News: Common to Play Villain in Keanu Reeves’ ‘John Wick 2’

The Hollywood Report is reporting that Common will be joining the cast of John Wick 2. He will be playing the primary bad guy to Keanu Reeves’ assassin John Wick. Filming starts this week on the anticipated sequel.  Read the full report here:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/john-wick-2-common-play-834635

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Beach Party Blogathon: Revisiting the Laser Disc Collection: Point Break

It’s Beach Party Blogathon!  When I seen this, the first film that came to mind for this site was Point Break! Is there any better neo-noir or noir film where the beach is such a big part of the story?

So Kem Nunn writes a book called Tapping the Source(something I have on my to read list), it was bought for the movie rights, soon after publication.  After many re-writes and changes it finally became Point Break.  Because of all the re-writes there was not much left of the original story and Nunn was never given a writing credit for the film, but he started his own sub-genre, surf noir.

Before Vin Diesel took the adrenaline junkie genre film to the absurd in xXx and the Fast and the Furious franchise, this movie inspired a whole generation of adventure athletes to live their dreams instead of working for the man.

This film had a great cast including Gary Busey, Lori Petty and John C. McGinley as well as an uncredited appearance from neo noir regular Tom Sizemore. Lets not forget Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis as a surf nazi. Even with all that talent this film will be known for having two of the biggest stars of the 1990’s going head to head, Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves.  This film is directed by Kathryn Bigelow who hasn’t made a lot of movies, but she sure has made some great ones.

Our story starts with the most famous bank robbers from the 1990’s, The Ex-Presidents(how many times has this been reused in someway since this film).

They rob a bank, in and out in 90 seconds, clean, and they are professional.   Johnny Utah, played by Reeves makes his way to the F.B.I. Headquarters in Los Angles as a rookie agent.  Him and his 22 year vet partner played by Busey are on the case.  Busey has a crazy theory about the Ex-Presidents being surfers.  Soon Johnny Utah is going undercover as a surfer and befriends Tyler, played by Lori Petty, and is introduced to surf guru Bodhi played by Swazye.  Our adventure takes off from here with night surfing, beach football and sky diving.

This may be a rehash of movies where somebody goes undercover in a gang of outlaws, sometimes siding with the bad guys by the end or at least understanding why they do what they do.  This film is original because our outlaws are not doing what they do to get rich or own possessions or buy their next hit of drugs, they are doing it to finance their lifestyle, and it’s a healthy lifestyle if you will.   With the Ex-President masks, were they telling us we all are slaves to the system?  A system they are not willing to be apart of anymore?  Can we see why the All-American quarterback turned F.B.I. agent is seeing the light and does not want to be a cog in the system anymore?  Are the big bad bank robbers the bad guys in this or are the straight-laced suit wearing, living in the system guys, the real baddies here?

So everybody who is a fan of this film, and there is a lot of followers for this cult film, knows we are getting a remake soon. We have two lesser known actors playing the leads and Teresa Palmer playing Tyler.  I guess I’m getting old, because the first thing I thought was “Isn’t it to soon for a remake?”  Then I noticed this film was made almost 25 years ago.  I hope they keep the realism and concentrate on the relationships of our leads and not make a superhero movie, to wild to be believed in the vain of Fast and Furious or xXx, with lots of unbelievable C.G.I. and explosions for no reason.  Sadly based on the box office results of Furious 7, and the first trailer, I think that is exactly what we will get.  I guess I’ll hook up the old Laser Disc Player and pop this in again to get my adrenaline fix.

Review: A Scanner Darkly: Movie versus Book

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Scanner Darkly is a book by Philip K. Dick, a SciFi legend in literature.  Dick may be one of the earliest writers to combine the science fiction genre with noir style.  If you are not familiar with Dick as an author you are familiar with his work.  His most famous work is probably “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” but you will recognize its big screen neo-noir adoption “Blade Runner.”  I hope to review both that movie and book on this blog at a later time.  Scanner Darkly may be less science fiction and more noir then his other works.  It is also his most personal and autobiographical book.  This book may disguise itself in a fictional world, but it is very close to Dick’s personal life under the influence of drugs.  Him and his friends are paranoid of everything and don’t know who to trust in their everyday lives. Substance D is the drug in the world of Scanner Darkly and our protagonist Bob Arctor is an undercover cop in this world.  This book, written in 1977 won many awards in the science fiction literary world.

I watched this movie back when it came out, recently read the book and then re-watched the movie to compare the two.  I can see why most thought this book would not be film-able.  The scramble suits would have been my main concern if I was a fan of this book in the 70’s and found out someone was going to try to put it to film.

Then enters one of the best directors in modern film, Richard Linklater.  Though Linklater doesn’t typically do much noir type films, he has made some of the best independent films of the last 25 years.  Linklater takes some risks, but I really liked the final product.  The biggest one is taking one of the biggest, most talented casts around, shots the film with them over the course of 23 days, then spends 18 months animating it.  This gives the film a very cool look, almost in the way black and white transformed the real world in the classic era of film-noir the animation transforms the modern world of southern California.

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The cast of this doesn’t get much better.  Robert Downey Jr. may be the biggest star in this film, but when it was made he was still doing little movies while he worked through his own drug issues.  This is great casting and if you like Downey you will like him in this part.  Our lead is played by Keanu Reeves, playing the undercover cop that maybe to undercover for his own good.  He is in love with Donna, played by Winona Ryder, unfortunately she may not feel the same way. Woody Harrelson plays a friend of Bob, that is also addicted to substance D.  Rory Cochrane, a Linklater favorite also plays a key role.

So should you read the book or watch the movie?  I will say if I had to choose one, I would go with the movie.  The book and movie are both great and if you can, I would look at reading the book and then watching the movie.  This is an interesting take on the underground drug world of the 1970’s, and a neo-noir classic.

Review: John Wick

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John Wick is a neo-noir with a lot of action!  This has a simple plot and not a very original one.  We’ve seen this in various versions throughout the years.  An innocent man, well maybe not totally innocent man is wronged by some bad guys.  Things that come to mind are Point Blank and Payback(we will look at these two movies based on the Parker books later), as well as maybe a little Death Wish.  The list can go on and on….but is that a bad thing? This isn’t some mind twisting plot with a commentary on society that will make you re-think your life.  Revenge and vengeance are common themes in film and it makes for a fun movie.  I loved John Wick, yeah we know how it’s going to end almost before it begins, in fact the opening scene also happens to be a scene from the end of the movie.   Chad Stahelski and David Leitch made a great film on their first attempt.  The action is amazing, but I really love the way it was shot.  You can tell they have been around the movie industry and know how to make interesting scenes and sets.  A lot of the scenes reminded me of classic noir films in bright color instead of black and white.  I purposely didn’t look into this movie much before I watched it.  All I knew is people liked it and it has Keanu Reeves in it.  I’m glad that’s all I knew, there are some great cameos in this film I didn’t know where coming and liked them.  My three favorites are Willem Dafoe, Kevin Nash and Lance Reddick.  I will not give you anymore so you can be surprised and enjoy the film like I did. If you want a fun movie with some great scenes and an amazing look, look no further, check out John Wick.