Technical Proficiency & Emotional Agency In John Wick Feb16

Technical Proficiency & Emotional Agency In J...

I reviewed John Wick back when it was released in 2014 and gave it a positive review. Several years on, my love has only grown for the genre-specific action flick. I’d go as far as calling John Wick a near perfect movie. Among the many elements executed as precisely and efficiently as John Wick executes headshots, John Wick is peppered with world building better implemented than most major franchises. It’s added flavor, both unique and essential to the stylings of this underworld of assassins. Visually while not only appealing with uses of color and production design, the world of Wick is coordinated with a thorough code. While the...

Evolving Evils & Identities In Resident Evil Feb09

Evolving Evils & Identities In Resident Evil

Back in 2002, post-Matrix black leather and slo-mo aesthetics were the defining traits of the next wannabe blockbusters. One of these, Resident Evil was a relatively tame video game adaptation, borrowing ideas more so than plot (something that has never been a strong suit for the series in any iteration): A group of soldiers enter a facility run by the Umbrella corporation called The Hive. It’s a simple premise that grows in scale with each entry, propelling itself through ever-evolving scenarios. Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson’s score influences the techno-horror vibe writer Paul W.S. Anderson is going for. Resident Evil is a...

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Is Exactly What You’d Expect Jan30

Resident Evil: The F...

Overview: Alice must race back to The Hive to stop Umbrella and The Red Queen once and for all. Screen Gems; 2017; Rated R; 106 minutes. Evil Comes Home: If you’re into the Resident Evil film series, at this point nothing should stop you from watching Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. If...

Smokin’ Aces: 10 Years of Dead Reckoning, Sl...

To call Smokin’ Aces sleazy is an understatement. It’s a shotgun blast of nihilism with the bullets made out of compact flesh from a rusty meat-grinder. Once the trigger is pulled, the shrapnel propels itself into a block of cheese that will not be satisfactory to everyone’s tastes. But Joe Carnahan isn’t interested in taste here. The focus is on watching a menagerie of degenerates and people in way over their heads get lost in the shuffle of what we can refer to as a “gaggle-fuck” of bad decisions and worse combatants. It also stars an assortment of fantastic character actors doing some of the weirdest work in their careers. The...

Patriots Day is a Jingoistic Power Fantasy Jan17

Patriots Day is a Ji...

Overview: Police and armed forces begin a manhunt for the people responsible for the Boston marathon bombings. Lionsgate; 2016; Rated R; 133 minutes. Started at the Relatively Decent: Peter Berg’s directorial form has never been an issue. Shot composition is broad, never atmospheric but lays...

Monster Trucks is Harmless Children’s Entertainment Jan16

Monster Trucks is Ha...

Overview: A subterranean creature befriends a high school senior and gives his truck the upgrade of a lifetime. Paramount Pictures; 2017; Rated PG; 104 minutes. For Kids: When it comes to children entertainment, the “it’s for kids” claim shouldn’t be an excuse for poor filmmaking qualities....

Building Hope in Rogue One Dec16

Building Hope in Rogue One

*This is article contains massive and multiple spoilers for Rogue One. You have been warned. Early on in Rogue One Felicity Jones’s character, Jyn Erso, tells a commune of rebels, “Rebellions are built on hope.” It’s one of the more poignant lines in Rogue One, but also admittedly melancholy. In what is perhaps the darkest entry in the Star Wars saga to date, hope isn’t just a fleeting thing, it’s as though it’s been snuffed out of this once-magical universe entirely. The Empire’s arm extends across the entire galaxy, the rebellion is currently a conglomerate of uncertain allies, and the last bastion of Jedi history is now grounds for...

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is A Competent Disappointment Oct24

Jack Reacher: Never ...

Overview: Jack Reacher is back, in spite of his paradoxical sequel title, wrapped in further espionage and a sever lack of Werner Herzog. Paramount Pictures; 2016; Rated PG-13; 118 minutes. Never Go Back (Again): In the pantheon of Tom Cruise action films, the first Jack Reacher flies...

Netflix Hidden Gem #79: Stretch

Stretch Director: Joe Carnahan Genre: Comedy Universal Pictures Synopsis: When news first broke of Joe Carnahan writing and directing Bad Boys 3, the sequel to Bad Boys 2 (aka the most fascinatingly ugly film I’ve ever seen), my uncertainty about the series was immediately replaced with unrestrained excitement. Movies like Stretch are the reason why. Overview: Stretch was perhaps best described to me by Cam Carpenter (WHY IS CINEMA) as “if Bad Boys 2 got punched in the face by Holy Motors.” The story follows a down on his luck limo driver named Stretch through one night in Los Angeles. The city rarely looks both beautiful and vile, an apt...

Mechanic: Resurrection is Technically a Movie Sep07

Mechanic: Resurrecti...

Overview: Jason Statham returns in a movie that is supposedly a sequel to a movie that existed. Tommy Lee Jones cameos. Summit Entertainment; 2016; Rated R; 98 minutes. Resurrection: Is there any better action star stuck in a rut of crummy action movies than Jason Statham? It’s hard to say...

Summer 2016 Retrospective: The Good, the Bad, and ...

Another year, another summer movie season come and gone. Look, there’s no point in comparing this summer to last since it has the displeasure of following up Mad Max: Fury Road. Last year was a defining year for blockbusters. If they weren’t great, they at least made buckets of money (. In a perfect world we would receive one blockbuster, and movie in general, to achieve the caliber of entertainment and creativity. What we’re left with this year is odd. The big studio tent-poles garnered mostly critical disappointment, with few bright spots, and even then audiences will most likely disagree on which was the definitive...

Blood Father is Gritty, Grindhouse Fun Aug25

Blood Father is Grit...

Overview: Ex-con John Link protects his daughter from gangs of criminals. SND Films; 2016; Rated R; 88 minutes. Dadcore: The latest in the long, ever-growing line of dadcore action movies, Blood Father sports classic B-movie grindhouse aesthetics. Where something like Non-Stop is a sleek,...

Kubo and the Two Strings Is A Triumph Aug23

Kubo and the Two Str...

Overview: A young boy, joined by a talking monkey and beetle samurai, embarks on a quest to discover the ending to his story. Focus Features; 2016; Rated PG; 102 minutes. Kubo: Kubo and the Two Strings  tells the tale of a young boy from a small village with one great aspiration in life...

Talking The Little Prince & April and The Extraordinary World On InSession Film Aug19

Talking The Little P...

As always, it’s an honor and pleasure to join the In Session Film podcast whenever they’ll allow me to come on. We’ve already established I’m booked for the eventual Bad Boys 3 episode so they must keep me around for something. This week I spoke with them about two...

Beyond Star Trek Beyond: Where Does The Film Franchise Boldly Go Now? Aug18

Beyond Star Trek Beyond: Where Does The Film Franc...

Star Trek Beyond isn’t doing well at the box office. It’s a crowded summer, but I wouldn’t worry about the series moving forward – although we should also note it’s the lowest grossing franchise entry since Nemesis. Regardless, the series will have lasted 50 years come September and will last another 50. So where does the series go from here? What I personally loved so much about Star Trek Beyond was how it felt like a big budget episode of The Original Series. The NuTrek finally blended in the original optimistic utopia found in Gene Roddenberry’s original vision with the new age space opera action. Now we...

Miami Vice On Its 10th Anniversary

In the original series, Miami Vice carried the same traits as its film reboot. Mood and atmosphere were favored over conventional plotting to justify a meditative state. Instead of Crockett sitting on his boat, overlooking a sunset with a heavy synth score illuminating isolation, Moby’s “One of These Mornings” plays as Crockett and business partner/soon-to-be-lover drive a speedboat towards a seemingly endless horizon. It’s not a disregard for the original stylings of the series as much as it is an update. The pastiche of ’80s fashion trends have been forgone in favor of sleek blacks, whites, and blues. The...

SDCC 2016 Roundup Jul25

SDCC 2016 Roundup

Another year, another Comic Con. The Woods kicked off the excitement at SDCC when, to everyone’s surprise, the Adam Wingard directed film revealed itself to be a sequel to The Blair Witch Project. Early buzz is, as the kids say, fire. I’m going to link the trailer but be warned:...

The Best Episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series Jul22

The Best Episodes of Star Trek: The Original Serie...

What makes a great episode of Star Trek: The Original Series? From a bold premise to capitalizing on crew interactions, the best episodes of the original series always wound up leading to the crew discussing events through a philosophical lens but always maintaining a sense of brevity and wit about itself. Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a more optimistic future is hailed as serious science fiction but it conjoined genuine science fiction philosophies with the utmost entertaining approach. Here are six episodes that capture the wonders of The Original Series. Season 1 Episode 3: Where No Man Has Gone Before Also known as, The One Where...

Aliens Turns 30: Why It’s Still Great

It’s always difficult finding words to describe a movie like Aliens. James Cameron’s bonafide classic sequel evokes admiration from the hearts of multiple genre stylings. Whether you’re an action junkie, horror fiend, or science-fiction fanatic, Aliens has something worth offering. Along with being one of the few sequels capable of standing up to the original, many would argue it even surpasses Ridley Scott’s seminal monster movie. The discussion of which film is superior certainly leads to interesting debate, but Aliens maintains its status as a classic for reasons beyond that. It goes to show sequels can do...

Rogue One, Kong: Skull Island, Wonder Woman, & More Jul15

Rogue One, Kong: Skull Island, Wonder Woman, &...

This weekend is Star Wars Celebration in London and we’ve already got some exciting tidbits of information. Admittedly, it’s just some behind-the-scenes footage but it reveals the world of Rogue One and some new looks at the variety of characters we’ll be spending time with come December 2016.   Gareth Edwards is directing so naturally the film looks gorgeous and epic in scope. There is constant mention of practical effects and sets because people are still worried about over-whelming CGI. There’s a happy middle-ground and it looks like Star Wars might be the series that delivers on it. Edwards also brings up riding...

First Look at It’s Pennywise is Unfortunately Creepy Jul13

First Look at It’s Pennywise is Unfortunatel...

There’s a simple explanation for why the stories of Stephen King have stayed with us: he’s a talented writer who knows how to craft terror with elongated lifespans. Maybe this is why the story of It and the children of Derry resonates so much after all these years. Since the text of the film is about exploring long-term trauma and horrors, it’s only fair for the story to continue grabbing audiences with its sickly pull. Tim Curry’s campy-yet-terrifying turn as the titular clown in the original made-for-TV Stephen King’s It sent trembles throughout the horror genre as his performance undercut the initially...

La La Land Teaser Trailer is Our Tempo Jul13

La La Land Teaser Tr...

The term “movie magic” gets thrown around often enough for it to lose its impact. This trailer reminded me of the meaning. When you reunite Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, chances are you’re going to make some kind of magic happen onscreen. In the not-so-surprising route, the...

Five Great Extended Editions Jul08

Five Great Extended Editions

With the release of the extended cut of the totally non-divisive Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, what better opportunity to bring up other extended editions that enhanced or changed the reception of a film’s respective theatrical release? This article will focus on changes made within an individual movie and not the special bonus features. (But as a side note, the Alien Anthology set has the best special features I’ve ever seen). 1. Little Shop of Horrors We start with one film that only requires minor adjustment. The ending of Little Shop (spoilers) ends up taking away immediate impact and dulling the consequences of...

The BFG Shows a Big Fun Movie and Some Big Quiet Moments Jul05

The BFG Shows a Big ...

Overview: A girl and a giant go on an adventure in Giant Country. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; 2016; Rated PG; 117 minutes. The Big Wonderful Movie: By now, Stephen Spielberg’s name has become synonymous with cinematic wonder and scope. Even the worst of his films – and I use...

Justice League Set Visits Earn Optimism Jun21

Justice League Set Visits Earn Optimism

The reaction to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was divisive to put it gingerly. In the darkest hour of the DC cinematic universe, when things seem bleakest, hope for humanity manages to break through the cracks – and with it, the assembly of the Justice League. This weekend, in an effort to assuage fears and concerns caused by the negative critical response, major players from a few major fan outlets were invited to visit the set of Justice League where they got to see firsthand designs of heroes, villains, and footage. Let’s sum it up. First, pictures! Here are the logos for the film. Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in...