Mark Steven Johnson

Mark Steven Johnson

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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 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

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

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

Mark Steven Johnson

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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 Trailer

When In Rome Trailer

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

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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...

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