Mark Steven Johnson

Mark Steven Johnson

Mark Steven Johnson Quick Links

News Video Film RSS

Grudge Match Review


Good

It's a little annoying that this high-concept marketing project (Rocky vs Raging Bull!) is as entertaining as it is: we want to hate it, as tired actors are sending up their own faded images. But while the script never even tries to be something interesting, it at least gives the stars some engaging scenes to work with. And we can't help but cheer for them in the end.

The film stars with a bit of history (and digital trickery), as young bucks Henry "Razor" Sharp and Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (Stallone and De Niro) battle it out back in 1982. Local fans in Pittsburgh are divided between them and are hugely disappointed when, at the peak of their fame, Razor suddenly retires before a climactic rematch. Now some 30 years later, a young promoter (Hart) decides to finally get them back together in the ring. But this stirs up an old feud involving Kid's affair with Razor's wife Sally (Basinger), which resulted in a son BJ (Bernthal), who's now a father himself. Can these two men possibly work together to promote their epic grudge match?

Silly question. Of course they start off gruffly snarling at each other but eventually find the expected mutual respect. And that's about the extent of the acting required of these two iconic stars. Add some fast-talking comedy from Hart, veteran battiness from Arkin, steely femininity from Basinger and soulfulness from Bernthal and the film at least has a veneer of complexity. But aside from wondering whether the filmmakers will fudge the final match so no one loses (they don't), there isn't much to worry about.

Continue reading: Grudge Match Review

Killing Season Trailer


Benjamin Ford is an American war veteran living in a remote area of the Appalachian Mountains in an attempt to get away from his painful recollections from the Bosnian War. Any prospect of social interaction and he can't help but make excuses, owing to his desperate need for solitude. Nonetheless, when he offers a lift to a hitchhiking European tourist named Emil Kovac, he finds himself pleased with the company and the pair set out to go hunting together. However, Kovac turns out to be more than just a tourist when he attempts to shoot Ford with an arrow. He is a former Serbian soldier from the Bosnian War who has tracked Ford down in a bid to even a score between them and the two of them become enveloped in a ruthless chase to the death.

Continue: Killing Season Trailer

When In Rome Review


Weak
Despite its over-the-top zaniness, this romantic comedy manages to keep us entertained with its starry cast and a nutty plot. If only the filmmakers had resisted the urge to exaggerate both the humour and the sentimentality.

Guggenheim curator Beth (Bell) is organising an important museum event when she has to dash to Rome for her sister's sudden wedding, where she begins to fall for best man Nick (Duhamel), who rescues her from a few embarrassing moments but lets her down romantically. In a funk, she swipes some coins from a fountain then ends up being stalked back in New York by the lovelorn guys (painter Arnett, wannabe model Shepard, street magician Heder and art patron DeVito) who threw them into the water.

Continue reading: When In Rome Review

When In Rome Trailer


When Beth attends her sisters sporadic wedding in Rome, she expects to fulfil her duties as maid of honour and return to her job focused life in New York. Sick of waiting for love to take its natural course, Beth takes matters into her own hands and jumps into the Fontana di Amore from which she takes a few of the coins to bring her luck on her quest to find love.

Continue: When In Rome Trailer

Grumpy Old Men Review


Good
Grumpy Old Men, directed with general disinterest by Donald Petrie, is 100 minutes of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon pulling pranks, calling each other names, complaining and falling in love with Ann-Margret. I am suitably entertained by these things. Whether or not you are will be the deciding factor of what you think of what is ostensibly a geriatric Odd Couple.

Milking a 50-odd year rivalry, John Gustafson (Lemmon) and Max Goldman (Matthau), for reasons where logic dare not tread, live right next to each other in suburban Minnesota. Their lives hinge on very few things: Their kids, fishing, grandkids, fishing, evading tax collectors, fishing, and going to the bait shop to talk with Charlie (Ossie Davis) about fishing. That is when they aren't being a royal pain in each other's asses.

Continue reading: Grumpy Old Men Review

Ghost Rider Review


OK
It's gotten to the point where almost any movie with a narrated prologue is suspect. But the opening section of the comic-book adaptation Ghost Rider starts with a particularly troubling apocalyptic rumble of exposition. See, there was this guy a bunch of years ago who made a deal with the devil, to act as a bounty hunter for wayward souls. But in collecting souls from one dusty town, he saw things so horrifying that he defied the devil and absconded with the contract (I'm not being careful about spoilers; the movie really is that vague). The narration, which you may recognize in vocal tone if not wittiness from The Big Lebowski's Sam Elliott, says that this figure -- this first Ghost Rider -- "outran" the devil (Peter Fonda, by the way), but it looks more like Ghost Rider rode a horse into the sunset while the devil watched, perhaps as confused as those in the audience.

Now then: What does this have to do with Johnny Blaze, superstar motorcycle daredevil? Well, writer-director Mark Steven Johnson will tell you, in a second prologue, after the opening credits, showing Blaze, as a teenager, making one of those unfortunate and confusing satanic contracts in an attempt to save his father's life. Johnson is apparently under the impression that this 20-minute backstory technique worked so well in his Daredevil that he can't afford to, say, skip it and get right to Nicolas Cage, who eventually shows up as the adult Johnny, about to be confronted by the consequences of said contract. Young Johnny's deal is so inadvertent and, again, vague, that the situation lacks considerable drama, but the show must go on.

Continue reading: Ghost Rider Review

Ghost Rider Trailer


From Marvel Comics, creators of Spider-Man, Blade and X-Men, comes a new hero....Ghost Rider. Long ago, superstar motorcycle stunt rider Johnny Blaze made a deal with the devil to protect the ones he loved most: his father and his childhood sweetheart, Roxanne (Eva Mendes). Now, the devil has come for his due. By day, Johnny is a die-hard stunt rider... but at night, in the presence of evil, he becomes the Ghost Rider, a bounty hunter of rogue demons. Forced to do the devil's bidding, Johnny is determined to confront his fate and use his curse and powers to defend the innocent.

Continue: Ghost Rider Trailer

Simon Birch Review


OK
One scarcely knows where to begin to elucidate the tragic story of Simon Birch, but suffice it to say that Simon is a 12-year-old dwarf imbued with an astonishing sense of morality and heroism that affects everyone around him. The Triumph of the Kid has never been more overwrought, and Simon Birch just takes movies like Radio Flyer, The Mighty, and Unstrung Heroes and ratchets them out to the hilt. Pithy and over-emotional, watch little Simon (Ian Michael Smith) wreck the school play, try to play baseball, ogle girls' chests, and save the entire student body from drowning in an icy river. Then go vomit. Jim Carrey makes a (poor) cameo. Also note that the film is based on author John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany. Irving also wrote the book responsible for that ungodly piece of junk The Cider House Rules.

Elektra Review


Bad
Allow me to geek out for a minute. Renowned comic book writer/artist Frank Miller first introduced his assassin-for-hire character Elektra in the pages of Daredevil (issue No. 168, to be exact). His contributions to the ensuing story arcs are widely considered some of the strongest character-development work done in the comic industry to date.

Elektra, a needless spin-off from Mark Steven Johnson's already flawed 2003 Daredevil film, might have had a fighting chance if it stayed within the boundaries of Miller's rich source material. Instead, it can't even stay consistent with the lackluster film that inspired it.

Continue reading: Elektra Review

Jack Frost Review


Bad
Not to be confused with the horror film of the same name, this Jack Frost is still so frightening I'd hesitate to put it before any child who ever plans to see a snowman. In this bizarre and god-awful tale, a conveniently-named Colorado blues singer (Colorado blues singer???) called Jack Frost (Keaton) gets his big break on Christmas Day and has to abandon his family to sign the record deal. Naturally, storm hits, car goes off road, Jack dies, and naturally he comes back to life as a snowman. He eats frozen vegetables and tries not to melt, while getting in some quality time with son Charlie (Cross), including hockey lessons with a tree branch. Hideous effects and a just-plain-bad premise make this one to stay away from.
Mark Steven Johnson

Mark Steven Johnson Quick Links

News Video Film RSS
Advertisement

Occupation

Filmmaker


Suggested

Jack White's First Ever Live Video Of 'The Rose With The Broken Neck'

Jack White's First Ever Live Video Of 'The Rose With The Broken Neck'

He unveils the 2015 video for his Danger Mouse collaboration.

Tom Hardy And His Dog To Read CBeebies Bedtime Story On New Year's Eve

Tom Hardy And His Dog To Read CBeebies Bedtime Story On New Year's Eve

Hardy and his pet dog Woodstock will read 'You Must Bring a Hat' on CBeebies on New Year's Eve.

Kate Tempest - Bristol O2 Academy, 8.12.16 Live Review

Kate Tempest - Bristol O2 Academy, 8.12.16 Live Review

If you like your poetry dubstep-free and styled by old, dead geezers wearing cravats, look away now.

Advertisement
The Jesus and Mary Chain Are Finally Back With New Album 'Damage And Joy'

The Jesus and Mary Chain Are Finally Back With New Album 'Damage And Joy'

It's their first release in almost two decades.

Advertisement

Mark Steven Johnson Movies

Grudge Match Movie Review

Grudge Match Movie Review

It's a little annoying that this high-concept marketing project (Rocky vs Raging Bull!) is as...

Killing Season Trailer

Killing Season Trailer

Benjamin Ford is an American war veteran living in a remote area of the Appalachian...

When in Rome Movie Review

When in Rome Movie Review

Despite its over-the-top zaniness, this romantic comedy manages to keep us entertained with its starry...

When In Rome Trailer

When In Rome Trailer

When Beth attends her sisters sporadic wedding in Rome, she expects to fulfil her duties...

Advertisement
Ghost Rider Movie Review

Ghost Rider Movie Review

It's gotten to the point where almost any movie with a narrated prologue is suspect....

Ghost Rider Trailer

Ghost Rider Trailer

From Marvel Comics, creators of Spider-Man, Blade and X-Men, comes a new hero....Ghost Rider. Long...

Elektra Movie Review

Elektra Movie Review

Allow me to geek out for a minute. Renowned comic book writer/artist Frank Miller first...

Daredevil Movie Review

Daredevil Movie Review

In the Marvel Comics food chain, Matt Murdock and his alter ego Daredevil falls somewhere...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.