review

Review: John Wick 3

*Spoilers*

So, it turns out that this was not the end. After selling the notion of a Wick trilogy, they will be making another. And presumably another. This is a shame. A trilogy is a time honored way to tell a story, and tell it well. Sketch the basics, build on them or smash, and then bring it so a satisfying end. Endings are not bad. In fact as far as a story goes, endings tend to be necessary. Opting to meander around some more feels money grubbing at best. And it messes up what could have been. Fine. I’ll get over it, one more betrayal on the Hollywood pile.

Moving. On.

What Worked:

1. Keanu Reeves. He always works. No matter the level of bad or weird happening around him, Keanu is as reliable an actor as you can get.

2. The surroundings. This series can location scout. Gorgeous backgrounds to the action are once again on point. Sometimes the quality marble draws the eye away from the fight, but in a good way.

3. The Continental. This building is a character and I want to know more. If they do a prequel and it’s just Ian McShane going about his day running the Hotel, I would watch the hack out of it. Make that a show. I mean it.

4. The Cast. McShane and Lance Reddick as the concierge work well off each other, but are not on screen long. The favorite this time around is Mark Dacascos as Zero. He took a fanboy assassin and made the movie sparkle. It needed it.

5. The Western add ins. There were three bits that I noticed, but I’d have to watch it again now that I know to expect them. First was John Wick taking apart revolvers and piecing together the best sum of the parts. This was straight out of The Good the Bad and the Ugly, when Eli Wallach does the exact same process. The only difference is one has a shopkeeper present and one does not. And Eli is more of a bad guy. Also one is a classic Spagetti Western and the other is Assassins in Hotels. Next is the horses bit. Put Keanu on more horses, please. Horses = Westerns, you get it. Last is Wick has traveled far to Casablanca and braved a desert. He passes out, gets slung over a camel, taken to the exact guy he went out to meet, and is then sent to a room with a bathtub and new clothes. All of that is classic Western genre. I wish that they had done more of it, but completely changing tone suddenly for 3 might have been weird. Or amazing, we’ll never know.

What Didn’t:

1. Too many loooong fight scenes. They were well staged, but a fight is only interesting for so long. For so many times. Music would have helped, but they want you to hear all the grunts instead. Book fight was cool. Also the whole Zero fight was solid. It adds to have John fight someone with a personality after duking it out all day with the drones.

2. Starting up a lot of side missions instead of building on one. John is a focused man. He goes after what he needs to do until it is done. This time he blinks around the globe to no real purpose. I wanted him to take a nap and think a sec.

3. The Adjudicator. One person can be an investigator. If that same person comes back as the judge as well, anyone would want a second opinion. Yes, we hear you, you are with The Table. If the organization in charge of order and keeping all the for hire community from chaos sends one person, they do not seem like much of a force. Even with the backup, it does not look well. Send a team of professionals for gosh sakes. Take this seriously. The actress is not at fault for this. It did make me giggle a little when she came in looking right ( like an edgy lawyer ), and then she started taking and sounded like Zooey Deschanel.

The Verdict:

John Wick 3 is haunted by the movie it could have been. What we ended up with is an assortment of pinned on ideas that look cool. We have a placecard. Part of me enjoyed it for what it was.

The P.S.:

My heart was looking forward to Keanu taking over for McShane as proprietor of The Continental. It felt like that is where we were going, and there were so many clues along the way. That would be his penance. And the end.

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movies and tv · tv

Binge It: Weekend TV

Los Espookys (HBO)

Every single bit of this show is enjoyable and that which you have waited your whole life for. The writing, cast, and plot concept make for the best of binges. A group of characters come together to make the spooky dreams of their customers come true. Need to scare off the heirs to a fortune that have to spend the night in an already creepy mansion? They. Got. This. The players are well drawn, the satire is thrilled to attend, and the pure joy of the spooky is appreciated. Julio Torres’s wardrobe is its’ own gorgeous thing, and yet another reason to watch. There is no way to describe all that this show is, you simply have to see it.

Wrecked (TBS)

Season 1: Lost Parody, Season 2: Pirate Cruise, Season 3: Rich Men Hunt Them for Sport/Hunger Games. This is a show that starts as a guilty fun pleasure and evolves into a guilty love. Throughout three seasons it manages to be consistently funny, and it gets to play around in areas regular sitcoms cannot. We need more ensemble comedy shows, basically.

Alternatino with Arturo Castro (Comedy Central)

Starts strong, finishes strong. Arturo has a beautiful work of comedy as a first season. This is a skit show with the thru line of Arturo as himself talking to his friends at his apartment. This makes Arturo the host, you are invited in as the viewer to watch impeccably curated skits with a theme each episode. It is a comedy dinner party, and you will be sad when it is over.

Agatha Raisin (Acorn TV, Amazon On Demand)

I can not stop re-watching this British Murder Mystery/Comedy. There are two seasons but you have to start with the movie, Quiche of Death. It’s bright and fun and the English village porn is of the best quality. My favorite episode is Season 2 Episode 1 where Agatha makes a flirt partner/meets a villain hairdresser played by the underused James Lance (above). This show is all mood and ambiance. It’s there for you if you need a lift. To the British country side. Where there’s murder, but gorgeous upholstery.

Stan Against Evil (Hulu)

All caught up on What We Do in the Shadows and Los Espookys? Stan is your next stop. Horror. Comedy. A former sheriff grump. A new sheriff woman learning how to do small town life. Evil puppets. Teen scene vampires that suck you into the television and want to take you to vampire prom. A ware-pony. Pure Halloween season gold.

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snl · top 10

Top 10: SNL Hosts Seasons 43 & 44

Looking over the last couple of seasons has made me realize the strength of a great host. Well, I knew that before, but never have hosts been so key to SNL. The writing at Saturday Night Live has become an unhelpful bowl of spaghetti. Limp and swirling all over the darn place. This dish becomes stronger the more it embraces the odd noddles within (Julio Torres), which gives me hope for the future. The following hosts are the ones that inspired and danced with beautiful oddity:

1. Donald Glover

The Barbie skit. The entirety of this episode is brilliant, but the Barbie skit kills me. Donald as a writer and performer brought out the very best that the show is capable of.

2. John Mulaney

John’s second hosting did not quite reach his first, which was a masterclass. That is not to say that there is no skill here, because I believe Mulaney could become the next Steve Martin of hosts. Once again, as a writer, you have a host that shores up the weak parts of the show.

3. Tiffany Haddish

Omg, Tiffany was pure joy. Joy and talent and the very rare skill of making every sketch better by her mere presence. She knows how to sell comedy. If any writing was wobbly, she cut through it. She better be back, Lorne.

4. Adam Sandler

Adam came out of the past and ran me over. He just kept killing it. Killed the monologue, killed every skit, killed Update, and made people cry with real emotion in a beautiful moment. This was very unexpected, and I had no choice but to rewatch the hell out of this episode. Truly one of the greats.

5. Chance the Rapper

I was prepared for a musician host job: Charismatic but fumbly. Maybe in three skits at most. This is not what happened, and I love that SNL can still surprise. First of all, Chance was all over this episode. They let him talk. They let him be weird. They let Donald Glover come write some stuff ( even so, Chance owns this hosting job ) Yes, he was charming, but also funny in a most natural way. He smiled throughout as if he could not quite help himself, and yet still nailed every mark.

6. Sterling K. Brown

Sterling can put on a SHOW. It’s like a 1950s song and dance man got bit by a radioactive Cary Grant, so he can do comedy and drama too. He is a gift from the Gods of old. His total commitment elevate everything around him. The ‘Dying Mrs. Gomez’ and ‘Love Advice Doctor’ skits will make me forever happy.

7. Bill Hader

Everything lined up nicely in this episode, but I could not help feeling like Hader was coasting along. A lot of great moments, and I adore him, but that brought it down a bit for me.

8. Emma Stone

Emma is a pro at this, and her next episode will garner a five timers jacket. Her first two hostings were incredible, the second more so because the writers knew now what she could do. Her third was a bit stiff but fine, excepting the perfection of the Well skit. I missed her up for anything fearlessness of catching a laugh. This one was back to the best of Emma. When she gets into it, I can see that she is only going to get better and better.

9. James McAvoy

Another out of nowhere success that delights me about the last couple of seasons. Although aware of James, I had not seen him in a live comedy kind of situation. This is a top to bottom strong episode, and that is down to James. The writers were obviously fans of his and gave him no end of fun and strange things to do. Charmin is a gorgeous piece. He dived right in, picked them all up his capable Scottish hands, and took care of business.

10. Adam Driver

Sweet Adam. Talented Adam. Strong as it gets host Adam burdened with a not quite there yet writing team and a bummer of a musical guest. He still makes the top ten because of what he can do, and how much he brings to the SNL stage. This episode was dampened, and Adam deserves a redo. I hope he comes back.

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