Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Just a heads up right out of the gate, Paid in Blood has been marketed as a fast-paced action film, which it is decidedly not. Despite a few quick flurries, there’s really only one straight-up action scene. More than that, director Yoon Young-bin’s film, also known as Tomb of the River, aims to be more of a taut, sprawling underworld epic. It eternally lingers right on the verge, on the precipice of violence, but even punctuated by quite a few stabbings, they’re honestly pretty low-key as far as stabbings go.
Friday, July 22, 2022
Do you like empty posturing and stylistics, faux clever banter, saccharine emotional manipulation, dubious (meaning nonexistent) character motivation, wannabe cool needle drops, and a series of exhausting set pieces? How about muddy visuals, hollow action, and an overreliance on camera tricks due to a lack of ability to shoot a fight scene? Just for kicks, why not throw in a stacked cast of actors you like but wish were all in a better movie? And all for a bloated price tag of $200 million? If that sounds like fun, it’s not, but it all adds to Netflix’s latest vapid action offering, The Gray Man, from Marvel alums the Russo Brothers.
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
As a concept, writer/director Park Dae-min’s Special Delivery plays like a riff on stories like Drive or The Transporter. A solitary, hot-shot driver, against their personal rules, gets personally and emotionally involved in a job, which upends their life. Though a familiar set up, full of high-speed chase scenes, an escalating mean streak, and a fantastic performance from Parasite star Park So-damn, the film offers up a throttle-cranking action blast.
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
Ma Dong-seok, also known as Don Lee, just wrecking dudes, is a true thing of beauty. That single fact is more than enough reason to watch a movie; I’ve watched movies for far, far less. If that wasn’t enough to get The Roundup to pop on my radar (it certainly was), the fact that director Lee Sang-yong’s film is a follow up to 2017’s The Outlaws, which prominently features Ma running amok through the Seoul underworld. And while this new chapter may not quite live up to its predecessor, it’s still a more than worthy successor.
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
The past few years, Canada’s Fantasia International Film Festival has become one of my favorite cinematic showcases on the calendar. Probably because it caters to all manner of genre weirdness from around the globe. We’re talking horror, action, sci-fi, and more. It also features a combination of things that will get released and an assortment of those you’ll probably never hear from again. It’s movie nerd smorgasbord.
Thursday, July 7, 2022
Take four people with intricately overlapping personal histories, drop them in a remote location, and stir. It’s a classic horror cocktail, simple, straightforward, and effective when done right. The Summoned, the directorial debut from Mark Meir, hews close to this recipe, but mixes in enough other ingredients, along with solid character work, to come up with a drink that tastes familiar but still hits the spot.
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
Do you have one of those friends who tells a joke, and when you don’t laugh, they proceed to poke you in the ribs, like, “Huh, right, get it? Get it?” If you know this person, or have seen countless iterations of them on TV and in movies, that’s the general sensation of watching Thor: Love and Thunder, the latest in Marvel’s candy-colored, Norse-mythology-inspired arm of their cinematic universe. The entire film, and by extension director Taika Waititi, feels like it’s just going to stare at you awkwardly until you force a weak chuckle then it will bask in the glory of its own wit.
Friday, July 1, 2022
It’s entirely understandable if you don’t automatically assume a movie about a teenage member of a royal family titled The Princess, released by a Disney property, features a lot of head-stabbing. However, in the case of the latest from director Kiet Le-Van (Furie), a movie coincidentally named The Princess newly available on Mouse-House-subsidiary Hulu, if you make this assumption, you’d be quite mistaken. There is, in fact, a fair amount of head-stabbing, eye-gouging, and general death and violence. What we get on screen can best be described as Rapunzel by way of The Raid. Or to be more accurate, a kind of reverse Raid. (The protagonist must battle her way out of a tall building.) And it’s damn fun.