After all, it's just a ride….

Latest

Song To Song (2017) Trailer

He’s actually getting quite prolific in his advancing years isn’t he, with yet another one on the way, and I haven’t even seen the erratically praised Voyage Of Time yet. Some scamps have already anointed it as ‘Wide-Angle: The Movie’ which should became fairly evident when you watch the trailer;

John Wick 2 (2017)

wick1

What’s your ideal blend of munitions for an action movie? For me it has to be some incendiary concoction of superb acrobatic choreography, coherent and concise spatial editing, destructive characters and situations, and carnage strewn quipage. John Wick 2, the inevitable sequel to Keanu Reeves post Matrix return to form nails three out of four of these targets, in what for me was a far more successful movie than 2014’s inauguration of this erratic franchise. Still in mourning for his wife and with a new canine companion in tow the film prologues with a splattery slaughter, as John (Reeves) retrieves his stolen vehicle from the clutches of the Russian mob. With equilibrium restored chaos is immediately reinstated with a visit from an old friend, ambitious Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio). This underworld underboss establishes himself as this episodes hissable baddy, when he calls in a blood stained marker to honour an old oath that Wick had enshrined in order to once and for all escape the life. Wick refuses, his home is torched, and events are set in motion .for a final faceoff which will shake the syndicate to its core.

wick2Like the other movie I saw today it took me some time to get into the groove of this picture, as the initial return to this shadowy world of secret assassination cabals was loaded with a magazine of misfiring clichés and dialogue dum-dums. before finally gaining some ground as the locations shifted. As the plot weaves between New Jersey to Rome some continental sophistication is injected, as quite honestly some of the barque production design and lighting orchestrations in this movement are the equal of a Ridley Scott picture. Speeding up the momentum the action sequences are tagged thick and fast, leaving a flash-bang concussion, especially when the Wick  bivouacs back in Manhattan for a frankly hilarious montage of mayhem. Fending off assaults from a phalanx of professionals, after a double cross leaves him with a sizeable bounty on his shrapnel scarred scalp, we finally see the measure of that myth about John slaying three goons in a bar with just a pencil…..

wick3I do love the world-building in this freshly fractured franchise, the second movie opens up the idea of some global crime syndicate operating across borders and nations, yet still retaining some strictly enforced semblance of   honour among thieves in the  ideological infrastructure. This proves quite important from a narrative perspective and powers much of the films pleasing plot pivots, as we also get to see some of the wider organisation and engineering  of the cabal’s homicidal industry. Film nerds will crack a faintly ominous smirk at the appearance of Franco Nero as the Italian counterpart to Ian McShane’s returning Manhattan based  administrator, and it was also fun to see Keanu reunited with a special cameo guest who is probably plastered all over the trailer – watch at your peril. If only they’d managed to muster a few good quips or dialogue detonations this could have been a real blast, and Keanu’s stoic shtick wears a little thin by the closing stages, but then again any criticism of him would surely be suicidal….

wick4Now, like any good safe-space supporting, shrieking special snowflake liberal I did approach this (like the first film) with a slight mistrust of the unapologetic fetishisation  of weapons and firearms in the movie. In that respect the film can be judged to be quite pornographic, and quite frankly this is as its coagulating reputation suggests one of the most violent films I have ever seen. This is compounded in the context of recent Hollywood fare being more targeted on CGI aliens and mecha being ruthlessly exterminated, rather than a seemingly endless parade of flesh and blood henchmen whom Keanu scythes through like a flamethrower through an orphanage. I dunno, after recent events and especially this week’s White House ‘press conference’ I’m assured we won’t be around in 18 months to worry about such trivial matters, and complaining of such in the current context is to quote Michael Herr’s delicious narration in Apocalypse Now like ‘handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500’…..

wick5From a technique standpoint all the set-pieces are framed within  fully digestible masters, delineating a clear relationship between space and the hordes of opponents – clear,  concise and carnivorous. Hell, it’s just so heartening to see director Chad Stahelski   (a former stuntman) and Gareth Evans of The Raid movies, these conjurors of chaos fighting toward a definitive new action genre aesthetic, abandoning the exhausted shaky-cam incoherence which may have finally been liquidated after last year’s turgid Jason Bourne. For some bizarre reason Enter The Dragon popped into my head as I was thinking through one of the slower umbilical plot sections,  only for Wick 2 to directly homage and mirror (heh) the  climax of that classic, in probably the most electrically executed battle sequence since The Raid 2 a couple of years ago – they must have spent months digitally scrubbing all traces of the Steadicam operators from that hallucinatory hall of mirrors. Inevitably the film flanks to a final trilogy circling sequel, no surprise since the picture has already recouped its astonishingly under ordinanced $40 million budget – man, that wouldn’t cover the kerosene budget on the imminent Transformers picture. Thoroughly recommended for the action choreography alone this is a superior calibre to its initial sortie, and we can only hope that Stahelski and his screenwriting imps  manage to out-carnage themselves for  one final explosive franchise finale in 2019;

The Bad Batch (2017) Trailer

Ana Lily Aminpour, director of the breakthrough A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night has a new film imminent, and I think it has an interesting vibe to it.;

The Beguiled (2017) Trailer

I’ve always enjoyed Sofia Coppola’s films, she has certainly carved out her own cinematic idiom and style, although I can understand and appreciate some of the aesthetic criticisms – distanced, elitist, cold, privileged. Well, I like at least three of those elements across a broad range of presentations, so any new picture from her always piques my interest. To see her take on a remake of a 1970’s Clint Eastwood starring picture, especially during the period when he attracted some gender representational antipathy – well, in the current climate this could be mildly volatile;

Boogie Nights (1997) Commentary

OK you fucking mooks, OK, I feel bad about this, I’m feeling especially guilty and useless at not posting anything concerning my Scorsese blitzkrieg over the past few weeks. Truth be told I have six or seven full reviews in the pipeline, but wider considerations have fumbled my intent, and it has proved difficult to find the effort or inspiration to continue this increasingly monumental effort – real life can sometime intrude. Nevertheless I’ve only got one more full movie to see in the season which on a whole has been a revelatory season, there is just one more of the classics to finally see on the big screen, so I keep telling myself to wait until that is absorbed until I get chained to the keyboard. Until then here is some more adjunct material which is fascinating, one of the core figures in recent Amercian cinema whom would not exist, as we known it, without Marty;

It Comes At Night (2017) Trailer

Ah, it looks as if we have this years must see horror movie already, I’ve been hearing some very good things about this;

Oscars Eyes

So this is doing the rounds, and a lovely little montage it is to, showing the evolution of style over the past eighty or so years;

The Love Witch (2017) Trailer

I’ve been hearing some great things about this, a perfectly observed cult movie pastiche which manages to balance that fine line of homage and genuine affection laced humour;

It stormed Frightfest last week and is coming to a very modest release and VOD over the next couple of weeks. In other news yes, plenty of Scorsese material is imminent, I jus need to find the time to finalise each of the reviews which I’ve outlined and researched. In fact I’m off to another screening tonight so next week is going to be….hectic;

Tarkovsky Interuptus

Here’s something big, dense and delightful to get your cinematic teeth into, a 75 minute deconstruction of Tarkovsky’s cold war masterpiece Stalker. As you’d imagine it is the quite the academic affair, with the likes of writers Geoff Dyer, Phillip Lopate, Michael Benson and Francine Prose in cerebral attention, alongside a little someone known as Walter Murch;

The Inertia Variations (2017) Trailer

I think some of you might be interested in seeing this;