Film Review: John Wick

Film

John Wick

There’s something about a film that just is what it is and is a good example of what it is. John Wick is exactly that. A fun has hell action film, with a fairly ridiculous premise, that is ridiculously entertaining.

You have to take John Wick for what it is and no more. There’s absolutely no attempt in the entire film for it to be anything but a straight up action film. And the action sequences deliver. They’re punchy (No pun intended.) and really well choreographed. There’s nothing ground-breaking about them – they’re just really nicely done.

100 movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

100 movies of 2012

Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy!

Snow White and the HuntsmanSnow White and the Huntsman (05/06/12)

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to kill Snow White turns into her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen and help Snow White reclaim the throne.

Would someone please figure out a way to get an expression out of Kristen Stewart’s face. It would have made this film a million times better! Who on Earth thought it was a good idea to put her in the lead role which required her to be charming and gracious and get some sympathy out of the audience? Show me their face!

Aside from my annoyances with Stewart, I enjoyed this film. A nice bit of retelling of Snow White’s story. Surprised that there was actually a different spin left on this story which feels like it’s been done to death already with two other Snow Whites out there with Mirror, Mirror and Once Upon a Time.

Charlize Theron is the stand out performer in this film. She gets more to do other than walking into rooms looking dramatic and pissed off (Ahem, Prometheus. Ravenna is a very multi-faceted villain, unlike our ‘heroine’. By the end of the film I was beginning to feel for the pressures that Ravenna had put on herself because of her past. Yes, a little part of me wanted her to win out.

Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman was a good solid character too. I don’t think he was a stretch for Hemsworth to play, but I enjoyed his role. Even with his Scottish accent. Which wasn’t as atrocious as I was expecting. The Huntsman has always been such a quiet, untold character. I would have liked a bit more from him, heck, it would have been a great spin for him to have been the lead instead of Snow White. That’s just my brain talking crazy!

The film was entertaining. I believe it was trying to be massive in scope competing with the big fantasy films like Lord of the Rings. (There was one scene that felt right out of FOTR – Snow White getting chased by those black riders after her escape felt very similar to Arwen getting chased by the Ringwraithes.) I don’t think it quite pulled it off. But the film did create a rich little universe. I do like when fairytales are given a bit more of an edge.

Not as great as I’d hoped, but still a fun little ride. After the first hour or so.

Oh and fun fact, this is the fifth Chris Hemsworth featuring film I’ve seen this year. Nah… I don’t think I have a problem.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

120+ movies: Getting behind!

120+ Movies of 2011

I think I’m running a bit behind this year if I hope to get to over 120 films for the year! Need to pick up the pace.

A Beautiful MindA Beautiful Mind (01/05/11)

After a brilliant but asocial mathematician accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn to the nightmarish.

Beautiful film. Really great film. Great performances from everyone and I think Russell Crowe’s best since Gladiator. Jennifer Connelly completely tore me up as John Nash’s world started falling apart. I completely and utterly believed what John Nash was seeing and doing. I didn’t really think that he might be hallucinating. Well, until things started going really crazy.

Loved the James Horner score. Think it’s my favourite score of his since Titanic. It doesn’t sound like a lot of his other scores, most of the time! The biggest problem I have with Avatar and Troy’s scores.

Very touching film that had me in tears!
Rating: 4/5

ExtractExtract (05/05/11)

Joel, the owner of an Extract plant, tries to contend with myriad personal and professional problems, such as his potentially unfaithful wife and employees who want to take advantage of him.

Thanks to my new love of Arrested Development I have a bigger love for Jason Bateman. Seeing his name listed in the credits for this film made me think it’d be worth a watch. Him and Mike Judge of Office Space fame, which was one of my favourite films I’d seen last year.

Extract just bored and irritated me sadly. There were some funny moments. JK Simmons made me laugh as did Bateman. But overall it just felt like a painful film to watch with none of the fun or wackiness that Office Space had.
Rating: 2/5

HannaHanna (06/05/11)

A 16-year-old who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.

Loved this film. I really like my action-thriller type films. This one had the added benefit of Eric Bana. Even with a slightly unidentifiable accent he was very good in the film. However all the credit in this film goes to Saoirse Ronan. Fantastic young actress who can play a ruthless assassin as well as a very naive young girl who’s never been out in the world. Think the weakest character in the film was probably Cate Blanchett’s Marissa. She just felt a little one-sided to me.

At times the film felt a bit schizophrenic, but in a good way! Flipping from fast paced action thriller to an indie feeling film about a very innocent girl.

Loved the British family played by Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng. They weren’t caricatures, instead felt like real people. Funny people at that.

The score was awesome! I’m loving this trend of DJs scoring films. There was Daft Punk and Tron, Basement Jaxx and Attack the Block, and now we have The Chemical Brothers and Hanna. Loved some of the pieces they did during the action sequences.

I know there are talks of a sequel. I hope there isn’t one. Well, unless they can top this one!
Rating: 4/5

CatfishCatfish (07/05/11)

In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel’s brother.

A lot of hype surrounding this film and it’s hype I got caught up in. However, it still took me a long time to watch the film. I think the hype ruined it slightly.

I did enjoy the film but I think I was expecting a bit more of an ‘OMG’ twist towards the end. I kept hoping something else was going to happen. Though, after I’d watched the film and thought about the events a bit more, I did see the madness of it all properly.

Ariel really annoyed me throughout the film. I just got more and more annoyed with him. I can’t remember why, but I remember the annoyance!
Rating: 3/5

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger TidesPirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (20/05/11)

Jack Sparrow and Barbossa embark on a quest to find the elusive fountain of youth, only to discover that Blackbeard and his daughter are after it too.

I’m one of those weird people who enjoyed films 2 & 3 in the POTC series. Yes, they were long and convoluted. But they’re fun to watch and get lost in.

I did not get lost in On Stranger Tides. Johnny Depp is still fantastic as Captain Jack Sparrow and new additions Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane were great, but there were some other new additions who weren’t so great. The main plot line of the fountain of youth was a fun bit of adventure. The love story between Philip and Syrena felt a bit pointless and was just in there for extra padding. Neither character had much depth to them and I couldn’t get behind either of them.

There were some good set pieces, but none of them felt like they were as big in scope as any of the ones in the first three films.

I sadly did spend some extra money and see this film in 3D, due to lack of 2D screenings. There were some attempts at some things pointing out into the audience, but for the most part, like Thor, it just wasn’t necessary. Especially during the action and fight scenes where things are moving so quick it makes me feel slightly cross-eyed with 3D glasses on!

Wasn’t impressed with the scoring on this film either. I was looking forward to some good stuff from Hans Zimmer – I’ve loved his previous work with this franchise. But it just didn’t feel like this film had its own theme.

I hope there’s not a fifth film!
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

120+ Movies: A big ol’ update

120+ Movies of 2011

This is a massive catch-up on films I’ve seen over the last few weeks. I promise to post something other than 120+ movie stuff on this blog some time soon.

True GritTrue Grit (15/02/11)

A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn young woman track down her father’s murderer.

A simple, old-fashioned Western is how I would describe this film. Really enjoyed it. Didn’t tax my brain all that much. There was some gorgeous cinematography as well as some minor hokey bits of computer graphics towards the end. But overall, a really good film. Not just a film with good performances from everyone, but the film worked as a whole. Hailee Steinfeld was shockingly good for someone so young. She really held the screen well alongside Jeff Bridges. Who’s Western accent was very authentic. Though I think it got so authentic that I couldn’t actually understand what he was saying at times.

True Grit also has one of my favourite movie posters of the year so far. Love the typeface and the feel to it. More film posters like this please! Though obviously not exactly the same, but something other than sticking the main actors on the poster with no imagination.
Rating: 4/5

RedRed (19/02/11)

When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses reassembles his old team in a last-ditch effort to survive and uncover his assailants.

Why on earth does this have such a high rating on IMDB? I think I got bored part way through the film and then completely forgot the plot points of the film to care much more as the film got to the climax.

The ongoing joke about these people being too old and yet getting things done got old pretty quickly. Though John Malkovich’s character kept me most amused. He was actually funny! Oh and Morgan Freeman did a good enough job too. But Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren? Poor show!
Rating: 1/5

InvictusInvictus (20/02/11)

Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

This is one of those films that has some great performances but ultimately just lands a little flat. Morgan Freeman really convinces as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon transforms himself really well to play a believable rugby player. Nelson Mandela’s story of trying to get a united South Africa did get transformed to screen well enough, the film just felt like it was missing something.

That something was missing big time during some of the rugby scenes towards the end of the film. There was just no drama or urgency to them. Whether it was to do with how they were shot or edited. They just didn’t pack the punch I was expecting them to.

I wish I could give this film a higher score, but it was just an average film with some great performances.
Rating: 3/5

CoralineCoraline (28/02/11)

An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.

A really good gothic feeling animated story. Aside from some lovely animation I wasn’t caught up in the spell of the film. I feel like I’m getting old! It was a very charming story but nothing in it really swept me up into the story.

Coraline herself managed to annoy and frustrate me at times with her petulance. Or what I translated as petulance. Maybe that little fact led me to not get caught up in the film. Shame!
Rating: 2/5

JunoJuno (02/03/11)

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

I know, I know – it’s taken me a long time to see this film. I think I’ve got a copy of the soundtrack which I’ve listened to and loved before even seeing the film.

A nice fun and inoffensive film to watch. Ellen Page was great as the quirky Juno. I really warmed to Jennifer Garner’s character and her wishes and hopes of being a mother. Loved Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons as the parents too. Always love J.K. Simmons in almost any films he’s done – he makes me laugh!

Glad I finally got around to watching it.
Rating:3/5

Monsters vs. AliensMonsters vs. Aliens (06/03/11)

When a meteorite from outer space hits a young woman and turns her into a giant monster, she is taken to a secret government compound where she meets a ragtag group of monsters also rounded up over the years.

Distinctly below average animated film. The whole notion that we should be happy in our own skins is something that’s been done in other films before and a lot better. Of course I can’t remember any of those films off the top of my head right now, but they’re there!

Pixar’s raised the bar so high when it comes to the quality of computer generated animation it’s hard not to compare. Monsters vs. Aliens really can’t compare with any Pixar films.

There’s some good voice talent in the film, just a shame the actual film part of the film just doesn’t measure up.
Rating: 1/5

Jennifer's BodyJennifer’s Body (06/03/11)

A newly possessed cheerleader turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?

Hey, look, it’s Young Neil! That’s pretty much how I spent watching the film. I wouldn’t say it was a horrendously bad horror film but it’s pretty close to it.

I’m putting the blame firmly on Megan Fox and Diablo Cody. Diablo for trying to make an uncomprehendingly cool sounding script and Megan for just not being very good. When you’re meant to feel compassion for Jennifer, I couldn’t find an ounce of sympathy. She was just a bitca.

Poor Amanda Seyfried – she did the best she could and was the best thing in this mess of a film.
Rating: 2/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

100 movies: What the kids are watching

100 movies of 2010

I may be bingeing on Christmas season TV…

Race to Witch MountainRace to Witch Mountain (15/12/10)
Harmless film, easy enough to watch with a very simple plot. There weren’t much surprises but it was entertaining enough. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was a good enough leading man in it. The actors who played the kids – AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig weren’t all that amazing, but did an okay enough job I guess. Why did I watch it then? Well it was on TV and I had done packing. That a good enough reason?
Rating: 2/5

ShrekShrek (23/12/10)
How have I gone this long without ever having seen Shrek? I remember vaguely seeing the second one at some point or another but not being all that impressed. The first one was a lot better than I was expecting. Some good jokes, fun music and a nice twist on some fairy tales. Of course the animation quality has aged the film a fair bit. Though you could say the same thing about Toy Story. I’m not as in love with Shrek as some people got, but enjoyed it while I watched.
Rating: 3/5

Shrek the ThirdShrek the Third (25/12/10)
Christmas day is to be spent laying like a lump on the sofa watching whatever turns up on TV. Shrek the Third happened to be one such item. Not nearly as good as the first. The music was still good though. Jokes were a bit weak and not all that great to laugh at. More rolling of my eyes than anything else.
Rating: 2/5

March of the PenguinsMarch of the Penguins (27/12/10)
Beautifully made documentary narrated by one of the best voices to narrate anything like this – Morgan Freeman! It was interesting to watch but you really have to respect the people who were out there to make this documentary. Not only were the penguins out there in -80 degree Celsius weather but so were the film makers! Penguins have it really hard, it’s a wonder that they’re not extinct if you combine what they have to go through in order to have children and humankind’s impact on their environment. I’m perhaps giving this a higher mark than I was initially thinking, only because of how much respect I have for the people who were down there filming all of what I saw.
Rating: 4/5

Happy FeetHappy Feet (27/12/10)
Penguins dancing and singing – more amusing than I initially thought it would be. Drawn in by the cuteness of the animated fuzz balls the songs were fun and the tap dancing was kind of very cute to watch. The obvious message behind the film was the effect of humans on the environment felt a bit forced towards the end. Jammed in there just to make sure the film had a message in it. I don’t personally feel it was needed, but then again, I don’t know where the film would have gone had that not been put in there. Fun, cute and even more cute.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see the full list of movies seen this year: