My Favorite Blockbuster “Discoveries” Of 2017

Happy New Year everyone. I decided to celebrate by compiling a series of lists celebrating my favorite films and shows of 2017. Sounds like pretty standard stuff, right? Yup, totally. However, these lists will include not just new films from last year, but new-to-me ones that I enjoyed. This one celebrates the glory of big screen blockbusters, most of which I saw on the small screen because, you know, kids.

First off, I’d just like to reiterate how much I enjoyed Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla (2014) and San Andreas (2015) from director Gary Peyton.  I had a great time watching both of those movies earlier this year and highly recommend checking them out if you’re looking for big budget disaster fare. I also had a silly amount of fun watching Vin Diesel in 2015’s The Last Witch Hunter helmed by Breck Eisner. I think this will make a great weekend movie tune-in type of movie.

Continue reading My Favorite Blockbuster “Discoveries” Of 2017

First Fast 7 Look, Plus Lucas Black Returns

paul walker vin diesel fast and furious 7Insidious: Chapter 2 director James Wan just hit it big at the box office last week. Odds are pretty solid that his next film will be just as successful. He’s currently filming Fast & Furious 7 at the moment and we’re already starting to see and hear new things from the production. Check out the first pic from the movie that star Vin Diesel showed off on his Facebook page. Not the most thrilling picture in the world, it does feature Diesel along with his fellow franchise star Paul Walker hanging out near some and furious 3 tokyo drift lucas black bow wowIn other Fast & Furious news, Deadline reports that Lucas Black, who played Sean Boswell in Fast & Furious 3: Tokyo Drift, will appear in the next three flicks. The real question, however, is when Lil’ Bow Wow will make his triumphant return to the series. Fast 7 opens on July 11th, 2014.

James Wan Talks Fast & Furious 7 As Djimon Hounsou Signs On


One of the biggest action flicks in the works right now has to be Fast & Furious 7. The franchise really seemed to kick into high gear with Fast Five and continued the blistering box office pace with the last installment Fast & Furious 6. Now, with a brand new director on board — modern horror master James Wan (Insidious Chapter 2, The Conjuring) — and casting in full swing, we’re starting to get more and more details about the film.

Wan recently spoke with Collider, mostly about the second Insidious movie which opens tomorrow, but also a bit about his upcoming project. “One of the things I would love to bring to it, having spent a lot of time in the horror/thriller/suspense genre is…I love tension, I love suspense and hopefully I can bring that,” Wan said. “That would be my style that I would love to bring to the Fast franchise. I want to respect and honor the world that they’ve created so far, which the fans love. [Laughs] They have crazy fans that love that franchise. So I want to honor that and make sure I don’t mess that up too much, but at the same time I want to put my own stamp to it and kind of do what I do best, which is suspense and tension, and hopefully then my action scenes will put you on the edge of your seat.”special-forces-djimon-hounsou

Meanwhile, Variety announced a new player in the Fast & Furious franchise: Djimon Hounsou (Special Forces, Guardians Of The Galaxy). Absolutely nothing was said about his role in the film. Hounsou will join a cast that includes staples of the series like Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris and Jordana Brewster along with fellow newcomers Kurt Russell, Tony Jaa, Jason Statham, Ronda Rousey and Nathalie Emmanuel. That’s a pretty big cast that will hopefully result in plenty of rad car chases, fight scenes and explosions.

Fast & Furious 7 is slated for a July 11, 2014 release.

Bullet Points: Hot Rounds Of Information Goodness

The fall GuyDwayne Johnson and McG are both in talks right now to star in a big screen reboot of the 80s Lee Majors stuntman/bounty hunter TV show The Fall Guy. [via THR]will smith independence day

Roland Emmerich said that Will Smith is back in talks for the long-in-development sequel to their 1996 hit Independence Day. [via Digital Spy]ice cube 21 jump street

Ice Cube’s returning to the 21 Jump Street sequel 22 Jump Street along with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. [via THR]


Speaking of 22 Jump Street, Amber Stevens (The Amazing Spider-Man) will also appear in the college-set film an as-yet-undisclosed role. [via Variety]nathalie-emmanuel game of thrones

Game Of Thrones actress Nathalie Emmanuel will appear in Fast & Furious 7. Sources say that actress will work with Dom and Bryan in the James Wan-directed flick. [via Deadline]snowpiercer

Well, this is an interesting turn of events. According to Snowpiercer Bong Joon-Ho, he’s still in negotiations with The Weinstein Company about potential cuts to the film. Seems odd that no one else mentioned this in the ensuing crap storm that rolled across the internet. [via THR]hardymaxfuryroad_large

Finally, as Mad Max: Fury Road goes to Sydney for some extra shooting they released a high-res image of Tom Hardy as the lead character to remind people that this film exists. [via AICN]


Tony Jaa Making Hollywood Debut In Fast & Furious 7

tony jaa ong bak Two of the greatest martial artists on film will be teaming up to star in Fast & Furious 7. We’ve known for a while now that Jason Statham will play the bad guy, but now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, we learned that Thai ass kicker Tony Jaa (Ong-Bak, The Protector) will be in the cast.

The film finds Statham’s Ian Shaw seeking revenge against the crew for his brother played by Luke Evans in the previous film. Series stars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker will return along with relative newcomer Dwayne Johnson. Meanwhile, actual fighter Ronda Rousey is in talks to join the project along with Tyrese Gibson who recently snapped a photo with director James Wan in front of the film’s first poster.

This will be Jaa’s first U.S. film. A fan of the Fast & Furious movies, Jaa said, “There is no better film to be involved in for a first U.S. studio production.” He went on to say that, regardless of whether he actually fights Diesel or Johnson on camera, he’s excited about the project.  “Having a chance to work with Vin Diesel and The Rock already makes me a winner.”

The Explosions Are Rad crew have been fans of Jaa since we stumbled upon The Protector several years back. He brings an intensity and realism to his action scenes that are hard to match (see below for what it might look like for him to fight a guy like Johnson). Bringing some of that raw physicality to the chase and heist-centric franchise will be pretty interesting. However, if Jaa doesn’t fight Statham on screen, it will be a hugely wasted opportunity. Make it happen Wan!

Fast & Furious 7 hits on July 11, 2014.


magnum piWhile talking to Collider, Dodgeball and We’re The Millers director Rawson Marshall Thurber mentioned a Magnum P.I. movie he wrote along the lines of Beverly Hills Cop. Hopefully, Millers will do well enough to make that happen!

Speaking of action comedies, head on over to TVLine to check out the first motion poster for the Andy Samberg-starring half hour Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

TheWrap broke news that Tarsem Singh (Immortals) has signed on to direct a film called Panopticon written by Craig Rosenberg (After The Sunset, Lost). The film follows a man who receives a letter from himself about the upcoming end of the world.hercules from dwayne johnson

Dwayne Johnson tweeted another behind-the-scenes shot from the set of Brett Ratner’s

Speaking of Twitter reveals, Fast & Furious 7 director James Wan sent out the above image of himself and actor Tyrese Gibson in front of the first look at the film’s promo poster. It seems safe to assume that Tyrese will return for his fourth outing as Roman Pearce.

Deadline reports that Lionsgate picked up a new military-centric screenplay by Matt Johnson (Tracers, Torque). The story is described as “an action movie centering around a group of U.S. Marines who start a high-stakes business venture when they return home from Afghanistan.” Sounds thrilling.Xena_Gabrielle

If she had her way, Lucy Lawless would like to return as Xena with her pals Gabrielle and Joxer, pass the torch to a new crew and then move on as a way to return the franchise to its fans. She said as much to Blastr. [via The Mary Sue]

A Good Day To Die Hard director John Moore will direct a film based on Will Scully’s Once A Pilgrim now called The Englishman. The screenplay by William Wisher (Terminator 2, The 13th Warrior) finds an SAS member turned mercenary caught in Africa during a coup where he helps defend a hotel full of people against the invading rebels. [via Collider]

Olympic Judo Medalist Ronda Rousey Circling Fast & Furious 7

ronda rousey UFC fighter Ronda Rousey’s becoming as popular in the movie world as she is in mixed martial arts. In addition to joining The Expendables 3, Rousey is also likely to appear in Fast & Furious 7, Variety reports. Rousey, also a Judo Bronze Medal winner at the 2008 Olympics, is the first new name added to the franchise’s roster, though regulars like Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson are expected to return.  Rousey follows in the footsteps of fellow MMA fighter-turned-Fast & Furious actress Gina Currano who joined the serious with Fast & Furious 6.

The contracts haven’t been finalized yet, but Rousey’s not the only newcomer to the franchise. Director James Wan is set to replace Justin Lin who helmed the previous four Fast & Furious flicks. Wan’s career has been mainly horror-centric with hits like Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring which is scaring the crap out of people in theaters as we type.

Universal hasn’t released any information about the actual plot of Fast & Furious 7, though it’s expected to return to Cali. At this point, the plan is for Rousey to shoot both films back to back this fall which would still give her the 45 days of straight-ahead training she needs for her next fight in December.

Halloween Scene: Insidious (2010)

I think I’ve seen too many movies. I say that with absolutely no intent of cutting back, though I will probably not be watching horror flicks for a while after a very packed October filled with them. I got Insidious in the mail from Netflix at the tail end of the month or possibly November 1st and wasn’t sure if I was going to watch or just send it back to view another time. But, my daughter wound up taking a surprisingly long nap today, so I took advantage and watched the movie that scarred some friends of mine and made my wife scared and angry every time the trailer played.

Honestly, it didn’t do that much for me. Like with the first two Paranormal Activity movies, I think watching this one during the day while doing other things takes a lot of the power away from the scares. I think it might have also caused me not to see some of the spooky, lingering images, but I caught enough to get the gist. The explanation of the plot contains elements of the story that get explained throughout the movie, so if you want to go in blind, stop reading.

There’s a couple with three kids, two young boys and a baby. One day one of the boys–Dalton–goes to sleep and won’t wake up. He’s in some kind of coma and the doctors don’t know what’s up. Then the mom, played by Rose Byrne from Bridesmaids, starts seeing ghosts. You think they’re just going to stay in the house like every other haunted house movie in the world, but they don’t, which earned it huge points in my book. Once in the second house, though, they discover that the hauntings have not stopped. They get a medium to come over who explains (and this is where the heavier SPOILERS begin) that Dalton actually has the ability to project himself into the astral plane, but he’s gotten lost. With an open body just sitting there all these bad spirits are wanting to get back in, which has drawn them not to the house that the family lives in, but to the boy. The medium and her team perform a few seances with wacky looking gear and then we get to the ending which I will talk about in the following spoiler filled paragraph.

As noted, SPOILERS ARE ALL UP IN THIS PARAGRAPH. So, towards the last third of the movie, the medium lady reveals to the dad that he was an astral projector too as a boy, which was super obvious when the old lady told him about 15-20 minutes earlier that he had changed a lot since she had last seen him or something. He had troubles, so she somehow wiped his memory. Anyway, this means that the dad can go into the astral plane and get his son back, but that will not only risk encountering other ghosts or demons or whatever they are and also leaving his body open for inhabitation by said baddies. I half thought they were going to just show him closing his eyes and then coming back with the kid, but they actually get into it. I mean, it’s not some crazy, hellish world, but it does look pretty neat. Most of the ghosts even wound up being pretty creepy, though that red-faced thing you saw in the previews just looked kind of silly to me, especially when they did that quick cut of him behind the dad before all this other business. There’s one that’s just a big dude with a messed up face and long black hair who looks a hell of a lot more threatening. Then there’s the two Shining-esque twins (though they’re older and more creepy-smiley). Also, the very, very end was such a “no shit” moment that it didn’t even come as a surprise.

STILL IN SPOILER TERRITORY. Which brings be to the real end. I’m getting sick of these kinds of endings. At the end of the flick, the dad has been taken over by the ghostmonsterdemon that haunted him as a child and killed the medium. The wife discovers this and freaks out only to have him/her/ghost come up behind her. Then cut to black. Bleh. I like movies like The Thing where the ambiguous/unknown ending really feels earned and creepy, but doesn’t leave you feeling cheated. In this case, I felt cheated. There’s still people in the house. A lot of them actually. What happens to them? I don’t expect everything to be wrapped up in a nice bow, but this really felt like an ending in the middle of a chapter instead of a good place to end.

Okay, no more spoilers. At the end of the day, the haunted house conceit just really doesn’t scare me. You spend the entire movie waiting for something to pop out. It either does or doesn’t. If you’re not watching as a captive audience member and are doing other things, you’re even more disconnected. That second part is on me as a viewer, but it’s still a factor. The aspect of the movie that did get to me, though, was the child/parent stuff. Not only have I been creeped out by our baby monitors (crying is bad enough, but piped through an electronic gizmo makes it otherworldly and cringe-worthy), but I get now wanting to defend your children and the fear that would come from trying to do so against an unknown, unseen enemy. But, the problem was that I understood that in my brain, I didn’t feel it in my gut. At the end of the day, the movie didn’t really make me feel anything but tense during the seance scene. That part was genius. I even liked the astral plane stuff, more so than the first half of the movie I think, but at the end of the day, I’ve seen too many of these movies, was familiar with the scares and wasn’t drawn in.