In Cinemas: 'John Wick' (2014) + 'While We're Young' (2015)
Keanu Reeves is back to his action star best in the rampaging 'John Wick' (★★★), directed by Chad Stahelski and an uncredited David Leitch. The trio met on the set of 'The Matrix', where the directors worked on the film's breathtaking stunts - something carried forward in the striking fight choreography of their directorial debut.
Reeves stars as Wick, a grieving outsider driven on a vengeful rampage by the bratty Alfie Allen, the son of a Russian crime boss, who also happens to be a former associate of Wick. Soon, it's Wick versus the entire crime syndicate, with shades of Arnie classic 'Commando' shining through, albeit in a significantly grittier fashion. Stylistically, the action has more worthy ambitions, with John Woo an obvious influence. However, with the lack of humour (intentional or otherwise) and plot detail, the seemingly endless killing becomes somewhat tiresome.
Noah Baumbach has cornered the market of the disaffected middle aged American, and continues the trend with 'While We're Young' (★★★★) - something of a treatise on the inevitabilities of getting older in an ever-changing landscape. Naomi Watts and Ben Stiller star as a New York couple stuck in a rut, and rejuvenated upon meeting another younger and more vibrant couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried.)
Baumbach's films evoke a similar love-them-or-hate-them feeling as collaborator Wes Anderson (the two co-wrote 'The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou' and 'Fantastic Mr Fox') but regardless, this is perhaps Baumbach at his wittiest and most insightful. The increasingly bittersweet nature might grate on even the most fervent of fans, but the film's flaws seem to appropriately approximate the ones of its characters.
At Home: 'Marvel's Daredevil' (Netflix Original Series)
Two juggernauts of the modern age Marvel and Netflix team up on this online adaptation of blind comic book superhero Daredevil - essentially rebooting his onscreen presence after 2003's failed big screen effort, starring Ben Affleck. That previous incarnation was perhaps unfairly chided as a complete failure, and it's unsurprising that there is a certain familiarity in some of the current series. 'Marvel's Daredevil' is also indebted to the Christopher Nolan's Batman universe - building a similarly intense and dark world.
Vincent D'Onofrio is at the heart of this world, as his Wilson Fisk character regenerates the local area through nefarious means. Charlie Cox stars as the lawyer-turned-vigilante, facing up to the rising crime lord, in both his guises. 'Marvel's Daredevil' is solid rather than spectacular, maybe even necessarily understated (D'Onofrio's intriguing yet over the top Fisk aside) in comparison to the Marvel film slate. A series that could well attract new fans and while Cox is often preferable as the lawyer rather than Daredevil, we hope to see another series.
Movie & TV News
Following the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, the latest trailer for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' has emerged (and also this pretty cool footage of new droid BB-8 actually rolling around):
We're seeing more of Jared Leto's version of the Joker in David Ayer's 'Suicide Squad'.
Wacky 90s TV characters Zig and Zag are returning to UK screens in a new CBBC animated series.
We're not quite sold on Marvel's latest big screen adaptation 'Ant-Man' yet but as there's a Thomas The Tank Engine cameo in the new trailer, we'll give it a go:
Roland Emmerich is returning to the 'Independence Day' fold with a sequel, and has brought back a few of the old faces to boot including Bill Pullman and Judd Hirsch.
Read previous On Camera columns here. Drop us a line at film(at)fadedglamour.co.uk if you have something you think might be worth featuring in a future column.