John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

John Wick: Chapter 2
Director: Chad Stahelski
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Sequel to: John Wick
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Claudia Gerini, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Tobias Segal, John Leguizamo, Bridget Moynahan, Thomas Sadoski, Erik Frandsen, David Patrick Kelly, Perry Yung, Peter Serafinowicz, Peter Stormare
Seen on: 22.2.2017

Plot:
After John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finished his quest of vengeance and made sure that there will be no continuation of a blood feud, all he wants is to get back to his life of peace and quiet. But his reappearance in the world of assassins hasn’t gone unnoticed and there is still a debt John owes to Santino (Riccardo Scarmarcio) – and Santino has come to collect. John wants to refuse, but if he does, he goes against one of the central principles of this world – and his life will be up for grabs.

John Wick: Chapter 2 may not have blown me away quite as much as the first film (which may be due mostly to my higher expectations now), but it is definitely a more than worthy sequel.

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Re-Watch: John Wick (2014)

John Wick
Director: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Bridget Moynahan
Seen on: 21.2.2017
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) used to be a hitman. The best hitman. But he gave it all up for is wife (Bridget Moynahan) and went straight. But now he lost her after a long illness and he’s lost without her. When a little puppy arrives on his doorstep, courtesy of his wife who didn’t want him to lose his ability to love, he is immediately taken by it. But then he is robbed by Iosef Tasarov (Alfie Allen), a young thug who happens to be the son of mafia boss Viggo Tasarov (Michael Nyqvist). Iosef wants to steal John’s car, but can’t leave it at that: he kills John’s dog. That is the last straw for John who decides to get back into business and take his revenge on Iosef and anybody who stands in his way.

Before seeing the sequel, I knew I had to re-watch John Wick. And also on re-watching it’s a beautiful, amazing, wonderful action movie that I simply adore.

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American Ultra (2015)

American Ultra
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Writer: Max Landis
Cast: Jesse EisenbergKristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman
Seen on: 20.10.2015

Plot:
Mike (Jesse Eisenberg) and Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) have a great life together, if you consider smoking a lot of weed, working dead-end jobs and never leaving the small town they live in a great life. At least they very much love each other. But their existence is completely destroyed when it turns out that Mike is the product of a CIA experimental program which used to be run by Victoria (Connie Britton). But Victoria was demoted, her program scapped and her new boss Adrian (Topher Grace) decided to obliterate the last remains of her program – that means killing Mike. Victoria decides to go against the plan and activates Mike, causing Adrian and his henchmen who came for him a world of trouble.

American Ultra is an entertaining film that is a little uneven but definitely fun to watch.

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Chef (2014)

Chef
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Jon Favreau
Cast: Jon Favreau, John LeguizamoEmjay Anthony, Bobby Cannavale, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Sofía Vergara, Oliver Platt, Amy Sedaris, Robert Downey Jr., Russell Peters
Seen on: 9.6.2015

Plot:
Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) is a passionate chef, but his boss Riva (Dustin Hoffman) wants him to stick with the tried and tested menu – always. That brings him an abysmal critique by Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), the most important food critic. After fundamentally misunderstanding twitter, Carl transform that critique into a public feud with Michel, ultimately leading to him losing his job. Suddenly Carl has all the time in the world. Taking a recommendation from his ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara), he goes back to his roots and re-builds his career with a food truck that he takes on a cross-country tour, helped by his son Percy (Emjay Anthony) and his friend Martin (John Leguizamo).

Chef was an entertaining film, although it felt to me like Favreau made a film where he out-latinos all the latin@s in it – which was very weird, if not to say problematic.

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John Wick (2014)

John Wick
Director: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Bridget Moynahan
Seen on: 02.02.2015

Plot:
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) used to be a hitman. The best hitman. But he gave it all up for is wife (Bridget Moynahan) and went straight. But now he lost her after a long illness and he’s lost without her. When a little puppy arrives on his doorstep, courtesy of his wife who didn’t want him to lose his ability to love, he is immediately taken by it. But then he is robbed by Iosef Tasarov (Alfie Allen), a young thug who happens to be the son of mafia boss Viggo Tasarov (Michael Nyqvist). Iosef wants to steal John’s car, but can’t leave it at that: he kills John’s dog. That is the last straw for John who decides to get back into business and take his revenge on Iosef and anybody who stands in his way.

I expected John Wick to be a so bad it’s good kind of film. It isn’t. It is actually, unironically fantastic, a modern action masterpiece and I loved every second of it.

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The Counselor (2013)

The Counselor
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Cormac McCarthy
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Bruno Ganz, Brad Pitt, Toby Kebbell, Édgar Ramírez, Dean NorrisJohn Leguizamo, Natalie Dormer, Goran Visnjic

Plot:
The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) is a lawyer who is about to marry his girlfriend Laura (Penélope Cruz). He is also somehow involved in the drug business through his client Reiner (Javier Bardem) and he’s about to get involved more deeply. And to no one’s surprise except his own, things go very wrong very quickly and it’s all somehow connected to Reiner’s enigmatic girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz).

There were many things I could see going wrong with this film, but what I did not anticipate was that it would be Cormac McCarthy’s writing where things go very wrong. But unfortunately that was the case and the result was a film that was pretty much unbearable.

the-counselor

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Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Kick-Ass 2
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Writer: Jeff Wadlow
Based on: Mark Millar’s and John Romita Jr.’s comic
Sequel to: Kick-Ass
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lyndsy Fonseca, Morris ChestnutClaudia Lee, Donald Faison, John Leguizamo, Jim Carrey, Iain Glen

Plot:
After the events in the last film, Hit-Girl aka Mindy (Chloe Moretz) now lives with her father’s best friend Marcus (Morris Chestnut) and pretends to be a normal high school girl. But instead, she’s fighting crime and training Dave aka Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). But Dave is dreaming of a superhero-team-up. And when Chris, formerly know as Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), decides to become the world’s first supervillain The Motherfucker, a team-up seems to become absolutely necessary.

I was really looking forward to this film. But I spent most of it in horror at the way they twisted the characters and the story and left the movie quite disappointed. It’s not that bad per se, but it rubbed me the wrong way in so many things.

kick-ass-2

[SPOILERS]

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The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

The Lincoln Lawyer is Brad Furman‘s adaptation of Michael Connelly‘s novel, written by John Romano, starring Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña and Bryan Cranston.

Plot:
Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is pretty much the definition of a sleazy lawyer. But then he takes on the defense of Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a rich kid accused of murder. Together with his best friend, private detective Frank Levin (William H. Macy) he digs into the particulars of the case. Pretty soon he discovers that the story Louis is telling can’t be quite true – and there might be a connection to one of Mick’s old cases.

The Lincoln Lawyer is basically the cinematical equivalent of fast food. There’s some nurtitional value to it, it will satisfy your hunger – but only for a little while. Is it a culinary delight? Well, no. But it does its job without leaving much behind, good or bad.

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Repo Men (2010)

Repo Men is Miguel Sapochnik‘s adaptation of Eric Garcia‘s novel Repossession Mambo, starring Jude Law, Alice Braga, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber, Carice van Houten, RZA and John Leguizamo. [And for the Community folks out there: Yvette Nicole Brown in a mini role.]

Plot:
Remy (Jude Law) has been working as a repo man for the Union (a medical company) with his best friend Jake (Forest Whitaker) for quite a while now, even though his wife Carol (Carice van Houten) repeatedly asked him to stop, since what he’s repossessing is organs. But Remy can’t find the courage to ask his boss Frank (Liev Schreiber) for a transfer into sales. After an accident, Remy wakes up in the hospital to find himself with an artificial heart. And that changes everything for him.

Repo Men tanked, as you probably know. It didn’t get good reviews and in Austria, it didn’t even get a cinematic release. So, my expectations were low, but I honestly have to tell you: Repo Men is not that bad. The premise is good (and better dealt with than in Repo! The Genetic Opera), the cast is excellent and the soundtrack is really interesting. Is it a perfect film? No. But it doesn’t deserve the bashing it’s gotten.

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Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the third of the Ice Age movies. It’s directed by Carlos Saldanha and stars the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott, Simon Pegg and Denis Leary.

Plot:
Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) expect their first baby. Diego (Denis Leary) decides that he should be going back to his single ways. That leaves Sid (John Leguizamo) who starts to feel lonely. When he happens upon 3 eggs, he decides to be their mother. Unfortunately, those are dinosaur eggs, and Mummy Rex is not too happy to have lost them. So she tries to take them back and takes Sid with them. Manny, Ellie and Diego go after them and find an underground cave system, where the dinosaurs are still alive.

The Ice Age movies are one of the few series that were not planned as such who manage to not get worse with every sequel. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was funny (for me and for kids) and very sweet, just like the first two. I saw it in 3D, which is always awesome, but therefore also in German. That means I won’t be able to say anything about the actors.

ice_age_dawn_of_the_dinosaurs

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