Archive for the ‘Jon M. Chu’ Category

Digital Illusions

Now You See Me 2

now_you_see_me_two_ver15

Director: Jon M. Chu

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Daniel Radcliffe, Dave Franco, Sanaa Lathan

Following the success of the 2013 magical film Now You See Me, there was definitely a call to make a sequel and reunite the illusive four horsemen.

now_you_see_me_two_ver3

In the sequel, Now You See Me 2, G. I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu misses the mark in providing a magical follow up to the original film, despite reuniting the same cast including Jesse Eisenberg as Daniel Atlas, Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney who also has a rather irritating identical twin brother in this film, Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes and Dave Franco as Jack Wilder.

now_you_see_me_two_ver5

New to the cast is master illusionist Lula played by Lizzy Caplan famous from the raunchy Masters of Sex TV series and the superfluous Daniel Radcliffe as a reclusive tech billionaire Walter Mabry who recruits the magicians to steal back a ubiquitous yet highly guarded computer chip which can hack into anything at an international exchange in the glamorous resort casinos of Macau.

now_you_see_me_two_ver9

As the action moves swiftly from New York to Macau and then onto London, the magical tricks and digital illusions even involving numerous card tricks in which the microchip seemingly passes from one horseman to another, Now You See Me 2 appears to be lacking in the essential element of revelation. Something the first film did so brilliantly. For as the optical illusions, card tricks and magic increases, there is less time to provide valuable explanations to the bewildered if slightly amused audience.

now_you_see_me_two_ver7

Veteran actors Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman reprise their roles as Arthur Tressler and Thaddeus Bradley respectively whose unholy alliance leads the Four Horseman to play the ultimate trick on the chief villain, a poorly played part by Daniel Radcliffe, who unfortunately appeared to be out of place in this sequel. Perhaps Radcliffe should stick to stronger script material with meatier roles in mind like he did in Victor Frankenstein and Kill Your Darlings.

now_you_see_me_two_ver2

Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight, Foxcatcher) is plausibly believable as the elusive FBI agent Rhodes despite occasionally giving the impression that he should not have signed on for this sequel. Harrelson is in top form playing twins and the only sparks are provided by Eisenberg and Caplan who seem to be the most energetic and enthusiastic magicians.

Whilst Now You See Me 2 falls short of being as brilliant as the first film, it certainly is a fun film to watch even if the plot is slightly convoluted especially in between the globetrotting disappearing acts that the main actors seem to do quite effortlessly. Now You See Me 2 is an enjoyable film, but nothing as magical or dazzling as the original. Lets hope the third film in this magical trilogy is more impressive.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

GI Joe: Retaliation

All Braun and no Brains

All Braun and no Brains

Following on the success of 2009 GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra, featuring Channing Tatum and Sienna Miller, comes the delayed release of GI Joe: Retaliation directed by Jon M. Chu teams Dwayne Johnson with Bruce Willis along with some newcomers including D. J. Cotrona as Flint and Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye and is supported by Ray Stevenson (fresh from playing a Ukranian gangster on the series Dexter) as a fiendishly deranged Southerner, Firefly the muscle for the Cobra group and a little seen Channing Tatum as Duke, one of the original GI’s and Ray Park as Snake Eyes.

With a convoluted plot involving an imposter American president played with evil cynicism by Jonathan Pryce, reprising his megalomaniac villain Elliot Carver from the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, this film is nothing more than a homage to all the weapons of mass destruction, and to a male-orientated obsession with weaponry, arms and naturally testosterone fueled combat. All types of weapons are on display in this film from samurai swords to high-calibre machine guns and whilst GI Joe: Retaliation is a great action packed film to watch, one hopes that it does not inspire some unwanted teenager to randomly gun down a group of strangers in a Mid-Western American mall. Sadly in the wake of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Connecticut and the massacre at the Aurora Theater in Colorado both in 2012, Gi Joe: Retaliation‘s overemphasis on weaponry surely points to a society which is unwilling to relinquish its right to bear arms despite the many casualties.

g_i_joe_ver11

Gi Joe: Retaliation action spans the globe from Pakistan to North Korea, from Washington DC to South Carolina, and whilst the plot resembles a twisted version of Diamonds are Forever without the glamour and whilst there are some great moments provided by Willis and Stevenson, most of the film is filled with explosions, knife fights, infinitely explosive gun battles, exhilarating boat and car chases and perfectly provides a cinematic reason to showcase all the weapons of retaliation stockpiled by any of the G8 nations, a fill arsenal of destruction, capable of flattening any major capital city in the globe, from London to Tokyo.

Fun to watch, without much thought behind it, GI Joe Retaliation will definitely find a following in its target audience and is not as good or slick as the original film, the slightly more sophisticated GI Joe, Rise of the Cobra. GI Joe: Retaliation has some fantastic sequences in it especially the ninjas on a Japanese mountain and the odd quirky dialogue naturally involving Bruce Willis, but the script is a bit too outlandish to be taken seriously and should really be viewed in the context of a some fun Saturday afternoon entertainment. Definitely recommended mainly for bored teenage boys and young men who like the action thick and fast without much thought.

 

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
  • Poll: Which Pop Culture Halloween Costume Would You Wear This Year?
    Few things sum up the year’s pop culture events like Halloween costumes. Every year, Halloween party-goers look for topical characters to take the town as. 2016 saw Barbs from “Stranger Things” mingling with Harley Quinns, and this year looks like it will bring out more superheros and, of course, politics. Be ready for more than […]
    Alex Stedman
  • Vanessa Hudgens Joins Jennifer Lopez in Romantic Comedy ‘Second Act’
    Vanessa Hudgens has joined the cast of “Second Act,” the upcoming romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez. Peter Segal will direct the film, which was developed by STXfilms with Lopez from an idea conceived by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Justin Zackham. The movie is in the vein of “Maid in Manhattan” and “Working Girl.” Lopez will play a big-box store […]
    Dave McNary
  • Film News Roundup: ‘Bridge of Spies’ Writer Matt Charman Adapting Survival Novel ‘Ruthless River’
    In today’s film news roundup, Matt Charman is developing “Ruthless River,” runaway slave story “Never Caught” is in the works as a movie, Cynthia Addai-Robinson is starring in “Always & Forever,” and “Kedi” gets a one-day release. DEVELOPMENT Holly FitzGerald’s Amazon survival novel “Ruthless River” is in development as a movie with “Bridge of Spies” writer […]
    Dave McNary
  • How Discovery, TLC and Tegna Are Bringing Live Internet-Video Calls Into On-Air Broadcasts
    What’s the best way to stream video from remote locations to live TV, without deploying specialized equipment in the field? One solution comes from the Video Call Center, a 10-person company based in Palisades, N.Y., which has developed a system to let TV producers bring in live feeds from off-the-shelf smartphones and laptops over the […]
    Todd Spangler
  • ABC Developing Small Town Serial Killer Comedy With Jack Black Producing
    ABC is developing a single camera comedy series about a serial killer with Jack Black attached as an executive producer, Variety has learned. Titled “Boring, OR,” the series is described an ensemble comedy about a small town with a serial killer on the loose. It follows Jonna, a police officer, who is determined to stop the killings […]
    Joseph Otterson