Saturday, February 11, 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

http://amzn.to/2kSNxymJohn Wick: Chapter 2 hits like a sledgehammer to the skull from the beginning and never stops. Earlier today, I assumed that it was going to be a fantastic and ultra-exciting movie. In fact, I started to think that I was getting a little too excited.

Nope. John Wick: Chapter 2 is beyond fantastic. I have not enjoyed a film from beginning to end this much in several years. I am shocked by how much I love this film. There is undoubtedly a Godfather effect when comparing Chapter 2 to the first, and John Wick: Chapter 2 is blood opera at its finest.

Everything about the film resonates and pleases: the story and pace, the cast and performances, the directing and cinematography, the fight and stunt choreography, the settings and production design, and the sound and mixing, damn the sound was masterfully executed. All of the different sounds of brutal violence continue to echo a delightful symphony in my ears.

John Wick is officially my favorite action hero, or antihero, since Tarantino’s Beatrix Kiddo. In other words, I cannot think of a film character I have enjoyed this much in over a decade.

That’s not to dismiss Django, but throwing Tarantino back in the mix again is not fair. Meanwhile, technically speaking, Chapter 2 has Django. Franco Nero, the original Django, is a special guest actor in the film, and it simply does not get better than a special appearance by Franco Nero.
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Let’s be honest. I simply love the Keanu as well. I always have. He’s thee One. He’s Johnny Utah, Ted Theodore Logan, Johnny Mnemonic, Jack Traven, Siddhartha, the devil’s right-hand man, Winston Connelly in The Night Before (a ridiculously obscure reference of a film I loved growing up.)

I loved Keanu growing up and I love Keanu as an adult. Ultimately, Keanu is my lifelong man-crush. When I was growing up, people said that choosing Keanu as my favorite actor was queer. I tried to pick some others for a while, but having a closet man-crush does not look good on anyone. F’em.

http://amzn.to/2kSNxymKeanu continually crushes it at the cinema. In a John Wick movie, anyone calling you queer for liking Keanu Reeves or anything meant to demean you and all things queer would probably be stabbed in the neck with a pencil. Have you not seen A Walk in the Clouds? That’s a tough guy film. I’ll tell you what’s tough: Going to see that one alone as a fat little thirteen-year-old. Scary shit. The Last Time I committed Suicide? Keanu as Neal Cassidy’s friend. Iown it.

That new one on DVD The Whole Truth? That was a good sleeper rental. Feeling Minnesota with Cameron Diaz? Own it. Much Ado About Nothing? Parenthood? Constantine (so underrated)? Knock Knock? Eli Roth is a phenomenal filmmaker. See? The list goes on and on. All solid movies with superb performances by Keanu. One might say that Keanu is the proverbial wine that only gets better with time.

http://amzn.to/2kSNxymWhere I come from, he’s Johnny Utah, and that’s really all that needs to be said. John Wick: Chapter 2 is merely more evidence that Keanu is going to win again and again.

I am not saying that I think Chapter 2 is going to win a best picture Oscar next year. However, it very well could end up as my favorite film of 2017. I know, it’s only February, and I too am very excited about several films coming out this year.

Either way, if you are reading this blog, I can’t see how Chapter 2 wouldn’t be the film for you too. I say take the whole family.

I’m trying to see it again with my mother this weekend. That’s right, I immediately want to see it again. My mom is a huge Keanu fan too; she has a different kind of crush for Keanu than me.

John Wick: Chapter 2 far exceeded my expectations. I not only loved the movie but also needed it. Hollywood is always producing films that I enjoy, but Chapter 2 quenched a thirst for elegant cinematic ultraviolence that is rare in forms of superior substance. I am extremely happy this film was made. It is superb cinema.
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The film is so good I admit that it deserves a much deeper analysis than I have provided here...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Split (2017)

Split is a cool movie, and it is definitely one of my favorite M. Knight Shyamalan films. I imagine that many people would agree that it is one of his best films. But like many things, Split is not necessarily for everyone.

For the most part, I like M. Knight's movies and all of their twisty twists. Split is a twisted movie that does not really have a twist while still managing to have a clever twist. And for that I love M. Knight.

Granted, plenty of folks will not share the sentiment as audience members of M. Knight's films often seem divided. Whatevs.

I also love M. Knight's The Happening. The trees killing everyone is a brilliant idea, and I am not afraid to defend the claim.

Honestly, I do not have too much to say about Split that is not simply a blatant give away of plot points and details about the story that are best discovered as meant within the film.

http://amzn.to/2lioFyNI am also watching M. Knight's The Visit in the background. The grandmother is crawling after a child creepily croaking, "I'm gonna get you." Scary stuff. I'm freaked out and obviously distracted.

Anyway, sorry, I like Split more than Shyamalan's acclaimed The Sixth Sense. I may even buy the Split combo pack when it is released. Additionally, James McAvoy's acting is incredible. Even if a viewer does not appreciate the film in general, McAvoy's performance alone is worth the price of admission.

(Since I brought it up and I'm watching it, The Visit is also a really cool Shyamalan flick. The problem is this little boy in the film. He is profoundly annoying.)

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Oh, and while we are on the subject of M. Knight, stop calling Devil an M. Knight movie and tying it into conversations about "his" movies. He did the story and was a producer for the film, he neither directed the film nor wrote the screenplay. It's like when my friend calls Predators Robert Rodriguez's film, he was just a producer on that one. This shit drives me nuts. Nonetheless, I like both Devil and Predators. Fun flicks.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sneaky Pete (Season 1)

Sneaky Pete is now my favorite Amazon show. I have tried to get into the other shows that Amazon offers, but they never really suck me in with enthusiasm. Generally, I never even finish a season or much more than a couple of episodes. Finally, this has changed with Giovanni Ribisi as Sneaky Pete. I have always been a fan of Giovanni Ribisi, and I am glad to see that he has his own show.

https://www.amazon.com/b?_encoding=UTF8&tag=burningempire-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=c335b415a1dd49d9e9fd8560d3ead5b3&camp=1789&creative=9325&node=16262841Any character that is a card mechanic using memory palaces is right up my alley. It freaking took Amazon long enough to release the first season of this show too. I have been waiting for a season of Sneaky Pete for over a year. I guess that is one of the problems with Amazon’s “pilot season” strategy. If you like one of their pilots, that’s great! Now, wait over fifteen months to see another episode.

It seems to me that Amazon was originally not going to produce Sneaky Pete, and along the way, someone finally decided that Sneaky Pete was the best pilot that Amazon had. I do not know that as a fact. That is just the way it seems to me. Why else would we have to wait around sixteen months to see the second episode of a show?

Nonetheless, I am glad that Sneaky Pete is finally here. The show did not disappoint, and as soon as it was available, I quickly binge watched the entire show. I had extremely high expectations for Sneaky Pete. It did not live up to those expectations exactly, but that is what happens when an audience member has a year to build up expectations. A year of consumerist waiting never results in a product that matches expectations. It is the same way I view the Christian perception of heaven. Even if heaven is some sort of magical place in the sky, occupants will never be as awestruck by its majesty as the confabulations built up in their minds.

Either way, Sneaky Pete does not attempt to be heaven, simply a solid, entertaining show.




According to what I read, after tying this post, the provided reason that the show took a bit longer than usual is that the show runner left and was replaced by Graham Yost (Justified). 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Arrival (2016)

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I saw Arrival for the second time yesterday, and all I can really say about the movie is that it is my favorite movie of last year. I certainly have the ability to say more about the movie, and I could talk about the film for hours. However, it seems that anything I say about the movie could diminish the experience for a prospective audience member.

Generally, I do not care about spoiler sensitivities. There is something to be said about keeping a buttoned lip a few months after a film's release, and why are people reading a blog about a movie if they do not expect spoilers? In other words, as a dude writing a blog about Arrival, I do not feel a responsibility to uphold the no-spoilers rule. Nonetheless, as a huge fan of Arrival, I do feel that it is my duty to protect the sanctity of the experience of seeing the film. Basically, I liked Arrival that much.

I have not seen a movie twice in theaters since The Hateful Eight, and I am happy that I was able to see Arrival in theaters again. Meanwhile, it is also important to note that I see all of Tarantino's (and most Robert Rodriguez) movies twice in theaters, and I can't tell you the last time I saw a movie twice in theaters that was not one of theirs. Oh wait, I saw Batman v. Superman twice, but that was because I saw it free in 3D the first time and then went with some friends that had not seen it. Whatever, I guess that point is lost. Nonetheless, I have been wanting to see Arrival again in theaters and I did. I was also in an incredibly bad mood the first time I saw Arrival, but I still loved it; that's always a good sign.

http://amzn.to/2kHJqIeThe film is nominated for a best picture Oscar, and it certainly gets my vote for "2016 Best Picture." Granted, I have not seen all of the other nominees, but I would have to say, by taking a guess, I would still like Arrival more. I saw La La Land  and Hell or High Water. I liked Hell or High Water a lot, but I do not think it was really worthy of a best picture nomination. Meanwhile, the quality of films last year was kinda shity. In my opinion, the reason why La La Land is winning several awards is primarily because there simply was not strong competition.

It was not a bad movie, and I mostly enjoyed La La Land. However, as far as the Golden Globes, there really was not much competition in the musical or comedy category. Therefore, La La Land takes the cake. Personally, I think "Hollywood" really likes and overrates this Whiplash guy as well. I not only feel as though Arrival is a better movie, but also a much more important movie for humanity.

http://amzn.to/2kHJqIeYesterday when I saw Arrival, I ate a little "too much" "chocolate" before the movie.

Wow! That really made the experience an entirely different ride than I was prepared to handle. The aliens in Arrival are awesome and during the movie I was having mild out of body experiences. In some ways, I was "freaking out," but ultimately, I would not have changed a thing.

Freaking out simply added a new dynamic to the Arrival experience. Arrival demonstrates one of the many reason that I love the cinema: While engaging us in a beautiful story, film also teaches us important lessons about the human condition.