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The Worst Person in the World (2021) – Review: Joachim Trier’s Anti-Romantic Romantic Comedy Is Worth a Watch

January 3, 2022

Quick Thoughts – Grade – A – With a 100% Tomatometer score (as of 01/03/2022), and an 8.1 IMDb score, The Worst Person in the World, is getting some of the best reviews of 2021. Which makes sense, considering it’s loaded with excellent performances, standout setpieces, and assured direction from Joachim Trier. It’s one of my favorite movies of 2021, and that’s because it has lingered in my memory, and proved itself to be a film with lasting appeal that tackles big themes through small events

Told in 12 chapters, with a prologue and an epilogue, The Worst Person in the World focuses on the journey of Julie (Renate Reinsve – who won Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress), a restless medical student who lives in Oslo, Norway, and leaves medical school to dabble in psychology, photography and writing in her quest for self-actualization. With so many options, a lot of intelligence, and not much pressure, Julie is able to move from interests and lovers with ease, as she’s able to burn bridges in her journey to evolve and remain curious. The Worst Person in the World is more about the journey than the destination, which proves to be its biggest strength as Julie’s decisions, indecisions, and adventures create an unhurried and introspective look into what it means to an “adult” in 2021. 

Since it’s an “anti-romantic romantic comedy,” it’s a good thing that Reinsve has excellent chemistry with the two male leads played by Herbert Nordrum and Anders Danielsen Lie (who is also in the excellent IFC film Bergman Island, which you should watch), who couldn’t be more different. Danielsen Lie plays a famous graphic novelist writer named Aksel, who is 15 years older than Julie, but the two are clearly soulmates who understand each other on an intellectual level (I love how he handles her aloof and selfish father). The problem is, Aksel wants children while the younger Julie isn’t ready for such a commitment in her life. This leads her to Eivind, a barista with a big smile, who meets Julie when she crashes a wedding. After a dangerous night of flirting as much as possible without cheating on their partners, the two can’t help but wonder what would happen if they ditched their partners, and got together. This leads to a standout moment that has been much publicized because it features Julie running around Oslo as everyone around stands frozen in time, she eventually meets with an unfrozen Eivind, and the two have a romantic moment free of consequences (she also come across a kissing couple and places the woman’s hand on her boyfriends butt). The moment is delightful and plays whimsically without feeling overly cute or out of place. 

The Worst Person in the World also keeps you guessing as it’s funny, melancholic, dramatic and occasionally bursting with life. When making the movie, Trier wanted to have fun, and take himself less seriously as he’s evolved as a filmmaker with several popular films (Reprise, Oslo August 31st) under his belt. He and co-writer Eskil Vogt wanted to “remember contrasts,” and create an experience that makes you laugh, cry, and want to avoid nights fueled by psychedelic drugs. Trier and Vogt wrote the movie with Reinsve in mind, and their long conversations with her about the character helped Reinsve play to her strengths and bring life to Julie. The end result is a modern romantic comedy that will build a dedicated cult following, and be a major player during the upcoming awards season. 

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 405: WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki and Hawkeye

January 1, 2022

You can download or stream the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Mark and Norbert talk about their favorite moments from WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, and Hawkeye. It’s a Marvel Cinematic Universe themed episode that also features discussions about Tommy Lee Jones, card tricks, and boat repair. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

The Movies, Films and Flix 2021 Movie List: Celebrating a Fun Year for Movies.

December 26, 2021

2021 was an excellent year for cinema, and we here at MFF wanted to share the movies we enjoyed the most. I (Mark) asked fellow MFF website/podcast contributors to send me their 2021 lists, and we’ve come up with a fun selection. Enjoy, and let us know which 2021 movies you loved the most.

Quick Links

  1. The 2021 Mid-Year Random Awards
  2. The 2021 Mid-Year Random Awards Podcast Episode
  3. The MFF Horror List Podcast Episode
  4. The 2021 Random Awards
  5. The 2021 Random Awards Podcast Episode

Mark Hofmeyer (@Mhofmeyer on Twitter)

  1. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar – Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is wonderful. It’s inventive, daring and beautifully odd. Writers/stars Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo have created a cult classic that hopefully will amass a large following. Also, I really hope that it somehow, someway, gets nominated for about 40 Academy Awards (they can make up the awards, it’s cool). It deserves it.
  2. Malignant – Malignant is insane. James Wan has created one of the oddest horror films I’ve ever seen, and I love it.
  3. Pig –  Pig is a beautiful film that will definitely be included in my year end “best of” lists. I can’t think of the last time I was so engrossed in a movie. Also, Nicolas Cage is excellent, and between Pig, Joe, Mandy, and Color Out of Space, he’s been putting in some great work in movies that place him in a wooded area.
  4. Undine – Undine puts a sensitive and thoughtful spin on Undine mythology. Director Christian Petzold (Phoenix – watch it) has crafted another solid film that features an award winning performance from Paula Beer (Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival).
  5. The Suicide Squad – The James Gunn directed The Suicide Squad is pure delight. If you are looking for a bloody, brutal and hilarious superhero movie, it doesn’t get any better.
  6. The Worst Person in the World – If you are looking for a film that puts a brilliant spin on the romantic comedy, you need to watch The Worst Person in the World.
  7. Petit Maman – Absolutely delightful. Director Celine Sciamma has done it again. 
  8. Dune – I’ve never said “whoa” more times in my life while watching a movie. Dune is big, beautiful, and bold.
  9. Bergman Island – Give Mia Wasikowska an Oscar. She’s great. 
  10. Benedetta – Benedetta is what happens when Paul Verhoeven is given complete creative control. It’s funny, incendiary, dramatic and totally committed to achieving a singular vision. The cast is game, and you can tell they trusted Verhoeven to make something unique and memorable.

David Cross (@ItsMeDavidCross on Twitter)

  1. Pig
  2. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
  3. Dune
  4. Shadow in the Cloud
  5. Godzilla vs Kong

Megan Hofmeyer 

  1. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
  2. Petite Maman
  3. Bergman Island
  4. Cyrano
  5. The Sparks Brothers

John Leavengood (@MFFHorrorCorner on Twitter)

  1. The Suicide Squad–I had such an unexpectedly fun time yelling at the screen in glee and with such high frequency. When you are shouting at your screen alone in your living room, you know the movie is hitting the right mark for you.
  2. Pig--Such a beautiful yet tortured, emotionally brutal story; and yet so incredibly tactful. The quiet patience of this film will cast a loud strike upon a heartstring that will deafen the once quiet room in your mind.
  3. Dune–I was reminded again and again of all the things I love about Gladiator (2000) and Star Wars. Operatic scores that transcend mood, a truly magnificent sense of scale, and a brutally political world were good struggles to keep its place at the Darwinian table.
  4. Nobody–Of all the attempts to recreate John Wick or Taken in a new skin, this felt the most successfully different while retaining its grip on relentless, jaw-dropping violence.
  5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings–Just. Plain. Fun. I think I was smiling for two straight hours between the scintillating colors dancing on the screen; the creatures of Chinese mythology I recognized from my Dungeons & Dragons books; and the grounded, heartfelt characters. This is the visually captivating and light-hearted “feel good” iteration of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) for our generation.
  6. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard--Not as good as the first, but still overflowing with loud laughs from R-rated humor and holy crap’ly unexpected violence.
  7. Free Guy--After a slower than expected start in delivering the out loud laughter we expect from Reynolds, this movie served an inspiring dose of warmth that I never saw coming. Come for the silly humor and wild action, stay for all the warm fuzzies that juuuust might water your eyes for a moment when you think of your own special someone out there…. whether they know it or not.
  8. F9–Was this good for a FF movie? Not necessarily. But did I still love it? Yeah, I still love it even if less than FF5-8. I wonder if in F10 they’ll face off against The Avengers or The Deviants.
  9. Godzilla vs Kong–Giant monsters fighting giant monsters and even fighting giant robot monsters…? If you know me, you know I loved this. Even if the writing was a bit comicbook-wonky with a heaping dose of childish Journey to the Center of the Earth, it’s still so much fun.
  10. Malignant--Wild. This was wild. And I watch so much wild stuff that wild things seldom feel wild to me at all! You start out watching one kind of movie, and finish in a completely different aisle of Blockbuster Video. “Wow, what a difference!”

Honorable mentions go out to the surprisingly sentimental The Tomorrow War, thrashingly violent Wrath of Man, as well as Candyman, King Richard, The Green Knight, The Harder They Fall, and Werewolves Within.

Zanandi Botes (@ZaNandi on Twitter)

  1. Riders of Justice
  2. Werewolves Within
  3. Pig
  4. The Harder They Fall
  5. The Night House
  6. The Suicide Squad
  7. Barb and Star
  8. Dune
  9. Willy’s Wonderland
  10. The Matrix Resurrections

Nick Rehak (@TheRehak on Twitter)

  1. Dune
  2. Inside
  3. Summer of Soul
  4. Judas and the Black Messiah
  5. Pig

Jonny Numb (@JonnyNumb on Twitter – Be on the lookout for his 2021 horror list)

  1. Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time
  2. Pig
  3. The Suicide Squad
  4. Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar
  5. Bad Girls

Lisa Leaheey (LisaPas220 on Twitter)

  1. The Green Knight tops the list because it’s brilliant – visuals, narrative, acting… the whole thing is divine.
  2. Ghostbusters: Afterlife comes next because of sentimental reasons (I cried through the whole darn thing) and because it’s just so enjoyable in general.
  3. Judas and the Black Messiah has two of the top performances of 2021 in Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield.
  4. Saint Maud also boasts a phenomenal performance from Morfydd Clark. Holy hell is she incredible. A24 knows what they’re doing in horror. I have yet to be disappointed.
  5. Candyman is one of the very few remakes I adore, let alone like!  Nia DaCosta and Jordan Peele are sharp with this update. Can’t wait to see what they’ve got coming next.
  6. Free Guy was my summer movie – super fun, lots of laughs and little Easter eggs for gamers and non-gamers alike. Ryan Reynolds’ charm shines in everything he does, but darn it – missed opportunity for not casting Blake Lively as the blonde in the bank!
  7. Profile slipped into, then out of the theaters far too silently. I love this “on the computer” found-footage format, and the story was really interesting to me. It’s not an earth-shattering game-changer by any means, and it definitely has perception problems, but for a horror/psychological thriller fan, it’s worth a watch.
  8. The Night House was also pretty underseen this year; lovely to look at, incredible performance by Rebecca Hall, and solid writing.
  9. Yes, Mortal Kombat is in my top ten. I stand by it. Come at me. 🤓😂 Without a doubt, the most fun I had in movie-watching this year. 
  10. Val broke my heart – not only is it fascinating to journey into the past with Kilmer’s home movies, his spirit permeates the documentary despite his medical struggles with throat cancer. The fact that he’s LIVING so much more than many healthy people is staggering. He was a big favorite of mine in the 90s, and this movie just brought all of that admiration back to the forefront.

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 404 – The 2021 Random Movie Awards

December 24, 2021

You can download or stream the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF tradition continues! Mark and Megan hand out random movie awards to their favorite films of 2021. In this episode, they hand out cheeky awards to Petite Maman, The Worst Person in the World, Malignant, Benedetta, Cyrano, Licorice Pizza, and Bergman Island. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

Licorice Pizza (2021) – Review: Paul Thomas Anderson Has Crafted an Excellent Hangout Picture That Is Full of Life

December 23, 2021

Quick Thoughts – Grade A – Paul Thomas Anderson has crafted a perfect hangout picture that will put a smile on your face. Licorice Pizza explodes with life, and features one of the most likable and engaging casts of 2021.

After about 10 minutes of Licorice Pizza it becomes absolutely clear that director and writer Paul Thomas Anderson loved making this movie. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley in California, and that’s why this movie, set in1973, feels alive, vibrant and drenched with nostalgia. The California based film feels like a series of adventures from his life, and is loosely based on producer Gary Goetzman, who grew up as a child actor, and engaged in all sorts of shenanigans in the valley. The movie doesn’t have a traditional narrative, and instead has a story that showcases funny bits, wisps of memories, or stories Anderson heard while growing up. There’s a lack of urgency and feral energy, which is refreshing, because after Phantom Thread, There Will be Blood, Inherent Vice, and The Master, it’s nice that the biggest threats to the characters are an oil shortage, or being mistaken for a murderer and being dragged into a police station, where the police quickly learn they grabbed the wrong kid. 

Licorice Pizza focuses on the exploits of Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman), a 15-year old actor/hustler who spends his days opening waterbed stores, managing public relations for restaurants, and attempting to date the 25-year old Alana Kane (Alana Haim), whom he met during a yearbook photo session. Normally, a movie about a 25-year old and 15-year old engaging in a will-they-won’t-they relationship would feel exploitative (it is an odd choice), but, under the guidance of Anderson, the relationship feels palatable as they build towards something that’s more innocent than Lolita-esque. It’s a complicated relationship, but from the very first moment, when Haim and Hoffman meet at the photoshoot, you can tell the two actors enjoy each other’s company, and I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen such instant chemistry.

Since it’s a Paul Thomas Anderson film, Licorice Pizza feels totally immersed in the 1970s, and features some wildly memorable moments. Whether it’s Alana on a motorcycle with an old school A-list actor William Holden (Sean Penn), or Gary opening up a pinball arcade after he learns pinball will be legalized again, there are countless memorable moments that also allow Bradley Cooper, Tom Waits, Benny Safdie, Skyler Gisondo and Maya Rudolph to shine. The funniest moment in the film centers around Alana being interviewed by an acting agent named Mary Grady (Harriet Sansorn Harris – she’s so good). The performance by Sansorn Harris is perfect, as she’s impressed that Alana can seemingly do everything, and the words that come out of Mary’s mouth are beautifully unfiltered and hilarious. The moment is absurd, and the scene had everyone in the theater laughing. 

The cinematography by Anderson and Michael Bauman (a longtime collaborator with PTA) is drenched with sunlight and the camera is almost always roaming as it follows the young and energetic cast around as they run around the valley. Also, the costume design by Mark Bridges (Magnolia, Phantom Thread, Deep Blue Sea) feels authentic and understated. You get the feeling that a lot of work and research went into making the costumes era appropriate, as they never feel too 70s or faux-retro (from the people who made Phantom Thread, this shouldn’t be surprising). To top off the behind-the-scenes excellence, production designer Florencia Martin (who has designed sets for Haim music videos) had a lot of work to do as she had to recreate famous restaurant landmarks (without green screen), transform entire street blocks, and find enough picture cars to load up the streets. The 1970s setting never feels distracting, and it’s neat seeing how they didn’t lean into era tropes, and instead focused on giving it a modern-esque feel. Most impressively, is that the title comes from a music store chain named Licorice Pizza, and the store doesn’t play any role at all. It’s a neat throwback that forces people to learn more about the store. 

Final thoughts: I can’t wait to watch Licorice Pizza again. 

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 403 – The 2021 Horror Movie Awards

December 19, 2021

You can download or stream the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Mark and Zanandi (@ZaNandi on Twitter) discuss the best horror films of 2021. In this episode, they hand out awards to Malignant, Willy’s Wonderland, Censor, The Deep House, Meander, Candyman, Werewolves Within, Lamb, and Titane. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

The 2021 Random Awards: A Celebration of Lunch Scenes, Running, and Chair Throws

December 18, 2021

The Random Awards are back! This time they’re celebrating the best moments that took place during the second half of 2021 (here’s the first 2021 awards post). It’s been an excellent year for cinema, and these awards celebrate my favorite moments. Enjoy!

Best and Most Intense Lunch at a Swanky Restaurant Award

Pig features a beautiful lunch that features Nicolas Cage at his finest. If you haven’t watched Pig yet, do it now. I really hope that Cage wins some awards for his performance.

Best Bus Fight Award

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is loaded with fun moments, but my favorite is the bus chase through San Francisco. The fight choreography is inspired, and it features Awkwafina doing the best bus driving since Sandra Bullock in Speed

Best Usage of Paul Verhorven’s Skills Award

Benedetta is what happens when Paul Verhoeven is given complete creative control. It’s unapologetically raunchy, funny, and insightful.

Best Animated Chase Scene in a Live-Action Movie Award

The French Dispatch features a fun animiated chase scene that features strong people, fast cars, and tight corners. 

Best Moment Involving Jamie Dornan Singing Award

While his song Edgar’s Prayer in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is an all-timer, it’s his singing in Belfast that wins the award. Why? Well, he’s singing in an Oscar contender, and the clips of him belting out Everlasting Love are all over the internet. 

Best Pancake Flip Award

Petit Maman features two children making pancakes, the end result will put a smile on your face. If you are looking for a charming fantasy film, you should hunt down Petit Maman

Best Chair Throw Award

Malignant features the best chair throw I’ve ever seen, and I’ve watched The Mummy (1999) and the Wolfman (2010).

Best Tennis Coach Award

While Will Smith is getting rave reviews for his performance in King Richard, the most pleasant surprise in the movie is when Jon Bernthal pops up as a tennis coach. It’s something I never thought I would see, and his performance made me very happy. 

Best Running and Pinball Award

Licorice Pizza features the best running of 2021. Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman are excellent movie runners. Also, it’s neat watching pinball get a big push in a Paul Thomas Anderson film.

Best Jellyfish Fight Award

Bergman Island features an awards worthy performance by Mia Wasikowska, and it also showcases Vicky Krieps ability to throw jellyfish at people – Thank you for the award Aaron Neuwirth.

Best Firefighter Dancing Award

Titane is a movie that showcases many memorable sights that shouldn’t be spoiled. The one thing I feel comfortable sharing is a clip of French firefighters dancing. It’s a fun moment.

Best Usage of the Number 69 Award

The Suicide Squad is one of my favorite films of 2021, and I could probably come up with at least 69 awards for the James Gunn directed epic. One of the funniest moments involves Harley Quinn tricking a naive general into thinking 69 superheroes snuck onto the island. Yes, it’s a childish joke, but the acting, expressions, and overall staging make it wildly memorable and funny. 

Best Last Duel Award

It hurt my soul to see the critically acclaimed The Last Duel tank at the box office. I really hope that it gets a second life in the years to come because the final duel is amazing. Matt Damon and Adam Driver beat the snot out of each other, and it’s great

Best Baby Singing Award

Baby Annette! Watch Annette, and appreciate how funky it is. 

Best Swimming Pool Scene Award

Tie! Undine and Mandibles feature beautiful swimming pool scenes. One involves death, and the other involves two men hitting each other with an inflatable raft. 

Best “Whoa” Moments Award

Dune is jam-packed with gigantic battle scenes, huge sand worms, and exploding spaceships that look awesome. I can’t think of the last time I’ve said “Whoa” so many times while watching a movie. Good job Denis Villeneuve.

Best Ewe Award

Lamb is a gnarly movie that features something terrible happening to a nice ewe who wants her daughter back from Noomi Rapace. 

Best Stressful Rowing Award

The Novice is an excellent film and I love how it combines a stressful tone, horror-esque score, and committed performances to create something truly tense and inspired. Director Lauren Hadaway should be proud of her debut.

Best Train Scene Involving Stylish Shots Award

The Harder They Fall features the best train scene of 2021. If you’re looking for neat cinematography, solid performances, and some chaos, you’ll love it. 

Best Exploding Testicles Award

Prisoners of the Ghostland is not for everyone, however, if you are a fan of Nicolas Cage and  exploding suits, you’ll love it. There’s a moment in the movie that features one of Cage’s testicles exploding, and his reaction is a thing of beauty. It’s very very very odd. 

Best Eye Patch and Coffee Drinking Award

Come True is a solid horror film that features a cool looking eye patch and lots of coffee drinking. I can’t think of the last time an eye patch was so featured in all the marketing materials for a movie.

Best Usage of a Chandelier Award

What I like about Swan Song is how it gives Udo Kier a chance to be front and center after decades of character work. His performance is a marvel, and it doesn’t get any better than when he puts a still working chandelier on his head to impress a crowed.

Best Soup Eating Award

I never thought soup eating could be stressful, and then I watched Spencer. If you are into stressful soup eating, watch Spencer, you won’t be disappointed. 

Best Crawling Over Acid Award

Meander is a lean and mean horror film, and I love how efficient it is. You’ll love the moment when the film’s  hero Lisa (Gaia Weiss) has to crawl over some acid. It’s super tense, and lots of fun. 

Best Cracking Noises Award

The Vigil features some truly gnarly cracking noises. If you are looking for a solid horror film, check out The Vigil

Best Running While Everyone is Standing Still Award
You need to watch The Worst Person in the World. It’s wonderful.

Best Vest With Pockets Award

Florence Pugh is a highlight of Black Widow, and I love that she loves vest pockets.

The Best Moment in a Subpar Film Award

Watching Jim Cummings (director of Thunder Road, The Wolf of Snow Hollow and The Beta Test) hit Michael Myers with a gut punch in Halloween Kills is a beautiful moment.

Hard Target (1993) – 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Review: Kino Lorber + JCVD = A Fun Combination

December 17, 2021

Hard Target (1993) – 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray Review

Quick note – I love Kino Lorber, and have been buying their releases for years (buy their Deep Rising release now). This time, I got lucky and received this wonderful film, so I could review it (I would’ve bought it anyway).

In 1993, something amazing happened. John Woo and Jean-Claude Van Damme teamed up to make their version of The Most Dangerous Game. The end result was a deliriously violent romp that features snake punching, motorcycle surfing, and a moment in which JCVD pulls back his long jacket, to reveal his deadly leg (instead of a gun – beautiful moment). What I love about Hard Target is how instead of being just another action film that featured JCVD spin kicking people in the face, it became a technically ambitious movie with lots of sweeping crane shots, practical stunts, and a plethora of side characters who steal the show from the main character. While JCVD fully commits to his role of Chance Boudreaux, it’s Lance Henriksen and Arnold Vosloo who walk away with the movie, as they clearly loved playing manhunting baddies who travel the world to help fulfill the bloodlust of rich hunters, who pay handsomely so they can murder handpicked prey. Whenever they are onscreen the movie becomes much more interesting, and despite Vosloo becoming a household name with The Mummy, I still always refer to him as “the guy from Hard Target.”

The film culminates with a doozy of a finale that pays homage to Woo’s prior films, and gives JCVD some moments to shine as he spins kicks, and shoots (it is a John Woo film, he needed to shoot a gun) his way to victory. The finale features some of my favorite action movie visuals of the 1990s (the Henriksen grenade bit lol), and it looks glorious on the new disc.

 Hard Target clearly isn’t on the level of Hard Boiled or Face/Off, and that’s totally fine because it was never meant to be. The movie established Woo in America, and led to Broken Arrow, Face/Off and Mission: Impossible II

What’s best about the new 4K is how it highlights the sweaty New Orleans locations, and gives the world a proper 4k release of an underappreciated action movie. According to Kino Lorber, it’s a brand new “4K Restoration of the Unrated International Cut – From a 4K Scan of the Original Camera Negative!” This means we get the unrated international cut, and it looks and sounds great. 

Final Thoughts – If you are a fan of 1990s action cinema, you should definitely pick it up. 

Extras 

Audio Commentary featuring Action Film Historians Brandon Bently and Mike Leeder – I really enjoyed this commentary as Bently and Leeder dropped some cool action movie knowledge and shared some facts that I’d never heard before.

From Hard Boiled to Hard Target – Interview with John Woo (HD 12:52) – This is a highlight of the new release. I loved hearing about how Sam Raimi got Woo’s back when JCVD wanted to have his own edit of the film. Woo has such a likable presence, and I loved hearing about how he got the job, and how he approached his first American film 

Henriksen vs Van Damme – Interview with Lance Henriksen (HD 8:46) – The highlight of this interview was hearing about how much respect Henriksen has for John Woo. Henriksen has worked with the biggest names in the industry, and to hear him talk about his love for Woo, and how he directs, is really cool (Henriksen would sit around on set and just watch Woo work). Also, it was neat learning that Henriksen requested the gun he has in the film.

Hard Times in The Big Easy – Interview with Yancy Butler (HD 14:36) – Yancy Butler is a blast, and whether she’s talking about fake snakes, or when she and JCVD wiped out on a motorcycle, she’s supremely entertaining. Also, she loved working with Woo, and had nothing but nice things to say about JCVD, who was very kind to her mother.

Gun Fu and Van Dammage – Interview with Stunt Coordinator Billy Burton (HD 9:05) – Billy Burton has been in the stunt business for decades, and he loved working with Woo.

The King’s Man (2021) – Review – A Slightly Unnecessary Prequel That Is Saved by Some Fun Action Scenes

December 16, 2021

Quick Thoughts – Grade – C+ – The King’s Man isn’t as effective as its predecessors because it loads up on sincerity, and still wants to be a Kingsman movie. There are several effective action scenes, and cool visuals, but it feels like three totally different movies competing for space.

The best moment in The King’s Man happens when characters Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes), Conrad Oxford (Harris Dickinson), and Shola (Djimon Hounsou), engage in a spirited battle with the mad, bad and dangerous Grigori Rasputin (Rhys Ifans – Having a blast, and stealing every scene he’s in). The back and forth battle that was thought up by director Matthew Vaughn is fun, fast, and wonderfully violent. The scene feels like vintage Kingsman, and it makes the rest of the film feel like a slog, as it leans heavily into sincerity and revisionist history, which never really feel like they belong. Many critics have noted that The King’s Man is what happened when Vaughn wanted to make a WWI film, and decided to do it by taking his Kingsman IP, and stuffing it into the timeframe. This assumption feels correct as the elements never really gel, and the end result is tonally uneven and is slightly saved by watching Ralph Fiennes go full action hero. 

The King’s Man revolves around the events that start and end World War One. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is still the catalyst, and the assasination planned by a Blofeld-esque secret villain pits the nation of King George, Kaiser Wilhelm, Tsar Nicholas (all played by Tom Hollander in a cheeky bit of casting) against each other, and leads to a whole lot of trench warfare and death. While the three nations are killing each other, a group lead by Orlando Oxford, and his allies Shola and Polly (Gemma Arterton) have to figure out a way to save the United Kingdom, by stopping the war, to make sure the country isn’t overrun. To do this, they need to keep Russia in the war, battle a nefarious supercriminal, and convince the United States to enter the skirmish. Normally, this much plot would be enough for two films, but Vaughn also adds in a father and son story between Orlando and his son Conrad, who desperately wants to join the war effort, but is thwarted by his overprotective dad, who doesn’t want to see him die in combat. Their relationship and its struggles weigh down the film, as the added sincerity, and constant bickering are not organic. Their relationship feels like a plot device that gets Orlando from point A to point B, and feels like it’s part of another movie. 

The King’s Man is at its best when the action kicks off, and there are several fun action scenes involving silent knife fights, and Ralph Fiennes dangling from an airplane that make you wish Vaughn leaned into the action more. It is refreshing that he tried something new with the prequel, but the added elements and relationships do not blend well with Kingsman shenanigans. Also, if the prequel fully leaned into the insanity showcased in the first two films, the revisionist history would make sense. However, with the added sincerity, the wild events and twists feel glaringly out of place. I’d love to mention what happens at the end, but it would spoil the film, just know that the actions of Orlando and his crew save millions, but result in a future where many more millions are killed. Basically, all Orlando and his crew want to do is save England, and they don’t care if anybody else around the world dies.

Final thoughts – Watching Ralph Fiennes battling Rhys Ifans is worth the price of admission, and there are several fun action scenes, but, overall, The King’s Man doesn’t totally justify its existence.

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 402: Heat, Coffee, and Gun Fights

December 15, 2021

You can download or stream the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

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Mark and Norbert discuss the 1995 classic Heat. Directed by Michael Mann, and starrring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, and many telephones, the movie focuses on what happens when a master criminal attempts one last heist. In this episode, they discuss coffee, juice, and Pacino going big while drinking coffee. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

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