All posts by Vince Leo

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum



John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum spins off its plot from something that happens in the second chapter, namely that John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is now “excommunicado” by the High Table that controls the world’s leading organization of assassins for killing someone inside the assassin’s “sacred ground” of the Continental Hotel in New York – a big no-no. that sees a huge bounty put on his head. John has very few places he can run, and he’ll eventually run out of safe havens, but he means to keep himself alive long enough to be able to get himself back into the High Table’s good graces somehow.  Nevertheless, the assassins after him are skilled and ruthless, especially the calculating woman known as The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), who is busy dishing out nasty revenge on anyone caught helping out their buddy in defiance of the orders.


The Professor (2018)



Johnny Depp stars as an English professor for a prestigious New England college named Richard Brown who learns he has late-stage lung cancer and probably only six months to live without treatment, which he doesn’t plan on seeking.  On top of this, Richard is also a terminally bored, self-absorbed jerk whose own life has been falling apart long before this diagnosis. His wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) is cheating on him, with the chancellor at his school (Ron Livingston), no less. Now he can say whatever he feels like, knowing he’s on his way out, and what he has to say is not always kind.  With perhaps only months left, he decides to continue to teach his literature class, hoping to impart some actual value to his current crop of students before he succumbs to the disease. He’s also going to try to experience life without worrying about the consequences – a life he comes to realize he should have been trying to live all along.


Wine Country (2019) | Amy Poehler



Amy Poehler directs her first feature film with Netflix’s WINE COUNTRY, about six women who question their friendships and futures when they take a girls’ trip to Napa Valley, California, to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of them.  Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, Emily Spivey, Tina Fey, Jason Schwartzman star for fans of old “Saturday Night Live”.


Long Shot (2019) | Jonathan Levine



In this raunchy romantic comedy, schlubby Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen), an established left-wing journalist whose uncompromisingly progressive Brooklyn-based online news site has found itself taken over by a right-wing corporatist that he refuses to kowtow to. Due to his deep-seated principles, Fred quits immediately, but he’s bummed out at having to start over again. His best friend, Lance (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) takes him out to blow off some steam and forget hir troubles for a while with a performance from Boyz II Men at a swank charity fund-raising party, and while there, Flarsky ends up running into the Secretary of State of the United States, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), who he just so happens to have once known, as the older girl next door who used to babysit him, and with whom he has had a crush ever since.  The two end up catching up, and it just so happens that she’s looking for a writer to punch up her speeches with wit and humor, and with him needing a job, it’s impossible to say no.  He’s a refreshing change of pace to Field, who hasn’t been able to enjoy herself for a very long time, but with presidential aspirations on her horizon, the gossipy public isn’t likely going to accept such a mismatch should she pursue Flarsky romantically.


Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (2019) | Joe Beringer



This biopic on Ted Bundy covers mostly the ten years between 1969 and 1979, where we find the seemingly sweet courtship of single mom Liz Kendall (Lily Collins) on the part of Ted Bundy (Zac Efron), who seems like an ideal dream man when they meet and seems to be a loving and nurturing father figure to her young daughter over the years. Things take a turn when Bundy leaves their home in Seattle to attend law school in Utah, especially when he gets tagged as a suspect in a kidnapping and murder case that he fits the description of, though the facts don’t quite align enough for him to be the definitive culprit. Elizabeth stays by his side, but Bundy continues to do things that seem to further sink him into legal troubles, making her wonder if he is the serial killer in disguise, or if all of it is the elaborate frame job by overzealous law enforcement seeking to put him away without incontrovertible evidence to nail him for good. Bundy soon becomes a bit of a media darling, with groupies across the country falling under his dreamy spell, including Carole Ann Boone (Kaya Scodelario), who becomes Bundy’s lover and source of strength at a time when Liz has decided to keep her distance.


Avengers: Endgame (2019) | Joe & Anthony Russo



Endgame starts in a world following “the snap” delivered by Thanos that extinguished half of all life within the galaxy in an instant, without a trace, in his effort to bring what he feels is a much-needed balance and tranquility caused by overcrowding interests.  After a brief intro, we fast forward five years to find a world that has had trouble moving on from the loss of their many loved ones, especially the surviving Avengers (conveniently, all the characters that comprised of the first core team are among them), who feel a particular sense of guilt for not being able to save the billions they were sworn to protect.  However, a new idea develops to find a way to reverse the situation through a risky and highly improbable gambit in which they must try to traverse time and space to re-connect all of the Infinity Stones and bring back all of those who vanished without losing the good things that have happened since that fateful day. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner, and many, many, many, MANY more appear in this massive crossover event.


Hellboy (2019) | Neil Marshall



In this Neil Marshall reboot, we already have an established the scarlet-bodied Hellboy (David Harbour) as part of the B.P.R.D. (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense), working for his adoptive father, Professor Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), in corraling and eradicating malevolent supernatural menaces wherever they may arise around the world. Hellboy reunites with Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), a powerful medium, and a cat-beast man named Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), in order to prevent the Blood Queen from Arthurian times named Nimue (Milla Jovovich) from taking a mate and growing powerful enough to finally take over the world and eliminate the human presence upon it once and for all.


The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018) | Terry Gilliam



Film-maker Terry Gilliam has finally made it to the finish line with his seemingly quixotic quest to make a film version of Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”, decades in the making.  Adam Driver is the main star, playing a hot-shot hothead director named Toby, who is attempting to shoot a commercial in Los Sueños (aka, “The Dreams”), Spain with elements of Miguel de Cervantes’ epic, “Don Quixote”. He’s been down this road before, a decade prior, shooting it as a low-budget student film when he was humble and first getting his taste of the movie-making business.  He had the perfect Don Quixote for his film, a show repairman named Javier (Jonathan Pryce) that he discovered and had to mold into some sort of actor.  Now, many years later, Toby sees the aftermath of what he left behind in the small village he once shot in, finding Javier now actually thinking he is the true Don Quixote.  What’s worse, he believes (and truly insists) that Toby is his squire, Sancho Panza. From there, fiction becomes fact, as Toby finds himself on a wild ride in trying to corral Don Quixote to sanity, all the while he himself begins to question his own grasp on reality with a series of adventures that may or may not be a fantasy of his own.


Pet Sematary (2019) | Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer



Pet Sematary is the second film adaptation of the Stephen King novel first published in 1983. The premise involves a family of four who relocate from the hustle and bustle of Boston to a small town in Maine called Ludlow on a wide parcel of land that includes many acres of wooded forest. It’s in that forest that their daughter Ellie (Jete Laurence) discovers a cemetery for beloved pets of people in the surrounding area, going back decades, including one belonging to their elderly neighbor Jud (John Lithgow).  Turns out they may need the use of the cemetery, as their kind kitty named Church gets run over, causing the father, Louis (Jason Clarke), to have to bury the cat, though he can’t quite bring himself to tell Ellie and break her heart. Jud doesn’t want to see that happen and suggests burying Church in a special place far deeper into the woods. Lo and behold, Church is back with the family the next day, but it’s clear he’s not quite himself anymore.


Shazam! (2019) | David Sandberg



In this lighthearted DCEU entry, Billy Batson is a trouble-making fourteen-year-old living in a foster home in Philadelphia, having been abandoned by a young mother he’s been searching for since she left him at a crowded carnival many years prior. One day, the sleuthing prankster gets transported after an act of bravery to another realms to meet a powerful and reclusive wizard, who has been on a long-term search for someone pure of heart to pass on his magical powers to. The wizard bestows upon Billy the power to turn into an muscle-bound, adult-bodied, costumed superhero by using his name of “Shazam!” Along with his superhero-loving best friend in the foster home, Freddy, the still adolescent-minded Billy has plenty of fun in discovering his new powers and all of the things he can do with them, from buying beer to giving the school bullies some comeuppance. However, things get serious with the emergence of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, once past over as unworthy by the wizard and seeking to usurp them from Billy, along with the cabal of demon-like possessors within him, representing the Seven Deadly Sins who plan to come to power with Sivana as their vessel to the outside world.