Monday, 13 February 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2. A hitman's renaissance.

Friday evening and I’m at the Gala Screening of John Wick: Chapter 2. I was a little late to the party for the first film, but I certainly wasn’t going to miss out a second time round!

In the midst of a dreadful cold and feeling quite sorry for myself I brave the bitter cold and take my place in the audience.

There really is a quite buzz, as I plonk myself right, slap bang in the middle of the isle; my favourite spot.

I’m looking around and thinking; he’s here you know. Keanu Reeves. I reckon he’s going to introduce the film.

And before I know it, the doors open and in walks the director Chad Stahelski, followed by leading man Keanu Reeves.

Standing adjacent to his director but slightly to the back of the stage, my first impressions are that this leading man is a shy and unassuming man.

“We love you Keanu!” Came a voice from the audience; a male voice. But he’s right: we do!

This isn’t a film review but more of a study into why I think that John Wick: Chapter 2 is so well crafted, and what makes it a success in my eyes.

The world of John Wick is about precision and elegant execution; and so is the film itself.

With stunning choreography in every aspect, not just the fight scenes, but the fluidity of the camera moves and exquisite production design.

John Wick: Chapter 2 achieves the perfect balance of being utterly brutal but not taking itself too seriously.

Without a doubt the original movie was stylish and stylised, but the sequel ups the ante as we are immersed in Italian renaissance. Full of opulence and elegance I can’t help but feel that the renaissance serves as a metaphor for Wicks own revival, even if it is reluctant.

The emotional core of this film is love. An exploration into grief. And for all the extremities of violence within John Wick, that thankfully we as an audience will never experience. We can as an audience relate to love and bereavement which certainly anchors this story.

I think this film also teaches us about taking responsibility and being accountable for our actions.

And what of our anti-hero John Wick? He is ruthless, relentless and yet we root for the retired hitman. Why? Is it because he’s worked hard to redeem himself, found the right path, found something we all aspire to find: happiness. Only to be prematurely robbed of it. So now we find a simple man lost in grief.

And the actor that plays him, Keanu Reeves.  Someone who has had such an interesting career, who has a fine body of work in his portfolio. He is so believable as John Wick, and his maturity as an actor allows him to bring this vulnerability and honesty. Perhaps his own relentlessness bleeds into his character, which is why it he is so believable.

And boy doesn’t Keanu wear’s a suit well?!

I mentioned earlier about the cinematography and the production design; they really do work in symphony with each other. The saturated colours amplify the extremities and compliments the surrealism of the film. 

This film is not a comedy, but it does now how to laugh at itself and allows itself to have fun, it balances the high octane action and humour again, with precision.

John Wick and with John Wick: Chapter 2 both successfully take you on an edge of your seat journey of pure escapism and entertainment. What more can you ask for.

I urge you to go to the cinema and support this movie and make up your own mind I Would love to hear your thoughts in comments below. Enjoy it as much as I did!   

Words by Claire Bueno

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER TWO bursts onto UK cinema screens from February 17, 2017

Monday, 6 February 2017

Vin Diesel takes care of his own at the European Premiere of xXx: Return of Xander Cage

Hollywood superstar, Vin Diesel sweeps into the Dockland’s, O2 Arena by helicopter, to join thousands of adoring fans, as he promotes his new film, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, at the European Premiere.

Arriving at 7pm; a fashionably 45 minutes late, only builds anticipation, as fans roar with cheers, as the 49 year old, A-Lister, walks the ‘white’ carpet.

“It’s so obvious that that’s something that bleeds from Vin, into the movie. You take care of your own, man,” says Diesel.

“You lead from the top, and show as much love as you possibly can.”

And show love, and take of his own, is what he does, as he signs autographs and poses for selfies, with the crowds.

Reprising the leading role after a 15 year gab, Diesel also takes the mantle as producer, this time round.

The film also heralds a diverse cast, ready to kick ass, including Deepika Padukone, Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa, Ruby Rose and Michael Bisping.

“When I look at women in my life and in the world, I feel today that women are so strong; not that they haven’t been, but I feel that woman have found a voice,” says 31 year old, Bollywood Queen, Padukone.

“I think for me Serina Unger in xXx is a representation of that. She can be delicate, feminine and fragile, but she can also be really strong and stand up for herself.”

The Fast and Furious star, also takes fans and press by surprise, by recording the whole event on his mobile phone.

Broadcasting to a further 2 million people on Facebook Live, the action hero, encourages East End crowds to interact and engage with audiences across the globe.

Words by Claire Bueno

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Rogue One: My Star Wars Story.

Monday evening and I receive an email. “Claire, I’ve spoken to Disney and you’re accredited for Rogue One.”

Wow! For any child of the ‘70’s, Star Wars holds a great affection. And for a lover of film like myself, to attend a red carpet for a film containing some of the most exciting actors of our generation Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen, this is welcome news.

Accreditation is the process by which each member of the press gains permission to report at a film premiere. Competition is always fierce, so the force was with us when we secured a spot.

Tuesday evening, we attend the secret location, now revealed as the Tate Modern, which only adds to the anticipation. Walking through security, we collect our press passes and enter a huge room with oppressive, grey concrete walls that closely resemble, dare I say the corridors of the Death Star. Clusters of journalists wait in pockets chatting amongst themselves; until our positions are revealed and we all swarm to towards the press pen.

Thirty minutes pass and the film talent enter and are dispersed; ushered to various members of the press. Waiting for film talent is like waiting for a bus, there’s nothing for ages and then they all come at once and they’re gone just as fast, so you have to be quick.

The flutter of nervous excitement disappears, as brain is engaged. With my head focused on business, I monitor their movements as they're herded like sheep. My prize for the night, Ben Mendelsohn. First up intense Forest Whitaker, boom; one question to Diego Luna, boom; surprisingly serious Riz Ahmed, boom; gifted, Ben Mendelsohn, yes! Breath caught.  The ever erudite Felicity Jones and captivating Mads Mikkelsen, boom.

Adrenaline pumping, another thrilling, fulfilling night of interviews complete.

Words by Claire Bueno