The hitman comedy seems like something that is so played out. Even in the case of Paco Cabezas’s Mr Right, it appears that way too. With a script from Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra), everything just feels super conventional and safe. But a by-the-numbers screenplay does not automatically mean the film is garbage, especially in the case of Mr Right. Utilizing great comedic performances from all of its actors, the film is a gleefully violent time hurt only by its need to be unique.
James Bond is in a constant need to prove he’s still hip, current, and not obsolete. It’s not like anyone ever really thought that he was. But nonetheless, he has to prove to everyone that he isn’t. He’s already proved it to people who love poker, people who like deserts and shitty action sequences, and then people who love Javier Bardem chewing scenery and gay overtones in the relationship between Bardem’s Silva and Daniel Craig’s Bond. Now Bond is back to prove that once and for all, he’s with it, but now he has to tell it to Christoph Waltz and an unsubtle version of the NSA. Continue reading →
I’m just gonna say it right here. I’m not well versed in either wuxia films or the filmography of Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Not that either set of films don’t interest me, but I’ve never really put in the time or effort. After The Assassin, I might understand why. I am all for pretentious movies (Upstream Color and Under the Skin are a couple of my favourite movies of the past couple years), but The Assassin focuses on a thin plot and even thinner characters in the hopes that you’ll be interested enough in the beauty of the filmmaking. And I was almost fooled too.
“Keep your melodrama out of my action” I could hear myself yelling in my head as SPL 2: A Time for Consequences introduced a daughter that needs a bone marrow donor, a man who needs his nephew, a man who needs a heart transplant, and a whole lot of fates crossing paths. Yet, by the end of the 120-minute runtime, I was enamoured by its willingness to be more than just good action. Between canvases of blood and bone is an intricately detailed web of ridiculousness that somehow cascades into itself to create a perfectly wound action film.
Class warfare has become more and more prominent within films, most notably from the perspective of the lower class. Rags-to-riches is one thing, but to literally deconstruct the entire social hierarchy is something that makes for a far more interesting tale. With that in mind, Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise partially manages to ascend beyond the now-typical poor versus rich story by pouring all the elements into a single apartment building, watching the world crumble as its main character stumbles around as little more than an audience surrogate.
“With great power comes great responsibility” is probably the best line to describe everything about Fantastic Four. I could write lengthy articles about the turmoil behind-the-scenes of this directorial follow-up to Josh Trank’s Chronicle, but the film largely speaks for itself. Despite a cast of talented, younger actors, and a franchise with more than enough interesting elements to pull from its 50-plus year history, Fantastic Four is a movie that seems to have amnesia about what it wants to be midway through. Blame it on whatever you want, the film forgets what it is and sacrifices its characters for dumb action moments that disappoint more often than they amaze.
Mission Impossible has had one of the more interesting timelines in franchise film history. Originally released in 1996, Mission Impossible, a feature length adaptation of the original 60’s TV series, starring A-list megastar Tom Cruise, Jon Voight & Ving Rhames and directed by Brian De Palma, was a huge success that only made Tom Cruise’s stardom blow up even further. John Woo took a crack at it 5 years later with the hilariously abbreviated M-I:2. With minor critical love, but massive box office, JJ Abrams took his shot with the wonderfully entertaining (thanks to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s amazing turn as the villian), Mission Impossible 3 was the jumpstart the series needed again and with Brad Bird’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, critical reception and audiences were sky-high with the film becoming a massive success (although I can’t say I’m a big fan of the film). Following Tom Cruise’s disappointing box office returns for his more recent blockbusters, Oblivion and the critically acclaimed Edge of Tomorrow (which I loved), the last Mission Impossible seems like Cruise’s last chance to show that he still has the box office draw studios hope he has. But how does the movie itself hold up?