TL;DR – In many respects, this is the best John Wick film so far, or at least it would be if the action scenes were a touch more restrained in their length
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to see this film
John Wick: Chapter 4 Review –
If there has been one series that has captured my attention in the last decade, it is the Jon Wick films. John Wick: Chapter 1 was an explosive surprise that shifted what action films could do in the modern era. John Wick: Chapter 2 took the world and expanded it in every way. While John Wick: Chapter 3 pumped everything up to eleven. Could they keep ramping up each time? Well, let’s see.
So to set the scene, after Winston Scott (Ian McShane) betrays John Wick (Keanu Reeves), shoots him in the chest and throws him off the Continental’s roof, it looks like the end for John. Well, until he is found by the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), who is very happy helping John with his revenge mission. But revenge often comes with its own retribution, and The Table strikes back hard and without mercy. Because, as they say, revenge is a dish best served cold or via dog attack. It is one of them.
TL;DR – There were hints of something fabulous here, but it just felt like it was always held back from reaching its true potential.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film
The School for Good and Evil Review –
Many genres land for me on a personal level; one of them is taking traditional narratives and bringing a new twist to them. You can see it clearly when someone takes a swing at an old fairy tale and brings new life into it. Today we are looking at just such a film in a land far from our own, full of good and evil.
So to set the scene, in the long past of the fairy tale world, two brothers, Rhian (Kit Young) and Rafal (Kit Young) created a school to bring balance between good and evil, a balance that is now broken between them and the world after the use of forbidden blood magic. A long time later, in the small town of Gavaldon, two outcast girls, Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie), are complete opposites but also best friends. One day while in town, they stop into Deauville’s Storybook Shop, they learn about the legend of The School of Good of Evil, and Sophie puts all her hope into the wishing tree that it is real. Well, one night, under a red sky, they find out the answer the hard way. Even worse, they might have made a mix-up as they stare down Lady Leonora Lesso, the Dean of the School for Evil (Charlize Theron) and Prof. Clarissa Dovey, the Dean of the School for Good (Kerry Washington).
TL;DR – While it might not stick the landing, it did engage me right up to that point
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime subscription that viewed this episode.
All the Old Knives Review –
Some films spark your interest from the cast list alone. One of those combinations is Chris Pine, Thandiwe Newton, Laurence Fishburne, and Jonathan Pryce, all working together in a film. Add a layer of spies, subterfuge, regrets, and loves lost, and you have the groundwork for something interesting or at least something that speaks to me.
So to set the scene, we opened in Vienna, where terrorists hijacked a Turkish Airlines plane, Flight 127. At the CIA-Vienna outpost, all the team look in horror as the carnage unfolds. 8-years later, one of the terrorists involved was captured in Afghanistan, who let it be known that the terrorists had help from inside the CIA-Vienna station. Vick Wallinger (Laurence Fishburne) tasks Henry Pelham (Chris Pine) to investigate his former team, the second in command Bill Compton (Jonathan Pryce), his old love Celia Harrison (Thandiwe Newton), and the whole team. They need to find out if there was a mole in the department and if it caused the deaths of all those people.
TL;DR – Today we countdown my Top 10 films of all time; from towns where there are a lot of ‘accidents’, to all forms of Sci-Fi, to do you know the man with six fingers on his right hand, and everything in between.
Recently I watched the CineFix crew countdown their Top 10 films, and it had me thinking what are mine? Now it was at this point where I of course naturally spiralled as how can you reduce thousands of films that you have seen into only a Top 10. Just before I threw my hands up in resignation and chucked in the towel I happened to catch an episode of Movies with Mikey on how he determined the best sequel. With this in mind I wondered if there was a set of criteria that I could use to categorise the films into a list that I would be happy with, and after some work, I came up with the following criteria that work for me.
Films that are beautifully constructed
Films that mean something to me
Films that are always re-watchable
Films that have added to my love of the craft of cinema
With this criterion in mind I went through all the likely candidates and with a bit of a struggle I think I have been able to come to a final list, well at least until I change my mind next week, which is always a chance.
TL;DR – A fun self-contained romp in the MCU that has all the charm of the first film with a bit more focus and a more interesting opponent.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene
Ant-Man (see review) was a bit of an odd duck of a film when it first came out. It followed on from Avengers: Age of Ultron (see review) as a kind of epilogue to Phase Two even though it didn’t kind of fit there. As well as this, it had the misfortune of being one of the two films in Phase Two where Marvel had big director missteps, with Edgar Wright stepping away from the project. It had all the makings of Marvel’s first big complete failure, yet it wasn’t. Indeed it was a fun little heist film with a lot of charm. Part of this has to be the groundwork Edgar laid down, but also the commitment of the actors to just go for it. Ant-Man was also one of those crystallising moments that showed that Marvel needed to work on a few things behind the scenes and the fruits of those decisions have been films like Black Panther (see review) and Thor: Ragnarok (see review). With this in mind, today we look at the first direct follow up which fixes one of the issues from the first film, and we see that right in the title because today we are looking at Ant-Man and the Wasp.
TL;DR – John Wick was the gold standard for action films and John Wick Chapter 2 continues this with brutal action, and a deeper insight into this fascinating world.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Now it should come as no surprise that I love the first John Wick film, from the action, to the world building, to the sheer commitment of Keanu Reeves put into preparing for the role. Indeed I wrote a whole article on how it sets the gold standard for Worldbuilding and Visual Storytelling. The issue is that when you love the first film it is always a bit difficult to look at a sequel with an objective lens, on the one hand, you may be blinded by rose tinted glasses, or you may judge it harshly because nothing can live up to the expectations the first film made. With this in mind, I approached John Wick 2 cautiously but I am still happy to say while it did not quite live up to the first film it is still an amazing film in its own right. Its action is still as good as the first, we delve deeper into this world they are creating, and we get to see what happens when a movie is perfectly cast.
TL;DR – The biggest problem with Passengers is that it keeps hinting at a better film out there, but unfortunately it never quite gets there.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
So would you say goodbye to everyone you love, board a spaceship in a hibernation pod for a 120-year journey just for a chance of a new life on a new world, even though you know when you get there everyone from your past will be dead. It’s an interesting thought experiment and one of many that Passengers speculates on throughout the film. When the film is at its best it is looking at an answering these questions, when it is at its worst it’s ignoring them to quickly tie the story up.
TL;DR – An utter mess of a film, disjointed, nonsensical, and a very poor foundation for DC to build their Justice League series on
Score – 2 out of 5 stars
You know I wanted to be surprised by Batman v Superman, it looked rushed, it looked like they had not given enough thought before rushing ahead with their Avengers competition, it looked like they were making all the same mistakes Sony made with Spiderman, but still, I wanted to like it, but alas this is an incoherent mess of a film with only momentary glimpses of being any good. To get us started, Batman v Superman starts with us experiencing the climax of the last film from Bruce Wayne’s (Ben Affleck) perspective, we then jump forward to two years later where a bat vigilante is attacking criminals in Gotham across the bay from Metropolis, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is in Africa being the damsel in distress (a role she will be stuck in for this film) and everyone else is politely pretending that Clark Kent and Superman (Henry Cavill) are not the same person.