May Movie Releases

Hello Boys and Girls!

It’s the beginning of the Summer Movie Season!

What better way to start off this run of movies than a great month of films. We got a lot of films to get to, so let’s get to it!

 

4th

Bad Samaritan

A pair of burglars stumble upon a woman being held captive in a home they intended to rob. The movie stars Robert Sheehan, Carlito Olivero, Kerry Condon and David Tennant.

 

Overboard

A remake of the 1987 film, but this time with the genders reversed; a spoiled, wealthy yacht owner (Eugenio Derbez) is thrown overboard and becomes the target of revenge from his mistreated employee (Anna Faris). I’ve slowly become a fan of Eugenio Derbez – Faris is always reliable – and while the movie just looks okay, hopefully it’s at least entertaining. Overboard co-stars Eva Longoria, Swooise Kurtz, Josh Segarra, Alyvia Alyn Lind, and John Hannah

 

Tully

Written by Diablo Cody (Juno) and directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult); Marlo (Charlize Theron), a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother. Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis). It’s hard to root against the team of Reitman and Cody who did Juno together – I haven’t seen Young Adult – and with a cast like this, we’re probably looking at another hit. Tully co-stars Mark Duplass and Ron Livingston.

 

11th

Revenge

Never take your mistress on an annual guys’ getaway, especially one devoted to hunting – a violent lesson for three wealthy married men. The movie is lead by Matilda Lutz.

 

Life of the Party

Written by husband-and-wife duo Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy; when her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna (McCarthy) turns regret into a re-set by going back to college – landing in the same class and school as her daughter, who’s not entirely sold on the idea. Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the increasingly outspoken Deanna – now Dee Rock – embraces freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected. I honestly don’t know what to make of the movie. I know there are some people out there that don’t like McCarthy, but I still think she can churn out some great comedy, so hopefully it happens here. The impressive cast includes Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Adria Arjona, Jessie Ennis, Matt Walsh, Jacki Weaver and Christina Aguilera.

 

Breaking In

A mother (Gabrielle Union) takes her two children on a weekend gateway to her late father’s secluded, high-tech estate in the countryside. She soon finds herself in a fight to save her children from four men who break into the house in search of something. It’s kind of nice to see Union back on the big screen, and while the movie hasn’t completely sold me yet, it could be a worthwhile small thriller.

 

Terminal

The twisting tales of two assassins carrying out a sinister mission. A teacher battling a fatal illness, an enigmatic janitor and a curious waitress leading a dangerous double life. Murderous consequences unravel in the dead of night as their lives all intertwine at the hands of a mysterious criminal mastermind hell-bent on revenge. Terminal stars Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Matthew Lewis, Dexter Fletcher, Max Irons and Mike Myers.

 

18th

Limited Release: First Reformed

A former military chaplain is wracked by grief over the death of his son. Mary is a member of his church whose husband, a radical environmentalist, commits suicide, setting the plot in motion. The movie stars Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer.

 

Show Dogs

Max, a macho, solitary Rottweiler police dog is ordered to go undercover as a primped show god in a prestigious Dog Show, along with his human partner, to avert a disaster from happening. I honestly couldn’t get passed the trailer, so I don’t think I’ll be personally watching this. The live-action cast includes Will Arnett and Natasha Lyonne, with the voice cast including Ludacris, Alan Cumming, Shaquille O’Neal, Gabriel Iglesias and Stanley Tucci.

 

Book Club

Four lifelong friends have their lives forever changed after reading 50 Shades of Grey in their monthly book club. The movie stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Alicia Silverstone, Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia and Don Johnson.

 

Deadpool 2

Directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde), Deadpool 2’s story has been mostly secret, but from what we can tell in the trailers it looks like Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) has to protect a young mutant (Julian Dennison) from the future, time-traveling mutant known as Cable (Josh Brolin). To do so, it looks like Deadpool forms the group X-Force. We can assume hilarity and action ensue. The rest of the cast is filled with the returning Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, Karan Soni, Stefan Kapicic, T.J. Miller and Leslie Uggams. The new cast also includes Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgard, Terry Crews, Shioli Kutsuna, Jack Kesy and Eddie Marsan.

 

25th

Solo: A Star Wars Story

During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Clarissian (Donald Glover) years before joining the Rebellion. Obviously, Solo had a very public behind-the-scenes debacle and drama with Phil Lord and Chris Miller being fired weeks before principal photography was done, over creative differences that spanned before then. Ron Howard then came in to not only finishing filming, but reshoot footage – a lot of it. That said, the prequel is dividing a lot of fans, and for good reason. Do we need a Han Solo origin story? Probably not. Will it be good? Let’s hope so. Solo also stars Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Warwick Davis, Jon Favreau and Paul Bettany.

 

What are you looking forward to?

‘The Revenant’ Review

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Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Writers: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu & Mark L. Smith

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Paul Anderson, Kristoffer Joner, Duane Howard, Fabrice Adde, and Lukas Haas

Synopsis: A frontiersman named Hugh Glass on a fur trade expedition in the 1820s is on a quest for survival after being brutally mauled by a bear.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Based in part on the novel by Michael Punke, The Revenant is also based on the true story of Hugh Glass, who goes for revenge against the people that left him for dead. So take that story and add the team of director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, with great actors in Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, and you get yourself an amazing visual film with performances that will stick with you.

The Revenant is, at its barebones, a “man vs. nature” and survivalist film. The film follows fur trapper Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) who helps Captain Andrew Henry (Gleeson) and his men get fur for the winter and so they can sell. The group includes other traders and soldiers, but the core people we follow are Glass’ half-Native American son Hawk (Goodluck), a young Jim Bridger (Poulter) – who would become one of the Old West’s most legendary mountain men, but this isn’t his story – and a self-interested and temperamental John Fitzgerald (Hardy).

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The opening of the film sees the group getting attacked by a Native American tribe of Arikara lead by their chief (Howard), who have their own storyline of looking for the chief’s daughter, but it doesn’t add a ton of the overall story, so I’ll avoid talking about that. Anyway, our main group lead deep into the forest to avoid the Arikara, but soon after Glass is attacked and horribly mauled by a grizzly bear. Captain Henry insists that they take Glass, who is clinging to life as it is, back to their fort. Fitzgerald, not wanting to risk his life for a man who’s already dying, decides to “stay behind” with Hawk and Bridger to give Glass a proper burial once he finally dies. Of course, Fitzgerald doesn’t honor that and kills Hawk and leaves Glass for dead in a pit. Glass eventually gets out and seeks his revenge against Fitzgerald.

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The Revenant is a tough movie to sit through. Not because it’s bad, but because of what we see Hugh Glass who through, physically and emotionally, and what he has to do in order to survive. The bear mauling scene alone is standout sequence in the whole film, but seeing Glass go through the vast wilderness in the dead of the winter to get the man that killed his son and left him for dead is just gut-wrenching to watch. However, what makes the film work even more is knowing that everything was done particular. It truly is a testament to the cast and crew to put the film together. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Inarritu and Lubezki decided to film the movie on location, during the winter in Calgary and Argentina (yes, Argentina!), and only using natural light to shoot the film. The way that Lubezki shoots the film is visually amazing to look at in every way. From the long and tracking shots – which he’s famous for – of rivers, the sky, and trees that tells us the other part of the story and connecting theme, to the close-ups of DiCaprio’s Glass gritting his teeth through the pain and his breath in the cold weather. Lubezki is truly one of the best cinematographers in Hollywood today.

But besides the amazing cinematography, the film is nothing without the performances. Of course the film belongs to Leonardo DiCaprio, in the film that could hopefully, and finally, win him an Oscar. Hell, DiCaprio doesn’t really have a ton of lines in this, as his performance is strictly him trying to survive in any way possible, a few grunts and simply standing still. As for Tom Hardy, like DiCaprio, is reliable in everything he does, but here his performance is showier than Glass, and any time he’s on screen he chews up the scenery. One scene in particular has Hardy’s Fitzgerald telling a story about his father to Bridger. The speech – again – fits into the overall theme and who the character really is.

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The rest of the supporting cast has their moments, but the film belongs to DiCaprio and arguably Hardy as well. Will Poulter’s Bridger and Forrest Goodluck’s Hawk bring in the young vulnerability to the frontier and their trip, while Domhnall Gleeson (who’s everywhere now, and good for him) brings the character to life, who could have been nothing more than a one-note or throwaway character. Arthur Redcloud also has a small role as a Native American character that helps Glass is somewhat memorable.

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The Revenant isn’t a film for everybody. Some, including myself at times, will find the middle of the film to drag on and feel a bit repetitive. But the argument can be made that it is Inarritu trying to make us feel like we are there suffering the long road back with Glass. Following that, some of the survivalist moments of the film will probably take some out of the film.

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All in all, The Revenant, like all Alejandro G. Inarritu films has more going on that the simple story that we see. Yes, the film is about a man seeking revenge, but it’s the way that Inarritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki shot the film that makes it more than that and makes it a beautiful, yet gritty and dangerous story and film. The film could be one of those that you could watch again to catch some of the nuances in the cinematography or even the performances, but make no mistake The Revenant is truly one of the those films that will stick with you.

 

The Revenant

4.5 out of 5

‘John Wick’ Review

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Dir: David Leitch and Chad Stahelski

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick and Ian McShane

Synopsis: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.

 

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review*

 

 

John Wick is one of those movies you would most likely not give a second look. The premise behind it is a tad wonky: An ex-hitman goes on a killing spree because they killed his dog. However, John Wick is a ton of fun and the action is so out there that you almost can’t help but enjoy yourself and have fun.

 

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John (Reeves) is mourning the death of his wife Helen (Moynahan) when he receives a puppy. The puppy, named Daisy, was her way for making sure John could cope with her loss. John looks like he’s doing okay until he goes out and ends up at a gas station where he encounters three gangster lead by Iosef (Allen). What seemed like just a minor annoyance becomes more when they break into his house, beat him up, kill the dog and steal his car. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst, to them, John Wick is a retired hitman who managed to get out of the life, but before he did, he was considered “the person you send to kill the Boogeyman.” Wick then comes out for one last job of revenge and will stop anyone who gets in his way. He then finds out that Iosef is the son of a kingpin that he use to work for in Viggo (Nyqvist).

 

The interesting thing about the movie is that is throws you into the criminal underground world. When Iosef steals Wick’s car he takes it to a chop-shop owned by John Leguizamo’s Aureilo, who immediately knows whose car is it, punches him and demands he leaves. When Aureilo gets a call from Viggo and asks for answers, he tells him what his son did and gets a reaction which borderlines funny, ridiculous, and serious. Wick never runs into anybody that isn’t a killer. He even stays at a hotel known as The Continental, which is run by Management, and is a safe haven/hotel for killers. There are also transactions done by gold coins. They have a code pretty much. This could also be a bit of a negative because when you see all of this, you kind of want to know more about this society, but we are left following John Wick killing people, which is okay.

 

Reeves could have gave Wick a wooden performance and taken the role to serious or even not serious enough. But Reeves gives a good range of emotions throughout the movie. Someone mentions that John looks vulnerable for the first time and Reeves actually gives us that. You do believe that John Wick was this most feared assassin by the way everyone treats him and takes him coming after Iosef seriously.

 

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Isoef (Alfie Allen) and Viggo (Michael Nyqvist)

 

The villains are rounded up by Michael Nyqvist’s Viggo, Adrianne Palicki’s Perkins, Daniel Bernhardt’s Kirill and Dean Winters’ Avi. Nyqvist is a no nonsense kind of guy and even punches his own son and calls him out when he finds out what he did. Winters doesn’t have a lot to do but give a couple comedic lines and be Viggo’s personal assistant. Bernhardt becomes Iosef’s protector and has some great fight sequences with John Wick. Palicki unfortunately is kind of forgettable, which is a shame because I do like her.

 

Willem Dafoe and Ian McShane pop up as old friends to John and are the last “members of the old guard.” But are only in the movie for short amount of times, but are still welcomed additions. Even Alfie Allen, who is the major reason why the events of the movie takes place disappears often and by the time he comes back you wish Wick would just kill him.

 

Of course, you’re not going to watch this movie for the acting. You’re going to watch this movie for the balls to the wall action. Well, you’re in luck because John Wick has that and then some. It’s appropriate because the movie is directed by stunt men David Leitch and Chad Staheiski, which shows during the action sequences because they are done so well and filled with combinations of martial arts and gun-play (or ‘Gun Fu’ as some call it) which leads to some brutal and some satisfying deaths.

 

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John Wick (Reeves) vs. Kirill (Daniel Bernhardt)

 

The action is great and you’re giving time to enjoy it. Killing for John is almost second nature. He makes kill after kill with extreme precious and doesn’t hesitate to kill anyone that has the great misgiving by being in front of him. One particular action sequence stands out to me and has a great combination of action choreography, background music, and cinematography. They care about the action and none of the fight scenes have shaky cam which action/fight fans will most likely appreciate. However, I will say the last shootout is a bit underwhelming, especially after the other scenes.

 

All in all, John Wick does have some missteps but overall is a hell of a ride. The story might not be sound or all there but the action sure as hell makes up for it.

 

John Wick

4.5 out of 5

"Yeah, I'm thinking I'm back!"

“Yeah, I’m thinking I’m back!”