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Action

Jailbreak trailer photo
Jailbreak trailer

Trailer for Cambodian martial arts movie Jailbreak looks like furious fun


This trailer needs a Thin Lizzy song
Jan 06
// Hubert Vigilla
My taste is eclectic, but I am, at heart, a simple man. Sometimes I want a long Hungarian art movie, or an oblique sci-fi existential meditation on trauma and pigs, or a reassuring week in the life of a working artist. Other ...
Leon: The Professional photo
Leon: The Professional

Video essay: Why Luc Besson's Leon: The Professional is an action cinema masterpiece


Hint: It's about character
Jan 02
// Hubert Vigilla
Leon: The Professional was the breakout film for Natalie Portman and Jean Reno's defining role. It's also one of the best action films of the 1990s, and remains my favorite Luc Besson movie to this day. There are many reasons...
Assassin's Creed trilogy? photo
Assassin's Creed trilogy?

Michael Fassbender says there's an entire Assassin's Creed film trilogy mapped out


Whether or not we'll see it, though...
Dec 26
// Hubert Vigilla
The reviews for Assassin's Creed have been about as lackluster as the box office. Since opening on December 21st, the film has only earned about $11.2 million. It came in fifth place for the Christmas weekend, beaten by Why H...
Moooortal Kombaaaaaat! photo
Moooortal Kombaaaaaat!

Honest Trailers does a fatality on the Mortal Kombat movies


Toasty!
Dec 23
// Hubert Vigilla
Honest Trailers has been doing some gangbusters videos lately, going hard on Suicide Squad and showing the love for The Empire Strikes Back. They're back to being mocking with Mortal Kombat, just in time for Christmas. Mortal...
xXx motorcycle jet skis photo
xXx motorcycle jet skis

Watch Vin Diesel & Donnie Yen go full Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in xXx: Return of Xander Cage


Our fine 4-fendered bro to the exXxtreme
Dec 22
// Hubert Vigilla
I don't know if I'm necessarily excited about the release of xXx: Return of Xander Cage. There's something really goofy and fun about The Fate of the Furious, but xXx is not the same sort of franchise with the same fond feeli...

Review: Assassin's Creed

Dec 21 // Nick Valdez
[embed]221143:43283:0[/embed] Assassin's CreedDirectors: Justin KurzelRelease Date: December 21, 2016Rating: PG-13 After being executed in a Texas prison, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is held under the control of the Abstergo Foundation, a company that wants to "end violence." His caretaker, Sofia (Marion Cotillard), explains one of his ancestors was an assassin in 1400s Spain (named Aguilar) and wants to use his memories to help Abstergo locate the Apple of Eden, a magical macguffin that would eliminate free will. Lynch is then plugged into the Animus, a machine that allows Lynch to live his ancestor Aguilar's life and gain his abilities. As more of Abstergo's plot comes to light, Lynch has to decide whether or not to carry on the creed of an ancient assassin's group and fight the coming evil.   As you can most likely gauge from the synopsis, there's a lot going on in Assassin's Creed. Like its smooth action scenes, the film's plot and premise move along with a breakneck pace. There's a bit of plot-specific terminology thrown into the film's dialogue, but it never rests enough within its character interactions for these terms to make sense. It's almost as if the film expects its audience to be familiar with the game series, so cool ideas like The Templars and the Creed don't have enough development. Despite the film running over two hours, things just kind of "happen" and often don't get enough follow through to make sense. Which is even more of a shame since the premise does inherently have a religion versus science debate in the root of it all.  But the film does succeed when it takes the time to develop its world.  If you're a fan of the videogame series, you'll be glad to know Assassin's Creed translates one of the series' core elements, the Animus, extremely well. Lynch plugging into the Animus leads to some of the coolest scenes in the film as the machine translates Aguilar's flashly assassin movements in real time. Cutting back to Lynch every few minutes during the film's well choreographed fights may get annoying later on as they take you out of the action, but it's still an initially intriguing and distinct look only capable here. That's also because the film took a moment to establish the Animus which is, as mentioned earlier, a luxury only briefly afforded. But although most of the story is a befuddling mess, it's visually appealing. Andalucia in 1492 is an incredible display of set and costume design, which makes its short time in the film even more egregious. When not covered in a notable amount in dust storms, Assassin's Creed spends the bulk of its time in yet another in a long line of plain, white science fiction sets.  Director Kurziel also films some impressive battle scenes. Although the point-of-view sometimes get lost in the fight choreography (as Kurziel at times can't fully grasp the geography of the setting), they flow well and incorporate many tactics and weapons (which is reminiscent of the game series, also). But Assassin's Creed doesn't have much going on for it beyond its look. Fassbender is, undoubtedly, the standout but even he struggles with the film's script. Failing to give Lynch's words the proper amount of weight as the film speeds on, Fassbender is just trying his best to push on. His scenes with Cotillard's Sofia are also a highlight, but that's only because he has Cotillard's near-deadpan delivery to bounce off of. In fact, you could've scrapped the bulk of Abstergo-set scenes altogether and the film would've been a triumph. Aguilar's romps through a mid-Inquisition Spain are the best the film has to offer, but there's never enough time to develop either Aguilar or Lynch to make any of this matter.  In a film where a man defies the laws of time and space, time is ironically Assassin's Creed's biggest enemy. A lack of time spent with its characters, lack of time spent with its ideas, and lack of follow through muddy the film's experience. In fact, the film seems to only want to translate the videogame series to film without caring whether or not it succeeds as a film. Much like direct to home video videogame adaptations like Dead or Alive and Tekken, Assassin's Creed captures the spirit of the videogame series but won't have the appeal for those outside of its fan base.  Assassin's Creed is such a good videogame adaptation, hilariously enough, it already expects to come back for yearly outings. 
Assassin's Creed Review photo
With flaws wide open
Assassin's Creed has been in the works for a long time. The videogame series' developer Ubisoft has been trying to get the project off the ground since 2011, but was marred with production and release date delays. When Michae...

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John Wick 2 has a new trailer with sexy Keanu Reeves


Dec 20
// Rick Lash
Gone are the days when February meant godawful movies of low budget and little critical fanfare, welcome are the days when February heralds the release of just ridiculous 'certain-set-of-skills' action movies and (*Golden Glo...
Assassin's Creed sequel photo
Assassin's Creed sequel

Director Justin Kurzel would like the Assassin's Creed sequel to be a Cold War noir


A 20th century Assassin's Creed
Dec 14
// Hubert Vigilla
The first Assassin's Creed isn't out yet, but already there's speculation about a potential sequel. Such is the case with franchise-launching movies. If director Justin Kurzel had his druthers, he'd like to bring the story fr...
Assassin's Creed clip photo
Assassin's Creed clip

New Assassin's Creed clip is all about parkour and a leap of faith


You gotta ro-o-oll with the punches...
Dec 13
// Hubert Vigilla
The last clip we shared from Justin Kurzel's Assassin's Creed adaptation had a pretty badass swashbuckling carriage chase. The most recent clip from Assassin's Creed is all about fights, parkour, and taking an iconic lea...

The Fate of the Furious trailer: Swerves, turns, and a family in crisis

Dec 11 // Hubert Vigilla
Helluva a swerve there, right? Makes me wonder if Dwayne The Rock Johnson's beef with Vin Diesel earlier in the year was just a coy bit of marketing to signal Dom's heel turn in the film, And they say kayfabe is dead. (From here on out, I will write Dwayne Johnson's name as "Dwayne The Rock Johnson" without quotation marks and as if The Rock were his legal middle name.) We see Charlize Theron in there as a temptress and supervillain, but no glimpse of Helen Mirren in F8 yet. As you may recall, Helen Mirren really wanted to be in one of the Fast and the Furious movies. She was officially cast in some role for F8. We've got a poster for F8 below, as well as a fake poster we concocted for the 10th Fast and Furious film, Fasten Your Seatbelts. (F10, get it?) Let us know what you think of this dramatic turn of events in the comments.
#F8 Trailer photo
RUSSO SWERVE!
The eighth film of the Fast and the Furious franchise is officially dubbed The Fate of the Furious. (F8, get it?) The trailer for the movie just hit the internet tonight, and we have it below. Get ready for heel turns, face turns, and some car crash booking straight out of Vince Russo. It looks like the family is dysfunctional, guys.

Assassin's Creed trailer photo
Assassin's Creed trailer

Final trailer for Assassin's Creed has new footage, Jeremy Irons, and Charlotte Rampling


Chock full of Irons and Rampling
Dec 10
// Hubert Vigilla
As we're getting close to the release of Assassin's Creed, one last trailer is dropping for the hype. A VR experience alone will not put your butt in a theater seat. The overall tone of this final trailer is different than th...
War Apes photo
I mean, we all know how this will end
I got a really in depth look at War for the Planet of the Apes at NYCC this year, but now it is everyone else's chance to take a look. The first trailer has landed and it is crammed full of action and grumpy apes. That's...

Walton Goggins TombRaider photo
Walton Goggins TombRaider

Walton Goggins cast as the villain in the Tomb Raider reboot


The Tombful Raid
Dec 08
// Hubert Vigilla
The Tomb Raider reboot is coming together nicely. Yesterday, Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Sons of Anarchy) was cast as the villain of the film. He will be taking on Alicia Vikander as the new Lara Croft, with Norwegian ...
Luke Cage photo
Luke Cage

Luke Cage season 2 is now confirmed


Things we already knew
Dec 05
// Matthew Razak
I am behind. Way behind. My wife and I got caught up watching West Wing since we'd never done that and now we're behind on every show ever, including Luke Cage. Soon, though, I will be caught up and then I'll be done wit...
Aquaman release date photo
Aquaman release date

The Aquaman movie has an official release date (at least for now)


Tuna piano
Dec 05
// Hubert Vigilla
The DC Cinematic Universe isn't going as swimmingly as Warner Bros execs might have hoped. Both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were flooded with negative reviews, and it looks like The Flash movie with E...
Rogue One 60-minute Q&A photo
Rogue One 60-minute Q&A

Watch a 60-minute Q&A with the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story cast and director


More questions and anwers with the team
Dec 04
// Hubert Vigilla
The 30-minute Facebook Q&A with the Rogue One cast and director Gareth Edwards wasn't the only appearance the team made in the Bay Area. There was a 60-minute Q&A/panel with the same talent in San Francisco. Twitter, ...
Rogue One 30-minute Q&A photo
Rogue One 30-minute Q&A

Watch a 30-minute Q&A with the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story cast and director


Facebook employees getting all the perks
Dec 04
// Hubert Vigilla
Last week, the cast members of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and director Gareth Edwards dropped by Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, CA for a Q&A and special 28-minute preview of the film. A video of the Q&A session was post...
Assassin's Creed clip photo
Assassin's Creed clip

New Assassin's Creed clip features a carriage chase, horses, swashbuckling


Giddyup
Dec 04
// Hubert Vigilla
December 21st is fast approaching, which means the marketing for the Assassin's Creed film is in full effect. In the last week we've seen a clip featuring the souped-up Animus as well as the launch of an Assassin's Creed VR e...
Assassin's Creed VR photo
Assassin's Creed VR

Assassin's Creed VR experience basically simulates a virtual reality tech demo/commercial


It's like you're really sitting there
Dec 03
// Hubert Vigilla
As Assassin's Creed tries to hype up its December 21st release, it looks like some new technology is being used to sell the movie to you. In this case, it's a virtual reality movie that was shot on-location during the actual ...
Rampage adaptation photo
Rampage adaptation

Director of Rampage adapation starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson promises emotion, scares


Kaiju candy asses gonna freak out
Dec 02
// Hubert Vigilla
In case you forgot (why would you remember?), an adaptation of Rampage has been in the works for years. The film seems to have some actual legs on it now that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is attached to star with San Andreas dir...
Steven Seagal? photo
Steven Seagal?

Video essay: Why was Steven Seagal such a big deal back in the day?


Explaining the era of peak Seagal
Dec 01
// Hubert Vigilla
One day, when society lays in waste and all that is left are the ruins of our great works, another civilization--perhaps from another planet--will sort through our cultural dross and ask an important question: "Why was Steven...
Star Wars: Rogue One clip photo
Star Wars: Rogue One clip

First clip from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has rebels taking out jabroni storm troopers


Rebel rebel, you've torn your dress
Dec 01
// Hubert Vigilla
We're just two weeks away from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While the reshoots stoke a little worry in me (according to reports, composer Michael Giacchino only had four and a half weeks to write the score), I remain hopeful...
Assassin's Creed clip photo
Assassin's Creed clip

Michael Fassbender enters the Animus in this Assassin's Creed clip


Shake hands with the past
Nov 29
// Hubert Vigilla
The Assassin's Creed movie is less than a month away. I'm lukewarm but interested, and at least willing to give it a shot based on the talent involved. The film brings together Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and direct...
Star Wars: Rogue One photo
Star Wars: Rogue One

Final trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story mentions the odds and raises the stakes


May the Donnie Yen be with you
Nov 28
// Hubert Vigilla
I know, I know--we already said there was a final trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Now we have two final trailers. You can blame Disney and Lucasfilm for wanting to hype the movie one last time now that the public can buy their advanced movie tickets. Go buy tix already, duders. Check out the second final trailer for Rogue One below.
Mad Shelia photo
Mad Shelia

Witness the trailer and poster for Mad Shelia, a Chinese Mad Max rip-off


MEDIOCRE!
Nov 28
// Hubert Vigilla
Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the best action movies of the 21st century, and was one of the best movies of 2015 by far. We were bound to see some movies trying to capitalize on the look, feel, and stuntwork of George Miller's...
The Predator photo
The Predator

Olivia Munn to star alongside Boyd Holbrook in The Predator


Let's try this again
Nov 04
// Matthew Razak
The Predator was actually looking like a solid reboot with director Shane Black on board and Benitio del Toro set to star, but the actor left the project to be replaced by Boyd Holbrook. That's kind of a letdown, and now...

Review: Doctor Strange

Nov 02 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]221002:43178:0[/embed] Doctor StrangeDirector: Scott DerricksonRating: PG-13Release Date: October 25, 2016 (UK); November 4, 2016 (US) There's a philosophical template to many martial arts stories: an arrogant, inherently talented person becomes an unruly disciple to wise master, trains in a martial art, confronts their weaknesses (typically the ego), and unlocks their better self through discipline and mastery. Many times the student will surpass their master through an act of invention--combining or creating fighting styles, for instance, constructing a new weapon, or some higher-level use of the imagination. Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch doing his Benedict Cumberbatch shtick) starts the movie as a hotshot neurosurgeon who's fame-obsessed and failure-averse. A near-fatal car accident causes severe nerve damage to his hands. He's got the shakes now. That's the end his lucrative career. Strange hears rumors of a monastery in Nepal that may be able to heal him. He travels to the east where he gets thrown into a world of sorcery, one at war with a former student named Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen). Like most Marvel villains, Kaecilius is sort of a non-entity--just a bad guy doing bad guy things. Tilda Swinton plays The Ancient One, the master of the monastery who teaches Strange the ways of sorcery and opens his eyes to the world and its possibility. Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) offers an assist as a trainer, emphasizing strength and force. The only top-billed Asian actor is Benedict Wong who plays the stoic keeper of the arcane library. There's been a lot written in the last few months about the whitewashing of The Ancient One. I also foresee a lot of thinkpieces about cultural appropriation given how much of the movie feels like a kung fu film. I wasn't bothered by any of this, but everyone's mileage varies. There's enough that works in the film for me, and I think Swinton's air of otherworldliness and oddness fits with her character. When Doctor Strange is at its best, it's a fast-paced martial arts adventure that fills the screen with Escheresque imagery. Some moments have the vertiginous feel of Christopher Nolan's Inception or the finale of Interstellar, and others remind me a little of Alex Proyas' Dark City. There's an exhilirating chase through New York City streets in flux, where buildings and roads become a maddened, tilting, shifting clockwork world. When not spinning mandalas and fractals on screen, Doctor Strange recreates the blacklight psychedelia of Steve Ditko's comic book art. Director Scott Derrickson gives Doctor Strange its own visual grammar to differentiate it from the rest of the MCU. The film even finds a cool way of marrying the martial arts, the somatic components of spells, and the way magic manifests itself on screen. Unfortunately, Doctor Strange is a martial arts movie with badly shot fight scenes. The magic battles and traditional action is competent, allowing viewers to follow the actors on screen as the mirror-like gears of reality spin around them. Yet aside from one satisfying and inventive battle of astral projected forms (!), the fights are shot close up and with shaky cam, obscuring the choreography. It's a waste of Scott Adkins, who plays one of Kaecilius' goons. For all the philosophical lessons taken from Shaw Brothers movies, Doctor Strange ignores the practical lessons of quintessential Shaw Brothers directors Chang Cheh and Lau Kar-Leung. Derrickson could have easily pulled his camera back, kept it steady, and allowed the performer's in-camera movements and rhythms to define his shots and the editing. Characters in martial arts movies communicate who they are through their fighting style, and so action filmmakers should allow their characters to describe themselves in combat. And of course there's a not-too-good romance subplot between Strange and Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). It's there, it's not particularly engaging, and it's short enough. McAdams isn't given much to do, and there's not much reason to feel anything between Chrinstine and Strange. What is it about perfunctory love in movies? Does six minutes of a sketched romance really matter much? Platonic on-screen relationships are more satisfying than a forced romance, and they tend to be more dynamic. Stop trying to make romance subplots happen--it's not going to happen. Strange, The Ancient One, and Kacelius are so obsessed with time, its limits, and how it can be used. It drives their search for power. And on that note I felt like Doctor Strange could have benefited from an additional 10 minutes. (Maybe they could have shaved off some of that love stuff.) So much of this world is built up and breezed through that there's little time to breathe it in and appreciate what's there. Perhaps they wanted to keep the movie just under two hours, and yet that 10 minutes of breathing room could have opened things up a bit more. There's a major action sequence before the film's finale that occurs off-camera, which was a wasted opportunity for a classic martial arts set piece. Then again, given how they filmed the rest of the fight scenes, maybe it's for the best. There's a surprisingly good breather in the film between The Ancient One and Strange. The Ancient One ruminates as Strange listens, and the world around them achieves a gorgeous stillness. It's an unexpectedly thoughtful moment in the movie, thematically tied to characters and the overarching story and yet its own thing. Punching robots is fine, I guess, but I wouldn't mind more movies like Doctor Strange in the MCU. Good tea.
Review: Doctor Strange photo
Whoa--I know magic fu!
My favorite movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far have been the ones that don't feel like standard-issue superhero movies. The Avengers was basic, and Avengers: Age of Ultron was a bigger, dumber, basic-er redux of t...

Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Behind-the-scenes Assassin's Creed featurette focuses on stunts, parkour, practical effects


Kick, punch, it's all in your mind
Oct 27
// Hubert Vigilla
2016 is drawing to a close, which means we're that much closer to the Assassin's Creed film adaptation. In this recently released behind-the-scenes featurette, we see star Michael Fassbender and director Justin Kurzel talk ab...
Uncharted film adaptation photo
Uncharted film adaptation

Shawn Levy will direct the Uncharted film adaptation


Ben Stiller as Nathan Drake?
Oct 26
// Hubert Vigilla
It looks like that Uncharted adaptation is moving forward again. Sony has tapped Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Real Steel) to direct the film from a script by Joe Carnahan (The Grey). Carnahan was at one time attached to d...
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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back should have gone back to the formula that made the original Jack Reacher work. Audiences, only familiar with the character through the first movie (and not the Lee Childs book series) may find...


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