Monday, December 12th, 2022
When I first heard that the trusted manufacturers of sturdy action cinema at 87North Productions were making a Santa Claus movie, I misunderstood. I pictured sort of a BAD SANTA meets DIE HARD – a serious action movie where it’s some deadbeat mall Santa who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time and has to save the day, hopefully using a velvet sack’s worth of seasonally themed methods.
So when I realized that the Santa Claus played by David Harbour (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN) in VIOLENT NIGHT is the actual Santa Claus, having his Christmas Eve deliveries interrupted by hostage takers and using “Christmas magic” to fight back, I was disappointed at first. Sounded corny, I thought.
I was wrong. I want to apologize to Santa. VIOLENT NIGHT is an admirable and solid take on a type of movie I treasure: the genre mash-up that knows it’s ludicrous to combine these particular types of movies but moves forward trying to deliver on both genres as well as the unique opportunities offered by their combination. So it has the trappings of a DIE HARD/UNDER SIEGE scenario (ruthless mastermind, elite mercenary force, carefully planned heist, hero mixed up in it by mistake, shocking deaths of innocent people, bad guys picked off one-by-one with stolen or improvised weapons) but also a heartwarming holiday tale (little girl wavering in her belief in Santa, family having trouble getting along, lessons about selflessness). It’s a comedy, but not a spoof. It tries to deliver faithfully on the mission of each genre. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: 87North, Alex Hassell, Alexander Elliot, Alexis Louder, Andre Eriksen, Beverly D'Angelo, Brendan Fletcher, Cam Gigandet, Christmas, Christmas action, David Harbour, Edi Patterson, John Leguizamo, Jonathan Eusebio, Leah Brady, Mitra Suri, Pat Casey & Josh Miller, Phong Iang, Santa Claus, Tommy Wirkola
Posted in Reviews, Action, Comedy/Laffs, Fantasy/Swords | 21 Comments »
Wednesday, December 29th, 2021
“I’m sorry. How could I know this would happen?”
“We didn’t understand all of it back then. No more than we do now.”
(you have entered THE SPOILERTRIX)
When I saw the first trailer for THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS, it wasn’t what I expected. That is to say that it seemed like the sort of thing you would expect from a normal 2020s “legacy sequel” to an old series: bringing back some of the original stars, addressing that they are older now, stripping away some of the excesses of previous sequels, visually and otherwise referencing famous scenes specifically from the first movie. Which is all fine and good, but I figured they must be hiding something, because I didn’t believe Lana Wachowski (working without Lilly, who wanted to take time away from the industry) would come back to THE MATRIX after 18 years just to do something normal. I was betting on her having come up with some weird approach that even if I didn’t like it very much I would respect, as was the case with CLOUD ATLAS and JUPITER ASCENDING.
RESURRECTIONS might be the most accessible movie a Wachowski has made since the original MATRIX, but I don’t think I was wrong. This is a filmmaker making the movie she wants to and not what she thinks anyone else wants, therefore ending up with something no one else would’ve made. And I’m happy to say that I more than respected it. I kind of loved it. Though I wasn’t sure at first. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Andrew Caldwell, Carrie-Anne Moss, Chad Stahelski, Christina Ricci, Daniele Massaccesi, Erendira Ibarra, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jessica Henwick, John Toll, Jonathan Eusebio, Jonathan Groff, Joshua Grothe, Keanue Reeves, meta, Neil Patrick Harris, Scott Rogers, Tiger Hu Chen, video games, Wachowskis, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Posted in Action, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 68 Comments »
Tuesday, September 28th, 2021
KATE is the straight-to-Netflix Mary Elizabeth Winstead action movie produced by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski’s company 87North (formerly 87Eleven). As you’d expect from that pedigree, it has excellent action scenes, with JOHN WICK fight coordinator Jonathan Eusebio acting as second unit director and stunt coordinator. He did BIRDS OF PREY too, so I gotta wonder if Winstead asked, “You got any more of those JOHN WICKs laying around?”
The screenplay is credited to Umair Aleem (whose only previous credit is EXTRACTION – no, not that one – the Bruce Willis/Kellan Lutz/Gina Carano one), and the story is admittedly more standard than a JOHN WICK or a NOBODY. Elite assassin wanting to retire, yes, but none of the fanciful stuff. Working with her handler Varrick (Woody Harrelson, DOC HOLLYWOOD), who trained her since she was orphaned, Winstead’s titular character adeptly infiltrates, beats up, parkours and rooftop snipes whoever they send her after (which seems to mean Yakuza bosses, since she seems to live and work out of Japan). The first hit we see is successful, but she has to kill the guy in front of his daughter, which upsets her so much she decides she’s retiring after wrapping up the job. The second one we see she misses, making it much more exciting because we get to see her leap and somersault across buildings to get a second shot and then improvise an escape, stealing some dude’s ridiculously pimped out pink and yellow ride for a SPEED RACER/2 FAST 2 FURIOUS neon-blur car chase. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: 87North, Athena Perample, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Jonathan Eusebio, Jun Kunimura, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Michiel Huisman, Miku Patricia Martineau, Miyavi, Seng Kawee, Tadanobu Asano, Umair Aleem
Posted in Action, Reviews | 52 Comments »