Tag Archives: Ian McShane

Hellboy (2019) Blu-Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Hellboy Review

Director: Neil Marshall
Writers: Andrew Cosby (screenplay by), Mike Mignola (based on the Dark Horse Comic Book “Hellboy” created by)
Starring David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, Thomas Haden Church

I should be up-front and state I’ve never seen either of Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy movies, for no other reason than I simply never got around to it. I don’t read comics, either, so I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about the character, his origins or even the basic premise.

I only mention this because the shadows of Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman loom large over the newly-rebooted Hellboy, especially since the corpses of the originals aren’t really that cold yet. But as someone with no basis for comparison, I don’t carry any preconceived expectations or fanboy baggage. However, I’ve enjoyed some of director Neil Marshall’s previous films – The Descent, in particular. He’s no del Toro, but at the very least, it would probably be watchable. All that being said, while Hellboy won’t ever be mistaken for a masterpiece, I can’t say I was disappointed.

An unrecognisable David Harbour plays the titular character, a gruff, trash-talking manbeast who was born in Hell, but rescued and raised to be a demon-slayer by his adoptive father, Trevor Bruttenhorn (Ian McShane). Refreshingly, this isn’t yet-another origin story. Not directly, anyway. Other than a few flashbacks and an amusingly-outlandish revelation of Hellboy’s aristocratic lineage, the story focuses on the present, where the world is threatened by the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich), a sorceress once defeated and dismembered by King Arthur. Hellboy himself figures into her agenda, a seduction which has him questioning his loyalties (tempted by the likes of Jovovich, who can blame him?).

He isn’t working alone, though, getting help from plucky young medium Alice (Sasha Lane) and Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), who turns into a jaguar when he’s pissed off (though he tries like hell not to). I couldn’t tell you if they’re also lifted from the comic, but both are interesting, the latter being particularly amusing when he finally gives in to his animal side. Speaking of amusing, as someone unfamiliar with Hellboy lore, the overall tone of this film is quite similar to Deadpool. Though not as consistently funny or uproariously vulgar, it has its moments, unquestionably earning its R-rating through perpetual profanity and buckets of blood & gore. Visually, Hellboy is typical of most CGI-heavy action films, save for one wonderful sequence where our hero battles three carnivorous giants, which looks almost like Terry Gilliam took over the director’s chair while Marshall was out grabbing a smoke.

As Hellboy himself, Harbour gives a serviceable performance, but buried under that much make-up, just about anybody of similar size and able to adequately deliver their lines could have played the character. I suspect the general fan consensus will be that he’s no Ron Perlman, similar to my view that Kane Hodder made the best Jason Voorhees.

At just over two-hours, the film could have used some trimming, particularly during the middle act, which tends to meander a bit. Still, I found this version of Hellboy enjoyable enough on its own terms. That may be faint praise for die-hard fans of the comic series or del Toro’s films, some who probably had their minds made-up before watching a single frame of this one. But for those who don’t know Hellboy from Hellraiser, it’s an agreeably gory way to spend an evening.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) Movie Review By The Movie Couple

John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum Review

Director: Chad Stahelski
Writers: Derek Kolstad (screenplay by), Shay Hatten (screenplay by)
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane

Movie Couple here!  We went to see John Wick Chapter Three Parabellum this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.
Mrs. Movie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum continues the adventures of the World’s Most feared assassin, the Baba Yaga, John Wick.  When last we saw the reluctant killer, he was declared EXCOMUNICADO by the order of assassins (The High Table?) and was given a one hour reprieve before essentially every killer in the world would be able to act on an astronomical bounty placed on his head.  Not only that, but he now would have no access to any rights and privileges normally bestowed upon those in his line of work (All amply demonstrated in the two previous films).  That is all one needs to know about the plot of Parabellum, as the plot starts immediately from the conclusion of Chapter Two.  It should go without saying that one should see BOTH John Wick and John Wick Chapter Two in order to follow the various points and characters seen in this movie, but if one is looks for kick ass action and doesn’t care about the setting or plot I believe you could still enjoy this film, but I’m positive you’ll go back and watch the first two afterwards!  Keanu Reeves reprises his role as the titular assassin supreme.  Ian McShane, Lance Riddick and Laurence Fishburne also return as old allies of Mr. Wick.  We are blessed by the appearance of Angelica Houston as The Director, a woman tied to John’s very mysterious past.  We are also introduced to new adversaries in Marc Dacascos as Ninja Assassin Zero and Asia Kate Dillion as The Adjudicator who brings new layers to the already deep world of John Wick (Wickerverse?)  As you may expect, bullets fly, blood is spilt, head’s explode, knives are stuck!  Kung Fu/Karate is utilised!  The action is on par with the other Wick films and does not disappoint.  At this point the action is the draw, but the world building these movies have managed to create keeps growing and drawing the fans in.  This movie sheds some light into John’s past (We don’t spoil here) and continues to build on the franchises unique world.  In that aspect it continues to succeed.  At other times it leaves us wondering…..Just how many times can we see a person get shot in the head?  Directed by Chad Stahelski the movie seamlessly takes us from the end of Chapter Two right into Chapter Three as if watching one long movie, which is the point!  The action scenes, especially the first quarter of the film as John attempts to flee New York with his life is filled with one spectacular action sequence after another.  Just amazing.  Later we meet characters old and new (including Halle Berry in a role that looks to be heading for a spinoff) that extends John’s odyssey across the globe.  So now much like the famous John Wick line “Am I back?  Yeah, I’m thinking I’m back!”  for more Wick!  But is it good?  Give me your coin, check into the Continental and lets discuss!

So here we go!

Mr. Movie Couple:  I love the Wick films and this one did not let me down.  The beginning section, as John escapes New York, is all frantic, kinetic chase and combat scenes.  Demonstrating John’s ability to improvise and utilise blades just as well as he does guns.  In a film full of action combat scenes these were my favourite.  The question with all John Wick movies is does one stay invested as John cuts down faceless enemy after faceless enemy?  The first film kept us rooting for John’s revenge, the second also had us pulling to see John avenge himself against the smug puppeteer that forced him back into the game.  Chapter Three was missing that for me.  It has no clear cut enemy to root against.  We are all pulling for John naturally, but while the Adjudicator was an interesting addition to the assassin world of Wick, she is of course simply doing her job.  Even the Ninja Master assassin Zero, who had a very interesting  quirk of being a Wick fanboy while attempting to kill him (which I think could have been played up to an even higher level) was cool but we didn’t yearn for John to drop him.  It seemed more inevitable than actually satisfying.  That would be my only fault in an otherwise great action flick.  Wick Three lacked a villain we just couldn’t wait to see John take out!  That and I felt in an attempt to humanise our hero he began to lose that dread that was associated with even mentioning his name that was so painstakingly built up in the previous two films.  Some respect seemed to be falling from the Wick persona in exchange to see him as an underdog  Still and all a fantastic action film and one I would recommend, but despite being great I found it to be the weakest of the Wick entries were I forced to rank them. Reeves still presents a character to remember for years to come.  His John Wick remains a cinema legend in the making

Mrs. Movie Couple:  She enjoyed it far more than she expected to!  Having only seen Wick 1 and 2 at home (before this Movie Couple endeavour) she knew what to expect going in. Action, especially on the level of a John Wick movie is usually not her cup of tea, but she loved the first Wick with its romance angle and loss of the now famous dog.  She nearly teared up seeing John miss his wife in the way he did.  The next two chapters , while motivated by those moments, have distanced themselves from them to the point that she misses John’s true motivation in the sequels. This one even more so than the previous.  This one has far less heart she said after the film.  She likes how these films go out of the way to show that no one innocent are killed.  Each and every victim knew the world they were entering and take part in it willingly. She really took notice of the break in the fight between John and Zero that stopped in its tracks as a school bus of children passed between them. Overall she loved Reeves as an actor, falling in love with Theodore Logan oh so many years ago (Be Excellent to each other) and she loves the performances of the Continental staff Mr.’s McShane and Riddick but she found this instalment a bit boring and in her words, did not advance the story enough for her tastes.  Overall she didn’t hate it or wish to leave, but it was just OK and a severe drop off from Chapters 1 and 2.

On the way home, we did continue to talk of the Wickerverse, or World of Wick.  The Continental(s) and the Adjudicator were the points most discussed. The drive home always clarifies how we felt about a movie.  Silence is not golden, silence is bad.  We were not silent after Wick 3.  I give it 5 Bills, could have gone 6 if a better villain had been delivered. The Mrs. gives it 3 Bills, So we give John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum 4 Bills!  I say take my money!  I look forward to another visit to the Wick Universe (which sort of is teased)!  She says Meh.  So we’ll go with an average of Pretty Good!  Money well spent.

So until the next date night, which Mrs Movie Couple says will be her choice, so look forward to Aladdin or Rocketman, but I may get a chance to drag her to Godzilla King of the Monsters first so wish me luck!  We will see you next time!  Movie Coupe out!

Hercules (2014) Movie Burner Review By Darrin Gauthier


Director: Brett Ratner
Writers: Ryan J. Condal (screenplay by), Evan Spiliotopoulos (screenplay by)
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane

Plot:  Having endured his legendary twelve labours, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 59%   Audience 48%

Why I Watched It: To be honest, I saw this on iTunes, it was on sale to rent for $1.99, and I had forgotten this was even made, I saw it and was like oh yeah, it does have a very good cast as well.

Random Thoughts: Sword and Sandal movies are tricky at best one would say they’re a forgotten or even dead genre but much like the Western every once in awhile a studio will through one out.  Now I grew up on these movies, my mother was a fan so I saw a ton of these, some cheesy some very good, I even saw Gladiator in the theatre with my mother.  Like I said she was a fan of the genre.  Now with that being said Hercules is kind of done to death and really the character is kind of bland and cliched now.  With that being said if any modern actor was born to play Hercules it’s Dwayne Johnson.

What I Liked: Two things really surprised me was one-It has a very good cast and a league of nations of actors here, two of my favourite British actors Ian McShane and John Hurt, and I’ve always liked Rufus Sewell and it’s nice to see him play a good guy. Two-They did do something different, these is a team movie, a group a band of warriors not just Hercules sure he’s the lead but it did breathe some new life into the character.  Also introducing the myth and legend part was smart, a tad meta but it was a different way of looking at it.  So they ask was Hercules really Hercules as we were told or was the legend bigger than the man.

The acting here is very good for this type of movie and the acting alone keeps it from being a dumb B-Movie, nothing wrong with that but this is done better and the actors are in gauged.   There’s one seen that would seem standard and over the top, the tea is captured and the evil bad guys are threatening to kill Rebeca Ferguson, now you have her trying to save her sons life, John Hurt screaming vile things, Dwayne Johnson trying to tear down giant pillars and Ian McShayne speaking calmly to Hercules, it’s a scene on paper I would roll my eyes but everyone is so good the scene really worked and that shocked me. I really liked the film and that scene brought it home for me. I Want to point out this was before The Mission Impossible movie Rebecca Ferguson was in so she wasn’t as well known in North America but I really like here, she can play cool but she’s not cold she’s likeable and she has a real presence on screen.  I also liked seeing Ingrid Bolso Berdal who was also very good but didn’t have enough to do.
The action was good and for me the best part was the team element, breaking cliches here they don’t show us the team being formed they’re already together and we learn their stories.

What I Didn’t Like: The effects were iffy at times and did take me out of the film at times, some of the monsters looked cheap and some of the fire and effects took away from the action, clearly they paid the actors more than the special effect team. Say what you want about Brett Ratner, I will stick to him as a director, he’s sometimes called a hack and sometimes worse for me he’s a director for hire and is fine but a better director could have raised the bar a bit.  The only other nitpick, they do a twist that you see coming a mile away and kind of made the team look a little bit dumb and also the casting of Joseph Fiennes kind of told us what is character would become, look you see him for like five minutes you know he’s coming back to play a bigger part.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed it, a very fun popcorn movie, it caught me up in the action and characters and I enjoyed it.

Rating: 8/10

The Hollow Point (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier


Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Writer: Nils Lyew
Stars: Lynn CollinsIan McShanePatrick Wilson

Plot:  A new sheriff of a small town along the U.S. & Mexico border investigates a drug cartel deal that went horribly wrong.

Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics  31%    Audience 32%

Why I Watched it: Mainly the cast, I hadn’t heard about this film until it debuted on Netflix Canada.

Random Thoughts: A little trivia to start off Patrick Wilson replaced Timothy Olyphant, it would have been a Deadwood reunion with Ian McShane, that would have been cool nothing against Patrick Wilson.  This is an odd film, not exactly what I thought it would be and going in this isn’t a drug cartel movie per say they’re moving bullets not drugs.

What I liked: This is going to be a hard movie to review cause there’s a lot of stuff to like but right beside it is stuff that just doesn’t work at all, it’s a love/hate movie for sure.  The acting is good across the board, honestly Ian McShane might be one of the most watchable actors working today, he reminds me of John Hurt no matter what they do, role genre they just own it.  He’s good in here and I kind of wish the film was about him.  I like Patrick Wilson he’s a solid actor and he’s done some very good genre work and he’s good here but the script and direction does his character no favors.  The action is violent and sudden I will say I was surprised at a couple of things, I rarely jump but it got me.  Leguizamo plays a scary killer in this for like ¾ of the film he doesn’t talk.  Spooky character, very driven.  Jim Belushi is a good slimy bad guy, he looks terrible and is clearly having fun.  The set up of this small border town is nicely done.

What I didn’t Like: There’s a lot wrong with this film and it’s too bad it has some good stuff in it and it had some promise but the script and direction is not very good here, it’s a case where the film didn’t cut together so much stuff is stilted or uneven, scenes don’t make sense together.  The one character hurt the most is played by Lynn Collins, an actress I like but here she doesn’t have a character, she has two things, she should leave town and she was in a relationship with Patrick Wilson, that’s all we know, why did they break up?  Why did she get involved with another guy?  Does she still care for Wilson?  Same with Wilson’s character he is from the small town and has come back, we don’t know why he left or why he’s back.  When I say scenes don’t cut together here’s a prime example McShane is trying to get info from Belushi, Belushi shoots him, McShane walls over in his chair, Belushi stands over him.  End of scene.  So we assume McShane is dead, wait for it, later McShane is shown with his shirt open with a bullet proof vest on, he’s talking to Wilson about Belushi shooting him, now Belushi isn’t arrested, so the question is how did McShane get out of that spot, he’s shot by a guy in the guy’s office yet gets out without either one being dead?  So Belushi just let him leave and then they go back after each other.  Also the big smuggler the bullets and the whole money thing is never fully explained.  By the end everyone is trying to kill each other for $250,000.

Final Thoughts: It has it moments and I would say see it for Ian McShane alone, but this is a bit of a mess, it doesn’t hang together very well.

Rating: 5/10

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin


Director: Chad Stahelski
Writers: Derek Kolstad
Stars: Keanu Reeves,  Riccardo Scamarcio,  Ian McShane

John Wick returns or should that be forced back to the criminal underworld to repay a debt to Santino D’Antonio played by Riccardo Scamarcio. Having reviewed the first film only a few short months ago it was always my intention to follow it up and the second chapter’s release announcement is which motivated me to go back and watch the original film in preparation for its sequel.

John Wick Chapter 2 pits Wick (Keanu Reeves) relentless character against the criminal underworld once more. Reeves once again proves that his character is a force to be reckoned with in the sequel that is in my opinion every bit as fun as the original movie. Every once in a while an action film comes along that can either go two ways. Keeping in mind that most action films you find that you have to put your brain a suspended animation kennel (yeah yeah I nicked that from Back to the Future Part II) and accepted the genre for what it is. These movies are either done very well or……they aren’t. It’s as simple as that I’m afraid.

Artistically this sequel holds up to its original. The style of cinematography, the choreography, the action sequences and the direction I could go on about but if you have already read my review on John Wick you would accuse me of repeating myself. In fact now, you are probably accusing me of being Last and forcing you back to read a previous review….what can I say? Chad Stahelski hits the ground running in the next chapter of the man the criminals call “The Boogieman” The feel and tone of the film is very much in line with the first. It’s vibrant colors (especially within the layers of the amphitheater scenes are visually pleasing on the eye and surprisingly compliment the violence and chaos within those scenes.

The sound is amazing and not only adds another layer to the action sequences but and especially with the weapons used. I thought the scene with Wick and Cassian (Common) having a stand off that results in the use of silencers in very public places surprisingly amusing and after all the violence in this sequence, topping it of is both of them going to the bar to have a drink and cool off. The sequel was always going to be bigger and better and with most sequels it doesn’t disappoint when the director and writers want to expand on the characters stories and relationships within this underworld. Also pleasing was involving the majority of the cast from the original John Wick. If I had one bugbear in comparisons was probably the sequences were a little more drawn out than in the first movie and again it’s just nitpicking as I always enjoyed the straightforward approach Reeves character portrays in the original.

Although it didn’t come as a surprise thanks to the trailer that was released was the inclusion of the new character Bowery King played by Laurence Fishburne who although had limited screen time I believe that the character has been planted in there and will resume a larger role in the sequel which has only been announced not that long ago and is scheduled for a 2019 release date. Fishburne as you know never disappoints and with Reeves and Fishburne working so brilliantly in the past you are not surprised that both actors chemistry is still there but a nice twist to their relationship would be to put them up against each other in the next movie, but we shall see.

The villain portrayed by Riccardo Scamarcio is convincing enough and is a different kettle of fish to the villain in the first movie. Scamarcio’s portrayal of D’Antonio is more sophisticated and calculated than Michael Nyqvist’s Viggo Tarasov who very much like the villain in Taken 2 is an underground boss and father seeking revenge. Here D’Antonio is calling in Wick’s debt in hiring him as an assassin on D’Antonio’s own sister in a bizarre and twisted move to gain more power “at the table” Also returning is Winston (Ian McShane) but this time having more screentime and dialogue. I always enjoyed this character from the first movie and felt McShane’s talents were slightly underused. Here we see Winston having more say, offering more advice to “Jonathan” and adding to this world.

Overall, John Wick Chapter 2 is a very good sequel that holds up well to the original and at no point do you detect within the characters “we’re back, bigger and louder and cockier than ever” feel to it that always annoyed me in another Reeves franchise that I won’t mention but rhymes with “The Zatrix”. Chapter 2 feels more like a continuation of an already solid storyline and the audience right away is drawn back into the trials and tribulations of Mr Wick. If there was one negative I have already mentioned and that was the pacing and duration of some of the fighting sequences but this doesn’t ruin the film in anyway. If you have already watched the first film, I would highly recommend in watching the continuing story of a John Wick. Highly recommended.

John Wick (2014) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin


Directors: Chad Stahelski,  David Leitch (uncredited)
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, and Willem Dafoe.

Ex-hitman John Wick comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.

The story follows Wick as the assassin returning to his old life by circumstances out of his control. John Wick was an exciting movie portraying him as a one man army who will stop at nothing until he seeks vengeance on those who have wronged him.

Keanu Reeves, despite having an impressive career, might not be the most dynamic actor. However, with great directing by Chad Stahelski and brilliant writing from Derek Kolstad, Reeves performs amazingly.

This is one of Reeves’ best roles since The Matrix as Mr ’The One’ Neo Anderson. He brings an air of confidence along with quiet yet forceful violence. Reeves displays good emotion and conviction as the character, and he also moves with certainty like a hitman would. Although it is predominantly action sequences, John Wick is also equipped with some emotional baggage. (Dog lovers will know what I mean by this)

The story is very straightforward and in the mould of films like The Equaliser or Taken. The main character is antagonised and has to make everything okay again. It’s that simple, but the trick is on the execution of the story. John Wick works well for a few reasons with the first being that this character is down Reeves street. There is a sadness Keanu Reeves brings to the film that works perfectly as you can’t help but cheer each time one of the bad guys is taken out. Viewers will also remember his devotion to his wife, which Reeves was able to project very well without words. He was sincerely in those touching scenes.

Michael Nyqvist is also excellent as Viggo Tarasov the Russian mobster and he too makes you believe his character. Willem Dafoe although used sparingly is also brilliant in his supporting role as Marcus, who is there for Wick as support after his wife passes.

One of the best things in this movie is the flair, fluidity and the clear focus and precision of the visuals (thanks to cinematographer Jonathan Sela) that are stunning and leave you gasping for more action. More ofter than not other movies employ a shaky camera or uncoordinated editing that ignore even the slightest of continuity that the eagle eyes out there notice. Credit to the movies editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir for the way the movie just flows particularly in those action sequences

Another important factor in what makes this movie so slick other than the visual and the editing is the way the sequences are choreographed. Keanu Reeves is no stranger to well executed action scenes in movies like Speed and The Matrix (remember he was part of the big thing back in 1999…..bullet time) Here the action is almost video game’esque but believable that reminded me of the scene in Kick-Ass with Hit Girl wearing night vision google and the execution is similar.

With the sequel being released in a few weeks time we wait with anticipation whether or not John Wick II will stand up against the original or perhaps surpass it. The movie has been out for 3 years now and if you haven’t seen it I recommend you do. Keanu Reeves is back with a bang.