Review: John Wick 3: Parabellum (2019)

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“Are services still off limit to me?”
– John Wick

SYNOPSIS: Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head – he is the target of hit men and women everywhere. – via IMDB

Okay, so this is something I have been looking forward to since John Wick 2, because I love the hell out of these movies. The first John Wick blew my mind, and I have been hooked ever since. We hopped off to see this on opening weekend and, naturally, had a good time.

John Wick 3 is teeming with action. The movie picks up immediately after the conclusion of the last movie, and it never really slows down in between. There is an absolutely fantastic knife fight in the beginning that I had a really good time with. Later, we also have Halle Berry and her badass dogs knocking about, and it all works. Obviously this movie is beautiful to look at, they have all been. Story wise, it offers more than its predecessor, but again, it only hints and plays at things, it does not necessarily get into the nitty gritty.

A complaint I do have is that the villain John is set against in this. I feel that Zero was really flat. As a fighting opponent, it was great to watch the two of them go each other, but I was not really sold on anything the moment he opened his mouth. The humour fell flat and was cringy and verbal interactions between Zero and John just totally pulls you out of the experience every time. I also feel that Asia Kate Dillon’s Adjudicator was also a rather wasted character. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Broyles Lance Reddick featuring in this (again) and totally owning his screen time. Always delivering on the laugh. Al Winston is also back in full swing, and I really feel that Ian McShane is hands down the best actor that could have been chosen to play him.

Anyway, John Wick 3: Parabellum is a worthy addition to the franchise, what with fantastic action sequences, a good score, fun humour and visually pretty, it is well worth a look see.

Review: X-Men – The Last Stand (2006) – Screenkicker Movies

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I’ll get to the point of this review straight away.  X-Men: The Last Stand is complete and utter shit.  I know I don’t speak for everyone but you’ll struggle to find anyone who really likes the film.  It would take about about a week for me to explain all of the aspects that I hate but by then Days of Future Past will have been released and you’ll all stop listening. You see, talking about the movie actually makes me nauseous so I’ll do it through the medium of art (let’s see if those 8 years of study at the finest art colleges* in the world pay off).

this may or may not be a lie.

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Thank you so much Mikey! Really appreciate this, and love the layout! Really sticking to the theme haha!

 

Review: X2 (2003) – Silver Screen Serenade

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X2 ONE SHEET A ¥ Art Machine Job#5263 ¥ Version A ¥  02/28/03

So when Zoë shared her plans to have an X-Men Blogathon to prepare for the upcoming Days of Future Past, I was totally in. I’d been thinking I ought to do something to get in the spirit, and I think this is just the ticket! Kudos for the awesome idea, Zoë!

When given a choice between the X-Men films to review, I immediately snatched up X2: X-Men United. In my opinion, this is the X-Men film to beat. Let’s talk about why, shall we?

Synopsis: “The X-Men band together to find a mutant assassin who has made an attempt on the President’s life, while the Mutant Academy is attacked by military forces.” –www.imdb.com

Why it’s awesome:

That opening! X2 doesn’t waste any time getting right into some action. I mean, an assassination attempt on the president within the first five minutes? I’m paying attention! And as for the would-be assassin…

  • NIGHTCRAWLER IS THE BEST. Seriously, he might be my favorite thing about this film. Played brilliantly by Alan Cumming, Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler is just too freaking cool. His look, his power, his personality—I feel like this film nails it. He looks scary, but he has a heart of gold, and with only a few details, you get a sense of his tortured past. Plus, I love the designs on his skin. “One for every sin,” he claims. Very nice touch.

  • Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier. Yes, Professor X is a character we’re introduced to in the first film, but he continues to shine here as the strong, wise, soft-spoken patriarch of the X-Men family.
  • Hugh Jackman just…is Wolverine. At this point, I do believe Logan a.k.a. Wolverine has been a bit overexposed (he has a huge role in every X-Men film except First Class, where he’s limited to a brief albeit delightful cameo), but this is the surly tough guy’s second film appearance, and it’s great.

  • Ian freakin’ McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto. So much yes. Aside from Tom Hiddleston’s irresistibly fun Loki, McKellen’s Magneto is my very favorite Marvel villain. He’s wonderfully suave, clever, and brutal, and his complicated “frenemy” relationship with Professor X is brilliantly portrayed. Also, his prison breakout scene is arguably the best moment of the film. Sheer awesomeness.
  • Rebecca Romijn as Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique. We don’t know much about her, but what we do know is that she’s sexy, sassy, smart, and an undeniable badass. She has some great moments in this film, but my personal favorite is when she breaks into William Stryker’s facility, then slides through a closing door while flipping her enemies the bird. Win.

  • The coolness of Colossus (Daniel Cudmore). We may not know much about him, but man does he look awesome.
  • The creepy intensity of William Stryker (Brian Cox). It’s hard for a plain old human villain to measure up to mutants, but Stryker does the job perfectly.
  • Bobby’s “coming out” scene. When Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) leads a group of mutants to his family’s house, he has to confess to them what he really is. The family’s reaction is less than favorable. You can’t help drawing parallels between this and the struggles of the gay community. It’s a smart tie-in to a very relevant social issue.
  • The Phoenix teasers. There are a couple of them in this film, and even though Phoenix a.k.a. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) doesn’t turn out quite like fans had hoped, the hints of power are still pretty great.
  • Yuriko Oyama a.k.a. Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu). When those adamantium claws sprout from her fingertips and she takes on Wolverine, it’s the best.

That scene near the end where the mutants talk to the president. Everything freezes, it’s dark and stormy, the mutants speak from the shadows…Mr. Prez, you’d better LISTEN!

  • In general, I just think the script is really sharp for this one. The dialogue is great, the pacing pretty spot-on, and the story, though ambitious, works well. Kudos, X2!

Clearly, I love this one. But if I have to pick on a few things…

The (few) things that bother me:

I don’t love Jean, Rogue (Anna Paquin), or Storm (Halle Berry), and I hate that because they’re all such potentially awesome characters. The problem is Famke Janssen can’t act her way out of a paper bag, Rogue doesn’t have nearly enough sass and is a little whiny (I blame the writers more than Paquin), and Storm is miscast as well as sans the cool African accent she is supposed to have. I read a list the other day of miscast X-Men where the writer suggested Angela Bassett instead of Berry in the role. Anyone who has seen Bassett in American Horror Story: Coven knows why that idea made me giddy.

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BEST. STORM. EVER.

I hate the Logan/Jean/Scott love triangle. Is that a thing in the comics? I hate it. I hate how it makes Scott a.k.a. Cyclops (James Marsden) act toward Logan, I hate how Jean kind of leads Logan on, and I hate how it makes Logan a bit mopey. Do you guys feel the same? I don’t know. Maybe the prevalence of love triangles in, like, every recent book and movie has made me bitter toward them.

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make them staaaaahp!

  • Stryker’s team breaks into the X-Mansion like it’s child’s play. Isn’t that place supposed to be super duper guarded? I feel like Professor X would’ve put more thought into that.
  • John Allerdyce a.k.a. Pyro (Aaron Stanford) is just an annoying psycho. There’s not much done to develop his character, and by the time he abandons the X-Men for Team Magneto, I’m like, “Whatever, bro.” Could not care less. Do we even really need him?
  • So if you’ve gotten this far, I’m sure you don’t care about spoilers, but SPOILERS! So Jean heroically sacrifices herself by stepping outside of a jet full of her X-Buddies and powering it up before rushing waters come to drown them. Here’s my question: Why couldn’t homegirl power up the jet from the inside? I guess you could argue that she also has to hold back the waters, but earlier in the film she stopped a missile from inside the jet. I see no reason she couldn’t hold back the water from inside it, too.

GET IN THE JET, YOU DUMB BITCH.

Summary:

I love this film. In my opinion, it’s the best X-Men so far (we’ll see how Days of Future Past stacks up), and it does all the things a good sequel is supposed to do: show us more of the characters we love while introducing a few awesome new ones, thicken the plot and put it on a grander scale, and improve upon and/or equal the previous film in greatness. Check, check, and check. This is one of my favorite superhero films for good reason.

My Rating: 9/10 (Probably an A on my rating system)

Thanks so much for letting me participate, Zoë!  X-Men Blogathon ruuuuuules! 😀


Thanks a million for participating Cara, this was an awesome review! I would have loved to see Bassett rock the Storm role!

Review: The Call (2013)

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“A lot of times you don’t know how it ends. When your units get to a scene you sign off and they take over. But, you don’t know. Did they make an arrest, shoot the bad guy, did the PR live, did she die…”
– Brooke

Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) is a Los Angeles Police Department 911 operator, and is pretty good at her job. Calm, cool and collected, her image is shattered one night when a young girl calls in an intruder in her yard that seems to want to get into the house. Jordan walks Leah Templeton (Evie Thompson) through the procedure of pretending to escape after the intruder gets into the house. He seemingly takes the bait and rushes outside to capture her. In those frenzied moments, Leah accidentally hangs up the phone and Jordan stupidly calls her back, alerting the intruder to Leah’s whereabouts. The intruder brutally attacks Leah after Jordan attempts to talk him out of something stupid.

the call in call

“Don’t make promises… cause you know you can’t keep ’em.” – Jordan Turner

Jordan’s boyfriend, police officer Paul Phillips (Morris Chestnut) stands by Jordan, though is sad to hear that she no longer wants to take calls after she sees a news report showing that Leah was in actual fact murdered after being abducted. Blaming herself, Jordan slips into a deep depression and no longer works in the field. She shifts over to training new 911 operators. During a training session, they get a call from a young girl named Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin) who has just been abducted in a mall parking lot and dumped into a boot by an unknown assailant. The girl is terrified and the operator who took the call is not cut out for such a time sensitive call, and Jordan is dumped into the deep waters again when she has to take the call. Casey is using a disposable phone and due to this 911 cannot get a proper GPS location. Jordan starts to instruct Casey on the various things to do to alert other people of her presence in the trunk of the kidnapper’s car as well as do her best to keep the frightened girl as calm as possible under the circumstances.

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“Casey, what’s happening?” – Jordan Turner

However, things get back when the kidnapper realizes that Casey is trying to let the world know she is in his trunk, and after the paint debacle a man named Alan Denado (Michael Imperioli) is killed to keep his mouth shut, and Michael Foster (Michael Eklund), the kidnapper, switches cars. Tracking Casey is becoming more and more difficult what with the erratic kidnapper, and the police seem to be just a step or two behind him all the time and are working all leads that are left behind, but they need to find him quickly. Whatever his plans are for Casey, they cannot be good. Jordan is not dealing with having the young, panicked girl on the line when her emotions are in just as much a frenzy, though she really wants to save this girl to make up for the life that she lost.

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“It’s already done!” – Michael Foster

Leads start piling in and the police have the identity of the kidnapper, but no idea where he will go. He will discover that Casey has a phone sooner or later, and he is not going to be impressed. Will Jordan be able to make up for the life lost by saving this one? Will she overcome her bitterness and depression if she can make things right this time around? What does the kidnapper want from the young girl? How many more people will die trying to help the young girl?

The Call garners a 6/10. There were flaws with this movie, for sure, but the predominance of them popped up past the halfway point only. The movie started with a solid story, a good idea that was implemented well. Everybody’s place was known, everyone had their own little place and all that, even Halle Berry wasn’t lacking as much as usual. The kidnapping went down well, the communication between Jordan and Casey was really good, and they seemed to have a good bond. The way Jordan was walking Casey through letting people know she was in the boot (trunk) of the car was good. But then towards the end everything rapidly started falling apart. The interesting kidnapping premise (albeit nothing new) just crumbled. The leaps and jumps in the case and only from Jordan’s end were ludicrous, as well as the way she went after something she had no business looking into and with no backup whatsoever. There were a few scenes that were just absurd, and the conclusion was rather cliché, but for what it was it was better than a lot of other flicks I have seen recently.

Review: Die Another Day (2002)

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“You see Mr. Bond, you can’t kill my dreams. But my dreams can kill you. Time to face destiny.”
– Gustav Graves

MI6 agent James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) infiltrates a North Korean military base. Undercover as a potential weapons buyer, he takes conflict diamonds into the base, stacked with explosives underneath it. Bond’s meeting with Colonel Tan-Sun Moon (Will Yun Lee) was going well enough until his right-hand man, Zao (Rick Yune), informs Moon that Bond is a British assassin. Things go horribly for Bond just then, and he is forced to set off the explosives in the briefcase containing the diamonds. Zao is grievously injured and has diamond fragments in his face. Moon attempts to escape on a hovercraft, but Bond gives chase. Moon doesn’t make it, though Bond does. However, Moon’s father, General Moon (Kenneth Tsang), takes Bond prisoner and submits him to months of torture.

Halle Berry and Pierce Brosnan in

“The same person who set me up then has just set me up again, so I’m going after him.” – James Bond

M (Judi Dench) and Charles Robinson (Colin Salmon) and the Americans arrange a prisoner exchange for Bond – Zao for Bond. M revokes his 00 status, and informs him that while in captivity an American agent was murdered, and it suspected that Bond was the one that leaked the information. Bond is furious that he was traded for Zao, who is an incredibly dangerous man. He is more upset, however, that it appears that someone is setting him up, making it look like he leaked information under duress. Bond escapes his MI6 prison to complete the mission he was set. Learning that Zao is in Cuba, Bond sets out immediately.

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“The pleasure of the kill is in the chase.” – Gustav Graves

Bond meets up with NSA agent Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson (Halle Berry), and the two spend some time together. Bond follows her to a gene therapy clinic just off the island, where he discovers Zao. Patients can change the way they look through DNA restructuring, and he learns that Zao is currently undergoing a face change. Attempting to apprehend or kill Zao, Zao escapes, leaving behind his necklace containing conflict diamonds. Billionaire Gustav Graves’s (Toby Stephens) company crest is engraved on the diamonds, starting the new leg of Bond’s investigation. Who exactly is this mysterious man who emerged from nowhere? Bond hears that Graves enjoys fencing, and challenges him at a club. Bond wins the fight, and Graves invites Bond to join him in Iceland for a scientific demonstration. M gets wind of the fact that Bond is investigating Graves, and reinstates his 00 status as well as offers any and all assistance.

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“He’ll light the fuse on any explosive situation, and be a danger to himself and others.” – Miranda Frost

In Iceland, Bond learns that Graves’s assistant, Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike), is an undercover MI6 agent. In Iceland, Bond witnesses the unveiling of Graves’s latest project – Icarus. Icarus is an orbital mirror satellite that can focus solar energy on a small area. There are both pros and cons to this whole issue. Jinx also turns up at the ice palace, and soon they are both in a lot of trouble. Bond still has no idea who the traitor is. Soon Bond finds out that Colonel Moon is still alive, and that he has undergone the gene therapy to alter his appearance and assumed to identity of Gustav Graves, who is intent on using Icarus to reunite North and South Korea by cutting a path through the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

Will Bond be able to stop Moon for the second time, this time permanently? Will he figure out who the traitor is that set him up to take the fall for leaked information? Will Bond be able to live completely with what he went through in Korea?

A 4.5/10 for Die Another Day. I don’t know, this movie… no. For one, the effects were damn dodgy, and that is saying something. The camerawork annoyed me no end, and the need to speed up and slow down scenes all the damn time nearly drove me insane. Also, it was just… ridiculous. Let’s put it like that. It was a simply ludicrous Bond film. It starts well enough, what with Bond being captured, taken hostage, spending months being tortured and all that. It even progresses just fine, such as his exchange going down, knowing he is untrusted and bearing the knowledge that someone set him up to look very guilty, just as Colonel Moon was set up, too. Bond makes his escape, and slowly but surely everything goes downhill from there. Well, it started slowly; eventually it was like a free-fall into terrible. There is the case of the Aston Martin Vanquish – who the hell would spend that on a car to hide it? Don’t say some MI6 spy, because it is just getting… oh please. Just no. Then there was the wakeboarding with a parachute thing with icebergs and a massive tsunami? Pffff! The lines in here were cheesy, and the sexual innuendo ran rampant throughout the movie, and I really didn’t appreciate it. It is not necessary to make a great film, please! The puns and punchlines were so lame in here, and not the kind of lame that some action flicks can get away with.