The Kenblog: Remembering Wes Craven!

 

 

Howdy Folks!  It’s The Kendog!

 

Legendary Filmmaker Wes Craven (1939*2015)

Legendary Filmmaker Wes Craven (1939-2015)

 

 

The cinematic world lost a great one this week with the passing of Wes Craven from brain cancer at the age of 76.  The man was a superb craftsman in the world of cinematic horror, giving us such horror icons such as Freddy Krueger and the Mask from the Scream Franchise.  He was a writer and director who took potentially schlocky material and elevated with talent, poise, and panache, as well as an immense gift for scaring the hell out of his audience.  Continue reading

Dog’s Movie House: “We Are Your Friends” DJs As Musicians Awash In Cliches!

 

 

Howdy Folks!  It’s The Kendog!

 

Zac Efron in "We Are Your Friends"

Zac Efron in “We Are Your Friends”

 

 

I must say that there are very few things that make me feel my age, but the current state of popular music is chief among them.  I can feel the arthritis I don’t even have yet bending my spine as the my lips thin and my hair grows white and I start waving my cane at those youngsters as I scream,  “That’s not the way it was when I was a kid!  When I was a youngin’ I actually listened to bands who wrote music and played instruments, not stealing other music and puttin’em on a new fangled computer-thingy.”  That said, the problems with the new DJ film “We Are Your Friends” have very little to do with the music and everything to do with the clichéd storytelling musical biopic tropes that have infested many similar films of this ilk. Continue reading

The Kenblog: Anatomy Of A Shoot Out!

 

 

Howdy folks!  It’s The Kendog!

john wick 1

Keanu Reeves as John Wick

 

After watching “No Escape” recently (read the review here) I found myself wondering about the great shootouts in movie history.  I thought the action scenes in “No Escape” were well done although in service to a somewhat empty narrative vessel, but they don’t compare to the shoot-outs I’m about to show you here.  As you watch these, think about the way the music (or lack thereof) heightens the drama, how the choreography is staged and how the actors completely commit to the moment both physically and emotionally.  Or you can simply turn your brain off and enjoy these scenes for what they are:  pure kinetic bliss.  So Sayeth The Kendog!  Continue reading

Dog’s Movie House: “No Escape” Slick But Somewhat Unpleasant Thriller!

 

 

Howdy Folks!  It’s The Kendog!

 

Pierce Brosnan And Owen Wilson In "No Escape"

Pierce Brosnan And Owen Wilson In “No Escape”

 

 

 

John Erick Dowdle is primarily known for his horror films.  Movies like “Quarantine” and “As Above, So Below” trade on the menace of inhuman threats for the thrills he generates.  It’s not a bad formula and those two films, while far from perfect, have some genuinely interesting elements to them.  I suppose, then, I could forgive Dowdle (along with his brother Drew, who co-wrote the script) for applying the same formula for the new political thriller “No Escape.”  Trouble is the people menacing the recently arrived to Thailand (or Cambodia or whatever country to which they’ve recently moved; the film doesn’t say) are supposed to be people, no monsters, and treating them as the latter makes this otherwise slick exercise in suspense and action filmmaking uncomfortable to watch in all the wrong ways.  Continue reading

Dog’s Movie House: “American Ultra” Entertaining, Sometimes Uneven Mix Of Action And Comedy!

 

Jesse Eisenberg & Kristen Stewart In "American Ultra"

Jesse Eisenberg & Kristen Stewart In “American Ultra”

 

 

Howdy Folks!  It’s The Kendog!

 

 

Stoner comedies have always had their place in the cinema.  Every since Cheech and Chong first lit up in the 70’s there has been an audience for movies with protagonists who spend most of their screen time high.  Many of these comedies have a difficult time combining the broad comedic strokes involved with the stoner lifestyle with well-rounded and believable characters.  Add an action component to the mix and the equation becomes even more complex.  Fortunately, “American Ultra” the new film from “Chronicle” scripter Max Landis, manages to, for the most part, balance all of these balls in the air to a very entertaining effect. Continue reading

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