Tag Archives: Michael Peña

CHIPS

CHIP HAPPENS.  An undercover FBI agent (Michael Peña) teams up with a less than impressive California Highway Patrol trainee (Dax Shepard) to investigate a series of robberies that may be connected to the police force. Another TV series becomes a movie, this time CHiPS (1977–1983), which follows a similarly goofy formula as 21 Jump Street … Continue reading CHIPS

The Martian: Left Behind

BRING HIM HOME.  If you’ve ever been to Wadi Rum in Jordan, you’ve been to Mars. The valley has been Hollywood’s favorite location for movies set on the planet, its red sand and mountains being a perfectly convincing stand-in. That’s Wadi Rum you see in Mission to Mars (2000), Red Planet (2000) and The Last … Continue reading The Martian: Left Behind

Vacation

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) decides to recreate the road trip to Walley World that his parents took him on 30 years ago, this time with his wife (Christina Applegate) and two sons. A reboot of the original Vacation franchise that also plays pretty much like a remake of the first film. … Continue reading Vacation

American Hustle

EVERYONE HUSTLES TO SURVIVE.  In 1978, FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) enlists two con artists (Christian Bale, Amy Adams), who are also lovers, in an operation targeting political corruption. Loosely based on the real-life ABSCAM sting, this movie lacks focus and rambles a bit, which is a shame since the scandal deserved a more … Continue reading American Hustle

Battle: Los Angeles

IT’S NOT WAR. IT’S SURVIVAL. When spacecraft made up to look like meteorites land in the oceans all over the world, a war begins; Iraq War veteran Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) arrives in Los Angeles with his platoon. There’s nothing here you haven’t seen before. You’ve got your pretty speeches about heroism, young Marines who … Continue reading Battle: Los Angeles

Gangster Squad

NO NAMES. NO BADGES. NO MERCY. In 1940s Los Angeles, Sergeant John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) is secretly tasked with gathering a small group of men he can trust in an attempt to rid the city of the powerful mobster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). Zombieland (2009) director Ruben Fleischer takes on a different genre, with less … Continue reading Gangster Squad

Tower Heist

IT’S NOT JUST A ROBBERY. IT’S PAYBACK. When Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) and a group of employees at an exclusive NYC apartment building learn that one of the tenants, a Wall Street tycoon (Alan Alda), has embezzled their pension funds, they plot revenge. Certainly a heist movie for our times as the villain will remind audiences of Bernie … Continue reading Tower Heist

The Shield: Infernal Affairs

When I was a teenager I used to watch The Commish (1991-1995), a police procedural with a sense of humor. The show starred Michael Chiklis as an easy-going, affable, chunky and balding police commissioner in a small New York town who always did the right thing. Fast-forward a decade and Chiklis was back on TV in something … Continue reading The Shield: Infernal Affairs

Shooter

YESTERDAY WAS ABOUT HONOR. TODAY IS ABOUT JUSTICE. Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg), one of the nation’s top military snipers, is recruited to figure out how a presidential assassination might play out but ends up being chased by the authorities. Wahlberg is introduced as a Rambo for the new century in this entertaining action movie. … Continue reading Shooter