Jennifer Connelly

The Rocketeer

Year: 1991
Directed By: Joe Johnson
Written By: Dave Stevens (original character) Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, and William Dear (story and screenplay)


In 1991 I was seven years old and already a huge fan of this type of film and character. Thanks to the likes of He-Man, Flash Gordon, Batman, and of course the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I was already a veteran of films about heroes. They were my favorite and along came this lovable Disney movie about a guy with a really cool looking costume flying around with a jetpack. On top of that he was going head to head with Nazis a la Indiana Jones style. I remember seeing this movie in the theater multiple times going to work with my dad at that young age and I absolutely loved it.

For a time I even demanded my mother fix my hair just like Cliff Seacord with that part in the middle although my hair would never look right. I also really wanted one of those bitchin red leather jackets that button up all the way across the front, though I’d never be able to rock that either. Even today, if I were able to get my hands on a replica of the Rocketeer’s helmet it would be displayed in a prime place among all my cool fan boy crap. The funny thing is that Cliff Seacord, played by Billy Campbell, was the kind of character only a seven year old could love. I hold him in nostalgic honor now as “that cool guy that was the Rocketeer,” but in all honesty a better actor could have made a more memorable movie.

Somehow Campbell managed to beat out several actors such as Emilio Estevez, Matthew Modine, Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid, and Kurt Russell. All of whom where arguably at the high points of their respective careers. If Billy Campbell ever went on to do anything else of significance I am unfamiliar with it. He had the benefit of a great supporting cast to make him look better though. Alan Arkin is such a talented actor and he brings something great to every thing he is a part of. Timothy Dalton makes for a great villain as the undercover Nazi with the terrifying henchman at his disposal. Paul Sorvino is in his natural role as a cool mobster who will break the law but isn’t working for any damn Nazi. Jennifer Connelly is also noteworthy as the pretty damsel in distress.

I remember back in 2010 being surprised to see that Joe Johnson was going to be the guy behind camera on the highly anticipated Captain America: The First Avenger. When the name was first reported I had to look him up. While I saw a few notable films, The Rocketeer was the one that jumped out at me and a ton of memories about this movie came flooding back to me. It was then that I decided to add this movie to the collection and I don’t think it was a mistake.

This movie holds special value to me because for a while it was my favorite during a tough time in childhood. Setting that aside I still think this is a really cool movie. Disney has always been able to make a fun and exciting movie that was appropriate for all ages. This movie has cool bad guys, mobsters, airplanes, sword fights, Nazis, the legend of aviation Howard Hughes, and Hollywood all rolled into one. It’s a movie that this day in age no one remembers and few have even heard of it. That doesn’t change anything about the film because I’ll stand by this one. This movie is worth your time and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and do.

NEXT MOVIE: Role Models (2008)



Year: 2003
Directed By: Ang Lee
Written By: James Schamus, John Turman, Michael France. Honorary credits for Stan Lee and Jack Kirby


I’ve wanted to watch this movie for a while now, since we reviewed the most recent Hulk movie. I specifically wanted to try to pinpoint why this movie was such a failure.  I remembered how much it bombed when it was released but didn’t think it was that bad of a movie.  Well, I was being too generous to the film.  Having watched it now I can verify that it is that bad.  It’s an awful movie to go along with a character that films should not be made about.  There are things I do like about this movie, good ideas from the director and casting coordinator, but they couldn’t do enough to help this hopeless film.

There is one lone thing that I think does make this movie exceptional and I don’t know why it hasn’t been tried by any other comic film as of yet.  Ang Lee used an interesting technique when editing the film in which he split the screen to have different footage playing simultaneously at one time. I think this gave the movie a real comic book look and feel to it. It was an excellent idea, and probably the best thing the movie has to offer.  This Hulk movie came out early in the era of Marvel character movies and I thought it was a really clever touch to set it apart from others. In the dozen or so comic book movies that have come out over the last ten years I am surprised I haven’t seen this effect again. It very well could be that nobody would do anything that was done in this movie again simply because it was such a disaster of a film.

I also thought the special effects and action in this movie were good.  This is something Lee excels at as we have seen from his prior work. However while his movies may sport great and exciting action they are never short of long and boring retarding points usually peppered with long shots of scenery and horizon shots. I have never really been a fan of Ang Lee but he isn’t a bad filmmaker.  When this movie came out I was familiar with him from his film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon so I knew what to expect when the movie was being made.  Great action, long stretches of boredom.  At the time in 2003 Lee had been up for two directing jobs, this movie or Terminator 3. I was glad he chose to do this one because I felt he would ruin the Terminator franchise by directing the long-awaited third film. Lee got behind the camera on this one with lots of buzz from his successful foreign film that had been a hit in the US (Crouching Tiger) but he pretty much destroyed all his credibility with this movie.  You could argue that he got it back with Brokeback Mountain, but I never saw the film and can’t get behind that idea.  I have high hopes for Life of Pi and look forward to the opportunity to see it.

For the most part I liked the cast of this movie and felt they all fit their roles appropriately.  I am not an Eric Bana fan and don’t think he really captured the character well here but I do think he looked the part.  He looked much like I had expected Bruce Banner to when I was young and reading the comics.  Although I really think his performance was campy and I think both Ed Norton and Mark Ruffalo played the part better.  I think Sam Elliott was great as General Thunderbolt.  I really think when they rebooted the franchise they should have had him stay on board and play the part in both films. Jennifer Connelly was a good choice for Betty Ross and I think she played the part better than Liv Tyler did in the reboot.  I think the writing of Bruce Banner’s father was a bad idea and I think Nick Nolte did an awful job playing the part.  It’s not Nolte’s fault mind you, the role was ridiculous, but he didn’t do anything to justify the character.  I think Josh Lucas’s character was stupid as well and brought the movie down a notch.  When you stand next to a stick of dynamite you don’t light matches, why this guy kept trying to pick a fight with Bruce Banner and the Hulk is beyond me. It was just another stupid thing in a stupid movie.

This movie failed most miserably in establishing a real villain and by centering the story around Bruce Banner’s father.  Not only was Nolte bad as a villain but I thought his mutant dogs were really stupid.  Maybe if they were just giant pit bulls I could have been accepting to a degree but the poodle sealed it, it was a stupid idea.  Josh Lucas’s puny human sub-villain was unnecessary and poorly written. I think when you make a movie about a famous comic character it is important to stay true to the roots of the character.  You are making a film about a character that everybody already knows and loves.  You make the movie about him the way it is supposed to be made; you don’t screw around with what people already know about the character.  Making Bruce Banner turn into the Hulk as a direct result of his father’s scientific experiments on him was a bad idea. They kept the Gamma radiation accident as part of the story but in this film it is only what triggers the transformation and not what started it.  During the whole film the movie alludes to this back story that Bruce remembers and is supposed to explain how everything happened but by the time you get to it you are already bored.

The real problem here is simply that it is difficult to make a movie about the Hulk character.  The Hulk is different from other Marvel characters in that he is not a hero, he is a monster.  Bruce Banner is a brilliant and innocent man who is cursed with this monster he turns into.  It goes against the basic elements of all super hero films.  The movie centers on the hero as he tries to stop the dangerous villain threatening the world or something personal to him. The Hulk doesn’t think and he doesn’t save.  He simply destroys, he is fueled by rage and when he gets going he is going to leave a path of destruction behind him.  Despite all this the jolly green character has always been popular so studios are always going to try to bank on the name recognition.  This only makes for a difficult task for the writers, although the others have been much better.  The reboot was fantastic and I really like how the Hulk was incorporated into The Avengers movie.

This movie however, is not worth your time and I strongly suggest you don’t waste any watching it.  The movie may have moments here and there but overall it is a waste. The reboot too is practically insignificant now that The Avengers has come out but it is still a much better movie than this one.  I think I have sufficiently covered why this movie was such a failure but if I missed anything by all means leave a comment and add to the story.

The Incredible Hulk

Year: 2008
Directed By: Louis Leterrier
Written By: Zak Penn, Edward Norton


The Hulk is a hard character to center movies around despite all the attempts to do so.  The Hulk is a really popular character in the Marvel Universe but the Hulk isn’t really a hero per say.  He doesn’t necessarily save, he destroys. The Hulk is the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide of Marvel Comics.  Bruce Banner is a man always struggling to control his power because his power is dangerous and he is afraid of hurting the ones he loves.  That’s a great character dynamic but it makes formatting a film story line difficult, that is part of the reason the Hulk films are never successful.

I grew up watching the Incredible Hulk television show with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.  I have always loved the character and I have liked all his incarnations in film.  Despite the popular opinion on Ang Lee’s Hulk in 2003, I thought it was OK.  I thought Eric Bana was a good casting choice for Bruce Banner, and I liked the movie despite its flaws.  The movie was far too long, but it was an Ang Lee film.  His movies are good for great action and incredibly long retarding points with a really long running time.  The movie was exactly that too, it had long stretches of boredom but where most people found that to be disappointing I had merely seen it as something to be expected.  We do not own the movie but I wouldn’t mind revisiting it at some point and writing a review about it.  I like Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross and I think Sam Elliott is awesome whether he was a good choice for the role or not.  If I get the opportunity to see it again maybe I can pinpoint exactly what made this movie so hated.  It was built for a sequel but was a complete and utter box office flop so no sequels were made.

This movie, The Incredible Hulk, is a reboot of the franchise and I thought it was an incredible movie.  Like its predecessor though, it did not live up to studio expectations profit wise. Despite that, this was a great movie and I thought it was awesome.  I am really not familiar with Louis Leterrier but he made a fantastic Hulk movie, even honoring the original Bill Bixby television show along the way.  What I liked most about this movie was that it was connected to the universe of films Marvel was beginning to create.  It was connected with the Iron Man movies as Robert Downey Jr. made a late scene cameo as Tony Stark. However, when that universe the studio was building came to fruition this film was not included.  Edward Norton was replaced as the Hulk in The Avengers film and everything we saw in this movie became nothing more than an after thought.  I know that after this film came out Edward Norton got into a dispute with the studio over a writing credit and things got a little ugly.  I think that in the end the studio obviously won because Norton wasn’t included in the party when things really got going.  I was really disappointed by that decision but I will admit Mark Ruffalo did a great job in the film.  There will probably be a Ruffalo Hulk movie made eventually unless the studio has finally learned its lesson in regards to centering a film on the Hulk character.

It really was a shame that the studio gave up on this movie and the franchise it might have created because I think Edward Norton was excellent in the part.  I really liked what was done with his character, how hard he worked to control his curse, the Japanese Judo breathing methods and what not. I don’t think Liv Tyler was bad in the part of Betty Ross but I did prefer Jennifer Connelly to her. William Hurt is an outstanding actor and I think he is awesome, but Sam Elliott may have had an edge on him too despite how good he is.  The mustache looked ridiculous on him, and nobody wears a mustache like Sam Elliott.  I think Tim Roth was a great bad guy and I liked seeing him in a big time movie again.  Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno both had really good cameos in this movie too.  No Marvel movie should be made without an appearance from Stan Lee for as long as we have him with us, and no Hulk movie should ever be made without paying its respects to Lou Ferrigno.

This movie might not matter anymore after the phenomenal success of The Avengers, but it is still worth your time to see. Mark Ruffalo may have been great in that movie but with all due respect he robbed all of us by taking the part that rightfully belonged to Edward Norton. This was an awesome movie and it’s just flat out not fair that it was discarded by the studio.  I cannot argue with how awesome The Avengers was, but I will always wish that things had went differently and Ed Norton had been involved.


I don’t love this movie. It’s okay I guess, but to be completely honest, I just don’t really like The Incredible Hulk as a super hero. Not my favorite. Let’s go ahead and move on to the poster.


Ryan sorta gave me some kind of picture in my head when he told me what this poster looked like. He said he was going to write my post for me, so thank goodness I didn’t let him do that. I hate this poster. It looks like Ed Norton is coming out of the Hulk’s ass. I am literally laughing out loud at the whole premise. There is this obtrusive glow on the typography of “Hulk”. I just really do not like this movie or poster. Not a fan.

NEXT MOVIE: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)

Year: 2008
Directed By: Scott Derrickson
Written By: David Scarpa (who adapted Edmund H. North’s 1951 screenplay)


I have never seen the original movie this film is based on, but I imagine it was really cool and ahead of its time. I have no way of knowing how it compares to the original but I do think this version of the film is pretty cool.  I can’t imagine the right technology was at hand to make a film like this in 1951 but that hasn’t stopped visionary filmmakers of any generation before.  This movie looked good, it was well stocked with popular actors, and it was exciting for the most part.

Watching it now I am really reminded a lot of the last remake we watched, Dawn of the Dead. The people are just a bit too stupid and too many dumb decisions are made in dealing with the situation at hand. Albeit I could see these exact decisions being made in real life by the government but it is still annoying to see.  This movie makes a strong effort to say something about our humanity but I think it is a message that is overdone and people were tired of hearing it when this movie came out. This movie was not successful at the box office despite relentless advertising and I think it is because the theme has been played out and people weren’t interested in seeing it again in a remake.  Yeah we are a species destroying our own planet. Yes the people we put in charge do not care or do anything to make things better. Yes we multiply and bleed the planet dry of resources relentlessly.  We get it, as long as movies have been made this message has been sent to us in every angle imaginable, from Planet of the Apes to Pixar’s Wall-E.  The fact that this is a remake from a movie made sixty years ago proves that by itself.

This is a visually compelling movie with great special effects, that’s the main reason to watch it.  Beyond that I think that Keanu Reeves performance makes this movie worth wild.  Reeve’s hasn’t really had many hits in his post-Matrix career and this movie definitely wasn’t a hit, but I think he was great as Klaatu.  He was cold and chilling as the alien envoy with really cool abilities.  Jennifer Connelly plays the female lead and she isn’t bad, but I am not a fan of hers. Kathy Bates is also in the movie and while I am a fan of hers I don’t think this was her finest role. There are many television stars in the film including Jon Hamm, Kyle Chandler, and Robert Knepper.  I think Will Smith’s kid was really miscast for this movie but the industry seems determined to make both of his kids superstars.

We only own this movie because I bought it used for four dollars or something, I thought it was worth that.  This isn’t the greatest movie we own and it isn’t one of my favorites but it’s not a bad film.  I think that you would enjoy it if you gave it a shot.  Again, I have not seen the original so I could eventually see myself taking back everything I said about this movie.  When I saw the remake of Dawn of the Dead in 2004 I didn’t think there was anyway the original could be better because it was so scary and the effects were so good, but I was wrong about that.  I could easily be making a mistake about this film as well simply because it looks good and stars people I recognize.


I really enjoy this movie. I wasn’t sure about it when we watched it the first time, or even when I saw the trailer for the first time, but overall this is a movie that can get into your head and make you think about the human race and the way that we treat the planet. I am not a fan of a Keanu Reeves; I think he is a horrible actor that somehow continues to get jobs. Having said that, it is roles like this one and The Matrix that make it okay for him. Especially this one, where he doesn’t even play a human. Those are the best roles for Reeves in my opinion.

In any case, this movie is moving in the sense that we are treating our planet and each other like shit. We dispose of so much waste that it literally makes me anxious. I have anxiety about the fact that all of this waste we have just goes and sits in a landfill. Eventually those areas are going to run out, and when they do we are going to be overwhelmed with trash and human waste. We also even treat each other like crap. Occasionally, we come together as a race and help others during times of troubles like natural disasters, but that never lasts very long and as soon as the news is old we are out and they are on their own again (Haiti).

This is a moving movie, and although out there with the aliens and all, it provides a good message that we should all treat each other better and also treat this planet better.

NEXT MOVIE: Dazed and Confused (1993)