Category Archives: Action

WML2020: Daredevil

Sometimes it feels like I’m the only person who ever liked Daredevil, but that’s revisionist history. It originally received mixed reviews, but it was not universally panned. And it fared well at the box office, especially for a February opening. I have defended it over the years, but the haters have only multiplied. Now it seemingly exists only as a punchline.

The most tragic part is that Ben Affleck seems to take it all so personally. A full decade later, he seemed to approach portraying Batman as a way to atone for Daredevil. And look how that worked out. My heart breaks a little for this genuine fan whose love for comic characters is always spat back at him.

I haven’t watched this in quite a long time. I do wonder if it will now shock me with its terribleness.

Daredevil DVD case on a red textured background

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WML2020: Bourne Identity

Hey, check out this original release press kit I still have because I never throw anything away!

Photo of The Bourne Identity DVD next to a folder/CD that comprise a media press kit for reviewers.

Once upon a time I thought I wanted to be a journalist, and during that period of my life, I actually published a handful of legit movie reviews and other entertainment coverage. I perhaps could have pursued that professionally, but instead here I am doing it for free on the Internet. *

I didn’t review The Bourne Identity. In fact, I don’t think I ever saw a movie I actually liked on assignment. But my BFF did, and that’s how I got the press kit.

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B is for Breathe

I had been quickly knocking out movies for Watch My Library, but then I guess I needed to stop and take a breath. Apparently I also needed to play a bunch of Super Mario Odyssey. I’ll start making progress again this week.

You know what else B stands for? Bitch. Reviewing my recent Back to the Future entry, I feel like it’s unnecessarily negative. Part of that is struggling to come up with something at least quasi-original to write, but I also think I’m just a bit too jaded.

YouTube recently recommended the following videos to me, in which someone who claims* to have never seen the BTTF trilogy reacts to watching them for the first time. And it’s just delightful to see the films with new eyes.

Part I
Part II
Part III

So, for the record, my ultimate opinion is that BTTF (all BTTF) is awesome, and any complaints I have are nitpicks borne of endless re-watching. But I will never forget that the only reason why I’ve seen all of them a million times is because they are just simply the best.

 

 

 

 

* I choose to believe him. He strikes me as young enough that it’s plausible.

WML2020: Baby Driver

So apparently this is accidentally timely because Ansel Elgort is even as I write this breaking the Internet with his nakedness or something. I have no response to that. Moving on…

I don’t own Baby Driver on physical media so I can’t take a photo for you all this time. Have a relevant meme instead.

Top panel: Scene from Dirty Dancing where Baby carries a watermelon

LOL. Source.

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A New Project: Watch My Library 2020

light-bulb-503881_640

I have an idea inspired by two recent events.

1) I moved cross-country.  After more than a decade in the greater DC area, last month I relocated to New Mexico for a new job and to live closer to family. As I unpacked my belongings, I made a stunning discovery.

I own xXx on dvd.

Wait. Seriously? I spent money on that? Eventually I remembered fishing it out of the used bargain bin at Blockbuster back in the day. Considering that I haven’t so much as thought about the xXx franchise in many a year, it frankly surprises me that at one time I liked this movie enough to have it on my shelf.

There were other discs that I could also barely remember acquiring. Or didn’t remember at all. A shocking number of titles are still in shrink wrap. Such a waste.

Related:  I also recently redeemed a freebie code from my cell phone carrier for a digital copy of John Wick. The problem being that at some point in the past I had already done that exact same thing, making that my second copy. Luckily, the Lionsgate folks were understanding about swapping it out for John Wick, Chapter 2. Which I haven’t yet watched because I don’t even like Chapter 2 that much.

Dude, I suck at this. An inventory is definitely in order. And maybe some collection weeding, too.

2) Immediately after I left behind my entire social support network to move to a completely unfamiliar city, an epic public health crisis trapped me in my half-unpacked apartment.

No disrespect intended to the new city or new job that I was actually pretty excited about a few weeks ago, but if I had known back in October when I originally applied for said new job that I would make it out here just in time for the whole world to fall apart…  You know, I might have made different choices.

But what’s done is done. And now I’m waiting out a slow-motion disaster in a town where I don’t know anyone. I feel incredibly privileged that I’m able to work from home, keeping me out of any real jeopardy (so far). And I have done the work-from-home thing successfully in the past.

However, back then I had a cat, a live-in partner, and the freedom to go anywhere I wanted basically any time that I wanted. None of that is true now. I’m dangerously bored and lonely already, and it’s only been a week and a half.

Hence blogging!

So I propose “Watch My Library 2020.” I’m going to view everything I own A to Z. I’m going to try to watch at least one title a night (if I don’t have anything better to do). And we’ll see how far I get before my self-imposed isolation ends.

Treehouse of Horror Roundup 26-27

Like most other Americans, I spent the last couple of days consumed with a different sort of nightmarish joke. But life and the days of November march on, and now that it’s ten days past Halloween, we need to wrap this up.

It felt good to laugh and get one last sweet taste of Halloween for the year. I even ate some candy — gummy bears — to mark the occasion. And The Simpsons managed to let me end on happy note by providing two mostly solid episodes. I’m glad I took this ride with you all.

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Quick Comparison

Jurassic World Poster

Franchise: Jurassic Park
Years since previous installment: 14
My opinion of previous installment: Utter bullshit.
Reaction to new sequel: Mind-blowingly excited. Can! Not! Wait!

Terminator Genisys Poster

Franchise: Terminator
Years since previous installment: 6
My opinion of previous installment: Solidly entertaining.
Reaction to new sequel: Exhausted. Bored.

I  make zero sense.

On John Wick

John Wick surprised me. Not in its content. What you see in the commercials is what you get in the theater. Instead, it startled me with how much I enjoyed it.*

John Wick is what it is and nothing more, but it’s a masterful example of what it is: a straightforward action flick that would’ve starred Jean-Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal back in the day. If that interests you, then you’ve probably seen before everything John Wick has to offer. I know I’ve lost track of all those retired bad-asses drawn back into the game by the need for revenge. I’ve also seen mentor and mentee assassins, and I’ve known plenty other Russian mafiosos with callow sons. **

But despite the retro plot elements, the movie achieves its own unique, modern vibe. Had John Wick been filmed in the 80s, it would have been as loud and ugly as it was dumb and violent. Instead,  first-time director Chad Stahelski has created something a little bit dumb and entirely violent, but also smooth and stylish.

It’s frankly amazing how posh this genre has become. John Wick stops short of the Sin City-level of stylized, but it has a toe slightly over the line. So many sleek, powerful cars. So many natty suits. Keanu Reeves looks as much like a Prada model as ever. Such a civilized and urbane veneer disguising the underbelly of the beast.

A key to the movie’s success is that it’s as much about the shadowy criminal society Wick navigates as it is about Wick’s quest to kill the man who killed his dog. It’s a world where you trade one solid gold coin for each dead body you need professionally adios-ed. And that’s just one of many delightfully weird moments that transpire in a wholly matter-of-fact fashion.

Speaking of dead bodies, I admit I entered the theater with an attitude about the basic premise. To my mind, no dog – no matter how cuddly and lovable – is worth taking 60+ human lives (at least). They’re conveyed as meaningless henchmen deaths, but if we don’t care about them, why do we care about Wick exactly? He once was what they are currently, and if he can redeem himself, why can’t they? But I gradually came to understand that the puppy isn’t the point.

Yes, a puppy is clubbed to death (off-screen, with far more discretion than is afforded to several humans receiving bullets to the face). But that isn’t really why Wick goes on a killing spree. I don’t even really buy into the rationale that it’s the metaphorical meaning that Wick attaches to the puppy. I personally see this as a movie about widower working his way through the anger phase of his grief cycle in a hail of bullets. You either get on board with that or you don’t.

The well-staged fight choreography will help with that. The action looks and feels real and brutal. Elegant as it is, it also seems satisfyingly difficult. Action movies always seem to have at least one scene in which a bad-ass breaks someone’s neck with just a swift, little twist. This usually looks like it takes less effort than twisting off a bottle cap. Not here. Wick does overpower many of his enemies within seconds, but it always still manages to look like a job of work.

 

* Particularly because a convenient matinee time factored more heavily into my decision to buy a ticket than any real desire to see it.

** My first recorded sighting: 1997 in The Saint.