Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Movie Review ... John Wick

 

John Wick posterKeanu Reeves is no stranger to action.  Star of ‘Speed’ and ‘The Matrix’ trilogy, he has proven skills for high-octane fisticuffs.  ‘John Wick’ successfully draws on his established persona.  A fast, furious and relentless ride uses the stripped-down story to good effect.  Enhanced by Chad Stahelski’s energetic direction, those looking for excitement should find much to enjoy.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a retired hit-man recovering from his wife’s recent death.  Finding solace with their cherished dog, his canine companion is killed by thugs related to vicious Russian gangster Viggo (Michael Nyqvist) with a deadly chain reaction ignited.  Tearing the streets in a swathe of bloody vengeance, Wick swiftly moves against those daring to cross him with lethal force.

Although not a great actor, Keanu Reeves equips himself admirably in ‘John Wick’.  Reeves’ acting parameters may be limited but he has chosen a role effectively utilising his range.  You feel his character’s rage at his foes and the despair at the loss of his wife.  Using his wits and heavy artillery, his mind is his most powerful weapon.  Staheslki wisely builds up Wick’s reputation amongst his adversaries fearing his retribution.

Action is what everyone wants and ‘John Wick’ delivers.  Each punch and gun-play is amazingly shot without being too gratuitously grisly.  Sequences logically flow with ease as the tension and dead bodies increase.  The shadowy world of assassins in which Wick thrives adds an intriguing layer and something which could be further built upon.  This sinister universe is effectively captured by the cinematography evoking New York’s mean streets.

‘John Wick’ is one of the few movies where you hope a sequel is made.  There are plenty of avenues the character could go down with this stylish entry proving the art of war can be deadly in the hands of any gifted soldier.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7 

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Movie Review ... Kill The Messenger

 

Kill The Messenger posterA famous saying goes – “some people can’t handle the truth”.  In an era where truth and lies are mixed commodities, those daring to reveal genuine facts are often ostracised.  Many are willing to cover-up true events for their own needs as they spin a web of fiction.  ‘Kill the Messenger’ explores this to good effect.  A solid drama/thriller highlights why truth-seekers should be applauded in a constantly news-hungry world.

Journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) discovers a big story.  Learning of the CIA’s role in supplying cocaine to American streets in an effort to fund a Nicaraguan Contra army, Webb publishes his findings.  Against advice from colleagues, his actions unleash fury.  Becoming a target of a CIA smear campaign, Webb’s life takes a turn for the worse.  With his reputation at stake, he becomes determined to stand by his words against a litany of lies.

Based on true events, ‘Kill the Messenger’ is consistently gripping.  Nothing can ever be more enthralling than the truth which this movie magnifies.  Webb’s despair at how people can be easily manipulated is palatable.  Where many are willing to accept what they’re told than truly investigating stories is a marked comment on today’s news-cycle.  From Webb’s perspective, creating fiction is easier than facing truths as he learns his enemies will go to any lengths to hide their tracks.

None of this would be as believable had Renner not played the role.  He brings authentic conviction to a man willing to stand by his integrity.  Journalists aren’t often portrayed in such a good light, although ‘Kill the Messenger’ is careful not to portray Webb as a complete saint.  He is a complex man caught in a complex web of deceit.  How organisations think they can run rough-shod over people’s lives is an outrage and one told with stirring zeal.

‘Kill the Messenger’ provides an abject lesson in why truth matters.  This engaging film presents the facts in an enlightening and interesting way.  Hopefully viewers can learn a lesson or two in how, eventually, the truth will always win over shadowy duplicity.

  Kill The Messenger 54

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  8

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.

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Movie Review ... Pride

 

pride poster‘The Full Monty’ has a lot to answer for.  Charting a group of British working-class gents stripping off in defiant solidarity, it spawned a slew of imitators.  ‘Brassed Off’, ‘Billy Elliot’ and others have used the recipe to great success.  The characters struggle under the effects of Conservative government rule gave them qualities with which viewers could relate.  ‘Pride’ takes up this baton with ease.  Using a slice of history to tell its tale, it is a familiar but fun exploration of community spirit.

Affected by a huge miners’ strike during 1984 miners’ families struggled.  Seeing this hardship were a gay and lesbian group determined to help including Jonathan (Dominic West) and Gethin (Andrew Scott).  Forming an alliance with a mining village whose inhabitants include Cliff (Bill Nighy) and Hefina (Imelda Staunton), both sides fought for equality for all persuasions.

Filled with clich├ęs and overt sentimentality, ‘Pride’ usually would be best forgotten.  Whilst the overly earnest script occasionally grates, the heart is in the right place.  Achieving good results are the multi-layered characters and the evocation of a recent era.  Homosexuals and miners were persecuted with a vengeance in 80’s Britain, with mutual demonization forging common ground.  Although prejudices were found from either side, they learnt to mutually understand their respective viewpoints.

Matthew Warchus weaves some insightful threads within the formulaic screenplay.   Whilst occasionally this formula gets in the way of the story based on true events, it has enough authenticity to maintain interest.  ‘Pride’ is a little too long to be totally engaging as it meanders towards a predictable conclusion, even if it highlights issues pertinent to today.  In some ways ‘Pride’ adds a wistfulness during viewing as it reflects a time when people readily questioned authority and agitated for change.  The constant resolve to stand by beliefs is well realised with both sides portrayed with astute sympathy.

Whilst ‘Pride’ follows a very familiar pattern, it provides an interesting snapshot.  A lesson it teaches is to never just accept enforced hardship.  In this respect it has a relevancy to the current generation to have respect for themselves and fight for a dignity for which ‘Pride’s’ characters continually fought.

  Pride-still-0115r

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  6 

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.

Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.

Official HomePage click HERE

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