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: John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

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“You stabbed the devil in the back. To him this isn’t vengeance, this is justice.”
– Winston

SYNOPSIS: After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life. – via IMDB

I’m pretty sure you all know that I am a pretty huge fan of John Wick, and I have been eagerly anticipating this sequel for quite some time. I trekked off to the cinema opening weekend for this, and I was not disappointed. It is a strong sequel to be sure. This is what most sequels wish they could bring to the table, but fail at more often that not.

Chapter 2 is everything John Wick was, but amplified. Bigger guns, more bullets, more hand to hand combat than you can shake a stick at, just more extravagant everything. It has plenty of throwbacks to John Wick, which is amusing. There is much of the same, but more, if that makes sense. The movie is exciting and the action is engaging, and again it embraces the fact that the story is relatively skinny and rolls with it, and so the viewer is, irresistibly, drawn in all over again. The movie keeps it simple with the story, and indulges with the visuals and the score. I also really enjoyed the humour that was present in Chapter 2 – still my kind of humour. Keanu Reeves dominates as John Wick, and I simply love watching him in character. Ian McShane is, as always, a joy, and Broyles Lance Reddick also brought the goods.

All that being said though, I also had some issues. I felt the movie was a touch long, and while finally getting to see more of this super mysterious, elaborate assassin/criminal underworld, there were some niggles to be had. I am looking here specifically at the end, making it look like every single person in the whole city has ties to this underground organisation. Really? Sometimes the humour also didn’t land quite as quick, fast, and slick and the predecessor.

While Chapter 2 is an entertaining watch that hooks you from the off, I just don’t see how and why it is considered to be the superior of the two films. Totally worth the watch though, and definitely a movie I will be revisiting. It is smooth, well choreographed, exciting, stunning to look at, and is just plain fun. Absolutely recommended.

Fringe: Season 5 (2012 – 2013)

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fringe season 5 cover

*CONTAINS SPOILERS* 

What I liked:

  • September/Donald. Because September has always been awesome, and his human life as Donald? Still a fan!
  • Walter’s full circle tulip moment.
  • Walter and Peter finally spending some time together, and things were right back to normal with them, even though it was realised through Michael. It was still beautiful.
  • Seeing the other side again, no matter how brief.
  • Broyles, always a loyalist to the core.
  • Nina Sharp’s character this season. I mean we all know I always really like her, and she is cool, but this season? And to see her interacting with Walter and Michael? Beautiful.
  • Walter and Peter’s farewell moment at the end of the season. OMG the pain! It was so stunning!

walter peter crying

What I didn’t like: 

  • Etta. She really just annoyed the hell out of me, which was really disappointing.
  • How this does not follow smoothly from season four, instead following from the third last episode of season four, which had been described as a dream, but I guess not.
  • How distant Peter and Olivia were. Last we saw them, everything was working. And I understand that losing their child separated them quite a bit, but that was not really conveyed to us, hence it didn’t feel like anything.
  • How messy the show was, and how the plot was all over the board.
  • William Bell being dragged in  but not really used at all, especially seeing how season four ended. I mean really?!
  • How little humour there was in here. Granted, I know things were serious, but we have never gone with so little to laugh at, and even Walter didn’t shine here as brightly as usual, though he was still astounding.
  • A lot of story arcs were introduced then rushed off and not brought back until much later, if at all.
  • How, even though the series ends, it doesn’t really wrap up all of Fringe, just this season basically.

fringe season 5

Rating:
GRADE 6
Ugh. It breaks me to say that I disliked this last season. I mean four wasn’t particularly grand or up to standard of the first three, but this? It doesn’t even feel like it was a part of the same story. It just went some other way altogether. What a disappointment. The only part of this season worth mentioning is the final three episodes, which were really good. For the rest? I didn’t care what happened to anyone. I had no emotional investment, people were being so melodramatic all over the show and Peter and Olivia somehow managed to have the most annoying child in all history. Then William Bell was dragged back in, though nothing from the end of four was resolved at all. Ugh, that is just such a waste of time. The Observers taking over was something that had potential, but instead was an annoyance. How inconsistent was the Broyles storyline here, too? I mean he was here then he was gone and then randomly he returned again. Plus two, we have to deal with the fact that Peter and Olivia are the only two that have knowledge of the timeline of the first three seasons, and that Walter gets it when the child Michael touches him. What the hell?! How does that even make sense? What really crushed me in here was how many plot holes and contrivances there were, which sucked because Fringe has always been very good at bringing everything full circle and answering things. This season was a wild hunt for tapes and items for a machine, and very little science and no fringe cases, which sucked. Plus the alternate universe was closed and over, just like that, nothing more from it. The story was all over the show, too, and the ending? It didn’t wrap Fringe up at all, it only wrapped this season up. There are still so many lingering questions and things we don’t understand, and I really wish that the last two seasons had fit in better with the original three, which was some of the best stuff to watch on television. I am a fan still, and even a lacklustre final season can’t kill my love for the show, though I wish that more effort had gone in to making it all perfect. At least the show did get to wrap itself up, I would have hated it if we didn’t get it to a close.

september donald haha

Fringe: Season 2 (2009 – 2010)

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fringe season 2 poster

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The way the tension between Olivia and Peter has been steadily building. It has been intense enough for me to want to pull my hair out! Ugh! But I love it!
  • The whole story behind Peter Bishop, Walter, walking between worlds, and all the things that came with it. This has been something that has had breadcrumbs thrown our way since season one, and by the time we finally get to it all in this season, it is amazing. The story is sad, the choices are difficult, the frustration is understandable. I loved it. I loved every second of it.
  • I genuinely love all the names that Walter has for Astrid – everything but Astrid. I think my personaly favourite was Ostrich, followed by Asprin.
  • I like the way that they have consistently kept spotting the Observers in the episodes. They are always lingering near a Fringe event.
  • Sam Weiss. What an entertaining character!
  • Walter Bishop. I cannot fail to mention him. The quirky scientist revealed so much to us in this season about his motives, his past, and all the things that motivated him, changed him, broke him.
  • Finally seeing William Bell and Walter Bishop reunited. It was quite entertaining, the way they sniped at each other like children.
  • The relationship with Peter and Walter was going so well dammit! So well. I mean so good that Peter even called Walter “dad”, and then things went downhill. And in an ugly, painful way, too.
  • Seeing how the alternate universe has suffered because of Walter crossing over in 1985 to save Peter.
  • That kiss. Eeeek! We have waited so long for Peter and Olivia to do anything at all about their emotions and feelings, and nothing. Then Olivia runs over to the other side to fetch Peter, and she tells him everything. YAY!

peter-and-olivia-fringe

What I didn’t like: 

  • I did not like how Charlie was written out. It was sudden, abrupt, and it was not closed off nicely, so I had some big problems like that, considering he was quite the important character.
  • Some things were rushed in and out, such as characters and events.
  • Peter not being with Walter and Olivia, it was so sad for me to think that Walter could be sent back to St Claire’s.
  • The way that the other Cortexiphan kids were brought in and out, but always as something bad, dealt with in an episode then hidden away. That got a little annoying quickly.
I get that she just worked me out, but my eye is twitching...

I get that she just worked it out, but my eye is twitching…

Rating:
GRADE 8.5
So off we are, into another season, and let me just tell you that things get better. They do. The acting is better, the effects are pretty awesome, the score works wonders and the relationships between everyone is so worth watching and they really draw you in. Season two hits the ground running and whips us up into another frenzy of bizarre cases and all. However, something that stuck in my craw from the beginning was the way that Charlie was written out so suddenly, and it wasn’t done nicely. It was rushed and it was glanced over, no time was spent there, I think it was a huge injustice to his character. Olivia also didn’t mourn him for too long, which was both good and bad. I did like how Sam Weiss helped Olivia along her route to recovery after returning from the alternate universe and her meeting with William Bell. Peter and Olivia seem to be gaining ground in their relationship, almost making you think it is going to go somewhere, but the progress is thrown to the wolves the moment that Olivia realises that Peter is, in actual fact, not from our universe. It is terribly painful, and it got a little annoying to watch her and Walter sniping at one another about it, though they both definitely had a point. To see how the Observer (September) was so involved in everything that was happening is awesome. He really was so intricately tied in to everything that was happening. I knew there was no way that it could end well, what with Olivia knowing that Peter wasn’t from there and saying nothing, and Walter deciding to. And I was right. Such a heartbreaking stage, Walter and Peter were making the very best progress of all time, and then Peter lost his cool (understandably) and then, disappointingly, fled. I was also unimpressed with the way that he hit on those other women, I thought there was more to him and Olivia than Walter and a job! Anyway, meeting Walternate was also an experience, it was fascinating to see John Noble flip so seemingly effortlessly between the two. You can distinctly see who you are dealing with the moment Walter(nate) steps on screen, which is great. Leonard Nimoy was also a joy to experience, once again, when we got into the alternate universe. Especially when you saw how he and Walter were around each other. I need to take a moment to say that I missed Charlie immensely, but I was happy to see Astrid steadily gaining more screen time, and more Broyles is also not a bad thing. Plus, what kind of review would this be if I did not address the fact that Peter Bishop is just… hmmm… Joshua Jackson is awesome and I love his portrayal of Peter. This season gave him a lot of material to work with, from regular, to loving, to afraid, to angry and bitter, there was just so much, and he was excellent every step of the way. Naturally, this was another season of Fringe that simply cannot be missed, I truly do recommend this show. I had such a blast rewatching them all, it was so rewarding.

olivia trapped in alternate universe

Lastly, for science and all that…

peter bishop hotpeter bishop smile peter bishop thinkingpeter bishop researchingpeter bishop unimpressed

This should be illegal…

peter bishop sexy

Fringe: Season 1 (2008 – 2009)

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fringe complete season 1

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The way the lettering is done when indicating location, etc. It just looks awesome, and it isn’t intrusive or overbearing.
  • Slowly but surely uncovering Walter Bishop. The man is an enigma, flipping from a sad, damaged figure to an absolute genius to a right asshat, so it can be quite mesmerising.
  • The way the relationship between Peter and Walter changes. Initially it is anger and resentment, then resignation, but later that changes to a frustrated kind of caring (from Peter’s side, Walter will always love Peter). Peter is quite protective of his father in some ways, and has a soft spot for him, no matter what he holds against the man.
  • The technical and pseudoscience side of the show. It is never presented in a way to lose the viewer, it is done in a technical way but ensures that the audience is not lost, without making us feel like total spazzes for not being as clued up as the writers.
  • John Noble as Walter Bishop. I cannot truly express how freaking perfect he was for this role. He is the best character and endlessly entertaining. He is so intelligent and so broken, with such a dark past, and Noble balances all these things perfectly to give us the drug-loving, Red Vine-munching genius.
  • The ability to spot an Observer in all the episodes somewhere or other, especially after you know that they are watchers. It is so much easier to spot them, but still tricky. Small detail, super awesome.
  • The supporting characters. Phillip Broyles, Astrid Farnsworth and Charlie Francis really add extra to the show. The way Astrid eventually becomes Walter’s right hand is sweet, Broyles is intimidating and badass and super professional, and Charlie? Come on, he is smart, loyal and cool.
  • The friendship between Charlie and Olivia is great – understated, but there.
  • Nina Sharp is another character I like. You never really get a complete read on her, but you know that she is a smart, strong woman, and we don’t get many of them in the show.
  • While Anna Torv had a rough start in the show, and I wasn’t a fan the first time around until a few episodes in, she gets the hang of Olivia Dunham, and eventually you can’t picture anyone researching and investigating these cases with Peter and Walter, she is just the right fit for the role.
  • The relationship that is super subtly starting to grow between Olivia and Peter. Oh, all that potential!
  • How the otherness of Peter has always been present.

fringe season 1 walter bishop lsd

What I didn’t like:

  • In the first few episodes things were a little stunted, the show was finding its feet and forgot to bring people in on a few things smoothly, sort of like the audience was just expected to know, which was a little disconcerting at times.
  • Some cases did not have certain things explained (in one episode, how was the woman picking people with special abilities to solve that formula? How did she know?) and some unexplained logic like that could sometimes become an issue.
  • The acting was a little stiff at times, but never so bad that you cringe and don’t want to keep watching.

fringe charlie

Rating:
GRADE 8I am a huge fan of this show. Truly I am. When it started, I watched it with my fiancé and the first few episodes are a little heavy to take in, there is so much going on all the time and the show immediately starts by pushing the boundaries. He called it after four episodes, he was not impressed and said he was over it. Me, on the other hand? I had started this, I was going to see at least season one through before deciding. Boy, am I glad that I did. By the time I got to season two, I told him that, no matter what, he had to just try again. Now? Biggest Fringe addicts of all time.

Walter Bishop is a scene stealer and a bundle of laughs all the time – his penchant for drugs is simply amazing. He can take you from laughing to terribly sad in moments, and his transition back into the new world was gradual. His mentality was almost that of a child at times. Then there is Peter Bishop – bright as hell, a little sketchy, definite asset to the Fringe division. Joshua Jackson gets into his role, becomes a favourite. Plus the way that man dresses… oh my gosh. Then he opens his mouth, and he is amazingly intelligent. So much hotness going on right there. WOW. Moving right along, I might get stuck in a whole Peter obsession here if I don’t.

The characters that we get are all pretty cool. Astrid is beautiful, smart and super sweet, and the way she and Walter almost become a unit is fantastic, even though he has hurt and scared her beyond anything. Charlie is also a character that I am a fan of because he is just so cool. Well dressed, private but not too much so that you worry he is a serial killer, serious but can have quite a good sense of humour at times and a great partner and agent, he’s a joy to watch. He is also so good at his job, and that is something that I will always appreciate.

Massive Dynamic is an interesting company to bring in, and William Bell is shrouded in so much mystery, too, that it is really such a gratifying experience to finally see him, and the fact that William Bell is played by Leonard Nimoy is just awesome. Trust that he would play some brilliant scientist that is missing. The supporting characters all really round this show off, and the score is so fitting, too.

The show starts off running, no slow introductions, but it is perfect for this. However, there are some gripes that I have with the first episode or two, with the way that characters were introduced and later you see they are nothing like the way they were brought in (think Broyles calling Olivia “sweetheart” in the heat of the moment). Also, some things were a little rushed to get us involved with a plot (think the relationship between Olivia and John Scott – it didn’t mean anything to me when he was killed). Other minor plots are introduced, too, and then not addressed again until much later, which just makes for some messy storytelling in places. But these things are all minor for me. I love Fringe. This show is something that needs to be appreciated for numerous reasons.

fringe season 1 olivia and peter

Review: John Wick (2014)

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john-wick-poster1

“John wasn’t exactly the boogeyman. He’s the one you sent to kill the fucking boogeyman.”
– Viggo Tarasov

SYNOPSIS: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. – via IMDB

joh wick bullet dodge

Yes. Yes. Yes. That is all that I have to say. I was super amped to get to this and I must honestly say that it lived up to all my expectations and then some. I’ve watched this multiple times and it doesn’t get old, it doesn’t get boring. John Wick is, quite simply, just immense amounts of fun. Keanu Reeves is an actor that I thoroughly enjoy and will defend, bad movies and all. When he is properly cast, he owns, and that was precisely the case here. Plus, his outfits… hmmmmm.

John Wick is shot beautifully, touting a slightly washed out look but in-your-face neons that coloured it when necessary. It cannot be denied that the movie looked amazing, and had a pretty awesome score to carry it, too. I was a big fan of the action sequences, the choreography was simply stunning and I could not take my eyes off of it. I suppose having stuntmen directing this film gave it all the more oomph. The humour in here was dark and funny, and it certainly spoke to me.

Broyles Lance Reddick is an absolute hoot as the concierge at the front desk of the Continental, and I was so hoping that Ian McShane would get a line containing “cocksucker”, but no such luck (it would not have jibed with his character), it was awarded to someone else later on. Anyway, the plot is simple and straightforward, no silly bells and whistles and nothing to inundate it. The storytelling is deliberate, and within the first ten to fifteen minutes, you have what you need to understand everything and the plot moves on.

Wick is an impressive and enjoyable character, and I had quite a blast watching Bratva boss Viggo Tarasov quaking in his boots just to think of the drama that is about to unfold due to his son’s stupid actions. The cast that made their appearances is very good, too. I was a big fan of the costumes, too, because let’s face it, those suits were amazing. I was thrilled to hear Manson featured in here, finally sounding more like his old self again (let’s face it, Manson’s new album, The Pale Emperor, is his best album in years). 

John Wick is totally the type of movie I love when dipping my toes into this genre: no nonsense, dark, amusing in a smart way, well put together, and engaging. What a ridiculously stylish movie. Go watch it. Now. Really. 

Review: The Guest (2014)

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the guest poster1

“I’m a soldier, man. I like guns.”
– David

SYNOPSIS: A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence. – via IMDB

the guest

Ryan and Eric were heavily propagating that I get to this movie. Relentlessly. I even dealt with dead-friendship threats, which was insane. Needless to say, we can all still be friends here… I think… right, Ryan?? Can we still be friends??

GRADE 9Wow. Just wow. I mean I know I read a lot of good reviews on this and all, but just wow. I was a huge fan of The Guest. Just about everything in this film worked on so many levels. Dan Stevens gave a simply phenomenal and chilling performance as David, which is so important to the movie that you can almost base it all on that. It is wonderful to watch him transform, how important his whole facade is, and how he handles the ever-changing situations around him.

I thought it highly amusing how Stevens was so intentionally sexualised in the film. I liked that for a change, for science, you know? Also, it just made his character so much creepier. It is not that this premise has never ever been heard of (though there was a pretty cool twist later), it’s just that it was handled incredibly well. The score is something my other half specifically commented on, something he never does, which is why I am mentioning it – to highlight how well it worked itself into the movie, and how important it was. It was so perfectly suited.

the guest hmmm

The Guest has great pacing, starting slowly, deliberately putting all the pieces into place, progressively becoming darker as the time of the film ticks along, and it draws you in. It is so tense, and you get so involved with what was happening. With a solid foundation of story, it really makes the third act that much more fascinating, entertaining and grand. I think this movie is a great mashup of horror meets thriller.

All the actors worked together really well and the movie was littered with performances that were an asset to the picture as a whole. Brendan Meyer excelled at the emo-shift of the hair and was a pitiable but smart character (except when it was important), and Maika Monroe impressed me quite a bit with her portrayal of Anna. The friendship/mentorship that came up between Luke and David was totally worth watching, too. Got a few smiles out of that one. While there are predictable moments, they are handled with style, making this an undeniably entertaining watch.

the guest more hmmmm

I wish I knew how to articulate how much I enjoyed this movie and why anyone should watch it! I loved how they managed to work in the Halloween aspect to this, but that it never became super important or overly-gimmicky, and that a lot of stupid crap was not shoehorned into this movie because why not? Wingard and Barrett nailed that deliberate cheese and the self-aware tongue-in-cheek moments, I must say. I enjoyed Broyles Major Carver dropping everything to rush and to check out the David situation, you know stuff is about to go down, and let me just tell you that you are massively rewarded for it. The Guest is bloody, violent, thrilling, and I love, love, love it. It is definitely going to get numerous repeat watches from me!