Drew’s Movie Reviews Turns 4! Anniversary Celebration: My Fave Five New Movies I Watched in Year 4

Hello, friends!

I’m happy to see you could make it to my blogiversary celebration! Four years ago today, I took the plunge and started this little blog of mine. To celebrate this milestone, I have reviewed all three of the Brendan Frasier Mummy films.  If you missed any of them, here they are:

The Mummy
The Mummy Returns
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

I have seen some great, and not so great, films over the past 365 days.  Per tradition, here are my five favorite films I watched during my fourth year of blogging.

Wonder Woman movie poster5) Wonder Woman

I had a hard time deciding what movie was going to fill this fifth spot. This slot also could have gone to Spider-Man: Homecoming or Atomic Blonde. Instead, I chose Wonder Woman for several reasons. First of which, Gal Gadot makes for the perfect Wonder Woman. Also, it gives girls a female superhero they can look up to. But finally, DC finally made a good superhero movie as part of their Extended Universe (DCEU). The final act left a lot to be desired and turned into your hero vs villain slug fest. However, I think the first two-thirds made up for it easily.

John Wick: Chapter 2 movie poster4) John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick made my top films of Year 2 and I rated Chapter 2 higher so it should come as no surprise this made the list again this year. Chapter 2 does everything that a good sequel should do: ups the stakes for the the main character, develop the main character more, and build the world around them. John Wick definitely had a lot more to deal with but we also learned a lot more about his past. My favorite thing about these movies is the assassin underworld it created. In the first film, only the surface was explored. Like Wick’s past, we learn much more about this assassin world.  Going into the film, I wasn’t sure that I wanted a second John Wick movie but now I can’t wait for the third.

Moana movie poster3) Moana

Disney has been on an awesome trend lately of making great films and Moana keeps the trend going. Auli’i Cravalho, a first-time actress, does wonderfully as the titular character. Dwayne Johnson has quickly become one of my favorite actors at the moment and Maui was the role he was born to play.  I could honestly go on and on about how much I love this film but you can just read my review for all that. 😛

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story movie poster2) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I honestly wasn’t a big fan of Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens. As a result, I was a little more weary going into Rogue One than I would have expected. This movie seems to be one of the more polarizing films among Star Wars fans but I greatly enjoyed it. Several characters did not get the development the deserved, mostly the movie saw them as expendable. However, this is one of the most action-heavy chapters of the Star Wars saga. The final third of the film was one giant action scene that eclipses the last third of The Return of the Jedi. It also gave fans one of the most badass Darth Vader scenes. What more could you ask for?

Your Name movie poster1) Your Name

Not to sound like an insensitive jerk, but I have never been so happy for someone to have gotten sick than when my buddy’s wife got sick, leaving him with an extra ticket to the limited theatrical release of Your Name. Because had she been healthy, I would have missed this wonderful film. The best word to describe this film is gorgeous. And the story is equally as beautiful and engaging. It’s funny to see interviews with the director saying he doesn’t feel this film should be getting all the praise it has because I think it deserves all that praise and then some. Your Name isn’t only one of the best films I have seen in the last year, it is one of the best films I have seen ever.


And that’s it! I have finished another year at DMR. I can’t thank all of you enough. Every like and comment remind me why I’m still blogging. Your love and support means the world to me and I would not be here without you. Thank you all so much! Let’s make year five even more memorable. 😀

Until next time, cheers!

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John Wick: Chapter 2 Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 movie posterSynopsis
After seeing John Wick (Keanu Reeves) come out of retirement, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) returns to John to collect a debt. When Wick fulfills his contract, D’Antonio puts a bounty on his head. Wick must use all of his resources to get through the assassins between him and D’Antonio in order to get justice for D’Antonio’s betrayal.

Review
I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical about a sequel to John Wick, a surprise hit from 2014. I felt the story wrapped up well and didn’t really need a follow-up. I was afraid that we would get too much of a good thing and an awesome character like John Wick would be run into the ground trying to squeeze as much money out of him as the studio possibly could. After the film was done I took a sigh of relief, John Wick: Chapter 2 is not the cash-in I was scared it would be.

One pitfall that many sequels fall into, particularly an action sequel such as this, is that it tries to make it as similar as the film(s) before as possible. In doing so, it does not bring anything new to the franchise and feels stale. John Wick: Chapter 2 keeps the core of John Wick but at the same time, brings a fresh new experience. It does everything a sequel should: raise the stakes, flesh out the character, and expand the franchise’s universe. There are clear similarities, as there should be, but this is not a carbon copy of the last movie. This feels like a whole new experience instead of a simple rehash of the last film.

On that note, this movie also feels like a natural progression of John Wick’s story. The opening action-packed scene cleans up the threads from last film then jumps right into the new stuff. We learn more about Wick’s character, his past, and the assassin world.

Oh my goodness do we learn about the secret assassin world! One of my favorite parts about John Wick was the Continental Hotel and learning about this underground society of assassins that has their own sanctuary, currency, and code of conduct. That film only touches the tip of the assassin iceberg. This film greatly expands on that. A ton of cool and interesting information is revealed and I don’t want to give any of it away, I want you to learn it for yourself. Even though a lot of information is revealed, there is clearly much more to the secret society yet to be given.

Another great aspect from John Wick that I enjoyed very much was the choreography during the action scenes. They were vibrant and exciting. That same energy returns but larger and with more intensity. Director Chad Stahelski has a history as a stuntman and stunt coordinator. Using his experience, the action sequences are very crisp and well choreographed. The series’ signature “gun-fu” style of action is exhilarating to watch.

I mentioned in my review of John Wick that I really enjoyed Stahelski’s directing because unlike most modern action movies, it didn’t use much shaky-cam. Instead, it felt like classic 1980s action movies with long shots, maintaining a focus on the action going on on-screen. John Wick: Chapter 2, to no surprise, does the same thing. Even when in tight spaces, such as catacomb tunnels or a subway station, the camera still manages to keep all the important characters and action in focus. This leads to some of the best action cinematography I’ve seen in a while. Even during the non-action scenes, sweeping shots and vibrant colors make for a unique, visceral experience.

The standout performance from the last film was Keanu Reeves as the titular character. He easily brought Wick’s incredible skills to life but still felt vulnerable as the aged hitman. He brings back that same vulnerability and it still works. Common, Riccardo Scamarcio, and Ruby Rose do a great job as Wick’s antagonists, feeling like much more of a challenge to Wick than the Russian mobsters of the last film. The reunion of Neo and Morpheus with the appearance of Lawrence Fishburne was fun to watch. I expected a bigger role for Fishburne, which was more of a cameo than a significant role. Hopefully he will have a bigger role in the future. Maybe they’ll even bring in Carrie-Anne Moss for a reunion of The Matrix.

I thought John Wick: Chapter 2 was GREAT 😀 It does everything expected of a sequel, creating bigger challenges for John Wick and building his character. Chad Stahelski proves he has a real knack for action scenes, using spectacular cinematography to create some of the best action scenes in recent memory. I went into this movie unsure if I wanted a second John Wick film but I left greatly looking forward to a third.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Chad Stahelski – Director
Derek Kolstad – Writer
Tyler Bates – Composer
Joel J. Richard – Composer

Keanu Reeves – John Wick
Riccardo Scamarcio – Santino D’Antonio
Ian McShane – Winston
Ruby Rose – Ares
Common – Cassian
Claudia Gerini – Gianna D’Antonio
Lance Reddick – Charon
Laurence Fishburn – Bowery King
Tobias Segal – Earl
John Leguizamo – Aurelio
Thomas Sadoski – Jimmy
Peter Serafinowicz – Sommelier
Luca Mosca – Italian Tailor
Peter Stormare – Abram

Trailer Round-Up – 12/26/16

Blade Runner 2049 teaser

John Wick: Chapter 2

Rock Dog ‘Follow Your Dream’ Trailer

Patriots Day ‘Human Spirit’ trailer

A Cure for Wellness

The Emoji Movie teaser trailer

How to Be a Latin Lover

The Lost City of Z teaser trailer

Power Rangers international trailer

Alien: Covenant red band trailer


Which of these films are you excited to see?

Trailer Round-Up – 10/10/16

Ballerina

The Hollow Point

Get Out

Allied

Patriots Day teaser trailer

Edge of Seventeen red band trailer #2

Jackie teaser trailer

Sleepless

The Monster

Underworld: Blood Wars trailer

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter trailer

Power Rangers teaser trailer

The Great Wall trailer #2

John Wick: Chapter 2 teaser trailer


Which of these films are you excited to see?