John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019): Review by Grosse Point Geek

A Blog

Plot In a nutshell:After killing a member of the all powerful High Table on the sanctified grounds of the Continental Hotel, John Wick (Keanu Reeves plus dog) is on the run with a $14 million dollar bounty on his head and every assassin on the planet after him for the reward. Its now a race against time for John to get out of New York and somehow make good with the High Table before his deadly pursuers catch up with him.

What worked:To be honest  – just about all of it, and as long you dont take it too seriously you’re in for one hell of a ride. To say the least this film is bonkers   – which is mostly due to the utterly insane action sequences which get madder by the minute  – you name it this film has it – fisticuffs by the bucketload, bullet riddled  gun fights, knife smackdowns, sword fights, motorbike chases and in one very wince inducing scene what will now be forever known as “Horse Fu”  – no honestly you will have to see it to believe it.
Its also well acted  – Keanu is very good as Wick and deserves alot of kudos for how he throws himself into all the action scenes. Halle Berry is also impressive as an old acquaintance who is forced to help him after he cashes in a blood oath, plus Ian McShane, Lance Reddick and Lawrence Fishburne all return to their respective roles and lend the film some smooth gravitas and high quality acting chops.

 

Finally director Chad Stahelski proves once again he is one of the most accomplished action directors working today -coming up with some truly death defying camera shots and some very inventive set pieces.
What could have been better: Its at least 15 minutes too long, Halle Berry isnt in it for long enough and towards the end one does feel a bit of sensory overload with just how much endless scrapping is going on.
Best Scene:An almighty blazing gun fight that takes place in an empty Casablanca market involving Berry, Reeves, a whole swathe of bad guys plus two extremely vicious and  very well trained attack dogs.
Review Summary:A bit long but so enjoyably nuts that you wont really care – this refreshingly quirky action franchise just keeps going from strength to strength – roll on Chapter 4.

See It At the Cinema?– Definitely

Buy On DVD/Blu Ray?  –Of Course

 

 


Follow us on Social Media:

 

 

A Prayer Before Dawn (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

A Prayer Before Dawn (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
A Prayer Before Dawn is a hard film to watch.  Violence, rape, drugs, brutal beatings… it certainly doesn’t leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling afterwards.  However that may be… it’s still a powerful, affecting watch that, based on a true story, hammers home the dangers of undertaking criminal deeds in foreign countries. Its unflinching and exhausting, with a charged and powerful performance from Peaky Blinders actor Joe Cole and tight, if a touch repetitive, direction.  This isn’t Ong Bak and it makes the borstals of Scum seem appealing.

Best Bit: In the ring

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Scum, Michael Inside, Peaky Blinders

 


Follow us on Social Media:

 

 

White House Down (2014) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

White House Down (2014) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
One of 2013’s biggest misses this arrived months after the hit that was Olympus Has Fallen to a chorus of meh!  But I have no idea why because, as an action film, it’s much better that Olympus, has it’s tongue firmly in cheeky and mangoes to deliver whilst never taking itself too seriously.  In fact White House Down is probably one of the best action films of 2013.  No Really.

Best Bit: President of the USA + Rocket luncher.

Rent, Borrow, Buy, Stream: Buy

If you liked this try: Olympus Has Fallen, Die Hard With A Vengeance, Under Siege

 


Follow us on Social Media:

 

 

Triple Frontier (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Triple Frontier (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Triple Frontier is yet another slightly underwhelming star studied Netflix vehicle.  Okay so it’s not at all bad but what should be an exciting adrenaline pulsing heist/on the run action thriller just feels flat by the end of it’s third act.  Yes there’s a few surprises along the way and the film flirts with some dark ideas (sadly without ever committing)  but with a cast this good you just want someone to jump of auto pilot just for a few minutes.  Sadly no-one does. J.C. Chandor has made some very strong films so far so maybe the bar was set higher than it should have been. Ultimately Triple Frontier  passed the time but I won’t remember it in a few months…

Best Bit: The heist

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream (Netflix)

If You Liked this Try: The Accountant, Inglourious Basterds, Three Kings

 


Follow us on Social Media:

 

 

Hunter Killer (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Hunter Killer (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Uncategorized

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Hunter Killer is a whole bundle of dumb.  It’s also (for the most part) a whole bundle of fun as well. Yup you won’t learn anything new, and for sure no new ground was broken here (it also sports some of the naffist CGI you’ve seen since the 90’s)  but it’s a fun, silly ride…  even if the run time is more than a touch too long.   Look it’s a direct to DVD film that crept into the cinema and you’ll forget it almost immediately but this is yet another greta Butler beer and curry movie!

Best Bit: The fact Butler keeps a straight face

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down, Crimson Tide

 


Follow us on Social Media:

 

 

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) – A Rewatched Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith is the best of a bad bunch.  I know that’s kinda damning with faint praise but it’s true – the prequels just do not hold up.  Shonky effects are forgivable (just) but shonky acting, direction, script and story telling just isn’t.  In his desire to make a nice 6 film arc Lucas struggles to put all the pieces back together and rather than making things neat, leaves as many questions as he answers.  Yup it’s darker (killing kids… really?) but it’s also sillier with little cohesion between old and new trilogies.  So overall it’s still pretty weak it’s just not as bad as Attack of The Clones or Phantom Menace.  And I guess we can be a touch thankful for that at least… 

Best Bit: Nooooooo! (Joking – probably the opening attack)

Worth A Rewatch: Not overly 

If You Liked this Try: Star Wars: A New Hope, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story , Star Wars: the Clone Wars (TV)

 


Follow us on Social Media:

 

 

The Rock (1996) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

The Rock (1996) – A Hall of Fame Quick Capsule Review

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Oddly I wasn’t a fan of The Rock when I first saw it. But twenty years later (yes really) I’m truly amazing just how much this film blew me away.  It’s by far the best Michael Bay film (with Bad Boys a close second) with a killer performance by both Connery and Cage and for sure it’s one of the best action films of the 90’s… which is some praise if you look at a decade full of great action films.  From the car chase to the initial arrival on Alcatraz, from the Indiana Jones styled mine cart escape to Cage’s OTT venting it’s just a joy.  The Rock is essential and a welcome addition to the Hall of Fame.

Best Bit: Car Chase

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Bad Boys, Armageddon, Transformers 

Hall of Fame

 


Follow us on Social Media:

 

 

Robin Hood (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Robin Hood (2018) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
I get why people didn’t like the latest version of Robin Hood. It’s a bit full of itself, it substitutes style for substance and mashes about 500 years of technology into one.  I also still don’t buy Taron Egerton  as an action hero. This all said I actually quite enjoyed Robin Hood, despite its faults. The action is interesting, the CGI not too interactive and the mash up of technology quite fun.  And if nothing else at least it takes a different approach to a very well worn story. Peaky Blinder’s Paul Anderson is especially fun as Guy of Gisborne and Ben Mendelsohn does this best attempt to out Rickman Alan Rickman as the Sherif (he doesn’t get close but he’s still fun).  It’s flawed.  It’s silly. But its fun.  Worth a watch.

Best Bit: The riot/raid/assault

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Assassins Creed, Tomb Raider, Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves

 


Follow us on Social Media:

 

 

Cold Pursuit (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Cold Pursuit (2019) – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Liam Neeson returns to punch people in Cold Pursuit, a remake of the Norwegian vigilante film In Order of Disappearance made by the same director Hans Petter Moland, in his Hollywood debut.  And if that sentence sounds a bit mad welcome to the crazy world of Liam Neeson 2.0.  Yup Rob Roy is now a full blown arse kicker but unlike Taken, Cold Pursuit takes a bit of a comedic route to get Liam to turn on the hurt.  In fact this is Tarantino meets Elmore Leonard – part Hateful Eight, part LA Confidential, part Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead.   This all add’s up to a bundle of fun – even if it does lag a touch in the middle. So don’t expect a full on Taken but Cold Pursuit is a fun diversion.

Best Bit: Paragliding – the payoff.

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: In Order of Disappearance, Taken, LA Confidential

 


Follow us on Social Media:

 

 

Rampage (2009): Review by Motion Picture Maniac

Rampage (2009): Review by Motion Picture Maniac

A Blog

Your Honour, I would like to plead guilty to the crime of liking a film by Uwe Boll and not in the guilty pleasure, so-bad-it’s-good sort of way. Rather in that “no, really, I’m serious” sort of way. Is it a great film? No. Does it have problems? Of bloody course it does. But do I also think it’s one that deserves a fair look from any judge-by-the-cover detractors, who have based early dislike on the name at the helm? Oh you bet.

I’ve been working on a short film for a little while now and haven’t had that many opportunities to go to the cinema as per my usual amount (and what I have seen I don’t think I can get a whole review out of). What I have had some time for is evenings of old DVD’s and revisiting bits and pieces from the past; one of which is the one good Uwe Boll film that I own: Rampage. No, not the blockbuster with the Rock going up against big hungry beasties, I’m talking about the nasty as hell horror action punch to the faces of GTA fans everywhere in which Brendan Fletcher plays a mass shooter who spends much of the plot gunning down innocent civilians; not presented by Disney then?

We live in a world where the consensus of the tasteless is beginning to regress. We got over the initial shock of the video nasties, then we opened our eyes and realised all the people who caused the fuss, proclaiming that violent movies would bring down civilisation, were fucking idiots who deserve to have their graves desecrated and names vilified throughout history. But now we’re reverting back to that mindset because everything ever said and thought is just offensive to everyone now so oh well, never mind.

I say that because, believe it or not, I think Rampage may be the kind of film we need in our society, yes, even nowadays, in fact: especially nowadays. With all the mass shootings going on all the time and those with the power to do something about it shrugging everything off with a smile like it’s not their problem and everyone’s just being silly for asking, it could be up to films like this to give everyone the shock they need – why exactly? Well, I don’t think you’re supposed to like it; at least not in the traditional sense.

This is not a pleasant film to watch content-wise (which can only work if the surface works beforehand), Boll went and pulled his finger out with this one so on a technical level the film is actually kind of alright, it doesn’t look like the camera was simply pointed at the actors while they spout lines from an early stage practice script like House of the Dead or whatever. It feels like he actually made a film, like… a real film, with on beat editing, stylish camera work and decent performances, but also with a thematic intention, which is to deliver a brutal commentary; even if that means bordering on deliberately unwatchable. It’s weird, he’s proving here that he actually knows his stuff on a fundamental level so what happened with all of his other efforts?

The story goes thusly: Brendan Fletcher plays Bill, your regular ol’ average Joe whose parents think it’s time he moved out, he doesn’t get on with his boss, he’s got a rambling political realist for a best friend, who likes preaching online about the problems of the world, and he seems to bump into contagiously grumpy people at every turn; his life doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. That is until one day in which Bill reveals he hasn’t been as lacking in ambition as everyone thought by dressing head to toe in body armour, grabbing a couple of machine guns, and going out on the town to shoot, stab and blow up pretty much everyone in sight.

That’s it, guy has dull life so guy grabs guns and kills everyone. You wanna know why I think this film works? It doesn’t ever try to be cool or fun, it’s not really an action film, it’s a horror. The rampage of the title isn’t supposed to make you ooh and aah, the minimal use of slo-mo is there to drive home disturbance instead of emphasising any kind of badass-ness and there isn’t a single moment in which you’ll catch yourself cheering the “hero” on – even when the victim is someone who once wronged him. Our protagonist proves early that, while we’re stuck with him, he’s not going to be the most likeable of leads, you don’t approve of his actions and definitely do not sympathise with him. A few moments during the rampage come to mind in which the word “evil” has seldom been more appropriate, such as Bill calmly joking with a cornered woman while he reloads before shooting her to death the same way he would lock his front door.

Boll shot the thing with a shaky hand-held style and surprisingly realistic sounding improvised dialogue that makes everything feel spontaneous and as if the camera itself doesn’t know what’s going to happen next. This is very different to what his usual kitchen sink style of filmmaking is like, it’s crazy to even think it and I’ve already touched on it but wow, Boll actually shut up, sat down and gave thought to the thing – thought about aesthetics and the boundaries of style consistency. The first 45 minutes deal with Bill’s uneventful life as he goes through the motions but every now and then we get flashes of his plan in his head, probably the only thing I don’t like about the film; that and an explosion effect that is just not very convincing at all.

I get that Bill is supposed to be losing his grip and it’s an OK idea to show him thinking of the plan with shots of people dying, I mean the film’s called rampage and have you seen the poster? It’s hardly a surprise when bullets start flying, but there’s something about the way it’s done I don’t like that much, we see glimpses of latter scenes that don’t out right spoil them per say but still do feel like they’re giving too much away. It’s not just shots of nameless faceless victims falling but really specific stuff that it really doesn’t make sense to show. That’s about it though, I’d say everything else is smooth sailing.

As for the rampage itself, how does it do as a sequence? It begins with Bill suiting up and getting ready, probably one of my favourite scenes. He checks his outfit in the mirror and I nervously laugh when it is revealed how short he is, making him more human before he commences, and when bodies start falling it makes for one of the best and most haunting sequences of Boll’s career. The sight of innocent civilians dropping like flies the way they do here makes for some very uncomfortable viewing, no flash, no fun, just people getting shot and dying and it borders on nightmare inducing.

The scenes that follow begin to vary and mess with your expectations. Neither one in a beauty salon or another guiltily funny one in a bingo hall will be quickly forgotten, there’s a scene where Bill robs a bank because he may as well while committing mass murder I guess (I’m covering spoilers here), and it contains some pretty nasty shit; I won’t lie. All practical explosions that follow the not-so-great CGI one are superbly well edited (especially around a surprised police car), Brendan Fletcher absolutely crushed it as the unlikeable lead and, thinking about it, I really aught to get onto those sequels if they’re anything like this one.

Rampage may not be a great film given its irritating few issues but what works well really, really does work well. Jessica Derooij’s musical score is brilliant, the stunt work is brutal, the kills are just horrible and… yeah, well done Uwe Boll, trying his hand at a bit of social commentary and succeeding, who knew? I recommend you give Rampage a go, what’s the harm? It works, damnit! And when a broken clock is right for that one second it’s fun to point it out. Does this make me a lunatic? YES but who cares?

 


Follow us on Social Media: