Keanu Reeves returns in the John Wick 4 Trailer!


The High Table would like a word with John Wick.

I’m surprised there’s anyone left to fight, but on hand, we have Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones), Bill Skarsgard (Barbarian), Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine), Scott Adkins (Accident Man), Clancy Brown (Thor: Ragnarok) and the legendary Donnie Yen (Ip-Man, Rogue One). They join the original cast that includes Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, & Ian McShane.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is set to release in theatres on March 24, 2023.

A rivalry begins in the Godzilla vs. Kong trailer


Back in 1986, Optimus Prime muttered 6 six words to Megatron that would sear itself into the minds of kids for a generation.

“One shall stand, One shall fall.”

And here we are, 30 years later, still using that phrase, or something like it. as Godzilla vs. Kong  offers the tagline “One Will Fall”.

After 3 mega movies (Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island & Godzilla: King of the Monsters), we’re finally ready for a kaiju matchup of truly epic proportions. Godzilla vs Kong pairs the two legendary monsters against each other, though for what reasons, we’re not entirely sure. Neither side wishes to concede, and the battle looks like it’s going to be both in the water and on land. From the newly released trailer, it looks like Kong’s the current hero. The returning characters of Mark and Madison Russell (Kyle Chandler and Millie Bobby Brown) from Godzilla: King of the Monsters seem to feel that something’s wrong with our atomic breath spewing hero. Dr. Chen (Zhang Ziyi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) is also on hand to help. After saving the world twice, why would he suddenly turn on mankind? I’m not sure I like the idea of Godzilla being a villain in all this, but they have to have a reason to fight, I suppose.

While it doesn’t look like anyone returns from Kong: Skull Island, we still have Kong and some supporting characters in Alexander Skarsgard (The Legend of Tarzan), Julian Dennison (Deadpool 2), Jessica Henwick (Underwater), Eiza Gonzalez (Bloodshot), Danai Gurira (Black Panther), and Lance Reddick (John Wick 3 – Parabellum).

Godzilla vs. Kong is due in IMAX and on HBO Max on March 26th, 2021.

Here’s The First Trailer for Destiny 2!


And finally, here’s the first trailer for Destiny 2.  I’m going to be honest and admit that I don’t know much about any of this but I do know that there was more than a little excitement here at the TSL Bunker when this was released.

Is it just me or can Lance Reddick make almost anything sound noble?

Destiny 2 will be released, for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, on September 8th.

Film Review: Faults (dir by Riley Stearns)


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Faults is many things.

It’s a character study.  It’s a thriller.  It’s a deeply unsettling horror film.  It’s a darker-than-dark comedy that will make you laugh even while you’re glancing over your shoulder to make sure there are no strangers hiding in the shadows.  It’s a look at religion, faith, free will, and guilt.  It’s a declaration that a major talent — writer/director Riley Stearns — has arrived.  It’s an acting showcase for both Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Leland Orser.  It’s a film that found success on the festival circuit and then had an all-too brief theatrical release in March.  It’s also a film that’s currently available on Netflix.  Finally, it’s one of the best films of the year so far.

When we first meet professional cult deprogrammer Ansel Roth (Leland Orser), he is eating dinner in a hotel restaurant and desperately trying to convince his waiter that he has an agreement with management, guaranteeing him free meals while staying at the hotel.  After Ansel is kicked out of the restaurant, he then tries to convince the hotel manager that his room is supposed to be free as well.  The manager gives Ansel an hour to check out.

As quickly becomes apparent, Ansel is nearly broke and he’s living out of his car.  What little money he has, he makes from giving sparsely attended lecture where he literally begs people to pay fifteen dollars to get a copy of his latest book.  After his lectures, Ansel is willing to sign his new book at a cost of five dollars per signature.

(At one point, when someone asks Ansel to sign his previous book, Ansel abruptly explains that he no longer signs that book.  If you want his five dollar autograph, you have to first pay fifteen dollars to get his new book.)

At one point, Ansel was a minor celebrity with his own talk show but, after a girl he deprogrammed subsequently committed suicide, Ansel’s life fell apart.  His latest book is self-published and his former manager, the oddly polite Terry (Jon Gries), claims that Ansel owes him money.  Terry’s enforcer, Mick (the always intimidating Lance Reddick), is stalking Ansel from cheap motel to cheap motel.

However, things start to look up for Ansel when he’s approached by Paul (Chris Ellis) and Evelyn (Beth Grant).  They explain that their daughter, Claire (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), has joined a cult known as Faults and is a follower of a mysterious figure named Ira.  They ask Ansel to deprogram her.  Ansel agrees to do so and charges them $20,000.

After Ansel and two “assistants” literally grab Claire off the street, they take her to a cheap motel where, behind locked doors, Ansel starts to try to deprogram Claire.  However, from the start, Ansel discovers that it’s going to be more difficult than he realized.

For one thing, Claire remains calm throughout the whole kidnapping and, even when locked in the shabby motel room, is confident that she is about to “move on” and achieve a higher level of existence.  When Paul and Evelyn show up and try to talk to Claire, it turns out that they’re not quite the loving parents that they initially presented themselves as being.  Paul, in particular, reveals himself to have a fierce temper and he demands that Claire change into clothes that would be more appropriate for a teenager than for an adult.  When Ansel suggests that the overbearing Paul should back off, Paul replies that he “knows” what Ansel truly wants to do with Claire.

Secondly, even as Ansel tries to deprogram Claire, he still has to deal with Terry and Mick.  Neither one of them is particularly concerned about whether or not Ansel can pull Claire away from Faults.  Instead, Terry just wants his money.

And finally, even as Ansel tries to keep control of the situation, he is personally falling apart.  He finds himself having sudden nosebleeds.  At one point, his suit spontaneously combusts into flame.  (Believe it or not, there is a relatively plausible reason for why this happens but that doesn’t make it even less shocking.)  When Ansel falls asleep in the motel room, he subsequently wakes up in his car and has no memory of how he got there.

And through it all, Claire remains a seductive and manipulative enigma.  Sometimes she’s cold and in control.  Other times, she’s surprisingly vulnerable.  Ansel finds himself both attracted to and frightened of Claire.  Throughout the film, Ansel insists that he has “free will” but Claire forces him to reconsider that assumption.

Faults is a low-key and disturbing film that is distinguished by a very dark and cynical sense of humor.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead is amazing as the mysterious Claire while Leland Orser is wonderfully desperate and surprisingly sympathetic as Ansel.  When Faults first started, I was concerned that, since it largely takes place in one cramped motel room, the film would be too stagey to be effective.  But director Riley Stearns does amazing work with that one location and, as a result, Faults is one of those rare films that actually gets more intriguing the deeper you get into it.

Faults is currently available on Netflix and you should watch it.

Shattered Politics #92: White House Down (dir by Roland Emmerich)


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To say that the 2012 film White House Down is stupid is probably unnecessary.  After all, the film was directed by Roland Emmerich and Emmerich specializes in making stupid films.

And, in many ways, White House Down is prototypical Emmerich film, a long and self-important collection of mayhem and heavy-handed pontification.  In the case of this film, liberal President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) is pushing for a treaty that will magically bring about world police.  Naturally, a bunch of evil right-wingers (including characters played, somewhat inevitably, by James Woods and Richard Jenkins) don’t want world peace so they hire a bunch of mercenaries who attack the White House.  It’s all a part of a plot to force Sawyer to launch a nuclear attack on Iran because … well, why not?  Fortunately, aspiring secret service agent (and kick-ass combat veteran) John Cale (Channing Tatum) is there to work with the President and save the country.

And, since Emmerich is from the bigger is always better school of filmmaking, many familiar landmarks are blown up and it takes the film well over two hours to tell its simplistic story.  To be honest, if your action movie can’t get the job done in under two hours, then you’re going to have problems.  Once a viewer has spent two hours watching one movie, it’s inevitable that he or she will start to question the film’s logic.  If the film’s clever enough, all lapses and inconsistencies can be forgiving.  If the film is White House Down, it’s a lot less easy to be forgiving.

Of course, from a political point of view, Emmerich tries to have it both ways.  For anti-government types like me, it’s always fun to watch Washington D.C. blow up.  For those on the right, White House Down presents a situation that can only be solved by heroes with guns.  And, of course, Democrats can view White House Down as wish fulfillment, an alternative timeline where Barack Obama actually is as sincere and effective as they wish him to be.

In fact, if anything saves White House Down, it’s the chemistry between Foxx and Tatum.  Wisely, neither one of them appears to be taking the film that seriously and both of them seem to be having a lot of fun blowing things up.  Channing Tatum, in particular, deserves some sort of award.  How many bad films have been made tolerable by Tatum’s willingness to laugh at himself?  I’ve lost count but White House Down definitely benefits from his presence.  He and Foxx make Emmerich’s style of filmmaking as tolerable as it will ever be.

Trailer: Oldboy (Red Band)


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Today saw the release of the red band trailer for the remake of Park Chan-wook’s classic neo-noir Oldboy. This remake by Spike Lee already looks to pay homage (or imitate) the look and feel of Park’s adaptation of the Japanese manga of the same name by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Mineshigi. We see quick glimpses of the hallway fight scene and a montage of the main character’s 20 years spent locked up in an unknown hotel room.

There’s a great chance for Spike Lee to make this remake his very own by using the Park film as a template but not as gospel. The Park adaptation itself took some liberties with the story told in the manga. Lee and the screenplay by Protosevich could do same to allow this Oldboy a chance to stand on its own instead of becoming another Gus Van Sant Psycho.

Though I wouldn’t mind to see what Lee has in mind as Josh Brolin’s character’s first choice of a meal once getting out.