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  • John Wick: Chapter 2

    John Wick: Chapter 2

    ★★★★★

    "You got out once. You dip so much as a pinky back into this pond, you may well find something reaches out and drags you back into its depths..."

    According to director Chad Stahelski, the first John Wick was meant to be a one-and-done story; there were no plans for a sequel. And yet the world-building was so effective that lines like Winston’s ominous words above come across as natural set-up in the wake of Chapter 2’s escalation.

    Indeed, something…

  • Bad Genius

    Bad Genius

    ★★★★½

    Most people are never going to take part in a cinematic heist, but everyone has experienced the stressful challenge of an exam. This riveting Thai thriller portrays that relatable experience, and the exam cheating schemes that unfold, with the energetic pizzazz of Baby Driver or Ocean's 11. Bad Genius makes its high-school shenanigans as thrilling and tense as the best heist films through stylish direction, myriad obstacles, and a sharp script that playfully balances drama and humor.

    The schemes are…

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  • The Raid 2

    The Raid 2

    ★★★★

    What I’ve come to really appreciate in action movies, as much as clarity and choreography, is a sense of purposeful momentum. Where the story and action are interwoven rather than the spectacle being gratuitous. Fury Road, Terminator, The Matrix, Die Hard, John Wick, The Raid all excel in that department. 

    The same can’t be said for The Raid’s more ambitious sequel. I like the grittiness and atmosphere of the movie but Raid 2 often can’t decide if it wants to…

  • Climax

    Climax

    ★★★

    Climax is simultaneously:
    - a frustrating experimental slog to sit through, with no characters or cohesive structure to latch onto
    - a viscerally uncomfortable, disturbing, disorienting nightmare once the situation beings to unravel, infused with voyeuristic unease and evoking skin-crawling dread.

    I don't think Climax is a film I'll ever watch again but I can't deny that the movie achieved its horrifying vision. It's something that I appreciated more than liked, if that makes sense.

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  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    ★★★★

    Each John Wick film has been a masterpiece of action cinema. The first one was a self-aware take on well-trodden revenge tropes, featuring a subtly-realized underworld that trembled with fear and respect for the titular assassin. The sequel delved deeper into that mysterious world and elevated the scope of the action to furious heights. The third movie continues that trend; it’s funnier, more brutal, more varied, more entrenched in its lore.

    But John Wick Chapter 3 also feels like a…