Double Feature: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) & Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

Welcome to the next double feature! This time we are doing a double rental feature. Both of these were films that I rented in the last little while and its one that we’ve been wanting to see and both are sequels.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

Director: Jake Kasdan

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Rhys Darby, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Jonas

Four teenagers are sucked into a magical video game, and the only way they can escape is to work together to finish the game. – IMDB

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to the 1995 Jumanji film. With anything like that, it takes a lot of care. For one, it needs to keep in mind that it is its sequel and keep the heart of it but also give it the modernized world standard. At the same time, still giving respect to the success of the first one. Luckily, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle makes it slight changes to make it not a remake but a sequel that happens years after the original. It acknowledges the original board game format and then gives the reasons of how it turns into a video game format. The whole player and video game world is one that works really well also plus they add in the four players and role-playing game style.

With that said, the heart of the film really is the cast themselves and how they interpret each of their roles. Dwayne Johnson always aims to please with his humor. It becomes hilarious to just watch these characters take on the opposite of who they are in reality, for better or for worse. In the case of his character, Spencer who is a nerdy scrawny nobody in school, this transformation aims to have a few laughs as he gets fascinated at being somebody. While on the other hand, we have the jock character who turns into Kevin Hart. After Central Intelligence (review), we are already familiar with how great Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson work as a comedic duo. They bring in a lot of laughs. However, Jack Black is the star of the show as he embodies a self-absorbed high school girl. I can’t imagine anyone else excelling at that role as he did. Pure entertainment!

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel that honestly didn’t really need to happen. Being a huge fan of the original, it was one that I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Luckily, as unnecessary as it was, it was a ton of fun and that was all it needed to be.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

sicario day of the soldado

Director: Stefano Sollimo

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Matthew Modine

The drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro. – IMDB

You can check out the review of Sicario HERE.

In a nutshell, I was pretty enthralled with Sicario. Probably not so much that I went running to watch its sequel for a few specific reasons, the main one being that the ending of the first one was pretty gloomy and I wasn’t really down for anything like that. In many ways, Sicario: Day of the Soldado takes a different approach. It still has its twists and turns and it still maintains a pretty decent atmosphere and locks in those ethics and morals and the right and wrong of the situation. In that sense, the characters and the situation at hand all work out pretty decently. Plus, it takes the whole wondering how messed up a situation is when the government okays their people to make up a situation controlled by them to push the tension on other situations. It also looks at the extents of what is the greater evil and the means to meet the ends of a situation. Sicario has always been about making those big choices that feel wrong and its the heart of these stories especially when fighting cartels.

As great as watching Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin was in this film. Their roles are pretty great. Their characters do get quite a bit of change. However, if anything what it feels like here is that after Sicario, we already know to expect that things aren’t going to go as planned and that something is going to happen as a twist and there’s going to be something deeper to the story that is at hand. Because of that, it doesn’t quite hit as poignantly as the first one. I’m going to be honest that in my mind, I didn’t think that Sicario needed a sequel. The first movie shone because of Emily Blunt (for me) and taking her out of the equation now (because there was no way she was coming back), didn’t seem like it would work. Good news is that the movie still works, just not as effectively as the first one. Its still pretty good though.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen either of these films?

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Double Feature: Bone Tomahawk (2015) & Dredd (2012)

Bone Tomahawk

We are finally digging into our own movie collection and watching films that have remained unwatched for too long. We are slowly going to start tackling this pile in between Netflix and the random cheap rentals. Its been a little while since I saw these two movies and the pairing is kind of an odd double feature but still, I’ve heard great things for both films.

Let’s check it out!

BONE TOMAHAWK (2015)

Bone Tomahawk

Director (and writer): S. Craig Zahler

Cast: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins, Lili Simmons, David Arquette

In the dying days of the old west, an elderly sheriff and his posse set out to rescue their town’s doctor from cannibalistic cave dwellers. – IMDB

Part Western, part psychological thriller, part horror; Bone Tomahawk is a mix genre that uses a setting to propel its story forward. Its slow-paced and intriguing, keeping it mysterious and suspenseful as well. At the same time, there is an underlying feeling of danger in the vastness of the desert that it takes place in the majority of the time as the sheriff and his crew traverse to encounter an unknown group of enemies. While the enemies in question are different, its hard to not compare a bit of the story to the likes of The Burrowers (review), which is also a Western set film except faced with mysterious creatures than cannibalistic cave dwellers. It had a lot of the similar elements from the prejudice towards the Indians and the whole trek to do find something and the missing persons sort of deal but Bone Tomahawk is executed much better. To be honest, who these cave dwellers are is the main suspense so maybe the description itself has already broken a bit of the intrigue the film wants to deliver. Maybe…I don’t know…Its always the issue of how much is too much is said when we look specifically at psychological horror films.

One of the best elements of the film, especially when looking at psychological thrillers are the characters involved. In their own quiet way, each of them add a little something to balance out the dynamic and competency of the group. If you just look at the cast, you can see that it is a really strong cast. The main group on this rescue comprised of Kurt Russell’s Sheriff Hunt, his elderly deputy played by Richard Jenkins, injured rancher Arthur whose wife was taken played by Patrick Wilson and a gunslinger played by Matthew Fox. Its because of the focus on each of these characters in their own extent and having their own place that make them each stand out in their own manner and feel like they belong to where they were especially in a journey that approaches danger. Talking about danger, the cave dwellers are done fantastically. They are brutal and intense.

Bone Tomahawk is one of those films that is executed really well because of the atmosphere and the setting and that meshes well with the story told here. The characters and all those elements boost it high but it does have the Western slow-paced which might make it a bit harder to get into at first as it builds up its story, mystery and characters.

DREDD (2012)

Dredd

Director: Pete Travis

Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Tamer Burjaq, Warrick Grier, Wood Harris, Rakie Ayola, Jason Cope, Domhnall Gleeson

In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO. – IMDB

I’ve never seen the original Judge Dredd or anything along those lines so this is a completely new experience of the world and the character itself. I’m not a huge fan of people doing the whole Christian Bale’s Batman low-tone voice. I don’t find that more empowering to the character or  make them stronger, so suffice to say that took a little getting used to for me. However, setting all that aside, Dredd is a really fun time. Seeing as it was released after The Raid: Redemption, it easy to compare the similar concept of fighting up a tower to the ultimate boss. There are thugs and obstacles in the way. Within the heights of one building, it managed to create a lot of layers. These layers dive into learning more about the world created here and living standards, the life-altering drug SLO-MO and its effects, the big boss ruling the society of this building, as well as our main cop characters, Dredd and his trainee Anderson.

Suffice to say that Dredd and Anderson do bring a lot of the action and cleverness to the film. Their characters bond over the course of the film even in their differences and through learning from each other. Anderson is different because of her psychic abilities that allow her to mind control a little. It adds to their journey but also at times has its hindrances. As great as it is to learn about these two, Lena Headey appears in Dredd as the big bad villain, Ma-Ma, a fierce woman boss of this building who is brutal and unforgiving. She keeps her anger hidden under a calm appearance..most of the time and there is this deadly and unsettling vibe to her throughout because she retains a lot of the mystery as how she became who she is now. Lena Headey always seems to be found in these movies here and there, really bringing in some intriguing characters to say the least. Perhaps someone to visit and revisit her roles, especially after her success as Game of Thrones, Cersei Lancaster.

Dredd is a pleasant surprise and exceeded my expectations. Its set in an intriguing, if not more dangerous and gloomy futuristic world. At the same time, it was also great to see another beginning role of Domhnall Gleeson as the Clan Techie here which has a small role but a fairly entertaining one to watch.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen Bone Tomahawk and/or Dredd? What are your thoughts?

TV Binge: Who’s The Murderer 明星大侦探4 (Season 4, 2018)

Who’s The Murderer (Season 4, 2018)
明星大侦探4

Cast: He Jiong, Benny Sa, Angel Wang, Bai Jing Ting, Emma Wu, Liu Haoran, Zhang Ruo Yun, Wei Da Xun, Justin, Seven Tan

No. of Episodes: 13

**With that said, instead of the poster, I added in the full playlist of the series. Its backwards to scroll to the second last video to see episode 1 and turn on the CC for English subtitles.**

Let’s start off right away that I have never seen Who’s The Murderer Season 1 to 3. Its only been since last year in July that I started getting into the TV series/dramas & variety shows from China. With that said, after watching The Chamber of Secrets Escape (Review), Who’s a Murderer was even more up my alley. The best part is that it had these twists and turns in their stories and the investigations was cool. Plus, the set and stories they always did added intrigue but also a lot of logic and problem solving and analytical sort of thinking. It relied especially in the final episode on (what I believe) an unscripted way to twist and turn throughout the situation for the murderer to not be discovered with whatever tactics they can use. Who’s the Murderer is a lot like an elaborate version of this party game called Wink Murder or Killer (whatever you call it, I’m not too sure…) but instead of a circle, it adds in these Clue elements and sometimes, escape room elements.

One great element of this is its setting. They build these fantastic sets as a backdrop for each of their things. Sure, its mostly just rooms mildly divided in some cases to show the different characters and their rooms. The structure of the game is also quite good. The first part is establishing and discovering the “body”, then introduction of the characters and their timeline, the first collective search, the first collective analysis, the detective’s solo (secret) vote on who’s the murderer, the second round of collective search, 1 on 1 with detective, final collective analysis and final vote for everyone and then the reveal whether they successfully voted the murderer to go to “jail”. Its usually the search and the analysis that makes for a lot of fun moments. The other part of this which is great especially being a variety show (and something China does particularly well) is the focus on society and how each of these stories focus on some element of society and people whether its relationships, idols, love, families in regards to revenge, trust, loyalty, etc and how a lot of these cases sprouted from an extreme negative thought or self-preservation or whatnot and they reflect on these cases at the end.

who's the murderer

As for the cast here, there are a few regulars and then every episode has some guests that only pop in to participate. He Jiong is a super popular and talented host for Happy Camp and an array of variety shows in China, prominently on Hunan TV so since that is mostly where I watch variety shows, I’ve grown to really appreciate him and in this, he is really talented especially when he is the “killer” he can almost always avoid being caught. The other is Benny Sa who I’ve never seen in anything before but he is also quite comedic and very analytical but sometimes has this silliness to his theories and guesses. The younger semi-regulars is one of the reason that I started this and that is Bai JingTing who I first saw in a TV drama (which I haven’t written up yet) and through this I’ve known a few other semi-regulars that I honestly really like a lot too.

who's the murderer 4

There is a lot of after editing on these shows and probably a lot is cut out of the whole episode but there is a great post-editing effect for it to make it very mysterious and suspicious. A lot of the mysteries have a lot of twists and the character have their own depth. It also brings up a lot of questions on right and wrong and morals and ethics. For a variety game show style, it definitely has more depth than most. Plus a lot of times, it also gives the audience watching an outlet to analyze the case with what they have found and always reveal at the end whether they found the evidence that solidifies who the “murderer” is. The first two episodes and the final episodes are the most awesome ones. Its nice to see how they incorporate some spinoff on popular movie backdrops as well as different genres such as time travel elements and whatnot. Its a very colorful show to say the least and while there are a few little stumbles and some episodes are slightly more predictable (which is a rare occasion), its one that, I would assume, has gone through  a lot of polish and it shows because its highly entertaining and really fun to get involved to make your own guesses while watching it. I like that element of it the most as it becomes very immersive.

The Two Sisters of Borneo (Ava Lee #6) by Ian Hamilton

If you missed the reviews on the previous novels in this series, you can check out these links:

The Water Rat of Wanchai
The Disciple of Las Vegas
The Wild Beasts of Wuhan
The Red Pole of Macau
The Scottish Banker of Surabaya

The Two Sisters of Borneo
(Ava Lee #6)

By: Ian Hamilton

two sisters of borneo

Ava has been in Hong Kong looking after Uncle. She has also set up an investment company with May Ling Wong and her sister-in-law, Amanda Yee. One of their first investments — a furniture company owned by two sisters in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo — runs into immediate problems with a Dutch customer. Ava goes to the Netherlands to investigate, but her life is threatened when she is confronted by a gang of local thugs in Borneo. Out of the shadows comes a mysterious man from Shanghai – IMDB

One of my favorite series ever and one of the most random discoveries that was a pleasant surprise is diving into the Ava Lee series. I picked up the first book of the series, The Water Rat of Wanchai because of its Hong Kong location title. Six books in now and almost 4 years since I read the 5th book, I have a lot of catching up to do but the most important thing is that, the world is still so amazing to jump into. The best thing about this book series is the whole commitment of being fairly self-contained. The investigation in question may have characters from previous books but they always have sufficient information to make sure they are outlined enough even without knowing about the previous books.

Over the course of the books (and I urge you to start this series from the beginning), Ava Lee has developed a lot and still has a lot of room for it. Its really nice especially in The Two Sisters of Borneo because it hits close to home both with her personal issues but also with the investigation she dives into showing us that Ava Lee is very much a tough woman but also vulnerable in her own way as well making her very human and keeps adding new elements and twists to her forensic accounting skills. While I love the self-contained aspects of these books, the other characters have also grown and as we get to know Ava’s family and friends more, they become these staple characters and have built at this point to something that can be described as the first phase over with in the Ava Lee series at the end of this one. To me, that is a pretty smart move because it will give it a whole new dynamic but I won’t say how to avoid any spoilers.

I am getting ahead of myself to lets reel it back in. The Two Sisters of Borneo brings us to yet another exotic Asian location paired with a European location as well. Ava meets some interesting people to say the least. It is no doubt there is always a great plan at play. The best part of these mysteries is that while we can see the game at play, there is always a fairly surprising twist. In this case, it was a bit more obvious (for me) however, the whole process was still a page-turner. Its always the big reveal that has an eye-opening experience and how Ava chooses to approach the mastermind to retrieve the compensation or return of wealth that makes it even more intriguing. There’s a whole array of different people that seem like they will get another chance to come back as Ava Lee steps further into what I’d say is a phase two to the series. While a lot of foundation as already been done, there is a real sense of a second build in foundation here to get ready for more great mysteries to come.

Ultimate 2000s Blogathon: City of God (2002) by Flick Hunter

Wrapping up the third week of the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon is Norman from Flick Hunter. If you haven’t been to Flick Hunter, you should give it a go and check out the myriad of movie reviews over there. He also is a frequenter of various film festivals and offer some great opinion pieces. For this blogathon, he brings a review of 2002’s Portuguese crime drama City of God.


City of God

Taking its title from one of the most dangerous favelas in the Western outskirts of Rio de Janeiro effectively voiced by Alexander Rodrigues as Rocket; City of God  spans three decades from the end of the 60’s to the mid 80’s where residents are prisoners in their homes caught in violent battles between rival gangs. The original group the Tender Trio features Rockets brother Goose (Renato de Souza), Clipper (Jefchander Suplino) and the gentlemanly Shaggy (Jonathan Haagensen) small-time hoods at targeting fuel trucks and motels. Entering into the ’70’s Their antics are quickly replaced by the very hardcore Lil Dice (Leandro Firmino de Hora) kindly Benny (Phellipe Haagensen) rivaled by Carrot (Matheus Nachtergaele) and the former law-abiding Knockout Ned (Seu Jorge).

Rocket is at the centre of the piece. A childhood friend of Lil Dice he has a camera that is always by his side and as a local can get shots of the violent event as they occur in the favela while professionals are afraid to tread, can’t get access and even if they could, would not be trusted.

Co-Directors Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund take the story from the book by Paulo Lins who grew up in the favela. The narrative follows the main characters from when they are little kids, get their first guns in hands, commit their first crime then push the violence beyond the generation before. The champion of this is the above mentioned Li’l Ze aka Li’l Dice as a youth and due to his connection to Rocket allows him into their lair to photograph them with all of their firepower. Rockets photos are noticed by a newspaper photo editor where he delivers papers who publishes them. Rocket expects to be in grave danger for the reveal but instead, Li’l Ze and his crew buy up every copy cheering Rocket when they encounter him next.The co-directors keep the main themes of the devastating effects of poverty, class warfare, violence begetting violence close to the surface. As cinematographer Cesar Charlone inflects a sharp gold based colour plate for the production. Split screens feature heavily as a device of showing rival gangs committing crimes as the principals barrel along towards each other on a collision course. The directors set up an acting workshop for the locals which gives the film raw authentic energy alongside the basic fundamentals of acting leading to the exceptional performance of Firmino de Hora as Li’l Ze. He has the 1000 mile stare, crooked teeth, dark skin plus short man’s syndrome. His solution killing for fun, randomly and not getting attached to anyone or anything. The creators keep the dark humor coming in the 80’s the young up and coming crew know as The Runts who were mirrors of Ze to the Tender Trio back in the day but prepared to take things much further than the  Ze/Benny and Knockout Nick battles of the 70’s as they rise to power towards the end of the piece as they lay out their death list in the infant stages of the Red Command.

City of God is a film about kids killing kids in an environment where no one in government or with influence cared. Rocket toward the start of his narration notes that there was no electricity or paved streets and the business Elite and Politician could not give a second thought to any of the problems there. It’s a fast-paced, ultra-violent gritty look into life in a favela based on real events that are more twisted and harrowing than anything that could be thought up in the word of fiction.

***** A Five Star Film

City of God | Fernando Meirelles / Katia Lund | Brazil / France | 2002 | 130 Minutes.


A huge thanks to Norman for joining us with a fantastic review.

You can see the list of the entries for the blogathon HERE.

Ultimate 2000s Blogathon Kick-off: SPL: Kill Zone 殺破狼 (2005)

Today is a very special day! Ultimate 2000s Blogathon officially kicks off today! Like previous years, both myself and my amazing co-host Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews will both be sharing our kick-off movie on our respective blogs. To start things off, it only makes sense to kick off with a Hong Kong action crime thriller called SPL: Kill Zone. Hong Kong movies have always been a big part of my life and while its struggled through some of its content, Kill Zone breaths new life into this genre with its fantastic cast and its surprising how I haven’t reviewed it here yet.

SPL: Kill Zone 殺破狼 (2005)

SPL: Kill Zone

Director (& co-writer): Wilson Yip

Cast: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Sammo Hung, Jing Wu, Kai Chi Liu, Danny Summer, Ken Chang, Austin Wai

A near retired inspector and his unit are willing to put down a crime boss at all costs while dealing with his replacement, who is getting in their way. Meanwhile, the crime boss sends his top henchmen to put an end to their dirty schemes. – IMDB

2000s Hong Kong films was a bit of a mixed bag full of some dumb humor, recycled ideas and predictable plot lines. But in between all this, they had some great films with great casts that stood out, maybe even call it a decade of great crime thrillers from Infernal Affairs to Election to this film. Call this something of a comeback film that brought together some big stars as well as welcoming Donnie Yen back to the Hong Kong scene showing that his martial arts has not lost one bit of speed. The starting scene changes the pace of the entire film whether it is with its main inspector, Inspector Chan who takes in the orphaned child and realizes his days are limited or crime boss Wong Po’s release after insufficient evidence which sets off the pressing time limit for Inspector’s team to catch him.

spl kill zone

Right in the opening moments, we get a good idea of the personality of everyone here. Be it Donnie Yen‘s character Inspector Ma’s first appearance on scene going head to head in the car with Inspector Chan’s team and then their conversation of his past events. While we’ve already seen Inspector Chan and the bond with his team and the quick introduction of each member as Ma Kwan looks at his desk of the team. It shows their character and their role in the movie which brings them to what starts off this film and the vengeful events that start. Kai Chi Liu, Danny Summer and Ken Chang play the three members of this team who are all capable in their own manner and create a balance. The first two of these names are seasoned actors in the business already. Its this bond between the team of five that builds up during the film that makes this film even more valuable as they make us care for each of them.

spl kill zone

With a competent team, there has to be the other side of the spectrum and Sammo Hung‘s Wong Po does exactly that. Call him the mastermind throughout most of it with each scene very much making his presence known. Sammo Hung, despite his age, also flaunts some impressive martial arts move as he goes head to head in some fast-paced fighting scenes up against Donnie Yen.It helps that his top henchman is a white clad martial arts powerhouse, Jack played by Jing Wu, in one of his first roles. Jing Wu truly shows off his skills especially when his scenes are not a lot of talking but a lot of brutal “execution” for our characters leading into a fantastically shot alleyway fighting scene with Donnie Yen.

Qi sha (Seven Killings) is the Power Star; Po Jun (Army Breaker) is the Ruinous Star; Tan Lang (Greed Wolf) is the Flirting Star. According to Chinese astology, these three stars, with their changes, could create or destroy that beautiful life of yours. – SPL: KillZone

Nothing beats a crime thriller like having a nice background story to investigate. There is a lot going on here with parallel storylines and investigations that intertwine each other gradually. There is a lot of style here as well. While it embeds its foundation in Chinese astrology, the script itself embeds all these things just like how Seven uses its seven sins. It also has the brutality of films like Election. The fighting scenes are meticulously shot as well as the chase scenes. There is this real sense of what is the limit of ethics and morals of being a police officer when faced with the triad and its ruthless crime boss. Between the team and Donnie Yen’s addition that shows a friction between injecting himself and being accepted. A different person and a different approach gives Inspector Chan’s long time team and Inspector Ma the division that makes this an extra layer to explore in the story.  At the same time, Kill Zone also adds in a heavy dose of Chinese belief in karma.

spl kill zone

SPL: Kill Zone is a one of a kind action crime thriller. It defines its genre so well in what makes Hong Kong films so worth watching. 2000s brought about a new wave of crime thrillers that gave itself a lot of twists and intertwined plots that gave it so much more depth. Whether its for Donnie Yen or Sammo Hung or Simon Yam, no doubt the more known actors here, this film gives it a nice blend of impressive fight scenes, brutal almost execution moments, and a thought-provoking themes about morals and ethics as well as choices and karma. Its fast-paced and ramps up its intensity with each scene and its frictional moment between its characters making it such a joy to watch over and over again.


Remember to head over to my co-host Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews to check out his kick-off review and give him a follow to not miss any posts from the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon! We have a little hashtag set for this blogathon #ultimate00sblogathon if you want to give us a mention or share some of the posts! 🙂

As always, you can find the full list of entries updated daily HERE!

Double Feature: John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) & Ready Player One (2018)

The next double feature are two rentals that I saw over the holidays and two movies that I’ve been anticipating to watch for a while. The first is the sequel of John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2 and the next is one that I’m curious about the execution of the movie especially since I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, Ready Player One.

Let’s check it out!

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

John Wick Chapter 2

Director: Chad Stahelski

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Claudia Gerini, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Tobias Segal

After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.-IMDB

Call me a late comer to the John Wick movies so far. I only saw John Wick (review) some time in 2018 and loved it to absolute bits. Suffice to say when I had the chance to get a cheap rental for its sequel, it was my first choice. John Wick is a fantastic character and the second film dives a deeper story in the aftermath of his being caught into something deeper except everyone seems to forget to not mess with him because it never turns out good. There is something so raw and no BS when it comes to John Wick that I love. The characters, the color palette and the flawless action packed scenes are all so well thought-out. Not to mention, Keanu Reeves has definitely found the iconic character for himself with John Wick and he can make it come alive with the least amount of words needed and just his still glances and reactions (and sometimes lack of) are worth a thousand words. The film itself has so much character and its made up by choosing the right soundtrack and the same group of characters and the no nonsense plot line which has enough twists to make it all intriguing.

There really aren’t enough words to describe this adrenaline rush that is John Wick and the sequel does a great job on par with its first film. Suffice to say that I’m looking forward to the third film.

Ready Player One (2018)

Ready Player One

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki

When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. – IMDB

If you haven’t listened to our Game Warp book discussion of Ready Player One, you can find it HERE.

In a nutshell on how I felt about Ready Player One the book was that there were too many huge 80s reference bits that just took up entire parts. It felt too much for its purpose and pulled away from the actual treasure hunting adventure thriller but put too much focus on the love of the 80s. There is nothing wrong with loving the 80s but when entire segments of the book is narrating entire movie sequences or game sequences, its just a bit much. In that sense, the book felt like it fell into fanboy territory and lost the actual story itself.

Ready Player One does execute better as a movie. It still has a lot of 80s references but takes out all the long sequences of re-enacting bits and pieces of movies and games and such, leaving in more the story of the treasure hunt and following our protagonist as he finds the first key and then meets the girl and all that stuff. There is no doubt that the visuals here are outstanding as are how everything is framed and the fantasy element of the OASIS and how certain bits have been changed to match up to say what they can get licensing for and what can work in the realm of films to escape the book world. With Stephen Spielberg at the helm, this movie does work better than the book in my opinion. However, the movie suffers from length even if it took out the long  boring bits in the book itself. In turn though, the characters themselves lost a bit of the character development but the movie gained a bit more of the hunt. I liked Ready Player One alright but is it Steven Spielberg’s best work, no, is it a good adaptation, its okay and as for the cast itself, they were passable as well. Its a movie that works for one watch but I’m fairly indifferent to it that I wouldn’t go back to watch this again, simply because there are better choices and as I sit to think about it more, its starting to fade away making it also a fairly forgettable experience.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these two films? Thoughts?