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Archive for the ‘Action’ Category:

Real Steel Premiere w/ VelvetRedCard.com

Being back on the Velvet red Carpet with my good friend, Ellen K was indeed a treat.  Here’s the first video from an amazing site www.velvetredcard.com. Looking forward to many more.

Hugh Jackman Real Steel from DANGVU Media on Vimeo.

Sugar Ray Leonard Real Steel from DANGVU Media on Vimeo.

Evangeline Lilly Real Steel from DANGVU Media on Vimeo.

Real Steel Movie Review

I gotta feel, a feel for Real Steel! At one time, Charlie Kenton, (Hugh Jackman) was a great fighter.  These days he’s just fighting to keep his head above water.  The year is 2020.  The sport of boxing has morphed.  The growing demand for violence in the ring was more than any human could withstand.  MMA & UFC didn’t take the match to the death.  That’s when promoters created the WRB World Robot Boxing League.  These mechanical gladiators could simply ‘knock their blocks off,’ to coin a familiar phrase.

To be honest, the “Real Steel” movie trailer wasn’t doing it for me.  I saw it a few times with the outdoor billboards.  Suffice to say, my expectations were low.    Then I saw the film with a packed movie house filled with real people, not industry insiders.  The audience reaction told me everything I needed to know.  They laughed, they cheered & had an absolute blast. I myself happen to be an industry insider, but I took something away this from the film.

The heart of the story is about second chances.  Charlie gets one reconnecting with his estranged son, Max, (Dakota Goyo.) Max gets his shot at having a real dad.  Finally there’s Atom, an outdated sparring robot that’s left for scrap.  Yeah, these three stray dogs are woven together into a very predictable plot.  I didn’t care.  This isn’t “The Godfather,” or even “Harry Potter.” At the end of the day it’s a story of a boy & his robot.

Dakota Goyo stands out as the “Real Steel” scene stealer.  He’s now the “It” kid in Hollywood.  Also along for the ride is Bailey, (Evangeline Lily.)  Her scenes are few, but she’s definitely the emotional anchor.  Then there’s the bots.  The lineup: Ambush, Midas, Noisy Boy, Zeus & Atom.  Can you say Most wanted stocking stuffers of this holiday season?!?  Nice job by director Shawn Levy.   Four principal robots were built for the production.  They provided the actors with something very real to react to. (Usually they have to stare at a tennis ball on a stick!)

“Real Steel” is a for Real People who loves movies.  Industry insiders will scoff, but who cares about them? They’re the movie misfits.  Just because a movie isn’t Oscar-worthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good time.

Real Steel is Rated PG-13 & is thankfully only presented in 2D, but also available on Large Format Screens.

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Machine Gun Preacher Movie Review

Based on a true story, “Machine Gun Preacher” is a Baptism by gunfire.  Sam Childers, (Gerard Butler) is a scumbag.  He’s in jail for God-knows-what.  He’s a junkie who’d be high on crack for a month!  He’s a thief & probably a murderer too.  Oh and top it all off in a callous manner, he’s upset at his wife Lynn, (Michelle Monaghan) for quitting her night job….as a stripper! This guy’s a real piece of work.

Then Childers “gets right” with The Lord.  He created a church for sinners, The Shekinah Fellowship Church in Central City, Pennsylvania.  His life’s journey takes him all the way to Africa, more specifically, Sudan.   Sam just wanted to help out & lend a hand.  It’s there where he witnessed first-hand atrocities that happens to innocent kids every single day.  The game-changer: witnessing a young child getting his limbs blown off by way of a landmine.  It was that millisecond that changed Sam Childers forever.

Director Marc Forster doesn’t pull any punches.  You’ll see evil at work. To quote Sam Childers, “I found God in 1992, but I found Satan in 1998 in Sudan.”  Childers organized almost suicidal rescue missions to find & retrieve children whose lives have been shattered by this bloody civil war.  Being good with his hands, Sam built the Angels of East Africa Orphanage. Let’s talk numbers. The orphanage feeds at least 1,200 hungry children daily who are traumatized, injured, tortured & abandoned.  In the 125-degree heat, his place is not a mirage, it’s a miracle.

Saving kids in Sudan comes at a cost: Human life.  The white preacher quickly garnered a reputation of being an eye-for-an-eye type of man.  If a few evil men with guns were harming dozens of innocent kids, Sam’s decision was clear cut.  Take out the bad guys with a machine gun & rush the kids to safety & shelter.

Gerry Butler was up for the task.  He dove into this role by studying the man, Sam Childers.  If there was a scene where Sam was fixing a sink, Butler trained with licensed plumbers.  On the job site, he worked construction contractors. And yes, he mixed things up with full on tattooed bikers to get that leather, tough guy feel just right.  Butler also watched Childers speak for many many hours. He even taped his church sermons & spent lots of time with his family.  Total immersion. I love when actors do everything humanly possible to get the role right.  Plus, the guy does his own stunts in this film.

I liked how two worlds were showcased.  If Sam was saving kids in Africa, you have the feeling he was missing his family back in the states.  When he’s back with his family, you can tell he wants to be back to save more children.  Very powerful usage of both worlds.

If you want to help the cause, simply purchase Sam Childer’s book,  ‘Another Man’s War: The True Story of One Man’s Battle to Save Children in The Sudan.’

The story of Sam Childers is an amazing one.  “Machine Gun Preacher” is Rated R for extreme violence & drug usage.

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A Long Day’s Journey to the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Auction

FILM FREAK EXCLUSIVE!!  Next year, everyone will be talking about the “Snake & Mongoose” movie.  Hod rod royalty, Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen Don “The Snake” Prudhomme will finally have their story told on the big screen.  Filming begins in the spring.  My buddy, Kene Goldstein is producing a series of web shorts leading up to the film’s release.  In this debut webisode, you’ll pick up backstory & a feeling of friendly rivalry that ultimately became the greatest true story in racing history.  To be continued….

The Film Freak Movie App will save you money at the movies!  Search Film Freak. It’s loaded with podcasts, reviews, videos & the cool info you need to know on movies.  Perfect for your iPad too!

You can also follow me on Twitter @leoquinones

Drive Movie Review

“Drive” is a movie with definite meat on its bones.   I can’t believe how many SPOILERS there are in various “Drive” trailers. Stay away from them if you don’t want to know too much.  Set in downtown Los Angeles, “Drive” seems like a movie catapulted out of the 1980’s.  There’s a minimalist vibe not unlike “The Terminator” from 1984.  Composer Cliff Martinez’ score was absolutely inspired by those hideous 80’s sounding synthesizers.   The musical effect worked perfectly with the tone of the film.

IMDB lists Ryan Gosling’s character’s name as simply, Driver.  This guy is a getaway driver, plain & simple. That’s what he does.  If you’re using him on a job, you’ve got 5 minutes. He doesn’t partake in the crime or carry a gun.  He just drives. His day job is a garage mechanic & also working part time as a balls-to-the-wall stunt driver in the movies.

This guy doesn’t live beyond his means.  He lives in a run down apartment complex.  His boss at the garage, Shannon (Bryan Cranston) is unsuccessful at enterprising, so he consorts with low level thugs, Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) & Nino (Ron Perlman).  There latest venture involves Driver.  One of my favorite things about this film was Albert Brooks’ departure from most everything I’ve ever seen him do.  When you see, you will know.

“Drive” has garnered an “R” rating. It deserves the hard “R” because it goes flat out over the top in its violent sequences. Tough for a date movie.  I know how many women love seeing a clean-cut Ryan Gosling on the big screen.  Be prepared for blood. It’s there with plenty of pints being spilled.

At the end of the day, there’s a score that needs settling.  It’s burn their house down or die.  Simple, straight forward.

You care for the characters.  Driver’s neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan) has a nice little boy.  They are the ones who need protection & you feel their peril every inch of the way.  What I will say about Gosling’s character, he’s not much of a talker, but he’s resilient.  Brooding, he’s an eye-for-an-eye type of guy. Don’t mess with him.  He’ll run over you, then slam the car in reverse & do it again. Why?  To finish the job.  Talk about the Michelin Man Massacre.

If you need to employ violence to get out of bad situation & you don’t mind blood, then ‘Drive’ is your movie!

Driver himself doesn’t like going to bad movies.  It pisses him off.  That’s why he’s got the Film Freak iPhone App.  It’s the movie app that saves you money on movies! Just search Film Freak. You’ll get the Film Freak Movie Talk Show Podcasts, Reviews & Tweets all sent to your iPhone or iPad.

When Driver gets followed, he’ll lose you.  Not so if you Follow me on Twitter @leoquinones

The Debt Movie Review

I love movies where Nazis are brought to justice.  In 1966, three Mossad secret agents, Rachel Singer (Jessica Chastain) Stephan Gold (Marton Csokas) and David Peretz (Sam Worthington) went undercover to East Berlin to hunt down & capture a Nazi war criminal, alive!  The target, Doktor Bernhardt, (Jesper Christensen).  During his tenure under the Third Reich, Bernhardt was a monster armed with a scalpel, an experimental butcher & the mission was to bring him back to stand trail in disgrace of his accusers.

That was the mission, but now it’s over 30 years later, Tel Aviv 1997.  The agents have long since retired, but are called together.  The veteran trio, Rachel (Helen Mirren), Stephan (Tom Wilkinson) & David (Ciarin Hinds) swore to a secret that’s been buried for three generations.  The mission had gone horribly wrong.

“The Debt,” is a very clever suspense thriller that jogs back and forth between 1960’s Germany & the late 90’s.  I like how the agents prepared & trained for their mission.  It gives you a real sense of danger & how these operatives might have actually carried out such a plan. Young Rachel’s (Chastain) role in the mission was by far the toughest & most horrific on her psyche.  You can see onscreen, whatever happened back in Berlin was carried on by Helen Mirren’s mannerisms in her performance. The emotional baggage is right there.  NO SPOILERS HERE. You’ll have to go see it for yourself.

“The Debt” is a solid movie with clever suspense.  Rated R

If you want to save money on movies, get the Film Freak iPhone – iPad App.  I’ll always give it to you straight!  Just search Film Freak.  You can also follow me on Twitter @leoquinones


Warrior Movie Review

Who’s the toughest guy on the planet?  If you really wanna know, get on a plane & head to Atlantic City.  Check out SPARTA, the world’s most intense Mixed Martial Arts competition between 16 fighters.  Last man standing takes home a staggering purse of $5 million dollars.  This Superbowl of the MMA sets in motion, “Warrior.”

Director, Gavin O’ Connor has created two vastly different worlds that reside in the same movie.   One world shows us Brendan Conlon, (Joel Edgerton) an amazing high school teacher who’s loved by his students.  He’s also going deeper & deeper in debt & mortgaged to the hilt.  He’s got a wife and two daughters & his version of the American Dream is in serious trouble.  So he does what he’s gotta do, make money any way he can. Even if that means booking back alley fights to make some bucks.

Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) spent fourteen years in another family, the United States Marine Corps.  He’s seen & done things only a seasoned war veteran could ever comprehend.  Tommy doesn’t talk much.  In fact, Tommy does his talking with his fists and wears his rage on his sleeve.

When Tommy returns to Pittsburgh after 14 years away, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged father, Paddy Conlon. (Nick Nolte)  It ain’t about hugs & love. This father-son reunion is laser focused and about one thing:  Training for SPARTA.   Nolte just shines as a father who’s trying to make up for lost time with his sons. What a performance.

While training for the movie both lead actors took a 10-week training regimen with a strict high protein diet of no less than six meals per day.   Tom Hardy’s routine was based around weightlifting. He actually put on 28-pounds of muscle for the role.  His trainer was quoted as calling his pupil, “carb-depleted, angry & moody.”  It’s that type of dedication that I love & look for in preparation.  When an actor goes through what I call, ‘Pain for Performance,’ it helps suspend disbelief.  I could name a 1/2 dozen so-called top billing actors who’d never ever put this type of effort into a role.

On screen, Hardy & Edgerton managed to perform 85% of their own stunts in an MMA film.  Kudos.  The fight scenes in ‘Warrior’ took six straight weeks of shooting.  O’ Connor ended up shooting over 200 hours of fight footage.  Wanna talk injuries? Tom Hardy racked up a torn ligament, a broken foot and a cracked rib.  Edgerton, against doctor’s orders continued filming with a serious tear to the ACL of his right knee.  Again, playing with pain makes the movie better!

The contrast in the brothers worlds is amazing to watch onscreen.  Brandan’s world, even though financially strapped, is very colorful.  Flowers, his daughters face painting, even Brendan’s schoolteacher wardrobe is somehow uplifting.  They live in a nice house with a very green front yard.  It’s what everyone wants & it’s slipping away.

Tommy’s world is dark.  All the colors are washed out into a gravely grey.  Rains, clouds, industrial settings.  Tommy’s wardrobe is so dark, it’s almost Grim Reaper-ish.  You’ll notice these two different worlds are always on a collision course. The sound design is incredible.  You will actually feel the severity of the punches.  The excitement is exhilarating.  When it comes down to two brothers, one fighting for his family & one fighting for his country, you’re right there with a ringside seat.  ‘Warrior’ is hands down the knockout punch I’ve been waiting for at the movies.

‘Warrior’ has everything. It’s a father-son story, it’s got redemption, forgiveness, perseverance, truth, honor, fallen heroes & new ones.  If you don’t get emotional watching ‘Warrior,’ you’re dead inside.  I wouldn’t be surprised if one or all three, Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton & Tom Hardy receive nominations during award season.

Brendan Conlon is living life on a teacher’s budget.  He saves money on movies with the Film Freak iPhone – iPad App. Just search Film Freak.

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Leo, What Should I Go See?

NEW WEEKLY VIDEO FEATURE: “Leo, What Should I Go See?”  I hope you dig it. Q

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark


Our Idiot Brother

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Colombiana Movie Review

As a little 9-year girl, Catelaya (Zoe Saldana) was right there when her parents were murdered.  So sets in motion a story of revenge. It’s the energy that drives Catelaya’s life: The chance to take out the man who ordered the hit on her folks.   Along the way, Catelaya’s path is littered with corpses.  Each mark was done with her style, finesse & total anonymity.

You can only stay invisible for so long.  As Catelaya gets closer to her goal, the heat gets turned way up.  I did like when she went into assassination mode.  There’s something very cool about on-screen killers.  They walk between raindrops and lurk in shadows until they strike.  Plus the fact that she’s smoking hot in those skin tight catsuits.

The story isn’t free of cliches we often see in hitman movies ie; being closed off to any meaningful relationships, secret weapon stashes, high end security cameras, the double semi automatic machine gun bullet spray & my favorite, the manila envelope with a black & white photo of the next target.  Given the fact that “Columbiana” is rated PG-13, no teenage boys can be excluded from the action.

If you want to keep up on movies, check out the Film Freak iPhone -iPad App.  It’s the movie app that saves you money on movies. Just search Film Freak.  You’ll get podcasts of the Film Freak Movie Talk Show.

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Conan The Barbarian Movie Review

This new version of Conan the Barbarian will satisfy a lust for blood spilled, but not much else.  From the beginning, the movie borrows heavily from classics we’ve seen before.  Young Conan wants to step up & fight beside his father, (Pon Perlman) His father says he’s too young.  It’s a page straight out of the scroll of ‘Braveheart.’

While on a sea voyage, it was like a scene plucked out of any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  I almost thought I saw Captain Jack Sparrow flying across the deck.   Conan is a simple story of revenge.  At one point, I thought we was going to utter  the phrase, “Hello.  My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” (That’s from ‘The Princes Bride” for anyone wondering.)

To really earn the R rating, besides the brutality, there are babes!  We learn that newly freed slaves girls just wanna have fun, topless!  There’s also a primal sex scene between Conan(Jason Momoa) and Tamara (Rachel Nichols).  Conan was a Bone-nan.

Things get a little weird with the evil sorceress Marique (Rose McGowan) & her father Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang).  They are out for ‘under’-world domination, but Marique seems to want to please daddy in a sexual manner.  A bit freaky & that’s just the way Rose wanted to play it.  As Ferris Bueller’s principal Ed Rooney said, “So that’s how it is in their family.”

Moving onto the finale, I really must give credit to Steven Spielberg.  The set was a straight ripoff of ‘Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom.’  Beat for beat, it was all there.  The contraption that holds & lowers the human sacrifice.  The hot molten lava below.  The steady drumbeats & chants just like the Thugee cult.  In Temple, the evil priest Mola Ram wore a ceremonial headdress that cradled his jawline.  Same exact thing Khalar Zym in Conan.

If you’re into heads to getting lopped off, Conan is cool.  If you’re looking for originality, please refer to the following, ‘Braveheart,’ ‘The Princess Bride,’ ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl,’ or ‘Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom.’  By the way, Conan The Barbarian will play just fine in 2D. Save your cash for popcorn & soda.

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