Tuesday, June 29, 2021

On This Day in 2011: Remembering TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON...


10 years ago today, I watched Transformers: Dark of the Moon—the third installment in Michael Bay's action-packed film franchise based on the classic Hasbro toys—at the local AMC 20 theater. Dark of the Moon is my favorite movie of 2011...even though I'm still bummed that Megan Fox got herself fired from the film due to poorly-worded comments about Bay in a 2009 interview (it was Executive Producer Steven Spielberg who demanded her removal after she compared Bay to Hitler), and the fact that Shockwave didn't live up to his intimidating appearance that was the centerpiece of Dark of the Moon's pre-release marketing campaign. There isn't one Autobot that Shockwave killed in this Transformers movie, which makes him as poor a villain as The Fallen—the title character of 2009's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. (I'll also point out that the two of them went out like chumps to Optimus Prime...who decimated both of their faces before they were defeated at the hands of the Autobot leader.) At least Bay and his writers corrected this flaw with the badass antagonist Lockdown, from 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Shockwave had such a cool design... It's too bad that he didn't kill a single Autobot in battle, and went out like a chump to Optimus Prime in TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON.

In terms of the good things about Dark of the Moon, Steve Jablonsky's music score for this flick was absolutely top-notch (Listen to "It's Our Fight" on YouTube below), the CGI was amazing as usual, and the portrayal of Sentinel Prime—through Leonard Nimoy's voice work for the character and his design—was awesome. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was commendable as Carly, though as I said in the previous paragraph, I wanted to see closure between Megan Fox's Mikaela and Shia LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky in this movie. I liked how the Apollo 11 Moon landing played an important role in this film, and that NASA's Kennedy Space Center itself was featured in Dark of the Moon. Regarding the future, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts—a direct sequel to the 2018 spinoff flick Bumblebee—hits theaters nationwide in 2022. Carry on!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Photo of the Day: Indy Is Back for His 5th Adventure!

Harrison Ford is on set and donning the fedora again for INDIANA JONES 5.
Photo by IJ Adventure Outpost - Twitter.com

Almost two years after he appeared as Han Solo on the big screen for the final time in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Harrison Ford is donning the fedora once again as he began filming Indiana Jones 5. This photo was first posted online yesterday...as principal photography has commenced on the first Indiana Jones film that will not be directed by Steven Spielberg, but by James Mangold (of 2005's Walk the Line, 2017's Logan and 2019's Ford v Ferrari), respectively. Joining Ford in this cast will be Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's Mads Mikkelsen, and Solo: A Star Wars Story's Phoebe Waller-Bridge. John Williams is set to return to compose the music score for this latest installment. Indiana Jones 5, which doesn't have a proper title yet, will be released in theaters nationwide on July 29, 2022, hopefully.

And yes, I hope that this sequel will be more along the lines of The Last Crusade (Raiders of the Lost Ark can't be beat) than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! Happy Tuesday.

Monday, June 7, 2021

On This Day in 1996: Remembering THE ROCK...


25 years ago today, I watched the Michael Bay-directed/Jerry Bruckheimer-produced action flick The Rock at the theater. Seeing as how I only viewed this film once (even though a lot of folks I know consider it to be Bay's best movie, along with 1995's Bad Boys), my recollection of moments from this flick will probably be inaccurate. (I went to the movie's IMDb page to get their character names correct, at least.) I remember the scene where John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery), a former Alcatraz inmate, effortlessly uses one hand to hold a rope that an FBI agent is grabbing onto for dear life as he hangs over the balcony ledge of a tall building. I recall a car chase scene that either took place before or after that...most likely after. I remember the scene where General Francis X. Hummel (Ed Harris) yells "Cease fire" as his mercenaries gun down the Navy SEALs who infiltrated Alcatraz to neutralize chemical weapons that Hummel placed on the island. (This was a very emotional scene.) And I remember the climactic moment when Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage)—after injecting himself with the antidote following exposure to one of the chemical weapons—ignites two flares to signal incoming F/A-18 Hornets to abort their airstrike since Mason and Goodspeed managed to secure the deadly nerve agents. And of course, I remember Mason uttering the memorable line (in Connery's British accent), "Welcome to the Rock."

The main reason why I'm reminiscing about The Rock—apart from it being an entertaining, high-octane Bay flick—is because it was released in theaters only a few days before 10th grade (my favorite year in high school) came to an end. This is also the reason why I posted a recent blog entry about Broken Arrow, which is still a fun, action-packed movie without the nostalgia. And next month, I plan on typing about my most favorite film of 1996. I'll give you a hint about what it is: It's a mega summer blockbuster that had the White House getting blown up by a 15 mile-wide alien spaceship...prompting Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum to go and save the world. Happy Monday!

FBI agent Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) signals to incoming F/A-18 Hornets not to blow up Alcatraz Island in THE ROCK.

Saturday, June 5, 2021


Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) look on as the demonic possession of David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard) reaches its full effect in THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT.

Earlier today, I went to the local AMC 20 theater to watch The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It...the third installment in the cinematic horror franchise started by James Wan in 2013, and directed by Michael Chaves this time around. In The Devil Made Me Do It, Ed and Lorraine Warren (once again aptly played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) need to prove that the real-life 1981 murder of Alan Bono (whose name was changed to Bruno in this film) committed by Arne Cheyenne Johnson was the result of demonic possession following the exorcism of a young boy named David Glatzel, whose family Johnson knew. Johnson eventually served 5 years in prison for committing manslaughter (when the prosecutor proposed the death penalty instead...according to the movie)—a result, at least in The Conjuring 3, of the Warrens successfully tying the crime to a sinister Satanic cult that was behind Johnson's homicidal act.

Arne Cheyenne Johnson (Ruairi O'Connor) walks the street of Brookfield, Connecticut, after murdering his landlord in THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT.

Overall, The Devil Made Me Do It was pretty darn scary...just like the two previous Conjuring flicks (and spin-off films like 2014's Annabelle and 2018's The Nun) before it. However, there was nothing in this movie to really freak me out as 1.) much of the backstory behind what caused David Glatzel himself to become possessed was embellished, and 2.) we all know that both Warrens will happily survive this investigation—as the real Ed Warren passed away in 2006, and Lorraine was 92 when she sadly died two years ago. Also, I'm a huge fan of the now-concluded CW Network TV series Supernatural, and the idea that people are cursed by hexes secretly placed inside their homes by evil cults was conveyed numerous times during this show's 15-year run (which is also why the Paranormal Activity sequels felt more and more derivative with each new installment that was theatrically released last decade). With that being said, I look forward to the next chapter in The Conjuring franchise. I'm definitely excited for The Nun 2 (I drew an artwork of Valak at the start of the pandemic last year)! Carry on.

With the Warrens sitting next to her inside a courtroom, Debbie Glatzel (Sarah Catherine Hook) awaits the verdict in Arne Johnson's murder trial...in THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Remembering BROKEN ARROW...


I forgot that 2021 marks 25 years since the theatrical release of my favorite John Woo action film, Broken Arrow! Opening in cinemas nationwide on February 9, 1996, Broken Arrow tells the tale of two U.S. Air Force pilots who play a cat-and-mouse game after one pilot, Major Vic "Deak" Deakins (John Travolta), intentionally crashes their B-3 Stealth Bomber following the unauthorized deployment of two B83 nuclear bombs in the Utah desert...hence the military code phrase 'broken arrow.' Deak's co-pilot, Captain Riley Hale (Christian Slater), is ejected from the bomber after a fisticuff with Deakins occurs inside the cockpit before that. On the ground, Hale eventually finds himself being helped by park ranger Terry Carmichael (Samantha Mathis) in his quest to locate the unexploded ordnance before Deakins and his gang get a hold of them. Also among the cast is Super Bowl XVIII champion Howie Long, RoboCop's Kurtwood Smith and The Shawshank Redemption's Bob Gunton.

Just like in John Woo's more popular American film Face/Off (which arrived in theaters on June 19, 1997), the fight scenes in Broken Arrow are topnotch...from the gunfight inside that abandoned mine where Deakin attempted to hide those two nukes, to the climactic brawl aboard that train where Deakins bet Hale $1 that he wouldn't be able to snatch the remote from Deak's hands before those bombs exploded. And contributing to Broken Arrow's memorability is the hip music score by none other than Hans Zimmer himself. I call it hip because it fittingly captures the persona of the two cool actors who portray Vic Deakins and Riley Hale, respectively. In regards to Travolta, that would explain why Woo wanted to work alongside him again in Face/Off—this time squaring off against Nicolas Cage.

I'd re-watch Broken Arrow after I complete this blog entry if not for the fact that my DVD player isn't working properly. Oh well. Listen to Hans Zimmer's awesome main theme from Broken Arrow below!