Tuesday, 12 January 2016

22 Things I Learned From John Wick

1. Contrary to expectation, Keanu Reeves is chock full of awesome.

2. This film’s trailer has more plot than this film.

3. Assassins have their own hotels.

4. Assassins have their own gold-coin based economy.

5. Assassins never fight in anything other than immaculate three-piece suits.

6. Stabbing yourself is a reasonable fight move.

7. Aggressive stunt driving is a great way to work off widower grief.

8. New York City is jam-packed with actors from HBO TV shows.

9. Dogs get delivered at night by courier.

10. The most exclusive nightclubs require you to shower before entry.

11. When in doubt, blame a nepotistic Russian crime syndicate.

12. Ornate churches are reasonable cover for money laundering.

13. You can never have enough gunfights, until you can.

14. You can always have enough chrome.

15. Michael Nyqvist may very well be able to act, and possibly to act well, but we see no evidence of this here.

16. The handcuffs can always be picked.

17. The best friend always gets tortured.

18. The villain always has a chopper waiting.

19. Don’t hang around Bethesda Fountain after dark.

20. It’s acceptable to kill approximately 6,567 people one-by-one in gruesome ways if you’re avenging the death of a cute puppy.

21. Since Reeves’s rhythmic, slightly off-tempo and quite beautiful fight manoeuvres make up exactly 96.7% of the running time, perhaps John Wick would have worked better as a ballet.

22. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the land of mediocre action thrillers, the one that can string together a halfway adequate fight scene is disappointingly hailed as a masterpiece.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

22 Things I Learned From Spectre

1. It’s acceptable to recklessly endanger civilians so long as they’re Mexican.

2. Long takes are a cheap way of making your film seem technically accomplished.

3. Rooftops are like Super Mario levels.

4. Spy laptops come with instant DNA scanners.

5. The villainous and endlessly resourced Spectre organisation only have the one branded ring, and they share it around.

6. The word ‘cuckoo’ is not scary.

7. Dave Bautista paints his fingernails.

8. Daniel Craig is a big fan of Roger Moore.

9. James Bond carries a tux everywhere, but not necessarily a gun.

10. You don’t need wings to pilot a plane.

11. There’s no point introducing magic nano-blood if you then don’t do anything with it.

12. Sam Mendes never conceived of a visual motif he couldn’t run into the ground.

13. Everyone massively overdresses for dinner.

14. There’s always a soft landing.

15. Unless you’re a villain.

16. In 2006 interrogations were being recorded on VHS tapes.

17. Truly evil people don’t wear socks.

18. One bullet is all it takes to blow up an entire building.

19. Hack writing deploys bland references as though they had inbuilt emotional and dramatic weight, and weren’t the cheap gimmicks they actually are. (See also: Star Trek Into Darkness)

20. It’s acceptable for a black female field agent to hang out with the white men during the mission planning stages, but she has to wait in the car while the important stuff happens.

21. Spending $300m and being two-and-a-half hours long doesn’t make you big.

22. Quoting past franchise outings in illogical ways and giving a character a Proustian name doesn't make you clever.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Alternate Take

Some more wittering on from me about Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, plus the rest of the franchise: http://bit.ly/1LN1qVQ

Friday, 7 August 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Review

The opening of this fifth Mission: Impossible film gives us Tom Cruise taking a running leap onto the wing of an enormous cargo plane and holding on for dear life as it climbs into the sky. It is tremendous fun, but it does not really serve as a model for what follows [full review at over at alternatetakes.co.uk]   

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

22 Things I Learned from Ant-Man

1. Tanks can go from zero to sixty in two-point-five seconds.

2. Criminals enjoy waffles.

3. There are ants everywhere.

4. Helicopters can crash in major urban centres without consequence.

5. The button for the laser grid is always switched off at the last possible millisecond.

6. Paul Rudd’s head is just slightly too big for his body.

7. Michael Pena never met a relief he couldn’t comic.

8. It makes so much sense for a man who has built a shrinking suit to also be able to speak to ants that this correlation is not even worth discussing. (Also, why not bees? Or bears? Or other people?)

9. Seeing a villain outright murder someone is not enough to prove their villainous credentials. They must also kill a lamb.

10. Ex-cons have no rights whatsoever.

11. I fancy a Baskin Robins Mango Fruit Blast. I wonder why?

12. Bobby Cannavale and Judy Greer make an absurd couple. They are also both making careers out of being wasted by Hollywood.

13. You can get up to pretty much anything in your back garden without arousing suspicion.

14. Marvel are still casting Janet van Dyne.

15. There is only one police precinct in San Francisco.

16. For heist films to work the location of the heist has to be clearly laid out, and should ideally have at least a couple of interesting architectural details.

17. The subatomic realm looks like a late-90s music video.

18. Romantic relationships happen offscreen.

19. The idea of a cultured Mexican is inherently absurd.

20. You don’t need cities crashing to the ground for an exciting action finale.

21. Bathos is all well and good, but it can get pretty tiresome.

22. Somewhere, Edgar Wright is shrugging.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Which of These 22 Decisions From the Makers of Terminator: Genisys Was the Worst Decision?

1. The spelling of the title.

2. Thinking it is endearing/appropriate to turn everything into a punchline.

3. Letting Arnold Schwarzenegger continue phoning it in.

4. Hiring Jason Clarke but giving him no direction.

5. Hiring Jai Courtney.

6. Wasting Matt Smith.

7. Wasting Byung-hun Lee.

8. Sampling the song ‘Bad Boys’ over a mugshot montage.

9. Thinking that helicopters can do that.

10. Thinking that school buses can do that.

11. Featuring an affectless I-can-load-bullets-faster-than-you pissing contest scene.

12. Endowing the villain with inconsistent powers and motives.

13. Making Terminators essentially unthreatening in any guise.

14. Filming everything like an NBC TV show.

15. Attempting a lame critique of contemporary techno-culture.

16. Having the characters bicker like children. Constantly.

17. Aping a Marvel film (also, see above).

18. Aping a Resident Evil film.

19. Ruining all interesting twists with horrendous marketing.

20. Resembling bad fan fiction.

21.Treating the iconic star of the franchise like a 1970s sitcom character.

22. Progressing beyond the first production meeting.

Monday, 6 July 2015

22 Unanswered questions from Season One of Daredevil

1. Does Matt Murdock dye his hair? And if so, why?

2. Did the chemicals make him a superhero, or the fact that he was taught by an old King Fu master?

3. Why does Elden Henson play Foggy as though he’s at an initial table read?

4. Is Vincent D’Onofrio a better actor when he’s nowhere near the screen?

5. How did Stick find Murdock, and why?

6. Why is all the banter so cringe-worthy?

7. When Murdock knocks a guy out and he falls into the Hudson, does that count as murder?

8. Why did that Russian mobster, previously so cautious and respectful, burst in on Fisk’s private dinner like an idiot?

9. Is the graphic violence making a point about the brutality of vigilantism and criminality, or is it just there because the show is on Netflix?

10. What is Black Sky, and why should I care?

11. How do any of the heroes pay their rent?

12. Why does Rosario Dawson only have half a haircut?

13. Has there ever been a protagonist journalist who hasn’t been chewed out for pursuing a story by their business-minded editor? And didn’t I see this exact same plot in the first season of Boss?

14. Surely there are easier ways to solve your problem than poisoning a whole swathe of New York aristocrats?

15. Why do Fisk and Vanessa have no chemistry whatsoever?

16. Why was that gun loaded, and what was it doing on that table in the first place?

17. Just how many abandoned factories, buildings and alleys are there in Hell’s Kitchen?

18. Are all superhero properties contractually obliged to feature a scene (or several) in which a henchman is quietly incapacitated after he walks into the shadows?

19. No really, why hasn’t Foggy been killed off yet?

20. Why does all that Catholic hand-wringing over the problem of righteous murder go in the last episode?

21. Is it really possible to tail a car along rooftops for several dozen blocks?

22. Will I bother with Season Two?