Review: 'John Wick 4' a poetic, imperfect final chapter that goes down swinging for the fences
"John Wick" was the unlikeliest of box office successes when it hit theaters nearly a decade ago (2014). Since then, the franchise has become a beloved IP for Lionsgate, grossing nearly 600 million at the box office. "John Wick: Chapter 2" (2017) expanded the world of John Wick, with secret societies of assassins and some mythology to go along with its non-stop action. "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parrabellum" (2019) wasn't quite as interesting, but it delved into this universe even further.
Each chapter has nearly doubled the gross of the previous installment, and that brings us to the highly-anticipated "John Wick: Chapter 4," a movie that would feel like a fitting end to the saga, if we didn't already know that they're planning a "John Wick: Chapter 5" as well as a spin-off film, "Ballerina," and a live-action series based on the hitman hotel and safe-haven, "The Continental."
Amazingly, "John Wick: Chapter 4" in absolute ground-breaking achievement in action cinema, the most confident and gloriously-rendered installment yet. It has many, many problems, but the good outweighs the bad - perhaps just barely - and if you've followed John Wick this far, there's no way that you'll feel disappointed by his latest adventure.
If an AI ChatBot were to write and direct a superhero movie, I'd imagine it would turn out exactly like "Shazam! Fury of the Gods." A movie so generic, that it was actually painful to watch.
Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley) was working the Lifestyles desk at the Boston Record American when she became the first reporter to connect a series of strangulation deaths that had been occurring in and around the city. Along with fellow female journalist, Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), the two battled against the inherent sexism of the early 1960s, and helped bring down the serial killer, Albert DeSalvo (David Dastmalchian), through their terrific, patient reporting.
This all seems ripe for a great thriller, so why does "Boston Strangler" end up feeling so bland?
Oscars 2023 Aftermath: A safe and focused show gets the awards show back on track
And just like that, the 95th Academy Awards faded out to black.
Last night's Oscars felt safe, a bit old-fashioned and way more focused than in recent years...which is exactly what the awards show needed and wanted. After last year's "slap heard 'round the world," the Oscars were making headlines for all the wrong reasons, and no one was talking about the movies themselves. That slap at least made the Oscars relevant in 2022, after several years of heavy criticism, backlash and declining ratings. But that's not exactly the buzz that is worthy of the Oscars rich history. At 95, Oscar was in serious need of a face-lift, and not of the variety that Will Smith provided to Chris Rock.
Review: 'Scream VI' proves that this slasher franchise is losing its sharp edge
Here's what I liked about the new "Scream VI" movie: There were some very cool kills, some great set-pieces (the opening sequence, a scene set in a mini-mart and a scene spanning across two high-rise apartment windows were super-cool). I really like the main cast - the "Core Four" as they're referred to - of Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Mason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy Brown. And there was something that felt "freeing" with this franchise deciding to head out of the confines of Woodsboro, California for the dark, murky, dangerous streets of New York City.
But the "Scream" films have always felt "risen above" the rest of the horror genre...mainly by how it mixes in sharp satire of the horror genre itself. The characters in these films have watched all the horror movies. They know all of the tropes of the genre. Like the savvy viewers sitting in the theater, these people are not going to fall for the usual tricks. This has always made "Scream" feel smart. They have acted as an ongoing subversion of the genre.
As a massive fan of the first four "Scream" chapters, I was not at all a fan of the last chapter, essentially called "Scream 5" (in fact, it was simply called "Scream" as it tried to relaunch itself as a franchise, but that's besides the point). "Scream VI" is a giant improvement over the previous installment, and for its first two-thirds, it felt like an inspired chapter in the ongoing "Scream" saga. But the last half-hour made it IMPOSSIBLE to be on board with, succumbing not only to the terrible tropes that the series often makes fun of, but leaning into them unknowingly.
The biggest night in Hollywood is almost here: The 95th Academy Awards air live on Sunday, March 12th on ABC (WXYZ) at 8pm EST. And now you can watch them in style - on the big-screen and with fellow movie-lovers - at this year's annual Oscar Gala at The Maple Theater in Bloomfield Twp.
Predicting the 2023 Oscars!
The 95th annual Academy Awards are right around the corner, airing this Sunday, March 12th at 8pm (EST) on ABC (they will air locally in Detroit on WXYZ Channel 7).
For many, they can't come soon enough...for no other reason than to try to move us past the debacle of last year's awards show. The infamous and instantly viral "slap heard 'round the world" - delivered by Will Smith to comedian Chris Rock - was also a slap to the face of its audience, capping off an all-around year and broadcast that the Academy would love to forget.
The good news: There's a lot to like about what we can expect with this year's show. Jimmy Kimmel is back to host the Oscars for his third time, and gone are the controversial changes that were introduced in 2022...first, Oscars in ALL 23 categories will be handed out live (last year, they relegated some of the "lesser" technical categories to a pre-show that was not broadcasted). Gone are the ridiculous "fan favorite" distractions that awarded "The Flash Entering the Speed Force" as the top movie moment...of ALL-TIME. And for the first time since 1983, the #1 and #2 highest-grossing (i.e. popular) movies of the year - "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Avatar: The Way of Water" are both nominated for Best Picture, giving industry-folks hope that more eyeballs might be tuned in for this year's celebration.
There are a lot of opinions when it comes to the Oscars, especially in our divided times (I urge you to read a fantastic article where two opposing film lovers - one very pro-Oscars and one very, very against them by clicking here, conducted in 2020 pre-pandemic).
Predicting what will happen at the Oscars this year, how many people will watch (or not watch) and who will win is all part of the fun. In that spirit, here are my best predictions in all 23 categories for this year's 95th Academy Awards (full disclaimer: Yes I have seen all entries and these opinions are made without any inside knowledge, and represent who I THINK will win, and not necessarily who I would WANT to see win).
Will you be watching this year's Academy Awards? If so, here are our predictions on all categories, to help guide you through what is hopefully a return to Oscar award show glory:
Officially, "Creed III" is the ninth film in the Rocky saga, except for one glaring fact: It's the very first installment that underdog champ Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) does not appear in.
True, since 2015's "Creed," the story has slowly been shifted over to that of Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), estranged son of the late, great Heavyweight boxing champ who also happened to be Rocky's best friend, Apollo Creed (portrayed in the early films by Carl Weathers). His story has thus far taken place in the shadows of Balboa's, their paths and their fates crossing as one career twilights, and another is just getting going.
But what's evident most in "Creed III," is that Adonis needs Rocky, and without him, the story lacks emotional...punch.
Director Guy Ritchie has made a career on style. His latest film, the full-titled version of which is "Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre," has plenty of it...the problem is that the script is a complete dud. This renders its talented ensemble useless, each desperate to breathe life into this dead-on-arrival crime-comedy-thriller, but each - save Hugh Grant - being held back without ever getting a chance to shine.
The result is a movie that feels like it should be cool but isn't...a movie so high on its own supply that it becomes grating, not charismatic, the longer it slogs on.
One of my favorite programs of each and every year is once again in theaters: I urge everyone reading this to seek out the 2023 Oscar Nominated Short Films Program, where you can watch all of this year's nominated Short Films across three categories: Animated, Live-Action and Documentary.
The series begins in theaters on Friday, February 17th and runs until Oscar Sunday, on March 12th. Check your local listings for where it is showing in your area (in Detroit, you can find them at the Detroit Film Theater at the DIA...but get your tickets fast as this program always sells out and is among the most popular programs at the theater each year).
I've now seen them all, and here are my reactions to this year's batch of nominated Short Films.
Looking for a specific movie or review?