John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Grade: B A well-acted ensemble and a personal touch adds nuance and personality to a sprawling literary adaptation that focuses on two families in the post-WW2 south. The movie fluidly shifts focus between about five different characters, fleshing each out before moving on to the next to continue the plot. The narrative covers a white family who moves to buy a farm, the black family who sharecrops the land (and who should rightfully own it), a brother to the whit family who comes back with PTSD from the war, a son to the black family who left the army a hero only to return a young black man in the south, a love affair, the KKK, and more. The reach of such ambition often leaves a film feeling like a greatest hits collection instead of being moving, but Mudbound skirts the line and usually comes out on the right side.
Armipours English language debut oozes cool and style, is handsomely shot, and has an interesting hook (deplorable banished into wasteland full of cannibals and insanity). It's too bad the story is a meandering, pointless mess. It starts off well enough, but around the 45 minute mark you start to realize it's going to be a slog of artistic pretension. After the cool Girl Walks Home Alone at Night in still excited to see what she does next, but skip this one.
This and the sequel are heralded as the best DTV action films of all time. The sequel is supposed to be even better weird, east European, weirdo-action film. This one had pretty decent fight scenes and an interesting existential bend to the whole thing.
A very fun horror movie. It's not quite a horror comedy as it's not as funny or tongue in cheek as Cabin in the Woods or Slither, but it's also not as out and out creepy or scary as something like The Guest, whose structure it resembles. It goes the line nicely, although it never really shines enough either way. Peele knows where to point a camera but doesn't do anything overly eye catching. It's a solid job in a debut, bolstered by a great cast. A wonky premise is pretty fun and bonkers if you forgive some jumps in logic. There's some good commentary and metaphor for racial appropriation, but nothing so controversial as the reactions based on the trailers would have you believe. With this and Keanu, I'm excited to see what Key and Peele continue to do together and separately.
A charming, delightful, and very funny film. Highly recommended.