The Brutal Thrill of John Wick

The teahouse shootout in Hard Boiled ruined me. Good guys, bad guys, guns, an unholy number of bullets, doves— and you don’t get any cooler than Chow Yun-fat duel-wielding handguns while sliding down the stairs. The shootout erupts in a teahouse of all places, the serenity of sipping tea interrupted by all-out violence where bad guys mow down innocent civilians, giving the good guys a free hunting license to unload carnage. The sheer overkill of Hard Boiled’s opening scene is something seldom achieved these days, which is what makes the increasingly over-the-top set pieces of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum such a welcome sight to see. Continue reading

Best Films of 2014: Runner-Ups

Earlier this month, I released a list of my top ten films of 2014. And I will reiterate: it wasn’t an easy list to make. The list changed dramatically with each film I saw because there were so many to sift through. I realize now that it is unfair to toss these films aside because they deserve a chance to shine on their own. What I have compiled here is another list of films, in no particular order, that either came close or were simply ones I had to wait for wide release. Without further ado, here are the runner-ups. Continue reading