Saturday, April 19, 2014

Movie Review: The Raid 2: Berandal

Though weary from battle, Officer Rama (Iko Uwais) is afforded no rest.  Mere hours after emerging from the bloodied hallways of a Jakarta apartment block, he’s thrown to the wolves once again.  This time, he goes undercover to infiltrate the powerful Bangun crime family.  He eventually becomes bodyguard and confidant to its heir apparent, the impetuous Uco (Arifin Putra).  As a result, he becomes privy to family business and gangland politics.  However, when an unsanctioned hit triggers an all-out gang war, Rama finds himself on the front lines.  Will he be able to fight his way out of the slaughterhouse once more?   

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Scottscope Talk Radio 4/5/2014: The Rise Of The Winter Soldier!

On this week’s edition of Scottscope Talk Radio, the roundtable reviews Captain America: The Winter Soldier! Just who is this mysterious character known as the “Winter Soldier”? What significance does he have to not only our hero, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe as whole? Will filmmaker’s Anthony and Joe Russo continue in the tradition established by Joe Johnston, or will they stake out new territory for Cap to conquer? Will the MCU ever manage to truly diversify its brand? Are all MCU films, and by extension, all superhero films exactly the same? Is it time for a change? Is Tony Stark/Iron Man still the most interesting and charismatic Avenger? Does Captain America: The Winter Soldier set a new watermark for the MCU? Is the hype justified? Join us as we ponder these and other mysteries of the MCU!

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) walks a lonely road.  Since awakening from his arctic slumber, he wanders through life in a perpetual state of bemusement.  His once beloved country has evolved into a high-tech police state.  It also happens to be the preeminent world power.  Now, with the help of Stark Industries technology, S.H.I.E.L.D hopes to make that power absolute.  Alas, a cancerous growth has been gestating deep within the bowels of the organization since its very inception.  That once hidden threat now seeks complete dominion over its host, and by extension, the world at large.  As this evolution takes place, key S.H.I.E.L.D operatives become strategic targets.  Now, more than ever before, Captain America is the lone ambassador of an outmoded ideal.  With the help of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), he hopes to restore freedom to world on the brink of losing it forever.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Scottscope 3/39/2014: It's a Sabotage!

On this week’s edition of Scottscope Talk Radio, the roundtable reviews Sabotage!  Is it on par with the best of David Ayer’s work, or is it just more of the same?  Has he become too predictable?  Is it time for him to leave his comfort zone and try something new?  Have gritty cop thrillers and crime dramas finally run their course?  Could this be Arnold Schwarzenegger’s single most violent film to date?  Could this be his best performance since coming out of retirement?  Is there still room for him to grow as an actor at this point?   Is Sabotage merely a thinly-veiled exploitation film operating under the guise of serious drama?  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Scottscope Talk Radio 3/22/2014: Bustin' Out Of The Boondocks!

On this week’s edition of Scottscope Talk Radio, the roundtable will be discussing Aaron Mcgruder’s departure from The Boondocks.  Should the show continue on without him?  Will it even be worth watching?  Might it actually be better off without him?  Given that the show bears relatively little resemblance to comic strip it was based on, would it be fair to question his actual level of involvement up until this point?  Was his abandonment of the property inevitable?  What of his new show, Black Jesus?  Given the controversial nature of his humor, is McGruder truly a master satirist, or just a petty, self-hating provocateur?  Is the animated iteration of The Boondocks truly meant to provoke thought, or is just a mean-spirited minstrel show that denigrates Black America?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Duplicating Perfection: Is There Actually Hope For The Upcoming Remake Of 'The Raid'?

It was the announcement that fandom had been collectively dreading for well over two years.  One could liken it to an inmate on death row, anxiously awaiting his execution date.  Sooner or later, after all the appeals have been filed and ultimately denied, the sentence will be carried out.  In this particular case, the switch was finally pulled (or the guillotine dropped) on Thursday, February 20th.  Screen Gems and XYZ films officially announced that the American remake of The Raid: Redemption would be going into production this fall.  Patrick Hughes, who is currently in post-production on The Expendables 3, is slated to direct.  A cast has yet to be announced, though some have mentioned the Hemsworth brothers as possible candidates.  So began a worldwide outcry of fans everywhere.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Perversions of Science: An Interview With Filmmaker John Hyams Part 2

In part 2 of my interview with filmmaker John Hyams (Click here to read part 1), we discuss the current state action cinema, and the many influences behind 'Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.'
Scott Adkins (Left) and John Hyams (Right) on the set of Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.

Scott Wilson:
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning was done on a controlled budget: 11.5 million dollars according to Wikipedia.  Not the most reliable source in the world, but it’s the best I could do.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Perversions of Science: An Interview With Filmmaker John Hyams Part 1

The action genre is currently in a state of emergency.  Major studios now treat action as merely an ingredient in a “four-quadrant filmmaking” recipe.  It’s become a small part of a larger whole, no longer worthy of its own filmic category.  Gone are the simple plots and relatable protagonists of “golden era” classics like ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Lethal Weapon’.  Likewise for set pieces that make any sort of visual sense.  In recent years, the DTV format has become the last bastion of traditional action cinema.  It’s also become a proving ground for untested talent.

Filmmaker John Hyams has chosen to ply his trade in the DTV arena.  He offers a more classical approach, one grounded in the values of 70’s cinema.  He’s revived the ‘Universal Soldier’ brand, turning in its two best entries to date: ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ and ‘Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.’  The latter turned a good many heads upon release.  I proudly count myself among its admirers.  Mr. Hyams recently shared the details of his creative process with me.  His insights revealed him to be a true renaissance man. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Killer Instinct: An Interview With Comic Book Writer Justin Jordan

Straddling genres can be difficult, regardless of the medium in question.  Truly great hybrids amalgamate the very best elements of two seemingly different worlds.  Such experiments tend to flourish when guided by an especially perceptive mind.  Hence, heretofore unseen parallels between the genres being combined suddenly become glaringly obvious.  Even the most casual observer can spot similarities they’d never considered before.