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Once upon a time in Venice (2017)

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SummaryOnce upon a time in Venice

Steve Ford is a down but not out L.A based Private Investigator whose professional and personal worlds collide after his loving pet Buddy is stolen by a notorious gang. A series of crazy circumstances find him doing the gang’s bidding, while being chased by two vengeful Samoan brothers, a loan shark’s goons, and a few other shady characters. They say a dog is a man’s best friend, and Steve shows how far a man will go to be reunited with him.

Genre : Action/Comedy
Country : USA

Cast :
Bruce Willis: Steve Ford
John Goodman : Dave
Jason Momoa : Spider

Director :
Mark Cullen

My opinion on “Once upon a time in Venice”

“Never fuck with a man’s dog.”

Either Venice Beach in L.A. is a tiny place at the ocean. Or Bruce Willis knows how to move around with incredibly speed. Because the pace at which he pops up in different places is impressive. Fortunately, it’s not full naked on a skateboard the whole time, because that wasn’t a pretty sight. Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Aftermath“, you can see that aging is getting to Bruce Willis. The result is a set of not so tight buttocks. But they are still muscular enough to clamp a revolver in between.

Once upon a time in Venice
Again there’s a dog involved.

Once upon a time in Venice” is a fairly chaotic story where Steve Ford (Bruce Willis), a private detective who solves ludicrous cases most of the time, gets into a lot of trouble when his dog is being stolen by a local gang. Well, John Wick also shot a bunch of gangsters, after they’ve killed his cute little dog. Proof that you should be careful with dog owners. Before Steve realizes it, he needs to fullfill a few assignments to get his dog back. And trust me, a few of those clients look and act absolutely weird.

Once upon a time in Venice
Bruce had fun here.

Despite the satirical mood and some highly amusing characters, the whole story isn’t so impressive. Perhaps it was their intention to make an action comedy, but unfortunately the humorous section was quite disappointing and the action part was limited to a number of skirmishes in the end. To be honest, for once, it’s the enthusiasm of Bruce Willis‘s acting that surprised me. In this movie he doesn’t have that uninterested, tired look and nonchalant attitude as he demonstrated before in a few meaningless films. No, once again you could see him appear with his sympathetic, cheerful look while quoting a few one-liners (though they weren’t really witty). This time it felt as if the paycheck wasn’t the main reason for him to participate in this film. The movie poster reminded me immediately of “The Last Boy Scout“. Come to think of it. Wasn’t he planning to buy a dog for his wife in that movie as well? In all probability a coincidence, I guess.

Once upon a time in Venice
Give John Goodman a cigar
.

Personally I thought John Goodman (Did he loose weight?) stole the show as Steve’s sidekick. His character looks as if he came straight out of “The Big Lebowski“. A peculiar person and owner of a surf shop whose life is riding a fatalistic rollercoaster because of a messy divorce. But the moment he takes part in the action, as Steve’s partner, he’s as happy as a pig in shoes. The surprised look on his face when he sees Steve’s weapon arsenal, is comparable to his overall performance. It’s as if John Goodman didn’t really know why he was in this movie in the first place. Which made it even more funny. Also Jason Momoa (last seen in “Bad Batch” playing an interesting role) did a great job. On the one hand, a lame persiflage-like part. But because it was greatly exaggerated, it became funny as well. And in between, you’ll see a Jewish real estate owner called “Lew the Jew” (Adam Goldberg), who’s troubled by a fanatic graffiti artist who paints explicit pornographic artwork on his buildings.

Once upon a time in Venice
Kind of a relief to see Bruce Willis enjoying himself.

I often felt embarrassed about certain scenes while watching this movie. On the one hand, it was fun to see Bruce Willis acting with visible pleasure and without scruples. On the other hand, there were also some awkward performances to admire and the humorous level wasn’t comparable to what Willis had done in the past. Perhaps it was a movie unworthy of such an actor as Bruce Willis, but compared to the other monstrosities he appeared in in the recent past, this comedy/action movie was still a little bit of an improvement.

My rating 5/10
Links : IMDB

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Bad Boys: Ride Or Die Review – Smith and Lawrence Deliver Explosive Entertainment.

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Bad Boys: Ride or Die [credit: Sony Pictures Releasing]

Hollywood has been struggling as of late and a lot is riding on the success of the fourth installment of this beloved franchise. The directors Adil and Bilall have had a tough time after their last feature Batgirl was shelved, Sony is looking to move on from the Madame Web debacle and Smith is gearing up for his big comeback after the slap. Hollywood history also tells us that there aren’t a lot of franchises that are able to deliver blockbuster business in their fourth installments.

 

I went into this movie cautiously optimistic with Adil and Bilall returning to direct. They also directed the last entry, which turned out not only the highest-grossing movie in this franchise but also the highest-grossing movie of 2020, which are quite the achievements. This franchise is almost 30 years old now, but these two directors found a way to give it a modern touch while staying loyal to the legacy of these characters. In this entry, they take it up a notch and give us some of the most creative camera work and they never seem to run out of ideas throughout this movie.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die [credit: Sony Pictures Releasing]

The main attraction of these movies has always been the chemistry between Smith and Lawrence. Smith brings the style, and Lawrence brings the charm. As always, they are unreal together on screen and the movie is at its strongest when it is focusing on both of them. I was curious to see if the slap would affect Smith’s screen presence or his comic timing, but he seemed cool for the most part. Although, I did sense a hint of nervousness a couple of times. On the other hand, Martin Lawrence was having a blast.

 

Eric Dane is menacing as our main villain here, which is also thanks to the directors’ presentation of his character. Jacob Scipio is awesome in action sequences, while Alexander Ludwig and Vanessa Hudgens are great together. Rhea Seehorn and Ioan Gruffudd are our other new additions to this entry, but both of them seemed nowhere near their best. It was mostly due to the fact that they were portraying unlikeable, cliche, and predictable characters. But the real MVP here is Reggie. He gets his moment and it is awesome. There are also quite a few cameos which are all well-handled.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die [credit: Sony Pictures Releasing]

BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE

The story is easily the weakest part here with not a lot of character development, especially for the supporting cast. The plot is thin and doesn’t have too many layers to it and even the twists mostly fail to surprise. But that doesn’t mean that the adventure that our characters are on isn’t fun. One can clearly see that the focus in the structuring of this movie was to make it as fun as possible. There are also some questionable editing choices, but the pacing of the narrative is really good.

 

Bad Boys: Ride Or Die delivers an explosively entertaining ride in one of the franchise’s best entries. It embraces its outrageousness and gives some wild action sequences. Smith and Lawrence’s chemistry is unreal, while Adil and Bilall bring their A-game. Audiences will eat up this hilarious ride that will surely be one of the best movie-going experiences of the year. A treat for fans of the franchise. Hopefully, we get more of these.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRFY_Fesa9Q&pp=ygUSYmFkIGJveXMgNCB0cmFpbGVy

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Bad Boys: Ride or Die | Official Trailer – Sony Pictures Entertainment

Miami’s finest end up on the run.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Comedy

Release Date:

2024

Director:

Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Cast:

Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens

Plot Summary:

Miami’s finest end up on the run

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Kung Fu Panda 4 Review: Po and Co are Back to Pack Hilarious Punches.

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I’ve seen too many great animation franchises deliver diminishing returns with more and more sequels. To name some recent examples one could include How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, Cars, etc. Kung Fu Panda is another franchise that unfortunately falls in this category. The threequel that released in 2016, was most people’s choice for the weakest entry in the beloved franchise. So that made me pretty skeptical whether the world was ready for this franchise to return and gave us good cause not to have expectations set too high, especially given the weak marketing campaign and smaller production budget. To make things worse, it was being reported that the furious five would not be a part of the story.

So I went in with my expectations in check but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s been 8 years since the last Kung Fu Panda movie, but the characters are somehow still fresh and fun. One of the best things that the makers are able to do is remind the viewers what makes Po such a darling and why we love him so much. Jack Black is such a natural fit for his voice and makes this character special with his wit and wisdom in this latest entry. 

This entry is notably structured in a very different way from the other 3 entries. This one focuses on Po’s search for a successor and his ascension to the Master of Peace. The main characters are split up pretty early in the movie and are sent on separate adventures in a sort of buddy-cop-style scenario. On one side we have Po and Awkwafina’s Zhen, and on the other, we have Bryan Cranston and James Hong as Po’s dads. These two duos are a lot of fun in their own ways.

(from left) Po (Jack Black) and Zhen (Awkwafina) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Po and Xen have more of a good boy-bad boy dynamic, while the dads have more of a light-hearted brotherhood between them. Both pairs of misfits deliver a string of humorously entertaining sequences that will have you laughing your heart out. The humor here works for most parts apart from one or two instances and the dialogue in particular is very smartly written. The story, on the other hand, is where the movie is at its weakest.

The structuring is pretty generic with a very cliche twist at the beginning of the second half and the script mostly fails to provide significantly fresh plot points. But credit to it for executing the successor plotline better than a lot of movies that have tried it, especially Cars 3. The writers make sure to put their entire focus on humor and entertainment value, but they do come up with a couple of charming moments and some subplots that come full circle.

The animation here is surprisingly really good, especially given the significantly lower budget. The trailers didn’t get too many people encouraged about the quality of animation, but I can tell you that even though it’s not DreamWorks’ best, it’s still really well done. The background score also hits the right spot where it’s able to compliment the scene and lift it at the same time. The voice work here is also pretty solid. Jack Black is amazing as always and Awkwafina Ke Huy Quan are welcome additions.

(Center) Chameleon (Viola Davis) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Apart from Po, the best part of the movie is Li and Ping. They are the heart of this movie. The two of them have incredible chemistry and Mike Mitchell finds a way to bring out the best from the both of them. They play off of each other in the most silly, but whimsical manner which is just a joy to watch. We could do with a spin-off of them. Ian McShane’s return as Tai Lung is another highlight here. He is nicely integrated and fits well into the story being told. On the other hand, Viola Davis’ Chameleon is somewhat of a disappointment. For a villain that has the powers of all the previous villains, she was a rather tame antagonist.

Overall, Kung Fu Panda 4 is a return to form for the beloved franchise. It has a lot of elements that made the franchise successful and is a much-needed reminder of how much we love these characters and in particular, Po. Jack Black knocks it out of the park with Bryan Cranston and James Hong emerging as surprise standouts. It lacks the emotional depth of the first two entries and has a disappointingly tame villain. But it is a major improvement from the last entry and unsurprisingly very very entertaining.

Kung Fu Panda 4 releases in cinemas on March 8.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_inKs4eeHiI&pp=ygUXa3VuZyBmdSBwYW5kYSA0IHRyYWlsZXI%3D

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