Sunday, July 10, 2016

Free State of Jones

(2016, Gary Ross)

Much anticipated film about the life of Union Sympathizer Newton Knight and his attempt to create a unique place (the Free State of Jones) in Confederate Mississippi during and immediately after the War Betwixt the States.

Matthew McConaughey and Gugu Mbatha-Raw put in decent performances in this wildly inaccurate and poorly constructed film by Gary Ross.  The flash forward to the 20th Century and the use of title cards and junky editing weigh heavily on this movie.

Unless you are a huge MM fan and like seeing the same Louisiana locations you have seen plenty in Django:Unchained; Into the Badlands; 12 Years a Slave and elsewhere; or just have a hankerin' for period costumes and weapons or like fancy Mules-- avoid this sad and mostly boring film.

Trailer

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

(2016 JJ Abrams)

My reaction is: meh. Daisy Ridley as Rey is a great heroic figure and Adam Driver is surprisingly good as Kylo Ren. This is in many ways a shot for shot homage to the original trilogy and I think that is fan service at it’s worst. The world of Jakku is blandly realized and much of the world building that can be seen in other Star Wars films is lacking here.   This ultimately feels like an intentionally weak movie in order for the sequel to be awesome like Empire Strikes Back supposedly was for Star Wars.

I await the interstitial movies directed by various hotshot directors. . .

Hail Caesar

(2016 The Coen Bros)

Joel and Ethan have lost the genius of youth. This film looks cool and is well acted with ensemble favorites George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Josh Brolin. This movie seems to be a plot without a story. Or a story that plays at philosophy and cultural commentary and fails. The symbolism is weakly realized and while there are some standout moments like Channing Tatum’s musical number— it all sums to very little. I also didn’t like Burn After Reading much. . . Oh yeah and Scarlett Johannson is in it. . . .

Trailer

Dead Pool

(2016  Tim Miller)

Canadian Ryan Reynolds brings the hot sauce with this r-rated Marvel Comics movie by first time feature director Tim Miller. This is a solid flick. Good humor, sexiness, shark-jumping rooted in visceral fantastic realism— and Negasonic Teenage Warhead.  NTW is realized as a complete badass in this film. Double-punch! Morena Baccarin plays Deadpool’s significant other and Dario Naharis plays the bad guy. Preposterously inappropriate humor, gore, boobs, martial arts, explosions, tuff women, metal Russians, and cool costumes, unicorns, and pop cultural commentary— this film fires on all cylinders. Enjoy the ride. (6/7)



PS-- I almost got in a fist fight with co-creator Rob Liefeld in San Diego at a Dark Horse Comics party. He insulted my Hawaiian shirt and I insulted his crappy drawing anatomy. . .

Trailer

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

On DVD: Big Hero Six; John Wick


(2014) Chris Williams

I love this movie. It is double punch goodness and is (along with Guardians of the Galaxy) the best of the Marvel Films. Fantastic world building in the form of San Fransokyo; heart warming goodness; robots; awesome action; badass design; and the message that math, science, and making stuff is how heroes and heroines are made. I have watched this movie about 30 times.(7/7)




John Wick
(2014) David Leitch, Chad Stahelski

Ok so Keanu can kill movies with his intrinsic Keanuness however it is clear that he loves martial arts and action films (see his directorial debut(?) Man of Tai Chi). John Wick is a revenge tale about a skilled hitman whose dog is killed by Mick Jagger, er Theo Greyjoy, er the Russians played by Scandinavians and British Actors. Some nice close quarter combat martial arts. (5/7)

The Thin Man
(1934) WS Van Dyke

What can you say? William Powell and Myrna Loy are such badasses it hurts. This movie is a pitch perfect adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett novel. This movie was shot in 12 days. It is sexy, smart, warm and clever. And it has Asta the dog who (in various doggie incarnations) achieved celebrity on his/her own.

Baian the Assassin
(1990)

Super charismatic Watanabe Ken stars in this 1990s Japanese series about an acupuncturist/ doctor who is actually an underworld assassin. This tight drama shines best when showing the interactions between Baian and the toothpick craftsman/ assassin and the machinations surrounding the assassins go-between (motojime). Watching this show makes me hungry-- just like Zatoichi— they are always eating amazing food. *stomach growls* (6/7)

Avengers: Age of Ultron; Furious 7; DVD picks

(2015) Joss Whedon

James Spader plays a robot. Featuring the Avengers as themselves. Overall this was an enjoyable romp but it seemed like it could have been better. Typical of Marvel movies there were huge battles in a city. Why can’t the Avengers lure their enemies out into the countryside? Cameo by Thanos as himself.
(5/7)

Furious 7
(2015) James Wan

The 7th entry in the actioner series. Jason Statham does a fantastic job as the bad guy.  This film is a celebration and a send off for brother in arms Paul Walker who died as the film was being completed. I admit I shed a few tears in what felt like the end of the series. Martial arts badasses Tony Jaa and Ronda Rousey appear in small but supportive roles. Crazy stunts and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson— what else does one need for Double Punch Goodness? Some odd edits and a longish runtime subtract a few points— entertainments! (5/7)

on BluRay and DVD:

The Criterion Collection Zatoichi box set. Awesome box and booklet art by favorite ink drawer Yuko Shimizu and other notables.  Includes a must see doc which shows how wacky Shintaro Katsu was during the filming of the TV series. This box set contains all the feature films less “Darkness Is His Ally” which is the weakest of the films. Binge watch one of the greatest film series of all. (100/100)














Monday, August 4, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

(2014) James Gunn

All Ibcan say is: Double Punch!
(7/7)