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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of John Wick: Chapter 2 & The Lego Batman Movie

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for a highly-anticipated pair of pictures: John Wick: Chapter 2 and the Lego Batman Movie.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear reader(s), what follows is the historic, first-ever, perfect-nine-Weasley double-bill! Steel yourselves!
First on yesterday's agenda: John Wick: Chapter 2.
John Wick is dragged out of retirement when an old marker is called in.
The first John Wick was a pleasant surprise. With very little buzz and a not-quite-A-list lead, it turned out far better than the generic actioner promised by the trailers. Following up such unexpected success almost unfailingly leads to disaster, but I am pleased to report John Wick: Chapter 2 actually breaks the mold and improves upon the original.
Beginning with the obvious: Keanu Reeves has found the role for which he was born. Sure, the guy has all the acting chops of "Shepherd #3" in your local elementary-school Christmas pageant, but he's given us a few iconic leads over his long career, and John Wick seems destined to become one of his best remembered. Reeves works even the film's corniest lines to perfection and still manages to be the perfect stoic killing machine. A solid supporting cast includes Ian McShane, Common, Laurence Fishburne, and the suddenly-ubiquitous Ruby Rose. John Wick: Chapter 2 boasts epic fight choreography, a dark humor that always hits its mark, and stellar production design. A shootout in a hall of mirrors is a real standout, along the lines of the original's red room scene. The extraordinary body count undoubtedly renders a picture like this not everyone's cup of tea, but if you're able to set aside genre bias, you'll have to admit John Wick: Chapter 2 is one hell of a great movie.
John Wick: Chapter 2 clocks in at 122 minutes and is rated R for "strong violence throughout, some language, and brief nudity."
John Wick: Chapter 2 is a strikingly filmed, beautifully executed movie that's well served by its self-awareness. I pondered long and hard, looking for a reason to dock it even a half-Weasley, and I couldn't find one. Of a possible nine Weasleys, John Wick: Chapter 2 gets nine.
Fangirl points: My beloved Ian McShane! Peter Serafinowicz!
Next on the docket, The Lego Batman Movie.
The Bat goes brick.
The Lego Batman Movie has all the sharp colors, cool artwork, and constant motion that are hallmarks of most good animation these days, but considering it a kids' movie does it a great disservice; it is straight-up comedy gold, and I mean hilarious. I can't remember the last time I heard a cinema crowd laugh as hard or as much. The movie lovingly makes fun of the Bat-verse, from Will Arnett's sulking, self-centered Bruce Wayne to hilarious callbacks to various film faceoffs with his arch-nemesis the Joker. If Gotham's Clown Prince isn't your favorite baddie, never fear, the Lego Batman Movie not only features many of Batman's classic enemies, but cameos by villains from the furthest reaches of fiction. A rockin' score by Lorne Balfe occasionally echoes past Batman themes, underlining the movie's nods to Bat-history, while standing firmly on its own Lego feet.
The Lego Batman Movie runs 104 minutes and is rated PG for "rude humor and some action."
The Lego Batman Movie is everything a moviegoer could want, be he die-hard Batfan or casual walkup. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Lego Batman Movie gets nine.
Fangirl points: "Iron Man sucks!"
Until next time...

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