REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum [2019]

Rules and consequences. Like the Purge series before it, John Wick is proving to be a money-making franchise that loves to let its mythology gradually unfold in a way that familiarizes via a personal experience prior to zooming out so the systemic issues beyond one man’s home can be revealed. While we still stay with the titular character as played by Keanu Reeves (an assassin that assassins simultaneously fear and revere who did the impossible to get out of the life only to see tragedy—his wife’s untimely death—start a chain…

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REVIEW: Ant-Man and the Wasp [2018]

Like Baba Yaga … While a lot of fans were instantly and irrationally mad upon learning Avengers: Infinity War wouldn’t include Hawkeye or Ant-Man, I rejoiced knowing that Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s release date fell between both it and its as yet untitled Avengers follow-up. This meant that Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) latest adventure to the Quantum Realm would have no bearing on the crazy cliffhanger seemingly sealing the fates of so many other superheroes. Marvel was positioning its cinematic universe’s “lighter side” as a vehicle to help distract audiences…

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REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 2 [2017]

“Are you here for the Pope?” The team behind John Wick achieved success with a formula that distilled the prototypical action film down to its main points of entertainment while leaving the fat on the cutting room floor. This is why we moved back and forth through time for some scenes (the result playing out while the road there is experienced in montage) and why the economy of script successfully conveyed a hyper-real state of danger and malice from all involved. We don’t need elaboration on what we just saw…

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REVIEW: Passengers [2016]

“Excellent choice” **Spoilers included** You’re traveling on a spaceship towards a distant planet in hopes of restarting your life anew with endless possibilities. The journey takes 120 years, your body in stasis to arrive the same age that you left. Let’s say something happens around the thirty year mark to cause an unknown malfunction that inexplicably wakes you with no way of returning to slumber. This massive ship is at your disposal—well, the areas accessible by your wrist bracelet’s discerning permissions and a crowbar—but there’s no one with which to…

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REVIEW: Ride Along [2014]

“Congratulations. They know we have a dirty household.” Are you a fan of Kevin Hart? Saying yes means you’ll probably be satisfied with Ride Along if only to enjoy the antics he’s saturated Hollywood with these past couple years. It’s a run-of-the-mill buddy cop comedy that hits every note in the formula book thanks to two sets of rewrites over a four-year gestation, but none of it truly matters when Hart is there to amp up the funny each time he opens his mouth and ceases to shut it. The…

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REVIEW: Man of Steel [2013]

“It wouldn’t be much of a surrender if I resisted” After Bryan Singer’s misguided attempt to stay true to original cinematic canon by having Superman Returns follow Richard Donner’s two Christopher Reeve starrers ultimately failed, a hard reboot was necessary. With DC Comics getting increasingly outplayed by every new expansion of the Marvel universe, it’s no surprise they would hand creative franchise control over to the man who reinvigorated their brand on the big screen in 2008. Producer Christopher Nolan not only found a way to rinse the ugly taste…

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REVIEW: Contagion [2011]

“Somewhere the wrong bat met up with the wrong pig” After teaming up for a very funny take on a true story with The Informant!, screenwriter Scott Z. Burns and director Steven Soderbergh decide to give life to a fictionalized take on a very real threat. In Contagion, government suits may assume a weaponized terrorist attack is the cause of a disease running amok, but we know the truth early. With patient zero a cute blonde businesswoman from an international corporation having a good time with clients at a Hong…

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REVIEW: Predators [2010]

“Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man” Sometimes you have to be dropped on an alien planet with a bunch of amoral killers to finally discover what it means to be human. The sentiment may be cheesy, but for some reason it works in the reboot/sequel hybrid Predators. I haven’t seen the first two installments, knowing only that Predator is supposedly a classic of the genre and Predator 2 good for a laugh at Danny Glover. After watching both Alien vs. Predator flicks, however, I wouldn’t say…

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REVIEW: Bobby [2006]

“The once and future king” Emilio Estevez has thrust himself back into the limelight this year with his passion project about the day of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination. While doing maybe four or so acting roles in the past seven years, Estevez has honed his directorial skills with tv shows and I’m sure tweaked his script and signed a wishlist of actors. I’m sure it was the storyline parallel between RFK’s Vietnam messiah with the hope for one today in Iraq by the Hollywood Democrats that drew many to the…

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REVIEW: Mission: Impossible III [2006]

“There is a point where bold becomes stupid.” Ving Rhames’s character Luthor speaks the above words and couldn’t be more right. Just by looking at the evolution of the Mission: Impossible series, one can see a bold example of cerebral storytelling shot by virtuoso Brian De Palma and a cold, mechanical showing of a really stupid haircut filmed by John Woo—who still hasn’t matched the brilliance of his final Hong Kong piece Hard Boiled stateside. Mission: Impossible III definitely could have fallen in either camp and my thoughts leaned towards…

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