Monthly Archives: February 2015

We review: Kingsman: The Secret Service “4 stars for being an awesome, spy, action flick…a good time! – MR

Kingsman: The Secret Service

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Kingsman The Secret Service poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Produced by
  • Adam Bohling
  • David Reid
  • Matthew Vaughn
Screenplay by
Based on The Secret Service
by Mark Millar
Dave Gibbons
Starring
Music by
Cinematography George Richmond
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • 13 December 2014(Butt-Numb-A-Thon)
  • 29 January 2015(United Kingdom)
  • 13 February 2015(United States)
Running time
129 minutes[1]
Country
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[2]
Language English
Budget $81 million[3]
Box office $85.8 million[3]

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a 2015 spy action comedy film, directed by Matthew Vaughn, and based on the comic book The Secret Service, created by Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar. The screenplay was written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman. The film stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, and Michael Cain

Plot

During a mission secret agent Harry Hart is unable to prevent the death of one of his fellow agents. Feeling guilt, he personally delivers a bravery medal to the man’s widow and his young son, Eggsy, saying that if they ever need help, they should call the phone number on the back of the medal and deliver a coded message.

Seventeen years later, during a mission to find Professor Arnold, a kidnapped climate scientist, another Kingsman agent, Lancelot, is killed by Gazelle, an assassin with bladed prosthetic legs. In London, Eggsy is unemployed and living with his mother, infant sister and an abusive stepfather. Despite being intelligent and able, he left the training for the Royal Marines because his mother worried he would end up like his father. A thug threatens him in a pub, so Eggsy leaves, but steals the thug’s car. After being arrested, Eggsy calls the number on the back of the medal and is released. Harry meets him outside the station and takes him to a local pub, where he criticises Eggsy for wasting his life. When the thug shows up with his friends for retribution for Eggsy’s theft of the car, Harry advises the thugs to leave. When they rebuff him, Harry easily beats the thugs up.

Harry tells Eggsy about the secret intelligence agency that he works for and for which Eggsy’s late father worked: Kingsmen, and informs Eggsy that the Kingsmen have a vacancy for a new agent (to fill Lancelot’s spot). He takes Eggsy to training headquarters via a the tailor shop that functions as Harry’s civilian cover. Eggsy meets a group of new candidates, including a girl named Roxy. The programme is designed to weed out the unsuitable until only one candidate remains. The training is overseen by Merlin, a senior Kingsman, and each recruit is assigned a new dog to train in turn. Eggsy and Roxy emerge as the final two candidates. Encouraged, Harry has Eggsy issued a suit. When the head of the training programme, Arthur, instructs Eggsy to shoot his dog as the final challenge, Eggsy refuses and is ejected from the selection process; Roxy shoots hers and is given the job. Harry later reveals that the guns were loaded with blanks; it was a test of the candidates’ obedience.

Meanwhile, the Kingsmen are investigating Internet billionaire Richmond Valentine, who has announced a world-wide giveaway of SIM cards that allow free phone calls and internet access. The Kingsmen suspect him of being involved in a number of disappearances of VIPs, including the Swedish Princess. Harry tracks Professor Arnold to his class, where he interrogates him about Valentine’s whereabouts. A chip implanted in Arnold’s head explodes, killing him and injuring Harry. Once he recovers, Harry poses as a tycoon and has dinner with Valentine, who explains his views to Harry, stating that humanity is akin to a virus, and that global warming is the Earth’s equivalent of a fever. Later, having tracked Harry, Valentine shows up at Harry’s tailor shop, where Valentine and Harry further size each other up.

In a mid-credits scene, Eggsy appears in the same bar where Harry first invited him to join the Kingsmen. He tells his mother he has a job that comes with money and a new house that he invites his mother to come share. When his stepfather tries to prevent Eggy’s mother from leaving the pub, Eggsy knocks him unconscious, and prepares to do the same to his friends.

Cast

Our Thoughts

Kingsmen was great in that it embodied the essence of these types of secret-service. British, super-agent types of films. ie: A GREAT SUPERVILLAN with an awesomely diabolical plan to destroy the world as we know it. The cast was solid, and the acting very good, but there were a few areas where the movie stopped being what it was and became a big Red Bull/McDonalds commercial. It was full of action, and the plot twist near the end got me, which rarely, if ever, happens. For that I would give it 5 stars, but it is based on the comic book called: The Secret Service and not keeping that name, and the association more public, to me, was weak. I didn’t find that out until I researched the movie. So it gets 4 stars for being a bad ass un-original movie, but the comic book gets 5+ stars for creating the characters and plot. Samuel L. Jackson also gets 5 stars. His Mike Tyson-like lisp was maintained flawlessly throughout, and I loved him as a super villan. A perfect psychopath. Part of me, the intelligent, realistic part of me, even agreed with him. But not so much with his methods. The Earth is being over populated, there is no doubt. Pay attention to the villain’s motive. 4 stars for being an awesome spy action flick. Highly recommended for a good time! – MR

 

Find Kingsmen: The Secret Service and see a new trailer here.

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We Review: Jupiter Ascending – Almost as cool as Guardians of the Galaxy… Almost! – MR

Jupiter Ascending

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jupiter Ascending
'Jupiter Ascending' Theatrical Poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written by
  • The Wachowskis
Starring
Music by Michael Giacchino
Cinematography John Toll
Edited by Alexander Berner
Production
company
Distributed by
Release dates
Running time
127 minutes[2]
Country
  • United States
  • Australia
Language English
Budget $176 million[3]
Box office $6.4 million[3]

Jupiter Ascending is a 2015 space opera[4] film written, produced, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski. StarringChanning Tatum and Mila Kunis, the film is centered on Jupiter Jones (Kunis), a down-on-her-luck maid, and Caine Wise (Tatum), an interplanetary warrior who informs Jones that her destiny extends beyond Earth. Supporting cast memberDouglas Booth has described the film’s universe as a cross between The Matrix and Star Wars[5][6][7] while Kunis named its underlying themes as indulgence[8] and consumption.[9][10][11]

The film was co-produced by Grant Hill, who acted as executive producer on The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions and as producer on V for Vendetta, Speed Racer, Ninja Assassin, and Cloud Atlas, making Jupiter Ascending his seventh collaboration with the Wachowskis. Several more longstanding Wachowski collaborators since the creation of The Matrix films have contributed to the picture,[12] including production designer Hugh Bateup, visual effects supervisor Dan Glass, visual effects designer John Gaeta, supervising sound editor Dane Davis and costume designerKym Barrett. Other notable past collaborators include Speed Racer‘s composer Michael Giacchino, Cloud Atlasdirector of photography John Toll along with its editor Alexander Berner and hair and make-up designer Jeremy Woodhead, who worked on both.

The film has received mixed to negative reviews, with critics praising the visuals, world-building, and originality, but criticizing the story and screenplay.

Plot

Unknown to Earth’s residents, life on Earth and countless other planets has been seeded[13] by families of alienroyalty[14] for the purpose of harvesting the evolved living creatures once they reach a “Darwinian state of perfection” to produce a type of youth serum that allows them to live forever.[15] When the matriarch of the House of Abrasax, the most powerful of the alien dynasties, dies[9] her children Balem (Eddie Redmayne), Kalique (Tuppence Middleton), and Titus (Douglas Booth) are at war over the inheritance. Eventually a new heir comes to their attention: Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), an unsuspecting, Earth-living, unlucky cleaner of other people’s homes.[16] Jupiter encounters Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered interplanetary warrior, who came to Earth to reveal that her genetic signature makes Jones royalty and heir to Earth. Meanwhile, he has to protect her from Balem, who put a bounty on her head and would rather harvest Earth than lose it to Jones.[17]

Cast

  • Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones, an unsuspecting, unlucky, Earth-born janitor whose genetic structure marks her as royalty and the heir to Earth. Kunis describes her character as unhappy with her job and life, but also lazy and with no aspirations to do anything about it, until Caine finds her.[9]
  • Channing Tatum as Caine Wise, a genetically engineered ex-military hunter. Caine is a defective genetic splice, half-albino and with both wolf and human DNA.[18]He has a tremendously powerful sense of smell that allows him to track a gene through the Universe.[19] Tatum had to wear a mouthpiece to change the shape of his lower jaw, which prevented him from closing his mouth and gave him trouble when he had to talk.
  • Sean Bean as Stinger Apini, a “Han Solo-type character”.[20] Stinger is spliced with bee DNA, which gives him some of their characteristics: wings, speed, special vision and a sense of loyalty. Stinger was in the military with Caine but when Caine got into trouble and Stinger stood up for him, his wings were removed and he was exiled to Earth.[9] He lives a normal life on Earth along with his daughter, who he describes as the only good thing he’s done in life, until she falls ill and in need of a special nectar.[11]
  • Eddie Redmayne as Balem Abrasax, alien royalty whose family engages in the planetary business, trading in youth serum.[9] He is the eldest of the three Abrasax siblings and serves as the main antagonist of the film because he wants Earth for himself.
  • Douglas Booth as Titus Abrasax, Balem’s brother. Booth has described his character as “a bit of a playboy”, mentioning his spaceship, as described in the script, as a cross between a Gothic cathedral and the Playboy Mansion.[9]
  • Tuppence Middleton as Kalique Abrasax, Balem’s sister. She approaches Jupiter and befriends her, but like her brothers she has ulterior motives.[9]
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Famulus, a half-human, half-deer genetic splice.[21][22]
  • Terry Gilliam as Seal and Signet Minister[23] in a scene that is an homage to Gilliam’s Brazil.[24]
  • David Ajala as Ibis, the leader of the cyber hunters pursuing Jupiter and Caine.[25]
  • James D’Arcy as Maximilian Jones, Jupiter’s father.
  • Kick Gurry as Vladie, Jupiter’s cousin.
  • Bae Doona as Razo
  • Charlotte Beaumont as Kiza, Stinger’s daughter.[26]
  • Tim Pigott-Smith as Malidictes
  • Edward Hogg as Chicanery Night[27]
  • Nikki Amuka-Bird as Diomika Tsing
  • Vanessa Kirby as Katharine[28]
  • Maria Doyle Kennedy as Aleksa, Jupiter’s mother.
  • Christina Cole as Gemma Chatterjee

Our Thoughts:

The technical and special effect aspects of this movie are flat out amazing. The creatures, spaceships, and technology look and seem real, ALL of them. The story is the typical “un-expecting youth finds out they rule the world” type of thing. Then it becomes the “race against time to stop a wedding and save Earth from being harvested” plot line. When Channing Tatum, who plays, Caine Wise, was trying against all odds to stop his new found love’s unwanted wedding, I was reminded of Ming marrying Dale in the old Flash Gordon. I half expected Queen music to start playing, and if it would have this one would have been better.  4 stars and recommended. It was almost as cool as Guardians of the Galaxy… Almost! – MR

Find Jupiter Ascending and see a new trailer here.


We review “John Wick” “Keanu Reeves redeems himself in this AWESOME 5 star revenge flick.” MR

John Wick

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John Wick
John Wick TeaserPoster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chad Stahelski
David Leitch (uncredited)
Produced by
Written by Derek Kolstad
Starring
Music by
Cinematography Jonathan Sela
Edited by Elísabet Ronalds
Production
companies
  • Thunder Road Pictures
  • 87Eleven Productions
  • MJW Films
  • DefyNite Films
Distributed by Summit EntertainmentLionsgate Films (US)StudioCanal (Germany)Warner Bros. (UK)
Release dates
  • October 13, 2014(New York City premiere)
  • October 24, 2014(United States)
  • 10th April 2015 United Kingdom[1]
Running time
101 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[3]
Box office $78,739,897 [3]

John Wick is a 2014 American action thriller film[4] directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. Starring Keanu Reeves,Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, andWillem Dafoe, the film stars Reeves as John Wick, a retired hitman seeking vengeance for the killing of his puppy, a gift from his recently deceased wife.[5] Stahelski and Leitch, both of 87Eleven Productions, directed the film together, though Leitch was uncredited.[6]

The film was written by Derek Kolstad, who completed the screenplay in 2012 and further developed it for Thunder Road Pictures.[7] The film was produced by Basil Iwanyk of Thunder Road Pictures, Leitch, Eva Longoria and Michael Witherill. It marks Stahelski and Leitch’s directorial debut as a team after multiple separate credits as second unit directors andstunt coordinators. They previously worked with Reeves as stunt doubles on The Matrix trilogy.[8]

Stahelski and Leitch’s approach to action scenes drew upon their admiration for anime[9] and martial arts films,[10] and the film’s use of fight choreographers[11] and gun fu techniques[12] from Hong Kong action cinema[13] was additionally influential in the development of the piece. As well as prominently paying homage to works such as John Woo‘s The Killer, Jean-Pierre Melville‘s Le Cercle Rouge and Le Samouraï,[14] John Boorman‘s Point Blank, and the spaghetti western subgenre of Western films.[15]

Plot

John Wick (Keanu Reeves), who just lost his wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan) to an undisclosed illness, receives a gift from her posthumously in the form of a puppy named Daisy, along with a letter from her saying she arranged for him to have Daisy to help him cope with her demise. Initially indifferent to Daisy, he eventually connects to the puppy as they spend the day driving around in his vintage ’69 Mustang. He encounters a trio of Russian gang members at a gas station and their leader Iosef (Alfie Allen) insists on buying his car, but John refuses to sell and greets Iosef’s snide remark with a retort before leaving. The three follow John to his home, break in at night, and attack John, who watches defenselessly as they kill Daisy before stealing his car.

The following day, Iosef attempts to have the car modified by Aurelio (John Leguizamo), the owner of a chop shop who refuses to take it and hits Iosef when he realizes who it belongs to and what Iosef did to steal it. John subsequently visits Aurelio, who tells him Iosef is the son of Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), head of the Russian crime syndicate in New York and John’s former employer, before lending him another car. Aurelio, who works with Viggo, is forced to explain what happened to Viggo, who berates Iosef and explains who John Wick is: his best assassin, nicknamed Baba Yaga(“the Boogeyman”), who retired after falling in love with a woman and had helped Viggo gain control of his syndicate by single-handedly eliminating all competition, a task Viggo considered “impossible.”

Viggo, wanting to protect his son, attempts to talk John out of seeking retribution, which John abruptly disregards, prompting Viggo to send a hit squad to John’s house to execute him, only for John to dispatch them swiftly. Viggo puts a $2 million bounty on John and first gives the offer to Marcus (Willem Dafoe), a veteran assassin and John’s mentor, who accepts. John subsequently seeks refuge at the Continental, a hotel that exclusively caters to assassins, with the rule that no business can be conducted on premises. When Viggo learns of this, he doubles the bounty. John learns from Winston (Ian McShane), the owner of the Continental, that Viggo has Iosef protected at his nightclub, the Red Circle.

John goes to the club and kills Iosef’s friend Victor before dispatching most of the security staff, but Iosef escapes after John is subdued by Viggo’s henchman Kirill. John escapes back to the Continental to treat his wounds before being attacked by Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki), an assassin and former acquaintance of John’s who had taken the contract to kill him. Her surprise attack on John is foiled when Marcus, who had been watching John sleep through a sniper rifle’s scope from a building across the street, wakes John up by shooting the pillow next to his head. John eventually subdues Perkins and forces her to reveal the location of Viggo’s cash before leaving her with a neighbor and friend, Harry (Clarke Peters), to await her punishment for breaking the hotel rules. Perkins eventually breaks free and kills Harry.

John goes to a church, which is a front for the cash, eliminates all the guards, and burns Viggo’s money, as well as various intelligence against the police and government officials that Viggo uses as leverage. When Viggo arrives at the church, John ambushes them, but is eventually subdued. Viggo taunts him for causing trouble over a dog and thinking he could leave his old life behind. He leaves John to be tortured and killed by Kirill and another henchman, but Marcus kills the other henchman, allowing John to break free and kill Kirill. John intercepts Viggo’s car and forces him to reveal Iosef’s location and pull the bounty, which Viggo reluctantly does. John goes to the safe house where Iosef is hiding, and kills all of the guards before killing Iosef.

Perkins sees that John and Marcus have been in contact and tells Viggo, who has Marcus tortured and killed in his home over his betrayal. Viggo contacts John about Marcus’ death, luring John to his home, where Perkins is waiting to ambush him. Before she can do so, she gets called to a secret meeting with Winston, who revokes her membership to the Continental for breaking the rules and has her swiftly executed by a handful of other assassins. Winston calls John to inform him of a helicopter coming to the harbor to transport Viggo away. John races to the harbor and executes Viggo’s remaining henchmen before getting into a fistfight with Viggo on the dock.

Viggo pulls out a knife on John and as they fight, John forces it into in his already wounded abdomen. Startled by this, Viggo releases his hold on the knife. Gaining the upper hand, John takes Viggo’s knife and stabs him on the side of the neck. Viggo, mortally wounded, slumps over and dies. John, wounded but still able-bodied, stops elsewhere to re-watch a video of himself and his wife on his phone. After gaining strength, John ends up at a veterinary clinic where he attempts to treat his wound. He then takes a dog out from one of the cages for a walk on the boardwalk, where he had his last date with Helen.

Our Thoughts:

 

This is one of the best revenge movies I have ever seen. I have never wanted a bad guy to meet his end more, and I have never wanted the good guy to be the one who delivered the death blow as badly as I did in this one. While I have mocked Keanu’s acting before (See our review of 47 Ronin) This type of role is perfect for him. The ALLSTAR cast doesn’t hurt either. Keanu Reeves redeems himself in this AWESOME 5 star revenge flick. – MR   HIGHLY RECOMENDED

 

Find John Wick and see a new trailer here.