Cop Out (2010)

National Lampoon's Stupid Weapon oh kill me now

National Lampoon’s Stupid Weapon oh kill me now

Directed by: Kevin Smith (his best movie will most likely always end up being Chasing Amy, which used to be in my Top Five of All Time)

Written by: Mark and Robb Cullen

Starring: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Pollak, Adam Brody, Rashida Jones, Guillermo Diaz, Seann William Scott, Jason Lee and Michelle Trachtenberg.

What it’s about: two wacky cop partners get wrapped up in something stupid

B-Movie Alternate Title: Stupid Cops

Movie Mash Up: The Last Boy Scout – everything great about it

What I liked: I generally enjoy seeing Bruce Willis in movies, so that was a high point.  Kevin Pollak, also.  Moving on.

What I disliked: I don’t get how Tracy Morgan is popular for just spitting out goddamn non sequiturs.  He was pretty terrible to watch in this movie, and since he was Willis’ partner, they pretty much share every scene of the running time, which made it particularly torturous for me.  The writing was bad, the action was bad, the acting was bad, it was just bad in general.  The humour is grade school dick and fart jokes without being ironic or Jackass-level brilliance.  I think there was one scene that actually made me laugh out loud in the movie.  Why do I even own this movie?  Does anyone want it?

Would I recommend it to anyone?: No, it is a pretty dumb cop action comedy with very little to enjoy.

Rating: 1.5 / 5

This is close to the scene that made me laugh.  Movie magic.

This is close to the scene that made me laugh. Movie magic.

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Looper (2012)

The evil that lurks in the hearts of some men are.. themselves?!? Wait, what?

The evil that lurks in the hearts of some men are.. themselves?!? Wait, what?

Directed by: Rian Johnson (directed the ridiculously great Brick)

Written by: Johnson again (besides Brick, also wrote the enjoyable The Brothers Bloom)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Noah Segan, Jeff Daniels, Tracie Thoms, Paul Dano, Piper Perabo, Pierce Gagnon, Qing Xu and Garrett Dillahunt.

What it’s about: a hitman that kills people sent back from the future sees his world come apart when his last target – himself – escapes

B-Movie Alternate Title: We Kill You in the Past

Movie Mash Up: PrimerBrick + 12 MonkeysFrequency

What I liked: I liked everything about this movie, well nearly everything.  The makeup on Gordon-Levitt was so spot on that he looked eerily like a young Bruce Willis, nearly off-putting but perfect.  Also, Gordon-Levitt hits all the marks with physical quirks in making himself appear to be a young Willis.  All the acting was top notch, to the point where I was questioning whether or not it was actually Emily Blunt because her British accent absolutely does not exist in this movie.  The story and writing were incredible, and much like 12 Monkeys, this is a movie where I will think about for a bit afterwards, wondering – due to the choices the characters make – what really happened.  I also had a hard time deciding who was the “good guy” and the “bad guy” because of the actions of the characters and their reasoning behind their choices.  Absolutely enthralling, to the point where I think – much like Warrior last year – I may have found my Movie of the Year candidate.

What I disliked: Enough with the goddamn lens flares.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: It is a bit cerebral due to the time travel aspect, but I think it is fairly straightforward enough that everyone should be able to enjoy it, so yes.

Rating: 5 / 5

A young Bruce Willis or a young Alec Baldwin?

A young Bruce Willis or a young Alec Baldwin?

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Die Hard: AMERICA EDITION

Directed by: Len Wiseman (haven’t watched his Total Recall version yet, but honestly the best thing he’s ever done was marry Kate Beckinsale)

Written by: Mark Bomback and David Marconi, based off a “Wired” article by John Carlin called “A Farewell to Arms”.  I am currently reading “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemmingway and I assure you, the two literary works are not related at all.  Christ, I think Hemmingway hated commas.

Starring: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Maggie Q, Cliff Curtis, Zeljko Ivanek, Sung Kang, Kevin Smith, Jonathan Sadowski, Cyril Raffaelli and Andrew Friedman.

What it’s about: John McClane once again gets involved in saving the day, this time from a highly intelligent hacker hell-bent on bringing down the American Government

B-Movie Alternate Title: Die Hard: Car vs. Helicopter

Movie Mash Up: It’s like Die Hard, but 20 years later and with technology and hacking and stuff!

What I liked: Holy smokes, Justin Long isn’t a sassy black man!  McClane gets a white sidekick this time and he’s generally entertaining for most of the film.  I enjoyed seeing Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lucy McClane, John’s all grown-up daughter.  Timothy Olyphant makes for a compelling villain, and even Kevin Smith was fairly tolerable in this one.  Can we also put Maggie Q in everything forever?  The action was fairly jacked up, even compared to the first Die Hard.  While it certainly was an easy cash-in, the movie feels like it belongs in the Die Hard franchise.

What I disliked: While I felt that it belongs in the franchise, I still never saw any reason for them to go back to the well.  It is nice to see characters grow and catch up with them later on in life – especially since at the beginning of Die Hard with a Vengeance, McClane was an alcoholic – but it still is a bit depressing, and creates a more difficult belief to suspend.  Pretty much like all those seasons of “24” and all the bad shit happening to the same guy.  It was enjoyable, but felt just a bit too slick and polished.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Sure, why not.  As previously mentioned, it was enjoyable enough.  Just make sure you watch the Unrated version.  I don’t ever want to watch a PG-13 Die Hard film.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

HAHAHHA oh so ridiculous

Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995)

Let's forget Die Hard 2 ever happened.

Directed by: John McTiernan (who handled the first Die Hard and The Thomas Crown Affair)

Written by: Jonathan Hensleigh

Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Irons, Larry Bryggman, Graham Greene, Sam Phillips, Colleen Camp and Anthony Peck.

What it’s about: Five years after the second Die Hard, John McClane is back and at the mercy of a terrorist threatening New York City with bombings

B-Movie Alternate Title: Die Hard in New York

Movie Mash Up: It’s like Die Hard, but in New York!

What I liked: Huge fan of the Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson chemistry.  Loved the writing, which is so much greater than the second one that it makes the existence of the second one even more annoying.  Jeremy Irons makes a great foil for McClane.  It’s got great action sequences, intrigue, a playful sensibility and it isn’t afraid to be a bit different than the Die Hard formula, although there STILL is a black sidekick.  Seeing how McClane’s personal life had fallen apart so much since the second movie – while depressing – gives the film more of an authentic feel.

What I disliked: Larry Bryggman seems to be attempting to do the world’s worst Commissioner Jim Gordon impersonation.  Perhaps that’s just the direction he was given, but his character was just weak all around.  While I did say the movie isn’t afraid to be a bit different, the times it decides that it has to show that it is a Die Hard movie are some of the weaker points in the film.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Sure.  For years I was more a fan of this movie than I was a fan of the original Die Hard, but I’ve gone the other way now.  It’s a strong sequel, not just a slapped together moneymaker.

Rating: 4 / 5

Badass in black and white

Die Hard 2 (1990)

Wholly depressing

Directed by: Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger was alright, from what I remember of it, and I didn’t mind 12 Rounds which tells you pretty much how bad of a director I think he is)

Written by: Steven E. de Souza and Doug Richardson, based off of Walter Wager’s novel “58 Minutes”

Starring: Bruce Willis, William Sadler, Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherton, Tom Bower, Franco Nero, Dennis Franz, Art Evans, Fred Dalton Thompson, Vondie Curtis-Hall, John Amos and Reginald VelJohnson and a few other “before they were famous” actors. Check the tags.

What it’s about: on Christmas Eve, John McClane must once again save the day, in this instance Dulles International Airport in Washington when terrorists take it over

B-Movie Alternate Title: I dunno, it doesn’t get much B-Movier than its actual original title, Die Hard 2: Die Harder

Movie Mash Up: It’s Die Hard, but in an airport!

What I liked: I’m a fan of the John McClane character, so it was good to see him return, even if it was in this movie.  Also great to see super-intense William Sadler get a high-profile acting gig.  I also kind of developed a “thing” for Bonnie Bedelia for some reason, so yay her.  There are some other actors that are great to see in the movie, but it is probably the weakest of the Die Hard franchise.  Super fun fact: I believe this is the first appearance of “The Simpsons” on the big screen, as a bit from the first Dr. Marvin Monroe episode is briefly shown during the film.

What I disliked: This movie seemed to take all the fun out of creating tropes.  Seriously, it’s like there was a checklist where they had to make sure the second one had all of the same things as the first one, only bigger or more.  “Black sidekick? CHECK.  Wife in Jeopardy?  CHECK CHECK.  William Atherton doing his asshole schtick?  CHECK.”  etc.  It is mostly depressing to watch, and barely has anything to do with Christmas at all.  The action pieces alternate between stunning and pathetic, with the reaction shots from Willis (based off of Harlin’s direction I’m guessing) making me one sad panda.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Ehn, it is part of the franchise, so you should watch it, but it is the weak link.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

Dennis Franz spends the entire movie YELLING

Die Hard (1988)

Guess what the next three movies I watch are going to be

Directed by: John McTiernan (really dug The Thomas Crown Affair and Die Hard: With a Vengeance)

Written by: Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart adapted from Roderick Thorp’s novel “Nothing Lasts Forever” which is as Bond as a title can get

Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Reginald VelJohnson, Alexander Godunov, Bonnie Bedelia, Paul Gleason, Robert Davi, William Atherton, Hart Bochner and Mary Ellen Trainor.

What it’s about: a group of criminals stage a hostage taking of a high-rise Los Angeles building on Christmas Eve while an off-duty cop trapped in the building attempts to stop them

B-Movie Alternate Title: Christmas Eve Hostage

Movie Mash Up: Actually, Die Hard has pretty much inspired countless movie mash ups (Die Hard on a bus! Die Hard on a boat! etc.)

What I liked: For some people, it is just a loud, dumb action movie. For me, there are so many little things that make this movie great.  One throwaway line by a quickly forgotten character leads to John McClane’s (Willis) greatest pain in the movie.  The timing of the season is integral to the climax.  Those little things, so great.  The acting is far greater than you would normally expect in an action movie, from Willis’ everyman cop to Rickman’s unforgettable Hans Gruber to Hart Bochner’s Ellis defining the character of a douchebag, Die Hard gives you so much.

What I disliked: Nothing goes here.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Well not younger children, but after you hit about 13-years-old, certainly.  I’m sure kids of that age aren’t strangers to the language used, and while the violence is somewhat extreme, it’s nothing they haven’t already seen in their “Call of Duty” games.

Rating: 5 / 5

The Air Duct Shimmy

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Directed by: Wes Anderson (quick Top Five Wes Anderson Movies: 5. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou 4. Moonrise Kingdom 3. Rushmore 2. The Fantastic Mr. Fox 1. The Royal Tenenbaums)

Written by: Anderson and Roman Coppola

Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel and Bob Balaban

What it’s about: two outcast youngsters fall in love and run away together, while their family and scout troop look for them.. sorta

B-Movie Alternate Title: Our Twee Summer

Movie Mash Up: pretty much all of Wes Anderson’s movies in a blender

What I liked: Thankfully this isn’t like the last couple live action Wes Anderson movies, and it actually feels like a different story from his trademark stuff.  Great, real and awkward performances from the two young leads, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward.  Love the ensemble cast.  Love the absurdity of Anderson’s worlds.  Looks gorgeous, will have to purchase on Blu-Ray soon.

What I disliked: it didn’t feel like a complete movie, more like a snapshot of a movie.  Not that I’m saying that the movie requires artificial padding to the running time or anything, it just felt like there were more stories to tell.  Minor complaint, and I think the movie will benefit from further viewings.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Probably not my mom and step-dad since they generally have bad taste in movies, but yes, it’s a great movie and one everyone should see.

Rating: 4 / 5