Dax Shepard and Michael Pena play bike cops in CHIPS
While the new film Chips uses the title and characters from the iconic 1977-1983 TV series, writer-director-star Dax Shepard says that being faithful to the show wasn't his main goal. "I'm always looking to do something with action - specifically motor sports action - and comedy," he says. "And this was a show that was centred around two heroes on motorcycles. So to me, it was a lay-up as far as getting to do both things!"
Dax and Michael in CHIPS
He dove in with gusto to make the film. "Every day we blew something up or had a motorcycle crash," he says. "A lot of action-comedies are comedies with just a splash of action, so this is a bit of a throwback where the humour comes from the action. I'd like there to be 20 movies a year like Bad Boys and Lethal Weapon."
Continue reading: Dax Shepard Michael Pena Discuss Modernising A Classic
It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the 1977-1983 beloved hit TV series. Firstly, the film ignores the capitalisation that would make sense of the title. And the main characters, while they have familiar names, are completely different people. So fans of the show will be justifiably angry that it has been merely referenced to make a half-hearted mash-up of The Hangover and Fast & Furious. Which might not be a bad idea if the gross-out comedy was funny and the action was even remotely thrilling.
In this version, Poncharello is the undercover name assigned to a Miami FBI agent (Michael Pena) who is sent to Los Angeles to investigate a string of armoured car robberies that might involve dirty cops. He is partnered with officer Jon Baker (Dax Shepard) riding motorcycles with the California Highway Patrol (they're CHiPs, not Chips). Jon is a former hotshot off-road motorbike champ who has broken every bone in his body and has only joined the police to try to win back his estranged, monstrous wife (Kristen Bell). But he's such a high-energy idiot that he's starting the job on probation. As their case develops, it's instantly clear that the mastermind is the villainous officer Kurtz (Vincent D'Onofrio). And their investigation is complicated by the arrival of Ponch's FBI boss (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and partner (Adam Brody).
The lazy script never tries to crank up any real mystery or tension in the plot. Instead, the film is just a series of smutty jokes and incoherent stunt sequences, plus running gags that never reach a punchline. All of this is infused with relentless sexism, as the camera leers shamelessly at every woman. And the laddish misogyny is accompanied by constant homophobia, which is addressed in the dialogue in a feeble attempt to undercut the baldfaced bigotry. This makes all of the characters resolutely unlikeable. Ponch and Jon are such self-absorbed jerks that it's inconceivable that they would ever be allowed to be policemen.
Continue reading: Chips Review
Lloyd is a young ninja still in high school who is trained alongside five other martial arts experts named Jay, Kai, Cole, Zane and Nya by the master warrior Master Wu. While by day they are faced with the evils of teenage life, by night they are death-defying heroes whose job it is to take down all manner of enemies with the help of a few state-of-the-art machines. They and the people of their island Ninjago face a terrible threat in the form of the war-mongering villain Garmadon - who also happens to be Lloyd's father. It's safe to say their relationship is a tense one. He wants revenge on Wu, who is actually Lloyd's uncle, but for what we are yet to discover...
Continue: The Lego Ninjago Movie Trailer
Frank 'Ponch' Poncherello is the alter-ego of a barely capable undercover FBI agent who has been put on a new case to uncover the identity of the crooked cop within the California Highway Patrol. He teams alongside the CHiP's newest recruit Jon Baker but, unfortunately, as motorcycle cops it's not quite 'ride or die' for these guys, more like 'ride and die' the rate that they're going. Jon has had numerous accidents on the bike, while Ponch is frequently distracted by both women and other men's masculinity, so neither of them are best equipped for the job at hand. This becomes even more apparent when they are faced with a villainous former police officer named Vic Brown and his band of miscreant hitmen, and they start to wonder if perhaps they've bitten off more than they can chew.
Continue: Chips Trailer
Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in danger of tipping over into extreme sentimentality, and this one very quickly gets bogged down in buckets of syrup. It's a slickly made movie with a first-rate cast, but occasional glimpses of gritty honesty aren't quite enough to counteract sudsy philosophising that sounds profound but is actually rather shallow.
It's set in New York, where advertising company owner Howard (Will Smith) is still lost in grief six months after the death of his 6-year-old daughter. And his business partners are worried that the company is falling apart as a result. In desperation, best pal Whit (Edward Norton), protege Claire (Kate Winslet) and rising-star Simon (Michael Pena) hire a private detective (Ann Dowd) to determine Howard's mental fitness to run the company. They also hire three actors to confront him as Love (Keira Knightley), Time (Jacob Latimore) and Death (Helen Mirren), abstract concepts he's obsessed with. But they don't know that Howard is also considering attending a grief counselling meeting run by Madeleine (Naomie Harris).
Directed with a magical sheen by David Frankel (Hope Springs) and written to within an inch of its life by Allan Loeb (The Switch), there's nothing about this film that doesn't feel contrived and controlled. In addition to their scenes with Howard, each of the three actors has an impact on the colleague who needs their specific gifts. And there are a number of revelations and twists that feel annoyingly hokey. Even so, the cast is strong enough to add moments of lightness that lift the movie briefly out of the sludge. Mirren, Knightley and Latimore have a sparky edge as the story's catalysts. While Norton, Winslet and Pena bring some raw, honest emotion to their own personal dramas.
Continue reading: Collateral Beauty Review
Michael Pena - Actor Dax Shepard hits the street of Los Angeles as highway patrolman Jon Baker with co star Michael Pena as Frank "Ponch" Poncherello in the remake of the 70's hit "Chips". - Los Angeles, California, United States - Wednesday 11th November 2015
With its above-average cast and a gritty, realistic tone, this exorcism thriller is a lot more involving than most. Not only is it packed with demonic mayhem, but the complex characters make the drama much punchier, setting up the audience for several big jolts. Even so, the plot builds slowly, finally reaching its most intriguing twist right at the very end, so the credits start rolling just as things get properly riveting.
The title refers to a secret archive under the Vatican run by Cardinal Bruun (Peter Andersson) and his assistant Imani (Djimon Hounsou). It contains files and lots of tapes of demonic possession, including scenes of 30-year-old Angela (Olivia Taylor Dudley). She has a happy life with her cute boyfriend Pete (John Patrick Amedori) and tough-but-kind dad Roger (Dougray Scott), but starts acting a bit strange whenever a raven is nearby. As her behaviour gets more erratic, she is assisted by Father Lozano (Michael Pena), who takes a personal interest in her case. But things spiral far beyond Lozano's expertise, so he calls the Vatican for help. And when Bruun arrives in America to meet Angela in person, he's unnerved to discover that this might not be a demon: she could be the Antichrist.
The screenplay cleverly weaves in news reports and current events to make everything that happens feel grounded in real life. As it continues, the biblical and fantastical flourishes intriguingly fit into this context, while director Mark Neveldine delays tipping over into effects-based action until the final act. This means that the film quietly unnerves the audience from the start, using CCTV footage and some enjoyably scary touches that add to the atmosphere. As a result, the actors are able to flesh out their characters. Dudley gives Angela a strong personality that lingers even after the presence inside her starts to take over. As the three priests, Pena, Andersson and Hounsou don't have much to do, but they add subtle details to their scenes.
Continue reading: The Vatican Tapes Review
Just as people began to write off veteran director Ridley Scott after a series of merely OK movies, the 77-year-old casually releases his most entertaining film in years. This sci-fi adventure is lithe, humorous, thrilling and genuinely moving. In other words, it's one of Scott's best films, mixing eye-catching visuals with a story that resonates with both emotion and deeper meaning. And it's also a lot of fun.
In the very near future, the first manned mission to Mars is caught off guard by a sudden storm. With their ship in danger, Commander Lewis (Jessica Chastain) orders the crew to evacuate, but in the chaos botanist Watney (Matt Damon) is knocked away and presumed dead. As Lewis and her team (Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan and Aksel Hennie) begin the long trek back to Earth, Watney wakes up alone on Mars and understands that he will need to survive until the next mission arrives in four years' time. But his habitat is only designed to last for 30 days, so he has a lot of work to do. Eventually, he thinks of a way to get a message back home to Nasa, letting them know he's alive. Now the experts (including Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean and Kristen Wiig) must figure out a way to rescue him before he runs out of food and water.
The story plays out on three fronts: with Watney using his expertise to survive, Lewis and her crew on their long journey back home, and the Nasa officials mounting a rescue mission. All three plot-strands are riveting, using convincing science to explore the conundrum while cranking up the emotional urgency of the situation. Intriguingly, the script never gives Watney a family back on Earth to sentimentalise things; the film simply doesn't need that. And Damon more than holds the audience's sympathy. He's funny, smart, tenacious and thoroughly identifiable, the kind of person we wish we would be in the same situation.
Continue reading: The Martian Review
In these faux featurettes, the crew of Ares 3 talk us through some of the procedures and practices they must go through before embarking on their perilous mission to Mars. The small team of astronauts are put through rigorous training and exercise programs to make sure they're both mentally and physically fit for the mission.
The team also talk about how they will actually get to Mars and show you around their ship.
Matt Damon leads the cast in The Martian, he plays astronaut Mark Watney who specialises in botany and mechanical engineering. The story follows his struggle to survive as he becomes deserted on Mars after a near fatal accident.
Continue: The Martian - Clips
The increasingly stale Marvel formula gets a blast of fresh air in this rollocking adventure movie, which combines a steady stream of character-based comedy with action sequences that are integrated seamlessly into the plot. Like last summer's Guardians of the Galaxy, the film departs from the usual tired structure to joyously tell a story that's more than pure escapism.
Released from prison after a stint for burglary, Scott (Paul Rudd) is struggling to restart his life when he has an unexpected encounter with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), an inventor who needs his help. Hank's technology company is being steered away from his original vision to help mankind by his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and his protege Darren (Corey Stoll), who see a chance to make a lot of money by selling Hank's ideas to the highest bidder. Hank's biggest breakthrough is a suit that shrinks the wearer down to ant-size, allowing for all kinds of unexpected possibilities. Pushed into a corner, Scott starts learning how to master the suit. But his ex-wife (Judy Greer) is now engaged to a cop (Bobby Cannavale) who's keeping his eye on Scott.
One of director Peyton Reed's main challenges was to sell the whole idea of an insect-sized warrior, and he does that fairly effortlessly, revealing an increasingly cool series of possibilities in each action sequence. These set-pieces emerge organically from the story, combining comedy and exhilaratingly coherent action to push the narrative forward. One of the best moments is an encounter with one of the Avengers (Anthony Mackie's Falcon), which offers a strong hint about how Ant-Man can liven up the franchise as a whole. And the climactic sequence is an inspired collision of mind-bending effects and inventive humorous touches (Thomas the Tank Engine nearly steals the whole film). Plus two post-credit stings for the fanboys.
Continue reading: Ant-Man Review
Mark Watney is an astronaut whose resourceful and determined personality is the only thing he has to rely on when he is accidentally abandoned on Mars when his team abort their mission in the face of an oncoming storm. He is presumed dead, but he has miraculously survived, though injured, and now must do everything within his power to get a message to NASA, calculating that if they get it, he still has to survive for four years until they reach him. He has little left in the way of supplies and is living in a Hab which is meant for only a month's worth of use. On his to do list is to attempt to grow crops to survive on, and do everything he can to make water. Luckily for him, a message does reach NASA and his crewmates immediately come together to work out how to rescue their man.
Continue: The Martian - International Trailer
It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...
Lloyd is a young ninja still in high school who is trained alongside five other...
Frank 'Ponch' Poncherello is the alter-ego of a barely capable undercover FBI agent who has...
Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...
Love, time and death connect every single human being on earth, we long for love,...
Terry Monroe and Bob Bolaño are cops who seek their own form of justice. If...
With its above-average cast and a gritty, realistic tone, this exorcism thriller is a lot...
Just as people began to write off veteran director Ridley Scott after a series of...
In these faux featurettes, the crew of Ares 3 talk us through some of the...
The increasingly stale Marvel formula gets a blast of fresh air in this rollocking adventure...
Mark Watney is an astronaut whose resourceful and determined personality is the only thing he...