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John Wick 4. I thought the first half felt kinda stale and uncreative and I was afraid the series lost its charm but god damn does it make up for it in the second half. Jesus Christ.

LOL, I checked out before the second half. Film is long AF. Guess I'll have to watch the rest.



To Live and Die in LA (1985)

First time watch. This was impressive in story and performance though obviously dated. William Petersen plays a Secret Service trying to bring down arch forger played by Willem Dafoe after the killing of his "pardner". The pardner was retiring and had just been bought a fishing rod so his demise was not a shock. After that Chance will break and bend every rule to bring the baddie to justice. If I hadn't known I'd have thought it was a Michael Mann. Great action, quite gory and a fab car chase. Only quibble is that, as in some of his other films, William Friedkin seems to really run out of steam and the end seems quite rushed and cobbled together.



John Wick Chapter 4:

The best John Wick.

5/5
What are your thoughts on the first ones? I still need to check out Part 3 (and obviously 4)
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Ice Merchants
Thanks for this, Thief. What a marvelous little film.



To Live and Die in LA (1985)

First time watch. This was impressive in story and performance though obviously dated. William Petersen plays a Secret Service trying to bring down arch forger played by Willem Dafoe after the killing of his "pardner". The pardner was retiring and had just been bought a fishing rod so his demise was not a shock. After that Chance will break and bend every rule to bring the baddie to justice. If I hadn't known I'd have thought it was a Michael Mann. Great action, quite gory and a fab car chase. Only quibble is that, as in some of his other films, William Friedkin seems to really run out of steam and the end seems quite rushed and cobbled together.
Great car chase. I think it gave a lot of real-world people bad ideas about evading in a chase (i.e., please don't drive the wrong way on the freeway to evade the cops, it won't end well).



It is one of the "most 80s" films I can think of.



It's basically our real introduction to William Peterson.



Dafoe is solid in it and an early prominent role for him too (e.g., not just a random scumbag as he was, for example, in The Hunger).



It's an early gender-bender film--kind of pre-trans(?)--in that scene where they have Dafoe start making out with a man and then they do a quick cut to establish that the other person is "really" a woman. Odd subliminal moment in the film. Dafoe is sexually ambiguous in the film, a foil to the straight-ahead masculinity of the cops . This might be written off as old-school "queer-fear," but Dafoe isn't weak or stupid in the film and it is obvious that the cops (who are literally pumping their CIs for information) are not moral paragons. I think Freidkin was playing with the alterity/duality of our characters here and not just making the baddie sexually fluid (although he was probably aiming for that trope of making the baddie "revolting").



And it gave us the immortal line "A 19th century Cameroon, yes? Your taste is in your ass!"



What are your thoughts on the first ones? I still need to check out Part 3 (and obviously 4)
1: Solid and very rewatchable action flick with a nice streamline plot. Not great because it has a weak 3rd act and a villain that never seems to be half a threat to Wick.

2: An improvement in some ways (action/world building) but loses some of the urgency. Having Ruby Rose as the primary physical threat after Common leaves is unforgivable. Would currently rank lowest though I still really like it.

3. My previous favorite. Fully indulges in the action fantasy that the other films promised, has genuinely exquisite action sequences and a great 3rd act, and perhaps still the franchise best villain with Dacoscos playing "Zero." It loses a few points for sagging in the middle and having a very poorly cast "Adjudicator" (it clearly should've been Carrie Anne Moss.

People try to tell me that the Wick films lost their heart and prefer the dramatic simplicity of the first. I get it but I don't really care about a puppy and dead wife and don't think the film actually earned that weight dramatically (nor do I think Keanu is an actor particularly equipped to carry that weight). What I do care about is the action sequences and that is what the franchise (and Keanu) do exceptionally well.

The fourth has the best action AND the strongest character work and drama, earning it's 3 hours by actually developing everyone so it's REAL stakes rather than "I only care because puppies are cute" manipulation.



And it gave us the immortal line "A 19th century Cameroon, yes? Your taste is in your ass!"[/quote]

And Daphne from Frazier too don't forget



And it gave us the immortal line "A 19th century Cameroon, yes? Your taste is in your ass!"
And Daphne from Frazier too don't forget [/quote]


Guess I was too distracted by Debra Feuer in those 80s "mom jeans."



1: Solid and very rewatchable action flick with a nice streamline plot. Not great because it has a weak 3rd act and a villain that never seems to be half a threat to Wick.

2: An improvement in some ways (action/world building) but loses some of the urgency. Having Ruby Rose as the primary physical threat after Common leaves is unforgivable. Would currently rank lowest though I still really like it.

3. My previous favorite. Fully indulges in the action fantasy that the other films promised, has genuinely exquisite action sequences and a great 3rd act, and perhaps still the franchise best villain with Dacoscos playing "Zero." It loses a few points for sagging in the middle and having a very poorly cast "Adjudicator" (it clearly should've been Carrie Anne Moss.

People try to tell me that the Wick films lost their heart and prefer the dramatic simplicity of the first. I get it but I don't really care about a puppy and dead wife and don't think the film actually earned that weight dramatically (nor do I think Keanu is an actor particularly equipped to carry that weight). What I do care about is the action sequences and that is what the franchise (and Keanu) do exceptionally well.

The fourth has the best action AND the strongest character work and drama, earning it's 3 hours by actually developing everyone so it's REAL stakes rather than "I only care because puppies are cute" manipulation.
I actually think I like 2 the best. It feels like everything is perfectly balanced in it as opposed to the first which like you said is weak in some key areas and 3 and 4 where everything is ramped up so much it starts to get exhausting. I think all 4 are all great though and would recommend them to any action fan.



The Mitchells vs The Machines (2021)


I had really high hopes going into this one, and I think I'm rating it a bit higher than I should because of that. It should probably be a 3.5, but the uniqueness of it really drives the entertainment factor (almost in an Everything Everywhere All at Once kind of way). It hits all the notes of charm, humor, etc. The animation and zaniness just becomes a little too much for me in one sitting, yet its a very impressive effort. I just don't know how often, if ever, I'll revisit this one.



I forgot the opening line.

By The poster art can or could be obtained from 20th Century Fox., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1129848

Daredevil (Director's Cut) - (2003)

I am struggling to describe the Director's Cut of Daredevil - a pre-MCU Marvel movie that could possibly be the silliest out of all of them (bar the Taika Waititi Thor movies) - but also one of the most viciously violent. It comes off a theatrical release which was excoriated by critics - and I thought it might be boring, but it's more a case of bad choices and wrong tone. I normally wouldn't have gone out of my way to see it - I read the reviews, and was pretty much put off - but one day I saw a very handsome edition of the Director's Cut at a place where everything goes for $1. I couldn't resist, the cover looks gorgeous and perhaps this could be a guilty pleasure. I'm still undecided in that - I was amused by it's bonkers aspect, and Michael Clarke Duncan killing bodyguards just because he feels like it is like The Green Mile gone awry. Colin Farrell is more out there than the rest put together as Bullseye - the man who never misses (but keeps on missing.) Jon Favreau plays the same role he does in the MCU films of today - so that clumsy style he has goes back beyond it's formation. Jennifer Garner as Elektra didn't go down so well - and I can say, "oh, I won't watch Elektra now!" but I never was going to anyway. I can't take it seriously, but it's ever so silly - and something the producers should have considered releasing rather than the shorter, toned down and less intelligible version.

5/10
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I actually think I like 2 the best. It feels like everything is perfectly balanced in it as opposed to the first which like you said is weak in some key areas and 3 and 4 where everything is ramped up so much it starts to get exhausting. I think all 4 are all great though and would recommend them to any action fan.
If 2 had nixed common and had Mark Dacoscos or Donnie Yen in place of Ruby Rose, Iíd agree. But I need a sense of escalation and while that one has a brilliant first half, it fizzles and removes any tension that Wick will be successful or not long before the credits roll.



It's been a while since a full-bore British movie with no FX, so The Lost King was enjoyable. Phillipa (the very likable Sally Hawkins), feeling unappreciated at work and having gone to a performance of Richard III, one of Shakespeare's villians (the "My kingdom for a horse" guy), thinks that the maligned British king isn't being well treated by history. She suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but has found a new purpose for her minimal physical energy, finding out the true story of Rick3. She has help from spectral visits from the late monarch.

It's very enjoyable, nice to see an occasional movie that's NOT full of effects and animation. It all seems real, including the spectral visits. It's also mostly true, except for Richard III's visits, and the real Phillipa Langley did contribute to actually finding the burial spot and mortal remains of the hunchback king, which was under a parking lot. There was a lot of doubt and opposition from academic "experts" but she ended up being right, both in the movie and in the real world.




If 2 had nixed common and had Mark Dacoscos or Donnie Yen in place of Ruby Rose, Iíd agree. But I need a sense of escalation and while that one has a brilliant first half, it fizzles and removes any tension that Wick will be successful or not long before the credits roll.
Yeah the movie is so good up to the final fight that it doesnít bother me that much, especially since we get that dope cliffhanger to end it all.







SF = Zzz



[Snooze Factor Ratings]:
Z = didn't nod off at all
Zz = nearly nodded off but managed to stay alert
Zzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed
Zzzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed but nodded off again at the same point and therefore needed to go back a number of times before I got through it...
Zzzzz = nodded off and missed some or the rest of the film but was not interested enough to go back over it



The French Connection (1972 Best Picture Winner): 8/10


It helps that this one's about an hour shorter than Patton (I can watch 2 1/2 to 3 hour films, but only when that doesn't hinder the pacing, which I thought was an issue in Patton). The first third I found slightly dull, but it picks up afterward and has a strong final stretch.


I need to watch more Friedkin, maybe next year (The Exorcist and Rules of Engagement are the other films of his [directed] that I recall seeing).



And Daphne from Frazier too don't forget
If Daphne's to your fancy, check out her time as one of Hill's Angels, if you're not already aware of that.
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