‘John Wick’ Trailer

Let’s be honest for a moment.  Keanu Reeves is a pretty mediocre actor.  In most movies he appears, he occupies physical space, yet at the same time barely registers, almost as most of him existed in some of parallel dimension and what we see on movie screens is only a shadow the real person.

Like Roger Zelazny’s Amber.

That being said, I kind of want to see John Wick.

And sure, the title seems inspired by John Carter or Jack Reacher.  And despite the fact that the movie seems vaguely similar to The Equalizer–though probably not as good–there’s something oddly engergizing about an engaged Keanu Reeves.

‘The Colony’ Review

The Colony movie poster

“Lawrence Fishburne Is The Best Thing In A Feature You Probably Already Seen In Other Movies.” 

I have been wanting to see The Colony every since I saw its trailer on YouTube four or five months ago, so naturally I was jazzed to learn that it’s on Netflix.  It takes place in an indeterminate future, where we have built huge machines to control the weather (it should go without saying that if it’s isn’t broke, don’t fix it).  Naturally (and somewhat obviously), this scheme goes awry, and the Earth is plunged into an seemingly unending Ice Age.

And if that weren’t bad enough, for some reason people are more susceptible to ailments like the flu, which Colony 7 lacked the medicines to treat.  What the movie doesn’t seem to understand is that the flu is viral, which means that antibiotics have no effect (which is typically why doctors recommend bed rest and lots of fluids).

That being said, in 1918 the Spanish flu literally killed somewhere in the ballpark of 50 million, which included a lot of young and otherwise healthy people.  What made it so unusual is that it caused a person’s immune system to go into overdrive, which mean that–ironically–the healthier you are, and the stronger your immune system, the greater the likelihood that it would kill you while, young children and older people, with weaker immune systems were more likely to recover.

Besides, it’s not unknown for viruses to mutate, so it’s certainly possible that a new variant of the flu could have arisen.

In any case, they’re short of food, personnel, and (with reason) virtually paranoid about illness, so when they receive an SOS from Colony 5,  a neighboring settlement–which isn’t to imply that it’s, geographically speaking, all that close– need aid, their leader, Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) forms a three-man a team to investigate, despite the misgivings of Mason (Bill Paxton).

Which in hindsight wasn’t a good move because Mason makes it fairly obvious that he wants to take over.  His job was to “take care” of the people who were sick, which normally started with isolating them for a period of time.  If they got better, then all was good, though if they didn’t they would get the option of either leaving–almost certainly a death sentence–or a bullet–definitely a death sentence.

Mason streamlined the entire process:  If they’re coughing, he’s shooting.

There’s a subplot involving a distant colony that has gotten one of the weather control machines that dot the landscape like abstract art, working,  so they’re able to push back the ice and snow.

Though they don’t have any seeds, which makes the fact they can reach soil, but have nothing to plant, a bit of a catch-22.

But Colony 7 does, but can’t reach the soil because of the ice.  The movie dangles the possibility of locating this ice-free Roanoke, but does little with it (though there’s an implication that it’s not quite what it seems).

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‘The Equalizer’ – Trailer Two

The Equalizer is going to be a monster, despite the R-rating.  Denzel Washington is as reliable as it gets, as far as consistently entertaining actors go.  I also like how the characters that he tends to play don’t overcompensate in terms of their physicality, by which I mean you can see from the trailer that Washington is a tad paunchy, yet he’ll still believably kick you ass.

That it’s being directed by Antoine Fuqua pretty much ensures that it’s an event.

Besides, I can only see Guardians of the Galaxy so many times…

‘Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You’ Review

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You

Significantly Less Innovative Than Boyhood, But In Its Way A Better Movie

I watched Roberto Faenza‘s Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You a few days ago, and was reminded of another movie that revolved around a young person growing up, Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood.

Though the thing is, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You was a much more interesting film–and most importantly, more watchable–despite being not as innovative (considering that Boyhood took 12 years to make, few films are going to compare when it comes to that score).

My primary issue with Boyhood was that there was little in the way of drama about the central character, though perhaps I should rephrase that:  All the drama was literally around him.  His mother had things happening to her, his father (and her ex-husband) as well.

Mason (Ellar Coltrane), not so much.

But Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You (possibly one of the worse movie titles ever) is different.  The movie revolves around a young person,  James Sveck (Toby Regbo) who’s entire family is remarkably dysfunctional, self-involved or just plain weird and he’s doing what he can to just keep remain afloat.

Another similarity to Boyhood is that James is also a child of divorce, though unlike Mason, he reacts and is effected by everything that goes on around him (a tendency that decreased as Mason grew older).

He’s a clever, and strong-willed individual, but he’s also young and hasn’t quite defined who he is or what’s he about quite yet.

He needs help, but doesn’t know how to ask for it.  You won’t necessarily like everything James does–because he’s a bit of a dick at times–but that has a lot to do with the fact that he’s an engaging character, unlike Mason, who was a bit of a tabula rasa.

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You is currently on Netflix.

‘When The Game Stands Tall’ Review

When The Game Stands Tall

When The Game Stands Tall Is An Enjoyable Movie, Despite Its Manipulativeness

Have you ever watched something, be it a movie or TV show, and knew you were being manipulated? And I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. All media—including news, much to my dismay—is designed to elicit a reaction from the persons viewing it.

Though what separates great filmmakers from the merely good is that those that we admire the most are fluent in the language of controlling reactions. 

Which means that, as a viewer you just roll with it, as opposed to feeling hoodwinked and cheated somehow.  

For instance, if you’ve seem Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s a scene involving Groot at the end of the movie that’s very cute, and designed to evoke certain feelings.

And it works, because you’re so into the movie that you barely notice that you’re being played.

In other words, Thomas Carter is a good director, but not a great one because When The Game Stands Tall, taken as a whole is for a lot of its running time blatantly obvious in its intentions.

Which isn’t to imply that the movie isn’t sometimes thrilling, inspirational, or even sublime, but only that it tries too hard, when it would have been better off chronicling what happened in a less partial fashion, and let viewers come to their own conclusions about everyone involved.

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Click Bait: Paul Rudd Edition

First off, let me begin by saying that Paul Rudd is one of my favorite actors.  He reminds me a lot of Chris Pratt, minus the occasional athleticism and seemingly boundless optimism.

I mention him because recently a bunch of sites–such as Deadline: Hollywood, though I am sure there’re others–have featured pictures of Rudd from Marvel Studios’ upcoming Ant-Man and…

Is it Rudd in the Ant-Man costume?  Perhaps facing off against Yellowjacket? Something to get fans over the seemingly earth shattering debacle of Edgar Wright being replaced by Peyton Reed?

No, it’s Paul Rudd being…Paul Rudd.  How awfully lame.  And I get it.  It’s supposedly a picture from the Ant-Man set, but how can you tell?  It could literally be a picture of Paul Rudd wondering anywhere, who’s to know?

Turtle Power Dominates Weekend Box Office

A few months ago I misread that prospects of Disney’s Maleficent, so I have been a bit leery about trying to predict the success of films that I don’t care for (in other words, just because I don’t think much of Angelina Jolie as an actress doesn’t mean that the films she stars in will necessarily be unsuccessful.  After all, I feel nothing but disdain for what Keanu Reeves calls ‘acting,’ yet it hasn’t stopped him for being quite successful at it).  So, imagine my surprise to learn that Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles earned an estimated $65 million from from Friday to Sunday.

I just don’t see the attraction myself, but clearly there are lots of people that do.

Guardians of the Galaxy is still performing quite strongly, earning $41.5 million.

And speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy, last week was James Gunn’s birthday, and what Marvel gave him was the Infinity Stone from the Guardians, which Gunn directed.

What an awesome gift.

James Gunn Birthday Gift from MarvelThe Infinity Stone from Guardians of the Galaxy