As Korra's ship enters Ba Sing Se airspace, Tenzin warns her that the Earth Queen can be... a prickly personality to work with. A glimpse of the city's three sectors, ringed with a serious of walls, tells us exactly what we need to know about this woman. We might as well call her Prince John; Modern Ba Sing Se is a socioeconomic hell hole, the poor starving on the fringes while the Queen and other royalty live it up in the center. Traveling the radius of the city is a sharp bit of visual info from director Ian Graham. Studio Mir, the studio behind 'Legend of Korra,' is up to the task.
Since their big break up at the end of Book 2, Mako and Korra have become the two friends who dated in high school and still can hang out at the local bar whenever they're both around. At least, Korra thinks they are. She's closer to her casual friend Asami than she's ever been before — that happens in post-college years too — but when it comes to Mako, she's under the impression that their relationship can settle back into “just friends” like the days before they took things romantic. But can it? Korra hasn't been around and neither has made efforts to keep in touch. They're friends on Facebook, but they're like Mercury and Pluto emotionally. What makes Korra giggle makes Mako want to keel over and die. He's part of Team Avatar, but maybe he shouldn't be.
The title of Book 3's premiere, “A Breath of Fresh Air,” is quite literal. Book 2 was dense and hasty, Konietzko and DiMartino pulling off a complex arc with only 13 half hour episodes. The response is a season opener that takes time to survey the scene and basks in the unbroken camaraderie of old friends. The episode takes an essential beat to cement itself in the perspective of its protagonist and her closest confidants: Team Avatar.
Barry Grieff wants to change the way we watch movies. He wants to save the movie theater experience. He wants to turn the passive moviegoer into an active participant. And to do so, he wants people to shimmy around in their seats, move together unison, and throw self-conscious embarrassment to the wind, all in the name of fun.
In the Drug Enforcement Administration of 'Sabotage,' there's an elite task force comprised of douchebags, jackasses, bullies and morally reprehensible goons. They're thrown the tough assignments; When a drug cartel kingpin needs to be brought to justice, John Breacher (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his crew of hot-tempered, maladjusted soldiers storm his suburban fortress, pop two in his head, and beeline to the nearest dive bar for one-dollar Budweisers. When an unknown assailant starts picking them off one-by-one, it's hard to feel too bad for the band of brosefs.
How much money would it take to convince you to walk into your neighbor's home and take a s--- on his kitchen floor? How much money would you pay to see someone else do it?
'Cheap Thrills' asks those questions and takes immense pleasure at imagining the answers. 'A Horrible Way to Die' producer E.L. Katz's directorial debut is a grisly exploitation film that extracts the greedy heart of human nature like its Mola Ram in 'Temple of Doom.' In a series of escalating stunts, horrible people provoke the horrible side of other mostly horrible people until they agree to act out horrible fantasies. 'Cheap Thrills' is not an easy watch, but Katz's loose tone allows the movie to swing between extreme vulgarity and comedic antics with little hesitation. It needs to — there's only so much pooping on the floor one stomach can take.
The promise of '3 Days to Kill': If Kevin Costner can assassinate a laundry list of people in three days, he'll receive the antidote to his terminal illness. The reality of '3 Days to Kill': If Kevin Costner can assassinate an indeterminable amount of people over an indeterminable amount of time while juggling quality time with his estranged daughter, then he'll continue being given treatment to his terminal illness, which he has been receiving since the beginning of the movie. For those who thought 'Taken' needed more filler, this movie.
Casey Affleck loves talking about movies, performance, filmmaking and story. He doesn't love how those conversations can be steered towards and twisted into portraits of his personal life, where gossip about his brother Ben Affleck and childhood friend Matt Damon wind up stealing the momentum of whatever project he's promoting. “Celebrity” often interferes with “actor” and, judging from his tone, it bugs the hell out of Affleck.
Luckily, for those aware enough to appreciate it, Affleck's career offers an abundance of meaty, provocative work worth talking about. The Oscar-nominated actor's recent credits include 'Ain't Them Body Saints,' 'The Killer Inside Me,' 'ParaNorman,' 'Gone Baby Gone,' and 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.' His latest, 'Out of the Furnace,' continues Affleck's trend of dissecting modern men as they stumble the throes of classic, dramatic storytelling. His character Rodney is an Iraq war vet struggling in the impoverished Rust Belt. To make ends meet, he bare-knuckle boxes — a hobby that causes friction with his brother (Christian Bale), and puts him and his boss (Willem Dafoe) in the crosshairs of a local gangster (Woody Harrelson). An implosion is imminent from the first time we see Affleck step on screen as Rodney.
I sat down with Affleck to talk 'Out of the Furnace' and the misconceptions that emerge from the never-ending maelstrom of gossip. Which eventually lead us to the actor's directorial debut, 'I'm Still Here,' the Joaquin Phoenix moc-doc that stands as one of the most under-appreciated films of the past decade.
A successful Jason Statham film requires a limited amount of cinematic resources: a stunt budget, a cartoon villain, a script with peppered with goons to punch in the face, and a Jason Statham. Hire a director who has streamed at least three Statham action movies off Netflix to cobble together a thin plot and — boom! — entertainment.
Perhaps because Oscar-nominated screenwriter/painter Sylvester Stallone took on writing duties, Statham's latest film, 'Homefront,' dares to opt out of the formula in favor of a character-driven crime story. A novel idea, but unfortunately, this film is a bore. Like Stallone's own' Bullet to the Head,' 'Homefront' believes it's cut from the same cloth as Walter Hill's 'Southern Comfort,' but it can barely muster up the thrills of an episode of 'MacGuyver.'