Playing with Fire and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Andy Fickman
There are SO many movies that I needed to catch up on. I could have seen Midway, Harriet, Black and Blue, but nope! Given the opportunity to catch up on SOMETHING that might have had some sort of message or Oscar aspirations, I went with the John Cena family film. You may not agree with the choices I make, but I stand by them. ANYWAY! Mr. Cena hasn’t had quite the meteoric rise to stardom as his wrestling counterpart Dwayneson The Rockson Johnson, but his comparably sparse filmography is compensated with a lot of quality films. The Marine was a fantastic little B action film, he got a lot of praise for his appearances in Trainwreck and Sisters, and Blockers is an uproarious funny comedy with a lot of heart where he manages to hold his own against seasoned veterans such as Ike Barinholtz and Leslie Mann! Okay, he had a brief role in Daddy’s Home 2, but no one’s IMDb page is spotless. The point is that John Cena seems to be following the same trajectory as Daniel Radcliffe or even his wrestling contemporary Dave Bautista; people who have already made all their money and so they can be choosy and experimental with the roles they decide to take. The question then becomes, is there something in this Nickelodeon comedy about firemen watching a bunch of bratty children that rightfully drew Cena to the role, or is this a huge misstep for a guy who’s been savvy enough to avoid them for the most part? Let’s find out!!
Jake Carson (John Cena) is the head of a unit of Smokejumpers in the California wilderness; saving lives, looking cool, and never wavering from their sense of duty! Cena in particular has a bright future ahead of him as the current Commander of the state’s Smokejumpers (Denis Haysbert) is looking to retire soon and Cena is on his short list, so all he has to do is make sure his firehouse located deep in the forest is ship shape and ready to impress! With his faithful crew of Mark, Rodrigo, and Axe (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, and Tyler Mane) working hard to keep things in order, there’s no WAY he’ll blow this opportunity… right? Well as it turns out they get a call about a burning cabin in the woods where they find three children, Brynn, Will, and Zoey (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery, and Finley Rose Slater), unharmed and yet without their parents nearby. Since Jake and his crew were the first on the scene, it is incumbent upon them to keep these kids safe at the firehouse until their parents turn up which turns out to be no small task for the rigid and humorless Jake who soon learns just how easily he can lose control of the situation! Can these four smoke jumping superhero dudes survive a weekend with three bratty kids? Are they REALLY this obnoxious for seemingly no reason, or is one of them actually scheming behind their backs and looking for the right opportunity to strike? Seriously, if you were caught in a fire and needed rescuing, wouldn’t you want these guys to do it? John Cena, Obama’s anger translator, Luigi from the Mario Bros movie, and the guy who played Michael Myers?
John Wick: Chapter 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Summit Entertainment
Directed by Chad Stahelski
WOO!!! JOHN WICK IS BACK!! Now I wasn’t as over the moon as some people were with that first movie (), but I am never the less EXTREMELY excited to see what Keanu Reeves has up his sleeve in the sequel! True, sequels to unexpected hits are almost universally terrible (*cough* Highlander 2, The Hangover 2, Taken 2 *cough*), but there’s not a whole lot of ways to screw up a formula like this; especially when what made it work the first time around was well choreographed and expertly shot action scenes; two things that Keanu Reeves and the returning director seem to prize above all else. Can this manage to be as exceptional as the man himself and ACTUALLY be a good sequel, or has the air gone out of this series the same way the Matrix did when we got ITS sequels? Let’s find out!!
The movie picks up RIGHT where the last one left off, namely with John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finishing off what remains of the Russian mob (his injuries have healed rather nicely considering how close he was to dying at the end of the last film) and getting his car back. Of course, because of how much noise he made doing so, he gets a visit from a former associate who wants him to do a favor despite his insistence that he’s FINALLY going to retire. This turns out to be a VERY bad move as the associate Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) then blows up his fucking house because of this. Doesn’t kill the dog though! No, he makes to the end! Anyway, apparently Santino has a Marker with John which supposedly makes all of this make sense (spoiler alert: it doesn’t) as a Marker is essentially a blood oath where one party owes the other a one-time request that they MUST do or else… I don’t know, they die? I mean, good luck finding someone to kill John Wick! Hell, if that was even an option, why don’t you send THAT person to do the job for you!? Well no one was asking for my opinion when they were writing this, so John takes the job, executes his target, and THAT’S when things go to hell as the target’s bodyguard Cassian (Common) was an old friend but now a SWORN MORTAL ENEMY, and Santino betrays John and tries to have him killed. I totally didn’t see that coming, especially when HIS bodyguard Ares is played by Ruby Rose and was giving John dirty looks throughout the first act (angry dirty; not sexy dirty). So now he’s got Cassian on his ass, Santino trying to kill him, and oh yeah A SHIT TON OF OTHER ASSASSINS as Santino has ALSO put a hit on him just for good measure. Will John be able to kill his way to Santino and finally get his retirement once and for all? Well… PROBABLY considering how good he is at head shots, but does Santino plan to keep John JUST out of arm’s reach? Who can John trust now that there’s a huge bounty on his head and hit men are coming out the wood work for his very valuable head? How many suits does this guy go through on a daily basis!?
The Infiltrator and all the images you see in this review are owned by Broad Green Pictures
Directed by Brad Furman
So… Bryan Cranston is going back to the well, huh? You can hardly blame him though! Breaking Bad is one of the most influential and critically praised shows to ever come out, so if anyone deserves to be in a movie about drugs and violence, then it’s the guy who made that shit work for five seasons! Does Bryan Cranston come out on top once again with a movie tailor made for his particular set of skills, or will this just be an actor trying to relive their glory days before sinking back into obscurity and finding a niche in shitty comedies (*cough* Why Him? *cough*)? Let’s find out!!
The movie which is BASED ON A TRUE STORY (ugh…) follows Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) who is a Federal Agent working for US Customs and primary does undercover work to bust drug dealers. Apparently petty drug dealers work with a lot of fifty year old dudes who look like Target managers, but I guess that just makes Robert that much more of an unassuming figure. Anyway, his colleague Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) gives him a tip that some big players in the Columbian Cartel (at the time being led by Pablo Escobar as this movie takes place in the eighties) will be in town and are in the market for a money launderer (at least I think that’s what the tip is about) and so he starts posing as an accountant who’s more than willing to handle the Cartel’s money; hoping to bust them for the drugs and the bankers at The Bank of Credit and Commerce International who are willingly doing this for them. Of course with any undercover work, there’s always the danger of getting himself and his fellow agents caught, especially Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) who is playing his pretend fiancée who’s only part of this mission because Robert fucked up at one of the meetings with the drug lords; not to mention that with any undercover work there’s always a chance of getting in too deep. Can Robert bust these guys before getting a bullet in the back of the head or worse? Will his real life crumble to pieces as he gets more and more engrossed in his work? WILL HE BE THE ONE WHO KNOCKS!?