The Brutal Thrill of John Wick

The teahouse shootout in Hard Boiled ruined me. Good guys, bad guys, guns, an unholy number of bullets, dovesโ€” and you donโ€™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 Boiledโ€™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 โ€“ 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