John Wick (2014) & The Neon Demon (2016) Movie Reviews

With John Wick: Chapter 2 coming out, I figured I better review the first film (which I finally watched a few months ago). So I wrote the below review. After writing it, I then watched The Neon Demon. I must say that John Wick has gone up in my estimation since seeing The Neon Demon. Every movie EVER MADE has now gone up in my estimation since seeing The Neon F*%#ing Demon!!!!! Let’s talk about these, shall we…?

John Wick (2014)

Directed by Chad Stahelski & David Leitch

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.

My Opinion:

I love Keanu Reeves. And, apparently, I’m not alone. I was very surprised when a list I did last year of My Top Ten Keanu Reeves Movies was one of my most viewed & most shared posts. Yay! Everyone loves Keanu! I honestly didn’t realize he was so popular.

So I made that list having not yet seen John Wick or The Neon Demon and figured I could update it once I’ve watched them. Well, I’ve now updated the list. I can tell you that The Neon Demon sure as SHIT doesn’t make the top ten (it’s atrocious). Unfortunately, John Wick doesn’t quite manage to break into my top ten either. It’s very close! I’ve put it at 12 but it’s probably hovering around the 10, 11 or 12 range depending on my mood… So there you go – I’m sure you were all dying to know my final official ranking of Keanu Reeves films! 😉

John Wick is a really fun action film. It was what I expected in being all style over substance so that didn’t bother me at all. We all need to turn off our brains sometimes & just watch a fun action flick! I think I was just disappointed that it wasn’t as much fun or as stylish as I’d been expecting in order for it to make up for that lack of substance. It’s an okay film but comes absolutely nowhere near Keanu’s best. This is no The Matrix or Speed and it’s especially no Point Break (Point Break rules!). Damn. But, man, I loved that puppy. Cutest puppy EVER! I’m giving this movie a slightly higher rating simply because of the puppy. A BEAGLE. A SNOOPY puppy!!!!!


Wook at that wittle face!

I do know how to enjoy a fun “popcorn” movie and, no, I wasn’t expecting Oscar-quality writing or acting in John Wick. However, I needed to know the character of John Wick a little better in order to care about him & his quest for vengeance. We get some flashbacks of his wife and, of course, we meet his adorable puppy. However, we didn’t get much of his backstory. I felt like I didn’t know a thing about him by the end other than that he was sad about his dead wife (not a spoiler – she’s already dead at the beginning of the movie). I mean, he’s a (former) killer. Right? How is he any better than the many, many (many) people he proceeds to kill throughout this film? Because a cute puppy licked his face & he loved his pretty wife?

Okayyyy – I fully admit to falling asleep in the middle of this like I often do during films at home so maybe I missed something (I’m a parent. I’m exhausted). 😉 Why did he retire? For love? Or because he developed a conscience? I hope that was the reason… The only way I can describe it is this: I sometimes watch a movie and feel like I’ve jumped right into the middle of it and missed a bunch of the beginning where they’ve set up the characters & the story. I felt that way 30 minutes into John Wick despite missing absolutely nothing from the start. I almost cared more about Willem Dafoe’s character (a great character, from the very little we get to know him – I’d love to know more about his previous relationship with Wick as well). Well, maybe we’ll find out more in the sequel? As fun as it is to watch some shoot-em-up non-stop action sometimes, I still want to know a little about the main character at the very least. If I care about him, I’ll get more enjoyment from his revenge. I do love a really good revenge movie! I liked John Wick well enough to watch the sequel but it’s a “wait for it to show up on Netflix” movie for me. (Although, initial reviews of the sequel are very good so maybe I can be talked into making a trip to the cinema for it. But the sequel puppy isn’t nearly as cute…!!!)

My Rating: 7/10

**SPOILERS. Kind of.**

The Neon Demon (2016)

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves

Plot Synopsis: Guy succeeds in making a decent film called Drive, which then gives him the freedom to make the biggest pile of shit I’ve seen since similar success for another writer led to the creation of the atrocious Jennifer’s Body. The Neon Demon makes Jennifer’s Body look good. 

My Opinion:

I called a movie that I reviewed last week a “load of pretentious bullshit” (the movie Comet). I now apologize profusely to that movie. I’d rather be strapped to a chair “Clockwork Orange-style” & forced to watch Comet 100 times than to ever have to even THINK about The Neon Demon again. I want to wipe this movie from my memory “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind-style“. I want to go back in time and, “Marty McFly-style”, tell myself it’s my destiny (density!) to NEVER watch The Neon Demon. I want to take a flame thrower to this movie “Ellen Ripley-style“. I want to get medieval on this movie’s ass “Marsellus Wallace- style“. I want to stick this movie’s head in a box “Gwyneth Paltrow-style“. I want to banish this movie to the cornfield “Twilight Zone-style“. I want this movie to eat itself, to puke itself up, to re-eat itself, to piss itself out, and to f*%k its own corpse “The Neon Demon-style“.

I can’t truly put into words just how much I hated The Neon Demon and its fake, derivative, shallow, pointless, pretentious aping of artistic masters such as Jodorowsky, Buñuel, Argento, von Trier, Cronenberg, Lynch, etc etc. Not everyone will be a fan of all of those I’ve named (I’m not even saying that I like them all myself) but, like their work or not, at least they did their own thing instead of making superficial & inferior copies of their influences.

I’ll give this movie an extra point for Elle Fanning, though, as I thought she did a decent job for her young age. Other than Fanning, everyone in this is now slightly ruined for me the next time I see them in other films (even Keanu, dammit). Still love him, though, so I’ll try to put this movie out of my mind. But I hope to never see Jena Malone in anything ever again so am very glad that I wasn’t a fan of hers in the first place. More than anything, I’m annoyed that this has tainted the movie Drive and especially that it has ruined Drive’s soundtrack for me, which I liked even more than the film. I’ve hated plenty of movies over the years but I don’t think there’s ever been one that I actually regretted seeing. The Neon Demon may very well be the first. In that regard, I suppose you at least have to give Nicolas Winding Refn credit for creating a film that generated some strong reactions from its’ viewers. I don’t mind movies with some shock value (of those I mentioned above, I do love a lot of Cronenberg’s work) but, to quote my husband, “The Neon Demon thinks it’s art when it’s merely just artifice”.

My Rating: 2/10

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Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy (2014) Review

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Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy (2014)

Directed by Peggy Holmes

Starring Voice Actors:
Mae Whitman
Tom Hiddleston
Christina Hendricks
Megan Hilty
Lucy Liu
Raven-Symoné
Anjelica Huston
Carlos Ponce

Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Running Time: 1 Hour 18 Minutes (Nice & short!)

Plot Synopsis:
Not much different from the other Tinker Bell movies. But with added pirates.

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My Opinion:

Okay, so… Like with Tinker Bell And The Secret Of The Wings (review HERE), I didn’t necessarily choose to go see this. However, it’s not too bad as far as Tinker Bell movies go. They’re all decent enough movies aimed at young girls. This one is definitely better than Secret Of The Wings and probably as strong as the very first film (where Tinker Bell was born? Or the one with the little girl? I don’t know – there are a lot of these now & I confuse them!). What I’m saying is, it’s one of the better ones. And while Tinker Bell movies are always going to be “girl” movies, this one at least won’t be a bad one for any brothers to have to sit through as well since it has the pirate thing going on. It’s a decent boy one! Bring your daughters AND sons if you want!

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Zarina is a new fairy that we meet in this film (psst – she’s the “pirate fairy” in the tale. I mean, she’s on the poster). She’s a decent character and I guess her curiosity (She likes to experiment with creating different forms of pixie dust. This is at the very beginning of the film so I’m not being spoiler-y) sets a good example to girls that they can be interested in science & things like that. She’s a little like Tinker Bell in that way. And we of course get all the usual other fairies (Silvermist, Fawn, annoying Rosetta, etc) which I think has been a good thing about the Tinker Bell movies as they all have different personalities & “talents”. Speaking of the talents, there’s a clever little twist with that which I think was a fun thing to add to the film.

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I honestly don’t know if any adults will care and I also don’t know how much has been given away through Disney marketing but I still try to make my reviews as spoiler-free as possible. So all I’ll say is that I really like there finally being a link to the Peter Pan story again. Since they created all these Tinker Bell movies & all her fairy friends, they’ve really moved away from anything to do with Peter Pan. She’s from Peter Pan! I’ve sort of enjoyed the fact that Jake & The Neverland Pirates has much more to do with Peter Pan (Plus he was even in an episode. Yeah – I’ve had to watch that TV show as well. Don’t be jealous!). I liked seeing a hint of where the character of Tinker Bell comes from in this one. And there’s an adorable baby crocodile, which was one of my favorite bits of the film.

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Summary:

Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy is, well, definitely one of the better Tinker Bell movies and quite likely to be the favorite of the fathers of daughters who watch it over and over. The brothers of these girls won’t mind this one so much either. And HOORAY for the Peter Pan links and a more creative story than some of the other films. It’s not going to change the world and it’s not like it’s a Pixar film or something (those get 8 or 9 from me usually because *I* love them as much as any film aimed at adults) but it’s an enjoyable enough movie for your little ones and you MIGHT enjoy it a little bit too. Oh, and stay for a worthwhile scene partway through the credits. I heard some kids shout in excitement at it. 🙂

My Rating: 6/10

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