Bruce Willis

Movie Issues: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

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Movie Issues: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is the sequel to the 2005 film Sin City. Co-directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller. The script is written by Miller and primarily based on the second book in the Sin City series created by Miller. Staring Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Eva Green, Powers Boothe and Bruce Willis. New and returning cast members come together for one more hard time in roughest city around.

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Movie Issues: Die Hard with a Vengeance

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Movie Issues: Die Hard with a Vengeance

This week we watched Die Hard with a Vengeance! Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson try to stop crazy Jeremy Irons from blowing up New York and stealing billions in gold. Seems like a normal day in the complicated life that is John McClane. This one is the third in the series that just won’t die. Please download and listen in as we remember the 1990s fondly, give more love to the man that is Sam Jackson, and discuss Bruce Willis in detail: Was he acting in this or just being Bruce? So have a great cheer, a huzzah, and one yippee ki yay mother… Read On

Movie Issues: A Good Day to Die Hard

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Movie Issues: A Good Day to Die Hard

A Good Day to Die Hard, directed by John Moore, is the fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise. Once again it stars Bruce Willis as John McClane, now with Jai Courtney as his son Jack, who has gotten himself into some trouble in Russia. John feels it’s his fatherly duty to go and help his son, but little does he know that his son is actually a CIA agent on a secret mission in Mother Russia. With John now in tow with his son, stuck in Russia, no help, and no hope, what are the McClane boys to do?

Blow up everything they see and save the day.

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Surrogates

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You know how Hollywood sometimes puts out two of the same movies in one year, like animated ants or volcanos or meteors?  The premise of Surrogates is kind of like that of Gamer, an idea that feels like an inevitable future, based on the truth of what we know about how avatars are used even now.  In a year when plots centering around the identity and control issues of surrogates and the interpersonal complexities of dealing with manufactured representations of an unseen operator, Surrogates continues to entertain us philosophically as we as with lots of fun Surrie mishaps and unveiling a mystery.  In the present day of the story, James Cromwell’s company has gone from smart prosthetics to full personae replacement via robot.  You stay locked in your stinky bathrobe while your sexy idealized self interacts with other sexy idealized selves, free from concerns about mortality.  Similar to the idea in Society in the movie Gamers, operators are remote and anonymous, their avatars canoodling risk-free on the outside.  Dissimilarly, the avatars here are nice disposable robots, rather than semi-consensual real human strangers with an implant.  It’s a cool notion and a scary one too.

Naturally there is a “real life real world-only” movement, the Dreads  (insulted Futurama-style by being called “meatbags”) who surely must be behind the shocking inciting incident:  somehow, someone can kill the operator through their Surrie! Dun da dunnnn!  Enter Robot Willis, FBI agent whose meatbag operator is starting to feel the ache of his disconnection. It’s long been a movie fan cliché that when Bruce Willis’ character has hair, Willis does not act as well as when he has no hair.  Go ahead, check the filmography.  In Surrogates, we have smooth-headed, grizzled good-actor Bruce as his real self, and waxy faced Willis Surrie with the fringe on top as his robot.  It’s kind of perfect.  Overall, hairless Bruce gets more screen time and the film benefits from it.

Willis’ lovely robot partner is played with alarming artificial facility by Radha Mitchell.  The leader of the Dreads is the always intimidating Ving Rhames as The Prophet.  Try not to think about the last time Bruce Willis and Ving Rhames were opponents in a movie.  It all seems very simple — finding the balance between human connection and personal safety, the Minority-Report-like monitoring stations that can stop naughty Surries mid-crime, the identity mystery we can experience even now through our myriad ways of connecting online.  Then Surrogates kind of tries to out-think itself; instead of letting a simple plot unfold in an interestingly complex world, the writer(s) bring(s) in unnecessary sort-of surprises and double crosses and zig zags to try and spice it up, and trip on their own shoes in the process.  Do not look up the screenwriters’ filmographies because while they stumbled in Act 3, they really were onto something for a good chunk of this film, and we want to encourage more of the good stuff and less Catwoman.

In comparison, Gamer was simple and as a result we got to immerse ourselves into a somewhat mind-bending world, which is of course the actual point.  Here, we’re just trying to remember who is on what side and is being driven by whom.  It’s not so complex that it’s unfollowable, it’s just more than it needed to be.  The source material is a graphic novel, which makes sense when you watch the beautiful exposition sequence — it’s efficient, informative, and lovely to view.  I would have liked to explore this world more and not keep slamming into some convoluted scheme that defeats its own purpose.  I had fun watching it, but I actually thought the movie was smarter than its plot.  See what you think.  I’m going to check out the graphic novel.

MPAA Rating  PG-13

Release date 9/25/09

Time in minutes 64

Director Jonathan Mostow

Studio Touchstone Pictures

Comments Off on The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element

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Wow. This is actually as cool as it wants to be. It is not a typical American film – in many ways it is extremely French, but it is this novelty that makes it so interesting. (It is in English) I hate to use the word “neat” because it does not adequately capture it, but think of an 8 year old kid looking into a microscope for the first time and using the word “neat” because he doesn’t have the vocabulary to say “fascinating, unique, interesting, pretty…”

Bruce Willis is by no means treading any new ground with this role, but it works perfectly in this version of the future (2259). Think of this future as a better-maintained, more peaceful Blade Runner – but this movie is not like it. It is different from other movies in the same way that Blade Runner or Brazil are different, but it is more rooted in a kind of mythos than just cold hard technology.

It’s not all explosions and sexy women like an American action film. Previews made me fear it was colorful and silly, but it is only colorful and….and NEAT.

Luc Besson directs a movie that would never have been made in the US because the lowest common denominator would have demanded at test screenings to change all the things that make this movie fascinating.

Ian Holm, Milla Jovovich, and a score of interesting creatures (and Ruby, a manic DJ who annoys his way into your favor) in these beautiful settings make this movie worthwhile.

The overall message in and of itself is not all that original, it’s the presentation that makes it worth seeing. This movie did not open Cannes *just* as a publicity stunt. The music is different, the sheer volume of information and plots is different, and it all works great.

Don’t get me wrong – some of you may go and just think, “This is too much, too busy, too many things!”

But despite the fictional quote from the Emperor about Mozart’s music having too many notes, some times too much is really a wonderful thing. Go see it, get together and talk about it. It’s really good. Pay full price to get in, too. It’s cooooooool.

MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 5/12/1997
Time in minutes 127
Director Luc Besson
Studio Columbia Pictures