FlixChatter Review – Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)

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The John Wick films has started a new trend in Hollywood action films. Gone are the awful shaky cam, fast editing and up-close shots during action scenes. Now we get to see careful and well-choreographed hand-to-hand combat and shootout scenes. I definitely prefer this new style of action sequences since I can’t stand the shaky cam/fast editing style of the 2000s. The downside of this new trend is that many the recent action films seem to look the same and it gets kind of boring when most action films start to imitate one another. The newest John Wick clone is called Gunpowder Milkshake from Netflix.

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Sam (Karen Gillan) is a super assassin working for an underworld organization called The Firm. On her new mission, her boss Nathan (Paul Giamatti) tasked her with retrieving money that was stolen from The Firm by an ex-employee. But the mission goes awry when she shoots the ex-employee, discovering that he needs the money to rescue his kidnapped daughter, Emily (Chloe Coleman) from some nasty men. Making things even more complicated is that on her previous mission, Sam accidentally killed the only son of The Firm’s competitor, McAlester (Ralph Ineson). McAlester wants Sam’s head and orders his men to hunt her down. So, to avoid a full out war with another powerful firm, Nathan decided to betray Sam and let McAlester and his men take her out.

Of course, Sam won’t go down without a fight since she decided to take Emily under her wings and will need help from her mom Scarlet (Lena Headey), who abandon her when she was very young. Also, along for the ride are Scarlet’s old friends Anna May (Angela Bassett), Florence (Michelle Yeoh), and Mathilde (Carla Gugino). Now the women must use all of their skills to defend themselves against the army of McAlester’s men and also aiming to take down The Firm.

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The script is credited to Ehud Lavski and Navot Papushado, the latter also directed the picture. The story is pretty straightforward, sprinkle in some female empowerment theme and a little bit of parent and child reconciliation. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before in other action films, but I did think they should’ve beefed up the villain role. We get a little bit of sense that McAlester is a nasty individual, but we don’t really get to see his true nature. Papushado decided to give the film a comic book style and included some fun action sequences including a car chase in parking ramp and fight/shootout scene in a clinic. Since it’s a John Wick clone, the action scenes were quite brutal, so you’ll see heads gets blown off and limps gets torn apart.

I enjoyed all the performances by the main veteran actors but the one really standout performance belongs to the young and adorable Chloe Coleman. She’s the only innocence person in the entire film and the good guys will do everything to protect her. Gillan whose 5’11 frame is very believable as an action hero and she looked to have a fun time here beating up several men and shoots them in the head. The more senior ladies also looked like they had a great time doing complex fight scenes and shootouts. While he might be on the screen for only a few minutes, Giamatti was also good the caring father figure type but also a business man who has to protect The Firm at all cost. The only disappointment here is Ineson, he’s supposed to be this over-the-top villain but he’s hardly in the movie and by the time he gets to do his evil speech to our hero, it wasn’t that impressive.

Overall, this is a fun action film that will remind you of the John Wick films. If you like those films then you’ll have good time with this one.

3.5/5 Reels

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So have you seen GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE? Well, what did you think?

Trailers Spotlight: Hail, Caesar! + Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Hey, so maybe February isn’t a dead movie month after all. Here are two movies coming out on February 5 that I’m actually looking forward to seeing!

HAIL, CAESAR!

Sometimes a trailer came along and you’ve instantly become obsessed with it though you haven’t even heard of it before. Hail, Caesar! is such a movie and I’ve seen it three times since this morning. Glad to see the Coens working on their own movie after a couple of years absence (though they wrote Unbroken last year and also on the TV show FARGO, so they’re still keeping busy).

I have to say that I LOVE the Coens’ dark comedies and this definitely has their quirky and wacky brand of humor all over it.

A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.



The star-studded cast is appropriately-filled with today’s movie stars, perfect for a satire about Hollywood golden age: George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and the Coens’ perennial favorite Frances McDormand. This marks McDormand’s eighth collaboration with her husband Joel Coen and brother-in-law Ethan. It’s got a lot of actors reunions too: Fiennes & Swinton were in Grand Budapest Hotel & A Bigger Splash and of course Tatum & Hill in the Jump Street movies.

Clooney seems to be channeling/spoofing Richard Burton? That part when he can’t remember his lines is just hilarious, love Clooney in comedies and even Josh Brolin looks like a hoot here. I always love seeing serious actors in comedic roles, so I’m thrilled to see Fiennes doing more of that lately.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Now, this one I’ve been anticipating in a while and though it may not be a great flick, it sure looks like fun. You already know I’m a big fan of period dramas, and so the bizarre twist of combining Jane Austen’s classic with zombies is just impossible to resist!

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Lily James seems ready for some knife action bad-assery here. “Have courage and be kind” is her motto as Cinderella, well she seems to abide by the first part, but I don’t think even her gentle mother would advise her to be kind to flesh-eating zombies!!


I’m one of the few people who enjoyed the preposterous silliness of previous Seth Grahame-Smith’s adaptation Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter so I think I’d enjoy this one, too. Lena Headey is listed in the cast, but no character name is mentioned on IMDb but I have a feeling she’ll play Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Darcy’s super bitchy aunt and that’d be perfect casting. I’m also looking forward to seeing Jack Huston as the dastardly Wickham.

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Thoughts? Are you excited for either one of these movies?

FlixChatter Review – 300: Rise of an Empire

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After almost a decade, Warner Bros. finally released a sequel to their sword and sandals hit 300. Before I go into the review of this new movie, I wanted to point out that I was never a fan of the first movie, I didn’t hate it but I thought it’s like I’m watching a video game with nonstop carnage and I was bored with it.

Now I’m not sure if I should call this new movie a sequel since it took place the same timeline as the first movie. It opens right after the end of the first one, we see King Leonidas and his men bodies laying dead and Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) came by and chopped Leonidas’ head off. We hear an exposition voice over by his grieving wife Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), she’s basically telling the audience what’s going on in the movie. Then the movie flashes back and showed how Xerxes became such a powerful figure. We were also introduced to a new hero, Themistokle (Sullivan Stapleton), he’s the general of the Athens’ army. Upon learning that Greek is being invaded by the Persians, he tried to team up Leonidas’ army but the Sparta king refused to even to talk to him. Then we were introduced to another character, Persian’s naval commander Artemisia (Eva Green). She’s of Greek ancestry but something happened to her when she was a child and she vowed to kill every Greeks as much as she could. After the introductions of these characters, the rest of the movie’s basically a non-stop battles after another, just like the first one.

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So apparently the movie was based on Frank Miller‘s graphic novel called Xerxes but since the novel’s really about Xerxes rise to power, the script was written so that it focuses again on the Greeks’ army. The script was written by Zack Snyder, he’s too busy with Man of Steel so he decided not to come back and direct the flick. He and his co-screenwriter Kurt Johnstad didn’t really come up with anything new for this one. Heck they even included a little subplot of a father and son who’re part of the army. Instead of the father losing his son in that battle like the first movie, here the son lost his father. Wow that’ so genius of them to come up with a such a cool twist, I had to roll my eyes when I saw that scene.

Director Noam Murro, whom I never heard of before this movie, stepped behind the cameras this time and basically copied Snyder’s style from the first movie step by step. I wondered if since Snyder’s also the producer, he may have given Murro a style guide on how to shoot each scene the way he likes it. To his credit though, Murro did stage some cool action sequences, much more elaborate than the first movie. But still he didn’t bring anything new to the table for the sequel.

As for the performances, Evan Green looked like she had a lot of fun playing the vicious baddie. Unfortunately for the new hero, Stapleton didn’t really established himself as a leading man here. Even though I didn’t care for the first movie, I thought Gerard Butler was quite effective as the lead in that film. I always thought Lena Headey overacted her role in the first film and she didn’t change my mind in this one. Santoro‘s Xerxes didn’t really have much to do again in this one, he walks around looking like a super villain.

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I can’t say I hate this movie because I didn’t have any expectations for it and in a way, it lived up to my lack of expectations. It would’ve been better maybe if the movie actually focuses on Xerxes’ rise to power but since the studio folks only care about getting the big bucks at the box office, we got the same exact movie as the last one. Nothing new or original here. I’m giving this a two stars rating partly because I enjoyed some of the action sequences and I loved the Dolby Atmos surround sound mix. Fans of the original will probably enjoy this one and get their money’s worth. As for everyone else, this was a waste of time and money.

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What do you think of the 300 sequel?

Spotlight on ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ + Interview with Jamie Campbell Bower, Lily Collins, & Kevin Zegers

I just heard about this young adult series was I went back to Jakarta last June. My 9-year-old niece had been carrying The City of Bones novel in her bag, which had a shirtless guy on it on the cover. I thought for a moment it was one of those Harlequin novels, thank goodness that’s not the case, ahah. So yeah, my three nieces, age 9, 11 and 13 are all huge fans of the books, and they can’t wait to see this film!

The Mortal Instruments is a series of six young adult fantasy novels written by Cassandra Clare, of which five have been published so far, and City of Bones is the first film adaptation of what’s positioned to be the latest young adult sci-fi franchise to hit the big screen.

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Author Cassandra Clare with her best-selling novels

On July 28, fans had a chance to meet three of the main stars at Mall of America. Originally author Cassandra Clare was also scheduled to appear, but she was unable to travel that weekend due to pneumonia. Now, before I get to the interviews, here is the synopsis of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones:

Set in contemporary New York City, “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” tells the story of a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, as secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures.

Director: Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid)
Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Lena Heady, Robert Sheehan, CCH Pounder, Jared Harris, Aidan Turner.
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 130 min.

I’ve posted the event photos in the weekend roundup post, but here they are again:

About an hour after the autograph signing, me and two other bloggers were escorted to the Mall of America Green Room downstairs for the interview. Take a listen to Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Kevin Zegers.

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What’s the most interesting part for you guys to train to play shadow hunters?

Lily (Clary) and Jamie (Jace):

“I got to learn how to knife fight, which was really fun, I had done sword fighting before in other movies, so switching the blades up was pretty interesting, and in heels, the whole deal, was pretty fun.” – Lily

Kevin (Alec):

“… Shadow Hunters, the characters are so defined by fighting and by the way they fight. I really wanted to establish what, a lot of what these characters are is the way they look, the way they are, the way they walk, the way they fight, especially. So it was important to not just have some generic style of fighting …” – Kevin

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You guys are getting on the ground floor of a new franchise… what was it like becoming these characters that people already love in the books?

“… I’m an actor but I’m also a fan. So it’s trying to put little bits of Lily in there, but staying true to how Cassie wrote her, but I think most of my character came into play once everyone else got into the room, you feed off of everyone else’s energy …” – Lily

“I guess what we have to do is we have to take on board what Cassie given us, the sort of bible there, for me I also wanted to please the fans, so I looked to what they wanted, and had to do stuff for me. It’s sort of those three things combined that, we worked around it and hopefully did something that was… comfortable.” – Jamie

“At the end of the day we’re making a film, and in order to, you’re not creating the exact person that was written on the page, you’re creating a person that has the same essence as that person.” – Kevin

There seems to be a lot of green screen in the filmmaking process, and also there’s a good dynamics between the three of you, so how’s the first day of filming like?

“There wasn’t too much green screen, maybe, like extending the height of the library, and there was a guy in a green suit pulling me when I was going through the portal. They pretty much had all the sets built for us, they had the characters, a lot of prosthetic work, so it wasn’t too difficult pretending.” – Lily

“… what I’m really keen to put out there that this a world that, the movie isn’t based in a world of werewolves and vampires, they’re just additions. It’s not like we’re trying to recreate the werewolf or the vampire, as an image, like some modern movies. They exist in this world but ultimately the story is about this girl who goes on this incredible journey who finds out who she is, and her heritage.” – Jamie

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What drew you to the part that ended up being your role?

“I think to me it was an honor to be able to say “I can create this really strong, kind of badass character and have him also be gay”, and sort of kill some of the stereotype of the prototypical gay character.” – Kevin

“… there was this sort of “rock star element” that I really liked about Jace. The vulnerability about him, that I really dug…” – Jamie

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“I liked the fact that this series in general, it’s not about romance, it’s not about drama, it’s not about action. It really stems from, it’s an ensemble piece, but the catalyst to start this whole experiment with Clary really finding out who she is, this whole journey is her finding her mom (played by Lena Headey)... I’m really close to my mom, so that to me was something I thought was really admirable about her.” – Lily


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones opens Wednesday, August 21 in the US and the UK.

(For Grace, Gina and Gladys: It opens in Indonesia on August 28 😀 )


What do you think of this one folks? Will you be seeing the movie?