John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. It was good. I consider myself a big enough fan of the franchise that I know I’m probably grading on a curve, but I think “good” is accurate. I feel like the world is getting a little too big. Too many characters. This world of assassins used to feel more sneaky and underground, now it feels ubiquitous. There were too many coins being slipped across tables followed by meaningful eye contact. Halle Berry had a nice turn. Laurence Fishburne continues to be simply the best at… speaking… words. Love the final pitched battle gimmick: dudes with so much body armor they keep reviving like zombies. If you can’t send infinite waves of infantry, make them recyclable. John Wick riding horseback through the city at night is very much my shit.
John Wick 2. A+, I say. Expands the universe, crazifies the action. Just as fun as the original for me.
The Neon Demon. This is Nicolas Winding Refn‘s best movie, haters. I think it was More Than One Lesson, their episode on this movie, where Tyler Smith talked about this being a perfect pairing: Refn loves image and surface and sheen, and here he finds characters to match. Mirrors everywhere, all-consumptive. Don’t forget it’s a horror movie.
My Refn power rankings:
- The Neon Demon
- Only God Forgives
- Valhalla Rising
The Neon Demon. If divisiveness was Refn’s goal, it seems he delivered. Lots of hate and eye-rolling for this one, and I get it to a degree (especially when the director is kind of a troll). But I liked it. I appreciated Lauren Wilford’s perspective. Movies are not just the stories they’re about, but also the way they are about it. Gotta make space in the world for demented fever-dreamy impressionist movies, too.
Man of Tai Chi. Good fightin’. It’s rare that martial arts movies work in some good grappling and wrestling, but it really takes this one to another level. This makes a nice pairing with 99 Homes – about a hero’s incrementally ignoble choices leading to self-destruction. Filed under: Keanu Reeves, martial arts
John Wick. This movie was much better than it needed to be. Oddly inventive, and I love the world they built, with the secret clubs, clean-up contractors, doubloons (!), industry hotel, etc. It’s been a while since a movie had so many judo slams. Also love the way Wick would disable a nearby opponent, turn his attention to more distant ones for a moment, then turn back to neutralize the close one. His fighting had a sense of style, a personality. I need to watch Point Break again.
Point Break. So damn good. Sensual west-coast crime cat-and-mouse rivalry a la Heat. I need to move to L.A.. I don’t know what it was, but that lawnmower scene had the most viscerally tense squirmy moments of anything I’ve seen since, maybe Compliance? I also liked Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, and loved Zero Dark Thirty.