John Wick review

Ninety percent of action movies are derivative. Carbon copies of better movies that came before them. They can be enjoyable, but are often forgettable. Then there’s the other ten percent. Those movies are something special. They originate and innovate, and rise about the rest by being different and surprising. However, by definition, even the best of the best employ many of the same beats. Punching, kicking, shooting, and explosions are the building blocks of an action movie. The ninety percent use them in ways we’ve seen before. The rest mix them up in ways we don’t expect. John Wick is among the ten percent.

In the first film by accomplished stunt coordinators Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, Keanu Reeves stars as an unstoppable assassin hell-bent on revenge after thugs steal his car and kill his dog. We’ve seen the assassin revenge story a hundred times, but John Wick feels different because it’s set in a unique, dirty, and lived-in world. Everyone has a reputation. Connections. They know each other. This is a place with a rich history simmering below the surface action of guns, choke holds and car crashes. What makes John Wick a standout action film is that it makes us curious. Read More »

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new John Wick trailer

I don’t think I spoke to anyone at Fantastic Fest who saw John Wick and didn’t like it. I heard praise for Keanu Reeves‘ turn as a killer, for the action and overall direction of Chad Stahelski, who was Reeves‘ stunt double in The Matrix, and stunt choreographer for Man of Tai Chi, and, yeah, for the dog. You’ll see the dog again in this new John Wick trailer, and get a taste of everything else, too, as it promotes the story of a former assassin (Reeves) who goes back into action to target gangsters who have “taken everything from him.” Read More »

John Wick trailer

Between this weekend’s The Drop and next month’s John Wick, handsome action stars snuggling adorable puppies could just be the next big movie trend. And just for the record, I would be totally okay with that.

Keanu Reeves leads John Wick as the title character, whose greatest joys in life are his sweet ride and his even sweeter dog. One day, some mean idiots led by Alfie Allen decide to take away his things. That turns out to be a huge mistake, because John Wick is actually a retired hitman who knows exactly how to go about getting his revenge. The first John Wick trailer has just hit the web, and you can watch it after the jump.

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Nightcrawler Halloween

This year is the tenth anniversary of Fantastic Fest, and the fest will close with a movie we’ve been anticipating over the past couple months: Nightcrawler, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a seedy news reported in Los Angeles. That film was announced today along with a host of other movies, including the new Keanu Reeves film John Wick, for which Reeves will make his second appearance at the fest. Then there’s The Creeping Garden, a documentary about slime molds and the people who study them; neo-giallo thriller The Editor, and new Studio Ghibli movie The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, and Sion Sono’s new film Tokyo Tribe.

The full second wave lineup is below. I’ve added trailers for most of the films. Note that I haven’t watched all those trailers in full yet, and there’s a chance that one or two are not safe for workRead More »

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