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John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) [Review!!!]

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Starring

Keanu Reeves – John Wick
Riccardo Scamarcio – Santino D’Antonio
Ian McShane – Winston
Ruby Rose – Ares
Common – Cassian

John Wick: Chapter 2
From comingsoon.net

Summary

“Legendary hitman John Wick is forced back out of retirement, and this time, he must face off against a shadowy international assassins’ guild and more of the world’s deadliest killers.”

-From Amazon.com

Review

Holy. Cow.

Okay, so Keanu Reeves is probably one of my favorite actors, just because how much he dedicates to his movies (more coming on that), so this has replaced my all time favorite movie, 47 Ronin. Don’t worry, it’s still in my top 5, but this movie, and probably the first John Wick are now my favorite movies.

One of the first things that gets me in the series is the music. It fits so well as to what the scenes are, they remove all forms of music during an intense fight scene so it doesn’t distract you from the pure talent of the actors, and it all a little different the music. Since this movie had bits based in Rome, some of the fight music had an Italian kind of chord structure, one example being the track La Vendetta. It really has an old Italian feel. However, when you go to club scenes, they’re avant-guard kind of club music, which then transitions into the fight scene club music, as seen in the track John Wick Mode (all of which I love to listen to as it’s great music to have as background music, or workout to even.)

Now on to the movie itself. Visually, it was absolutely stunning and outdid the first John Wick in every way possible. There was more action (if that is even possible) and even though it was a 2 hour movie, I wasn’t bored during a single moment of it. There were explosions from start to finish and it kept you guessing as to who was going to turn against who and who was next to die. Also, I really do like how Mr. Wick isn’t invincible. There were times that he was shot, and had the life beaten out of him, and came close to death. However, he always just survived. So he didn’t always get away without injuries which is nice to see. Makes it more realistic. I was quite impressed with the pencil scene, where you were able to see Mr. Wicks skills with a pencil, and see the talent of those choreographing the fight scene. That brings me to my other point.

The choreographing of the entire movie was completely out of this world. One of the reasons I like Keanu Reeves so much is his dedication to his movies. He doesn’t just fake it ’til he makes it. He really learns everything and all of those fight styles. He doesn’t do his own stunts, like falling out of buildings or being hit by cars, but all of those hand-to-hand combat scenes are really him, and that impresses the hell out of me. According to one source, The Seattle Times, he went into 3 months of “John Wick boot camp” which included “intensive training in martial arts, gun work, fight choreography and stunt driving.” His fighting styles are extensive and he becomes the best at them, in all the movies he’s been in, and this one was no exception. He went through months of gun training so all of that action that you see in the movie with him using dozens of types of weapons, un-clipping the mag and reloading it in about 2 or 3 seconds is really him. Now that’s skill and part of the reason I respect him, and his movies, so much. And hats off to the choreographing team. They were incredibly impressive and choreographed some beautiful fight scenes.

And there was a large amount of weapons in this movie for you weapon buff people. It was another thing which really impressed me because the amount of weapons which Keanu Reeves can use is extensive. From his traditional array of Glocks, to dessert (knives), to something with a little more flare (Benelli M4) and beyond, he is able to anything in his reach from non-ballistic to explosive. That shows talent and ability to improvise.

John Wick: Chapter 2
From indiewire.com

 

As for the movie itself, it did have a lot of similarities to the first movie in story, so while it may have been slightly lacking in the story (lacking I’m using loosely as I know some people look for a unique story), it most certainly made it up in action. And stunt driving. So I personally don’t see the lack of new and original story as a big issue. It had it’s own uniqueness and wasn’t too similar to the first movie, especially with some of the events happening through the movie.

As for the violence, it was through the roof. I mean, it was R, so there was a LOT of blood. With the shooting, it wasn’t people just going down. There was realistic splatter which was impressive as well. It all looked realistic. Not like Expendables 2 where it was clear that it was fake blood. This looked 100% genuine and it was quite impressive. Of course, there was language as well however that’s really the least of your concerns.

I’ve seen this movie twice in theatres, once the day after it came out and again a few days later. I generally never do that as most movies, I feel, don’t deserve paying twice to see. However, this movie I wanted to support and really did truly want to see again in a threatre and was willing to pay for.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is, by far, the best action movie out there that has ever been created. If you enjoyed the first movie, then you will definitely love this one more. As for those who haven’t even become part of this series, if you love ass-kicking, good driving (his baby 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 >cries at what happens to it<), and a bad-ass story, then this is for you.

I do recommend seeing this movie in theatres and not waiting…because this contract may just run out.

Today is “a new day to kill”, so you might as well start it off well.

Happy Watching!

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John Wick (2014)

Starring

Keanu Reeves – John Wick
Michael Nyqvist – Viggo Tarasov
Alfie Allen – Iosef Tarasov
Willem Dafoe – Markus

John Wick movie trailer

Summary

“An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.”

-From Amazon.com

Review

This movie was SO good! And like it may be one of my new favorite movies. It had a fantastic story, great acting, amazing fight sequences and overall was badass as hell.

First off, it was a mafia movie and those movies aren’t terribly popular anymore. If they are they are usually unrealistic and all hollywoodized. And while this was of course like that, there was a lot to it which was similar to what happens in mobs in real life with the whole you can never get out and if you ever somehow do get out, if you touch the old life, you will be dragged back in.

I also really liked how in the action sequences, even though John Wick was really good, he would never come out unscathed as he wasn’t perfect and sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes he was shot, something he had the absolute shit beaten out of him, which sucks, but makes the movie a little more realistic. The action sequences were also beyond epic. An example is the scene just below this, but a warning it is very violent.

It was also interesting how the entire movie was about a dog. I won’t say how as it’s an important part of the story, but watch it and you’ll find out.

The cinematography was also amazing as well. The entire movie was done with this blue/green tinge which kind of added an aspect to the movie. So there were no sunny scenes. The only pop of color which you got was red as the mafia was known as the Red Circle. Kinda cool.

Overall I do recommend this movie. It is for 18 and older as it is an R because of the violence and there was a lot of it. Also a lot of heavy swearing. F-words were used left, right and center. Of course it wasn’t stupid placement as what was going on did warrant the words, but still, viewer discretion is advised.

Purchase it here.

Happy watching!

 

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Movie Review: The Dark Tower (2017)

Starring

Matthew McConaughey – Walter
Idris Elba – Roland
Tom Taylor – Walter

Summary

“The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.”

-From IMDB.com

Review

I’ve been waiting a while to see this movie, especially after I had read the first book of the series last year. After the first book, I was really wondering how they were going to put all of that into a movie, especially with how complex and confusing it was. I really struggled to write the book review for it because it was one of those books that was quite difficult to summarize and turn into words. So how would they visualize it all?

Well I got my answer. They dumbed it down….a lot. While the basic idea was there, it was nothing like the first book. I mean they started to play around with what was given to them. In the book, there was a lot more of it based on a derelict world with everything destroyed. It felt like a wild west kind of book, but the movie was based more in NYC and a little bit in the waste land around the other universes. I mean, sure it worked, but if you read the book you would most likely be a little disappointed.

Don’t get my wrong, I did really enjoy it and I absolutely loved the cast. Idris Elba was a perfect Gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey was an amazing Man in Black, but I felt like there just could have been so much more. It quickly explained who the Man in Black was, and that he was magical, but in the book you never really understood. Of course I only ever read book one. But considering how many books that the movie series had to work with, with each book averaging about 500 pages (and some as long as 800!) they honestly could have done so much.

The movie was also only 95 minutes too. Harry Potter Book 1 was the same length and it got a movie that was over two hours. Of course, it was much more popular but I feel when you make a movie based on a book, you need to stick a little closer.

Movie Review: The Dark Tower

They answered a lot of questions that were left unanswered, or made you wonder, in the book. It was clear the movie ended in a way that meant that another one wasn’t needed. So if you watch it, you wouldn’t be waiting for a second movie. With the book, it had a similar way to end, like you could just not continue to read, but there were so many questions left unanswered. The movie was a nice neat package.

Visually the movie was incredible. it was beautiful and the gun-work rivaled that of John Wick 1 and 2 (which I thought was impossible)! But the Gunslinger is supposed to be incredible with weapons. It was just impressive to see that.

But the idea of the book, the deeper psychological and philosophical idea seemed to be completely ignored in the book. So I was a little upset about that.

C’est la vie…nothing you can really do.

If you haven’t read the book, it’s a good movie. If you have read it, you might be a little underwhelmed.

For a more detailed technical review, check out here!

Happy Watching!

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Book Review: Shibumi by Trevanian

Book Review: Shibumi by TrevanianRating4/5 teacups

Summary

“Nicholai Hel is the world’s most wanted man. Born in Shanghai during the chaos of World War I, he is the son of an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father and is the protégé of a Japanese Go master. Hel survived the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world’s most artful lover and its most accomplished—and well-paid—assassin. Hel is a genius, a mystic, and a master of language and culture, and his secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection known only as shibumi.

Now living in an isolated mountain fortress with his exquisite mistress, Hel is unwillingly drawn back into the life he’d tried to leave behind when a beautiful young stranger arrives at his door, seeking help and refuge. It soon becomes clear that Hel is being tracked by his most sinister enemy—a supermonolith of international espionage known only as the Mother Company. The battle lines are drawn: ruthless power and corruption on one side, and on the other . . . shibumi.”

-From Amazon.com

Review

I read this book because it was pictured in the first John Wick. As it’s my favorite movie, and I love reading books that are featured in movies, I had to give this one a go. And it had the famous “kill someone with a pencil” scene, though it certainly wasn’t what I expected.

Deep writing.
First off, this is an extremely heavy book. It’s one of those books that you read for a while and think you read a ton of the book, but in reality it was only a few pages. It was complex writing and complex themes. It was covering a lot of Japanese philosophical ideas. It’s hard enough as it is philosophical but then they are trying to put words to things that are indescribable. It was interesting to see Trevanian to try and tackle this obstacle. And it hurt my brain to read. But it was interesting and I loved the challenge.

Lots of traveling.
The book is set in all of these different locations and it jumps around, but with a logical aspect. It also breaks up the chapters by locations. So it will jump between Hel and where he is and what he is doing, sometimes in the past, and then go to Washington, D.C. where the government people are and eventually everyone comes together.

Killing with a pencil is the turning point.
So this is totally not important, but this is one of the reasons I was curious about the book. John Wick is known for killing people with a pencil. That is his signature movie and that idea was taken from this book. So I just had to find out where it came from. And the killing with the pencil was the turning point which changed everything in Hel’s life. This book was not graphic with the violence, it would touch on what was happening but mostly leave it there…save for the opening scene where there was a little carnage. But it was in moderation.

The sex was something new and rare.
So there was sex in the book. But it wasn’t incredibly graphic as you would think, and it was completely in moderation and well proportioned. It was a lot of mind games. The lover in Hel’s life was technically a concubine and she was there to help him out around the house and in life. But she was well trained. Hel was able to play mind games with people and so their sexual adventures sometimes didn’t even involve touching. And even then, the descriptions were simple and restrained, keeping with the theme of the book.

Supernatural abilities?
As I was talking about just above, Hel seemed to have these mental abilities. It wasn’t supernatural exactly but it was a heightened state of mind, probably from all the meditation that he had done while in Japan. It was a little strange to read about as you had this other worldly feel to him, that he was just slightly higher than other humans, but it was an interesting touch, one that I think definitely added to the story.

Overall I loved the book. I would have given it a 5 out of 5 teacups but I didn’t because some of the philosophical ideas, while they were interesting to read, took up a lot of the book and I know that many people really wouldn’t like them. While I thought it was interesting, it was a strange balance between the simplicity of the story and then these really deep ideas. That’s the only reason I would give it a 4/5 rating. But I highly recommend the book as it was fantastic!

rating four tea cups mlcwo

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

theA while back I reviewed Josie Jaffrey’s book A Bargain in Silver and she nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award! Which is so cool! So thank you so much for Josie for that!

Now, what it is…

Essentially the award is given to others who inspiring and aim to spread sunshine through their blogs or social media accounts. So I am definitely honored to have been nominated for this award. Many thanks!


THE RULES

The Sunshine Blogger Award does not operate in an atmosphere of chaos, ergo there are rules as follows:

  • Name drop and link to the blog of the person who nominated you.

  • Answer the eleven questions from the blogger who nominated you.

  • Nominate up to eleven wonderful bloggers and write (or borrow/steal) eleven questions for them to answer.


MY ANSWERS

1.  Who’s your weird celebrity crush and why?

I honestly don’t have a weird celebrity crush. I mean all of my crushes are main stream celebrities like Daniel Craig (maybe he could be weird since he’s a lot older than me), Orlando Bloom, Alexander Skarsgård, The Hemsworth brothers. I mean maybe the weird ones would be the international celebrities I follow, like those who are part of k-pop bands. I have a few secret crushes there. But shhh, my secret.

2.  You can only watch one film, as many times as you like, for the rest of your life.  What do you choose?

This is a disgustingly hard question because I love movies. Like so much! So I’d be torn between 47 Ronin, Constantine and John Wick. I love 47 Ronin because of the story, the fact that it’s about Ronin (masterless Samurai) and the entire story around it. But then Constantine is just epic. It is an older movie but it is still fantastic with an amazing story line and something that I’d definitely suggest that you check out. John Wick, well everyone knows about that one because of the hype about the entire story line. People loved it and I did too. It was just such a great story, quite realistic and amazing overall. Yes, they are all Keanu Reeves’ movies – he’s a great actor! I don’t know which one I’d choose but if I had to, it would be one of those three (I’m really indecisive).

3.  How many of you does it take to change a lightbulb?

Two! One to get the step ladder as the real me is too lazy to get it, and the other to actually put the lightbulb in (totally will admit some of the jokes on that lightbulb page went right over my head).

tea4.  Coffee or tea?

Duh, tea! English over here – our blood is practically tea.

5.  What’s the best gig/play you’ve ever seen?

I still that Phantom of the Opera is the best play that I have ever seen. I love how the chandelier falls and I can’t get enough of the music and costumes. I’ve seen it twice and want to go back again a few more times as I can’t get enough of it!

6.  You can go anywhere in the world, in any time period, with any person (living or dead).  Where, when and with whom would you go?

This is definitely going to be an interesting one, and a weird combination. I really would love to go back to Feudal Japan, maybe 1400-1600. I think I’d love to go with Keanu Reeves. I mean I’ve always loved his movies and he’s a fantastic fighter and after 47 Ronin, I don’t know, I think it would be kind of cool!

7.  What are you reading at the moment and how are you finding it?

I’m reading Shōgun by James Clavell and I think I’ve been reading it for over a year because I can never really just get through it as it’s so long. I love it and want to finish this book. Sometimes it’s a little boring but I will get through it. Even if it takes me a few years.

dragons and knights8.  Dragons or unicorns?

Dragons! ‘Cos that means that Knights who fight the dragons would be also real…right? And who doesn’t want a Knight in shining armor.

9.  If you were a chart-topping recording star, what sort of music would you be making?

Honestly, I’d probably be making K-Pop music, of making a name for J-Pop as that is the stuff that I love to listen to. That or you’d find me singing some smash broadway tunes.

10.  The entire world is shortly to be subjugated by a race of giant mutant ants.  You have twelve hours before you are put to work in their colossal sugar factories.  How do you spend your final hours of freedom?

Eating all of my favorite foods. I mean once you are stuck working you won’t be able to eat and I’m sure stuff like Sushi and Ramen won’t be around anymore. So I’ll be getting fat, in front of my TV enjoying some of my favorite movies, and filling my face with food. I know, I have my priorities straight.

top secret - spy11.  When you were ten, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I definitely wanted to be a spy. Like James Bond but like…Janet Bond or something. Be able to kick butt, fly around the world, kill bad guys and dress as sharp as he does. Like man, can he wear a suit (Daniel Craig I’m referencing here 😉 ). But yeah. Hands down a spy.


MY QUESTIONS

  1. What are you currently reading and why did you choose that book?
  2. When you were a teenager, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  3. There’s a massive asteroid heading your way and it is about to destroy planet Earth and you have 24 hours to live. What would you do for your last 24 hours?
  4. Tea or coffee?
  5. Book or movie?
  6. You can only watch one movie for the rest of your life. What will it be and why?
  7. You find a genie and he says that he can transport you into your favorite book. Forever. What book would it be and why?
  8. What’s your favorite website (any subject)?
  9. If you could meet any celebrity, who would you meet and why?
  10. You can also meet any person from history, who would you choose to meet and for what reason?
  11. You can only study one thing for the rest of your life. What would you choose to study?

THE NOMINATIONS

Writing and Musing

Dab of Darkness 

The Orang-utan Librarian

Avid Reader Musings

Death, Books, and Tea

Fangirl Confessions


I hope you enjoyed and congratulations to those nominated. Pass it on!