Warning: this review is long, and full of spoilers.
About a year and a half ago I was browsing through the comments on a random movie website, when suddenly I found myself in the middle of a heated debate. If there was ever going to be another Punisher reboot, who should be cast as the lead? It was a question that appealed to me, as The Punisher might very well be my favorite comic book character of all time, plus I enjoyed all three movies released between 1989 and 2008. So I threw myself into the debate and made sure my suggestion was heard loud and clear. If they do another Punisher, I said, I know of only one actor who’d be the perfect choice to play him. Then I changed my mind and said no, scratch that, David Hasselhoff would be too sexy and distracting, let’s give it to Frank Grillo instead. Or Jon Bernthal, maybe? He was pretty cool in that show with the zombies. He’d probably do a decent job.
And you know what, motherfuckers? I was right!
I’ll be honest, the first season of DAREDEVIL didn’t do much for me. I liked Charlie Cox (who would’ve thought the dorky British guy from STARDUST would be so effective as an American tough guy superhero?) and I enjoyed the gritty tone of the thing. The violence was hard-hitting and made the show feel much more dangerous and edgy than the big family-friendly blockbusters we’d been used to seeing from Marvel. Occasionally they would even throw in a well done action scene, like that single take hallway fight from the second episode. It made you sit up and take notice. Holy shit, we all said to ourselves. This might turn out to be something really special.
Well this one came out of nowhere. Just two months ago there was a single trailer and now here it is, a J.J. Abrams produced maybe-sorta sequel/prequel to CLOVERFIELD? A word of warning before reading this review: it’s full of spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film you might wanna steer clear.
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is the type of film where most enjoyment is had by not knowing a single thing about it. You don’t wanna know too much about the story, because it’s all about tension and surprises. You don’t wanna know what genre it is, because that could give you hints on what’s coming. You don’t even wanna know how high the budget was, or whether it’s got a PG 13 or an R rating, because that will tell you what they were and weren’t able to put in their film, which can severely lower the impact of certain scenes. And finally, least of all you want to know this thing is called 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE – because that will spoil the entire fucking ending for you.
In Wyoming, USA, a few years after the Civil War, nine strangers hole up in a tavern to seek refuge from a mighty blizzard. Nine, you say? Don’t worry, the title is still accurate because only eight of them are hateful. The other guy is actually quite pleasant. I’d buy him a beer, let him babysit my kids. Maybe not in that order.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT is Tarantino’s second western in a row and, like DJANGO UNCHAINED before it, is unflinching in its portrayal of the racism that was prevalent at the time. Initially the film was conceived as a sequel to DJANGO, but Tarantino decided early on to make it its own thing. He had no use for a moral center as he wanted every single character to be untrustworthy. In that respect his latest film has more in common with RESERVOIR DOGS than it does with DJANGO. It’s a bunch of paranoid people stuck in a room, talking, drinking and occasionally blowing each other’s brains out. It’s a mystery movie. One or more of these guys are not who they say they are, and a whole lot of blood is going to be spilled before the truth is revealed.
Rocky Balboa is back, but he’s no longer fighting wrestlers, dudes with mohawks or giant Russian supermen. This time he’s just here to coach. Maybe that didn’t go so well the first time he tried it (ROCKY V – always remember) but how can you say no when such a likeable young man comes knocking on your door? Especially when his last name sounds so very, very familiar…
What a brilliant idea to bring back the character of Rocky Balboa and have him coach the son of Apollo Creed, his greatest rival. I applaud director Ryan Coogler for having that idea, writing a script around it and convincing Stallone to be a part of it. That can’t have been easy. After all, ROCKY BALBOA was an amazing send-off for the character, directed by the man who played him. Coming back, especially in someone else’s film, meant risking that perfect ending – possibly tainting Rocky’s legacy forever. But Stallone went for it, and I totally understand why. Because there was one last logical step left for his character to take in order to come full circle and complete Rocky’s cinematic journey. That step is CREED.