Deadpool 2

May 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin
Directed by: David Leitch (“Atomic Blonde”)
Written by: Rhett Reese (“Deadpool”), Paul Wernick (“Deadpool”), Ryan Reynolds (debut)

Ignore the fact that “Deadpool 2” is one of the six live-action superhero films being released in theaters in 2018. Moviegoers love the specialty genre, and damned be any outsider who proclaims half a dozen action-packed pictures from the Marvel and DC catalogs is excessive. When a company is pulling in billions worldwide, it’s not good business acumen to turn your back on the genre.

That said, it’s also obvious that after so many additions to so many franchises, things are bound to get a little repetitious. Sometimes the best films don’t stand out from the crowded field. Besides a super geek, can anyone really tell the difference between “X-Men,” “X2,” “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” if shown a random fight scene? It’s no wonder critics fell for “Logan” so hard. It was fresh and new and not so Marvel-y.

In “Deadpool 2,” which is also technically an X-Men movie, director David Leitch (“Atomic Blonde”) and returning screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick decide the sequel should basically mirror the original, except this time with a pissed-off kid and a much-anticipated villain thrown into the mix. The combination should appease fans of the series who get a hard-on for pop culture references and extreme meta humor. But depending on your threshold for snark and self-awareness, “Deadpool 2” could either be a quippy masterpiece or a catty backhand to the face. Wherever you fall, it’s safe to say viewers can at least agree that it’s unapologetically crude and that Ryan Reynolds once again proves he is the perfect choice to play the titular anti-hero.

A quick spoiler-free synopsis (since Reynolds himself tweeted out a plea last week to “not say a fucking word about the fun shit in the movie”): Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson (Reynolds), is emotionally devastated after tragedy strikes. As he does in the original, he teams up with a few of the lesser-known X-Men, including newcomer Domino (Zazie Beetz), to try and corral Russell (Julian Dennison), a young, powerful mutant who has gone rogue. Also on the hunt for the mutant kid: Cable (Josh Brolin), a time-traveling, techno-organic bad dude (good dude?) driven by vengeance. How’s that for vague?

Aside from an interesting storyline or any real character development, “Deadpool 2” delivers on what it promises — a butt-load of double entendres, mostly funny comic-book humor, effective music choices (including a new Celine Dion song — ha!), exaggerated, “Kill Bill”-style violence and Reynolds hamming it up and delivering one-liners that will likely become memes in a few weeks. If you’re looking for anything else, Deadpool has a message for you: fuck off.

Deadpool

February 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Monica Baccarin, T.J. Miller
Directed by: Tim Miller (debut)
Written by: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Zombieland”)

As the world teeters dangerously on the edge of superhero movie fatigue, with overstuffed and undercooked adventures like the latest “Avengers” movie offering little more than a two-hour placeholder for whatever comes next, in walks “Deadpool,” a hyper-violent, hilarious raunch-fest filled with things no one would have imagined would be on hand in a movie starring a Marvel Comics character. All of the worst dirty words, along with graphic beheadings, full-frontal nudity, and pegging (look it up, but not at work) join forces with a spot-on wisecracking performance from Ryan Reynolds to create a refreshingly sharp and adult-focused comic book movie for those fans who have grown tired of the bloodless save-the-world battles and/or those sorely disappointed by the lack of the main character’s dick in their superhero blockbusters.

Reynolds stars as Wade Wilson (again…Reynolds played a severely-altered/neutered version of the character in 2009’s awful “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), a sarcastic mercenary who looks out for the little guy. When he’s not intimidating dumpy pizza boys into giving up stalking the hot girls, he’s hanging out at a bar for fellow soldiers of fortune run by Weasel (T.J. Miller). That’s where Wilson meets Vanessa (Monica Baccarin), the call girl of every nerd’s dream. The two vigorously explore their sexuality while falling in love along the way, culminating in a proposal substituting a Ring Pop for a diamond. After popping the question, though, Wilson passes out. The reason? Aggressive, terminal cancer.

To save his life, Wilson accepts the offer of a shady guy in a suit he deems a child molester (Jed Rees) to join a program that will mutate his cells and destroy his cancer. Under the cruel guidance of Ed Skrein’s Ajax (Francis to his friends), Wilson is tortured by Francis until his DNA mutates, destroying his good looks but giving him the ability to heal himself rapidly. Wilson escapes and vows revenge on Francis, taking on the name Deadpool, putting on a costume, and killing everyone who gets in his way.

Blissfully self-satisfied and self-aware, “Deadpool” is the ballsiest superhero movie to date, unafraid of its protagonist’s fourth-wall breaking ways and penchant for extreme sex and violence—all while being firmly connected to Fox’s reinvigorated “X-Men” movie franchise, to boot. An appearance by the X-Mansion, mentions of James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart as Professor X, and a guest star turn by metallic Russian mutant Colossus (voice of Stefan Kapicic) played as the ultimate square who keeps trying to get Deadpool to join the X-Men lends a wonderful depth to Reynold’s meta references. He knows he’s in a movie, and that Fox allowed him to know he’s part of their lucrative, kid-friendly (sort of) mutant superhero franchise while retaining all the sarcasm and nastiness that’s made the character a comic con hit, well, that’s pretty fucking incredible. “Deadpool” raises the bar for superhero movies loyal to their source material, then promptly shoves that same bar up its own ass for jollies.

 

Zombieland

October 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer (debut)
Written by: Rhett Reese (“Cruel Intentions 3”) and Paul Wernick (debut)
 
It’s all about survival of the fittest in the riotous new zom-com (zombie comedy) “Zombieland,” a surprisingly fresh crack at the subgenre by first-time director Ruben Fleischer. It’s also a farther step away from the type of movies director George A. Romero popularized in the late 60s. To put it simply: “Zombieland” isn’t your grandma’s zombie movie.
 
Zombie flicks first started evolving in 2003 when British director Edgar Wright and comedians Simon Pegg and Nick Frost made destroying a zombie’s brain a hilarious delight instead of a chore in the insanely clever “Shaun of the Dead.” Now, in “Zombieland,” Fleischer stylizes his own outrageous war against the undead and does it in a most amusing way.
 
Reminiscent of the book “The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead,” in which author Max Brooks gives tips about how to survive in a world flooded with flesh-eaters, “Zombieland” serves up its own thoughtful pointers. Here to guide the audience through the post-apocalyptic United States is Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a delicate young loner who has managed to avoid becoming a zombie’s midday snack by following his own personal rules for survival.

On his way to Ohio to see if his parents are still alive, Columbus (no one uses their real names to avoid personal attachment) teams up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), an eccentric, Twinkie-craving cowboy who packs some serious heat and loves showing off his zombie-killing skills whenever he gets the chance.

Tallahassee gets to do a lot of point-blank-range shooting since that’s basically what “Zombieland” is all about. Without much of a plot, Fleisher, who comes from the music video industry, pays specific attention to the crazy ways zombies meet their demise. Sisters Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone) join the diverse group and set off on a road trip to a rumored zombie-free theme park. No one believes it’ll really be safe there, but what else are they going to do with their time?

As Tallahassee, Harrelson steals the show in the same manner as Robert Downey Jr. does in “Tropic Thunder.” Harrelson might not earn an Oscar nod like Downey did, but it’s definitely his funniest role since playing Roy Munson, a one-handed bowler in 1996’s Farrelly Brother comedy “Kingpin.” 

While it’s almost impossible to offer up anything new in zombie mythology (here the zombies emerge from a strain of mad cow disease), it’s the playful and mischievous dark humor that makes “Zombieland’ such a hoot.