5 million dollars.

From Deadline:  Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chair Joe Drake is not ready to say goodbye to Keanu Reeves and "John Wick."

From Truthout:  Writer Nicholas Powers says that the film "Creed III" reflects the immense class divide in Black America, but fails to heal it.

SCANDAL - From Deadline:  Hot movie star, Jonathan Majors ("Creed III," "Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania") has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman, possibly a girlfriend.

From Deadline:  Jonathan Majors’ criminal defense lawyer is speaking out and claiming the Creed III actor is innocent and has evidence proving his innocence.

MOVIES - From BBC:  Paul Rusesabagina is a former hotel manager who was portrayed as a hero in the 2004 Hollywood film, "Hotel Rwanda."  He has been released from prison in Kigali, after being sentenced to 25 years on terrorism charges.  Actor Don Cheadle was nominated for an Oscar for play Rusesabagina in the film.

MOVIES - From CBR:  Barring last minutes changes, director Christopher Nolan's upcoming epic drama, "Oppenheimer," will run about three hours longs.  The film is due in theaters July 21st.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Review: "F9" is for the "Fast & Furious" Family of Fans

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 43 of 2021 (No. 1781) by Leroy Douresseaux

F9 (2021)
Running time: 145 minutes (2 hours, 25 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and language
DIRECTOR: Justin Lin
WRITER: Justin Lin and Daniel Casey; from a story by Justin Lin, Daniel Casey, and Alfredo Botello (based on the characters created by Gary Scott Thompson)
PRODUCERS: Vin Diesel, Neal H. Moritz, Justin Lin, Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, Joe Roth, Clatyon Townsend, and Samantha Vincent
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stephen F. Windon (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Greg D'Auria, Dylan Highsmith, and Kelly Matsumoto
COMPOSER: Brian Tyler


Starring:  Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Charlize Theron, Jon Cena, Kurt Russell, Anna Sawai, Don Omar, Shea Whigham, Vinnie Bennett, Finn Cole, JD Pardo, Michael Rooker, Lucas Black, Shad Moss, Jason Tobin, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Isaac and Immanuel Holtane, Cardi B, and Helen Mirren

F9 is a 2021 action movie from director Justin Lin and is produced by Universal Pictures.  It is the ninth installment in the Fast & Furious movie franchise (now also called the “Fast Saga”).  A direct sequel to 2017's The Fate of the Furious, F9 finds Dom and his racing family facing a powerful figure from Dom's birth family.

As F9 begins, Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel) has retired from his previous life.  He is living in seclusion with his wife, Letitia “Letty” Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), and his son, Brian (Isaac and Immanuel Holtane), the child he conceived with his former girlfriend, the late Elena Neves.  Dom and Letty get a surprise visit from his team/family:  Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel).  Their sometime compatriot, covert operative Frank Petty (Kurt Russell), a.k.a. “Mr Nobody,” apparently captured cyberterrorist, Cipher (Charlize Theron).  The plane in which Mr. Nobody was transporting Cipher was attacked by rogue agents, but Mr. Nobody was able to send a coded distress signal meant for Dom and his team.

The leaders behind this attack are Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen), the mysterious son of a very wealthy and politically powerful man, and Jakob (Jon Cena), a man who has close ties to Dom.  Soon, Dom's sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), a former member of Dom's team, returns to join the hunt for Jakob.  They must stop Jakob and Otto before they can obtain and activate a device called “Aries,” which can hack into any computer system in the world.  Before this mission is over, however, Dom will have to reveal his past and his past mistakes, and he will need help from a few figures from his past – including one thought to be dead.

As I write this, it is the morning after I saw F9 at a Thursday night preview show.  I can say the same thing about F9 that I wrote about The Fate of the Furious in a review I wrote a few days ago.  I love F9.  It is the latest installment of a film franchise that has seen its over-the-top action become so … over-the-top that it is practically a kind of superhero and car chase movie series.  However,  F9 sends this franchise higher – literally – than it has ever gone before.  The ludicrous and ridiculous, but oh-so-fun set pieces are a hallmark of this franchise, but F9 actually takes two characters into space.  Gravity and physics are totally subverted, but “Fast & Furious” fans won't give a damn while watching F9 anymore than they did watching the last 12 years of this franchise.

I will give F9 credit, however, for inserting some dark and edgy family drama into the story, melodrama even darker and edgier than what The Fate of the Furious gave audiences.  And, as in that film, Vin Diesel gets to show his dramatic chops, and he reveals that Dom isn't right all the time, and that sometimes his errors really cost the people close to him.  I don't think F9 is quite as good as The Fate of the Furious because the new film's villains are not quite as diabolical as Fate's super-villain (the aforementioned Cipher).  Still, I like how F9 puts the family in the fast and the furious.

7 of 10

Friday, June 25, 2021

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Review: THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS is Perfectly 2 Fast 2 Furious

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 42 of 2021 (No. 1780) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Fate of the Furious (2017)
Running time: 136 minutes (2 hours, 16 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggestive content, and language
DIRECTOR: F. Gary Gray
WRITER: Chris Morgan (based on the characters created by Gary Scott Thompson)
PRODUCERS: Vin Diesel, Neal H. Moritz, Chris Morgan and Michael Fottrell
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stephen F. Windon (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Christian Wagner and Paul Rubell
COMPOSER: Brian Tyler


Starring:  Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Scott Eastwood, Elsa Pataky, Kristopher Hivju, Patrick St. Esprit, Luke Evans, and Helen Mirren

The Fate of the Furious is a 2017 action movie from director F. Gary Gray and was released by Universal Pictures.  It is the eighth installment in The Fast and the Furious movie franchise (now called the “Fast Saga”).  A direct sequel to 2015's Furious 7, The Fate of the Furious introduces a mysterious woman who has the power to turn Dominic Toretto into a terrorist.

As The Fate of the Furious begins, Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letitia “Letty” Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) are on their honeymoon in Havana, Cuba.  While there, Dom meets a mysterious woman who turns out to be the elusive cyberterrorist, Cipher (Charlize Theron).  She has obtained something that she uses to coerce Dom into working for her.  Soon afterwards, Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), recruits Dom and his team – his family:  Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) to retrieve an EMP device from a military outpost in Berlin.  However, Dom betrays them all and steals the device for Cipher, and Hobbs and Dom's family, including Letty, are branded criminals.

Intelligence operative and leader of a covert ops team, Frank Petty (Kurt Russell), a.k.a. “Mr Nobody,” arrives with his protege, Eric Reisner (Scott Eastwood), and he has an offer.  Mr. Nobody wants Hobbs and Dom's family to help him find Dom and capture the highly elusive Cipher.  Mr. Nobody also has a surprise for Hobbs and company.  He has recruited Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the rogue British Special Forces assassin who was hunting Dom and his family until they defeated him and Hobbs and the DSS imprisoned him.  But will even Shaw be enough?  Cipher can disappear at will and with Dom at her side, she seems unbeatable.  Cipher's threat to the world and Dom's betrayal will test the family as never before.

When The Fate of the Furious was initially released to theaters in April 2017, I was too mired in family troubles to bother going to a movie theater to see it.  And quite frankly, after what I considered to be a barely average installment in Furious 7, I thought I was done with the franchise.  In fact, I didn't even watch The Fate of the Furious when it started playing on basic cable.  Recently, I saw a clip from the soon-to-be-released F9 (2021), and I was shocked to see Dominic Toretto playing with a baby.  A friend informed me of the events in The Fate of the Furious, and because he and I talked about seeing F9, I decided to rent The Fate of the Furious via Netflix.

Well, I will never doubt you again, Fast & Furious / Fast Saga.  I loved The Fate of the Furious.  This film franchise's over-the-top action has become so … over-the-top that it is practically a kind of superhero and car chase movie series.  These movies are fun, but I thought that the series had reached narrative exhaustion with Furious 7.  The Fate of the Furious was the hot-shot injection of jet fuel that the series needed, as far as I'm concerned.  And Vin Diesel may have given his best performance of the series in The Fate of the Furious.  He really seemed like an evil terrorist, but, at the same time, his grit and determination to manage the evil in order to protect his family feels genuine.

I also want to credit Universal Pictures and The Fate of the Furious in using Havana, Cuba as the setting for the film's opening scenes.  It is a love letter to a place that looks beautiful on film.  And The Fate of the Furious is also a crazy, mad, insane, and beautiful action movie.

8 of 10

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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Friday, June 30, 2017

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from June 25th to 30th, 2017 - Update #30

Support Leroy on Patreon.

 COMICS-FILM - From TheWrap:  Rosario Dawson out and Alice Braga as "Dr. Cecilia Reyes" in Fox's "New Mutants."

MOVIES - From ShadowandAct:  Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are developing an HBO biopic about pioneering African-American filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux.  Tyler Perry is attached to star as Micheaux.

POLITICS - From RSN:  Pediatrician Mai-Khanh Tran will attempt to unseat a 12-term, U.S. House Republican (and a powerful one at that) next year.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Michelle Rodriguez is ready to leave "The Fast and the Furious" franchise.  The actress, who plays Letty Ortiz, wants more opportunities for women in the film series.

From YahooFinance:  "The Fate of the Furious" director F. Gary Gray responds to Michelle Rodriguez.

MOVIES - From YahooMovies:  Halle Berry said that her 2002 best actress Oscar win (for 2001's "Monsters Ball") meant nothing for diversity.

OBIT - From Deadline:  The children's author Michael Bond has died at the age of 91, Tuesday, June 27, 2017.  Bond was best known as the creator of Paddington Bear.  The character first appeared in the 1958 book, "A Bear Called Paddington."

COMICS-FILM - From ShadowandAct:  The return of Marvel Comics character, Blade, to the big or small screen?  Someday... says Marvel chief.

MOVIES - From Variety:  Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars' "Captain Phasma") will join Steve Carell in director Robert Zemeckis' still untitled drama.

OBIT - From Variety:  The Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist has died at the age 56, Tuesday, June 27, 2017.  He played a rapist in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and the villain "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol."

MOVIES - From ThePlaylist:  Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, her writing partner from the HBO series, "Girls," are in talks to write the American remake on the hit foreign film, "Toni Erdmann."

MOVIES - From YahooMovies:  Marvel Studios boss, Kevin Feige, empathizes with Lucasfilm over the "young Han Solo" film director shakeup.

COMICS-FILM - From LATimes:  Inside the deal the brought Spider-Man to the Marvel cinematic universe.

TELEVISION - From ShadowandAct:  HBO is developing a TV series from Ray Bradbury's seminal novel, "Fahrenheit 451," with Michael B. Jordan in the lead.  Actress Laura Harrier will play the wife of Jordan's character ("Guy Montag").

CULTURE - From BuzzFlash:  How to reverse the demise of the United States.

TELEVISION - From ScreenDaily:  Kevin Bacon says that he is working on a reboot of his cult film, "Tremors," as a TV series for Syfy.

MOVIES - From TheWrap:  Sissy Spacek came to fame and earned an Oscar nomination for her starring role in the film, "Carrie" (1976), adapted from a Stephen King novel.  Spacek is returning to the world of Stephen King in Hulu's upcoming series, "Castle Rock."

MOVIES - From THR:  Warner Bros. is developing a sequel to Ben Affleck's hit film, "The Accountant" (2016).

COMICS-FILM - From YahooMovies:  Highlights from the "Spider-Man: Homecoming" press conference.

COMICS-FILM - From YahooTV:  ABC has announced Friday, September 29, 2017 as the premiere date for "Marvel's Inhumans."

STAR TREK - From Esquire:  One of the changes that "Star Trek Discovery" will make to rules established by Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry, is that Starfleet members will be in direct conflict with one another.  The first episode of this new series will air in October 2017.

BLM - From WashPost:  A Black off-duty police officer tried to help stop a crime, and a White cop shot him.  Once again, the controversy is in the St. Louis area.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 6/23 to 6/25/2017 weekend box office is "Transformers: The Last Knight" with an estimated take of $45.3 million.

From TheWrap:  "The Big Sick" and "The Beguiled" open big at indie box office.

From GoldDerby:  "Wonder Woman" is now the highest grossing live-action film by a woman director.  It's global box office total is at just over $635 million dollars (and counting), which surpasses the the previous record holder, Mamma Mia! (2008), which grossed just under $610 million globally and was directed by Phyllida Lloyd.

COMICS-FILM - From TheWrap:  The upcoming "Spider-Man: Homecoming" is receiving glowing reviews.  The film will open nationwide on July 7th, 2017.

TELEVISION - From Variety:  There is another project being adapted for TV from George R.R. Martin, whose fantasy novel series, "A Song of Fire and Ice," became the Emmy-winning, HBO television series, "Game of Thrones."  Now, Syfy is developing Martin's novella, "Nightflyers," as a pilot for a TV series.

POLITICS - From RSN:  President Trump and the Congressional Republicans are trying to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) or BCRA (Better Care Restoration Act) to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as "Obamacare."  President Obama says the AHCA/BCRA will do us harm.

ECO - From TheNewYorker:  The race to solar-power Africa.

CULTURE - From Newsweek:  Most U.S. terrorists are of the right-wing variety, not Muslim.


From YouTube:  This is the debut trailer for "The Greatest Showman," which stars Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum and also features Michelle Williams, Zendaya, and Zac Efron, among others.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Steve McQueen's "Widows" Begins Principal Photography

Twentieth Century Fox and New Regency Begin Principal Photography on Steve McQueen Thriller Starring Viola Davis

Film Was Written by McQueen and Best Selling Author Gillian Flynn

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--From Academy Award®-winning director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) and co-writer and bestselling author Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”) comes a blistering, modern-day thriller set against the backdrop of crime, passion and corruption: “Widows” is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Oscar® winner Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. “Widows” also stars Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Lukas Haas and Brian Tyree Henry. See-Saw Films’ Oscar®-winning team of Iain Canning (“The King’s Speech”) and Emile Sherman (“The King’s Speech”) are set to produce with Bergen Swanson (“Shame”) serving as executive producer.

    “Steve McQueen is a groundbreaking filmmaker and we’re proud to support his vision for this film, and so delighted to be working with him again following our successful partnership on ‘12 Years a Slave.’”

“Emile and I couldn’t be more excited about ‘Widows,’” says producer Iain Canning. “It is a film that continues See-Saw Films’ relationship with Steve McQueen who has brought together a dream cast to tell a compelling story about what lengths people will go to in order to change the circumstances of their lives.” Producer Emile Sherman adds: “New Regency has been such a supportive and committed home for the project and we are excited to be working with Fox on this timely production.”

“Combining visionary directing, writing, an extraordinary cast, and a riveting story that unites thrilling action with nuanced character studies, ‘Widows’ is a project that truly speaks for itself,” said Yariv Milchan, Chairman of New Regency. “Steve McQueen is a groundbreaking filmmaker and we’re proud to support his vision for this film, and so delighted to be working with him again following our successful partnership on ‘12 Years a Slave.’”

“Widows” creative production team includes director of photography Sean Bobbit (“12 Years a Slave”), Academy Award®-winning production designer Adam Stockhausen (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), costume designer Jenny Eagan (“Beasts of No Nation”) and Oscar®-nominated editor Christopher Tellefsen (“Moneyball”).

“Widows” is a See-Saw Films production in association with New Regency presentation of A Steve McQueen Film and will be distributed worldwide by Twentieth Century Fox. The movie will be released on November 16, 2018.

About Twentieth Century Fox Film
One of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world. These motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units of the studio: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox International Productions, and Twentieth Century Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios.

About New Regency:
Founded in 1991 by renowned producer Arnon Milchan, New Regency is actively engaged in entertaining the world. The company has produced some of the most successful and critically-acclaimed films of all time with over 130 films and more than 50 television series in the company’s vast library, including Academy Award®-winner “The Revenant” (2016) and the back-to-back Academy Award®-winning Best Pictures, “12 Years A Slave” (2014) and “Birdman” (2015). New Regency is also dedicated to continuing to foster its unparalleled filmmaker relationships and today boasts partnerships with the most acclaimed and sought-after creative forces in the industry.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Review: "Furious 7" is Furious and Bittersweet

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 1 (of 2016) by Leroy Douresseaux

[A version of this review first appeared on Patreon.]

Furious 7 (2015)
Running time: 137 minutes (2 hour, 17 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language
WRITER: Chris Morgan (based on the characters created by Gary Scott Thompson)
PRODUCERS: Vin Diesel, Neal H. Moritz, and Michael Fottrell
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stephen F. Windon and Marc Spicer
EDITORS: Christian Wagner, Leigh Folsom Boyd, Dylan Highsmith, and Kirk Morri
COMPOSER: Brian Tyler


Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Kurt Russell, Djimon Hounsou, Lucas Black, Nathalie Emmanuel, John Brotherton, Tony Jaa, Ali Fazal, Ronda Rousey, Iggy Azalea, Sarah Sohn, Noel Gugliemi, T-Pain, Luke Evans, and Sung Kang

Furious 7 is a 2015 action movie from director James Wan and released by Universal Pictures.  It is the seventh installment in The Fast and the Furious movie franchise.  Furious 7 is set after the third film, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, but follows the events of Fast & Furious 6.  In Furious 7, a new enemy seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family.

Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), and their friends are trying to live a normal life, but that is a bit more complicated than they imagined.  Dom is troubled that his longtime girlfriend and ride-or-die chick, Letitia “Letty” Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), is having trouble regaining her memories.  Brian struggles with domestic life as a husband to Mia (Jordana Brewster), who is also Dom's sister, and as a father to their small son, Jack.

Meanwhile, trouble is brewing overseas.  Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the older brother of Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), swears revenge against Dom and his racers who defeated Owen (in Fast & Furious 6), leaving him in a coma.  Deckard infiltrates the DSS (Diplomatic Security Service) office in Los Angeles to get information on Dom and company.  In the process, Deckard severely injures Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who brought Dom and his race team into his hunt for Owen Shaw.

After Deckard launches a series of attacks on his friends and family, Dom reunites Brian, Letty, Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), and Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), to find Deckard.  They get help from Frank Petty (Kurt Russell) a.k.a. “Mr Nobody,” the leader of a covert ops team.  However, Deckard finds an ally in Mose Jakande (Djimon Hounsou), a mercenary and terrorist who leads a private military company.  Now, all parties are chasing Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), a computer hacktivist and her creation, God's Eye.

One cannot talk about Furious 7 without making note of the death of actor Paul Walker in November of 2013.  Walker and Vin Diesel were the face of The Fast and the Furious franchise.  Walker was only half-finished with the scenes he needed to film for Furious 7 when he died.  Stand-ins for Paul, including his brothers, Caleb and Cody Walker, and the judicious application of computer-generated imagery were used to finish the rest of Walker's scenes.

Other than for a few scenes and some dialogue/audio, I could not tell the difference between Paul and the Paul stand-ins.  Besides, Furious 7 is so full of over-the-top, eye-popping, and breath-taking action scenes and sequences that my focus was on taking it all in and not on detecting real-Paul vs. faux-Paul.  Yes, Paul's death hangs over Furious 7, but not in a morbid way.  This film is a celebration of the work for which Walker is best known and for which he will be best remembered.

I do find Furious 7 to be a little too long, but there is no point in talking about the art of filmmaking when it comes to Furious 7.  Yes, it is well acted, surprisingly so.  James Wan seems superfluous as director; any of the three directors who have helmed previous installments of this franchise could have directed this film.  The script is half well-written, in terms of drama, and half-ridiculous, as the screenplay for a movie like Furious 7 must be.

When talking about Furious 7, we must talk about the action.  I loved the Predator drone; the multi-million dollar sports car driven through three skyscrapers; the Caucasus Mountains sequence that begins with five vehicles dropped from an airplane; the Tony Jaa-Paul Walker fights; and the awesome Dwayne Johnson-Jason Statham fisticuffs, to name a few.  This is not a great film, but it is fast and furious.  So why let Furious 7 be the last one?  Keep 'em coming.

6 of 10

Friday, October 30, 2015

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Furious 7" to Make Biggest Global IMAX Release Ever

Universal Pictures' Furious 7 Poised To Ignite Worldwide Box Office With Widest-Ever Global IMAX® Release Beginning April 1

IMAX to Debut New Laser Projection Technology at Furious 7 Worldwide Premiere Event

LOS ANGELES, PRNewswire/ -- IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX) and Universal Pictures, a division of Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA), today announced that Furious 7 will receive the widest-ever IMAX release globally. The film begins its global launch on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 before rolling out domestically and in the majority of overseas markets on Friday, April 3, 2015. Throughout its global run, Furious 7 will screen at more than 800 IMAX® theatres, including approximately 445 international and 365 domestic IMAX locations.

Additionally, IMAX will be launching its revolutionary new laser projection system at the Furious 7 global premiere event to be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Los Angeles. This marks IMAX's U.S. debut of the new technology as well as the first film ever to receive a global premiere with laser projection. IMAX has undertaken a significant R&D investment to develop its next-generation projection and sound system, which incorporates the laser digital intellectual property IMAX exclusively licensed from Eastman Kodak and Barco's unique laser innovations. IMAX with laser represents a quantum leap forward in cinema technology - providing audiences with the sharpest, brightest, clearest and most vivid digital images ever, combined with a whole new level of immersive audio.

"Not only are we excited to be releasing Furious 7 globally in record-setting fashion, we are delighted to be partnering with Universal Pictures on the first-ever movie premiere event screened with laser," said Greg Foster, Senior Executive Vice President, IMAX Corp. and CEO of IMAX Entertainment. "As the most action-packed Fast and Furious installment yet, Furious 7 deserves to be seen in the most awe-inspiring and intense way possible across IMAX screens worldwide."

The IMAX(®) release of Furious 7 will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience(®) with proprietary IMAX DMR(®) (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX's customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

About IMAX Corporation
IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX's network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with offices in London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing.  As of Dec. 31, 2014, there were 934 IMAX theatres (809 commercial multiplexes, 19 commercial destinations and 106 institutions) in 62 countries.

IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, IMAX DMR®, Experience It In IMAX®, An IMAX 3D Experience®, The IMAX Experience® and IMAX Is Believing® are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information about the Company can be found at You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook (, Twitter ( and YouTube (

This press release contains forward looking statements that are based on IMAX management's assumptions and existing information and involve certain risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward looking statements. These risks and uncertainties are discussed in IMAX's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and most recent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for the Week of March 22nd to 28th, 2015 - Update #19


From BleedingCool:  The show is called "Fear The Walking Dead."

From TheVerge:  A connected universe of multiple Transformers movies...  No, it's not April Fool's Day yet...

From Indiewire:  Bradley Cooper is now reportedly set to direct that A Star is Born remake that Clint Eastwood abandoned.

From Deadline:  Those darned Negroes, taking jobs from Caucasian actors!

From Vulture:  Then, scorn followed that Deadline article.

From YahooMovies:  Steven Spielberg signs to direct sci-fi novel to film for Warner Bros.

From YahooMovies:  Who can get $20 million a film.

From YahooMovies:  Born in New Zealand, Russell Crowe still can't get Australian citizen, although he has lived in the country since he was four.

From THR:  The winner of the March 20th to 22nd, 2015 weekend box office is Insurgent with an estimated take of $54 million dollars in its debut weekend.

From SoundonSight: Chris Rock is working on to a follow-up to the well-received Top Five (of which I will post a review soon).  Producer Scott Rudin wants some of the cast of Top Five back for the new film, which will not be a sequel.

From YahooCelebrityMichelle Rodriguez talks about her grief over the death of her "Fast & Furious" franchise costar.

COMICS: Titles and Movies:

From YahooGames:  Ryan Reynolds tweets first image of his Deadpool costume for next year's "Deadpool" film.

From Comicvine:  Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor - first look.

From TheVerge:  The Avengers comic book has a new look and a new team.

From CinemaBlend:  Tyrese Gibson hints that his is the new Green Lantern.

From YahooGames:  New "Fantastic Four" movie poster is revealed.

From CinemaBlend:  In the upcoming Ant-Man, Scott Lang may be depicted as a straight-up criminal, something that Marvel had recently played down.

From Vulture: The Russo Brothers, the directors of Captain America: Winter Soldier and its sequel, Civil War, will reportedly director the two Avengers: Infinity Wars films.

From YahooTV:  Jennifer Lawrence says that her stint as Mystique in the X-Men is coming to an end.

From CinemaBlend:  The movie Spider-Man may indeed by Peter Parker... sadly.

From YahooTech:  The plot of "Captain America 3?"

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for the Week of March 1st to March 7th, 2015 - Update #13


From YahooMovies:  Why should Sean Penn apologize for a joke aimed at a close friend, even if it was at the Oscars?

From HuffPost:  Neill Blomkamp reveals concept art for his in-development "Alien" film, and says what he does not want to happen to that film.

From THR:  Disney is producing a live-action Beauty and the Beast... running out of ideas.

From YahooMovies:  Chris Rock is highly critical of the 2013 Jackie Robinson biopic, 42.

From TheHollywoodReporter:  The winner of the Feb. 27th to March 1st, 2015 box office is Focus, starring Will Smith, with an estimated take of $19.1 million.

From TheHollywoodReporter:  Leonardo DiCaprio moves ahead with "The Crowded Room."  This is an old project.  I remember when the late Premiere magazine described it as James Cameron's "next project" back in the 1990s.

From TheHollywoodReporter:  Michelle Rodriguez doesn't know better, since she has been one of the more privileged Latina actresses.  I wonder if she was also drunk when she made this statement.


From YahooTV:  Jada Pinkett Smith is leaving "Gotham."

From YahooTV:  CBS's Supergirl's costume is revealed.

From CinemaBlend:  CBS keeps adding to cast of its "Supergirl" show.

From Comicvine:  A new trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

From YahooGames:  Drew Goddard will writer and direct Spider-Man reboot... or not.

From IGN:  Josh Trank explains casting Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm and the darker tone of his Fantastic Four movie.


From ScreenRant:  Rumors about the second Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer.

From io9: What Ahsoka's appearance in Star Wars Rebels means.

From FlickeringMyth:  New rumors about Luke Skywalker's role in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


From THR:  The actress, Lynn Borden, had died at the age of 77.  Borden was known for playing the young wife and mother, Barbara Baxter, on the fifth and final season of the 1960s sitcom, "Hazel."  We send our condolences to her family.

From THR:  The actor, Daniel von Bargen, died at the age of 64.  He was best known for his role as Mr. Kruger, George Costanza's imbecile of a boss, on the last season of "Seinfeld."  I remember him for his role as the super-scary, Nix, in Clive Barker's Lord of Illusionx.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review: "Turbo" is Fast and Sweetly Furious

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 2 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

Turbo (2013)
Running time:  96 minutes (1 hour, 36 minutes)
MPAA – PG for some mild action and thematic elements
DIRECTOR:  David Soren
WRITERS:  Darren Lemke, Robert D. Siegel, and David Soren
PRODUCER:  Lisa Stewart
EDITOR:  James Ryan
COMPOSER:  Henry Jackman


Starring:  (voices) Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Samuel L. Jackson, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Patrick Bell, Aidan Andrews, Aaron Berger, Mario Andretti, Paul Page, Chris Parnell, and Kurtwood Smith

Turbo is a 2013 computer-animated family comedy and racing film from DreamWorks Animation.  Theatrically presented in 3D, the film is directed by David Soren, who first conceived the idea for the film several years prior to its eventual production and release.  Turbo follows an ordinary garden snail that wants to win the Indy 500 and may be able to do so because of a freak accident.

Turbo introduces Theo (Ryan Reynolds), a snail who lives in a suburban San Fernando Valley garden in a snail community that is wary of change.  Theo dreams of becoming the greatest race car driver in the world, just like his human hero, Guy Gagné (Bill Hader), five-time Indianapolis 500 champion.  Theo even gives himself the nickname, “Turbo.”  His obsession with speed and car racing makes Theo an oddity and embarrasses his cautious older brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti).

After causing a near-disaster in the garden, Theo wanders from the village, his mind focused on his wish of becoming fast.  By chance, an accident involving drag racing and nitrous oxide imbues Theo with high-octane speed.  Suddenly, his dreams of racing in the Indianapolis 500 might come true, but Theo/Turbo will learn that his dreams cannot come true without help from friends and family.

I like Turbo.  I thought that I would like it when I first staring seeing commercials for the film on television, although I must admit that I found its concept a little silly, if not ridiculous.  However, there is something likeable about this little can-do snail who goes by the moniker, Turbo.  It is like the little engine that could, except this little engine is blazing fast and fun to watch.

Surprisingly, Turbo is not as inventive as its concept might suggest.  The characters are pedestrian, especially the humans, upon which this film spends entirely too much time.  The humans have very little character, actually, and are little more than the kind of stereotypes that run of the mill TV sitcoms offer.

The other snail characters are interesting and fun, but are wasted because human characters get more screen time than them.  As Turbo’s brother, Chet, actor Paul Giamatti does his best to bring color and range to a character that is simply a variation on the older brother-type who doubts his younger brother.  Samuel L. Jackson makes the most of his scenes as the voice of Whiplash, the leader of the Starlight Plaza Snail crew.  The presence and fury that Jackson has as a live-action actor, he brings to his voice acting performance.  Jackson’s performance made me wish that Whiplash had a much bigger role in this movie.

I don’t know if Turbo could have been a great animated film, the kind that becomes a classic.  I think that Turbo certainly needed some rewriting and re-conceptualizing, but the film is good and has an endearing quality.  Turbo is one of the few animated films that I do not consider exceptional, but of which I would still like to see a sequel.

6 of 10

Monday, January 06, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: "S.W.A.T." is by the Book Crime Thriller

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 126 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

S.W.A.T. (2003)
Running time:  117 minutes (1 hour, 57 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for violence, language and sexual references
DIRECTOR:  Clark Johnson
WRITERS:  David Ayer and David McKenna; from a story by Ron Mita and Jim McClain (based upon characters by David Hamner)
PRODUCERS:  Dan Halsted, Chris Lee, and Neal H. Moritz
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Gabriel Beristain
EDITOR:  Michael Tronick
COMPOSER:  Elliot Goldenthal


Starring:  Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Josh Charles, Jeremy Renner, Brian Van Holt, Olivier Martinez, Reginald E. Cathey, Larry Poindexter, and James DuMont

The subject of this movie review is S.W.A.T., a 2003 action-thriller and crime film.  The film is based on the short-lived television series, “S.W.A.T.”  This ABC action-crime drama (Feb. 1975 to April 1976) was created by Robert Hamner and Lee Stanley.  In S.W.A.T. the movie, S.W.A.T. tries to prevent an imprisoned drug kingpin from breaking out of police custody.

When the law gets a hold of Alex Montel (Olivier Martinez), billionaire drug lord and arms dealer, Montel offers 100 million dollars (say it in a heavy Al Pacino/Tony Montana accent to get the full effect) to anyone who can free him.  Who you gonna call?  How about the Los Angeles Police Department’s finest – S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics)?

Led by a legendary S.W.A.T. veteran, Sgt. Dan “Hondo” Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson), the group includes LAPD’s best, brightest, and toughest: Jim Street (Colin Farrell) a disgraced S.W.A.T. officer Hondo gives a second chance; Chris Sanchez (Michelle Rodriguez), repeatedly denied admission into the S.W.A.T. program because she is a female; and David “Deke” Kay (LL Cool J), a tough street cop who can run down you and yo mama.

S.W.A.T. is a by the book action thriller that correctly presses all the right buttons except those bothersome story and character buttons.  But the fireworks, explosions, gunshots, and machismo all work, and that’s pretty much all that’s needed to make an successful action movie – one that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve wasted your money as soon as you leave the theatre.  The plot is simple and straight, and the script contains familiar American archetypes:  Jackson’s Hondo is the black mentor to Farrell’s Street, the dangerous young white stud.  Hollywood seems intent on making Farrell a matinee idol whether the matinee wants him or not.

The movie was fun, a pleasant distraction, pleasantly intense, not manically and obscenely intense like Bad Boys II, but intense in a way that lets us get excited about overwrought gun battles.  There’s even an ultra hilarious segment in which an L.A. street gang tries to liberate Montel for his 100 meeeeell-yon dollerz!  There’s no meaningful drama in the story, nothing to make you really care for the characters other than the fact that you’d like to see Street show the department it was wrong for disgracing him.  But this is good film popcorn, one I’d heartily recommend to fans of hardcore action films and one I’ll see again.

Of course, if you want a gritty cop film, something with meat on the bones, there’s always Joe Carnahan’s Narc.

5 of 10

2004 Black Reel Awards:  1 nomination: “Best Film” (Christopher Lee, Neal H. Moritz, and Dan Halsted)

2004 Image Awards:  1 nomination: “Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture” (Samuel L. Jackson)

Updated:  Wednesday, August 07, 2013


Monday, June 3, 2013

Review: "Fast and Furious 6" is Pure Furious

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 37 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Running time: 130 minutes (2 hours, 10 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language
DIRECTOR: Justin Lin
WRITER: Chris Morgan (based on the characters created by Gary Scott Thompson)
PRODUCERS: Vin Diesel, Neal H. Moritz, and Clayton Townsend
EDITORS: Greg D’Auria, Kelly Matsumoto, and Christian Wagner
COMPOSER: Lucas Vidal


Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Luke Evans, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Elsa Pataky, Gina Carano, John Ortiz, and Shea Whigham

Two years ago, I started off my review of Fast Five, the fifth movie in The Fast and the Furious film franchise, by telling you, dear reader, that my beat up Random House dictionary defines the word “furious” as meaning full of fury, and defines the word, “fury,” as unrestrained or violent anger.

Fast & Furious 6 is a 2013 action movie from director Justin Lin and released by Universal Pictures. It is the sixth installment in The Fast and the Furious movie franchise. Justin Lin was able to add scenes he could not use in his previous franchise installments (for various reasons, including budget and technology), so Fast & Furious 6 is even more unrestrained than Fast Five. It is the first Summer 2013 movie I have seen that really made me say, “Wow!”

Following the successful Rio heist (shown in Fast Five), Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew have retired to different places around the world. That includes disgraced FBI agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and his girlfriend, Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), who welcome the arrival of their first child, a baby boy.

Retirement is not to be. Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) officer, Lucas “Luke” Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who was tasked with capturing Dom and company in Rio, arrives at Dom’s home with a shocker. He has a recent photograph of Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), Dom’s former girlfriend and fellow street racer who is supposed to be dead. Letty is apparently working for Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), a former British Special Forces soldier. Shaw leads a crew of professional criminals who steal military-grade technology.

Shaw plans to build a device that could leave an entire nation or region in the dark. Hobbs promises full pardons for Dom and his crew if they can help him capture Shaw and his gang. Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Ludacris), and Han Lue (Sung Kang) reunite with Dom and Brian in what may be their fastest and most furious heist yet.

Fast & Furious 6 takes the massive gun battles, bone-crunching fights, and reality-bending car chases of Fast Five and makes them even crazier. I thought that Fast Five proved the franchise could still surprise, but Fast & Furious 6 seems to declare that this movie franchise will always surprise. You may think you’ve seen the car chases through the city streets before in other Fast and Furious movies, but you’ve never seen them with these cars (especially the cool “flip car”), nor have you seen these crashes, with cars spinning through the air, as you will see in Fast & Furious 6.

Remember the body-slamming brawls between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson’s characters in Fast Five? Fast & Furious 6 offers the hot-chick version of that with Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano’s characters crashing into each other like angry bucks in two monster clashes of the lady titans.

But it comes down to this simply fact: Fast & Furious 6 is a joy to watch. It is another fine action movie from director Justin Lin. I laughed and cheered, and the audience that saw it with me did, too – almost as much as the audience that saw Marvel’s The Avengers with me liked that movie. Fast & Furious 6 is one of those movies that deserve to be called “the ultimate summer movie.” It has fights, non-stop action, car chases, tanks, gunplay, sleazy Euro-trash bad guys, girl fights, and guys who love cars probably more than they love girls (even if it’s just a little more). Fast & Furious 6 has all the low-brow stuff that makes an action movie good, and this action movie is quite good.

8 of 10

Monday, June 03, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: "Resident Evil: Retribution" is OK


TRASH IN MY EYE No. 4 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada/Germany; Language: English
Running time: 96 minutes (1 hour, 36 minutes)
MPAA – R for sequences of strong violence throughout
DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson (based upon the videogame, Resident Evil)
PRODUCERS: Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Don Carmody, Samuel Hadida, and Robert Kulzer
EDITOR: Niven Howie
COMPOSER: tomandandy


Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Aryana Engineer, Bingbing Li, Johann Urb, Kevin Durand, Oded Fehr, Robin Kasyanov, Ofilio Portillo, Colin Salmon, Shawn Roberts and Boris Kodjoe

Resident Evil: Retribution is a 2012 science fiction-action film. It is the fifth installment in the film franchise based upon the Capcom survival horror video game series, Resident Evil. This film is a direct sequel to the fourth movie, Resident Evil: Afterlife.

After the events depicted in Afterlife, Alice (Milla Jovovich) finds herself in the clutches of the Umbrella Corporation and being interrogated by her former ally, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory). Alice isn’t sure what is real, as she starts encountering old allies like Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and Rain Ocampo (Michelle Rodriguez).

Even more surprising, an enemy claims to be a friend and declares that he has already initiated a plan to free Alice from the clutches of Umbrella. Alice is trapped in Umbrella Prime, and a five-man strike team is coming to her rescue. More than just Alice’s life is at stake, however, as she becomes the guardian of a hearing-impaired little girl named Becky (Aryana Engineer). Now, Alice is determined that nothing stops her: not zombie hordes, Las Plagas zombies, monsters, or even lickers.

Over the years, I have read many movie reviews in which the writers described action movies, especially ones they didn’t like, as video game movies. Because it is based on a video game, Resident Evil: Retribution is a video game movie, but that’s not the only reason it is. With its fire-fights, hand-to-hand combat, car chases, shootouts, monsters, science fiction elements, and explosions, Resident Evil: Retribution is a video game doing a decent impersonation of an actual movie.

Retribution isn’t a bad movie, but the acting is poor. The script is confusing. The plot barely has a pulse. This movie is about something, but not much other than action scenes. So what is the plot? Alice has to escape? There is some human interest by throwing in a child that the female action hero must save, similar to the surrogate mother-daughter dynamic in James Cameron’s Aliens (1986).

Still, the action scenes are good, especially after the movie crawls out of the hole that is the first twenty minutes or so runtime. The special effects and fight choreography save a mediocre story. Visually, Resident Evil: Retribution is pretty, but it feels like an empty installment in what has been a good franchise.

5 of 10

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: Wam! Bam! Thank You "Machete"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 14 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Machete (2010)
Running time: 105 minutes (1 hour, 45 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong bloody violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity
DIRECTORS: Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez
WRITERS: Robert Rodriguez and Álvaro Rodríguez
PRODUCERS: Elizabeth Avellan, Robert Rodriguez, and Rick Schwartz
EDITORS: Rebecca Rodriguez and Robert Rodriguez


Starring: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Shea Whigham, Lindsay Lohan, Daryl Sabara, Gilbert Trejo, and Tom Savini

Robert Rodriguez’s recent hell-raising flick, Machete, first hit the screen as a fake trailer in the 2007 Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino double feature, Grindhouse. Part tongue-in-cheek action comedy and part exploitation movie, Machete offers deranged fun that includes everything from dismemberment to a mini-race war.

The film focuses on Machete Cortez (Danny Trejo), a former Mexican Federale turned illegal immigrant. Three years after the powerful drug lord, Rogelio Torrez (Steven Seagal) killed his wife and daughter, Machete roams Texas looking for work. A shady businessman named Michael Booth (Jeff Fahey) offers Machete $150,000 to assassinate corrupt Texas State Senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro). After he is double-crossed, Machete joins forces with immigration agent Sartana Rivera (Jessica Alba) to take down McLaughlin and a far-ranging conspiracy that includes anti-immigration racists and Machete’s old nemesis, Torrez. Luckily, Machete and Rivera find help in the form of Machete’s brother, the gun-wielding priest, Padre (Cheech Marin), and the taco-truck lady, Luz (Michelle Rodriguez).

I enjoy Robert Rodriguez’s films so very much, and although he has a co-director, Ethan Maniquis, for this film, Machete is true to the spirit of mayhem inherent in movies produced by Troublemaker Studios, Rodriguez’s production company. Machete does seem a bit long, and the narrative is occasionally clunky, but the action sequences have a seamless quality that gives the violence maxim impact upon the viewer.

The cinematic art of beheading, dismemberment, gouging, puncturing, and bladed-weapon-thrusting have rarely looked so good (obviously thanks to computer effects enhancement). Those of us who like that sort of thing will howl with pleasure. The terrific gunfights and pitched gun battles are the giant, juicy, succulent cherry on top of this hack-and-slash fun.

As well-made as this film is from creative and technical points of view, the cast is what assures that Machete manages not to take itself seriously, but also still work as an over-the-top action movie. Of course, Robert De Niro is good; in fact, his spot-on creation of the opportunistic, chauvinistic Senator McLaughlin is gold for this movie. Steve Seagal, Jeff Fahey, and Don Johnson were all, at one point in their careers, B-movie action stars, and they deliver some of their best action flick work here, especially Johnson. The girls are all good here, but Lindsay Lohan effortlessly outshines Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez in a much smaller role.

Machete ultimately relies on Danny Trejo. Seemingly hewn from granite (sans the pretty boy looks), Trejo is an action star with the soul of a thespian. As good as this movie is, there actually isn’t enough of him on screen. Trejo has palatable film presence, and he makes Machete not just a good action movie, but also a good movie, regardless of genre.

7 of 10

Friday, February 11, 2011


Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: "Resident Evil" is a Top Notch Zombie Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 179 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Resident Evil (2002)
Running time: 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong sci-fi/horror violence, language, and sexuality/nudity
PRODUCERS: Jeremy Bolt, Bernd Eichinger, and Paul W.S. Anderson
EDITOR: Alexander Berner


Starring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, Colin Salmon, and Jason Isaacs (uncredited)

The almighty Umbrella Corporation has a top-secret facility called the Hive where they conduct illegal viral and genetic experiments. A laboratory accident unleashes a terrible virus that transforms hundreds of resident scientists into ravenous zombies (hungry for flesh, of course) and the lab animals into mutated hounds from hell. A special military unit answers the Hive’s alarm summons; they are however not prepared to fight the flesh-eating creatures or the Hive’s diabolical and out-of-control super computer. When they disable the computer, they inadvertently release the zombies, allowing them to roam the entire complex, and all hell breaks loose. It’s up to Alice (Milla Jovovich), a Hive security officer who has suffered recent short term memory loss, and Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), a member of elite military task force to contain the outbreak, but they only have three hours to do so before the pathogen is released into the outside world.

Resident Evil is based upon videogame giant Capcom’s very popular video game of the same title. Although he isn’t a critical darling and many movie fans don’t like his work, director Paul W.S. Anderson has helmed some very entertaining sci-fi thrillers, and Resident Evil is another example of his skill at making excellent popcorn SF shockers. And Resident Evil is by no means a “good, dumb movie;” it is actually a very effective and amazingly well done (for a film adaptation of a video game) horror film. Night of the Living Dead creator George A. Romero was originally slated to direct this film, but left over creative differences. Anderson does the master proudly, as Resident Evil is a zombie movie that is just about as creepy and as scary as any other zombie picture.

The acting is mostly stiff, modern B-movie material, but the characters make excellent chess pieces in Anderson’s game plan. Fans of horror films, especially zombie films, will love this. The flesh-eating residents of the lab are some topnotch walking dead.

7 of 10


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Review: "AVATAR" is the Best Picture of 2009

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 14 (of 2009) by Leroy Douresseaux

Avatar (2009)
Running time: 162 minutes (2 hours, 42 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language, and some smoking
PRODUCERS: James Cameron and Jon Landau
EDITORS: James Cameron, John Refoua, and Stephen Rivkin
Academy Award winner


Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Wes Studi, Laz Alonzo, Dileep Rao, and Matt Gerald

Because he has directed such Oscar-winning films as The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), and Titanic (1997), I believe that James Cameron is one of the few directors who, using whatever advances in film technology available, can make any kind of movie and always make it a good movie. [Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are the other two.] Cameron has even developed advancements in film technology, and that makes me wonder if anyone other than he could have created the new film, Avatar.

Avatar is everything good that you have heard about it and more. Cameron has cast a titanic spell of movie magic that will immerse the viewer in an adventure that pits eco-harmonious blue warriors against a mechanized, imperial war machine. The center of Avatar, however, is a surprisingly simply story about an alien warrior who fights not for his own world, but for the world of the woman he loves.

Avatar takes place in 2154, a time when Earth has run out of oil. A moon called Pandora (one of many moons orbiting a giant gas planet) has a rare mineral called Unobtainium, which is the key to solving Earth’s energy problems. This alien world materializes through the eyes of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic former Marine. Even with his body broken and being confined to a wheelchair, Jake’s DNA makes him useful.

The RDA corporation recruits Jake to travel light years to the human outpost on Pandora, where it is mining Unobtainium. Because humans cannot breathe Pandora’s atmosphere, a group of scientists and researchers, led by Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), have created the Avatar Program, in which human “drivers” have their consciousness linked to Avatars. An Avatar is a remotely-controlled biological body that can breathe the lethal air. These Avatars are genetically engineered hybrids of human DNA mixed with DNA from the natives of Pandora, a humanoid race called the Na'vi. The Na’vi are 10-feet tall, with tails, bones reinforced with naturally occurring carbon fiber, and bioluminescent blue skin. They live in Hometree, a gigantic tree that sits on top of the largest deposit of Unobtainium on Pandora. RDA Administrator Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) wants the Na’vi to relocate, but they have fiercely resisted.

Reborn in his Avatar form, Jake can walk again. He is given a mission to infiltrate the Na'vi. A beautiful Na'vi female, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), saves Jake’s life and also witnesses a sign that makes her think that Jake is special. Neytiri convinces her clan to take Jake into the tribe, the Omaticaya. However, the chief charges Neytiri with teaching Jake to become one of them, which involves many tests and adventures. Jake’s relationship with his reluctant teacher deepens, and he learns to respect the Na'vi’s way of life. When Selfridge becomes impatient and moves to force the Na’vi out, Jake must decide whose side he will take.

Watching Avatar, with its world of phantasmagorical creatures and plants, one cannot help but marvel at the technology used to create this film, but the audience shouldn’t be fooled by this panorama of color and movement into focusing solely on the marvels of scientific cinema. Avatar is indeed an extraordinary story, one that recalls Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves. In Wolves, a solider wounded in spirit finds healing amongst a Native American Indian tribe, and then sheds his skin (his military uniform), becoming one of the tribe. In Avatar, a marine wounded in body, Sam Worthington’s Jake Sully, sheds his body for a new one, but it is his soul that is transformed.

Like Dances with Wolves, Avatar has a romance that is the heart of the story. Behind the CGI that created so many of the things we see on screen and past the motion-capture and performance capture that created the Na’vi, Jake Sully meets Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri and practically everything that is Avatar hinges on their love story. The narrative offers messages in support of environmental conservation and biodiversity against the cold, insatiable hunger of imperialism. This gives Avatar plenty of dramatic conflict, but as usual, Cameron finds the human center of his own technological, cinematic spectaculars. There was the mother-daughter bond in Aliens and the star-crossed lovers of Titanic. Now, warrior boy meets sexy tribal princess and technical virtuosity has a heart. Cameron makes you feel what his characters feel – the joy, the anger, the sorrow, the chills, and, when the battle begins, all the thrills. Avatar may be a monumental achievement, but it is also a fantastic tale.

10 of 10

Monday, December 28, 2009

2010 Academy Awards: 3 wins: “Best Achievement in Art Direction” (Rick Carter-art director, Robert Stromberg-art director, and Kim Sinclair-set decorator), “Best Achievement in Cinematography” (Mauro Fiore), and “Best Achievement in Visual Effects” (Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, and Richard Baneham, and Andy Jones); 6 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (James Cameron and Jon Landau), “Best Achievement in Directing” (James Cameron) “Best Achievement in Editing” (Stephen E. Rivkin, John Refoua, and James Cameron), “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score” (James Horner), “Best Achievement in Sound” (Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, and Tony Johnson), and “Best Achievement in Sound Editing” (Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle)

2010 BAFTA Awards: 2 wins: “Best Production Design” (Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, and Kim Sinclair) and “Best Special Visual Effects” (Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, and Andy Jones); 6 nominations: “Best Cinematography” (Mauro Fiore), “Best Director” (James Cameron), “Best Editing” (Stephen E. Rivkin, John Refoua, and James Cameron), “Best Film” (James Cameron and Jon Landau), “Best Music” (James Horner), and “Best Sound” (Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, Tony Johnson, and Addison Teague)

2010 Black Reel Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Supporting Actress: (Zoe Saldana)

2010 Golden Globes: 2 wins: “Best Director - Motion Picture” (James Cameron) and “Best Motion Picture – Drama;” 2 nominations: “Best Original Score - Motion Picture” (James Horner) and “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (James Horner, Simon Franglen, and Kuk Harrell for the song "I See You")



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