Warner has a winner in Wick; Chapter 2 sets down roots for a new series

keanu-reeves-will-kill-em-all-in-john-wick-chapter-2

John Wick does not miss

I liked the original John Wick; I actually wrote about it before I even watched it a second time.  And here I am again, writing about the latest of what should become a long-running series for Keanu Reeves’ hitman done wrong.  After only one viewing, it has my stamp of approval.  Check out the trailer and then more after the jump:

Read More

Advertisements

5 things I found suprising about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-official-trailer-2-hd.png

Pissed-off Superman needed more screen time

(Spoiler warning)

Before I get into the list, I need to provide some context.
First, I didn’t see Man of Steel because I hate Zack Snyder.  Maybe hate is too strong; severely disrespect is closer to the truth.  And nothing in the trailers for that film convinced me I should see it, and the reviews definitely supported my choice to avoid it.  So there’s that.
Second, I severely disrespect Zack Snyder.  I mean, I give him props for being a money-making hack, sort of a “thinking man’s Michael Bay.”  Which is the definition of damning with faint praise.  While Bay seems to be making (crappy) movies for pre-pubescent boys (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers), Snyder seems to be staking out the freshly pubed (300, Sucker Punch), so to speak. To say my expectations were low is the height of understatement.
All that to say that I went into Bat v Supe not even considering that this was actually a sequel to Man of Steel.  So while I really dug the Batman origin story that was condensed into a wordless montage at the very beginning of the film, I was more than a little put off by the fact there was little to no exposition explaining Supe’s big, Metropolis-mashing melee with General Tso’s chicken or whoever dude was. Just like Everyman on the street, I was like WTF?  And also left wondering why, outside of opportunistic product placement, billionaire Bruce Wayne chose a cheap Jeep econobox to tool around the falling mayhem and basically do nothing.  Other than somehow avoid being completely covered in concrete dust.
But, I have to admit that I actually started falling for the film in spite of all that, and by the time Lex Luthor dropped the bomb on the Capitol Hill Crew (I warned you about the spoilers), I was fully on board with the idea that just maybe Zack Snyder actually made a movie worth watching. Quelle surprise!
Here’s the main trailer; check out the 5 other things that surprised me after the jump:

Read More

5 things I found incredible about Interstellar

Yes, this is actually a kickass sci-fi movie. And a father-daughter tearjerker too.

Okay, Christopher Nolan is back in my good graces. I’ve been seeing the trailer for Interstellar seemingly all year, and started to get worried that it might be overpromising a good time. Turns out I was worrying in vain, as this movie rocks its socks off. This is the science fiction/space exploration/save the world/time travel action/adventure everyone has been waiting for. Nolan delivers big time with this one.

Even though I’ve been a big fan since Memento, I was seriously ready to cast Nolan into the Closet of Hacks after the deep disappointment of that logical mess of a movie, The Dark Knight Whatever.

First the trailer (and believe me, this trailer barely scratches the surface of what the film actually shows) and then my 5 incredible things after the jump:

Read More

5 things I found extremely enjoyable about Edge of Tomorrow

Yes, he’s a douchebag here, but a helluva hero later

So this was the one for me. Of all the summer movies, Edge of Tomorrow was the one that did it for me. It had all the key elements of a summer blockbuster: science fiction, end of civilization, aliens, monsters, monster aliens, cool technology, time travel and humor. And of course, lots and lots of explosions. EoT was helped tremendously by the fact that it featured the world’s top action star, Tom Cruise, who plays a smarmy guy who really deserves to have something nasty happen to him… and it pretty much does in the first 10 minutes. Then the film takes off like a rocket.

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times called the film “… a badass, sci-fi take on Groundhog Day, with Tom Cruise in the Bill Murray role as a self-centered and not particularly noble loner who finds himself starring in a continual loop in which he is condemned to repeat the same day over and over — which eventually leads to some life-changing revelations.” Yup. Check out the kickass trailer and then find out what I found so enjoyable about it after the jump:

Read More

5 things I loved about Lucy

She doesn’t want what you think she wants

When I first saw the trailer for Lucy, I was like, “Damn, that’s hot.” And I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for anything Scarlett Johansson does, so that just might have something to do with my reaction. All I could tell was that she was somehow a drug mule done wrong and suddenly gets superhuman powers. What’s not to like? That it was directed by French filmmaker Luc Besson (ranked “In The Lobby” by the braintrust here at VOH) didn’t hurt, but didn’t really help much either. I’d probably go see Scar Jo directed by VOH-certified hack Michael Bay (in The Island), or directed by the man responsible for the crazily-disappointing Cowboys and Aliens, Jon Favreau (in Iron Man 2). ‘Cause it’s her. So I was down to see Lucy.

And I went to see it and was not that impressed. I think I was taken by surprise with what Besson, who also wrote the screenplay, was trying to say. I didn’t really get it. I thought I was in for a straightforward revenge flick, but once Lucy gets tuned in and turned on by all those synthetic drugs released in her system, suddenly revenge is the very last thing on her mind, if at all. So I had to go see it again, about a month or so later, at a second-run theater. And I finally got it.

Richard Corliss from Time called it “… the summer’s coolest, juiciest, smartest action movie.” Well, as usual, he was wrong, which is one of the many reasons I don’t read Time. Edge of Tomorrow was the summer’s coolest, juiciest, smartest action movie. But Lucy is damn cool, no doubt about it.

Don’t get it twisted. While it’s not a revenge flick, Lucy gets to kick a serious amount of butt; it’s just that her motivation is not what you’d expect. It comes from a surprisingly high place. Check out the trailer and my 5 things will follow after the jump.

Read More

5 things that had me excited about The Equalizer

The Equalizer

Here’s a movie that almost missed me. I mean, I remember the old mid-80s TV drama featuring an old spy who could somehow still take care of business. So when I heard about a film version starring Denzel Washington in the title role, my initial thought was “Meh, I’ll pass.” And the trailer didn’t do much to warm me up either. But then I read a review by A.A. Dowd at the Onion AV Club, actually quite critical (Dowd gave the film a C Minus), but something about it piqued my interest. Maybe it was a boring weekend, but I went out to see it, and man, I am glad I did! This new version of The Equalizer is nothing like the TV show. It’s more like Washington’s other role as a retired CIA killer, Man on Fire, except instead of being a moody, alcoholic, suicidal psychopath he’s a friendly, obsessive-compulsive, do-gooder psychopath. In his review, Dowd claims Washington’s character is “Blessed with the fighting skills of Batman.” He must have forgotten that Batman got his ass kicked by Bane last time out. In The Equalizer, ain’t nobody kicking Denzel’s ass… I would say he was blessed with the omnipotent fighting power of Bruce Lee. The very first action piece, in my mind, is worth the entire price of admission, but Sony is going to do you a favor and let you see it for free in the clip below.

Check out the action, and then my 5 things after the jump:


Read More

5 unsettling things I found in Fury

War really is hell

When I first started seeing theatrical trailers for Fury, I would inwardly (and sometimes openly) groan with displeasure, because I feel that the last thing this world needs is another movie that glorifies the violent taking of other people’s shit, commonly known as war.  So I was pretty much planning on not seeing it… until I read some of the reviews and learned that glorification was the absolute last thing on director David Ayer’s mind.  Which makes sense for someone who claims that his favorite movie is Apocalypse Now.

David Denby of The New Yorker (whom I usually ignore) calls it “one of the great war movies…”   I might take issue with that, but I readily admit that it is an involving piece of cinema about the very harrowing prospect of life and death in a tank in an old, bloody war.  Many people will not like this film, just as many didn’t like other war movies bent on telling the truth about the ultimate futility of fighting, but it is hard to argue this film’s visceral impact. Check out the trailer and then my 5 things:

Read More