Month: October 2014

John Wick, he’s thinking he’s back.

Let’s start with this, I am a Keanu Reeves fan. Very few of his films have I not liked. I understand the guy gets a lot of flak, and he can be very cheesy, but put in the right role and he is phenomenal. Replacements, Hardball, Bill & Ted, the 1st Matrix, Speed, Devil’s Advocate, freaking Point break! Good films, all in which Keanu is great in! Now that’s not to say he hasn’t turned in some stinkers. I understand. But what actor hasn’t? Keanu is talented. And John Wick, this one, this is the return to stardom.

John Wick, the newest endeavor starring Keanu Reeves. Directed by two stunt men, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, and stars among Reeves, Michael Nvqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, and William Dafoe. I can honestly tell you I knew nothing about this film until about a month ago. I was watching some trailers for upcoming films and random a new one popped up Called John Wick. Starring Keanu. Now I though what most thought after 47 Ronin, aw man, this is not going to be pretty. But then, after watching I was amazed. I thought to myself, this movie looks freaking awesome! Now if you haven’t watched the trailers, there are going to be spoilers. But as long as you have seen the trailers, you’ll be fine……. Ok that said, they killed his dog! Regardless of the fact that in Hollywood, you never kill the dog, this was a no-no! You knew right away him going to mess some people up! Question is, would the film live up to what should happen, due to the killing of a dog! Your answer, DAMN STRAIGHT IT DOES!

John Wick follows the story of an ex hit man (Reeves) as he is pulled back into the life after a mobster’s son (Allen) steals his car and kills his dog. Same basic story right? We’ve seen it a million times, hit man is forced back for one more job. Not so Generic this time. It ran the risk of coming back after the dog, something else happens that makes it more important, like always. Nope. You killed my dog, I’m going to f^(# you up! And that’s it, that’s your story, everyone in his way, he’s going to kill. The story is basic to a point, but it is the execution that makes it so incredible. It is such a fun film! It is filled with humor, and not like joke, joke, joke, it’s just this is a fun situation. I can’t help but laugh at the predicament these villains are in. Yes the villains are in trouble. It’s so generic when a films antagonist is full of themselves and not worried about the protagonist. This one, flips the script. The Bad guy knows he’s screwed because his son killed the dog of the most dangerous killer in history! It is epic!

The cast is perfect. Everyone knows there role and plays to it. This is the type of film that is made for Keanu! His acting is cheesy to a point, but it needed to be. There are a few emotional scenes that you sit there and say to yourself, yes, this is the guy that brought us the Matrix. This is the guy who can truly deliver us a great performance. The directors are spot on. As stunt men, they make the action that they have coined as Gun-Fu, very distinct and prevalent. Watching the film I wanted to call it a through back to 80’s action, done with 90’s style, updated for today’s audience. It is incredible!

John Wick has such potential for a franchise as well. And not so much for just continuing stories of John Wick himself, but for the world they have created! The film creates this near video game like under world of assassins, that have a hotel that they all can live at where the rules are strict, giving them a place a safe haven from the dangers of their world. There is soooo much potential in this idea. Whether John Wick is involved or not, a spin off idea is great!

Negatives, I honestly don’t have any. I loved every minute of this film. Not that it is an academy award worthy film, but it was the most fun I have had in the theater since Guardians of the Galaxy. It is just a damn fun time! I gave it a 5.8 overall, with a .4 bonus for such a fun time, giving it a final Jeebus score of 6.2, JEEBUS-TACULAR! I implore you to go see this film! Let’s not have another Edge of Tomorrow debacle! Because honestly, people keep asking if Keanu is back, and I’m thinking, Yea, he’s back. Take on Dr. Strange, Ted!

Fury

So this past few weeks have been filled with some phenomenal films. I have been very excited and very pleased with the lot of them. Fury is another of the lot that was truly amazing. I have been very hyped going forward to this film. My buddy, who we will call Angry Andrew, constantly repeated to me how bad the film looked. “OMG, another Brad Pitt war movie! This looks terrible!” I know right? Horrible accusation. He doesn’t know much about film. That said, it could have been overhype, he could have been right. SO I made sure Angry Andrew came to see the David Ayer directed film with me, partially so I could rub it in his face about how incredible the film was going to be.

The David Ayer written and directed film has an all-star cast. Maybe not the A Listers we have all come to know, but the surrounding Brad Pitt is certainly A List talent. Shia LaBoots (LaBeouf), Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, and Jason Isaacs, all top talents in their own rights. The cast is truly what makes the film. They are all incredible in their rolls. Each bringing different personality traits to their distinct characters.

The story follows a group of soldiers that control a tank during World War II that have named FURY. War Daddy (Pitt) leads his crew as they are joined by a replacement assistant driver Norman Ellison (Lerman) who is only 8 months into his Army career. Ellison who was trained as a typist is not prepared for war, and reluctant to his new position, while his new crew are close as family, and have been thru hell and back. As the German soldiers press forward, the Fury team is pressed to do their job and stop the enemy at all cost, even when they become the final defense, against over powering number of Nazi Soldiers.

Fury is an intense film. You feel nearly every moment of action. The situations these characters find themselves in drag you in. There was one scene I felt was dragging, and didn’t necessarily need to be in the film. As it carried out I felt they could of taken this back to the editing board. That is until the entire scene played out, only then did I realize how pivotal every second of this film is. It sets up everything perfectly, and the film plays out exceptionally. I can see the script getting the Oscar nod.

Watching the trailer I was a little worried about the effects. It almost looks liked Star Trek or Star Wars phasser guns firing. But then watching this movie it made a little more sense, and looked pretty awesome. I had a few problems with the ending of the film. I felt it could have been written a little better. But it wasn’t big enough for me to really hurt my overall opinion of the film. So as you may have guessed, I’m going pretty high with my Jeebus score, 5.4. And what did Angry Andrew have to say as we left the theater? Well I’ll quote his Facebook, “I’ll eat my words, freakin great movie”

Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, The Judge

The jury is in on The Judge

The Judge. The highly anticipated film starring acting power houses Robert Duval and Robert Downey Jr. has finally hit screens across the nation and one thing is for certain, it’s Oscar season. After last week’s Gone Girl was released and now The Judge it is clear the Oscar bait films are out in full force. And if I were one of the old guys in the committee, this one would be in the running. Among Duval and RDJ the film stars Vera Farminga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Billy Bob Thornton, Leighton Meeston, and Dax Shepard, and is directed by David Dobkin.

The Judge tells the tale of high powered Chicago defense attorney Henry “Hank” Palmer, who while in the midst of a trial, is called back to his small town home after the passing of his Mother. He returns for the funeral and to his Estranged family that include his learning disabled brother Dale(Strong), his older brother who seems to bare a small grudge toward him Glen(D’Onofrio),and his father(Duval) who he hates, and who hates him. On his way back out of town he is pulled back into a trial that has father looking at murder charges, against a man that he put away years ago. He must now find his father’s innocence while going up against a Prosecutor named Dwight Dickham (Thornton) who is determined to get the Judge put away for life.

In a change of pace I am going to start with the negatives seeing how there are so few of them. The trailers will have you believe that this is a high powered court drama, but that’s not exactly the case. The film is a lot more of a character picture then it is a crime drama. Though there are a lot of scenes that take place in the court, more often than not you find yourself dealing with this families inner workings. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a little departure from what it looked like from a marketing perspective. As well there is a small story line involving an ex-girlfriend of Hank Palmer (RDJ) that had the entire thread been taken out, you wouldn’t be missing anything. Plus the small twist that comes of the ex-love storyline is not cleared up or addressed and leaves you kind of confused. As well, Dax Shepard’s character, a lawyer originally hired by Judge Palmer to defend him, also didn’t really need to be in the film, or at least as much as he was, which still isn’t even that much.

Sounds like nitpicking? Well it kind of is. Those are really the only problems in the film. The story is riveting, and pulls at your heart strings over and over again. I did not cry, but there were a few times that I definitely teared up. It almost got me. The scenes are powerful, especially the ones that involve just RDJ and Duval. Not only is Duval one the greatest actors of all time, but this film, these scenes, remind you that RDJ is a world class actor too. He’s not just Tony Stark. I can say, that baring a few more performances, I can honestly see both of these guys getting the Oscar nod. The entire film is casted well, none of these actors took me out of the film, nor did anything from the script. The dialog was fresh and crisp, the direction was up to par. It was just a well put together film. One I truly enjoyed.

I’m going high on my Jeebus score with this one. No bonus, but still ties Gone Girls 5.4, multiple viewings required. So how about you? Have you, or do you plan on seeing The Judge? And what are your favorite performances from RDJ other than Iron Man?

Batfleck v. Superman: Gone Girl Justice

Gone Girl, the David Fincher directed film based on the 2012 book of the same name written by Gillian Flynn. The film stars Batfleck (Ben Affleck), Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), and Carrie Coon. Gone Girl has been one of my most anticipated films of this year. I have been looking forward to it ever since the announcement. Though I have not read the book, this movie made me want to.

Gone Girl tells the story of Nick Dunne(Batfleck) who returns home early on the day of his 5th anniversary only to find what seems to be that someone has broken into his home, and his wife Amy(Pike) missing. As Nick’s life is in a frenzy, a media circus begins to turn the case upside down. The police and public begin to question Nick as the more in the spotlight he is, the more of his shortcomings and deceitful behavior come to light. Which leads everyone to ask the frightening question, Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

Gone Girl is a riveting tale with twist and turns around every corner. And like I said, I never read the book, but watching this film, I got the feeling it was playing out like a book, and makes me want to read it. The story has you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Trying to figure out what’s coming, thinking you are about to take a right, then the film takes a left. I could never predict what was happening next, nor could I take my thoughts away from this film. The run time on the film is 149 minutes, but there’s not a single minute that you feel it. When it ended I hadn’t even realized I had spent 2 and half hours in the theater.

The stars are definitely on par. For the record, I am huge supporter of Batfleck, not just for him as Batman, but his career over all. I know he did Gigli, get over it. He also did The Town, Changing Lanes, Argo, Good Will Hunting, and besides, Ben Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms yo! So that said, he is at the top of his game this go around. Hopefully the haters will finally be silenced by his performance. If you called it right now, I’d have to say I’d give him a nomination, it would probably be in the 5th and final spot, but I’d say he gets one. On that note, Rosamund Pike takes the statue this year. No doubt. She steals the show. I don’t know the girl very well, a matter of fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever even see her in anything else. But mark my words, she takes the statue for Best Actress. And Barney, well he kind of once again plays Barney, a much calmer, and kind of creepy Barney, but I still saw Barney. That’s nothing against NPH, he is very good in the film.

So needless to say, Gone Girl is amazing. I gave the film a Jeebus Score of 5.2, with a .1 bonus, now the bonus would have been more, but it actually took me out of the film. There is a cameo, all though I guess it’s not really a cameo, more of just a roll that went to an actor. But, the actor, is Minkus from the early seasons of Boy Meets World. Played by Lee Norris, he nothing more than a bit part cop with a few lines, but I loved Boy Meets World! And Minkus was great! So even though it took me out of the film for a second, I’m still giving it a .1 bonus, bringing the Jeebus score total to 5.3, Multiple Viewings Required.

Annabelle

So I will start off by telling you I never saw the Conjuring. I wanted to, but I saw a kid in the trailer, and that scared me. So I refused to see it. Children terrify me, so I try not to see horror movies based around kids, because I’ll end up sleeping with every light in my house on with The Lion King or The Lego Movie on repeat on my TV. But, I decided to take a chance on this one, Annabelle. How did I do? Well Everything is Awesome is playing in the back ground as I write this…….

Annabelle the prequel to The Conjuring! The Conjuring was hailed as not only one of the best of 2013, but some call it the best horror film in the past decade. That said, Annabelle had a lot to live up to. The film sees a new director who does not have much of a background. John R. Leonetti, yes the director that brought us Mortal Kombat Annihilation. Don’t let that sway you though. The film has its issues, but for the most part, it is a very good horror film. The film stars relative unknowns in Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton, as well as Tony Amendola and Alfrie Woodard.

Annabelle tells the story of a young family (Wallis and Horton) who after a tragic turn of events involving their neighbors cult following child, begin to be haunted by a possessed Doll. As they attempt to explain the events that are playing out in their lives, it becomes increasingly evident that this Doll is more then it seems.

The film is full of easter eggs that lead into The Conjuring (so I am told from my buddy). As well as you cliché horror tricks. You have your jump scares, your shadows, your noises, as well as all the normal creepy people walking in the background in and out of the frame. You’ve seen this a hundred times. Some films you see these clichés and they just don’t work, then there’s the jewels like Annabelle that can do it and make you feel like it’s the first time you’ve seen these cheap tricks

Annabelle is definitely creepy. You should leave the theater afraid, but if you end up looking closer you will also find a few problems with the film. The two leads, relative unknowns, have decent enough chemistry together, but the dialog between them is just awful. Whoever wrote these words (Gary Daubermann) must not speak to other people on a regular basis. As well, the manifestation of the demon took me out of the film. As soon as I saw it my mind raced to the demon in This is the End.

All in all, Annabelle had me scared in the theater, afraid on the way home, and watching The Lego Movie with my lights on so I can sleep. I’m giving it a Jeebus score of 3.5, plus a .1 bonus for being the first horror movie since Paranormal Activity 3 that has me watching a kids cartoon with the lights on to sleep. That brings it to a 3.6, Check out the Matinee.

The Rock joins Baywatch

Looks as if the Baywatch big screen adaption has just gained its first major star. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting The Rock has signed on to be the lead man in Paramount Pictures film.

Baywatch was an action drama set on the beaches of Los Angeles that ran from 1989 till 1999. The new film adoption is set to be directed by the team that brought us We’re The Millers, Sean Anders and John Morris, while the script has been originally penned by Jeremy Garlicky and Peter Tolan. Word is that n the original script, parts were written for both Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff. Though there is no telling what version of the script will be used when the time comes.

The Rock was most recently scene in this years Hercules, and will next be seen reprising his role as Luke Hobbs in the Fast and Furious Franchise next summer. While both Anders and Morris are gearing up for the release of their next project Horrible Bosses 2